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Friday, March 13, 2009

Should Young Teens Date?

I received this question from a Youth Leader as follows (She publicly posted it on my blog so I don't think she would mind me discussing it publicly, I will leave her name off however):

Hey Deacon Pat,
So in your opinion, does that mean that young people shouldn't "court" until they are ready to get married? I fully agree that in all reality every relationship we have before marriage is God's way of forming us and preparing us to choose our life partner. And also helping us to figure out how to actually LIVE with them once we are married.
But I also believe that it is fun!
and when done with purity (or purely--not sure on my grammar there), don't you think God is OK with us going out and being social and having fun with each other even if we aren't ready to actually propose?

Dear Youth Leader:

What do most people think dating is?

I am not sure there should be such a thing as dating.

No, I don’t think people should date until they are at a point within a year or two of being able to support a wife, or be a wife, otherwise what is the purpose.

I like the term courtship much better.

Can't people be friends, get to know each other without physical contact?

Without dating?

Dating, that sounds exclusive.

Making an exclusive commitment that isn't engagement and marriage just helps perpetuate the concept that relationships often are not permanent.

If it isn’t exclusive, what is the purpose if we aren’t talking sex?

Friends can do things together, especially in groups, this ensures the security of the woman’s reputation.

Marriage is permanent.

What is the rush!

So many trivialize dating to be "mini-marriages" so they can feel committed and then justify sex…..

Men and Women should be developing Virtue and Character in their adolescence and young adulthood, restraining from the emotional impulses, mastering self-control and discipline.

Youth need the example and encouragement from Adults, youth leaders, and Clergy that patience, honoring the reputation of women, and the necessity of obtaining the education and skills needed to be a provider are all needed before one could even consider dating / courting.

If not, then we are left with a society that places more emphasis of having fun dictating and guiding the youth and altogether missing the depth of commitment, true love, and communion come from courtship and marriage, not dating.

I feel that it is the responsibility of Pastors, Clergy, and Youth Ministers to be the leaven in our society and be the example through our lives, our actions, and all our teachings to transcending our current culture of death and nothingness, and to clearly show the way for God’s children.
To be a true servant of Christ, we are to willingly take up the cross, be counter cultural, understand we often will not be popular, often misunderstood by most around us, yet our lives speak the truth, unlike the world around us.
If we don’t look and act much different than society around us, we are assured that we are not much different than the world around us, and that world is not Christian… At least not Christian as Christ would see it.

Jesus himself, not the culture around us, should be the guide regarding identifying Christian values and lessons, and answering questions and guiding us regarding what is appropriate or not.

Would Jesus think is was OK for children to hang on each other when they have no means for marriage… Youth of His day would not ever think of even holding hands without being engaged…
Why should it be different now, because everyone is doing it….

I think Not!

Written in Sincere love and humility,

Deacon Pat

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