Should a Christian Woman “Put Herself Out There”?

I’ve had this post sitting in my draft folder for a while, blinking at me. You’re bound to write me one day.

When I received four emails in two days from girls asking, “How do I meet men?” saying, “I haven’t even been asked out!” and wondering, “Is it wrong to go looking for guys to date?” I figured it was time to bite the bullet and dive in.

I was hesitant to write this because there will be trolls who show up – bitter, angry women who believe there really aren’t any good men left in the world – who will shun, shame and bash what I have to say here. That’s okay. I’m used to it. And I’m not going to let the bitterness of a few ruin hope for the many.

Truth is – I’ve been there. I mean, I grew up in northern Michigan, which is essentially like living on an island since there’s water on three sides and only one way out: Ohio. It was easy to think my options were limited, since dating one of my many guy friends was perilous business (the age-old ‘don’t want to ruin the friendship’ issue).

Like almost everything else I write about on this blog (kissing, dating standards, modesty, submission, men), there are two extreme camps on this issue. One implies women should spend life in their living rooms, skip college, and wait for a man who pursues them. The other vouches for ‘empowerment': citing ‘equality’ as reason enough for women to ask men out on a date the same way a man would ask a woman. Women are encouraged to pursue men and make their availability wantonly clear.

And there we are, God’s women, sitting in between these two camps: one piously citing faith in a very unseen suitor, the other out every evening with a different guy.

What’s a girl to do?

I grew up immersed in ‘purity culture’. I’ve read the books, heard the speakers, gone to the conventions, worn the ring – I know the system. Unlike other writers, I didn’t abandon ship, thanks to the grace of God. But this doesn’t mean purity ‘culture’ isn’t without its flaws. Anytime we try to take a grace-driven virtue and narrow it down to a list of rules, legalism will emerge. And where legalism lives, you’ll see some passionate people clinging to ideas that aren’t expressly biblical.

The First Step to Thanksgiving is to Notice

The project was in full, Type-A swing – the project I mentioned in Contentment Is not a State of Being.

‘Embrace Lynchburg’ is an effort on my part to ‘grow where I’ve been planted’… to accept the place God has me in a city that is constantly changing.

That epiphany – that contentment-choice – opened my eyes to notice.

I first realized a shift in my mentality as I stood streetside by our downtown bank. Mr. M was getting cash from the ATM and I was looking at the quiet Sunday intersection, overarched by gray November skies that blended into the fading facades of Greek revival buildings.

A leaf blew by my feet, and I noticed the brilliant red against the cobblestone.

The man who always sits at the corner of Main and 9th – he hums and rolls his eyes at you when you walk past. I noticed him this time, not in the ‘walk as fast as I can because I’m so uncomfortable’ kind of way.

I’d left my phone in the car. I’ve been leaving my phone more often these days. I read in the Wall Street Journal that this habit of taking pictures of every moment actually shortens our memory of those things – those baby pictures, the fall leaves on the mountain, that coffee date with a friend. When you take a picture, you don’t have to notice.

Video: Top 5 Questions of the Week

My hair looked good today, so I decided to make a video.

Just kidding! But seriously… that never happens. {#curlygirlprobs}

Last week’s video was well received, so here’s this week’s ‘top 5 questions’ received via email. I got quite a few questions this week so I’ll have a few left for next Wednesday as well – and you can always email me your own at phyliciadelta@hotmail.com!

This week’s questions are:

How can I express my love and affection in a relationship without crossing lines or physical standards?
How do you go from thinking of relationships or sex as ‘bad’ to seeing it in a good light? How do you get rid of guilt?
At what point is it acceptable to talk about marriage in a relationship?
I don’t feel attracted to a guy who is interested in me, but he’s a great, godly man. Should I date him?
Do you have any recommendations for books on biblical sexuality?

Thanks for following along with me, gals! The video is 14 minutes long, so get some popcorn and put your feet up. {I need to work on the whole ‘hold your tongue’ concept }

Marriage Is Consent: How Selfishness, not Purity, Perpetuates Rape Culture

One of my readers forwarded me an article entitled “Marriage is Not Consent: How Purity Culture Perpetuates Rape Culture”, written by another former disciple of the purity movement.

“Is this true?” My reader asked. “Is the church really responsible for rape culture?”

The article I’m addressing is actually a response to another article… which I suppose makes this a response-response article.

The author did make some decent points: she addressed the issue of guilt in Christian marriage – the idea that wives ‘owe’ their husbands sex in order to appease some animalistic demand. The blog she is refuting – the Forgiven Wife – seeks to offer advice and help to women who are struggling to give themselves sexually to their husbands. Samantha takes issue with this because of the guilt factor:

“The real issue is that there are married women out there who have sex with their husbands because they are told they have to. They are told that they can’t refuse because that makes them bad Christians. There are women who let their husbands take advantage of them over and over again. They were taught that ‘no’ isn’t an option. They were taught that ‘no’ is a sin.”

There is some truth to this. There are men in the world who do take advantage of their wives in marriage. There are men who are demanding and egocentric, who don’t love their wives the way God commanded. And there are churches who preach an absolute ‘submission’, outside of the realm of mutual respect and love, to the detriment of the women hearing their message.

But Samantha goes on to say:

“The woman behind Forgiven Wife, like many other women raised in purity culture, has been taught that she does not own her sexuality. It is owned first by god and second by her husband. It’s the same reason women are called to remain virgins until marriage. Because no one, not even the woman herself, is entitled to her sexuality until she’s married. Then, it becomes her husband’s property and she must use it to fulfill his desires. No one ever wants to equate religion with rape culture, but I’m going to do it because it needs to stop being ignored. Churches who preach purity culture absolutely perpetuate rape culture.”

And here is where our pathways diverge.

Contentment is Not a State of Being

I’d go to Bible study above the chocolate shop, walk down the street to get coffee, and stroll through the tunnel under US-31 to watch the sunset from the pier. The clock tower gleamed red, its white face glowing like a moon above the bay. I never failed to see someone I knew on those friendly streets. Summers were spent shopping, swimming, boating, kayaking, and long Saturdays lakeside at the beach. Winters were spent on the ski slopes, on snowmobiles, sledding, skating and watching city league hockey games.

I grew up in a storybook, really.

Our farm was the kind they put in paintings. Our friends were warm and welcoming. I remember the laughter, the closeness, the smell of bread and soup and pie and cookies. I still hear the piano on winter days, still see the waves lapping at the beach, and still smell the black dirt of the garden where we picked beans before dad took us to the state park.

I chose to move to Virginia. I chose to make that change from small town of 5,000 to a bigger city of 75,000. I’d say it’s a good choice – I got a great job, made wonderful friends, and met my husband!

But I never really accepted this place as my home.

5 Myths Christian Women Believe About Men

In writing The Other Virgin Diaries, I talked a lot about relationships and sexuality. But there’s a variable in all these posts that is only sometimes addressed by my husband’s once-in-a-blue-moon post appearances.

That variable is the men.

Our culture has a great habit of blasting information loud and long enough until we start to believe it. One thing they’ve trumpeted since I was old enough to notice is the ‘necessary evil’ of male humans. It seems men are great for Cosmo covers, bedrooms, parties, and taking out the trash. But they’re terrible at marriage, post-marital sex, and general intelligence.

I’m really sick of this stupidity. That’s right: stupidity. You can’t fight a battle for equality when you marginalize the very people you need on your side – that’s for the extreme feminists.

For the rest of you, I’ll bet some of these ‘myths’ have been ground into your mind without your knowledge or consent, and we’re going to debunk them. When God created people, He created man AND woman in His image (Gen. 1:27). They are equal in God’s eyes, though He has equipped them for different roles, a fact evidenced by the distinction between our anatomies (‘equality’ does not mean ‘same’ or ‘interchangeable’). If you have questions about the biblical definition of marriage and roles, read this post.

This post is going to make some people mad. So before you respond, get some back up for your responses. Provide Scripture. Get the facts.

These ‘myths’ are beliefs that may be unspoken, but have been generally accepted by many Christian women. Some of them are half-truths that have been unfairly applied to very diverse portion of our society. There are always exceptions. But exceptions are not the rule for a whole gender, and that’s what we are going to debunk.

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