Fifty Shades of Grey and Magic Mike: Do Not Be Deceived

WARNING: Explicit Material for Adults Only

I haven’t read Shades or seen Magic Mike, but I have read reviews. Due to all the hype of this book and movie, if you are a part of the Creekstone community, I just want to warn you pastorally about these new releases. Essentially, both are pornography—and I certainly don’t think Magic Mike would argue with that assertion. From what I understand, Magic Mike, in the 80s or 90s, would have been rated X (even if not XXX), but movies such as Showgirls, Striptease and Boogie Nights have, like the frog in the kettle, slowly but surely re-written the film classification system. Using mainstream actors will make any film seem somewhat resectable. This is why movies like this are so dangerous. You don’t have to get them at an “adult” video store or on the internet. In fact, last week we took our kids to the 11:05 a.m. matinee of the Pixar film for children, Brave, and the movie in the very next theater was Magic Mike, with women streaming in. Of course, this could be poetic justice for all of the male internet pornorgraphy that plagues our culture. Finally, the ladies are getting even, right? But they wouldn’t really be getting even; they’d just be digging the hole that much deeper. 

Now, is a warning like this legalism? Umm, are you kidding? Is telling someone to step away from a rattle-snake legalism? Plain and simple, to attend Magic Mike as entertainment is to commit adultery. Yep, just go read Matthew 5. And in the same way that it is profoundly unloving and damaging in a marriage for a husband to watch internet porn, it is just as unloving and damaging for a woman to get her sexual thrills in either a sexualized novel ripe with S & M or a movie showcasing 150 f-bombs and glorifying pornographic sex.  

So how should a disciple of Jesus respond to these types of popular books and films? Surely, not with self-righteous disdain. Rather, with sadness—sadness that each of us has a sinful nature that is bent on evil and is under moral condemnation for our own wickedness. Sadness that the enemy will deceive and destroy many marriages with the growing influence of such explicit pornography that markets in the mainstream to both men and women. However, the good news is that Jesus came for hard-core sinners like ME—in MY place condemned he stood. As graphic and shocking as this book and film might be, the cross is even more so… to the praise of God’s glorious grace.  


4 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey and Magic Mike: Do Not Be Deceived

  1. Hey there Pastor Mckay,I hope you can take some friendly criticism on this post. First, I must note how interesting your title is, warning members not to be deceived. The reality is that Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Grey aren’t deceiving anyone; people are choosing to see this media, knowing full well what is in it. It is a part of our culture now and people are finding freedom in being able to discuss and participate in in these previously forbidden parts of culture. Whatever the morality of the situation is, no one is being deceived here. Now, whenever I attend church, I’m very careful to see the context of what’s being preached to me. I don’t just read the passage on the screen; I make sure to read around the passage. I have noticed that during at least a few of your sermons, you have taken passages out of context to promote specific ideas at times. I know this isn’t purposeful (at least I would hope so), but let me give you an example that I remember,During the Christmas church service you quoted Isaiah 7:14, a well known verse in Christian circles (I’m using the NIV translation), “14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”Now, during your last Christmas service you quoted this among several other passages and cited them as what are commonly called “proof” passages. Passages which show that Jesus is, in fact, the messiah in the Old Testament. Now, Jesus may have been the messiah, but you left out important context for your listeners such as this, “15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.” This is the passage immediately following what you quoted, it is a confusing and strange paragraph; but it refers to a boy who clearly has to choose to do right, and does not know everything from the beginning. At the very least, there are complicated issues that need to be addressed and spoken about with this verse; so why didn’t you say anything about them? The same is true when, in every sermon, you affirm that Jesus is a real historical figure. Sure, you will find very few people who disagree with that. But there is a lot of complexity which leave out that is important. There is less debate about whether Jesus is historical and far more about the actions and words of Jesus. Given that you have a PhD, I have a hard time imagining that you do not know this. You see, this is why, while I enjoy studying the Bible and reading the Gospels, I don’t go to church much anymore. Most pastors simply don’t explain important issues to their congregations. Issues like forgery in the New Testament, the historical Jesus, “proof” quotations, interpretation and many others are not tackled at all. These are important issues which are very relevant to the faith of millions of people, and yet no pastor I have ever heard has seriously discussed them. As a pastor, you have a responsibility to speak about important issues. It is also important not to underestimate your responsibility; you have a large crowd of people who listen carefully to every word you say. Whatever you say is going to have an impact on every member of your congregation. What is my point? That while Fifty Shades and Magic Mike may be morally wrong, they aren’t necessarily deceitful. On the other hand, I think it is important that a respectable pastor such as yourself be careful to include the context of the passages you quote. I would certainly never say you are deceitful, I’m sure you aren’t; still a level of caution is required when discussing the Bible to make sure that the proper context is there. Yours in Christ, -Anonymous

  2. Hello Anonymous,I really appreciate you posting such thoughtful comments. No sweat on the criticism. You have only touched the surface of what could be critiqued about my ministry and preaching. 🙂 Nevertheless, your input actually is very constructive, and I’d love to connect sometime in person to flesh out more of your insight. You are exactly the kind of person with whom I want to communicate on Sundays, and have shown me that I am not accomplishing that goal. Maybe you’d be willing to come back to Creekstone in order to provide me some more constructive feedback. I really would appreciate that. So, please send me an email so that we can get together. Your continued input would be valuable.Thanks,McKay

  3. Thanks for the offer and I appreciate that you took the time to read my comments. I know that some of what I’m writing about is commonplace misquotation during Christmas season (in my opinion, of course), but I am always concerned that the people know both sides of different issues. I realize church is a place for hope, inspiration, and guidance; but ethically I think every person who leads others has a responsibility to give their followers as full an understanding as possible.

  4. The offer still stands. 🙂 By the way, I agree wholeheartedly that context is of vital importance in biblical hermeneutics, as is authorial integrity and intent. Also, I appreciate your humility in acknowleding that misquotation is an opinion. As you know, the New Testament itself quotes passages such as Isaiah 7:14 as specifically messianic. So folks like me who read passages like that in a Christmas sermon as being messianic are simply submitting to authorial integrity and intent (i.e., we are convinced of NT manuscript reliability). However, your input from the seats as one who is concerned with issues such as NT textual criticism is super helpful and has given me a new perspective with which to view those who attend on Sundays. So, thanks for commenting. I sure would love to continue this discussion in person sometime.

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