Friday, March 13, 2009

Sheep in Need of Shepherd: Apply Within – Part Two

This builds upon my last, if you're new I'd suggest reading Part One first.

"As the letters poured in, I realized that while God had graciously used my book to help some people, it had also raised a lot of questions…." "The main point of I Kissed Dating Goodbye was: "If you're not ready for marriage, wait on romance." But now my fellow singles were asking, "How can you know when you are ready for marriage? And once you're ready, what should you do?" To be honest, I hadn't figured that out yet. I never meant to become an expert on relationships…."–
Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl. 1
Okay, I do appreciate Josh Harris. I like his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye; it helped bring people back to common sense. It's a big duh to me that if you're not ready to get married, (basically between the ages of 14 and 18, most people would agree that you're not going to marry at 15!) it's smart just to abstain from romantic relationships. Just wait until you're more mature and can handle the pressures. Smart. Great Idea. Bravo Josh for having some sense. Now, back to the subject at hand, Josh had some major sheep writing to him. No, I'm not being mean, I'm stating a fact. Why would anyone be so needy as to feel the have to contact the author of the book for advice on their romantic relationships? Why did Josh even write Boy Meets Girl? All I would have said is: "Sorry, guys, you're going to have to make it up as you go. Read your Bible and talk to God. Be an adult and use your head." No one can lead you by the hand as you grow up. That's something I've learned more and more as I become an adult. One thing I've learned is to rarely ask for advice, to rarely accept advice, and to only give advice when pressed. It's not to be cocky or because I think that I'm above other's advice…it's that experience tells me to listen to God and my own instincts. As I was reading Lord of the Rings, I was reminded of this by a certain quote. "Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill. But what would you? You have not told me all concerning yourself; and how then shall I choose better than you?" 2 Advice is a dangerous gift. Use it wisely.
Back to Josh Harris, why did he write Boy Meets Girl? I can think of a few reasons…the chief one being…uh, money. The first book sold well…people seem to need guidance…a new book will likely do very well…it's tempting to write more. Do you really blame him? Well, I guess I do. Personally, I wish he'd stopped while he was ahead. Courtship and Dating are so complicated that writing a book about how to do it will always be controversial and subject to lots of criticism. Well, it should be; because, there is no correct way, there is no easy way, and there is no method for success. Love is not a thing that you can diagram like a weather pattern. You don't wake up in the morning and think, "I'll fall in love today and it'll all work out beautifully." If you read a love story somewhere, you may as well say, "Well, it won't happen to me like that,"—because it won't. No two stories are ever exactly alike. You could live for a hundred years, travel the earth, hear many stories, and still not have scratched the surface of possibilities. The Gospel doesn't give us a list of do's and don'ts—it gives us principles for life and everything attached to it and that's called flexibility. God knew that rules don't work for everything and part of his plan is to make every person's story different. Love is a strange thing. "There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand. The way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden."3 If the Proverb writer could not understand it…you're not going to be able to either. But when the time comes, God will give you understanding and then you'll know what it's all about. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."4


1: Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship, Moltnomah Publishers, 2000. Quotation from Chapter 1, page 19.
2: Gildor Inglorian, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter III, Page 83.
3: Proverbs 30: 18-19.
4: Matthew 6:34.

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