Born Again

Recently a very attractive, twice divorced, 45-year-old woman named Jane rejected my modest advances. It wasn’t like I asked her to go to bed. I asked her if she wanted to ride into town with me while I picked up a part for my truck. She replied that, while it was a tempting offer, she no longer did things alone with men.

Later I resumed our conversation in an effort to discover more about her motivations, and perhaps to find a loophole in her strategy that I could use to my advantage. No such luck. She said that she was a born-again Christian and, with God’s help, had avoided sex for the last seven years. I told her that I didn’t think God was doing her any favors. He obviously wasn’t doing me any favors either.

There are two things that I religiously avoid - discussing politics and discussing religion. I avoid them for two reasons. I first learned to avoid discussing religion as a youth in the Methodist church where my father taught Sunday school. My father may have discussed such things with other adults, but certainly not with his children. We only received lectures. I now avoid them because no one has ever change his or her opinion as a result of a serious discussion. Usually a strong and logical argument against someone’s political or religious views only serves to strengthen their beliefs, and that is the last thing I want to do - especially in Jane’s case.

Jane and I parted friends, and we exchanged a few letters during the ensuing several months. But as soon as I started being very logical and intellectual in a gentle attempt to penetrate her religious shield, she stopped writing. God, 1; me, zero.

The experience got me thinking about religion. I have good friends who are born-again Christians, and I have some good friends who are born-again atheists. In between there are a whole spectrum of friends, believers and nonbelievers, who share varying degrees of seriousness, pro or con, about God. I’ve always tried to accommodate everyone’s views while remaining neutral about the issue - that is until now. God never interfered with my activities until Jane made her appearance in my life. Now it has become personal.

My courses of action are rather limited. First, I have to decide who is blocking me. Is it Jane or is it God? If it’s Jane, I can try to win her over by pretending to be born-again. However that seems unethical, and I probably wouldn’t be able to pull it off for very long. If it’s God, I can become born-again myself and pray for what I want with Jane, but somehow that doesn’t seem appropriate nor have a high probability of success. God is no dummy. I doubt if he would give me Jane as a reward for becoming a believer. But true believers tell me that God works in mysterious ways, so perhaps I have a chance.

When I was 18, I made an offer to God. I told him that I was not going to be an active believer until I had some positive sign from him that he exists. I hope this isn’t it. If it is, he’ll have to do better.

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Post Script: I sent this story to Jane, and I never heard from her again. So much for the forgiveness of good Christians. Perhaps I'll write to her daughter. I did try to visit her 15 months later but she wasn't home. (Christmas Vacation)