Did you know that “missionary dating” has a page in Wikipedia?
I didn’t before, but I do now.
It’s a term that is loosely applied any time a person of one faith (usually Christian) dates a person of another faith (or no faith at all). The phrase itself implies a planned, intentional desire to convert that may have been true once upon a time, but… today, I think a lot of folks start dating without giving the idea of a person’s faith much thought.
Any consideration of conversion or evangelistic efforts is secondary, if present at all.
Is there any risk or downside to being careless with whom we date when it comes to faith in God or religion? Can someone be drawn away from God just as easily as another might be drawn to God through a romantic connection?
Wikipedia quotes 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 which includes the warning about being “unequally yoked” with someone that isn’t on the same page with you spiritually.
In Old Fashioned, when Clay and Amber first meet they are not “equally yoked” in the strictest sense. And this causes some genuine tension and serious misunderstandings between them.
By the end of the film, both of them do indeed end up at a place with God, individually, that has them in a much better position to pursue something romantically, together. But it’s not an easy road and much pain could have been avoided by having some direct and intentional conversations up front, at the very beginning.
But life isn’t always as neat and tidy as it should be… and all of us are prone to not pay close enough attention at the start of a wide variety of things. Even though we know better.
Today though, I think the consequences of being careless are rapidly becoming greater than they may have been in the recent past. With a lot of common moral ground quickly eroding and the explosion of the hook-up culture and even the debate over sexual mores within many Christian churches…
Knowing who you are, what you believe, and what you want is possibly more important now than ever.
And there is indeed great wisdom in putting all our cards on the table up front—before our emotions (or more) become entangled with someone that really doesn’t want the same things out of life that we do.
Yes, there are always exceptions. Some people of different faiths have had great marriages. Some people of the same faith have gotten divorced.
It’s not about guarantees. It’s about being obedient and putting yourself and others in the best possible position to live a life of greatest usefulness to God an in service to the needs of a broken and hurting world.
Think about that the next time some Fifty Shades of Grey poster asks you if you’re… Curious?
That’s the oldest trick in the book. Literally…