Guest / Limited Access /

With Gusto!

Jenell Williams Paris is a professor of anthropology at Messiah College and author of The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are (IVP).

Should Christians use online dating services? Yes, and with gusto! Online dating doesn't correct the well-documented imbalance of devout Christian women (abundant supply) to like-hearted men (a paucity), but it at least widens the net for Christians seeking partners.

It also reduces the need to choose between meaningful service in a region where pickings are slim, and work that may be further from one's calling in a more populated area.

Along with these benefits, online dating does raise new dangers: a creep—a violent one, even—may be lurking behind the next click; the process over-represents certain features of a person (facial appearance, for starters); and it requires an investment of funds that perhaps could be better spent elsewhere.

It would be foolish, however, to preserve the dating practices of an earlier era, even as an attempt to avoid these dangers. For instance, I'd never recommend that a modern woman do as I did. In the mid-1990s, when I was seeing the man who became my husband, we talked on landline phones late at night (when rates dropped from 25 cents per minute to 10 cents), sent just a handful of e-mails (seemed impersonal), and never texted (weren't pagers mostly just for drug dealers back then?). We wrote letters, too. By hand! And sent them via postal mail! These archaic behaviors suited the olden days, but some of them seemed novel even to the generation before mine. Like work, house construction, and child-rearing, dating is a cultural practice that humans reinvent and adapt to different circumstances. Refusing to ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow It Feels to Love and Hate a Sex Offender
How It Feels to Love and Hate a Sex Offender
Abusers’ families are secondary victims, left to reconcile their conflicting emotions.
TrendingNew Executive Orders on LGBT Discrimination Don't Exempt Religious Orgs
New Executive Orders on LGBT Discrimination Don't Exempt Religious Orgs
(UPDATED) But Obama won't withdraw memo on religious discrimination.
Editor's PickSorry 666: Churches Fear 990 More
Sorry 666: Churches Fear 990 More
How more ministries going digital could unwittingly aid atheists targeting church tax breaks.
Comments
Christianity Today
Is Online Dating for Christians?
hide thisOctober October

In the Magazine

October 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.