Right now we are in the midst of a series called "Patterns for Living With God." It centres around several Old Testament characters worth knowing. The first story was Gideon -- sorry, no blog post for that. This week is Ruth, and there are some great story lines.
Ruth is a fine example of love and commitment and makes a great movie. In our culture we value individualism, but Ruth demonstrates a desire to benefit and honour the family, at her own expense. We tend to promote self actualization, but she models self-sacrifice. While North America celebres diversity and freedom, Ruth lives under a commitment to follow Naomi's God and live accordingly -- limiting her own choices and self determination.
Ruth's love and commitment is noted in the community and she is regarded as a worthy woman. Not only so, but she attracts the attention of an older man, and has a child with the full knowledge that the baby really belongs to the line of Naomi. Quite a story of being a bridge builder, or redeemer, of a bitter life into one of joy. A story of hope in the midst of despair. And we honour her for it.
In order to fully understand why she does what she does, we must understand some aspects of the culture and their relationship with God. About 1,000 years earlier, Abraham was given a promise. The man had no child, no land, no purpose, and no legacy. God not only gives him all these things (Genesis 12-17) but also includes a promise that having land, an heir, and a legacy are signs of God's faithfulness.
Now Naomi has none of these things and believes God has let her down big time -- even kicked her out of the covenant. Life could not get worse, and she's frustrated. In to this dark time steps Ruth. Through her commitment Naomi has an heir, the land and family name are preserved, and the legacy becomes far bigger than anyone imagined. After all, King David is born of this line!
So much more could be said about the story, but my question for us is this: Will we love the people of the world so much that we self-sacrifce and build bridges so they can be redeemed? Will we consider the spiritual needs of those around us to be significant enough that their well-being overrides my own?
Read Romans 1:14-16 and Ephesians 1:1-14. It speaks of our inheritance in Christ and the need to include others.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
This is an abridged post shared from Craig Gross. Link to full post is at the bottom.
When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I heard about it but never opened the book. I never even skimmed it. I have friends who have and have filled me in. I thought it was a fantasy book about a guy with some crazy desires for some violent sex. I was blown away to learn it sold 100 million copies, and when the movie grossed $260 million worldwide this weekend, I became even more fascinated.
So I went to see the movie. I went with my wife, to the noon showing at the mall by our house. It was packed. I can’t believe how many people were seeing this movie on a Wednesday afternoon.
So what’d I think?
I didn’t hate the movie.
I did hate Christian Grey.
I didn’t hate the movie.
I did hate Christian Grey.
I didn’t walk out or picket, but I watched the whole movie because I wanted to better understand why this has resonated with so many. Why is Christian Grey someone that women are cheering on and fantasizing about?
As I write this, the movie finished two hours ago, and I’m still upset over what I just saw. Not some young woman being tied up, but Christian Grey himself. Let me explain.
- Marriage only works when both sides give and both sides take, and sex is the same way. Men and women have needs and desires, and marriage and the marriage bed is a place to have those fulfilled. If you are with someone and they don’t take into consideration your needs and only demand things from you, then get the heck out of that relationship if you’re dating. If you’re married, then head to a counselor.
- Most people who abuse others were abused as children. The best available research suggest that 75% or more of those who commit acts of sexual or physical abuse against others were themselves abused as children. Christian Grey was abused as a child, a horrendous act that he never got over or dealt with or talked with anyone about. This has led him to some serious walls that have gone up in his life. And the only way he knows how to deal with it is to abuse someone else. He has done this to over 15 women and will continue. I heard this story was about sex, but this story at its core is about a broken man and his inability to love and be loved. How do people reading this book or watching this movie not see this? This is not a love story. This is not even an erotic story. This is a story of broken people continuing a cycle of dysfunction in their lives rather than dealing with their issues.
- The Bible says I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I am not against being playful or doing things to spice up things in your bedroom, but the question I always have is why? Why do you think you need that? If both people agree to try different things in the bedroom, I am all for that. Christian Grey, on the other hand, is dealing with his pain by inflicting pain onto someone else who is visibility uncomfortable with it. He has trouble at work one day, so he sends Anastasia to the “play room” to take out his frustrations on her. If your partner is asking you to do something or try something new in the bedroom, my advice to you would be to ask why. The reason behind the ask is the deeper issue than the act itself. In a lot of cases it might just be a fun thing – or it might be a case like Christian Grey where he wants to avoid dealing with his own pain.
Many people won’t understand this, but because I’ve seen the inner workings of the adult industry, this movie didn’t turn me on – it made me mad. The sex shown in the movie is violent and not love-making, and I don’t understand how 100 million people can read this book and think there is anything sexy about Mr. Christian Grey. If he was broke, ugly, and had a hard drive of porn instead of a “playroom” in his house, every women reading this would be freaked out enough to stay away from him forever. The books and movie have painted a sick disturbed man as a sex symbol that many, many women have gone crazy over.
If you haven’t seen the movie or read the books, don’t. Instead of wasting that time examining this unhealthy dynamic, spend those hours talking with your spouse about sex. Talk about what you desire, what you think is missing. What your history with sex was. How you missed or messed up or abused sex prior to marriage. Talk about your expectations for sex and whether they’re being met or not. Don’t know how to start those conversations? We have a course called bestsexlifenow.com; watch the first video for free, and I assure you it will lead to so many productive conversations. Maybe even fifty of them.