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The Unguide To Dating
Authors: Camerin Courtney and Todd Hertz
Publisher: Revell Books
Release Date: January 2006
The book The Unguide to Dating by Camerin Courtney and Todd Hertz is the best book I have encountered, as it addresses real life issues facing singles. Specifically, the authors, both of whom write for ChristianSinglesToday.com, address how single-ness challenges Christian values and applies pressure to our mores.
In a Christian culture that has continually sent out conflicting signals in recent years such as Josh Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye and the belief in some circles that God will just zap your future spouse into your midst without the need to ever date. Whereas it once seemed so simple that what is acceptable behavior for Christian singles has now become murky at best and compromised at worst. Courtney (author of Table for One and managing editor of Today's Christian Woman) and Hertz (editor for Campus Life Magazine) provide a thoughtful and thought provoking dialogue in a he said/she said format.
Hertz writes, "It's a confusing scene to figure out, and the confusion only grows when you're interested in someone. You have no idea what camp she's in. Has she kissed dating good-bye? Does she understand we're on a date? Do I owe her family any goats? Maybe we all should wear signs."
The authors weave humor and their own experiences into a colorful narrative that addresses the real issues facing singles in the church today. Where do I go to find a reasonable supply of singles of the opposite sex who share my Christian beliefs? Why is it that those who are already coupled up in the Christian community feel there is something abnormal about me because I am still single? Isn't it a little hollow to say God has a special man or woman in mind for me when I am now in my mid-thirties or forties?
The easy ebb and flow between the authors combined with their ability to weave the comments and experiences of others into the book keeps the reading light as it addresses very real issues facing the 21st century church. The authors hit the nail smack on the head when they state the church really is at a loss to figure out what to do with and how to minister to singles.
Their quote from Dr. Henry Cloud is particularly poignant, "Don't give a potential date the power to decide for you whether or not you are loveable, likeable or desirable. Get the love and validation that you need from your friends, from your spiritual community, and from God."
In chapter six "Dating Non-Christians," Camerin Courtney's vulnerability in drawing from her own personal experience makes this book worth whatever the store winds up charging you. She lays bare her soul talking about the struggle and angst that we all go through when we meet that handsome guy or cute gal who seems oh so perfect, if it wasn't for that one minor detail that the individual isn't a Christian. For anyone who has been caught in this snare or has been tempted to wander down this road, this chapter of the book is a must-read.
In the same chapter Hertz, discusses the pitfalls of believing that you will change the non-Christian. His assertion that it is the Christian who changes or at least winds up unhappy is often accurate.
The authors also tackle dating tactics such as Internet dating, speed dating, reality shows and hinting at friends that with which you are willing to be set up.
What makes this book work so well is the authors are able to provide thoughtful insights from both a male and female perspective. For instance, the subject of sexual temptation and the age old question, "How far is too far?" are handled in a tasteful but candid fashion.
The best thing about this book is the authors are not preachy, they are not postulating but they do share real life experiences--their own and of people they have met. Whether you are a man or a woman you will find this book to be entertaining reading but more importantly it will be your companion when being single seems overwhelming.
By Joe Montague, exclusive