Dating and The Church

In my last post I talked about my journey over the past year to working on my faith. I said my next post would be about sex and dating within the Christian context, so here we go.

Last summer, after attending a few small group bible studies offered by my church (they’re more like book clubs, with the book being a Christian book of some sort), I was nominated to lead a small group for the Fall semester. I was nervous about being nonimated to lead a group so soon after getting back into the habit of attending church (this must be a mistake, didn’t they know I’m not a perfect Christian?), but I prayed about it. Since all Fall semester small groups are assigned the same book to read, I accepted the nomination because it would be the easiest way to get used to being responsible for a group of people’s spiritual growth for a few months.

Yes, that’s how they framed it in small group leader training.

All of a sudden I had a small flock of folks to pray for every day and check up on and make sure they weren’t falling through the church cracks. It may sound a bit extra, but it’s what I like most about my church: it’s big, yet small at the same time.

I did my best to steer this group, but I couldn’t help feel a little detached from our discussions. Even with study guides to help facilitate discussion, I felt a teeny bit bored by the content, but I loved the folks in my small group. It was then I decided the next time I led a small group, I would have a sexy book. Sexy as in, interesting and different.

Enter: dating and the church.

Boundaries In Dating
This book is a must-read!

I told myself that I would only do another small group if I were allowed to read the dating book of my choice, Boundaries In Dating. It’s not that the book is particularly racy, but it wasn’t on our regular book list. That’s why I was drawn to it even further. I wanted to talk about things most church folk didn’t talk about openly, regularly: sex and dating. It’s not that I am a rabblerouser, but I think there are areas in our lives where we don’t grow because we don’t really examine them close enough. As a Christian woman, I knew my dating life sucked and I didn’t feel supported in figuring out my dating life within a Christian community. And while I had a basic understanding of how sex in the bible worked (i.e. it’s only for marriage) I struggled with fully understanding how to apply this to my daily modern life. Also, I wouldn’t be able to win anyone over to Team Celibacy if I didn’t have a good grasp of what it was all about.

Anyway. Registration opened. I was elated to find my small group registration FILLED UP. Quickly. Most healthy small groups are about 8-10 people, but mine filled to capacity at 22 ladies within the first few weeks of registration. I was happy.

The book I chose was on point. It broke down my old and current dating issues. It gave me solid advice and things to do in my future dating life. I feel like I don’t need to read another dating book ever in life (not that I read many, but I own several for some reason).

Leading a dating small group was cool. I had 22 ladies to get to know as best as possible. I knew we all came from different walks of life with different upbringings and experiences. Some of us were single, some had boyfriends, some were divorced, and we ranged in age from early 20s to mid-40s. That’s what makes a group enriching, but the topic itself was tricky. The whole point of my group was to give women a (biblically-based) place to talk openly about their relationship issues without (Christianeze!) judgement, however, opening up to a group of strangers is tough. I was also afraid that as their leader, there would be a misconception that my dating/sex life was perfect, when it was so incredibly flawed.

In the end, everything worked out. There were a few weeks when the book talked about sexual purity and I felt nervous for the discussion. I think this is where I feel Christians get real Judgy McJudgerson, and I didn’t want anyone to feel judged for anything they’d done in the past (or for how they currently live). Typically I find that as a small group leader you have to share a lot in order to encourage others to share and so…the sharing of my failures was brutal. I’m already hard enough on myself, now I had to tell others about it too? And say it out loud? It was for the best though. The more I talk about my previous failures, the more I am able to get over them. Not to mention I have made some *awesome* friends during this process, and now they are able to reflect truth back to me when I veer off track.

As for what’s next…summer small group! I’ve recruited a co-leader this time around, and she is awesome. She keeps me in stitches and brings the best out of me. I am excited about leading this group with her if we can pull it off. In keeping with my tradition of a packed growth group and a racy topic, I think we are going to read a book (or books) about *drumroll* sexual purity. We’ve talked about dating, now let’s talk about sex. I like uncomfortable topics among Christians, and I think this is an important one. A big one. I think this issue keeps a lot of distance between God and Christians and I am all about finding ways to close that gap.

I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes.

 

I've Got My Angel Now

I’m back, two days in a row and blogging! It’s as if it’s 2003 all over again, and I’m blogging everyday.

Ha, not really.

I came by to drop off a video, Beyonce’s “Halo.”

I can’t explain why, but this is my jam of the moment. Yes, I have had her album since it leaked. Yes, I’ve seen the video before. For some reason, this week is the WEEK me and ‘Halo’ fall in love. Perhaps I am liking love songs again. I’m a lover of love songs, but for some reason, in the past 8 months or so I haven’t been my usual love song loving self. ‘Halo’ isn’t even the bomb love song, but it works for now.

Enjoy the video starring Bey and Michael Ealy:

Did I mention the time I saw Michael Ealy in public? I was at one of my dad’s favorite breakfast spots in LA, on La Brea near Pico (whatchoo know ’bout LaBrea and Pico?) and somehow someway my dad nodded over my shoulder pointing out Michael. I peeked through the bushes…and gasped. Outloud. My dad quickly warned me NOT to embarrass him. I didn’t, but the gasp really was uncontrollable, even I surprised myself. I didn’t say anything to him, but just admired how absolutely NORMAL he looked (in the debonair Hollywood actor kind of way). Yeah, I was 23 and it was my first week in LA at the time. Once I saw Tootie from “The Facts of Life” shopping with me in Target, I got over the star struck action of LA.

P.S. As I went searching for this video on YouTube, I noticed Beyonce has disabled embedding of her YouTube videos. What kind of wack social media strategy is this about? Sounds like some lawyers brokered that deal or something.

Whoa, Where have YOU Been?

It has been almost two months since I last blogged. I almost thought about putting up a hiatus post…but I was too busy to think about that.

My life in the past two months:

1. Went to SXSW. Spoke on the panel moderated by the fabulous Denise Jacobs. Did a lot of napping and working while at SXSW. Probably experienced about 30% of what I set out to do at SXSW, but had fun none the less. I got to see lots of friends and coworkers from my old jobs as well as grad school, and got to meet a lot of super cool fabulous friends I have only known (or read up on) in the digital space for years. I even met a few new people as well. In the end, that’s what I really wanted, and I can’t wait to go back next year!

2. I cut my hair off. I thought I would cry about it. I have had long hair my entire life. Every female in my family has had long thick hair our entire lives. It’s what we half black/half navajo chicks do: we have lots of long hair, ad nauseum. I thought I was so attached to my hair that I would feel remorseful about chopping it off. I wasn’t. It’s just hair!! My disdain for my damaged and unhealthy hair probably helped coping with the cut. It’s growing back pretty fast though. I’m not entirely sure my haircut is actually cute. Some days I feel like I’m rockin Salt N Pepa’s hairdo from the Push It days. Other days, I swear I am bringing back the Jheri Curl. These days, I believe I have a long shag, a la Kanye West. At this point, I don’t exactly care. The idea is to cut off all the damage and start all over. I need to go in for one more chop to finish off the damage removal and then I am in regrowth mode. I like my hair short, but I also like how it grows back pretty fast. I’ll be in good shape in about 9 months.
 
3. I freaking launched a big project. Who knew I had it in me, hmm? (Pfft, I did!). I think it deserves it’s own separate post, and probably gives me a million other things to write about on my journey as new media consultant. Either way, I have a pretty big milestone under my belt, AND BOY AM I HAPPY. I am also writing for said project, check out my first piece here.
 
4. Me and my partner in crime are up to some shenanigans. E-shenanigans, to be exact. Beware.

5. I discovered I love being single. As much as me and my single but cute/smart/accomplished girlfriends complain about there being no good men out there, etc etc., I think I am realizing I like to be left alone. Dare I say I am too selfish to have a boyfriend? Hopefully my desire to overcome my selfishness (or lack thereof) is what will seperate the men from the boys. I’m just happy to know I am past that whole “woe is me/all men suck” phase. No time for that, there’s money to be made, friendships to be nurtured. Everything else will fall into place.

6. My dad came to New York for an entire week. My biological father, that is. I haven’t spent an entire week with him since I was 11 years old. I admit, it was a bit….different. Him not really being around much has created a situation where I feel like I am talking to a stranger.  I don’t have any beef with my dad, really. It is what it is, it be what it bees. Hopefully his trip means we will both be a little more proactive about maintaining our relationship with one another. I was excited he had some baby  pictures of me to show off. Boy was I cutie pie when I was a kid. I might scan them and show them off. Maybe. 

Other than that I have been getting to know Manhattan (I super duper love walking around my neighborhood, especially now that it is springtime), hanging with my buds, missing California (need to go visit soon), worrying about the economy and the pork SARS (i.e. checking my bank account balance and washing my hands every 10 minutes), and growing up. It’s tough being a grown up. Word life.

Still kicking.  

Airtime

If you happen to be in the Miami, FL area,  tonight The Champ, myself, and possibly Panama Jackson of VerySmartBrothas.com will be guests on Keeping It Real with Te-Ericka,
a radio show on WBRY 1640 AM. The show airs every Friday from 10 pm until midnight, EST.   We’ll be on there discussing internet dating and
relationships.  If you’re not in the area but want to hear us kicking
that dopeness, you can also stream the show here:  http://www.barry.edu/radiostation/ (click on Listen Now/Live Stream). So far we are slotted to appear in the middle of the show. See you there!