The Same Thing, Only Different
I was reading yesterday about a “Christian” dating app being introduced that is to be called Collide. One of the blessings of being long married is that I get to study such things with a reasonable degree of detachment. Collide, it seems, is supposed to be the Christianized version of Tinder, the wildly successful secular dating app.
It is the latest in a string of copycat ideas that we always seem to be coming up with. (i.e. Christian Mingle.) Apparently we have a desire to have our own versions of absolutely everything secular so we can have all the benefits of these ideas and none of the potential contamination of having “the world” stain us.
One interesting thing about Collide is that it wants you to put your favorite Bible verse in your profile; I suppose as sort of a way to let prospective dates see what you are like. Now, question, have you ever, on meeting someone for the first time, started the conversation with a discussion on favorite Bible verses? Me neither. But, to be helpful, here are a few suggestions for Bible verses to not use as an introduction:
Judges 4:21: “But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died.”
Ruth 3:4: “But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.”
Judges 19:29: “And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel.”
I’m sure you can think of quite a few more off-putting introductory verses and you are welcome to share them in the comments section.
I have two basic reactions to Collide. The first is that this is yet another example of the isolationist fervor that besets contemporary evangelicals. Is it any wonder that “engaging the culture” has devolved into a nasty “taking a stand against” concept when we are so committed to isolating ourselves in every way? Any wonder that evangelism becomes so hard when it is the only reason we ever deign to speak to a non-Christian in a social way? Yes, we speak to non-Christians all the time but do we do it as a Christian for any reason other than evangelism? Frankly, non-Christians already know this and assume that, if we are nice to them, it is only because we are trying to convert them.
In the New Testament we see, over and over, the Pharisees obsession with isolation; with avoiding contamination with the unclean around them. Jesus stood this idea on its head. He touched the diseased and dead bodies; he ate with sinners; he called people to come to him and be healed, not to stay away until they are healed. To be sure, we need both caution and prayer when associating with those of different values. But we desire to be like Jesus, not like Pharisees.
My second observation is that the ludicrous “favorite” verses above, and others like them, show another problem we have. We are far too prone to use favorite verses, or a few verses, to prove any point we like. Virtually every dispute among Christians, or between us and unbelievers, on social, theological and behavioral issues boils down to a few carefully selected” clobber verses.” Perhaps when we do engage people who are not Christians we should stop weaponizing the Bible. The real story of Scripture is God’s love of, and reaching out to, the least of these. Let’s tell that story and let the Bible do its own convicting.