Dear Immanuel family,
Bold Truth in 50 Shades of Grey
Steamy is the word used to summarize the books, the trailer, and the soon to be released movie, 50 Shades of Grey. The story involves an illicit romance between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, a 27 year old successful, wealthy entrepreneur. And that is about all we need to know.
What began as a self-published eBook was acquired by Vintage Books in 2012. Two volumes were added the same year making it a trilogy with combined sales topping 100 million copies. 50 Shades hits the theater this week just in time for Valentine’s Day. But the story is not about love. It’s a sadistic blend of erotic dreams, selfish pride, and sexual abuse correctly called “mommy porn.” Read anonymously as a book on your personal device, the story will now seduce audiences in packed theaters. Owen Strachan, the President of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, writes of its cultural impact, “50 Shades of Grey is disgusting, despicable, and unerringly awful for women. Don’t view this film as just a film. Know that it is much more. It is representative of the new sexual progressivism and its amoral worldview. 50 Shades of Grey speaks to where things are headed in our culture.”
On Friday’s episode of the Today Show the cast of 50 Shades including Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, gathered with Carson Daly, Natalie Morales, and Savannah Guthrie for an advanced screening of the movie. During the interview Carson Daly asked Johnson, “Who in your inner circle is allowed to see this movie?” Johnson answered, “My friends, my sisters.” Hesitating she added, “But I don’t want my parents to see it.” Savannah Guthrie cut short the awkward laughter concluding, “We can understand why.”
We all know why. We know why eBooks are safer than paperback. We know why Johnson, the lead actress, doesn’t want dad and mom to see her work. We understand the immature laughter of 1,000 movie watchers. We identify with it because we understand shame. Shame works like pain for the soul. It alerts us to the danger and harm caused by sin. Our culture is not losing its shame. It’s hiding it. Hiding shame is nothing new. We’re not that far from Eden.
The Christian response is not avoiding conversation about 50 Shades, but sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Son of God bore the shame of sin when he was crucified in plain view of his mother. By atoning for us Jesus offers forgiveness to sinners, and when you believe in his death and resurrection, shame disappears because the sin is expiated. No longer is there reason to hide shame in shades of grey.
Avoid the movie. Avoid the books. Skip the trailer during commercials. But be ready to speak the bold truth of the Gospel in this cultural conversation.
Pastor Michael Wilburn
Preparing for Sunday’s Worship:
- Sermon title and text: Israel: Judged for Idolatry/False Worship (Amos 4:1-13)
- Sunday’s Scripture Reading – 1 John 5:18-21
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND UPDATES:
Churchwide Elder Fellowship – Around the World in 80 Minutes : The next Churchwide Fellowship is on February 22 at 5:30 pm. AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 MINUTES will be unique, engaging and well-worth your time. As usual, we ask that you purchase tickets at the Welcome Center after AM service, so we can know how many to prepare for. Tickets are $4/person or maximum of $20/family. Plan ahead. You don’t want to miss this!
Church Photo Directory – Plans are under way for a new pictorial directory with photography starting March 11, 2015. There is no cost to you or the church to have your portraits taken, and you will receive a complimentary 8×10 portrait and directory for participating. You will be able to view your images immediately after you are photographed and additional portraits will be available to order.
- You will be able to sign up for your photography session online at your convenience at www.immanuelbaptist.org [bottom of the construction page] and there will also be opportunities to sign-up after services beginning January 25. Don’t forget to include your email address when you sign-up. You’ll receive a reminder message about your appointment and a $10 coupon off any photography you purchase. You may bring props if you would like (musical instrument, family Bible, a well behaved pet) and you will have an opportunity to have generational portraits of children, parents and grandparents taken. Stop buy the sign up tables and pick up your 20% discount coupon off any purchase you make.
- Don’t Miss Out –Photography dates NOW include March 19, 20, 24 & 25 (2pm to 9pm) and <>March 21 (10 am to 5pm). Sign up at the Welcome Center – 1) after Sunday School, 2) after AM service and 3) before PM service! ***Except on Feb. 8, registration available online only***
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Opportunities to serve in our Children’s ministry – Are you looking for an opportunity to give back to others in a way that you have received from the Lord? Our Children’s Program has some open spaces that maybe you could fill.
2015 Mission’s Trip – Camp Nathanael – Nestled in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky is Camp Nathanael. We are preparing a team of 10-15 to help with general construction, brick laying and meal preparation in May (probable dates: May 3-9). Some funds will need to be raised by each participant. If you are interested, please contact Myron Saffritt (email@example.com) or Paul Dreiling (firstname.lastname@example.org)
New Library Hours – The library will be open for 20-30 minutes immediately following the evening service beginning on Sunday, February 1, 2015 and running through the month of March. If the trial is successful, these hours will become permanent. Because the Mizpah wing is not used on Sunday evenings, it will be necessary to leave the Thompson St. door locked. If coming down the sidewalk, knock on the window to be let in. Patrons may also go down the inside breezeway to the primary dept. across from the nursery, and go through the Mizpah room. The library is on the other side of the swinging doorway. Hope to see you there.