sarah1I met, Sarah, an American woman living in Uganda. She has six children, two bio and the rest adopted from Uganda (& Sudan). She’s encountered serious issues of gender injustice while living here. What she has seen has provoked her to write a book on purity for girls in Africa. She’s read all the books on purity from authors in the States. None speak to what the girls here are facing.

A seven year old girl has her school fees paid by an older man who expects sex in exchange.

Another girl finishes her schooling but her teacher won’t pass her until she has sex with him.

These issues -I’ll share more later- aren’t just about teens who have raging hormones and want to have sex with others. That’s actually normal. I tell my kids, wanting to have sex is normal. It’s part of being human. It’s normal to reach an age where you want to have sex; way more normal than snorting cocaine up your nose. But … (more later)

Sarah and I spent the night discussing the Scriptures, what God’s intent and Word say about purity, sex before marriage, marriage etc.

As we talked with her I realized how we speak of modesty and purity in America doesn’t translate to places like Uganda. It made me wonder, if it doesn’t translate then is it truth? In other words, isn’t truth universal? If it doesn’t translate in Uganda (or China, or Iran, or Indonesia) then perhaps we should re-evaluate our theology. What if how we talk about purity & modesty isn’t biblical – meaning it may not be bad but it may not be what God is saying.

So, I want to start this conversation by using a quote from Rachel Held Evans blog on modesty. (You will benefit if you read the whole blog.)

The truth is, a man can choose to objectify a woman whether she’s wearing a bikini or a burqa. We don’t stop lust by covering up the female form; we stop lust by teaching men to treat women as human beings worthy of respect.

Well, how does Rachel’s blog reckon with what you learned growing up? What speaks truth? What needs more work (meaning not quite there yet)?


* Over the next several blogs I’ll be unfolding what I’ve learned from Sarah. Together we will grapple with the questions she’s asking about girls, gender and the Gospel.