While Valentines Day can be overblown, reeking of commercialism, the chance to actually plan a nice date with my wife is actually nice! This morning, I happened to be listening to NPR when a story about what’s known as mobile match apps caught my attention. I have to be clear from the beginning that I know people who have met through an online dating service. They are happily married so whatever I’m saying is not meant to be a blanket statement about everything done online.
Mobile match apps are these apps you can use on your smartphone that allow you quick ways to “hook up” with people. Think of it as an online version of speed dating that makes Match.com and eHarmony look ultra conservative. These apps, like Tinder or Grinder, allow you to scour through a list of people and through GPS then see who is close by. Photos are paraded in front of you and with a swipe one way, it’s “hello”, another way it’s, “goodbye”. If you indicate that you “like” a person you can message them for a spontaneous rendezvous. One gentleman said that instead of hanging out in bars, this sidesteps having to spend money to drink and meet others. “And you don’t have to drink to have sex now… it’s more efficient.” These are impulsive hook ups.
If there is nothing transcendent that grounds us then people will become objects to be used and discarded. In the end this is taking something as deeply meaningful as sexual relations and making it a shell of what it is. If the reality of God or the dignity of people as created in God’s image is removed, then sex becomes a filling of mere physical appetite, much like hunger or thirst. Get full and then it’s on to the next person. NPR even notes that these apps might be fun for some but this is not how we want to find true love.
While we might think that mobile match apps are ridiculous we might even think that Valentines Day is silly. However, true romantics know deep inside that love is more than just a feeling, more than just a casual hook up. Love is covenanting with another, and the feelings are framed within the promises that they make to each other. It’s a commitment to share the whole of who you are with another. This is not something that can be reduced to an app or a quick hook up. The irony is that while people think they are really free to hook up with others, they actually are enslaved to their appetites and circumstances. You are only true free when you make a promise to another…