My Tragic Love Story, Part 2

Men and women could not, under any circumstances, develop a romantic relationship in the ministry group that I was in. So even though Tool and I liked each other, we could not date.

I was on staff at a ministry training school in a small, bayou-surrounded Louisiana town.  At that time, I had been serving with the same pastors for around five years. Our entire staff and some students had moved from Austin, Texas in 2003 to begin a new school at the church in Louisiana.

In 2004, I met “Tool” (the guy who claimed he was in love with me). Our friendship was a love-hate relationship from the beginning. He had a real problem with women and I was his superior in the hierarchy that was our church. I later learned that the Tool had plenty of childhood and family issues that made him the jerk that he was. After our friendship developed for a year, I started developing feelings for the Tool and he fell for me.

Men and women could not, under any circumstances, develop a romantic relationship in the ministry group that I was in. So even though Tool and I liked each other, we could not date. I was 24 years old and he was around 23 years old at the time.

The steps we had to take to date were lengthy and involved male-initiated leadership. It was taught by our pastors that the man in the relationship had to initiate everything relating to a dating relationship or courtship. That man also had to ask our pastor permission to date the girl of his dreams.

And that pastor had to approve.

For Tool, these were not easy steps.

Antimodernism: The Demonization of Dating

What is antimodernism?

There’s a phrase in the religious studies community: “antimodernism” that can help us describe some of what goes on in the fundamentalists mind. Antimodernism can be defined as the rejection of modern technology, ideals, etc. for a “purer” historical or pre-historical way of life. Antimodernism doesn’t just describe religious fundamentalists, but the term does apply in many ways.

In my experience, Master’s Commission held many antimodernist ideals:

  • The rejection of technology.
  • The rejection of dating.
  • The rejection of classical or “secular” education.
  • The rejection of the women’s movement.

I’ll explain each of these further.

The rejection of dating occurs in many Master’s Commission groups. Just google “Master’s Commission rules.” You’ll get a return search of several MC groups Information Packets that include amongst their rules “no secular music, no rated R movies, limited cell phone and internet usage.”

In my own Master’s Commission experience, we weren’t allowed to date as a first-year student. As a second-year or third-year “intern” or “support staff,” dating was rare and often forbidden, depending on a person’s choice of dating partner.

Eventually, dating was demonized and courtship was the appropriate way of meeting a partner.

What is courtship? Courtship is a way of meeting a marriage partner. Two people only enter into a courtship when and if they feel ready for marriage and they have “prayed” about their partner being the “one” who matches their “destiny” in life. The two must be sexually pure during the time of courtship, and often are mentored by pastors or church elders who hold them accountable to their purity.

Courtship usually entails rules of no kissing and even no hand-holding. Courtship can also mean group dates or dates that are with family or accountability partners only.

Alone time in a courtship relationship is strongly forbidden, as the couple may “stumble” and “submit to sexual temptation.”

For more information on courtship, see I Kissed Dating Good-bye by Joshua Harris and Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot.

Should a Woman Pursue a Man?

Should women pursue a man?

Apparently Mark Driscoll thinks a woman shouldn’t.

I think that this assumption is faulty on several different levels:

  1. The assumption that women shouldn’t pursue a man is against feminism. It also implies that a woman is not capable of choosing who she wants to date and pursuing that person.
  2. It’s also assuming that courtship is right, and the only way to enter a relationship. This is unbiblical and controlling teaching.
  3. It assumes that nice guys, shy guys, or guys who don’t pursue are “cowards,” have “no balls,” and are never going to take initiative in life. (Copied directly from a facebook discussion on the subject).

In my opinion and from discussing this very issue with many of my guy friends, most men like to be pursued. Yes, this means that some people’s interpretation of the Bible is faulty (duh) and that He’s Just Not That Into You is not 100% correct. Contrary to what some people tell you, I’ve found out that guys like it when a girl takes initiative and asks them out on a date.

Does that mean that all men who don’t pursue are “cowards,” or have “no balls?” No! In fact, I’m dating a guy who’s on the shy side when it comes to women and I couldn’t be happier with his characteristics. He’s thoughtful, sensitive, but he’s also really passionate about obtaining his dreams and treating me well. I’d say we sort of mutually pursued each other—it wasn’t completely one-sided on either of our ends. I just heartily disagree with people who assume the worst about “shy guys” or “nice men.” Nice guys aren’t boring. They’re not doomed to be passive all their life. Nice guys deserve a chance!

The language directed toward men in this debate is strongly emasculating to men. Saying he’s a coward if he doesn’t go after a girl he likes, or that he has no balls is really critical and insulting. You’re figuratively castrating a man with your words.

Now, what if a woman wants to pursue a man? Is she a dictator? Does she emasculate the man by taking away his power to pursue and “grow into his manhood?” My answer is no for many reasons. One, if a man’s personality indicates he’s more shy and doesn’t pursue, I think Christianity should butt out and let him be. They should celebrate the fact that that man is different from other men, and being different is great.

A woman who pursues a man is simply saying “I know you’re pursuing me, but I’m going to make the choice who I like and want to date.” IMO I think women who are aggressive aren’t a dictator and that’s a real scary line to be skating–calling women dictators because they don’t want to go back to the 1950’s and let a man rule their life.

The premise that women shouldn’t pursue oppresses women based on some out dated unbiblical teaching that assumes what Elisabeth Elliot assumes: that men are Gods, men are rulers over women. Or as Mary Daly put it, if God is male, then male is God. Thus, patriarchal religion, which turns to patriarchal society, which is responsible for the oppression of women, the under representation of women who are educated world wide (especially in third-world countries and on the subject of contraceptives). Women are oppressed by this archaic teaching!

Women, do you ever think twice about the fact that there are no birth control pills for men? Do you ever wonder why women in third-world countries have several children, even though they can’t afford them? In some places in the world, some women are not allowed to choose to plan their families, and they’re not educated on subjects as these because their governments make it illegal. (See Plan B 3.0 by Lester Brown for more information on contraceptive education in Third-World countries)

On another note, I’ve been pursued many times by men who were interested in marrying me or courting me (yes, I used to follow that teaching). I’ve also been pursued by guys who I’ve met through friends or school. Many times, they pursue me because they like the “idea” of me, or they’re looking for a pretty ornament to walk around with. I’ve pursued men because I know what I want in a man. Macho isn’t what I want. If that means that I have to kill a bug, or make a decision from time to time, then I’m happy with that. I like killing bugs. Mice, on the other hand, I can’t deal with. I’ve been really unsettled in the past by men who try to pursue me based on what little they know about me. Sometimes they see me as just a pretty girl, who’s sweet and think they can handle me. They can’t. I can tell, and I know myself pretty well, so I know when I see a look in a guys eyes like they want me that that aggressive look is nothing more than desperation and trying to appease society by marrying the “good little wife” who will be forever pretty, who will always do their laundry and always clean up their messes. I’m NOT that woman. I’m an educated, ambitious woman who has a 10 year goal she’s striving after.

I’ve written about courtship before, so I’m going to refrain from it here. But I think it’s wrong. I think courtship is really outdated and fear-driven. There’s nothing “Biblical” about it. It’s another way that many pastors (and even parents) choose to take away freedoms from young adults.