Monday, October 24, 2005

PANEL: "Christian Dating: talk about it, read about it, write about it?"


OUR PANEL TODAY IS: Janice Robinson, Tia Mccollors

Learn about Christian Dating

Post your questions in the comments section.

Please read the previous comments before you post, so we don’t have duplicate questions.

Please address your questions to a panel member or all panel members.


rootwomin said...


i have a aqquaintance who practiced ( is that the correct term?) christian dating to mixed results.

would either of you care to clarify the parameters of christian dating?

where did it originate?

is it prevalent in the african american community?

have either of you written any books about it or can either of you recommend any books about it?

thank you,

meri #129

Shelia said...

Question to all: I am interested in starting a single's ministry at my church. Do you have any suggestions on how I get started?

Shelia (Badge#16)

Tia McCollors said...

It's Tia McCollors (Badge #39) signing in here.

I think it would be hard to give a "general" definition about Christian dating. I would probably define it as spending time with somemone of the opposite sex to find out more about your personal and similar interests....and then determining if the two of you would move forward to another level in the relationship -- boyfriend/girlfriend or marriage, etc.

As far as parameters - I think the biggest one people think about is sex. That's a 'no-no' if you're in true Christian relationship. I'm not saying it's not hard (because it is)....but it is possible. My husband and I abstained until we got married. As we got closer to our wedding date sometimes I had to put the brother out of my house! Not always because of him....but because I wanted to jump on him sometimes! We prayed a lot to keep ourselves under control.

Meri - I don't know if Christian dating has an "origination." I don't recall any passages in the Bible that speak specifically to dating, but if both the man and woman seek to walk in the ways of the Lord then that will help them while they date.

As far as your friend - there will be mixed results in any relationship. Even two "Christians" may not be right for each other. Every good man is not God's man for you.

My novel, A Heart of Devotion, has been called a Christian Romance even though I didn't consider it that when I wrote it. It does follow the lives and drama of two single women and what happens when they put their own desire for love in front of their relationship with God. Check it out at

Other books I read while I was single were some of Michelle McKinney Hammond's books, Knight in Shining Armor (P.B. Wilson), Boy Meets Girl (can't remember the author right now) and countless others. I'll have to come back later with a list.

I hope some of this clarifies your questions. I'll be dropping back in later.

Sheila - let me think about your question. I've never started a single's ministry before.

My question to you all - if you read Christian/Inspirational novels - what are some of the the things that bug you about how Christian dating is portrayed?

rootwomin said...

hi tia,

thanks for answering.

regarding origination, i meant if there was a particular church or author who started the trend. similar to the prayer of jabez or living the purposeful life. i didn't think there was a bibical injunction toward compelling people to do it and i should have made myself clearer. thanks for pointing that out.

also regarding my friend's experience of course just because someone tries something doesn't mean it will work for them, be it a exercise, food, or dating at particular person. what i learned from her experience was not that the entire concept should be discarded but that with alot of the rules she had to adhere to it just didn't work for her.

i think what i'm gathering is that these may have been the particular stipulations placed upon her by her church congregation and isn't the criteria for all christian dating because i honestly thought that there were some writter guidelines in the popular media, not the bible.

like for example she had to be chaparoned. and it didn't matter how old the couple was if they adult and single the church encouraged them to christian date.
she was in her 30's dating a guy in his early 20's. she wouldn't have chosen this arrangement personally but was relying on the guidance of the singles ministry at her church.

since its been some time ago she's moved on and found happiness with someone and doesn't speak negatively of the experience at all. it was just so unique to me that i thought that it must be a trend like the others i see in the christian community.

as far as your question regarding christian dating in books although i've read several inspirational books none of them have featured christian dating, but since you've mentioned it you've peaked my interest!

i'm going to check a few out and see what's going on!

thank you!


Tia said...

Thanks for your input Meri.
Your friend's situation was definitely unique to say the least! I've never heard of churches imposing "rules" on dating couple so that's definitely not a trend. When it's all said and done, you've got to be accountable for your actions.

Tia (#39)

essence4real said...

LaTara (Badge #27)

To answer your question, Tia, the one thing that bothers me most is that fact fact that many of the Christian/Inspirational novels I read present people as if they walk around with halos on their heads. I stopped reading them for a while because they just did not present life as it actually is.

I guess I want to read books where people have struggles...real struggles. I just started reading this genre again, because I am the editor of an online magazine and I help with the reviews. I have only read "Saved in the City" so far. I loved it and it has renewed my desire to read more.

Tia said...

LaTara -
That's a good point. I think that's the view point of a lot of people....that Christian fiction books depict folks as "too holy" if you know what I mean. I think the more authors in the genre keep it real, the more of an audience we'll capture.

That's why I wanted the characters in my books to have "real" issues.

Also keep in mind that some conservative Christian-based publishing houses have different guidelines so sometimes that may tie an author's hands on how they want to present an issue.

Just a thought...Thanks for your input.

Tia (#39)

Linda said...

Wow -- what a great discussion.

Regarding the comments of how male/female interaction is portrayed in inspirational books, I do seem to find that the parameters vary from publisher to publisher.

In terms of them being 'so holy', I am intrigued by the term.

So now my question to the panel (and anyone else who cares to chime in), what are your definitions/thoughts of:

1. Too holy

2. Keeping it real

3. Preachy

4. How do the above tags enhance or distort the state of Christian dating, in actuality and in a storyline?

5. Does anyone have a view on the popular dating clubs like Meet A Mate?

Linda! Badge #141

Cheri said...

This is an interesting conversation and I wanted to chime in. First, let me say that as an older person, I am encouraged that younger women are writing stories presenting protagonists struggling to maintain integrity in their relationship with God. These type stories were not available to me when I was a younger woman and I think they fill a void. I believe that in the African-American community we must be careful not to become monolithic in our viewpoint. Terms like 'too holy', 'keepin' it real', and 'preachy' are relative to individual lifestyles and in my opinion can't describe an entire genre fairly.
That said, I think that Christian writing with African-American's as the major characters is transitioning. As the genre grows, different stories will be told and different styles will be used to tell them. But, no matter how 'gritty' the story and how 'real' the experience God's expectations of us is in His Word and that can't be compromised. I think we also must keep in mind as we look at the offerings, that agendas are different for Christian writers as we craft our stories. Some, of us may write 'message-driven' stories, while others may write purely to entertain, offering fiction alternatives without cursing, sex and other situations that some readers may find offensive. Additionally, writers may shift in agendas from one type story to another. I consider it a blessing the genre is widening, becoming more diverse, allowing sisters like LaTara to find a Christian story that she COULD relate to. I hope my hope my stories will be read by Christians and non-Christians and that for one somebody it may open the door to a relationship with Lord, but that is my own desire. As a genre, I hope our offerings continue to become as diverse as the people we represent so that ultimately there is something to satisfy the taste of all types of readers!
:-) Cheri #33

Tia said...

Hi Linda -
My term "too holy" meant trying to be so superspiritual that you can't relate to or minister to the people who may not have a personal relationship with Christ. By no means did I mean a person shouldn't seek holiness, but you still have to 'meet folks at their level.'

Keeping it real - dealing with real issues that Christians and non-Christian alike deal with. Even with keeping it real, I have the mandate to show people the way back to Christ and lead people to the true heart of God concerning how they make decisions and live their life

Preachy - I meant Bible-beating someone over the head to the point that they close down because you're only telling people about their short-comings and things they CAN'T do instead of presenting the facts that you can live a whole and abundant life in God.

I didn't mean those words to be 'tags' to put on Christian dating or Christian writing....let me think about quest #4
Tia (#39)

Janice Robinson said...

Janice Robinson chimming in:

First of all, let me apologize to all who posted questions or comments. Had some difficulty getting the instructions on how to participate since I was unable to participate in the practice run. I am sooo late, but wanted to share some thoughts anyway.

Meri, your questions regarding the authenticity of "Christian dating". I did write a book on Christian dating titled, "The Christian Single Woman's Guide to Being a Player God's Way". There are some specific paremeters for dating as a christian. Although, they are not specifically spelled out in the scriptures under "dating", many scriptures give us guidance. In my book, I spell out some of these guidelines. You can view the book and order a copy if desired at my

Sheila, Your query regarding guidance in getting a singles ministry started. I know of a good resource but will have to search for it in my stack. Feel free to email me at to follow up and I will be happy to share it.

Tia, I agree w/ you in terms of your definition of christian dating. In my book I basically give this same definition. I think we as christians, and folks dating in general, have got to stop becoming so "involved" so soon! "Dating", in my opinion, is just enjoying each other in a social setting (playing) and getting to know (really know) each other to determine if you want to pursue something along the romantic lines. Too often, after the first or second date, we are entertaining questions about "if he's the one!" For God's sake, we don't even know that person!

Anyway, as you all can see, I get very passionate about this stuff!

Meri, I have been a part of a church in the past who imposed similar rules. I can definitely say, one must learn for him/herself and make his/her own choices. I will suggest atleast one scripture for guidance although there are many more. One of the proverbs say, "many advisors makes victory sure.." One should obtain knowledge from many sources, but make his/her own decisions.

Well, I will stop here. Don't want to go on and on especially since this posting is AFTER the discussion.

Again, I am sorry for being late and am disappointed that I was not able to be in on the active discussions. Feel free to visit my website and sign up on my chatroom for more discussions along this line.

Signing out--Janice Robinson.

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