Conversation: Flynn Atkins
Flynn Atkins, 32, a member of L.A. Symphony, a hip-hop Christian band, grew up attending an Assemblies of God church and graduated from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif. He recently gave candid answers regarding his virginity, singleness and pursuit of purity when he spoke with Associate Editor Kirk Noonan.
tpe: YouÕre on the road a lot with L.A. Symphony. How do you deal with temptation?
ATKINS: Fortunately, we travel in numbers and hold each other accountable on and off the road.
If one of us goes on a first date the others will call him during the date to make sure he doesnÕt do anything stupid.
On the road weÕve had some serious temptations. Once some girls offered us open invitations to have sex. But we all knew that there was no way we could look each other in the eye the next day knowing who we are and what we stand for. We rallied together and fled from the situation.
tpe: Are you a virgin?
ATKINS: Yes. I decided that sexual intercourse was something I wasnÕt going to do before marriage. In high school our youth pastor said if you waited you would be blessed. I bought into that, and it would be stupid to give in now.
I wish I could say I let the Holy Spirit lead me in this area every day and that I donÕt have any desires for women, but thatÕs not the case. At times itÕs a stressful thing.
tpe: Who instilled the value of purity in you?
ATKINS: My parents got married when they were both 17 years old. I was the reason they got married, but they have stayed together and got real involved in church when I was growing up. My mom would always emphasize being careful with the whole dating thing.
Seeing what happened to them at a young age and all the sacrifices they had to make because of their mistake, I decided I didnÕt want to make the same mistake.
tpe: Do people make fun of you for staying pure?
ATKINS: Sometimes itÕs hard to wear the ÒvirginÓ tag with honor because the world has a negative perception of virgins. People laugh and chuckle and then you have believers saying, ÒYou should really be proud of staying pure.Ó But hearing that gets old too.
tpe: Is there an upside to staying pure besides the elimination of an unplanned pregnancy and health risks?
ATKINS: There is. The closer you get to someone physically, the more emotionally and spiritually connected you become to that person. God doesnÕt want us to have those connections until weÕre married, so itÕs vital to cherish your virginity.
tpe: People make mistakes. Besides the accountability with your friends and prayer times, how else do you maintain your purity?
ATKINS: IÕve walked away from relationships because they were headed in the wrong direction. In those situations God wants me to stay prayerful but also use the ability to reason that He gave me. Godly reason tells me, ÒYou donÕt want to do this. This is not a wise move and she is not yours.Ó
tpe: Dispel some myths about a 32-year-old virgin.
ATKINS: I donÕt live with my mom and dad and I donÕt have a pocket protector.
ThereÕs also a myth that virgins donÕt know whatÕs going on and theyÕre out of touch. ItÕs tough because people think a 32-year-old virgin has no friends and is sheltered. But my friends know who I am and I know what God has for my life. My friends know and embrace that too and help keep me accountable.
tpe: What advice do you give to a single person who gave their virginity away before marriage?
ATKINS: You canÕt carry shame and believe you canÕt be forgiven. God forgives.
tpe: What do churches at large need to know about singles?
ATKINS: At church we hear we should be in pursuit of getting married. There is an overtone in the church that says you are super blessed if youÕre married or on the way to getting married.
I think churches forget what Paul said when he said it is better to be single.
All that said, I donÕt envision myself being single with no children all my life. But because of the things people say, I sometimes ask myself, ÒAm I somehow broken because IÕm not married?Ó
tpe: What do you hope to accomplish by striving to stay pure?
ATKINS: I couldnÕt do this without knowing God exists, and I want Him to know I am trying my best to honor Him, His Word and my family. I want to live up to the standard He has set.