A Modest Proposal: 50 Shades of Grey in Every Classroom!

If you are as deeply disturbed as I am about the new "sexual revolution" spawned by this book, would you help spread the word about this noxious book and movie? And------why have I written this as satire? As Flannery O'Connor has said, when people are deaf, sometimes you have to shout. 
Blessings and Thank you,


Thank goodness for E. L. James and her masterpiece, 50 Shades of Grey. And what genius timing---just before Valentines Day!  I for one am breathing a sigh of joy and relief. Finally someone has addressed our greatest social need! Yes, we are at war in various parts of the world, and there are oppressive and violent regimes across the waters, but there's an even greater war and greater need right here on our own soil: sexual repression. James, in a turn of brilliance, has pitched her considerable artistic skills toward this social ill. We can all be thankful for this trilogy which promises to finally unravel our dangerously puritanical culture where sex, our very life force, is virtually invisible in media, in our schools, in the public square. Look around. The  repercussions of this repression are obvious: far too many couples stay married out of obligation and duty only rather than pursuing their happiness and exploring their own sexuality. Young men and women, most of whom currently remain chaste before marriage, enter their honeymoon with no sexual experience whatsoever. It will take them years to gain the proficiency needed for a fully satisfying sex life. James can take credit for initiating that process far sooner. Teenagers, also victims of our puritanical mores, remain ignorant of their sexual potential. Rather than suppressing this natural appetite, James has opened up a whole new world to our middle and high school students who remain unhealthily focused on their studies. I propose copies of this book in every classroom!  

Every age can rejoice in this new wave of freedom, so desperately needed in our overly intellectual culture, where the mind is valued far more than the body, where education and morals are prized over our God-given instincts and appetites. 

I am pleased as well to inform you that James has partnered with several companies to provide a whole range of sex toys, so that every bedroom in the western world can now play out their own "50 Shades" fantasies. Finally, with the aid of these whips, silver balls, handcuffs, blindfolds, floggers, vibrators and many other assorted mechanisms and devices, sex can now deliver the full natural pleasure God intended! And more, thanks to these devices, you needn't love or even like your sexual partner to achieve orgasm.  You're freed from relational constraints altogether!

Some have critiqued aspects of James' novel, specifically the bondage, whippings, spankings and other acts of so-called violence and abuse. Nonsense. True sexual freedom means that two people are free to  do whatever they like in the privacy of their own "playroom," even if it include pain and physical restraints. Who are we to judge what is abuse? If this brings even a single person pleasure, what right do we have to curtail that pleasure?  

Some have also complained about the hero's objectification of Anastasia, a 23 year old innocent, who becomes "merely a plaything" to the glitteringly rich Christian Grey. Worriers fret that such behavior will encourage other men to objectify women. Impossible. American men have always seen women as their equal, appreciating their full value--mind, body, heart and soul. And American women are secure in their own identities,  feeling little or no pressure to please men. In fact, perhaps the world would be better off with a little more female submission? This may be James' most brilliant stroke yet----delivering a much-needed corrective to feminism.  

If any objections remain, consider this final point: the heroine is well-compensated for whatever small pains she experiences. She is showered with expensive gifts: a car, jewelry, even rides in his own private helicopter---imagine! This struggling college grad's  entrance into his fabulously wealthy world reveals the story's true heart:  this is a Cinderella story for our day, where rags become riches---more than enough compensation for trivial discomforts.

But Anastasia is not the only beneficiary. The societal benefits of James' rising influence are already obvious. James herself is a multi-millionaire, enjoying the well deserved rewards of her artistic labors and sacrifice. Middle-aged housewives everywhere are interested in sex again, delighting their husbands and thrilling all their new lovers. Sex toy factories are busy hiring new workers, teenagers are gaining needed sexual experience in preparation for marriage, and much more. But most of all, James, (dare I call her St. James?) has begun to liberate us from that repressive cloud of religiosity that has suffocated common sense and natural human freedoms. Perhaps, thanks to St. James,  the day is soon coming when we are all freed to pursue our own sexual appetites just as we choose. Imagine the day when our TV screens, Hollywood and the Internet are no longer populated by stiffly dressed, puritannical do-gooders who care only about the public good, and who behave as though sex were nonexistent? Or worse, as though it were strictly private and personal?

Three cheers to E. L. James, who in a world wracked with violence and injustice, has correctly diagnosed our culture's deepest need---and who offers an achievable personal solution: sexual liberty and orgasmic pleasure for all!

If you are as deeply disturbed as I am about this new "sexual revolution," would you help spread the word about this noxious book and movie? And--why have I written this as satire? As Flannery O'Connor has said, when people are deaf, sometimes you have to shout. 

Blessings and Thank you,


Leslie Satirizes the Church+ What Are Words For?

I am in California this week, finding sun and rest (will you forgive me?), but I am thinking a lot about words. And, I'm thinking about satire. One of the burning questions this month after The Interview and Charlie Hebdo is, "Can Christians use satire?"

I won't keep you guessing on where I stand. The first piece I ever published was satire, in a magazine of Christian satire, The Wittenburg Door, which has been around, off and on, for maybe 40 years? My piece was written my senior year of college, after a week long "Missions conference." At the end of the week, the speaker pleaded, wept, lead us in 21 verses of "I Surrender All" trying to get us all to walk the aisle to become missionaries to the dark corners of the world. 

But things weren't going well. After a week of priming, No one was coming forward to change their majors and become missionaries. He was clearly upset and pulled out every stop, naming every student group he could think of, "Basketball players!" he sobbed into his hankie. "Have you given your hearts fully to JEsus! Then walk down this aisle!" No response.  

"Cheerleaders! Musicians! God is calling YOU to the mission field!" One or two stumble down the aisle. More tears, more pleading, until he was clearly desperate and finally rang a few of my own bells: "English majors! People who wear sneakers when they go shopping! Women who hate romance but love Jesus!" Tears streaming down his cheeks . … 

Despite this very personal identification, which showed a scary knowledge of his audience, I didn't trip out into the aisle. At 21, I wanted to serve Jesus with my whole life, wherever He sent me, but I counted on the Holy Spirit to get me there. Not this Sobbing Saint whose primary moves were manipulation and guilt. 

There's more to report on this sad night, but I've said enough. My piece satirized the ways we try to fill in for the Holy Spirit when the Spirit's clearly asleep on the job. 

            And so. I defend satire. We need it. I believe in holy laughter---at ourselves. We don't do it enough. Though yes, it's terribly hard to do well. It's terribly hard to call out the Church in meekness and love. I probably didn't do it well at age 21. 

We know words can kill. And maim and eviscerate. We know not to take them lightly. 

Consider what Frederick Buechner has written:

             "In Hebrew the term dabar means both "word" and "deed." Thus to say something is to do something. "I love you." "I hate you." "I forgive you." "I am afraid of you." Who knows what such words do, but whatever it is, it can never be undone. Something that lay hidden in the heart is irrevocably released through speech into time, is given substance and tossed like a stone into the pool of history, where the concentric rings lap out endlessly.

            Words are power, essentially the power of creation. By my words I both discover and create who I am. By my words I elicit a word from you. Through our converse we create each other."
                                - Originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words

And we do. The words we speak to each other matter more deeply than we'll ever understand. (Did God not call EVERY being and thing into being and thing-ness by words, words??)

By our words, we create and we destroy one another. It's real.

But listen. The cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo did not die because of their words. Their words did not kill them. Evil people killed them. The terrorists murdered them for saying they were terrorists and murderers. Take note--truth may cost---but don't stop.

Yes, dear friends, "seek peace and pursue it." "Do your best to live in peace with all men"---but don't stop speaking truth. In love. Seasoned with grace-----but Truth all the same. 

Don't stop overturning a few tables in the temple, where extortionists rob the poor. 

Don't stop calling out Pharisees who make rule upon rule, missing the kingdom of God. 

Don't stop calling out human traditions that strain out gnats and swallow camels. 

Don't stop the holy laughter (or holy tears) at ourselves and the subculture we've created:  our Christian music, our "Christian" clothing, our "Christian" bumper stickers---the insult, kitsch and crutch of it all!  

                                 (agape leggings)

(If this is true, do we really need a T-shirt to say it?)

                       (Who knows? Maybe someone will be converted reading this very-clear Bible reference, Proverbs 4:23)

Bumper stickers:

(This is a very effective witnessing tool!)

What about this genre of "Christian" writing?

(The top 2 books are from Steeple Hill, the Christian Romance division of Harlequin Romance.)

And--just one more: look how stylish we women can look while carrying a Bible!

(This one is called "chocolate pink Italian leather clutch")

And this one, looks like a fab mag for trendy girls! Your secret--that you're reading the BIBLE!!--is safe!!

Is Christian satire valid? You tell me.

For me, I write all this because I love the Church. I love the One who died for the Church. I love the people of the Church.

Keep speaking beautiful Truth in the all the ways it can be heard: Satire. Psalms. Woes. Love. Praise. Joke. Grace.

True words will never return void.

Peace to you all,