(quote) Kristen-878108 said: ....conventional wisdom on CM says that we should "charitably" answer every email we receive.... Sometimes charity is simply not responding....
I agree in practice with this but only because it's the more honest thing to do. The theory is harder because the reasons we reject are likely to be, unless there is a wide disparity in religious understanding and practice between the parties, of a material self-interested nature arguably unworthy of being a true Christian .... but that's how it is in this imperfect world of ours. I guess you could call it a structural sin, a sin you're almost obliged or compelled to participate in because of the structure of life.
This silence is charity towards oneself (but is that 'charity' as in the theological virtue?), refusal to answer on the grounds of non-incrimination, because what's more self-incriminatory than to say to a person willing to worship with you in a domestic church that they can't, because theological but not practical irrelevancies such as money, looks, relocation potential, etc. etc. are the blockers.
It's sad to say but the more you respond, the more likely it is that you will be telling white lies ( a self-contradictory phrase in itself).
They can't hang you for what you don't say, so don't say anything. But God is infinitely merciful. Even though he can see the unspoken thoughts behind the aborted words, he may choose to dispense with the noose altogether because humans are trapped within the idea, at least within the West, that marrage partners choose each other, rather than have them chosen by an impartial religious authority such as the Moonie Church or some such thing. Does the Catholic Church 'marry' a couple as such or do they marry each other and make their solemn promises to God witnessed by the Church?
Happiness is, even before you know what love is, being brought together by an unknown force with the girl or boy next door and finding yourself in a happy and lasting marriage. In this way, all the moral ambiguities, that come with a market-like situation of people picking and choosing people after weighing up costs and benefits, are avoided. Perhaps this is why there are no married couples in Heaven. A marriage occurs when one human chooses to favour another from all others. But, surely, there cannot be favourites in Heaven.
In earthly religious settings, the marriage choice is imputed by the parties to a holy spirit. But who's to say the imputation was true and the choice was impeccable? Do humans make impeccable choices? Does the Church make a marriage or does it merely certify virtually on the say-so of the parties that they are making a marriage agreement between themselves out of their own free will and are sincere in their promises to God?
God honours free will and strives to make good come out of imperfection. So even if the choice was more self-interested than not, he will still try to make the marriage outcome work. If the parties cooperate in making the marriage, such as it came to be, godly, the impeccability may come in the future. For example, the initial self-interest is forgiven and the marriage choice is redeemed if the couple consent to children. Consenting to the trials and difficulties of raising children in effect pays for and extinguishes the debt to someone else (or to the Christ in someone else) of being rejected when he or she shouldn't have been. Is that how some marriages are hallowed? But that's not the same as a marriage being impeccable from the beginning. Looking at a happy, godly marriage fifty years after it began doesn't tell you if it was conceived with impeccability, that there wasn't a broken promise or breach of trust that started it all. In other words, the happiness etc. is a merciful concession allowed by God to something that started less than ideally.
Which is what the choice is between not answering to avoid self-incrimination or answering with a bit of a socially-greasing fib. Less than ideal. Because rejection is a moral issue. It is a straining, if not breaking, of a relationship with the Christ in another person, just as a practical joke gone awry can be. Setting up a date is not the problem, although that seems to be the Number One practical concern here. The problem is not wanting to date someone whom you've already dated once or more times before, or of refusing a request to date or chat or whatever.
The reasons you're planning to give for not having more to do with a person? The Scriptures say to foreswear long and flowery oaths. Say 'yes' or 'no' because everything else comes from the devil. Yes. No. Silence (not because you're rude but because there's nothing valid that you can say).