by SJ Reidhead cross posted from her blog The Pink Flamingo
I’m not a strong advocate for sex outside of marriage. I am certainly no advocate for adultery, which I think is wrong. It’s one of the Ten Big Ones, as in Thou Shalt Not. But, fornication, which is sex between individuals who are not married either to one another, or anyone else, is not considered a major sin. I do think, though, it is an invitation to complicate one’s life. That’s why I avoid the subject, and the process. It’s complicated, complicating, and just tends to get in the way of life. Maybe that’s a cop-out, but I have enough problems right now. I don’t need to deal with the emotional ups and downs of an involved relationship – period. I’ve had my fair share of offers and heart-break. Somehow, I think the heart-break would have been worse with the complications endemic in being involved, sexually. There is always the possibility of reproduction, and that is not something in my life- plan.
We live in a very weird world, today. Men are strange, complicated, fragile creatures who don’t quite know their place in the world, these days. There are some who blame this on feminism, but I think it is the fact that today’s male is coddled, worshiped, given a pass when it comes to responsibility, and not required to act like an adult male. A love ‘em leave ‘em sexual attitude has nothing to do with it. Men have always been like that, but have lived up to a code of responsibility, or have been considered to be lacking in honor. Maybe that’s the problem – they aren’t taught honor these days. They are spoiled, indulged brats. It doesn’t matter if they are liberal or conservative. Maybe the problems is the fact that I spend so much time researching the Wild West, and men like Wyatt Earp that I lose sight of reality.
I think about my great-grandfather Perkins, who lost everything in the real estate crash of 1898. He was quite wealth, with a wife and eight children. When he lost everything, he did not go begging to his father or brother. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and found a job digging ditches – to support the family. The problem was, that he was caught in the very first strains of the flu which would decimate the world, less than 20 years later. It was so lethal, when the first strains hit the Mid-West that healthy men like Albert would go to work, and be fine. By that evening, they were dead. He went to work. Came home, and was dead by the following morning. The family was left with nothing. His creditors took everything they had, leaving them on the brink of being homeless. His oldest daughters pooled what money they had, and Aunt Birdie took a job as a book-keeper for a local cemetery. Aunt Mable went to work in a department store. Aunt Birdie was able to take what little money she had, and make a down payment on a house on Dupont Street in Minneapolis. They lived there until Aunt Mabel sold it in the mid-1980s.
There was no welfare, no social security. There were no pensions. There were no social services to help a widow with small children, survive. Instead, the men of the community, my father’s grandfather Reidhead, included, would get together and decide what they could do to help the Widow Perkins, and not hurt her pride. A cord of wood would appear in the back yard. Someone would drop off a load of coal. She would open the back door and fine a bushel bag of potatoes, onions, and other veggies. She never knew who helped her, but we know, because her daughter Ruby, my grandmother, married the son of one of them men helping her. Let’s be honest here. If they had been somewhere else, or the family had been of a different social status, it would not have been that easy. The point is, instead of lamenting about how she needed to fend for herself, get a job, or make drastic changes in her life, the men of the community stepped in, and helped her.
There were no demands, no requirements, no lamentations. No one lectured her on life choices. She had done nothing wrong in life, and had not made bad choices. Her life fell apart during the wild financial fluctuations of the 1890s. Then, her husband died. The men of the community stood up, and acted like men of honor, to help her. They did what was right. It should be noted that the discussion of what to do to help her began during a men’s club meeting at their church. As Christian gentlemen, they pledged to help the Widow Perkins, all they could. I don’t know what happened to all of these men. I know that the Reidhead men were raised to be men of honor.
That’s the difference.
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote:
“…“…The Christian rule of chastity must not be confused with the social rule of ‘modesty’ (in one sense of that word); i.e., propriety, or decency. The social rule of propriety lays down how much of the human body should be displayed and what subjects can be referred to, and in what words, according to the customs of a given social circle.
Thus, while the rule of chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes.
A girl in the Pacific islands wearing hardly any clothes and a Victorian lady completely covered in clothes might both be equally ‘modest,’ proper, or decent, according to the standards of their own societies: and both, for all we could tell by their dress, might be equally chaste (or unchaste)….
When people break the rule of propriety current in their own time and place, if they do so in order to excite lust in themselves or others, then they are offending against chastity. But if they break it through ignorance or carelessness they are guilty only of bad manners. When, as so often happens, they break it defiantly in order to shock or embarrass others, they are not necessarily being unchaste, but they are being uncharitable. (83-84)..”…”
The purity culture requires that women remain pure, virgins, until they are married. Unfortunately, there is much more too it. The purity culture required that a woman be modest, quiet, submissive, and everything a man, an immature, childish, spoiled, selfish godly man could want. She must be able to bake a cherry pie, squat down and let the child fall out while she’s hoeing the back-forty. She needs to be willing to be barefoot, pregnant, and have one brat after another – and be happy about it. The pure woman is to have no needs of her own. She is to eschew manicures, pedicures, new clothes, and Louis Vuitton. Her glory is in her family, and her godly husband.
The godly husband is the problem. Raised to be a godly man who is more comfortable in the company of other godly men, he really doesn’t like or respect women. He has been taught that godly men don’t work for women. They don’t have women bosses. He needs to be his own boss, so that he can dominate those around him. His world is littered with get-rich-quick schemes, marketed to godly men by other godly men, so that he can maintain his godly life. Unless he has a real career that brings in real money, his growing family is likely to be living in the edge of poverty. Never allowed to borrow money, his family may live in near squalor – unless he has the career of choice – that of a contractor. His wife should not be working outside the home. That is ungodly. She needs to cook, clean, raise a garden, have one child after another, and homeschool. She also cans, sews, and may be marketing holy oils. But, she needs to know how to tip-toe around the godly man, not rouse his anger, and prepare his godly daughters to become wives to godly men like themselves.
His daughters must be pure, in thought, mind, and body. They must be modest. They must be trained, from the moment they are born, to obey and not express any form of individuality. Theirs is a life of indentured servitude – godly servitude. But, first, they must remain pure.
Purity is not about purity. It is about control. There is something almost unspoken here. Is one of the reasons these godly men require purity from their godly women because they doubt their masculinity? We’re talking about godly men who prefer the company of other godly men, and put down their godly women. These same godly men hate homosexuals. Could one of the reasons they are so godly about their purity be that they, themselves are so deeply closeted that they will never come out?
Virginity, in a bride, was required, once upon a time, before the advent of DNA. A man of property needed to insure that the child his wife bore was his own. Today, though, purity should be a woman’s choice, as should it be a man’s choice. It should not be forced upon her by the religious cult in which she is being raised.
It’s also a Bill Gothard thing:
“...Gothard’s quest for purity has led to strong counsel against dating. Instead, young people are encouraged to “court,” with an eye toward marriage. It is Gothard’s antidote for what he calls the “broken-heart syndrome.” A young, single person’s duty, he says, should be to keep his heart wholly devoted to God.
He takes the courting principle even further: a young man must ask for, and receive, permission from the girl’s father to court and eventually marry her. The father “holds the key to his daughter’s heart,” Gothard says, and will only pass it on to a young man when he has proven he possesses the character to be a strong, responsible Christian husband. In the meantime, the girls are to cultivate trusting relationships with their fathers–whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent guardians of their daughters’ virtue.
… Gothard’s standard of purity is a moving target. Whenever a girl empties her life of distractions and impurities, he says, she discovers something else that God has pinpointed in her character requiring the remedy of divine grace….Staying pure helps the girls maintain a “clear countenance,” Gothard says. …”
The purity culture is about control. It is about putting women down, forcing them to submit, and elevating men who deserve to be living in the gutter.
Please visit SJ Reidhead’s blog The Pink Flamingo