Friday, September 18, 2009

BGR part 2

I know BGR is a really big topic to most people. As I know from experience out of 10 people who leave Hope during my days 6-7 are because of BGR issues. Because we seem to teach that falling in love is a sin, but we often forget that people have feelings and teenagers from 15-25 are human’s with feelings too.

I know that in Hope we teach that students should not be involved in relationship and we actively discouraged it, but the awful truth is .. how many teenagers have the gift of celibacy ??? Seriously I think many times out of our eagerness we go about it the wrong way. Kids will always be kids, crushes are part and parcel of life.

When I was leading the youth group many years back, I learnt one important lesson. Feelings are uncontrollable. How do you tell a guy not to have crush and stop liking a girl, never seen it happen in my whole time. God make us creatures with feelings, so it is crazy to tell a guy to stop have feelings.

That is why I fully agree with some of the comments, we need to teach positive ways to dating and courtship. I like one of the point out we are not their parents and should not overrule the parents decision.

There was another point that brought to my attention while I was reading the comments. I do not know if anyone has experienced it but I certainly have… there seems to be an unspoken rule that we should only find Christian partners in our Hope Church, it sometimes seem that other churches people are not as good as Hope. The reasoning I always get is they have different vision and better to find from within then outside… but what happens if the guys or girls in the church are not what we are looking for ? And don’t forget there are always more female leaders than guys leaders… so… what happen to those unlucky to not find one by 30 ??

I also have heard and seen people saying that because one couple holds a much higher leadership position therefore they are unequally yoke.. I feel sad for them because my friend was under so much stress. So many people were initially against them, but just for me… who are we to judge who is closer to God ?? Just because you have the title that does not make a person more spiritual, probably maybe just that they joined Hope movement much earlier. Titles are given by Men not by God, title do not make a person holier, look at PN and Dr. Kriengsak, they are a good testimony on the irrelevance of title.

Anyway.. I fully agree that BGR is a very hot topic because in essence there are only 2 things which are crucial to a human need..

1. Love and relationship – family, friends, and a partner and of course God

2. Money and career – to buy a house, food and essentials

And I agree with the comments from John – that we should start giving good positive principles instead of scaring people away from relationship. I know Hope Singapore is changing and some Hope Churches are starting to take the lead in this area.

Hopefully we can start to change from the Hope Movement of Old.. and move away from the dogmatic and controlling system under the Old Hope Movement.


Orel said...

I agree with the practical suggestions in this post.

Given that the majority of Christians marry instead of remaining single, it makes sense as others have said to “teach positive ways to dating and courtship”. And we should make the education process fun. After all - “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the LORD.” Surely a person should not have to participate in a surreptitious and clandestine courtship over a protracted period of time before finally finding that which is good and receiving the LORD’s favour!

Rather than starting with the presumption that relationships are to be discouraged, flip it on its head and start with the objective that positive relationships should be encouraged.

The majority of the congregation will marry at some stage. The church can play a positive role to facilitate a happy outcome.

That said, the church does need to maintain a balance on the issue: John has posted first, that Christians should marry Christians and secondly, sex is reserved for marriage (my paraphrase). To those reservations I suggest that inappropriate physical contact and/or co-habitation before marriage should also be discouraged. The appearance of evil can cause as much difficulty as the actual evil itself.

As for homosexuality, it was once a very clear cut issue across societies. However in some so called “enlightened” places these days we could be “crucified” for daring to suggest it is inappropriate behaviour. The church needs to maintain a strong stance against homosexual behaviour (but not the sinner).

Watcher said...

Hi everyone,

I can sense that BGR issues is a very interesting topic that concerns many of brothers and sisters in Christ. I myself have never engaged in BGR before (I have never dated anyone although I am above 26 years old). So there is a limit to what I can share. Regarding Orel's comment that building positive relationship should be encouraged, I hope this would be more common place in the future. I fully agree with the priniciple Christians marrying Christians and sex being reserved for marriage. These two principles are explicitly commanded by Scripture.


Anonymous said...

I once heard holding hands are not permitted. And couple have to hold a pencil in between.

Anonymous said...

How long must the pencil be lol? 2B? 2H?

ex-member said...

Still got green light, amber light and red light zones... this is a categorization of level of touch where couples should adhere to when courting before marriage.

Not sure if this is still taught in Hope Singapore though. I hope not.

Alot of do's and don'ts... Though with good intentions, but I think it is flawed.

Somehow, it develops a self-righteous spirit with an attempt to do good works and enslaved under law and not grace and truth.

With adults, we should inspire principles and values, not rules. Adults must learn to live by their convictions in Christ or else they will not have a backbone to be strong in this fallen world.

The church should also be ready and open to accept those that might fall. Cos they will be such cases. That is what the church of Jesus is about- for the "sick and poor", not for the righteous and healthy.

J said...

Hi ex-member,

Yes, the red, amber, green traffic light is still being used in Hope Singapore in their marriage preparation course...Opps I mean red, amber and green zone whatever you call it.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I'm so embarrased when I think of what I made my sheep go through in terms of BGR... I didn't agree but was never strong enough to stand up for what I believed in... As a result I made my sheep suffer...

ex-member said...

I would like to add more on this topic...

I find the practise where one finds out whether the other party is interested to enter into a courtship or not from a shepherd rather absurd. This should not be allowed.

In most cases where the shepherd would reports back to the interested party that the girl or guy is not keen.

First and foremost, the person interested should be more bold in fostering a friendship with the girl/guy in mind if there isn't.

If there is, then the person especially the guy should be courting her- show his sincerity. And find out for himself later on if the liking is mutual.

I shudder that a person can determine and reply to the shepherd that he/she do not think that a courtship is possible based on superficial observation or assumptions of the other person.

Alot of things especially relationships, we need to plunge in to really find out about the true person.

How can a person accept a reply and fate from a third party- shepherd and not from the girl/guy's own mouth and without clear reasons why?

While this might not necessarily be something that HOPE enforces now, but it is left to be a normalcy in the church. Still is.

The match-making or couples coming together very much like a mechanical process, not much romance. The emotional element of the BGR is usually suppressed as it is mostly taught to be unhealthy.

Most times, we are taught to use the intellectual element- same vision? spiritual complement? etc...

Some might argue that romance is superficial, but it is biblical (look at Song of Songs) and much needed ingredient in building a healthy relationship. The key is balanced.

Anonymous said...

Please read the article in the link below.

Found any similarities between Hope and Unification Church? =)

Anonymous said...

Typical of Hope churches, really. They propagate a controlling and condescending approach to BGR.