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Impure waters

January 12, 2018

Max Tang writes on her escape from the purity culture of modern evangelicalism:

When I had to memorize the “female” anatomy in bio junior year, the shame of seeing a boy recite the names for parts of my own body that were alien to me drove me to do my own research in Chrome Incognito Mode… but my parents’ internet monitoring software snitched. In cycles, I countered the yawning emptiness I felt at home by gorging on food, then, engulfed in acidic shame, I tried to deny myself out of existence by seeing how low I could whittle my weight. I lived in a strange world where I could only take pleasure in the space my female body took up through stolen glimpses. It was like being married to a person whose name I was afraid to learn.

It stuns me what some parents will do to their children to turn them into lockstep religious believers. While Tang no doubt will make many of the mistakes we all make when young, I congratulate her on taking the most important step: getting away from that kind of psychological control.

There is no pure path. Every course we follow provides some promise and removes other, carries some known risks, and some unknown. Both the good-hearted and evil sometimes win. We all eventually suffer some failing of the flesh. Some brutally young, as when a 21 year-old fitness buff dies from the flu. The sea that gives us fish and voyage also threatens us with vibrio and storm surge. When you set aside fantasy, life isn’t all pretty. You just travel it with eyes open. I was splashed by Corpus Christi bay water just a day past. Water impure but part of a lovely winter night sail.

Our pasts are impure, too. Jim Sciutto has the right response to Trump:

When my father’s relatives came here, many Americans considered Italy a “shithole” country. When my mother’s relatives immigrated, many felt the same about Ireland. Similar for my wife’s grandparents from Mexico & Russia. I’m as proud as ever tonight of our heritage.

Photo is from the Corpus Christi marina at dusk a year previous.

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