Bringing god into a dating relationship

I am fearful the Christian community has irresponsibly coerced men and women into marriage through cultural pressure. If you aren’t ready for marriage, or if you do not want to get married, you are not sinning.

Like modern-day older folk jeering at pop, the puritans contended that, being in Latin and so stylised as to be rendered into pure if lovely noise, the Catholic tradition of Evensong meant that “you can’t hear the words”. Enter Eve, pro-creation, and marriage (not necessarily in that order). And the most intimate community on earth is the relationship you will have with your spouse. Disclaimer: If you are single (or if you’re married), steward your time well. “Sex before marriage is bad.” This was the extent of my understanding of Christian dating as a teenager and young adult. But understand purity begins with the mind and heart. If you aren’t ready to date, don’t allow the cultural pressure to override God’s plan. I know too many men and women who refused to listen to people around them, and their prideful arrogance resulted in a failed marriage. Find men and women you trust, and allow them to speak into your relationship.Thus did music become weaponised in the theological and political wars of the time. Worsley treated us to a chilling first-hand contemporary account of the dissolution of the monastery at Evesham, when the Kings Commissioners broke in on the monks one night in 1539, and “would not suffer them to make an end” to their worship of their God at Evensong.We also discovered, thanks to some clever detective work at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, that Queen Catherine Parr, Princess Elizabeth’s stepmum, wrote some stirring lyrics for her husband Henry, including the superb line: “Stand up, Lord, and punish those naughty people, for they are rebels and traitors”. When Worsley catalogued the acknowledged virtues of the first Elizabeth, who did in the end prevail in her guileful defence of a reformed Evensong against the militant puritans of her realm – the 16th century antecedents of the hard Brexiteers – I found myself reflecting on how many of these applied to Worsley herself: courageous (prime-time TV); wielding power in a world of men (Schama, Starkey, Dan Snow); clever (she’s a prof); human (obvs); and with a love of music and the gift of choral evensong (she plays keyboard).

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