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”:
(Link): Bethke: “Christians Do Not Need To Get Married To Live A Full And Flourishing Existence”
- 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): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents
(Link): Christian Double Standard – Pray Earnestly For Anything & Everything – Except Marriage?
(Link): Desire for Marriage is Idolatry?
(Link): When you show God you don’t want it, that’s when God will give it to you – according to Joel Osteen – I disagree
(Link): The Single American Woman via NY Magazine
(Link): Five Unhelpful Things Singles Are Tired Of Hearing by R. Duncan / Eight Things You Should Never Say To Your Single Friends by K. Wilkinson
(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage
(Link): The Right One – Do Unmarried Christians Only Need Jesus in Common to Marry ?
(Link): Please Stop Shaming Me for Being Single by J. Vadnal
(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin
(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): Following the Usual Advice Won’t Get You Dates or Married – Even Celebrities Have A Hard Time
(Link): Christians: Please Stop Telling Singles that Their Singleness is “For God’s Glory” / Owen Strachan’s “Being Single To Bring God Glory” Essay
(Link): ‘Why Are You Single’ Lists That Do Not Pathologize Singles by Bella DePaulo
(Link): Five Things Single Women Hate to Hear
(Link): Unmarried / Single People Are Supposedly Bitter & Have Too Much Baggage – and that’s why you’re still single they say
(Link): Typical Conservative Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough (or at all), Mr. Right will magically appear
(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One
(Link): The Holy Spirit Sanctifies a Person Not A Spouse – Weekly Christian Marriage Advice Column Pokes Holes in Christian Stereotype that Marriage Automatically Sanctifies People
(Link): The Cruel, Capricious God of Naive Christians, Concerning Singleness and Marriage – If Only You Had Waited Five More Minutes!
(Link): Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?
(Link): True Love Waits . . . and Waits . . . and Waits – editorial about delayed marriage and related issues
(Link): Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage
(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single
(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)
(Link): Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States (2014)
(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage (and “family”) by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists
(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): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians | Re: Marriage Not Happening for Hetero-sexual Christians Over the Age of 30
(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy”
(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): The Case Against ‘Saving’ Marriage – Married Nuclear Families Are the Gold Standard Against Which We Are All Judged. by N. Rodgers
(Link): Christianity Should Be Able To Work Regardless of Culture, Childed or Marital Status / Article: Unlike in the 1950s, there is no ‘typical’ U.S. family today by B. Shulte
(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)
(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother