A youth movement based on “extreme” spirituality and religious practice and striving for purity in lifestyle is finding a following, according to two reports.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (May 11) reports that the drive for purity is part of many young people’s spiritual search. Until recently, purity often meant sexual purity, as upheld by the teen chastity movement (and such evangelical groups as True Love Waits). But Michele Melendez writes that purity is also “starting to mean unsoiled in all respects in an emerging, largely Christian movement toward straight-edged youth.” [Straight-edge is largely a secular youth movement of youth eschewing alcohol promiscuity, drugs, and meat-eating].
“Purity jams” are held by Christian teens where role playing, rapping and dancing take place. In the St. Petersburg, Fla., area, teens are taking the “Purity Power Pledge.” Cindy Collins, director of the New Orleans-based group Passion4Purity said that many in the sexual abstinence movement of the 1990s realized the focus was too narrow. Such issues as violence, prejudice, peer pressure and their relation to personal purity are addressed by groups cutting across the denominational divide.
Time magazine (May 13) reports that in the rising demand for spiritual books geared to teens, the association with extreme sports (such as snowboarding) is often played up. The Extreme for Jesus series, published by Thomas Nelson, is the largest brand of Christian teen books and is based on the premise that “church has been made too easy. Kids are looking for something they might fail at initially, but eventually get.”