Singled Out: How Churches Can Embrace Unmarried Adults by Christena Cleveland
This is a rather long blog post. I do not want to reproduce the entire thing, so please visit the blog and read the entire thing.
I would also encourage you to read the visitor comments at the other blog. Those are quite informative too.
She raises points in her blog post about Christians and singleness and marriage that I have been discussing at my blog here for over a year to two years now, including the concept of “married people privilege,” which I blogged about months ago here on my blog: (Link): Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Marrieds Think Single Life = Easy / Marrieds and Parents Turn All Topics Into Them And Their Needs / Problems
Here is the link to the other blog entry about singleness:
- By christena on December 2, 2013
… After doing extensive interdenominational research, Dennis Franck,the national director of single adult ministries for the Assemblies of God denomination, concluded:
“The vast majority of evangelical and Pentecostal churches of any denomination are ‘marriage and family focused.’ That in itself is not a bad posture. Most Christian leaders understand the importance of marriage and the church’s role in strengthening the family unit. The unfortunate reality, however, is that our marriage and family emphasis many times does not include single adults. This is not necessarily by design but is often by ignorance and neglect.”
… Meanwhile, single people are relegated to the margins.[ii] Whether this is intentional or not, this “married people monopoly” results in a Christian world in which single people are often misunderstood, ignored, overlooked for leadership positions, caricatured, equated with immaturity, and little more than a punchline or an afterthought. To me, it makes sense that churches and Christian organizations have a poor track record when it comes to honoring single people.
… [A]fter interacting with the church, many singles start to wonder:
Is there something wrong with me? Is God working in my life? Am I as valuable (to God, to the church) as married people? Does God love me as much as he loves married people? Does God have good things in store for me as a single person?
… In a Church that was founded by a single guy, singles are terribly marginalized. There’s something wrong with this picture.
So without further ado, here are my tips on how church people (pastors, leaders and other influencers) can turn this barge around and begin to create communities that honor the image of God in single adults.
6 TIPS ON HOW MARRIED CHRISTIANS CAN EMBRACE SINGLE ADULTS
1. Admit that singleness is complex and that you know little to nothing about it.
A lot of people seem to think that singleness is to marriage as junior varsity is to varsity.
As a result, married people sometimes mistakenly believe that they know something about singleness when in fact they don’t. Singleness isn’t a junior varsity version of marriage.
It’s an entirely different sport – and if you haven’t played it, you haven’t mastered it.
The average marrying age is 29.8 years for men and 26.9 for women. If you got married before these ages, then it makes sense to acknowledge that your experience as a single adult is below average. In other words, you don’t know a lot about singleness. This calls for humility.
2. Recognize that as a married person, you are privileged.
Married people run the Christian world.
– Since many pastors, board members, and organizational leaders are married, the married perspective is well-represented in the Church in ways that the single perspective is not.
– Married people are much more likely to get hired as pastors.
– A quick search at Amazon.com reveals that for every 1 Christian book on singleness, there are 298 Christian books on marriage.
– Just for getting married, friends and family members buy married people expensive gifts like Kitchen Aid mixers (a mark of privilege if there ever was one).
– Marriage is the norm, the gold standard.
If you don’t adhere to it, people ask questions.
Case in point: I’m out-and-about in the Christian world a lot these days. As a result, I meet new people all of the time. The fact that we’ve just met doesn’t stop Christians from asking me why I’m not married.
Out of the blue, and with a quizzical look, they’re like, “How come you’re not married?” It’s my most frequently asked question. Seriously.
Please visit her blog page to read the rest. Thank you.
Related posts, this blog:
(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage
(Link): How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both
(Link): Singleness Is Not A Gift