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Emotional Purity [Paperback]

By Paulsen Heather (Author)
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Item Number 6161  
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Item Description...
How often have your emotions tossed you back and forth, clouding your vision and preventing you from hearing God?s will clearly? Have you ever been in an undefined emotional relationship with a woman or man and unable to break free, even though you know you should? Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart delves into the multi-layered issues of emotional intimacy. Through personal examples, modern day parables and Scripture, this book reveals the importance for Christian singles to strive towards emotional purity.
Christian singles seem to lack a sense of awareness of how their ?innocent? male/female friendships cause a delusion. With the emotional free-for-all we have in Christian single circles, many are left wondering why they are broken hearted over ?friendships.? The effects of accepting the attitude of intimacy without a commitment obviously devastate our culture. Scripture, however, teaches just the opposite. Practical solutions are given for this common, yet unspoken and largely undefined, problem that is running rampant.

After taking an in-depth look into emotional purity and intimacy, the book conquers other related issues, such as envy, discontentment, feelings, expectations and God?s purpose for marriage.

Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart takes a radical approach to sensitize the reader?s heart to the deep meaning of ?Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life? Proverbs 4:23 (NIV).

Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.64" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.43"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2001
ISBN  1579213405  
EAN  9781579213404  

Availability  0 units.

Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Emotionally sealed-- but no one can hurt me!  Jul 27, 2006
The main point of the book is that there should be emotional boundaries, and not just physical boundaries, in any dating type relationship (she extends this into male-female relationships in general, too). This is all well and good. I like to think about it this way (loosely based on something said in "Boy Meets Girl", by Harris): One should not become attached (to one's significant other) at a level not warranted by the amount of commitment expressed in the relationship.

However, the framework in which she presents her thoughts is based on what is in my mind a faulty premise: The male must always take the initiative in any relationship. The impression I got is that she believes it would be sinful for the female to take any sort of initiative.

For example, she starts off the book with a fictional story. Tracy meets Luke and they become friends. Tracy is unsure as to whether they are just friends or are dating. Twice, she talks to her friend Emma about it. Emma says (paraphrase) "Of course he likes you. You just need to wait for him to bring it up, that's all." Of course, at the end of the story, Luke shows up with his new girlfriend. He hadn't been thinking of their relationship in those terms at all.

Miss Paulsen takes this as a starting point to say, "See? It is important to clearly define boundaries in all your relationships." I, on the other hand, would take this example and say, "Look at what horrible advice Emma was giving. Even if Tracy couldn't manage to bring it up herself, that's what a friend of a friend of a friend is for..."

She supports this idea throughout the book with this line of reasoning:

1. A husband-wife relationship is modeled after the relationship between Christ and the church.
2. Christ was the initiator in his relationship with the church.
3. Therefore, the man should be the initiator in any male-female relationship.

The problem with the above syllogism is what is understood by #1. It is certainly the case that marriage is compared to the relationship between Christ and the church (see Eph. 5). But initiation is never mentioned in any comparison in the Bible. For example, never do we hear, "Husbands (and future husbands) you must be the initiator in any prospective relationship, just like Christ took the initiative in His relationship with the church." To say this is to go beyond what God actually told us; it is using the analogy in ways that it may or may not apply.

I think that she allows this idea to cloud her interpretation of the Bible in more obvious ways, too. On page 154, she quotes half of Proverbs 18:22 ("He who finds a wife finds a good thing") and states that because it says the man does the finding, that means the wife is found, and that it is the man who must do the looking, and not the woman (I suppose that in her view in would be wrong for the woman to do any looking). But read the verse again, in its entirety; it doesn't say anything about looking for anything- it says that if you get married, it's a blessing from God:

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord." -- Proverbs 18:22, ESV

It is fine to say "I think that the man should be the initiator"; it is very wrong to say that the Bible says this. It does not.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if her point were true, then how do we explain the book of Ruth? (Hint: Boaz did not take the initiative.)

There is a second line of thinking in the book that I think is almost as bad. I don't quite know what to term it; perhaps you could call it an extreme understanding of the idea of headship. (For example, we are told that as Christ is the head of the Church, so the man is the head of the wife. I'm not sure what exactly that means- I've never heard a good explanation of it. I am, however, quite sure it does not mean this:)

On page 144, she quotes I Cor. 11:3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." She says this is evidence that every woman is (or should be) under the authority of a man. So wives are under their husband's authority and daughters are under their father's authority.

I don't know Greek, but Strongs tells me that the Greek word for woman here is "gune" (goo-nay'), and that it means "a woman; specially, a wife:-wife, woman." I take that to mean that it could be wife or woman, depending on the context. Then I looked up the verse in the ESV and found that I'm right- in the ESV the verse is rendered: "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife [1] is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. [1]: Greek gune. This term may refer to a woman or a wife, according to the context." So even if "head" really does mean "has authority over" (very debatable, I think- does it make any sense to say that God has authority over Christ???), this is certainly not proof that all women should be under the authority of a man.

As further proof of this, on page 152, she enlists "my son, give me your heart" (Prov. 23:26) to mean that her father should "have" her heart- I suppose she means something along the lines of she should be, as she says she is elsewhere in the book, "emotionally unavailable" to any potential suitor. There is one big problem with that: he is talking to his son, not his daughter. But even if we pretend it is "daughter" (or "son and daughter") let's look at the entire verse and see what it says:

"My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe [or: delight in] my ways." -- Proverbs 23:26, ESV

I understand this to say, "pay attention to what I'm telling you!" As with many verses in proverbs, the second half of the verse repeats the thought in the first half. This verse has nothing to do with giving your father the "key to your heart" or anything like it.

The logical conclusion of these two ideas is that girls should be living at home, waiting for some guy to find them, at which point they should not act the least bit interested until he has worked things out with her father (in fact, it's best if she doesn't even know that there is an interested party and that he's talking with her father). I'm sure God can do things that way, but still I feel sorry for females that take that route.

Let me repeat that I think her main point of maintaining boundaries in relationships is good (actually it seems like common sense to me). But in my view, relationships are inherently risky- I would even go so far as to say that if you have set your boundaries in a relationship so emotionally distant that you cannot be hurt, then you do not have a meaningful relationship. In trying to avoid the pain of being hurt, I think the author has gone too far. It is trying to sanitize something that will never be entirely sanitary, and trying to define something that will always be mysterious.

"There be three things which are too wonderful for me,
yea, four which I know not:
The way of an eagle in the air;
the way of a serpent upon a rock;
the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and
the way of a man with a maid." -- Proverbs 30:18-19

So I think this book is harmful to the undiscerning reader, and I do not recommend reading it unless you are good at reading things critically.

I apologize for the length of this review, but this book is responsible for a lot of personal anguish. It's been long enough now that I think I am able to review it fairly.

(This review was originally posted on my blog, which, should you wish to read in its unedited form, you can probably find if you are good with Google.)
Five Stars for the Message  Jun 23, 2006
It has been said that whenever possible Christians should learn by discernment rather than through experience. The application of the wise advice given in Emotional Purity (Heather Arnel Paulsen, Winepress Publishing) has potential to save young people many painful experiences.

I have no qualifications or accomplishments to write a book on the subject of dating relationships, but if I did, this would be the book I would write. I have never written or posted on the subject before, and I probably will not again, but this book is worth noting.

Heather's main argument is that the Christian culture has often emphasized the value of physical purity to such an extent that the pitfalls of emotional intimacy often go unnoticed. "Above all guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." Heather paints familiar pictures of close friendships between young men and women that have involved incredible amounts of time and emotional energy only to end in disappointment and painful separation. "The way I see it," Heather writes, "when we have emotionally intimate male-female relationships without commitment what we end up with is emotional fornication."

Although the phrase emotional abstinence may sound stifling, the picture that Heather paints is in fact quite freeing. Commiting to emotional abstinence offers the freedom of protection. Emotional abstinence prior to marriage provides room for treasured emotional intimacy within marriage.

Her advice? Heather encourages her reader to build relationships of trust within the family. She especially emphasizes the importance of the relationship between a father and a daughter. She encourages young women to be under authority and to allow the total involvement of the family in the process toward marriage. Heather advocates that women avoid emotional intimacy with a man until the man has been questioned and approved by the girl's father. The vulnerability on the part of the man to initiate his relationship with a girl by going to her father is a sign of the sacrificial leadership needed within marriage.

The rewards of obedience are experienced only by those who obey. This book is countercultural, to say the least. Wisdom is known by her children.

(As another reviewer of this book has said, "Paulsen`s style is not always polished [or well-edited] and her examples are not perfectly written, but her love for God and His Word is obvious, and that love clearly comes forth in her first book.")
One of relationship/friendship books for singles   Aug 21, 2005
I have heard of this book before buy one. This is one of best books I have read. It has many good advices and gives examples how to make right choice for your life and your spouse. For me, I never have a real Christian boyfriend. I know God has a husband for me. Soon we'll meet someday.
Excellent Book  Feb 23, 2004
Overall, this is a wonderful book. Paulsen has brought up many wonderful points - for men as well as women. If only men knew how quickly women can get caught up, and how little it takes - perhaps they'd be more respectful!

Heather's message is to guard one's heart, keeping it safe and tender for the earthly manifestation of God's love we are waiting for. Having been burned a few times before, I can wholeheartedly say that in the long run, it is indeed better to play it safe and give our hearts and emotions to God to protect.

I do find myself compelled to point out that some of the grammatical and typographical errors in the book are distracting and annoying - and they are errors any good editor should have seen and corrected. But this doesn't take away from the overall message of the book.

I recommend this book to any dating single, Christian or not. Some of the things Heather talks about are probably not applicable to all (she is over 28 and still lives at home with her parents, which is something I find rather worrisome). My father doesn't sit down with all of my dates or talk to the young men I go out with because I'm an adult and on my own! But still, it is possible to apply most of her message to one's life - women, in particular, should have a respected person to whom they are accountable and someone they trust.

I do think she brings up some questions that are then not answered - for instance, she does not recommend talking about one's hopes and dreams for the future. This is fine at first, at least as far as the house, picket fence, and 2.3 kids go, but I would hope that adults eventually discuss these things before making a commitment, lest they find themselves in a very surprising situation!

Perhaps she can write a sequel. I'm actually surprised she doesn't have a website - the book and its message are absolutely excellent and worthy of noting.

Very applicable to real life!  Jan 28, 2004
I highly recommend this book to all single young women AND men. In today's society we tend to stress the importance of physical purity while completely missing the fact that it begins with a pure heart. My cousin loaned me a copy of this book while I was recovering from yet another "broken heart". I had never held the guys hand, let alone slept with him; however our hours of studying the Bible together and daydreaming about the future wrapped my emotions completely around him, and when I realized he was not the one for me I still could not let go.
So girls and guys, PAY attention to the wisdom inside this book and watch the little thoughts and dreams that enter your head. Stop them before they grow into mountains in your heart!
Praise God for the faithfulness of Heather in addressing this much needed issue!

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