The pastor of one America’s largest churches is peeling back the covers on topics that might make some Christian squirm. Andy Stanley, pastor of the 30,000+ member North Point Ministries, addresses a range of issues from human sexuality to pornography in his latest book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating. While the broader culture continues to fight over what “sexual morality” means, one thing is certain: Andy Stanley is determined not to sit this one out.
RNS: If these are the new rules for love, sex, and dating, what are some of the old rules that you don’t think work anymore?
AS: I don’t know that they are rules so much as assumptions. One of the big assumptions I challenge is: As long as I’m in love and the chemistry is right, then everything is going to turn out right. The average person would hear that and say, “That’s not true.” But that is the approach most people take to romantic relationships. The new rule is: don’t assume that just because you feel right, everything is going to be alright. We have to become the type of person that the person we’re looking for is looking for.
In every other arena of life, we prepare. But somehow when it comes to love and romance, there is an assumption that we don’t need to prepare, but just commit ourselves. That somehow commitment will trump the needs for preparation. This is more about getting ourselves ready for the time when we meet someone that there’s chemistry with and we’re falling in love with, we’ll actually be prepared to keep the commitment we’re making.
This is not simply a book for people who want to get married; it is for anyone who wants to have successful, long term relationships. I hope the primary takeaway of these teachings is that: people should focus on becoming someone instead of finding someone.
RNS: You say that “you are sexually compatible with far more people than you’re relationally compatible with.” What are you getting at?