There are good guys who know Jesus. And there are good guys who don't.
There are bad guys who don't know Jesus. And there are bad guys who do.
You can't always tell by the way he answers the big questions.
"But does he love Jesus?" "Does he know Jesus?" "Is he a believer?" "Do you think he's a Christian?"
I get it - especially the heart behind the questions. You're asking me if I've thought it through, if I'm jumping in head first when I barely know him at all, if I'm asking the right questions, and if I'm keeping in mind what is important to me before my heart is in too deep to care anymore.
All of these are valid questions. Especially from the people who know and love me well, the people who understand that I lose my sense of reasoning when I'm infatuated, and the people who let me borrow their wisdom when mine is faltering.
Hear me well: I will only spend my life with someone who wants to live his life the way I want to live mine. But I don't lead with the pointed questions of faith, belief system, and worldview.
Here are my thoughts, particularly sorted in a moment when I'm not currently starstruck by anyone's charm.
First of all, the question of one's faith is not an ice breaker question. And actually, if the roles are reversed and he starts with that question, I might take a step back.
Because if someone leads with that question, it screams legalism. And I'm not interested in dating a checklist.
These are all easy questions to answer, if you place them in a black and white arena of yes and no over a cup of coffee. Anyone could offer the following affirmatives within the lens of their own thinking. For example:
"Do you love Jesus?" "Sure," in the sense that I love heroes and good guys.
"Do you know Jesus?" "Yes," in the sense that this isn't the first time I've ever heard his name.
"Are you a Christian?" "Yes," in the sense that my grandma makes amazing biscuits and gravy and so I am thereby southern, and everyone knows southern people are Christians.
See how easy that was?
Especially if you're sitting across from someone with whom you'd really like another opportunity for more conversations. There's a whole lot of speed dater in all of us: we can answer all the right questions with all the right answers in ten seconds or less if necessary.
Just keeping it real in the adult dating realm, people. I'm just telling you how it is, for those of us who last went on a first date when we were fresh from the bubble atmosphere of our Christian college campuses.
So I'm not going to lead with these questions. They can be weird, I don't want to be weird, and these questions will not ultimately show me very much about the heart of this man.
Aside from our own chemistry, here's what I'm watching for:
How does he speak to our server or barista?
How does he spend his free time?
What books does he recommend?
What tone of voice will he use when I ask him to further explain something to me?
How does he seem to feel about his money?
How does he feel about the questions and chaos of two very honest children?
These aren't 'yes or no' questions. They're a starting point and a spectrum for me to learn from. And actually, I probably already know those answers if we're at the point of a 'first date' anyway.
Of course I also want to learn about his community, the people who most closely influence his life, how he acts when he's angry, and what experiences are most worshipful for him. But those don't always come up right away.
So I’m watching and learning, taking in the big picture as well as the details. He’ll show me how he lives and what he loves. Meanwhile, I'll do the same.