Those of you who follow the evangelical music scene know that the title of this post is a catchphrase used to describe a particular thematic element in some praise and worship music, in which the language used to address Christ is, well, somewhere between a Blue Mountain card and the Billboard top 100.
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 which she and the other women wore their wedding gowns—those, at least, who managed to squeeze into them—and fancied themselves as brides of Christ. An influential Kansas City church teaches thousands of people the so-called Bridal Paradigm, which encourages a quasi-romantic relationship with Christ. And who among us hasn’t detected an eerie resemblance between a contemporary Christian song and a pop diva’s breathy rendition of a sensual love ballad?
Tennant takes the long view, bringing the tradition of Bride of Christ imagery in spirituality into the picture, but she’s not too wild about that either. Perhaps someone can help tease out the difference between this and spiritual-erotic expressions in mystical writings, the experiences of some mystics, as well as the "bridal" implications and symbolism of consecrated life…if there is one. (there is, but brain won’t compute at the moment…)
From Maureen, in the comments, who, as usual, is sharp as a tack:
The problem here is that Jesus can’t possibly be your boyfriend. If you’re going for that kind of imagery, He’s pretty much got to be your Husband. God’s not into temporary love.