I wrote a post a while back entitled Christ and Dating and to date it's probably the most time I've ever spent writing in any entry in the history of this blog. Even though it's been a few months since I scribed it I still get emails from folks wishing to stay anonymous giving feedback and even asking advice about their current relationship.
Asking me advice?
I was drinking with a friend not too long ago he gave me an update on his dating life.
Him: She's a Christian.
Him: Like devout.
Me: How devout?
Him: So devout she said she wouldn't date me unless I was one.
Me: Well...you're not.
Him: I told her that, but I said I'd be open to learning more.
Me: And she's still interested?
Him: She seems to be.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?" - Corinthians 6:14
Me: Do you think she's going to try and convert you?
Him: Probably. Her friends are highly against this and told her not to pursue anything with me.
Me: My father wasn't either when he met Mom, but he converted eventually.
I never got the full story of why my Dad was attracted to Catholicism. He was raised without much religion at all, but most of his extended family were Baptists. As I understand it he had no interest in becoming a Catholic, much less a Christian. Still a few years into their marriage he decided to dedicate his life to God and when I was young he decided to get baptized in the faith.
His Baptist roots still show from time to time. Recently in a conversation about the death penalty I realized he knew little of what the pope stood for, but could almost quote verbatim any political stance of the Rev John Hagee.
My mother reminds me often regarding my father's lack of spiritual interests when they were dating, but although she never states it I believe she has a sense of pride in helping shape his conversion to Christianity.
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” - John 6:44
Me: I think the fact that you said you were open about learning the faith makes you that much more attractive to her.
Me: Remember that girl I dated back in Bham? She knew about my crisis of faith at the time, but being a preacher's kid I think she was attracted to the idea of bringing me back into what Christians call 'the book of life'. Come to think of it I guess I was kind of a 'bad boy' to her.
Him: Well you did drink quite a bit, but I see what you're saying.
Me: Girl's often love to mold the fallen angel into the man they dream of. This is maybe what your girl is thinking.
Him: Do you think so?
Me: I've been around many Christians in my life. Whenever they bring someone to the Lord most wear that fact like a badge.
I asked a Christian recently if she believed anyone should take a sense of pride in bringing them to church and what not. She claimed it's arrogant to believe that anyone but God did such a thing, but she understood the mentality. Educating people in any aspect makes someone feel good about themselves.
"Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing..." - Genesis 19:8
The girl texted my friend asking what he was up to. He responded that him and I were discussing issues of faith and later it would be girls. We went to a local pizzeria and talked about the issue of God more over more alcohol, which is kind of funny now that I think about it. I explained to him the things that made my walk with God shaky at times and discussed elements of the Bible that I couldn't wrap my head around.
Are we all descendants of Noah? I mean each and every race? Did that large ship carry millions of species? Finding no contemporary accounts was there a mass exodus of the Jews from Egypt? Did Christ exist as a spiritual figure as well as a historical one? Is evolution and Christianity mutually exclusive? Was Jesus a pacifist as so many claim? Is it possible to commit genocide and still be saved while someone else who commits blasphemy of the holy spirit will never see heaven?
These were but a few of the topics we covered.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1
He listened to what I had to say, but I think he couldn't grasp the concept of simply letting logic go at times and just give in to the idea of faith. It's difficult for many to understand, including myself at times.
Him: I can't get past the hypocrisy.
Me: You'll find that in many theologies and philosophies. If you do try to learn about this you'll have to ignore the behaviors of others and just concentrate on what the book says.
Him: It just seems so cultish. I've been to church with friends and it seems like a big cult.
Me: What's the difference between a cult and a religion?
Him: I know. A thousand years.
Me: Look at one time Christianity was seen as a freakish faith in defiance of the pagan traditions of the Romans. Now it's universally accepted as an established religion. While the practice of mass varies between denominations you're still giving praise to an unseen Lord.
I explained that if she's the one than do the right thing, but still I feel that I failed my friend. I suggested some books to read and offered things from my own personal library, because the idea of reading the Bible is a task that can be very complicated. Those who have actually read it will know what I'm talking about.
I explained further about my hobby of studying various religions; however I'm no scholar. Maybe I'm not the best person to ask. I believe I helped him be even more cynical about faith, which wasn't my intention. I wanted him to learn as he asked of me; however I did recommend that he attend a Bible study to ask questions from someone who may have actually went to Bible college.
I've never met this girl, but from what he described she sounds very educated and nice. He's my best friend and I would like nothing more than to see him happy with someone who's good for him. Still if she's the right one for him nothing I say will change that.
"The man that curseth His God, shall bear his sin: And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, dying let him die: all the multitude shall stone him, whether he be a native or a stranger. He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, dying let him die." - Leviticus 24:15-16
Him: Does this mean I have to stop saying 'Goddamn it'?
Me: Yes. It's considered blasphemous.
Him: I say 'Goddamn it' a lot.
Me: I know. I work on that. Now mostly my swearing is incomprehensible. Like Yosemite Sam.
My father says 'Goddamn it' a lot much to the dismay of my mother. He even compounds phrases such as 'Goddamn it to the Goddamn hell'. I'm not sure why he feels compelled to do this, but whenever he turns a swear word into a run-on sentence you knew he was really upset. Oddly enough hearing his use of creative swearing always made me laugh. When asked why it was okay for him to say such things and not me and my sister he would state it's between him and 'the man upstairs.' My mom would remind him of passages from the Bible about blasphemy, but being stubborn as he is he had to be reminded of it like a thousand times and it still hasn't sunk in.
Is typing a reference to a blasphemous word said in a conversation a sin? Hmmm...
I should probably keep my mouth shut at times. Some would say all the time.
"God will never ask us how many people we led to Christ. Stop counting and concentrate on conversing! God knows that apart from Him we will never lead anyone to Christ. He simply asks us to take Christ to them." - Evangelism.net