By JP Keenan, Betsy Shirley 9-09-2016

“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels,” reformed theologian John Calvin famously wrote in his sixteenth century classic, Institutes of the Christian Religion. With that in mind, we cringe to think what Calvin would say about the hashtag that began trending with his name yesterday: #CalvinistPickUpLines. Though the #CalvinistPickUpLines hashtag first cropped up back in 2010, yesterday’s torrent of tweets appears to have been prompted by historian Heath Carter, who noted that the 19th century Prebyterian minister Lyman Beecher once courted his sweetheart “with the tenets of Calvinism rather than the poetry of romance.”

“This may call for #Calvinistpickuplines, but I wouldn’t know where to begin,” Carter tweeted.

Fortunately — providentially? — some theology nerds among the Twitter elect were happy to oblige. In the last 24 hours, the steady stream of pickup lines have leaned heavily on the five points of Calvinism, summarized in the mnemonic device “TULIP” (total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints) — lines that surely would have made Lyman Beecher blush.

For your edification:

JP Keenan is Multimedia Producer at Sojourners.

Betsy Shirley (@betsyshirley) is associate editor at Sojourners.

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