Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:2 (The Message)
I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to deal with one of the most popular books and movies of the past few years. I really wanted to just ignore “50 Shades” altogether. But then the opening weekend happened and records were set and … well, I just can’t ignore it any longer.
I need to preface my remarks by saying that I have NOT read the book, have NOT seen the movie, NOR will I. And, I have multiple reasons for those decisions. My major reason for boycotting the book and film, is that (from what I have heard and read) the entire premise of the film is based on the misuse of power in a relationship. That this abuse of power extends into the realm of sexuality only amplifies the issue.
I didn’t want to address 50 Shades because it exemplifies, for me, the brokenness of this world. It is not something I want to talk about. In John 15 Jesus tells the disciples that they are not part of this world: “If you were a product of the world order, then it would love you. But you are not a product of the world because I have taken you out of it, and it despises you for that very reason.” (John 15:19, The Voice) And in Romans 12:2, Paul admonishes the Roman church to fix their attention on God, not on the culture around them.
But, I don’t believe that we should sit silently by and watch our culture slide further and further from God. I believe it is our duty, our calling, to stand up for what is right. Thomas Jefferson once said “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” This, is NOT a matter of style. For me it is a matter of principle.
And the principle is how we, as followers of Christ, deal with issues of power. And, I believe (from the very core of my being) that we have a Biblical mandate to handle power in a certain way. And it is NOT how power is predominately handled in society. Society uses power as a way to manipulate and control. Powerful people get away with all sorts of misdeeds precisely because they are powerful. The more money, or influence, a person has, the more likely they are to believe they are “above the law.”
And, this is nothing new! Jesus addresses just this issue in Mark 10:42-45; Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.” (The Message)
The issues of power and relationships are vital to our witness as followers of Jesus. They permeate our lives. Power and relationship are everywhere you look, at work, at home, in government, in the church, everywhere. These issues are so important that I’m going to dedicate the next several newsletter articles to just these topics. As people of faith we simply must understand, and put into practice a decidedly Christian way of treating others. “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:35 – The Message)