I KISSED DATING GOODBYE, AND THEN I ASKED IT OUT AGAIN. -shawn bolz.

Posted: August 25, 2008 in dating, Revelation, singleness
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Qualifiers and permissions: I want to remind you that this blogging series is for adults. Not because it contains any adult content but it is to help adults process their free will choice to pursue relationships. I believe youth have different restrictions based on their parents relationship with them then these blogs address. You have permission to print/use/repost this blog if you post it in its entirety with reference to http://www.blog.myspace.com/eagledove so that people can read them all in context. Thanks!

i know its just wrong...im sorry

BLOG 4.0
I KISSED DATING GOODBYE BUT THEN ASKED IT OUT AGAIN…

Now before you throw this blog in the recycle bin or write me hate mail or a monster criticism based on the chapter title lets go on a journey together. Every relationship has a process to it so lets talk about process. 

I want to start telling a story about when I was in high school as a young Christian man in the church whose hormones lead me into very interesting situations. Our church embraced very conservative theology over relationships, and because of this the ladies in our church embraced it, so needless to say my chances with these girls were limited to none unless I was willing to say I was courting to marry them on the first date which I refused to do.

Luckily the girls at our church were not made to wear old woman garb and cover their heads without any sign of makeup – that was my good friend’s church. I think he’s gay now.

The Great Balancing Act of Relationships

This particular chapter is about balance. We need to have a balanced perspective on setting goals to pursuing relationships. 

I will start out by saying that the vast majority of the church has over reacted to the worldliness of secular dating and has put up such stringent rules for getting into a relationship that singles often get stuck. 

Many of these rules require that you have some sort of knowing from heaven that says “This is the one for you FOREVER!” before you even start getting to know the person. This causes clunky courtship destined only for marriage whether you discover if he/she is a psycho or not. 

Of course that scenario only happens when the one who has supposedly heard from God actually tells their object of desire that they are interested, which in some Christian circles can take months…no years of the burning desire brewing to the point of insanity. We will talk about this scenario later..it creates a Christian form of stalking. (I am doing a whole blog just on stalking with some current stories of my very own stalkers! Stay tuned!)

Also many of the church people who began to write materials on dating or setting these standards never used them in their own relationships. This means a lot of what is written is in reaction to weakness as opposed to written for the sake of truth and enjoying life.

So here is where we need to go in our talk: A balanced way to pursue a desire of your heart and an attraction of your spirit, mind, and body. I have spent many hours hearing awesome dating life stories from Christians who are now married. I have also walked next to some who are now hurting from painful imbalanced relationships.

We really need to address balance. 

Repeat after me: Just because one church embraces a more traditional courtship model doesn’t mean that I have to or should, or if they are completely liberal it shouldn’t make me a complete follower until I have found the desire of God in these things first.

YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF THE RELATIONSHIP YOU BUILD

When you read this next statement it is not written so that you will cast off restraints and close your ears to your authority figures. I am not inviting you to rebel against your leadership or your parents or family unit. 

You do however have a responsibility to be in charge of the relationships you build. You have to have your own mind about this process of relationships. At the end of the day God will hold you responsible for how you pursued the relationship. Male/Female romantic relationships are not supposed to be dictated by your parents. They are not supposed to be organized by your ministry that you are accountable to, they may be inspired by it though. 

So many people are submitting themselves in wrong ways trusting another man or woman with their life and destiny in this area, and we aren’t talking about the person that they are pursuing or being pursued by. I know people who let their parents or pastors have so much authority in this process that they don’t even think for themselves in it and just coast on autopilot to other peoples decisions. That hasn’t worked out for anyone I know to well. 

You and I both know that relationships are the most precious thing besides the first commandment that we have. That means that God himself wants to be in the process of choice. He wants to encourage you as you facilitate your relationship and He even wants to speak into that process. 

So much of what the world and much of the religious culture promotes is not true healthy relationship but instead codependent marriage or courting relationships. We need to desire inter dependent loving sacrificing relationship. One is based on our human desire, one is based on God’s spiritual desire.

YOU HAVE FREEDOM TO SET YOUR OWN STANDARDS

Now let me state this, unless you have a bad moral foundation or major character issues then you have the freedom to set your own standards in the relationship process. God will mentor you, and as you hear healthy stories from those who are experiencing good marriage or relationships around you this will help you. You will need advice, help, counsel, and friendships that are role models, but you need to avoid controlling relationships. Although you want to learn from others, you can not let yourself be controlled by someone else’s model, type, or standards. These models and theological structures can inspire you but you can’t be bound to someone else’s interpretation to your own personal process. This is where the spirit of control thrives, to get you addicted to someone else’s opinions and desires for you. 

As a pastor it is not my job to set standards in other adult lives, but I am to help guide them as a father into creating their own standards. When people set their own standards through right interpretation of the Scripture and through balanced relationships that have accountability and love, they will live or die by them. When I set standards for someone, they never fully own them in a life and death way. Instead it just becomes good principles in their heads. If I helped someone get married primarily out of my desire for them, then that means when they went through a hard time I would have to help maintain their relationship or their desire for each other. 

I have seen this happen to young couples whose parents or friends wanted it more then they did for each other and sometimes in these unhealthy cases, it’s those that wanted them together that project their desire for each other more then it really exists.

GOD LOVES LOVE, ITS WHAT HE SPEAKS MOST ABOUT

 

God is a relational God and He personally loves love – are you going to let someone else’s standards steal the relationship process from you? That is what I define as a “religious dating spirit” Being bound by others doctrine in a way that violates your own choice to pursue God and others in a way that is different.

Yes there are voices that set an example but these examples are only types of what it can be like. Since every relationship is radically different that means the process will be too. 

So freedom to you if you are bound by someone else’s desire for you or model for you. Set your own first, and let theirs be inspirational to what God is already showing you! If you need help setting standards, coming up with a relationship process, etc begin to reach out to your Christian friends who have success in their relationship. If you read books or go to seminars on relationships then make sure to get a balanced perspective and not hide behind a model itself.

A CHRISTIAN CUSS WORD: DATING

Here is where I will offend many but hopefully it will all work out: God invented Dating. He created a process of pursuing, alluring, provoking, the one you are spiritually and sexually attracted to. This has worked out different in every culture and each culture has its strengths and limits about the subject but God inspired the idea of romance. He loves romance and the concept of the “D” word is first his before it’s the worlds or satan’s. Its just been so imbalanced and people cycle through more of the opposite sex faster then a competitor can cycle through the iron man.

God Himself, spoke romantically all through the Bible to show His continuing wooing of Israel and His covenant people. It was a dating or courtship process that required steps and process. It was also very different in each season of the pursuit so there was form to it but no one model each time. This is important to understand because God Himself dated Israel! OK OK He didn’t date because He knew what He was going to inherit the bride for Himself but He did use relationship language. Jesus was promised a bride and came down from heaven to prepare her for Himself. 

Before you hate on me, let me give you what I think God’s definition is of dating:

Dating according to God = The pursuit or being pursued by someone who is qualified to be interested in us. Getting to know someone you are attracted to both spiritually and naturally with the desire for a love to develop that MIGHT and hopefully (key word = might) lead to marriage. Bonding with someone in order to get to know them in a way to possibly share life with them.

Now let me tell you the worlds definition of dating:

Dating according to the world = To find someone to be happy with and enjoy. Shopping for someone to spend your life with. Sometimes to hook up or try out potential people in all areas of possible connection. To have an encounter with someone based on sexual chemistry. To say to a girl “How you doin?” and hope she responds for the night. The desire to no longer be alone. The hope for a better life based on the American dream. The desire for immediate gratification from the opposite sex without any long term hope. The desire to be with someone to avoid the pain of lonliness.

Now let me tell you the religious spirit’s definition of dating: 

Dating…no wait Scratch that! : Courting (better Christian word to separate ourselves from danger) according to the church= to meet someone that all your key people in your religious world approve of then get married as soon as possible because that is the only goal. To meet someone in hopes that they are your absolutely perfect counterpart which will allow you to accomplish all of God’s greater goals for your life, and without them you might never accomplish anything real. To meet someone that God tells you is the one then rush through intimacy building calling it courtship. Also, means To pretend like you aren’t dating without the fun of dating.

Let me be real. If you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone of the opposite sex then God wants to give you the time and enjoyment of getting to know them without planning your whole wedding on the first date in your mind. This made me think about my friends in home school when I was in high school who never had the chance to meet anyone because they were taught the religious form of dating. This meant that the person had to drop out of the sky and say “Marry Me!” right off the bat.

Most of them are still unmarried. My poor home school friends don’t even have a chance, who do they get to meet? Obviously many homeschoolers do not have this problem because there are many different types of parents raising homeschool kids. The ones I was referring to were not necessarily the standard homeschoolers, they were more of the extreme (whisper: I hope at least).

SETTING STANDARDS: 

Do you know its ok to get to know someone you are interested in without having to visualize her/ him at the alter? Of course its good to be interested in them for the desire of marriage, but this desire can not be desperate or the only focus. The relationship itself has to be the goal, not the progression of where the relationship will lead you. Well let’s talk about it. 

If we were only in relationship with Jesus with the only motivation to go to heaven, what a terrible and boring relationship that would be. It would be based on need/fear/freedom from hell instead of love/intimacy/union with God. Most of us treat dating this way, having the ultimate motive of just getting married to someone. Whenever there is a focus in a male/female relationship that is beyond just building relationship without a foundation of intimacy and friendship then it becomes imbalanced.

How do you set a standard of getting to know someone you are interested in a clean way? How many times are you allowed to go through this without looking like a church hussy? 

We coined this term “church hussy’ because most people start to look bad after they have dated more then three people in the church to the rest of the community in the congregation. They look especially bad if one was one of the pastors adult children.

What are the safety nets that will keep you um…safe when it comes to going forward or backing out even if its not mutual? We are going to look at this question in future chapters, keep reading on.

*END

STAY TUNED FOR BLOG 5.0 NEXT MONDAY!

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