Fifty Shades & Four Loves
I know of a Christian who decides whether to see a movie based on, if Jesus came back to earth while they were in the movie, would they be too embarrassed to be found at that particular picture.
While there is probably some sloppy eschatology and theology involved in that criteria, it is safe to say this person would not be caught dead at the opening of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
I know almost nothing about this movie or plot (and want to keep it that way). What I do know is that it is based on the perverse practice of sexual bondage and has lured more than 100 million to purchase the book, including women who are not typically associated with pornography.
// What Is Love?
As bad as this movie is and as disastrous as it will be for the people who participate and those they drag down in the process, there is a silver lining in that it offers Christians an opportunity to talk about true love and intimacy.
In the English language we use love for almost every situation. “I love chocolate, “I love my wife,” or “I love this TV commercial.” It is no surprise that this has created confusion about the notion of love.
// The Four Loves
In C.S. Lewis’ book, “The Four Loves,” the brilliant Christian writer unpacks the four different loves, three of which are natural and one of which is supernatural.
The first love is “affection” or affinity (Think of when you like a breakfast cereal or song). The next of the natural loves is friendship, and the third is romantic love (in Greek “Eros”). The fourth love is the love of God (in Greek “Agape”).
// The World Is Not Enough
Each of the four loves can find proper Christian expression or contrariwise be perverted. Apart from the move of God, it is impossible for men and women to know and experience agape love.
Apart from God, the three natural loves are sure to be misunderstood or perverted. Society today has deeply misunderstood friendship, which Lewis praises as just about the most noble natural love. For example, because of the wide acceptance of homosexuality and admittedly homophobia, men are afraid to love one another in friendship form. Christ teaches us, however, that men can and should love men, just without the sexual element.
// Don’t Go There
Thinking of Eros, Christians should warn against people getting involved in pornography, let alone the kind in “Shades.” Women who are tempted to delve into this realm are making a tremendous mistake that will cost them dearly.
Giving in to this kind of sexual fantasy courts a violent view of sex, degrades people and inflames appetite while diminishing real pleasure, to quote Lewis.
In conclusion, Christians are not against “Shades” because it is too strong but because it portrays a love that is too weak to fulfill, to uplift and to bring true satisfaction found in the kind of sexual expression God made us to enjoy within marriage.