The Gentleman and the Tie

50 Shades of S***Last weekend, a book became a movie that should’ve never even been a book in the first place. But alas, here it is… 50 Shades of Grey.

Now, I’ve read all the criticisms I could find from sources I trust (links at the bottom), and I’d like to just do one thing nobody else has done: judge the book’s cover.

I take book covers very seriously (like when I designed my own), and this is no exception. What we see here is a tie, and that’s pretty much it. So… what can we make of this?

Does it stand for the business man in the book?
Does it represent status?
Does it show off some fashion trend?
Is the tie a motif? Does it appear in the book?

And of course it can mean all those things. But here’s what I think most people miss:

A tie. Think about it. Putting a rope around your neck. If one end of the tie is pulled, the loop contracts. Like a lynching tool. Also known as a noose. And just because it’s silk doesn’t mean it can’t suffocate and strangle.

Why would any sane person invent such a thing and call it fashion, handsome, strong, and manly?

And why would an entire culture think this is something men should wear?

Because it symbolizes and actualizes VULNERABILITY. It represents the gentleman under the paisley because it makes the man under the paisley gentle! If a man has this noose around his throat, he is made vulnerable and weak, even though he may be strong and secure. It shows that he is willing to be vulnerable and gentle, though he could be vicious and violent.

And vulnerability opens him up to love.

In fact, only love is worth becoming vulnerable for. And I’m talking about REAL love — love that involves selflessness, sacrifice, fidelity, and devotion. A man who really admires a woman always risks rejection when he asks her out, asks for her number, asks her out again, and again, and again, and finally asks for her hand in marriage. At every point, a true gentleman knows the lady is a free person who can decline and totally reject him. And at every point, the man who truly loves her knows that she is worth being vulnerable for. She is worth the risk of being rejected and embarrassed and devastated. To this gentleman, just getting the chance to ask her is worth it!

But 50 Shades of Grey has it backward. The book is about a woman becoming weak and vulnerable and abused by a vicious and violent boy. He uses her. Manipulates and control her. He puts her in the noose instead.

Here we have a boy unwilling (maybe even unable) to be selfless and sacrifice (and those are main ingredients to true love!).

Nothing gentlemanly about it.

Nothing manly about it.

Nothing lovely about it.

Pray for all the 50-Shades fans, and for the author: E.L. James. They need it.

Here are the criticisms I mentioned (highly recommended, but for mature readers only):

1) A whole collection of articles about 50 Shades of Grey from PornEffect.com (an anti-porn site).

2) Another collection, from ChastityProject.com

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Why We Workout

SHMSgym

[this is where I work out]

It’s a month into the new year, and some of us may have started slacking on our resolutions. I think this might help us get back on track, and with vigor:

A good friend once told me: “I’m losing motivation to work out. When I get home from work, I just sit and watch a movie until I fall asleep. I used to get right to exercise, but now I’m so tired and can’t get myself moving. Any advice?”

I looked at my friend and listened. He was already a strongly built guy, but I could hear forfeit in his voice and frustration in his eyes. I thought about what would help him most. I asked him a question, “Well, why do you workout?”

“To get big and strong.”

“Why do you want to be strong?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t want to be weak…”

“Well, I know why: you want to be strong so you can serve and protect your family. I know you love your wife and daughters. They mean everything to you, and you need to be strong so you can keep them safe. So when you exercise, don’t work out for yourself. Don’t keep yourself healthy just for you. Do it for them. They need you to be healthy and ready. If we do things only for ourselves, then we can make excuses and spoil ourselves. Selfishness is never productive because we all want to be lazy, and selfishness is about spoiling yourself. But when we remember the people we love, we can keep going! Do it for them.”

My friend nodded, a very sure nod. I saw his eyes light up with determination as he said to me: “You are right. I got this now. Thanks, man.”

And even though I love being right (pssh… duh!), what I love even more is that this advice works for anything, any resolution that is truly good and healthy:

Why study? Because I want to have the knowledge and wisdom to help others.

Why eat healthy? Because I don’t want to die early! How can I help anyone if I’m dead? (or as good as dead?!)

Why drive with more patience?

Why shop less?

Why ________? Because ___________!

So hang in there with your resolution. Think about why you made the resolution,* and how it would help your beloveds if you kept at it. Don’t let them down! Dedicate it to them.

*Of course, if you find out your resolution doesn’t measure up, drop it and make a new one!