With "Fifty Shades of Grey" heading into its second weekend in theaters, Christian outrage with its pornographic, violent, misogynistic message has pretty much died off. The movie broke records, two sequels are being made, and Christians were able to make the case that the movie was morally, legally, and ethically problematic to a variety of mainstream and liberal media outlets.
With a few days to settle back and consider the battle that just took place, an important question comes to mind: Why are Christians who oppose the movie's message buying a shovel after the blizzard? Why are we offering boycotts and complaints instead of viable, popular alternatives?
This is a serious question for people who rightly believe American and Western cultures are on a steepening downhill slide.
Clearly, people have a zeal for reading – the “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” and “Fifty Shades” series' make that obvious. And they have a passion for movies, as proven by the box office successes of the film versions of these books and "Passion of the Christ."
So where is the Christian alternative to “Fifty Shades” or “Twilight?” Somehow, these books are speaking to people -- to their needs, values, and desires in a way that inspires them to talk about it to their friends, family, and co-workers, both in person and on social media.
It may be instructive to see just how inspiring our Lord was before His death. In “Matthew,” Christ expressed concern about the many thousands who had followed Him to hear His words. His concern was so great that he refused to have them walk home for dinner, fearing that "they may collapse on the way." And so he provided the miracle of the fish and loaves.
Read that again: Thousands of people followed Christ far away from their homes, and didn't bring any food. And they did so to the point of potentially harming their personal health!
While I don't want any American going hungry over a book or a movie, it is important to ask whether Christians are effectively using modern tools to encourage the same fervor for Christ's teachings that people in His time had. Clearly, people are desperately craving something, and while “Twilight,” “Fifty Shades,” and “Harry Potter” are no Bible, these series appear to be satisfying at least some of those needs.
Rightly, Christ called His followers to not become part of the world. However, many Christians have ignored his call to be in the world – to, like Paul, get our hands dirty to save others. In shielding ourselves by not contributing to the popular culture, the world is systemically being dominated by Satan.
As such, rather than building up a God-based foundation, we are in the role of tearing down Satan's products. We are forced to attack sin rather than promote the Gospel in a way the current culture can accept, and as such, many negative labels are dropped on us as we lose the culture wars.
One way we can regain our cultural leadership in America and the world is to act as Christ did – by using modern tools to promote His Word. And not just to each other, but to those who don't know Him.
Each of us has a duty and a unique gift to spread the Word of God to our fellow man. My contribution is "Search for the Alien God," the first of four books that take a new look at the question of whether we're alone in the universe, and tries to open a new conversation between Christian theology and the often secular world of science fiction.
Will my book become the new “Twilight?” I certainly hope so, and not just so I can pay my publishing costs. More importantly, it is what I believe I am called to do – to enter the secular world through the written word, and attempt to persuade its citizens to let Christ enter their hearts.
It's an old phrase, but it's apt – people can lead, follow, or get out of the way. Maybe you don't think you're meant to write a book, or produce a movie like "Moms' Night Out" or "Old Fashioned." But I can guess that the producers of those movies, and authors like myself, would be grateful for you doing what nobody else can: Evangelizing to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Help us to pro-actively bring God to our very messed-up culture, not just defend the bastion, as Satan continues to march against us.
Books and movies are not the silver bullet when it comes to evangelizing, but they are a most useful tool. And that is where I will make my contribution to spreading God's Word.
What will yours be?
David Flynn is a senior cybersecurity architect for government cloud systems. He holds a MA in Catechetics from Christendom College, a premier Catholic institution. He is the author of "Search for the Alien God" and its sequel "Dangerous Alien Robot," and the author of the forthcoming book, "Battle of the Queens."