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This is a journal entry I made for my Marriage and Family Class at FLI:

Well todays reading was based out of the book boundaries in dating by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I am not really a big fan of this book at all. First began reading this book almost a month ago, just picked it up and started reading it. It immediately struck a nerve as I began reading through the introduction titled “Why Dating”. The Authors completely slammed Joshua Harris and His book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and the whole courtship process. The way they discuss this topic in the introduction did not leave a very good impression on me for how they treat relationships. First of all it is just bad conduct to slam another author’s book in the beginning of your book on a similar topic. And it does not show very good Christian practices to do so in a book on dating. But they also use bad logic in the process of creating a case against Josh’s book. Example: “Person A dated person B, person A or B or both got hurt, {therefore} dating is bad.” That basically boils down everything that Josh has compiled into a single formula and states that is the entire thesis for Josh’s book, which is not accurate at all. It appears to me that they were just trying to come up with some kind of thing to use against a popular Christian author to try and generate some sort of publicity. But just the entire way they bash Josh’s book just leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and really gives me a bad predisposition about the rest of the book.

I am currently involved in a godly courtship that was modeled by the readings provided by Joshua Harris and the instructions of my Church leaders back home. So I am a huge supporter of the courtship process and feel that it is such a great benefit and provides a lot of assistance and opportunity to learn from spiritual mentors that dating does not typically provide.

Cloud and Townsend mention that “Dating gives people the opportunity to learn about themselves, others and relationships in a safe context,” basically stating that it is a necessary process that helps to teach people how to treat the opposite sex, whereas courtship does not. I completely disagree! Courtship provides the same opportunities for learning these same lessons. I was involved in one dating relationship back in high school and it did not end well. We were given way too much freedom and things were just not looked after as I have seen in the current courtship I am in. In my current courtship, Recah and I have had a great opportunity to get input and guidance from her parents as well as our pastors as we began our courtship. For me I define courtship as dating with a purpose with the guidance of a set of spiritual mentors. Courtship is more structured and builds the relationship more carefully, instead of just dating.

So to start out I really did not agree with much the writers were saying.

But the more I read, the book began to come across with the sense that they authors felt that it was necessary for someone to date around to learn things and be better prepared for marriage. I personally feel that a person can learn just as much without having to date multiple people and have to endure the pain of giving so many different people a piece of your heart only to break up with them later on. To me that is just wasted emotional hurt that can be avoided and those same lessons can be learned from other sources.

There were numerous other points that the authors spoke about in the book that I completely disagreed with or that just seemed so very illogical to try to apply those situations to real life. These authors being expert psychologists on boundaries in general, seems to me that this book on dating was an afterthought and they just tried to apply the principles they know on boundaries in general to the dating scene. They are two guys who got together to write a book.

The vast majority of the material of this book I found almost useless, I wither flat out disagreed with the authors or it was nothing new to me because it was the same material covered on Joshua Harris’s books within the context of courtship.

When I was growing up, my parents taught me the concept of what they called dating and it worked pretty well but it was all I knew. I went off to college and learned about this concept called courting and it was not any different from what my parents had taught me. As a matter of fact it was completely identical just had a different name. But the one relationship I was in did not follow that plan at all it was just a normal high school dating relationship and I look back on it now and see my mistakes and have learned from it. This is part of what they discuss in the book but it is still misconstrued in some ways. I feel that this book was more targeted for those who are already in the dating scene and already made all of the mistakes and can look back and learn from it all. But I don’t feel that it portrays a great message to those not currently in the dating scene.

The other reading from the Power of commitment I think brings about a great topic and thoroughly analyzes todays current situation. Commitment is an issue that we all need to face and try to correct in our relationships today as we grow closer to God.

Last weeks class was very good. The discussion of Conflict is a great way to look at ourselves and when we combine that with the strengths identification we are able to better understand how our personalities function and handle situations as they are presented in our lives. I actually plan to send some of this same material back home to Recah and a few friends that could use this material to help them out in their relationships. But through that I can look at myself and see where my tendencies lie and try to work on improvements where necessary.

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Who Am I?

I am a creative technical artist and I happen to work for a Church in what I would define as my dream job. I love what God has blessed me with and love to be able to share what I have learned over the 25 years that I have served in ministry.

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Dusten Harward
T: +1 704-431-3851