The Antioch Dating System.

Okay, folks, here it is. Grace and I take a look at the Antioch Dating System. Here’s how it works. We have this parody of the whole thing, called the Antioch 15-Step Dating program. We dissect it step by step and show how, despite the humor of the whole list, it has actual basis in reality. And then we offer you our perspective on why it sucks. It’s a long read, but it’s worth it, I think. Enjoy!

Step 1. Smile at her then look away real quick and start amiably talking to someone else

Grace: ok, this is hardly considered a step at all… since the guy just looked at you. If you’re quick enough (or if he’s slow) you’ll catch him glancing at you from time to time. This is kinda the point where you decide if you’ll let him pursue you or not. But since it’s a process, let’s assume you like what you see and think he’s pretty cute. Let the games begin.

Brandon: I never understood this one. It seems kind of cowardly. If I’m interested in a girl, I’ll try to invite her among my friends, or be among hers

Step 2…. occasionally talk to her during the time before LG officially starts, but keep it casual. Making sure to talk to all the boys and a couple other girls. Maintain the purity

Grace: ok, this also hardly a step at all since you really have no clue he’s interested. I mean, it’s ‘occasionally talk’. So technically, all you really have to say is, ‘hey, welcome to lifegroup. Would you like a rice crispy treat?’ and it counts.

Brandon: Is that the sweet stench of fear I smell? Cause that’s what it sounds like. Look guys, I understand purity is a really big struggle for 99% of us, but come on. If you really, seriously, like a girl, be a man, and get to know her.

Step 3: Conveniently sit next to her group of friends in church, BUT make sure you’re with your guy friends

Brandon: Here’s where the “games” really start to begin. All too often I see guys do stuff like this. Drop a bunch of hints to a girl you’re interested in her, without actually jumping into the pool.

Grace: ok, so there’s this guy I knew. We shall call him ‘fudgemint’. so for my birthday my junior year, fudgemint serenades me on a saturday night as a gift and on sunday at church, he chooses a seat right behind me and when it was ‘greet your neighbor’ time, beat the record for church pew jumping to talk to me. Everyone who knew us was just waiting for when he was going to ask me out. Alas, it never happened’

Brandon: incidentally I was witness to this guy pulling off a version of step 1 after this happened. I was the “someone else

Step 4: move closer to her the next Sunday

Grace: this ‘move’ is far too casual to even notice. I’m sure the guy has this nice thought out plan of attack, but I’m sure it doesn’t involved blindsiding the poor girl into submission

Brandon: I have only this to say: AAAAAAAACK would you just hurry up and move on already? Clearly at this point you’re either committed to asking this girl out or you’re not sure, but you’re dropping hints anyway. Either way you are KILLING the girl by either making her uncomfortable cause she’s not interested in dating you or she IS but the fact that you’re not actually pursuing is hurtful. And no, this does NOT count as actually pursuing.

Brandon: Okay, so that probably was a lot more to say than the words “only this” conveyed.

Step 5: schedule a LG party, and specifically ask her if she’s coming, BUT quickly ask her friend standing next to her to save face

Brandon: “Hi, I’m Brandon. I might or might not be interested in you. You probably think I am because of all the hints I’ve dropped. I also might or might not be interested in your friend(s). I’m gonna be coy about it to maximize your confusion, possibly allowing Satan to inflict another wound in your heart by whispering lies to you that you’re not special enough for a good Christian guy. Of course, later on when (or if) you tell me that I’ll deny it, but my actions will speak louder than my words”

Grace: by now, it’s a little obvious he likes you if you’re a little more observant than most. You know, the closing of the distance and eye stalking, the things that this boy is doing. So when he asks you to the party and then quickly asks your friend, you get a odd mixture of emotions, somewhere in the field of:annoyance and frustration, but at the same time rather flattered that he’s scared to talk to you. It’s like a strange power trip. This reminds me of middle school. Where boys and girls like each other, but can’t do anything about it, like actually go on a date or anything

Step 6… Confess to your discipler that you’ve been eyeing a girl in you LG, and ask for God’s forgiveness and mercy and that he would keep your intentions pure and holy

Brandon: If your discipler is any good, by this point he’ll whack you upside your head and tell you to quit being a freaking pansy. Unfortunately, he may also be a guy following this process. Yeah, it’s a parody, but it’s also grounded in reality.

Grace: can’t really say much being the girl, but i’ve seen it happen and agree w/ what bradon wrote. yes, yes, very true. fudgemint’s discipler, for example, had the same idea. Forget the fact that the discipler completely obliterated the process himself, he will teach it and make his disciplees abide by it.And on some level it’s true, somehow this…. “spiritualism” ,and I use that term loosely, evolved that having a crush on a member of the opposite sex should be the 8th deadly sin. I hear they’re bringing it before the Pope……

Brandon: Look, its one thing if you’re looking with some mad lustful eyes. But if you have an actual holy attraction to a girl, there isn’t anything wrong with that. God made women beautiful for a reason. Yes, it’s good to check your intentions. There also comes a point when you have to have a little faith that God might be at work.

Step 7: fast

Grace: haha, I know for a fact that fudgemint did this. He lost a lot of weight, and looked at me with an amalgamation of: 1. hunger 2. hatred 3. longing (now longing for a sandwich or to hold me in his arms is still up for debate)

Grace: and on some level, i can appreciate the fasting, but at the same time, keep in mind. He has yet to ask her out!

Brandon: That’s going to make for an awkward first date when the guy eventually DOES. “Hey, you wanna go get some Chicken express?” Then you order a plate of like 20 tenders because you’re so freaking hungry. Look, I think fasting is a very good and holy thing to do. But this situation, it’s a little overboard. I mean, would it not kill you to maybe get to know her first?

Step 8: stop talking to her completely for a while … make sure you avoid her at all costs when she approaches you

Brandon: Really, by now you’d think we’re making this crap up. We aren’t. I’ve seen it happen. And I’m not talking about Grace’s Fudgemint problem either.

Brandon: Here’s a brilliant idea: Try doing that praying and fasting thing BEFORE YOU DROP THE GINORMOUS MEGALOAD OF HINTS YOU LIKE THE GIRL!!

Grace: lol, I think it’s time to introduce you all to the WIA a club i formed senior year in college. What does WIA stand for? It stands for WRITHING IN AGONY!!!!!! And yes, fudgemint did this to me. Like we’d walk towards each other on campus and all of a sudden he ducks into a building the moment he spots me.

Brandon: That’s right gents, it was a CLUB. There were multiple members. You may have done or be doing this to a girl.

Step 9: out of the blue, after a 2 week fast and many male-bonding prayer sessions, invite her to common grounds, but have a buddy strategically placed in the back room to come join you two upon a signal if you should get the slightest butterflies in your stomach

Brandon: And of course, take all precautions to construe this as not being a date

Grace: by this point, it’s not longer cute or trying to attribute this guy’s berserk behavior to some sort of mental disorder. it’s rather annoying and the only reason you go is because you’re still somewhat attracted to him for reasons unbeknownst to yourself and prolly only to God. And what i have to say about the butterflies… everyone has ’em. Get over it!

Brandon: By now, you’re probably calling this the period known in Antiochspeak as “hanging out”.

Grace: and yes… it took 9 steps to reach “hanging out” how sad is that?!

Brandon: Here’s the idea behind “hanging out” though. You’re supposed to have DONE that already. You know, when you got to know the girl in the first place, found out her personality, likes, dislikes, etc. Unless your attraction is based on simple lust, chances are you probably know most of these things and it’s the reason you’re attracted to the girl.

Grace: well if it’s simple lust… then yes, fast. fast alot. Cause we girls hate being the target of mental undressing and other grime. and at step 9, I’m really hoping that the guy would know more than her name, or she has really pretty hair… or it really blesses you when her ponytail dances *cough* fudgemint *cough*

Brandon: hahahahaha

Step 10: your discipler questions your motives, so you sign up to go on a short-term mission trip for the summer to eradicate her from your mind. and you only make a public announcement in LG. don’t ever call her to follow up on coffee– she has to writhe in confusion, but you played it off as friends the whole time, so no misleading on your part

Grace: ah, see the writhing comes back into play.And you only tell yourself that you “played it off as friends the whole time, so no misleading on your part’ ’cause it’s the only way you can sleep at night.’Cause goodness knows, she isn’t!!!!

Brandon: I have absolutely nothing to say about this. Thankfully I haven’ personally seen it happen. I don’t think I could overcome the rage if I did

Grace: *cough* fudgemint *cough*

Brandon: Okay, so I have heard about it, but I wasn’t there to see it. That makes the rage somewhat containable

Step 11: after the mission trip, she passes you playing your guitar under a tree in Fountain Mall, and she stops to ask you how it went. Give all the glory to God and don’t admit you thought about her every night as you lay in your cot before you fell asleep

Grace: ok, you can’t see it, but I’m laughing so hard I’m crying and rolling on the floor. And I laugh because it’s true.

Brandon: Substitute anything you like for guitar. And any location for fountain mall (since it doesn’t exist anymore). The Sub with my laptop would work for me.

Grace: see, this is denial and flight in its purest form

Grace: you like the girl

Grace: but you can’t admit it to her and so you overspiritualize everything and talk about how great God is and minimize her as a person who could be one of the most important/best things that ever happened to you.

Brandon: I call it cowardice.

Grace: well since I did get a degree in psychology

Grace: so I have to put it to work somewhere

Brandon: Yes yes, anyone reading this knows you’re smarter than me when it comes to dealing with people But it’s true. Cowardice is one of the greatest sins in the male life. I don’t think this dating system the church puts out helps at all. In fact, I’d daresay it makes it worse.

Grace: umm… yeah. The fact that the WIA exists is proof of that.

Brandon: How many people did you HAVE at any given point in that organization, on average?

Grace: I believe the number was 4. And considering our circle of friends, that’s a rather large percentage.

Brandon: exactly my thoughts. Factor in the number of women who would feel comfortable sharing that with each other for any given person, and yeah, that’s quite a bit.

Step 12: she becomes an intern!!! That was God’s hand. You had nothing to do with it. He is rewarding your patience

Brandon: For those of you who AREN’T a part of Antioch Lifegroups, interns are basically Lifegroup Leaders in Training. In our hypothetical parody, the guy would be an existing Lifegroup Leader

Grace: and I also find this rather ironic since it’s the Lifegroup Leaders who propose an intern.So either his emotions are making him MANIPULATE the situation, or his co-leader suggested it and he quickly agreed with flecks of drool forming at the corners of his mouth.

Brandon: ahahahaha

Brandon: For the rest of the people following this formula, you’ve probably entered the “purposeful friendship” stage by this point

Brandon: The idea here is to deepen your friendship with the intentions of possibly starting a relationship

Brandon: or as I like to call it “COMMITMENT PROLONGING”

Grace: and in case you’re wondering… yup, still writhing

Brandon: In practice, there’s usually little difference between “hanging out” and “Purposeful friends”. Actually, there’s usually little difference between those two and actual dating. The only major one is calling each other “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”.

Brandon: Let me tell you something about purposeful friendships. I was in one once. I liked this girl a lot, and it seemed she liked me too. She was from my perspective very cute, very sweet, and really seemed to like me. So, wanting to do the right thing, I decided to follow the formula, and we tried “purposeful friendship”. What did we REALLY do? We dated. We just didn’t call it that

Grace: and this part is prolly the worst ’cause you know that he has a high opinion of you in order for him to allow you to intern. So the whole coffee episode, then this is usually driving the girl up and down walls, and she in turn is driving her roommates crazy

Brandon: She’s TOTALLY not speaking from personal experience here, gang, can you tell?

Grace: and as for “purposeful friendship” business, i can honestly say, that i have dated a guy w/out actually dating

Grace: haha, yeah, not from personal experience AT ALL *shifty eyes*

Brandon: hahaha

Grace: ’cause you got all the emotional ties by this point

Grace: and so you’re just not going to a dinner and movie

Grace: big whoop

Brandon: Precisely

Brandon: In the end this girl I found out really wasn’t for me at all. Neither of us really knew or understood the other. We rushed into it, got ourselves emotionally tied up, and found ourselves not really clicking at all.

Brandon: So the whole thing is STUPID. Get past all that before you actually get your emotions involved

Grace: stop the writhing!

Brandon: Exactly

Grace: that’s my new mantra: stop the writhing!

Grace: maybe I should start making t-shirts…

Brandon: I’d buy one. As long as it’s not pink

Grace: hahaha

Grace: I’m sure we can make an exception for you

Brandon: Summing my point of view here, be friends first. Learn as much about this person before you decide to act on and drop legions of subtle hints about your attraction. And if she seems like she’ll get along with you and NOT make fun of the things you enjoy, ASK HER OUT already.

Brandon: Yeah, now I’M speaking from personal experience….sigh

Grace: haha, well it’s about time somebody else emotionally vomitted over everyone.

Grace: I was starting to feel like i was hyper-sensitive or needy

Brandon: Ladies: Quick tip about the Bmatt. If you’re going to make fun of my Star Wars fan-ness, please find someone else to be attracted to.

Grace: Gents: don’t date me w/out dating me

Brandon: hahahaha

Brandon: and I don’t mean like, occasional jabs at me. I mean like, insinuate that I’m a little kid who needs to grow up. That doesn’t really instill a whole lot of attraction in me towards you

Step 13: you start meeting in pre-meetings, and church meetings, and leadership retreat, and you have to sit together. Opens the door for intimate conversation and probing her QTs.

Brandon: More of the same with purposeful friendship here. You’re dating without actually dating. Cowboy up already

Grace: luckily, I did not have to go through this. With fudgemint the moment we became co-leaders, things got really awkward really fast. And so pretty much avoided deep conversations and praying together as a general rule. Which, btw, is NOT GOOD for the lifegroup.

Brandon: Yar, agreed

Step 14: your LG multiplies and you are partnered with her. PRAISE BE TO GOD. (You two have still yet to go on an official date)

Grace: *hangs head in shame* if totally went through this one though. We multiplied and I was partnered with frequently mentioned fudgemint.

Grace: and the culmination of our co-leading time came to an abrupt and screeching halt when he kissed my hand, and then the next week tell me he had no romantic interest in me.

Brandon: And the not-so-subtle hints of attraction kept on coming yet were never accompanied by any sort of request to go out to Fazoli’s, I see
Grace: lol, kissing of hand, yet no fazoli’s… this doesn’t compute

Brandon: no joke. Fazoli’s is good stuff

Grace: I know. Man, what a jerk.Not only did he lead me on, he never got me any Fazoli’s.

Brandon: You might notice by now that we said this was a 15 Step dating process. Here we are at step 15 and yet there’s no dating yet. Just a lot of confusion and hurt. Well, let’s see if Step 15 offers any hope, shall we?

Brandon: step 15: after leading LG together for a semester, and having shared 2 Juarezes together, you take her to the suspension bridge and propose. You two never officially dated. That’s for the non- and lesser-Christians. Antiochers just wait patiently for God’s divine orchestration. You did that. You found the one he meant for you.

Brandon: Sigh

Grace: man, I feel gypped. I stopped at step 14.

Brandon: That’s probably because you got a little sick of the writhing I’d be willing to bet

Grace: yeah, the writhing got old after 2 years

Grace: and yes, it was 2 years

Grace: ask my roommates

Brandon: Found the one is the key phrase here. Found, but did not work for.

Grace: although I find it amusing that he doesn’t have the guts to ask her out on a date, but is willing to pop a ring on her finger.

Grace: I mean… the latter has a lot more commitment and issues involved. He couldn’t take a small step? Like… a date? Dinner and movie! C’mon now!

Grace: you can kiss a girl’s hand but not ask her on a date. That doesn’t compute!

Brandon: but…but that might draw her HEART OUT

Grace: you mention that phrase again Brandon Kirk Matthews and I’ll draw YOUR heart out… with a machete.

Brandon: hahahahahaha

Brandon: That was SARCASM, Grace!

Brandon: You know I hate that phrase as much as you do

Grace: yes, I know. But I wasn’t sure if everyone else out there knew of my hatred too.

Grace: so I thought I’d drive the point home

Brandon: and the machete into my chest, apparently

Grace: there’s always a price to pay

Brandon: I don’t like this price very much. Do you have it on clearance or something?

Brandon: ANYWAYS: To summarize. Yon Antioch dating system, though thoroughly and sometimes ridiculously parodied here, has got some serious flaws to it

Brandon: which result, all too often, in hurt and confusion for both parties in the name of maintaining purity (to an extreme degree of never taking a risk with your heart)

Grace: my summary: nothing ventured, nothing gained. To just hint to a girl that you like her and doing nothing about it is immature and cruel. We’re not in middle school anymore. stop hiding behind your fears, your doubts, and your spirituality (and blaming God in the process)

Grace: the fact that a WIA club formed is sad in and of itself and speaks of the lack of fortitude in the male Christian population.

Grace: I’ve been through less heartache w/ non-Christian guys than Christian guys

Grace: and that’s SAD

Brandon: Extremely so


Brandon: w00t!

Brandon: I say this: God doesn’t always specifically tell you to do things. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. It might just be wise to trust that He created you with that attraction, eh?

Grace: if we simply did what we were told by God for every single step, we’d lose… what’s it called again? Oh yeah! FREE WILL!

Grace: God takes a chance w/ us all the time.

Grace: He let us go hoping that we won’t sin. But we do. It’s a chance. We know better now that we’re older. There may be a little more gray, but there’s still the black and white. We KNOW what’s right and what’s wrong.

Brandon: So think long and hard, pray longer and harder. Be sure you have an actual friendship you’re working with, not one that is dating in all but name, BEFORE the dating part, eh? And when the time comes when you know you have a real attraction to this lady, be the man, and take the chance. Ask her.

Brandon: Don’t leave her agonizing over why you won’t take a risk for her

Grace: yeah, from personal experience, that leaves a lot of issues that she’ll need to deal with later.

Grace: questioning both self-worth and why no one is pursuing her the way she’s meant to be pursued.

Grace: a woman is meant to be pursued!

Grace: I stand by it. Women shouldn’t ask men out. Although it’s awfully tempting ’cause the guy is dragging his feet.

Grace: but if my husband is to be my lord and master and be the head of the household, protect and provide for it…. he better gosh darn be able to ask me out on a date.

Brandon: Ain’t that the friggin’ truth. Thanks for reading guys. This has been “Brandon and Grace dissect, analyze, and vaporize the Antioch Dating Process”. Hope you’ve learned something. Any parting words, G?

Grace: ummm…. snorkel?

Brandon: Snorkel it is. G’night folks!

Grace: g’night!

    • godzwarrior
    • August 25th, 2006

    i like to think of ads (antioch dating system)as a template. a template is something that helps somebody through a process that they are unfamiliar with or need some help to make it look good. relationships are complicated things. and many of the antioch college members are relatively (if not completely) new members, thus in need of direction. many of them may have had bad previous relationship experiences. ads exists to help those who either cannot or do not know how to proceed in a relationship. if however you are more mature spiritually, more mature relationally, have positive previous relationship experience, etc you may not need to follow some or all of the ads steps. you may be in familiar waters and completely capable of relying on god and yourself to see your relationship through. In these cases u can put ads in ur pipe and proceed as u wish. for everyone else, treat ads as a guideline. Don’t adhere to it religiously, as it is a man made system and bound to have flaws. But don’t throw it out because some people had bad experiences. i will admit that it can encourage guys to be passive. not good. don’t be passive guys!!!!

    • godzwarrior
    • August 25th, 2006

    when i said “new members” i meant new christians

    • Shellbear
    • September 1st, 2006

    Ok, so the “15 step process” is obviously what everyone went through in middle school when a member of the opposite sex gave you butterflies in your stomach. Big deal, we all did it, these people just have a lot of growing up to do. But are you, Brandon, REALLY trying to GIVE dating advice? I find that funnier than the 15 steps 😉 LOL!

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