When Evangelicalism Makes Things Easy for Sexual Offenders—and Hard for Their Victims

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Evangelical teachings on repentance and forgiveness create a tremendous problem when it comes to rape or other forms of abuse. If you commit a sin and repent of it, God forgives you. I remember hearing Psalm 103:12 quoted constantly: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Of course, this was always said in a positive way---isn't it awesome that God forgives us no matter what? But it doesn't must mean God forgives us. It also means God forgives … [Read more...]

“Modest Is Hottest” and Girls’ Self-Confidence

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By now, you've probably heard "modest is hottest" thrown around like a mantra. There are "modest is hottest" fashion shows and "modest is hottest" conferences for girls. It's about time I weighed in.Frankly, I'm conflicted. When I was a teen striving to dress modestly, I struggled with body image. I covered my body in baggy clothing. I felt unattractive, and that affected how I carried and viewed myself. So I like the idea that in many churches girls like I was are now being encouraged to … [Read more...]

The Female Body, a Source of Contamination

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I recently came upon a blog post titled "How the Modesty Police Are Hurting My Son," in which blogger Ami writes about trying to teach her son that he is responsible for his own actions even as those around her tell him that girls are responsible for covering up so as to "protect" him. As I looked through the mostly positive comments on her post, I was struck by this one: I think it’s great that you teach your child all these things---and I think it’s great that parents teach their children mod … [Read more...]

What’s it take to get kicked out of homeschool prom?

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I'm sure you've already read about this, but my friend Hannah Ettinger's sister Clare was recently kicked out of her homeschool prom this past weekend even though her dress met the dress code requirements. Why was she kicked out? Because the homeschool fathers stationed on a balcony above the dance floor determined that her dress would make their sons lust after her and therefore asked the organizers to make her leave.When Hannah posted her sister's story as a guest post Sunday, I doubt … [Read more...]

Purity. It’s for Girls.

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Growing up, my brothers got purity rings too. They, too, were expected to stay pure until marriage. I have often taken comfort in the seeming egalitarian application of purity teachings in my own upbringing. Or so I've told myself.But I'm getting frustrated. Because let's face it, the emphasis is on the girls.A Swedish photographer attended some purity balls in the United States and took the above picture and others. Within evangelical purity culture, both boys and girls are expected … [Read more...]

Courtship, Hand-Holding, Parody, and Me

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I recently came upon an article titled "The Christian dating site for those saving hand-holding for marriage." When I saw the title, I thought it was real, because saving hand-holding for marriage doesn't actually seem foreign or that far out to me.The article, which is actually parody, centered around this video:The Duggar girls are saving hand-holding for engagement. The Duggar family has already spoken about its dating and courtship standards on the TV show. In a TLC interview a … [Read more...]

On Masturbating without Lust

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Awkward as it may be, over the past several years I've written a number of posts on the impact of my upbringing, with its emphasis on sexual purity, on my sex life both past and present. This time I want to turn to a subject I don't believe I've explored yet, and that is my adolescent "struggles" and internal conflicts over masturbation.I've written before about the huge physical response physical touch evoked in my body when I first started dating. I've written, too, that early in my sex … [Read more...]


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