Perspective on purity

White wedding shoes with the words Pure and Precious written on the inside

Depending on who you talk to, “purity” is either a wonderful word to describe a high concept, or a toxic word used to oppress people (most often women).

For myself, I believe that purity, when properly understood, is a good thing, but that ‘purity culture’ is a form of gender based violence. I also have a few ideas about what purity is really meant to be about – and my thinking and theology are still forming. Below you’ll find links to posts about what I call a ‘new perspective on purity’. Meanwhile, I had the following to say in my 95 statements on hope, sexuality and consent:

81. Purity is the debating ground for what constitutes belonging within, or exclusion from, community. One way or another, the debate usually involves people’s genitals.
82. “Purity culture” and “modesty culture” are both forms of gender based violence.
83. “Purity pledges” can only bring a curse; they bind a person but, unlike wedding vows, do not mark transition into belonging.
84. “Purity” and “holiness”, properly understood, are about covenantal belonging to/with God.
85. Purity-as-separation subverts God’s plan for reconciliation and is contrary to the church’s covenant calling.
86. Modesty is about veiling glory as a means of inclusion, particularly in a context where a person has the right to display it.
87. Purity (membership) is a state to be entered; once entered, it is not easily lost.
88. Purity (intimacy) doesn’t plateau; it deepens as people respond to God’s calling and commissioning.
89. Purity (belonging) is a privilege to be exercised in the midst of sin, in service to others.
90. Purity (covenantal inclusion) works reconciliation while it waits for the fulness of redemption.

Posts about a new perspective on purity

How the word ‘proxy’ helps me talk about equality (Nov 2018)

Let’s talk about that Deuteronomy 22 law where a girl marries her rapist. Because it’s not about marriage or sex. (Nov 2018)

Juliet from 1996 20th Century Fox adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, with quote "Proud can I never be of what I hate" and text "Let's talk about that Old Testament law where a girl marries her rapist"

Rethinking virginity: yes, it is about purity, but it’s not like a silk scarf (Jul 2017)

What exactly is a pledge? Exploring the types of commitment seen in the Bible (with the aim of later looking at purity pledges) (Mar 2018)

Silver heart bracelet worn by bride. Text: Purity pledges and the Bible, what exactly is a pledge or vow or covenant?

Priestesses in the church? Why CS Lewis’ argument was right, but his conclusion wrong (Mar 2018)

Priestesses In the Church essay title by CS Lewis

A brain-dump about purity: this time, I think I really might change the world (Sep 2017)

Why purity-as-separation undermines the church’s covenant calling (Oct 2017)

Wedding shoes of different colours but similar ribbons and style

95 statements on hope, sexuality and consent