One hot topic lately is the book Fifty Shades of Grey… believe it or not, many of our women in the church are reading it. They want to know why it’s unhealthy, so LifeWay Women recently tackled this topic. You will find below links to our web show “The Chat with Priscilla” with host Priscilla Shirer and her guests. Today’s post is written by Linda Lesniewski, Women’s Minister at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, who took the shows and used them to openly dialogue with women in her church. This was in order to equip them in making healthy choices and to know the reasons why it’s such an important issue to address. I know this will help you as you seek to lead your women to also make healthy choices in regard to sexuality.
The journey started when my young adult daughter asked frustration in her voice, “Why hasn’t anyone in the church mentioned this or offered to help us with this?” She was referencing the onslaught of erotica fiction for women that had been making headline news. I didn’t have an answer, so I did what I’d been trained to do. I replied with a question. “What more do you want other than don’t go there?” “Mom, I know I shouldn’t read it,” she said, “but I want someone to explain to me the reasons why so that I can have an intelligent informed response to my friends who are reading it.”
And so the leadership journey began.
We’ve just completed a four week series exploring intimate issues—the reasons women are drawn to erotica and the dangers that await them. It didn’t take me long to realize we were already doing damage control. I experienced deep grief as a leader. I felt that I’d been sleeping on my watch, and a lion had sneaked into the sheepfold. It was easier not knowing what was creeping into the world of the women rather than dealing with the new norm head-on.
We used a wonderful LifeWay resource— two episodes of “The Chat with Priscilla” (30 minutes each) with Priscilla Shirer interviewing Dr. Julie Slattery and Dannah Gresh on the very topic I wanted to know about: Are There Really Fifty Shades of Grey? Part 1 and Part 2. In fact, they answered both my questions and the questions of the women who came. We simply paused the video when we wanted to stop for discussion. God also raised up a lovely and godly woman with pornography in her past who willingly facilitated the discussion with transparency and grace.
On the last day, we brought in a Christian woman counselor for Q&A. This is what I learned: Erotica fiction is for women what pornography is for men. Pornography releases a cocktail of hormones that can not be matched by normal sexual relations. The principle of the law of diminishing returns begins which means “what satisfies now will need something new down the road to create the same arousal.” A woman consuming erotica is set on a dangerous path for herself and her marriage. Current statistics reveal that 50% of Christian men are addicted to pornography and 20% of Christian women. The counselor who spoke to us felt those figures were low. She would put them much higher, even before this recent cultural erotica onslaught. She expects the numbers to continue to escalate.
This fall we’ll be offering a Bible study for our women that will enable us to continue the discussion. We’re investigating Kay Arthur’s Return to the Garden by LifeWay and Julie Slattery’s and Linda Dillow’s soon to be released study called Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love are You Making? (www.authenticintimacy.com). I don’t intend to return to my drowsy state of denial that this will go away. I intend to remain alert and pro-active in shepherding my sheep. What are your action plans for challenging the Bride of Christ to guard her heart and to seek purity and holiness as we wait for the Groom to return?
Linda Lesniewski is the Women’s Minister at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She is a contributor to the book Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level published by LifeWay. She has authored A Little Book About Knowing A Big God for children, Women at the Cross, published by Revell, and Connecting Women: A Relational Guide for Leaders in Women’s Ministry published by Baker Books. Linda is mother of four young adults and grandmother of five little girls.