The last time I was in a Christian book store, this was the most memorable quote from a Bible.
Yes, this came from a Bible. A Bible targeted at teen girls. It had those magazine color blocks inserted in the margins of Scripture with “[relationship] advice from a guy.”
This is why I love Christian book stores. This relationship advice was even better than the TestiMints. Mints–repackaged for evangelism. To proselytize. I added this word, not to clarify, but because I just love the dusty, old-timey sound of it.
Among the reminders in the teen Bible was also one that sagely observed that guys are not thinking about the relationship all the time. Which I found intriguing, because God apparently is / has been / will be thinking about our relationship all the time (from even before I was born and into eternity).
Does that make him more like a girl? I still have my first Bible and this devotion was pretty much the best relationship advice I have culled from it so far. The colored text in my Bible simply indicated that Jesus or God was speaking directly as opposed to Moses or Paul or some mysterious, but very real human author.
There is something very seductive about relationship advice from black text, very real human authors. However reassuring a relationship with the ultimate male figure may actually be. On paper and in scattered moments of jagged emotional dependency, he is the One who never leaves you, understands you completely, finds you beautiful because he created you in his image, always wants to hear from you–in fact feels hurt when you don’t make time for him, gets jealous when your attention strays to other interests, and ultimately died for you so you can live with him forever in a place he designed just for you . . .
At the same time, somewhat boring because it feels too perfect. Infuriating at times because it promises so much, but feels unearned. What is ultimately irresistible (dysfunctional?) is when you sense somebody needs you in the same way you can’t stop wanting to be with him. Whereas, like a Backstreet Boy song, on the surface a relationship with God can alternately sound really sweet or kind of creepy and possessive.
Yikes! Is that blasphemous?
In a recent conversation, a friend observed that prayer can be wispy. I agree. On a snow day, I sank into the pages of Ask a Dude. Not sweet or creepy at all. More like that pit in your stomach when you encounter a truth you didn’t want to hear. The message being, get some respect–mainly for yourself, but also for the guy in your life.
Last Sunday, our minister spoke about how the broken-hearted, the shy, the people who always forgive over and over again, the peace-lovers, the pure-hearted, the justice-seekers, the persecuted are God’s people. He cheers them on. That’s less relationship advice and more like the offer of a relationship.
Pathetic? Comforting? Authentic?
Ask a Girl. That sounds like Fix You (Coldplay). But on a Biblical scale.