Singles and the Church: Sidelined or Sanctified? by L. Hunter
I did not agree with, or like, all comments or views in this editorial.
(Link): Singles and the Church: Sidelined or Sanctified? by L. Hunter
- There is no shortage of challenges for those who have not felt a divine call to singleness and are hopeful that they will find a marriage partner.
- “For a lot of singles, there are waves,” remarks Fabienne Harford, a single woman in her 30s from Austin, Texas. “First, there’s the out-of-college wave, then the 20s wave, then the 30s wave. It’s like you’re out in the water paddling around on the surfboard wondering, ‘Did I miss that last wave?’ The older you get, the harder it becomes to fight the enemy’s lies. People ask, ‘Do you want to be single?'”
- Harford has been tempted to feel like an outsider within church culture.
- “Some singles can feel like they get pigeonholed or excluded, as though they don’t have authority to speak into certain things as an unmarried person,” Harford says. “We feel as a culture that singleness is the worst thing that could happen to a person. The Bible doesn’t seem to speak about singleness as a ‘cross to bear.’ The church has room to grow in order to color in the lines of what singleness looks like.”
- …Affirming Blessing in the Single Life
- In his book Redeeming Singleness, Barry Danylak takes a theological journey through the Old and New Testaments to view singleness through the lens of Christianity in a unique way.
He argues that while Judaism, Islam and Mormonism idealize and emphasize the role of marriage and negate the single life, New Testament Christianity differs.
“This difference is more than simply an enlightened relegation of the marriage decision to the realm of individual choice, but relates to something fundamentally distinct within Christianity itself—namely, the atoning work of Jesus Christ,” he says.
Danylak points out the differences between the Abrahamic Covenant’s emphasis on marriage, progeny and land as the conduit for God’s blessings and the New Covenant in Christ’s blessings of all who believe regardless of marital status and offspring.
- “Whereas marriage and physical procreation were necessary for maintaining one’s physical inheritance for the next generation, they are not necessary for preserving one’s spiritual inheritance within the eternal kingdom of God,” Danylak says.
- …Singles often feel overwhelming loneliness that can thwart growth in their relationship with Christ. While some churches offer ministry focused on this target group, not every church does.
- …For the most part, they have encountered people who come to church struggling with aloneness after a lost marriage or the death of a spouse and are asking the big questions of life. Lenora DeLemos notes that women tend to seek out help sooner after a broken relationship. She often walks women through the process of grief following a divorce.
- …”In evangelical Christianity, it seems (as though) not a lot of thought is given to singles,” comments Stacey, a single woman in her late 40s who has served in education and ministry throughout her career. “We’re the body of Christ—marital status shouldn’t be as much of an issue in church life,” she says.
- …”Is singleness a legitimate way of living? You don’t hear a lot of preaching on this topic,” Harford says. “The one thing I wish more churches had is cross-stage ministry. I’m constantly reminded that my struggles are unique and not unique at the same time. You realize this when you’re in community with people of all different stages of life. But more than advice on life experience, we need advice based on the gospel truth.
Related Posts, This Blog:
(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified
(Link): Singleness Is Not A Gift
(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