Almost since the beginning of recorded history, there have been fads. Hem lines go up and down; sunglasses get big, then small; diet plans come and diet plans go. Today's fascination becomes tomorrow's "so 30 seconds ago." Well, here comes another one.
Recently, women all over the world have immersed themselves in the fictitious world of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in E.L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey." This sexually explicit novel has sold 31 million copies, solidifying its place as the latest fad book.
One hotel owner in England has decided this book should replace the best-selling book of all time, The Bible, in the guest rooms of his hotel. In this hotelier's opinion, the Bible is just another book to be swapped out for a newer, trendier one.
But I would invite the hotel owner to consider what will best serve his guests -- having the Bible waiting bedside, or the latest novel? One could ask, has "Fifty Shades of Grey" ever brought hope to someone contemplating suicide? Has it ever comforted someone grieving over a lost loved one? Has it brought peace to a business traveler concerned about his or her financial security? Has it ever rescued a marriage on the brink of divorce?
Although popular books come and go, the Bible has remained for centuries. The Bible is not just a book in a hotel nightstand. It provides peace to those in despair, clarity to those in doubt and comfort to those in distress.
While centuries old, the Bible is as relevant today as when it was written. Life is hard. It was then and it is now. The Bible is not a dusty, outdated rulebook; it is the living Word of God and it provides the answers to life's most pressing questions. The Bible may have been replaced in one hotel in England, but "Fifty Shades of Grey" (or any other work) will never take its place in the lives of the millions worldwide seeking hope that is anything but grey.
Lamar Vest is the President and CEO of the American Bible Society. Founded in 1816, the American Bible Society exists to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message.