Thursday, October 13, 2016

Missionary Dating Is a Clash of Civilizations

Linda and me, in Boston

The best marriages I have seen have two people sharing the core beliefs of the same worldview. The husband and wife can disagree about whether or not to get hot peppers on the pizza. But if they disagree about the meaning and purpose of their lives life will be hard. Two ships will be sailing in different directions. 

For the real (not nominal) Christian the foundational idea is: follow after Jesus as his disciple. Linda and I may disagree about whether the winter snow is beautiful, but we do not disagree about the absolute importance of following Jesus. In this we are on board the same ship. Marriages that work have two people on the same profound ship, sailing in one direction.

If you date and marry someone who has similar tastes in food and music and cars but has a different worldview, then you will fundamentally oppose each other in regard to life's most important things. Therefore, do not do this. Do not be "unequally yoked." Yes, this is a biblical idea. It is also common sense. If his great love is the ocean and her's is the land, they will constantly be waving farewell to one another.

"Missionary dating" won't solve this. Missionary dating is 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.

Missionary dating is a "clash of civilizations." If missionary dating grows into marriage the underlying ideological distinctions remain. Marriage doesn't change this. Ultimately, worldviews mix like oil and water. 

I know there are exceptions to this. My experience is, however, that this is normal. So, don't flirt to convert. 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.