Saturday, January 09, 2010

Missionary Dating

"Missionary dating": when a follower of Jesus dates a non-follower or nominal follower out of their own need for relationship in hopes that the non-follower or nominal follower with become a real follower like they are.

This never works. OK, maybe it's worked once or twice. I'm trying to think of an example, and am coming up empty. Here's the typical, generic horror story as I have seen it.

Jesus-follower girl (JFG) meets non-believer guy (NBG). JFG is desperate for relationship, and sees no Jesus-following guys around her. So, she's willing to give her heart to anyone, in hopes that he will become a full-fledged Jesus-follower like she is. Note: this should give us some clues about the maturity of her own Jesus-following.

JFG "witnesses," between kissing and sexual intercourse, to NBG about Jesus. NBG, wanting to be with JFG the rest of his life, declares that he's come to Jesus. They get married. (Assuming they don't just co-habit, in which case JFG has settled for less than deep Jesus-covenant bonding; AKA "marriage.") JFG wonders if NBG has "given his heart to Jesus" just to get her. The correct answer is: probably yes.

A few seconds/minutes/days/weeks/months after the wedding day, NBG is not interested in "going to church" with JFG. JFG wants to get back with Jesus, because Jesus really has meant something to her. JFG comes alone to church without NBG. She brings her children. They get older and ask, "Why isn't daddy interested in Jesus?" Daddy's non-Jesus-following influences them. They get interested in hunting or fishing or golfing or going to Borders on Sunday mornings or just listlessly sitting around the house in recliners in their jammies doing nothing but eating and staring at football games. And so they spend all the days of their lives in this way. Her church friends are praying for her husband, as she is praying for their husbands.

I know there are exceptions to this little story. My experience is, however, that this is normal. So, don't flirt to convert. And, if you haven't reduced yourself to this, take a moment to give thanks to God for not being in the excruciating loneliness of a lifetime living with someone who doesn't share the greatest passion of your heart.