Freshman year can be awkward enough, but Brian Grasso wasn’t afraid of awkward.
The summer reading list came out for Duke students months ago. It was an optional reading list designed to create a common experience between the over 1,750 incoming freshmen. “Fun Home” was on the list. Amazon explains this book as a “groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir.” The author tells her story of her journey as a lesbian through the pain of her past while coming to terms with her father’s gay lifestyle.
Brian explains that the book includes cartoon drawings of a woman masturbating and multiple women engaging in oral sex.
He knew attending Duke would require him to read things that were against his theological or moral stance. He said, “I’m not opposed to reading memoirs written by LGBTQ individuals or stories containing suicide. I’m not even opposed to reading Freud, Marx or Darwin. I know that I’ll have to grapple with ideas I don’t agree with, even ideas that I find immoral.”
However, he chose not to read the book and publically speak out against it in the Washington Post, and on his class’s Facebook page. Jeffery Wubbenhorst took the same stand and made it public in the Duke Chronicle. Their reason for opposing the read was biblical. Brian simply believed that “viewing pictures of sexual acts, regardless of the genders of the people involved, conflict with the inherent sacredness of sex.”
Taking a stand for what we believe can make us feel prudent at times. God was clear that we are not to have “even a hint of sexual immorality.” This command wasn’t optional, and there was no following verse that said, “…But if a school suggests you to read it…”.
We are called to complete purity regardless of cultural pressure.
Brian is not drawing a fundamentalist line here. Rather, he is living out his freedom in Christ. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul explained that we are allowed to do things (or even suggested to do things) by our culture that are not always helpful for us.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12
Our freedom is in Christ. If we give into everything that we could indulge in, we would quite literally be choosing to be controlled or dominated by something other than Christ.
I think every human knows the power of hormonal and sexual drives; we are prone to porn, we love lust, and have fun with fantasy.
“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:13
Paul makes the point that just because our stomachs can handle food or our body long for pleasure doesn’t mean that we indulge. Rather, we avoid certain things because we know we will be controlled by our flesh if we give in.
By faith, we have given our life to Christ. We are joined with Him, and He is our Lord. This doesn’t mean we deprived or missing out, but rather we’ve been given something better, so we chose to value that (Him) more. We are freed by Christ and because of that freedom we chose not to do certain things that will only cause us to be confined to bondage once again.
Brian and Jeffrey, you did the right thing. Thanks for taking a stand publically for Christ and keeping your walk with God pure. I hope you have an amazing time at Duke.