06 October, 2007

Meeting Meet Mates

I don't know. I've heard that even slight brain damage can alter a person's accent. What could have happened to me to elicit alliterative addiction eludes me, but I guess I'd best run with it.

I said yesterday that there was something positive in this month's Touchstone Magazine for us to talk about. I don't know of anyone reading this blog who is actively "looking." And you know what I mean, don't you? :-/

Touchstone ran a symposium on dating, courtship & marriage this month with 4 of their familar authors. They called it:
Helpers Meet?

If you have the time and inclination, do please read these 4 brief, brief articles and come back. I'll still be here.


If you subscribed to the paper mag, you saw one more little paragraph in blue halfway through the article. It said,

Your Turn

Dating and marriage being such crucial matters to our readers, single and parents alike, and of such importance to the health of the church and society, we invite readers to send responses to this forum, for possible publication in a future issue.

The responses should be written directly and concretely, no more than 400 words long, and received by October 26th. Please send them to me at editor [you know the symbol] touchstonemag [and this one too] c0m.

I may not be in a position to "look" right now. Life is complex like that. But look I do, and think on the subject I do. Here is what I will email to yon editor (if I have not worn out my welcome) after a little editing with you'uns help.

(And [Insert Exclamation of Amazement HERE] how do they expect me to say ANYTHING in 400 words. :-)

The history of God’s people is replete with "she was pleasing, so he married her." Every bit as surely, it is peppered with regrets in some of those marriages, though not all. This method, while exciting, seems a bit spotty in its execution. And while the full-blown arranged marriage is problematic, I need help. I know men and I can tell whether a man is faking pretty quickly, but put me across the coffee table from an eligible sweetheart with big hair, and I’m just another sucker.

I favor, and am actively advocating in my church, romantic introductions being initiated by selected elders (and this is key) across church and denominational boundaries. First, I need to talk to a wise, elder woman who has known my big-haired prospect much of her life, and who can make a wise recommendation to me. Second, I’m in a bit of a rub. My church has 80 people, none of them single ladies, and I am not leaving. I refuse to join a mega-church to meet chicks.

But what if my deaconness "Kathy" knew deaconness "Jane" at the nearby Presbyterian church, and regularly inquired whether there were any single women of X number of years in the faith, solid reputation, and willing to attend a church potluck to meet Codepoke? Both churches should profit.

Of importance to this idea are several details:
1) Jane and Kathy (or Dick or whomever) must be deacons of known reputation, filled with the Spirit and common sense.
2) Jane and Kathy must know about each other, and should really know each other personally if possible. I recommend coffee from time to time.
3) The churches must be nearby. Why not start to build relationships between churches via wise marriage? Can anyone think of a single negative to this happy possibility?
4) When the young lady (for example) begins to have doubts about the young man, she should be able to approach that man’s presenting deacon and express doubts about his reputation and possible intentions.

Even in my youth, I think I could have accepted the help of a caring deaconness gracefully. I ended up marrying a young lady of some reputation and character, but who apostasized. I’d bet Kathy would have steered me clear from day one. Hindsight reveals things to me she’d probably have seen from the start. Today I’d do better, but I covet wise counsel.

(And yes, it's exactly 400 words. I don't know how I cut it down so much!)


Megan Del said...

Hey codepoke -
I just discovered your website today via the complegaltarian website. When you said you'd "been both" I was like, dang! Is there a transgender person commenting on this stuff?? But no, you are not transgender! You meant that you'd been both egal & compl, I think.

At first, this post (MMM) kind of freaked me out. It seemed like "I kissed dating goodbye" rhetoric. It makes me a little nuts when us Christians tell each other there is a "right" way to meet a mate. Give me a break already. And, as you've noticed, there are no guarantees in marriage, arranged or otherwise. There is no way to make the process perfectly safe. People are messy, full stop.
But then I read the post a little more closely. You just want some help in finding women that might be a good match for you, and you'd like that help from your brothers & sisters in Christ. And you are in a corner of the body of Christ that is too small to practically (discounting the miraculous for now) give you a hand with that. So, why not expand your church family circle? Plus, I just like the idea of church bodies being more connected, period.
Rock on, bro. Good luck with everything! I'd bet you a beer (root, if need be) that Touchstone will publish this.

salguod said...

Great letter and great idea. It is not without possible peril, however.

My church family counts as one of its strengths a strong dating scene. It has always been supported by wise, married folk willing to help guide these budding relationships. There has also long been healthy cross church dating going on, although not cross denomination (it was all in our family).

The risk you run is too much meddling and advice from those wise advisers. This is especially problematic when those who are supposed to be wise, turn a blind eye to areas of concern in their 'favorites'. Or they push relationships based on their preferences not simply on the basis of spiritual health an maturity. You know, I think these two ought to be together rather than simply input on character.

That said, advice and guidance is needed in this area. Our emotions blind us. Many advisers rather than one ot two is a start. Education on how to choose advisers is another.

codepoke said...

Megan del ....?

You liked the post so it must be Megan del Sabiduria.

Thanks for the second read.

> I just like the idea of church bodies being more connected, period.

Amen. Just giving deacons from nearby churches a reason to have coffee makes this idea a winner to me. If I had not just introduced myself to the editor of the magazine on the wrong foot, I'd take your root beer bet - as it is, though, the smart money's on "please play again." We'll see.

codepoke said...


> It is not without possible peril, however.

Good points, all, my friend. In an ideal world, a marital genius would train every deacon of matchmaking. In reality it will be a greased pig chase of power maddened old biddies, grumpy elders forced to mollycoddle hooligans, and second-rate wannabe servants of God given their "last-chance" to be useful. That's cool with me. I don't need my plans to come to fruit exactly as I envision them.

Here's the thing. The current plan is utterly risk free - because there ain't one. There's nothing happening. In my little church of 80 people, there's a handful of 20-something guys, one 30-something girl and one 40-something guy elligible. Since we're all in the same boat, they express a little frustration to me - and I've got nothing for them.

What am I going to tell them? eBay? I mean, eHarmony? Oops - same difference. Some day, if you're bored, do a web search for "eharmony scam." (You can use that trick with almost anything, btw - if there are dissatisfied customers, you'll know in seconds.) Electronics create the illusion of unlimited spousal selection, but really we don't know anyone in America today.

A couple hundred years ago, it was easy to know all the Christians in your town. They went to your church. These days, not so much. So, when I was talking to one of those brothers the other day I had bupkus to tell him. He's found a cute, sweet-looking girl at Starbucks that he's going to try to talk to some day. I wilted inside when he told me. I mean, what are the odds? 10-1 against, at least. :-(

Given the current plan, it is certain that we won't hurt any of these brothers' or sisters' lives. Instead, we will let them do it to themselves. We will give the pure gospel of Christ, and pat ourselves on the back.

And while we're applauding our concern, these kids will collapse under loneliness. The desparation of knowing they're on their own, and the hopelessness of finding "the one" in this huge, disconnected world will take its toll on our kids. One by one, each guy will find some sweet, cute girl whom he's not sure is Christian, "but she has the aura of one - you know how you can just tell?" and ruin both their lives. And each girl will find some guy who's nice to her cats and comes to church with her and she'll try to "love him into the kingdom." And we'll keep wondering why we have problems with church widows and keep losing our young men to the world.

I'll quote Mel Gibson as William Wallace once again:
Do you know what will happen if we don't try?