It is a ring that starts conversation and the opportunity to evangelize.
Kyle Sutter said people often notice his ring and ask if he’s married. The answer is no, not in the traditional sense, but he and other Christians like him are committed to the ideal of chaste living and wear a purity ring as a tangible symbol of that commitment.
It’s a counter-cultural way of living that more youth and young adults are taking up.
Kyle, a senior at the College of Charleston, is a member of First Church of the Nazarene in San Diego, Calif., and is active with Catholic Campus ministry here.
“I enjoy knowing that the life I’m called to live is challenging,” he said. “Sometimes it feels like swimming upstream, but it gives me the desire to fight the urge to fit in even more.”
Other people said the ring is an outward reminder to themselves and others of their belief in walking the path of Christ.
Elizabeth Rogers received her purity ring from her dad when she was in the eighth grade and signed the Family Honor chastity pledge. Now a junior at the University of South Carolina and a member of St. Thomas More, she still has the ring.
“It was a really big deal,” she said. “For me, even at that age, it was a choice to respect myself and my future spouse, whoever he may be.”
One day, she hopes to melt the silver purity circle down and use it in a future wedding band.
Other teens said they like to wear the ring because people ask about it and it’s a perfect opportunity for evangelization.
Brenda Cerkez, executive director of Family Honor, said purity rings are not part of the pledge ceremony for Catholics, but she thinks it’s a wonderful additional element.
Others choose to speak through example. Kyle said he knows a lot of people who have pledged in their heart to live a chaste lifestyle, but don’t wear the outward demonstration of a ring.
Elizabeth, whose ring cracked and is now safely tucked away, said a purity ring is only one way to demonstrate living for God.
“There is a beauty and a joy in living for the Lord in every aspect, and this shines from those who go about their life with this mind-set,” she said. “Christians should live their lives in such a way that people stop and say, ‘I want what she has.’ This can be through the shows we watch, the music we listen to, the clothes we choose to wear.”
It can be the outward symbol of a purity ring, or simple daily actions that point to God.