(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Editor’s Note: February, 2022
By Sarah Komisky
I was in junior high. At the top of my reading list were Teen, YM, and Seventeen. Yes, actual, physical magazines were a thing. But, I also read another magazine. It was a Christian publication that came out and young girls like me couldn’t wait to peruse the next issue. I must of casually read a zillion of those articles and took quizzes to see if I was a good friend or was boy crazy. Yet, the one I specifically remember to this day was a fashion article that offered different tips on modest outfits. The “modest is hottest” slogan rang loud and clear before it was mainstream. I saw girls covered from just below the chin to their ankles in outfits that were not something me or my friends were wearing. Filing through the pages my unfiltered thought was, “that’s ugly,” (please don’t judge my 13-year-old critic). But, the core of that statement I get. No girl at that time was wearing a trench coach with a skirt down to her feet. Although I didn’t really like the clothing choices that were offered I received a picture message in my mind that this was right. This was pure.
That illustration is just one example of the many messages I received about purity. What about you? You have them. What were they and what did they teach you? Some we can look back and laugh at (just like mine above), others traumatized and scarred us for life.
Purity matters. Wheather you have grown up in the church or not, you have received some messages. People have taught you things. Relationships have taught you things. People from the pulpit have taught you things. Media has taught you things. What’s right and what’s wrong?
There are two camps that are alive and well. Legalist and liberal. But what if we stepped back and took a different approach.
Currently, the majority of my generation has been so hurt by the plethora of rules that came from what we know as “purity culture” in a movement that happened years ago that many who survived have abandoned the faith or decided to take on a deconstructed approach. If that is you. No judgment. But, I would ask for the possibility of being open to some new thoughts. One we hope to talk about together in safety at Marked Ministry.
But before I begin any conversation on purity, I believe an apology is necessary. If no one ever told you sorry for the pain you carry today, I want to be the first. What you were taught or what trauma you faced at the expense of purity culture needs to be told that it was wrong and that I’m sorry you had to experience it, perhaps with no one to tell it to.
So how do we move forward when many of us are either stuck in rules, judgment, and guilt for what we do or don’t do. Or, are we stuck in bitterness for what occurred. Both options = being stuck. Both need clarity. Both need healing.
What is the way forward?
This magazine is the ponderings of those who are asking that in this culture. Some of us grew up in the purity culture and movement of the past. Others of us have not. But all of us have a story. This year is our unworking of our stories and the stories around us. And, we invite you to come.
While we do not blame the church. We can be honest in saying there were things that were wrong, even abusive. Also, some things that were right. And most of all, we want to uncover what the Bible says about it and rediscover a new definition of purity.
This first installment of a new series on purity this year asks the question, “what?” If we are to re-work something, we have to start at the foundation. So, we begin.
Our time will be authentic in sharing our hearts on the many facets of purity that have and continue to affect our lives. We’ll bring our perspective. Our wrestling. Our unknowns. Our pain. Our passion on the vocalization of this subject. And we invite you to do the same.
For years we swept it under the rug in churches. Our hurting. Our anger. Our questioning is the direct effect of that.
So, if you are willing. Whoever you are, come. We welcome you. The Bible speaks of God saying “let us reason together.” He also says “come” to those who are weary and weighed down. I think the invitation is there to imperfect humanity. Therefore, we extend it graciously as well.
Think of this as a new approach to purity as one we can work together on thinking about what the Bible really says, what it really means, why it is important, and how to adopt a lifestyle of purity.
Can we talk about it? And can we redefine purity?
Welcome to the redefined purity issue.
Happy to have you.