Saturday, July 19, 2008

Modern Christian Courtship

Dale Tedder has a list of links about raising daughters when they start dating, including this set of interview questions that the father should ask the boy. The author, Reb Bradley, endorses a rather complementarian view of gender roles that I cannot endorse, but the questionnaire is quite valuable -- provided that it is not whipped out on the first date.

The questionnaire is reflective of the modern Christian courtship movement, which is an effort to reconcile Christian values with an increasingly sexualized American society. Here's one critique from a few years back.

What do you think of the Christian courtship movement? How should Christians raise their children to date?


truevyne said...

Dear John,
I don't have experience in this yet, but I've told my 12 almost 13 year old son who likes girls, "Here's how dating will be in our family. If you are interested in a girl, you can ask to hang out with her and family (I'm thinking sitting right next to her Dad). If you want, she can also hang out with us a family too."

My 14 year old thinks girls make nice friends...sigh.

I felt like a list of questions like the one you posted would be something to refer to in the type of relationship I mention above- one question at a time without ever showing the entire questionaire. It's just much too much in its entirity for any person to withstand outside of relationship. I wouldn't want that much and that kind of scrutiny placed on me all at once, but I wouldn't mind being discovered to have good character inside getting to know someone.

Does this make sense at all?

Larry B said...

I haven't read the linked book, however based on the description, it's a bit frustrating to me to read someone who has experienced life one way and assumes that way to be the way for all christians to follow.

To me, the authors success isn't necessarily a logical consequence of the tenets he sets out in his book. There's a high probability that other factors ultimately determined his outcome. It's not something that he can test scientifically.

Several biblical marriages that we are told about in the Old and New Testament narratives were simply arranged for traditional or political reasons. God still used those marriages too.

It is somewhat repugnant to me that tenets of Christianity are used in a way to "optimize" an area of your life. The lives of many biblical characters were anything but optimum. It smacks of prosperity gospels.

Having said that, there is real value in understanding the level of sexualization in our society and protecting ourselves from the detriments of participating in that lifestyle.

I do have a 14 year old daughter and we talk often about waiting to have sex, not putting herself in a situation where she is tempted, and how staying sexually inactive until marriage can be a way to honor God. Do I think it's mandated by some notion of modern "Christian" courtship? No, I think it's simple solid advice for a sweet girl trying to find her way in the world too. Christianity informed my views, but I didn't find a "prescription" for success anywhere in my readings.

John said...

Good idea, Truevyne. My wife and are already thinking about group and particularly family activities as the approach for our daughter when she gets to be a teenager. We'll see how that turns out, of course.

LarryB, I suspect that Christian courtship requires an extensive and long-established social network to succeed. In our mobile society, that may not be a realistic possibility for many.

DannyG said...

I saw a similar (somewhat more humorous) list a couple of years back on Dr Laura's web site.
I don't have a dog in this hunt, but it is an interesting question. I don't think that individual dating should be allowed under age 16, then it should start with some serious limitations. Of the two girls I saw with any degree of regularity during that time (D) and (C)...One I had gone to church with for almost 10 yrs and the families knew each other very well, the other we introduced our parents to each other at the academic awards banquet of what would have been my junior year.

Years later, when I started dating (J), though we were already in our late 20's, I took to opportunity to voluntairly share this type of info with her parents (posted as "interviewing for the Position of Son-in-Law".

So, if I had a daughter, what would I do? (J) has said that I would probably make it a practice to be cleaning my guns when the poor boy came over. Of course, I would be compelled to point out the trophies and medals from when I used to shoot competitively. (I hit what I aim at!!!)

Jeff the Baptist said...

So, if I had a daughter, what would I do? (J) has said that I would probably make it a practice to be cleaning my guns when the poor boy came over.

I have told my wife the same thing. If we ever have a daughter, I can guarantee I'll be working on something firearms related when we meet the boys. I will probably also try to size him up over a shooting session at the local range as well.

Dan Trabue said...

Aaahh, smell the testosterone in the air.

My kids know what is expected of them. We will continue to let them know what is expected of them. Both my son and my daughter. And their friends of all types.