Archive | February, 2015

Engagement is Awkward.

26 Feb

Genesis 2:24 says, For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.  Marriage is the process where two become one, but this doesn’t magically happen with the words, “I do.”  Continue reading

The Purpose of Engagement

24 Feb

You buy the ring.  You ask her parents for permission.  You get down on one knee.  You ask the question.  But what does it really change?  What is the purpose of engagement?

A betrothal (or engagement) period has been around for many centuries, and is well documented during the time of the Old and New Testament.  In Matthew 1:18-21, we are told that Joseph and Mary were betrothed.  Betrothal was, “a binding contract established between two families and sealed by the exchange of gifts. During this period the couple did not live together; sexual relations with each other at this stage was regarded as equivalent to adultery.” (Reference)  A betrothal was so sacred that unfaithfulness during this period was punishable by death.

Engagement is a vital step for the health of a life-long relationship.  So if you think a ring is in your future, here are the four purposes for the engagement period.

1.  Prepare our communities.

Engagement is a time when the couple’s community is alerted to the couple’s commitment.  One emerging adults said, “The purpose of engagement in my mind is a formal declaration of intent.”  It is the formal act whereby a couple announces to parents, relatives, and friends that they are taking active steps towards marriage.

Weddings were never meant to be a private affair, but something to be supported by an entire community.  Community support for the wedding is important because marriages are not lived out in isolation, but always exist within the framework of community.  As Western society breaks down community in favor of an individualistic lifestyles, our perspective of marriage has been twisted into a private matter lived out within the confines of our suburban home guarded by the fences between us.  We must begin realize that a marriage is strengthen by strong public ties to others.

2.  Prepare for life together

Engagement is a time when you begin to make preparations to live together.  As a couple, you begin how to make decisions together, learning how to compromise, and to resolve conflict.  Questions that you need to answer include:

  • Where will we live?
  • Will we have money?
  • What will we eat?
  • What will we drive?

However, your questions must go deeper than the practical everyday decisions.  Your preparation must include preparing yourself emotional, mentally, and physically for a healthy marriage.  One emerging adult said, “There are certain parts of you (deep spiritual and emotional things) that aren’t necessarily healthy to share with someone who you are just dating, no matter how long.  Engagement is a great period of transition, where for the first time, there is a promise of forever attached to a relationship, which allows you to move towards each other spiritually and emotionally.”  I believe that there are not just physical boundaries that couples should observe, but emotional and spiritual boundaries that should not be crossed until marriage.   (For more on this, see Premature Intimacy.)

Faced with such decisions, not all engagement periods are easy, and many couples find themselves in need for a third reason for engagement – counseling.

3.  Premarital Counseling

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2013. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

One EA says that premarital counseling, “pushed us to discuss the harder topics.”  Dating and engaged couples often stay away from problem topics either to keep everyone happy, or because they are unaware of relational landmines surrounding them.  Premarital counseling will examine issues in your relationship including:  communication, conflict, finances, marital roles, and past family dynamics.

Although you may feel overwhelmed preparing for the ceremony, good pre-marriage counseling is worth every minute.  (Many states give a discount on the marriage license to couples who spend time in premarital counseling.)  Notice that I included the word “good.”  Be selective about who you choose to do your counseling.  The main factors for choosing a counselor should be:  relational (Do they understand people?), comfortable (Do I feel as if I can be authentic?), experienced (Do they any experience working with marriage?), availability (Will they care about me and my partner?), and location (Are they too far away?).

4.  Plan the Wedding

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2013. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

The last reason for the engagement period is to plan the wedding.  While it is the most obvious, it is not the most important.  No one will remember the décor or food at your wedding; so don’t let these details keep you from enjoying the other aspects of your engagement.  It is hard work to plan a wedding, but many families cave to societal pressures, and make it harder than it needs to be.

As you approach engagement, please know that the process of becoming one may be difficult.  One EA says, “Engagement has proven for both of us to be the time that we’ve both experienced our greatest doubts and also our greatest joys with one another. However, there’s a new level of safety in the fact that we’re both on the same page preparing to commit to one another that has allowed for deeper honesty (even in the hard truths and confrontations) and has resulted in a greater spiritual and emotional connection.”

david in hat - blackDr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is supported by a group of emerging adults who speak into his articles in order to help others.  If you are interested in joining his team of contributors, you can contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Why Don’t the Guys in my Church Ask Women on Dates? – Response to Relevant Magazine

22 Feb

I saw the article with this title, and wanted to share it with my readers.

Here are a few of my favorite lines…

I kissed dating goodbye but forgot about procreation and God’s design for relationships.

STOP! For the love of Joshua Harris, just please stop.

Although I might challenge a few things, for instance, when you promise that the women will start a casual dating journey with them.  (I am pretty sure that Joshua Harris impacted both Christian men and women.)  I am also not a fan of the closing words, You’re a Grown Man, because I don’t think that men should be shamed or stripped of manhood because they are not confident around women.  The ability to face rejection without it destroying your concept of self is wrapped up with maturity and personal autonomy.

Overall, great article – Keep writing Eddie.  Let’s do coffee sometime.  I saw you live in Orlando, so being from Minnesota, please allow me to come to you.

Now let’s open a new discussion.

Relevant Magazine,

I want to say this up front.  I think that you are GREAT.  I love the work you do.  I love the content that you are producing.  I am thankful for the discussions that you initiate.  In fact, I am so impressed that if you were a girl, I would ask you out on a date.

So, I say this to encourage you, and to help you excel in your already great work.

In the same spirit, of trying to remove the pressures upon men who want to ask out a girl, can we please address the picture chosen to promote the article?

Images often say more than words.  Images sell products.  Images cause people to pick up a magazine, buy a car, or in this case – read an on-line article.

Here are a few of my thoughts, taken from the picture alone…  Just in case anyone missed it, here it is again.  

After looking at this image, what does it say to men who are contemplating asking a girl out on a casual date?

Here is what it says to them.

1.  I don’t fit the mold.

Guys lack confidence because they don’t fit the image.  I am not trendy.  I don’t peg my pants (Wow, anyone else surprised that style has returned?)  I don’t have a cool beard and curly locks of hair.  I can’t play the guitar, or whatever that instrument is, and I certainly can’t sing.  Of course, girls would go out with him.  But with me?  Our use of nice images that makes us appear relevant, can also set standards which are unrealistic.

2.  She doesn’t fit the mold.

Guys are still looking for the girl in the picture.  While looking at their female friends at church, some men are thinking, “She is cute, but I was thinking…”  This destructive pattern of thinking is rampant due to pornography and other forms of media.  The pressures upon men and women to conform to size, weight, style, and beauty standards for dating is exhausting.  We know that these standards are often not stated through written words, but through images.

3.  I can’t reproduce that.

If we want to encourage casual dating, the image is appropriate.  I am not sure where the couple is sitting, but it reminds me of the Dead Marshes (from Lord of the Rings) during dry season.  How about a picture of a couple sitting in a coffee shop?  Life’s most romantic moments for me have not been from setting a stage with a blanket, a bowl of fruit, a musical instrument, and a rope? (I am not sure what the rope is about.)  Sadly in today’s world, loving relationships have replaced stability and commitment with flash and romance.

Maybe not much thought was put into the image.  I am sure that your staff is overworked, and have a billion things to do.

Or maybe I got it all wrong…  I have been wrong before.

Regardless, as Christians, we should rethink what stock photos and stereotypical images are doing to the world of dating.  We know we are being duped daily by Hollywood, but unfortunately this is happening by all sources of media.

Unfortunately, the image speaks against what the article hopes to do – which is to encourage dating that is casual, and Christ-centered.

 

Christmas 2012Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director for EA Resources,a non-profit designed to provide resources for emerging adults and their parents.  He is thankful for his wife Rachel of thirteen years (Look Left for a REAL PICTURE.) who said yes when he casually asked her out.  He is also thankful for his brother and sister-in-laws who regularly asked him to come over for dinner and board games even before they were dating.

Men Mentoring Men

20 Feb

© 2014 arileu, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

As I surf the web for material appropriate for our readers, I am often shocked at HOW LITTLE has been written.

Why is nothing being written to men about the Christian faith?

1.  Maybe it is because men don’t care about the topic.

2.  Maybe it is because men don’t read.

3.  Maybe it is because there is no money in it.

4.  Maybe because no one has a passion to write on the topic.

5.  Maybe because those who have a passion to write about it, cannot because they don’t make any money at it.   (I know several men in this category – including myself.)

Anyway, this post was going to be an article about men mentoring other men.  Unfortunately, there is little on the internet about this topic.

I did find an old website (although not necessarily Christian) does talk about mentoring.  It is worth a read.

Click HERE.

Here is a piece that I recently wrote on mentoring.

 

photoDr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to help eemerging adults enter adulthood.  If you would like to support my ministry, you can click here.

Beyond Mentoring – A Call for Symbiotic Relationships

18 Feb

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2015. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

Mentoring is a hot topic these days within the church.  Many people say they want to find a mentor, however, few actually do the work (or find the courage) to acquire one.  Sharon Parks writes, “Restoring mentoring as a cultural force could significantly revitalize our institutions and provide the intergenerational glue to address some of our deepest and most pervasive concerns.” (Parks 2000, 12)  This quote acknowledges that our deepest concerns about our society and the church cannot be solved by one sector of society, but will require a unified vision of all generations.

Many young adults seek after mentors within their vocational fields in order to build their knowledge, contacts, and other resources.  Emerging adults are taught to seek after mentors in order to advance.    This perspective of mentoring further defines mentoring as a relationship where one gives to another.  One partner of the relationship is a gatekeeper to money, fame, experience, or advancement.

Mentoring is defined as “someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.”  (Merriam-Webster, Online).  This definition clearly expresses a unidirectional relationship where one gives, and the other receives.  However, anyone who has spent significant time with a person from another generation knows that both individuals give, and both individuals receive.  Healthy human relationships are omnidirectional where giving and receiving moves in both directions.

As Millennials come of age, a new perspective of mentorship has emerged, one which is changing our understanding and praxis of mentorship.  Kinnamen states, “Are you open to “reverse” mentoring, wherein you allow younger leaders to challenge your faith and renew the church?”  (Kinnamen, 205) Setran and Kiesling in their excellent book Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood say, “…guidance still desperately needed but it is a guidance that is dialogical and mutual rather than unidirectional mentoring (Setran, 206).  We must acknowledge the interdependence of human relationships among generations.  While many resort to the word mentoring, the concept has changed and requires us to go beyond.

© 2011 Lakshmi Sawitri, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Scientists use the term symbiosis to describe relationships that exist for the mutual benefit of each individual.  One example of a symbiotic relationship is the Goby Fish and Snapping Shrimp.  The near-blind shrimp relies on the eyes of the Goby fish while constructs and maintains borrows on the ocean floor.  With one flap of his tail, the fish communicates to his partner that danger is present.  Another example is the African Oxpecker’s relationship with various large African animals.  Larger animals are cleared of ticks by the Oxpecker who live off the ticks (and according to more recent findings, the blood of their host as well).  Symbiosis illustrates the interdependence relationships that God designed humans to develop. (Here is a scientific article on the topic.)

© 2009 Ian White, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

We were designed by God to be in relationships with others.  Interdependent relationships cause growth and maturity.  Interdependent relationships supply love and encouragement.  Interdependent relationships provide personal significance (“My life matters to another person.”)

The time has come when we are called to go beyond mentoring.  We must seek relationships in which we give and receive.  We must move from independence into interdependence.  We must call others to do the same.

 

 

 

References:

Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood by Setran and Kiesling

You Lost Me by David Kinnamen

Big Questions, Worthy Dreams by Sharon Parks

 

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to provide resources to parents and churches as they seek to help emerging adults.

This Is For You

15 Feb

Stumbled upon this over the weekend, and I wanted to share it. Amazingly powerful.

THE RIVER WALK

Check out this amazing photographer: https://symakphotography.wordpress.com/tag/dying-rose-photo/ Check out this amazing photographer:
https://symakphotography.wordpress.com/tag/dying-rose-photo/

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  (Psalm 34:18)

This is for me.
This is for you.
This is for the lonely, the tired, the alone, the single.
This is for “where are all the godly men and I’m not spending another dime on Christian Mingle.”
This is for the girl who huddles in the corner late at night hoping daddy won’t come home drunk and horny… again.
This is for the child whose parents sold her to a con man who promised them she would get an education.
Now she walks dusty streets trading her body for a few rupees.
This is for the boy who is afraid, with good reason to go visit his uncle’s house.
This is for the lapsed Catholic who wonders why that priest is not in jail… or at least defrocked.
This is for…

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10 Things We Need To Hear From Young Church Leaders

5 Feb

10-Things-We-Need-to-Hear-from-Young-Church-Leaders

This week, I am focusing on the concept that the church needs to empower young leadership.  I came across this article that I wanted to share with my readers.  I love the positive expression with which the author speaks about those younger than himself.

Many churches believe that younger leadership refers to anyone who isn’t quite a Baby boomer.  However, we need to reach deeper and call upon leadership from all generations.  Are you calling upon young men to lead within your men’s ministry?  Are you making room on your church board for younger voices?  The Body of Christ is incomplete without a complete mix of God’s people.

By sharing it, I hope that…

1.  Younger Leaders will be challenged to speak out within their communities for change.

2.  Older Leaders will seek out  younger leaders from whom to listen and learn.

3.  Inter-generational bonds will be built for the strength of the Advancing Kingdom of God.

Here is the article – Enjoy!

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