November 18, 2006

why i am still single :-)

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Posted by Eric Pyle at 11:24 AM | Passing Thoughts (1)

May 25, 2006

tis the season for weddings

I attended one of the most special weddings I'll probably ever witness last weekend. One of my elders, David, who I think is in his eighties, married a Vietnamese lady, Mae, whom he has been seeing for a year or so. Prior to the wedding, they spent a number of weeks together in pre-marital counseling in joint sessions with our pastor and hers.

The ceremony was held in the Vietnamese church where she is a member. The sermon, an exhortation about love, was given by her pastor, mostly in English, but at points, he seemed to translate for her, including the vows. Mae's English still needs much work, let alone my elder's Vietnamese, but the pastor emphasized the triumphant universal language of Christ's love. Our pastor pronounced their marriage and permission to "kiss the bride".

David has outlived both of his two previous wives. Mae also used to be married. Apparently it is not customary for Vietnamese in their second marriage to have a marriage ceremony. Her pastor had to "coach" the congregation to come to the wedding. It must not have been too controversial. Our congregation was probably outnumbered 7:1.

It was interesting watching Mae's face during the wedding. She doesn't seem to express much emotion. Perhaps she was a little nervous? The next morning at church, however, she seemed to be all smiles. :)

Well, I have a number of other friends getting married in the next few weeks. My friend Jonathan Brack, a friend from church camp, is marrying his beloved next Saturday in Dallas. This weekend I'm planning to attend my friend Phil Bassett's wedding in Jackson, MS. He's a brother I've also grown to know from church camp over the years. Also this Saturday, my former roommate Wayne Lin will marry some sweetheart. Apparently Wayne cited me as someone who helped him to become more assertive and marriage oriented in his potential relationships. Now if it would only work for me! :-)

Posted by Eric Pyle at 9:23 PM | Passing Thoughts (3)

April 14, 2006

God's gracious sovereignty and a bachelor's responsibility -- a parable

Finding a wife is like a man who stays home from work to find his lost house keys. First, he turns his house upside down: throwing up every sofa cushion, emptying the pockets of every piece of dirty laundry, rummaging waste baskets, tracing his steps, wracking his brain. The state of the house became worse than it was to begin with. So the man sets his house back in order: every counter wiped, every room swept, every book shelved, every paper filed. Finally, all grungy, he gives up in exhaustion and crashes on his couch into a deep sleep. The next morning, the man awakes on his side with the sun peering through the living room window. There across the room are his keys glistening from the precise angle of the morning light. Reflecting upon all these things, the man concluded that while all that searching seemed fruitless, he could not remember the last time he had actually slept in his living room in his normal routine of things.

Posted by Eric Pyle at 9:40 PM | Passing Thoughts (2)

April 1, 2006

the diplomacy of silence

The dreadful sign language of silence is deafening.
My ears look for justice;
they grope in darkness for truth spoken through love.
I whispered in her ear. At first, a wishing well.
Then with time, a room crowded with "Hello?"
A deep, rocky chasm that only answers in Echo,
returning my whisper as desparate shouts. vomit.
Its darkness swells as does the womb of Sheol with the dead.
forever they kick against its uterus.
Teach me, St. Job, your wisdom, your patience.
Or should I not let silence take so long to say "so long"?

O my soul, His silence is but a breath between His words.
He is patient with your banter, courteous not to interrupt.
Father, forgive the foolish words I've multiplied, so full of me.
Yes, my words return to haunt me, because they seek me and my glory.
I shut my mouth now; I listen for You with silence.

Posted by Eric Pyle at 10:52 AM | Passing Thoughts (1)

March 31, 2006

Why I'm not so opposed to an age-gap

This one is bound to be somewhat controversial, but here are five (not necessarily necessary or sufficient) reasons why I am not too quick to exclude pursuing a college-aged gal. I'm open to feedback and/or correction.

1) Most people never guess me to be over 25, and some think I'm joking if I tell them otherwise. I'm sure my wife wouldn't appreciate it if people always guessed her to be older than I am! :-)
2) Isn't it better for a man to be more mature than his wife (e.g. leadership). Most girls seem to be more mature than guys their same age.
3) If I'd prefer to have more than 1.8 children, better to marry younger than most women today do, after establishing their careers and such. Shouldn't she be more interested in supporting my vocation than starting her own anyway?
4) In the OPC, age gaps are not too unheard of. Perhaps so in your church demographics?
5) What do you think the age gap was between Joseph and Mary?

Posted by Eric Pyle at 12:24 AM | Passing Thoughts (4)

February 26, 2006

bread at the duck pond

"Sir, is that a Bible you are reading?"

I turned to answer the mother. "Actually, no, but I do read the Bible." I had only taken a few steps past her when she asked me. A few more steps and I would be on the bridge that crossed a creek leading into a small duck pond at the park next to where I live. I have been regularly strolling through this park on Sundays as I walk through the neighborhood in the afternoons to read. The weather was especially beautiful today. And I figured it was as good time as any to read through the chapter "The Grand Inquisitor" in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, seeing that I have no time during the week to do it.

As I had approached her on my way to the bridge, her eyes seemed intent upon me. I smiled, but did not seem to shake her gaze. She had just spoken to her two children and released them to play. The boy was probably about eight and the girl about five. Both went in opposite directions, and as I talked with their mother, she seemed anxious about their whereabouts. Perhaps they had already begun to press the boundaries of her commands.

I smiled. "I take it by your question..."
"Yes, I am a Christian," she answered as I completed the sentence. "I noticed you reading the book, and you appeared to be reading the Bible, so I was curious as to what you were reading."

I told her the book I was reading, but quickly added that my pastor had preached from a passage in James today. For some reason I sensed that would bring some comfort to her, since she seemed to actually want to know what book I was reading. She seemed happy to hear it.

"We didn't make it to church today, because we were feeling sick this morning."
She had inquired more about the book, since I told her that it was very spiritual and had great insight into human nature; it dealt with the struggle between orthodox faith and atheism in pre-communistic Russia. I showed her the name of the book and its author, so she could remember it.

Again, she became nervous about her kids. Her son was next to the pond, but her little girl was playing in the garden area behind her back, which was not easy for her to see. Instinctively, I fixed my eyes on the girl, almost to say, "Don't worry, I have my eye on her."

She told me they like to visit the park on nice days, even though they don't live in the neighborhood like I do. I was close enough to see that she did not have a wedding ring on her finger. By this time I had the sense that we had completed the proper time alloted for a casual conversation with a stranger. So, I stood up and blessed her saying, "Have a blessed day!" And she returned the blessing to me, refreshed. Soon, I had crossed the bridge.

I was happy as I left, but the happiness soon left. I had not even asked of their names. I had this nagging sense that I had in effect told her to "be warm and be fed." I prayed a quick prayer for God to send her a husband, and remembered that about this time last year I was seriously considering taking responsibility for a divorced woman with two children. Some twenty odd years ago, I was one of those kids.

Am I so set now on finding my dream girl, that I will not consider again a woman with children, who is hungry for spiritual guidance and discipline for her children? I can't help but think that the pleasant interaction with the woman only made her hungrier. Like throwing pebbles in the pond next to the ducks who think they are receiving bread. No, that can't be the whole of the truth. I never sensed one ounce of desparation from her or a gravity insisting me to remain. We both enjoyed speaking with another believer and sharing briefly that Bread of Life with whom we shall never again starve. And yet my heart does long to know she will be blessed with a godly husband soon. Could I accept it?

Posted by Eric Pyle at 7:49 PM | Passing Thoughts (3)

January 28, 2006

paedo faith? - a little match

"Someone who can safely/kindly lead me. Someone who is laid back and has a sense of humor... And especially someone who knows the word more than I do..." An excerpt from a personal profile of young lady who is new to the Presbyterian Church in America, coming from the pentecostal to baptist route. What follows is our dual to date.

Me: So, what would you like to argue about first? Van Til vs. Sproul's apologetics? Paedo-communion? Amil vs. Postmil? Redemptive historical vs. Theonomic? You pick. I'm game. (Just kidding... halfway :)

(A number of weeks later...White pushes pawn two spaces.)
Paedo communion: um , nope, I believe it to be heresy. Truely wrong. Do you believe otherwise?

(Taking my time to contemplate my first strategic line of defense: Black responds with pawn.)
If baptized children are members of the body of Christ ("of such is the kingdom"), then shouldn't we recognize them to be united to Him in the faith until they prove otherwise?

(A few weeks later. White answers with another pawn.)
no, because there is a curse that we place on their heads if they are not. It would be better to have a milstone tied around our necks and to be thrown into the sea. Plus, we are not saying they are the elect- we are saynig they are a part of the cov. community. Esau- apart of the cov community, but hated by God.

(Black advances knight.)
Election is in God's court; no less covenant. God chose to confirm his covenant with Isaac, not Ishmael, yet Ishmael was also circumcised even after Isaac's line was chosen as covenant successor(Gen 17). By your reasoning, it would be best to delay baptism until we make sure our children to be elect. For surely it would be better to die unfaithful as a non-covenant member than as a covenant breaker bringing the curses of Hebrews 6 and 10:29ff! But the covenant is given precisely so that we might NOT fear. His covenant graces are given so *that* we might "make our calling and election sure" (cf. Heb 6:9, 10:39). All covenant members are thus are called to continue to walk by faith in his promises preached to us in our baptism, availing ourselves to the means of grace he has established for our growth. Did Christ say, "this is the meal for my elect only", or did he say "this is blood of the covenant" shed for you? Did Christ bar Judas from the table (whom he knew not to be ultimately elect)? No, he offered himself to Judas in grace and love, and Judas disgraced his grace. He profaned the blood of the covenant and outraged the Spirit of grace. Even so, we are to press on with the surety of "better things that belong to salvation." That hope is for us and our children.

...match to be continued.

Posted by Eric Pyle at 11:24 PM | Passing Thoughts (8)

January 2, 2006

No man deserves a lady. Nor lady a man.

How easy it is to take a "they are the ones missing out" attitude towards those who express lack of interest. Isn't that what we like to hear from our friends to whom we submit our "progress reports" on prospective significant others? We all want to maintain personal dignity and self-worth. Something to give us confidence to move forward, to be vindicated even from the most subjective kind of [d]evaluations.

The fact is, I am simply not good enough for anyone. Neither is anyone good enough for me. But each will be blessed even as we are made a blessing in God's giving. Our confidence, both for finding and keeping, is that it is all by His grace and promise. Not in our own self-worth.

Posted by Eric Pyle at 1:19 PM | Passing Thoughts (1)

July 12, 2005

still single and laughing with the Holy Trinity

Don't you just have to laugh at how messy this business of finding a soulmate can be? I feel that I must laugh, lest I become overwhelmed by the depressing sense that us still-single singles are the object of some cruel cosmic joke played out in an eternal cycle of unholy trinities: so-and-so likes so-and-so who likes so-and-so, and so on and so forth. Laughing at least frees us from being the helpless object of the laughter of many capricious gods, even if the cost is laughing at ourselves. But such a sacrifice is liberating when one is laughing *with* the only God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) for this triune God has a very *good* sense of humor. Good, that is, for those of us who "get it" despite themselves. Somehow He is working all this mess out for good, and its end will be above all our hopes and expectations, partaking of his own blessed eternal union. Therein lies my inexplicably pregnant smile for us all. :-)

Posted by Eric Pyle at 8:19 PM | Passing Thoughts (1)

June 3, 2005

attraction??

Of the ins and outs of attraction who can make heads or tails?
Posted by Eric Pyle at 11:32 PM | Passing Thoughts (0)

April 15, 2005

the cricket

Crickets sing in the night;

Their violins carol or dirge rather,

A chorus to accompany an awkward pause,

To cheer or rather to mock

My reading of her silence

Upon a canvas blackened of my sins.

Posted by Eric Pyle at 12:55 AM | Passing Thoughts (0)

June 1, 2004

"messy love" by Eric Pyle (2/14/2002)

"messy love" by Eric Pyle (2/14/2002)


Sometimes love is a messy room missing all its pretty flowers,
a fairy tale frozen from its first kiss,
a conversation never spoken...

Posted by Eric Pyle at 1:22 AM | Passing Thoughts (2)