Jonathan's Answers to Tough Questions
Oh man you would have thought that the end of the world had come this past weekend... during a small group discussion with just the older high school boys..the issue of dating came up... I told them personally I feel as though dating in America today has become a pretty dysfunction thing...and that it really sets teens up for failure..and that the purpose of dating is really not what they had defined it as..we discussed courtship as spoke about in the Bible..I brought up the book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Josh Harris ..and other resources that I had that advocated that a teen needs to be spiritually mature, have his house in order so to speak, be able to have a relationship that glorifies God....you probably know the entire spill . . .well, now not only are the boys so hot they are about to explode, their parents are like in my face, saying I had no right to suggest that they should not date...that dating is ok... their youth and the youth of this age are not the sexual beings we were, etc....I am being asked to rescind my comments or looking for another church to serve at... This all seems so unreal to me...I am not a newbie...I have been doing this for 5 years...I am 38 years old and even though I backed up everything I suggested with scripture, (which they did not want to see, hear or read)...I am in a dilemma...Your suggestions here would be much appreciated.
First. That is amazing. Do you realize that your entire question was one sentence? I think that is the largest run-on I’ve ever seen! :)
As for your question- sorry, you better send this one to Josh Harris- it sounds like his fault!
Okay . . . seriously now. This is a difficult question . . . especially seeing that I don't exactly buy Josh's theory on dating either. But I won't even get into my thoughts on dating- let's just deal with MAD PARENTS 101.
First of all- DEFUSE AND BUY YOURSELF SOME TIME! Here's how. Let them know that you really want to hear what they have to say and find a time you can meet. Tell them that their points make a lot of sense and you'd like some time to think about it, pray about it, and then talk.
This does three things: 1. It gives them time to cool. 2. It lets them know that you're humble enough to consider another's opinion. 3. It gives you time to prepare your thoughts and heart (which is often better than making faces and calling them names!)
Now that you bought yourself some time, take the time to seek the wise council of others- specifically people that support you, like your pastor (hopefully). Tell these people what you shared and LISTEN to their thoughts on the subject. Don't just find people who think what you think- find someone else who disagrees with what you said so you can hear their point of view and become familiar with it. Research it. Maybe you'll find it to be the truth. If not, that's okay. Just have scriptural backing. Bottom line: Be humble and ask God to show you the truth- not just what you think.
Then meet with the parents. Hear them out and communicate- in love- how much their opinion matters to you. When appropriate, communicate your opinion. If it's different than theirs, you might have to just agree to disagree.
If they're still a pain . . . try rolling around on the floor, pounding your fists and kicking your legs. That always works for me.
Hope that helps.
The Source for Youth Ministry