Chastity fail. Getting back on top….

I’m getting back on top…of purity, that is. What were you thinking?

So I’ve looked at why Christian Girls Are Easy, and how, despite purity pledges, true love is struggling to wait for marriage. Your comments have been hugely helpful, thank you, as have been the snippets of dating advice from the smart-alec pastor (SAP). I’m particularly impressed by his entrepreneurial thinking. festisite_costa-coffee

Forget purity pledge rings, he has lined up a range of DIY bundling & tarrying kits, with the SAP logo embroidered on them. The branded beans, for those important ‘getting to know you’ coffee chats are an inspired touch. Shortly followed by the new coffee chain, SAPbucks, opening near churches nationwide…

It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it

There’s a misconception that Christians should be pure and chaste (including no sex) because it’s ‘in the rules’ And by ‘following the rules’ you get into God’s good books. This misunderstands the Good Book. That we are loved more than we can possibly imagine by God is shown by Jesus’ death and resurrection. There’s nothing to do. No ledgers. No self-flagellation. Jesus washes it all away.

Yet that doesn’t means there’s a hall pass for sinning over and over. God asks us to be confident in our relationship with Him because of the gift of Jesus. And it is a relationship. Draw closer, He asks. Read my words. Observe (follow) them. Not from legalistic obligations or “do what I say or there’ll be trouble” but simply because they are His words and we are motivated to out of love. Not to tick the ‘good deed’ box but because, OMG, I am so loved, how can I not?

I liken my relationship with G&J to first love on steroids. It’s eye-rollingly ridiculous to describe it thus at 40-erm years old, but after close to a year I have not yet found a better descriptor. Remember that somersaulting tumble in your stomach of first love? You want to hang out with the object of your affection all the time. You get a buzz out of being in their company. You want to do stuff for them. You enjoy making them happy. Seeing them smile at something you have done for them lights you up. You derive joy in the offering.

Sex as the wedding gift

So Christians are called to remain pure until marriage because God commanded it. Three times in Song of Songs the Bible says to ‘not awaken love before it so desires’. Which means ‘save it for later’. Words from the SAP:

The Bible refers to marriage and that sex is God’s wedding gift – so to speak – and that sex is this wonderful, fun and exciting thing God has given a married couple. We’ve spoiled what God intended to be a great thing – by taking the wedding present early – by abusing it and treating it as a trivial thing.

Not all Christians succeed in that very difficult task. But many do. And on the dating front, perhaps young Christians are grinding (or not) to a halt because they are really trying to honour God with their bodies and keeping Christian sex where it belongs, within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.

No point in beating yourself up over it

The tricky bit comes (ahem) when Christians fall off the chastity wagon before marriage and feel they have ‘failed’ in their relationship with God. Yet, like any relationship fracture, it comes down to asking forgiveness and ‘making it right’ as soon as possible. A very tongue-in-cheek (or elsewhere) example:

Dear God,

I’m so sorry. I’m trying my best here but that final slow dance just did me in, his aftershave sends me weak at the knees, and, oh, did you see the way his forearms flexed nailing the boards when we were building that charity hut together earlier? I never imagined missionary (work) would be so tempting.

It was a balmy night on the deserted beach, the moon was high, one thing led to another….and, well, I guess you saw…which is actually weird in a modern-day voyeristic way, don’t You think? Anyhow. Epic chastity fail. So I’m sorry, I’m asking your forgiveness, and for the strength to resist those forearms again when we work on the deck for the charity hut tomorrow… I’m really going to need Your help there. But I don’t like feeling like I’ve let you down, so with Your help, I’ll brush myself off (literally, because You know, God? Sand gets in everywhere. Everwhere!) and give it another go. The chastity I mean. Not him of the sexy forearms. 

In Jesus name… Amen.

Call to action: get out there and go a courtin’ with care

As one wise woman commented about the Christian Girls Are Easy post, “I think there is a bigger generational issue at play here. Teenagers lives these days are much more open than when we courted. Coffee enabled you to chat and find out more. Today if you want to discover more you check out his/her Facebook page or follow him/her on Instagram. I do think an element of the excitement and fun has gone with a lack of courting – potentially this has less to do with the lack of going out for coffee and more to do with social media and messaging.

I actually see young people today taking others feelings more into account before deciding to date and that cannot be a bad thing. I watched many Christian girls – myself included – bounce from youth group to youth group in search of Mr Right Christian Boy and leave behind a wake of hurt feelings and cold coffee!”

I love her honesty.

So the suggestions are: enjoy your G&J relationship. It’s not what you do, it’s why. If you fall off the purity wagon, dust yourself off and turn to G&J (and your friendly pastor, hopefully one with smart-alec stripes) for support and advice.

Have coffee, have fun and be respectful of each other. Ease up on the social media stalking to preserve some of the mystery and keep the excitement of pheromones alive. You can still enjoy a pheromone buzz whilst observing purity.

Instead of watching each other on social media, watch each other, I don’t know, on the sports field! Guys, get all gallant and carry her tennis racket. Girls, any bloke, from 16 to 60, loves a cheer squad. Go watch him be a gladiator on the rugby field. I myself am a fan of the roller disco. Gives you an excuse to tangle legs and fall in a heap on top of each other without anyone raising an eyebrow.

One final piece of advice: if you do happen to find yourself on a moonlit beach with Mr Right Christian Boy / Girl remember this: sand gets everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Better to wait.

61% of Christian singles willing to have casual sex without being in love

No, I did not make that headline up. Since Christian girls being easy got a rise out of many readers (over 3000 views in a couple of days) I decided to do some purity research. There may have been some talk about stable doors and horses bolting when I announced my new research topic. Undaunted, I girded my loins and prepared to get upright and snow white (rather than down and dirty) with purity. 599936-snow_white1_large

Purity means no sex, right?

Whilst I wasn’t raised in a Christian household, I definitely remember getting the message that ‘good girls don’t put out’. I suspect this was more due to fear of teen pregnancy and ‘ruining your life/reputation’ than any sort of desire to instil Godly purity. My message growing up: Sex was ‘better’ done within marriage but, if not, then at least do it safely, don’t catch anything, don’t breed, and for heaven’s sake, be selective.

I even attended a school that had a ‘six inches’ (15cm) rule. So members of the opposite sex could not be closer than 15 cm. Made the slow dances at the school disco interesting. Particularly when the teachers stepped up and started waving rulers around as Phyllis Nelson crooned ‘Move Closer‘ in the background.

So, at 14, I had Phyllis encouraging me to dance as if I was ‘really making love’, teachers fighting the good fight with plastic rulers and a parent who was superb on presenting the facts of life, yet possibly a tad over-zealous about the results of ill-conceived sex. I needed to do some research.

True Love Waits

Type in purity into Google and you can’t miss ‘True Love Waits’.

With a mission to educate young people on the issues pertaining to sex and purity through the lens of Scripture, since “True Love Waits” began in the U.S in 1993 more than 2.4 million youth have pledged their commitment to save sex for marriage.

This includes signing a statement which reads, “Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, those I date, and my future mate to be sexually pure until the day I enter marriage.”

True Love Waits Pledge jewellery and apparel start from as little as $4.95. Really? Shouldn’t purity be priced a little more highly? Ah but wait (pun intended): 2.4 million youth signing a pledge x $4.95 minimum spend on a ring or t-shirt = over $8 million.

But does true love really wait? With all of society’s pressures, a signed pledge because all your mates are signing too, and then buying a $4.95 ring as a reminder doesn’t yell important to me. If God and Jesus aren’t front of mind when the hormones are pumping, how’s a $4.95 ring going to serve as a reminder?

But you’d have sex if you truly loved me.

Ah, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that. True love isn’t waiting. It’s hopping round the bedroom with one shoe off and one shoe on, stuck pulling down its trouser leg. Research shows that many young Christians don’t even want the love: Sixty-one percent of self-identified Christian singles who answered a ChristianMingle survey in 2012 said they were willing to have casual sex without being in love, while only 11 percent said they are waiting to have sex until they are married!

Seems Jesus has been lost in translation…again

If you make purity all about not having sex, which is what True Love Waits has done, then, no surprise, it starts becoming all about sex. The True Love Waits pledge gets stuck on ‘sexually pure’.

Purity is bigger than that. The biblical definition of purity is a commitment to Godliness in everything. It’s putting God and Jesus first. It’s not just about getting your purity p-plates on from a ‘no sex’ perspective, but in everything.

Yet I can sort of forgive ‘True Love Waits’ for wanting to dumb it down for teenagers when faced with that definition. It reminded me of Robin Williams’ line about God being stoned when He created the platypus. I’d love to have seen what He was smoking when deciding to go with purity, teenage hormones and no sex before marriage.

My research continues…

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Christian Girls Are Easy

The SAP had another chai-spluttering moment when he read that headline. Yet it is his fault, given he alerted me to a problem that appears to be invading church youth across Australia, possibly even the world. No-one seems to be getting any. And by ‘any’ I mean courting. Courting is apparently dead in the church. Caught between friendship with fellow female young Christians and wrestling with what’s written about scriptural purity, it appears there are scores of young Christian men frozen by indecision.

This is not good! It’s hard enough getting people along to church in this reaching, secular world. If all our young Christians end up so frozen by purity that they can’t even ask each other out for a coffee/cake/gentle get to know you, what chance have they got of ever getting together, tying the knot, and bringing lots of young baby Christians into the world?

I am reminded of the World War Posters – Christianity Needs You!Your+Church+needs+you

As readers will know, I’ve been longer secular than Christian. You really don’t want to know the full story of how my husband and I met. Suffice to say it had something to do with me getting my name on a plaque on a pub in Bathurst that required me to drink 100 pints of Guinness. Big T was brave enough to stand out from the easy-on-the-eye, yet conversationally challenged local stock and station agent with whom I had been attempting a dialogue. Big T plonked a diet coke down in front of me and the rest is history. I did still get my name on the plaque, though.

What I rarely share is that God has His hand on our relationship from the start. You see, as Big T walked into the pub, my housemate, who knew him already, pointed him out. It sounds like a cliche but I looked across the pub and it was like the molecules in the room shifted. A literal judder of the air. And no, I hadn’t had that many pints of Guinness! I hadn’t even made eye-to-eye contact with the man, but the impact was palpable. Then clear as a bell in my head: “That is an incredibly significant person in your life.”

I attempted to quickly converse with the conversationally-challenged local stock and station agent because I was freaking out! I was an enlightened, double-degree holding, career-minded woman whose predecessors had won her the vote. What was all this sappy, our eyes didn’t even meet across a crowded room and I was getting the shivers, business?

But God found a way. May have taken a while for me to cotton on (sorry God) but He found a way.

Based on the above, the lesson is that God really doesn’t need any help in bringing a spouse into your life. So get over worrying about that bit.

Yes, marriage is serious. But coffee does not equal marriage. It does not mean, “and with this latte/double shot/soy/skim cappucinno, I thee wed.” But you do need to at least make the effort to try out a few beans (am I using a really bad metaphor here, given everyone may now turn their minds to grinding?) to see if you blend!

You’ve got Christianity in common. Which I why I used the headline. Do you know how hard it is in the secular world to meet someone, fall in love, stumble through the ‘rules of dating’ (Lord, save me from the rules of should I call him after 3 days or will I look too desperate?), get married, have kids and then stay together when the reality sets in that the chemistry they unleashed during dating simply isn’t enough? There is such a thing as peaking too early.

Fewer people today think of marriage as a Christian institution. Oddly, it has become something to tick off the to do list. “I must get married before I’m 30..35..40..etc.” say many women. So, guys, listen to me when I write this: Christian girls ARE easy, because, if you are Christian too, you will already understand what’s in her heart.

Jesus is in her heart, right? So start with that.

There is so much I could blog on about: purity pledges being one. And I will. But, in the famous words of Napoleon: not tonight, Josephine. I have a headache.