Monday, June 15, 2009

Retro Post: Pilgrim's Romantic Progress

As I seem to have been talking up Dawn Eden's book a lot lately, I thought I'd re-post my earlier review to hopefully further inspire folks to go out and pick up a copy.

From March 2007

While on my flight to the OC this week, I finished Dawn Eden's inspiring semi-biographical relationship guide"The Thrill of the Chaste". Eden's own popular blog, The Dawn Patrol, was your wannabe massketeer's main inspiration for this here web-log.

In "The Thrill of the Chaste - Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On", Ms. Eden (a 30 something Jewish convert to Catholicism) takes on the destructive elements of the Sex and the City/ speed-dating culture, mainly through her courage to reveal her own past as a willing player of today's "blink of an eye" dating game. Although written from a female perspective, it actually took me a while to finish, because I painfully saw a little too much of myself in it - as me thinks most of this generation also will (I mean, they'll see themselves, not me . . .everyone's an editor). I've already given out over a dozen copies, with my non-religious friends enjoying it even more than my church buddies.

Utilizing her own life, she lays out a hopeful GPS map for marriage minded women, revealing all the pitfalls, pit bulls, and boobie traps along the way (bad pun, I know). Quotes from Carole King to John Paul II, help keep the book as trendy as it is traditional, with a firm grasp on both.

While it is on the one hand a relationship guide, I tend to see it more as the story of the healing of a heart . . .or more to the point, the renewing of a heart.

It did leave this Bawlmer born bloggin' blogger with three small points, that I felt were not properly addressed:

1) The L Word - while she points out the Biblical/ Theology on the Body view that sex is part of the "one flesh union" of marriage, part of a forever commitment between a man and woman. Building on that premise, sex outside of marriage is actually, as Christopher West puts it, "telling lies with your body".

But another unintentional lie people often tell in relationships is the big "I Love You", words as Rev. James Dobson writes "should only be said after a decision on marriage has been made".Our hearts do tend to hear those words in forever terms, regardless of how easily we throw them about, so me thinks a good rule would be, the "L" word followed by ring one, and ring two followed by . . .well, you know (O:

2) Chasing the Chaste - I found out early on in my dating life, that if I wanted to have sex with a girl, to just keep my hands to myself (no, not like that), as within a few weeks the doubts and frustration about NOT being manhandled by me, would usually have the woman soon attacking this ex-long hair. I would get the same desired results, usually faster, with the positive benefit of appearing the gentleman . . .yes, diabolical I know, that's why I bring it up now.
Women repeat after me:
"He is not groping me, because he cherishes me",
repeat often.

Both the man and woman need to have a serious talk early on, where it is decided that there will be NO physical activity until they hear that "I do" (although I would suggest you make it out of the church parking lot). To be honest, I have even decided that if I, God willing, should ever date again, that even passionate kissing be ruled out. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs . . .I am all about the hugs (as my Shel Silverstein "Hug a War" tattoo boldly demonstrates).

3) Confession needs to be made - Yes, Miss Eden needs to confess to her priest that she has in fact been eating Ciabatta roles on the NY Subway, which is completely verboten, and a subject she blatantly, almost proudly, proclaims in her fine book. Get thee to a nunnery, Dawn Eden, get thee now!

Anyhow, I strongly recommend this beautiful book to anyone who feels marriage is there vocation, for both men and women, Christian or Jew, virgin or not-so virgin.

God made you special, and He loves you very much!

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