Why Christians Should Kiss Courtship Goodbye

bebraveI have already shared how I never was on the courting bandwagon.  I never read I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  I never taught it in a youth ministry context.  I don’t have a background in this belief to offer a comparative perspective to brave dating.dating coach

Some of you do.  Hence I pass on this article to give you that comparative perspective.

Why Christians Should Kiss Courtship Goodbye

“I thought we were way past the “Courtship vs. Dating” debates.

“I thought that was old news, that we’d laid to rest the I Kissed Dating Goodbye era and moved on to new topics.

“But apparently, I was wrong. Maybe you’ve noticed, but the Courtship movement has recently received some major attention from both national television and recent entertainment. To be honest, I have no problem with Courtship. I am not putting down the concept of courtship, and I never will. The truth is, different personalities need different approaches to relationships. And for some people, Courtship is what works!

My only problem comes, then, with how “Dating” gets compared to ‘Courtship’ in such a flawed and negative way. As far as the Courtship movement is concerned, saying that you’re in a ‘dating’ relationship is almost like declaring out loud that you’re living in sin.”

Read the rest at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/why-christians-should-kiss-courtship-goodbye#DZ5J1CBscYYf7KSv.99


Live Original

bebraveWhat a brave thought.  Live original.  But this thought does not originate with me.  It does with Sadie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame—whom God seems to be granting a special platform.

I work with a lot of teen girls and body image issues are prevalent. They always have been. It doesn’t matter what decade. Yet every decade something new must be hated about our bodies. Now we have the “thigh gap.” “What?” says all of the “old folks.” Thigh gap is too much a part of today’s teen conversations. And how is one to increase their thigh gap when this is yet another feature that relies heavily on DNA. Some thigh-gappers are bow-legged (like Sadie) and is that the real answer? #thigh gap is stupid.

Unfortunately, body image issues are not just a teen girl problem. Teen boys are also feeling the pressure. Young men are too. And women—no matter how old we grow we still deal with issues of hating our body.

Jesus came down and put on this same flesh that we have to give us all a chance. This same imperfect flesh. He wore it proudly and humbly. I doubt Jesus had the broad-shoulders, 6-pack abs, perfect V-shape that haunts men. Continue reading


Contorting Yourself to Figure Out if You Are Loveable

bebraveI received this message from a senior in high school:

“I’m being an idiot about this, but I’ve considered telling him. If it’d turn out that he didn’t feel the same, I’d say someone took my phone. That’s what I’ve been thinking about. I’m prolly not going to say anything…I’m so confused right now.”dating coach

I’m honored to be asked this question. I have a lot of strong opinions about guy/girl relationships (you think?!!) so I certainly had an answer. It is always an honor to be trusted with this vulnerability.

Can you figure out what is at the core wrong about this question?

The brave step is being made to change the relationship. This always requires bravery and is encouraged. Taking this brave step through text is not recommended. Text is not personal enough for this personal of a question. If you are taking this brave step, be brave and do it in person. There is risk of rejection–but this is why it is a brave decision. You will gain a bit of respect on either side of the result.

The problem with this question is the lie that would be told. This present and future relationship is okay to this person if a lie is at the foundation. This is the plan that was made.

Sadly beginning a relationship on a lie—or many lies—is all too common. We believe to get a certain someone’s attention we have to contort or distort ourselves. We willingly do it so we can have his attention. Because possibly having his attention means that something is not wrong with me and that I may be loveable. The contortion is worth it to receive this validation. Continue reading


You Don’t Complete Me – Camp Theme for 2015

bebraveThis character has a lot to do with the teaching theme for the camps I will be teaching at this summer.

promo warp

To believe you are worthy of love and belonging, so many believe that you must contort yourself to stay in relationships believing that it is the relationship that makes you loveable. The result of this is a lot of numbing behaviors.

We do the same thing in our relationship with Jesus. Because of shame we contort Jesus into an image that makes sense to help us cope.

jesus warp

Actual coloring page

Colossians 2:10 states “You are complete through your union with Christ.” A relationship cannot complete you—unless it is with Jesus. A Jesus true to the word of God, not the creation of your contorted image. You are worthy of love and belonging because God’s desire is to complete you. Continue reading


Cutting In

bebraveI’m re-reading Real Christians Don’t Dance for the umpteenth time as a part of my daily devotions for the umpteenth time. Yesterday I declared my fandom of John Fisher yet again, and yesterday in my daily devotions I was hit by this from Real Christians Don’t Dance:

“So here I am. I’ve figured out what these clothes mean—and don’t mean—and I’ve managed with some difficulty, to get myself dressed and out onto the dance floor. But would you believe it, halfway into the first number some jerk cuts in on me?

“Standing once again along the wall of the gymnasium, where I’ve stood before for different reasons, now licking the wounds of my damaged ego, I inquire as to the name of this intruder, and I find out his name is Life. They tell me he often cuts in on dancers. They also say that when he cuts in, he always cuts deep, so deep that it’s almost as if you have been cut in two and one part is left staring at the other, both open and vulnerable. They say this knife can go all the way to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and that it can even judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” p. 81.

Life sure has a way of cutting in when we are dancing our butts off, right? I love that visual picture.

As we learned yesterday, He’s the same; and it’s still life. Continue reading


More Questions Than Answers

bebraveI’ve long been a “stalker” of John Fischer.  This is before the age of the internet when stalking became something of a scary reality not friendly like in this context.  All this time when I’ve been asked the question “who would you like to have lunch with?” I’d always answer John Fischer.

He’s now an “old guy” who was a part of the Jesus movement in the 1970s.  I became a fan of his because of his writing in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  His books Real Christians Don’t Dance, True Believers Don’t Ask Why, and especially Making Real What I Already Believe are the shapers of my faith–after the Bible and relationships, of course.  This “old guy” writes a daily devotional which I receive, of course.  I’m including his devotional from April 27, 2015, as my blog thought I have to share.

More Questions Than Answers

Still life
We were always meant to live a still life
But somehow we got trapped into the fast life
The cast life
Where everyone plays a part

You lose yourself in the fast life
In the fast pace of the rat race
Where no one knows who you are
And nobody cares
If there really is a God
And He has something to say
We would never hear it
‘Cause the noise is in the way

Still life
We were always meant to live a still life
Where everyone can see our real life
Be still and know who is God

These are the lyrics to what became a signature song for my 1973 album, “Still Life,” that launched the first half of my career as a singer/songwriter and recording artist of what was to be known as contemporary Christian music. Continue reading


Flash Cards for Dating Daughters

bebraveI strongly believe that teens should not be dating. I also know that teens hunger after this trying to fill that need to know that they are loveable and worthy of love. Because of this real need, too many teens accept a poor version of love often contorting their very selves to remain in a relationship. In fact, nearly 20% of both boys and girls reported themselves as victims of physical and sexual abuse in dating relationships. dating coachThat is 1 out of 5!

When the survey asked about psychological abuse–broadly defined as actions ranging from name-calling to excessive tracking of a victim–more than 60% of each gender reported being victims and perpetrators of such behavior. Stop and ponder that—over 60%! Boys and girls! Over half of teens believe this behavior was okay in a dating relationship–all so they could stay in the relationship to figure out if they are loveable and worthy of love. Source.

This grieves me. These beautiful and fragile hearts of teens—and women!!!!—are being destroyed because they believe this is okay as long as they have a relationship.

From this grief, I’ve created a free downloadable resource to hopefully change this thinking error. Remember doing flash cards with your daughter when she was learning the multiplication table? Or maybe she still uses flash cards to help her on those end-of-the-semester finals. These are flash cards you can print out and run through with your daughter. The answer she has to give is simple—either yes or no. Questions are posed such as:

  • There are some things that the two of you just can’t talk about because you fear his reaction.
  • His influence develops your ability to love and be responsible.
  • He humiliates you and belittles your opinion.
  • He is able to admit being wrong.

There are 34 such cards in this pack which you can download, print, and shuffle here. At various times bring them out and do a run-through. Your daughter will certainly roll her eyes, possibly groan, and very likely will slump her shoulders. Do it anyway. As silly as this seems, this time together will cling in your daughter’s memory—especially when she needs to remember this stuff the most. Continue reading


Psalm 27 Brave Thoughts

bebraveLot of brave thoughts from my Psalm reading this morning. Are you ready to be challenged?

v. 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

What a lovely and deep-soul thought. My heart—not my brain trying not to live in Overwhelmed Land—cries out for what is true and that is to hear God say, “Come and talk with me.” God invites me to come and talk with him. And I do have a lot to say. A lot of questions. A lot of concerns. A lot of needing a sounding board to figure out a damaging person in my life. I’m invited to do this. God invites me.

v. 9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation!

To have these heart-to-heart talks with God puts me in a vulnerable position. I’m opening my heart up hoping to find some answers, some truth, some comfort. So what a comfort it is to read that I can declare “do not turn your back on me” (I declare this loudly and often) and know that God has always been my helper. As Brene Brown says, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”  Wow thought.

v. 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

I do not and will not have this problem. I have parents who have always been active and supportive in my life. They are my foundation so I can live with all this Wild Frontier thinking. What if I had a different story of growing up? How would this verse hit me? I’m afraid I cannot answer that deeply. I know I’ve given this verse to many teenagers whose parents have emotionally abandoned them. I know there is truth in this verse.

vv. 11-13 Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

What is a psalm without a bold statement directly to the enemy? I love the response to the enemy here: “Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” Continue reading


It’s Time for the Prom Alternative

bebraveIt’s amazing how a survey from Visa can stir up a rant in me.

Like I shared, I have long-hated proms.  Back in 2011, I wrote this Pair of Cleats for my youth worker subscription base.  Instead of just having a rant, I thought I’d also propose a solution to prom.  I still believe in this idea—and the timing of this—very much. dating coach

This is what I wrote back in 2011.  You’ll notice some duplication.  That is because my message has always been consistent on this one.


Full Disclosure:  I hate prom.  I have since the ‘80s.  This is not new.  Many, many teenagers over the years have heard me pontificate on my hatred of prom.  My reasons:  It’s expensive; it’s overhyped; and for the majority of prom-attenders, the evening is either one of let down and/or regret.  Yet a lot of money, energy, and emotions are expended.  Too many silly distractions and emotions are spent on who is going to ask or do the ask, what dress to buy, can I afford the limo, what to do after the prom, etc.  And sadly, so few teens in reality have that dreamy prom night date and experience.  Too many dislike their dates, are uncomfortable in their shoes, are uncomfortable about what is happening in the limo, and wish the whole night would be over.  Only then to have to go to the after-prom plans which are even more uncomfortable.

I’m saddened that so many girls can’t wait to lose their virginity on prom night only to be heartbroken later.  But I also believe this is a Hollywood fairytale that too many girls fall for.  I can’t blame the prom-hype completely on this one.

There is also a lot of alcoholic-drinking on prom nights.  This goes back to the root of what prom was supposed to be.  It was a time for teens to dress up and promenade in front of adults to try out being adults.  With teens trying to be adults for one evening, alcohol quickly became a part of prom.  Isn’t that what adults do when they are dressed up?  Alcohol and prom historically go hand-in-hand.

Then there is the ultimate tragedy of prom–the lives lost on that dangerous driving night.

All of this pain, regret, shame, and possible death for the average price of $700+.  These are the averages from the 2011 prom season according to VISA’s 2011 prom spending survey:

  • $542 – Average amount a family in the South will spend on prom
  • $667 – Average amount a family in the Northeast will spend on prom
  • $943 – Average amount a family in the Midwest will spend on prom
  • $1,073 – Average amount a family in the West will spend on prom
  • $778 – Average amount parents with a combined income of less than $50,000 will spend on prom
  • $916 – Average amount parents with a combined income of more than $50,000 will spend on prom  (Source)

I’ve never been one to use the argument that such money would better be spent on the summer mission trip.  But I know something better can be done with all that money.

Continue reading


$919 Worth of Pressure (Alternative Title: I Hate Prom)

bebraveI have hated prom for a very long time. It has nothing to do with any bad prom experience I had in high school. It has always had to do with the great amount of expense for one night. And the “supposed to’s” (so many that are heart damaging) that come with spending all that money for one night.dating coach

Visa has put out a new survey about proms for 2015. Prom costs are expected to be down 6% this year for the average family with teenagers, from $978 down to an expected average of $919. (Prom costs include clothes, limo rental, tickets, flowers, pictures, dinner, after-party events, etc.,) Yippee!? $919 on average spent on one night. That’s $919 of pressure to have fun and be grown up with a date that most likely never would have happened if there was no prom.

Then there is this crazy stat. This year parents are planning to cover more of prom costs–from 56% of the total last year to 73% of the cost this year. So parents are supporting this $919 of pressure?! I understand the memory makers which can be made in putting together the plans for a prom which is why I’m sure wallets open up. I do hope that some of the preparation for the prom is giving that child permission to just have fun with his/her date combined with an honest discussion of what true romance is. $919 cannot buy true romance. It is contrived romance.


Another concerning find from the survey–families making under $25,000 plan to spend a total average of $1,393 for prom, while families making more than $50,000 annually will spend an average of $799. Stop. Just stop this craziness.

Then there is the new trend of promposals. This is the creative way to ask a date to prom. What was once cute on YouTube videos has grown to be another pressure added to this prom pressure. The survey found that a third of the total average prom costs ($324) are now being used for promposals, which have included invitations on a Tiffany’s card, along with jewelry; invitations made via skywriting, invitations made by entire school choirs. The pressure to outdo your fellow friend—and get it all videoed in the hopes that your idea goes viral—is all so much. Continue reading