Archives for June 2012

50 Shades of Follow-Up

After my original post about 50 Shades of Grey, I got lots of feedback.  Some love the book, some hate the book. It was truly a mixed bag.  I’d like to thank each of you for your input and honesty; I  learned much yesterday.

Because of all I learned and all of the feedback, I wanted to clarify one thing:  I am not against the book (or any book) – I am for God and you.  This morning I heard this on a podcast from Cross Point Church:  Do I want to make a point or a difference?

In my original post I had no desire to make some “holier than thou” point.  My heart was and is to make a difference.  To tell those who have not read this book:  Please do your homework before picking it up.  To tell those who have read the book and feel guilty (like me):  There’s grace and forgiveness.

I write because I love God and people.  My prayer is always that my words point you directly to Him.

Throughout the day yesterday, I texted with my friend, Amber.  She leads the Women’s Ministry at my church and is the wife of one of our pastors, Mike.  She is the one I can trust to truthfully monitor my words and actions.  She taught me much yesterday, so I asked her to share with you.

From Amber:

I too was curious about the hype of 50 Shades of Grey, so after seeing many Facebook friends making note of reading it, I decided to look up a synopsis. I must admit to being shocked by its content of being an “erotic novel” and that the plot was of a virgin agreeing “to experiment with bondage, domination, and sadism.” What? This is what the book is about? I half mentioned this to my husband, about its content and how shocked I was that so many Christian women were admitting to reading it.

So, after returning home from a Women’s Christian Conference, The Gospel Coalition 2012, I saw that a friend blogged about it, warning of it’s content and asking us to guard our hearts. I couldn’t agree more. Really, I thought I was ending it there…I agree with my friend, I find the content to be disturbing and I was ready to move on. It was never my intention to write a post about it.

Then, I remember reading Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, a book I just picked up at The Gospel Coalition Conference and how it warned of this exact thing.

“So why do we fall for his deception? (in speaking of Satan) Why do we go for the lure? One reason is that Satan doesn’t usually appear in the form of a serpent-instead, he comes disguised as a New York Times best seller, a popular magazine, or a movie, or a TV show, or a Top Ten hit song.”

She goes on to say that “Sadly, most people-even Christians-have unthinkingly exposed themselves to so much deception that they do not even realize they are being deceived. That is the very nature of deception-it blinds us to the fact that we have been deceived.”

The beginning pages outline “The Progression From Deception to Bondage” (Bondage to the enemy/to our sin) We “Listen to a lie, Dwell on the lie, Believe the lie, then Act on the lie.” Scary thought, but so true! Unfortunately, some of my past proves this to be true.

Even as reading, I was convicted of doing exactly what she explained, in hearing and belting out one of the top 40 songs “We Are Young.”  Such a catchy tune! I didn’t even realize what I was singing until I was curious as to the meaning behind “So let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun” After looking up the remaining lyrics and finding that it’s about drugs and alcohol, and getting so drunk they can’t stand up, I prayed to get that song out of my head! What is redeeming about that? So, I asked the Lord to replace it with another song, and I continue to do so. It still creeps in sometimes. Frustrating!

During the conference we were reminded of our bodies being temples…a convicting phrase to us all.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV.  I must be careful of what I watch, what I listen to, and what I read. I need to guard my mind and heart to not dwell on things that are not of Him, so that I’m careful to not believe the lie, which may then cause me to act on that very lie. We know that destruction and heartache are only to follow.

I pray you hear my words not as judging, but of warning, out of love for Him and out of love for you. May he replace our lies with truth…truth that sets of free (John 8:32).

With deepest love for you, Amber Berry

Today’s Q:  What is God teaching you through this (whether you’ve read the book or not)?  

Looking forward to reading your comments and emails as we learn more about Him together.  

50 Shades of Grey – Gray Area?

Christians like to talk about gray areas, black areas, and white areas.  We like to say “that’s a black and white issue” or “that’s a gray area.”

When it comes to the best-selling book 50 Shades of Grey,  there is no shortage of discussion on the black, white, and gray of it.  Many authors, bloggers, and interviewers are chiming in – for good reason.

This book is a New York Times Bestseller.  50 Shades and the subsequent two books in the trilogy are all in the top 10 books in the Kindle rankings.

The book is a cultural phenomenon.

But, this is not a gray area – it’s very black and white.

I read book one.  Ok, “read” might be an overstatement.  I read the first five chapters then began swiping my iPhone screen in search of a plot (or anything redeeming).  I did at least scan every single page.  As a former English teacher, I could write about its lack of literary merit all day long, but the poor writing and lack of plot aren’t harmful to my soul.

The language and imagery are harmful.

This book is referred to as “mommy porn” for a reason.  The book’s description of sex and relationship is not at all what God intended.  What God created to be beautiful, this book makes very ugly.

I regret reading it.  But, regret can’t wipe away those words from my eyes or those images from my brain.

Ugh!

Before you purchase this book, I pray you investigate and make an informed decision.  These four blog posts are a great place to start.

Why I Am Not Reading 50 Shades of Grey

50 Shades of Let’s Get Serious

Fifty Shades:  Not Your Mother’s Romance Novel

A Black and White Choice NOT to Read 50 Shades of Grey

Unfortunately, I wasn’t so wise.  A friend said…I am reading 50 Shades of Grey.  Many of my friends posted “reading 50 Shades” on Facebook.  So, I went to my Kindle app and bought it.

Again…Ugh!

For me, it boils down to Proverbs 4: 20-27

My son,pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.21 Do not let them out of your sight,keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.24 Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.26 Give careful thought to thepaths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.27 Do not turn to the right or the left;keep your foot from evil.

I want to guard my heart, giving careful thought to my path, keeping my foot from evil (or any hint of evil.)  I am so easily swayed in some areas that I must look straight ahead with my gazed fixed directly on Him and the cross if I am to avoid drifting into sin.

So, I hope you’ll guard your heart from this book – and others like it. It’s best to dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…”  Philippians 4:8.

Today’s Q:  Have you read 50 Shades of Grey?  Thoughts? 

A New Blog – Excited to be Writing Again!

When I was a little girl, I’d write stories.  Page after page.  Sometimes I filled the lines with tales of Barbie and Ken – tales that closely mirrored my grandma’s soap operas.  Sometimes my stories would be “the rest of the story.”  I remember reading the book Little Women and deciding to write the sequel.  I am sure my five pages of chicken scratch would have made Louisa May Alcott proud!

When asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” my standard answer would be a writer, a lawyer, or a teacher. I pursued writing in college and after, but stopped writing and plans of pursuing a law degree when I gave birth to Hannah.  While Hannah was young, I became a teacher – a job I loved and was honored to hold.

But, I still loved/love to write.

In May I read the book You’re a Writer by Jeff Goins.  (It’s free today on Kindle if you’d like to read it.)

This book and a conversation with my husband gave me the push I needed to redesign my blog and begin again….because I still love to write.

I never understood my insatiable need to compose until I recently read Michael W. Smith’s story in the book I Am Second:

 “When I was six, I heard the Beatles song Hey Jude on the radio.   I hopped up on my piano, figured it out, and began playing it right there.  My parents couldn’t figure out how I did it.  I didn’t really know either.  I could hear it in my head.  My fingers just knew how to find it on the piano.”

The flow and rhythm, the dance of notes in his ears –  he knew early on that music was what he wanted to do with his life.  

“I remember that famous line from Olympic runner Eric Liddell.  People asked him why he ran and he said, ‘When I run, I feel His pleasure.’ When I lay my hands on the keyboard, that is exactly how I feel, I feel God’s pleasure.  It is what he made me to do.”

When I sit down with paper and pen or screen and keyboard, I feel God’s pleasure.  It is what He made me to do.

I never feel closer to God than when I am alone with my paper or computer, processing what he’s teaching me through writing.

I look forward to sharing with you and learning from you as my blog begins again.  Please email sarah.b.farish@gmail.com or comment below if you have questions, suggestions, or prayer requests. I also hope you’ll join us in answering the “Q” at the end of each blog post.  I love engaging with and learning from each of you!

Today’s Q:  When do you feel God’s pleasure?  When do you feel closest to Him?  I hope you’ll share in the comments. 

NOTE:  Thanks to Amber Berry for my new picture and Emily at Designer Blogs for the design and continual tech support.  The new design isn’t ready to launch – just look under About Me:)  But, this post from Michael Hyatt explains why I am writing in spite of some technical difficulties.