i gave dating a chanceJeramy Clark
Waterbrook Press

In recent years, “dating” has become a dirty word in many Christian circles. So dirty, in fact, that young believers are now encouraged simply not to date. This position has provoked an open debate among teens, their parents and youth workers, and single adults. For a great number of them, many questions remain unanswered. “Lord, what do I do with this desire to date?” “Can dating be an option for young adults who love the Lord and long to please Him?” Is not dating really the only acceptable option in God’s eyes? The answer, assures author and youth pastor Jeramy Clark, is a resounding “No!” The time has come for a sound, biblical, and practical approach that balances out the extreme perspectives: dating without responsibility versus a complete withdrawal from the dating process. Learn how you can confidently pursue healthy dating relationships that are characterized by holiness and integrity–and ultimately bring glory and honor to God–in I Gave Dating A Chance.

Having been personally involved in youth ministry outreaches in one form or another since the mid-1990s, I remember exactly when the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye by one Joshua Harris hit, sending a cultural shock wave through youth groups everywhere not unlike the one that happened when Praxis exploded in Star Trek VI. Soon, we suddenly found ourselves having the virtues of something called “courting” extolled as the proper method of relationships for the Christian youth, with the concept of dating becoming something of a pariah in the wake of the release. Entire lessons were whipped up based around this concept, with promises that doing this would guarantee the youth to remain pure and untouched by the temptations of lusty hormones.

I was a bit dubious of this trend when it came about. I wasn’t openly critical, mind you; I’m all about extolling virtuous behavior in teenagers, Christian or not, and I don’t really find anything about Joshua Harris’ book to object to. As a matter of fact, I would recommend reading it as well. What I came across, however, was the reactions this book caused. Namely, some of the knee-jerk legalistic reactions caused just by uttering the word “date”. And the objectors could never really explain why they objected, outside of “the book said so”. I hope you can understand why I was more than a bit concerned about that kind of development.

Fortunately, I found I Gave Dating A Chance at one of the handful of Christian booksellers in Omaha back around the turn of the 21st Century. I didn’t buy it then…they had comfy chairs, so I sat and read the majority of it in a couple of hours there. Then, after fifteen years, I finally managed to find a copy of the book again…by way of Google Books. Yeah, I got a download of the book and read that. In one setting, I should point out, while doing laundry.

First thing I wish to point out is, I Gave Dating A Chance is not an anti-I Kissed Dating Goodbye kind of book. While the beginning does claim inspiration for writing this book as a response to that other book, it merely exists as a balanced argument for looking at dating as not the taboo thing in Christian circles, and how the Godly man and woman (or boy and girl, depending on your age, I guess) can and should engage in dating relationships while maintaining integrity in their relationship with God.

It may seem a bit archaic now, considering the time frame, but there are still a lot of anti-dating and legitimate questions regarding youth and dating. I Gave Dating A Chance presents some helpful discussions on the topic, as well as handling relationship issues in a casual yet profound style that can be understood by both adults and youth reading this.