Thursday, July 28, 2011

Exclusion Based on Religion – Part 2 (Finally)

OK, sorry for the long delay between Part 1 and Part 2, I know my 3 or 4 followers have been on pin and needle anxiously awaiting the continuation.  So let me get right to it.

As mentioned previously, I signed up for Match.com in a reactive manner, and although I have decided to not date for the next year,  I am intrigued by reading profiles and getting a small introduction to what I can expect when May 8, 2012 rolls around (ladies, don’t wait to start lining up).  I very rarely log on to Match.com and actually do a search.  As it turns out, Match sends a daily email, aptly titled, Match by Mail.  This along with a few other tricks, they are extremely successful at keeping interest in the site at a maximum.

Of course, I fall for it and find myself browsing on an almost daily basis.  Please believe me when I say I am not interested in any kind of romantic relationship, if anything, I would enjoy a casual friendship, one where we would more often than not, meet in a group setting.

I like most men, have a “type” of woman.  What we are most attracted to, what we are certainly not attracted to.  I am shallow, I admit.  I will not go into how shallow I am because for the purpose of finding new friends, I am not shallow at all.  As it turns out, I actually am.  There is still the issue of making sure the expectation is clear.  I would be devastated if I were to give anyone false hope of a romantic relationship.  Trust me; I am very clear on this with my profile and the limited correspondence that I have established.

There are however a few things that I shy away from because I know that even a friendship would be hard to maintain.  Like if she is a smoker . . . that’s a no way!  If she lives more than 50 miles away . . . I mean how could that work, right?  Although, that really isn’t a deal breaker, after all, the woman I would like to pursue when May 8, 2012 finally gets here, lives about 260 miles away, and I’ve never met her, and she doesn’t even really know me, and she might be even farther away by then  . . . geez . . . how I digress sometimes.  I’ll save that lack of a story for another post.

The first thing that I look at when looking at a profile is religious beliefs.  Sadly, with much regret, I immediately judge (yuck, I hate that word) a person on what their religious beliefs are. 

Among the numerous Match.com choices are as follows, along with my thought process:

                        

                        
                        Atheist:
Well she’s going to hell.  She doesn’t believe in anything, no spirituality or a desire to know a higher being.  There is no way that we could connect on any level.







Agnostic:            
At least she knows part of the truth, the wrong part, but it’s a part.  She’s still going to hell but maybe I can lead her into a relationship with Christ.



                        
                       
Buddhist, Islamic, etc:
She has her beliefs set in place and she is likely unshakeable.  I might be able to introduce someone to Christ but convert them, no way.  I have no idea how to talk spirituality with a Hindu or Taoist.  A good Jewish girl, doubtful, at least she is one of God’s chosen people, so maybe some good conversation.





Spiritual but not Religious:
What the hell does that mean?  I’m so confused by this one.  It is often followed up with some silly jargon like, “God and I have an understanding”, “me and him, we’re tight, no explanation needed”, “I believe in God but I don’t think we should talk about him” . . . WHAT?!?  Lord help you, I’d actually love to chat it up with you.  To follow up, I understand the spiritual vs. religious debate but please, pick a side.





Catholic:
There is no way that you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ the way I do.  But I would love to tell you about my personal relationship.  No priest required.  3 Hail Mary’s and 4 Our Fathers later, we might get somewhere, who knows.





Christian/Other:
Ah, now we are getting a little closer to home.  Not sure what other means but at least you have a fundamental faith.  We can certainly grow from there.

Christian/Protestant:
This is what I envision the Bible means as equally yoked.  We will probably have a few arguments about faith and our beliefs but our foundation will be rock solid.

Now with all of this predetermined prejudice, where am I allowing room for The Great Commandment (2nd greatest really):
 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
And where am I following The Great Commission:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

After all, I am only looking to build friendships at this point, no romantic expectations or desires.

Maybe just maybe there is a nice woman out there that, just, needs, a little, nudging, to get her to accept Christ and guarantee her place in Heaven.  Maybe just maybe, she has lived a life of hell and is looking for what Christ has to offer but no one has ever taken the bold step to introduce her to the Savior of mankind.  Maybe . . . just maybe, she has been abused and forgotten her entire life and can’t fathom what it means to have a male friend that would enjoy nothing more than just getting to know her and her story, nothing more.

I need to stop being so narrowed minded; I need to practice Jesus’s teachings in all areas of my life, in all situations, regardless of the outcome.  True, I will never marry an unbeliever nor will I enter into any romantic relationship with an unbeliever.  Common values are at the foundation of any successful relationship, among those, a fully surrender life in Christ is most important.  But, I am strong enough in my faith that I can tilt the table for a teeter-tottered unbeliever toward Christianity.  It is not only my concern, it is my responsibility, and it is what Jesus has entrusted me to do as His follower.

No worries, I will not become a Match.com street corner preacher, “come to Jesus or you will all go to Hell”.  But I will certainly display my faith as much as I can.  I will not shy away from a wink or an email from an atheist, agnostic, or otherwise.  My profile is extremely clear and I transparently describe where I am emotionally, romantically, and most important, spiritually.  I have used 3753 of the 4000 allotted characters in my profile description.  So believe me, I am a pretty open book on Match.com just as I am here on my blog and in real life.  I don’t lie and I don’t sugar coat the truth.  If anything, I am open and honest, sometimes too much so.  Beyond that, I’m not too sure.

So, if a non-Christian reaches out to me after reading my profile, it is obvious they are looking for something beyond me.  In this crazy, lock yourself in your room, Facebookme, Twitterverse, imagined self of sense world of social media; I believe God is opening a new world of proselytizing.  Kind souls, Children of god, are starting to realize their voices for the first time.  Should we shun them as most of us were in junior high school years ago?  I think not.

Reach out, extend Grace.  You know . . . that Grace that has been given to you so many times . . . that Grace you never deserved yet you received it with open hands regardless of your situation.  Give some back!  It was given to you with the full expectation that you would share it with others . . . Yes, those people, the ones that you would rather not get involved with . . . Yes, that ex-husband or wife . . . Yes, that friend that deceived and betrayed you . . . Yes, that boss that cheated you . . . Yes, that un-believer that winked at you, I mean me!!!

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