The box that actually WAS a bookbox!

The box that looked like a bookbox...

Four stories of broken romance

Here's a humor article I wrote for "19th Century Russia," an Orthodox Christian humor blog. It's managed by my friend Brigid Strait. The article is satirical, and it's four stories of broken romance.

The dual life of a Christian single

Being Christians, we have the dual life of having the heavenly experience of worshiping God, and of living in – and ministering to – a world that's not very interested in worshiping God. This contradiction we live is especially pronounced for Christian singles: we live in a culture that encourages us to wait to marry until we've experienced education, work and love. We’re also encouraged to above all be true to ourselves, which makes us look strange when we cite religion as a reason we cannot do things that are popular and "normal" in society. Finally, when we come back to church to find someone who shares our own values, we find few people our own age, and at times it seems to be a magnet for people who are there because they have trouble in social situations and the church is where people will put up with them.
Some of us despair and succumb to offers from matchmakers to find us someone at church. One church dad heard of my chronically single situation when I was 24 and tried to set me up with his 14-year-old daughter. She was nice as 14-year-olds go, and we talked about algebra. You also might try way too hard to get a relationship started and go on a trip to a faraway church where someone lovely attends in the hopes that your presence will overwhelm him or her with desire so much that you'll take immediate advantage of the nearby pastor and altar. This kind of trip, of which I took several, is called a Romantic Pilgrimage, and I'll talk more about them in chapter 8.
Another temptation is "missionary dating," or dating a non-Christian in the hopes that the relationship will make him or her develop a deep faith and love of regular church worship. This has many pitfalls, one of which is that it might work. A pastor I know dated a girl for a while when he was in seminary, but told her that it couldn't get serious unless she shared his faith. She converted for him, and he dumped her a few months later.
This book is about the struggle that we committed Christian singles have to go through in our modern, secular world, which can be exhausting and frustrating for us, but I think they're funny. With any Christian struggle, it's important to struggle with joy, as the promise of Christ's Resurrection – which becomes our Resurrection – is supposed to give us joy. We need to be able to laugh at the nonsense that we put ourselves through as we learn about love and about each other. There are all sorts of books about Christian dating out there, but they're all way too serious. Reading these is like an young-adult education class at church called "Quality Time With Pastor Smith," when the pastor spends an hour trying to talk the single youth out of being tempted by sex before marriage, providing all sorts of horror stories about young people who came to grief by fooling around at parties. (This kind of advice is certainly important, but I think James Dobson and his friends basically have it covered with their books.)

Publishing deal!

I am delighted to report that I've scored a publishing deal with Regina Orthodox Press. The blog that has been known as "Orthromance" has become a book titled "Heaven Help the Single Christian: Your (Practical) Guide to Navigating Church as You Search for a Godly Mate."

I'm going to be blogging more regularly now, and this blog's purpose will be to promote the book, which is now available for purchase! Whoo hoo!

My tasks over the next few months is to figure out how to get myself invited to church conferences and such where I can talk about the book. Oh, my, promoting a book is work, too. Here I thought just writing the book was the hard part.