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 ————-
Middle-Aged Women Face a Crisis of Discipleship by M. VanLoon
IMHO, this situation is ten times worse if you’re a never married, childless (or child-free) woman over the age of 30. I started noticing by around my mid-30s that most evangelical or Baptist churches cater to “married with couples kids.” They ignore anyone who is not a young married couple with kids still living at home.
The lady who wrote the following, M. VanLoon, is married with 2 or 3 kids and is either in her 40s or 50s.
I’ve read her material before. She said that she didn’t notice how horrible churches ignore all non-Nuclear Family demographics until her last kid grew up and moved out, leaving her and her spouse as “empty nesters.”
But it’s true. Most American churches don’t pay attention to anyone who is single (never married), or widowed, divorced, or childless.
(Link): George Barna presents sobering data reflecting the quiet exodus from the church among boomers and gen x-ers. The data indicates it isn’t just millennials leaving the church but sizeable numbers of those at midlife and beyond.
As I first began reading it, I had high hopes. I was optimistic.
It started out on the right foot but descended into a let-down where Fields is arguing for the status quo, which is inexcusable, especially after she admits she was educated, (after she publicly asked for feedback from women), as to how so many women find church Mother’s Day celebrations so painful.
(The summary of her piece: she doesn’t really care about your pain, you childless woman, or you women who are grieving for their dead mothers; she still wants her mother’s day carnation handed to her by a pastor, dammit, and culture doesn’t do near enough, she argues, to honor motherhood!
She would no doubt want to push back and say, ‘hey, I do care about other women’s pain’ – but no, she does not, if she is still arguing to keep Mother’s Day in place as-is. Please keep reading.)
First of all, motherhood is a choice for many women.
You chose to have a child. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it’s women who deliberately walk into a pregnancy and then spend 15 – 20 years complaining about how exhausting motherhood is.
I regard Mormonism as being a cult, not a form of legitimate Christianity (Mormons don’t believe in the Jesus of the Gospels, for one thing), but I think there are some parallels between Mormons and Christians, such as the over-emphasis upon marriage.
When your church makes an idol out of marriage, as Mormons and Christians do, it drives people away. Because sometimes people stay single by choice, or due to factors beyond their control.
And if you’re single in a religion that over-values marriage, there is a tendency to be ignored, set aside. Churches care more about marriage than singlehood. Churches care more about meeting the needs of married couples than they do adult singles.
There is no incentive for a single adult to remain in a church or denomination that marginalizes them constantly, or that behaves as though singleness is a disease or a second-rate life station.
We know, or can infer, some things about them from prior research. There is a correlation between certain life situations and leaving. This does not mean that being any one of these things will cause a person to leave, only that there is a relationship.
Being single. There’s been some tantalizing research over the last two years about singles in the LDS Church.
The Conservative, Christian Case for Working Women by J. Merritt
Some of the few complementarian Christians I follow on social media did not like this article at all. They seem to find any criticism of their position, or any suggestion of other options for women, to be a great affront to complementarianism itself, or to God or the Bible. Why do they feel their movement is so fragile?
Christian women who reject complementarianism – some of them may go by various labels, such as “Jesus feminists,” or “egalitarians,” or “mutualists,” don’t seek to limit women the way complementarians do. Non-complementarian men and women do not mind if a woman chooses to be a stay at home wife and mother.
However, complementarians do not truly afford all women, and especially not non-complementarian, women this same courtesy.
Much complementarian content will pay “lip service” to respect a woman’s right to choose to work outside the home and so on, but often times, from what I’ve seen, that very same site, or authors on some other complementarian site, will cry and clutch their pearls in sorrow or grief that more and more Christian women are choosing to stay single, not have children, and/or to work outside the home.
Notice that in this article, at one point, complementarian Owen Strachan, who is a spokes-head for complementarian group CBMW, comes right out and says egalitarianism, or any departure from complementarianism, is supposedly a sin.
Egalitarians are all about giving women more choices, telling them to go after their dreams, and doing whatever they feel God has led them to do.
Complementarians really chaff at that. Complementarians want women in boxes. I wrote a much older post saying that (Link): this is one reason of several I really have been struggling with holding on to the Christian faith. I was raised in a Christian family that bought into many of these complementarian ideas, and it’s not something that worked out well for me in my life.
An evangelical Christian and avowed feminist argues that God intends every woman to work.
The final episode of Leave it To Beaver aired in June of 1963, but many conservative Christians still promote a vision of womanhood reminiscent of June Cleaver. When Tobin Grant, political-science professor at Southern Illinois University, analyzed General Social Survey data from 2006, he found that nearly half of evangelical Christians agreed with this statement: “It is much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes care of the home and family.”
Forty-one percent agreed that “a preschool child is likely to suffer if his or her mother works.” For these evangelicals, a woman’s place in the world is to get married, bear children, and support her breadwinning husband.
Katelyn Beaty—the managing editor of Christianity Today,America’s largest evangelical Christian publication—has set out to change this notion of gender. Her new book, A Woman’s Place, claims to reveal “the surprising truth about why God intends every woman to work.”
This declaration may surprise many of her magazine’s 80,000 print subscribers and 5 million monthly website visitors. And it may also rouse many of her fellow evangelicals who believe her ideas defy the Bible’s clear teaching, if not qualifying as outright heresy. While Beaty knows criticism may be coming her way, she is making a conservative Christian case for working women.
Christian Speaker Christine Caine Apologizes to Adult Singles For Singles Being Marginalized by the Church, for Church Idolizing Marriage
I was watching the TBN program “Praise the Lord” tonight (April 22, 2016), and Christian speaker Christine Caine (who I don’t know a whole lot about) was a guest.
Caine has a new book called “Unashamed” she was there to promote. I have not read the book; it’s supposed to be released in May of 2016.
If I am remembering the program correctly, Caine said a chapter in her book apologizes to adult singles (especially the women) – the never married, the widows, the divorced – for how the church (as in church universal, all Christians) have sidelined, ignored, or heaped shame upon adult singles for being single.
Caine informed hosts Lori and Matt Crouch that about 57% of people (not sure if she meant 57% of people in the United States or the entire world) are single now – but the church keeps holding marriage up as the example, so that women who don’t marry by the age of 35 are made to feel ashamed or like failures.
Caine also mentioned that the 57% number is also the same figure for the church, that there are many, many single adults in the Christian faith.
Caine said that the church ignores the never-married and the “single again” (such as widows). She apologized to them for this.
The Crouch couple, Matt and Lori, who own TBN, seemed a little surprised or shocked to hear that 57% of adults are single in and out of the church.
Look, maybe Mrs Kenna is a lovely person, but her editorial has me hopping angry right now.
Maybe she did not intend for her editorial to come across as it did.
I have been saying on this blog for the past few years that most Christians put far too much emphasis on the nuclear family, something the Bible does not do, and that this emphasis on the traditional family unit further excludes and alienates anyone who has never married or had children, or any adult who is over a certain age and most of their relatives are dead. Not everyone has a nuclear family.
So, you see an editorial at Christianity Today with a headline like, “Why Christians Need To Embrace a Changing Definition of Family,” you get your hopes up and think, “Maybe Christians are finally starting to get it!!”
But then you start reading the actual editorial and are terrified and dismayed to see things like this:
…My husband and kids and distant relatives aren’t enough. I must depend the friends I make, the people around me, as our “practical family.”
When babies arrive, parents fly in for a visit, but they aren’t on hand to watch your older kid when you go into labor. That’s what practical family is for. When your apartment doesn’t have room for a blow-up mattress for your sister to come stay, you call someone from the congregation.
…In other settings, these responsibilities fall to family or lifelong friends, but my husband, my kids, and I don’t have that support network here. Instead, the people God put next to us become the family we need for getting through hard times, for celebrating everyday joys, and for learning to live out our faith….
…It runs counter to the American nuclear family, but in three of the four Gospels, Jesus affirms that the faithful are a truer family than our biological ones.
…Similarly, one way Christians can become “practical family” for each other is through naming godparents—especially ones who aren’t already your relatives.
Rather than being done out of tradition, ceremony, or even necessity (in some circles “godparent” is a designation for those who would take legal custody of your kids), appointing godparents celebrates these special Christian friendships.
The reason this Kenna woman is asking Christians to re-evaluate how they view the term or concept of “family” – at least how it comes across to me – is not out of concern for the many men and women who have been ignored or hurt by a Christian culture that only values married couples who have kids, but out of a self-serving desire for adult singles around her to be free baby-sitters to her and her husband when her mother in law or her sister cannot visit her for a stay.
As already noted in the comments on that editorial, the church has already been lecturing adult singles for decades now that they are only useful for things like being free babysitter services for married couples.
There are actually books by Christians (as reviewed in the book “Singled Out” by Field and Colon) which tell adult singles their only purpose in life or in the faith is to support people who are already married with kids. Which is a very condescending, rude thing to convey to singles.
Never do Christians or churches ask how the married with kids couples can serve the childless adult singles!
One of the only bright spots I take away from Mrs Kenna’s article is that she does not appear to share the same fear or paranoia of adult single women that other Christians do. At least I am assuming she is not or does not.
Recall that most Christians teach marrieds to stay away from single females, because supposedly, all single females are Jezebel sex pots who are just itching to hop into bed with a married man (see this post about the (Link): Billy Graham rule for a bit more on that).
The entire editorial by Mrs. Kenna just reads as yet another, “Hey, if you are single, your purpose is to help me, a married mother, clean my home, dress and feed my kids and run other errands for me” piece.
I don’t recall her mentioning in the editorial how she helps her single, childless friends.
When one of Mrs. Kenna’s single, childless friends comes down with the flu, does Ms. Kenna drive them over a bowl of hot, steaming, chicken soup and drive them to a doctor’s appointment? Does she mow their lawn for them, since they are too sick to get out of bed?
I did not see any mention of that in her editorial, nor did I see her telling other married couples to help the singles in their lives.
One reason of several I no longer attend church or have much interest in attending one is that they only want to take from me, they do not want to give.
Churches and other people I know are only interested in how I can help them get THEIR needs met, but they do not care to meet MY needs. I am no longer a codependent push-over who allows herself to be exploited by other people.
After having read Julia Duin’s “Quitting Church” book a few years ago, I’m not the only adult single who is tired of being used by married couples in churches as a work horse, to scrub the church’s kitchen floors or to babysit married couple’s children for free – and we get nothing in return.
It’s brazenly shameful that an author on a Christian site would encourage other Christians to re-evaluate how they view “family” only to guilt or pressure non-marrieds to act as free maids and butlers to meet the needs of the married couples – not to help singles and the childless, but to once more hit them up to act as a free labor pool for the married parents.
Maybe the lady who wrote the editorial did not mean to convey these ideas, but that was how her page came across to me.
But really, Kenna’s editorial essentially reads like this:
“Hey, church, we need to stop defining “family” to mean blood relations, because when your birth family lives 2,000 miles away, it means I don’t have anyone to help me clean my family’s dirty laundry, or to babysit my kids for free when I want to get my hair done.
That is what adult Christian singles are for, not just birth family!
Why not take advantage of the adult singles around me to meet my needs – just tell them they are “family” too, and bingo presto, I can have someone at my house to sweep my kitchen when my sister in law can’t make it.”
I am tired of Christians only considering single, childless adults valuable and as family only in so far as they can help married parents get their needs met.
Weird, Sexist PreOccupation with Female Physical Appearance, Including Christian Males – vis a vis Preacher Doug Wilson
I have blogged on this subject before, or something very similar to it, the weird and worn preoccupation with Christian men with women’s looks and sexuality. Of course, Non Christian men can be just as bad about this and sometimes are.
One of the reasons I am writing this blog post is due to this recent post at Christianity Today:
There was recently a story in the media about two or three weeks ago about a woman on a site, Linked In, which is a site for professionals to network. This woman received a response from a much-older man on that site who told her how attractive she was in her Linked In site photo.
When this woman wrote him back and told him how sexist and inappropriate his message was, and this story somehow made its way into the public eye, this woman started getting screamed at and criticized by other parties online.
The case against your dad’s favorite social-media platform being used to “connect” with younger women
If we were REALLY living in a society where men were terrified of being accused of sexual harassment by women (especially in the workplace), would we still find men using professional work sites such as Linked In to tell women they don’t even know how gosh-durn sexy – purty they are? No, I think not.
Men are still acting in a sexist and inappropriate fashion towards women, even on professional job-based web sites. Ergo, men cannot be all that afraid of being smacked with sexual harassment labels or lawsuits as the other article is claiming.
Tellingly, Elsesse [female author] adds that companies themselves are contributing to this mess, as they are now so terrified of legal action they send staff on sexual harassment training courses, and are duty-bound to follow up on any allegation, however minor.Ludicrously, Elsesser cites examples of men who have been dragged in by their HR departments for simply opening a door for a female colleague or complimenting her on a new suit. “Stories like these spread around workplaces, instilling a fear that innocent remarks will be misinterpreted,” she says.
Why would a male co-worker find it necessary to tell a female co-worker that her suit is snazzy? Why not instead tell her what a killer job she did on Tuesday’s staff meeting presentation?
You know, praise the woman’s brains, skills, accomplishments or job performance – instead of her appearance?
I am not a left winger, nor am I a secular feminist. I am right wing.
Any time a woman complains about getting a comment about her physical appearance from a man, even if it is a positive comment, my fellow right wingers will howl in protest. They cannot fathom how or why any woman would find getting compliments on her looks to be derogatory, demeaning, unwanted, or annoying.
You are thought to be overly sensitive, or a woman’s studies major who never shaves her arm pits, or a bra-burning, man hating harpy, if you object to a man telling you in any way, shape or form, that you are pretty or sexy.
My fellow right wingers chalk up any female dissent on receiving compliments on looks from a man as being from a left wing, frothing at the mouth, man-hating feminist.
Reminder: I am a right winger who disagrees with secular left wing feminists over 90% (or more) of the time on 90-95% of topics, but on this one, they are totally correct: as a socially conservative, right wing woman, I find it insulting when men call attention to my looks – even in a personal capacity, let alone a professional one.
I don’t like guys on the internet telling me I am hot, sexy, or pretty (which they have done on sites where I have used photos of myself and my real name, and this is not even on dating sites), nor do I enjoy men I don’t know in stores or streets cat-calling me or making comments about my appearance.
Hell, I grew to resent my ex fiance’s continual ‘You are so beautiful’ comment to be tiresome. I asked him several times to stop commenting on my looks, and that if he wanted to praise me, to do so based on some other quality, like my achievements at my job, my sense of humor – anything but my looks.
But the moron would never do it. It made me feel as though he only valued me for my looks, not my personality or anything else I brought to the table (well, he did love my bank account).
In my particular case, I was an ugly duckling as a kid -by some people’s standards- when I was a pre-teen. I was picked on.
I eventually slimmed down, got contact lenses, started wearing mascara, and boom, the male gender suddenly changed their minds about me. I really don’t like being judged or valued primarily or solely upon my physical appearance, but this has happened repeatedly from my teen years into my adult years.
Men don’t get this, they do not comprehend it. They don’t seem to care to know what it feels like to be accepted or rejected based on their looks alone (or primarily), yet this happens to women from the time we are girls and only grows worse as we get to our pre-teen and teen years and older.
It’s very frustrating and dehumanizing to be evaluated only on your physical appearance. Not to have people notice your intellect, your wit, your talents, your skills, to be appreciated for YOU, for who you are, not for what you look like.
One of the things I find annoying about the usual right wing, anti-feminist come-back to women who object to receiving comments from men about their looks is that such women should chill out and learn to appreciate a compliment.
One of the objections I have to that position: it assumes I need or want male validation and at that, for my appearance, and in a job setting.
However, I do not need or want a man’s validation about my physical appearance, especially not in a work-related context.
One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’
I regularly blog about topics pertaining to singleness, dating, and marriage and so on, but – as someone who has been undergoing a faith crisis the last few years, I am also interested in topics like this one:
What do you do when the faith you grew up in just doesn’t make sense anymore?
This is the dilemma Reba Riley, a 33-year-old from Cincinnati, faced in her late 20s. She was brought up in an evangelical Christian household, but soon realized that the questions she had about her faith weren’t being answered by the theology preached by her family’s church.
The spiritual crisis prompted her to embark on a wild journey through 30 different religious traditions in just one year. Half of these were various strands of Christianity — from Mormonism to the practices of the Amish — and the other half included Hinduism, Paganism and others.
The purpose of the quest wasn’t necessarily to find a new faith, but to combat the bitterness that had grown in her heart when she thought about God.
Three years after her experiment concluded, Riley told The Huffington Post she now calls herself a Christian, but with many, many qualifiers. Her faith is now about practicing love and finding God in unexpected places.
Blogger Declares That Adult Singles Who Desire Marriage Yet Are Still Single in Early Middle Age And Upset By It Are Being Petty
There are additional updates at the bottom of this post: I spoke with the blogger, S. Field, and she apologized, so we’re all good.
When I first wrote this post you see below, I was feeling rather cranky, I do admit (but even then, I did not hate Field, I was just upset with the “petty” remark). Since we had our chat (see bottom of this post), I’m okay with her.
Oh the irony. Someone at the Stuff Christian Culture Likes Facebook group, in a thread ((Link): located here) about people who have been hurt by churches, suggested the following blog page to another reader:
This is the blogger’s blurb on her blog’s main page:
I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist cult, but escaped as a young adult. Now, I write about being a bisexual woman and abuse survivor, exploring intersectional feminism and liberation theology.
Remember, this is a blog – by Samantha Field – that was recommended in a thread discussing how Christians and churches hurt people.
I would presume that Samantha Field would perhaps consider herself an advocate or some kind of spokesperson for (or at least sympathetic to) those who have been hurt by God, churches, the Christian faith, or what have you.
So imagine my surprise at seeing the following statement in Field’s “Lies Women Believe” book review, where she criticizes the author of the book, Nancy:
[Quote by Fields] Event this book enforces those notions. She gives the following in a list of problems we run into:
[quote by Nancy]… a loveless marriage, rejection by an ex-mate, grown children who won’t call home, approaching forty, and not a suitor in sight … (50)
[Quote by Fields] I’m sorry, those things aren’t fun, but they just seem so petty. Really, Nancy? This is your standard for talking about the possible reasons why women might feel that God doesn’t love them?
Here’s a brief recap of myself, for anyone who may be new to my blog:
I am a woman who was raised in a conservative Christian household. I accepted Christ as my savior as a kid. I have been having doubts about the faith the last two, three years, based on several reasons.
After the death of my mother a few years ago, I discovered much to my shock that most self professing Christians don’t really care. None were willing to help me through the grief or with other problems I had afterwards, some of which were not related to the death some of which were.
Those factors and others started me on a journey a little bit away from the Christian faith.
I have not totally left the faith, but am on a scale somewhere between the faith and agnosticism right now.
And one of those very reasons for my faith crisis (among several) is, yes, I am over 40 and still have never married (and with no suitors in sight), in spite of the fact I spent youth and on-wards, following Christian advice on how to get married: praying to God for a spouse and trusting in God for a spouse. I even tried some dating sites, to no avail.
But according to blogger Field, my pain and disappointment and faith crisis over this means nothing – I am just a whiny, First World Problems shallow doofus. Gee, thanks, Field!
Apparently, according to the reasoning I am seeing on Field’s blog page, I can only have doubts about the goodness of God if I am a black girl living in poverty in Africa, or something of that nature.
Marketers – and Churches – Create Mania Over Millennials
This is about corporations, but I feel this applies equally to churches.
Most churches today fall all over themselves to attract or keep kids, teens, and above all, The Millennials. I’ve written about this before, such as (and see the links at the bottom of this post under “Related Posts”):
The extremely annoying obsession businesses have marketing to millennials has not gone unnoticed. The following is about secular businesses, but just as much fixation with millennials goes on among churches, and it needs to stop.
Churches are also losing members from Gen-X and older.
The Tic Tac Mixer is another play in the millennial mania overtaking all manner of businesses that seems to be getting more obsessive by the day. But some question the necessity of such focused attention on the tech generation.
…It’s another play in the millennial mania overtaking all manner of businesses that seems to be getting more obsessive by the day. Not since the baby boomers came of age has a generation been the target of such fixation.
But this has a 21st-century style of urgency — with 24/7 micropandering, psychographic analysis, a high-priced shadow industry of consultants and study after study. (A few from recent days: how luxury brands can connect with millennials; what millennials think about restaurant-loyalty programs; and which emotions most influence the purchasing decisions of millennials. Answer: anxiety and empowerment.)
All cater to a generation, generally viewed as people born from about 1980 to 2000.
Goldman Sachs has gone as far as to research what (older) millennials are naming their babies. GameStop, a leading purveyor of video games, promotes its “insider knowledge” of the generation. Even coffee — an industry that would seem to have the generation in the bag — is frothing.
…. Misguided attention
Some analysts and consumers have begun to ask, “What about the rest of us?”
…it is worth noting here that although The Village Church claims [in their e-mail] that “We see an annulment as a subcategory of what Scripture defines as a divorce in Mark 10:9” …, this cannot be found anywhere in their Membership Covenant or Bylaws.
In signing their Membership Covenant shortly after my 24th birthday, I had agreed to nothing in regards to the possibility of annulment should I come to realize that my marriage had been a complete sham from the beginning.
There is a vast difference between a divorce and a marriage that is voided on the grounds of fraud, and I had no way of knowing that the leadership of The Village Church would respond to it in this fashion.
Passion for Truth Ministries Pastor Jim Stanley, 40, who told his St. Charles, Missouri, congregation last summer that he didn’t realize he had been arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him last June for defrauding investors, admitted in federal court Thursday that he cheated his elderly victims out of $3.3 million while making $570,000 for himself.
In a courtroom packed with supporters, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Staley, who owned a financial consulting form, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud rather than taking his case to trial. He admitted that he cheated 16 investors, and his defense attorney, Scott Rosenblum, says his client was ashamed and “completely accepted responsibility.” The attorney stressed that the crime “had nothing to do with his role as a pastor.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins said some of the investors trusted Staley because he was a “nice religious man” who referred to several of them as “Grandma.”
“Seniors tend to be more trusting and give people the benefit of the doubt, particularly people who hold themselves out as religious leaders,” said Collins.
At his sentencing on July 29, Staley will face six to eight years in prison. His attorneys will reportedly ask for less.
“The attorney stressed that the crime “had nothing to do with his role as a pastor.””
Oh yes, buddy, yes it does have everything to do with him being a pastor and claiming the name of Christ.
From the Bible, in describing people in positions of leadership in the church, 1 Tim 3.2
It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.
2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.…
Why so many empty church pews? Here’s what money, sex, divorce and TV are doing to American religion
Because I sometimes blog about why people quit church, or the phenomenon of declining church membership, I am including this news story.
However, I don’t care that families are not attending or that young people are not attending, because there is already FAR, FAR too much attention paid by church culture to youth and married couples and the nuclear family. There is not enough attention paid to older single (as in never married) adults or widows / widowers.
America’s churches are in trouble, and they are in trouble in communities that arguably need them the most.
One of the tragic tales told by Harvard scholar Robert Putnam in his important new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” is that America’s churches have grown weakest in some of the communities that need them most: poor and working-class communities across the country.
The way he puts it, our nation’s churches, synagogues and mosques give children a sense of meaning, belonging and purpose — in a word, hope — that allows them to steer clear of trouble, from drugs to delinquency, and toward a bright and better future, warmer family relationships and significantly higher odds of attending college.
The tragedy is that even though religious involvement “makes a bigger difference in the lives of poor kids than rich kids,” Putnam writes, involvement is dropping off fastest among children from the least privileged background, as the figure below indicates.
From a purely anecdotal perspective, wander into any Anglican church these days and you’ll likely as not be struck by the gender gap, with females accounting for the majority of the congregation. Dig a little deeper and you’ll probably also find that a core of thoroughly capable women are quietly but determinedly running the joint and keeping the whole place afloat.This is backed up by various reports over the last 10 years, which indicate that women outnumber men at UK churches by up to 15 per cent.It’s a headscratcher, and, like with all sets of data, you can read into it what you will. Around the time the people in this specific study were coming of age (they’re all now in their early 40), there was a bit of an influx of what are jokingly referred to as “Jesus is my boyfriend” worship songs – the type that go something like:
“Ooh, I love Jesus so much, I give my heart to him, he is sooooo dreamy.” Admittedly, having to sing this type of nonsense in church might have felt pretty emasculating for a young man, maybe even enough to put him off our Lord for good….What worries me far more about statistics like this being released is the potential response from Christians and the Church.
They’re always grist to the mill for dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists who like to wave them around shrieking: “See! We told you this would happen if you let women have opinions, and stand at the front of church, and be vicars. We told you the men wouldn’t like it. You’ve feminised the Church! Of course the men are leaving!”
This sexist hysterical crew seem to think that, in slowly but surely embracing equality, the entire Church is being transformed into one long episode of Loose Women. That by letting women lead, it naturally follows we’re creating an environment that is “toxic” to men. What a load of tosh.However, there has been a far darker reaction when we’ve seen reports like this before: a move to create a toughened-up, more masculine Church.
Also visit that page, scroll to the bottom, and read the visitor comments – not that I agree with all comments; I disagree with the one person in the comments who is dragging up the moldy oldy chest nut, “you should go to church to serve not be served.” Sorry no… the Bible teaches that one function of the body is that they are to meet the needs of each other.
(As I type this, their web site is currently down though).
by Thom Schultz
John is one in a growing multitude of ex-members. They’re sometimes called the de-churched. They have not abandoned their faith. They have not joined the also-growing legion of those with no religious affiliation—often called the Nones. Rather, John has joined the Dones.
At Group’s recent Future of the Church conference, sociologist Josh Packard shared some of his groundbreaking research on the Dones. He explained these de-churched were among the most dedicated and active people in their congregations. To an increasing degree, the church is losing its best.
For the church, this phenomenon sets up a growing danger. The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support are going away. And the problem is compounded by the fact that younger people in the next generation, the Millennials, are not lining up to refill the emptying pews.
Why are the Dones done? Packard describes several factors in his upcoming bookChurch Refugees (Group). Among the reasons: After sitting through countless sermons and Bible studies, they feel they’ve heard it all. One of Packard’s interviewees said, “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”
The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn.
Will the Dones return? Not likely, according to the research. They’re done. Packard says it would be more fruitful if churches would focus on not losing these people in the first place. Preventing an exodus is far easier than attempting to convince refugees to return.
Pastors and other ministry leaders would benefit from asking and listening to these long-time members before they flee. This will require a change of habit. When it comes to listening, church leaders are too often in the habit of fawning over celebrity pastors for answers. It would be far more fruitful to take that time and spend it with real people nearby—existing members.
The Never Ending Love Affair by The Barna Group With The Millennials
Evangelicals and other conservative Christians have a nasty habit of ignoring certain groups of people – such as the elderly, widows, widowers, the divorced, and never married adults who are over the page of 30.
At the same time these groups get nary a mention – or tweet – other groups, such as The Millennials, are focused upon obsessively. (That, or married couples who have children. Married couples who have kids get lots of coverage in evangelicalism as well.)
I began following the Barna Group Twitter account about two or three months ago (or it feels that way; it may have been longer or shorter than that).
During that time, I have noticed that they tweet about the Millennials frequently, or on a consistent basis.
Every so often, the Barna Group will tweet about general topics that are not necessarily pertaining to Millennials, such as…
Real data confirms how drastically the moral,social, and spiritual lives of Americans have changed and are changing. https://t.co/5EUnqFSQZA
(Barna Group tweet: “Real data confirms how drastically the moral,social, and spiritual lives of Americans have changed and are changing. https://www.barna.org/churchless“)
Which is fine.
However, I have yet to see a Tweet, or a regular series of tweets, addressing studies or articles about Gen X, Gen Y, adult singles, the divorced, or widowers, and, in particular, why these slices of the demographic pie have stopped attending the church, or why they are feeling neglected, and how churches can win these groups back.
If you’ve read blogs and books by people in those demographics, or the work “Quitting Church” by Julia Duin, you will see that many other people, who are not millennials, are dropping out of church also.
But all the publicity and hand-wringing by Christians (including the Barna folks) concerns the Millennials.
Is this a money making thing? Do churches or Christian groups or polling groups get more money by focusing on the current crop of 20-somethings?
Because I’m at a loss to understand what the extreme concern is over whether or not a 21 year old frat boy decides to stop going to church – and little to no attention is being shown for, example, the 38 year old, never married, childless woman who has had it with church and has quit.
I find it ironic that Barna Group seems to be concerned over Millennialls quitting church, but one factor of several I have personally quit church (and possibly the entire Christian faith) has to do with evangelical Christianity’s fixation upon youth. Christians never shut up about married couples, marriage, or “the millennials” and “how to reach children.”
Meanwhile, next to no effort is made by Christians to minister to anyone over the age of 29. If you are over 30, never have married, and never have had children, churches are not welcoming.
I have tweeted to The Barna Group several times in the last few months pointing this glaring omission out – that they rarely tweet about other groups.
A couple of times, one Barna Group lady, and some Barna Group guy told me they do sometimes do research on other groups. The guy who has tweeted me back two or three times seems annoyed by me.
I’m not purposefully trying to annoy him or anyone at his group, but I am merely pointing out the on-going tendency by their group, and Christians in general, to completely ignore non-Millennials, and I find this tendency, well, highly annoying.
Today, under yet another Millennial themed tweet by the Barna Group, I replied, “Another tweet about the Millennials,” and this exchange happened:
I don’t recall ever asking or demanding that the Barna group cease tweeting or writing about the Millennials (though I do think it an enormous waste of time and concern to expend this much effort on 20 somethings).
My point is, if you are going to yak about the Millennials, research them, tweet about them, coddle them, and try to reach out to them to win them back to church, you really ought to be spending an equal amount of time on other groups.
For every tweet, survey, or article about The Millennials, how about one about widows of any age, or divorced people or adult singles?
Over half the American adult population is now single – adult singles now out-number married couples in our nation. You’d think this would merit more attention (and in the form of Tweets and surveys) from Barna, but they seem overly preoccupied with the Millennials who are already a very self-absorbed bunch; they don’t need any more attention.
If you’re in a group that insists on tweeting about the Millennials five or more times a day, how about an equal amount of tweets about other demographics?
Here are some more tweets from the Barna Group about Millennials, observe the date and time stamps on each (farther below).
In-between these tweets, Barna Group does sometime tweet about issues that pertain to everyone, not just Millennials, such as this one, which mentions “adults,” and not millennials in particular.
(I tried to copy only different tweets from their Twitter page, but there may be one or more duplicates below that I pasted accidentally. Barna Group sometimes re-tweets the same material several times over, so some of what you see may appear to be a duplicate, but is not.)
(And you see that “Continue Reading” link below (if you are viewing this on the blog’s main page?) Click that to continue the post and see more Millennials obsession by Barna Group, there are even more tweets)
Male Entitlement and Adult Virginity: Who has it worse, Male Vs. Female?
The guy, John H. Morgan, behind this blog post I am discussing was eventually blocked from this blog about a year ago (read more about that (Link): here), but I think he still visits this blog regardless (which wouldn’t bother me too much if he’d (Link): give credit to this blog once in a while when and if he uses it to generate ideas for his own blog, because he apparently still visits this blog and uses it as a resource).
This is a rebuttal to a few of the points in this blog post:
Women who are waiting until marriage are virgins as pure as the driven snow. Men who wait until marriage become crippled with sexual confusion and permanent awkwardness . . . or worse. This double standard has existed for as long as men have walked the earth.
Maybe 50 or 60 years ago that double standard was in place, but no more.
The only places that double standard may still be alive today are certain extremist Christian cults, such as Quivering, Reconstructions, and patriocentric kook Christian groups, but not so much in run of the mill Baptist or evangelical circles.
Male adult virgins do not have life more difficult than adult women virgins.
The stereotypes male virgins endure (which I’ve written about a time or two previously) are not necessarily worse than the ones women adult virgins are subject to.
I would actually argue that adult women virgins, especially in the realm of Christianity, have to deal with harsher, or more prevalent stereotypes, more often than men virgins do.
While there may be a minority of Baptist or evangelicals who shame men for not marrying and reproducing young, such as disgraced pastor Mark Driscoll and Southern Baptist Al Mohler, who tend to depict single males past 25 as being stuck in adolescence, the vast majority of mainstream evangelicalism shames women far, far more for being virgins past a certain age than it does men.
Why is this so?
Because even in secular culture – this is true for Christians too – men who do not have children are not questioned as much about their childless status. It is assumed that there is something wrong with a woman who does not have children, that she is unloving or horrible for not being “maternal.”
All of this revolves around the topic of sex, since, to become pregnant in a conventional sense, one must have sex, obviously.
Christians often teach that a woman’s greatest, or only godly calling in life, or only acceptable role, is to be a mother (see (Link): this page and (Link): this page)
I have never once heard a mainstream Christian group insist that fatherhood is a man’s most godly calling in life.
The Midlife Church Crisis – how churches marginalize anyone who is not married with young children and middle-agers are leaving church
I have linked to her material before. I am over 40, never married, never had any kids and noticed by my mid 30s that churches are far too fixated on “family” and children.
This married woman, Van Loon, didn’t notice until she reached her 40s or so and became an “empty nester” (her children grew up and moved out).
I have been saying on this blog for over a year now that many churches, especially Baptist and evangelical ones, tend to exclude every one, except for children and young married couples.
If you are over 30, still not married, or are married with no kids, or are divorced or widowed, you are not even thought to exist by most churches, or your needs are not ministered to.
Everyone is expected to support the 29 year old married couple who has a baby and a toddler.
I see no place in the Bible that permits such favoritism, the negligence, by churches, of entire groups of people (such as adult singles and widowers) to coddle one other group (young nuclear families), but this happens routinely in U.S. churches.
The thing I find sad or frustrating is that while never married, childless adults such as me spot by our mid 30s, or earlier, that churches are too fixated on married with children couples and how this creates all sorts of problems for adult singles and churches, but it takes such couples into their 40s -or older- and it takes their kids growing up and moving out on their own- for these married couples to begin to notice the same thing.
If you’re a 40- or 50- something woman whose kids have grown and gone, and are now just noticing how churches place the “traditional family” on a pedestal and ignore everyone else, welcome to the club. We older, never married, childless singles have known this for years and years and years.
….I’ve had one too many conversations with empty-nester peers about what it’s like to go to church once our kids are grown and gone. Our midlife crisis of faith came from questioning not our beliefs, but our role in the body of Christ.
When the bulletin is filled with announcements for mothers of preschoolers’ gatherings, family camping weekends, and Vacation Bible School, I know I’m welcome to lend a hand by baking muffins or doing crafts. I’ve gotten the message that, now that my own children have grown, my role is to support the real focus of the church: families.
Decades ago, baby boomers and older Gen Xers pushed to create churches centered on the young, nuclear family. Sadly, this ministry model now excludes many of us. Having outgrown the local church’s core programs, we’re left to usher, teach fourth-grade Sunday school, or attend committee meetings. At times, I can’t help thinking: Been there, done that. Got the Christian T-shirt to prove it.
….Anecdotally speaking, it seemed that those over age 40 who discovered meaningful service, worship, and connections reported that their church was committed to intergenerational ministry rather than family-centered, child-focused programming. Though there is some overlap between the two ministry philosophies, the congregations that concentrate on families with children under 18 unintentionally marginalize those who don’t fit the profile.
… When we church leaders ape our culture’s obsession with all things young and cool—targeting the same desirable demographic groups as do savvy advertisers—we communicate to those who don’t fit those specs that they are less desirable.
Response to Various Cranky Critics Who Have Left Nasty Posts At This Blog From Around June to August 2014
If you have even bothered to glance at the heading on this blog, it says,
this is a blog for me to vent; I seldom permit dissenting views. I don’t debate dissenters.
This disclaimer doesn’t stop cranky people, the occasional troll, or idiot from leaving nasty, vulgar, or negative remarks.
I do not usually read the negative posts that closely. I generally scan the first few lines of a new post, and if I ascertain quickly it’s a troll post, that it contains vitriol, snark, or a rant, I send it to the trash.
In the past two months, I’ve gotten a handful of nasty grams. I sent those posts to the trash can.
Here are summaries of the various nasty grams I have received, and my responses.
In this post, I will be discussing,
1. The Bitter Lady
2. The Grouchy Be Equally Yoked Lady
3. The You’re An Intolerant Homophobe Guy
4. The Immature I Am a 40 Year Old Man Who Likes to Pork 20 Year Old Women Lying Creepster Troll
Married Father and Baptist Preacher J D Hall – Another Example of How Marriage and Parenthood Does Not Make a Person More Godly or Mature
(There is an update at the bottom of this post).
This involves a lot of back story I don’t want to get into because this blog post would be ten pages long.
I am blogging this primarily for adult singles who have felt marginalized or hurt by Christian denominations or churches that treat adult singles as though they have cooties.
I have a somewhat different motivation for blogging about this than other blogs do. There were a few other blogs who addressed the child abuse aspect of the story, that we have an adult (Hall) badgering a teen kid (Braxton Caner) on the internet.
J D Hall is a Calvinist preacher with a blog called “Pulpit and Pen,” a Twitter account, and a group of fan boys who follow him around online who actually refer to themselves as “Pulpiteers.”
At one time, Hall’s groupies were using the #pulpiteer (or “pulpiteers”) hash to follow each other around Twitter. I’m not sure if they still use the “Pulpiteer” label or not. I will continue to refer to them as such.
This group, and a few other people, have a long standing hatred of another guy named Ergun Caner.