James the Single 40-Something Guy Asks 700 Club’s Pat Robertson Why Churches Don’t Help Singles
On an October 31, 2018 airing of television program “700 Club,” host Pat Robertson responded to a question from a 48 year old guy named James who says he is single and wants to know why churches don’t do anything to help single adults get married, because (he seemed to imply), they sure as heck are not helping him.
As of today, I do not see the October 31, 2018 “Questions” section of the show on 700 Club’s You Tube channel.
As of this writing, though, you can view the “Questions” portion (which comes during the last ten minutes of the show) on the full episode (Link): here on You Tube.
You might also be able to view the Questions segment (in the full length show) on the (Link): 700 Club site here.
The gist of James’ letter was – he says he’s 48 years old, single (he did not specify if he is divorced, widowed, or never-married), the Bible says it’s better to marry than burn in lust, but what if there are no options (like in his case – I think he meant there are no single women in his life or church), and the church isn’t doing anything to help a Christian single get married?
Pat Robertson replied something like it’s not the church’s responsibility to get a single adult married, the church is not a dating service, and he asked James, why don’t you just ask a single woman out for a cup of coffee?
The red-haired, lady co-host chimed in and said, that was how she met her fiance.
The co-host lady agrees that churches sure are not dating services (though I think she agrees with James the letter writer, not with Pat Robertson, that if you’re a single adult expecting to find a mate in a church or via a church’s help, you can forget about it, because it’s not going to happen).
The co-host said she met her fiance because she told a hiking friend, “I can’t find any single men at church. Can you fix me up on dates with any single men you know?,” and that is how she met the guy she is now engaged to.
Aside from wondering why anyone is still writing Pat Robertson for relationship advice – especially since I wrote (Link): this post and have tweeted a link to that post semi-regularly ever since I wrote it – I find myself agreeing with both James the letter-writer AND with Pat Robertson on this.
I think that James is correct in that the church really should do more to help singles – they should not only do things like offer to go to the homes of adult singles and mow their lawns for free when the single adults are sick in bed recovering, and things of that nature – but – churches should absolutely act as a “dating service.”
Churches do not exist only to “share the Gospel,” to worship Jesus, or to attend to the needs of the already-married, which may include offering sermons and services tailored to married people, but also to help other people in other life situations.
And “other life situations” would include helping singles get married who want to get married.
However, most churches behave as though they exist to only help married couples, to offer social events for married couples and to nuclear families, and to offer endless sermons on how to have great marriages and more boring, stupid sermons about how liberals or the secular culture are supposedly attacking “The Nuclear Family.”
Many single adults would welcome churches fixing them up with other single adults for dating and/or for the express purpose of eventually marrying.
My normal caveat applies here: there are some single adults who do NOT want to get married, they love being single, and they resent Christians who try to play match-maker with them.
So, if you are a Christian, and you know an adult single and you want to help them in some way, ask them how they prefer to be helped – ask them if they want you to try to set them up on dates with other singles you know, or if there is something else you can help them with.
Do not just assume that any and every un-married adult you meet wants to be married, or, do not assume that even if they do want to be married, that they will welcome you specifically trying to fix them up with someone else: ask them first.
Ask if they want you to introduce them to eligible singles you know for dating.
Dating sites (Link): don’t always work.
So if your single friend complains about being single, do not toss off cliched advice to her about, “try a dating site, it’s how my cousin Rebecca met her husband Rob!”
There are just as many weirdos, losers, and abusers on dating sites as there are in night clubs and bars and, yes, in churches and even on “Christian” dating sites, such as “eHarmony.”
(There are even (Link): Christian rapists on Christian dating sites.)
I’m no longer completely bought on singles using churches to get dates and mates, because in my last several years of maintaining this blog, I began seeing disturbing patterns, indicating that (Link): churches are also filled with men who are users, losers, and abusers.
Further, often times, most Baptist, Protestant, and evangelical churches endorse a (Link): sexist doctrine called “complementarianism,” which usually includes harmful beliefs to women, such as male headship and the permanence of marriage view.
What this all means is, if a woman finds out she married a Christian man who is physically, sexually, verbally, or financially abusive, her church, nine times out of ten, will advise her to (Link): stay in such a terrible marriage (even if the woman in question wants to divorce but is just asking for emotional and/or financial support in leaving the husband).
Taking all that into consideration, in a way, I’m not so sure any more that church itself is a healthy, safe place for single women to meet single men for the purposes of dating and/or marriage.
There are just as many perverts, abusers, self absorbed jackasses, and con artists in the church as there are in other areas.
On the other hand, I think it’s hypocritical of Christians to do things such as (I’ve seen them commit the following actions often, either to myself, or to other adult singles):
1- elevate marriage as they do, turn marriage and the nuclear family into idols all should strive to attain,
shame singles for being single as they often do,
tell a marriage-desiring single that she is guilty of “idolizing” marriage if she admits to wanting to be married,
tell such a single who asks, “can this church not help me get married?” by replying, “church is not a dating service or a meat market,”
and then not lift a finger to help singles to get married
2- to teach (as they did to me in the Baptist faith tradition) that God will just supernaturally send you a spouse with no, to almost no, human effort, so just pray, have faith, and wait and God will send you a spouse – but when you’re still single at 35, these same Christians won’t assist a single in getting married
3- minister to married couples, offer many social events etc aimed at married people and at “nuclear families” but then turn around and tell singles, “if you want to get married, do it on your own.”
Anyway, I do think that churches absolutely do need to get off their asses and take practical steps to help single adults to get married, such as fixing singles up on dates who are willing to do that, holding singles mixer functions where singles can meet and chat, and so on.
Marriage does not happen magically for most people.
For most people, human action is involved – but many Christians keep presenting this bogus view that all marriage occurs via chance or supernatural means. It does not.
If Christians are as pro-marriage as they CLAIM to be, that means that they should be aiding singles who want marriage to get married – the Bible tells Christians to help other people when they can, and to meet the needs of other people when or if they can (see (Link): James 2:16).
Not all of a human being’s needs revolve around the spiritual: we all have physical and psychological needs, including a need for companionship, and for many, that may come via marriage (though married couples should make room in their lives to hang out with single adults who don’t have a partner).
Churches and Christians should be assisting single adults in getting their needs met. And stop asking single adults to meet the needs of the church and of married couples – churches have been in this parasitic, one-way relationship with single adults for years now, and singles have nothing to show for it.
The sad reality in the mean-time is that most Christians and churches do not give a rat’s ass about single adults, of helping single adults, or in helping single adults get married – they should (SHOULD) care about all those things and help singles, but they are more likely to either ignore singles or shame them than to help them.
So, James, and to singles like him, I hate to break it to you, but if you want a spouse, Pat Robertson is unfortunately, sadly, correct:
You’ll need to get a spouse by your own effort, because Christians – though they should be helping you – the fact is most will not help you, and some out-right will refuse to help you, one reason of which is that some of them think because by you merely wanting marriage, you are in sin, because you are supposedly making marriage into an idol (though you are not).
According to the singles-shamers out there in churches, and on Christian forums and blogs, you’re supposed to be “content in your singleness,” and just put up with it and suffer through it in silence (at those times when you’re unhappy about being single).
You are on your own, James.
It should not be so, but that is the reality in Christian churches today, and it’s been that way for decades.
So, James, and to other singles in his position:
Start doing things like asking friends to fix you up with eligible partners for dates, maybe politely introduce yourself to single adults you see browsing the aisles in the produce section at your local grocery store, and I hate to say it, but maybe give dating sites a try (but have realistic expectations about the dating sites! Dating sites are not magic fix it alls, there can be losers and creeps online as well).
To single adults such as James I also say:
Stop expecting Christians, churches, and maybe even God, to send you a spouse or fix you up on hot dates.
I wish it were not so, but I think if you’re a single who desires marriage, you will have to go about it on your own, and don’t expect help from Christians, (aside from doing the “hey, married friend of mine, can you try fixing me up on dates with any singles you know?” tactic).
700 Club show with a question to Pat Robertson from James, the 48 year old single guy (his question comes around the last 10 – 15 minutes of the show):
(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): Stop Believing God Told You to Marry Your Spouse by G. Thomas
(Link): Women: Stop Asking Pat Robertson For Romantic Relationship Advice – Whether You Are Divorced or Single – Pat Robertson Replies to Letter from Four Time Divorced Woman Who Wants to Know If God Will Send Her a Non-Abusive Husband
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)