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I fall into a subgroup where we’re young but no longer so young (and aware of it), typically dating or single, and still clinging onto faith while concerned about being relevant to the world.That means we straddle both secular culture and kingdom values, one foot in a broken, messy world and the other in a Christian community that’s also broken and messy.But I’ve also heard the moans of many who are dating, agonizing over whether their dates are “spiritually mature” enough, pure enough, love God enough.They fret over how much physical touch they can allow before they breach purity, then worry whether they’re being too legalistic—a four-letter word among Christian millennials.Another example: A pastor once told me that the whiniest people in his congregation were the singles, and though as a single woman I bristled, I also understood what he meant.
None of them believes in sexual abstinence like I do, yet they also don’t sleep around, but saved their virginity for someone they thought was special.Pastor John says this, but Pastor Tim says that, and my favorite Christian rapper/blogger/podcaster says this, so ... Today we receive advice from more sources than ever, and it’s hard to first withdraw into the inner chamber of prayer and listen to the Spirit’s voice—and much harder when the subject is this thorny, weedy wilderness called Relationships.One example: I recently had dinner with three of my closest girlfriends, none of them believers.Now, at age 42, he’s not so certain, and he’s dealing with backlash from now grown-up readers who feel his book was misleading or harmful. Whatever people took away from the book, I saw in his young self a genuine desire to honor God when he wrote, “Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person like God loves us.” The big picture of love, he wrote, is “serving others and glorifying God.” I said “Amen” to most everything he wrote—yet when it comes to applying that general principle of love into each individual’s unique, complicated relationship, the area within the perimeters of that principle can feel so vast, so cloudy, so abstract.What does it look like to love someone like God loves us, to serve someone, to glorify God in a dating relationship that’s not yet in covenanted matrimony?
WORLD recently featured my story about Christian dating called “Kisses of Regret,” which tells the stories of six millennials who were affected by the famous book .