Black & White Thinking: Courtship Approach?

I am making another post today. This post is pretty similar to yesterday’s post questioning does”one size fits all.”

One thought that occurs to me here is that this group approach is typically presented as something that is “black and white” with no shades of grey. By this I mean that there is really no middle ground or “freedom” and the same rules should apply to all ages. Another way to say this is that it is presented in a legalistic fashion vs. a guideline.

A lot of things in Christianity are black and white with no middle ground. Since this is the case, people who deal with a lot of black and white issues (such as pastors) have a harder time dealing with and presenting something that can have shades of gray. The author of the I Kissed Dating Goodbye book seemed to present the group approach as a black and white issue with no middle ground. He did in his subsequent book (Boy Meets Girl) indicate that there could be some freedom depending on age/maturity and situation (too bad that wasn’t in his first book or revised first book).

Hindsight and common sense both tell you that the group approach is a good guideline for teenagers and that as someone gets older different guidelines should apply. Perhaps as one moves into their twenties, it is fine to do things one on one with the opposite sex while still doing some things (or earlier stages of a relationship) in a group setting.

One thing to consider is that a lot of pastors that promote the group approach have gotten married at a young age. Thus they don’t have any first hand experience of being an older single and hence they gravitate toward rules that are more appropriate for younger people.

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Revised 2/25/08

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3 Responses to “Black & White Thinking: Courtship Approach?”

  1. SavvyD Says:

    Amen to that. I’ve always thought that it would be better if they had some experience being TRULY single.

  2. Leisa Says:

    Is the idea that older singles could have more time together alone put forward with Biblical purity in mind? Is it based on an assumption that older people have a greater ability to resist temptation?

    What about the fall of man and his battle with the flesh?; the constant spiritual warfare for our souls?; God’s purpose for the strong attraction between man and woman?; and the resultant challenge to act responsibly with our fleshly desires, until the marriage covenant is made (and beyond)? Bible accounts spell this clearly, and the New Testament states repeatedly that we are to aim to be pure in everything – mind, body, soul. If we believe we are ever above tempation, we are mistaken.

    Yes, we fall. But if our ways are sure to lead us to fall, we need to examine them. We need to acknowledge our weaknesses and take responsibility for them. We owe this to others and to God. We are to be givers, not takers.

    Secular people do not have the benefit of knowing these things, and so modelling our lives on their methods/ways needs thorough examination.

    Has no one else heard of mature, married pastors falling to sexual temptation? As a married woman, it is wise that I choose not to be alone with another man, especially to share (intimate) conversation. In my committment to purity, I would not take employment with a man alone either. Each of these situations would be placing myself at risk of temptation, and I CAN avoid them if I choose to. I’m no weaker than anyone else, it seems.

    Why put forward encouragement to resist the dating culture, even if the alternative methods are problematic? To plead the issue: not to fall prey to defending our ‘freedom in the flesh’. Pray that we respond to the legalism issues, with grace, rather than start bagging one another. Rather that we don’t replace one form of legalism with another, and condemnation with it. That we stick with the efforts to release young singles from the trial and error of secular methods, and seek freedom from terrible marriages by seeking character before intimacy, and one, unadulterated marriage covenant.

    Finding a marriage partner is not trial by error. It is not difficult to observe a person’s character in a group setting, especially during times when the group is challenged. Character is the time-defying, trial-defying ingredient that will see a marriage through (kindness, loyalty, compassion, diligence, responsibility…). Group setting can be a good way to see the best and the worst. It is a bit like being in a family: you get to see someone up close, but keep a respectable boundary between each other.
    On the other side, one-on-one (dating alone) is a time for our best effort to impress (so the best side of character is accentuated), as there are less distractions, challenges and demands from outsiders. The greater intimacy of one-on-one is the precious gift awaiting us on our wedding night. During the engagement period a greater intimacy is achieved even in a group setting.

    The twenty-somethings tend to hang out together the same as other age-groups tend to. Sometimes the older ones are encouraged to shepherd the younger, and that can work. They think and talk about different things and at various levels of maturity, especially since teens and adults have different responsibilities. Social problems occur in all groups eventually: we are mere man. They happen in dating groups too, e.g. with problems of jealousy and possessiveness, and the uncertainty surrounding the definition of a relationship being a source of insecurity for many couples. Twenty somethings may be more able to commit, but often have ‘baggage’ to contend with. They are collecting more baggage as they continue to practice relationship break-ups in their dating journey. A few marry the first one, for sure. An increased ability to commit does not mean they are more resistant to the flesh.

    Does this change the reason for the issue at hand? Only if you believe that the old sinful nature has a lid on it by the time we are in our twenties, or that we have more control over it by then. I’ll put my hand up and say that just isn’t true for me and my friends.

    SavvyD, I am curious about your recommendation of experiencing being ‘truly single’. It is probably in your blog, so I’ll go and look.

  3. steve240 Says:

    Leisa

    Thanks for another post. I am not sure why you are having a hard time understanding my point about more mature singles being better able to handle the responsibility of dating. To me this is common sense; as someone matures they can more responsibly handle their attraction with the opposite sex.

    Am I saying that more mature single are at no risk? Absolutely not but they are less likely. Each person has to make a person decision on what is best for them.

    Yes all people have sinful natures; this is still there even with age. A lot of churches that like to quote the passage in Jeremiah where he says that the heart is “sick” never seem to talk about the passages in Jeremiah where God promises that he will give you a new hear and mind and desire to know Him. With our new creation in Christ we should be able to stand strongly. Thus we may have a sinful nature but God has also given us a hear to do good. I am not sure why some of these churches ignore these other passages in Jeremiah?

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