Friday, July 13, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey, the Song of Solomon, Red Letter Bibles and the Muslim Jesus. It must be July!

The summer months, especially July, tend to be slow in the biblioblogging world. I find that this is also a time when some of the more "unusual" stories surface in the news since most of us doing interesting work in the field are out doing that work. For instance, I am busy working on my Thessalonians commentary so my attention has been focused there. But I thought I would share some interesting as well as bizarre stories that are out there. 

Although I have not read it, I am aware that a book titled Fifty Shades of Grey is quite popular at the moment. From what I understand it is making erotic literature mainstream for women. While I am sure there are also more than a few men reading the book at least one has admitted it publicly. And he is a pastor. Pastor Charles Kyker has read the book and claims that he sees similarities between the book and the Song of Solomon. Here is his analysis.

Kyker said he felt that by comparing “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by British author E.L. James, to the Song of Solomon, he would be able to shed some light on what marriage is, and how you can sustain passion in a marriage for its duration.
There are several similarities between Solomon and the book’s main character, Christian Grey, Kyker said. Both men were wealthy and respected, he said. There is also a bit of mystery involved with each.

Sounds pretty thorough to me. But I still don't think I will read the book. I read Song of Solomon once and that was enough for me. I really didn't find the description of the woman all that enticing. I once sketched her out on paper and ended up with a woman with hair that looked like a flock of goats, sheep for teeth, and two gazelles for breasts. Not really my type. But if you are interested in attending a church  that helps you compare Fifty Shades of Grey with the Song of Solomon then you should call Kyker since he is planning a four week series on the theme. Read the article here.

Among other things you wish people didn't say is a report that a Christian professor in Iowa is saying that Jesus was a Muslim.
Ignoring the historical timeline in which Jesus taught some 2,000 years ago in the Middle East and the advent of Islam is dated six centuries later, after Christianity had impacted much of the known globe, Robert F. Shedinger, who wrote “Was Jesus a Muslim?” said his research convinced him of Jesus as aligning in thought with Islam.
In fairness it appears that what Shedinger is getting at is that both Jesus and Mohammed had similar ideas in the area of social justice. Of course saying something provocative like Jesus was a Muslim will help you to sell books. I suspect Shedinger will bee brought before the local inquisition very soon. In the mean time I know of a church that might be willing to let him come lecture, right after the Fifty Shades of Grey sermons. Read the article here

Moving on from stupid things people say is a new product you didn't know you needed, a red letter Old Testament. Are you tired of reading all of those genealogies you don't care about? All of that geography you don't understand?  Tired of reading about Canaanites, Hittites, Perizites and flea bites? Then you need the red letter Bible that allows you to skip over all of that and go right to the words spoken by God.

“I’ve never understood why people make most Bibles showing red letters in the New Testament only, when it’s the same God as in the Old Testament,” Kovacs said. “Seeing the Creator’s personal remarks highlighted in the Old Testament is something every lover of God and the Bible needs to experience. You don’t want to miss a single word spoken by our loving God, and ‘The Divine Secret’ helps provide the prominence they deserve.”
Kovacs says seeing the words of God in red in the Old Testament makes Christians all the more aware about who the God of the Old Testament really is, and also makes it easier to understand all of God’s divine instructions.

Of course this opens up serious questions about one's theory of inspiration, but heck, lets just get to the good stuff. Who cares what Abraham, David, or Isaiah had to say? I mean, we can assume that the words of God are direct quotes and have not been mediated by humans . . can't we? I wonder if the are any red letters in the Song of Solomon?  Read the article here.

You can tell that there is a lack of good ideas in Hollywood because not only are they remaking all of the old movies and TV shows, they are doing the Bible. Again! Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott are reported to be doing a movie on Moses (think ET meets Gladiator) and Darren Aronofsky is doing one on Noah. I am sure these will be great films (I wonder if they will consult Fifty Shades of Grey at some point?). But not looking to be left behind (oops, sorry) Will Smith is reportedly interested in doing a film on Cain and Abel. I suspect it will be a very short film: Brother hates brother. Brother kills brother. Remaining brother builds a city and lives happily ever after. Of course if they are looking to expand the story a bit I can recommend a good book on the topic. Read the article here.

Finally, on a more serious note. No, really. The Washington Post is reporting that Steve Green, owner of Hobby Lobby stores and purveyor of Chinese made goods, is planning to build a Bible museum in Washington DC. Green is the owner of some 40,000 artifacts that he wants to put on general display. Washington D.C. was chosen as a possible site for the museum since it is closest to the greatest concentration of the US population. No word yet on whether any copies of Fifty Shade of Grey or the Song of Solomon will be on display. Read the article here.

Happy Friday!


  1. Given the simple matter of chronology, wouldn't it be more appropriate (if somewhat more dangerous) to claim that Mohammed was a Christian?

    1. John, yes, but that wouldn't sell books now, would it?

    2. Yes, it would. But it might also get him lynched.

  2. I love your posts John!

  3. John, I have heard that the Will Smith Cain and Abel movie is about how Cain was a vampire (hence the killing of the brother). I hope all the vampires get wiped out in the flood in Noah's movie. Then maybe we can stop making everything have vampires in it.

    1. Dan,

      Well it makes sense since the Cain and Abel story does have blood crying out from the ground. Why not have a vampire to clean it up. :)

  4. I'll believe that the Greens will build or have built this museum when I see it.... Yes, there is a story here, but I'll wait for a shared pint to pass it on.