Pick-Up Lines from God
It was another dateless Saturday night for Owen. He sat on the couch in his small apartment, one hand clutching a fistful of Doritos, the other one using the TV remote to flip between two unpromising new shows, Knitting with the Stars and CSI: Des Moines.
Is God angry at me? Owen wondered. Is that why I have no girlfriend? No love life? This lack of blessing puzzled him because, after all, he worked for the Lord (Owen was an accountant for a Christian film company called That’s Repent-ertainment!).
Owen took his Bible off the shelf and let it fall open randomly, hoping the Almighty would direct him to some specific verses of encouragement and inspiration. The Lord did not disappoint. Tucked into the Old Testament is a little book of love poetry called the Song of Songs. Lo and behold, Owen’s Bible had opened to this lyrical, romantic Scripture from the 10th century B.C., written as a dialogue between two lovers. Halfway through the Song, Owen discovered the wooer really hitting his stride:
Your eyes behind your veil are doves,
Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
Coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.
Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance…
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.
The object of loverboy’s affection melts over this. She responds, “Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.”
Suddenly Owen recalled that last week at church Pastor Phil had quoted from Isaiah 40: The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God endures forever. Owen felt now like he’d just been struck by lightning. The word of God endures forever! Did that mean that embedded in this 3,000-year old poem are phrases of flattery and stanzas of seduction that possess eternal potency? If the Song of Songs is Scripture, Owen reasoned, and Scripture is God’s word, and God’s word endures forever… then that must mean there’s a neglected, untapped power in this ancient love poetry capable of spanning the centuries and charming a modern woman!
Owen thought about Amy, the pretty sales clerk who worked evenings at Staples. Tonight I go shopping for love, he said to himself with the confidence of a man sensing God on his side.
Twenty minutes later, Owen walked into the store. Amy was unoccupied at her check-out counter. “Hello, Amy,” he said. She looked at him blankly.
“I know your name’s Amy from your name tag. Do you remember me?” Another empty stare. “My name’s Owen. You showed me where the paper clips are, about two weeks ago. I bought some.”
“Ah, yes,” she said. “I wrote all about it in my diary.” Owen thought she sounded a little sarcastic.
“Well, anyway… um…” He looked around, and then seized the moment. “If you don’t mind me saying, your eyes are like doves.”
He continued. “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gil— um, Mount…” Not Mount Gilead. He tried to think of a mountain she would have heard of. “Mount Rushmore. That one with the presidents’ faces on it. You know the one?” She nodded very slowly.
“Well, imagine there are goats on it. That’s your hair.” In no time Amy would be putty in his hands. “And I’ve got to say, your teeth are like sheep that have just been sheared, coming up from—“
“Are you gonna buy anything? If not, I need to go stock some shelves.”
Ah yes! Owen exulted. Playing hard to get! She wants to be pursued like a gazelle bounding across the rugged hills of Jerusalem! He followed Amy down an aisle. “Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon!”
“Leave me alone,” she replied, picking up the pace. He caught up to her and went for the clincher. “And your temples… your temples are like the halves of a pomegranate!”
She glared at him, her scarlet ribbon curled in a snarl, baring her white sheep. “You… are a freak. Go away. Last warning.”
“I haven’t even mentioned your twin fawns yet,” Owen said.
Several days later, reflecting on his narrow escape from the hands of the beefy Staples manager, Owen realized how mistaken he was to think that those words from his Bible possessed the power to captivate Amy’s heart.
He needed to try again in the original Hebrew.