Should We Fear The Pickup Artist?

Full time ministry people typically read a lot.  Now I’m not talking about seminary classes here, although those are great.  What I’m talking about is the books we read beyond that.

Christian leaders around the world have embraced a whole lot of books that aren’t officially (or in some cases even remotely) “Christian”.  I see people reading countless books on leadership, team building, good communication and business practices. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Good To Great for sure come to mind.  As I was going through leadership stuff with my church, my pastor had me read The Starfish And The Spider. This was a book about decentralization of an organization.  All good books. But not exactly theologically profound.

Do you know why all these Christian leaders read all these books?  Because they are helpful.  Duh.

Running a church or ministry has a business and organizational piece to it.  We can wish it didn’t but it does.  And while theological training can help with that, it’s not usually enough.

Now there’s some people reading this right now thinking, “Hey wait a minute.  Isn’t this part of the problem with the Western Church today?  Too much business?”  Fair thought, but hear me out.

The key here is to not let these types of books become our Bible.  But there is nothing wrong with taking things created in the “secular” world, running them through the filter of the Bible and Church, and then using what is helpful.

Look, some things we read are unbiblical and go against what it teaches.  Those should always be discarded.  But others either line up within the principals scripture or don’t run opposed and are helpful with certain areas of life.

Take math – hard to learn algebra in the Bible. But Algebra isn’t anti-biblical.  And I’m hoping that the engineer that built that bridge did a whole lot more math than algebra.

The reason books like Good to Great are so good for us is that they challenge how we think about painting vision, engaging people, and creating movement.  We’d be foolish to ignore common truths just because they aren’t “Christian”. (Frankly many organizations do a better job of keeping their word, delivering on their promises and empowering people to act than the Church does, but that’s for some other blog).

Bottom line is this.  As a believer I have the option, if not duty, to run everything I see, read, think, philosophize, politicize, and feel through the context of that belief.  But I don’t have to shut off philosophy, politics, feelings, thought, books, math etc to do it.

But when it comes to dating, this is basically what the Church has done.

We’ve turned dating into some sort of over spiritualized drama. While often not helping women, we’ve almost completely failed our men.  We ask our men to ignore the dating culture we live in, rather than helping them navigate it.  We give them slogans instead of tools.  We tell them what they should do in marriage, but not how to get married.  We tell them what not to do on a date, but never how to get a date to begin with.  We tell them how to respect women, but not how to gain the respect of women.

A lot of the “secular” dating help does exactly the opposite, albeit often for secular goals.

But that is exactly my point. We don’t have to fear the “secular” dating help just because the goal of this or that author isn’t “biblical”.

I think we are afraid that if we give the guys these tools, they’ll use them for the wrong objectives.  If we learn from the “pick up artist”, for example, then men will just pick up women for sex.  But here’s the thing.  If the only reason a guy isn’t sleeping around is because he can’t “pickup” a woman, then that guy isn’t with us anyway.  He’s just “with us” because he has to be.  Friends, that is not the goal.

Here’s the question.  Would you rather have a bunch of “Christian” guys who don’t know how to approach a woman, get a date, or understand attraction so that they aren’t misusing that information, while our women continue to be un-attracted to them, or would you rather help them learn that knowledge knowing that many of them would then filter that through the lens that you say they believe in.  If we are so worried about the ladies, which do you think would be better for them?

Not only that, but isn’t it our job as Christian leaders (I am one) to learn this stuff, run it through our filters, and then share that knowledge?

Otherwise the “evil” “pickup artists” will just keep picking off our flock.

I’ll close with this.  I was speaking at a teen camp several years ago and working closely with what we call the “program team” whose job it was to plan and execute the events of the week.  They wanted to do a dance and of course this created a bit of a stir, honestly even in me.  One of them shared basically this, “We will control it.  We have a plan. Dancing has all sorts of contexts.  We want to take dancing back for the Lord.  We will control it. But we are going to dance.  Dancing is God’s.  We are reclaiming it this week so that kids will know that.”


They did it. . . all week. . . it was powerful

How much more so if we actually engage attraction and all that goes with it.

Christian leaders let me ask you this.  If a guy was starting a business, while you’d want him to use Biblical principles you’d also probably have other resources in mind.  If a guy was looking to get married – what would you offer him?

8 thoughts on “Should We Fear The Pickup Artist?

  1. If a guy was looking to get married, I’d probably advise him to get premarital counseling and talk to as many faithful older married couples as possible, couples who have been together 25+ years.

  2. Sound advice assuming the person in question is newly married or will be married soon.

    Attempts to talk to, well, most any long-term married faithful couple about such concerns as: dating advice for those over the ‘ghastly’ age of 30 (much less any older), sex and being single or dating strategies for those that have been single over ten years and one tends to receive the same blank stares or worse, the same cliched responses as the church in general gives.

    I’ve seen too many of these mature couples in the church dismiss the over-30 single crowd as ‘immature and spiritually ignorant.’ In turn, the single crowd labels them as out of touch with the modern dating and relationship culture.

    Sadly, there are often elements of truth to both generalizations. I can count on two hands the number of ‘mature and faithful couples’ I know in my church seriously willing to counsel single men and on one the number willing to counsel single men over the age of 40. Most would much, MUCH rather cousel the under-25 age married couples and (even more so if young kids or babies are involved!)

    It is a sad state of affairs when one can get more applicable and relevant relationship advice from non-Christian friends and those that are well outside the church rather from those that are within it.

  3. Those “faithfully married” couples have nothing generally to say to single men over 25, because 99% of them married straight out of college. One of the benefits of this site over the VAST majority of Christian blogosphere is that Justin understands what it actually is to be a single man. I can’t be the only guy who mainly reads blogs by Single Christian (in my case, Catholic) Women simply for the lack of any actual communal conversation on the issues facing single men past marrying-early age. We don’t talk to each other the women do to their ‘girlfriends’ and the online community for men is, as noted, dominated by either Pick-up Artists or else the “Red Pill Manosphere” types. It’s been unfortunately noted as well, here and elsewhere, that Church culture has yet to pick up on how the shifting of subculture means that it’s no longer a gimme that we’re meeting plausible potential spouses across our worship life.

    So yes, it’s the sad fact that churches are most comfortable, if only comfortable with dealing with extant couples (as a Catholic, I was looking at the Working Document for the General Synod on the Family this October and realized that Rome has nothing to deal with pastoral support for those of us in parishes seeking to find spouses in the faith, since extant families are the order of the day), so we’re left with parsing how to live with one foot as the prodigals that the already-married seemingly want us to be (since it would be easier not to deal with us making odd numbers in the pew).

  4. As a man who met PUA / Motivational speaker-coach David DeAngelo in 1999. As a man who went to several of his speaking engagements in 2000 while living in San Francisco. As a man who was “in” the world and wanted what all these supposed other men had 24 hours a day (sex, sex, dating, girlfriends, and being endeared by women, and desired by them). As a man who read the ‘The Game’ by Neil Strauss in 2003 (who has fully RENOUNCED PUA btw). As a man who paid a ‘kings ransom’ in the spring of 2001 to go to a ‘boot camp’ and become a ‘real man’ (LOL) and ‘learn’ the secrets of what ‘women really wanted’ in a guy……………………………….

    I’ll just say this……..

    Yes. I agree that a man needs to have a plan. I agree that a man needs to clip his fingernails, and brush his teeth. I agree that a man needs to have a style that is subtle and fits him….but the nonsense of “women have no choice in who they fall for” and “attraction isn’t a choice for women” they “can’t help who they have sex with” countless other lines like this…….it’s excuses for sin, bad behavior and actually in the end….a deep hatred / contempt for women is bred in these types of places that claim to “help men and women”

    If that were indeed the case…why does PUA encourage good hygiene? Why do all these ‘attraction experts’ come from a higher societal winner / in the gene pool in the looks department than me? If looks really mean NOTHING to women, then why do PUA’s stress so much on their personal style? How “they” look….I mean, they claim to be ‘real guys / men’ and they fret over clothing, hair, and everything else worse than women behind closed doors if truth be told.

    Creating attraction is a very hard thing to convey in short ‘snippits’ and advice columns. Not referring to, or throwing your blog into this category Justin because your blog here brings some awesome stuff to the forefront in a way that is better than most.

    Women are subjective, and so are men. She likes you or she doesn’t. It boils down to that. Sure, the ‘friends first’ thing works with some, but not with others. Blind dates work with some, not others. Some men seem to do ‘nothing’ and women are dying to get to know him. Some men are involved and overlooked.

    Since I don’t have a clue about anything really concerning women, I figure my opinion matters just as much as anyone elses………

    If you really want a wife. Want dates. Want a girlfriend in a CHRISTIAN sense. Just be yourself. Love the Lord, be involved, sing out loud, pray HARD in that prayer closet at night. Stay in His Word. Not, sometimes……but constantly. Read stuff from this blog, and see what works for you and what doesn’t. Stay in prayer. Be honest with yourself of what you can attracted and what you can’t. Find hobbies and DEMAND perfection of them (this will take work). Grow skills…..and while you DO look, don’t freeze on everything else… is too short. It really, really is.

    Great post Justin. Thank you

  5. Thanks for being one of the few that get it! I have talked to women who are not Christians and women who are. One thing they all agree on: They want a confident man who knows who he is an where he is going. So, why do we think it all changes when we become Christians.

    The church has done a miserable job of building confident men. We have feminized Christianity to the point where we have turned men into Christian versions of “pajama boy.” No wonder Christian men have trouble relating with women!

    Our creator hard-wired men and women to be attracted to different features. Let’s celebrate that…not abuse it.

    Being an alpha-male is okay. Really. It is.

    Marc S.

  6. This is really interesting, and if anyone wants to get in touch, please email me at

    First off, I’m coming from the opposite direction. My whole world was pua since I was 18. At the time of writing this I’m 25. So that’s 7 years being involved in pick up. Running around the streets doing what is called “day game”. Plus coffee shop game, night game, and all types of other *insert word here* game.

    The more I developed my “inner game” as it’s commonly called, the more I came ever closer to religion. Most of the “natural” mindsets about feeling good and feeling love for yourself happen to be almost straight out of the bible. I’ve actually heard one pua say: “the greatest pick up artist is Jesus.”

    There’s a common pua theme: “outcome independence”. It’s when you approach a girl without wanting anything from her. I always questioned the enormous paradox of this statement, because if you didn’t want anything – you’d just carry on reading your magazine.

    What’s more, the best way to “get” sex from a girl is to “not want it”. Which causes paradoxes AGAIN. So most puas [including the younger me] are/were stuck in a confusing zone where we are given the advice “love yourself, and be the best”, “escalate to sex, but act non-chalant” until we become self-aggrandizing manipulators – “I’m not that bothered to fuck you, I’m happy to just chat all night.” etc… [The line works by the way]

    Suppose you become successful at pick up, you’d probably move on to be a pua teacher. Where by you inevitably get stuck in a routine of pick up, while teaching other men the same; meaning that you can never be in an closed relationship due to the nature of your work. Because the majority of girls will eventually desire a closed relationship – unless you’re with a stripper or porn star. Which actually sounds pretty good. Screw this post, I’m going back to pua!

    I’m kidding. In reality, I suggest those types of girls will not be a benefit to your own mental health. Yes, pua will get you “laid”, but it will be with emotionally vulnerable women who are only looking to you for short-term validation as much as you desire them for short-term validation. [“Hey guys, let me show you a picture of this girl I banged!”] So ultimately, pua fails to bring a long-term solution to your spirituality, confidence and self-esteem.

    However, it’s undeniable that the mentalities and attitudes learned through “pua” are incredibly helpful to you and your personal life. Yes, it’s possible to go from shy to confident, from geek to sheek, from skinny to bulked. And why shouldn’t we? After all, the traveling from a material world to a spiritual one is also a journey which contains many struggles.

    I suggest there’s nothing wrong with being an alpha male, approaching girls and being the social player of the room. [You’ll have difficulty attracting a girl without it!] – By accepting God, you’re admitting you’re not the king of the world, therefore making yourself humble and selfless [two attitudes promoted by some puas] and you can say, “I’m not that bothered to fuck you, I’m happy to just chat all night,” and TRUTHFULLY mean it. I’d say a Christian pua is every womans fantasy.

    I’m open to chat more about this.

    • I’ll chat more about this with you.

      So being an ‘alpha male’ means according to your reply: “approaching girls and being the social player of the room”

      Thankfully I left Jr high in 1985.

      Riddle me this candypants. Plenty of men have approached girls a ton of times, and no…they didn’t all have zero social skills, bad haircuts and acne. Most were just rejected / passed-up / declined. Plenty of PUA’s strike out as well, just as much as the men they call AFC or “neg” nonstop. I have seen more “negs” by PUA’s directed at other men than women btw; it’s really childish and harkens back to 4th grade in behavior. I find it funny that they behave like this…… may look cute on a guy at 23 or 25 but looks really silly on a man after the age of 30.

      You have it or you don’t when it comes to women. I have seen women fall for a guy who did nothing. I have seen guys I actually wish I could be like fail and fail and fail with women. I have seen articulate leaders when I was working in the Silicon Valley in the 1990’s passed up for the guy who lives in a basement and was the best speed-metal guitarist in Santa Clara County.

      Attraction is subjective. In and out of Christian circles, but crux is that in the Christian community we have let the women deem boorish behavior the norm because a “real man of God” would not put up with her antics, and women today need a reason to complain / gripe

      It’s easier to do that when you have a “guy” that is confident only in attraction trends, justifying sin and putting down others

  7. Pingback: Get Out Of The Friend Zone | More Than Don't Have Sex

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