Relationships are a complicated maelstrom. Christian relationships can be VERY complicated. Christian relationship with someone who is not a 'christian" is a misnomer.
I have decided to write (not directly, dont worry I wont put future baes on blast) as a form of therapy and comedy. I am culminating my experiences in a series of blogs that looks at relationships not necessarily only from me but from other women. Hopefully we all learn some much needed wisdom from this exercise, because *throws up hands in surrender* I am truly giving it to God.
From my unofficial analysis, I think there are two main schools of thought about christian dating. I would classify them broadly into two diametrically opposing ideals, the "Dating Delilah" school of thought vs "Sacred Search" school of thought. I will try and present an unbaised view of both but to be honest in the past years of my life I have leaned more towards the Sacred Search way of thinking. I think Dating Delilah is what most christian preachers have filled our thoughts and heads with.
I believe in some ways a lot of christian singles have missed out on being intentional about their dating lives because of what we grew up hearing in church especially women. Phrases like "The one God has prepared for you will come to you." and "Just wait on God" sounds holy but encourages a more passive role in our dating lives.
Sacred Search was written by Gary Thomas who takes a refreshingly practical view and dare I say slightly cynical view on dating and marriage. He encourages single people to take an active role in searching for a life partner and make a wise choice while doing so. One of the phrases that he used was "walk towards the music." He basically said ( I am paraphrasing) "They are a lot of bitter single women in the church who "blame" God for not keeping his side of the bargain yet are passive in their approach to dating." For every other thing in life, we take steps of faith but in dating we just "leave" it to God and we are not intentional about it. For example, you want to go to Law school, you study for the required exams and you apply for law school. You don's pray to God expressing your desire to go to law school without taking the necessary steps . Gary Thomas encourages single Christians to have fun with the process of finding a mate which includes being open to online dating. Sometimes this can be viewed as "going ahead" of God or desperation especially in Nigerian christian circles but I don't think it's a simple as that. I tend to agree with the book. Though if you strongly believe that you will be blessed with your mate simply without having to "search" then I aint gonna knock your hustle. As the bible says, as a man thinketh so is he. I wont knock faith. Choosing a life long partner an extremely important process that you should make wisely with the help of mentors, pastors, friends ,parents.
Sacred Search is not a particularly uplifting give you hope type of book. As I said, it stops short of being cynical. After reading it, I was sure that I didn't want to get married. He writes about how difficult marriage can be, the types of partnerships in marriage, how to cut people off the list a la "hire fast and fire fast", warning signs in relationships and making a wise decision with the guidance of the holy spirit. He advises the reader to end any relationship with physical violence.
While I do agree with the ideas of the book, I believe in balance. He delves into this to. We all have different journeys ,some people have had their spouses pointed out to them directly by God especially if God has a specific purpose for the marriage. However, the majority of us have to make a wise decision with guidance from the holy spirit. So in some ways I disagree with him when he writes that marriage partners is under the permissive will of God. My translation was, God gives us free will and as long as we make a wise choice under christian standards, God is cool with whoever we marry. I would like to think the big GOD cares a little bit more about such a major decision of our lives, where a bad decision can have devastating consequences that not only affects you but generations after you.
Dating Delilah was written by Judah Smith. To be perfectly honest, I read the book years ago. I wasn't particularly interested in reading it again so I just found the highlights. You will have to forgive me if some of my interpretations are off. This book is geared towards a younger crowd. I would say teenagers and people in their early twenties. It focuses more on purity and deals with topics such as sex before marriage, provocative dressing, no dating unbelievers, lustful thoughts and treating each other like brother and sister. I don't know where to begin but let me start with I do agree with and what I like about the book. I do agree with biblical concepts of no sex before marriage, where the bible makes it explicitly clear. There is no need to write an epistle about this. Please as a christian it would be wise to end a relationship with anybody that tries to convince you otherwise. To be frank, it does get a little bit more difficult dating in your 30's because the majority of people you meet may not have this point of view and sex before marriage IS a clear expectation. Some one once said that the "no sex before marriage" standard was for pastors and since we are all "sinners" we cannot reach that standard.
**********Blank Stare************Gerrout here jare !
Is 2.5 seconds of questionable pleasure worth an eternity in hell.Okay ..Okay maybe 5 seconds I joke Its not only the concept of hell that scares me, its the total separation from God which is the literal meaning of hell that scares me. I do agree somewhat with his view about provocative dressing but I have found this is very subjective. The generally drift is to keep things covered. Maybe because to me it isn't something I really think about so I tend not to take it too seriously, though to a younger person its extremely important.
To be honest, when I read treating one another as brother and sister I laughed at loud but then I have to remember the context of the book. Judah Smith wrote the book when he was young and it skews towards a younger audience. The general idea is treating the members of the opposite sex as friends and getting to know them. This is much easily done in the context of a youth church, youth outings but becomes more difficult as a single person not plugged into those avenues
His general idea about finding a mate is more inline with the "church christian" perspective we have all heard. Follow the rules above and God will arrange bae for you pronto. While I will never diminish the working power of God, I believe we should also play an active role in finding mates guided by the holy spirit. Get fit, take a class, go further in your career, go online, allow sensible trusted friends to hook you up ( I emphasize sensible friend ), invest in yourself and embrace the process. Get out of your comfort zone. Yes they will be uncomfortable experiences, but uncomfortable experiences usually means growth.
I also find the name of the book "Dating Delilah" slightly misogynistic and offensive. It puts the onus of sexual purity on men and casts women as the villain. The Delilah spirit that wants to tempt the righteous man and derail him. To be honest, its usually the other way around in the streetz nowadays. They are other perfectly capable male villains in the bible. You could have "Dating Esau" or "Dating Goliath."Those are equally provocative titles to me.
In comparing both books, in the context of Christianity, "Sacred Search would be a more progressive radical novel while "Dating Delilah" is more of the traditional view. One view is not necessarily better than the other though I have my personal preference. I believe each individual has to make a choice based on their belief system and a balance between both schools of thought. More important is that regardless of what you believe in, make your choices seeking Gods approval.
"Seek first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness and everything else will follow."
Until next time, live fearless folks!