Last Friday night I was finally back in the city for a decent night out on the town. Being as it was Good Friday, and I had worked a good long day, I wanted to have a good night. Out.
Caught the 8pm service at church, where Dave and I met up to head down to the West Village. His brother and his brother's wife and some friends of theirs were down there having dinner (they had gone to an earlier service). We met up, walked around for a while, and discussed the problems that Christian singles have with actually meeting other singles. Let's put it this way: when there's a whole sector of a whole industry actually directed at helping Christian singles meet each other, we have a problem.
Defining it is surprisingly simple.
Christian guys, in general, enjoy going out. Having a beer, playing some pool, maybe even meeting some girls. Problem is, most of the girls the Christian guy meets, while out, aren't Christian. Most aren't even interested in the topic. But still, sooner or later he meets a nice girl, who looks pretty good on paper, its just that her life resume is missing that one critical reference - she doesn't have the same Best Friend that the guy does. (Let's put the whole 'missionary dating' conversation on hold for the moment). But he meets a girl, maybe he has - or has not - ascertained where she ranks on the spirituality spectrum, and maybe he meets up with her for coffee or something at some point to gauge it a little better. Its usually the same story, though. He's an attractive guy, she's an attractive girl - and at some point not too far down the road, the guy finds himself in the awkward position of having to have a conversation to define why pursuing things further just won't work for them.
Why can't he just meet a nice Christian girl?
Well, because, I think, in large part - Christian girls don't like going out...at least not in the sense that Christian guys do. And with good reason - most bars are rife with guys with less-than-admirable aspirations, waiting to meet them. Just the first few minutes in the bar we were at on Friday would tell you that story, ten times over. I see guys and girls relating in ways I'd never really think to, in these bars. I mean - its a little shocking to me, but how much more so to a decent Christian girl - the prospect of getting treated the way a lot of these girls do. Suffice to say - based 100% on their looks - its pretty clear what that does to a girl's motivations (and psyche, simultaneously). In the end, at best, the Christian girls resort to going out in large groups of friends - which, frankly, any guy, Christian or not, finds it a little intimidating to break into. At worst, they're sitting at home reading Jane Austen and trusting that their beau will someday plop down in a pew next to them, ready to propose.
"But what happened to all those Christian guys who like going out?" you ask. Well, they still like going out... but after a while, they get used to not seeing so many prospects in the pond, and fishing it becomes a less and less enticing project. Not to mention those conversations with the girls where things just aren't going to be... certainly no more pleasant than pulling a catch off the hook and throwing it back in the water.
Its a downward spiral. Christian singles stop going out for very nearly the same reasons we see so much avoidance of a healthy understanding of sex itself. There are so many bad things associated with sex, we begin to taboo it, avoid even defining and teaching and celebrating the good things about it. There's so much in the bar / dating scene that is just not pleasant, or downright wrong, that we begin to avoid it en total. And that's not right. The Christian guy or girl begins to let their social skills with the opposite sex languish, and next thing you know, when they do (somehow, don't ask me how) run into a decent prospect, they're too rusty to convert.
So, problem defined. Now you expect me to offer the solution. Not so fast.
Dave and I talked on this at length, and actually put together some ideas on working to fight against the norm - practical ideas. More on that to come.
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"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."