50 Shades of Grey Meets 19 Kids & Counting

I read the other day in Crain’s Detroit Business that Meijer has made an executive decision to not carry the 50 Shades of Grey series of books in all of its stores throughout Michigan. The reason? The company spokesman stated that the reading material they carry focuses on their core shopper audience, which is “families.”

Right. Because no one in a family could be interested in sex and relationships.

I continue to be fascinated by the conversations and *fears* swirling around this 50 Shades hoopla. The thing is, the people screaming the loudest, those most outraged by this “romance novel,” as the Meijer folks put it, are usually the ones who’ve never cracked the cover. All they know is what they hear – raunchy sex, S&M, stuff out of the ordinary.

But yes, how many suburban family folks are reading this? Millions. And their sex lives are transformed for it. As are their relationships.

I also continue to be fascinated by 19 Kids & Counting. Obsessed is more accurate. I’ve watched this TLC reality show for a couple of years now and I don’t know why I am so charmed by this super-large devout Christian family.

Although I always wanted 5 children, I have my hands full with 4. It’s a lot to juggle, family life, career, and time for myself too. It’s something we all struggle with because we were raised to believe we could have it all.

I spent a decade of my life as an Orthodox Jew and I eventually decided to leave that community because I didn’t feel it uplifted me any more than I could do on my own. But what drew me to the religious lifestyle was what I perceived as purity in relationships, emphasis on modesty, and a sense of connection and purpose so far beyond the superficial.

What I learned was that people are people and as well as any person tries to follow a moral code he/she sets out, we are all still human. And so I set about defining my own moral code and finding spirituality and meaning and inspiration from a variety of sources for a far richer, uplifting life today.

Still. There is something sweetly old-fashioned about the Duggars and about a decision like the one Meijer made to ban books that frighten them. It is a warm cloak to surround oneself with parameters and limits. To say, “I just can’t handle that.” To define your role in life as just mother and wife – and nothing more.

Now anyone who knows me knows that is NOT me at all. I love being a mother. But I also love my career. I flirted with the idea of homeschooling only to realize I really thrive when I go to work and fear I might not – and thus my children might not – were I to be with them 24/7.

However, I *would* like a simpler life. I would like an easily defined role, an easily attainable goal, a very clear path to walk and purpose to shine a light over everything I do. For me, it can’t be the Lord. But it can be higher meaning, purpose.

Isn’t that the same thing? And really, while we’re at it, don’t be so horrified that I’ve combined an erotic series of novels with a chaste pro-family TV show. The truth is that they are the same – in the books, Ana and Christian simply want to be loved and accepted. They are lost, seeking soul connection, seeking comfort and protection.

What 19 Kids represents for me is the possibility of simplicity, the beauty of love in an appropriate setting. And 50 Shades is the same thing. Mutual consent, agreement, passion and love within a relationship that has defined boundaries.

Only the definitions are different.

  8 comments for “50 Shades of Grey Meets 19 Kids & Counting

  1. Karin
    August 20, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve decide that the reason so many people are offended by the 50 shades books, and why everyone says the books were so terrible, is because they’re embarrassed to admit that it turned them on and the idea of it turns them on and we are taught that it’s not okay to like that kind of thing. Meijer is full of baloney.
    50 Shades is magical. That is all.

    • Lynne Meredith Golodner (formerly Schreiber)
      August 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      Good point, Karin. What a sad society, to only celebrate the chaste and harbor secrets, instead of celebrating every person’s innate passions!

  2. Susan
    August 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    So how do you think Christain relates to his children? Another sequel. Love your observations although debatable.

    • Lynne Meredith Golodner (formerly Schreiber)
      August 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      A combination of ownership and pride and protective father – perhaps just like Jim Bob Duggar!

  3. Barbara Terner
    August 20, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    My mom, at almost 101, has just finished the 2nd book of the triology and is waiting for me to finish the 3rd book. She continues to have an open mind. Its pure entertainment, fantasy making it a fun read. Not a literary masterpiece. But what it has accomplished is that people are talking about it and buying it. Great for the publisher and the author. Next is the movie….

  4. Uncle Bob Landau
    August 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    This reminds me in the 1930s when a book was “Banned in Boston” eg. Lady Chatterly’s Lover, that just assured that people would flock to read it, not for its literary value but because it was banned. Now I can’t wait to read it, or is it a trilogy? to see what the fuss is all about.

    • Lynne Meredith Golodner (formerly Schreiber)
      August 22, 2012 at 10:01 am

      Uncle Bob – I am so flattered that you read my blog and even commented! Hope you and Aunt Sydelle are doing great.

  5. Amy K
    February 26, 2015 at 5:09 am

    I look at the issues around the book/movie from a Christian point of view but I not in a way which says it has to be condemned or pushed under the carpet.
    I’ve always been anti 50 shades for many reasons but what troubled me was that – no matter how difficult, no matter how out of our comfort zone it is – I somehow realised that, as I said, the Christian response to it couldn’t be to just ignore it or simply dismiss it as porn.
    I think Jesus would have gone head to head with it – as He had that knack of doing in all difficult situations – and engage with it on some level that glorified God’s love over the ‘love’ portrayed in the series. I had no idea how to do this though and I like that Christian blogs and writers have tried to do so. The problem was always that – non believers – had no interest in this standpoint and I didn’t have the skill to get over that wall.
    I tweeted a lot about my opposition to it and someone sent me a link to a Christian fiction response that takes the original format of the book and then ‘mirrors’ it with a story about God’s love taking in concepts like ‘doulos’ and salvation along the way.
    I’ve given it to some friends – the same ones that had no interest in Christian blog posts – and they’ve really been engaged and informed by it and have gone on to engage in real talks about faith underpinned by it. One is (tentatively) attending church.
    For me that underpins that the key in the debate is – not to preach to one
    another about it – but to use it as a chance to outreach. Its definately not the only way to engage in the debate but for people of faith wanting a crack in the conversation to enter through I found it very useful.

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