(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Editor’s Note: September, 2022
By Sarah Komisky
Every narrative has an editing process. You step back. You reevaluate. Reconsider. Relearn. Recreate. The editing gives an opportunity for growth. And every author knows, the rewrite makes the story even better. The purity movement had a narrative that we either experience first-hand or have come to experience as time marched on to be known as “purity culture.” Many of us who survived the movement have gone and left the church since then or become vocal in anger. Or, some have grown vocal in their fears of “do’s and don’t” Two extremes co-exist and often without major dialogue about what happened for their response. Those who have come after us would ask, “What’s the purity movement?” If we had a moment to talk about it, if you have been in the church in your life, you probably experienced the ramifications.
The narrative of the purity culture had good and sincere beginnings rooted in the desire to honor God with our lives, zeroing in on the area of sexuality. But, somewhere the narrative went awary when some “extra-biblicals” came in. It’s been a long time coming but, a conversation is definitely overdue. It may be one we aren’t wanting to have but need to in order to understand our narrative today in 2022.
Looking back, there are some fond parts of the narrative. I mean I can think of youth group, camps, bible studies, and concerts and smile. No doubt in these moments, I see beautiful things. And, I can imagine you have moments that connected us to the heart of God and drew us into wanting to know more of Him. If you were a “youth” in that time, there was something incredibly special about that time because many of us were excited about God and desiring to know His heart. At its core, the purity movement invited us to a quest in what it meant to be pure and to understand why it mattered. But, where it went haywire was in its presentation. Its message was coated oftentimes in fear instead of love. In rules instead of heart connection. In the focus on externals versus the internal that lead to the heart of purity. While the Bible was mentioned, extra-biblicals were added. The message of the original narrative in the Bible was misdirected. Others misrepresented the narrative. We were left with scars.
This year as we have been talking about purity in retrospect it’s vital to move forward by thinking about how we would indeed re-write this narrative today. What can we take that is good? I can say that we can start with the fever for God that the purity movement gave. It came with a passion for the heart of guide – even when it was misguided at times. Its motive was good.
But also, if we are to look at it today honestly, where is editing needed? In what part of the narrative do we need a rewrite?
Let’s start our drafts.
To do so, we at Marked Ministry are sharing our re-write’s with you. From those who have survived the culture to those who have come after us, we are all sharing our thoughts.
Also, we are including a book excerpt by speaker, preacher, and author, Nana Jones.
We pray these drafts spark conversation and a desire to reconsider change and how we can rewrite the purity narrative in 20222.