Turning on a dime: false equivalence in purity culture.

This particular day, I don’t recall who the speaker was. I don’t remember what he looked like, and I don’t even recall entirely the message he preached.

I only remember a single illustration he used.

I went to a reasonably conservative Christian school from the age of 6 through the first marking period of my junior year, when I opted to home school through their program because I believed my classmates to be worldly and a bad influence on me. (I share that mostly to illustrate that I was not always as I am now, as most people do not remain who or how they were in years past as they continue to learn and grow throughout their lives.)

Anyway.

At this school during my early high school days, we usually had Bible class first period (at least at the time). Friday mornings, however, Bible class was replaced by chapel. We had many guest speakers for chapel, usually local pastors or youth pastors, sometimes traveling evangelical or music teams from Christian colleges trying to recruit new students. Chapel was usually held in the gym, with the speaker pacing the basketball court while the students sat listening in the bleachers.

He called on our school’s star soccer player to stand at the boundary line of the court. He placed a dime on the free throw line and instructed the soccer player to walk at a normal pace towards the dime and stop right when he reached it. This was done, of course, with great ease. Then he sent the soccer player back to the boundary line and instructed him to all-out sprint towards the dime, still attempting to come to a complete stop. Obviously, the soccer player couldn’t do that — he rocketed far beyond the dime.

The take-away was that in sexual situations, you may think you will be able to stop before sex (the dime). And if you take things slowly, maybe you can. But if you rush things, you will never be able to stop on the dime.

I remember being blown away, thinking how wonderful an illustration that was. Tucking it away in my memory (clearly), to help me make sure that I would never, ever run full-tilt towards the sexy no-nos.

Now, a decade or so later, I realize that this is really problematic in lots of ways.

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