Creepy and Weird: Preparing a Two-Year-Old for Marriage

Creepy and Weird: Preparing a Two-Year-Old for Marriage

I want to re-state my views upfront so as not to confuse any newcomers to the blog. I am not anti-marriage or anti-traditional values.

I do, however, think some self professing Christians are guilty of making marriage and the traditional family into an idol and then some.

I’m not opposed to parents instilling their values in their kids, but it seems way out there to emphasize marriage to two year old children.

The blog link below reminds me of the article with the preacher guy who said a prayer over someone’s infant daughter that God bless all the eggs she was ever born with so that she could be a mother of many children, or whatever.

These Christians think they are honoring traditional values, I am sure, but these things come across as slightly perverse or weird.

Also, why are there no seminars by this group on preparing their children for adult singleness? Nobody is guaranteed a spouse, and some of their kids may group up and choose to stay single. If they are going to offer a creepy “preparing two year olds for marriage” why not “preparing two year old for a possible lifetime of adult singlehood”?

This comes from a FIC (Family Integrated Church) blog page:

(Link): Morning Breakouts: Preparing a Two-Year-Old for Marriage

    Posted by The NCFIC on Oct. 29, 2010
    This morning Jonathan Sides addressed the importance of teaching our children about marriage from a very young age. It is folly to think that we can wait until our children are on the brink of marriage to communicate to them a Biblical vision of courtship and marriage. The world doesn’t wait; It begins attempting to instill an unbiblical, romanticized view of marriage in your children from their earliest years.

————————–
Related posts:

(Link): Cloud’s Critique of Family Integrated Churches

(Link): Six Christian Homeschool Brothers Some of Whom Attended a FIC (Family Integrated Church) raped their kid sister over ten year period

(Link): A Critique of the Family-Integrated Church Movement by Brian Borgman – Christians turning the family into an idol

(Link): The Isolating Power of Family-Centered Language (How churches exclude singles and the childless) by E A Dause

(Link): Christians Who Sexualize Female Infants and Who Have Wacko, Weird, Unbiblical Gender Role Views They Actually Believe are Biblical / Re Botkins

Six Christian Homeschool Brothers Some of Whom Attended a FIC (Family Integrated Church) raped their kid sister over ten year period

Six Christian Homeschool Brothers Some of Whom Attended a FIC (Family Integrated Church) raped their kid sister over ten year period

So, tell me again, evangelical, Baptist, Fundamentalist, and Reformed Christians, why should Christian single women only marry Christian men, when they rape their own sisters? You’ll have to do better than quote “be not yoked to an unbeliever” at me. I don’t think most unbelievers rape their own sisters for ten years.

(Link): 6 Brothers Charged With Sexual Assault of Sister While Parents Looked On

    This is one of the most sick and twisted stories of incest and abuse that I’ve heard in a while.

    Six brothers from a small county in North Carolina have been charged with the sexual assault of their little sister, 16, who allegedly endured their abuse from the time she was four until she was almost 15.

    Perquimans County Sheriff Eric Tilley said he was “disgusted” by the situation, and by that I’m sure he meant throw up in my mouth and weep for humanity appalled. He also said he blamed the parents. “It’s your responsibility as a parent to teach [your children] right and wrong,” he said. “When you see a child doing something that is totally wrong and you don’t correct them, then the child thinks it’s OK.”

    … All six brothers purportedly participated in the alleged abuse, which ranges from rape to sexual assault.

    Aaron Jackson, 19, Benjamin Jackson, also 19, Nathaniel Jackson, 21, Mathew Jackson, 23, Jon Jackson, 25, and Eric Jackson, 27, were arrested last week and are being held on $150,000 bond.

    Their parents, John Jackson, 65, and Nita Jackson, 54, were also charged with felony child abuse, as they were aware of the attacks yet did nothing to stop it.

    Tilley said, “Part of the investigation revealed that, at one point, the mother observed some of this activity and never did anything about it.”

    Continue reading “Six Christian Homeschool Brothers Some of Whom Attended a FIC (Family Integrated Church) raped their kid sister over ten year period”

How American Christians Were Influenced by 1950s American Secular Propaganda to Idolize Marriage and Children and Against Singles and the Childless -and how over-emphasis on “family” and lack of respect for singleness started a backlash against both – [both = marriage, having kids] (excerpts from ‘Pornland’ book)

How American Christians Were Influenced by 1950s American Secular Propaganda to Idolize Marriage and Children and Against Singles and the Childless -and how over-emphasis on “family” and lack of respect for singleness started a backlash against both (excerpts from ‘Pornland’ book)

Excerpts from Pages 2- 5 of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality by Gail Dines – read it for free on “Google Books.”

(Below this long excerpt are a few observations by me):

    For a magazine [Playboy] to clearly state that it was not “a family magazine” in the 1950s was close to heresy.

    According to social historian Stephanie Coontz, it was during this period that there was an unprecendented rise in the marriage rate, the age for marriage and motherhood fell, fertility increased, and divorce rates declined.

    From family restaurants to the family car, “the family was everywhere hailed as the most basic institution in society.”

    The mass media played a pivotal role in legitimizing and celebrating this “pro-family” ideology by selling idealized images of family life in sitcoms and women’s magazines, while demonizing those who chose to stay single as either homosexual or pathological.

    The most celebrated sitcoms of the period were Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. The ideal family was white and upper middle class, with a male breadwinner whose salary supported a wife and children as well as a large home in the suburbs.

    The primary roles for men and women were seen as spouses and as parents, and the result was a well-run household populated by smart, well-adjusted kids.

    The print media also got in on the act, carrying stories about the supposed awfulness of being single. Reader’s Digest ran a story entitled “You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are to Be Marred,” which focused on the “harrowing situation of single life.”

    One writer went so far as to suggest that “except for the sick, the badly crippled, the deformed, the emotionally warped and the mentally defective, almost everyone has an opportunity to marry.”

    In the 1950s, “emotionally warped” was a coded way of saying homosexual, and indeed many single people were investigated as potential homosexuals and by extension Communists, since the two were often linked during the McCarthy years.

    This pressure on men to conform not only to the dictates of domestic life but also to the growing demands of corporate America had its critics in the popular media. Some writers pointed to the conformist male as a “mechanized, robotized caricature of humanity… a slave in mind and body.”

    According to Barbara Ehrenreich, magazines like Life, Look, and Reader’s Digest carried stories suggesting that “Gary Gray” (the conformist in the gray flannel suit) was robbing men of their masculinity, freedom, and sense of individuality.

    While pop psychologists criticized the corporate world for reducing American males to “little men,” it was women in their roles of wives and mothers who were essentially singled out as the cripplers of American masculinity. As Ehrenreich has argued, “the corporate captains were out of the bounds of legitimate criticism in Cold War America,” women were the more acceptable and accessible villains.

    Described as greedy, manipulative, and lazy, American women were accused of emasculating men by overdomesticating them.

    Continue reading “How American Christians Were Influenced by 1950s American Secular Propaganda to Idolize Marriage and Children and Against Singles and the Childless -and how over-emphasis on “family” and lack of respect for singleness started a backlash against both – [both = marriage, having kids] (excerpts from ‘Pornland’ book)”

Singles in the Church by Dave Faulkner / Also: Isolated: single Christians feel unsupported by family-focused churches (article / survey)

Singles in the Church by Dave Faulkner / Also: Isolated: single Christians feel unsupported by family-focused churches (article / survey)

He (Faulkner) says on his blog page about singleness that he did not marry until he was 41 years old, so he definitely lived through and noticed the incredible bias that conservatives and Christians harbor against the unmarried.

Note that “bias against the unmarried” I mention does not always fall under the rubric of Christians walking up to an unmarried and proclaiming, “You are a loser for being single at your age!,” but quite often in what Christians omit to do, such as neglecting to include the unmarried in leadership positions in churches, paying for full time adult singles preachers or ministries, etc, etc, etc.

But most churches are utterly devoted to marriage and children. 🙄

(Link): Singles in the Church

Excerpts:

    A survey of single Christians in church does not surprise me at all. Single Christians often feel ‘isolated , alone and lonely’ in church. Single women feel they are seen as threats to married couples.

    Why does this not surprise me? Because I was 41 before I married, and I experienced some of this. I was told that marriage was ‘the norm’, which made me feel abnormal. There were questions raised behind my back about my sexuality.

Here’s the survey he mentioned:
(Link): Isolated: single Christians feel unsupported by family-focused churches

Excerpts:

    Women not in steady relationship ‘treated as threats to couples’
    JONATHAN BROWN Author Biography WEDNESDAY 24 APRIL 2013

    Single Christians feel “isolated, alone and lonely” within their churches, according to new research. More than a third of worshippers who were not married or in a relationship said they did not feel treated the same as those that were part of conventional families.

    Nearly four out of ten single churchgoers said they often felt “inadequate or ignored” whilst 42.8 per cent said their church did not know what to do with them. A total of 37 per cent said they “did not feel treated as family members”

    The findings were based on the responses of 2,754 people who used the Christian dating site Christian Connection and suggest there is a significant minority of worshippers who feel alienated by the prevailing attitudes within protestant denominations in Britain including the Church of England.

    The survey found that older people were more keenly aware of their single status and that women not in a steady relationship were treated as “threats to couples”. Singles said they often felt more valued outside rather than inside their church.

    Independent researcher and writer David Pullinger who analysed the data, which included single parents, said churches needed to respond to changing times.

    … Among the comments made by respondents were that they felt the “pain” of being single in a predominantly family setting and that there were few activities aimed at those aged between 30 and 60 for those without a partner.

——–
Related posts, this blog:

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Preachers and Christian Media Personalities: Re: Marriage – You’re missing the point stop trying to argue or shame singles into getting married

(Link): Why Even Middle Aged Married with Children Christians Are Leaving Church – Not Just Unmarried Singles | 40 Somethings Gen X Quitting Leaving Church

Response to the Hemingway Editorial ‘Fecundophobia’ – conservatives and Christians continue to idolize children, marriage – which is unbiblical

A Response to the Hemingway Editorial ‘Fecundophobia’ – conservatives and Christians continue to idolize children, marriage – which is unbiblical

Ms. Hemingway must be out to lunch.

Other than the secular, hyper-militant Child Free persons (and yes, they do exist, I’ve encountered them on forums or blogs for Child Free, and they are usually self professing pagans or atheists, and they are almost always very liberal and hostile towards Christians, pro lifers, and Republicans), I don’t know of many people who are pushing for, or embracing, “low fertility rates.”

Nor do I know many people among the childless or CF (childfree) who are “afraid” or pregnant women or children.

Here is a link (well, it’s a tiny bit farther below) to the editorial by the woman, Hemingway, who has a misunderstanding about the childless and childfree. Not all childless or childfree are alike in personality, political or religious views, or in their reasons as to why they remain without children.

I’ll only be writing from my particular vantage as a childless woman, I will not be attempting to defend or explain the differing views of or for every single childless or childfree person.

I have additional commentary below these excerpts; there are points where I agree with this author, and points where I do not:

(Link): Fecundophobia: The Growing Fear Of Children And Fertile Women, By Mollie Hemingway

The author, Hemingway, begins by quoting an article by a sportswriter about a football player who is about to have child number seven, and she seems to feel that the author is implying that it is “weird” for the footballer to have so many children.

Here is the section Hemingway quoted:

    And he’s [the football player] also about to have his seventh kid. There are going to be eight people with Rivers DNA running around this world.

If you visit the page in question, however, (Link): the page in question, you can see that the page’s writer is primarily riffing on this point:

    This is the only GIF necessary from this game [showing the footballer’s odd habit of making weird facial distortions and pumping his fists in the air on the sidelines during a game].

    Nick Novak hit a 50-yard field goal just inside the two-minute warning to give the Chargers a two-possession lead. This was Philip Rivers’s reaction. He’s like a sad movie character who pumps himself up in front of a mirror.

The primary point of the page is not fertility at all, but rather, the player’s strange body language and facial expressions he makes during games.

The part about him having six or seven kids is a minor thought that appears at the bottom of that page. It is not the focal point.

Hemingway then goes on to criticize several papers for not criticizing the choices of other football players who asked their girlfriends to get abortions.

Note that Hemingway quotes this by Philips, when asked how he handles being father to six children:

    It’s a two-year rotation: Once the diapers come off of one, we usually have a newborn. And we have another one on the way, due in October. I help when I can, but my wife, Tiffany, is the key.

This is actually one of several reasons I am somewhat opposed to the acceptance of, or pushing of, hyper fertility – the burden is always put primarily on the woman to look after the rug rats, while hubby gets the easier task of shuffling off to the 9 to 5 job daily.

Mom never gets a break; she stays with the children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

But women like Hemingway think this lop-sided and unfair burden of child care foisted on the woman only is a good thing, I would suppose.

Read about Andrea Yates and how she murdered several of her children after being expected to be a full time mommy with little to no help from anyone, not even her spouse ((Link): Yates information).

Hemingway responds to the perfectly natural, “how the hey do you manage with six children?!” question by asking incredulously,

    — but what kind of question is that? Seriously. Who asks a question like that?

Why, it’s the kind of perfectly normal, natural reaction of someone, of any sane, rational, and logical person, who thinks having more than two or three children is strange, expensive, and very time consuming – that is the sort of person who.

Even people who are currently parents to two or three children might wonder in awe at, or in bewilderment at, why anyone would want to have more than three children, or how they handle more than three, without going broke or being physically exhausted all the time.

It is not only the liberals, childless, or childfree who get puzzled by this sort of thing.

Hemingway writes,

    It may be impolitic to suggest that men and women are in any way different, science be damned, but many women have a particular specialty in cultivating relationships and family. To denigrate women who acknowledge and accept this as a good thing rather than fight against it is not exactly life-affirming.

Christian gender egalitarians note that there are some differences between men and women ((Link): visit CBE – Christians for Biblical Equality), but it does not follow that while women may be better at relationship, or more drawn to building them, that they therefore should all have at least one child, or up to ten of them.

Women can just as easily use their interest in, and talent at, relationships for volunteering to help lonely seniors at senior citizen retirement homes, or volunteering to feed homeless people at soup kitchens, or, helping take care of homeless puppies and cats at the ASPCA.

Hemingway’s argument shortly before that, which gets into how we are all interdependent, actually shoots down her other points which argue in favor of each person having ten children: you can go through life childless but depend on brothers, sisters, uncles, neighbors, friends, and if you are a church goer, fellow church members.

One does not have to have children in order to have someone to depend on, or to be “interdependent.”

Just because a larger percentage of people in contemporary society are choosing not to have children (and remember, some who want to are unable to – from lack of partner to infertility), does not mean all people will make this same choice.

As a matter of fact, the number of babies among unmarried women have been skyrocketing, which is angering, or worrying, a lot of Christians:

Nor does a decrease in people interested in pro-creating necessarily mean all of society will grind to a halt. There will always be someone, somewhere, who will keep getting pregnant and giving birth. (It’s just not going to be me specifically. And that is okay.)

Then there’s this information, which would appear to refute some of Ms. Hemingway’s views:

What Jesus Christ and Paul Taught About Family/ Having Children / Being Married

As a matter of fact, that is the pattern that Jesus Christ sought to establish, that people be freed from the ancient over-dependence on family, because Jesus recognized that such a society ignored those without one, such as orphans, spinsters, and widows:

    While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.

    Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

    He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”

    Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
    [source: Matthew 12]

And further, from Matthew 10, Jesus speaking:

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    For I have come to turn
    “‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

    “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

No where in the Bible does Jesus teach that one must have children in order to have someone to “depend upon.”

Having children, in the New Testament, is not listed as a rule or commandment.

Your spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ (that is, other Christians) are to be your primary family; you are not to seek family out in husband, children, mother, or brother.

The Bible does not condemn marriage or having children, but it remains that singlehood, as stated by Paul the Apostle under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is stated as being preferable for believers – not marriage and procreating.

Quoting Paul:

    Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. [source]

Paul again,

    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.
    [source: 1 Corinthians 7]

Culture Still Puts Pressure on Women to Have Children, Contrary to What Hemingway Says

Hemingway states,

    And keeping the womb empty at all costs during all, or nearly all, of one’s fertile years is the sine qua non of modern American womanhood. Woe to the woman who “chooses” otherwise.

I am a right winger, I am a social conservative, and yes, I realize that a lot of the media -which is tilted left- rabidly supports abortion.

I do not support abortion myself.

I am not opposed to women having babies, if that is their informed choice.

However. It remains a fact in American society that outside of left wing media, there is still a tremendous pressure, and expectation, placed upon people, especially women, to crank out babies.

The cultural landscape is the direct opposite of what Hemingway states in her editorial.

Outside of fringe, far left, kook, militant Child Free type groups or individuals, or rabidly militant, secular feminists, there is still a huge expectation from larger culture that women should have babies, and if they do not have children, for whatever reason, they are hounded for it, put down, and insulted, or scolded, or treated as though they are freaks.

Women are attacked for remaining childless not only by commentators such as Hemingway in newspapers and blogs, but also by their baby-obsessed mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers, and female co-workers.

It is a very real perception and stereotype by the child-loving population, which is in the majority, that you are thought weird, baby-hating, evil, incredibly selfish, etc, if you cannot have children, or, if you deliberately choose not to have children.

I have never liked children myself, so I never cared if I had a baby or not.

But please note: I do not “hate” children, I do not fear them, I do not condone child abuse or abortion. I am simply not comfortable around babies and children: they are typically loud, messy, distracting. I prefer not being around them.

At one point in her editorial, Hemingway talks about walking around a city, an area very liberal in flavor. She mentions seeing signs hanging up around that part of town reading, “Thank you for not breeding.”

I suggest to her, I posit, that conservative and Christian culture does the same exact thing as that liberal section of the city she visited, only they are mirror opposites: rather than hanging up signs that say “thank you for not breeding!,” conservatives and Christians hang up signs screaming at women TO marry and TO “breed.”

Continue reading “Response to the Hemingway Editorial ‘Fecundophobia’ – conservatives and Christians continue to idolize children, marriage – which is unbiblical”

False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): “God’s gifting of singleness is rare” – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage -and- God gifts only the rare the exceptions the few with the gift of Marriage

Before I get to the main point of this post: About the chastity thing, or celibacy thing. Technically, all Christians are called to a chaste life, not just singles.

If you are married, you are not supposed to be diddling anyone but your spouse, and per Jesus’ comments of (Link): Matthew 5:27-28, that means no dirty web site, movie, or magazine viewing for married people, either.

First of all, the Bible does not teach the concepts of “Gift of Singleness” (GOS) or “Gift of Celibacy” (GOC).

Nor does the Bible teach that God fore-ordained in eternity past who would remain single, or who would be married, which is the faulty method in which some Christians understand the term “gifted with singleness” or GOC.

I will not address those points here, because I have discussed them in older posts here:

(Link): The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy

(Link): The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

Does God Gift Only A Few With Singleness?

I want to address one somewhat common falsehood and assumption I see crop up in televised Christian marriage seminars or sermons, or in Christian blogs and pod casts about dating, sex, and marriage, which is this:

Often times, a preacher will pause to say during a presentation about marriage that “only a few are called to singleness.” But is this true?

Preachers will sometimes use this “only a few are gifted or called to singleness” rhetoric to shame singles into getting married.

I believe preachers and conservative Christian organizations feel this way and keep quoting “only a few are chosen for singlehood,” since they assume that the once-common American cultural situation of one marrying in one’s twenties and having children was typical, that it remains typical.

Most troubling, such Christians seem to assume that the Bible commands, or expects, all Christians to marry and have children, and that not marrying, or not procreating, is sinful – but it does not. In the New Testament, singleness is regarded as being fully acceptable.

Preachers, and even many Non Christians, continue to assume that marrying young and having children is the norm.

However, census data of the past ten years reveal that getting married young, if at all, is no longer the norm.

More and more people – including Christians – are either skipping marriage altogether, or getting married later in life, due to circumstances beyond their control, or, some are deliberately choosing to stay single for a lifetime, or at least until their 30s or later.

Some figures I have seen have stated 44% of American adults over the age of 18 are single, while other figures cited have been as high as 50%.

When close to half the American population of adults is single, and this applies to conservative Christians in Baptist and evangelical contexts as well, how can Christian preachers, Christian talking heads and speakers at Christian marriage seminars, keep making the BOGUS claim that only a few are called to singleness?

When half of adult conservative Christians are single, is it not more accurate to say (if you believe in the “gifting” or “calling to” of singleness, which I do not), that God has called a heck of a lot of adults to singleness, and that God has only called a piddling few to marriage?

The New Testament does not prescribe or describe marriage or having children as being normative.

The New Testament does not depict being married, getting married, or having children as requirements, commands, mandates, or expectations for anyone, for most, or for all.

Marriage and having children are presented as valid options for believers, but as being no more valid or worthy than being single and childless, whether by deliberate choice or by circumstance.

I do not believe God calls or pre-ordains anyone to singlehood or marriage, but if one insists upon using such terminology, and wishes to be accurate about the state of culture today, it looks like God has called only a few to marriage and childbearing / procreation.

Look at these American statistics:

(Link): Barely Half of U.S. Adults Are Married – A Record Low

    New Marriages Down 5% from 2009 to 2010

by D’Vera Cohn, Jeffrey S. Passel, Wendy Wang and Gretchen Livingston

Barely half of all adults in the United States—a record low—are currently married, and the median age at first marriage has never been higher for brides (26.5 years) and grooms (28.7), according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data.

In 1960, 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51% are. If current trends continue, the share of adults who are currently married will drop to below half within a few years. Other adult living arrangements—including cohabitation, single-person households and single parenthood—have all grown more prevalent in recent decades.

(Link): Facts for Features: Unmarried and Single Americans

Single Life

102 million

Number of unmarried people in America 18 and older in 2011. This group comprised 44.1 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older.

Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
Table A1.

62%
Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older in 2011 who had never been married. Another 24 percent were divorced, and 14 percent were widowed.
Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
Table A1

55 million
Number of households maintained by unmarried men and women in 2011. These households comprised 46 percent of households nationwide.
Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
Table A2

33 million
Number of people who lived alone in 2011. They comprised 28 percent of all households, up from 17 percent in 1970.
Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
Table H1 and HH-4

(Link): Single Adults-A Population Group Too Large To Ignore 

(but churches keep right on ignoring singles anyway)
Excerpt

    Author and speaker Carolyn Koons said, “The church needs to expand its term ‘family,’ moving from a traditional family definition to one that includes singles, widows, single-parent families, extended families, expanded families, stepfamilies, and blended families. We must become the family we are—the family of God.”1 Statistics on single adults in America are growing rapidly and affecting lifestyles and family types.

(Link): For Many Adults, Marriage Can Wait, Census Shows – WSJ.com

      By CONOR DOUGHERTY
    Updated Sept. 29, 2010 12:01 a.m. ET

The long-term slide in marriage rates has pushed the proportion of married adults of all ages to 52% in 2009, according to the Census, the lowest share in history. In 1960, 72.2% of adults over 18 were married.

The U.S. began tracking marriage statistics in 1880. The latest figures on marriage come from the Census’ annual American Community Survey, the government’s deepest and broadest look at economic, social and demographic trends.

(Link): Why Are There So Many Single Americans? – New York Times

      By KATE ZERNIKE
      Published: January 21, 2007
    THE news that 51 percent of all women live without a spouse might be enough to make you invest in cat futures.

But consider, too, the flip side: about half of all men find themselves in the same situation. As the number of people marrying has dropped off in the last 45 years, the marriage rate has declined equally for men and for women.

(Link): Marriage Rate Declines To Historic Low, Study Finds

    Posted: 07/22/2013 2:28 pm EDT | Updated: 07/22/2013 3:07 pm EDT

We’ve been hearing for years that fewer and fewer people are tying the knot, and a new study reveals just how much the marriage rate has declined in the last century.

A new report released Thursday by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Marriage and Family Research found that the U.S. marriage rate is 31.1, or 31 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women. That means for every 1,000 unmarried women in the U.S., 31 of those previously single women tied the knot in the last year. For comparison, in 1920, the national marriage rate was 92.3.

Meanwhile, the average age at women’s first marriage is 27 years old, its highest point in over a century.

In 2011, the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of Americans were married, compared to 72 percent in 1960. However, rates of cohabiting couples are rising — according to private research company Demographic Intelligence, less than half a million couples were cohabiting in 1960, compared to 7.5 million in 2010.

Earlier this year, Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum offered a reason for declining marriage rates: cultural “rules” now compel couples to wait to marry until they have reached upper-class status. Pew researcher D’Vera Cohn told HuffPost in 2011 that the decline could be due to more acceptable living arrangements, including unmarried cohabitation.

(Link): Table for One Ministries – Singles Stats

(Link): Facts About Single People Demographics – Unmarried America

    There are 106 million unmarried adults in the United States.

Singles constitute more than 44% of the adult population in the nation.

About 44% of the nation’s workforce are unmarried employees

The Census Bureau estimates that about 10% of adults will never marry.

Households:

A majority of the nation’s households are headed by unmarried adults

Married couples with minor children live in fewer than 25% of the nation’s households.

Single adults living alone comprise about 27% of the nation’s households.

Another 13 million single adults are living with unmarried relatives.

Considering that 44% – 50% of all American adults are single, it can just as easily be argued or said that ‘God calls only a few to marriage and/or procreating.’

Marriage has not been the norm in American culture for at least the last ten years now, maybe longer, depending on how one wishes to look at things. It is therefore dishonest and misleading for Christians to keep insisting that only a “few” “chosen” are called to lifelong singleness or celibacy or are “gifted” with it.
———————————-
Related topics, this blog:

(Link): Misapplication of Biblical Verses About Fertility (also mentions early marriage) – a paper by J. McKeown

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link):  Newlyweds Forced to Be Celibate After Bride Diagnosed With Cervical Cancer Just Days After Honeymoon

(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): Remarriage rates plunge as divorced Americans have doubts – and about Christian culture and divorce and remarriage vs singleness

(Link): Candice Watters and Boundless Blog Gets It Wrong / Christian prolonged singlehood singleness singles ignored

How The Changing Structure of the American Family is Changing Floor Plans in New Homes

How The Changing Structure of the American Family is Changing Floor Plans in New Homes

(Link): One Roof, Many Generations: Redefining The Single-Family Home

    New homes are back in a big way — literally. This summer, a typical new house in Phoenix was more than 20 percent larger than a resale home as builders across the country added more space to accommodate post-recession lifestyles.

    Take Jacque Ruggles’ family, for example. Four women from three generations live under one roof.

    “I’m the matriarch,” Ruggles says. “I’m grandma.”

    Ruggles makes the monthly $1,789 mortgage payment on the 2,900-square-foot home in Gilbert, Ariz., which she bought new about a year and a half ago. Her daughter, Marci Dusseault, lives here, too, along with her college-aged daughter, Jamie.

    “I’ll eventually move out, but right now it’s nice to not have to worry about a lot of bills and stuff, and I can focus on school,” says Jamie, a student at Mesa Community College.

    But the family affair did not stop there. Jamie’s older sister moved in last November. Chelsie, 22, had been living on her own for a while, but …

    Ida Christian, who suffers from dementia, gets help from her granddaughter, Yolanda Hunter (left), in blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. Yolanda quit her lucrative job to become Ida’s full-time caregiver.

    “Then life happens,” says Chelsie, who lost her job and racked up $6,000 in credit card debt. “So I had to move back in.”

    Their home was made for this type of living. It includes an attached 600-square-foot suite, complete with a kitchenette and living room.

    Continue reading “How The Changing Structure of the American Family is Changing Floor Plans in New Homes”

Focus on the Family Members Practice Infidelity or Homosexuality and Get Divorced and Remarry – links to exposes

Focus on the Family Members Practice Infidelity or Homosexuality and Get Divorced and Remarry – links to exposes

(Some of these stories date from the year 2000.)

Edit. April 2016. Preface and Clarification.

  • I am right wing myself and do not hate “the family,” nor am I opposed to traditional values or marriage.
  • Since I have started this blog, I have collected newer examples, ones that date up to March and April 2016, of other pro-family, Christian, or right wing persons or groups that have been caught in extra-marital affairs, or sexually abusing children – including, but not limited to, the Duggar family, whose son Josh was in the media for having sexually molested his sisters and a babysitter.
  • Here’s one example:
  • (Link): Pro Family Values Republican Hastert in Trouble Over Sexually Abusing Children (story date: April 2016) – I even criticize certain liberal views about sexuality in the midst of criticizing right wingers in that post.
  • You can look further examples up on my blog using the “search” box on the right hand side of the page to find newer examples; some of them might be linked to at the bottom of this post under “Related Posts”.
  • I was told in a Tweet by a reader that sharing “older” stories (some of the news items in this post date from the year 2,000) is not “helpful”.
  • I am absolutely dumbfounded by this. This is a person who usually seems to understand how the extreme focus on stereotypical, pro-family values that Christian gender complementarians champion are very alienating to women who never marry, who cannot have children, or who are divorced.
  • One reason of several I feature such stories on my blog – news stories of pro-family Christians who are caught having affairs and so on – is to show how hypocritical these groups are – the same group who marginalize anyone who is not married by the time they are 25 years old with three children.
  • These pro-family Christians make more out of the “nuclear family” than the God of the Bible ever did, which harms women who never marry, women who divorce, women who are infertile – women who do not or cannot meet the “gender complementarian” or “traditional family values” rules and roles some Christians heavily promote.
  • Understand I’ve had traditional values my entire life, and I am still pretty right wing on most subjects. But I’m not going to excuse the hypocrisy of other right wingers on any of this.
  • The age of these stories is irrelevant to a degree.
  • It doesn’t matter if some of the pro-family values men (or women) mentioned in this blog post were caught in adultery last week, ten years ago, or 50 years ago.
  • If anything, it shows that these pro-family types have been full of bunk consistently for a long time, all the more reason to question their views on some issues.
  • Christians who promote “Family” and “Family Values” often do so at the expense of women (and men) who cannot or do not meet such standards, and it’s been an on-going pattern for decades now, so it’s actually helpful to see older material that reveals this (see also (Link): Americans Are Nostalgic for a Family Life That Never Existed by S. Coontz) .
  • A lot of the organizations promoting “Family Values” revere the 1950s, American decade. They are stuck in the past. So there again, I don’t think the age of the articles below are entirely pertinent, or is a mark against what I’m trying to demonstrate: Christians usually make an idol out of marriage and family, which excludes single adults, the divorced, widows, and the infertile.

What hypocrites. And they continue to aid in the marginalization of adult singles and adult childfree, and they keep on worshipping parenthood and the nuclear family.

By the way, if Christian groups spent more time doing what the Bible says they are to do – such as, policing their own rather than those outside the church ((Link): 1 Corinthians 5:12), AND spent their time pointing outsiders to Jesus (who was never, ever a hypocrite), instead of complaining and griping about homosexuality, abortion, and feminism, and other social issues, then when one of their own is caught in an extra-martial affair, or whatever other kind of sin, there would not be as much damage done to Christianity.

You can also see in posts such as this, which contain numerous examples of married Christian men screwing teen girls or having affairs with grown women, that they run around claiming to support sexual purity but in practice actually do not.

This also goes to show, once more, that being married, contrary to what most Christians believe, does not make a person more ethical, sexually pure, or responsible than being un-married.

Christian fable: if you stay a virgin until you marry, the sex will be great. -If that is true, we would not see so many middle aged married Christian men screwing their 25 year old secretaries or visiting prostitutes, now would we?

This link is from Democratic Underground, a site whose members I am usually not in agreement with (I am right wing):

(Link): “Focus on the Family,” glass houses, a Philanderer and an “Ex-Gay” Gay – Democratic Underground

  • Focus on Family shows ‘repentance’
  • Trout, who has been married for 31 years, declined to discuss details of the extramarital relationship, but said that the woman was not a Focus on the Family employee and that the relationship was over.
  • The ministry has declined to discuss the factors behind Trout’s resignation, citing legal and privacy concerns.
  • Trout, 53, is best known as the on-air partner of the founder and leader of the ministry, James Dobson. Dobson is a key figure in the conservative Christian movement and earlier this year criticized George W. Bush, claiming the Republican presidential candidate was sacrificing conservative values to appeal to a broader base.
  • Mike Trout abruptly quit last week. In an interview Monday with The Gazette, he admitted to an “inappropriate relationship with a woman other than his wife and had no choice but to resign from a ministry that stresses the sanctity of marriage.”
  • COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A top official and radio announcer for Focus on the Family said he has resigned from the conservative Christian group because he had an extramarital affair.

Focus on the Family official resigns, admits extramarital affair

    • October 17, 2000
      Web posted at: 4:05 PM EDT (2005 GMT)

A Philanderer:

  • Associated Press
  • COLORADO SPRINGS — Focus on the Family’s 1,350 employees prayed, joined hands and circled the ministry’s offices to show “corporate repentance and confession” after recent embarrassing revelations about two of its leaders.
  • “Satan has thrown just about everything in his arsenal at us in the last several weeks as you know,” Focus on the Family President James Dobson told the staff in a recorded message Friday. “I am certain those who hate our cause are doing everything they can to undermine and to discredit it.”
  • The $116 million Colorado Springs Christian ministry is going through tough times. Mike Trout, a senior vice president and well-known radio show co-host, resigned Oct. 11 after admitting to an extramarital relationship.
  • A Focus division chief, John Paulk, was allowed to keep his job after visiting a gay bar in September and lying about it. Paulk, an avowed former homosexual, has been pulled from the speaker list of Saturday’s “Love Won Out” conference, which teaches that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that can be overcome through prayer and therapy.
  • As a result of the Trout and Paulk incidents, the ministry has become the target of jokes on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Politically Incorrect.

[original story source]:
http://www.rockypreps.com/news/1105focu5.shtml

(Link): Here We Go Again

    Issue: “Here we go again,” Nov. 11, 2000

  • Posted Nov. 11, 2000, 12:00 a.m. by Lynn Vincent
  • The recent revelation of Focus on the Family radio host Mike Trout’s marital infidelity has pundits pelting conservatives-and Christianity-again. Have two decades of clay-footed “celebrity conservatives” shattered the credibility of the “family values” movement? And can tough-minded actions restore some of it?
  • Bill Maher, talk-television’s answer to Nero, recently fed another Christian to his panelist-lions.
  • On Oct. 24, an aging Boy George, minor starlet Karen Duffy, and others batted the Mike Trout story around the studio-coliseum on Mr. Maher’s late-night show Politically Incorrect. Mr. Trout, longtime co-host of Focus on the Family’s flagship radio broadcast, last month resigned from the Colorado Springs-based ministry.
  • A few days later he admitted to an “inappropriate relationship” with a woman not his wife.
  • “How come so many of these people who are supposedly the ‘family people’ get caught?” Mr. Maher carped as a knowing titter rippled through the studio audience. “I mean, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Henry Hyde, Strom Thurmond … they get caught. Why? Why?”
  • PromiseVision vice president Bill Horn, the panel’s token conservative that evening, gamely offered a defense: “Because people make mistakes and people are human … [Mike Trout] made a mistake and he was man enough to resign….”
  • Mr. Maher abruptly cut him off: “It’s because they’re ‘pervs’ to begin with and they try to cover it up by becoming Christians [and] Republicans. Those are 12-step programs for these people!”
  • Ugly, yes. But though he arrived at wrong conclusions, Mr. Maher was grappling in his own caustically comic way with a serious problem: the chain of hypocrisy among those who publicly preach family values, but privately poach in other people’s families.
  • The chain hamstrings innocent clergy, damages trusting laity, and, worst of all, tarnishes the image of Christ in the eyes of nonbelievers.
  • In a media-saturated culture that emphasizes sins among Christians and conservatives, incidents of saying one thing and doing another overwhelm for many Americans any good impressions that might be created.
  • …How big is the problem among church ministers? According to a national study of 4,000 active pastors over a 10-year period conducted by counselors at First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, Calif., and completed in 1998, one in five pastors admits to indulging in “sexually inappropriate” behavior with someone who was not his wife since the time he first became involved with some local ministry.
  • That period may span many decades and many definitions of “inappropriate,” but ministers such as Chuck Smith, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Calif., say they have seen an increase in moral failure among Christians in public ministry. Mr. Smith’s own ministry exploded during the late 1960s Jesus movement, eventually spinning off 800 affiliated churches, dozens of parachurch groups, and numerous radio outreaches.
  • …Charles Ballard, president and founder of the Initiative for Responsible Fatherhood, remembers leading an abstinence workshop with a group of inner-city fathers who were struggling to walk a straight moral path: “Questions were raised in the group, which was mostly teenagers. The questions were along the lines of ‘How about this guy Swaggart? He has a wife, he has a family and here he’s out here [having sex with other women].'” Mr. Ballard concludes, “It’s the believer who preaches one thing and lives another that most hurts the cause of Christ.”
  • San Diego youth pastor and Bethel Seminary graduate Rich West, 29, says he labors under the yoke of an increasing public cynicism toward Christianity. “I think the culture has been inoculated by us and our moral failures,” he said. “I believe that people now expect that pastors and clergy will fall morally … it’s just so common that it’s expected.”

Though I totally disagree with this comment, that appeared in the above article:

    Part of that wall is built by prayer: “Lead me not into temptation” should be on the lips of every leader with admiring followers. Part should consist of basic precautions: the Billy Graham rule for leaders-don’t be behind closed, windowless doors with a member of the opposite sex-needs faithful following.

  • Part should be accountability procedures, preferably within a local church, where men report to each other the early stages of restlessness and thus corral it in time.

That excerpt above assumes that people are incapable of sexual self control, so married people avoid singles, and singles become isolated as a result. This is sometimes referred to as the Billy Graham Rule, which I have blogged about several times over on my blog, such as (Link): here and (Link): here – and many others (search for the term “Billy Graham Rule” on my blog to find more posts about it.)

(Link): Mike Trout Says Emotional Affair Forced His Resignation from Focus on the Family

    Ted Olsen [ posted 10/1/2000 12:00AM ]
  • Mike Trout says he resigned from focus because of extramarital relationship
  • Mike Trout, co-host of “Focus on the Family” with Dr. James Dobson for the last 15 years, says the reason he abruptly resigned from the organization was because of an “emotional” relationship with another married woman. “I’m greatly saddened,” Trout told The (Colorado Springs)Gazette. “I didn’t work at Focus on the Family for 19 years because of the paycheck or the benefits or the positive environment. I worked at Focus on the Family because I believed in what we were doing. I know that might sound strange, because I violated it.” The relationship, he says, is over, was “not a long-term thing,” and was not with another Focus employee. Trout told Dobson, and is now telling others, about the relationship and resigned immediately, he says, because “If I hadn’t shared the truth, it would have eventually come out.”

(Link): Subject: Tom Papania and Focus on the Family

Excerpts

    5) FYI – Ryan Dobson information – Dr. Dobson obviously has his own reason for not wanted to talk about Ryan’s divorce.
  • It is a very sensitive subject for the whole family. Again, the staff on the phones do not have any information about this, probably most don’t even know that he has been previously married.
  • You can write to Focus if you have a question and they will pass it on to the Correspondence department. I will save you the time and give you the answer. Ryan Dobson was divorced from Cezanne in 2001. Ryan was totally opposed to the dissolution of the marriage and there were no biblical grounds to justify it (No adultery involved.) Ryan has just recently remarried.
  • By the way, just because I work at Focus on the Family doesn’t mean that I agree with everything that goes on here (probably no employee agrees 100%). Nevertheless, I have a very high regard for Dr. Dobson and this ministry.
  • God Bless You
  • Andy
  • Hope this clears a few things up for you.
  • [reply]
  • If Ryan Dobson wants to be a public leader at a FAMILY ministry why is he allowed to keep issues like his marriage, divorce, and re-marriage a secret? Clearly, he has learned much from his father (about secrecy).
  • There is much more I could write. But I think this covers the main points. Please write again.
  • Sincerely,
    Brian Karjala
  • [concluding thoughts]
  • As for Mike Trout, former co-host of Jim Dobson’s radio program… he gives the introduction and closing remarks on the Focus on the Family “From Mafia To Ministry” Tom Papania tape originally broadcasted over radio stations in Dec. of ’96. Some years later Trout resigned from his VP position at Focus after he was lured and swallowed up by an extra-marital affair which he publicly confessed to.
  • Expect more scandals to come…

(Link): Testimony of Former Focus on the Family Employees and the Public

  • The Corruption of Focus on the Family
  • “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate!” (Cool Hand Luke)
  • Update: In response to webpages like this one Focus on the Family has been forced to address the Ryan Dobson divorce:
  • “You’ll be interested to know that the Dobsons have addressed this situation openly in response to any inquiries that are made. That said, it might be helpful to explain that Ryan and his former wife, Cezanne, divorced in the summer of 2001. Obviously, we must not invade the young people’s privacy except to say that Ryan was completely opposed to the dissolution of the marriage and that the biblical grounds that have permitted him to remarry are consistent with the scriptural understanding of abandonment.”
  • Many people coming to this website think the Dobson divorce is the big story. It does highlight the secrecy of the Dobsons and raises questions about Ryan’s behavior but it’s actually a minor issue compared with the Tom Papania story.
  • (Some have speculated that Cezanne may be a black woman and wonder why there was never a public photo posted of her. Ryan has posted photos of his second wife, Laura.)
  • The bigger story is that Focus on the Family’s most popular selling radio broadcast in its history is fraudulent along with the subsequent ongoing cover-up.
  • Papania continues to exploit people and harass those who expose his fraud.
  • And if Focus on the Family is responsible for recruiting the lawyer now representing Papania in an attempt to silence me then we are dealing with a callous evil that the public needs to know about. (In the past Papania has stated in his newsletters that the lawyer, a Dobson supporter, sought him out to freely represent him for the purpose of trying to eliminate websites like this one.)

(Link): Focus on Family exec admits affair, resigns

  • This has a long list of sexual sins by Mike Trout, Jimmy Swaggert, and other conservative, hetero Christians who worship family, who were caught having affairs, using porn or prostitutes, etc, then mentions a long list of public Christian personalities who claimed to be against homosexuality but were themselves having homosexual affairs:

(Link): Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (book excerpt on Google Books)

Another book excerpt on Google Books mentioning the sexual sins and affairs of married Christian men who publicly bray about the importance of “family values” and marriage (though I assume this book was published ten or more years ago, because today’s social conservatives have LOST the culture war):

(Link): The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War

(Link): Focus on the Family Official Resigned Over Affair

    Mike Trout, an on-air personality for the evangelical radio ministry, has admitted to an ‘inappropriate relationship’
  • Mike Trout abruptly quit last week. In an interview Monday with The Gazette, he admitted to an “inappropriate relationship with a woman other than his wife and had no choice but to resign from a ministry that stresses the sanctity of marriage.”
  • Trout, 53, is best known as the on-air partner of the founder and leader of the ministry, James Dobson. Dobson is a key figure in the conservative Christian movement and earlier this year criticized George W. Bush, claiming the Republican presidential candidate was sacrificing conservative values to appeal to a broader base.

—————–
Related on this blog:

(Link): Focus on the Family Defends IRS Classification as a ‘Church,’ Says It’s Meant to Protect Donors

(Link): Family Values Republican Politician Hastert in Trouble for Sexual Assault of Kids / On Liberals and Not Having Sexual Standards

(Link):  Ashley Madison Site Hack Update / Family Values Activist Josh Duggar Had a Paid Ashley Madison Account

(Link):  News sites: Josh Duggar Joked About Molesting His Sisters, Has No Remorse for Extra-Marital Affairs (September 2015)

(Link):  Christian, Family Values Vlogger – Austin Null – Caught Sexting (story dates from January 2016)

(Link):  Family Values Republican Politician Hastert in Trouble for Sexual Assault of Kids / On Liberals and Not Having Sexual Standards

(Link): Another Christian Pro-Nuclear Family Marriage Idolator Married Father (Sam Rader) Caught By Ashley Madison Hack

(Link): Why Not Focus On How Churches Can Help Adult Singles?

(Link): Leader of Hyper Family Focused, Fertility Cult (Vision Forum Ministries) Steps Down After Admitting to Having an “Emotional Affair”

(Link):  ‘Decent guy’ Married youth pastor charged with sexually abusing 5-year-old girl at his home (March 2016) 

(Link): Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

(Link): Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Good Grief! Five Million Dollar Family Idoltary on Display: Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills – Please, when you say you support marriage, be honest about what you REALLY mean

(Link): Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage

(Link): Focus on Family spokesperson, Stanton, actually says [contrary to what the Bible teaches about church growth] the reason people should marry is for ‘church growth’

(Link): Focus on the Family having financial problems – aw, too bad (not!)

(Link): Focus on the Family advice columnist perpetuates stereotypes about single women

(Link): Janet Mefferd Concedes In One Radio Show that Christians “Lose Jesus” in all the “Family Values” Talk and Emphasis / Also FIC and Youth Worship

(Link): Republicans Ditch Family Values As Strategy (article)

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Family Research Center (Christian group) thinks people (including the Nuclear Family) should be cut off food stamps

Interesting Links Re Christianity and Gender Roles (A.K.A. Church and Christian Approved Sexism)

Interesting Links Re Christianity and Gender Roles (AKA Church and Christian Approved Sexism)

This is a very good editorial:
(Link): Feminism vs Egalitarianism

(Link): Friday Challenge: Guess The Year [‘How Feminine Am I’ sexist and out-dated check list used by Baptist churches] – Stuff Fundies Like blog

Next link. Regarding the nutso Quiverfull-ish, Doug Phillips, Vision Forusm-ish sexist beliefs of treating women like unthinking chattel and keeping them at home with their fathers, even if they don’t marry into adulthood:

(Link): Sleeping Beauty and the Five Questions, Part 1: Blurring the Lines (TBB) – from Scarlet Letters blog

Excerpts

    My main concern, however, with the vision of SAHD [Stay At Home Daughters] laid out in [Phillips’ version of] Sleeping Beauty is that it seems to progressively break down healthy boundaries in father-daughter relationships.

    … In Sleeping Beauty, however, it becomes clear that “helpmeet” is only one example of a more extensive terminology shift. Fathers are said to “court” and “woo” their daughters and ultimately “win their hearts.”

(Link): Dan Kirby Kopp, 45, was found guilty of beating his wife with a spoon [for not addressing him as “sir” and other stupid crap]

    The video shows Kopp showing her [his wife] the spoon and giving her a ‘count of three to comply’ with his demand of addressing him with a ‘yes, sir’ in front of the couple’s children.

    He is also heard threatening to ‘cast the demons out of her’ next time she disobeyed him.

(Link): “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” Genre Cheat Sheet Rachel Held Evans’ blog

I don’t agree with what appears to be that blog’s rejection of biblical sexual ethics, or disregard for people who have remained virgins into adulthood, in favor of sugarcoating biblical sexual teachings so as to soothe the consciences of women who say they feel shamed or get hurt hearing that pre-marital sex is sinful according to the Bible, but I do agree with the blog’s disdain for biblical gender complementarianism.

Guest comments at that page (and I agree with these comments):

    My favourite is their “committee” page [the writer may be referring to the gender complementarian group CBMW] where each women’s career is labelled “homemaker” and then proceeds to list all the conferences she will be attending for the next 12 months – I added up one of the women’s ‘away’ dates and figured the only way she could be a ‘homemaker’ was if she lived in a motor home.

And:

    Christina Steve Dawson • 7 hours ago −

    I suspect this is true. Otherwise they would have noticed years ago the irony of women building careers in which they travel, write, and speak, all for the purpose of convincing other women not to have careers.

And

    Rachel Held Evans Mod Christina • 7 hours ago −

    Oh my gosh! This DRIVES ME CRAZY! I went to this “biblical womanhood” conference a couple years ago where many of the attendees were professional women with careers. And the speaker – a professional woman herself – proceeded to dis on feminism as an anti-biblical worldview…starting with second wave feminism and using Mary Tyler Moore as an example of a first step away from biblical womanhood. It was so confusing

——————-
Related posts this blog

(Link): Christian Culture and Daddy Daughter Dates

Californian Politician signs bill to allow children more than two legal parents

Californian Politician signs bill to allow children more than two legal parents

This is kind of funny. I wonder how Christian “Focus on the Family” type of groups will deal with culture re-defining family to no longer mean “man and women married with children.”

This will probably devastate my fellow social conservatives and conservative Christians. Unlike them, though, I do not make an idol out of family.

Jesus taught that the church is based on His message, not by married couples reproducing babies.

So there is no real reason for Christians to panic about these types of news stories where a politician allows society to re-define parenting and marriage, but you can bet most Christians will panic, because they have turned the 1950s June Cleaver family into an idol. They view attacks on the 1950s structure of family as an attack on Jesus Himself, something Jesus never did.

I am aware that some homosexual activists and communists believe breaking down the traditional family unit is a way to rot a culture, and hence a nation, from the inside, which is one of their goals in taking over society, but again, does the Bible say a culture is to be

1. won and defended by propping up the nuclear family
or by
2a. Christians helping other Christians and
2b. telling Non Christians about Jesus?

I believe the Bible teaches points 2a and 2b, not point 1.

As a matter of fact, if one invests more time in 2a and 2b, that could lead to more of point 1 as a natural result.

Kind of like how helping Christian singles to meet and date other Christian singles would likely lead to more marriage (it certainly would not hurt), yet churches stupidly keep ignoring the Christian singles but keep bitching about the low rate of Christian marriages, and spend all their time bitching about divorce rates and homo marriage… none of which actually helps create more Christian marriages.

(Link): New law says a child may have more than two parents

(Link): Jerry Brown signs a California bill allowing a child to have more than two parents

Continue reading “Californian Politician signs bill to allow children more than two legal parents”

Janet Mefferd Concedes In One Radio Show that Christians “Lose Jesus” in all the “Family Values” Talk and Emphasis / Also FIC and Youth Worship

Janet Mefferd Concedes In One Radio Show that Christians “Lose Jesus” in all the “Family Values” Talk / Also FIC and Youth Worship

—-PART 1. CHRISTIANS TURNING FAMILY INTO IDOL —-

I e-mailed Ms. Mefferd (or is it Mrs?) several months ago to let her know about how terrible Christian culture treats singles; she had a guest on her show who made it sound as though all Christian singles are deliberately staying single, and Mefferd seemed to agree with that view.

I wrote to Mefferd to correct this view point. I was polite. I let her know that many Christian singles desire marriage but are unable to find a Christian partner to marry.

Still others choose not to marry, which is fine too, and it is a choice that should be respected.

The Bible does NOT command people to marry and procreate.

Marriage (and hence baby making) is depicted in the New Testament as being OPTIONAL and left up to each individual. It is not something God commands of people.

I have also noted in worry in past posts on this blog that Mrs. Mefferd (like many social conservative Christians) commits the error of making much ado about “family values,” which not only needlessly excludes singles, the divorced, the widowed, and childless, but which tends to make an idol out of family, something the Bible teaches AGAINST.

The Bible calls believers to full allegiance to Jesus Christ and Christ’s agenda, not to the “nuclear family” (and not to endlessly engaging in culture wars: ranting against liberalism and homosexuality).

Christ nowhere taught that it is the agenda of His followers to rally around and promote the “traditional family.”

Allegiance to Christ is painted in the New Testament as Christians supporting other Christians (who may not be related to them by flesh and blood) emotionally and financially, and secondly, to spreading the Gospel to Non Christians.

The New Testament does not teach Christians to constantly fight with the godless heathen over abortion, homosexual marriage, promoting the nuclear family, and other such topics.

Perhaps Ms. Mefferd caught my e-mail and that is what prompted her to re-evaluate the obsession with Christians defending the Traditional Family, I don’t know.

However I was encouraged to hear in a recent broadcast she stopped to criticize the American evangelical obsession with “family” to say something like, “Jesus gets lost in all the family value rhetoric Christians bandy about.”

And she was angry about it, you could hear it in the tone of her voice. Good for her.

I can’t recall exactly which show it was on, but it was a late Sept 2013 or early October one.

Whatever episode it was, her comments about “Jesus being lost in Christian emphasis on family” begin around the 29 minute or 30.05 mark (I jotted down the time on a piece of paper on my desk).

I think it may have been in this show, but I’m not sure:
(Link): Janet Mefferd Show-10/2/2013 / Janet talks with Peter LaBarbera from Americans for Truth.

-Even if it’s not that show with the particular comments by Mefferd, the guy on the show whom she interviews mentions at the 36.45 mark that fornication is wrong (sex between a man and woman not married).

However he notes it has become incredibly politically incorrect to speak out against fornication these days.

I have noticed this too, even from Christian people on Christian blogs; I have met so-called Christians on Christian sites who think it’s judgmental to point out that pre marital sex is sinful, and they want to erase the word “fornication” from the vernacular, or they make fun of the term as being stody, old fogey, and judgmental.

I hope in the future Ms. Mefferd has her eyes opened to the bigger picture as it concerns this topic, that the evangelical, Christian fundamentalist, and Baptist idolization of marriage and procreation (having babies) goes AGAINST what Jesus taught, and it also marginalizes the never married, the divorced, infertile couples, and widowers and widows.

And when, or if, her eyes are opened, I hope she begins devoting radio programs exposing it.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a family, wanting marriage, or with Christians occasionally refuting liberal anti-traditional marriage points – that is all well and good…

However, Christians have taken things to the extreme, to the point if a Christian does not marry and pop out 2.3 children by the time they are 30 years of age (if at all), they are ostracized by most churches.

And Jesus warned against that very thing!

Jesus did not teach that his kingdom was to be built by Christians marrying other Christians and popping out babies.

—-PART 2. YOUTH WORSHIP —-

On another recent show, Mefferd interviewed a FIC church guy (Scott Brown from the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches) who argues against Sunday School. He thinks kids should be included in the main worship service of churches.

Here is a link to that podcast – but I’m not sure if this is the one with the comments where she criticizes family worship:
(Link): Mefferd podcast – Hour 3- Janet discusses youth ministry with Scott Brown from the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches.

I am wary of FIC (Family Integrated Church) people because they idolize the family.

See for instance these posts on this blog:

However, I do agree with the guy in the Mefferd interview that many churches are too keen to win over the youth, and when this mentality takes over a church, that pretty soon, the youth culture spills into the church at large, where even services intended for adults starts reeking of a Metallica, Miley Cyrus, or Justin Bieber concert, with guitars and laser shows, with the preacher wearing a goatee and skinny jeans, all trying to be cool and hip for the kids.

The end result of trying to make church into a rock concert, or trying to make it trendy or “cool,” to attract the teens is that the people over 25 and 30 feel weird, left out, overlooked, and out of place.

So some of these people over ages of 25, 35, 40, stop attending. Sermons become really shallow and flippant and takes a backseat to the entertainment spectacle.

I am glad the FIC guy recognizes that catering to the youth ruins Christianity at large, I just wish FIC people would stop idolizing the family, because not everyone is married with a kid.
———————-
Related posts this blog:

(Link): Youth Fixation in Churches and how it alienates older Christians

(Link): Refreshing: Christian Researcher Disputes that Youths Are Leaving Churches in Droves, Disagrees that Churches Should Be Family Focused

(Link): Getting People Back to Church / Christian Event Targeting ‘Apathetic’ Youth *BARF*

(Link): Ignatius the Ultimate Youth Pastor & Teaching Christian Singles About Sex (humor – but it does a great job criticizing church obsession with youth)

How Not to Help All the Single Ladies (excellent article)

This is an excellent editorial about single women from a Christian source. Most Christian commentary on singleness sucks, but this was good.

(Link): How Not to Help All the Single Ladies

    Blaming women for their own singleness is about as productive as a ‘Cosmo’ checklist.

    by Sharon Hodde Miller

    [snip comments about her meeting with middle aged Christian women friends who had never married]

    Several weeks later, I spoke with another friend across the country who also wondered at her singleness and ached to find a godly man.

    In each of these conversations, I struggled to find the right words.

    Part of me wanted to shout, “What’s wrong with men? These ladies are amazing! They should be fighting guys off with a bat.”

    But the situation is more complicated than that. For one, women in the American church outnumber men. In 2009, sociologist Mark Regnerus reported in CT that there are 3 single women for every 2 single men. Simply put, there aren’t enough Christian men to go around.

    Add to that the elements of romantic chemistry, life circumstances, and God’s providence—all factors that are simply out of one woman’s control. It’s not her fault, and there’s nothing wrong with her. Nevertheless, most longtime single women are tempted to pause and wonder, Is it me?

    Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly single women out there who have difficult personalities.

    But, there are married women with equally challenging personalities who still managed to find a mate.

    Having a strong personality or being independent or failing to look like a supermodel are not deterrents to finding a spouse.

    Dating is not simple. There is no tried and true formula.

    Which is why I become frustrated whenever I come across articles, blog posts and books purporting to tell women why they are still single, and how they should act to snag a man.

    Continue reading “How Not to Help All the Single Ladies (excellent article)”

A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood (article) – how Christian teachings on gender and singlehood contribute to raunch culture and fornication etc

A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood (article) – how Christian teachings on gender and singlehood contribute to raunch culture and fornication etc

This was actually a decent editorial – usually Christian blogs and magazines publish naive or insulting dreck about singleness and women. This editorial points out many of the flaws in Christian teachings and attitudes on singleness, marriage, sexuality, etc.

It also manages to weave into the discussion how Christian teachings about gender roles, women, sexuality, dating, marriage, adulthood, singleness, etc, contribute to societal issues such as fornication and so on.

(Link): A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood

    The dialogue we missed about Miley Cyrus and coming of age.

by Tish Harrison Warren, guest writer

In the overblown bluster about Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance, we neglected a crucial discussion about growing up female in our culture.

CNN highlighted the point Cyrus was trying to make, declaring that “she is, after all, no longer the teen Disney star she once was.”

Her performance was a public pronouncement of her coming-of-age. We’ve seen this before: A young, seemingly innocent star throws off the yoke of childhood naiveté and announces her adult identity in a display of sex appeal and ebullient debauchery. It’s become a predictable script.

That’s why this article is not about Miley Cyrus, Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, or any ingénue du jour.

I’m interested instead in what leads Miley Cyrus or the midriff-baring girl up the street to believe that in order to prove her adulthood, she must become an object of male sexual consumption. And I’m interested in how the church can offer her an alternative.

The widespread agreement that Cyrus’s willingness to be objectified marks her attempt to assume the mantle of womanhood indicates a deep problem with the way we define female adulthood.

Obviously and unavoidably, part of becoming an adult woman has to do with female embodiment and sexuality. We gain the ability to reproduce with all the excitement, responsibility, and monthly annoyance that entails. But biology is not enough to indicate adulthood in our culture. Miley Cyrus had a post-pubescent body long before the VMAs.

In order to be seen as an empowered adult in our contemporary society, we can’t just be mature sexual beings; we must be sexually available. As females, we often demonstrate adulthood by using our sexuality in ways that invite, in fact that practically beg for, the male gaze.

It is a sort of post-sexual revolution version of the debutante coming out.

Some factions in feminism even point to this kind of overt rejection of sexual boundaries or morals as an act of empowerment. I am woman, watch me twerk.

Unfortunately, defining adulthood through sex or sexual activity is not limited to secular culture but has also affected the church. We imbibe these broader messages about how girls come of age, but if our church culture does not provide an alternative way to come of age outside of marriage, young women who remain celibate and unmarried struggle to understand themselves and be understood as fully women and fully adult. Young women in our culture use overt sexual allure and sexuality to show that we aren’t kids anymore.

The church instead must offer another way to attest to our adult womanhood.

If we do not, when we encourage young women to remain chaste and value modesty, it will inadvertently be a message of juvenilization–to remain good “little girls.”

In order for celibate adults to be acknowledged as adults in evangelical churches, our understanding of adulthood needs to be clarified and decoupled from sexual activity or marital status.

Right after I graduated from college, a much-trusted older single woman said to me, “You keep referring to yourself as a girl. You need to refer to yourself, and anyone else your age, as a woman.” (I’m still amazed how often women in church, particularly women in their 20s, are referred to as “girls.”)

Soon after that, another older friend approached me worried that a middle-aged man in our church was flirting with me. I was floored.

It never occurred to me that this man might be romantically interested. He was clearly a grown-up, and I didn’t think of myself as one.

I didn’t exactly think of myself as a youth anymore, but neither did I see myself as a proper, official “Adult Woman.”

I told her as much, and she replied that I was in fact an adult and that it was high time I owned that identity.

She was right. I was 22 and clearly an adult. But I had grown up in an evangelical culture that closely associates being an adult with being married.

I was at that point an unmarried virgin, so through the eyes of both pop culture and evangelical culture, I saw myself as somehow less than a fully adult woman.

Thankfully, I had these individual conversations that challenged me to inhabit an adult identity. But for those who don’t, we have no ecclesial, communal way to initiate single Christian young people into adulthood.

Consequently, I know single women in their 30s who feel marginalized by the narratives of Christian womanhood. They don’t fit in with amped up, youth-group-like singles groups, but they feel alienated by their adulthood-as-marriage church culture.

To some extent, in liturgical traditions like mine, the historic practice of confirmation might serve in part as a coming of age celebration, affirming that a child has grown into his or her own person of faith and commissioning the young into a life of mature discipleship.

However, in order for confirmation to actually be significant as a rite of passage, we must recover a theological and communal vision for the practice.

Perhaps we evangelicals need to consider making this tradition a bigger deal, a significant celebration and achievement.

I have a priest friend who leads confirmation and often finds the ritual can be rote and meaningless for families, even a sort of “graduation” from church.

Lower church traditions don’t have any practice wherein young adults publicly appropriate the Christian faith as their own (outside of baptism, which even in Baptist circles many do as young children).

To truly initiate the young into adulthood in the church, we need a practice that’s rigorous and profound, that calls people to be mature, articulate, faithful believers in Christ, that challenges them to take on the responsibility and joy of being adult leaders and culture shapers, and that is a real communal celebration (with good food and champagne toasts.)

Historically, confirmation provides space for people to own the faith for themselves and to more fully walk in the Holy Spirit as they commit themselves to serve the church.

After our eldest daughter was baptized, we had a big party. Our friend who is an organic caterer and another friend who was a pastry chef pitched in to make it one of the happiest, most beautiful days of my life (with some of the best food). A friend in attendance said, “Man, this is better than a wedding.”

Unlike baptism, confirmation is not a sacrament and does not have the theological import thereof. But if we want our young women to feel valued, welcomed into adulthood, and affirmed as strong, independent women without having to reject modesty and chastity or twerk with Robin Thicke, then we need meaningful, communal rites of passage.

Maybe celebrating confirmation like we mean it is a step in that direction.

When my daughters come of age, I want them to refer to themselves and to truly know themselves no longer as girls but as women, not because they’ve achieved the male gaze or even because they’re married, but because the people of God, as a community, have called them women. And not just women, but women of the church, sealed in the Holy Spirit, with gifts, strength, and worth as members of and contributors to the bride and body of Christ.

————————
Related posts this blog:

(Link): On Miley Cyrus Being Sexual at 2013 VMAs – Hypocrisy of Secular Feminists

(Link): How Christian Teaching on Gender Roles and Sex Can Mess People Up in Adulthood (from Wine and Marble blog, post by a former Christian guy)

(Link): How Christians Keep Christians Single (part 3) – Restrictive Gender Roles Taught as Biblical

(Link):  An Example of Mocking Adult Virginity Via Twitter (Virginity Used As Insult)

(Link): Atlantic: “The case for abandoning the myth that ‘women aren’t visual.’”

(Link): Christian Males Blaming their Unwanted Protracted Singleness on Feminism – They have the wrong target

(Link): Ryan Gosling and Shirtless, Buff Cowboy Photos on Social Media – Yes, Christian Women Are Visually Stimulated and Visually Oriented (Part 2)

(Link): How (Married) Christians and Christian Teachings About Dating/Marriage Are Keeping Single Christians Single Part 1

(Link): Superman, Man Candy -and- Christian Women Are Visual And Enjoy Looking At Built, Hot, Sexy Men

(Link): Online Dating: Women Want Younger Men (article)

(Link): Women Are Visually Oriented Too – Reminder 1

(Link): Women Are Visual And Like Hot Looking Men (Part 1) Joseph in Genesis Was A Stud Muffin

(Link): The Annoying, Weird, Sexist Preoccupation by Christian Males with Female Looks and Sexuality

(Link): Article: Scientists: Why penis size does matter [to women]

(Link): Married Women Engage in Sexual Sin – and most men in denial particularly Christian conservatives

(Link): More ‘Men Are Visual’ Baloney, Discussed at Another Blog

(Link): Conservative Christian Sexist Immature Imbecilic Pressure on Women to Look Pretty and Skinny and to Put Out Sexually

The Way We Never Were (book – Family Idol)

The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz (Author)

Someone on the Jesus Creed blog mentioned the book “The Way We Never Were.”

(Link): BOOK REVIEW : Skewering Myths About the Family : THE WAY WE NEVER WERE: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz

Review is from 1992, by CONSTANCE CASEY. Excerpts:

    American families have changed in the last 20 years–nearly half of all families with children have both parents working–and our anxiety about change is no delusion.

    There has certainly been some decay in values recently. As Coontz tartly observes, “Twenty-five percent of the people polled in a recent national inquiry into American morality said that for $10 million they would abandon their entire family; a large number of people are evidently willing to do the same thing for free.”

    Coontz believes that what we’re experiencing now, however, is not so much the family’s dissolution as “an erosion of commitment to social obligations in general, and to children in particular.” Furthermore, things weren’t all that great before.

    Chapter by chapter, Coontz takes on the myths. Divorce may end many marriages now, but largely because of high mortality rates, the average length of marriage in Colonial times was less than 12 years.

    The “Life With Father” Victorian family–in which men were the breadwinners and women the domestic angels–owed its existence to the fact that other families were poor. Middle-class women had time to spend with their children because they employed laundresses and maids and cooks. Often these German or Welsh or Irish immigrant servant “girls” really were girls, as young as 11.

    While 20% of American children today are poor, she writes, “At the turn of the century the same proportion lived in orphanages, not because they actually lacked both parents, but because one or both parents simply could not afford their keep.”

    Coontz’s take on the Golden Age of the family–Ward and June, Ozzie and Harriet–is not brand new, but worth restating. “The apparently stable families of the 1950s were the result of an economic boom–the gross national product grew by nearly 250% and per capita income by 35%.” Most important, there was steady employment for the Ward Cleavers of America.

    Ozzie never came home with a pink slip and never applied for welfare. But the Nelsons and the Cleavers were generously underwritten by the federal government. Because of the extraordinary boom, the feds could afford to be generous with everything from education money to housing loans and highway construction.

    Part of the mythology of the Golden Age was that only morally deficient families required government help. As refutation, Coontz provides a wonderfully specific example–Phil Gramm, senator from Texas and staunch opponent of government handouts: “Born in Georgia in 1942, to a father who was living on a federal veterans disability pension, Gramm attended a publicly funded university on a grant paid for by the federal War Orphans Act. His graduate work was financed by a National Defense Education Act fellowship, and his first job was at Texas A & M University, a federal land-grant institution.”

    Coontz makes it hard for us to blame the usual suspects for family decay–those negligent working mothers and those immoral teen-age girls. She demonstrates that most of the family problems associated with working women rise from “the inadequate and incomplete integration of women into productive work.” And she charges that, “The image of teen-age girls having babies to receive welfare checks is an emotion-laden but fraudulent cliche.” If welfare benefits cause teen pregnancy, “why is it that other industrial countries, with far more generous support policies for women and children, have far lower rates of teen pregnancy?” (Incidentally, the highest rate of teen-age childbearing in 20th-Century America was in 1957.)

    “Children do best,” Coontz concludes, “in societies where child-rearing is considered too important to be left entirely to parents.” In order to be elected these days, candidates have to demonstrate that they care deeply about their own children. We should demand that they also care about other people’s children.

Info on the book:

    The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families. Placing current family dilemmas in the context of far-reaching economic, political, and demographic changes, Coontz sheds new light on such contemporary concerns as parenting, privacy, love, the division of labor along gender lines, the black family, feminism, and sexual practice.

And:

    Did you ever wonder about the historical accuracy of those “traditional family values” touted in the heated arguments that insist our cultural ills can be remedied by their return?

    Of course, myth is rooted in fact, and certain phenomena of the 1950s generated the Ozzie and Harriet icon. The decade proved profamily–the birthrate rose dramatically; social problems that nag–gangs, drugs, violence–weren’t even on the horizon.

    Affluence had become almost a right; the middle class was growing. “In fact,” writes Coontz, “the ‘traditional’ family of the 1950s was a qualitatively new phenomenon. At the end of the 1940s, all the trends characterizing the rest of the twentieth century suddenly reversed themselves.”

    This clear-eyed, bracing, and exhaustively researched study of American families and the nostalgia trap proves–beyond the shadow of a doubt–that Leave It to Beaver was not a documentary.

    Gender, too, is always on Coontz’s mind. In the third chapter (“My Mother Was a Saint”), she offers an analysis of the contradictions and chasms inherent in the “traditional” division of labor.

    She reveals, next, how rarely the family exhibited economic and emotional self-reliance, suggesting that the shift from community to nuclear family was not healthy.

    Coontz combines a clear prose style with bold assertions, backed up by an astonishing fleet of researched, myth-skewing facts.

    The 88 pages of endnotes dramatize both her commitment to and deep knowledge of the subject. Brilliant, beautifully organized, iconoclastic, and (relentlessly) informative The Way We Never Were breathes fresh air into a too often suffocatingly “hot” and agenda-sullied subject.

    In the penultimate chapter, for example, a crisp reframing of the myth of black-family collapse leads to a reinterpretation of the “family crisis” in general, putting it in the larger context of social, economic, and political ills.

    The book began in response to the urgent questions about the family crisis posed her by nonacademic audiences. Attempting neither to defend “tradition” in the era of family collapse, nor to liberate society from its constraints, Coontz instead cuts through the kind of sentimental, ahistorical thinking that has created unrealistic expectations of the ideal family.

    “I show how these myths distort the diverse experiences of other groups in America,” Coontz writes, “and argue that they don’t even describe most white, middle-class families accurately.” The bold truth of history after all is that “there is no one family form that has ever protected people from poverty or social disruption, and no traditional arrangement that provides a workable model for how we might organize family relations in the modern world.”

    Some of America’s most precious myths are not only precarious, but down right perverted, and we would be fools to ignore Stephanie Coontz’s clarion call. –Hollis Giammatteo

    From Publishers Weekly

    The golden age of the American family never existed, asserts Coontz ( The Social Origns of Private Life ) in a wonderfully perceptive, myth-debunking report. The “Leave It to Beaver” ideal of breadwinner father, full-time homemaker mother and dependent children was a fiction of the 1950s, she shows.

    Real families of that period were rife with conflict, repression and anxiety, frequently poor and much less idyllic than many assume; teen pregnancy rates in the ’50s were higher than today.

    Further, Coontz contends, the nuclear family was elevated to a central source of personal satisfaction only in the late 19th century, thereby weakening people’s community ties and sense of civic obligation.

    Coontz disputes the idea that children can be raised properly only in traditional families. Viewing modern domestic problems as symptoms of a much larger socioeconomic crisis, she demonstrates that no single type of household has ever protected Americans from social disruption or poverty.

    An important contribution to the current debate on family values.

Christian Post interview with T D Jakes: Family, Family, Family

Christian Post interview with T D Jakes: Family, Family, Family

They even managed to work the word “family” into the heading:

(Link): Interview: T.D. Jakes on Faith, Family and the Scripture He Turns to in Difficult Times

A few quotes from the article (with emphasis added by me in bold) -notice how often motherhood, fatherhood, and “family” is mentioned, but when mentioned, they are not referring to “family of God,” but to the “traditional family,” comprised of flesh and blood relatives:

    BY MELISSA BARNHART, CP REPORTER

    DALLAS, Texas— Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House and CEO of MegaFest 2013 spoke with The Christian Post at the kickoff of the three-day inspirational festival about the importance of having a personal relationship with God. Jakes also explained why adults need to step up and set the example of making their Christian faith the foundation for the family to depend on through all of life’s tragedies and disagreements.

    [Interviewer Question]
    … Why is it important to have a Christ-centered family? With the millions of children who are being raised in fatherless homes, why is it important for an adult in the family to step up and teach the younger generations how to establish a strong faith in Jesus Christ?

    Jakes:
    I think that Christianity for the Christian family becomes the ideal to which we aspire. And we grumble with the realities of being human, and having human children, and human relatives and human friends. And those are realities that we can’t totally divorce ourselves from, but if we don’t have a common ideal, then there’s no cohesiveness to which we can galvanize a family and build your life around.

So, once more, the picture I get from reading what Christians have to say about Christianity may lead one to think one has to be married and have children – be in a “family” (ie, nuclear family) – to be a real Christian or to experience Christianity. If so, that would mean that myself and a hella lot of other people do not qualify.

Knock it off with the all the family talk, preachers and Christians. There are never married, childless adults in America too, as well as widowers and divorced people. The reason a big chunk of Christians are no longer attending churches anymore is because they are single and/or childless and cannot cope with yet another sermon on marriage or kids. You want your church membership rolls to increase? Start paying attention to adult singles and their needs.
————————
Related posts, this blog

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols

(Link): American Christians Idolize Motherhood – Mommy Rhapsody

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Un Happy Mother’s Day – universal church continues to worship parenthood, family

(Link): Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

(Link): Being Single In The Church (article)

(Link): The Decline in Male Fertility (article)

(Link): The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link): Childfree Christians / Childfree childless

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Fatherhood Not Quite the Producer of Manly, Mature, Godly Men Some Conservative Christians Make It Out To Be

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link): Southern Baptists – Still Majoring in the Minors and ignoring the never married (singles) – Why Church Membership is Down

(Link): Christians and Churches Discriminate Against Unmarried People / Singles

(Link): Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

(Link): A Critique of the Family-Integrated Church Movement by Brian Borgman – Christians turning the family into an idol

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): Refreshing: Christian Researcher Disputes that Youths Are Leaving Churches in Droves, Disagrees that Churches Should Be Family Focused

Are Fundamentalists Aiming to Out-Breed Secular America?

Are Fundamentalists Aiming to Out-Breed Secular America?

This discusses Christians:

(Link): Are Fundamentalists Aiming to Out-Breed Secular America?

(Link): Interview with Eric Kaufmann, Author of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?
– discusses how some Christians believe it is their duty to pop out as many children as possible

(Link): London: A Rising Island of Religion in a Secular Sea by E. Kaufmann

(Link): Battle of the Babies – A new book argues that liberal secularism and high birth rates are fuelling a revival of religious fundamentalism. Caspar Melville speaks to its author Eric Kaufmann

(Link): Are Fundamentalists Aiming to Out-Breed Secular America? (FULL VIDEO, on Fora)


—————————
Related posts this blog:

(Link): Conservatives and Christians Fretting About U.S. Population Decline – We Must “Out-breed” Opponents Christian Host Says

(Link): Misapplication of Biblical Verses About Fertility (also mentions early marriage) – a paper by J. McKeown

(Link): Bay-Bees – Have Lots of Them (Addendum)

(Link): Bay-Bees – Have them, have lots of them and NOW, no matter what say some Christians

(Link): Tell the Baby-Obsessed To Back Off (Letter)

(Link): Why all the articles about being Child Free? On Being Childfree or Childless – as a Conservative / Right Wing / Christian

(Link): I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent (editorial by G. Dalfonzo) – The Christian Tendency to Worship Family, Motherhood, and Children

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): The Child Free City

(Link): Childfree Christians / Childfree childless

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): The Decline in Male Fertility (article)

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage (and “family”) by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link): A Critique of the Family-Integrated Church Movement by Brian Borgman – Christians turning the family into an idol

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): Refreshing: Christian Researcher Disputes that Youths Are Leaving Churches in Droves, Disagrees that Churches Should Be Family Focused

(Link): Fatherhood Not Quite the Producer of Manly, Mature, Godly Men Some Conservative Christians Make It Out To Be

The Trend of Older People Becoming First Time Parents

The Trend of Older People Becoming First Time Parents

The person who wrote this page doesn’t seem too keen on the idea that people are becoming parents later in life:

(Link): How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society The scary consequences of the grayest generation. by Judith Shulevitz

Two reasons I am linking to that page (which is very, very long), is…

1. It points out that older males produce deformed kids. Often, there is sexism involved, where people assume only older motherhood is dangerous, but older males produce defective sperm.

In that way, Shulevitz’s article is similar to this one:
(Link): The Ticking Male Biological Clock – WSJ.com

2. The mere fact the page is discussing the situation at all shows it’s becoming more and more common in American society.

Typical of Christians and conservatives (and I am a conservative myself, but one who disagrees with other conservatives in how they handle or behave about some cultural issues), but in this otherwise left-leaning publication, the author (who I would assume is liberal) chooses to bitch and gripe about the situation, rather than just acknowledge that things change in culture. She sounds like a typical conservative.

Here are excerpts from the very long article:

    by Shulevitz

    Over the past half century, parenthood has undergone a change so simple yet so profound we are only beginning to grasp the enormity of its implications. It is that we have our children much later than we used to.

    This has come to seem perfectly unremarkable; indeed, we take note of it only when celebrities push it to extremes— when Tony Randall has his first child at 77; Larry King, his fifth child by his seventh wife at 66; Elizabeth Edwards, her last child at 50.

    This new gerontological voyeurism— I think of it as doddering-parent porn— was at its maximally gratifying in 2008, when, in almost simultaneous and near-Biblical acts of belated fertility, two 70-year-old women in India gave birth, thanks to donor eggs and disturbingly enthusiastic doctors. One woman’s husband was 72; the other’s was 77.

    These, though, are the headlines. The real story is less titillating, but it tells us a great deal more about how we’ll be living in the coming years: what our families and our workforce will look like, how healthy we’ll be, and also—not to be too eugenicist about it—the future well-being of the human race.

    That women become mothers later than they used to will surprise no one. All you have to do is study the faces of the women pushing baby strollers, especially on the streets of coastal cities or their suburban counterparts.

    American first-time mothers have aged about four years since 1970—as of 2010, they were 25.4 as opposed to 21.5. That average, of course, obscures a lot of regional, ethnic, and educational variation.

    The average new mother from Massachusetts, for instance, was 28; the Mississippian was 22.9. The Asian American first-time mother was 29.1; the African American 23.1. A college-educated woman had a better than one-in-three chance of having her first child at 30 or older; the odds that a woman with less education would wait that long were no better than one in ten.

    It badly misstates the phenomenon to associate it only with women: Fathers have been getting older at the same rate as mothers. First-time fathers have been about three years older than first-time mothers for several decades, and they still are.

    The average American man is between 27 and 28 when he becomes a father. Meanwhile, as the U.S. birth rate slumps due to the recession, only men and women over 40 have kept having more babies than they did in the past.

    In short, the growth spurt in American parenthood is not among rich septuagenarians or famous political wives approaching or past menopause, but among roughly middle-aged couples with moderate age gaps between them, like my husband and me.

    OK, I’ll admit it. We’re on the outer edge of the demographic bulge. My husband was in his mid-forties and I was 37—two years past the age when doctors start scribbling AMA, Advanced Maternal Age, on the charts of mothers-to-be—before we called a fertility doctor.

    … Soon, I learned that medical researchers, sociologists, and demographers were more worried about the proliferation of older parents than my friends and I were.

    They talked to me at length about a vicious cycle of declining fertility, especially in the industrialized world, and also about the damage caused by assisted-reproductive technologies (ART) that are commonly used on people past their peak childbearing years.

    This past May, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 8.3 percent of children born with the help of ART had defects, whereas, of those born without it, only 5.8 percent had defects.

    … What science tells us about the aging parental body should alarm us more than it does. Age diminishes a woman’s fertility; every woman knows that, although several surveys have shown that women—and men—consistently underestimate how sharp the drop-off can be for women after age 35.

    The effects of maternal age on children aren’t as well-understood. As that age creeps upward, so do the chances that children will carry a chromosomal abnormality, such as a trisomy.

    In a trisomy, a third chromosome inserts itself into one of the 23 pairs that most of us carry, so that a child’s cells carry 47 instead of 46 chromosomes. The most notorious trisomy is Down syndrome.

    We have been conditioned to think of reproductive age as a female-only concern, but it isn’t. For decades, neonatologists have known about birth defects linked to older fathers: dwarfism, Apert syndrome (a bone disorder that may result in an elongated head), Marfan syndrome (a disorder of the connective tissue that results in weirdly tall, skinny bodies), and cleft palates.

    Continue reading “The Trend of Older People Becoming First Time Parents”

Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

Single Adults Why They Stay and Why They Stray (from church) Book Excerpts

Note: several questionable people have roles in this book, in the form of editing, or as contributors, such as…

    – a gender complementarian, Wayne Grudem; gender complementarianism (Link):

is not biblical

    ;
    -neither is “biblical counseling,” yet Edward T. Welch, who is a “biblical counselor” also had some kind of role in this book,
    – C. J. Mahaney – accused of being involved in a ten year cover up of child sexual abuse at his churches,

so I offer this link with a caveat.

The author of the particular chapter I am quoting seems okay, and I don’t see too much that I disagree with in his chapter.

What is really funny is that this book (I’m not sure when it was published, I am just now finding it today), echoes many of the things I’ve said on this blog before.

Edit: this book was published in 2003, but this is the first I am seeing it, or reading excerpts from it. It is incredible how the author noticed most of the same disturbing anti-singles views and trends that I have in this blog the last three years.

As I am a NEVER MARRIED woman, I am not going to present the full section under “divorce” in the chapter. You can visit the link to read it if you want.

The following is available for free on Google Books (this particular book is entitled “Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood”) :
(Link): Single Adults in Your Ministry: Why They Stay and Why They Stray
by Dick Purnell

    … Do you know how many single adults sit in your congregation each Sunday? Recently I was speaking in a church to three thousand people. I asked for all the people who were unmarried and twenty-two years old or older to stand up. Over a thousand people stood up! The audience was surprised and gasped at the large number…

Do you realize that the number of single adults in America exceeds the total national population of all but eleven of the world’s 192 nations? How shocked would you be to discover that the number of single parents is greater than the entire population of Colorado and Tennesse combined?

According to the 2000 U.S. census 40 percent of all adults eighteen and older (forty-eight million) are single. We are seeing a tremendous shift in American social values.

The median age of a first-time marriage is now twenty-five among women and twenty-seven among men. The fastest growing family type is single parents.

If your church is in an urban area, the percentage of single adults near you is much higher than a rural area. Singles gravitate to the cities for jobs, things to do, and others to meet. They are searching for connection and community.

They are often afraid of loneliness, commitment, and isolation. Most of those under thirty have never been married. The average age of a married person’s first divorce is thirty-four. That means after years of marriage, they are thrown back into the dating scene. They feel awkward and unprepared. They face the same relationship challenges that teens face, but they feel out of place.

One woman said to me, “I am now single, but I feel married. I don’t want to be single, but that was forced on me.” They have been out of the dating world for so long that they have very little idea what to do. And no one is helping them or even having a discussion about some of these issues.

Most singles are invisible to churches.

… They represent every economic stratum you can imagine – everything from presidents of major corporations to the unemployed and all in between. Fifty-three percent of all unchurched adults are single.

But our churches are built on a mind-set of marriage, and singles are often neglected. They are the “Great Invisible Mission Field.” However, businesses are very aware of singles. If you look at the advertising on television or in magazines, you will find that a huge number of ads are geared to attract single people.

Sports clothing, beer, cell phones, and a myriad of other products are marketed to singles. They have the largest amount of discretionary income. But the church in general has a difficult time attracting them and capturing their attention and commitment.

Many single adults believe that the church excludes and ignores them. They feel like the church is either neglecting them or is just not interested in them. So single adults vote with their feet. They come to church for a few months or years; but when their needs are not addressed or they never hear a sermon addressed to their unique issues, they fade away and go somewhere else – or stop going to church altogether. They hear sermons preached on topics such as “How to be a Godly Husband” or “Becoming a Godly Wife.” But they have never heard a sermon on “How to be a Godly Single Adult.”

… [Singles] don’t stay because there is no emotional glue to keep them there. They are not the “squeaky wheel” that is going to ask the pastor to give a sermon directed toward them or to pound on the door of the budget meeting pressuring for more funding. They just fade away.

Are you desperate to attract single adults to your ministry and get them involved? Here is my top ten list on “Why Single Adults Are Turned Off by the Church.”

Number 10: Frivolous jokes degrade the single lifestyle.
Grandparents, pastors, and married friends all have jokes about singles. All the married people laugh, but the single buries the snub under a weak smile.

I was single for forty-two years. When I served as an assistant pastor in my middle thirties, I heard lots of good-natured jokes, but often the ribbing was not funny to me. “Hey, are you afraid to take the responsibility for a mate?” Here I was in charge of several significant ministries in the church, and they tell me I’m afraid to take responsibility?

“Maybe you are just too picky. Are you looking for a perfect wife?” In other words, if you lower your standards you may get somebody.

“You’re not getting any younger, you know.” That was supposed to pressure me to get moving? Sometimes I would get the big one: “What are you waiting for?” Like I better hurry up before I miss the “right one.” But isn’t there a sovereign God? His timing may not be my timing – or the timing of the people who ask me to hurry up.

In trying to encourage me, people would give what I call romantic testimonies: “I finally gave everything to God, and six months later I found the right one.” But I was forty years old and had been a full-time minister for over fifteen years.

Was there something I had not given up to God that some married twenty-year-old ha already given up to God? All the marriage formulas that people give singles may be individual experience they had, but those formulas are not normative for all believers. Why should I seek the holy grail of marriage if God wants me to be content in every situation?

After four years as a pastor, I resigned from my church. Even though I was no longer was the pastor, I continued to attend the church. A single female friend of mine from Kansas came to our city one weekend to visit some of her college buddies. I brought her to the 11 A.M. church service. As we were walking down the aisle, an elderly usher led us to a front row for seating. The organ was softly playing and everybody was kind of quiet. When we stopped to turn into the row, he handed my friend a bulletin and said to me loudly so most of the people could hear, “Hey Dick, when are you going to marry her?” I wanted to die right there, but first I wanted to punch his lights out.

These kinds of jokes will not attract singles to your church! No way! They degrade single life as if the only bright future is for married people. That idea is not found in the Bible. Even the apostle Paul stated that an unmarried person can have undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32-35). He did not consider singleness a joking matter.

Number 9: Church leadership is mainly interested in the interests and needs of married people.
The pastor and leaders are usually all married with very little significant empathy or understanding of the unique needs and concerns of single adults.

Single Christians are rarely eligible to be members of the governing board. There are very few single senior pastors. The silent criterion of marriage eliminates singles from serving in many aspects of the typical church. If you carry that to a logical conclusion, the Apostle Paul would not be qualified to be a pastor or elder. Even Timothy would be shut out of the opportunity for leadership.

After four years as an assistant pastor, I wanted to become a senior pastor. I had a total of fifteen years experience in the ministry and two Master’s degrees. However, when I sent in my resumes, not one church ever asked me to candidate, because I had to write on the front page of the resume my marital status: “Single.” Who wants a senior pastor who is single?

It was a bitter experience. I was unqualified to be a senior pastor of a church because I did not have the “Mrs.” degree. Many men graduating from seminary have tremendous pressure put on them. If they want to rise above the level of youth pastor, they must be married. Why is marriage the unspoken golden key that unlocks the door to pastor advancement?

Number 8: Budgeted funds for single ministry are usually inadequate or nonexistent.
Many churches don’t budge anything for singles. When the churches that have budgeted some funds for singles ministry must cut the budget somewhere, the singles ministry often is the one that gets the ax. “Singles are adults – they can handle it,” the budget committee says. But the message that gets across is, “You are not as important as other people in our church.”

… The message the singles hear is loud and cleaer: “You are the lowest on the totem pole. Your needs come last. You are not worth our paying a minister who can meet your needs.” Therefore, singles respond with their feet. They say, “I’m out of here.”

Number 7: Singles feel the church neglects them.
They feel like barnacles on the side of the church ship – there but forgotten. Marriage is espoused as the norm, and singles just don’t fit the model.

I have conducted over three hundred single adult conferences throughout America, Canada, and twelve other countries. Yet only nine senior pastors stopped by to observe and/or greet the crowd.

The even was in their church, in their building, and these are adults. I remember each of the nine because they are so rare….

Number 6: There is a perception that single adults are morally loose.

If a person is not married by mid-twenties, there is something wrong, it is generally thought. A particular church was in the process of trying to hire a youth pastor. Since they could not find one for over a year, they held a congregational meeting to explain the progress they were making. The elder in charge presented all kinds of reasons for the delay in locating the right person for the position. At the end of his explanation, I stopped up and asked, “Does the person you are looking for have to be married?”

You could have heard a pin drop on the carpet. People gasped. It was the unthinkable question. The elder hemmed, and he hawed, and he slithered all over the platform. All I wanted was a yes or no. He was very obviously unnerved by my question. Finally some lady in the very back said, “What we need is a role model for the young girls. So I think he should be married.”

“You mean to tell me, in this entire congregation there is not one woman who’s a role model for the girls?” Silence.

“I tell you what I think the real reason is. You are afraid that a single pastor would be sexually frustrated and have sex with one of the teenage girls. Out of all the pastors I have known personally, four have had affairs and left the ministry in disgrace. Each of them was married. Almost all the other pastors I have read about in magazines and books who have committed adultery were married. True, married people do not have a corner on the market in becoming immoral. But you should not be prejudiced against a single adult simply because he is single.”

I tried to tell them that some of the best youth pastors in America are single. I wasn’t a very popular guy after that. The elders eventually hired a youth pastor. Yes, he was married.

Some churches won’t allow singles to teach Sunday school for fear these men and women will succumb to sexual temptation. That is unfounded fear. We all need the power of God to overcome temptation. Don’t single out single people as the most likely to succumb. That is unfair and inaccurate. Single adults want to be respected and trusted. Let them show by their faithfulness that they have a genuine relationship with God.

Number 5: Marriage is portrayed as normal for everybody.
If someone is not married by thirty something, there must be something wrong with him or her.
(please click on the “continue reading/ read more” link to see rest of the post. Thank you)

Continue reading “Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts”

The Decline in Male Fertility (article)

The Decline in Male Fertility – Is the decline in male fertility a “crisis” or not enough data?

Well this is refreshing. Usually, women get blamed for the decline of baby production…. from secular conservatives and from Christian groups, who assume all single women are whoring around (some definitely are, though not all), and are getting abortions left and right.

Or, it’s assumed by conservatives that all us single adult ladies have intentionally pushed marriage (and possible motherhood) aside to pursue a career (not true for many of us post age 35 Christian women, though who knows about the younger generation).

So, we women get blamed for the lack of bay-bees (babies).

Conservatives such as Pat Robertson feel the way evangelical Christianity can beat secularism and Muslims is by out-breeding the competition.

That Christian women don’t get married for the first time these days until age 35, 40, 45 or whenever, raises a red flag with some of the bay-bee and marriage obsessed Christians, because a woman’s fertility is said to decline over time (never mind more and more articles are saying women are becoming first time mothers in their 40s – I have links to articles about that in older posts).

It’s just so darn nice to see the male gender get blamed for the lack of bay-bees, for a change… even though I am tired of the topic overall. If it’s going to be brought up, I want to see the males equally blamed.

(Link) The Decline in Male Fertility – Is the decline in male fertility a “crisis” or not enough data? WSJ

    July 2013

Are today’s young men less fertile than their fathers were? It’s a controversy in the fertility field, with some experts raising the alarm over what some are calling a “sperm crisis” because they believe men’s sperm counts have been decreasing for a decade or more.

Experts here for the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual conference last week debated the issue for an entire day.

One recent analysis found that in France, the sperm concentration of men decreased by nearly one-third between 1989 and 2005. Most but not all studies from several European nations with large databases and the ability to track health records have found that over the past 15 years or so, the counts of healthy men ages 18 to 25 have significantly decreased. This comes after a prominent study from the 1990s suggested that sperm count has decreased by half over the last half-century.

Continue reading “The Decline in Male Fertility (article)”

Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols

Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols –
Biblical Christians should be very concerned that they are mirroring Mormons

I did a little bit of reading about Mormonism several years ago. I don’t remember everything I read, but I do vaguely recall from what I did read that Mormons place a lot of emphasis upon marriage and family.

Mormons believe in the afterlife that a man can become a god, and he needs a wife and kids to repopulate the planet he becomes ruler over, or something like that (seriously, they believe this stuff.)

It’s very strange, nutty, and very sci-fi. You can read more about these beliefs (Link): here (CARM), (Link): here (CRI) or (Link): here (Let Us Reason).

Mormons place a lot of emphasis on family and marriage and having a lot of children, and it has something to do with how many planets they get to rule in the afterlife.

When doing an internet search about singleness, I’ve noticed about one-third of the blog pages and forum discussions that show up are for and by Mormons, complaining how there are so many un-married Mormon ladies who want to get married, but they remain single into their 30s and older.

The Mormon singles also complain about Mormon leaders ignoring singles, and about the special preference their denomination/church gives to married couples.

I am struck by how similar all this Mormon singleness talk is to how conservative Christianity treats marriage and singlehood, and how conservative Christianity worships marriage.

Some of the blog pages I’ve seen by Mormon single women sound like something I could have written about being a single in a Christian upbringing and environment.

I just came across this while doing a web search today:

    (Link): Family Values. Strengthening Families. [Mormon site]
    Mormon.org

    mormon.org/values/family‎
    The happiest marriages and families are those grounded on the principles Christ … She told me she had read The Book of Mormon but was unable to find anyone that …. We welcome all to visit and worship with us in our Sunday services.

On that Mormon web page is a heading that reads, “Families Come First.”

At the bottom of that same Mormon page is a category heading of “FAMILIES PREPARE US FOR ETERNAL LIFE.”

What is eerie about that Mormon web page title, tag line, and other content on the page is that it resembles the same “Rah rah, family values!” rhetoric conservative Christians continually publish and produce – such as, well, (Link): “Focus on the Family.”

(Glancing over the FoF (Focus on the Family) home page, I notice there is no mention made of the un-married, of singles – FoF should care, because if they can help singles get married, there would be more families for them to focus on. This fact continues to escape these marriage- and- family- obsessed Christian groups.)

Then, about a week ago, I found a page, (Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family), whose Christian author also noticed that some portions of conservative Christianity have deified and idolized family and marriage as much as Mormons have. I would highly encourage you to read that page.

Here’s a blog page by a Christian guy who has lived around Mormons, and he has noted that Mormons have idolized family and marriage, much like some Christians are guilty of:

(Link): What Evangelicals Can Learn From Mormons: Family

Excerpts from that page:

    [After summarizing how Mormons idolize family, marriage]

    Who doesn’t want a happy family? Who wants to see their family die off one by one? Who wants to be alone? I certainly do not and nor does anyone if they have had a decent family experience or something similar.

    This is the hope that Mormons are peddling. It is the leading foot of their Gospel and the discerning believer will see it is just not the Gospel.

    So what can evangelicals learn from this perversion of the Gospel centered on the nuclear family?
    We must preach joy, hope, and love from the Gospel and not life circumstance.

    Whatever joy and happiness can be gleaned through family should pale in comparison to knowing Christ. If family is were you find joy and happiness then you will be sadly surprised in an eternity staring into the face of Christ. Paul considers “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus [his] Lord.” (Philippians 3:8).

    The Gospel can and will influence and improve our family relations but this is not the ultimate in view. A radical focus on the Gospel, Christ’s work, as our source of joy and happiness then opens the door for people of all life settings to begin to live in goodness of the Gospel among the wider family of God.

    We must reassert the Family of God as primary to the Gospel above the Nuclear Family.
    As Dan Edelen pointed out 1 Corinthians7:1-40, Luke 18:28-30, Mark 3:31-35, and Isaiah 56:3-5; these verses all give good counsel on what the new family of God looks like above and beyond the nuclear family.

    I might add to this list 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 with its picture of the body of Christ and the differently gifted members there within. I would further point my LDS friends to Christ’s discussion with the Pharisees in Mark 12:18-27.

    The marital arrangements of this world will be superseded by a much greater marriage arrangement and that is between Christ and His church.

    We must remember now that our marriages and families, as sweet and important as they are, are only meant to prefigure our future union as the church (family of believers) with Christ.

    We must work hard to understand the role of singles in the Family of God.

    In 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 Paul makes the case for the single’s ability to be free from the anxieties of this world and be anxious about the things of the Lord. This is set against those that are married that must be, by nature of life setting, concerned about the things of the world and not just about the Lord’s work (1 Corinthians7:32-33).

    In Fact Paul points to the fact that those that are married have divided interests (1 Corinthians7:34). Picking up Cheerios in a minivan may be more of a divided interest than living the dream.

    As the church we would do well to promote the health and Godly vitality that singles can bring to the church as those committed first to the work of the Lord; only to relinquish that work do to a calling to marriage or uncontrolled passions.

    Instead of always pushing and prodding singles toward marriage why not push and prod toward Gospel work! One’s singleness can lead to the most fruitful and enriching time with the Lord if the focus is on Christ and His work and not the lack of marital union.

    We must be careful not to take the renewed interest in family ministry within the church to far. The Mormon Gospel of family should serve as a warning to Evangelicals in our endeavors to more fully embrace the family in churches.

    It is a very good thing for us to think about how to minister to families in our churches, but we must not carry our ministry to far and eclipse the wider family of God we have been called to be a part of.

    While I doubt many evangelicals will wrap family in with the Gospel as Mormons have done, we have come dangerously close at times. Family is super-important and is the primary place most of us will live out our Christian witness, but we must keep first things first.

To read the rest of that blog page, (Link): please click here.

Continue reading “Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols”