Author Michael DiMarco talks about his book True Purity. (audio interview)
There is a link below to an interview by Mefferd with an author, DiMarco, who wrote a book called “True Purity.” He discusses how to present celibacy / sexual purity to people, particularly teens (why is the focus always on TEENS and 20 somethings? First mistake right there).
It’s been a couple of weeks since I listened to the interview, so I don’t recall all the details. Based on what I do recall…
The author discusses how much teaching on abstinence fails because it does not center the teaching in who people are “in Christ.”
DiMarco seems to feel if only people remember they have a relationship with Jesus, that this will strengthen them or enable them to abstain from sex. That may be true in part for some Christians who remain virgins past the age of 30, but in some ways it’s a vague and ineffective response.
It is common for some Christian authors to intellectualize celibacy and sexual matters, and this author is no different. Intellecutalizing the issues doesn’t do anything to really solve the issue or tackle some of the core issues singles face, especially for unmarrieds over the age of 35, other than having unfulfilled sexual desires: one of their biggest obstacles is loneliness.
Some unmarrieds have thriving social lives, but not all. The ones who don’t have a strong social life lack a support system, someone to see them through tough times, and have no one to confide in, or share life with. And God knows most American churches do NOTHING in this area: unmarrieds are shunned, ignored, or forgotten. Seldom do married Christian couples invite unmarrieds to their homes for meals or holidays, for example.
Another point DiMarco raises through out this interview with Mefferd is the topic of “Secondary Virginity.” He recoils at the Christians who present celibacy talk to teens in terms that makes them feel like rejects, losers, or tainted, damaged goods if they’ve already had sex.
I certainly do not believe that all of a person’s value should be based on their sexual status (i.e., virgin vs. sexually active), and I do not think people should be made to feel like damaged goods if they’ve had sex outside of marriage.
However, as I’ve discussed previously, all this easy forgivism, “secondary virginity” or “spirtual virginity” talk, which is made to comfort and reassure those Christians who have committed fornication, are damaging to Christians who are over the age of 30 who are literal virgins.
In their attempt to encourage Christians who have fallen into sexual sin by offering these “God gives second chances” or “You can consider yourself a ‘secondary virgin'” type responses, these preachers or Christian speakers are discouraging and diminishing those who have fully and completely abstained from sex, particularly for those over the age of 35.
There is no respect, support, or encouragement from Christian quarters for people who have remained virgins past the age of 30 and who desire marriage.
By presenting sexual sin as a relatively easy matter to get past – just tell God you are sorry for your fornication and label yourself a “secondary virgin,” these Christian authors and preachers have just dismissed and brushed aside the struggles and journey of Christians who have literally and absolutely stayed virgins past their 20s.
That factor, coupled with no support, is robbing older Christian celibates of another reason to continue being chaste.
I do not have all the solutions on how to discuss these topics with Christians who have fallen into sexual sin, but I do know what the answers are not – and they do not revolve short-changing and diminishing those who truly are virgins by tossing out phrases such as “secondary virginity” or “spiritual virginity” or sailing past sexual sin as though it’s nothing.
If you have engaged in fornication, God will forgive you if you turn to Him, and you are not permanently “damaged goods”. That is certainly true. But what of those of us who held out to our 30s, 40s, and beyond and have not had sex? Where are our pep talks? Where is the encouragement for them?
Instead of being applauded and supported for being chaste, Christians who are virgins past the age of 25 – 30 are insulted or treated like freaks, oddities, or failures by most Christian groups, which more often than not, are marriage- and- parenting- obsessed these days.
Here’s the interview with DiMarco about teaching sexual purity to people: