Yesterday, I was checking out my personal Twitter feed when I noticed this tweet from a musician friend of mine.
soo SOMETHING JUST FOLLOWED ME CALLED … MARRYaMINISTER.COM lol u cant be serious these christians are tying to make a buck HEAR ME? lol
— Jamaal Miller(@Jamaal_Miller) June 21, 2012
Like Jamaal, I was in disbelief that such a site existed. For the record, I am the same person who literally fell off my couch laughing when I realized that the commercials advertising ChristianMingle.com were real. MarryAMinister.com has to be one of the craziest things I have ever heard of, but I checked out the website myself and it appears to be legit. In spite of my apparent reservations, I have a clear understanding why some people would join such a site.
1. Being in ministry is time consuming. It is sometimes difficult for people in ministry to set aside the time to meet people and develop the kinds of relationships that could potentially lead toward marriage. Internet dating makes it very easy for busy professionals (like ministers) schedules to meet new people.
2. A lot of people would rather not date a minister. People fear dating ministers for various reasons including fear of judgment and the belief that we are generally boring individuals whose lives are devoid of all things interesting. At least sites like MarryAMinister.com offer ministers a venue free from such rejection for they are only filled with people who have not listed “being in ministry” as one of their deal breakers.
3. Ministers are quasi-celebrities. The online dating world is one of the easiest ways for a minister to venture outside of their physical environment where people may only be interested in pursuing relationships with them due to perceptions of status.
At the same time, sites like MarryAMinister.com do raise a few red flags for me.
1. People who seek out ministers specifically may have ulterior motives. Some people who choose to seek out ministers online may only be interested in the power and prestige associated with being in ministry. Others may have a pure desire to bring pain to people who have dedicated their lives to serving God. People are sick these days. Delilahs are real (and yes Delilahs come in both sexes).
2. Ministers are not perfect. Some people attracted to this type of website may be surprised to learn that ministers are human just like everybody else. We make mistakes too. Limiting one’s dating pool to ministers alone does not guarantee a better quality relationship. Although some of us are good people, some of us are just as sketchy as kind people you would run into “in the world.” In fact, some of us could probably use a few visits with a therapist.
3. Christians can be horrible at relationships. As Christians, we have this ability to overspiritualize everything. We make things a lot deeper than they need to be. This is especially true when it comes to romantic relationships. At one point, I remember actually thinking that it was sinful to factor physical attractiveness into my wife-finding algorithm because I was taught that such behavior was tantamount to lusting. As a friend of mine so eloquently pointed out on her blog (which later inspired my response), Christians are sometimes so busy trying to avoid the appearance of evil that we tend not to know how to form healthy relationships with members of the opposite sex. Imagine how that complexity would play out in the world of internet dating.
I understand the reason for sites like ChristianMingle and MarryAMinister.com, but I personally plan on meeting my wife the old-fashioned way–in person (though we’ll see what happens as my 6 years of singleness continue to grow). While I am not against the concept of internet dating, I have seen too many of my friends and relatives end up in horrible predicaments with crazy boyfriends and girlfriends that they met online. Still, I have to acknowledge that these predicaments were not any worse than stories I have heard from my friends and relatives who met their crazy boyfriends and girlfriends through traditional interactions.
In the end, I guess the method of meeting one’s future spouse is not all that important as long as God is in charge of the process.