.- John Ellis and the Christian rock band Tree 63 traveled all the way from South Africa to join nearly 5,000 Colorado area youth who packed the Denver Coliseum for massive youth rally sponsored by the Denver-based Pure by Choice ministry.
According to Pure by Choice, the group is a “network of faith based partners” who work with young people around Colorado to “advance the counter cultural purity revolution honoring God’s plan for life, love and healthy relationships by promoting a lifestyle of sexual purity.”
A jetlagged Ellis spoke with CNA Sunday night and shared a little about what makes the band’s performance at this year’s Pure by Choice rally so special.
A new parent himself, Ellis came from what he calls “an unchurched, secular music background”, and became a Christian at age 23. Because of this, he is acutely aware of the kinds of pressure that today’s teens face.
“Coming out of a secular background, I’d already committed every carnal sin”, he quips. But he also believes that it’s precisely this understanding that puts “weight behind his message”, and allows him to minister more successfully at events like Pure by Choice.
Christian speaker and comedian Keith Deltano, the nights keynote speaker, told CNA that he realized some time ago that his comedy “could be used as a tool other than just making people laugh.”
He stressed to the youth Sunday night that the Church is always “portrayed as being anti-sex…We’re not anti-sex.” He added that there is a proper time and place for sex in God’s plan, namely, marriage.
The coliseum erupted into wild cheers as Deltano yelled, “Virginity rocks!” and “God’s plan is sexy!”Choosing purity
Near the end of the night, thousands of young people, donning purity rings and white Lance Armstrong-like bracelets, stood and made a public pledge to live the virtue of chastity.
Led by a priest and local pastor, the youth were told that, “if God isn’t first in your life, then this pledge isn’t possible.”
Briana Agar, who works with high school youth in Boulder, called the event “a great opportunity for youth to come together and be encouraged by one another.”
“I like that they’re encouraging them not to sell out to cheap attention gained by sex”, she added.
Indeed, finding the right way to teach youth the true Christian meaning of sexuality has long confounded parents and youth leaders alike.
But in a culture saturated by sexual images and temptation, many are grateful that Pure by Choice is taking on the challenge.
George Ketchel, a Denver area youth minister, referring to the Holy Father’s unprecedented ministry to the world’s youth, said that perhaps the surest way we’ve seen to preach the real meaning of life and sexuality “is an 84-year old man saying ‘I love you.’”