1. The Scope.
In every campus ministry, everyone is constantly “scoping.” It may be subconscious or extremely conscious, but people are looking for someone attractive who seems to have their life together. College isn’t called “Happy Hunting Grounds,” for nothing. It’s an appropriate name given how painful it can be. The goal is to try to be as subtle as possible. Find information via social media stalking and well-timed eavesdropping. You don’t want to come off as desperate. Don’t be a Leah, be a Rachel. (At least pastors can capitalize on this by offering a disproportionate amount of sermons and Bible studies on marriage.)
2. The common phrase: “I don’t want a relationship right now because I just need to focus on Jesus.”
This sounds uber spiritual, and in some situations it is definitely healthy. But I always have to wonder, “So when you are in a relationship, you won’t be focusing on Jesus anymore?” It gives the connotation that there’s only room for one person in your life–God or a significant other.
The whole “Jesus is my bae,” mentality is bullcrap. Jesus belongs in your dating relationships just as much as he belongs in your single life. It’s fine to say “I don’t need a relationship because I need to focus on school,” or “I’m sick and tired of guys/girls right now and I need to clear the air,” but please just call it for what it is! Jesus is not a relationship status. He’s your Lord and Savior, and he should be the foundation of every relationship you have.
3. Everybody is a Republican.
If you have conservative political views, then you should be just fine finding a Christian significant other. But if you believe in a strong centralized government, a welfare system, and liberal immigration laws…good luck. Right-wing politics and Christianity often go hand in hand, which is unfortunate because it’s hard to reconcile certain passages of the Bible with a strict immigration policy and discrimination against Muslims (I’m looking at you, Donald Trump).
Jesus spent his life on earth among the poor and oppressed. He made friends with Samaritans, a people group that the Jews refused to let into their temples because of their race. Even in the Old Testament God appointed “Cities of Refuge,” for runaways and refugees (Joshua 20:1-6). Jesus explicitly told his disciples to pay their taxes (Mark 12:17; Matt. 17:27), which defies the claim that an unregulated free market economy is “God’s government.” Paul told the church to obey and respect those in authority during a time when wicked Roman emperors were ruling (Rom. 13:1-3), which shows how the Church can still function even when “Christian” politicians aren’t calling the shots. But I digress.
4. “Netflix and Chill,” becomes “Starbucks and Grill.”
There’s no room for casual dating in the Christian college scene. Forget binge watching Parks & Recreation or The Office cuddled up on a couch. The guy approaches the girl and asks if she wants to get coffee. You sit across the table from each other (maybe with knees touching if you’ve gotten to that point) and you talk theology.
Predestination. Freewill. Baptism. Confirmation. Are you Lutheran? Okay, you’re definitely going to heaven. Are you Wesleyan? In that case, you could lose your salvation and this might not be a good long-term investment. You need to know your facts before you commit. Because once you do, it’s forever.
5. You have a musical dark side.
So you start talking music. Rend Collective. Hillsong Young & Free. All Sons and Daughters. Bethel. Jesus Culture. Okay, you’re both on the same page so far. Let’s get a little edgier. Lecrae. Trip Lee. Andy Mineo. Now let’s get into Christian punk. Reliant K. Stellar Kart. Switchfoot. So far, so good. Now let’s delve into *lowers voice, there are Baptists around* Christian rock. Petra. Skillet. Thousand Foot Krutch. Kutless. RED.
But then…somehow it comes out…you listen to secular music. Dun Dun DUN! Not just Pop music either, but the unfathomable–90s grunge. Pearl Jam. Soundgarden. Temple of the Dog. Nirvana. And suddenly your spiritual maturity is under question. Jesus loves Kurt Cobain too, okay?
So finding love as a Christian can be a struggle sometimes. If you’ve chosen to put Christ first in everything you do, and you’ve set standards for yourself and your relationships, then you might have a rough time in the modern dating scene.
You probably wonder why God made romantic relationships so stinking hard if he wanted us to have them. That’s okay. You don’t have all the answers right now, but that’s the bittersweet trouble of being in college, of being in your twenties–of being alive, for crying out loud!
At the end of the day, there’s a God who has a plan for your life and a community of friends who have your back. And that’s a lot better than any Netflix & Chill sesh anyone can offer you.