❮Epub❯ ❧ Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girls Heart Author Kristen Clark – Agedanna.info
As a pastor who has worked with youth in middle school and high school for over 20 years, dealing with the subject of sex has been integral to a balanced approach of helping young people mature And as a human being, I haven t always been the greatest at communicating on the subject I am always on the lookout for new material about youth and sexuality to expand my ability to guide young people.Baker Books provided this review copy in exchange for a fair review The focus of the book is fairly apparent This book deals with sexuality and young females I appreciate the forwardness of the authors in dealing with this area of sexuality Many people find it difficult to be upfront about their sexuality, but it seems that the cultural history of only naughty girls talk about sex has limited the frank conversations that young women need.The authors approach this subject from an evangelical worldview There are many scriptural tie ins The discussion of sin and restoration through Jesus Christ is prominent Many of the points are supported by a verse that directly relates to the subject For those who share the evangelical worldview, this book will affirm dealing with young women from that point of view For those who do not share the evangelical worldview, this book will not be as meaningful or helpful.I found some solid points of agreement with the authors They make the comment that lust is a human problem I think this is something that we don t deal with enough in talking with young people It isn t a male problem It isn t a Christian problem It isn t a teenage problem Lust is something that is dealt with, usually poorly, by almost every person Where the subject falls short is it does not deal with the reality that lust is a natural response Lust is the emotional expression of our sexual drive It is hormonal It ties directly into our imaginations and our emotions The authors emphasize lust as a problem Lust is a problem when we allow the corrupting influence of sin breaking a relationship with God and others to corrupt our imagination and emotions.I affirm their statement that intimacy is a deep need for all human beings Intimacy is not a sexual need Intimacy is a psychological, mental, emotional, and communal need We are created for relationship with others We have different levels of relational needs Each person is different in the depth and breadth of those needs Some people need a few people who know them very well Others need a lot of people to know them well All people have the need to be known and to know others deeply.I also respect their emphasis on purity This is an issue that has been abused in churches and religious communities and families Purity has been used to teach that sex is a bad thing Purity has been weaponized to enforce the mentality that a girl s worth is gauged by her purity And purity has been aimed at a lifestyle of singleness An authentically biblical understanding of purity is that it is the state of relationship that we have with God when we seek to do God s will in our lives Purity is gauged by God, not by standards established in a checklist.I appreciate that the authors are dealing with a sensitive subject They do not rely on graphic illustrations They, instead, try to use illustrations that emphasize the struggles, pain, and brokenness that a faulty approach to sexuality have caused They take this message into communities and deal frankly with the subject This book is an extension of that ministry.I will admit that I found some significant issues that I disagree with through the book The first has to do with the four cultural lies they enumerate They focus on identity, marriage, embracing open sexuality, and femininity I agree with their cultural misunderstanding of femininity, but I feel that they misrepresent it when they do not deal with the empowerment of females Femininity is not about exploiting the sexuality of a woman It is about seeing the inherent value, strength, ability, and uniqueness of each woman and allowing a woman to be all that she can be in those.The other lies that they focus on are minor issues of sexuality and purity I felt that what was being presented is a less dynamic reinforcing of evangelical platform issues Instead of sexual identity being Lie number one, there is no discussion of the separation of sex from the sense of wholeness of self Sex is now considered a physical operation of the body Women and men have learned that they can divide sex from emotional and connected relationships The one night stand is not a new thing It has been cast in a new light thanks to hook ups, friends with benefits, and social media apps such as Tinder.When they deal with the subject of marriage, they say that it is a covenant between a man and a woman The authors do not deal with what a successful sexual marriage looks like When I teach about sex, I refer back to the three revealed purposes of sex procreation, recreation, and reconnection Within the boundaries of marriage, all three purposes of sex are fulfilled When we remove sex from marriage, the purposes are not as fulfilling And when the three purposes are not fulfilled in marriage, there are issues that arise within the relationship Instead of focusing on the gender of the marriage partners, perhaps sex and purity should focus on how it is to be fulfilled in a marriage.Finally, the authors emphasize how culture has emphasized, if it feels right, do it In light of the MeToo movement, the breaking of silence on decades of sexual harassment, and the use of sex as a tool for power imbalance, it may have been useful to talk about how sex is a matter of if it doesn t feel right, stop it.My biggest concern about the book, though, is one that I have found in many evangelical self help approaches Consistently throughout the book, there is a strong conviction that through Jesus Christ, all things can be dealt with in right ways What isn t touched on in any convincing way is the necessity of community This is a very Jesus and me focused approach to understanding sexuality and purity Nowhere do the authors speak with any clear instruction of involvement with a strong group of people to help them in the walk with Christ Occasionally they point the reader to find a wise Christian woman to talk to Christ built a community of disciples to train and mentor He sent them out in mission with partners He reminded them of the need for two or to be gathered to know his presence There is no clear encouragement to be involved in any meaningful way in a youth or young adult or peer group, as well as deep involvement in a community of believers.This really becomes an issue when dealing with the subject of temptation The authors provide steps to avoid temptation One of the most glaring things left off of this list is an accountability partner or group There is no mention of finding a connection with someone who knows them intimately, including their struggles, and allowing that person or group to check in to see how they are doing with their maturity in their struggles Accountability has long been a part of counseling males in this area of struggle It is just as important for females.Finally, I feel that there is a significant area of harm being done by not addressing the need to seek professional counseling in areas of addiction or sexual abuse The subject of abuse was briefly touched on a couple of places The final counsel is to, again, find a wise Christian woman to talk to about this There is hope that weakly offered There is not, however, a counsel to seek out someone who has helped others through the struggles of healing from sexual abuse Due to issues that are now being identified as post traumatic stress disorder, there is a clear need to seek out someone who can help navigate those wounds and paths to healing.The authors do not deal with addiction in any meaningful way Pornography has been shown to have the same biochemical markers in a body as narcotics or nicotine Prolonged exposure to pornography has been linked with relational maturity Sexual abuse has been connected to alcohol, drug, and other forms of physical harm addictions cutting, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, suicide attempts Addiction is a serious subject that needs to be addressed with young people.I feel that the authors are trying to do good work I feel that this book represents a fair attempt at trying to deal with a sensitive subject with an overlooked demographic I feel that it doesn t go deep enough to provide the full extent of help that young women need to be healthy sexual beings in a Christian world. What makes reviewing this book difficult is separating the authors individual experiences and self confessed struggles from their wider message I have no problem with their stories I have no problem with what they believed in to overcome set backs I don t even have a problem with other people taking inspiration from their stories The book s audience is likely to be those with the same biblical worldview as the authors, seeking reassurance that they are not alone in their battles to resist temptation However, the book ostensibly does have loftier goals, being set out as universal advice for dealing with the authors perceived, and to some extent real, trends of over sexualisation in contemporary society In my own opinion the causes are complicated and interwoven with each other, and not always trending in the same direction see a plethora of articles at the end of 2018 suggesting that millennials are having less sex In this book, the simple simplistic answer is that we are all sexually broken due to the original sin of Adam and Eve The best we can do to deal with our sin is to not only act pure, but to achieve inner purity, from gold star Christian girls to women who passionately love Jesus.In setting out their argument the authors take a strained interpretation of the first chapters of the Book of Genesis, breezily quote mine the remainder of the Old Testament, and settle on Jesus as the redeemer of our sin Sex in marriage is a good thing, and part of God s plan Each person can read the Bible however they wish, so I don t have any major issue with their interpretation First Corinthians does have some opposing statements Outside of the Bible, the authors review of historical record is limited Quoting the 1828 Merriam Webster dictionary entry on marriage without context is, at best, insufficient In setting out their arguments, the closest the authors come to acknowledging an opposing view is that on masturbation They don t feel the experts are correct, and rely on the Bible to prove their points.In terms of the authors substantive position on sex, there is an unresolved dichotomy between lustful thoughts being a sin pre marriage versus the properly directed sexual awakening that should occur once the rings are on the fingers The book at least acknowledges that this might be a problem and the chapter Imperfect Purity tries to counter the negative view of purity sex is bad by uh recognising our need for Jesus Non negative spiritual purity is instead achieved by taking every thought captive and living in a way that reflects the perfect holiness of your Father That is a word salad that does not resolve the issues of sexual repression Again to give some credit, the authors don t see impure thoughts and actions as irredeemable There is always forgiveness through Jesus What remains uncovered is practical matters such as alternatives to abstinence and contraception the latter isn t even touched upon within marriage Forgiving people who fail is nice but it would be nicer to provide practical ways to mitigate failure For advice on how to deal with the issue of pornography ultimately porn isn t the biggest problem here, choosing to submit to and love something than God is the problem The book explicitly views homosexuality as a sin I don t reject the argument that the Bible condemns homosexuality What I do reject is the argument that the Bible is an authority for dictating people s sexual choices In the book, choosing to live according to one s feelings compares poorly with choosing to comply with God s Word That to me assumes you believe a there is a God s Word and b the authors version of God s Word is the correct one I don t object to a moral framework existing outside one s feelings, but the book blithely assumes albeit probably correctly that its audience has that same framework.So I in the end I do have a problem with this book, best encapsulated in this quote from it Only one person has the authority to define who you are, and that is Jesus Christ Cultural relativism works both ways I respect their experiences and morality, and I would expect them to respect others I strongly dissent from their view there is universal advice about sexuality residing in the Bible. For The Modern Christian Woman Living In Today S Sexually Charged Society, Embracing God S Design For Sex And Purity Can Often Feel Like An Impossible Pursuit As The Culture Seeks To Normalize Things Such As Pornography, Erotica, And Casual Sex, Both Single And Married Women Of All Ages Feel Immense Pressure To Conform With Alluring Temptations Constantly Inviting Them To Join In, They Might Even Begin To Question Whether God S Design Is Truly Good They Wrestle With Questions Like What Is The Purpose Of My Sexuality What Does It Mean To Pursue Purity Are My Sexual Longings Good Or Bad In This Encouraging Book, Kristen Clark And Bethany Beal Share Honestly About Their Own Struggles And Victories, And Invite Women On A Personal Journey To Discover And Reclaim A Biblical Vision For Their Sexuality Kristen And Bethany Help Women Understand Why God S Design For Sexuality Is Good, Relevant, And Leads To True Hope And Lasting Freedom I have been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time now So when I finally got my hands on it, I read it cover to cover in one single day Ladies, this is a much needed book that you need to get your hands on It s raw, it s honest and real Kristen and Bethany are very open and direct about the problems girls struggle with in terms of sexuality and purity They do not shy away from talking about masturbation, pornography and lust With this book, they counter the lie that girls don t struggle with these things and offer practical help and show what sexuality defined by God looks like The book was easy to read and understand with many examples and personal stories to illustrate their points All throughout the book, what they say is based on Scripture and they refer to it There s also a study guide and an appendix on healing from sexual abuse at the end of the book.This book did not focus on biblical womanhood or God s design for relationships, because these topics have already been the focus in their first two books One might therefore want to read Girl Defined and Love Defined to see how it fits into the whole picture I can only recommend this book to any young Christian woman trying to figure out sexuality and fight temptation I think this is Kristen and Bethany s best book so far However, please note that if you grew up very sheltered or have not been confronted with these issues so far, you might want to read this with your mom or a mentor Disclaimer I received a free copy in exchange for a review via Netgalley. I LOVED this book Not only is the content fabulous, but this book has a gorgeous cover and interior design Kristen and Bethany give practical tips, answer questions not commonly talked about, and share lies and truths about our sexuality I appreciated the overall theme how Christ is our satisfaction and we re created for intimacy with Him 3I also love the voice of this book Kristen and Bethany speak with both truth and compassion I think you often find one or the other in Christian circles, so I appreciated their balance in their writing They talk about pornography, erotica, and sex purposefully with just enough detail to get their point across By the way, if you struggle with reading these topics, you might want to skip chapter 11 In the back, there s also a special section for those who have experienced sexual abuse, providing action steps for healing and a list of additional resources.I thought there were times when they over quoted other authors, but the quotes they did choose were wonderful Those people they quoted make for great resources to look up later, as many of them have written their own books Out of all three of Kristen and Bethany s books, this one is my favorite It s rich and chock full of help and truth I m grateful I had the chance to be on the Launch Team for this book and I know it will be a huge blessing to many women and girls. Sex, Purity and the Longings of a Girl s Heart isn t a light read Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal dig deep into the hush hush topics.All the things you thought you knew, all the things you didn t know, and all the things you need to know are talked about in an open and honest way All these things are talked about in an amazing and Biblical perspective When you read SPLGH, you re introduced to God s actual intention for sex, purity and the longings of your heart These sisters made me feel a closeness to Christ and other Christians that I haven t felt in a long time It made me feel not so alone in this big, ugly world, and that touched my heart There are other women in this world that struggle with the same things I do, not just with the topics Clark and Beal covered but with so many other things Through this book I was able to connect with so many amazing and different women, I was truly blessed by it Though I haven t struggled with most of what the authors talked about, I was given new perspective I am not the gold star Christian girl I think I thought I was I have sinned I am broken I m am definitely imperfect and full of flaws But that s okay Because God restores me He accepts my brokenness and desires me to live for Him Apart from Christ, our hearts aren t going to lead us toward truth, righteousness, or freedom Jer 17 9 Our hearts are actively deceiving us therefore we should be wary of staking our entire identity In the basis of how we feel Sexuality has been so chopped up, reshaped, and altered that it looks very different from what God originally designed it to be We, as humankind, have strayed so far from God s original purpose and intent for our sexuality that most of us have accepted the chopped up version as normal Without the original design in view, we no longer know what s right We no longer know what s good Sex is no longer linked to marriage Truth is no longer linked to God As a result, we re pursuing a myriad of personal choices regarding our sexuality without a compass guiding us to true north The way we navigate our sexuality today is similar to someone trying to put together an extremely complex puzzle without the photo on the box to guide them My favorite message from this book Just as Jesus loved and welcomed this sexually broken woman in the New Testament, Luke chapter 7 , He is still welcoming sexually broken women today Just as He gave the prostitute woman a new identity and future, He is doing the same for us today Jesus welcomes the hurting He invites the weary He takes what is broken and shattered and makes it whole again Our brokenness doesn t render us useless to God rather , we become a beautiful display of His amazing grace I was so touched by the power in this book that gave me a very needed reminder of how Christ sees me, that I cried He s beautiful He s love is beautiful His forgiveness and mercy is beautiful I am beautiful, because of Him It touched my heart and soul deeply I 1000% recommend this book It s absolutely amazing and I hope it will touch you as deeply as it did me Go grab your copy of Sex, Purity and the Longings of a Girl s Heart now Thanks so much to the authors publisher who gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review I was no way obligated to leave a positive review Rebekah So good There need to be books like this out there for Christian women It was refreshing to be able to read and study on topics that aren t generally brought up within the church. I am amazed how honest the authors are They are sharing openly their struggling in the sexual area and trough this breaking the taboo topic.I love how they are giving the practical advices how to break the cycle of the sexual sins like for example masturbation and how to battle temptations.I love how the authors are explaining the point of sexuality good gift from God with deep meaning, directing us to show the level of intimacy between people and God.So good, that Kristen and Bethany are breaking the cultural lies about sexual design and underlining the Biblical truths Sure, for some of us this lies are so obvious, but for many young people they are not so obvious any.They are writing If we, as Christian women, are not vigilant to discern the lies from the truths, we will end up listening to whichever voice is shouting the loudest and just because it s hard doesn t mean we should give up on truth.I like to idea, that authors used a lot of real questions from the girls around the word as a base to this book, including the really hard questions, which they are answering from the Biblical perspective.I love how they are writing about the purity and all the narratives wrong and good Sexual purity is not just about saying no to sex before marriage it s about taking every thought captive and living in a way that reflects the perfect holiness of your Father It s ultimately about embracing your identity as a daughter of God and striving every day to become like Him That s true purity I recommend this book from all of my heart It s so needed for our generation today. Rooted in God s Word, packed with truth, sharing the hope of forgiveness, purpose, and freedom in Christ, and directing your focus back to Jesus throughout this book holds a message that so desperately needs to be heard, known, and embraced. I really enjoyed this book However, it is a heavy topic Because of the candid and upfront way this book is written, I would not recommend it for every Christian girl out there While the principles of this book would have been good for me to learn as a teenager, I think this book would have made me very uncomfortable and could have dobe damage than good With that being said, I still think it s an excellent book For girls going to public school and or struggling with sexual sins, this book is a must read For girls growing up in sheltered Christian homes, this book could easily rob them of their innocence if read too soon.