What I Learned From Fifty Shades of Grey




WARNING: Some material may not be suitable for all audiences. Discretion is advised.

My wife had some pretty good input on this subject so I decided to hand over the reins this week and let her share some thoughts ūüėČ

-SJ Newell


Ladies get ready!

As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, this Valentines Day ushers in the much anticipated movie adaptation of the hit book series, Fifty Shades of Grey!

What could be more romantic than going with your significant other to watch a movie about a sexually traumatized man who, in order to bury his pain from his twisted past, abuses his, “love” interest?

Ooh! So Hot!


Umm No, NOT Romantic!

I have a question for all those who have gone out in droves to buy these books, and are drooling in anticipation of the movie . . . .What are you thinking?

Oh, how I wish my man was like Christian Grey!” Do you really? Because the way I see it, a lot of the men we all complain about are just like him. Except in most cases not as good looking and without the fat bank account.









Women WAAA, WAAA, WAAA, about how their man mistreats them, cheats on them,  and puts them down. Yet we read garbage like Fifty Shades of Grey . . . I wonder what message that might convey to men? Maybe that we want to be seen as objects whose soul existence is to please them even if it means catering to a sick and deranged past?

. . . Yup. Those are some real nuggets of wisdom, right there. The building blocks of a healthy relationship.

Then you have those women who call men pigs for watching porn. Really? Give me a break. Smut like Fifty Shades of Grey is just as bad a porn. It gives us unrealistic expectations and can lead to a false sense of intimacy.

But it’s a love story. She manages to change him and they fall in love!”




That, ladies, is why the book is filed under F for Fiction. Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that you can change a man who mistreats you just because you read it in a book. “Oh if I just love him enough and cater to him. If I have more sex with him he won’t cheat. Maybe if I have his baby he’ll change…” Good luck with that!

C’mon. If you want to be respected and treated the way you deserve, you need to value yourselves and quit looking for men like Christian Grey.


The Truth

“Of course this Churchy Fuddy Duddy feels this way …She’s probably the type of person who has sex just for procreation….her poor husband.”


If you want to go there, truth be told, even having five kids my husband and I manage to share a great sex life ( TMI yeah I know). God created sex for marriage and when used in it’s proper context, it’s a wonderful thing.

I’m also sure many of you are thinking that I can’t talk about this since I never read the books.¬† I did read them …Well, I attempted to read the first one. I too got caught up in all the hype and without knowing anything about it, decided to check it out.


What I Learned


So what did I learn from Fifty shades of Grey?

1. I learned that stories based on sexually abused boys don’t quite turn me on.

2. I learned that the sex sequences are boring—-yes, boring.

3. I learned I have an awesome sex life with my husband and I don’t need, “Mommy Porn” to help me with that.

4. I learned that books like this give women false representations of what a healthy romantic relationship should be.

5. I learned that we, as women, need to value ourselves more.

So, maybe you’re thinking that this, “Mommy Porn” is harmless, just a way to pass the time and I’m making a big deal out of nothing. But I want you all to seriously think about this: How would you really feel if your daughter was Anastasia Steele and a man treated her like an object? I for one, as a Mother of four beautiful daughters want my girls to grow up valuing themselves enough not to be some man’s pastime but to find themselves Godly men that will value them and treat them the way they deserve to be treated.

Just a little food for thought.


-Lorena Newell

What I Wish I Knew Before My Divorce




Most people who know me know that I’ve been married twice. As you get older, and further from certain events in your life, you tend to look back with a different perspective. Often you realize what at the time seemed like a situation with no options, was really a situation that simply lacked knowledge. In other words, if you had more information, you would have been able to make a smarter decision.

Not always. But many times.

All marriages are different, I understand that. But my first marriage started out, for lack of a better word, pretty normal. We loved each other. Did things together. Communicated. Shared our passions and dreams for life. Had the occasional fights that all married couples have etc. About a year in we had Mykenze, my beautiful and super talented daughter, and things were good.

I remember one day the topic of divorce came up and my wife asked me, “What would you do if I ever wanted to get a divorce?” And me, being the Christ follower that I am, knowing that the Lord is my Portion and I have need of nothing else (insert all the other Christian cliche’s here______________________________________________________________), responded, “I’d say, okay. Then let’s get a divorce.” She was a bit shocked. “You mean you wouldn’t fight for our marriage?” And I said, “Why would I want to stay married to someone who didn’t want to stay married to me?” I thought I had made a good point. And I suppose she did too because we kind of laughed about it and changed the subject. A couple years later that was exactly how it played out. “I’m not happy anymore. I think I got married too young and there is still a lot of life that I want to live. I want a divorce—–”

Let me just stop here and say this in case I never get another chance to—- Does what she said sound familiar to any men out there? After hearing story after story similar to mine, a very wise man by the name of Dennis Prager once made the astute observation that there is a profound¬† shift that takes place in the minds of most women around twenty nine or thirty years of age. Life, to them, begins to speed up. They begin thinking they’re missing out on things, they reassess their goals and accomplishments. And if you’re married to one, there is a good chance she’s going to want to kick you to the curb. Now, of course, this is not always the case. And men are often just as much, if not more to blame for divorces in this age bracket as women are. But, many, many, females have testified to the legitimacy of this phenomena.

I’ve always said what makes women so confusing isn’t that they don’t know what they want—(because a lot of us don’t know what we want) it’s that they think that they do.

This seems especially true of women under the age of thirty.

. . . Just some food for thought.


But I digress . . .


Several months later everything was finalized and my marriage was over.

Fast forward five or six years and Lorena (my current wife) and I were discussing the subject of divorce among Christians. During the course of the discussion I had an epiphany: Parents seem so much more committed to their children than to their spouses—-I know, it’s weird anyone would ever draw a comparison here, but just think about it for a moment.¬† It isn’t that our kids don’t drive us bananas. Or that we don’t constantly butt heads with them. And sometimes the arguments get loud . . . things get thrown . . .¬† the police get called¬†¬† . . . And maybe you spend a night or two in jail.


This has never happened to you?

Of course not. Me neither.

But there just seems to be this whole other level of determination when it comes to our kids that 1isn’t even in the same stratosphere with our spouse. It’s a resolve that no matter what, we are going to love them and work with them and do everything in our power to get along with them. Short of death, the idea of divorcing or abandoning our children is not even a thought, let alone an option.

So here’s what struck me so profoundly: While humans have the capacity to exude this type of commitment toward others,¬† for one reason or another, we often decide not to when it comes to our spouses.


Irreconcilable Differences?

Now,¬† I’m not interested in getting into a conversation about what qualifies as justifiable reason for divorce. Regardless of what the Bible says about that subject, I think most of us who have been divorced (including myself) know that that was not the reason we decided to end the marriage. We simply lacked the resolve.

Like the Church has done in so many other areas, we have looked over to see how the world was doing marriage and said, “That seems fine. Let’s do that.” It is no wonder the divorce rate is just as high among Christians as it is among the world. Because we have adopted their version of marriage. And the world’s version of marriage is, “This is a commitment to stay with a person for the rest of your life. But things change. People change.” Irreconcilable differences came to mean:

“They don’t pay enough attention to me.”

“We fight too much”

“I got married too young”

“We’re drifting apart”

“They’re never going to change”

“We have financial problems”

“I’m just not happy”

If you use your imagination, you can rearrange most of these statements to apply to your relationship with your child. Yet, notice how with the change of context these statements go from sounding like legit reasons, to lame excuses.


What is Marriage?—I Mean, Really?

Then again, one could argue that the difference between the bond with your spouse versus the bond with your child is blood. Your children are a part of you. You’re hard wired to have a stronger connection to them. I mean, on the one hand you have your own flesh and blood, on the other you have just—– a person . . . Right?

One of the most commonly quoted passages we hear at wedding ceremonies and regarding the subject of marriage in general comes from Genesis chapter 2, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” I get that there is a point we’re trying to make by just quoting this portion and leaving the surrounding context out. But I am always curious when people quote a section of Scripture that starts with an unfinished thought. ” . . . For this reason ” For this reason, what? Have you ever asked yourself that question? For what reason? What is the reason for marriage?

Genesis 2:23 “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”

See, God had taken Adam’s rib and created Eve. God took one person and from that created two. Adam was missing something from that day on and his own commentary reveals to us the purpose of marital union—Because the woman had something that the man lost. She possessed part of him. Man would now spend his life looking for that one thing that eluded him and when he finds it, he wants it back. So he leaves his father and mother, cleaves to his wife, and regains what had been taken from him.

Beautiful, right?

But the question is . . . Do we really believe that?

Do we really believe that marriage is not just dealing in spiritually abstract ideas of, “commitment” but is, in all actuality, a reset. It’s Man being put back to One Flesh.

This is not just a sentimental story to make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It’s a revelation of the inner dynamics of what makes marriage, marriage.

I have to say, I only understood this passage from Genesis in a poetic way, that had no bearing on any real world situation. But the fact is, the reason a man is joined to his wife is not dissimilar from the reason a parent is joined to their child—-Because they are a part of them.


God Works It Out


Again, this is by no means a fix-all for marriages. Much, much, more can and should be said on the subject. But this was one personal reflection of mine I felt compelled to share. The lesson? When it comes to your spouse and children, do not put the ideas of commitment, resolve, faithfulness, and determination, into separate categories.

If you are going through some rough times with your spouse, I encourage you to change your thinking in this area.

It makes a world of difference.

And if you’ve already been divorced, trust Him, because regardless of a bad decision, He will work it all out for the good.

He certainly did for me. I’m now married to a beautiful and wonderful woman who enriches my life in so many ways.

In addition, I feel like Job, because my children literally multiplied over night!


. . . But also mercy!

Help me, Jesus!

God is Not Omnipotent and You Should be Glad


Many take comfort in the belief that God can do anything. This idea by itself  has no real practical significance.  And really, if you think about it, can be quite scary.

The concepts of¬† Sovereignty and Omnipotence hold little assurance because they do not reveal intentions. Have you ever heard someone say, “be careful around that person. They’re capable of anything!”¬† Hearing those words doesn’t quite make you feel all warm and fuzzy do they? When we say God is Omnipotent we are saying He is capable of anything. What you are left with is an unpredictable God. A Cosmic Toddler, if you will, who may decide at any moment to either save, or damn to hell. To heal, or smite with disease.

No, there is no comfort in what God can do until we know what He cannot do.

And what He cannot do is lie (Titus 1:2).

It is from this fact, that everything we know concerning God’s Love, Faithfulness, and Mercy can be formulated and relied upon.

A Little Too Sovereign?

I think sometimes Christians over emphasize the sovereignty of God to the point that they begin to blame Him for everything happening in the world. God may be sovereign, but He is also limited by His Word. The Bible tells us He cannot lie. If¬† He can’t lie, then there are things God does not do. How do we find out what those things are? By reading His Word. Once you know what He has said, you then know what He is bound to.

For example, if a child is sick and ends up dying as a result, people often say things like, “God took them. It’s a blessing

"It's good that you caused that car accident and killed all those people, God . . . It's real good."
“It’s good that you caused that car accident and killed all those people, God . . . It’s real good.”

in disguise.” Death and sickness are never referred to in the Bible as blessings. They are referred to as enemies, evil, and a curse (Deut 28, 1Cor 15). So you see, God cannot call something a blessing, that He has already declared a curse. That’s a lie. When we accuse God of such, we are inadvertently calling Him a liar. Others say, “That child dying was part of God’s will.” This¬† is attributing a characteristic to the will of God that cannot be true. Jesus said in reference to little children, “It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish (Matt 18).”

I’ve talked to some Christians who say, “You never know what God, in His Sovereignty might do. He may decree for you to sin tomorrow. If He does, it’ll be His will, His hand will be on it and He will be controlling the whole thing.” No, God wouldn’t do that. He can’t. The Bible says God set us free from sin. For Him to put us back in bondage to it would be a contradiction.

On the subject of healing, some have said, “You can pray in faith, but healing still may not come. If it doesn’t, it’s because God, in His divine wisdom, decided not to answer that prayer” Nope. God has to answer that prayer. James 5 says the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up.


So . . . ?

Some will wonder why, then, do these things happen if they are not God’s Will? And that is a legitimate question but I would do it injustice to attempt an answer here on this particular article. I will, however, challenge you to ask yourself why we seem hard wired to think the default answer for all things happening in the world is, “God did it.”¬† This type of reasoning inevitably leads people to use events and worldly experiences to measure and evaluate the character of God.¬† This is one of the most dangerous things a believer could ever do because the Bible says it’s the devil who is in control of this whole world (1Jn 5). He is the power over the present darkness (Eph 6). To attempt to discern God’s will based on things that are happening in a world dominated by the enemy would be serious error.

The best way to discern Who God is and what He does is by finding out what He said.

He cannot lie. And you really should be glad. I cannot imagine serving a God who says one thing, but may decide at anytime not to honor it. The promises of salvation, heaven, forgiveness and redemption would all mean nothing.

In Defense of Victoria Osteen



Okay so I keep hearing about Victoria Osteen’s statement of, “doing good for you and not for God.” I’ve watched the video clip. I’ve heard what Bill Cosby had to say about it. I’ve seen the reactions and the accusations from the Christian community (which are all done in absolute love and with the best intentions—and not at all because we just don’t like the Osteens).

And I gotta say . . . I agree with Victoria.

. . . At least in part.

Granted, I think if she had it to do over again, she may have reworded it. So far, I have not heard her issue any type of clarification, although that may be forthcoming.

Regardless, if we just take the statement she made, and think about it, there isn’t really that much wrong with it. What this really comes down to is whether its right for Christians to seek rewards by serving God.

“We as Christians need to be Christ centered. Not man centered. Selfless not selfish. Full of Christ not”—-Okay okay, we get it, Mother Theresa.

Fact is, we all serve God for ourselves. Of course, not just for ourselves. But anyone who tries to tell me they are not motivated by the promises of heaven, eternal life, or joy unspeakable I just don’t believe is being honest. A quick way to demonstrate this would be to ask ourselves a simple question: Would I still serve God, if I knew I had to spend my life here on earth completely miserable and then die and be in hell forever?

If you answer, yes, then you’re still trying too hard.

There isn’t anything wrong with seeking rewards. The Bible is full of them. And they are often stated as a means of motivation for obedience to God. Deuteronomy 28 is a good example which culminates in chapter 30 where God says, “I put before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose life therefore so that you and your children will live.” He tells Israel why they should choose life—so they will live. The promise of blessings were used as a reason to obey God.

Nearly the entire first half of Proverbs chapter 3 instructs us to keep God’s commandments because they will add riches, health, and longevity to our lives.

Honestly, I just thought of these passages right now. I’m sure if you or anyone else were to sit down and give the topic some consideration, you would realize the Bible validates man’s desire to seek things for himself.

Op!—-Just¬† thought of another one . . .

Romans 2:6-7(NET)
“He will reward each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek ( SEEK! that means that’s what they’re trying to get from it) glory and honor and immortality,”

I realize the, “In Thing” right now is to be critical of the Osteens . . .¬† Or any minister who is on television . . . Or, really . . .¬† Pretty much anyone who isn’t us. But Christians need to remember we are called to love.

“That doesn’t mean I turn a blind eye to the evils and deception of false doctrine that itches the ears which froths”—-hold up there, Billy Graham. I did not say it did. But what it does mean is that we must always be willing to believe the best (1Cor 13, AMP). That usually doesn’t come naturally for most of us.¬† So, chances are, our first reaction to things like this will be the incorrect one.

Let’s just everyone stand back, take a deep breath and ask ourselves, “Did I hear that correctly? Is there something I’m missing? Maybe they misspoke.”

I personally don’t listen to Joel because I have a hard time following what he’s saying. So I’m not at all trying to be a defender of his ministry. But I do believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.