Food for the Soul
6/24/13 at 10:27 AM 0 Comments

Why a leader in the purity movement dislikes the word "purity”

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Bekah Hamrick Martin’s new book, The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting, and God’s Purity Plan (Zondervan/May 7, 2013), recently hit store shelves, but the word “purity” in the book’s subtitle makes her uneasy.

“I was four years old when a friend of the family molested me, not once, but multiple times. Withdrawing, I suffered in silence—believing this man would make good on the promise to harm my family if I spoke to anyone about it,” Martin shares. “In the years that followed, I sat up straight in my seat while youth group leaders talked about ‘purity’ and ‘saving yourself’, but mentally I was curled up in the corner with my fingers jammed down my ears. My mind had repressed most of the horrific memories, but I knew enough to feel I wasn’t ‘pure’. Even more, the word repulsed me.”

Martin continues, “I cringed when the marketing world recently branded my book as a ‘purity’ book. There was no way around it; without that popular word, parents wouldn’t know the book was about grace-driven abstinence, and bookstore owners wouldn’t know where to place the manuscript on the shelf. But as I checked ‘okay’ on the last draft of the book, I couldn’t help but think about the girl I used to be—curled up in the corner, despising that word. My goal was to help my readers out of that place, not drive them to it.”

If a teen doesn’t perceive herself as pure, for any reason, she may feel as though she is less valuable and has no reason to wait. To tell a girl she is impure may unintentionally make her believe she cannot be rehabilitated. While “purity” is a scriptural term, Martin believes our Americanized version of the word carries a different connotation. For example, when food was contaminated in Biblical times, because resources were scarce, every effort was probably made to rehabilitate the item. In America today, when food is contaminated, we replace it.

Martin would rather think of her book as a “waiting” or “start waiting” book. “The Bare Naked Truth really started over ten years ago when every conversation I had in camp ministry eventually came back to the topic of dating or waiting. It’s an age-old dilemma, but none of the girls I worked with felt like it was being approached in a modern or relevant way.”

The Bare Naked Truth is written in a satirical tone that is more approachable for today’s teens. Over 20 women, including popular authors, contributed their voices and stories in order to appeal to girls of every background. The book is divided into chapters by the ten lies young women tells themselves, and delves into truth about each:

1. I Have All the Sex Facts
2. Waiting Is for Wusses
3. Guys Won’t Want Me If I’m Not Experienced
4. Sex Is Okay as Long as It’s Safe
5. I’m the Perfect Virgin
6. It’s Okay to Have Sex as Long as You’re in Love
7. Masturbation Will Help Me Save Myself
8. I Need a Guy to Help Me Feel Complete
9. Drawing Lines Doesn’t Help Me Wait
10. I Don’t Have to Decide Now

To clear up further some of the popular misconceptions about purity, Martin offers perspectives on the subject from both teenage boys and married couples. She also answers some of the most common questions teen girls have on the topic.

Learn more about Bekah Hamrick Martin and The Bare Naked Truth at www.bekahhamrickmartin.com or www.thebarenakedbook.com. Readers can also become a fan on Facebook (Bekah-Hamrick-Martin) or follow her on Twitter (@BekahHMartin).

Bekah Hamrick Martin is available for interviews to promote the release of The Bare Naked Truth. To request a review copy, schedule an interview or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, audra@litfusegroup.com.

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