In 2007 there was a TV show on VH1 called The Pickup Artist. In it a guy named Mystery along with his “wingmen” took 8 guys who were not good with women and taught them the “art of pickup”. Ah reality TV.
What’s funny about the show is that the first thought that my roommate and I had about it was that there were a whole lot of Christian guys who could use his help. Many of them were no better off than the contestants. In fact all of these guys got better at approaching and talking to women. The “Mystery” method worked – at least at some level.
My roommate, along with another single friend had also been going through a program called Double Your Dating put together by a guy named David DeAngelo. He took the whole concept to a different level. It went well beyond pickup.
As we talked through all of this a couple of things became very clear. First, while we certainly couldn’t condone all that these guys did, we had a lot to learn. Secondly, we realized that there was absolutely zero, and I mean zero, Christian version of this for guys.
I was 34 at the time and trying to piece together how I was still single. I had met a couple of really quality people but not been able to seal the deal so to speak. I began to realize that a lot of what I had thought about my whole “singleness” story was wrong. A lot of what I’d been taught and/or assumed about dating, attraction and theology was not actually true. And it came crashing down around me. It was awesome and painful all at the same time.
Now God was moving and looking to restore me. I also had a great community of people – both brothers like those mentioned above and mentors that walk with me. I sought some counseling. But it would be false to say that the secular dating gurus didn’t help me out. I would have turned to the Christian dating gurus but their weren’t any.
One of our problems in Christianity when it comes to this whole subject is that we over spiritualize it. We also tend to skip about 100 steps ahead. We teach people who they should marry but not how to meet them. We tell people what not to with their date, but not how to get a date. We tell men to man up and women to dress up without explaining why that matters. We can help you break up with the wrong person, but we can’t seem to help you learn how to approach the right one. We tell men to guard girls’s without telling them how to win them to begin with.
By doing this we essentially emasculate our men and leave our women with a choice between acting on attraction to the secular man or ruling over the Christian man.
It shouldn’t be this way. Not only should we be helping Christian men and women connect, and as a bonus we’d actually end up reaching out to others. Men would want to be like us and women would wonder what is different about our guys and want that too. This is a fairly obviously Christian blog. I mean it’s in the dang title. Do you know what the number one viewed post is? It’s “Women Can Smell Desperate“. And it’s not close. Someone views that post almost every day.
People want to know about attraction. More than that they want to know how to be attractive. No one is more attractive than Jesus. Hello Church.
In the over spiritualized world you wait around and God brings you someone. In the real world you go out and learn, while walking with God. In the over spiritualized world you stay as you are and God magically changes your circumstances. In the real world you engage God and grow in areas where you continually fail.
Am I suggesting that we should we should become Christian Pickup Artists? No I’m not because as a Christian the “pickup” is not the goal. But becoming a “Get A Date Artist” might be a good idea. If you want to get married – which is the goal.
I’m sure a lot of Christians watched the Pick Up Artist. Some were outraged and disgusted. Some were taking notes. Most guys were probably doing both. But two things were undeniable as a Christian. One, we have a lot of guys in our pews who would fit on that show and two, we aren’t doing anything about it.
Throughout history the Church wins when it leads, it loses when it reacts. We are in the middle of a cultural shift when it comes to marriage, singleness, and sex. We are losing. Maybe it’s time to switch strategies.