As a single Canadian man transplanted into Los Angeles, I’m morbidly interested in the dysfunctional dating culture here. We have perhaps the highest density of young adults anywhere, yet the most bemoaning and anguish of those unable to find love. Countless stories of bad dating manners and gender role dysfunction abound. Not surprising then to see the growing trend of “friends with benefits” – mutual use-use relationships of sex and nothing more.
Christians aren’t immune from this cultural tornado. Ask any young adult Catholic these days “Can men and women be ‘just friends’?”, “How should you initiate a dating relationship?” and “Is it OK to kiss? when and how?” You will rarely find any agreement. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body has done wonders re-directing our understanding of conjugal sex. But how do we apply it to navigating the twisted rapids of dating in a secular world?
This has left many adrift seeking answers. We see this hunger reflected through the popularity of shows like “The Bachelor”, “The Bachelorette” or “Bagged” (remember, none of them are actually “real”). Or films such as the “No Strings Attached” chronicling a decidedly sex-only relationship.
Contrast this with a new documentary, “The Heart of Dating” which aims to contribute some Christian perspective. In a spirit similar to “Irreplacable“, which examined the state of fatherhood, this documentary follows a number of “datables” across North America as they seek out love. They question how and why courtship has collapsed, and what new practices are taking it’s place.
Megan Harrington and Catherine Fowler, are the producers of this film – both friends of mine whom I highly highly respect. Originally from Montana and Kansas (respectively) they’ve earned their stripes working in the entertainment industry for a number of years. They’ve also secured cooperation from Focus on the Family, so I expect nothing from greatness from this project!
They are currently in production, so please keep them in your prayers. Check out the trailer here and watch for it when it’s released!
Mark J. Matthews – our Hollywood Undercover Missionary@HUMissionary
Mark Matthews is a graphic designer and animator working in Hollywood. Listen to his “What’s Good About Hollywood?” column once a month on the SLHour.