Thursday, February 19, 2015


I’m sure anyone reading this has already seen Fifty Shades of Grey to the point of saturation; a myriad of images, quotes, stats and rants on their Facebook and Twitter feeds about the “groundbreaking" film that has put sex toys in Target department stores (true story). In case you haven’t heard, it's the tale of a dominating billionaire who seeks to obsessively own a college student, luring her into his sadomasochistic world where her pain brings him sexual pleasure. It opens not on the eve of Halloween as you might expect, but Valentine's Day. Yes, Fifty Shades of Grey is being painted as a love story. However, the dominant color on its palette is still grey.  I don't want to talk about the movie anymore. I don't want to dwell in that murky grey any longer than we have to for the purposes of this piece. I want to make a heartfelt appeal to you all as men and women, first to my dear sisters, then my brothers, about what might be the reason this story has become so popular and how, I hope, a greater good can come out of it.

Ladies first:
I think Fifty Shades of Grey is the blurred negative of what every feminine heart is really thirsting for, and literally made for: obedience and submission to a man. Let’s qualify that phrase, then turn to the men. The man the ladies are really longing for is not Christian Grey (or any other man for that matter) but Christ. Not a fallen man who dominates them, but the Risen One who divinizes them. 

To my brothers:
I think Fifty Shades of Grey is wildly popular because we have not truly loved women as we ought. I take the onus on myself as much as any man. Sadly, it is we who have led women to this “red room of pain" by not truly feeling theirs. It is the failure of men to listen, really listen.

Our refusal to put ladies first, to honor and empathize, to feel deeply their inner ache and to offer tenderness to them has led women to seek such torturous extremes in their thirst for love. In a word, it's the failure of men to be the Man. To love all women as Christ loved the Church, giving himself up for her. 

This is a hard saying. This is a bitter pill to swallow but in the end I think it's good medicine. Let’s try and understand each separate sex now by looking at both together, as it was “in the beginning,” and hopefully we can shed some golden light on these shades of grey.

There is a cosmic dance that we were all meant to learn at our genesis. We still hear snatches of the tune that inspired it in childhood, and catch the melody in our more vulnerable moments. The song was first piped in the primordial freshness of Eden. It then reached a crescendo on the hill of Calvary. The words to this music are the same in both the beginning, the climax, and in the end: "This is my body given up for you." And the response, "Be it done unto me according to your word.” The first word holds the blueprint for masculinity, the second for femininity....


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