Rational Romance

  A 15-year-old boy I know was watching the classic mobster film, The Godfather, for the first time. Halfway through the film, Kevin asked a question that reminds us -- if we needed reminding -- that the only rational view of romance is the Christian one.   In the film, the Godfather's son, Michael, falls in love with a beautiful Sicilian girl. Her father grants Michael permission to court his daughter, and we see the couple walk off together. But they're not alone. A few steps behind are a dozen of the girl's female relatives.   Kevin asked, "Why are all those women following them?" His father laughed and replied, "They want to make sure nothing inappropriate happens." And he added teasingly, "That will be YOU in a few years, Kevin!" -- well, if only it were so.   In a society like ours, it's hard to guard daughters -- or sons, for that matter -- because everywhere kids look, they see the celebration of out-of-wedlock sex. At school, they're often taught value-free sex education. They can go to the local family planning clinic and obtain, without parental consent, birth control devices and, in some places, abortions. On television and in movies, premarital sex is depicted as normal and usually consequence-free even though it's clear that in real life there are consequences - - often, severe ones.   In the midst of the cultural sewage, how can we teach our kids how to have pure relationships with one another, build strong marriages, and avoid divorce? The key is to start early.   In his book, Marriage Savers, Mike McManus says the church needs to take an active role in helping teenagers understand the practical benefits of chastity.   The church's first message to dating couples ought to be strong and clear: If you want a good marriage, don't have premarital sex. The National Survey of Family Growth found that women who lost their virginity prior to marriage had higher divorce rates -- in one study, seventy-one percent higher.   These are numbers every church ought to make known to high school, college, and singles groups. It's convincing sociological evidence that those who follow biblical sexual ethics are building a happier, more secure future for themselves and their future spouses and families.   The reason behind the numbers is simple: Dating couples who abstain from sex are more likely to build spiritual, emotional, and intellectual companionship. What's more, they're building the self-restraint crucial to being a successful husband or wife later on. After all, sexual temptation doesn't disappear once you're married.   To reinforce the abstinence message, we ought to let our kids in on a little secret -- something that will encourage them when they're sexually tempted: One survey I've seen indicates that faithful married couples have better sex lives than anyone else.   These days, most of us can't send a pack of relatives along to keep an eye on the kids when they date -- even though we might want to. But we aren't helpless. We can learn and communicate the truth about abstinence and involve our churches in programs like Marriage Savers that teach young people the facts.   If we want to help our kids stay chaste and build stronger marriages, this is an offer we can't refuse.     For more information:   Michael McManus, Marriage Savers (Zondervan Publishing, 1995).   Learn more about Marriage Savers here.       The National Survey of Family Growth can be read here.   The National Abstinence Clearinghouse and the Best Friends Foundation provide useful, encouraging information for young people, parents, teachers, and interested citizens.   "Justice That Restores": Breakpoint/Justice Fellowship's conference on justice and the Christian worldview will take place March 14-16, 2002, at the Hyatt Regency, Orlando, Florida.   Come meet and talk with top scholars, theologians, criminal justice professionals, community leaders, and elected officials who have put Restorative Justice principles to work. You'll learn what Restorative Justice is, where it comes from, how it is being successfully implemented in areas across the country. Most importantly, you will learn how you can help to bring about Restorative Justice in your community.   Join with Chuck Colson and an exciting line-up of speakers, including: Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Dr. J. Budziszewski, Dr. Russell Hittinger, Mark Earley, Dr. Nigel Cameron, Pat Nolan, Rev. Lee Earl, Dan Van Ness, Sheryl Ramstad Hvass, and Dr. Reginald Wilkinson.   Cost is $350 per person; $250, if alumni of previous conference. Register online Call 1-800-217-2743 for more information.  


Chuck Colson


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