views and thoughts on topics, especially ones pertaining to christianity – with an emphasis on how most christians either ignore or discriminate against unmarried christians – and how christians have turned marriage and parenting into IDOLS and how there is no true support for sexual purity, virginity, or celibacy among christians – this is a blog for me to vent; I seldom permit dissenting views. I don't debate dissenters ————-
No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings
BIBLICAL LITERALISM AND INERRANCY
Another common thread I see on forums for spiritual recovery sites (or ones by ex Christians, liberal Christians, etc), is a rejection of
1. Biblical literalism
2. Biblical inerrancy
This is all so much intellectual dishonesty in another form it makes me want to throw up.
I spent years studying about the history of the Bible, Bible translation, and so forth.
I came away realizing that the Bible is inerrant and yes, we can trust the copies we have today; the Bible is not filled with historic blunders and mistakes, and all the other tripe atheists like to claim.
It is not entirely accurate for critics to paint the Bible as a purely man-made document, that contains mistakes because it was copied and re-copied numerous times over the centuries.
While there is an aspect of truth to that description, the end conclusion, or how that description, impacts the NIV or NASB Bible version you have sitting on your coffee table right now, is not how critics of the Bible paint it.
Atheists and ex-Christians who are critical of the Bible are disingenuous and duplicitous in how they paint some of their arguments against the Bible, and they should be ashamed for it, as some of them claim to be truth lovers.
Not too long ago, an ex-Christian woman at another site was declaring that Christians cannot “trust” the Bible because the originals (called the Autographa) do not exist.
Oh please! I pointed out to her that is not so: as far as the New Testament is concerned, scholars have many thousands of copies of the Autographa (some dating within decades of the originals), and by use of lower textual criticism, they can reconstruct the READINGS of the Autographa.
It is not necessary to have “the biblical originals” themselves to know what they said, as she was dishonestly arguing (but she later accused me of being dishonest!).
I pointed this FACT out to her (about it not being necessary to have the autographa to know what the autographa said), where upon she shot back the falsity that one cannot trust the translations anyway because they are done by “conservatives.”
Oh, but she is willing to grant liberal scholars or liberal theologians the title of un-biased, as though they do not have an ax to grind against the Bible and dating its documents and so forth?
Because the liberal scholars do in fact start out their examinations of the Bible from an anti- Christian bias.
The woman with whom I was corresponding on this matter doesn’t seem to understand that the practice of lower textual criticism is a science – a liberal who uses that methodology would come to the same conclusion as the conservative who uses it.
So here we have an example of one type of ex-Christian I am talking about:
This woman claims she was a Christian at one time, now fancies herself atheist or agnostic (and some kind of expert on the Bible), but who now spews inaccurate or untrue things about the Bible, because she disdains all of Christianity in general.
My view: Do not lie about the Bible’s history, accuracy, and textual evidence just because “Preacher Fred” at your old church was a big meanie to you X years ago (or insert whatever other emotional baggage you carry against Christians that now colors all your other views about the faith and Bible here) – please!
Give me a freaking break.
I am genuinely compassionate towards people who have been hurt by churches, but not to the point I cover for their dishonesty about how they discuss church history, the biblical documents, etc.
Because some of these folks claim to have been hurt by Christians in general, or a particular denomination, or what have you, they feel fine now rejecting biblical literalism and inerrancy.
No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected
✹ What follows is actually the heart of my “No Man’s Land” view. This is what prompted me to write it: ✹
✹ TAKING THE OPPOSITE POSITION OF WHAT YOU USED TO BELIEVE BUT NOW HATE – DUE TO EMOTIONAL REASONS OR A KNEE JERK RESPONSE OR FROM SPITE – IS JUST AS WRONG AND MISTAKEN ✹
As to the forums and blogs by ex Christians, liberal Christians, self identifying post-evangelicals, or those still Christian who expose spiritual abuse…
I notice a number of the regular visitors to these sites – the ones who left an abusive or legalistic church or denomination – simply now operate in the reverse in their thinking, which is, IMO, just as bad or wrong as the thinking they are leaving.
There are different types of ex-Christians one must take into consideration when discussing this topic, so I shall present some sketches of them first.
IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists)
For example, there are ex IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists).
IFB preachers and churches are ridiculously legalistic. They make up rules that are not in the Bible, or twist or exaggerate the rules already there to the point those rules then become unbiblical.
IFBs are the contemporary, American versions of the Bible’s Pharisees: nit picky, anal retentive, legalists who make up man-made rules but insist they are “biblical” and thus binding on all believers.
IFBs concoct man-made traditions they expect all IFB members to adhere to, just like the Roman Catholic hierarchy does towards Roman Catholic members.
For example, IFB churches are legalistic about secular entertainment and clothing and physical appearance.
IFB churches teach their congregations that women should not wear pants but only skirts. And the skirts should be only so many inches above or below the knee.
According to IFBs, men should not have hair that touches the back shirt collar – not a mullet to be found in IFB, which may be a good thing. Secular music and television is sinful and should always be avoided.
IFBs have other legalistic rules for just about every aspect of life.
IFBs are vehemently anti-Roman Catholicism as well as anti-Calvinism.
No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (PART 1)
This will be a series of posts where my thoughts wander in and out and all over, and it rambles, but there is a point or two behind it.
Since I’ve been in a faith crisis the last couple of years, somewhere between being an agnostic and a Christian, I have noticed I don’t fit in anywhere. I reside in No Man’s Land.
(Even before then, when I was a total, committed Christian, and politically, I was, and am, right wing, I still didn’t fit in at most blogs and forums, including political ones, and including ones for right wingers!
I tend to be one of those personalities who annoys or angers everyone, even those on “my side” of an issue, except a small number of people, who are either on my side of a topic or not, who “get me” or who appreciate where I’m coming from – again, this is true for even the ones who disagree with me on whatever topic we are discussing.)
I am in this really weird place now, where I am critical of some aspects of conservative Christianity, and see where conservative Christians get some doctrines and other things wrong, but, too, I am not fully on board with militant atheism (I find the New Atheists to be arrogant, vile, hateful and rude), and I don’t even care for lukewarm atheism.
Nor am I in the camp of anything and all things liberal Christianity, except where I think they get the occasional point correct (such as their rejection of gender complementarianism).
Since drifting away from the Christian faith more the last few years, I more often began frequenting forums or blogs for and by atheists, ones by liberal Christians, ones by ex Christians, or by Christians who were abused by a former church who remain Christian but who dropped out of Church, or who now are on a crusade to expose abuse by preachers or the absurdity and harm of current evangelical gimmicks.
THE MILITANT ATHEISTS
A clarification: when I say I have been visiting atheist forums and blogs more often, I am very picky about which ones I regularly visit.
I do not like the frothing- at- the- mouth, extremely bitter, biased- against- Christians- type atheistic communities.
The bitter atheist groups sound like a bunch of irrational, hate-filled loons who reject Christianity for emotional reasons, but who lie to others and themselves and say, “Oh no, it’s purely intellectual.”
But their unrelenting, insane amount of hatred at any and all things God and Christian, is just a total turn-off to me, so I try to avoid such sites.
These angry, always-ranting atheists are really nothing more than Fundamentalist Atheists or Taliban Atheists. They are just as dogmatic about their atheism as Muslims are in their Wasabi Islam or Baptists are in their Neo Fundamentalism.
Really, those types of atheists are just as bad as the religious groups they claim they hate, but they don’t seem to spot that they are. It’s ironic – and it’s hard to stomach the day in, day out anger and hatred, so I try to avoid their sites.
HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS VS NON HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS
Also, you have to be honest with yourself, which I do not find militant atheists to be, by and large: not every single Christian is a hypocrite, jerk, idiot, dullard, or complete jackhole.
I say this as someone who is very fed up with Christianity and Christian persons myself these days.
But your average militant atheist will never admit that some Christians are in fact okay and not being hypocrites.
I have known and met a few Christians who were sincerely trying to live the Christian faith out, such as my mother, who is now deceased, and her mother before her (my grandmother).
I’ve met a few honest, sincere Christians online who do help people and show compassion to the wounded.
So it’s not fair to completely dismiss the entirety of Christians and their faith or treat them all like jerks because some are liars, mean, or abusive.
Which is not easy for me personally, because at the same time, I do keep noticing that a lot of self-professing believers do NOT live out what the Bible says.
Many self professing Christians today, for example, do not protect victims, such as young church members who have been sexually molested by preachers.
Nor do many church goers today hold accountable preachers who bilk their church goers out of millions to buy big mansions and jets.
Then you have a conservative or evangelical culture, which claims to care deeply that people preserve sex until marriage, but if you actually find yourself 40 years of age and still single – and therefore still a virgin, such as myself – these same churches and Christians do not offer you any support.
You either go ignored, or preachers and talking heads of such groups “run down” and insult celibacy as well as older, celibate adults. Churches treat single (and especially celibate) adults as though they are flawed, lepers, weirdos, or losers.
Churches wrongly counsel abused wives to return to their spouses – this is particularly true, again, of churches or Christian groups who buy into “biblical womanhood” (aka “gender complementariansm”) or “patriarchy.”
Churches and average Christians also remain ignorant or callous about matters pertaining to mental health issues, from P.T.S.D. to depression and anxiety attacks.
Some Christians wrongly and insensitively teach that “real Christians” can never get depression or other mental health maladies.
Or, some Christians believe and teach that prayer, faith, service to the poor, or Bible reading alone can cure one of mental illness.
Yet other Christians are incompetent at, or unwilling, to provide more ordinary, “every day,” run- of- the- mill comfort to other Christians who are hurting, such as a Christian who is stressed out over a job loss, someone who is in mourning for a deceased loved one, etc.
Christians are dropping the ball in numerous ways.
And this failure, this huge failure, causes life long Christians like me to look long and hard at the faith and wonder if it’s true at all.
It causes even someone such as myself to ask if the faith is true, because
it doesn’t appear to be working,
it doesn’t make a difference in people’s life who profess it,
most who claim to follow Christ don’t actually do what he taught,
and some Christians refuse to hold Christians caught in bald faced sin accountable but excuse them for the sin,
~ and it makes you wonder “what is the point, then.”
I find this discrepancy between confessed belief and actual practice shocking, because I myself sincerely tried living out the faith since childhood.
Also, my Christian mother was a role model for me, and she genuinely, consistently lived out and by biblical teachings, including getting up off her ass and actually HELPING people (giving them money if they were in a bind, cleaning their homes for them when they were sick, listening to them cry and rant about their problems for hours without judging them or interrupting them, etc).
I am not seeing most other Christians do any of this. They say they believe in those things but then they do not do them.
BLOGS AND FORUMS FOR SPIRITUALLY ABUSED OR THOSE HURT BY CHURCHES
Before I actually get into this topic (which I discuss more in Posts 2 and 3), here is some background leading up to it.
As far as the sites I have visited by liberal Christians, ex Christians, atheists, as well as sites by Christians for the spiritually abused:
By and large, these have been wonderful, supportive sites and groups to visit (the ones run by Christians for hurting Christians).
I have noticed, though, that there are problems even within these types of communities, and I don’t entirely fit in at them, either.
My wife and I raised four daughters — without shotguns in the house! — and three of them have already married. We love our sons-in-law, and it’s obvious God handpicked each of them to match our daughters’ temperaments and personality.
I have always believed God is in the matchmaking business. If He can do it for my daughters, He can do it for you.
…. Today I have several single female friends who would very much like to find the right guy.
Some tell me the pickings are slim at their church, so they have ventured into the world of online dating. Others have thrown up their hands in despair, wondering if there are any decent Christian guys left anywhere.
They’ve begun to wonder if they should lower their standards in order to find a mate. My advice stands: Don’t settle for less than God’s best. Too many Christian women today have ended up with an Ishmael because impatience pushed them into an unhappy marriage.
Please take my fatherly advice: You are much better off single than with the wrong guy!
Speaking of “wrong guys,” here are the top 10 men you should avoid when looking for a husband:
1. The unbeliever. Please write 2 Corinthians 6:14 on a Post-it note and tack it on your computer at work. It says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (NASB).
This is not an outdated religious rule. It is the Word of God for you today. Don’t allow a man’s charm, looks or financial success (or his willingness to go to church with you) push you to compromise what you know is right. “Missionary dating” is never a wise strategy. If the guy is not a born-again Christian, scratch him off your list. He’s not right for you. I’ve yet to meet a Christian woman who didn’t regret marrying an unbeliever.
He goes on to list more Christian men he thinks a Christian single should not marry, including: the liar, the playboy, the dead beat, the control freak, the man child, the narcissist, the bum – and a few others.
I’m not even sure where to start with this.
First, let me say I enjoyed one or two points he made, and I agree with them, such as point #10,
10. The control freak.
Some Christian guys today believe marriage is about male superiority. They may quote Scripture and sound super-spiritual, but behind the façade of husbandly authority is deep insecurity and pride that can morph into spiritual abuse.
First Peter 3:7 commands husbands to treat their wives as equals. If the man you are dating talks down to you, makes demeaning comments about women or seems to squelch your spiritual gifts, back away now. He is on a power trip. Women who marry religious control freaks often end up in a nightmare of depression.
I applaud him on point #10 there, good job on point 10! Woo!
Point #9 (about avoiding the “man-child” category of adult males) isn’t altogether a bad point, either (I was engaged to a quasi man-child, and no, I did not enjoy it), but that point taken too far, or if over-emphasized, and we are getting into Mark Driscoll territory (click here for more on that), and lots of younger males in particular are deeply insulted by some of Driscoll’s views about men.
On the one hand, the guy who wrote this, Grady, assumes God will send you (you being a single Christian woman who wants to get married) the Christian man o’ your dreams.
If this is so, why does Grady make a long list telling single women not to marry a drug addict, bum, control freak, liar, etc?
If it were true that God just blessed single females with a “dream boat” of a Christian spouse, if they just trust God and pray about it, there would be no need for a woman to use her discernment and weed out the pigs, dogs, and liars from the Prince Charmings, and to have these lists of what sort of men to avoid marrying in the first place, now would there?
If you have bothered to read any other posts at this blog before, you know my deal.
But if you’re new, here’s a recap:
I’m over 40 years of age, raised a Christian, dreamed of being married, still single in my 40s, bought into evangelical/Baptist propaganda from my youth forwards that if I only trusted God for a spouse, stayed sexually pure, prayed, and waited, that God would deliver “Mr. Christian Right” to my front door. (I even tried dating sites, went to churches, volunteered at soup kitchens, etc., still no spouse.)
Despite all my waiting, praying, staying a virgin into adulthood, attending church, using dating sites, volunteering at charities, ‘looking to the kingdom first,’ and having faith, and all the other twaddle Christians tell you that you must do to earn or obtain a spouse – God never did send me a spouse.
And did I mention the part where I’m in my 40s now? It’s more than a bit ridiculous to keep telling women at my age to “keep praying, trusting” and all the usual advice these 50- year- old, married men issue to 15 or 23 year old single women.
That is one reason I cringe when I see Christians write comments such as these, by J. Lee Grady, who wrote on the page I excerpted above:
…and it’s obvious God handpicked each of them [the husbands] to match our daughters’ temperaments and personality.
I have always believed God is in the matchmaking business. If He can do it for my daughters, He can do it for you.
Buddy, I don’t know how to tell you this… but God did not “hand pick” husbands for your daughters.
Your daughters simply dated around until they found a man they felt compatible with, and they got lucky. And who knows if all the marriages of all three of your daughters will last?
Maybe one or more of your daughters will divorce in the future. If one of them divorces, how will you stick to the belief that God “hand picked” their spouse for them?
Why would God “hand pick” a man for a woman only for their marriage to fall apart years later? If God did the spouse choosing, don’t you think there would be little to no divorce, rather than the 40 – 60% divorce rate among Christians we do have these days?
You have plenty of other single Christian women out there that prayed and waited, and God did not “hand pick” any husbands for them.
Yes, 2 Corinthians 6:14 is, contrary to what Grady states, an outdated biblical rule, especially in the United States of America, where studies I read say there are about three un-married, adult Christian women for every one un-married, adult Christian man.
That means about two out of three Christian women who are single who desire marriage (assuming they all want to marry) will be unable to marry a Christian man, because there are not enough Christian men for the ladies to marry.
The “be equally yoked” (or in the negative, “do not be unequally yoked”) is only serving to keep single Christian women who desire marriage indefinitely single – it sets up an unrealistic, unnecessary hurdle they must contend with in mate selection and in getting to the altar.
Not only that, but some Christians are not even clear on what “being equally yoked” really means. For example, some gender complementarians would tell single Christian women it is not enough for her to marry a Christian man, oh no, but the man she marries must also be one she feels she can “submit to,” or one who can be her “spiritual leader” or “spiritual head.”
Some preachers, such as Seattle’s Mark Driscoll, have also told women, or implied or alluded, to only marry a guy who has his own car and a steady job, on top of marrying only a Christian guy.
Driscoll also stated that Christian single women should NOT marry a Pro-Choice man, see this link:
Although I do not agree with Regenerus (Christian college professor and author) on everything, he rightly pointed out over a year ago in an article that Christians are un-biblical to keep adding more and more criteria on Christian mate selection lists that they expect Christian single females to adhere to, because such criteria are keeping too many women single too long.
Here are some of Regenerus’ remarks from that article:
— start quote —
Genuine interfaith marriage is a challenge I don’t recommend. But as marriage has shifted in purpose over time, many Christians have added layers of meaning onto Paul’s wise command.
“Unequally yoked” has evolved into a graded criterion for an optimal mate rather than a simple test for an acceptable one. This is a problem. Why? Spiritual maturity is not equally distributed among men and women in the peak marrying years. Quality survey data reveal only two serious, churchgoing evangelical men for every three comparable women.
Thus, one out of every three evangelical women is not in a position to marry a man who’s her “spiritual equal,” let alone “head.”
This elevated standard now translates — for women, at least — to something like this: “Find that uncommon man who is your spiritual equal or leader, not to mention kind, virtuous, industrious, employed, and, if possible, handsome, and then figure out how to make him want to marry you.”
A tall order it is.
As a result of the increasing “failure to launch,” evangelicals find themselves saying lots of nice things about the benefits of singleness (which certainly do exist), but seem unwilling to move their boundary stones for marriage. Except that they have moved them, away from acceptability and toward ideals. It’s not a surprising move, since marriage is far more voluntary and economically unnecessary for women (and men) today than it was as recently as 50 years ago.
Basically, not only are Christian singles told to hold out for ONLY another Christian single, but if they are female, and depending on which type of church or denomination they belong to, they are also told they can only marry a Christian man IF he meets one or more of the following criteria:
1. she can picture herself submitting to him;
2. he is more spiritually mature than her;
3. (if in an IFB church), he must be King James Version Only;
4. (if in a Neo Calvinist church), he must be a Calvinist
You might as well also add other, too narrow, picky, and ridiculous requirements for a spouse, such as, in addition to being a Christian single man (which are very rare to start with), the man in question must :
1. the man must have one blue eye and one green eye;
2. the man must own a pet llama named Henry;
3. the man must have a hobby of collecting Mego Star Trek figures;
4. the man must have the habit of picking all blue M&M candies out from every package of M&M candy he opens
5. the man’s favorite day of the week must be Tuesday;
6. The man’s middle name must start with the letter “Q”
The longer one makes a “list of criteria for a martial partner” the smaller the pool of eligible mates one has to choose from.
I really do not think most Christians appreciate this fact – and it’s common sense, but it sails right over the heads of most married Christians who dole out this useless advice to singles.
“I’ve yet to meet a Christian woman who didn’t regret marrying an unbeliever.”
And I’ve seen a fair share of online testimonies by Christian women who did marry a Non Christian and have no regrets about it. They say they have happy marriages and are doing just fine.
I wonder if part of the stubborn insistence by Christians that single Christian women should break up with a Non-Christian man (even if they are in love with him), and “trust God” to send them a Christian guy later on, is a denial that there are simply not enough Christian men for Christian ladies to marry.
Christian apologist William Craig Lane unfortunately seems to assume if a Christian single woman is dating a Non-Christian man, that if she breaks up with the guy, that in his good time, God will send her, or reward her with, a Christian husband – but this is not true (see this page, off site: (Link): Marrying a Non Christian, reply by William Lane Craig).
A lot of Christian women find themselves waiting, waiting, waiting for a Christian spouse, just as Lane Craig and others advise – and die never having married.
And bear in mind that Craig admits in that answer on that page that he’s been married to a Christian women for 30 or whatever years – I notice that frequently when Christians who tell hurting, lonely singles to stay single while “waiting on God for a spouse,” they are themselves MARRIED and have BEEN MARRIED FOR DECADES.
How EASY it is for YOU, married guy of 30 years, to tell 25, 35, 45 year old women who WANT marriage, but who are SINGLE, to keep tossing out suitable men, one after the other, just because they are not Christian.
Give me a break. This is nothing but a cruel, devious trick that is unnecessarily keeping droves of single Christian women single indefinitely, or well into their 40s and older.
Over a year ago, I found a long thread on a Christian forum where many Christians who had married atheists and other types of Non Christians talked about their marriage experiences, and many of the Christian women said their marriages to their unbelieving spouses were fine.
There was no abuse, their unbelieving spouses did not cheat on them, respected their faith, and so forth. If I can find that discussion I will link to it. I can’t remember the name of the forum I found those testimonies on.
If you google it, you can of course find a ton of lay-persons on the internet claiming that a Christian to a Non Christian marriage will end in failure and heartbreak – but again, I’ve come across plenty of positive testimonies about it as well. I don’t think Christian to Non-Christian marriage is necessarily doomed to failure.
I preface the link, which is much farther below to an atheist blog page, by saying this: I notice that often times atheists take the “be not yoked” teaching as a personal slam against atheists, which it’s not intended to be, not from the Christian view.
When Christians talk about being married to only other Christians, they are not suggesting that atheists are evil trash and not good enough for Christian companionship.
I mean, look it, you have a lot of Christians who fall in love with a person who is an atheist (or agnostic), and then they run to a preacher asking, “Is it a sin for me, a Christian to marry this atheist? I’d really like to marry him/her, but he/she is an unbeliever, and I don’t know what to do.”
In other words, if all Christians every where thought of all atheists as being evil idiot dirt balls, you would not see this question raised to start with, because you would not have Christians dating and falling in love with atheists (and other types of Non-Christians).
The “be not yoked” teaching is more pro-Christian and supported out of concern for the Christian’s spiritual well being, and is not “anti atheist.”
The teaching is mainly spoken out of concern that a Christian who marries a non-believer might have his or her faith compromised, or the atheist spouse may act as an obstacle to the believing spouse serving God, attending church, and so forth.
It’s a pro-Christian teaching, not anti-atheist, but a lot of atheists choose to misinterpret it in that way. Like the guy on this page below does – the guy who runs the “Friendly Atheist” blog.
I sometimes visit the Friendly Atheist’s blog and even agree with him at times on some subjects, but not totally on the “be not yoked” teaching, where he takes the teaching as an intentional insult against atheists.
I do, however, agree with some of this other views on the issue, which you can read about here:
That page even has quotes from a friend of Mehta (the atheist blogger guy) who is a Christian, Alise Wright, who is married to an atheist. He gets her take on the situation. Here is one quote by Alise Wright on his page:
— start quote—
Due to our differences in faith, my husband [who is an atheist] and I [who am a Christian] have had to work on our ability to communicate a bit more.
It requires us to find the areas where our common ethos meet and build on that. It requires us to be more generous and more forgiving with one another because we are determined not to be another statistic in the broken marriage category. Interfaith marriages are happening.
Rather than simply saying, “Don’t do that,” the Church needs to look for ways to encourage couples who are in these marriages instead of leaving them to their own devices.
If we truly want to recognize marriage as something beautiful and sacred, then we need to provide tools to help those who have married someone outside of the Christian faith find that in their spouse and in their marriage. I agree with those sentiments above.
Grady ends his editorial, “10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry,” by saying,
“Your smartest decision in life is to wait for a man who is sold out to Jesus.”
Er, no. I’m in my early 40s and still not married. You are, when you get down to it, asking me to stay single until I die. No thank you.
God has done didley squat NOTHING up to this point to send me a spouse, so I have to take matters into my own hands, which means getting back on to the dating horse once more, but this time, when I do, I will not be eliminating Non-Christians from the pool of candidates.
I leave you with this image, and a few comments below it:
By the way, what of the ten men on that list that Grady names, the liar, bum, etc.? Is Grady saying such men, if they desire marriage, will never, ever get a spouse?
Is he saying God will deny such males spouses, and they are doomed to die alone and single?
Does Grady believe such men will have to clean up their acts before God will allow them a spouse?
I hate to break it to Grady, but I have a bazillion examples on my blog of Christian men who got married who turned out to be drug addicts, rapists, burglars, serial rapist, porn addicts, pedophiles, and cheaters.
Obviously, God does not expect a person to “clean up” his act before allowing him (or her) to marry.
Of course, I doubt many women would want to marry a man who is a liar, cheat, bum, or man-child, so it may behoove such men to clean themselves up on those grounds, but I don’t see any evidence that God prohibits jerks, idiots, and loons from marrying; quite the contrary, my blog has many examples of jerks, abusers, idiots and loons who got Christian spouses in spite of all their sins, defects, and character flaws.
EDIT. I do not know who originally drew the skeleton lady sitting on a bench drawing you see above. I’ve seen it around the internet forever. I would love to give the original creator credit, but I have no idea who made it. I changed it a little to add text to it.
————————– Edit, March 22, 2014
This guy (Steve Strang) apparently feels Grady’s editorial is awesome – it’s not.
One reason Grady’s piece took off like wildfire on social media is because Grady’s article was copied to liberal Christian groups and sites who thought it was awful. That is one reason why a lot of people shared it on Facebook and tweeted it all over town – to ridicule it and criticize it, not laud and praise it.
Though I do agree in part with Deb, who left this remark on the Charisma News site – she is right that churches ignore adult single celibates and instead opine about the already-married:
— start quote—
That article went viral because it spoke to a need that’s not being met in the church. Men & women in the church need honest, direct guidance in navigating the waters of single life.
The church on the whole, including those singles, would rather put on a front that everyone is celibate and reading the Bible when they go on a date.
Those “dating waters” are treacherous! There are sharks and snakes everywhere! I only spent about two years in those waters–I divorced a “serial adulterer” after over 30 years– but I got an eye-opening education in those two years and at times nearly drowned.
I think I met every man listed in J. Lee Grady’s article. He is so on-point! I could write a book on being a Christian single in today’s world!
Just by observing the other singles, I realized I shouldn’t date men in church.
From what I saw, the men dated outside the church because they wanted to have sex but not have to face the woman in church on Sunday.
Churches need singles groups that tackle the issues of singleness frankly instead of turning a blind eye to the fact that their singles are having sex, getting pregnant, getting diseases and dealing with all manner of sexual perversion while still being active members of the church.
This environment is creating people with a seared conscience.
We must bring righteousness and holiness back into the church, along with a strong dose of truth and honesty. Truthfully, that must start with our leaders’ behavior.
Being single and celibate in today’s society is very difficult. They need a strong support group and strategies to succeed at being single and dating.
For me, when I was ready to get married again, I stopped “dating”. I stopped communicating with the men in whom I was interested. I prayed for God to show me to my future husband….I prayed that my husband would find me.
Deb, I agree with some of what you wrote, but differ on one or two points. I did not care for parts of Grady’s editorial, however.
I wrote a blog post about it (Christian Pundit on Word Press), called “A Critique of – 10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry by J. Lee Grady / And on Christians Marrying Non Christians -and- Unrealistic, Too Rigid Spouse Selection Lists by Christians”
As I said on my blog, Grady made one or two points I agreed with, and a few I did not.
I can’t share your passive approach to dating, however. I am over 40, female, never married, was a Christian for many years, was taught to simply pray, wait, have faith and God would send me a spouse, yet I remain never-married into my 40s. There are many other single, adult Christian females in the same position as myself.
If you want to get married you will have to date. Dating is not fun or pleasant, but it is something a woman must do if she wants to get married.
Even men who claim to be Christians on dating sites I’ve run across are sex-obsessed pigs who don’t even attempt to live celibate, single lives, as they should be doing, since the Bible teaches sex is for marriage only.
But you have to wade through the muck of the dating world to get married. God does not magically grant most women with a spouse who simply pray, hope, and wait for one.
If that worked for you, great, but that passive “wait, trust, and pray” has not worked for lots of single Christian women who find themselves still single past the age of 35 and 40.
I do agree with you that most churches and denominations ignore adult, single celibates and sexual purity standards. I am still a virgin at my age, and churches ignore celibate adults who are over 30, and they also tend to ignore the divorced, childless married couples, and widows / widowers.
I have seen virginity and celibacy mocked and downplayed, even by Christians in the past few years, everyone from the more liberal Christians (which I would expect) but also by self professing conservatives, such as Southern Baptist Al Mohler, Russell Moore, and blogger Tim Challies.
Conservative Christians actually diminish sexual purity now and feel it’s impossible for anyone to remain a virgin past age 25 / 30, even though plenty have accomplished that.
So many Christian women (and a smattering of male ones, but it’s mostly female) are now saying they found sexual purity and virginity teachings they heard while in church, or in other Christian material and venues when they were younger, to be so incredibly guilt- or shame- provoking (because they voluntarily chose to engage in pre- marital sex at an earlier time), that conservative, Christian males (and some females) and entire Christian groups (such as “Focus on the Family”) are now writing many blog pages and articles downplaying celibacy and virginity.
Tim Challies (who is a famous Christian blogger) went so far at to say on one of his blog pages a few months ago that “even fornicators are virgins now” to soothe the guilty feelings of fornicators who read his blog.
Christian television host Pat Robertson recently said on his TV show that virginity was for Mary (mother of Jesus) only, when a viewer wrote in asking a question about sexual purity.
Guys like Robertson feel that hetero pre marital sex is inevitable, unavoidable, and that churches should teach an “easy breezy” forgiveness message about sexual sin. His view on this is common among other Christians these days.
There are other examples, but that should suffice. Christians are no longer upholding adult celibacy, or the notion of staying a virgin until marriage, even if one is over the age of 25; they are not telling fornicators to repent of the fornication / sexual sin. (Some Christians object to the term “fornicate” itself these days, it’s considered too judgy or “old fogey.”)
Even main stream Christian groups and denominations have caved in to secular culture on sexual issues, and act as though hetero sexual sin is no big deal. Some will condemn homosexuality til the cows come home, but dismiss hetero sin of the sexual variety.
Though, strangely, I have seen some Christians (who are hetero) who feel so sorry for homosexual singles, they say they are fine and peachy with homosexuals having pre marital sex, but these types of Christians still feel that hetero singles must abstain – it’s a sexual double standard.
Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies
I usually blog about my views about singleness and marriage, but as I find myself questioning the Christian faith, I sometimes like to make the occasional posts about that too.
Even though I sort of find myself not entirely grasping the Christian faith any longer (I am somewhere between agnostic and Christian), my understanding of spiritual matters or the Bible tend to be consistent with an orthodox (note the little “o” – I have actually had people confuse “orthodox” with “Greek Orthodox” – no, I do not mean “orthodox” as in the “Greek Orthodox” church or denomination) and conservative views and understandings.
As far as that goes, I believe in sola scriptura – but not in what I have deemed “hyper sola scriptura.”
God sometimes spoke to believers in the Old and New Testaments via inward thoughts of the Holy Spirit, via angelic messengers, dreams, handwriting on walls, prophets, via creation (ie, nature, as the book of Romans mentions), etc.
I see nothing in the New Testament which says God halted using any and all extra-scriptural means to communicate with followers of Jesus.
I do believe that Christians should check their beliefs against the written word, and if their dream, vision, or belief conflicts with the written word, they need to really reconsider it. (I have written about things like this before, like in this post: (Link): Contemporary American Christianity’s Fascination with NDE Stories – and in one or two other posts.)
What annoys me are the “hyper sola scriptura” type of Christians who automatically brush off, or brush aside, the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let’s say you are a Christian who’s going through a tough time, and you prayed about it, and you felt God spoke to you inwardly and told you something about your situation, or God spoke some word of comfort. I believe something like that is orthodox and not un-scriptural.
I believe God the Holy Spirit can and does still communicate with people that way – but your hyper sola scripture-ist will scoff at that.
Many of the HSSs are probably tempted to chalk something like that up to superstition or believe it borders on WoF (Word of Faith) theology (I do not agree with WoF, by the way).
Do I think some Christians are too quick to attribute a thought or feeling to God, or that they don’t read the Bible enough, and that this can be dangerous or problematic and lead to Christians accepting false beliefs or teachings? Yes.
But it still remains God gifted believers with the Holy Spirit to guide them at times, because sometimes, the Bible is not always crystal clear on some topics, or does not explicitly mention others.
The Bible does not, for example, instruct people on which college they should attend, what they should major in, and what career they should pursue after graduating, and those are all fairly serious life questions.
You cannot flip to Galatians chapter 4 or Hebrews chapter 2 to find a ‘biblical’ answer to the question, “What career should I enter into?”
One of the things I find odd about HSSs (Hyper Sola Scripturists) is that they almost seem – like atheists – to deny the supernatural.
I mean, HSSs will admit to belief in supernatural events already recorded in the Bible, such as Jesus being born of a virgin and Jesus walking on water, but they behave as though God never, ever, interferes in a miraculous way in the world today, and I see nothing in the Bible that says He does not.
I’m not even talking about “speaking in tongues.” You have Christians today who fuss and bicker about “is that gift for today or not?” I don’t know if that gift is for today or not, but that sort of thing is not really what I am discussing in this post.
Singles Who Desire Marriage and 1 Corinthians 7 – it’s benefits, drawbacks – also: 1 Timothy 4:3 and Christians cannot agree on biblical doctrine
I first began this post with only an intent on discussing 1 Corinthians 7 in mind, but as I began typing, it meandered a little into other (but related) topics, then I wandered back to the 1 Cor 7 discussion.
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.
9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
…25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.
27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife.
28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
…. 32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.
33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—
34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
I have had a blog visitor who says she (or he? Though I think she is a she) loathes and hates 1 Cor 7.
I left her a reply under a previous thread which reads:
I actually rather
1 Corinthians 7,
when it’s used as a weapon or condescending slogan against singles who want marriage.
But, in other contexts, I like that 1 Cor 7 passage, because married Christians (who are the ones who idolize marriage) need to be reminded that marriage is not better than singleness… that is, churches / body of Christ need to stop showing favortism to married with children couples, as they often do.
If anything, I see some pastors (such as Mark Driscoll, whom I wrote about recently (Link): here ), twist and distort 1 Cor 7 and try to explain it away – because he (and other Christians) view singles as being abnormal, or they view the state of singleness as being abnormal, or not as good as, being married, which is an INSULT to adult singles.
I know it can hurt or be frustrating to want marriage when you are single BUT (at least for me), so long as you are single, until you marry one day (assuming you marry), don’t you want preachers and other married Christians to stop acting as though you are somehow lower or not as godly or mature, or not deserving of a church’s finances and time, just because you are single?
That is why I like to toss 1 Cor 7 in their faces (and other passages).
There are some never married Christian adults who actually LOVE the GOS (“Gift of Singleness” or “of celibacy,” “GOC”) talk, they have stopped by this blog before to say they like these phrases…
I can’t get these types of adult, Christian singles to see that not only is neither phrase in the Bible, but the phrases are mis-used and abused by married Christians and preachers to keep singles single – the ones who want marriage.
The GOS/GOC talk and terms are used to maintain discrimination against singles. (I’ve blogged about that before, just search the blog using the phrase “gift of singleness.”)
I also have many blog posts talking about the cliches that Christian singles who desire marriage get from married Christians, and it annoys me too. Here are a few posts about it:
… I have similar blog posts, those are just a few.
To sum up, 1 Cor 7 can be a helpful ally and tool in the arsenal of an adult Christian single who runs into Christians who idolize marriage – the ones who behave as though single adults are losers.
I was at a right wing, political blog where all the married people were responding to a news story about childless and single women.
Many of these right wing people on that blog were insulting singles and the state of being childless.
Even secular right wingers tend to make an idol out of marriage, parenting, and the nuclear family.
Many married right wingers, even the secular ones, assume women who are never-married and childless past their 30s are man-hating, atheistic feminists who vote Democrat and have posters of Obama all over their bedroom walls with lipstick-kiss marks on them.
These types of right wing morons never realize that women can be conservative Republican and/or Christians and be single and childless into adulthood, based on circumstances they had no control over, or, based on their choice (but choices which are NOT based on atheism, feminism, liberalism, or hatred of God, country, conservatives, or babies).
Singlehood and childless/child-free are not bastions or life stations of liberal feminists and Democrats only. There are plenty of right wing, Republican, Christian, pro life women who choose to stay single and childless, or who find themselves that way due to circumstance.
Every time these types of right wing jackholes bash liberal feminists for being single and childless, they are also inadvertently bashing Republican, Christian, childless/ childfree women too.
When I tried explaining to these people that I am right wing also, but I am single and childless myself, some of them mellowed out in their criticisms and slams against singles and the childless, but some actually ramped the vitriol up… UNTIL… I quoted this at them:
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.
Once I quoted that from 1 Cor 7, that shut the married Marriage and Baby Idolaters up pronto.
Several replied, “You’re right; the Bible and God are okay with singleness, and women are not expected by God to have kids if they are single, and marriage is a choice, not a commandment. You are right.”
So, 1 Cor 7 can come in handy for an adult single who is getting damn tired of hearing she is a failure or weirdo for not being married past her 20s.
Oddly, the fact that Jesus Christ and Paul were single seem to usually not leave much of an impact on married Marriage and Family Idolaters, when that fact is thrown in their faces.
But, and stranger still, Jesus’ and Paul’s singlehood and childless status is none-the-less a tid bit that Married, Christian Condescending People like to remind Non-Content Adult Singles of.
Seems like 30% – 40% of articles I read for singles by married Christians likes to offer the chirpy reminder, “Remember, singles, Jesus and Paul were single and childless too!”
Okay, Enthusiastic Christian Married Guy, it’s good for you to respect singleness and being childless by recognizing that Jesus Christ and Paul was single and childless.
Married Christians should indeed keep that in mind, that Christ and Paul were single and childless, because God knows, Christians often go blank on that and assume Marriage and Kids are God’s default for EVERYONE.
However, while that is great for Jesus and Paul, I personally would like to marry so I can bang a man weekly (ie, get my sexual lusts fulfilled), have some constant companionship, to stave off bouts of loneliness. Maybe get chocolates in a heart shaped box on Valentine’s from a sweetie pie, instead of eating Campbell’s soup for one over the sink again. That sort of stuff.
On the one hand, 1 Cor 7 can be used as a weapon against married Christians by singles, against the types of married Christians who tend to elevate marriage at the expense of singles and singleness. That is to the single’s advantage.
On the other hand, some Christians, usually married idiots, misuse 1 Cor 7 as a battering ram against adult singles who want to get married.
And that is not right; the twisting or abuse of 1 Cor 7, borders on this:
1 Timothy 4:3
3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
I’m an American in 2014. There is no “present” crisis going on with me personally in 2014 America, as there was when Paul wrote to people telling them it is better for them to remain as they were (single if single, or married if married), given their “present crisis.”
Whatever that crisis was – maybe Christians were being persecuted for being Christian?
Misuse of Terms Such As “Traditional Families” by Christians – Re: Kirk Cameron, Homosexual Marriage, and the 2014 Grammys
I don’t agree with homosexuality – I don’t regard it as moral or normal behavior – but, I find that many right wing Christians incorrectly equate the legalization of homosexual marriage, or homosexuality itself, to “an attack on family values” or “an attack on traditional families.”
The Bible, however, seems to define homosexuality, and other types of sexual sin, as being sins against God and one’s own body (ie, as in this verse directed at followers of Christ: (Link): 1 Corinthians 6:12-18) – and not as being against family or culture.
A night or two ago, the 2014 Grammys were televised. I did not watch it because awards shows are boring, but I did see a few articles about the show today. A mass hetero- and homo- sexual wedding ceremony was held on that program.
There is a conflation by evangelicals, Reformed, Baptists, and fundamentalists of the terms or concepts of “family values” and “biblical values.”
I posit that biblical values are not necessarily the same thing as family values.
Right wing, socially conservative Christians tend to measure lifestyle choices and behaviors not necessarily by what the Bible teaches, but what they assume it teaches, or by American cultural norms.
In other words, I find it suspect, troubling, and strange that while these sorts of Christians would no doubt consider themselves “sola scriptura,” that rather than appeal to Scripture to explain why they consider homosexuality or homosexual marriage wrong, they will usually appeal to language such as “family values” or “attacks on traditional families” or “attack on traditional marriage.”
Is homosexuality a sin against God, and does it go against what God has said of homosexuality in the Bible, and should Christians oppose it on those grounds, or should Christians really be running around on blogs and radio shows saying they object to homosexuality on the basis that it does not jibe with their view on what constitutes “family values” or “traditional families,” or that it makes for uncomfortable, prime-time television viewing?
Many right wing, socially conservative, evangelical, Baptist, fundamentalist, and Reformed Christians hold the American, 1950s nuclear family up as the criteria by which to judge changes in society – such as the gaining acceptance of homosexual marriage – rather than holding up the Bible (which purports to tell humanity what God thinks about various topics) as the point of reference.
I consider this tendency by Christians to use phrases such as “traditional family” and “family values” as another indication of how some Christians have turned family, parenting, pro-creating, and marriage into idols- and which the Bible forbids.
If you are going to protest homosexuality or homosexual marriage, and you are a Christian, I would hope you would use the Bible as your grounds for engagement, not “traditional families” rhetoric.
The Bible does not define “traditional family” as being one mom, one dad, and children.
The Bible does not define “traditional family” as being two married lesbians who are raising three kids, or as an uncle raising a nephew.
The Bible does not define a grandma and grandpa who have four grandchildren living with them as being a family, or what God considers the only acceptable expression of a family unit.
There are some cultures, such as in Latin America, where it is normal for three or more generations of flesh and blood relations to live under the same roof.
The Bible has nothing to say about the topic of what defines a family for all people of all cultures and time periods.
The patriarchs and other males in the Bible, the Abrahams, Noahs, Solomons, and King Davids, had three or more wives and ten or more children apiece. I don’t see many Christians, outside of Quiverfull or Reconstructionist- type kooks, who advocate that Christians today revert to having patriarchal family structures.
The Bible does seem to define or understand marriage – as God intended it to be – between one man and one woman, but that is the extent of it (see (Link): Matthew 19:1-9).
The Scriptures do not go on and limit the term or concept of “family” to mean only or even primarily, a man, woman, with children, it only says that a marriage is tantamount to one man married to one woman.
What the Bible does discuss is that God considers sex outside of marriage as being sinful, but it nowhere dictates what God considers an acceptable configuration of adults and children as being a “family.”
If you are a Christian, your priority in life is not the “traditional family.”
Of course, if you are a Christian, you should provide for your family members (1 Timothy 5:8), but if one of your main motivators in life is defending what you consider “traditional families” from societal changes or homosexual lobbies or homosexual special interest groups, that may be an indication that you have turned the “traditional family” into an idol.
Jesus Christ did not die on the cross to defend “traditional families,” “family values” or “traditional marriage.”
The Apostle Paul did not instruct the new converts in pagan Greek cities he ministered to to rise up and challenge the ungodly climate of their host cities, but to go about their lives quietly, helping each other, and spreading the Gospel message.
Christians such as actor Kirk Cameron, who bloviate about “family” constantly, keep forgetting that there are Christians who are over the age of 30 and older, who have never married, who have no living relatives left to turn to, or they are widowed and childless; they don’t have a “traditional family” to provide them with emotional support or financial help.
Christians constantly complaining that “traditional families” are being attacked by liberals, feminists, or homosexuals keep maintaining this illusion, which is not biblical, that all Christians have a spouse and children to lean on, or that they should.
The Bible upholds being single or childless by choice – or circumstance – as being acceptable to God; God does not “look down his nose” at singles or the childless and deem them “less Christian” or less worthy of help, time, and financial support.
Why do I never see the Kirk Camerons, the evangelicals, fundamentalists, and Reformed Christians, discuss how, say, homosexual marriage may negatively be impacting “Singles Values,” the un-married Christian celibates?
I’ve seen only a very small number of Christian writers discuss how the cultural acceptance of homosexuality has influenced Christian, adult singles, such as:
Why do Cameron and his ilk only express concern over how homosexuality, and other phenomenon, may be impacting “families” and “marriages?” Does he and those like him not care how cultural trends shape or influence un-married Christians over the age of 30?
Kirk Cameron, Protector of the Family, Defender of the Faith, and Speaker of the Bullshit, took to Facebook today to announce that the mass-wedding at last night’s Grammy Awards during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis‘ performance of the pro-LGBT song “Same Love” was an “all out assault on the traditional family.”
Most everyone – the atheists, homosexual marriage supporters, and the emergent, liberal, ex Christians, are hopping angry over Cameron’s disapproval of homosexual marriage, but what escapes the attention of all these critics is Cameron’s improper, unbiblical fixation on elevating marriage and family to a sphere that even the Bible does not do.
On (Link): that page, the blogger provides a screen capture of Cameron’s Facebook page comments.
What Cameron said in part was:
How did you like the Grammy’s all out assault on the traditional family last night?
As a husband and a father, I am proud to announce the release of my new family movie, MERCY RULE. Last night, the lines were drawn thick and dark.
Now more than ever, we must work together to create the world we want for our children.
[omit rest of his comment]
While all the atheists and others are spazzing out over Cameron not being cool with homosexual marriage, I instead note his fixation on flesh and blood family.
Cameron did not simply say, “As a Christian, I am…”
He prefaced one of his comments by saying, “As a husband and a father, I am….”
Why did Cameron find it relevant to mention that he is a “husband and father” when introducing his movie?
Why does he seemingly feel that one has to be a parent and spouse to support, believe in, or live by, biblical values?
Look at this other line by Cameron:
Now more than ever, we must work together to create the world we want for our children.
I am over 40 years of age, have never married, and have never had any children. I am very put off that so many Christians make these assumptions that any and all other Christians are also married with children.
There seems to me to be something wrong with a Christian apologetic mindset that predicates and presupposes flesh- and- blood family so much and so often.
When the Apostle Paul – who never married or had children – talked to un-believers, he said that he preached “Christ and Him crucified,” and not, “My God, man, think of your children and mine! What about family values?”
When Paul and other New Testament writers talked about sexual sin, they did not appeal to “family values.”
The biblical writers instead got into other arguments, about God’s intention for creating sex, and how, who, and when, and if, people should have sex, and so forth.
No where did Paul or the other biblical writers say,
“Do not have pre-marital sex, commit adultery, or homosexual acts, because FAMILY VALUES!!!1111!!! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!111!!!!11!!”
Are there consequences for a society, for the 1950s nuclear family model, and to people’s emotional and physical health, in regards to sexual behavior and rampant sexual sin across culture and in popular entertainment?
Yes, there can be, and there has been, I suppose.
But the Bible does not use “family values,” “our children’s future,” or “traditional family” as supporting arguments to convince people to drop sexual sin.
I don’t know if I am totally against the use of phrases such as “family values” or “traditional families” (and similar ones) per se (you may find me slipping and using them myself from time to time so ingrained are they in my Baptist and evangelical upbringing), but I am concerned that idolization of marriage and family by evangelical Christianity runs so deep that these phrases, or the very things themselves, are being held up as the norm, the standard, or measuring rod for culture and morals, rather than the God and Bible they claim to believe in.
The post [by Cameron] was, undoubtedly, a means of self-promotion for the 43-year-old’s newest flick, “Mercy Rule,” which co-stars his wife and is apparently about “family, faith and baseball.” Self-promotion drenched in homophobia, that is.
Other media mentioned Cameron’s Facebook comments, such as:
Excerpts from “Have We Said Too Much? (About Marriage, that is)”
Recently, my daughter returned from a conference at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. She had a fabulous time, but she mentioned something unusual. She said that every public prayer contained a request for God to guide the conference participants in finding a spouse. This wasn’t the theme of the conference, but the conference was primarily single young college students. Was this odd?
It didn’t surprise me. Southern has become increasingly visible in the culturally confrontational Christianity of its President, Dr. Al Mohler. (A personal hero of mine, and nothing that I write here changes that, I assure you.) And Dr. Mohler is on a crusade to get Christian young students to make marriage a priority.
In August 2004, President Mohler gave an address to a group of (primarily) Christian singles under the auspices of Josh Harris’s New Attitude conference. Mohler’s summaries of the address can be found at his web site: Part 1 and Part 2. The audio of the address is also available on the site.
The address created a bit of a firestorm, as Mohler did not just endorse marriage, but specifically criticized those who delay marriage. [snip obnoxious quotes about singles by Mohler]
This debate is a small part of what I see as a major evolution within evangelicalism; an evolution toward overemphasizing marriage at the expense of much that is Biblical, good, healthy, balanced and normal in human and Christian experience. From the best of motives, some bad fruit is appearing.
…How can we over-emphasize marriage? Let me suggest some trends that disturb me, and make me want to suggest a larger, more critical discussion of the current “family values” emphasis before we buy everything that is being sold in all the current rhetoric.
1. Saying that delaying marriage is bad is overemphasizing marriage. This is too simplistic, and we all know it. Don’t get me wrong. Mohler sees a legitimate problem: singleness as an excuse for immaturity and rejecting legitimate adult responsibilities. There are such people. I’ve met them. Kick them in the pants.
On the other hand, there are so many other legitimate, good reasons people delay marriage, it’s almost beyond belief that they are ignored. Mohler is speaking to the culture that he sees influencing America in sitcoms like “Friends.” Let me speak about the single’s culture I see at our ministry here.
…thers are single because they have no real marriage prospects. Some are delaying marriage to care for parents or to pursue a larger career path beyond OBI… Of course, we also have divorced and widowed singles as well.
Frankly, many of the singles I know are more mature than I was when I was first married at 21. I absolutely encourage our high school students to delay marriage until they have matured in many different ways. Mohler is right to point out that marriage is a maturing experience, but it is not the only maturing experience, and it is not an automatically maturing experience. …
…Sometimes, listening to the current advocates, you would think that marriage is unfallen, or at least a refuge from the fall. While I agree it is a common grace, and even has sacramental qualities, it is thoroughly fallen and is not our salvation.
2. We overemphasize marriage when we say only “spiritually gifted” singles are truly in God’s will. Again, when Mohler talks about those called and gifted to be “single” as the only “normative” singles, he is running along a very narrow path, with plenty of ways to fall off.
The contemporary concept of spiritual giftedness has proven to be far from perfect or even helpful in many cases. I have done far more counseling with individuals who were confused about their spiritual gift than those who were finding assurance and joy from knowing their spiritual gift. How does one know he or she is called to celibacy and their delaying or passing on marriage is approved by God? In particular, given the differences in male and female sexuality and sexual development, how does a young man know that he is called to celibacy?
The concept of being “called to celibacy” occurs in the Bible in two ways: purposeful vows to be single, and pastoral advice to those who are single. Where in the New Testament do we see a “gift of celibacy” being considered by young singles in the way spiritual gifts are discussed in today’s church?
I have total respect for all those who believe God has called them to a life of celibacy, but I have to be honest. I know many who concluded God called them to singleness who later married. Our Roman Catholic friends could tell us a lot of stories about this.
3. It is an overemphasis of marriage when marriage is automatically called a “priority” for the unmarried Christian. Here is where I hope my readers will think carefully along with me.
…Does this mean that every Christian young person needs to make “finding a spouse” their major business? I say this as a youth professional and a youth minister who is watching many Christians- especially females- literally make finding a spouse the priority of their lives. Instead of boy crazy teenager girls, we have spouse-obsessed girls, who are seeing marriage as the most important, all consuming principle for living their lives. It is the focus of their prayers, the basis of their reading, the guiding principle of their involvements and a priority in all decisions. This concerns me.
… Should I be advising my daughter to put finding a husband as first on her list of priorities? Should my kids be, literally, pursuing mates in their relationships? (I use that word because I see this increasingly happening, and it’s not particularly spiritual.) Is there no value to a social activity with the opposite gender except what may lead to marriage?
In fact, shouldn’t the priority of general Christian character and growth be clearly ranked above any specific matter like marriage or missions, especially for a young person? Am I wrong to tell young people to pursue general Christian growth as the foundation of understanding God’s will in other areas? And will that general Christian growth always indicate that, yes, marriage should be the assumed priority for their life, even though Jesus wasn’t married and the New Testament shows a remarkable openness to single people in ministry?
4. We overemphasize marriage when those who are not married are out of the “center” of the Christian community, thus violating clear implications of the ministry of Jesus. I am extremely concerned that the emphasis on marriage in contemporary evangelicalism has created an imbalance within the body of Christ. I am already sensitive to this because of my own life experience.
I grew up in a fundamentalistic Baptist Church where the divorced were ostracized, baited, humiliated and blamed at every opportunity. (No, I am not exaggerating. Drinkers and divorced people were what was wrong with the world. Oh….and anyone who married a Catholic was bad, too.) This is why my dad only heard me preach, in person, five times in his life. What is outrageous about this is that 1) it was done by elevating never divorced families to the center of the church community, and 2) ignoring Jesus’ ministry to the marginalized and broken.
Jesus would have included- even preferred in some instances- the divorced, the single and the rejected in his community of followers. It is inconceivable to me that a church pastored by Jesus would put the emphasis on marriage that I saw in my childhood- or in many circles today. Today’s mega-churches specialize in that traditional family with two kids and a dog. Yes, many of them also successfully minister to singles and other groups, but am I the only one who hears such an incessant drumbeat of teaching on marriage, threats to marriage, crisis in marriage, marriage success principles and so forth that it can sometimes appear the church is preaching the “Good News of Marriage and Family” a bit louder than the Good News of Jesus?
I know single people can be whiners. Every pastor has those single members who don’t want to be single and annoyingly keep complaining that God is unfair. But are singles wrong when they say the church looks so much like a club for families that they don’t feel like they are normal, whole and blessed? Are so many family-oriented events and ministries done with serious thought to how Jesus did ministry? Did Jesus emphasize marriage as we do in most churches?
(Please click the “read more” link to read the rest of this entry)
Women Are Visual And Like Hot Looking Men (Part 1) Joseph in Genesis Was A Stud Muffin
Many secular and Christian males typically place too much emphasis upon female physical appearance. Both groups of males believe if they just have a stunning personality or are very wealthy, that they can obtain a movie-star good looking wife. (I use the term “males” to cover most age ranges: teen aged boys, young adults, and grown men.)
The Christian males in particular get this message indirectly by way of the fact that most sermons and Christian dating advice books and sites forever tell the females only to “look pretty,” to stay in shape, stay thin, grow their hair long (supposedly all men prefer long hair), etc. The silence to males on this topic is interesting, disturbing, and sexist: males of all ages are never told by pastors and in Christian dating advice blogs that women like handsome men with six pack abs, a full head of hair, and so on.
Men are seldom told to stay in shape, get thin, work out at a gym, etc. Christian men also get a double dose of this by being told that God designed males to be “visual” or “visually oriented.” This is used as a rationalization why they have to make no effort to stay in shape or be good-looking to nab a girlfriend.
The truth is that secular and Christian women do care about good looks in a man. Most of us ladies would prefer to date a studly, built, hot-looking guy.
Some of us ladies don’t care if you are a regular- church- attending Joe who lives in a mansion; if, however, you are a male who lacks hair, have a beer gut, or looks like nerdy Barney Fife, we’re just not going to be interested. That is the cold, hard reality.
The American Christian culture, males within it at least, feel safer if they live in this world of denial where they think they can be sloppy fat, have bad breath, have greasy hair (or no hair at all), and look dumpy, but as long as they’re a stand- up, spiritual kind of guy who volunteers at a soup kitchen once a month, they feel they will still rate, merit, or deserve a woman who looks like Angelina Jolie: and this is false.
There are even examples in the Bible where it’s noted that females notice if a guy is sexy, attractive, and good looking – and it’s not terribly relevant that the female examples are non-believers: Christian women care just as much, or almost as much.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” (Genesis 39: 6 – 7)
How about that! A woman who has eye sight noticed that a male was smokin’ hot. She was not turned on first and foremost by his integrity, brains, or spirituality… but his buff bod and chiseled jaw, oh yeah.
I find this terribly amusing, because one would get the idea from reading conservative evangelical, fundamentalist, or Baptist literature and blogs about true love, marriage, and dating that women don’t really give a fig about physical appearance – but we do, we really do.
Observe this video from the 2:35 to the 2:50 Mark, taken from a kid’s Bible cartoon show:
(Video: Potiphar’s Wife Thinks Joseph is Hubba Hubba)
In the video, see how Potiphar’s wife gives Joseph a going- over with her eyes, around the 2:35 mark and around 2:45 / 2:50.
Women have eyes in their heads. They notice if a male is in shape, has a full head of hair, and they notice if the guy is a tub of lard, lacks hair, is thin but has no muscular development (i.e., has the body of a five year old boy).
So, if you are an unmarried Christian male, if you want to get a girlfriend or get married, you better make very sure you look presentable.
Looks should not be the only thing a woman cares about, but plenty of women do indeed care about them, contrary to the messages you hear from your Baptist preacher on Sunday mornings, or the messages you see on Christian dating blogs.
————– Related posts, this blog:
Book: ‘Feminine By Design’ – Married People (supposedly) Fully Reflect God – Singles Do Not (?) / When Christianity Looks More Like Islam and Less Like Christ
——————————- –REMINDER TO MEN WHO MAY BE READING THIS POST–
As a reminder, I’d like to mention to any un-married men who may be reading this:
Arguments and teachings used by ‘biblical gender complementarians,’ who believe it is wrong for a woman to lead or teach men, and who believe that husbands are in authority over their wives, use the same arguments and pre-suppositions about a woman’s role in life, to teach that un-married men are not as fully “Christian” or as “mature” as married men are, and that un-married men are not as fully in God’s image as married men are. This is not just a “woman’s issue.”
——————————- –Book: FEMININE BY DESIGN, BY JOHN GARR–
I saw a male author, John. D. Garr, interviewed by a Jewish believer in Jesus on his show. I think the show is called “Jewish Voice” or “Believer’s Voice.”
The book by Garr is entitled “Feminine By Design: The God-Fashioned Woman.” Garr claims to uncover God’s true meaning for women by going back to and re-examining the Old Testament.
I do not own a copy of this book, nor have I read it, but I would like to.
I did watch the last several moments of the interview with Garr by the Jewish host, so I heard some of Garr’s views about women and what he discusses in the book.
I always get a little nervous when a male author writes about women, or opines about them, especially when he claims to be Christian (or a “believer in Jesus”) and is discussing his views about why and how he believes God created females.
In my previous post, I touched on the fact that more extreme elements of Christian conservatives (e.g., the Christian fertility cults such as “Quiverfull,” the Rconstructionists, etc) are now teaching that a lone Christian, a Christian who is un-married, does not reflect God’s image. (These views also seem to be permeating into more “normal,” less extremist Christian groups, such as the Neo-Calvinist biblical gender complementarians).
To them, an un-married man is not a man. An un-married woman is not a woman.
Both un married males and females are considered to be “less than” their married counterparts, not fully human, and not fully made in God’s image.
(More on this point in a moment.)
In this interview, Garr used terms or concepts that raised red flags of concern with me, such as “complements” or “God’s role(s) for women.”
In the portion of the interview I saw, Garr mentioned that he thinks God created women with an innate sense of modesty and beauty.
What about all the males who also have an “innate sense of beauty?” (And why is discussion of “modesty” among Christians almost always considered a female-only concern?)
As far as males appreciating beauty, or having an innate appreciation thereof, there are homo- and hetero- sexual males, both Christian and Non Christian, who appreciate sun-sets, flowers, nature, and who work as artists, photographers, interior designers, fashion designers, and sculptors and painters.
I do agree that secular culture goes way too far in dictating to American women that the “normal” or supposedly “empowering” thing to do is to behave like your average, vulgar, promiscuous, American secular male, and that this is not necessarily a good thing. I agree with Garr on that.
However, whenever a Christian man starts throwing out terms like “complementary” (as in women supposedly “complement” men, what qualities men lack, women tend to possess and vice versa), and when a religious male begins tossing out terms such as “modesty,” particularly in regards to discussion of gender, I assume he’s a “biblical gender complementarian” which is just as, if not, more dangerous than secular messages aimed at women.
At least most secular women know they can pick and choose which messages they can accept and reject from secular media.
Within Christianity, though, females are taught from a young age by Christian authors, parents, and pastors that they have no choice:
if God says to do or believe “X” in the Bible, and you are a good Christian girl who sincerely tries to please God, then you have no choice but to believe and do “X.” –Please click on the “Read More” link to read the rest of the post–
Author Laurie Cole: another ‘early marriage’ supporter
Sometimes this blog writes itself. There are times when I don’t go looking for content, it finds me.
After writing two blog posts today, I had no intention of writing another, but I caught the last few moments of an interview with Chr. (Christian) author Laurie Cole, who was a guest on the Chr. television show “Life Today.”
Cole has written a book telling young Chr ladies how they can be women of virtue, or some such.
Cole was saying how females as young as age 12 or 13 today are having sex, and unlike even 20 to 30 years ago, where a horn-dog teen-ager guy had to at least pretend to love the girl and lie to the girl and say, “Of course I love you, baby” to get into her pants, that today, a girl will fall into bed even if the guy doesn’t claim to love her, because these girls feel it’s what everyone is doing, so they might as well too.
Cole at one point got into a discussion about Ruth and Boaz, two characters mentioned in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament of the Bible.
Cole said Boaz was a godly man who saw something godly about Ruth’s character. She seems to think that teaching young girls this view will help them to steer clear of sex outside of marriage, or of being used sexually by males.
Cole’s comments about Boaz’s character and Ruth’s character reminds me – there’s content for another post right there…
Most male Chr.s who comment on Ruth and Boaz never mention Ruth’s “godly” character or her inner qualities. Male Chr bloggers or pastors always make observations such as, “Boaz must have noticed what a looker Ruth was!”
Some of the more skeezy male pastors all seem to get off on how Ruth later approaches Boaz at night and puts the edge of his cloak over her feet, or whatever… male pastors have this disgusting tendency to sexualize EVERY male-female interaction, and make it all sound tawdry. It’s very unsavory, and it makes me wonder about these male pastors.
(Side note within a side rant: not that I’m a prude or “anti-sex.” What annoys me is where male pastors see sex where there is none, or where they harp on a woman’s looks, and a woman’s appearance is not central to the biblical narrative being discussed.)
I don’t even think the Bible mentions Ruth’s physical appearance (or does it)? I’ve been meaning to write another post about this – the sexist, obnoxious tendency of male Chrs. to always obsess over or comment upon female Bible character physical looks.
You never hear male Christians comment on what the Bible men looked like, such as, “That King David must have been a handsome, muscular man.”
Nope, male pastors, authors, and bloggers reserve all the observations about Bible characters looks to females only.
These Christian males may want to examine their weird pre-occupation with female beauty and sexuality – such pre-occupation is not biblical, it’s sexist, crude, and it’s uncomfortable for women to have to listen to or read.
More on this topic in a future post.
—END SIDE RANT—
At one stage of the interview, Cole said often that Chr. mothers and grandmas encourage their daughters to finish college first, get a career, then get married.
Population Decline and Bay-bee Obsession – Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Traditional Family, Christian Gender Complementarian Nuts
More links to be added about this issue to this post as I find them. As this post has already gotten quite long, thanks to the excerpts, I will be making a Part 2, Part 3, etc, to include new links as I find them.
This Part 1 post is an anchor, though. This is probably the post I will direct people to when they want to gripe with me about this.
I am not necessarily in agreement with all opinions on all pages I link to, or with all views held by individuals or the organizations by blogs and sites I link to. (I may agree 100% with one of their pages but be in total opposition to other pages on the same site.)
I am not into global warming or environmentalism.
I am not left wing, liberal, progressive, or Democrat. Since my teen years, I have been right wing, conservative, and a Republican, but as I grow older, I am becoming disenchanted with aspects of the right wing (but still continue to disagree with the left wing on most topics).
I do not agree with or support abortion or homosexuality or legalization of homosexual marriage. Some of the pages I have found which refute many of the “be fruitful and multiply” arguments of conservative Christians are by people claiming to be Christians who are sympathetic to homosexuality or who support homosexuality.
I do not support homosexuality but some of their pages (aside from the pro-homosexuality propaganda) make some decent points against the un-biblical fixation some Christians have on “traditional family” rhetoric and their tendency to apply the “be fruitful” verse as supposedly being applicable to all Christians in all eras.
— THE LINKS—
The people behind this site appear to support homosexuality, but they make some very good points on this page:
Perhaps the ugliest idol that we see today is the so-called “traditional family.” This idol is widely worshiped in the conservative factions of most religions. It should be obvious to its worshippers that it is an idol when these people see agreement between groups who have traditionally held opposing theological viewpoints. There are Roman Catholics and die-hard Evangelicals who are joining together to worship this idol. Muslim and Christian fundamentalists alike bow at its feet, all the time, pretending to be the true followers of their religion. While they cannot agree on the real tenets of their true religion, they find remarkable agreement in the false religion of “family values.”
The reason that the family idol is so particularly heinous is because it cloaks its emptiness and poison under the “gold-leaf” facade of respectability, social responsibility, and “proper” religion. Like almost no other modern idol, this idol pretends to be True G-d, while it is in fact a golden calf. In order to distract its worshipers from the truth, it points to sexuality and calls “perversion” the “golden calf.”
This idol has established itself firmly on the altars of most churches. It is so clearly cemented in the Free Church denominations (Evangelicals, Baptists, Pentecostals, etc.) that whole campaigns are built around it. Holding the Scriptures in its hand, the family idol cloaks itself as the “word of G-d,” leading its devotees to forget about the Incarnate Christ and the message of love. “Family values” replaces “Christ is risen” as the primary hymn of this religion.
In other circles the idol is less blatant and perhaps less well noted. In the Anglican, Protestant, and Reformed churches, the idol prefers to set itself somewhat inconspicuously on the round tables of committees rather than on the central altar. While these groups often abhor the blatant bigotry of the “family values” charlatans, they nonetheless give the idol voice and vote on their committees and hold back truth and honesty in its name.
… The family idol spreads its immorality very insidiously among all segments of the population. Most obvious, of course, are the many Christians who have given up the Gospel Message to worship the family. Sadly, these former Christians may not even recognize their change in religion.
…Confused by the lies of worshipers of the family idol, many people who do not fit its narrow definition of “family” turn away from G-d and religion altogether.
…The symptoms of the family idol’s worship are very strange. It causes the equation of a heterosexual, dual-parent, child-raising family with some sort of moral ideal.
These groups do great harm to the people who do not fit their narrow concepts. They also draw people away from G-d because they present a false image of G-d. They present a hateful, narrow-minded, bigoted God that no sane person would want to love. Their self-defined “family” is their idol, their politics is their idolatry, and their actions are immorality in the clearest sense of what the Bible describes as such.
[Excerpts from the page “Doug Phillips on the Threat of Population Decline”]:
Phillips sets up a dichotomy here: If you don’t want more children (or any at all), you are selfish; if you have multiple children, most especially 6, 8, 10, or more from the looks of the pictures featured on the Baby Conference website, you are following God’s commands. It’s easy to see how susceptible people can fall prey to Phillips’ teachings and to the rhetoric of the Quiverfull movement.
The trouble is of course that choosing to have only one or two children, or even none, does not mean one is automatically “selfish.” There are all sorts of ways to give back to the world and to those around us, to work to make the world a better place, outside of having children. Furthermore, wanting to give each child the best we can, or to raise children with economic security, is not selfish.
On the contrary, because we live in a country that uses exorbitant amount of finite resources, every additional child we have leads to additional environmental strain and potential for resource wars or economic problems down the road. Choosing to have six or eight children, then, is not somehow being “selfless” when it comes to our environment, economy, or the world. Further, choosing to have that many children might mean, for some, raising children in poverty and on the edge of economic disaster. I don’t see this as being very “selfless” either.
Here we also see the tendency of Christian Patriarchy groups to advocate a one-size-fits-all model for families. The truth is, every family is different, with different needs and different challenges. The idea that every family should start having child after child in order to “follow God’s command” and not be “selfish” is stifling and restricting. It’s also environmentally dangerous for several reasons.
Not unexpectedly, Phillips rejects the idea that a continually expanding population could lead to environmental catastrophe or resource wars or food shortages. Why? Because (a) God told us to be fruitful and multiply, not to be fruitful and multiply until there are enough people…
‘How can we idealise marriage and the nuclear family while clinging to a saviour who was unmarried and without issue?’
In Sex and the Single Savior, Dale Martin asks an important question: have we made an idol of families? Our knee-jerk reaction is to say, ‘‘Of course not’. But Martin reminds us that sometimes we cling to theologically-phrased excuses for what we do, rather than examine what the Bible actually says. When it comes to the importance we attribute to the family (in conversation at least, even though our practice may undermine our ‘theology’), Martin asks how can we idealise marriage and the nuclear family while clinging to a saviour who was unmarried and without issue?
The book brings together a number of Martin’s previously published articles to get to grips with a number of issues that have to do with gender and sexuality. He examines what classical and early Christian writers would have understood by the Galatians passage which referes to there being no male and female in Christ. He discusses how odd Jesus’ celibacy would have appeared to his contemporaries. But the most provocative chapter, as far as the family is concerned, is the eighth chapter, ‘Familiar Idolatry and the Christian Case against Marriage’.
Martin begins the chapter with a bold announcement that mainstream Western Christianity (Catholic and Protestant, liberal and conservative) has made an idol of marriage and the family. It is a strong claim but we would have to agree with him that those who do not fit the nuclear family ‘ideal’ usually find themselves on the fringes of church life. Martin supports his claim by turning both to the New Testament and to the writings of the early Church. He suggests that the early Church was culturally much closer to the New Testament period and so they are better placed to understand the intention of the Biblical texts than modern theologians.
(Addendum to previous post):
“Bay-Bees – Have them, have lots of them and NOW, no matter what!, say some Christians”
I meant to include this in my previous post on this topic but forgot to (someone left me a response in that thread disagreeing with me, and I left her a response). Anyway….
A woman wrote in to Pat Robertson’s show the other day, The 700 Club, to ask if she should permit her daughter to stay in the same bed as her boyfriend when they come over for a visit.
Robertson then got into this tangent where he said, “Marriage is for making babies.”
(Or, he might have said, “Marriage is for pro-creation.” I forget the exact wording of his remark, whether he used the term “babies” or “pro creation,” but he did say, “that [babies / pro creation] is the purpose of marriage.”
I don’t recall any biblical passages stating that the sole reason for marriage is to have babies. (I don’t even remember any verses saying it’s the primary reason – but perhaps it’s in there, and I just forgot.)
I think a lot of conservative Christians – the ones who have made idols out of marriage and having children, and the more extreme patriarchy- type lunatic “Quiverfull” groups – tend to stretch verses such as “be fruitful and multiply” to apply in situations where they do not, or are not, for all Christians for all times in all situations.
I would dare say since God presented Eve to Adam after having said, “it is not good for man to be alone” that one primary reason for the existence of marriage is for companionship. Not baby-making, but for companionship.
Sure, baby-making might be ONE reason for the creation of marriage by God, but it’s not the ONLY reason, as Robertson implied in his response.
This bizarre obsession with marriage and cranking out babies is one reason why so many people, Christian and Non, feel so unwelcomed or alienated from churches, or why they stop going.
People, including Christian people, who are childless, child-free, never-married, or widowed are frequently over-looked by most American Christianity.
The never-married (over the age of 30), the child free, the childless, and the widowers – their needs are dismissed or never acknowledged to start with. They are not usually mentioned from the pulpit, or on mainstream Christian blogs, in magazines, or in most Christian books about relationships.
Most attention by conservative Christians is spent hand-wringing over and worrying about the decline of marriage, the decline of the U.S. birth rate, complaining about the Democrats, or complaining about the legalization of homosexual marriage.
As for the hand wringing about the decline of marriage by conservative Christians, it is highly hypocritical of them to do this.
When older, never-married Christians ask for help from their Christian communities to get married (“please help me get a spouse! Introduce me to some great singles, or create more singles functions where we can meet and mingle”), they are scolded and lectured and get comments such as… THEY, the singles who desire marriage, are
“making an idol of marriage”
“be content in your singleness, it’s a gift!”
“we can’t turn the singles group into a meat market, it’s for Bible study ONLY”
“God may have called you to life long singleness”
-and older unmarried Christians get other such un-helpful comments like those.
Note to churches and preachers:
If you want the marriage rate among Christians to sky rocket, get off your asses and start helping Christian singles, who are ages 30+, to meet other Christian singles so that they can date and then marry. Provide practical assistance in this area.
Anyway, I don’t see any biblical grounds for thinking that making a baby is the sole, or primary, purpose of marriage.
Conflicting Message to Christian Women by Christians About Physical Appearance
I plan on making a longer post later about how Christian dating and marriage advice often emphasizes the supposed necessity of the importance of a woman’s physical appearance – and how annoying this emphasis is – but this post, I wanted to keep this post a little short.
On the one hand, going back decades now, conservative American churches and other Christian entities have instructed unmarried women that if they want dates or a husband, they have to stay thin and attractive at all times.
This is the type of advice I would expect to see in secular sources pertaining to dating, and it is in fact often mentioned in secular sources, but it’s disappointing to see it on Christian sites, magazines, and so forth, but it is.
We Christian women get told repeatedly in Christian publications, blogs, radio shows, TV shows, and sermons, that Christian men -(really? This sounds more like it would be more true of secular men)- prefer sexy hotty totty sexy sexy women. Ergo, we Christian women must be clones of sex pot movie star Megan Fox or Jayne Mansfield at all times, until we die. We are not allowed to age, get wrinkles, or facial lines.
(By the way, this extreme, sexist, and unfair fixation on a woman’s looks has earned this topic the tag of “Lookism” on this blog, so if you want to see other posts, past or future, where I discuss this, please see the “Lookism” tag off to the side bar of this blog.)
Some pastors or Christian spokespersons, such as Mark Driscoll and Pat Robertson (see this post at this blog for more on that), have said that if a married man cheats on his wife (or is an alcoholic), it is totally understandable, reasonable, or expected, if the wife has “let herself go.” Married men have a right to cheat on their wife if their wife has gained weight or gotten wrinkles, is the implied message from these so-called Christian speakers.
Please, someone, point me to the Bible passage that says, “Thou shall not commit adultery, unless thy wife has gotten overweight, wrinkles, sags, or grey hair, in which case, I, your most Holy God, am all like, ‘Bro, I totally understand-eth! Thou art excused from the whole adultery thing.'”
So anyway, we women are told -indoctrinated and brainwashed constantly- since our youth, that our value as Christian women resides not in God, but in being quiet, submissive, and PRETTY (and as we get older, the characteristics of “being a wife and a mommy” are added), but BEING PRETTY is always on the list.
That message is obnoxious in and of itself, but what gets my goat is that it’s also frequently brandished along side this next sexist chestnut which conflicts with it; here it is:
Christian ladies, don’t be sexy because it might cause your “brothers in Christ” to “stumble.”
On the one hand, we Christian ladies are pressured to remain sexy, thin, and attractive, lest we turn off our husbands (if we have one), or, for those of us desiring marriage, lest we repel the single men out there, but, we should not look sexy because it might cause a man to have naughty, lustful thoughts.
Conservatives and Christians Fretting About U.S. Population Decline – We Must “Out-breed” Opponents Christian Host Says
I’m right in the middle of writing a post on another topic for this blog when the hosts of the Christian program “The 700 Club” announced they will be interviewing a male author, Jonathan V. Last, of a book called “What to Expect When No One’s Is Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster.”
This was preceded by a journalist on the show doing a brief news segment high-lighting that birth rates for 20-something American women have declined, while births for ages 35 – 44 American women have increased.
I never cared strongly if I had children or not. I wanted marriage, but kids? I didn’t care strongly about having children. That’s my personal position on the kid issue.
I am watching the interview now, as it’s airing.
The author at least concedes that it’s okay if people choose not to have kids. Host Pat Robertson isn’t fully on board with that view.
Now Last, the author, is going on to say what disasters will befall America if women don’t pop out two point five kids each – not enough tax payers to support medicare, it becomes difficult to sustain defense (not enough 18 year olds to join the military), and so forth.
Robertson is now asking the author, Last, about declining population in Japan (and later, he asks about Germany).
As a never-married adult Christian, I am disturbed by the undue emphasis American Christian culture places on “the family,” by which they mean the 1950s standard of man married to woman with one or more children.
Maybe conservative Christian groups are correct and secular culture is hostile towards the nuclear family, but the obsession they have with defending it means these Christians frequently ignore or exclude anyone who does not fall into the nuclear family demographic (married couples with children).
I came across this book review which also discusses the topic (copy of a post at goddiscussion.com; source: (www)goddiscussion.com/85000/jesus-family-values-by-deirdre-good/:):
Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good offers challenge to conservative Christian views
[The book review opens by describing how some American Christian groups claim that the nuclear family is under attack, as do some European groups, such as the British “Christian Action Research and Education, or CARE for short”].
…. [I]t is quickly apparent that the family is viewed in exclusive terms as being two parents (of different sexes) and children. But the grandaddy of all advocates of the ‘Christian family’ is without doubt the the behemoth that is Focus on the Family a multimillion dollar ministry formerly headed by James Dobson whose aim is to “help families thrive.”
Anyone would think that the testimony of the Bible was unequivocal given the unanimity with which Christian marriages laud their particular vision of family as the very bedrock of civilization.
But, even excluding the First Testament with its references to polygamy and like exercised by God’s righteous the Second Testament is far from clear. To cite one primary example Jesus in Matthew 10: 35-37 makes the startling comment that his mission is not so much to establish Christian families that will form the basis of a Christian civilization but is rather to “set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (English Standard Version).
Watters notes that one reason so many singles have cited for dropping out of church attendance is that so many churches are “family focused.”(I think this is especially true for singles over the age of 35.)
When one has never been married but one’s local church never offers programs or sermons aimed at the particular heartaches and challenges of being single, one does tend to feel ostracized, ignored, hurt by this, or taken for granted, and so they stop attending church.
Most church sermons (the ones about how to be a better spouse or a better parent, or other marriage-related topics) are completely irrelevant to most singles.
I am one single who would not object to the occasional marriage or parenting sermon or after-church program, but it seems they are way, way, way too frequent, not only in local churches, but on Christian television shows, and on Christian blogs and in Christian magazines.
Marriage or parenting are the only metaphor preachers use in their sermons, tracts, articles, or books, as I’ve noted in previous writings on this blog.
As someone who has never married or had kids, it really stings, hurts, and annoys to always hear marriage (or parenting) used as the default story illustration in sermons or Christian books/ TV shows/ magazines. It would not be difficult for preachers or Christian television hosts to use other, non-marriage metaphors to make their points, and to stop making singles feel so excluded.
Because older singles (older, as in over 35 years old) feel so overlooked and out of place by a marriage-obsessed church body, many do stop going to church.
Therefore, some singles, some Christian authors, and a tiny minority of married pastors, have suggested that to make singles feel more included, that the church needs to stop focusing as much on the family (and on marriage) as they have been doing.
Christian author Watters, who contributes to the Christian blogzine “Boundless,” however, feels this is a bad idea and that doing so will actually create the reverse situation: make marriage even harder to obtain for Christian singles who want marriage. I have no idea how the hell she arrives at such a bizarre conclusion.
Watters asks (I am amazed that she asks this, but then I think Boundless is an extension of “Focus on the Family” organization, so there is a pro-nuclear family agenda to maintain at all expense, I suppose),
“But is it in the best interest of single believers who hope to marry some day to attend such churches [that stop relentlessly sermonizing and focusing on children and marriage]?”
My answer is YES it is. HELL YES.
The extreme family (marriage and kids)-centric outlook of most churches is what is driving singles away in the first place.
If you hope for singles to meet at church (and then marry), one has to get them to attend, which naturally means removing aspects they find hurtful or a turn-off.
And singles are not going to bother showing up to attend if their current needs and current status (which is singlehood) is being ignored.
Or, when the needs and issues of the single are not being ignored, they, or the singles themselves, are usually being insulted, as is the case in some churches who make marriage sound more biblical, proper, or better than singlehood, or they make singlehood sound abnormal (which is what Boundless does, especially in regards for singleness over the age of 30).
Some churches, and some Christians, elevate marriage to such an absurd degree to the point they make singleness sound bad, weird, shameful, un-biblical, or disgraceful.
I do want to get married – but the way to get me to show up to your church and meet a single Christian man at your church (if such a creature even exists?) is once I get in the church door, treat me with just as much attention and respect as you do the marrieds.
Ignoring me, or ignoring what I go through as a single, gives me no incentive to return to your church (or any church that operates this way), Ms. Watters.
Your church can offer as many pro- marriage rallies, pro- parenting seminars, and pot luck suppers for “families” as they wish, but if they keep ignoring my status in life as a single, it’s very wounding, infuriating, and annoying – and I won’t be back.
Or, if your church insults me by (including but not limited to), (and yes, some Christian writers and publications have indeed mentioned or done the following, I am not fabricating this),
blaming me for my singleness (i.e., I did not deliberately choose to be single this long; I did not put career before marriage, etc – contrary to “marriage mandaters” such as Debbie Maken);
or by implying I’m a sex- crazed floozy (because you know the usual assumption even by other Christians is that all Christian singles past age 30 are having sex all over the place);
or by teaching I’m weird, I must have too much baggage;
I’m second class – not as mature, responsible, or valuable as married Christians;
or, according to the pastors and married people, I’m there only to serve the marrieds and the Christian nuclear family (e.g, babysitting the married people’s kids in the church nursery);
(if my presence and needs as a never-married woman over the age of 35 are actually acknowledged, which they rarely are), or, if, in most sermons, your pastor goes on and on about how great or challenging marriage is (as though being single is shameful or does not pose challenges), and
your church caters primarily to marrieds while offering next to no programs and help to singles,
-also gives me no incentive to return to your church. That’s the way it is.
The fact is that the never-relenting beating on the pro-marriage, pro-parenting drum by preachers and church laity can, and has, driven older singles away from the church.
You writing your editorial saying churches should keep on beating the same pro-marriage (pro- kids) drum is not going to rectify this, and it is not the way to address the issue.
Watters believes that downplaying the amount of attention marriage receives in churches (for the sake of making singles feel more welcome) would mean that churches would somehow be elevating singlehood to a preferred, super-spiritual status, and that this would be harmful to marriage. Again, I have no idea how she arrives at this conclusion.
Maybe Watters believes that cutting the amount of time and attention lavished on marriage (by Christians or by local churches) would mean treating the institution itself as unimportant, but that is not necessarily so. A church or a preacher can still easily uphold marriage as being biblical and wonderful – but they do not have to do so by preaching on the topic practicallyevery single Sunday, which has been the norm the past few decades.
Singles are not asking for married people, and for the topic of marriage itself, to be totally ignored by churches, nor are we asking marriage to be insulted or put down. Most of us singles want to be married too.
We older singles are asking for equal time and equal respect, not for preferential treatment. Why is this such a hard concept for Watters and those like her to grasp?
Instead of a church offering a six- week marriage series, for example, why not cut it down to two or three weeks? Or, why not devote a six- week singles series in addition to the six- week marriage one? (Click on “more” below to read the rest of this post)
In this post, I discuss (sometimes only very briefly), Reformed Theology (Calvinism), gender roles (complementarianism), Young Earth Creationism, Christian speaker Beth Moore, New Evangelicalism (i.e., how important is “secondary doctrine”), spiritual abuse in churches, and other subjects, and how they are addressed at the WW blog.
Areas of Agreement
I do agree with many of the positions taken on the blog by Dee and Deb, who started the blog.
I agree with them on many of the topics they post about, such as authoritarianism and Neo-Calvinism are problematic in Christianity; that the very un-loving tone Christians take towards others can at times cause other Christians to walk away from the Christian faith; and that patriarchy and gender complementarianism are unbiblical and sexist teachings that are doing damage to many women and to the doctrine of the Trinity.
I also agree, to a point, with the blog owners that some Christians wrongly make issues that most would consider secondary into primary- level concerns, which can lead to needless divisions among Christians. (On the other hand, I sometimes get a little bit nervous by Christians who start saying love always trumps doctrine).
The blog owners are also very concerned about spiritual abuse in churches and how to prevent or rectify it, and they are also rightly concerned with the sexual abuse of children by pastors and priests.
So on those fronts, I do recommend their blog.
Areas of Disagreement
I do however, have one or two concerns or disagreements with the ladies behind that blog.
Deb and Dee seem concerned that Christians should be respectful and loving towards other Christians, even when disagreeing on secondary issues – which is a fine and laudable goal.
Young Earth Creationism
However, I don’t see them fully demonstrating that philosophy in regards to secondary issues such as YEC (Young Earth Creationism).
Repeatedly at their blog, I see much disdain for YEC. And I don’t pick up that the disdain is due to their assertion that some YECs are trying to push its relevance.
They claim that some YEC advocates conflate YEC with salvation or the Gospel itself, which I have not seen (though I am not denying that some YECs may do this, but I don’t think it’s as rampant as they make it appear – I have never personally seen or read of an occasion of a YEC saying “Agreement with YEC = necessary for salvation”).
About the only name I have seen them cite as far as YECs, especially famous YECs, who elevate YEC to salvation-level proportions is Ken Ham. (Ham’s site, Answers Outreach)
I’ve read Ham’s material before and have seen him interviewed on TV shows about his views on evolution and creation.
I have personally not seen Ham equate YEC to the Gospel itself.
I have only seen Ham make an argument along the lines that questioning YEC (which usually involves denying a literal interpretation of the Bible and/or allowing a secular / naturalistic-materialistic worldview to color one’s reading of the Bible, including the book of Genesis) can lead people (young people in particular, who are immersed with secular views on evolution during school and college) to question other portions of the Bible.
That is, rejecting a literal, six- day creation interpretation in turn can, or may, ultimately lead them to question if the Gospel is true and accurate, or cause them to wonder if other aspects of the Bible are true.
I think Ham actually has a decent and legitimate point there, and I don’t see that as necessarily “equating YEC to the Gospel,” or to making a belief in it a requirement for salvation.
In one thread on one blog page at Wartburg Watch, one of the blog owners seemed to ridicule or mock YEC Christians who believe that dinosaurs may have existed at the time of Noah and that dinosaurs were led on to Noah’s Ark, or that this could have been a possibility.
This is not the specific thread I am thinking of, but is close to it in content and tone:
As a YEC, I and other YECs do not “reject science,” we do not “reject reason,” and we are not “anti science,” as we are so often depicted as (including in the Wartburg Watch post above, sadly).
Most of us YECs merely disagree with other people over scientific topics, or how to approach scientific topics.
Disagreeing with someone else on the topic of evolution or the age of the earth does not mean we YECs are “anti science” or “anti reason.” To keep saying we YECs are “anti science” is a strawman and is mischaracterizing our views and beliefs.
In the discussion on YEC, one comment from the Wartburg Watch says (which is again at this blog page):
“No matter what the anointed would have us believe, the age of the earth, complementarianism, the size of our church, and the governing structure of the church are not primary issues. Folks, we have been given a brain. We need to use it.”
I do not believe that the earth is millions or billions of years old or that God used evolution to create and change life forms.
From this blog person’s comments at Wartburg Watch, one would assume that those who do not agree that the earth is millions/billions of years old have not been given brains or do not use their brains. I’m unsure if the bloggers mean that, or if it was an unfortunate choice of words.
(I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some Christian Old Earth advocates and believers of theistic evolution who make the age of the earth or evolution a primary issue, who tell YECs they are unsaved and going to hell.)
This comment is from a blog owner of Wartburg Watch (at the same page)…
“So what was his [the YEC person] solution [when confronted with material that disagreed with YEC views]? He refused to read anything more because it challenged him to the core. He said he would choose to believe Young Earth in spite of the evidence because ‘he couldn’t take it.'”
…Was somewhat uncharitable. Not all YECs are “afraid” to look at the opposition’s view points nor do all YEC advocates recoil in horror, in disbelief, or go into denial after having read work critical of YEC views.
I have read arguments for both sides of the evolution and age of Earth debates in the past, and I remain a YEC.
I was subjected to years of secular macro-evolution education in public schools and a bit in college and was told as a student that the earth is millions and millions of years old, but I still remain unconvinced for old-earth or macro evolution beliefs.
I have listened to Christian scientific personality Hugh Ross, who believes in theistic evolution (or some variety of it) and in an old earth, many times on Christian shows over the past fifteen years, arguing in favor of an old earth view (Hugh Ross’ site, Reasons To Believe).
Ross seems like a very nice man (and very intelligent, too – though he can, in my view, get a bit prickly or condescending at times when debating YECs), and I have no doubt he believes in Jesus as much as I do, but I disagree with him on these particular issues.
I did not find the “old earth” arguments, or arguments in favor of evolution, by Ross or by other Christians, journals, blogs, or TV shows I’ve read or watched compelling, nor was I convinced by secular sources who argue for old earth and for Darwinism.
I am college-educated and made mostly straight A’s while in college, so I am not a hick or a dummy. I made a “B” in a math class (college algebra), a “B” in one science class, and a “C” in one science lab course – everything else, I got an “A” (including one or two other college- level science courses).
I have read material that questions and criticizes the YEC and Intelligent Design view, both by Christians (who believe in theistic evolution and an old age of the earth view) and by atheists – and I am still a YEC.
There seems to be a belief held (and it is condescending), by Old Age proponents, that if only a YEC is confronted with criticisms of YECism by old-earth proponents, we will abandon our views of YEC, because, by golly, Fact, Science!, and Truth are soobviously on the side of the intelligent, educated, old-earth proponents…
And that further, it seems there is also a belief, or attitude, that simple-minded, doofus, red-neck, inbred, wrongly- paranoid- of- liberal- tinged public school system education Young Earth Creationists (who also watch NASCAR, marry their first cousins, have only one tooth, and keep broken washing machines on their front lawns, next to the pink, plastic flamingos) simply cannot challenge or refute anti-YEC teachings, or we are so weak minded, we will faint upon hearing them.
If the situation about the origins of life, creation of the earth and of mankind were as simple as all that, there would not be an old-earth / young-earth / evolution debate at all; all Christians would have converted to old-earth / theistic evolution perspectives many years ago. Obviously both sides have excellent points, intelligent people, and facts to back up their positions.
Dee and Deb of the Wartburg Watch blog may not be questioning the salvation of a Christian who believes dinosaurs co-existed with Noah, but in my view, it is no less alienating, or uncharitable to imply people who do believe that way are rubes, out- of- touch, un-scientific, anti reason, ignorant, or that all YECs everywhere equate YEC to the Gospel – and I do pick up that tone in some of the posts at the WW blog on this issue. I find that baffling, since both ladies usually seem very sensitive to other people’s feelings and concerns.
I am a YEC myself. I do not believe a person has to be YEC or agree with it to “be saved.” (Click the “more” link below to read the remainder of this post…)
In one or two verses in the New Testament, we are told that whatever we pray to God for (and ask in the name of Christ), we will receive.
I take that at face value. Of course, it more often than not hasn’t worked. I pray, pray, pray for things in the name of Christ and believe, but don’t receive.
One annoying tendency I see of some pastors, Christians, Biblical studies, etc. is to say you cannot take the Bible at face value.
I’m pretty sure I saw a footnote in a study Bible that said when Christ said whatever you pray for in His name He will do that He did not “really” mean it, or he did not really mean to say “anything.” The Bible footnote in the study area of that Bible said Christ was referring to only spreading the Gospel message. However, I don’t see anything in the context that indicates that. Continue reading “On Prayer and Christ’s Comment to Grant You Anything You Ask in His Name”