David on Tinder

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From his phone he saw a woman, the woman was very beautiful, and David swiped to the right. She came to him, and he slept with her. Then she went back home.

2 Samuel 11:2-4, on Tinder

I’ve been thinking a lot about teenagers and relationships in a social media saturated culture lately.

On the one hand, I attended the Association of Youth Ministry Educators annual conference this past weekend, and the topic was Technology and Transformation. There I heard lots of presentations about adolescent life and the role technology is playing. Stuff which I’ll be unpacking in the weeks to come here on the blog.

On the other hand, I’m engaged with lots of real life adolescents regarding issues of technologies is bringing to their life over and over again. One of which is a fundamental shift in how people meet one another romantically. The vast majority of young adults are meeting people for the first time online. Their parents? They didn’t do that. Most of the people in their life are suspicious of dating people they first met online. It’s a practice with lots of upside, but also lots of downside. Think about it: Judging purely on looks or the ability to create a profile… how many married people would have ever met their spouse in that context? Likewise, what does it feel like to have your romantic prospects judged purely on looks alone?

Women are seemingly left with endless choices.

Men are like…


And both, from what I can tell from talking to people, are left feeling shallow. Even people who are allegedly looking for a cheap hook-up encounter are really looking and hoping for something more.

There’s a great meme floating around about “catching feelings” for someone you’ve hooked up with or have a “friends with benefits” arrangement with.


It’s as if there’s an assumption that you can have emotionless sex. Becoming attached to someone isn’t just a thing rooted in morality or religion, it’s rooted in biology.

Can the Bible help? Do Christians have a message of Good News for our Sexuality? Do we have anything to say in a world of ever-evolving attitudes about sexuality? This was the question Adam Mearse asked a room full of Christian educators yesterday.

I believe we do. 

But I think we’re going to have to deal with our own selves first. We’re going to have to set aside the crap we taught in the 1980s, 1990s, held on to during the 2000s, and clung to in the early 2010s like it’d somehow come back.

Ready to get started? Start by checking out Amanda Linhart’s latest research at Pew Internet, Teens, Technology, and Romantic Relationships







2 responses to “David on Tinder”

  1. ekruep Avatar

    Hey, Adam. As a parent of a 10 year old girl and a 6 year old boy, this phenomenon frightens me.

    You point out that parents today didn’t meet their spouses this way. As such, we might be ill-equipped to guide our children towards the proper role of using the Internet to explore new relationships (if necessary).

    But I also hear your call about returning to the Word – it is full of advice about how to do relationship regardless of any technology over 2000+ years!

    Looks may be a starting point, but what is truly remarkable is the strength of one’s inner character. That part of one’s story must be explored, regardless of what any profile professes. A strong foundation for any teenager in these biblical insights should help steer them past anything that is fake or temporary towards something true that lasts.

  2. Chelsea Barnes Avatar

    This is a really interesting take!

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