Self-Serving Editorial at CT: Married With Kids Lady Says ‘Why Christians Need to Embrace a Changing Definition of Family’ – But She Wants Free Baby Sitting
I was about to log off of my blog for the day (really, I had no desire to make another blog post, I have some other stuff I need to do), but I stopped cold in my tracks when I saw this:
(Link): ‘Why Christians Need to Embrace a Changing Definition of Family’ by Laura Kenna
Look, maybe Mrs Kenna is a lovely person, but her editorial has me hopping angry right now.
Maybe she did not intend for her editorial to come across as it did.
I have been saying on this blog for the past few years that most Christians put far too much emphasis on the nuclear family, something the Bible does not do, and that this emphasis on the traditional family unit further excludes and alienates anyone who has never married or had children, or any adult who is over a certain age and most of their relatives are dead. Not everyone has a nuclear family.
So, you see an editorial at Christianity Today with a headline like, “Why Christians Need To Embrace a Changing Definition of Family,” you get your hopes up and think, “Maybe Christians are finally starting to get it!!”
But then you start reading the actual editorial and are terrified and dismayed to see things like this:
(Link): ‘Why Christians Need to Embrace a Changing Definition of Family’ by Laura Kenna
…My husband and kids and distant relatives aren’t enough. I must depend the friends I make, the people around me, as our “practical family.”
When babies arrive, parents fly in for a visit, but they aren’t on hand to watch your older kid when you go into labor. That’s what practical family is for. When your apartment doesn’t have room for a blow-up mattress for your sister to come stay, you call someone from the congregation.
…In other settings, these responsibilities fall to family or lifelong friends, but my husband, my kids, and I don’t have that support network here. Instead, the people God put next to us become the family we need for getting through hard times, for celebrating everyday joys, and for learning to live out our faith….
…It runs counter to the American nuclear family, but in three of the four Gospels, Jesus affirms that the faithful are a truer family than our biological ones.
…Similarly, one way Christians can become “practical family” for each other is through naming godparents—especially ones who aren’t already your relatives.
Rather than being done out of tradition, ceremony, or even necessity (in some circles “godparent” is a designation for those who would take legal custody of your kids), appointing godparents celebrates these special Christian friendships.
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The reason this Kenna woman is asking Christians to re-evaluate how they view the term or concept of “family” – at least how it comes across to me – is not out of concern for the many men and women who have been ignored or hurt by a Christian culture that only values married couples who have kids, but out of a self-serving desire for adult singles around her to be free baby-sitters to her and her husband when her mother in law or her sister cannot visit her for a stay.
As already noted in the comments on that editorial, the church has already been lecturing adult singles for decades now that they are only useful for things like being free babysitter services for married couples.
There are actually books by Christians (as reviewed in the book “Singled Out” by Field and Colon) which tell adult singles their only purpose in life or in the faith is to support people who are already married with kids. Which is a very condescending, rude thing to convey to singles.
Never do Christians or churches ask how the married with kids couples can serve the childless adult singles!
One of the only bright spots I take away from Mrs Kenna’s article is that she does not appear to share the same fear or paranoia of adult single women that other Christians do. At least I am assuming she is not or does not.
Recall that most Christians teach marrieds to stay away from single females, because supposedly, all single females are Jezebel sex pots who are just itching to hop into bed with a married man (see this post about the (Link): Billy Graham rule for a bit more on that).
The entire editorial by Mrs. Kenna just reads as yet another, “Hey, if you are single, your purpose is to help me, a married mother, clean my home, dress and feed my kids and run other errands for me” piece.
I don’t recall her mentioning in the editorial how she helps her single, childless friends.
When one of Mrs. Kenna’s single, childless friends comes down with the flu, does Ms. Kenna drive them over a bowl of hot, steaming, chicken soup and drive them to a doctor’s appointment? Does she mow their lawn for them, since they are too sick to get out of bed?
I did not see any mention of that in her editorial, nor did I see her telling other married couples to help the singles in their lives.
One reason of several I no longer attend church or have much interest in attending one is that they only want to take from me, they do not want to give.
Churches and other people I know are only interested in how I can help them get THEIR needs met, but they do not care to meet MY needs. I am no longer a codependent push-over who allows herself to be exploited by other people.
After having read Julia Duin’s “Quitting Church” book a few years ago, I’m not the only adult single who is tired of being used by married couples in churches as a work horse, to scrub the church’s kitchen floors or to babysit married couple’s children for free – and we get nothing in return.
It’s brazenly shameful that an author on a Christian site would encourage other Christians to re-evaluate how they view “family” only to guilt or pressure non-marrieds to act as free maids and butlers to meet the needs of the married couples – not to help singles and the childless, but to once more hit them up to act as a free labor pool for the married parents.
Maybe the lady who wrote the editorial did not mean to convey these ideas, but that was how her page came across to me.
But really, Kenna’s editorial essentially reads like this:
- “Hey, church, we need to stop defining “family” to mean blood relations, because when your birth family lives 2,000 miles away, it means I don’t have anyone to help me clean my family’s dirty laundry, or to babysit my kids for free when I want to get my hair done.
- That is what adult Christian singles are for, not just birth family!
- Why not take advantage of the adult singles around me to meet my needs – just tell them they are “family” too, and bingo presto, I can have someone at my house to sweep my kitchen when my sister in law can’t make it.”
I am tired of Christians only considering single, childless adults valuable and as family only in so far as they can help married parents get their needs met.
(Link): Learning to See Your Single Neighbor by H. Stallcup
(Link): Evangelical Adoptions: Churches Are AWOL in Helping Parents of Special Needs Kids by Julia Duin – Churches Are Useless (and Not Just Re: Adoptive Families)
(Link): Another Christianity Today Magazine Editorial Expects Single Women To Meet the Needs of Married Women – Christians Never Ask the Reverse
(Link): Do Married Couples Slight Their Family Members as Well as Their Friends? / “Greedy Marriages”
(Link): Why Comic Characters and Super Heroes Can’t Marry – Marriage Makes People Selfish
(Link): Dear Prudence: “Help! My Sister Thinks I Should Give Up a Promotion to Continue Being Her Free Babysitter.”
(Link): The Gross, Shaming Natalism Propaganda on Gab Platform by Its Rude Members, Including By Roman Catholics and Other Conservatives
(Link): Married Woman Rationalizes Her Extra-Martial Affairs – Selfishness, Thy Name is Married People
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
4 thoughts on “Self-Serving Editorial at CT: Married With Kids Lady Says ‘Why Christians Need to Embrace a Changing Definition of Family’ – But What It Boils Down To: She Wants Free Baby Sitting From Adult Singles. Seriously.”
I also want to add that these same parents love to insult and isolate you while at the same time use singles if their “services”. I find it very hypocritical when these same people who love to lecture the singles and childless that they are “selfish”, immature, lazy and every shameful naming tactic under the book for not having kids, yet, have the AUDACITY to ask the childless couples to help them with their needs!
After the fact that singles are left out of social events of social, friends, family or even business gatherings,
Stereotyped of being “post adolescent adults” because we are assumed that we want to avoid responsibility and never want to grow up! And are placed dead last for for any type of emotional, Finical or mental support,
They expect the single and / or childless to be around to help THEM out. All the while shaming them for their circumstances or their life choices!
It’s like going to a restaurant and then telling the chefs, ” your food sucks, you don’t use this ingredient when we eat with that ingredient! What kind of chef are you?! Oh but please do give us free services and take outs when we need them! Even though they suck!”
There are times when Even random strangers, who if they find out you are single and or childless, will always run to you and cry to them about their children’s health, failures, bad behavior or if the child needed money for extra clothes, etc and to always take care of their needs! But when you ask them for something , anything, change, a place to stay, or just to talk they will make hurtful and stereotypical remarks” oh you don’t have kids or a spouse, you don’t have to struggle “! Or ” your a dink! You should have no struggles like I do “. Or you’ll just get the cop-out ” sorry but my family comes first”!
So you are left out alone for when you have some needs, while you are helping them out on THEIR needs, you are still left with the ” selfish, lazy, etc” label!
It’s unfair, and It burns me to no end!
Thanks for leaving comments. I share your frustration.
Most Christians and churches are too concerned about marriage, to the degree they ignore adult singles – at other times, for the Christians who do notice we exist, they have all sorts of derogatory stereotypes of us, that we are immature, or selfish, or sexually promiscuous, as you were pointing out.
And, of course, churches treat adult singles as though OUR needs do not matter. We are constantly told to only serve other people – especially traditional family units.
It’s a very insulting view of singles. Married people can be selfish too, especially when they assume that the only or main purpose of life for adult singles is to act as maids or free babysitters to married couples who have children.
Churches are going to keep losing people so long as they stick to the “cater to married families” model, among other reasons.
If churches want to retain or attract adult singles (and there are now more adult singles than married couples in the USA and other nations), they are going to have to ditch the insulting anti-singles rhetoric, stop acting like being married with kids is the only acceptable lifestyle for a person, etc.
Note, though, I still want to get married, and I want my desire for marriage to be respected – but – I do not want to be put down or ignored while I am in a single state. Many Christians don’t get that at all.
Many Christians treat me like I’m a loser or freak so long as I am in a single state, but if I tell them I want to get married, they shame me for admitting to wanting marriage.
What I just wrote there is also applicable to other singles, of course. I see it happen to other singles who want to marry – they are shamed for being single AND shamed for wanting marriage. You are damned if you do in Christian culture and damned if you do not.
I don’t know if I can post links here, so please remove my post if I am not allowed.
This exact thing you are talking about is going on the biggest Catholic forum on the net right now.http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=981903
They are wondering how to attract young families back into the Church, and the default response to get the singles to baby sit their kids!
Yeah, I’m fine with you posting links here. Thanks for leaving comments. Baptist and Protestant churches (I was Baptist) are really bad about this.
They are just utterly consumed with families, marriage, and natalism. There is no effort to minister to adult singles, the divorced, childless, etc.
I’ve read that Mormon singles are having very similar problems, which is why I sometimes do blog posts about them.
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