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Christianity TodayDecemberDecember 2006

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Dating Jesus
When 'lover of my soul' language goes too far.



God loved the world with an extravagant tenderness. He spun into our genes a strand of divine DNA. Imago dei, this God with us—it's an astonishing intimacy.

The Bible shows it from various angles: God is a hen, and we are the chicks. God is a Shepherd, and we are the straying sheep. God is a Bridegroom, and we, his church, are the bride.

We can see God draw near, and it is dizzying.

But does all this closeness mean that Jesus is the personal boyfriend of Christian women? That God is my fiancé? That the First and the Last is my husband? That he and I are dating?

So it appears to some.

In a popular book, I learn of women who set up date nights with Jesus. Christie enjoys her Friday nights by going to Barnes & Noble "to drink coffee with the Lord and to read whatever book from the Christian living section he guides me to" or by cooking a wonderful meal and setting the table for two, then "talking to God as if he is actually sitting there at my table with me, because I know that he is."

The author of this book calls women to "prayer, praise, and pampering" retreats: "Although God certainly loves us even with unshaven legs, no makeup, and a bed-head hairdo, he also deserves to occasionally have his princess sit at his feet while she is looking and feeling her best." She casts these retreats as exciting dates. "You are running away with your Lover, not confining yourself to a convent."

In another book, the author assures her readers that "you are the one that overwhelms his heart with just 'one glance of your eyes,'" quoting from the Song of Solomon. "His gaze is fixed on you," she writes. "He is captivated by your beauty."

These teachings have spread into churches. My friend's mother took part in a "tea with the Lord," during ...



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