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Worse, it has brought great dishonor to the name of Christ and to the witness of individuals and the church. For Christians, the Lord has given us His Word, and the Holy Spirit helps us to understand it.

Joshua Harris, for instance, has promoted a model of courtship that harkens back to a model used broadly before modern dating evolved.

People attempting to follow a courtship model within today's culture, however, often run into a lot of practical questions, such as, "What if her dad is unavailable or uninterested in being involved?

Have a picnic under the moon and stars, then crank up the music, leave the car windows down, and dance.

If you're both interested in the paranormal or like being scared, horror movies could be too blasé.

You may both already know how to rollerblade, so that would be too easy. Create a CD of your favorite love songs and stuff a picnic basket full of your sweetie's favorite foods.

Drive out to a secluded spot and leave the headlights on.

" or "What do you do when you live hundreds of miles from your family?

"The goal of this series of articles, beginning with this introduction, is to provide our readers with a place to bring those questions.

Not all will agree with Scott's approach, and we invite feedback from anyone who believes there are better interpretations for the biblical passages Scott draws from.

It's our hope that this Q&A series will be valuable both for those who think the Bible gives sufficient guidance for operating within our current system as well as for those who are looking for a completely countercultural path to marriage. How can Christians think differently about this pervasive issue in media and culture? The answer to that last question is "not well." Surveys consistently indicate that professing Christians behave almost exactly like non-Christians in terms of sexual involvement outside of marriage (in both percentage of people involved and how deeply involved they are — how far they're going), living together before marriage, and infidelity and divorce after marriage.

Indeed, the central issue we need to confront — and the reason I write and speak on this topic — is that when it comes to dating and relationships, perhaps more than in any other area of the everyday Christian life, the church is largely indistinguishable from the world.