Blogger Declares That Adult Singles Who Desire Marriage Yet Are Still Single in Early Middle Age And Upset By It Are Being Petty
There are additional updates at the bottom of this post: I spoke with the blogger, S. Field, and she apologized, so we’re all good.
When I first wrote this post you see below, I was feeling rather cranky, I do admit (but even then, I did not hate Field, I was just upset with the “petty” remark). Since we had our chat (see bottom of this post), I’m okay with her.
Oh the irony. Someone at the Stuff Christian Culture Likes Facebook group, in a thread ((Link): located here) about people who have been hurt by churches, suggested the following blog page to another reader:
(Link): “LIES WOMEN BELIEVE” REVIEW: 45-62 from Samantha Field’s blog
This is the blogger’s blurb on her blog’s main page:
- I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist cult, but escaped as a young adult. Now, I write about being a bisexual woman and abuse survivor, exploring intersectional feminism and liberation theology.
Remember, this is a blog – by Samantha Field – that was recommended in a thread discussing how Christians and churches hurt people.
I would presume that Samantha Field would perhaps consider herself an advocate or some kind of spokesperson for (or at least sympathetic to) those who have been hurt by God, churches, the Christian faith, or what have you.
So imagine my surprise at seeing the following statement in Field’s “Lies Women Believe” book review, where she criticizes the author of the book, Nancy:
- [Quote by Fields] Event this book enforces those notions. She gives the following in a list of problems we run into:
- [quote by Nancy]… a loveless marriage, rejection by an ex-mate, grown children who won’t call home, approaching forty, and not a suitor in sight … (50)
- [Quote by Fields] I’m sorry, those things aren’t fun, but they just seem so petty. Really, Nancy? This is your standard for talking about the possible reasons why women might feel that God doesn’t love them?
Here’s a brief recap of myself, for anyone who may be new to my blog:
I am a woman who was raised in a conservative Christian household. I accepted Christ as my savior as a kid. I have been having doubts about the faith the last two, three years, based on several reasons.
After the death of my mother a few years ago, I discovered much to my shock that most self professing Christians don’t really care. None were willing to help me through the grief or with other problems I had afterwards, some of which were not related to the death some of which were.
Those factors and others started me on a journey a little bit away from the Christian faith.
I have not totally left the faith, but am on a scale somewhere between the faith and agnosticism right now.
And one of those very reasons for my faith crisis (among several) is, yes, I am over 40 and still have never married (and with no suitors in sight), in spite of the fact I spent youth and on-wards, following Christian advice on how to get married: praying to God for a spouse and trusting in God for a spouse. I even tried some dating sites, to no avail.
But according to blogger Field, my pain and disappointment and faith crisis over this means nothing – I am just a whiny, First World Problems shallow doofus. Gee, thanks, Field!
Apparently, according to the reasoning I am seeing on Field’s blog page, I can only have doubts about the goodness of God if I am a black girl living in poverty in Africa, or something of that nature.
This is the flip side of the other problem I have discussed on my blog before: a lot of Christians (and apparently ex- or liberal Christians such as Field) reserve compassion only for groups they deem worthy of it, such as the obvious sob stories out there, such as African orphans or homeless people.
Please see my previous posts for more on that phenomenon:
- (Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan
- (Link): The Bible Says Christians are to Help Other Christians First (not sex trafficked people, not orphans in Africa, not homeless crack addicts, etc)
- (Link): Christians, Selective Compassion and Bootstrap Theology: It seems to happen to black Christians, too
I deeply resent anyone – Christian or not – telling me that my concerns or problems mean nothing, they are petty, or that I am not worthy of sympathy or help, only because I don’t meet their narrowly defined parameters of “victim” or “hurt” or “wounded.”
I also deeply resent it when anyone tells me that my reasons for having doubts about the faith or the existence of God is not good or deep enough for them, because they think my reasons are stupid or trivial.
Just like with my friend “Ellen,” whom I wrote about in a very long post (Link): located here. When I shared with my friend Ellen some of my reasons for having doubts about God, she wrote my reasons off as not being “good enough.”
So, if you are a never- married Christian lady who is past the age of 35 who had wanted to be married but never did, and you have grieved this situation, felt this as a loss, and cried yourself to sleep several nights over it, well, according to Field, your pain at finding yourself still single at 35, 40 or older, and maybe questioning the Christian faith over it, is “petty.”
Does Field pull this on infertile women, one wonders? Or, women who desire to have a child but cannot because they never found a suitable mate to marry? Would she tell them that they are being “petty?”
Lord have mercy. A person does not have to be living in poverty in a mud hut in Africa, or be sold in to the sex trade by ISIS, or residing in a domestic violence shelter, or be a date rape victim, to deserve your pity or compassion, or to be justified in wondering if God is good and loving.
People with problems and heartaches YOU deem to not be so serious have a right to doubt God or wonder if God exists or if God cares.
Honestly, who is this Field blogger to scold women for hurting or having a faith crisis for being single?
Elsewhere, Field quotes another author (or the same one?) and writes this criticism below the excerpt:
- In other words: your personal experience is immaterial. The evidence does not matter at all. Whatever your own eyes tell you, ignore that. This definition reduces faith down to self-delusion. In my life, “how it looked” was a lot like physical abuse, rape, and spiritual trauma so deep I have PTSD from it. But yeah. That’s totally God being so good to me. I just can’twait to hear them explain it.
Is Field totally blind? She is telling never-married women who are heartbroken, angry, or what have you, over their single status, that their “personal experience is immaterial.”
Field is doing the same thing these other authors are engaging in, though Field is not doing so to defend God’s goodness. She may have different motives from the Christian authors defending God’s goodness, but the outcome and logic is identical.
If you are upset to still be single past the age of 30, 35, 40, or what have you, Field calls your concern and hurt “petty,” yet has the temerity to criticize another Christian author for telling people their personal experiences are immaterial.
I do grasp much of Field’s points on her page and empathize with some of it, and even agree on some of her views (at least on that particular page), but her lack of sensitivity towards heartbroken or disillusioned adult singles who had desired marriage and never got it is breathtaking and disappointing to behold.
The cherry on top is that she’s writing off the concerns and hurts of adult singles while “chewing out” yet another author for being insensitive towards people who have been spiritually hurt. Pot, meet kettle.
So, we’re all supposed to feel sorry for spiritually abused people, or sexually abused people, but not for singles who are upset that they have no marital prospects in sight?
How about if I write off the category of Field’s preferred victim classes (ie, sexually abused women, spiritually abused women, etc) by referring to their concerns as “petty.”
Again, I am sympathetic with some of the major, underlying complaints and issues in Field’s post, but it is so disappointing that a post that is scolding Christian authors for being so ignorant and insensitive to those having doubts that she would just so easily dismiss the heartache of adult singles as being “petty,” or characterize them as First World Whiny Spoiled People Problems.
I think Field mentioned in her own blog post she is married? Or did I misunderstand her on that?
If she is married (and she seems younger than me), it figures that someone who got married in her 20s or 30s doesn’t give a flip about anyone over 40 who had desired marriage but it hasn’t come to past yet, if ever.
Very, very easy for you to write off those whose situations you have not experienced and deem them “petty”. If she is married, a post like this one on my blog is suitable: (Link): ‘Married People’ Privilege
And please, do not compare one type of suffering or hurt to another, and tell people in the one group their concerns amount to nothing because they are not, in your opinion, as serious. That is another pet peeve of mine I blogged about before, like here:
- (Link): Preacher John Hagee’s Insensitive “GET OVER IT” Sermon – Christians remain ignorant and insensitive to those who suffer tragedy, pain, or mental health problems
No, there is nothing “petty” about someone being single at a certain age and feeling anger, hurt about it, or having doubts if there is a God, because they want to be married but may never be.
Edit. I so far, as of this edit, have left two posts on that blog.
One person wrote this, in the comments at the bottom of the page:
- Even within the context of educated, middle class, white picket fence America, her examples seem sort of petty. A parent dying is sad, but as you say, does happen to most people. Relationships – marital, child/parent, friends – can be messy and turn out badly because we’re all human, and humans do stupid or petty or shortsighted things sometimes.
- How loved by God would she feel if her much beloved spouse developed terminal cancer in his mid-forties while you still have multiple children at home? (Me, and several other people I’ve met since he started cancer treatment). If one of her children suddenly died unexpectedly (a good friend)? A lightning strike caused her house to burn down will all of her pets trapped in it? (One of my students) I’d say not feeling loved is a pretty reasonable response (and pretty mild, honestly).
My reply to this person, under the “christianpundit” name:
- I beg to differ. I’m in one or two of the categories that the blog page’s author writes off as being “petty.” I am single in my early 40s (have never married, but have always wanted to be), no suitor in sight, and yes, this bothers me at times.
- I find my particular brand of hurt and pain and doubt being written off as being supposedly “petty” as being very insensitive and offensive.
- Oh, and my mother died a few years ago, and it still hurts like hell and has had painful ramifications, even though I’ve worked through most of the grief all alone – yes, everyone’s mom and dad will die one day, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Edit 2. The blogger did leave me a reply, and I replied under that; in fairness, I present her commentary:
By S. Field
- I read your post and I’m glad you commented, because I want to apologize. It was not my intention to say that these reasons don’t matter, or don’t hurt, or aren’t a valid starting point for doubting God or their love– but, intention isn’t magic, and that is how my words could be taken.
- I would like to respond that my frustration is *with Nancy*, who never once acknowledges anything outside of these sorts of boxes, who never once confronts things like the Holocaust in addressing questions like the Problem of Evil. It’s ridiculous to say “God is absolutely good!” when you’ve ignored utterly *the Holocaust* and things like it. That was the only point I was trying to raise.
- As for the second quote you pointed out in the post (the one about “ignore your personal experience”), though, those words are a paraphrase of Nancy’s that are trying to make it brutally clear what she means. Those are not my own thoughts, it’s not my own opinion.
My reply (copied from her blog)
- Thank you for your reply. I do kind of get your point, but… Please just be aware that any time you get into the “compare suffering” game and dismiss some people’s pain as being trivial, that can compound their pain.
- One reason of 54 million I’ve been having a faith crisis is due to all the Christians I’ve gone to for support turn around and say that me being single at my age, or my mother dying a few years back, is gosh golly not really a big deal, since there are starving orphans in Africa.
- Many people (especially evangelical Christians) love to do this – tell you your pain means nothing, because somewhere in the world, someone else has it ten times worse than you (which I don’t doubt, but knowing that doesn’t make my pain magically go away or decrease). Their tendency to be so dismissive like that is very insulting and painful. Thanks again for your reply.
The blog owner, Field, did apologize, which I felt was very nice of her, and I told her in another post that I accept her apology; she told me,
- I’m really glad you wrote it, because you’re right. I do my best not to do this sort of thing, and I failed yesterday. “Pain Olympics” is wrong. I shouldn’t have lost sight of that in my frustration with Christian-Rose-Colored-Glasses-Syndrome.