Oh life is confusing sometimes! Some time ago I loaned a book to a lady in the gym that I go to . The book I lent to her was ‘The Shack’ a stunning book that describes perfectly the God that I chose to follow 8 years ago. Heartily recommended. In return she loaned me a book – ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Not heartily recommended. I was mortified when I gave some people from the office a lift and it was sitting on the back seat. Imagine the headlines, ‘Christian Missionary’s fascination with Mummy-porn.’  Oh joy.

The book has been a publishing sensation and the middle-aged female author has made £11m in a matter of months. It is enough to make me despair of my fellow (wo)man. The book is (in my opinion) badly written, unimaginative (except in the use of various DIY implements!) and has little or no story line. It is a melange of puerile musings interspersed with ridiculously frequent and increasingly monotonous sex scenes. I was so bemused as to any positive facet of the book at the end of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ that I immediately read the sequel ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ as well. Change headline – ‘Christian Missionary’s OBSESSION with Mummy-porn.’ More joy.

By about the third page of the sequel I had developed a skim-reading system that I would like to recommend for any of the 50 shades books. If you come to the sentence, ‘I felt the familiar pooling of dark passion in my groin’ then skip to the line, ‘I exploded into a thousand pieces around him.’ By using this technique you can reduce the length of this pointless little book by at least 40%. For which you will be grateful.

Another oft repeated line in the book – is ‘mixed with my favourite smell of all – Christian.’ That got me thinking. How odd! What does a Christian smell like? Is it generic or denominational? Presumably a Catholic Christian might smell of incense? The Anglican clergy that I met as a child all smelled of halitosis. Many of the missionaries I meet in Africa smell of body odour. Some of the more whacky Christians do smell of Patchouli oil……and so I tried smelling myself. Nothing I could identify bar Sure deodorant. I licked my hand a couple of times and tried again. Still nothing very wonderful. Then I realised that the hero of the book (a damaged sadist) is called Christian. Ah….that would be it. Whilst his sexual preferences may be off the wall his personal hygiene is exemplary. Oh good.

It’s not porn. It’s nonsense. From start to finish. I won’t be reading the third book. But there is a danger in this – when we say that this is Mummy PORN (a term recently added to the OED) we start to normalise and give an approval of sorts to pornography. We start to suggest that the abuse, enslavement and trafficking of women that is the porn industry……………………can somehow be titillating and enjoyable for women. And I don’t believe this to be true for a millisecond.

Jesus sought out prostitutes and told them that they were precious to God and that every mistake they had ever made and every incident of abuse that was foisted upon them could be forgotten and forgiven by the God that loved them – and the God that hates the abuse and exploitation of women. Jesus loved those who had been exploited and went out of his way, risking his reputation, to reach them and give them hope and self-esteem. What would Jesus do with Fifty Shades of Grey?

Not read the sequel. I wish I were more like Jesus. ALL the time.