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It was an open relationship (I shared my love with an estimated 2.2 billion faithful worldwide), but the vibe was definitely romantic.Once, at a meeting of single, twentysomething evangelical Christians (sort of like an episode of one of my girlfriends described her romantic encounter with Jesus the night before.At 22, I could be found standing in a softly lit room full of other angsty Evangelicals, swaying, kneeling, perhaps crying lightly, and all singing, “Jesus, Love of my soul, Jesus, I will never let you go…I love you, I need you, though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go.”Both men and women were encouraged to explore those feelings — to ask Jesus to show us His love, and to respond with words, tears, or perhaps even a dance. For us ladies, there was an added component; we were encouraged to turn away from the lurid and degrading portrayals so common in the dominant, MTV-inspired culture, and to find self-worth in the church’s paradigm of womanhood.If He had an online-dating profile, it would read something like this: “33-year-old man of Middle Eastern descent. Never judges, loves unconditionally, able to read your deepest thoughts.Nonsmoker, but enjoys wine on Sunday.”Until recently, Jesus Christ was my one and only.“I knew I just needed some time to soak in his love, so I took my Bible down to the park by the beach and watched the sunset,” she said.
I really needed his presence, and he totally came and met me.”Put a ring on it, right?Actually, what this woman described is a pretty common occurrence in evangelical circles like the one I grew up in — circles where dating is rare and sexual purity is paramount.