bruno mars: bringing romance back to youth group

“you are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words.
your eyes are like doves behind your veil.
your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of giliead.
your teeth are as white as sheep, recently shorn and freshly washed.
your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin.
your lips are like scarlet ribbon; your mouth is inviting.
your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil.
your neck is as beautiful as the tower of david,
jeweled with the shields of a thousand heros
your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle grazing among the lilies.
before the dawn breezes blow and the night shadows flee,
i will hurry to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense.
you are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.”
song of solomon 4:1-7

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjhCEhWiKXk]

i think it is pretty amazing that bruno mars could have been solomon.  his song is really the song of solomon put to better words and music.  (although comparing noses to the tower of lebanon should make a comeback)  at its core, isn’t that what the song of solomon is really about, crazy, deep, romantic, infatuation.  being all caught up in her delights :)

i think it is strange that in christian circles we try to shut down this all powerful emtion.  but, what if romance was actually a god given gift;  something that was intended to be a part of our dna, part of our actual design?  wouldn’t that be amazing if god really did created us to be infatuated!

if that is the case, then maybe it is a disservice to work so hard at shutting that down with our students.  when we do, we deny them one of their core emotions and unintentionally communicate that church and jesus don’t understand what is really going on inside of them.  because infatuation and romance consumes our students, maybe we should help them understand it and give them tools to appropriately frame it.

the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

while god has made romantic love, the the thief perverts romantic love and transforms and corrupts it.  the thief has nothing to offer in of himself.  his only strategy is to take what is already in existence and pervert it.  and this is exactly what he does with romantic love, telling students to give their entire hearts and bodies over to the object of their affection.  isn’t that such a subtle lie.  in some sense we were designed to do that, but not just anyone to our partner.

when our students buy into the perverted version of romantic love, they foolishly give their hearts and bodies to their peers who are not developmentally mature enough to care for, protect, or commit to that kind of love.  and the result is all over our student ministries, students who have been devastated by awful breakups and blinding crushes.

jesus came to give us life abundantly.

the truth that jesus also wants to be lord over our romantic affections unfortunately sounds like bad news to our students.  their entire world is consumed with situational ethics and instant gratification.  however, the truth is the truth.  and what needs to be communicated is that this romantic love is a good and right feeling, but the way of abundant life is to protect our hearts until it can be fully expressed in the bonds of marriage.

the trick of living the abundant life when it comes to romance is helping our students wrestle with how much of their heart they are willing to give away.  it is normal and right for them to want to be in dating relationships.  and it is normal and right for us to give them tools to help them guard their hearts and to hold them accountable as they navigate these powerful emotions.

the easy thing to do is make romantic love a dirty thing and shut down dating within our ministires.  but the truth is that every single one of our students is consumed with this emotion.  so, instead of shutting down romance, and making it shameful.  why not celebrate it as the god given gift it is.  and what needs to be shaped and worked out is how to guard your heart in appropriate ways.  and that looks one way for middle schoolers, another for high schoolers, another for those who are engaged, and another for those who are married.

and for me, i am going to celebrate romance in the fullest way possible with my sweetheart (who still has it after 13 years of marriage!)  thank you bruno mars!