Singles Shaming at The Vintage church in Raleigh – Singlehood Shaming / Celibate and Virgin Shaming
I don’t think these preachers who elevate marriage to an idol and who take pot shots at singleness understand that by doing so they are actually undermining a support of virginity and celibacy.
Think about it. I’m over 40 and still a virgin, because I was a Christian Good Girl who was taught sex prior to marriage is sinful. So here I am, still single. My Mr. Right never entered the picture. But I have been celibate this entire time. Every time a preacher slams singleness, he is in a round about way, slamming celibacy and chastity as well.
The preacher who condemns singlehood and who insists all Christians marry, is, in effect, saying God requires all people to be engaging in sexual intercourse (or other forms of sex), and that God rejects or hates celibacy.
To be single in a Christian worldview is to be celibate, or, to put it like this:
Single = Celibate
Every time a preacher “rips on” singleness (and in the sense that singleness is not as valid or good as is being married), he is in effect saying celibacy is unbiblical, shameful, or wrong. But the Bible teaches the opposite; it upholds and respects and expects celibacy.
According to this report (first spotted at SCCL group on Facebook), this church practices singles shaming:
Excerpts (emphasis added by me):
- by Jane Porter
- February 05, 2014
On any given Sunday, hundreds of hip 20- and 30-somethings flock to Vintage church in Raleigh, swaying to Christian-rock music, their hands raised in worship.
The church describes itself as a “beautiful mix of downtown Raleigh-ites, families, college students, and empty nesters.” With 800 to 1,000 people attending its services each week, the church has outgrown its current downtown location on West Street.
… But contrary to the youthful, inclusive image that Vintage presents, its rigid theological views most closely resemble those of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention. Vintage belongs to the Acts 29 Network, a vast evangelical church-planting endeavor founded by conservative Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll. Raleigh, in particular, has become a hotspot for Acts 29 churches. There are 16 Acts 29 churches in North Carolina, with five in Raleigh alone.
.. A former Vintage member named Laura agreed.
“They’re fundamentalists in hipsters’ clothing.”
Sarah McCoy left Vintage in 2010. Now an associate pastor at Love Wins ministries, she couldn’t accept Vintage’s views on women.
“It became clear to me they did not honor my personhood in the same way they honored the male leadership,” she said. “The work we do [at Love Wins] is all about people being equal in the eyes of the world and of God. I believe we are all fundamentally the same, no matter the gender.”
… Strangely, the Acts 29 organizations are not up front about this aspect of their structure. There is nothing about Vintage’s refusal to ordain women on the church’s website.
…”Their most consistent messaging to men is that they are re-masculinizing the church,” Hall said. “It’s been feminized and we need to re-masculinize Christianity. If young people stay a part of those churches, we will have a significant segment of that generation being very gender conservative on the natural hierarchy between men and women.”
“It was communicated to us in sermons,” Laura, a former Vintage member, said. “Pastors would talk about women, almost on it being a level of sin for a mother to work outside the home and it was a sin on the husband’s part because he wasn’t providing for the family.”
McCoy said she also experienced “single-shaming” for being unmarried.
“It’s one thing to say we as humans are meant for relationships,” McCoy said, “but when you’re made to feel like you’re doing something wrong by being single, that’s taking it to another extreme.”
Another former congregant who asked not to be named, remembered a sermon in which Pastor Jones said the most important thing a woman can do is be a wife and mother.
“A lot of women in the congregation were really hurt by that,” the former congregant said. “Many were single or divorced. That’s a pretty strong statement.”
She added that Vintage experienced a mass exodus in 2007 after it made its position on women clear. This was when the church began to move in a more fundamentalist direction.
“Vintage is an all-in community,” she said. “It’s a self-obsessed institution. It’s obsessed with being Vintage.”
The shaming at Vintage has not been reserved exclusively for women.
Another former church member, a man, said, “[The pastors] would bring people into the office. If a guy and a girl were sleeping together, they would bring the guy in and yell at him and kick him out of the church and tell people not to talk to him.”
Related posts this blog: