Thursday, May 26, 2011


I don't want to feel like I have to justify to my friends if my boys go out on a date.  Now, mind you, I say this with the comfortable certainty that that probably isn't going to happen any time in the immediate future.

While my friends outside my Christian circle think of me as very conservative and I've been called to the right of the John Birch society (pretty sure that's not a compliment), Christians don't know what to do with me.

Mostly they seem vaguely suspicious of me.  I am theologically conservative, yet my flat-out rejection of some of the more popular trends in the conservative home educating crowd flummoxes them.  They suspect I am a heretic or at least deceived and ill-informed.  The polite horror when I mentioned that my son was looking for a math themed Halloween costume to wear to his college Calc class for extra credit is but one indication that I too often stray from the current standard orthodoxy.

The courtship model causes me unease.  This article goes a long way toward capturing why.  The fact that I voice unease with the courtship model, with the patriocentric movement, with the family-integrated church movement causes my friends unease.

None of this should be reason for divisiveness.  None of these matters concern the nature of God or the way of salvation.  And the folks I hang with are too polite to make it a divisive matter.  But neither do they really want to talk about most of these topics.

Perhaps the comments here can be a thoughtful forum.  I'd be very interested in hearing others' thoughts after reading the linked courtship article.  How do you intend to guide your kids when it comes to dating?  I am sure I have much to learn from all of you!

"Break the conventions.  Keep the Commandments." --GK Chesterton


  1. That was an interesting article. We just finished a three-week series at our church on sex. Our pastor also was talking about how people don't date anymore. Of course, with non-Christians, it was for different reasons. This whole thing has just made me aware that we need to be talking to our kids about ALL of this! We need to talk to them about sex and talk to them about dating. I'm with you that I would like to see my boys someday go out on a date to get to know a girl! The pressure to only date someone they know they might want to marry seems intense!

  2. Yes! I think the courtship model makes it too easy for some of my kids to stick to their intensely cautious nature. Emotional risk is a part of life and I just wonder if kids have spent a lifetime "guarding their hearts" and making sure they don't commit too much to anyone, how will they then make an instant switch to the type of emotional maturity and openness necessary for marriage. I see the courtship model as encouraging some of my kids to float along inside their cautious little bubble. At the same time, I see others of my kids that I am sure I would champion the courtship model for because their tendency would be to push boundaries too far in the other direction.

    I guess I just wonder how Josh Harris got to be the authority on this subject and why homeschoolers in particular seem so eager to follow these types of fads? I wonder if it is because in all the cases I mention--courtship, patriocentrism, family integrated church--I think that the proponents of each have correctly identified a problem--being a 'ho, disrespect of God given family structure leadership, church following the public school model rather than trying to keep multi-ages together. And yet, in each case, I think I almost have greater unease at the "christian" solution to the problem. Mostly because the folks I hang with seem completely unwilling to look at the extreme in the solutions proposed and unwilling to critique "our own side" so to speak.

    I like what the other Emily (Sault) commented on this--maybe that was on FB and not here--that her daughter does date but without all the physical junk. That seems reasonable to me, but I think we all remember teen age hormones, so I don't want to encourage playing with fire either.

    Surely there's a middle ground between courtship and the world's standard? But because that can't be easily packaged into a book and taught at conferences we don't hear that discussion? Courtship certainly short circuits having to really wrestle with these things and certainly quells a lot of fear that we parents feel as our kids approach these ages.

    It's a tough one, that's for sure!

  3. Well, I'm not sure if you are looking for answers from more liberal christians/universalists. However, I think this is an important issue and have also been thinking about it. I think I would guide my daughters to try to form deeper connections with male peers and to spend time with them one-on-one without any expectation of marriage. As far as physical intimacy, I think my focus will be on the fact that no birth control method is failsafe, and many sexually transmitted diseases are very serious. I think the problem with both "hookup" culture and this "courtship" model, is that they don't seem to provide the kind of experience connecting with another person deeply that I think they need.