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Does Teaching Purity Contradict God's Grace?

GRACE"I’m just not seeing the message of grace presented in these purity and modesty movements," a woman recently wrote to me. "Why did Jesus die on the cross? We are righteous because of Jesus, not because of our works. ... I am all about ...waiting to have sex until marriage and using common sense in dressing in a manner that is respectful to yourself and those around you. But these are conversations that play such a minor role in the fabric of our lives. The Gospel is about Jesus and God’s grace, it’s not about purity." Her inquiry is deserving of consideration. Frankly, I was deeply troubled by it and wanted to right myself if I've been wrong. My heart pondered this question: "Is the way I teach modesty and purity—or the way you teach it or live it out— in contradiction to the powerful grace of God?"  After a lot of prayer and study, I have an answer. Let me start with the ugly part...

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Revenge of The Church Ladies

Can spiritual women also be sexually satisfied? It's a sad question to have to ask, but the incomplete manner in which the Church has answered sexual questions does mandate that we discuss it. If you're one of my more modest followers, please don't be disappointed but this article isn't for you. However, if you're a spiritual woman trying desperately to make sense of sexual desires and often finding answers outside of the Church, read on! I don't want you to find yourself falling for counterfeits in the quest. A lot of women have. (And you could win a free book that will help if you keep reading.) The sales of the Fifty Shades of Grey series has sold over 100,000,000 and the series has had a seat on the New York Times Best-seller list for 100 weeks straight. Now it will be a blockbuster in the movie theaters with Fandago presales setting records already. Let me be honest: the book has revived the sexual appetites of many women. But is that good? I'd like to suggest that it's not so great and that the best way to a vibrant sex life might just to become an "official church lady!"

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Should We Stop Using The Word "Purity"?

Recently I opened my blog to moderate comments on a post titled "Was Mary A Virgin?" Suddenly, I was being accused of "slut-shaming" for using the word virgin. What!? It was the VIRGIN Mary who I was writing about! The comments—including "This is slut shaming... Wrapped up in a pretty package" and "Such dialogue and scrutiny over a woman's virginity (aka 'purity') only feeds into patriarchal-based slut shaming"—were just the crest of a wave of frustration I've heard all year long as those following me lament that the language of sexual purity is out of style. The big claim? The word purity has no efficacy. So, let's put it on trial today and see where we land because as a leader in the Christian sexual theology conversation, I want to know: do you think we should stop using the word purity? But here's the deal. The debate—which I expect may get heated— must lean first and foremost on the truth of sexuality as defined in the Bible, not the opinions of men and woman. What's a good day in court without an opening argument? Here's my three defenses of the word purity.

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Was Mary A Virgin?

"We can determine with certainty that the virgin Mary was, in fact, not a virgin," wrote one self-declared atheist. His was one of many blog posts and articles I found debunking the "myth" of Mary's miraculous conception. Admittedly, some of the articles I read on this topic were written by respected religious scholars... even those published in Pulitzer Prize winning journals. A Christian pursuing an intelligent faith simply must stop to consider how incredibly ludicrous it is to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. Yes, I said "ludicrous!" Fact: it's not scientifically possible for a virgin to give birth.  If the hair on the back of your neck is standing on end, relax. I'm going to offer you some intelligent faith-food to defend Mary's virtue. Here are two fallacies unbelievers and even believers are embracing as evidence that Mary was not a virgin, and the logic to debunk them.

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Love Feast Day #4: Get Lost In His Intimacy

happybirthday!

Welcome to the Get Lost Online Love Feast designed to help you feast on the love of God for ten days in an effort to overcome the angst of craving a guy!

Each day I'll post worship music to focus your heart, a key Bible verse, and a prayer to pray just prior to a short devotional that'll bring your heart to the banqueting table of God for a fulfilling and relevant teaching on what your heart truly craves! (Each of these is an excerpt from a love feast chapter in Get Lost: A Girl's Guide To True Love where you can have the full experience. )

Bad hair days are the communal girl experience, but they sure get us down. Which of us is happy with our appearance entirely? We should begin to embrace the truth that we are God's creation and he doesn't make junk. Here's some healing for you!

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Ten Reasons Every Mom Must Talk To Her Daughter About Sex

hispanic-teen-girl-with-momOne of the most critical on-going conversations mothers can have with their daughters is on the topic of sexuality. My head spins with all the risk and hope that teeters on the existence of such a dialogue. Let me share the best news first: the number one risk-reducer for your daughter is parent/child connection. What you think about sex informs her view of it, and what you communicate about sexual risk and sexual theology helps to steer her towards healthy choices. You're that powerful, Mom. Most girls I've spoken with wish their mom would bring the subject up more often. Most moms I've spoken with feel insecure about talking. Let me fuel your interest by sharing these top ten reasons why every mom must talk about sex early and often. They aren't pretty, but remember talking about sex reduces the risk and puts you in a place to reduce the pain if any does come your daughters direction.

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7 Secrets To Purity For Every Teen Girl

I said goodbye to my virginity when I was fifteen. How old were you? If you had it to do over again, would you wait? I would. I knew none of the physical consequences of choosing to have sex early, but I was depressed. I felt like I'd given something precious away and could never have it back. That's why I've devoted my life to spreading the idea that sex is worthy of something more than a casual hookup. Is that a message you want to share with your daughter? Little sister? A friend you're trying to mentor? Read on, because the news today is better...and worse...than when you were a teenager and I have seven secrets that will reduce the risk in the teen girl you love.

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Good Sex Comes To Those Who Wait!

goodsex"Good sex comes to those who wait." That was last week's claim by Her•meneutics blogger Courtney Reissig. Only, I should clarify that she ended the sentence with a question mark: "Good sex comes to those who wait?" And then her words decried the efforts of the abstinence and purity movement—my efforts, really—charging that we are guilty of "incentivizing abstinence with personal pleasure." To her credit, Courtney—whose work I've examined rather thoroughly and I'm fairly certain that if we shared a cup of coffee I'd enjoy her and find more common ground that different thinking—cited last year's  New York Times article "In Hookups, Inequality Still Reigns." The article explained that women report having better sex in committed relationships than those having casual sex. Courtney argued that using studies like this to encourage virginal Christian singles to wait was akin to demanding a "cosmic exchange" with God. My purity now in exchange for great sex later, Ok God? "Promising great sex to those who wait for their wedding day is feeding off of our desire for self-fulfillment, not other-oriented service," wrote Reissig. Is it wrong to teach our children and young single adults that there are practical, pleasure-filled rewards in waiting for sex? Are we falling prey to using the world's model of sex education when we use studies revealing that sex is better inside committed relationships? And—what you really want to know—is sex better if you wait?

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Single Desire: How Can I Be Sexually Alive?

"The truth is that God designed sex to be enjoyed within the context of a marriage bed. It’s as simple and as terribly frustrating as that. While it would be nice if there were a caveat for those who never get married, that would deny the sanctity of the act of sex altogether wouldn’t it? The marriage bed should be honored by “all,” not just those who have one. (Hebrews 13:4) This is difficult but true." (From "How Can I Satisfy My Sexual Desire As A Single Woman?") And yet, I promised you when I started this blog series that I'd dig hard and try to find answers to your questions. Specifically, I promised that I'd look for ways that you can meet the five legitimate longings that Dr. Juli Slattery and I wrote about in Pulling Back the Shades. And one of them is this: God created women to long to be sexually alive. A rich theology of sexuality demands a robust desire for sex, and God did not create the boundaries of sexual expression to frustrate us. So, what plan exists to relieve the sexual tension? I think there are four ways that God enables a single woman to have her sexual desires released in a healthy manner.

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