Editor’s Note: We have been blessed by amazing volunteers within our ministry. Below is a testimony from one of our volunteers who helped with the research for The Fantasy Fallacy. We’re very blessed to hear how this project impacted her!
In the spring of 2012 Shannon Ethridge announced to her B.L.A.S.T. mentoring group, in which I am a proud alumnus, that she would be writing a book called “The Fantasy Fallacy, Exposing the Deeper Meaning behind Sexual Thoughts.” This book was to be a Christian response to the novel by British author E. L. James, wrote called “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Shannon also shared that she would be praying for volunteers to serve as a research group and as junior editors. I had recently just heard of the book Fifty Shades of Grey on local radio and talk shows, but I did not really know what all the hype was about. I am a fulltime wife, mother of teen, graduate student, I serve as a Women’s/Family Pastor and I Counsel in my spare time, so needless to say I had to pray first, about my availability to help Shannon with this endeavor and ask to God if He would place a desire and call on my heart to serve Him in this manner, so I did not respond immediately.
A few weeks passed since Shannon’s announcement and it seemed that literally every day I was hearing about this new E. L. James book, on the news, the radio, from mom’s at school and even at church! So I looked further into what the book was about. The description on the online bookstores was, “an erotic trilogy,” that led me to believe it was definitely a book for adult readers. However upon further reading into the excerpts of the actual book I realized that its pages were filled with unhealthy sexual fantasy, bondage, dominance, discipline, submission, sadism and masochism. The characters in the book were emotionally and physically harming each other and their main goal was dominance, sexual pleasure or gratification.
As a Christian I felt an immediate sadness for the author of this book. I knew that even though she was experiencing a growth in her monetary situation from the explosive sales of her book series, I was left wondering if she was at all truly satisfied with the condition of her spirituality. When an author put thought to paper there is an immediate influence placed upon the reader. As I prayed about assisting Shannon in researching or editing the material for the Christian response to this book, I felt burdened and heavy hearted just thinking about the type of influences the readers would have placed on them in the context of reading Fifty Shades of Grey. In of May 2012, I contacted Shannon and let her know that I was on board and would gladly volunteer as a researcher for her new book.
Each week Shannon and the research team prayed, spoke or conferenced, shared research materials, scripture and notes. I admit I experienced some trepidation as I began research on the fallacies of sexual fantasy. However, my eyes were open to the astonishing statistics of how young and how vast sexual fantasy is introduced to very young children through parental, sibling, or family related use of internet and social media related pornography or literature. This includes but is not limited to sexual or pornographic material and images children discover on smart phones, electronic note pads and devices.
The sudden realization, that a large number of American households are raising a generation of children and teenagers with a skewed, unhealthy, immoral foundation of sexual thoughts and fantasies was appalling. Research shows that these youth will most likely grow up to have unhealthy relationships and marriages with unrealistic and or immoral sexual expectations. If parents, teachers, community leaders, neighbors and even clergy are caught up in the seduction and fantasy that sexual fulfillment and gratification is found in sexual fantasy, pornography and sexually explicit material or literature, then they are advocating a very strong message that morality and healthy sexuality is irrelevant.
As I continued to research sexual fantasy I discovered that when an individual engages in the behavior exploring sexual fantasies they are expressing a specific desire to be met. The desire may not be actually just sexual in nature, in fact it could be relationally driven or even an expression or act of retaliation, violence or anger. I discovered that there were in fact many dangers in acting out or exploring sexual fantasies if an individual did not fully understand the true meaning or intent behind the desire. However, I do believe that as humans we are born with sexual desire, we would not have procreation and future generations may cease to exist if this were not so.
I believe it is healthy to have sexual desires for my spouse, but I will not allow myself to be harmed emotionally or physically by him nor will I emotionally or physically harm him, this would be an unhealthy sexual relationship. As a Christian I trust that God has instructed us to think upon things that are healthy desires of the heart.
Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
God created sex, I believe that He intended for his people to enjoy this glorious gift; however as His creation we must also protect our thought and minds from “fantasy falsehoods”, things that are not right or noble. I was truly blessed and honored to be a part of the research team for the “The Fantasy Fallacy, Exposing the Deeper Meaning behind Sexual Thoughts, it is my prayer that God will reveal glorious hues of truth that will break through the deceptive “shades of grey.”
-Christina Calk, BCBC (Board Certified Biblical Counselor)