Saturday, August 05, 2006

How Not To Get Married...

My well intentioned plan of writing incessantly over my vacation unfortunately never came to fruition. Many of you have been kind enough to inform me of this (some of you multiple times), just in case in my whirl of relaxation I failed to recognize this fact. Rest assured, I am well aware of the status of my blog and have been reading Bird by Bird in an effort to cure my ailment.

With that out of the way, I would like to approach the promised subject of Dating Advice from the Pollack Brothers. Timely advice, I might add, seeing as the boys returned yesterday from nomadic adventures abroad (no doubt scattering their seeds of wisdom about as they traveled).

It all started when our home hosted a yard sale to benefit the nomads’ travels.

Actually, that’s untrue… it all started almost a year ago with Angelika and I purchased a birthday gift for young Meredith. We had Bible Study every Sunday night at Angelika’s, and had decorated the apartment in orange (Methy’s signature color) in celebration of her life. Meredith came in, excited by all of the beautiful decorations, and was presented with her gift. Angelika and I, concerned for Meredith’s relationship prospects (and having no sage advice to offer of our own), had chosen for her a book entitled How to Get a Date Worth Keeping. This would have been enough to make Meredith hurl, but the subtitle was the icing on the cake: Be Dating in Six Months or Your Money Back. We all had a good laugh as we read the back cover and table of contents, and Meredith thanked us like any polite Southern girl for our gracious gift.

So the book sat on some dark shelf or piled in a random corner in Meredith’s apartment for months until she began packing to move off to graduate school.

Then one weekend our home hosted a yard sale to benefit the nomads’ travels. Friends brought by boxes of picture frames, vases, books, random kitchen appliances and various odds-and-ends for the community to barter over. It started early, and we were very tired all day… therefore, everything was extremely humorous. We tried on clothes, came up with new uses for old items and marveled at the visitors and conversations that ensued.

And then Marty picked up the book. He started reading excerpts from chapters to us out loud. We laughed hysterically. Then we informed him it was a Christian author. He stood incredulously. And this was his reaction: (*** for some reason, blogger won't let me attach the photos, so you will have follow this link. please note how nicely Heather’s snake skin cowgirl hat compliments his grey wife-meeter)

What could have caused such a reaction from such a subdued man, you ask? There is sooo much, I couldn’t help but give you the play-by-play:

(you’re supposed to put a team together that you meet with on a regular basis to hold you accountable for fulfilling these steps, by the way)
Step One: Log the Number of Eligibles You Meet Each Week
New People + Interest + Ability to Follow Through = A Date
Step Two: Log the Reason for the Number

(if you don’t meet any new people, have no interactions, or can’t get their contact information, there’s obviously something wrong with you)
Step Three: Own the Reason for the Numbers and Play the Movie
(in which Dr. Cloud encourages you to buy another book of his to help figure out why you’re so hopeless)
If You Say “There Are No Good Prospects,” You Don’t Get It.
(well, now I feel encouraged… maybe he should check the statistics on single men vs. women… and especially on single Christian men vs. single Christian women!)
Oh, and he quotes a verse (Proverbs 13:4) ~ The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Meet Five a Week
Now, the point of this particular exercise is apparently not about finding a date as much as it is about finding yourself… Screw the fact that you have no intention of calling the guy you just got a number from and he will sit at home feeling dejected because he truly thought you were interested in him… this isn’t about his feelings, it is about you finding your dynamic dating self!
Change Your Traffic Pattern
At Mosaic, we have worked hard from the beginning to emphasize that our Young Adults Ministry is not a Singles Ministry, it is not an entertainment ministry and it is definitely not a dating service. If natural relationships develop in the midst of serving God in community, that’s fabulous. But if someone comes to our church for the express purpose of finding someone to marry, they probably won’t stay long.
However, Dr. Cloud seems to see visiting churches as a great place to hook up, and if you don’t have luck at the first one, keep shopping around. After all, shouldn’t the body of Christ be akin to one big cocktail party where the focus is on the mixing and mingling and such? He also references a group called SWARM (Single Women Actively Recruiting Men) who would throw parties and gatherings to set people up. I kept looking for the “just kidding” part.
Get Over the Stigma: Join a Service
…where the advice includes: “Don’t limit yourself, when you create your profile, with a rigid list of requirements and expectations.”
… because, obviously, you wouldn’t want a service you’re paying for to return a quality product?
Stick With It, and Get Your Numbers Up
Again with the numbers… geesh! Oh, and more scripture (Ecclesiastes 11:1,6): Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again… Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know what will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
Hey, Beavis… this guy wants me to Sow my Seed every morning… ha ha… ha ha…
Get Your Team Together
My favorite part of this chapter is that he states one of the things you will need “as you walk the dating path” is “wisdon”. The editor didn’t catch that?! My spell check just tried to correct it three times!
Tie Me to a Tree
because you wouldn’t actually want to pursue one of these numbers you’re racking up…
Don’t Limit Yourself to a Type
1. If dating is not about marriage, why does it matter? (just use people to get your numbers up)
2. Types are often rooted in pathology. (which is why you’re single in the first place…)
3. You don’t know what you don’t know. (because dating is the only way to get to know people)
4. Practice being a person and have good experiences. (its not personal, its business…)
Check Your Expectations at the Door
Forget Love at First Sight
Go Out With Almost Anyone Once, and Maybe Again

Date a Non-Christian?
I lumped the above four together because they fly square in the face of all of the curriculum and camps I spent my high school experience listening to. And why are these things suddenly ok? Because, apparently dating suddenly has nothing to do with marriage. (oh, and Conservative Christianity is suddenly terrified that there are not enough children to indoctrinate and that all of the adults who are products of their “True Love Waits” and “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” campaigns will turn into homosexuals and take over the world)
Drop Your Hankie (or Palm Pilot)
Bend and Snap, baby… Bend and Snap…
Follow a Strategy from Beginning to Middle to End
Be Yourself from the Beginning
Don’t Play Games
Wait, I’m really confused…. Program, Strategy, Log, Numbers… Be Yourself & Don’t Play Games…
Where is the Testosterone?
Apparently we are not to be picky or have expectations, but we should draw the line at passive men. (Men with a totally different world view than our own are fine, but passiveness is completely unacceptable)
Keep Your Boundaries and Don’t Settle
Well this sounds like a fool proof program absolutely not developed by a schizophrenic, moving on…

Get Your Dating Self in Shape
Since I spent so much time on the program, I’ll simply focus on the chapter in this section entitled “Unleash Your Libido or Reel It In”. Marty really enjoyed the quote (which was in bold and set apart from the rest of the text): I do not advocate sexual acting out. I advocate sexual ownership as a part of who you are.

So why am I so hard on Dr. Cloud and his book? (Why did we all get such a good laugh out of it?) Part Four of the book is titled “Stay Focused on What’s Important”. We thought that was what we were trying to do. Living Godly lives in community with other believers, sharing God’s love, serving each other, serving as the Body of Christ together. We had no idea that what was really important was finding a mate so that we could move to the suburbs and live in little individual houses and raise kids who love Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, we know those things are important… I love families and I love kids and I really love families and kids who love Jesus. My point is, singleness is not about making lists and swapping churches and trying people out until you find one that fits. Singleness is about living life just like any Christian should… pursuing God and his call on your life with passion, living out the “red-letter” words of Jesus in everyday encounters, learning and radiating contentment as you grow in your relationship with the Creator of the Universe. If someone comes along for you to share that with, fabulous… and it’s not that I don’t think we should pursue potential dating relationships. But this “program” seems to require a lot of focus and effort, and I would rather give that focus and effort to the Lord.

So the dating advice I received from the Pollack brothers was:
rip this book apart and throw it in the trash (I’m throwing it away as soon as I’m done typing the summary)
b. continue living as a woman of God… offering hospitality, looking for ways to serve others and spread the love of Christ for all people, being mindful of how my actions can affect my brothers and sisters in Christ, devouring God’s Word, lifting praise and thanksgiving to the Lord…
c. Brad promised to write his own “dating guide” based on the life of Paul which he would title If You Must…


Rob McBryde said...

WOW! I can't believe nobody has posted a comment to this hysterical article you've written! :) I guess it's because Blogger is so last year and now "everybody" has a MySpace. I'm staying true to Blogger though.


Rob <><

Angelika said...

SWARM ... mmmhhhh

Thanks for the post ... made me laugh and made my day!

And I just did the math, according to him I am a hopeless case! My interactions with persons form the other gender this week ...
1) my career coach - married
2) my other career coach - married
3) ? I don't think there was a third one

Ramonsito said...

Classic work, Kimberly. Classic work. I look forward to our roadtrip this weekend and to the impending release of Brad's dating book. Great title!

jimmie glover said...

that is freaken hilarous and your words are inspiering. I think we get to dang wraped up in a worldly way to do christians things that it is down right highlarious plus got to love those pollack brothers

methy said...

Bravo sister. I think that you captured the essence perfectly! Now wasn't this book worth it... seeing Marty go crazy and writing about it on the blog. Priceless. =)

stretch n' pull said...

i don't know why you're so venomous. we have key parties at my church all the time here. but then, we in the city are light years ahead of you red-staters in the sticks.
ps. i am a charter member of the i'm-a-slut-for-jesus chapter of swarm.

Jana said...

hey kim! it was good to hear from you!!!!! I will tell amy hey for ya next time I'm in sydney. How are things at church???? and how about your job, how is that going?

Angelika said...

your blog slept too ... it's so pretty now, matching your myspace :)

Rachel said...

You are hilarious! Hey, remember when we hung out sometimes? That was fun...and Jeff is encouraging me to hang out with girls only, so we can talk "that language girls talk when guys aren't around". So, I'll call you guys (girls).