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Saturday, February 12, 2011

In Defense of Emotional Purity

This post is in response to "How the Teachings of Emotional Purity and Courtship Damage Healthy Relationships", in which the author Darcy lays out her case against the Courtship/Anti-Dating/Emotional Purity camp, as expressed by the teaching of men such as Josh Harris in, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and the Ludys. She argues ("rants" might be a better word) that these views can "damage a person's heart" in four ways:

1. They cause shame.
2. They cause pride.
3. They create skewed views of relationships which lead to dysfunction.
4. They teach us to make formulas to be safe.

Note: I do not intend to block-quote Darcy more than is necessary; I recommended that you go read her article first. All in-line italicized quotes are from her. Also, I argue in response to Darcy's article and in defence of my beliefs, not in the defense of anyone else's views.

This is my standpoint. First, I define emotional purity in the same way Darcy does, 'the idea of "guarding your heart"'. Second, my beliefs and opinions on this matter have been formed in absence of any particular direction from my parents. When I was in middle school, I understood that I wasn't allowed to do the "dating thing". From there, I've formed my views from interaction within a predominantly Rebelutionary and Home School community of bloggers and friends. I also currently subscribe to Sir Emeth's String Theory [of Heart Connections]. Now, my responses to Darcy's points:

1. They cause shame.
2. They cause pride.

These two points are really both invalid for the same reason: they aren't a direct result of the teachings on Emotional Purity. They are the result of a misunderstanding of Sins vs. Mistakes. Voluntarily losing one's Sexual Purity is a Sin (and one should be ashamed of it); voluntarily losing one's Emotional Purity is a Mistake (and one should not be ashamed). Yes, it's better to keep ones Emotional Purity, as it's better to save rather than squander one's money. But just as we should not have pride and look down on someone who squanders their money rather than saving it wisely as we do, neither should we have pride and look down on someone who squanders their Emotional Purity rather than saving like us. Conversely, just as one need not be ashamed (though one should regret) squandering one's money, one need not be ashamed for squandering one's Emotional Purity, at least not for Emotional Purity's sake (but that gets into deeper life theology than we're here for today).

In short, adhering to standards of Emotional Purity do not cause pride, they, as do all good choices that can set us apart from others, allow for pride. And just because something allows for pride does not make it wrong or bad; if it did, then trusting in Christ would be wrong. For certainly one must admit that trusting in Christ allows (in the sense that it does not intrinsically not allow) for pride. This is in the sense that we have pride that we've trusted in God and are saved, and therefor better than those "other stupid people" who don't trust in God to be saved. So, we must conclude that something which lends itself to pride isn't necessarily of itself wrong or bad.

3. They create skewed views of relationships which lead to dysfunction.

This, (obviously), depends on one's views of "correct" relationships, which is far too much of a personal decision for anything more than the most general guidelines. And really, what the author struggles with here are the standards that were instilled in her as a teen, and the looser standards that she currently has arrived at as a married woman in her late twenties. In essence, she regards her constant mental re-questioning and second-guessing of her current beliefs as "dysfunction", a strong word; "insecurity in multi-gender situations" might be more accurate. This is something she should discuss, if she hasn't, with her husband, because, ultimately, he is the one who you would wish to remain Emotionally Pure for, and would therefore - with your honest candidness about your feelings - be the best judge of what is and isn't innocent; what is and isn't keeping oneself Emotionally Pure.

In short, what is and isn't okay is up to a young adult and their parents, and later up to them and their spouse, to decide. They may decide differently than us, but that is their decision, and we can live happy lives respecting their difference of opinion without condemning.

4. They teach us to make formulas to be safe.

No, human nature teaches us to make formulas. We take anything and want to quantise and standardize it. This kind of thinking leads us to discover mathematical equations to measure the energy of a single electron, and to compute the mass, gravity, orbital period, mean temperature and composition of planets, thousands upon thousands of miles away. It makes us regard the simple and simply-contained as elegant and desirable. And it drives us to take the elegant and desirable principles of Emotional Purity and form rules, regulations and formulas. However, unintended ambiguity on the part of Darcy prevents me from giving a more to-the-point response, being, as I am, in doubt as to what exactly the intended meaning of "formulas" is.

And to conclude this, I welcome Darcy's (or anyone else's) response or addition to this, though I ask that if it's more than a paragraph or two, please would you post it on your blog and link to it from the "comments" box here. I reserve the right however to reject or ignore all responses that insult me, if you can't write a reply without insulting me the chances of you having anything else useful to say is so close to nill as to be negligible.

Dominus Vobiscum

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thoughts 2311

I've been reading From Playpen to Podium by Jeff Myers the past few weeks and have been re-enthused to try and nurture better communication abilities. Which brought to mind why I'd originally started my blog, that knowledge and insight's use is severely impaired if you can't communicate. So, I'd like to try to write regularly, though on what paticularly I'm not sure.
Tonight, I was reading some interpretations of Owl City's Fireflys. They discussed how this song could be inspired by the writers insomnia (difficulty falling asleep). (Personally I think it sounds more delusional than isonominal.) Explaining how one would wish to fall asleep, but yet also wish to stay awake; which I found this interestingly similar to my self. Most nights for as long as I can remember (though most nights has become fewer nights recently) I've taken hours to fall asleep. This hasn't bothered me, while I have wanted to fall asleep, I take little action to help bring it about (like closing my eyes) because my minds far to interested in thinking it's thoughts to waste time trying to sleep.
The world is simply a much to exciting a place with to many things happening to waste time sleeping. :)