Katie Gregoire on the Purity Culture

What is the purpose of purity? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Katie Gregoire is the daughter of Sheila Wray Gregoire, who runs the blog To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. Yesterday, my mother-in-law shared a video Katie made. Not too long after that, my wife shared the same video. I figured when I got up today that I should check out this video. (I rarely watch videos shared on Facebook. I just don’t have the time.) The video is quite good and can be found here.

Katie talked about how we have all these embarrassing purity talks when you grow up in the church. The advice to follow for the most part in these talks is good. Guys are told they should respect the women in their lives and the boundaries they set up. By the way guys, that includes once you’re married. You don’t force sex even on your wife and I still respect Allie greatly do this day such as holding open doors for her, including our car door, and not sitting somewhere until she’s sat down first. It’s also well known that if anyone insults her on Facebook, stay back. I will show up and it will not be pretty.

Women meanwhile are focused on just saving themselves for marriage. They are often compared to chocolate bars with them giving a piece of themselves to a guy that they are intimate with until there’s nothing left. I agree with Katie that women are not objects like chocolate bars. It’s too easy for a girl who makes a mistake to think that she’s damaged goods.

I would like to point out though that if a woman does engage in sex before marriage, she can make it harder to bond. That’s because one of the things that sex does is it causes the chemical oxytocin to be released, which is a bonding chemical. It bonds the two lovers together. It is the same chemical released when a mother breastfeeds her child. If you learn to break these bonds, it makes it all the easier so that it’s harder and harder to bond.

Yet Katie’s main point is clear still and definitely true. The whole idea behind a woman being pure is to be just for her husband. Of course, no one is saying that a woman should not strive to be pure for her future husband, but he’s not the only one. Let’s suppose there’s a girl who doesn’t plan on ever getting married. She wants to be on her own. There’s nothing wrong with that. Not every girl will get married. She thus has no future husband. Should she be allowed to have a one-night stand or such every now and then since there’s no future husband to give herself to?

Of course not. If she’s a Christian, she has someone else she’s being pure for. She’s being pure for Jesus. She’s being pure to show that she values sex even if she’s never having it and that she honors the limitations Jesus places on sex and on how He views it. Sex is a good, but it is a good to be used in the proper time and place.

We have a culture where it’s extremely easy to view women as sexual objects. No doubt, the reason for this is that by and far, the women are far more appealing to the eyes than we men are, and that includes I’d say to the women themselves who are quick to notice the beauty of one another and compete with one another. Sex sells and one way to get a response out of people is to put a beautiful woman up there.

This causes tremendous pain if someone does sin along the way. My own wife when putting this up said that while she saved sex for marriage, she didn’t live entirely pure. I knew this when I went into the relationship. I can assure anyone that in our marriage I have a “full chocolate bar.” I make it a point to not invite anyone else into the bedroom.

“Good for you,” some of you are saying. “We don’t have threesomes either.” I’m not talking about people coming in physically. I’m talking about that when it’s time for the bedroom, my focus is only on Allie. There is no thinking of other women there and she should not be thinking about what other men have said and done in the past. As I tell her “Only you.” Her past mistakes don’t matter. In our marriage, all that matters is that I have her here right now.

Another problem with this is that it assumes the main role of purity is in sexuality. That’s great and all, but you can be impure in many other ways. We can be quite sure the Pharisees followed the rules on sexuality, but they were described as white-washed tombs and filthy on the inside. Following the outer rules is good and important, but the inner heart is even more important. What about our words? Our thoughts? Our habits?

Honoring Christ is a lot more than just honoring Him with sex. It’s honoring Him with everything that you have. There is not a single aspect of your life that Christ does not claim Lordship over. As a Christian, you are to give Him all of it. Only He can make you who you are to be.

It’s also important because our identity is not in what we do. If there’s something Christians need to do, it’s to establish their identity in Christ. We live in a culture where many of us don’t know who we are and why we’re here and that’s largely because we have no firm foundation. Our Christianity has been reduced to moralism instead of a whole worldview. We know how Christians are to act, but not how to think or how to just even be. Remember that we are human beings and not human doings.

I congratulate Katie and everyone else saving themselves for marriage. It is something indeed wonderful you are saving yourself for. Even better is to treat yourself properly in honor of Christ. It is His good you are to supremely seek and not your own. The purity movement in the church could only be bolstered by learning the better basis of purity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I’m Thankful I Waited For Marriage

Are there any regrets on waiting? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I contacted an author yesterday on getting a copy of a book on why he thinks one should wait until marriage to have sex. That leads me to think about why I waited. I know some people do have a different experience, but I hope what I share can help some people out.

To begin with, yes. I did wait. I was about two months away from 30 when I got married. My wife meanwhile was a month away from 20 so she didn’t have as long to wait as I did. Did I face temptation in all that time? Sure did. I made it a point to try to shield my eyes, even from porn.

I still remember one night when I lived in Tennessee and I had gone to Charlotte for the conference. Driving back I saw one of those “clubs.” For a brief moment I realized I was on my own and if I did something, no one would ever know. I never took it seriously. I just kept going. It wasn’t worth it.

When Allie and I were dating, there were many times I was seriously tempted, and that is no wrong. If you’re not tempted, there’s a problem. Again, it wasn’t worth it. I was a seminary student who wanted to remain in good standing, I was an older man that my in-laws were trusting their daughter with, and I did not want to do anything to dishonor my God.

The first time I really got to see my wife’s body then was on our wedding night. I do not regret that we waited. Does that mean that everything is always great? No. Sex can be something very awkward and that’s fine. Once you marry, you have the rest of your lives to spend with each other and things can get better and better.

For Allie now, there is no comparison. I can’t say that she’s better or worse than anyone I’ve been with. I can just know that I thoroughly enjoy being with her and that’s enough for me. Thanks to avoiding pornography, I’m not comparing her body to other bodies that I have seen. Of course, that doesn’t mean that temptation is gone entirely. I am a man and by nature visual and I have to make a constant covenant with my eyes to honor Allie.

A lot of women don’t understand this. They wonder why it is that if we love our wives, that we’re looking elsewhere. It’s not really because we want to. It’s because we’re fallen creatures and we’re tempted to wonder what others would be like. I often tell women that if you want to know what it’s like for a man, just picture being on that diet and really wanting to lose weight, but having to walk through the ice cream aisle or the chocolate aisle of the grocery store. Now imagine having that kind of desire and being in a world of women.

This is even more so for us men because while most women strive to look their best in public, many times the culture appeals to our instincts. You will find women on TV who are there for their beauty. Advertising outside of TV has this. I remember going to a display at a mall once when Allie was elsewhere that was about a spa program. I thought maybe I could find a deal for Allie. I find instead a picture with a lady barely covered and leaving little to the imagination. At another point, I was walking by myself in that same mall and saw an attractive lady heading my way. I do what most guys would do. I look the other way.

Which happens to be right at a Victoria’s Secret.

Great.

The truth is that if you have a good man, he does want to honor you. He does want to see you and you alone and he is striving to do that. He is wanting to show you regularly that you are the delight of his eyes. He’s not a pervert because he’s visual or because he has a strong desire to be with you. That’s how he often knows and expresses love. A woman can either take that and work with it or she can argue against it. The latter won’t have much success.

Another reason I waited was to give an honor to Allie to tell her how much she’s worth to me.  Women pretty much set the market on sexual relationships. They are the ones who show how much it takes for them to give themselves entirely. Are they worth a date? Three dates? A month? Six months? A year? Engagement? Or a lifetime covenant?

I made it clear. Allie is worth a lifelong covenant.

“Yeah, but don’t you want to check first and see if you’re compatible? I mean, you wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive.”

Except Allie is not a car. No woman is. No man is. Having sex with someone does affect them. Chemicals are released that bond whether one wants that to happen or not. When those bonds are broken, it makes it harder and harder on both parties in the long run. If there are difficulties in sex, which can happen, usually a visit to one’s doctor or gynecologist can help with that.

I often think one of the reasons we have kids actually having sex way too early and not waiting until marriage is because we have no rite of passage into manhood and womanhood. A lot of young people then see sex as that rite of passage. Sexuality can be a good way for some people to have their manhood or womanhood affirmed, but it doesn’t bestow it.

Also, we have reduced sex too often to just a physical activity. I find it incredible that we Christians are accused of having a low view of sex and yet we’re the ones that treat it the most as something sacred. Granted there are some exceptions to this sadly. It’s not a cliche to say the joke that many people are told growing up that sex is dirty and they should save it for someone they love. We have people growing up thinking this is a necessary evil and yet it suddenly becomes good on the wedding night.

It’s something sacred instead and beautiful. Even more, it’s God’s idea. He’s the one that designed it and the desire for it is something that He gave us. It’s a good thing that He made, but like any good thing, it has to be used in the right way. I often compare sex to nuclear energy. It’s good and helpful, but if you take it and use it the wrong way and in the wrong context, you get Chernobyl.

I also need to say something more about pornography. The opposite sex is a beautiful thing, especially the woman, to which I think even the women will agree. Don’t treat their bodies as cheap. Porn ultimately does that. For a man, he gets the feeling of being a man without having to take the effort to win a real woman. That woman on the screen doesn’t care about you. She is openly displaying her body for anyone to see. She is not in love with you. She does not trust you. She does not know you. She does not care about you. Why not wait and honor a woman who really does do all of those things?

I regularly say that for me, my wife’s body is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen, and I mean it. I’m really thankful I waited instead of having a slew of women in my head that I could be comparing her body to. We men have enough of that naturally with women we see fully clothed out in public. How much worse would it be to have nude women we’re comparing our wives to?

For these reasons, I cannot state enough that I am thankful I waited. I have no regrets. God’s gift to us is great indeed, and as long as we’re together we can enjoy that gift. Allie has no competition in this world. She is mine and I am hers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 2

What else does my wife have to say about the claims of right-wing Christians? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For today, I am going to continue the series that my own wife has written. Enjoy:

I am continuing with debunking the arguments from the article from this page: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0 This is a pretty short section, so I’ll just go ahead a post what they said:

“The U.S. government just spent a decade and a billion dollars on failed abstinence-only education programs concocted by Bible believers who live in some delusional world where prohibition works and virginity is next to godliness. Thanks to their influence, straight-faced educators tell teens that a girl who has had sex is a licked lollipop. Instead of medically accurate information and thoughtful conversation about intimacy and childbearing, teens get promise rings and slut shame. The result? Here in the U.S., more than one in four girls gets pregnant before she turns 20, often with heartbreaking multigenerational consequences for women, children and whole communities. More than half of girls who give birth during high school drop out, permanently. Only two percent ever graduate college.”

In high school, I actually did a project once where my partner and I did a sort of debate on whether teaching “safe sex” was a better choice than teacher abstinence. I defended the side of abstinence, but I did do research on the side of “safe sex as well. If you want to see the video (it’s an old video) here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr6aZF7R3ts The reason I put quotations around “safe sex” is because to me, there is no such thing as safe sex. Even if you use contraceptives, it doesn’t always prevent unwanted pregnancies, nor does it prevent STD’s. You also deal with the emotional pain of when you break up. Sex is truly something sacred. Today we treat it so casually. We treat it as if it were the same thing as a hug or a kiss – like it were as casual as a greeting. If it’s something so casual, why do we want it so much? I’ve heard sitcoms say things like “We’ll just have meaningless sex!” We’ll laugh about it but we treat it like it is meaningless, and if it’s so meaningless, why do we want it so much? Why is the sex industry one of the top money making industries in the world? Sex is important. Now, why should we wait until we’re married? Don’t we deal with some of the same issues? People get divorced, so you still deal with the heartache of a break-up. You can still get unwanted pregnancies. It’s still possible to get some STD’s. After all, some STD’s you can get just by touching another person’s skin! I’m sure you took health class, the most common ways to get an STD are unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, and sexual activity at a young age. But if you can have these problems even if you wait until you get married, why wait? What’s the point when you can just go out and have fun now? Honestly, as much as I wanted to wait, sometimes I asked myself the same question. There were many times I came close to losing my virginity before getting married to multiple guys, and when I think back, I’m so glad I didn’t – they all turned out to be real losers! It was really hard to wait, really, I know. I made some mistakes I still regret to this day. But then when I got married, I was so glad I waited until the wedding night because I got to share that moment with the man who truly did love me and I knew he wasn’t going to leave me no matter my flaws were. It didn’t matter how heavy I was. It didn’t matter how many rolls I had or my zits or scars (physically and emotionally), it didn’t matter about my past, he was going to stick with me and still love me. Sex is sacred. God created sex to be sacred. He created it to be enjoyed, but he also created it to be very special. Read the book in the Bible “Song of Songs,” also known as “Song of Solomon.” It’s got some pretty raunchy stuff in there! It’s the king at the time, Solomon, and his lover. But, it’s also a metaphor. See, Jesus describes himself as a bridegroom, and we are his bride. He loves us so passionately and so deeply, that while sex connects a man and a woman, it also represents how we are connected with Christ. We are supposed to love our spouses as Christ loves the Church! Sex is sacred, and when we use it for any other use, it loses its sacredness. It becomes trash. It becomes an idol. Sex is meant to please the other person, not necessarily ourselves. We are to please the other person and the other person is to please us. It’s an act of giving. But we use sex as a means of getting what we want often. That’s why we look at pornography. That’s why children are sold as sex slaves. That’s why there’s prostitution. Because we are looking for our own benefits instead of the other persons. You’re only looking for receiving pleasure. Or if you’re producing/selling the product, your only interest is making money off it. You don’t care who it hurts. It’s what you get out of it. So many marriages end today because a spouse gets involved with pornography. The article talks about high percentages of teen pregnancies and an even higher percentage of them dropping out of school. If they knew how sacred sex was and that it’s worth saving until marriage, there would be less teen pregnancies. If they were encouraged to wait, they would wait. The article talks about heartbreaking consequences for teeage girls who get pregnant. There are consequences for every action we make. Some are good, some are bad. That’s how life is. Teenagers are not ready to deal with pregnancies. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but there’s no way as a teenager I would’ve ever been ready to be a mother! Teenagers are too dramatic, too emotional, and too lazy. Now some teenagers do actually work hard, but even they are not ready to be parents. How can they be ready for parenthood if they haven’t even reached adulthood yet? Of course there’s always the option of putting the baby up for adoption. But even that is difficult. I’ve heard many stories of even teenagers regretting putting their babies up for adoption. I know if I ever had a baby, I couldn’t put it up for adoption. I would NEVER recommend abortions! In the last note I discussed the issue on child sacrifices. The article accuses the Bible of promoting child sacrifices (which if you read my previous note, it doesn’t), but if anything promotes child sacrifices it’s today with abortions! We get abortions because of convenience. “We don’t want a baby” or “We’re not ready for a baby” or “We have enough kids, we don’t want another one!” It’s all convenience. People yell “Women’s Rights! It’s the woman’s right to her body!” Doesn’t the baby have any rights to their body? You are sacrificing an infant to the god of convenience! We are having more child sacrifices than any other time in history! It’s sickening! The Bible records child sacrifices that went on, but God never wanted it to happen! But I’ve already talked on that subject. Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. The next note will be on:

3. Demeaning and subjugating women is evil.

In Christ,
Nick Peters