I did something this past Saturday I never thought I would do in a million years:
I went speed dating.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, this bachelor did the activity used as a dating social commentary punching bag in television and movies. Nevertheless, I have to be honest.
It was actually fun.
Let me give a little background. My new home church, High Rock North Shore, and its family of churches in the greater Boston area partnered with the "megachurch" Park Street to put on a "Single Mingle" event for 35 women and 35 men. All the spots were filled quickly, especially for the women, and the night was set for 10 hand-picked dates per person, lasting about 8-10 minutes a piece.
I'm not going to reveal details of what went on in each date. That will spoil the fun! What I am saying is that it was an adventure and an enjoyable time to get to know new people. What comes from it is yet to be determined...
After that night it got me thinking about dating, relationships, and marriage. At my age, it's practically an unavoidable subject in most social circles. Some people grow tired of it. Others aren't bothered by it.
Recently, I've read two great books related to the subject:
- The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy & Kathy Keller. Timothy Keller is a respected writer and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in the middle of Manhattan, NY.
- Loveology by John Mark Comer. Comer is the lead pastor of A Jesus Church in Portland, OR.
When this subject arises, there's one phrase I absolutely despise: "I'm waiting for the one."
You've heard that phrase. It makes my eyes roll. Believers of this myth will twiddle their thumbs forever waiting for perfect alignments with people that will never come. Both of these books address the issue, but John Mark Comer pieces the narrative together well:
This idea ["The One"] doesn't come from the Scriptures, not even close. It comes from Greek mythology, specifically from an ancient writing by Plato called the Symposium. According to Plato, humans were originally androgynous, each one with four arms, four legs, two sets of genitalia (male and female), and one head made up of two faces.Picture that. Sounds like something out of a film by Guillermo del Toro.These four-legged, two-faced humans became a threat to the gods, but the pantheon didn't want to destroy them. If they did, they would lose their worship (which is such a pain). So Zeus, the king of the gods, split humans in two, cutting their strength in half and doubling the number of worshipers. Smart guy.Plato writes that ever since then, we've been searching for our "missing half." As if you were separated in the past but out there somewhere is the one who will 'complete' you.The story of God is very different and so much better. (No offense to the ancient Greeks.) There is no such thing as "the one." You don't have a missing half, and you're not incomplete. In reality, marriage is two broken people coming together to find healing in Jesus. And one broke person plus another broken person does not equal bliss! The math adds up in the opposite direction - twice as much brokenness.
What I love about this confirmation is that perfection doesn't come from marriage, or even a serious dating relationship. It won't solve your spiritual and mental issues. In fact, they will be under a microscope!
So what's this got to do with speed dating? That night reminded me that it's okay to take risks, because you aren't waiting for someone perfect to come along. The only person who fits that role is Jesus Christ. He's the perfect lover of our souls.
Am I guilty for not stepping out and taking risks? Sure! There were opportunities in the past that I should have pursued more fully, but I chickened out. I wasn't confident in my identity in Christ. That won't be perfect either, but I'm assured in His love.
So gentlemen, take the flying leap. You interested in a lady? I don't think it would hurt to ask her out for coffee. You're not jumping into a snake pit (at least I hope not). Your life will be filled with risk-taking decisions, and I think it's time we stop waiting for "The One" perfect person or moment, and start practicing. You'll get better at it. I promise... sometimes those 8-10 minutes can drag, or you'll feel like you want more time. Just see what happens.