After entering my email address, zip code, and height, I’m asked, “What is your body type? This paradox is one of several that causes me to wonder if increasingly popular Christian dating websites undermine the faith-values of their users.
” My cursor hovers above “Washboard,” but in the end, I select, “I should maybe lose a few.” Next comes eye color, ethnicity, education, occupation, and smoking and drinking preferences. I’m questioned on what type of church I attend, how often I go, and what ministry I’m involved in. As of 2011, Christian Mingle had garnered more than 5 million users, and it generated .9 million in revenue during the first nine months of 2012.
It is now deemed the fastest growing online community for Christians.
But it is only one of many online dating sites for the mate-less faithful.
Others include Loveandseek.com, Christian Cafe.com, and Equally
Together, they form a pool of eligible Christian singles that is rapidly growing in size.
Over the weekend, I discovered perhaps the strangest new addition to the Christian dating cadre: Reformed
The site is designed exclusively for Christians who adhere to the Calvinist tradition, a theological system that focuses on human depravity, God’s sovereignty, and the idea that God has already chosen the select few who will be saved.
Their tagline is “Prepared, Prequalified, Predestined,” adding to the plethora of clichés that make the site a near-parody of itself.
For example, users’ identities must be verified by their (presumably male) pastor, who confirms that they are a church member in “good and regular standing” and “eligible for marriage.” Articles include tips on virginity, courtship, and how men must establish “loving headship” over their wives.
In a twist of irony, Reformed Singles seeks to assemble a crowd of people who minimize humans’ ability to choose and then inundate them with choices.
When I discovered the site, I tweeted about it and received the following reply from Barnabas Piper, son of reformed paragon John Piper: His response seems to echo my feeling that these sites and the Christians who engage in them might not be thinking as deeply as one might assume.
The new trend in dating sites built exclusively for Christians may have emerged long after their general market analogs but they make few strides in avoiding the same pitfalls.