My Book on Relationships Is Only 99 Cents!


My book on relationships is on sale for only 99 cents this week. The ebook works on every device. The paperback is still only 8.99.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 3 called “The Scary Anxious Pursuit of The One.” Here’s a seminar I did on dating in California here. Also some quotes from the book:

– When you can let go of the idols of relationships, wealth, intellect, success, beauty, and career: you can actually enjoy them for what they are.  You don’t expect salvation or redemption from them.  You don’t crush them with expectations or demand them to serve your every whim.

– Love does not pamper. It prunes and perfects and pursues. It is a sweet embrace and a sanctifying chisel.

– We often demand of people what only God can give us — encouragement, affirmation, strength, motivation — and we end up wringing others dry.  If you drink deeply of Him first, you’ll be less controlled (and controlling) by your expectations, and you’ll actually seek others not to squeeze from them but to encourage them by your overflow.

– Please don’t allow singleness to rush you into being not-single. Take as long as it takes.  Relationships are hard work. Pursuing anything goes beyond our idealistic hologram picture into a gritty, sweaty, pulsing reality that requires our everything.God might or might not send someone to you tomorrow: but so long as you’re pursuing God, you might hardly notice. That’s a good thing.  Find Christ, you find yourself, and maybe you’ll find someone else.

– Romance is wonderful, but it’s one of the many things that actually points to the Creator of everything, just as a strand of sunlight points back to the author of the sun. The heat of romantic emotion is a window into the Eternal Romance that you were made for.

Purchase here. Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.

 

Six Truths to Get Through a Break-Up

gahbeedee asked a question:

hey there, thank you for your blog. i have been going through a breakup the past month (we are both christians) and wondering if you’ve made any posts on this topic.

Hey there dear friend, I’m sorry for all that’s happening, and here are a few things that I hope may be helpful for you.

1) Break-ups are, almost step by step, the same process as grief. It seems silly, but breaking up with someone also means saying goodbye to everything that person was. Their presence, their texts, their smells and laughter and even the annoying way they shake their leg when watching a movie: you’ll be constantly reminded of all these little quirks, and each day, will have to remember and embrace that they’re now gone.

2) Break-ups are pretty hard. In the grand scheme of things, a break-up is a rather normal part of life (I’ll get to that in a second), but I think most grown people are pretty quick to dismiss how hard it really is. You shouldn’t feel silly about how emotional and up-and-down this process is. Some days you’ll be fine, and some days you’ll be crying your eyes out or cussing out the sky.

3) A break-up isn’t the end of the world. There may have been many promises made and a lot of sweeping romantic plans for the future together, but no, a break-up isn’t a world-ending event. They happen. Two people may be perfectly wonderful people, but the timing wasn’t right or they discovered they weren’t compatible, and that’s okay. It’s hard, but you won’t always feel the same splinter of grief like you do now. Break-ups are built into the eventualities of life.

Continue reading “Six Truths to Get Through a Break-Up”

Sexual Temptation Vs. Christianity: A Conversation With Yumi About Sex, Singles, Marriage, & Faith


An interview by Yumi about Sexual Temptation Vs. Christianity and the extreme difficulty (and freedom) of the Christian sex ethic, for singles, dating, and married couples.

This is a portion of the interview (plus a little awkward extra at the end). The full 30 minute version is on Yumi’s channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK9Uo-yhp8Y

Subscribe to Yumi! https://www.youtube.com/user/yumigirlofficial

The post mentioned in this interview by Gothic Christian –
http://gothicchristian.tumblr.com/post/129744315870/you-dont-have-a-right-to-sex

Subscribe to my channel here! https://www.youtube.com/user/jsparkblog

5 Kinds of Romanticized Crushes That Will Mess You Up

I think “crushing” on someone is a natural thing, and in the right place and the right time, it can lead to something great. Most of the time it’ll pass, as it’s meant to, and we can look back and laugh at the ridiculous amount of time spent mentally replaying the one failed conversation that we still twitch about in the shower. Crushes happen, and they almost never equate to a magical romance materializing out of thin air.

But the darker problem with “crushing” is that it occasionally turns a real live person into a trophy, a sort of non-independent rubber statue imprisoned on a pedestal, and if you ever finally reached it, you’d either squeeze it too hard or please it too much. In both cases, both people lose.

Relationships are hard work, and absolutely require more than the initial illusion of fleeting chemicals in our easily tricked brains. That rush of first feelings is overwhelming, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grander scheme: and we could save ourselves a lot of trouble if we took up Taylor Swift to “count to ten, take it in, this is life before you know who you’re gonna be.

Here are five types of romanticized crushes that require a heavy dose of self-awareness. I apologize in advance for the snark: I’m only so impassioned here because I’ve seen how badly it can get out of control.

1) Hate Crush (aka Freudian Defense Mechanism)

What it looks like: You like someone, but you hate that you like them, so there’s a lot of passive-aggressive, mean-spirited, hyper-critical gas-lighting aimed their way. This looks cute in movies, but is often awful and humiliating to an actual human being with, you know, their own thoughts and dreams.

Problems: This can be irreversibly destructive if you drag someone long enough through your daily catharsis. I understand the psychology behind this—we resent what we can’t have or we just hate it when we feel so vulnerable with someone—but displacing anger out of confusion when you can’t “have someone” is a really dark, desperate issue that might require real help, immediately.

Continue reading “5 Kinds of Romanticized Crushes That Will Mess You Up”

A Video of My Wedding.


A short video of our wedding at the Rusty Pelican in Tampa, FL. Wedding photos here and engagement photos here. We just had our one year anniversary. I also proposed two years ago on Valentine’s Day. Quite an adventure, it’s been.
J.S.


The Truths and Myths of Christian Dating and Relationships

julettejoonengaged-073


Hello wonderful friends! Here’s a seminar that I gave in San Jose, CA about the truths and myths of dating & relationships within both the church-culture & pop-culture. Stream below or download directly here.

Some things I talk about are: “The time I overheard a couple have their final knock-down drag-out fight, my absolutely favorite type of scene in the movies, what everyone really wants in the hospital, dating theology from Taylor Swift, when God looks at you through the ceiling, and Christianity according to a cologne sample.”


I also did a follow-up Q&A which you can stream below or download here.


Some of the content is from my book on relationships.
Be immensely blessed! — J.S.


Photo from my engagement shoot, by Angel He Photography

I Love You Just Because

3-ceremony-203-X2


I love you just because I love you. It isn’t for anything else but you. Not for cash or status or my ego or an accessory, not because I’m afraid of loneliness, and it’s beyond the first bursts of chemistry. Love is hard work and it requires all of me, everything, with no guarantees, except the love in itself that’s promised and true. That’s just-because love. I love you for you.
— J.S.


Happy One Year.

3-ceremony-217-X2


Marriage is hard. Pretty pictures and bite-sized highlights might give you a false impression that it only takes sparks and looks: but the gritty reality is work, tears, and sacrifice. It’s a dance, everyday, to compromise and serve. In the depth of this tough humility, there can be great beauty. Real joy requires a fight from our very best.
— J.S.

“3 Quick Tips to Handle the Truth About Yourself”

3 ways handle truth x3church JSPark


Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:
“3 Quick Tips to Handle the Truth About Yourself.”

It’s about three ways to handle the hard truth about yourself from a friend’s honest intervention. No one handles “rebuke” very well because accountability is painful and messy: but it’s necessary for growth and progress.

Here’s an excerpt:


When you hear the truth about yourself, the person who tells you the truth isn’t perfect and probably won’t say it perfectly, but that’s no excuse not to consider their words.

The temptation when we hear criticism is to use the Mirror Defense, which is saying, “Well, what about you?”

We want to discredit the source of the truth, so we drag up old history and the other person’s weaknesses for self-preservation. Or we say, “I don’t like your tone” and use their voice against them.

The problem is, two wrongs can never make a right. In other words, someone else’s bad thing doesn’t cancel my bad thing. Even if the other person is a hypocrite, it doesn’t magically erase my own hypocrisy. And no one in the history of accountability has ever used perfect intonation and the perfect wording to tell the hard truth. If you find yourself saying, “If only she had said it like this” or “If only he had not said this” — then chances are that you’re trying to wiggle your way out of truth by a technicality.


Read the full post here.

— J.S.


“3 Lessons I Learned Instantly In My First Week of Marriage”

X3Church 3 lessons marriage


Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:
3 Lessons I Learned Instantly In My First Week of Marriage.”

It’s about three hugely important lessons I learned early in my marriage that I’ll need for life.

It was originally posted here and has also been published in the revised edition of my first book, What The Church Won’t Talk About.

Here’s an excerpt:


Marriage means your stuff isn’t your stuff anymore.

In our first week, we didn’t fly off to the honeymoon, which was another two weeks away. We spent time unpacking, opening wedding gifts, frolicking in our new home, and merging our lives together. About five days in, I wanted to meet up a friend to hang out, one of the groomsmen in the wedding.

I neglected to tell this to my wife. This is one of those very obvious things that I should’ve knew from the get-go, but in my defense, I’m an idiot.

Marriage is about Two-As-One, as We instead of Me. My time was no longer my own. It was our time. Our things. Our bank account. Our bed. Again, this sounds obvious, but I’ve spoken with so many singles and unmarried couples who were dismayed at the idea of splitting a life in half. No one is quite prepared to completely surrender unilateral decisions. We quickly learn why Apostle Paul compared our relationship with God to the marriage union — because we are entrusting our will with another.

The wonderful advantage is that rather than “splitting in half,” it actually feels more like a merging of strength. Our individual abilities can make up for each other’s weaknesses. Our knowledge and our view on life is suddenly augmented with an entirely new angle. By the end of the week, I was figuring out what she would want and why, which helped my tiny brain to open to new avenues I had never considered.


Read the full post here!

— J.S.


A New Cover: My Book on Relationships, Purity, and Sex

 


Here’s my book on relationships with a brand new cover!

I go over the many myths about sex and purity in both the church and mainstream, and how the Christian faith can actually inform us on relationships and dating. I also talk about: Josh Harris, Taylor Swift, my fifteen year porn addiction, finding “the one,” a theology for singles, the idolatry of giving more attention to “attractive people,” when my friend failed her first beauty pageant, the time I tried to kill myself over a girl, and my non-romantic journey of breaking up and getting engaged to getting married. The Foreword is by the amazing Lauren Britt at yesdarlingido!

The book is also in ebook. To read an excerpt, here. To hear a message about relationships, here.

Be immensely blessed and love y’all! — J.S.


Marriage at Your Worst.


Sharing love for a lifetime is going to be difficult: it’s full of a million misunderstandings, shrill melt-downs, crazy eyeballs, and totally ugly cry-face. But that’s the point. It’s only a matter of who you choose to share the worst of you with. I’ve chosen. I’ll keep choosing. So has she.
— J.S.


Breaking Porn Addiction: A Conversation With Yumi About Faith, Sex, & Church (Unedited)


Here’s the full length interview by theyumigirl on breaking porn addiction. We talk about faith, sex, and church for 40 minutes.

The shorter version is on her channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adw2GVd9sEQ

My book on quitting porn is here.

Be blessed and love y’all!

– J.S.

The Adventure of Dating and The Reality of Relationships

Christianese Dating Logo


Hello beloved wonderful friends!

This is a seminar I gave on dating and relationships to a wonderful ministry of college students and young adults in Gainesville FL, aka Gator Town.

It’s called The Adventure of Dating and The Reality of Relationships. It’s about the exciting prospect of dating and the gritty, difficult, raw reality of relationships. Stream here or download directly here!

Some of the content is from my new book on relationships called The Christianese Dating Culture.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.


Singleness Is Not Waiting For “Completion”


Singleness doesn’t define your value, ever.

What exactly is “singleness”? I wish we would stop defining things by the absence of something else. Being single doesn’t mean you’re somehow “incomplete” until someone else completes you. Let’s pause to consider that even the idea of singleness is false at its best, and oppression at its worst.

In the first century, Apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 7 specifically to address single people. To paraphrase, he said, “If you want to get married, good. If you want to stay single, good, and it could be better.” To you, this might sound ordinary. But at the time, it was a loaded bombshell. This was actually an entirely revolutionary view of sexuality that had been previously unheard of.

During Paul’s life, the Emperor of the Roman Empire was actually charging a fee for the unmarried because it was considered bad for the economy and the family (never mind that Caesar was already bad for both). Being married with a family was considered the gold status of society, and a single person could only have been a widow or prostitute; there was no middle ground.

So Paul comes along, and moved by the Spirit of God, completely wrecked the whole idea of family and marriage and singles. Though marriage is desirable, it’s not a “state of completion,” and we have an entire church of brothers and sisters in Christ who are meant for deep soul-community, for both singles and couples. Paul legitimized singleness as an absolutely acceptable life-choice, but more than that, said it can often be better for carrying out God’s mission on earth (1 Cor. 7:29-35). Paul himself was single, which itself would’ve been quite a scandal.


— J.S.


My Book Just Dropped In Price!



Hello wonderful friends! My book has just dropped in price to 8.99 on Amazon!

It’s called, What The Church Won’t Talk About: Real Questions From Real People About Raw, Gritty, Everyday Faith.

The Foreword is by the amazing T.B. LaBerge of tblaberge and the cover art is by my most excellent friend Rob Connelly.

I talk about a ton of things, including doubts, dry seasons, depression, relationships, porn addiction, trials, abortion, sexuality, social reform, family conflicts, and apologetics. If you’re blessed by the book, please consider writing a review on Amazon!

Love y’all and be blessed, dear friends!
– J.S.


Preparation For Dating and The Long Haul of Marriage

everarking asked a question:

Hi pastor Park, what are helpful questions to think about when discerning starting dating /going into relationships?

Hey dear friend, I must first applaud you for taking this seriously. Relationships are no small thing, and for you to even pause to ask questions means you’re ahead of the game.

Please allow me to share this post, which showed up in my first book:

– 6 Ways To Be Ready To Pursue A Relationship

Also, here’s a list of questions that showed up in my book on relationships, which is not an entirely complete list, but could help for a start.

Continue reading “Preparation For Dating and The Long Haul of Marriage”

Ghosts in Motion.



I was eleven when I found out my dad had killed his marriage. He drove me to the beach on State Road 60.  The ocean looked like a coloring book.  If I had opened the windows the colors might have spilled inside the car.  I tried to open my window but it didn’t budge; my dad had locked them.  We were sealed inside.

I loved the beach because the world ended at the sea – there were no cities, no people, no rude conversations, no glancing strangers.  For miles there was nothing but sparkling blue water, the orange sun, a gang of seagulls, a banner of clouds across the sky.  In the evening everything was just a silhouette of itself, like lazy ghosts in motion.

We parked somewhere, not quite the beach and not quite the road.  My dad rolled down the windows and all the smells came in.  Salt, tea leaves, clay, and something like the frozen meat section in a grocery store.  My dad pulled the keys out and we just sat there for a while.   The sunlight poured in and I started to sweat in my jeans.

My dad said, This is where your mother said she wouldn’t take me back.

I just nodded.  I was in the backseat, what else could I do.  I looked outside and a seagull was gnawing a piece of pizza.  It probably looked at me but probably not.

He went on, I begged for her, I said I was sorry.  She said it was over.  So I told her it’s better if we die.  He pointed to some spot up the road and said, Right there, I told her we could drive off the bridge together and die.  

I wasn’t sure what to say.  I was in the backseat, there wasn’t much I could do. The seagull outside poked holes in a beer can.  This time I was sure it looked at me.

He said, Remember this spot?  We went fishing here once. You, me, your mom, your brother.  I caught the fish and you counted them.  We were a good team.

I didn’t remember.  I wondered if that made me a bad son.

I wanted to tell him, This is your fault, you know.  You cheated on mom.  You’re never home.  You tell us we’re a terrible family.  You talk about all these dreams and you’ve never accomplished anything.  You’re just an old loser living off past glories that you probably exaggerated to sleep with all those women.  I hope you’re proud of yourself.  I hope you die alone and sick and miserable.

Suddenly my dad punched the steering wheel.  The car horn went off and the seagull outside fell over.  My dad said something but I didn’t understand any of it.  It was yelling probably, or noises, or crying.  I just sank into my seat and flew out of my body, out of the car, over the sand, over the water, into the sun where no one could see me.  I wanted to be one of the ghosts.  I didn’t want to care.

When my dad finished, he started the car again and trundled up the road.  I looked back and the seagull shook its head.  It squawked but I didn’t hear it because the windows were up again.  I tried to remember the time our family went to the beach but it never came to me.  Maybe my dad had made it up; maybe he wanted the lie.

I glanced at my dad but I was staring at a different person.  He had left himself on the beach, another ghost, disappearing with the setting of the sun. But I wanted the fake stories. I wanted the glory days.  I wanted the lie, too.  I wondered if that made me a good son.

— J.S.