My own history with chastity is nothing to be proud of. I first had sex when I was 15, with a guy I met at summer camp. We dated for three months and had sex, but gradually our relationship dissolvedhe went away to college, we wrote letters occasionally, but things fizzled out. A year later, I started college myself. And even though I was part of an observant Jewish community, I kept having sex. My freshman year, I dated a stunning man (he looked like an Armani model), and we had sex a few times. Then I began dating the man I now think of as "my college boyfriend," and we had sex too. None of this behavior was sanctioned by my Jewish community, so I kept it pretty quiet.
As I graduated from college and moved from New York to England for graduate school, I got pretty serious about Christianity. I was going to church regularly by then, praying to Jesus, thinking about him as I walked down the street, believing with a certainty that surprised me that he was who he said he was: God. I did some of the things you might expect from someone who believes that Jesus is God. I got baptized. I started spending inordinate numbers of hours hanging around with other Christians. I read the Gospels. I prayed the Psalms. I wore a small silver cross around my neck, proclaiming to passersby that I am part of this tribe whose allegiance is to Jesus.
But there were other things that you might expect a Christian to do, and I did not do them. I didn't forswear sex. I didn't tithe. I didn't especially enjoy going to church on Sunday mornings; in general, I had to grit my teeth, silence my alarm clock, and drag myself there.
I knew, dimly, that Christianity doesn't look kindly on premarital sex, but I couldn't have told you much about where Christian ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 63+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more