This Week's Review at Inklings

#ChurchToo by Emily Joy Allison

Review by Krystal Griswold

If I were to tell you that “every 68 seconds an American is sexally assaulted” (Rainn.Org), you probably would question if that was really true. That means that by the time you’re done reading this article, 3 people would have just been victimized. I wish that I had made that statistic up but sadly it is the truth. You and I both know someone who has experienced this, whether we are aware of it or not. Sexaul assault has dug its ugly claws into our society and it has affected us all. In order for this statistic to change, we must have hard and uncomfortable conversations about it. 

That is why when I heard about this book, “#ChurchToo”, I knew I had to read it. Emily Joy Allison shares her experience with purity culture in the church and how it enables abusive behavior. I am thankful for her bravery in speaking out about the dangerous mentalities purity culture creates and why the church needs to wake up to how harmful this teaching is. As a follower of Christ who has experienced the purity culture movement, I know how hurtful it can be. This book will challenge what you know as a christian and if you allow it to, it will bring freedom from doctrine that is outdated and complacent in ignorance.

Now you’re probably thinking, I was raised in the purity culture and I would never support a teaching like that! A church would speak out against it and assaulting people isn’t what it is about at all. You are right, that isn’t an ideal the church would officially support, but the consequences tied to the teachings can lead there. And that is where the problem lies. Purity culture is full of victim blaming, shaming people, dismissing the wrong consequences, fear, creating toxic habits, and raising individuals who don’t understand consent. Not all churches endorse this, but there are quite a few that do.  

The church has fallen short when it comes to how sexuality is spoken and taught about. As believers of God we should be a safe place to take refuge in. We should be the person that people can confide in with their pain. We should be the ones that fight for injustice and stand up for what is right. God is love and so are we. And so the question begs, was purity culture born in love or in fear? Is it rooted in control and force? These are not easy questions but they must be asked. 

As you read this book I hope that you will commit to being open to listen, to being empathetic, and to being willing to change. I am asking you to be brave and look at your biases. I am asking you to look at who you believe God to be and ask Him what He thinks of purity culture. We can do better and it starts with one person at a time. We are either a part of the solution, or a part of the problem. I hope that we choose to fight for what is right and we choose love over fear. Here’s to freedom friends!