Bethke: “Christians Do Not Need To Get Married To Live A Full And Flourishing Existence”
Before I get to the link itself (the editorial is located on The Christian Post site), whoever Tweeted the link to the article via Christian Post targeted “Young” Christians. I tweeted that account to tell them their quote – “[Christians] Do Not Need To Get Married To Live A Full And Flourishing Existence” applies equally to older Christians as well.
I find it irritating that frequently, when commentary about marriage comes up on Christian sites, nine times out of ten, it addresses singles who are in their 20s, or at least younger than age 35. There are adults singles who are over the age of 35, and I am sick and tired of this group being ignored.
My second point of contention is the headline itself as it appears on the Post’s page:
- Jefferson Bethke to Christian Singles: Don’t Make Marriage an Idol
Normally when I link to other people’s blog posts or to news articles, I like to keep the original headline intact, or as close to the original as I can. In this case, I opted to change it as it appears in the heading on my blog. I find that headline as it appears on The Post to be problematic and troubling, because it seems to imply that a single adult wanting to get married is idolatry itself.
That is not so. Merely wanting something it not necessarily tantamount to making whatever that ‘something’ is into an idol.
Too often, Christians shame single adults for wanting to be married – stop it.Stop doing that. There is nothing wrong with a single adult wanting to be married or experiencing episodic bouts of unhappiness or frustration with being single when they’d prefer to be married.
Secondly, it’s generally not adult singles who make marriage into an idol, but churches, church culture, and 95% of married Christians.
Often times, married Christians make marriage out to be God’s intended purpose for most people, and they behave as though singleness is “second class,” a mistake, a bad thing, or a disease to be cured.
Would yours truly writing this post like to be married? Yes. However, this does not mean I take kindly to either being ignored due to my single status or treated as though I am not worthy, good, or worthwhile because I am single. (Please see this post on my blog for more on that.)
Here is the link to the Christian Post editorial (I changed the headline in my link to something less grating) what he says in this interview / editorial applies to singles of all ages, not just “young Christians”:
- Young Christians should understand that being single is acceptable within the church, and they should avoid an idolatrous worship of marriage, evangelical speaker Jefferson Bethke said in a recent YouTube video.
- In a brief video on his personal channel, Bethke addressed the idea of singleness, suggesting that often times, the modern church does a poor job of making single Christians feel welcome and accepted.
- His message, he explains, is directed specifically at church leadership, as he believes churches need to sincerely ask themselves “are we making a space for single people?”
- “So many times, we do such a bad job of creating a space for singles,” Bethke explains, adding that young Christians “do not need to get married to live a full and flourishing existence.”
- Bethke notes that while church leadership don’t explicitly say it, singles can feel like “you’re a JV Christian until you get married.”
- The inspirational speaker and author says that while some Christians may idolatrize the idea of marriage, “the truth about spiritual formation is: you do not reach success by becoming married, you reach success by looking more and more like Jesus.”
- Forming a closer relationship to Jesus is available to people of all walks of life, including the young, the old, the married, and the single.
- Bethke goes on to say that there are some instances where being single is more beneficial for the church compared to being married, pointing specifically to the narrative of Paul, which he says shows that single people can have huge impact on the church.
- Although Bethke warns about the idolatry of “worshipping the idea of marriage more than you’re worshipping Jesus,” it’s also important to note that “you don’t need to be content” when you’re single, as all humans were created for intimacy, and therefore it’s natural to want to find a lifetime partner and feel such intimacy.
- It’s fine to be happy being single, just as it’s fine to feel the “angst and burden about wanting to be married.”
- “Don’t make marriage idolatrous […] but understand it’s in the fabric of your humanity to want a relationship,” the spoken word poet says.
- Ultimately, it’s OK for Christians to be happy with their singleness, just as it’s OK to feel a tension in the waiting space before marriage, Bethke concludes.
(Link): Desire for Marriage is Idolatry?
(Link): Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Most Marrieds Remain Amazingly Blinded to Christian Discrimination Against Singles Or Write Unmarrieds’ Concerns Off, As Though They Are Nothing Compared to Marriage/ Parenting.
(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
(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