Thursday, July 29, 2004
Having just finished I Kissed Dating Goodbye, it was brought home to me how often we can use the same words and mean completely different things. Through the first few chapters of the book, I was very impressed. It was as though he'd taken my thoughts, expanded on and clarified them, and published them in a nice book. Except...near the end, one or two comments he made, which he may not have even considered, made me stop. You see, when I say courting, I mean "dating with purpose and responsibility." It's not dating just to be dating, but rather something relatively low-key where the idea is that should things continue to go well, marriage is on the frontier. It seems to me that when the Evangelicals say courting they mean "pre-engagement." That means that within about a year, you two should be at least engaged.
While I think I'm ready for what I meant by courting, I don't think I'm ready at all for what Evangelicals mean. At the very least, I've got two more years to go before I get a degree that will actually allow me to get a job. I think that in many ways I am ready, but not having real job prospects is something fairly important. I'd like to develop some other areas of myself, too, but those would be doable under what I'd mentioned before.
It did bring home to me the fact that there are those who are Evangelicals belief-wise and those who are culturally Evangelicals. Culturally, I'm a Catholic. God, to me, is present but still somewhat reserved. I tend pray to God in general, rather than specifically Christ (and, for that matter, I call the Messiah Christ, rather than Jesus). I'm not uncomfortable with secular influences. I have seen plenty of movies rated R, and enjoy shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy. I'll shop at Christian bookstores, but I prefer Best Buy, Borders, and Amazon.
One of my favorite verses is Matthew 10:16, which is "be ye wise as serpents and mild as doves." Many Evangelicals are easily mild as doves, but are stuck within their own subculture. I have my own troubles with being mild as a dove, and often feel like Nicholas D. Wolfwood from the Trigun series, but it's still odd for me to see things like this. I truly can't decide where I stand on these things. Where do we draw the line between stepping back from the culture and truly withdrawing? It's as though we're so sick of the troubles in the world that we're heading out and leaving others to wallow in the muck, and I'm just as guilty of it as the next person.
I want to have fun. I want to go to football games, go out occasionally with nice girls, listen to my ska music, drive around, and generally have a good time. And, each of the things I mentioned can be done. However, I sometimes feel stifled by the expectations, and I don't know whether it's me rebelling once actual burdens of obedience are placed upon me or just balking at unnecessary rules.