I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
As a creative writing instructor for Regent University a big part of my job deals with the imagination--what our thoughts conjure on paper. This past week my students wrestled with the debate over "gratuity," defining and isolating context. Is it acceptable to use profanity in our writing? What about other forms of evil? Does nonfiction have a different obligation to "the truth" over fiction? That's the standard? As always, a vast scope of beliefs flood my inbox, and every session I teach this course, I too wrestle with the questions.
Last night I read an article in WORLD regarding the disturbing following over Fifty Shades of Grey. In this essay, "Literary Bondage," Janie Cheaney says that journalists have tagged this book "mommy porn," as it seems to target young married women. Although I have not read this text (and won't), what baffles me about the content is how women want to be "enslaved" in sadomasochism. What was the whole women's liberation movement for if a woman's fantasy rests in slavish evil?
"We resort to role-playing where we should be most honestly ourselves" (Cheaney 20). But how often do we as women project ourselves as something other, even when we desperately want to be loved, respected and accepted as we are?
Last season, we watched The Voice. We won't this year. Reason being? Christina Aguilera's trashy, almost-fully-exposed attire. Some may scoff at our "prudish" decision. But quite honestly, my husband doesn't need to be seeing that and neither does my daughter, who is learning what it means to be secure and modest. She's going to get enough doubts and images thrown at her without my tv choices helping her.
Anyway... what I found ironic was Aguilera's statement one night. It was toward the end of the season and she was down to one or two supporting singers. She ridiculed another coach's performer and his song choice, saying it degraded women. And as she stood up on stage, her butt hanging out of panties and her boobs popping out the top, she declared that her singer was a man "who respected women." I couldn't help but laugh. The comment was ironically ridiculous for several reasons.
As one pastor/speaker said some years back, "Women, don't present yourself as a cheap fast-food menu and then get upset when a man tries to place an order."
If we as women really want to walk in love and acceptance, we have to start treating ourselves with respect, shunning the dehumanizing standards our society has deceived us with. Perhaps it seems old-fashioned to be modest, to avoid exposing yourself, or keeping yourselves pure for God and spouse, but it goes true for both sexes.
Imagination is a powerful tool--whether on page or visually-enhanced--the Enemy is using to put God's people in bondage. And the sad thing, we are so immersed in shackles and darkness, we can't see how far in the pit we've tumbled. We've forgotten what it means to walk in the light.
Cheaney ends her piece with these lines: "I won't be reading Fifty Shades of Grey because that place I like to regard as my own--my imagination--is already too cluttered with trash. More and more, I need to find Jesus there, making Himself at home. This is mine, too, He says."