Fifty Shades of Christ

Fifty Shades of ChristFifty Shades of Christ by Emily Silver
Genres: Contemporary
Published by Amazon Digital Services on December 15, 2014
Pages: 324

 

University student Amy Squires leads an average existence, living somewhere within the ‘grey’ parameters of the modern world. Her life however is overhauled when she meets an enigmatic man called Jonathan De Luce; he promises to present her with an inheritance left by her deceased and distant aunt. It isn’t long before Amy realises that Jonathan is not all he seems, and soon she is swept up in the knowledge that he has a more eternal and divine agenda: to introduce her to the multi-faceted love and grace of the God whom her aunt faithfully served.

I don’t think readers should fall into the trap of thinking that this is a Christian form of Fifty Shades of Grey – it is a Christian answer to Fifty Shades of Grey.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Fifty Shades of Christ. I was drawn to the novel because my first reaction upon hearing about it was, “YES! A story that is the exact antithesis of Fifty Shades of Grey!” But when I first began reading, I struggled knowing exactly what the book was trying to achieve. Maybe it was the title that hindered this, but I found myself expecting, to my detriment, that the novel would be the exact opposite of 50 Shades of Grey: a man would come into Amy’s life, a romance would ensue, but through that romance the man would show a Christ-type of love. 50 Shades of Christ – layers and layers of unfathomable love, grace, truth. That’s what I expected.

But the novel isn’t like that. There is no romance between Amy and de Luce; his purpose is not to offer her love, but to show her the ultimate Lover of her soul: Jesus. The plot that I expected, in hindsight, would likely be predictable and could also get complicated in terms of the distinguishing between the ‘human’ love of a man and woman and the ‘spiritual’ love of Christ and mankind. I don’t think readers should fall into the trap of thinking that this is a Christian form of Fifty Shades of Grey – it is a Christian answer to Fifty Shades of Grey, where a man comes into Emily’s life but his agenda is simply to introduce her to a greater and deeper love. The love of Christ. A book with such an agenda is to be admired, and I applaud the author (who wrote it out of obedience to God’s call) for responding to the dark representation of love that is appearing in novels today.

The novel is about the transformative power of Christ, and it was a wonderful thing to arrive with Emily at that point when she did decide to take the step of faith. It took a while to get there, I admit – which is realistic as there is much for Amy to come to terms with – but I did feel that the story’s action could have been a bit more condensed, for a more concise pace as well as perhaps a greater impact of Amy’s conversion.

I struggled with Jonathan a bit and found it hard to believe him as a character.

I also struggled with Jonathan’s character a bit – the book is a bit ambiguous about whether or not this man is actually human. I wondered at times if he was actually meant to be Jesus, but then something would prove otherwise. It is assumed that this man is a type of angel, some unexplainable mystery that God created. This is fine, but since he seemed to dabble between humanity and divinity I found it hard to believe him as a character.

The issues the novel raises are quite deep, and for this reason I think that readers should not come expecting a thrilling plot or engaging story. It serves a different purpose than that.

I did like Amy, though – her struggle with questions and doubts was very real, and I found myself relating to quite a few of her concerns. The issues the novel raises are quite deep, and for this reason I think that readers should not come expecting a thrilling plot or engaging story. It serves a different purpose than that. It isn’t just a story; it’s an in-depth view of the Christian life, what it means and what it guarantees.

So, if you’re after a romance, don’t read Fifty Shades of Christ (or Fifty Shades of Grey, for that matter!). But if you want a book which deals with the ‘nitty-gritty’ of the Christian walk in a simple, relatable way, then Emily Silver’s offering of surrender and obedience could be right for you.

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