Allow me to introduce myself:

Some people call me the space cowboy
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
Cause I speak of the pompatus of love

Now, I have no idea what a “pompatus of love” is, or does, but it has inspired me to dedicate my Friday blogs (at least as long as my interest holds) to dating and relationship issues. Let’s face it, unless you’re part masochist, most people don’t enjoy the tumult, heartache, and minefield that is dating. Things are only made worse by all the help/pressure offered by TV, books, and (for some of us) a church full of good-intentioned married people. Many of them have at least some good ideas. Manyt seem to offer that surefire way to find a date (read: marriage partner). Far too many seem to claim insight into God’s/the Bible’s pattern for dating. Throw in our past experiences of heartbreak, and the path of dating seems strewn with confusion.

And who better to write on dating and singleness related issues than a horror writer.

I suppose I ought to give my bona fides. Let’s just say that I put the “mess” in messy dating. The longest time my wife and I were together without breaking up was the six week period we were engaged. Which brings me to point number one, this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter how bad you think you’re screwing up the dating game, when God decides that it’s time, His will be done.

You need more credentials? I have been involved in singles ministry leadership in one way or another for over thirteen years. I have a heart for singles: I loves me some single folks. Heck, it was a great way to meet chicks, though I have to admit that getting married in 2000 cut into my dating life (it’s too late, she’s stuck with me. Something else you ought to think about when it comes to an idyllic, often overly romanticized view of marriage: buyer beware).

As you might have guessed, my perspective come from that strange beast I will refer to as the Christian dating scene. Your typical church singles group has a few key characteristics: 1) the average stay of the typical member is five years and 2) about every three years, the group has gone through a cycle of turnover. Why? Because it is one of the few ministries where the object is to get out of it. People date, and if they marry, they leave. People date, and if it doesn’t work out, they leave. People hang out, and if there are no prospects, they leave. A singles ministry is one of the few ministries that whenever someone tries to directly address their raison d’etre, they have to first begin by assuring the members that they are okay and worthwhile. Which means that a singles group had better offer something more than being a potential dating service, complete with sermons tailored to ameliorate your feelings as a single. More often than not, people join church singles groups to meet friends, build relationships around common interests, and for the preaching. And if they meet someone within this pool of more likely candidates, all the better.

You just have to remember that what most books or sermons on dating offer are opinions, not necessarily Biblical truths. While the Bible has quite a bit to say on the topics of characteristics of a good spouse (like the famous Proverbs 31 woman) or the demands, responsibilities, and privileges of marriage, let me summarizing all that the Bible has to say on the topic of dating:

Hmmm, I double-checked my concordance. Nothing on “dating” or “courting” so we may have our work cut out for us.
Let me summarize all you need to know about any dating book, seminar, or workshop that you get sucked into: THERE IS NO FORMULA! THERE IS NO PROVEN METHOD! IT’S AS MYSTERIOUS AND ADVENTUROUS (AND TREACHEROUS) AS THE REST OF LIFE! There you go. The doctor is in.

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