Guest on Christian Radio Show, Focus on the Family’s. Mr. Daly, Claims Churches and Culture Don’t Spend Enough Money and Attention on Marriage and Family – Should I Laugh or Cry?
I was listening to the Janet Mefferd radio program a few days ago, and she interviewed a Christian man from some family values group, I think Focus on the Family.
Mr. Daly sounds like a nice gentleman, but he is living in an alternate reality.
I meant to blog on this earlier but pushed it aside. I think this was the show:
(Link): Janet Mefferd – Jim Daly as guest, “The Good Dad”
Daly – if I heard correctly and understood correctly said that marriage or married couples do not get enough support from churches and/or the culture.
Daly (if I recall correctly) said churches/society need to devote more time and more resources to marriage and married couples.
I just re-listened to the show.
Yes, starting at the 18:50 mark, Daly tells Ms. Mefferd (this is a paraphrase),
- Why should society cater to the one to two percent of the culture? 80 to 90% of us will marry and have children. We are the core of culture. What about us?
I’m not sure what he means by the “one or two percent.”
Does he mean never married adults? Does he mean childless married couples? Or widowers? The divorced? Homosexuals, especially the ones insisting on the legalization of homosexual marriage?
As to his 80 to 90 percent figure: I don’t think that is correct. I don’t know where he is getting that from.
Even if 80% of the American population gets married at some point, they are bound to be single again via our high divorce rates or via widowhood. But I don’t think the 80% number is correct.
Edited to add this link:
- (Link): Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States (as of 2014)
Here’s why I think his figures may be incorrect:
- According to census data released in 2005, only 23.7 percent of all Americans households are married couples with children.
- “Faith and Family in America,” a 2005 analysis by University of Akron sociologist John C. Green, says only 18.5 percent of all families meet the traditional nuclear family ideal: married, never divorced, with children at home.
- The largest demographic (25.6 percent) is childless couples.
- Church leaders uphold the former model as the ideal Christian family, but the statistics indicate they are chasing the wind.
- In some denominations, such as the Episcopal Church, fully half of the members are single. (p 93)
Source: Duin, Juila. Quitting Church.
And from census.gov,
- Single Life
- Number of unmarried people in America 18 and older in 2012.
- This group made up 44.1 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older.
- Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012
(Link): The Changing American Family (article)
- There are 96 million people in the United States who have no spouse.
- That means 43 percent of all Americans over the age of 18 are single, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- “Single” is defined as adults who have never been married, are divorced or are widowed in the bureau’s America’s Families and Living Arrangements survey of 2009.
- Of the singletons, 61 percent of them have never said “I do.”
- Twenty-four percent are divorced and 15 percent are widowed.
- An increasing number of these single Americans — more than 31 million — are living alone, according to the census. They make up 27 percent of all households, up from 17 percent in 1970.
- About 46 percent of all households nationwide are maintained by a single person. That adds up to 52 million singles.
My mouth fell open at what Daly said – that married and marriage don’t get enough attention from culture or churches (I’m unclear if he felt it was one or the other, or both).
Is Daly blind or oblivious? Has he been living under a rock that last 30 – 40 years? Our culture and churches already pour lots and lots of funds and attention to marriage and married couples.
In most churches, every third sermon is about marriage.
The staggering number of sermons I hear devoted to marriage has gotten so ridiculous, it has gotten so bad, that I wrote these blog posts:
- (Link): The World Does Not Need More Marriage Sermons – They Don’t Stop Divorce or Get People Married
- (Link): The Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon” line
- (Link): Pastor Kerry Shook’s Marriage-centric Sermons
When popular mega church preachers pump out books about relationships, it’s either about parenting or marriage.
When is the last time a mega-church preacher, such as Mark Driscoll, Ed Young, Jr., Joel Osteen, or whomever, have written a book called, “Your Best Adult Single Celibate Life Now”?
Never, that’s when.
(Not that I want Driscoll, Osteen and club to write books about celibacy and singlehood, because they are so ignorant about those topics, click and read this to see what I mean.)
But what I am saying is that it’s lop sided: marriage and married couples get all the attention, time, love, and money from churches while adult singles get zero, NADA (nothing), zippo.
Preachers love to preach about marriage and sex, not singleness and celibacy.
Read books by and for Christian adult singles, and you will find the authors discussing a very common experience that singles notice but that married couples are blind to:
Adult singles walk into a church and either do not find any classes for adult singles past the age of 30, and/or all the activities advertised on the church bulletin board are for married couples who have children.
Even when approached about this horrible disparity, and begging for the creation of an adult singles ministry, or some kind of out reach or adult singles ministry, most preaches scoff and refuse.
I have read time and time again of churches who refuse to start a singles ministry because they would rather pour all the church’s money into kiddie programs, marriage seminars, or what not – anything but meeting the needs of adult singles.
Here is a page that talks about some of this – by a single woman over the age of 30 who is interviewing a singles minister named Paul:
Note: link above no longer works, but you can view a cached copy of the page (Link): _HERE_ (as of January 2016, that link should work)
- (by Paul)
- I received a request on facebook recently from a young single lady (who for the sake of protecting her identity I will call Mary), Mary wanted to ask me a few questions about the seemingly lack of investment into Christian singles which ended up as a mini interview.
- She wanted to know why it is that Churches do so little for the Christian singles within their ministry. The following is her email to me plus the interview
- Mary said:
- I’m an older single -late 30s and for as long as I can remember, I’ve usually known both single & married Christian Men, even ministers to shy away from the issue and/or despise single women for bringing it up as if it were a tabboo subject.
- I speak from experience as, the many attempts by the ladies in the past, to get some sort of ‘singles program’ started in Church were usually responded to with disdain and/or shyness by the men, referring to the women as ‘desperate’.
- Hope you won’t think my questioning is rude or forward, was just suprised/impressed to find someone like yourself boldy upholding this cause and always wondered:
- Mary (asked):
- 2. Why does the issue of singlessnes/marriage seem to be a tabboo subject with men in Church? why do men -single & married despise women for taking an interest in the issue as though it’s a sin to desire marriage?
- Paul (replied):
- Because of ignorance and lack of sensitivity, many churches are unaware of the psychological challenges people go through once they hit a certain age and are still unmarried, as a result they are not sensitive to the issues surrounding such and are unable to address it.
- Also because the church often fall into the trap of teaching what they want to teach rather than dealing with real issues that affect people in their everyday life.
- It can also be because people don’t want to take the time to study these areas so that they can have the answers and effectively deal with and minister to people who have challenges in the areas of singleness and marriage.
- You will find that most people who pretend to despise marriage or pretend that they are not bothered whether they get married or not are hurting privately and within their hearts of hearts, they want nothing more than to be with someone who will love and cherish them, most however, are too proud and fearful to admit it and as a result there is a lot of hypocrisy in church when it comes to these
- Mary (asked):
3. Churches seem to only cater for the ‘marrieds’. why do the majority of ministers/leaders ignore Christian singles, but spend a lifetime preaching about sexual sin instead of the much needed marriage-preparation and encouragement?
I once had a pastor open up to me and tell me that most church leaders shy away from holding singles programmes because it isn’t very profitable for them, most singles are students and therefore don’t have the money to buy their books and tapes.
- Thankfully this particular Pastor that said this to me has a fantastic ministry for the Christian singles in the church – One of very few who do.
- The problem with the church in general when it comes to this area is that they do damage control rather than educating people to prevent the damage in the first place.
- Even when they talk about sexual sin they often do a very bad job in explaining why people should stay sexually pure, often they just tell you not to do it and condemn you for doing it without really explaining why God says to wait for marriage.
- What it really boils down to is that, they don’t really see Christian singles as their priority, there are a few churches that do, but most don’t, they would rather focus on more profitable topics like money and becoming successful in life etc, subject that are more likely to sell their products, because of the business nature most churches now have, real issues like dating and relationships are often left abandoned.
- It is a shame but with the Grace of God I will continue to do what I can in the area, it truly isn’t very profitable because I get very little financial reward for the work I do but I don’t do it for the reward and I guess that’s what keeps me going.
- I do it because I know it’s what I’m supposed to do and because its helping people and one day either here or in the afterlife I will receive my reward.
- I guess my reward and fulfilment comes from knowing that I am making a difference in peoples lives, I get lots of emails from Christian singles who have heard me teach somewhere or who have been on my website, thanking me and appreciating the work I do and how it has impacted their lives and helped them in their relationships and as singles and ultimately that’s what the work is about.
I wish I could find more material on the subject, but there isn’t a lot out there.
The cold, hard fact is, contra Focus on the Family talking head Mr. Daly, marrieds and marriage and the “family unit” get nothing but non-stop devotion, money and attention from churches (and even secular culture)….
While mature celibates, never married adults, divorced, widows and the childless, go totally under-served by the church, if not out- right ignored.
I cannot possibly believe this man is serious that he honestly believes churches aren’t slobbering enough over married couples, because they most certainly are.
Out of the 100 reasons I have drifted away from Christianity and become an agnostic is that evangelical Christianity has no room for a never-married, childless woman over age 30, such as me.
All church programs, sermons, books, etc, cater to married people or children – there is nothing in Baptist churches, evangelical, Reformed, or conservative, non-denominational churches for childless and single adults.
I think its less than honest to suggest that churches aren’t “doing enough for marriage or the family.”
The situation is the total opposite: churches already do too much for marriage and family and not enough for adult singles.
I’m afraid that all this insistence on marriage, and then situations like a Focus on the Family employee turning around and making the claim that “the family” (or marriage) is going ignored or under funded is not only untrue, but is further marginalizing singlehood.
As I blogged of before, Focus on the Family was begging for money about a year ago to release a movie about the importance of family or fatherhood. See:
- (Link): Good Grief! Five Million Dollar Family Idoltary on Display: Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills – Please, when you say you support marriage, be honest about what you REALLY mean
When oh when does Focus on the Family ever plan on funding and releasing a movie examining, respecting, and defending, lifelong adult singleness and celibacy?
Note I said “lifelong,” because I can guarantee you if a group such as Focus on the Family did make a film about adult singleness and celibacy, it would be under the mis-guided assumption that all singles will marry eventually and that they should marry.
No, no, singleness and celibacy should not be regarded as a minor blip in a person’s life, a season that is good for nothing but preparing people for marriage and parenting. Singleness and celibacy should be respected each in their own right.
It is insulting to defend singleness only in- so- far as you believe it prepares a person for marriage. Some people may never marry, for one thing.
Churches and Christian para groups spend tons of money and time promoting and defending marriage and parenting and none on adult singleness and celibacy as it is and has been for decades now. Mr. Daly is mistaken.
(Link): Do Married Couples Slight Their Family Members as Well as Their Friends? / “Greedy Marriages”
(study that shows that married couples blow off people outside their immediate family, married couples and nuclear families are selfish, do not help community)
(Link): Astonishing: Evangelical Baptist Marriage Idolater David E. Prince Wants to Know Why Evangelical Baptists Are Not Worshipping Marriage More (paying more attention to marriage than they already do, which is ALL THE TIME)
(Link): Why Christians Need To Stress Spiritual Family Over the Nuclear Family – People with no flesh and blood relations including Muslims who Convert to Christianity – Also: First World, White, Rich People Problems
(Link): Perverted Christian Married Couple Wants to “Wife Swap” (For Sex) With Other Christian Couple – Why Christians Need to Uphold Chastity / Celibacy For All People Even Married Couples Not Just Teens