You wouldn’t think Tinder would be a devout Christian’s first choice for finding dates — let alone a Christian who writes for Christianity Today — but that’s precisely what Tori Rowe decided to do as part of a very odd experiment to see how her peers really feel about evangelicals.
Rowe didn’t hide her beliefs in her profile. Anyone who read it would have seen the words “Christian” and “Jesus” and “church.” But, again, that’s if they read it. Tinder, of course, is the app where many users just swipe left or right based on your pictures, so it’s possible a lot of guys indicated their interest without ever seeing her interests. That made her dates even more interesting when she met them, since she would talk about her faith… but there’s still something a bit bait-and-switch-y about her approach:
I met each would-be suitor at my go-to coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon and put enough quarters in the parking meter for a 45-minute conversation. On each “date,” the guy would ask me what I did for a living. I would tell him that I’m a divinity student. He would ask what that means, and then bam — that was it — suddenly the kingdom of God was on the table. Instead of being put off by my words, the men stayed and engaged. They asked questions — questions probing the heart and goodness of God. I prayed for them.
This didn’t happen one time — it happened dozens of times.
Maybe I’m cynical, but given the fact that this was Tinder, isn’t it at least possible the men “stayed and engaged” because they thought it was the fastest way to get into her pants? Rowe never addresses that possibility.
She goes on to recall one encounter that stood out from the rest:
In one particularly memorable instance, I met with a young man from a country people don’t talk about much, with a professional background I have no experience in, and of a devout Muslim faith I wish I understood better… We traded stories and questions. He quizzed me, not in a fault-finding way but with an urgency for understanding my beliefs and core convictions. From creation to the church and everything in-between, I explained the meta-narratives of Scripture the best way I knew how.
There’s nothing quite like trying to explain the atonement to a brilliant inquisitor who has never heard Jesus’ story. I said the same things over and over again, always in a slightly different way, trying to help him understand. Then the conversation came to a head in a single moment.
“Wait,” he interrupted. “Jesus is alive?”
I nodded, and as I did, the sudden surge of excitement at the table gripped the whole coffee shop, which I’m pretty sure had been listening in on our conversation for at least the last 20 minutes or so.
Unfortunately, we don’t know the name of Rowe’s Muslim date, but I would love to hear his version of the date to see if he has the same recollection of it.
We also never learn if Rowe met up with any of these guys again, if they changed their beliefs (or really even questioned them) as a result of their conversations, or if she was genuinely interested in any of the guys she met as more than just targets of her evangelism.
Ultimately, her proselytizing could have been as fleeting as many regular Tinder dates: A quick exchange that leaves one person temporarily satisfied while the others wish they hadn’t wasted their time.
(Image via Shutterstock)