Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Part Seven: Let it Be = Love3

Here’s the last reason to get married quickly—once you’ve found the right person—direct from Passion and Purity. This is Elizabeth writing on Jim’s time away at college; my comments are in parentheses. “A strange thing happened during Jim’s senior year in college. He called it his Renaissance—a new openness to social life, friendships with people he did not consider specially “spiritual,” the freedom to date if he felt like dating, (Why not marry if he felt like marrying?) and a great deal of clowning, giving vent to his native flair for acting and mimicry. (Did you have him take a drug test? Have you considered alcohol?) I heard of it secondhand and was offended. (No doubt.) What had happened to him? A psychologist could explain it easily no doubt. (I’d like to hear that explanation.) Jim’s explanation was simply that the Lord had liberated him from some old restraints, enabling him to reach out, break barriers, enjoy things. He admitted that he carried it too far. (Really?) There were some “kissing incidents” reported to me in letters from other students.” (Maybe that’s why Elizabeth Elliott recommended The Heart of the Rose!) And later, he wrote to Elizabeth, after asking forgiveness, “And I am erased. If there is more that I must do, I stand ready for reproof. Do you expect yet more of me?”12 “Yes!” I would have said, “If you can all do that, you can marry me. Since you like to take chances and live life on the edge!” But Elizabeth didn’t say that, and, “If you were waiting for the opportune moment...that was it.”13 :-) That is the number one proof that Jim Elliott needed a wife whether he could make up his mind or not. I’ve read that chapter in the book several times and still do not understand what was going on in their minds. Whilst reading, I wish I could step into the book and knock their heads together, then drag them to the nearest Justice of the Peace. :-)
Joshua Harris’ next book, Boy Meets Girl, was a good read and again, he presents his ideas in suggestion form. I enjoyed his and Shannon’s story but some of the others made my stomach churn. Yes, they are nice and all but they are not the norm. I’ve heard lots of courtship stories before but these were far out. Come on, really, how many people can afford a helicopter to whisk them away from the reception? Don’t treat this as normal! The same goes for all the courtship stories I’ve read about cross-country flights and white-horse proposals. (I’d describe myself as typically romantic but if a guy rode up on a white horse and asked me to marry him, I’d probably sock him in the jaw for embarrassing me in front of the neighbors. That, or run away, yelling, “No way!” or “Who are you again?” or “Help! He needs his head checked! Someone call 911!” I haven’t decided. :-) ) Thankfully, there are no white-horse proposals in Boy Meets Girl but there is the big issue: the first kiss.
Having never been kissed, I cannot draw from personal experience but I can say that kissing seems to be highly over-rated. So over-rated that Christians are encouraging each other to wait until the wedding day to share their first kiss in front of 10-500 people. It must be wonderful if it requires such an audience! Funny thing, I’ve never seen my parents kiss in public—they barely hold hands while out and about—and they didn’t wait until the alter to kiss. Most of my friends’ parents kissed before they got married and seem fine; it’s not like they went past kissing. Let’s see, who else kissed before marriage? Betsy and Joe (of Betsy-Tacy), Laura and Almanzo (of Little House), Jo and Fritz, Amy and Laurie (of Little Women), Anne and Gilbert (of Green Gables), Irene and Curdie (of Princess and the Goblin), Rilla and Ken (of Ingleside), my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and the list goes on. They didn’t seem to have any trouble. Josh Harris handles this subject well and doesn’t expect every couple to follow his and Shannon’s lead. But others do and try to shove this teaching down everyone’s throats. Not everyone is going to fit into this box and I don’t think it’s fair to try to make people feel bad over a non-salvation issue. I think I’d rather have my first kiss in private when I become engaged and not in front of a crowd of wedding guests. But that’s my and my fiancé’s choice, not anyone else’s. This is a personal choice for everyone and should not be mandated by any man-made rules. Case Closed.


Jo said...

You are right... we all are our own individual person, and IT IS WRONG for people to shove personal beliefs down others throats. I know for me personally, I am not in a relationship right now, but am certainly NOT of the mind to have my first kiss at the altar. Not to say I go about kissing guys or that I have been kissed... ever! I cannot wait for my first kiss but it will be with the man I marry, and just like literary characters, the first kiss will hopefully be in private!
Thanks for writing about this... it's great to think about!
- Jo

Alicia said...

I just discovered your blog, so I'm probably commenting out of contect, but I'm glad that I'm not the only one to think that Passion and Purity was a little weird. I love the Elliots' story, but I was really, like, "so get married already!!" I couldn't realy get the point of the book, when I read it in high school, and when I met the love of my life in college and we both new it almost instantly, I certainly didn't sit around trying to discover the "right" time to get married. The "right" time was just a soon as I could manage to cram four semesters into three and then get married before the last one! :^)

Jonalee said...

I just briefly skimmed your post here about Josh's book Boy Meets Girl. I have to say that my husband and I are "David and Claire" in chapter 4. All of what you read is true and the reason we had a helicopter take us from our reception was because my husband's good friend is a pilot and hooked him up with a good deal (which his dad helped pay for by the way). No, not everyone get's "whisked away by a helicopter". But if that's all you take from our story, you've missed the point.

Ingrid said...

:-) I'm glad to hear it. The point of my article is that all courtship stories are different and that young people shouldn't expect their story to be like anyone else's. The only things that remain the same about relationships are boy + girl = love & marriage. And young people should not expect their sweetheart to do anything really expensive or far-out in order to have a memorable courtship and/or wedding. If you really love someone you'd marry them at City Hall if you had too. Your courtship story was great and very sweet...but I'm just a simplistic person and the way Josh Harris wrote about your wedding made it sound a bit too...over the top. I'm sorry to pain you but there it is. I'm happy that you were able to afford a helicopter... but Josh Harris made it sound... too perfect... I wish he'd said what you said. It's like the difference between watching a perfectly glossy scene in a movie where the heroine's hair is perfectly in place and her make-up is perfect, even though things are blowing up around her and then watching the behind the scenes where the actress says that the corset under her costume was making her dizzy from lack of air, the hair style had to be re-done between every take, and her mascara was running and had to be washed off and re-done every five minutes. Writers of these type of books need to be blatantly's okay to "flower-up" a novel but writers shouldn't flower-up real life...and they need to state over and over that this is just one story and that everyone's story will be different. I'm tired of the authors never saying that. Why? Because I'm concerned that young people (or their parents) take these stories and believe that their (or their children's) future will or should look like that...and that belief, I know from experience, can cause a lot of pain. Sometimes, people who are married forget how much singles hang on every word in these books and stories...they need to remember what it felt like to be 14 and impressionable.
You should have taken the time to read the rest of my essay...not just skimmed one part. :-)