Tag Archive | Dating

Notable News: Week of April 27-May 3, 2013

It’s been a busy week in my world, with a busy weekend ahead.  I’m pausing the chaos long enough to highlight some of my favorites this week.

1. A little encouragement for my friends who are “actively dating”

It’s been a long time since I had need of language for dating, but I remember being in college and finding it strange how many of my classmates seemed to be there for the purpose of finding a husband (yes, women–because let’s face it, this is not how men talk about their college education).  I enjoyed Dianna Anderson’s post about changing the way we frame dating and marriage.  I hope this brings encouragement to those who need it.

2. Progressives, conservatives, and the abortion debate

I have nothing to add to what Rachel Held Evans has said.  For me, it’s been a discomfort in aligning myself with an aspect of feminism with which I don’t agree.  I’ve had to step away from the conversation for the sake of friendships, because when I’ve voiced an opinion–on either side–I’ve gotten some pretty hateful responses.  And that’s just my actual, real-life friends!  As a person with a lot of education and experience in health-related fields, I come down squarely on the side of “this can largely be prevented.”  Unfortunately, that’s a pretty unpopular stance on both ends of the spectrum.  My Christian friends often think I’m advocating rampant, consequence-free, sinful sexuality; my feminist friends have repeatedly said nasty things about “What if she didn’t consent? What if her birth control failed? What then?”  And I’m just left shaking my head.

3. A little more of Jennifer Knapp

Jennifer Knapp is my Christian music crush.  I loved her longing lyrics and unusual sound from the first moment I heard her beautiful voice.  Have a listen to this song, then go read her responses to “Ask a…” at Rachel Held Evans’ site.

4. Another round of the “Christian vs. Gay” debate–now with 83% more racism

I was morbidly fascinated by the ridiculous meme going around about how “hated” Tim Tebow is for his faith, while Jason Collins gets a virtual party thrown for his coming out.  This is my news recap, so I’m not going to repeat myself here about the magnitude of Suck in that belief.  You should just go read this piece on how Collins’ faith was ignored and the erasure of non-white Christians from public consciousness.  The article highlights the way black athletes are marginalized until they express something that fits into white politics.  I would take that further to say that it not only fits into white faith politics but also upholds white beliefs about black faith culture.  This isn’t limited to black people of faith, either–the same holds true for any non-white people who don’t fit neatly into the expectations of white evangelical culture.  It’s more important to fix that problem than to argue over whether the media likes Tebow or Collins better.

5. No more body shaming!

I should really write about this, but I’m so often appalled at the way Christians, who claim to be “in the world but not of the world,” really like to body shame people.  Thinliness is next to godliness, of course.  Well, no.  And if you’re not feeling good about yourself today, then you need to go read this wonderful post full of affirming, honoring truths.  And while you’re at it, skip the stupid Dove ads.  Your body/looks/”beauty” do not affect your ability to live, love, laugh, and be happy.

6. And while we’re on the subject…

I laughed so hard I almost peed myself at this parody of the Dove ad.  Warning: NSFW, because, you know, balls.  You probably don’t want to watch with your kids around, either, though I don’t think I’d care if my almost 10-year-old saw it (the little one wouldn’t understand it).  Before you ask, NO, he hasn’t seen it, and NO, I’m not going to show it to him.  I’m just saying that I think he knows what they are and what they look like at this point.

7. My latest story

Inspired by Mark Driscoll.  That man is a never-ending stream of blog fodder, including short stories.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you all on Smut-Shaming Monday (AKA Amy reads yet another chapter of Fifty Shades).

Can we learn from this?

I was all set to post something else today.  I’d even finished writing it yesterday.  Now it’s going to have to wait until tomorrow, because yesterday I read this great post over on From Two to One.

I think I should let Danielle’s words speak for themselves, in part because (and this is not a criticism) she’s younger than I am and entered into her relationship and marriage with her husband after Joshua Harris’ book was published.  I got married the same year the book was released and it was entirely irrelevant to my life because I had been in a relationship and then engaged before the book came out.  However, I will note that I’m not a fan of Harris or his notions about relationships.

That said, what really struck me in Danielle’s post was this:

The most important factor in the distinction between Jessica and Libby’s views on this second point – that you shouldn’t necessarily date unless it could potentially lead to marriage – is context. In Jessica’s case, she was raised in a predominantly Catholic home, which despite the Catholic Church’s frenzy over contraception and abortion, is way less obsessed with purity culture. Jessica also did not date in her high school and much of her college years. In contrast, Libby grew up in a family and community heavily influenced by the purity, Christian patriarchy, religious right, and related movements.

Yes.  That, right there, is an important distinction.  (I believe this is significant beyond the realm of dating, love, sex, and marriage, but that’s a topic for a whole other blog post.)  For those who had their religious formation in a restrictive environment and then removed themselves from that world, Harris’ book is likely to bring up a whole lot of feelings.  Even for people like me it can induce strong reactions, in part because I had no exposure to that culture until well into adulthood—and quickly discovered that it was not for me.

I was a parent before I even heard of such a thing as “purity culture.”  I knew of exactly two people during my high school and college years who believed in a sort of magical soul-mate non-dating type of relationship.  Both of them were certain that the man God had ordained for them would one day appear, à la Snow White’s “Someday, My Prince Will Come.”  I am not exaggerating at all when I say that one friend believed she and her future husband would gaze into each other’s eyes and just know they were meant to be.

Other than that, I had “purity training lite.”  I learned in my first church that I was not supposed to have sex before I was married, but that was about it.  My first church was much more hostile toward gay people than toward dating couples.  I had no idea that there was such a thing as purity rings, purity balls, or parent-arranged/parent-approved courtship.  After I got married, I heard about Harris’ book, of course, but dismissed it as irrelevant and never read it.  It wasn’t until after my daughter was born that I learned the rest existed and that there was a whole culture surrounding it.

For that reason, I can easily dismiss Harris and his ilk.  I don’t have to rebel against an entire culture in which I was raised.  I don’t have to assert my sexual liberation or rail against the idea of “falling into sexual sin.”  I’m free to agree with anything that might be of value in those books, while rejecting anything that is inappropriately restrictive.  I’m even free to toss the whole thing out the window and find better sources for relationship ethics.  My children are free to do the same.

But for those who have been wounded by that culture, it’s not so simple.  They’ve seen the damage that can be done at the hands of parents, pastors, and teachers who demand compliance with Harris’ ideas.  They see people still suffering in oppressive religious environments and they want to set them free.  Sometimes that comes out in healthy ways; sometimes it doesn’t.

Ultimately, what I took away from Danielle’s post is that I could stand to be more generous myself.  I need to be willing to consider carefully whether it’s the message or the packaging that I don’t like.  Danielle seems to have been able to do exactly that in her own reading of Harris’ book, and she seems to have been capable of forging her own path as a Christian feminist.  I think that’s a life story we can all learn from.

Shotgun Prom

This photo has been circulating on Facebook:

I have the sense that most people find it funny.  I don’t.

Even though my childhood wasn’t perfect, and my parents did their share of crazy and destructive things, I am thankful that my father never would have dreamed of doing something like this.  In fact, my parents were actually pretty cool about the whole dating/prom thing.  (I went to both of mine with “loaner” guys—good friends on loan from their girlfriends who were unable to attend.  I had wanted to go with a date, but not a date, if you know what I mean.)

Back to the picture.  There is so much wrong here that I’m not sure where to begin.  Perhaps with the threat of physical violence by an adult toward an adolescent?  Or the lack of trust between the father and his daughter?  Or the idea that a young woman just needs a big, strong man to protect her from the evils of dating and sex?  Take your pick.

I understand that the sentiment behind this is the idea that Daddy Dear is willing to go to any length to protect his beloved daughter.  As a parent, I get it.  I want to protect my kids, too.  If anyone tries to hurt them, they will have Angry Mama Bear to contend with, and I would absolutely take a bullet or a speeding bus for them.  But that’s the difference here.  This man isn’t protecting his daughter from actual, real, impending threat.  He’s the one doing the threatening under the assumption that his daughter is incapable of taking care of herself or making her own choices about her relationships and intimacy.  (I’m not advocating for post-prom sex here; I’m just pointing out that unless her date is a rapist, then she herself is in control of what she does or doesn’t do with her date.)

There are a couple of things I’m sure that someone will want to point out to me about this.  First, the dad “understands” the way boys think because he was one.  You know what? I married a man who used to be a teenage boy.  My father was a teenage boy.  Every man in my family was a teenage boy at one point.  Guess what?  Not one of them would ever have considered doing anything like the man in the photo.  Not only that, all the men in my family (including the one I married) give a lot more credit to their daughters than that man.

Second, I’m sure some people might wonder if I would go out of my way to protect my kids from potential dangers.  Of course I would.  But I also know they have to learn to stand on their own.  Let me illustrate.  My son likes to climb things.  (I’m surprised he hasn’t found out how to get onto the roof yet.)  When he was about 5, we were at the playground with some friends.  He climbed up the outside of the tube slide, something he’d been doing for quite some time.  When the other moms saw, they all yelled to him at once to get down.  He got distracted and slipped, scraping himself on the way down.  The other moms turned to glare at me, and one or two said, “I told you that would happen.”  The problem is, they were the ones who caused the fall.  If he hadn’t turned to see why they were calling him, he would have made it safely to the top.

When my son first started climbing, I did worry.  I wanted to stand guard under him in case he fell.  I wanted to tell him to stop, to wait until he was bigger, to tell him he shouldn’t do that.  But that wouldn’t have stopped him.  He would have continued trying, because that’s part of who he is.  Instead of preventing him from climbing, I understood that I had to give him the confidence and the tools to do it safely.

I feel the same way about my kids and their future relationships.  I want to provide them all the tools they need to be emotionally and physically healthy.  Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I don’t just mean giving my kids “the talk” and handing them condoms on prom night.  I mean that I want to give them what they need so that they know how to stand up for themselves when they feel pressured into something they’re not ready for.  I want to provide them a faith-based moral foundation so that they are spiritually prepared to make wise choices.  I want them to understand healthy relationships.  And yes, I want them to have everything they need in the event they make a choice that is different than what I would prefer.

Before someone points out that I don’t yet have teenagers and might feel differently, you’ll just have to trust me on this one.  I know what kind of parents I had, and I know what kind of parent I want to be.  I also know that my kids are surrounded by family and friends who care about us.  I’m not worried.  See, I trust my kids.  I trust them because we have that kind of relationship.  You won’t find my husband or me standing on the porch with a gun because it won’t be necessary.  Instead, we’ll be the ones begging for one more picture before waving to them from the doorway.  Kind of like my own parents.

Notable News: Week of May 26-June 1, 2012

Not so much news as just a couple of pretty cool blog posts from this week.  Today’s theme: Dating and the concept of “guarding your heart.”  Also, something just for fun.

1. How far is too far

These two excellent posts offer two opposing viewpoints on the same topic: Navigating the world of relationships.  First, over at A Deeper Story, Megan writes about wishing she’d known what could happen if she gave away her heart.  In contrast, Dianna Anderson (and if you’re not reading her blog, you really should be; go do it now) writes about freeing herself to experience a broken heart.  I would love to weigh in on this topic, because I think it’s actually one of the most important things we need to consider as Christians—especially if we have kids we need to help through this process.

2. If it exists, someone has “shipped” it (paired it romantically).

You know that expression “If it exists, there’s porn of it”?  (Okay, maybe you don’t.)  Anyway, it appears to be the same in fanfiction.  While looking for something entirely unrelated, I ended up finding one of the most hilarious fanfics I’ve read in a long time.  Apparently, there is fanfic which ships Draco Malfoy and—brace yourselves—a green apple.  And there is seemingly no shortage of Drapple fics.  There’s even a Facebook page (several, actually).  This one is a pair of very silly shorts about Draco and his…um…”companion.”  Warning: The stories are somewhat suggestive, so skip it if you a) have no sense of humor or b) are easily offended.  Also, don’t bother clicking on the link if you’ve never seen the movie versions of both Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Drapple fics make no sense otherwise, and it’s less funny if I have to explain it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!