Should Churches Aid (In) Matchmaking For Lonely Singles? by John Stonestreet
Way below in this blog post is a link to an editorial at the Christian Post which asks if “churches should aid (in) matchmaking for lonely singles.” The author, Stonestreet, believes the answer to that inquiry is a definite “yes.”
Most Southern Baptist and conservative Protestant churches do not do near enough to help single adults in any capacity, let alone helping them to meet potential dates to later marry.
There is a widespread misconception by a lot of Christians that the church was founded by God only to “share the Gospel,” which is false.
The New Testament itself contains examples of “the church” being used for other purposes, such as apostle Paul taking up a monetary collection from other Christians in other churches to give to a church in financial need – as but one example. (I’ve covered this in older posts on my blog, so I shall not rehash it here.)
I am of two minds about the use of church for helping singles find someone to get married to –
I used to be more on board with the idea, but in my years of maintaining this blog, and seeing the (Link): never-ending parade of Christian men, of Christian husbands, who are abusers, scum buckets, pedophiles and perverts, I’m thinking that churches may not be a safe place for single Christian women to find dates after all.
I mentioned that point (Link): under Christian Post’s tweet about this story, only to be told by a person named “Bibi” (I assume Bibi is a woman – or is that a male name?) that I was in error, because churches are hospitals for sinners, not museums for saints.
Bibi said God is in the business of cleaning up perverts and abusers. She said Moses was a murderer.
Bibi seemed to be suggesting that all single women every where throw away any and all standards and be willing to risk marriage to a pervert or an abuser – which makes no sense to me, and is a very stupid idea.
So I replied to her, is her reasoning that I should intentionally go out of my way to marry a murderer, or an abuser or a pervert? I told her, no thanks, I’d rather marry a decent guy.
The issue of whether God can and will forgive a murderer, abuser, or pervert, is a separate issue of what sort of man a single woman would be best off marrying.
Even in the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells believers to dis-fellowship from people who are self professing believers who are yet living in on-going sin (such as a man who is committing adultery on his wife but refuses to give up on his mistress, that sort of thing).
There is nothing in the Bible that says, commands, or pressures single women to marry men who are profane, perverted, selfish, or abusive.
Even if there seemed to be, one cannot trust other people’s interpretations of the Bible – at the end of the day, you have to do what is right and safest for you, regardless of what Christians say they think you “ought” to do.
Because the Christians who are so self assured in their biblical interpretations and their “biblical advice” are not the ones who would actually have to live with and put up with the abuser or pervert in day- to- day life, if you went with their advice and married the creep. That would be YOU that would have to put up with the garbage.
The focus in this editorial, unfortunately, is on younger people. Christians should be willing to help older singles “pair up” too, not just the college-aged kids.
Younger people don’t need as much help in this matter – as one grows older, one is not naturally surrounded by as many age-appropriate suitors.
(Note: this is not an endorsement for “early marriage,” as Christians promote it – I do not favor “early marriage.”
Here is the editorial:
(Link): Should Churches Aid Matchmaking For Lonely Singles? by John Stonestreet
Despite our ever-greater mobility and even more efficient connectivity, sociologists continue to note that Americans struggle to form lasting, fulfilling relationships of all kinds, but especially marriages. We face a very real epidemic of loneliness, one that is, not coincidentally, accompanied by a steady decline in marriage.
According to Pew Research, marriage rates have fallen to historic lows over the last 30 years, especially among younger people. At the same time, the typical age at first marriage has climbed to a historic high.
Increasingly, Americans who are looking for love can’t find it, at least not in the traditional ways. And so they are turning online. A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University reports that online dating has now replaced the church, family members, and mutual friends as the primary way American couples meet.
Now, in no way do I wish to knock online dating, per se. Many happily married Christian couples began their stories together via an online dating service. I’d suggest online dating is filling a void left as traditional social institutions fail. At the same time, plummeting marriage rates and spiking loneliness rates indicate that even our best technologies will never fill the hole left as families, churches, and communities become less central to our life together.
…In fact, it’s not exaggerating that this is even a question of how the next generation will come into being—and what will play the central relational roles in their lives. After all, marriage is not a stand-alone institution. It’s part of a social fabric that’s tearing apart. As fewer couples get together and form strong marriages, the faster the tear grows, and the further apart people drift.
Writing at Quillette recently, Mary Eberstadt describes how the de-centering of marriage and family has resulted in and reinforced the explosion of sexual and gender identities. Increasingly, young people are forced to answer the basic human question “who am I?” without a mother and a father, without siblings, an extended family, a community, or a church body to help. So many are left only with a letter in an acronym or an adopted sense of historical grievance to center their identities.
… Yet, this culture of identity and family crisis is also a tremendous opportunity for the church, one not without historical precedent.
As Rodney Stark observes, one of the reasons early Christianity grew so rapidly in the second century was that Roman young men turned to the church to find eligible young women.
The church was full of eligible young women because early Christians had faithfully rescued Roman girls from infanticide and raised them in their communities.
Years ago, I heard Maggie Gallagher suggest that it might be time for churches to get back to this kind of work.
While we rescue babies from abortion in word and deed, perhaps we should also get serious about introducing singles to each other.
Perhaps married Christian couples should, you know, “meddle” a bit more and host some matchmaking dinners?
…The Body of Christ has a unique potential role to play in reversing the decline of marriage and the epidemic of loneliness.