If your sermon or program supposedly benefits everyone… (post about Christian singlehood)

I was looking for more material about Christian singleness when I found this video:

“How Does Our Church Host a 607 Experience Without alienating Singles, Grandparents, or those without Children?”
(The URL is: http://d6family.com/607/experience/howdoiuseit#howdo )

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.
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Related posts this blog:

(Link): The Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon” line

Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

Please click the “more” link to read the rest of this post

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I am not a liberal or a Democrat, and I am not against “traditional,” “family,” or “biblical” values nor the “nuclear family,” nor am I against “traditional marriage,” but I do think the American Christian church of today places far, far too much emphasis on these issues, to the point they make people who are not married at age 25 with three kids feel unwelcome.

I am in my early forties, and I am a Christian female, as well as a conservative Republican, and despite the fact I wanted to be married, it never happened.

Do churches care about me, or people in my stage of life? Nope. They offer no services or sermons for the older single who has no kids, childless or childfree. We are ignored, or else treated like trash by the Southern Baptist denomination and by evangelical churches.

So I agree with some of the content in this web page I have quoted below, and I can see its implications for contemporary American Christianity, not just Republicans.

What I am afraid of is that Christian leadership from various churches and denominations will see political stories such as this one about Obama winning the 2012 election and think the only corrective is to go even more into hyper-drive regarding the pushing of “family values,” or cries of “save the nuclear family.”

Why do I find this a concern? Because the conservative American church has already been obsessive about protecting the nuclear family (and marriage) for decades now, which has led to the dating drought in the church, prolonged singleness among Christians, and ostracizing older singles or married couples with no children, because they do nothing to help older singles actually get married, or make marrieds with no kids feel welcome.

Most American church groups fixate desperately on getting singles of teen-aged years and people in their twenties in the church door, so as not to “lose the younger generation,” but as personal experience and Julia Duin’s “Qutting Church” book demonstrate, this unfortunate, nauseating, and age- based discriminatory fixation has led to singles over the age of 30 leaving the church in droves because THEIR needs are not being met – older Christians are being ignored in favor of luring in the kids.

As a result with their disappointment over the Republican 2012 Presidential defeat (I’m not happy with Obama winning a second term, either), I can just see some pastors and conservative Christian groups buckling down even harder on defending heterosexual marriage, sexual purity (which is a bit of a joke; many conservative Christians groups claim they support virginity, celibacy, and sexual purity but do not), and so on, which will only hurt older Christian singles more, or at least not do anything to improve their plight.

The American church, Southern Baptists included, refuse to be dragged into the 21st century. I do not agree with liberalism, homosexuality, abortion, or any of that, and I don’t know what the solution is to the erosion of “biblical” values, but I know what it is not, and what has not worked: continued obsession with 1950s American culture – of pretending like we are all still living in 1955 America, or that we should return to that era.

I’m tired of being ignored or being under-utilized when I attend a new church because I’m not a wife or a mommy or because I do not have a penis. I am not June Cleaver, the perfect 1950s fictional housewife with husband and two kids who wears pearls while she vacuums. I want a church that deals with my existence and acknowledges it – I’m over 40, a woman, I’ve never married or had a kid, and I do NOT like children. I have NO interest in working in the church nursery or the kitchen.

How TV Killed the Republican Party’s Family Values

(thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/15/
how-tv-killed-the-republican-party-s-family-values.html)

by Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, Nov 15, 2012 4:45 AM EST
Republicans are searching for an explanation as to why voters rejected their vision of America. The answer may be on their television screens, where an ever-expanding, bluer definition of family values makes their nostalgic idea of family values feel like a foreign world.

The biggest loser of last week’s elections may have been the Republican Party’s image of the American family. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, blamed the Republican loss on a dramatic change in our country’s “moral landscape.” He’s right, but this isn’t new: the GOP vision of America, which includes patriarchal churchgoing families with sexually abstinent teenagers who have no use for birth control hasn’t been a reality since the 1950s

So what happened? As it turns out, one of the most influential forces in changing Americans’ definition of family can be found in the homes of liberals and conservatives alike: their televisions. Slowly over time, the family sitcoms that Americans have been watching for decades effectively transformed what was once the culturally reinforced American ideal family into a relic of the not-so-distant past.
Continue reading “Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville”

People Who Marry for the Wrong Reasons

There are times when I hate being single and wish I had been married, but there are times I’m glad that I’ve remained unmarried into my forties. One reason is that I see people who marry all the time – for the wrong reasons, and they are miserable.

There is a lot of societal pressure to marry, and to marry by the age of 35 at that, which is why so many women (and maybe some men) marry someone they are not truly happy with or in love with, and they get divorced years later.

Here’s another example, a letter sent to advice columnist Carolyn Hax with this heading:
“Quest for public approval pushed her into marriage and is keeping her there”

Here is what the letter writer said:

I don’t know why I got married. Probably a swirling mix of low self-esteem, anxiety and the desire to prove my mother wrong about my boyfriend caused me to pressure him to propose. What I’m left with is a husband who doesn’t really love me and the sinking feeling that I made a terrible mistake.

I don’t know how much effort to put into making this work vs. cutting my losses. He isn’t a bad person, but we don’t make each other particularly happy and this isn’t a relationship where I feel treasured. I would get a divorce without thinking about it, but I’m embarrassed about the possible “I told you so’s.” I keep hoping the minister made a mistake and we’re not really married and I can just walk away.

On a similar note, here’s an article that says that married women are cheating just as much as married men these days:

(Link): The New Face of Infidelity: Research shows women may be cheating now almost as much as men; the toll of new temptations

Here are excerpts from “The New Face of Infidelity,” by Peggy Drexler, October 19, 2012

…Lately, however, researchers have been raising doubts about this view: They believe that the incidence of unfaithfulness among wives may be approaching that of husbands. The lasting costs of these betrayals will be familiar to the many Americans who have experienced divorce as spouses or children.

Among the most reliable studies on this issue is the General Social Survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which has been asking Americans the same questions since 1972. In the 2010 survey, 19% of men said that they had been unfaithful at some point during their marriages, down from 21% in 1991. Women who reported having an affair increased from 11% in 1991 to 14% in 2010.

A 2011 study conducted by Indiana University, the Kinsey Institute and the University of Guelph found much less of a divide: 23% for men and 19% for women. Such numbers suggest the disappearance of the infidelity gender gap, but some caution is in order.

…And if you believe the General Social Survey’s finding that 14% of women are cheating, keep in mind that 86% aren’t.

Still, even though survey accuracy is difficult to achieve and experts are by no means unanimous, it would appear that women are, indeed, catching up. In my own work as a psychologist and in my social circle, I see more women not only having affairs but actively seeking them out. Their reasons are familiar: validation of their attractiveness, emotional connection, appreciation, ego—not to mention the thrill of a shiny new relationship, unburdened by the long slog through the realities of coupledom.
Continue reading “People Who Marry for the Wrong Reasons”

The Wartburg Watch Blog – YEC, Calvinists, Gender Roles etc

(Please click the “more” link to read the entire post)

I found a blog called “The Wartburg Watch” about a year ago while doing a web search on some topic or another, and then forgot about it, until I found it again about a week ago.

Here is the link to the Wartburg Watch blog:

The Wartburg Watch

In this post, I discuss (sometimes only very briefly), Reformed Theology (Calvinism), gender roles (complementarianism), Young Earth Creationism, Christian speaker Beth Moore, New Evangelicalism (i.e., how important is “secondary doctrine”), spiritual abuse in churches, and other subjects, and how they are addressed at the WW blog.

Areas of Agreement

I do agree with many of the positions taken on the blog by Dee and Deb, who started the blog.

I agree with them on many of the topics they post about, such as authoritarianism and Neo-Calvinism are problematic in Christianity; that the very un-loving tone Christians take towards others can at times cause other Christians to walk away from the Christian faith; and that patriarchy and gender complementarianism are unbiblical and sexist teachings that are doing damage to many women and to the doctrine of the Trinity.

I also agree, to a point, with the blog owners that some Christians wrongly make issues that most would consider secondary into primary- level concerns, which can lead to needless divisions among Christians. (On the other hand, I sometimes get a little bit nervous by Christians who start saying love always trumps doctrine).

The blog owners are also very concerned about spiritual abuse in churches and how to prevent or rectify it, and they are also rightly concerned with the sexual abuse of children by pastors and priests.

So on those fronts, I do recommend their blog.

Areas of Disagreement

I do however, have one or two concerns or disagreements with the ladies behind that blog.

Deb and Dee seem concerned that Christians should be respectful and loving towards other Christians, even when disagreeing on secondary issues – which is a fine and laudable goal.

Young Earth Creationism

However, I don’t see them fully demonstrating that philosophy in regards to secondary issues such as YEC (Young Earth Creationism).

Repeatedly at their blog, I see much disdain for YEC. And I don’t pick up that the disdain is due to their assertion that some YECs are trying to push its relevance.

They claim that some YEC advocates conflate YEC with salvation or the Gospel itself, which I have not seen (though I am not denying that some YECs may do this, but I don’t think it’s as rampant as they make it appear – I have never personally seen or read of an occasion of a YEC saying “Agreement with YEC = necessary for salvation”).

About the only name I have seen them cite as far as YECs, especially famous YECs, who elevate YEC to salvation-level proportions is Ken Ham. (Ham’s site, Answers Outreach)

I’ve read Ham’s material before and have seen him interviewed on TV shows about his views on evolution and creation.

I have personally not seen Ham equate YEC to the Gospel itself.

I have only seen Ham make an argument along the lines that questioning YEC (which usually involves denying a literal interpretation of the Bible and/or allowing a secular / naturalistic-materialistic worldview to color one’s reading of the Bible, including the book of Genesis) can lead people (young people in particular, who are immersed with secular views on evolution during school and college) to question other portions of the Bible.

That is, rejecting a literal, six- day creation interpretation in turn can, or may, ultimately lead them to question if the Gospel is true and accurate, or cause them to wonder if other aspects of the Bible are true.

I think Ham actually has a decent and legitimate point there, and I don’t see that as necessarily “equating YEC to the Gospel,” or to making a belief in it a requirement for salvation.

In one thread on one blog page at Wartburg Watch, one of the blog owners seemed to ridicule or mock YEC Christians who believe that dinosaurs may have existed at the time of Noah and that dinosaurs were led on to Noah’s Ark, or that this could have been a possibility.

This is not the specific thread I am thinking of, but is close to it in content and tone:

The Fred Principle Fundamental Evangelicals Rejecting Reason (Wartburg Watch blog post)

As a YEC, I and other YECs do not “reject science,” we do not “reject reason,” and we are not “anti science,” as we are so often depicted as (including in the Wartburg Watch post above, sadly).

Most of us YECs merely disagree with other people over scientific topics, or how to approach scientific topics.

Disagreeing with someone else on the topic of evolution or the age of the earth does not mean we YECs are “anti science” or “anti reason.” To keep saying we YECs are “anti science” is a strawman and is mischaracterizing our views and beliefs.

In the discussion on YEC, one comment from the Wartburg Watch says (which is again at this blog page):

“No matter what the anointed would have us believe, the age of the earth, complementarianism, the size of our church, and the governing structure of the church are not primary issues. Folks, we have been given a brain. We need to use it.”

I do not believe that the earth is millions or billions of years old or that God used evolution to create and change life forms.

From this blog person’s comments at Wartburg Watch, one would assume that those who do not agree that the earth is millions/billions of years old have not been given brains or do not use their brains. I’m unsure if the bloggers mean that, or if it was an unfortunate choice of words.

(I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some Christian Old Earth advocates and believers of theistic evolution who make the age of the earth or evolution a primary issue, who tell YECs they are unsaved and going to hell.)

This comment is from a blog owner of Wartburg Watch (at the same page)…

“So what was his [the YEC person] solution [when confronted with material that disagreed with YEC views]? He refused to read anything more because it challenged him to the core. He said he would choose to believe Young Earth in spite of the evidence because ‘he couldn’t take it.'”

…Was somewhat uncharitable. Not all YECs are “afraid” to look at the opposition’s view points nor do all YEC advocates recoil in horror, in disbelief, or go into denial after having read work critical of YEC views.

I have read arguments for both sides of the evolution and age of Earth debates in the past, and I remain a YEC.

I was subjected to years of secular macro-evolution education in public schools and a bit in college and was told as a student that the earth is millions and millions of years old, but I still remain unconvinced for old-earth or macro evolution beliefs.

I have listened to Christian scientific personality Hugh Ross, who believes in theistic evolution (or some variety of it) and in an old earth, many times on Christian shows over the past fifteen years, arguing in favor of an old earth view (Hugh Ross’ site, Reasons To Believe).

Ross seems like a very nice man (and very intelligent, too – though he can, in my view, get a bit prickly or condescending at times when debating YECs), and I have no doubt he believes in Jesus as much as I do, but I disagree with him on these particular issues.

I did not find the “old earth” arguments, or arguments in favor of evolution, by Ross or by other Christians, journals, blogs, or TV shows I’ve read or watched compelling, nor was I convinced by secular sources who argue for old earth and for Darwinism.

I am college-educated and made mostly straight A’s while in college, so I am not a hick or a dummy. I made a “B” in a math class (college algebra), a “B” in one science class, and a “C” in one science lab course – everything else, I got an “A” (including one or two other college- level science courses).

I have read material that questions and criticizes the YEC and Intelligent Design view, both by Christians (who believe in theistic evolution and an old age of the earth view) and by atheists – and I am still a YEC.

There seems to be a belief held (and it is condescending), by Old Age proponents, that if only a YEC is confronted with criticisms of YECism by old-earth proponents, we will abandon our views of YEC, because, by golly, Fact, Science!, and Truth are so obviously on the side of the intelligent, educated, old-earth proponents…

And that further, it seems there is also a belief, or attitude, that simple-minded, doofus, red-neck, inbred, wrongly- paranoid- of- liberal- tinged public school system education Young Earth Creationists (who also watch NASCAR, marry their first cousins, have only one tooth, and keep broken washing machines on their front lawns, next to the pink, plastic flamingos) simply cannot challenge or refute anti-YEC teachings, or we are so weak minded, we will faint upon hearing them.

If the situation about the origins of life, creation of the earth and of mankind were as simple as all that, there would not be an old-earth / young-earth / evolution debate at all; all Christians would have converted to old-earth / theistic evolution perspectives many years ago. Obviously both sides have excellent points, intelligent people, and facts to back up their positions.

Dee and Deb of the Wartburg Watch blog may not be questioning the salvation of a Christian who believes dinosaurs co-existed with Noah, but in my view, it is no less alienating, or uncharitable to imply people who do believe that way are rubes, out- of- touch, un-scientific, anti reason, ignorant, or that all YECs everywhere equate YEC to the Gospel – and I do pick up that tone in some of the posts at the WW blog on this issue. I find that baffling, since both ladies usually seem very sensitive to other people’s feelings and concerns.

I am a YEC myself. I do not believe a person has to be YEC or agree with it to “be saved.” (Click the “more” link below to read the remainder of this post…)

Continue reading “The Wartburg Watch Blog – YEC, Calvinists, Gender Roles etc”

Double Standard by Some Non Christian Childfree

I wrote about childfree people in a previous entry. I myself am childfree, but I’m also a social conservative, conservative Christian, and a Republican, unlike most CF (child free people) who seem to be left wing and atheist – and who are hostile towards people such as myself.

One glaring double standard I see on CF (child free) blogs and forums are CF Non Christians who complain about mothers who breastfeed. (I agree that breastfeeding should be done in private and not in public.)

Many CF seem to believe there is something sexual about nude breasts, even in the context of breastfeeding; maybe to an extent they are correct about that. (For example see posts in this thread about Time magazine’s breastfeeding cover at Bratfree Forum).

Here are a few quotes from that CF forum thread regarding the Time magazine breastfeeding story:

by loavesstillsuck

THE HORROR! The look of the self-satisfied moos [mothers] standing their with their adult children (well, practically) sucking on their udders. . . . . . . glaring into the camera lens as if to say “I dare you to think of me sexually with a kid sucking off of me!”

BLEAH! There is no word appropriate enough, save for BLEAAAAAAH and VOMMITTTT.

by gwddee

Yeah I noted the ‘lighten up” twit. What the f*uck? Yep, keep defending that pedophile [mother in photo breastfeeding son], assh*le.

by rudegubmintworker

Why can’t the mom pump her breast and give the brat her boob milk from a cup? Because she gets physical and/or sexual satisfaction from it, loves using it to control the brat. Whether she wants to admit it or not.

When I was almost age 4 (like this kid SUPPOSEDLY is) I was in pre-kindergarten and could already read (and had been formula fed). I can’t imagine leaving school where I read, drew numbers and stick figures to go suck on Mom’s tit. Not to mention – some kids even back in the seventies at age 3 and 4 were skilled in the art of teasing other kids. What happens of other kids get wind of the fact Suckley still nurses? He’ll become the victim of bullying.

There are many, many other similar quotes to those above at that site and at other CF sites, who are equating breastfeeding (or the photo of such on the Time cover) to pedophilia.

Many CF, though, do not believe there should be any or many limits on sexuality in other areas, and they don’t seem to spot their own hypocrisy in this.

Many of the Non Christian CF mock and ridicule Christians or conservatives who teach and believe sex should be for marriage only, teens should not be having sex, and that homosexuality is unnatural and sinful.

Continue reading “Double Standard by Some Non Christian Childfree”

Jesus Wasn’t A Democrat, Either

(Please click the “more” link to read the entire post.)

I really detest the attitude of some Christian pastors, who lecture their congregations and television audiences, that “Jesus was not a Republican.” Well, you know, buddy, Jesus was not a liberal (or “progressive”) Democrat, either.
Continue reading “Jesus Wasn’t A Democrat, Either”