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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

God, Chat Rooms, and Christian Mingling

One of the best things about living in DC is there are so many free things to do. And one of our favorites is to attend presentations at Washington think tanks. You can get talks that span the political spectrum. Tea party ideas at The Heritage Foundation. Conservative views at the American Enterprise Institute. Libertarian stands at the Cato Institute. More middle-of-the road positions at the Brookings Institute. Progressive, liberal, and left leanings at the Center for American Progress and the New America Foundation.

The other day we were going to take in two talks at New America. In between, we would have time for lunch. As we often do when we are in the area, we chose the eclectic C.F. Folks, run by the idiosyncratic, wise-cracking Art Carlson. Last year, Carlson's lunch-only institution, with its 11 counter stools, received an America's Classics Award from the James Beard Foundation.

After ordering, I checked my phone messages and email. One definitely stood out. "GOD created a match for you," it read. I looked at the message. Then I looked at my wife. On the 27th of this month, we will have been married 41 years. But what if she wasn't my match. I mean God (or should I say GOD) was claiming he (or she or maybe it) had a match for me. And what if that match wasn't Judy. I mean when GOD contacts you, you should probably check it out.

So I told Judy about my message.

"Go for it," she said turning back to her own reading.


Now, to be specific, the message wasn't exactly from GOD. It was from the web site ChristianMingle.com. In addition to the words of GOD, it included a second message - "Cozy up with someone special this winter."  Next to the message was an extremely white-toothed couple decked out in heavy sweaters, scarves, and knit caps.

I clicked on the link and was taken to the Christian Mingle website. A banner on the top of the page read "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." As you might expect, much of the site was devoted to a mission statement which in part read:

"We bring Christian singles together. At Christian Mingle we're more than just a site for Christian dating, we're a Christian personals community where you can find singles that share your values and love for God in Christ. Enjoy our Christian chat rooms, instant messenger, message boards, Bible verse of the day, searchable Bible, and many other great features."

I breathed a sigh of relief. I was glad GOD (or, in this case, God's helpers at Christian Mingle) had brought the idea of Christian dating into the 21st Century, but it was clear a mistake had been made. Maybe the NSA had inadvertently sent my email address to the Christian Mingle people.

I wasn't a Christian. I didn't own a wool-knit cap. And, most importantly, I wasn't single. In fact, I hadn't been single for 40 years. For 40 years ago (41 in 13 days), I had married my perfect match. She was sitting right across from me.

But the exercise wasn't a total waste. I was glad to have discovered that Christians had chat rooms. And if God ever makes a guest appearance in that room, I hope I get invited back. I'd like to ask him about that NSA thing.

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