“My parents weren’t the ones who perpetuated purity culture to me. It was the books, the books, the books. The reason why it was so damaging to my friends and I is we were reading them in private. I was internalizing these messages without any discernment.” That’s one way Rachel Welcher took in the messages of purity culture, and now she’s writing a book about it. We talked to Rachel about the connection between purity culture and rape culture, the ways in which purity culture dehumanized both men and women, and the impact of studying the Bible thoroughly and in a community. This is part 1 of our conversation with Rachel.
Trigger Warning: This episode contains references to sexual abuse, sexual assault, and rape.
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor for Fathom magazine, and a graduate of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she received her Master of Letters in Bible and the Contemporary World. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Two Funerals, Then Easter and Blue Tarp, and has written for The Gospel Coalition, Mere Orthodoxy, Relevant, and The Englewood Review of Books. Rachel has spent the last few years researching the impact of modern evangelical purity culture on the Church, and her book Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality is forthcoming from InterVarsity Press in 2020. She currently lives in Glenwood, Iowa, with her husband, Pastor Evan Welcher, and their dog, Frank. You can connect with Rachel on Twitter and Instagram.
Episode 8 Show Notes:
We talk about “rape culture” at the start of this episode, and this is a helpful definition of what rape culture is.
You can watch I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye here
Some of the books we mention in this episode are: I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Every Man’s Battle, Wild at Heart, When God Writes Your Love Story, Intended for Pleasure, Pure, and Swipe Right.
1 Corinthians 7
If you have a story you would like to us to share on the show about the books we mentioned and their impact on you, please record a voice memo or write us an email and send it to: wheredowegofromherepodcast at gmail dot com.
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