Stick A Fork In It . . .

When one speaks of discouragements, they can always point to what they see going on in the world. Perhaps for most that care about the objective standard of Scripture, you can even step into the churches and easily find examples of things where people are astray and need to repent.

Much of my own blogging efforts and those of many others have documented how the churches have perverted the typical objective worship of Jesus in favor of the man-made churches, perverted marriage from something that glorifies God into something that glorifies women, and numerous other things. Naturally with the nature of man, a blind eye gets put to these things because it derives some kind of wicked benefit in the minds of the people to accept sinful things – people are just reminded to “not judge” or “not be prideful” for their own sin they know they have. Then it happens long enough that it becomes tradition, and people don’t even begin to see it who claim Christ. In this day and age, accepting the world into the church is as natural as breathing.

Take a couple of more cases I’m aware of:

  • A leader of a Christian group who has an open homosexual relationship.
  • A wife that’s been getting one of her children a sex-change operation, keeping it secret from her husband.

My circle, as most people’s isn’t that big. But it’s amazing how many blantantly egregious things I’m aware of that are allowed to stand in this day and age, to be seen as acceptable to Christian standards. Paul reminds us of this with a case before the Corinthians:

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. (1 Cor 5:1-2)

and the prescription:

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

How many people have been in contact with this and know this and simply don’t care? It’s not so much these things happening that I wanted to address, but the state of the churches in accepting them. Accepting behavior quickly becomes normalizing behavior into tradition, and we have witnessed much of that in our own lifetimes with many things, most notably divorce and remarriage.

One then asks how people can see this stuff as “normal”, and can quickly arrive upon the Personal Jesus as the answer, with the reminder of Romans 1 backing it:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; … Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:28, 32)

The whole passage is notable, but this is the part I wanted to focus upon. It’s one thing when those of the world do these kinds of things listed in the complete passage with a clear conscience, but another when people who proclaim Christ are exposed to Scripture through reading and church attendance, and still partake in these things (both doing and giving acceptance) with clear consciences before Him.

But in the Personal Jesus, fear towards the Lord isn’t supposed to be a thing. He accepts all of these things. But the objective Jesus has a different story:

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Peter 4:17-18)

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

For those that only not sin, but blaspheme His Name in their sin with calloused hearts of flint, what else shall the Lord do with them if they will not repent? There is always hope for that, but alas the sin seems to be piling higher and higher. May the Lord have mercy on us all in His due course!

Book Review: No More Christian Nice Guy

No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women and Children. Paul Coughlin. Bethany House Publishers, 2007.

Much as been written at the old blog about the general effects that both society and Churchianity have held upon men. The goals of traditional marriage and the instilling of traditional gender roles have been incredibly successful, leading to men who have not only given assent to female supremacy, but have bought into the whole concept whole sale by molding themselves into the docile follower, further demeaning themselves in the process. This “going too far” is what Paul Coughlin attempts to address in “No More Christian Nice Guy”.

Coughlin begins by describing the “Christian Nice Guy” (CNG), the typical “gentle, meek and mild” man who fears to live life, and sees his own life as worthless. The author goes on to assign a passive-aggressiveness to this man. Coughlin then describes the natural Jesus to extend from this, a meek and mild submissive Jesus and then contrasts that with an “unchained”, Jesus who was a “law-breaker”. He then describes the messages of the church given in order to reinforce submission and servitude in men towards women. The author then uses his own childhood abuse experience to relay the idea that children are taught to “live small”.

Coughlin then relates the CNG to marriage, describing how his passivity model is molded onto the expectations of men by the typical incorrect message of “sacrifice”. He goes on to explain the false piety connected to sexual expression, and how men are led to denying expression of intimacy that is natural to them. Coughlin then describes the neo-feminist view of masculinity, indicating that taking abuse has somehow been identified as Christian to men. He then moves on to describe the CNG at work. Coughlin then reiterates his points in an attempt to describe the journey from a “Nice guy” to a “Good guy”, provides advice in “facing one’s fears” and practical advice for going forward.

In reading through this book, I found myself frustrated in a number of respects. Coughlin brings up a few good points, such as the feminization of the Church, demonization of male sexuality, and the control of men in the church by women using shame and other tactics. Still, Coughlin retains a timid reserve in both stating them clearly and bringing them to their natural conclusion, betraying a nice guy behind the paper tiger he portrays, and leaving many topics with a non-definitive end. Others are shipwrecked either by contradiction or by plunging into other lies. For instance, the female Personal Jesus replaced with another Personal Jesus fashioned in the image of Tyler Durden. Still others are digressions into places that make no sense, like his diatribe on “family-owned Christian businesses”.

Furthermore, the lightness of Scriptural application and Coughlin’s reading of his Personal Jesus into it (p42), proclaiming Jesus a law-breaker (p47) is quite disturbing. Furthermore, Coughlin’s disorganized and scattershot way of writing (this is why I didn’t remember anything about the book – it took five pages of notes just to capture what he wrote about) services none of his points as much of what he has to say is cut off by himself to move onto other topics.

Overall, while this book had much promise, the goal it had became clear as soon as I read Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s forward. While Coughlin sniffed near a number of truisms regarding the real nature of traditional marriage and gender roles, much was squandered in the attempt to not “rock the boat”. It was quite clear that Coughlin’s “good guy” shares a number of commonalities with the “nice guy”, and to that end the goal was not to emancipate God-given manhood but to reel back the domestication of the male service animal, or for Coughlin to work out his personal issues with his mother’s abuse.

As I’ve seen personally, and as many of the other reviews of the book suggest, there are far better options for these topics than this book.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Nevertheless . . .

In thinking on my experiences and the opportunity to share more as I prep the quote posts for The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands, I thought of some of what it’s been like to write this blog, and just live life. The truth is, in life we are weak if we want to admit it or not. The thing most won’t do is actually admit it. I’m going to, now – of course, you can get a sneak peek at what I still have available to post.

There’s all the other pressures going on that I’ve talked about and not talked about. Keeping myself afloat enough financially that I don’t completely sink and drown. The realization that if I didn’t get help along the way that I would. Not knowing what to do to make things better in this regard.

Then there’s career choices. One thing I realized when I was regularly employed at a “career” was that it was so unfulfilling. I could do it well, in fact much better than most, but I didn’t find the rewards coming back from it. Not so much actually getting paid like it, but knowing I was making a difference somewhere. The thing is, when I lost that job, I found a serious walk with Christ and had the time to actually ground myself in the faith by the Spirit. So there’s always a positive by anything. You could say I was called out of that to Christ.

But as I looked for more solid work in that line, I got discouraged by not finding anything, not hearing anything. Not even finding a niche for myself offering things online and elsewhere. It’s hard to not find a good solid place in the world where you’re appreciated and are fulfilled in the course of what you do.

Now in that trek, I’ve gotten the chance to facilitate several Bible studies, and even write some. In looking for solid career work, I’ve found that thought, and preaching, and praying for people, and…you get it… much more preferable than doing what I used to do. I get excited at the chance of doing it.

But as I got more knowledgeable about Scripture, and able to evaluate the things around me, the excitement waned. Could I participate in Churchianity, and put aside my own personal faith and convictions and service the blue-pill illusion behind such things? I found that harder and harder, as I learned more about the backroom politics and things behind how churches are run. As I learn the stories of how many faithful preachers are dismissed simply because the corrupt masses want their ears scratched by the Personal Jesus (2 Timothy 4:2-4) instead of want to hear someone share a solid walk in discipleship to Christ through the Scriptures, I get more discouraged. Of course, that discouragement extended to the blog – when I started I had the hope of finding people that loved…truth. But now…

Then there’s the matter of my mother. I had to take time away from doing the things I was doing that fulfilled me. Namely the blog, namely being around people I could find mutual support and encouragement from as opposed to the discouragement I was finding. Taking care of her until she finally passed. Then having a complete and large houseful of things to get rid of. I got away from doing the things that filled me, because I wasn’t sure I could commit to anything beyond a particular day. Then I lost steady Internet access to be able to read widely enough and keep the blog wide open and active. Again, a discouragement.

Of course, a good in that space has been the opportunity to learn about myself, and the effects of how I was raised. I was the normal kid in a house with a special needs kid that got all the attention until she passed and left a torn-up marriage in its wake between my mom and dad. So I basically raised myself. Given all the problems that whole situation created and how messed up those things have made me, and seeing signs of better in others, I get discouraged. But thankfully I didn’t receive all the traditional brainwashing of gender roles I’m about to blog about when I get these quotes copied.

Then there’s the time it takes sometimes with things of the blog not coming as quickly as I would like, which outside of the other discouragement is why the edit queue backed up so much. With the book review, I’ve been copying for the last week when I can. Then reading that stuff gets discouraging – that a vast majority of people actually believe in it and are Gribbles. Then there’s not so much enlightening out there that I read in blog-land to respond to that doesn’t stretch me and isn’t a retread of anything that hasn’t been posted twenty-million times by everybody.

Then there’s other stuff like reading through “No More Christian Nice Guy” by Paul Coughlin, being frustrated by it, and then completely forgetting everything about the book so I couldn’t even do a review and then going back through it. Then there’s the Arterburn notes (“Every Man’s Battle”, “Every Young Woman’s Battle”, “Every Heart Restored”) and the Dobson notes (“What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women”) that got lost, along with the draft of a book I co-authored under my real name (thankfully that happened AFTER it got published). I still have three of the books, but it involves going back through and reconstructing notes so I can finish out the posts I have started on those books. Of course, there’s the book idea that gets pushed on the back burner for other things and finishing out these two books I want to do (the mentioned one, and “I Am A Church Member”) before I start on that fully. Not to mention, all the other edit queue posts and things I haven’t even started on that I would like to post out of the 2+ pages I have typewritten here.

Then, as I see people put on their pretty perfect everything is fine faces, I get discouraged. I know people have problems themselves and are lying, but how does everyone else have all the answers for their lives, doing what they need to be doing, and are blessed and filled by it all? Communal shame is indeed a powerful motivator, but indeed a powerful tool in the hands of Satan and those that would work for his purposes. It’s so easy to ask the question “What’s wrong with me?” before the Lord in watching such things and be completely discouraged, like I’m not measuring up before Him and in some way am faking. In fact, once upon a time I asked several in one of my more melancholy moments, which I wrote down and kept:

Why is my best not good enough?
Why do I work so hard, get so tired, and get so little in return?
Why can’t I have validation that I am on a good path?
Can others see me as good?
Can I ever be good enough for others?
Can I ever find refreshment in life?
Can things ever work out?

All of this is just simply proof that I’m a broken person that is bankrupt of myself and needs healing and meaning spoken into my life. It’s proof that a true life walked in faith of Christ’s sacrifice isn’t an easy thing, nor a bed of roses (truth be told my life went to crap not soon after I came out of the water). It’s proof that feeling doesn’t matter in the light of the holy truth:

  • I may not feel loved by others, nevertheless Christ loves me.
  • I may not feel financially provided, nevertheless Christ has seen my way and will continue to do so.
  • I may not feel fulfilled by what I do every day, nevertheless by grace Christ will find me a place.
  • I may not feel part of a family, nevertheless Christ will put me in one.
  • I may not feel part of a church family is not apostate, nevertheless Christ will find one for me.
  • I may not feel refreshed by life, nevertheless Christ will refresh me with life eternal.
  • I may not feel like I have a good place of ministry, nevertheless Christ will give me one by His grace.
  • I may not feel like I’m doing enough for God’s Kingdom, nevertheless in Christ’s grace it will be sufficient.
  • I may not feel like I got life by the tail like others, nevertheless Christ’s grace will be sufficient.
  • I may not feel like I have any value to offer, nevertheless Christ will make me valuable.
  • I may not feel whole or healthy, nevertheless Christ will heal me.
  • I may not feel comfortable about all the evil things going on in the world, nevertheless Christ will deal with it all and in time I won’t have to.
  • I may not feel comfortable waiting on Christ, nevertheless He will be my ever present help in all of this trouble.

I may feel like everything is wrong and nothing is right, but all is right in Christ and He will make it right in those that are in His truth…at the right time. Lord, come quickly!

Book Review: The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands

The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands. Dr. Laura Schlessinger. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2004.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger has gotten much attention over her radio show through the years. Naturally this has led into a number of books. The most curious title for the old blog as mentioned in the past has been “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands”, which makes it a natural title for review and discussion. This book, presented with excerpts solicited from her radio show, aims to deal with problems she notices in wives with respect to traditional marriage.

Schlessinger begins by noting the resentment, disrespect, and disdain that husbands voice about their wives, noting that “a good man is hard to find, not keep”. She then notes a general insensitivity to a husband’s needs and feelings, while the wife has a hypersensitivity to any reaction or action from her husband. The author then addresses the issue of time in a woman’s life, repeating the typical mantra from traditionalists that a woman can’t have it all. Schlessinger then mentions the issue of nagging, nitpicking and criticizing, that men actually have feelings, men have different communication styles and directives, and that men need respect, sex, and guy time.

While Schlessinger brings up a number of important issues, she inevitably champions traditional (feminist) marriage, as the typical female sub-humanoid view of men is reinforced throughout the book. Amazingly enough, she is rather forthright about the models and aims of traditional marriage and traditional gender roles – that the husband is to worship the wife by bringing his oblations (“protect and provide”) to please her and the wife is to joyfully receive these things and rule over him (“receive and rule”). That she has a religious bent, calling out women for violating Commandment X (Exodus 20:17) regarding a traditional husband’s provision (p166), yet fails to see that traditional marriage at its core violates Commandments I and II (Exodus 20:3-6) by leading men to repeat the sin of Adam (Genesis 3:17) indicates her core morality in this book.

She reinforces this model throughout the book as she addresses the problems that she’s noticed from the callers of her radio show. As any Gribble does, she shows an astonishing proficiency at dealing with the “conspiracies” of traditional marriage, yet fails to call out the rather obvious white elephant sitting right in her midst indicating that what she is seeing represents features of traditional marriage rather than aberrations. Much of her advice towards wives in this book can simply be distilled into this: “Present yourself as the benevolent goddess he craves to worship and all will be well.”

I found the book fascinating in plumbing the depths of deception and how far it can go, lifting 44 passages for possible further discussion. While an incredibly useful resource in documenting the phenomena of typical female-led, male-submissive traditional marriage for those who have eyes to see, it functions as a terrible resource for those who actually want their marriages to give glory to God in all things.

Rating: 2 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Blogboard Confessional

I was reading this and something came to mind that I’ve been dealing with a whole lot. There’s a tendency within the human spirit to pretend, deny, deceive, lie, and even exalt oneself regarding their state. This is part of the old man, part of the flesh, to be sure.

But part of following Christ successfully is to admit that you’re bankrupt. Even to the point of denying yourself (Mark 8:34-37) and dying to self, as baptism illustrates. But part of faith is carrying that out. And part of that is being able to not lie or deceive, but admit that we don’t have it all together.

To say that we’re fine of our own selves is to admit weakness. And the world abhors weakness. Yet that is exactly what we are called towards – to make ourselves weak so that Christ may be strong in us and be glorified. In a sense, this is the reason that trials come into our lives – if we can look at Christ the Master and not think things will be any different for us, we are simply deluded. After all, it is the only way we run the race completely, to keep the faith of what salvation represents throughout our lives until we depart.

Now our problems seem to be that we can’t really see ourselves honestly, and if we do we can’t communicate that and be accepted. Things like this had to be written:

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:6-9)

Personally, I can say that this will be one of the harder posts for me to write, simply because I’m going to share some things that I’m not used to sharing. I’ll admit to pretending for a number of reasons, both within myself and created by others.

I already looked at one of those reasons, the need to present oneself as competent. This is a big pressure for men, because to say you’re unsure about something is to paint you as unworthy within self and unworthy with others. Especially when it comes to spiritual matters, this becomes especially incumbent as when the pastor, minister or priest presents himself as “Look to me; to me, in some of my
formulas, to me in some of my developments, and be saved.” To present himself any different makes him unworthy to follow in the eyes of his blind followers, but ruins people otherwise. Then the others take the same example and paint the picture that anything less than pure happiness means you are not saved. I’ve personally been kicked out of groups because I dare speak of problems going on within my life.

Then there is the usual training that men get from childhood growing up at the behest of women to conform to the traditional gender roles. “Big boys don’t cry” we are told, and then shown repeatedly that what goes on with us and our feelings don’t matter. Then it goes to further the sub-humanoid view of men held by most all women and men. One chapter of “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands” (fascinating book, what I’m working on right now from the SoP edit pile) relays that it seems to be a shock to women that men were created in God’s image (a revolutionary concept in light of traditional marriage) and actually have emotions, aspirations, goals, and dreams like them. But you’re not supposed to give those credence as a man, because they don’t befit the woman’s purpose for them to “protect” and “provide” for them. If something’s wrong about you, that’s nobody’s business but your own. Women have girlfriends, church groups, wider society, and the media to listen to their problems and weaknesses and affirm them as “okay”. A man just has…himself. And if he doesn’t pull the cart to expectation, watch out!

Then there’s the general lack of community that exists in wider society and the church. This is even mocked by a tendency to ask “How are you?” as a greeting in church services. I’ve found personally in many cases just how little people love one another as Christ loved them (John 13:34-35) – again for men more than women. The general “layout” of “church” and the tendencies of people in the community trend to isolation. As that Scripture reads, we are told that is how others know we are following, if we love one another. The function of the Church is to allow us to function in community (there’s 56 “one another” commands in Scripture, depending on translation) with the singular goal of Christ and running the race. We’re supposed to be here for each other and get through this life together, yet we’re by ourselves and then seen as failures if we aren’t able to stand alone (the uniquely American traits of individualism and the “self-made man” that’s poisoned the Church).

Unfortunately, I speak so much from experience in such a post as this, simply because these are all things I’ve encountered in my own life. I’ve willingly given into so many of these pressures by wanting to fit in and deny before others certain hurts, heart’s desires, habits, and even sins that cause my spirit and soul to cry out in agony. Then to large part, I’ve accepted the message continually sent that “no one wants to hear about my weaknesses, my failures, my problems”, and that if I’m not perfect in my life, that it’s something I did – and if I would just fix it, all would be well. I have my problems, but they only get magnified by such matters.

But that’s the elemental truth that one must take in faith upon a walk with Christ. I’m messed up. I can’t fix it. I can’t stand alone. That’s the flesh talking when I say I’m okay, I got this, I don’t need anyone else, even Christ. Now, the acceptance of the Gospel points out another one of those indoctrinated traditional gender differences: Women are hard to accept that they are failed in the first place, while men see it but are hard to accept that they can’t fix it.

Denying your failure is hypocrisy, just as presenting a walk with Jesus as the perfect romantic relationship (a bed of roses) is. Denying the flesh is hard, denying the world is hard, coming to terms with your problems is crushing, going against the flow is hard. We are freely given salvation, but we have to take hold of it in faith to receive it. If that wasn’t fraught with peril, if we got “fixed” when we came out of the water, we would not value what Christ does give us, forget Him, and then exalt ourselves over Him.

To conclude, I’m reminded of my fundamental faith moment when I began my serious walk. I used to think these things and worry about my salvation, but when I heard a pastor proclaim his lack of perfection and then I read of all the things David did and see that God still called him “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22). I felt a moment of comfort that everything was going to be alright (knowing fellow travelers are out there does that).

How many have been driven from Christ simply because they met these lies and deceptions in those who proclaim His Name? It’s a more glorifying and welcoming message to echo Paul (2 Corinthians 12:5) – if we must glorify ourselves to point out how infirmed we are. “I’m messed up just like you, but Christ accepts me anyway. Let us walk together in His light.” reflects God’s love much more than “Be perfect and if you’re not something is wrong with you. Be gone.” Isn’t it so much better to be honest and reflect love?

Book Review: Revolution

Revolution. George Barna. BarnaBooks, 2005.
book-review-revolution
In view of what a number of the churches are doing in this country and the general trends of society, it’s almost expected that people are seeking places where they can find Christ outside of the local church. It is this phenomena that George Barna seeks to describe in his book, Revolution.

Barna begins by contrasting the idea of a person fully seeking a spiritual life with Christ (a “Revolutionary”) with one who is a backslider, and notes a difference exists even though both have nothing to do with an institutional church. The author then describes the preferences that cause true Christ-seekers to seek elsewhere. He then describes a Biblical picture of the church and matches that with what he finds in his research of those who are seeking Christ elsewhere. Barna then relays a survey indicating the state of the local church in terms of the ability to provide spiritual transformation, indicating that connection to believers seeking godliness matters more than church involvement.

The author then describes societal trends and desires that indicate that God is active and working to provide the desire and means for those to seek Him to find Him, indicating some of those means and describing some alternative means that people are using to “do church” that focus on enabling Christian spirituality over institutional goals. He then uses Jesus as an example, contrasting what He did and His focus with the activities of the scribes and Pharisees, showing the difference of character and demonstrating that the governance and control of men can not provide spiritual transformation.

Barna then describes the character, outlook, and practices of those who have found a transformation in Christ, contrasting this with the small influence the institutional churches have on the world. The author describes the impact he foresees in a shift, and the resistance that is sure to come from those steeped in an institutional church focus, addressing some of the chief accusations from that party. Finally, Barna provides some suggestions on how local churches can respond to these trends.

This book confirmed a number of trends I have personally noticed and cataloged in the course of my blogging. Reading of God’s work to set aside His remnant who recognize that man-made church does not save but only Christ saves was especially encouraging. Barna provided a constructive picture through Scripture of the proper function of the Church and the life of the transformed believer.

However, a more Scriptural picture of the scribes and Pharisees, contrasting that with the hearts of those who are seeking after the man-made church would have been beneficial. Especially, the role of God’s truth and the tendency of men to love darkness, using the lens of Paul’s later epistles would have been incredibly welcome.

Overall, Revolution provides an excellent picture of the current bankrupt state of Christianity in the United States for those who have ears to hear. It proves that all things will be known by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20), and that God will reject the bad fruit while enabling those who earnestly seek bread and fish to find it (Matthew 7:7-10) instead of the stones and serpents that are being handed out in Christ’s name by the institutional churches.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: Boy Meets Girl

Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship. Joshua Harris. Multnomah Publishers Inc., 2000.
book-review-boy-meets-girl
In the scope of my other blog, Joshua Harris’ work “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (IKDG) came up, in terms of the infection that book and its teachings have brought onto the dating world. It has had enough of an effect that numerous references were made throughout the blog, culminating with a review on that book (Rating: 4 out of 10) and three posts relating to the content and the implications of it upon those who are following it. Encountering this book seemed to be a natural fit, as it will serve to both chronicle more of Josh Harris’ views reflected through his courtship with his (now) wife as well as indicate if he has learned anything.

Harris begins by summarizing IKDG and downplaying the dating/courtship rigidity he created within his first book, calling it a “debate over terms”. He then describes that romance requires more wisdom than “intense feelings”. The author then discusses God’s guidance in view of finding “The One”, growing a relationship while guarding one’s heart (same as IKDG), communicating well, traditional gender roles, involving family and the church in the relationship, retaining sexual purity, confessing past sexual sin, engagement, and continuing in marriage in light of eternity.

Harris presents a number of enlightening treatises if presented in isolation, most notably on finding forgiveness and seeking God’s guidance. However, he presents a vision of courtship very much consistent with IKDG, while molding it into his own experience.

Especially interesting are his admissions that he neglected to follow his own advice regarding his (now) wife in simply asking her out on a date, his motivations were physical, and that he ended up courting a widely experienced woman who fits all the typical tropes (He manned up and married…you know the rest). Other examples the author provides, including his own, reinforce a diversion from IKDG as well. Courtship problems are demonstrated by two of his poster couples subsequently divorcing soon after publication (and the hypocrisy of editing their stories out of subsequent releases).

Through most of the book, Harris fills the book with a huge amount of fluff and little value in the actual intended topics – fully expected when even Harris “never meant to become an expert on relationships” (p19). Furthermore, Harris embraces the typical traditional feminist tropes, including acceptance of fornication, divorce and remarriage, and blaming those things upon men instead of the women partaking in them.

All told, this book represents a defensive rewashing of IKDG, reinforcing the same errors with a hypocritical tone, and adding little valuable when it comes to dealing with a relationship. While a much better written and entertaining effort than IKDG, the fundamental problems represented by courtship remain, namely the backdrop of the idea of “God’s The One” and emotional intimacy. When even the author himself admits that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, it is wise to steer clear of taking any prescriptions he makes seriously. As described in the previous posts, books by Drs. Cloud and Townsend would be far better choices.

Rating: 3 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Wikipedia