views and thoughts on topics, especially ones pertaining to christianity – with an emphasis on how most christians either ignore or discriminate against unmarried christians – and how christians have turned marriage and parenting into IDOLS and how there is no true support for sexual purity, virginity, or celibacy among christians – this is a blog for me to vent; I seldom permit dissenting views. I don't debate dissenters ————-
Confusing or Downer Messages from Charles Stanley (TV Baptist Preacher) Why I no longer watch In Touch that often
Charles Stanley certainly sends mixed messages. In a broadcast tonight, he said God wants believers to “prosper,” but on previous episodes, Stanley has mentioned God doesn’t care if followers are “happy.” I see the two as being similar; to be prosperous is to be happy. Maybe the concepts are not alike 100% of the time, but they are a little synonymous.
The entire message of his sermon tonight was something like, “The Courage to Obey.”
On Stanley’s weekly TV show, he frequently repeats a line he heard from his grandpa or someone when he was a kid, which was: “Obey God, and leave all the consequences to him.”
Not only am I becoming more agnostic as time goes by, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t stomach watching Christian TV shows I used to rather enjoy, including Stanley’s “In Touch” program.
I’ve noticed Stanley has the extremely annoying habit of blaming hurting people for their problems in life (when they write him on his TV show with questions about problems they are having), in addition to his preoccupation with having people “obey” God.
I read a few years ago that Stanley’s yearly income from his church is $300k – $400,000.
I understand the man grew up in poverty:
That survival spirit was second nature for Charles, whose father died when he was 9 months old and who grew up so poor that he learned about Santa Claus the Christmas morning he discovered in his stocking the orange that had been in the refrigerator the night before. He lived in 17 homes by his 8th birthday.
(Source: CNN article)
But it’s rather unseemly that someone earning 400k a year, who has been earning that amount for several years now, is and has been lecturing people who are unemployed or under-employed on tithing (Stanley has actually said on prior shows that people who don’t tithe are probably “living in sin”), or on tonight’s show, he sort of nit picked people for not tithing, saying they don’t trust God, so that is why they don’t give their funds to a church.
Considering that (if there is a God), God’s answer is sometimes “NO” to people’s petitions, I don’t blame people for not trusting God with their finances, or with other things.
Stanley is also horrible on mental health topics, and he has gone 180 degrees on that topic.
At one point, Stanley expressed sympathy for folks who have depression and anxiety and who need to see a medical doctor and take pills for it, but in broadcasts in the past few years, he has come out in complete opposition to those views: he chides Christians who have mental problems who see doctors and who take anti- depressant, anti- anxiety medications.
Stanley’s show used to be a bit encouraging, but in the past 5 – 7 years, his sermons have gotten depressing, and he blames people for their problems more and more, even if they did nothing to cause their problems.
There is more emphasis in Stanley’s attitudes and sermons on what YOU can do for God than on what Jesus did for you at the cross.
I’m not sure why I even bother to occasionally flip the channel to watch his show anymore. There are weekeneds when I have skipped it altogether.
Joseph Prince (despite being a WOFer) at least preaches regularly on the grace of God via Jesus.
And for all the lambasting he gets from conservative Christians, at least 90% of Joel Osteen’s sermons remind you that God loves you and is on your side. I’d much rather hear those types of upbeat sermons than depressing, semi-legalistic, “God doesn’t care about your happiness, you need to obey God, and what have you done for God lately” type sermons one gets from Charles Stanley, or John Hagee and others.
Conservative Christians and Non Christians continue to portray all men as “visually oriented” and as sex obsessed weirdos, so if you want a man, single ladies, they say, you better be stick thin, have a perfect body, and grow your hair long.
Meanwhile, women are depicted in secular culture and from pulpits and in dating books by preachers as only being “emotional” and finding interest in knitting and petting kittens – never are women said to care about what a man looks like, and women, at least the married ones, are portrayed as sexless, lifeless ragdolls who don’t want sex.
The problem with this is that none of it is true for all members of both genders, nor am I certain it’s true of even the majority of them.
The fact is (and I have said this before and will say it again in future posts…), women – and this includes CHRISTIAN ones as well- like sexy looking, buff men.
As a teen and twenty-something, not only did I see women drool over sexy lead male singers of rock bands, but as an adult in my early 40s, I see women from their 20s into their 50s regularly – REGULARLY – posting shirtless photos of movie actor Ryan Gosling and muscular, shirtless male models dressed in chaps on Facebook and Pinterest.
You cannot throw a rock on Pinterest without seeing photos like this, almost daily (photo bottom left, actor Ryan Gosling):
Seriously. If you do a search for “Ryan Gosling” on Pinterest, you will get photo after photo of the guy. Try it: (Link): “Ryan Gosling” on Pinterest.
…Pinterest’s U.S. demographics shake out very differently — hovering between an impressive 68.2 percent and an overwhelming 83 percent female audience.
…Even a cursory glance at Pinterest makes it easy to see why so many of its critics have been dismissive about it – specifically about its girlishness.
In Salon earlier this year, Jude Stewart called the site ”basically online scrapbooking.”
Slate’s Farhad Manjoo summed it [Pinterest] up in a feature called “Cupcakes, Boots, and Shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal,” wherein he admitted, “I just don’t get it.”
Here’s a representative Jake Gyllenhaal photo taken from Pinterest (below right):
I have a 50-something married friend who occasionally posts photos like this one on Facebook (and she is a Christian too – photo below to the left, shirtless cowboy):
Whereupon several of her adult female friends (some of whom are married) hit the thumbs up link to “Like” the shirtless cowboy photos and fawn all over the guy under her photo, to say how hot he is.
I actually found that particular cowboy photo via a Pinterest board called “Eye Candy,” by a woman named Lisa. Her entire “Eye Candy” board consists of young, muscular men dressed as cowboys, many of whom are shirtless.
A few years ago, a series of movies came out called “Twilight,” which were based on the books of the same name. The books – and the movies – focus on a buff vampire named Ed Cullen and a teen named Jacob, who is also a werewolf.
Females of all ages were going bonkers over the actors who played Cullen and particularly Jacob.
The hysteria rose to such a fever pitch, the media began to notice and began doing stories on how 40-something married mothers were lusting after then- 17- year- old Taylor Lautner (the actor who plays Jacob). In most of one of the films, Taylor Lautner runs around shirtless, showing off his toned physique.
Women in their 40s were showing up to Twiglight openings carrying posters of Taylor Lautner shirtless, screaming his name.
Here are a few links about the older woman lusting after Twilight actors phenomenon (there were many more stories several years ago, discussing the entire situation, not just this one ‘panty’ incident, but I did not save any of those links):
“Twilight” hottie Taylor Lautner, who plays hunk Jacob Black in the Vampire series, isn’t just a popular pin-up for tweens and teens across the world. The 17-year-old admits he has also had to contend with an agressive older female fan attempting to do some well, inappropriate things.
“I had this 40-year-old woman trying to find a way to take her panties off for me to sign them. They had my name imprinted on them,” a somewhat amused yet kind of freaked out Lautner told Tarts last weekend. “So that was kind of strange … but you can’t expect anything from these ‘Twilight’ fans.”
Lisa Hansen, for example, thought she had lost her mind the first time she read “Twilight.” Partly because she’s 36.
“I was absolutely worried that something was wrong with me,” the Utah mother of two said. “I just couldn’t put it down — I was obsessed completely.”
… Since so many of “Twilight” fan sites were overrun with teenagers, adult women have erected their own digital havens for fans who could take only so much of the “OMG Edward’s so hot!!!” reaction to “Twilight.”
There’s Hansen’s Twilight Moms Web site, which she started for married women and mothers who want to revel in their “Twilight” fandom, and sites like 49-year-old Patricia Kopicki’s, which is for any adult “Twilight” fan, parent or not.
… “Many of us [fans] are happily married with kids, some as old as the male leads in ‘Twilight.‘ Some of them jokingly refer to themselves as ‘cougars’ because of this, but it’s used as a humorous way of saying we realize we are old enough to be Robert Pattinson’s mother [and] we still find him attractive,” Kopicki said.
… Historically, any woman nearing menopause was expected to be at home, raising kids and uninterested in sex, said Valerie Gibson, who claims credit for the concept of the “cougar.”
“I wrote a book about older women and younger men in 1990, and let me tell you, the world was not ready for older women having sex with younger men,” Gibson said. “Older women have always been indoctrinated to believe that they would get to a certain age and they were no longer wanted and sexy and desired. I think older women who have found their sexuality have always lusted after younger men but they were never, never allowed to say so.”
Now why in the holy hell do you suppose women, including grown women, past the age of 35, and some are married with children, run around collecting, sharing, and pinning photos of Ryan Gosling and shirtless cowboys on Pinterest, Facebook and other social media, and drooling over teen age actors in vampire movies and posting photos of them on sites and discussing their bodies in detail… unless of course they are “visually oriented,” “visually stimulated” and enjoy looking at good-looking guys who are obviously in shape?
Women are not collecting and oogling these hunky man photos for sheer kicks, and they are not pondering the man’s inner qualities, or wondering how often he reads the Bible or attends church, or if he graduated college with a 4.0.
Notice too, in some of the stories I included above, we see married women lusting after teen-aged male movie stars: Christians regularly tell adult singles if they want to get married, God will only grant them a spouse if they are sinless, if they are not immature. This is false.
We see example after example of married people who engage in sexual sin and behave in an immature fashion. I, as a never- married 40- something woman, while I do appreciate a fine looking man (hello movie star Hugh Jackman!) do not habitually sit around giggling at sexy photos of Hugh Jackman, or trying to meet him so he can sign my underwear – unlike some of the “Twilight Moms” mentioned in the articles above, with the objects of their affections. Married people are not more mature, self controlled, or sexually pure than singles.
_____________________________________________________________ — Related Posts This Blog–
By Jessica Martinez , CP Contributor
July 11, 2013
Some 45,000 people attended a youth festival hosted by evangelist Luis Palau in Venezuela last weekend, with thousands committing to sexual purity until marriage during the event.
Festival goers descended upon the bicentennial fairgrounds of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, for Juventud Libre 2013, where Palau preached about faith and change under the theme, “Venezuela, open your heart to hope.” The event focused on offering an optimistic outlook for the nation’s future in light of its current political and social unrest, which caused 4,000 youths to dedicate their lives to God while the crowd chanted “yes to sexual purity.”
Link 3 discusses:
Churches depicting women (even married ones, so that’s a refreshing change of pace, usually it’s the singles) as sexual temptresses, and, in another rarity, one church instructs males to keep their shirts buttoned up (usually it’s the females who get the insipid “modesty” lectures), and sexual hang-ups by various churches are addressed.
I don’t condone abuse or neglect of women or children, but, I do have to commend this one Christian cult for at least pointing out that motherhood has been made into an idol by some Christians; they are at least right on that score.
…Women of C-U ministries were totally submissive to males and were barred from leadership or decision-making roles, as well as from work outside the home. Pam says that, “It got to the point where what I had to say usually got suppressed because I knew it was a waste of time to discuss it. I’d lose.”
…Unfortunately, the harshness of the discipline extended to the children as well. Pam says, “I could cry over some of the spankings they received. Bruised bottoms. They were even calloused.”
… In December of 1987, ten-year-old Aaron Norman died as result of medical neglect and a beating administered by his father and Doug Kleber. The boy suffered from juvenile diabetes but his parents did not obtain medical care for him, preferring to rely on the healing power of prayer.
When his physical condition worsened and prayer did not seem to be effective, elders of the church were consulted to determine what the problem was.
According to a story in the June 21, 1988 issue of the Chicago Tribune, the elders determined that Aaron had sinned. The sin was masturbation, but Aaron would not confess to the sin.
His father decided to spank Aaron with a board because the Holy Spirit had told him that he had been masturbating. As the Spokane County deputy prosecutor stated, “His father and the elders ‘rebuked’ Aaron to confess, but he wouldn’t. Aaron’s father and Kleber then beat the child . . . A wooden paddle was used at some point until Aaron confessed. On Sunday morning when his parents awoke, Aaron was dead. There were severe bruises on his buttocks.”
[Regarding another wacko church:]
…Like many other abusive churches, the Two-by-Two’s impose a restrictive and rigorous life-style on the membership. Women adherents shun makeup and wear long, uncut hair wrapped tightly in buns on the tops of their heads. Jewelry is proscribed, while plain dresses are the norm. Slacks, shorts, and sleeveless blouses are forbidden in public.
They submit to the men of the group who tend to wear dark-colored clothes and carry black-covered King James Versions of the Bible. Marriages are performed by civil authorities only, since church “workers” do not register with state officials.
Conformity to a strict life-style is expected of all children and young people in the Truth. They are discouraged from participating in after-school sports and other social activities. Their circle of friends does not extend beyond the group.
Eight years later, I’m still not married. I’d tell you it’s been awesome, but you probably wouldn’t believe me. Society, and particularly the church, seems so uncomfortable with singleness. By the time we hit quarter-life, friendly faces are ready to pair us off at any moment, as if being single necessarily means we’re incomplete. Some even come at us with warnings that we’ll become “leftovers” if we don’t find our mate soon. (Ask me if I’ve ever been called leftovers. I dare you.)
Then come the blog posts and articles, with stats and theories on why all our friends who ended up marrying their high school or college boyfriends got it right. The 2009 Christianity Today cover story, “The Case for Early Marriage,” was just the beginning. This wedding season brought another bump in pro-early-marriage arguments in Christian publications and mainstream magazines.
…This line of thinking remains risky, presenting marriage as such a positive move for 20somethings when so many of them aren’t ready. Surrounded by proponents of young love and young marriage, I felt a pressure beyond my years to make a commitment, and I am so glad I didn’t give in to those expectations, having grown up and grown closer to God in the years since.
…The statistics about the sex lives of single adults, including single Christians, are grim. According to a recent study in Relevant magazine, 80 percent of Christian singles in their 20s have had sex, and 64 percent had done so in the past year. By age 20, 25 percent of single women in the general public have cohabited, but by age 30, 74 percent of women have done so.
So yes, early-marriage champs, the longer we stayed unmarried, the greater our chances of sexual screwups. You win on that one.
But sex isn’t enough to hold up an argument for early marriage (though we hear it (Link): again and again).
Single Christians have the opportunity to throw the curve—to demonstrate that a life devoted to honoring Christ is in fact possible outside of the binds of marriage.
Exercising restraint and resolve to live a biblical singlehood speaks volumes to our fellow single men and women who treat sex as a casual thing. Living out Christian singlehood might also instill a bit of hope in the hearts of our nonbelieving friends; hope that there is more to life in your 20s and 30s than sex on the first date and late night booty calls. And trust me, folks, God is sovereign in our singlehood.
Marriage isn’t the solution to the immaturity of today’s 20-somethings. We don’t become grownups by putting a ring on it. My prayer for my generation is that we can grow into more mature followers of Christ, living as brothers and sisters in the faith as we walk through this journey.
…God doesn’t give us a timeline for when we need to marry; never do we reach cutoff point and become “leftovers.”…
Boy Bands and Rock Singers – Yes, Women Are Visually Stimulated and Visually Oriented (from the time they are teens, too)
Conservative Christians and Non Christians continue to portray all men as “visually oriented” and as sex obsessed weirdos, so if you want a man, single ladies, they say, you better be stick thin, have a perfect body, and grow your hair long.
Meanwhile, women are depicted in secular culture and from pulpits and in dating books by preachers as only being “emotional” and finding interest in knitting and petting kittens (and I do mean literal kittens there; that phrase is not a euphemism) – never are women said to care about what a man looks like, and women, at least the married ones, are portrayed as sexless, lifeless ragdolls who don’t want sex.
The problem with this is that none of it is true for all members of both genders, nor am I certain it’s true of even the majority of them.
The fact is (and I have said this before and will say it again in future posts – yes, I am planing a part two to this post), women – and this includes CHRISTIAN ones as well- like sexy looking, buff men.
Christian women are not turned on by stick-thin, toothless, smelly, balding, or obese males. And we wouldn’t settle for an ugly fatso just because he “loves Jesus” or attends church every week.
But this is the erroneous picture Christian literature and preachers paint of Christian women – that Christian women only care about how “spiritual” a Christian guy is.
So the males never hear sermons filled with bon mots such as, “Hey, dumpy, saggy lard ass: get to a gym and lose your gut, women don’t find that attractive. Get some Rogaine while you’re at it. And when is the last time you used mouth wash or saw a dentist??”
No, no, those sorts of comments are tossed at women, even in sermons and in “Christian” books and blogs about dating and relationships, but of course tilted to feminine appearance, such as, “Hey you ugly fatso, men care about looks, so go join ‘JUST LADIES,’ get on a treadmill, and grow your hair long! You look like a butch lesbian with short hair. No man wants that.”
Women do of course care about what men look like. Yes, we do, even the Bible thumping variety.
When I was growing up, a lot of girls had crushes on bands such as British pop band Duran Duran.
While I enjoyed some of their music, I was never a Duranie per se. But let me tell you, debates used to rage, absolutely rage, among teen girls in the 1980s as to which D2 band member was the cutest. Most chose Simon Lebon, lead singer. (Obviously, John Taylor was the cutest back then, so that settles that – though Simon has, IMO, aged better than John, going by recent photos of the band.)
I remember two very rabid D2 fans who rode my school bus back in the day, who used to argue DAILY, and quite passionately, about who was cuter, Simon or John. ~And people think females only care about a man’s “personality” or other “inner qualities.” Riiiiight. Keep living in that land of delusion, people who are uncomfortable with females being sexual.
Before that, in the 1970s, it was The Bay City Rollers. Girls went nuts for the Bay City Rollers.
In the 1990s, girls went crazy for New Kids on the Block and Back Street Boys.
Girls have been lining their lockers with photos of males they find PHYSICALLY ATTRACTIVE in junior high and high school since the dawn of rock. (There are a sub-set of girls who will find a famous guy’s personality appealing, in addition to his looks, and will tape his photo up on that basis as well.)
There was Elvis and The Beatles in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, there is teen singer Justin Bieber.
I had a friend from junior high who seriously crushed on Patrick Swayze, the movie actor, all through high school. She used to tape his photos up all over her bedroom because she thought he was sexy fine with a nice body.
When I was in my late teens, I had a 50 something, married female co-worker on one job who loved movie actor Kevin Costner, who kept photos of him taped inside her employee locker.
Clearly, women like looking at men they consider handsome. This is fact. This is reality. I’ve been surrounded by this phenomenon my whole life but rarely do I see it acknowledged in Christian media -or secular- that women are visual, just as much as men are.
Instead, I keep seeing this idiotic notion bandied about in magazine articles, dating advice blogs, and in sermons, that Christian women (or any woman) only care about a man’s income or personality and don’t care an iota about what his face or body looks like.
I’m thinking maybe people are just comfortable with sexist stereotypes, and men feel it gives them an excuse to be fat and never work out at the gym. I’m not sure what other explanations can be in order.
The Burt Reynolds Cosmo centerfold. I almost forgot. Some women found him sexy, and they went a little crazy when that centerfold was published. I believe that was in the 1970s.
She [Gurley Brown] did manage to get Burt Reynolds’ enthusiastic participation in her first-ever nude male centerfold. “There’s a big show in this country called ‘The Tonight Show,’” she explained to me. “He was a guest host, and I asked him off the air.”
The photo that ran was Reynolds’ personal pick. ”He’s got a good body, he’s got terrific legs, he’s handsome, he’s smiling up a storm and you can’t really see any” — here, she paused — “men’s genitalia … It’s about as sexy and revealing as a photo can be, but it doesn’t reveal anything that it shouldn’t.”
The photo, which ran with text proclaiming that male editors had previously “neglected the visual appetites of us equally appreciative girls,” was a sensation. Women mobbed Reynolds’ house.
The founder of Playgirl even cited it as an inspiration for the entire creation of the magazine: ”When I saw Burt Reynolds naked in Cosmo and saw what a winner that was, it came to me, that’s what women want. If a woman says to me she wants to see a man’s smile, his eyes, I say, ‘Don’t lie to me — you want to see a man’s dong,’ that is if you’re normal.”
In “Bad Girls Go Everywhere,” Gurley Brown’s biographer, Jennifer Scanlon represents Gurley Brown as a feminist whose attitudes towards sex prefigured “sex positive” feminism.
That included acknowledging female desire, particularly a desire for men’s bodies. Gurley’s stubborn refusal to “demonize” men, or have any unpleasantness at all in her magazine, kept her at loggerheads with many second wavers; she saw it as simply practical. “I acknowledge that men keep women back,” Gurley Brown wrote, “but since sex is terrific and it comes from men, you can’t rule men out of this world and say they’re all terrible and rotten, because you’re going to need them for your own purposes.”
Women are “visually stimulated,” they are “visually oriented” and you damn skippy most women care about a man’s physical appearance. If they did not, they would not be taping shirtless photos of Patrick Swayze in his prime back in their school lockers way back when.
————————— Part 2:
Christian Gender Stereotypes Prevent Singles From Marrying – Re Hunger Games
Many Christian singles have said online that gender stereotypes is one thing that is keeping them single, even though they want to be married. I’ve also seen this brought up in books by Christian singles that discuss singleness.
Here’s a web page that addresses one aspect of Christian gender stereotypes:
(Link Now Removed): What The Hunger Games Taught Me (and the Church Should Have) about Men
-THIS POST LIKELY TO BE DELETED IN THE FUTURE- ————————-
Related posts, this blog:
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.)
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]
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.)
[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.
(This is from page 1; click the link above to read the rest):
As co-director of the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX), John Dickson (author of Humilitas) works to engage Australia’s mainstream media and general public with thoughtful content that explores the relevance of the Christian faith for the modern world. Marshall Shelley and Drew Dyck sat down with Dickson to discuss what American church leaders can learn from his experience with CPX.
How would you describe the public’s perception of the church in Australia?
In recent years it’s become a dominant perspective to say that religion starts all the wars, religion rapes and pillages, and religion is damaging for society. The subtitle of a Christopher Hitchens book—How Religion Poisons Everything—has become a secular mantra.
Recently in Australia a TV talk show was discussing the problem of drugs. One of the hosts said, “Let’s put this in perspective. Drugs have not killed anywhere near as many people as religion. Religion is far more damaging to society than our drug problem.” And it got applause from the TV audience. What a sad day we’ve arrived at when you can get away with that and, worse, get applause.
How does the Centre for Public Christianity try to counter this perception of the church?
CPX is trying to communicate that there’s another story here. We can concede the bad stuff that the church has done. As an historian, I know the bad stuff, and we will freely admit it. Yet we also want to tell about the positive contributions Christianity has made in Western history. We try to articulate that some of the things we love most about Western secular democracy are actually gifts of Christianity to Western culture.
Please note: I offer a link to this with a caveat: the author appears to be a ‘gender complementarian,’ and I completely disagree with the CBMW-ish type of view of “complementarianism.” I am a gender egalitarian. However, this author does get some points right, including the portion I have excerpted below.
Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)
Lie #3: Women Can’t be Fulfilled or Spiritually Effective Without a Husband or Children.
The third lie is that women can’t be fulfilled or spiritually effective without a husband or children. Some churches teach that God’s perfect plan for every woman is to be a wife and mother. Period. Sometimes Christian women successful in business or some other professional field are made to feel unwelcome at a church, as if they are an unhealthy influence on “purer” women. Continue reading “Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)”
Edit. Aug 2014. That URL no longer works, they removed the video. You can still view it here: Video Link, Vimeo
I have no idea what the “607 Experience” is, as I did not watch every single video on the page, but from the one I watched, I gather it is yet some other family-centric event for churches to host for nuclear families (nuclear family = typical 1950s American family consisting of husband, wife, one or two kids).
The male host of the video says he recognizes that some Christians may be worried that his “607 Experience” may make singles or MWKS (married couples without kids / children) feel alienated…
But, he feels this program will still be beneficial to singles and MWKS, since it covers topics like how to pray effectively, or some such.
He’s not the first Christian I’ve seen use this tactic. I’ve seen other Christians or pastors say, “Well, my sermon series on marriage may make the never-married and divorced feel alienated, but you should not feel that way you unmarried people, because you can still find information in this series for use in your life!”
Is that so? Well then, what is the point in billing such series or sermons as “for the family,” or putting “marriage” or “parenting” in the titles of these events? If the material can be applicable to all (such as offering suggestions on how to pray better or some other generic, Christian topic) why not title the event, “How to have a better prayer life”?
My second question and concern is, what does this church or Christian group do for singles specifically? In other words, is there a “608 Experience” that is geared only towards the NMNKs (never- married with no kids), where this same man from the “607” video would tell married with kid couples, “But please, don’t feel alienated you married people! Even though you are married with kids, our service for singles can still be of benefit to you!” If this church (or group) is not devoting equal time to singles, then their “607 Experience” is wrong, wrong, wrong, and yes, it will alienate the unmarried and other individuals who don’t meet the “married with kids” demographic.
Forget married couples with kids – the real danger today is for the unmarried Christian. Screw the Christian married couples; it’s singles who need the church’s help and attention. Even secular society discriminates or ignores singles.
The male host of the video said he simply suggests pastors who host a 607 to “just put the elephant in the room right out there.” Just be up front and tell your never-married and divorced or Married- with- no- kids couples that the service will be devoted to marrieds with kids, he advises.
Wouldn’t that be a little like a white Christian host saying on a video for pastors, “Our series will only focus on how great white people are, and teach people more about white people,” and then telling the pastor, “But see, that’s okay, because you’re being up-front with, and transparent about, your prejudice.
Therefore, I’m sure any Black, Hispanic, and Asian Christians in your church will be fine and dandy with being so blatantly excluded YET AGAIN. I mean, surely they must agree that white Christian people are under attack by secular society, so I’m sure they’ll be okay and so very understanding with the needs and problems of Asian, Black, and Hispanic Christians being shoved aside, YET AGAIN.”
I swear to goodness the American church is almost completely oblivious to how badly they are excluding people (specifically, never- married people over 35 years old, the divorced, people with no kids, and the elderly) and giving Christianity a black eye to so many people, with the continual insistence upon the self-serving fixation on “marriage and parenting, marriage and parenting, marriage and parenting” mantra. ——————— Related posts this blog:
Here are a few suggestions as to what I think Christian pastors and Christian talk show hosts should (or should not) preach or discuss when addressing Christian singlehood.*
Sex, Sex, Sex and More Sex
I think sex is one topic that Christian pastors need to stay away from when talking to or about singlehood, or they need to stop lecturing about it as often as they do.
Anytime pastors or Christian personalities (such as people who host Christian television shows) do bother to address singles (usually they’re fixated on married life, unfortunately), it’s usually nothing more than to issue dire warnings about not giving in to sexual sin.