The dating apocalypse is upon us! At least that’s what a recent Vanity Fair article, “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’,” claims. Is it true? Are we really in a “dating apocalypse”—or worse, a “marriage apocalypse”? Is that why, at 26-that-basically-rounds-up-to-30, I can be hopelessly alone on a Friday, despite being willing to split the check, carry the conversation, and even indulge an anecdote about your pet rat? Surely, there’s a better way.

As Nancy Jo Sales bleakly describes the dating scene and the effects of hookup culture, I can’t help but see a correlation with a seemingly opposite phenomenon in the church: courtship. It seems that the impetus behind hookup culture and the desires that drive courtship may not be all that different.

The Holier Version of Hooking Up

In the world that Sales details, men and women sit side by side at a bar, and instead of exchanging wry glances and shy smiles, they’re sending emojis and propositions to ten different Tinder profiles, all without having to pay for a stranger’s drink. I’ve spent more time and money ordering a pizza than some of these people have arranging their dalliances for the week.

But how does this kind of love-‘em-and-leave-‘em lifestyle compare to the church? It all comes back to a little book by Joshua Harris. At least, that’s what I like to think when I’m alone, again, on a Saturday night while some very single, wonderful, handsome men from my church are also alone on a Saturday night.

In 1997, a 21-year-old Joshua Harris kissed dating goodbye, and many in the church followed suit. Conservative Christianity raced to embrace a courtship culture, ...

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