Christianity / Education / Faith / Life / Love / Religion / Romance / Sex

My Fundamental Christian College Tour Part 2: Social Life

Not surprisingly, sex and sexuality is of high interest on the campuses of BJU, Pensacola, and Clearwater Christian colleges. After all, it’s of huge interest on every college campus. After talking about modesty in Part 1, the next topic that I wanted to talk about is the sexual relationships or lack thereof on these campuses. What does “dating” look like on these campuses? Let me tell you, sometimes it’s down right hilarious others it’s a little crazy.

courtshipdating

Dating on fundamental Christian college campuses is like watching a sitcom. Many of the people in the colleges that I talk about haven’t dated at all before. In fact, many think that calling it “dating’ is quite inaccurate and degrading. Much like every other aspect of of the Christian life, all your single time is supposed to be spent improving yourself spiritually for the eventuality of a long-term marital/ sexual relationship. Dating is an infringement on that purpose. Tony Evans says that “Christians should marry to date rather than date to marry.” Most of the fundamental college reflect this same perspective in the policies that they have written out in their handbooks.

In our youth group room we had a picture that discussed the myths about Pensacola that had pink and blue sidewalks. While the side walks aren’t colored, they might as well have been. When I went to visit Pensacola, you were never allowed in a car with a member of the opposite sex on or off campus. In fact, one of my friends had a family member who was expelled for driving his cousin home from her nearby college. Today, they still hold a no touch policy heavily enforced by a demerits system. My friend reached up to straighten her brother’s tie and his face clouded over and he quickly took a step back. He told her that she can’t touch him or he’ll get demerits because they don’t always ask whether or not the person touching you is family. I’ve always thought that moment was quite odd. How effective is a principle if it’s purely enforced by fear or consequences?

The most moderate school that we visited was Clearwater Christian. Thy are required to meet their dates in well lit areas of campus and allowed to single date after they have reached the full time student bench mark of a second semester  sophomore. Other than that, you just have to have a third wheel or another couple to date with. The third person simply must remain within conversational distance at all time (even during swimming.) That being said, they are the only college that allows off-campus dating without special permission, so that is definitely saying something.

Bob Jones was by far our favorite college to visit and observe concerning the dating life. They have a no touch policy also. The six inch rule was something that I grew up learning. For those who don’t know that means that you have to six inches between you and members of the opposite sex at all times. It’s much like the spacing and distance people are taught in the upper echelons of social conservatism. courting_comedy_logo_3Anyway, they have a hall at Bob Jones, a social hall where ‘dating’ takes place. We hung out in there because that’s where they had the board games, but while we were looking around we realized most of the people were in dates. They had small round tables where sat two people per table and they were sitting across from each other just staring. It was the most googly eyed stare you’ve ever seen. We sat down and played a raucous game of Cranium which elicited many dirty looks and sighs.

Both Pensacola and Bob Jones colleges didn’t allow off campus dating unless with a university approved chaperon. They aren’t allowed to see movies. The best date they can have is sitting next to 35 other couples in a social hall making gooey eyes at each other. I’m not sure what this teaches them about relationships in the real world. I don’t see any trust in their personal convictions. I do, however, see a building of distrust within each of themselves. Can they be trusted to be alone with someone from the opposite sex without resorting to sex? Or is it simply that they don’t want to put themselves in a compromising position? Are they taking advantage of the cushy highly regulated environment or hiding from the world in a auto immune bubble? I don’t really know. I just know it wasn’t for me.

 

Part III

8 thoughts on “My Fundamental Christian College Tour Part 2: Social Life

  1. I think you were right on the nose at the end. We should be teaching kids how to view the opposite sex as more than a sexual person (us guys especially. Testosterone would be illegal on the streets). Learn to enjoy friendship with the opposite sex that is just that: friendship.
    And no-touch policies make me giggle a little and cry, too. I see the point, but taken to extremes, all rules become stupid. Don’t touch. Why? Because high-fives lead to intercourse, as was proven by this hyper-conservative theologian whose wife wears a burka.

  2. Wow. I grew up in pretty conservative land, and I had no idea this kind of extreme control existed. I don’t really understand the point. If you can’t be trusted to be a good Christian, and to follow the “rules”, then is that real Christianity? I suppose if such a communal aspect/controlling/lack of trust actually did follow into “real life” marriage (where you had to date in groups, and everyone was watching you all the time to make sure your marriage was a good marriage) then there might be less “real life” abuse and more real life accountability.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this is how it works out. Usually, you just end up with super secret marriages/families/sex lives that are not spoken of in the community, and therefore can’t be controlled or corrected when something is ACTUALLY wrong/sinful/evil… More simply put: ultra-controlled courting environments could be overcompensated with ultra secret and chaotic marriage/family life.

    • Oh Yeah honey. You got it. That’s the stuff I am going to discuss in the next (and probably last) one.

      That’s what happened in Christian school. Kids just got So much better at hiding and lying. It didn’t really correct the issues.

      I still remember hiding my Harry Potter books and where the best places are. :)

  3. Pingback: My Fundamental Christian College Tour Part 3: Personal Responsibility.. Personal Limits? | Sacred Struggler

  4. Pingback: My Fundamentalist Christian College Tour Part 1: Modesty | Sacred Struggler

  5. Wow, yes. Spot on. Is it any wonder that BJU has such a high divorce rate? I attribute part of the failure of my first marriage to those “dates” where we just stared at one another the whole time. We were never allowed to be alone, or to get to know one another in an authentic environment. All that artificiality is a poor foundation to marriage.

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