Have you ever been socially/romantically involved with someone and then not been involved and not really know why either the involvement or non-involvement happened?
As part of my personal faith journey toward Easter, I am reading a book by Brant Pitre, The Case for Jesus. I'm only five chapters in, and I'm already pleased with the thoroughness of Pitre's examination of evidence and honesty in saying what can and cannot be concluded from the evidence at hand.
But that's not what this post is about.
What this post is about is where my train of thought went when I saw the title of an upcoming chapter in Pitre's book: "The Dating of the Gospels".
I'm certain the chapter is about determining when the four gospels in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were written. And that's important because it helps a person make judgments about their trustworthiness.
But my train of thought? Well, it immediately dropped the "s" from "Gospels" and got me to thinking about the concept of dating the Gospel...being socially/romantically involved with the Good News that Jesus is God-in-the-flesh and his death and resurrection paid the debt of our sins and freed us to a new kind of life where we are no longer slaves to the sin nature.
What does it mean to "date" someone? What's going on in a dating relationship?
- There's definitely an attraction, but not really a commitment.
- It's kind of trying on the idea of monogamy. "What would it be like to be with this person and nobody else for the rest of my life? Would I enjoy that?"
- Depending on a person's moral convictions about sexuality, there might even be physical involvement that is associated with a marriage commitment.
- Breaking off the relationship if it gets difficult or doesn't go the way you thought it would is always an option.
Methinks that some of us actually do relate to the Gospel in the same ways.
- We like the idea of not being condemned and that Jesus loves us, but not all that sure about having anything expected of us.
- We toy with the concept of dedication and allowing Jesus to call the shots. "How will my life improve if I decide to follow Jesus?"
- We maybe even attend church services if we like the musical style and the sermons aren't too long.
- Spirituality is something we practice or something we do; not necessarily the core of who we are. We can put it on or take it off however the mood strikes us.
Truth is...I have personally found marriage to be far more deeply satisfying than dating ever was.