I know it’s not my typical word. 

The other night I was at a function at a local Catholic church.  I’m not a Catholic but Beggar’s Daughter as a ministry has a foothold and experience within the Catholic church and, more recently, within the LDS church. 

At any rate, as I sat at a table, I struck up conversation with an older couple next to me.  As we talked, I mentioned I was a purity speaker.  They looked confused.  I repeated myself, and they said, “Say it again?” 

I said, “I’m a purity speaker.”  Their response: “What is that?”

I was completely dumbfounded.  I guess there are some things we just take for granted.  I grew up in the wake of such figures as Rebecca St. James and Joshua Harris.  Purity was the thing.  There were conferences, songs, books out the wazoo, and, of course, purity rings.  I’m a Generation “True Love Waits”-er.  It never even crossed my mind that a couple who could very well be my parents would have no idea what purity was.  They had never heard the word before.

So, I started going through my mental thesaurus.  I hit the secular synonym “Abstinence?”  Still nothing.  I hit the Catholic buzz word, “Chastity?”  That helped a little.  They still looked at me like I had walked off a shuttle from some different planet.

The conversation moved on and we chatted about jobs and the event.  As we said our goodbyes, the woman said, “That purity stuff, I’ve heard of it before or something like it.  My daughter and her boyfriend do something like that.”

Something like that?

First off, I can’t say that purity is necessarily “stuff.”  Secondly, I don’t know how you do ‘something like that.’  Thirdly, I can’t say that I have ever even thought of the idea that people would have no clue what I am talking about when I talk about purity.  I guess I could have made their night and just said, “I used to be addicted to porn and reach out to other women with similar sexual addictions.”  However, I like to think I have a little more tact than that (just a little– I can be dangerous when riled).

So for the sake of explaining it to anyone who has wandered onto this site and wonders what on earth I am talking about:

Purity- the state of worshipping God in holy surrender of heart, body and mind, most specifically as it relates to sexuality.   Differing from abstinence in that abstinence only focus on the abstaining from sexual intercourse without taking into account: a) one’s relationship with God and b) one’s mind and heart.

Abstinence emphasizes what we shouldn’t do sexually and motivates with fear or determination.

Purity takes the emphasis off our sexuality and focuses on loving God, out of… love.  It’s not about what we aren’t supposed to do but about what we are choosing not to do.