A number of fine Christian books have been published recently dealing with the subject of dating. Josh Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye is perhaps the best known, and certainly the most hotly debated. The Clarks have written two books – this one and I Gave Dating a Chance, to offer an option for those who could not buy Harris’ concepts. The Clarks believe that believers can date to the glory of God, but the key to godly dating lies in the pursuit of proper qualities, qualities they describe as HOT. “H” stands for holy and “T” for trustworthy. Searching for a dating partner and/or an eventual mate who is holy and trustworthy would, without question, modify and enhance the overall dating environment of believers.
I was not as enthusiastic with the “O” or outrageous, which is defined as “remarkable, exceptional, extraordinary, special, unique, memorable, wonderful, marvelous, striking, electrifying, and noteworthy” (p. 39). The examples given in chapter three basically describe someone who is cute and fun. The only outrageous quality singled out for further development is joy. I don’t think, personally, that young people need to be told to look for someone who is cute and fun – that is their natural bent. Nor is joy the only or most important of “outrageous” qualities. What about faith and love, or peace and self-control? And finally, and unfortunately I suppose, most people are not remarkable – they are average, normal. Then there is cute. While we will admit that we all are attracted to someone with an “awesome smile and gorgeous blue eyes” (p. 46), let’s also admit that not many people are all that attractive. Sit at any mall and observe – most people are not pretty – most are average, at best. Everyone should look for someone of quality to spend their life with, but I am not sure that the quality of “outrageous,” as defined by our author helps much.
One other criticism is the typical confusion, found so often in Christian literature, that Christ’s crucifixion is proof of our worth or value (v.103). It does no such thing. The Cross is the evidence of grace. Christ died for the undeserving, the unworthy. This is a distortion of grace. The Clarks do not major on this subject but it is something to note.
On the positive side the authors are right on the money when they write, “Christians settle because they believe God won’t give them something better than what they can get for themselves.” They preface this statement with, “We think it boils down to having a wrong perception of God” (p. 175). Excellent!
Overall, this is a good book and well worth considering. For those who want to “kiss dating goodbye” (see our review on Harris’ book), we say go for it. For those who don’t, this book offers an excellent alternative.