Trade your Shades?
That’s what two Evangelical authors are urging for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, which swept the box office this weekend with nearly $100 million in ticket sales.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh, the founder of Pure Freedom Ministry, are offering a free copy of their “Christian perspective” intimacy book, Pulling Back the Shades, in exchange for copies of the E L James novel.
“We talk about why we think women are drawn to Fifty Shades of Grey, but why it’s a counterfeit – and at the end of the day, how it’s going to sabotage intimacy rather than help women build true intimacy,” Slattery tells PEOPLE about their book.
“We both believe that God designed sexuality, and that the way he talks about it in the Bible is where we go for reference in terms of sexual morality,” says Slattery. “Also, how sex is supposed to work within marriage and romantic relationships, so we refer to that as an authority for women.”
Although Slattery says she and Gresh are not boycotting the film, they do believe “there’s a lot of danger.”
“Fifty Shades of Grey first of all is a fantasy in saying that you can be involved with a controlling, manipulative man using BDSM and that that’s going to turn out to be loving,” says Slattery. “So we see some real dangers with creating an illusion that misleads women. Also, it’s a form of pornography.”
Adds Slattery, “Women are flocking to Fifty Shades of Grey because they think it will spice up their sex life, but in the long run it makes you dissatisfied with normal sex.”
As for why the ticket sales have been so robust – especially in the South and Midwest – Slattery says, “Christians haven’t done a great job of talking about female sexuality and validating a woman’s longings and desires. A lot of the messaging has to do with what not to do and what not to feel instead of giving instruction on why God designed sex in the first place.”
A Pastor’s Perspective
Virginia pastor Rick McDaniel says he cautions his parishioners against seeing the film because of “what it expresses and what it shows are unhealthy examples of sexuality.”
“The first thing is just the whole idea that this young woman’s a virgin and that this is her first sexual experience. That’s not a Christian understanding of having sex,” explains McDaniel. “And then of course the idea that she would end up actually becoming a sex slave to this young man and the way in which that relationship then develops.”
“The Christian understanding of sex is the idea that we are to really serve one another,” says McDaniel. “Sex is not bad at all. God designed and created it, but when you take it out of the context that God designed it for and you start altering it, it’s not good.”
Lolo Jones Weighs In
U.S. Olympian Lolo Jones – who has been outspoken about her own virginity – voiced a similar opinion on Twitter writing, Funny how some people think there’s nothing wrong with Fifty Shades of Grey. God didn’t create sex for that purpose. Watch another movie.
She continued, “Some people medicate pain by being more and more physical to where if they are ever alone they can’t feel any peace.”
And instead of seeing the sensual film, McDaniel says he’s been encouraging his parishioners to “come and hear about sex, to understand it from a Biblical or Godly perspective … so they can have a healthy view of sexuality” through his sermon series: “Five Shades of Grey.”