ads on tv are often irritating and, on occasion, entertaining. one has been airing recently that i find disturbing. it is for an online dating service called "christian mingle." i have no problem with online dating services in general. for some people, they provide a much needed opportunity to meet others that would be unlikely, if not impossible, otherwise. what i find troubling about christian mingle is the suggestion that this service is ordained by God, that since those who participate in it are "christians" that this service has God's blessing and is in fact, in the words of one of the spokesmen on their ad, "God's vehicle" for bringing together two people that God has predestined to be husband and wife. it is the height of presumption to me that a business would invoke a calvinist God using that business as God's "vehicle" to bring a man and woman together as marriage partners. God forbid that christian mingle would bring two same sex partners together!
how did men and women find their preordained mates in the past when online dating was not a possibility? did God somehow arrange for business trips or vacations that would bring these folks together from distant regions or countries? did God prevent a person from falling in love with someone nearby in order to cause events that would bring distant fore-ordained lovers together? such a God is very different from the God in which i believe and whom i worship.
i read an article this week about a well-known evangelical preacher whose wife divorced him. as i read, i thought of christian mingle and the implications of the idea that God has chosen the perfect mate for us. i wondered if this preacher believed that his former wife was the mate God had chosen. did he rationalize that because they were divorced that they had misunderstood God's will when they married and that God was now setting things right? since he believes that he can't remarry while his former wife is still living, does he believe that God intended for him to live most of his life unmarried? if so, how could he have attained his present status as the pastor of an evangelical mega-church, since it seems to be mandatory that those who lead such churches are married? is his entire life a misreading of God's will?
i do believe that God loves us and wishes the best for us. i believe that God is present to help us find a mate and to help us live happy lives with that mate. i don't believe that there is that one person that God has predestined for us, but rather that through our participation in the spirit of loving-kindness that flows from God we are able to follow our hearts and work with a mate to make marriage work. sometimes we fail, but that has little to do with "God's will for our lives." it is more about our own growth or lack thereof.
my prayer today is that we worry less about a fore-ordained "will of God" and think more about how to show the love that is a part of all creation to each person in our lives, including our mate. shalom.