Thoughts Regarding ‘Both Purity Culture and Hook-Up Culture Failed Me’ by A. Murrish
First, here is a link to the page I will be discussing:
I don’t care for this editorial.
For one thing it sort of spiritualizes the status of singleness, which is grating to any adult over the age of 35, who had hoped to marry, but is still single.
Next, the author points to the church as a solution for singles.
She is essentially telling marriage-desiring singles to lose themselves in church, to find belonging in church groups.
The problem with this is that for many never-married adults (and some divorced and widowed) over the age of 30, most churches either ignore adult singles, or they insult adult singles, because they are too preoccupied with promoting marriage and catering to the needs of married couples.
Here is part of what the author says:
Amid these ups and downs of my romantic life, I found myself captivated by someone else: the bride of Christ. This realization came slowly over time. As my dating life floundered, I began to see that I’d traded one set of unbiblical views of sex for another. The purity culture that I’d embraced in high school was just as insufficient and empty as hook-up culture.
…In the immense loneliness of my freshman year, things began to shift not when I started dating a guy (which eventually led to a breakup) but rather when I started “doing life” with God’s people.
…Although it’s taken me years to learn this lesson, I know deeply that I am not so much holding onto my faith as it is holding on to me.
And that “holding on” means pouring my life into the community of God and in turn allowing them to meet me, love me, work alongside me, and sit with me in the midst of hard and harrowing times.
I am reminded day in and day out that although we don’t always have tidy answers, we have a Savior who enters our isolation and pain, sits with us in it, and promises to restore all things.
So, she found a Christian-based group at her college that made her feel included – which is great for her – but that is not the experience most Christian singles have had within Christianity, and certainly not adults who are out of college and into their 30s, 40s, or older, and who attend churches.
Lastly, the most grating thing to me is that she (of course) ends her story by mentioning she got married by the age of twenty five and has a child by her husband.
It’s so very off-putting to read these editorials by people who tell me how so gosh-dang hard single life was for them and they go on to lecture me I should stop wanting to be married, and they advise me to just think fluffy thoughts about how great Jesus is and try to find “community” by attending church every week – but then this same person ends up by disclosing the fact they got married by the age of 25 or 35.
To the lady who wrote this article, who got married when she was 25 years old: I’m nearing age 50 and am still single – please do not lecture me to be all spiritual about Jesus, focus on a church group (most churches don’t want over- age- 30s who are still single), and also then proceed to tell me that you got married before you hit 40. Just don’t.
It would be like you writing a big long editorial telling infertile women who’d like to have a baby, who are now 55 or 60 years old, to just be all spiritual and look to Jesus, and you end on the note that, “oh, by the way, I used to be barren, but I got married by age 32 and have two children, with two more on the way by end of this year!”
It’s oh- so- easy for people who got what they wanted to lecture the rest of us who are still without.
And for this lady author’s information, I was in fact a very devout Christian for many years, I attended church on a regular basis, I tried helping other people (rather than looking to get my own needs met and so on), and none of that brought me peace or joy, none of that brought me companionship, and none of it made up for being single but wanting to be married.
“The bride of Christ” in the United States today (ie, Christian culture, Christian people) does not give a rat’s ass about never married adults (or the divorced or widowed) who are over the age of 30.
They don’t want us singles. They only write editorials about how churches and how married Christians should exploit us.
As to this portion of the woman’s editorial…
Although [Joshua] Harris is no longer a Christian, I still believe what he once believed: True love comes in the Incarnation, when Jesus entered our suffering world to make all things new. As I look to the naked, bloodied man on the cross, I see someone who loved me so much that he died in order that he might call medaughter. He never promised me marriage. But as he calls me his child, he ushers me into a new family—the body of Christ—that loves me and meets me in my deepest loneliness.
Remember, this is a woman who previously in the article said,
I’m now a woman on the brink of 30, married for five years with a seven-month-old daughter. I count my husband and daughter as two of the greatest blessings, and I give thanks for them.
…we have a Savior who enters our isolation and pain, sits with us in it, and promises to restore all things.
I really don’t find these sorts of editorials edifying or encouraging. After all, either the author seems to be shaming marriage-desiring single adults for wanting marriage…
Or, if it’s not shaming singles who want marriage, she is rather, trying to tell us to be okay with our singleness because Jesus died for us on a cross 2,000 years ago – which I am sorry to say does not change my marital status. I’m just as single whether Jesus died on a cross for me or not.
So no, Jesus dying for me or being my Savior doesn’t cheer me up or make my singleness status more bearable.
Additionally, the church – other Christians – have not been there for me in my singleness, or in the days I had clinical depression, or even after my mother died. I’ve had to get through those things all alone.
During the greatest trials or disappointments in my life, the people of God did not walk with me. They abandoned me. Additionally, I did not feel the presence of God, either.
My Savior did not “enter into my isolation and pain and sit with me in it” etc. and so on.
Honestly, I’ve found some of this comfort or encouragement only in a few online acquaintance-ships I have, with people who are in similar situations as myself and some of whom are just as disillusioned and disappointed in the Christian faith as I am.
But I really, really do not need or want a 30 year old woman who got married when she was 25 years old trying to tell me how to handle singleness, when I am nearing the age of 50, and I’ve never married. That one really burns my biscuit.
Special note to the folks at Christianity Today magazine and to any and all Christian publications:
Stop, stop, stop getting married people, especially ones who got married before they hit age 36, to write these articles or posts advising anyone and everyone on how to handle being single.
You have readers who are over the age of 35, who are still single, such as myself, who find these types of articles rather insensitive, wrong-headed, and incorrect, even if their motivations came from a good place.
Find someone who is actually 40 and older, who’s never married, and have them tackle lifelong singleness in your editorials and articles – not someone who got married when they were 25 years old. What were you guys at Christianity Today thinking?
It’s like getting that Octo-Mom lady to write an editorial on “How to Be Happy in Your Infertility” to Christian women who want to get pregnant and have a baby, but they cannot because they are barren.
Surely you Christian publications out there can find some never-married 40 or 60 year old to write articles about singleness?
(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): Why Christians Need To Stress Spiritual Family Over the Nuclear Family – People with no flesh and blood relations including Muslims who Convert to Christianity – Also: First World, White, Rich People Problems
(Link): The Neglected God Calls Us to Reach Out to the Neglected at Christmas: God with Us and Them—Immanuel (Re: People Who Are Alone At the Holidays)