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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

6.28.2006

Wolves: Tactical Advance #1 of Single Christian Men

My BFF ("best friend forever" -- no matching necklaces) has the perfect conversation ender: "I'll have to pray about that." Brilliant. In point of fact, she's precisely right: it's the ultimate shut-down. Who's going to argue with that? Nothing and no one trumps the G-O-D.

Something you don't want to attend? "I'll have to pray about that."
Something you don't particularly want to do? "I'll have to pray about that."
Someone you don't want to see? "I'll have to pray about that."

There exists a subculture within the evangelical megachurch. It breeds in little enclaves entitled, "College and Career", "Trailblazers", "PS 125", "The Loft" and other little ditties of that ilk, and is catered specifically to 20-somethings. Mostly populated by singles, these groups operate with the supposed intention of fostering the spiritual life of the young adult. Its intent is two-fold:

1) to "feed" the dizzy, not-yet-settled, experimental, figuring-themselves-out, unmarried, 20's
2) to keep butts in seats and contributions coming in from a decidedly "unsticky" lane of traffic

Look around your sanctuary the next time you're in worship. Notice who attends; generally the very young and then the 30's up to the elderly. The gaping hole in the middle is made up of the late teens and early 20's crowd. Why? Because the church has failed in its mission to reach, teach, reform, draw and change in a hip and "relevant" manner? Nope. Because these idiots are finally able to drink legally. Most of them have roommates or live at home; have no spouse and no children; have less than serious employment; and are doing what most 20's do the first few years they're out of college: partying their asses off.

They're also doing a healthy amount of trying on personalities and figuring out who they want to be within every imaginable color combination at the Gap. They're camping, traveling, staying out all night and living a life unimpeded by good decisions -- much less permanent ones. They're being young.

Eventually the 20's will turn into the 30's and these maniacs will settle down and once more darken the sanctuary doors (as they inevitably do). But instead of biding its time, the Church panics and creates these nefarious little groups meant to dazzle and enamor the 20's crowd with hip, fresh, and "edgy" praise and worship. Nevermind that the 20's should, at some point, be able to participate in regular worship with the "grown-ups" if they are to have a healthy, well-integrated spiritual life. Programs like this tend to only stall and delay an already retarded process of maturation... but I digress.

What can evolve from this well-meaning spiritual aim is an ugly, clique-ridden organization run by metrosexual worship leaders; a select set of Barbies; an even smaller cache of available Kens; and a few (less Machiavellian) helpers and volunteers who shine only from the shadows. Their primary goal? Finding a date.

Everyone dates everyone else in unendingly incestuous rotations -- the same 10 people hang out every week in differing combinations. It's a dizzying cycle of breakups and hookups that ofttimes have no resolution and even fewer lasting relationships. It's high school in a fish bowl. And it's a GOLD MINE for guys.

Chicks are wounded prey in this setting. They've come to church to worship, nurture others and humble themselves. They are automatically programmed to be submissive in this arena because they are supposed to be open to God's leading and teaching.

Like chum in the water.

I personally always shied away from these organizations because I liked the grown-up worship. It made me feel more... grown up. *shrug* I felt more connected to what was really going on in the heart of the church. And I wanted my teaching from the head-honcho, Senior Pastor, not some underling working his way through grad school (if that). And I could not stomach the manufactured, twee, treacly sentiment so often pumped into the services. That tripe was enough to make me lose my lunch -- and my religion.

But I was also very aware of the fact that I could look all over a Borders Books for someone who shared my interests and spiritual leanings, but that I was much more likely to find them in a church service featuring my demographic. And after a certain age, an unmarried woman starts to get a little "worried" (pronunciation key: "des.prit") that she might not ever get married. Which is why I met my husband on eHarmony.com.

Anyway.

Guys in these groups come for worship, too -- ostensibly. Their real goal is to meet, greet, wine, and dine as many girls as possible. A very low percentage of them are actually on the make for a wife, however. But disguised as a "Christian" man, a wolf can don sheepskin suits aplenty and go forever unpunished. Because the last thing a Little Lamb expects is a cut-and-run when the mint jelly has scarcely cooled. Strings of emails, phone calls, dinners and shared hang-outs can run into the dozens without even a whiff of commitment on Wolfy's part. He might not even acknowledge that a dating situation is in the works. It's just "fellowship". All the while, Lamby-Kins is getting ever more comfortable with Wolfy, even if he roams and hunts at odd hours, never fully disclosing his activities.

Then suddenly, Wolfy wants to chat. Here it comes: The God Talk.

"I just need to be alone with God right now. I've prayed in my spirit that I might be able to really figure out what God has for me and I just don't know. I really don't think that I'm meant to be with anyone right now. I need to reconnect with God and not be so focused on this."

In other words: "I'll have to pray about that."

*smug smirk*

Boys: ('Cuz that's what you are.) You're not fooling anybody. You like your buffet. You like that the tab is always open and you never have to pay. But she's not stupid. She knows you're talking to that girl from Argentina on the web cam. So do her a favor; have some class. Stop calling her and acting like you give a damn. Grow some stones and tell her the truth. You're just not that into her. It's a classy move. Yeah, she's gonna' be hacked off. But it beats getting run over with her car after she finds out what a snake you are anyway. Using God as an excuse is so slimy. She's not impressed. And neither is He.

Girls: Forget his sorry butt. Move on. Start looking for guys at military functions and at the accountant's office. Better quality and higher odds you'll find someone who actually means it when they say they want to take you out on a date. Stop settling for these chumps. Guys who don't have their own place by the time they are 27 usually aren't serious about finding a wife. If he's not going to bother to court you (call and ask you for a date, come and pick you up, pay, bring you flowers for no reason, not try to man-handle you on the first two dates, promise to call and then CALL, etc.) he's not the One. You deserve the One. You DO NOT deserve boys masquerading as grown-up people. But if you tolerate boy-ish behavior, then a boy you shall get.

About you:
1) Never change one atom of your authentic self -- it's going to come out eventually anyway.
2) Dating is like shopping -- the more you try on, the better perspective. Sometimes that dress in the bargain bin is just a fabulous piece that no one's found yet. Sometimes it's crap.
3) You get what you settle for: don't settle.
4) Be the person you want to attract. You want honesty, punctuality, integrity? Be a person who exemplifies all those things.

And finally, three years and a fantastic husband later, when you see your ex-boyfriend from afar (you know, the one who still lives at home and is now the assistant manager at Starbuck's) walking with his girlfriend (who is almost old enough to be his mother and wrinkled up from tanning herself into oblivion) you can laugh hysterically and remember what I've told you.

But I would not advise yelling, "HAAAAAA! You're still wearing those pants that your Mommy bought you 4 years ago?!" and then laughing maniacally.

It's improper.

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