Treating Others as Objects

An Excerpt from “A Culture of Freelance Relationships”

 

“An article entitled “Sexual Freelancing in the Gig Economy” (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/opinion/sexual-freelancing-in-the-gig-economy.html) appeared in the New York Times. Its premise is this: economics influences dating.

And here’s where things get interesting: the article argues that dating simply “applies the logic of capitalism to courtship. On the dating market, everyone competes for him or herself.” Hold on. Is this really the way we view dating? Honestly, I think we have to own it: We do, in fact, tend to treat people as objects instead of people. But is this the way it should be?…Many of us treat relationships like unpaid internships: We cannot expect them to lead to anything long-term, so we use them to get experience. If we look sharp, we might get a free lunch.

What can we do, then, to confront a worldly attitude that promotes using other people? I think we must start here: as single people looking to date other single people, we must take each other seriously. People are not to be invested in for the simple return they may yield to us.

Jesus’ words are hard to hear: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25); “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

In the topsy-turvy ethic of the Kingdom, true life on this planet looks more like losing an investment than gaining a profit. Love looks more like the cross than the crown. Meaningful relationships look more like the servant who washes feet rather than the master whose feet get washed.

In other words . . .

Meaningful Relationships Are Costly

We need to steep ourselves in the truth that meaningful relationships cost time. In an age of instant gratification and constant distraction, simply finding the time to talk meaningfully about life is rare.

Meaningful relationships also cost the facade. The thing about the freelance mentality of relationships in our culture is that this constant shopping around helps us avoid the true vulnerability that comes with meaningful relationships, where we are both known and loved, not simply for our accomplishments but for our failures as well.

Does the prevalent view of humanity we pass to singles look more like the gig-relationship mindset that pervades our culture? Or does it look more like Jesus, who takes us and our lives seriously from the outset, who served us that we might be washed, and who sacrificed Himself that we might have life in Him?”

 

Source: (https://www.harvestusa.org/culture-freelance-relationships/)

Dating Advice

Excerpt from this article: “The Golden Rule in Christian Dating”

“Have you ever tried to list out all the different dating advice you’ve heard….from other Christians?

  • Date for at least a year.
  • Don’t date for any more than a year.
  • Date exclusively in groups.
  • Make sure you get plenty of time one on one.
  • Put clear boundaries into place.
  • Don’t try to follow everyone else’s rules.
  • Spend lots of time together.
  • Be careful how much time you spend together.
  • Date a bunch of people before getting serious.
  • Don’t date anyone until you’re ready to marry them.

I could go on…

The first rule in dating is the first rule in all of life: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). You will not truly love anyone else if you do not love God first and most. And no one will truly love you if they do not love God more than they love you.

But after embracing and applying the first and greatest commandment, I have found that the golden rule in dating is this:

Lean hard on the people who know you best, love you most, and will tell you when you’re wrong.

It’s not the first rule, because in absolutely every area of life — every decision, every calling, every relationship, every dream — we must start with what we think about God. Do we love him more than anything? Will we obey him, even when it will cost us? Are we willing to set anything aside for his sake? Will we trust him, even when we want something else for ourselves?

Today more than ever before, we’re faced with a never-ending buffet of opinions and advice that has something to say about everything and yet lets us choose the answer we want… The scary reality is that we can find an answer somewhere to justify what we want to do — right or wrong, safe or unsafe, wise or unwise. The advice we choose might be from a book by a doctor, or a random conversation with someone at church, or a blog post by a teenager, or just something we found on Pinterest. For many of us, if we’re honest, it really doesn’t matter who’s offering the advice as long as it confirms what we thought or wanted in the first place.

Real friendship, with real life-on-life accountability, may not offer the same amount of information or advice, and you will not always like what it has to say…The people willing to actually hold me accountable in dating have been my best friends. I’ve had lots of friends over the years, but the ones who have been willing to press in, ask harder questions, and offer unwanted (but wise) counsel are the friends I respect and prize the most.”

 

Source: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-golden-rule-in-christian-dating

Dating Criteria

In an interview in 2017 Tim Tebow explained what he is looking for in a future wife: Tebow said, “I’m looking for someone who loves Jesus and loves people. Someone who makes me want to be a better person for her. And she has to want kids, and has to want to adopt. That’s a requirement. Of course I want a woman who I’m attracted to.”

What about you, what are essential characteristics you look for?

 

 

Source: https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/tim-tebow-says-his-future-wife-has-to-love-jesus-and-want-to-adopt-kids.html

Soul Mate

Is there really only one perfect person for each of us to marry, and if you don’t marry that person than you won’t be happy? Some thoughts to consider:

If this is true, than what about Christians who have married non-Christians? The Bible is clear about the truth that Christians should marry Christians (because what we believe affects how we act and live). So if a Christian married a non-Christian, what happened to their perfect soul mate? Are they left out because their perfect soul mate married someone else?

What about a death of a Christian spouse? I know faithful Christians who have lost a spouse and eventually remarried later in life. Did they have two perfect soul mates?

If we each have a perfect soul mate, than how do we know when we have found the right one?

May I suggest that the idea of a perfect soul mate, may be erroneous? Biblically speaking the most important thing is finding someone who is a Christian who truly fears the Lord, or desires to do what is pleasing to God above all else. Love and marriage is not about how perfectly people fit together. Rather, love is a willful choice. God loves us not because we are easy to love, but because He simply graciously chose to love us. The same goes for our relationships; no one is easy to love, but we can choose to love them and remain committed even when things aren’t perfect.

Perhaps it’s not about finding your perfect soul mate, but rather finding a committed Christian who together are willing to make it work.

Delayed Marriage and Adulthood

Some tidbits from a good article from Albert Mohler:  https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/problem-delaying-marriage/

Tellingly, secular authorities in the culture are now expressing worry about the delay of marriage among young Americans. When Time magazine is concerned about young Americans not getting married, Christians must be doubly concerned.

Study after study reveals that young Americans are achieving adulthood, if at all, far later than previous generations now living.

Why is this important to us all? A stable and functional culture requires the establishment of stable marriages and the nurturing of families. Without a healthy marriage and family life as foundation, no lasting and healthy community can long survive.

And we must encourage young Christians not to delay marriage, nor to marry in haste, but to make marriage a priority in the critical years of young adulthood. The Christian church must encourage young Christians toward the goal of marriage and must be clear about the necessity of holiness and obedience to Christ at every stage and in every season of life.

The Need for Fellowship

In a world affected by sin, filled with pain, trials, and struggles, it is important for Christians to go out of their way to encourage other Christians.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. –Hebrews 10:23-25

Those who have failed miserably are often the first to see God’s formula for success.Erwin Lutzer

My heart goes out to you, and I long to see you all coming constantly to God for a fresh supply of love. –D.L. Moody

Truly Jesus is the great need of our souls. –J. Hudson Taylor

Christian Dating Superstition?

There is a popular notion among Christian singles that says, “There is only one person God has you destined to be with.” Which can lead to us waiting and waiting for that “moment” and that special someone. I’m really not sure what to think of this idea, the Bible doesn’t say much about this type of thinking. Biblically speaking our top priority should be finding someone who is a genuine Christian, and pursuing a relationship based on purity, respect, truth and holiness, thus honoring God.

“German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer addresses this issue in a wedding sermon he wrote for his sister from a Nazi jail cell. He says that God joins the relationship between a man and a woman at the point of marriage. Before that, the couple has to take the initiative. Rather than directing the course of the relationship, God wants the couple to grow and learn how to make a commitment. Once they’ve done that, God increases his sustaining presence.” (source: https://www.crosswalk.com/family/singles/the-top-five-myths-of-christian-dating-11620987.html)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.

Examining the Hookup Culture: The Dating Project

A new documentary called The Dating Project is attempting to get singles to re-evaluate how they approach dating. I don’t know a lot about this documentary (I think it may be a Catholic based production) but I am glad that people are at least trying to start some more dialogue regarding issues surrounding singles and relationships. I hope Christians will try to address some of the relationship issues of our culture more openly and boldly. Here is the website for their documentary: https://www.thedatingprojectmovie.com/

Kissing is a Leading Cause for Head and Neck Cancer

Ran across an article written a few years ago (2015), stating that kissing is now the leading risk for head and neck cancers (not sure if the stats have changed since then or not). It says the more people you kiss the more likely you are to get HPV. Might be wise to quit kissing all your dates.

Source:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3176772/Oral-HPV-cases-rise-causing-tsunami-head-neck-cancers.html

Number of People Never Married on the Rise

Some interesting stats from Pew Research Center. I’ve just included some highlights which I’m directly quoting from their website and have included the links so you can look at the stats more in depth if you want.

Number of People Never Married on the Rise
http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/chapter-3-demographic-profiles-of-religious-groups/

“Since the first Religious Landscape Study was conducted in 2007, the share of Americans who are married has continued to decline, while the share of adults who have never been married has risen sharply. In fact, recent analysis of census data shows that the share of Americans who have never been married now stands at an all-time high.”

Interfaith Relationships

Chapter 2: Religious Switching and Intermarriage

“Interfaith relationships are common among married people and those living with a romantic partner, and interfaith marriage appears to be on the rise.”

“Interfaith relationships are far more common among unmarried people who are living with a partner (49% of whom have a partner with a religion different from their own) than among married people (31% of whom are in a religiously mixed marriage). Even among married people, however, mixed-faith relationships appear to be growing more common. Nearly four-in-ten married people who were wed since 2010 have a spouse who identifies with a different religious group.

These patterns strongly suggest that intermarriage has been rising, but it also should be noted that some research indicates that “in-marriages” (marriages between people of the same religion) tend to be more durable than intermarriages.”

More Women Identify with Christianity than Men
http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/chapter-4-the-shifting-religious-identity-of-demographic-groups/

“Women are far more likely than men to identify with Christian groups (75% vs. 66%). Men, by contrast, are more likely than women to describe themselves as religious “nones” (27% vs. 19%).

But both men and women have become less Christian and more unaffiliated since 2007, by roughly equal amounts. The share of men who identify with Christianity has shrunk by eight percentage points since 2007, and the share of self-identified Christians among women has declined by seven points. Meanwhile, the share of “nones” is up seven points among men and six points among women.”