Joshua Rogers of Boundless / Focus on the Family Attacks Biblical Teaching of Virginity Until Marriage

Joshua Rogers of Boundless / Focus on the Family Attacks Biblical Teaching of Virginity Until Marriage

As I’ve said on prior occasions, far from Christians idolizing virginity, as some liberal, emergent, and even some conservative Christian bloggers and magazine writers claim, the biblical standards of celibacy and virginity have been under unrelenting attack by Christians over the past few years.

Most Christians these days no longer respect or value virginity but are seeking to diminish it if not do away with it altogether.

You can tell Christian thinking on the topic has gone downhill when we go from the 1980s message that says virginity is important and to strive for it, to the 2010 and onwards attack – by Christians – that says virginity is no big deal, so don’t beat yourself up when you have pre-marital sex.

Sometimes, Christians re-examining a view, teaching, or how they present it, can be a good thing, but I wonder about things when they start trying to downplay a standard that is taught in the Bible (ie, virginity and celibacy).

Christian culture has disturbingly gone from “Hooray for virginity!,” when I was a teen, to “boo, hiss, virginity, and everyone fornicate if you feel like it, because you are justified by Jesus, not your sexual choices, don’t feel any shame!” now.

It is now trendy in Christian culture to question virginity, and to shame adult Christians who are still virgins.

It is now standard by some Christians to say that virgins are either being “prideful” about their virginity, or are “worshipping” it, or to remind them they are not perfect, or to condescendingly remind them that it is Jesus who saves, not one’s “external sexual behavior.”

Case in point, this latest Virgin- and Celibate- Shaming editorial by Joshua Rogers at the Focus on the Family blog for 20 something singles, “Boundless” (yes, you will note that Focus on the Family ignores that there are many singles over the age of 30, 40, 50):

(Link): Stop Worshiping Your Virginity by Joshua Rogers

Excerpt 1:

    … The problem with female non-virgins going public with their sexual sins was that they ran the risk of being seen as damaged goods — I mean, if true love really did wait, then it was impossible for them to truly love the man who would be their husband.
    Apparently, they had already given away the truest expression of their love.
    So the best they could hope for was an understanding non-virgin or a “sexually pure” man who was very, very forgiving. For these women, the message was clear: God can forgive you, but you will be sexually disfigured for the rest of your life. Too bad. You shouldn’t have had sex with someone who wasn’t your husband.

    Now on the other hand, the male non-virgins didn’t seem to be quite as ashamed of themselves. They often talked quite frankly and openly about their sexual histories when giving their “testimonies” — especially if they were talking with other guys.
    In fact, if you didn’t know better, you might get the impression that they were even bragging about what they had done. But for some reason, these guys weren’t disqualified as marriage material — no way. It was actually endearing that these worldly men had made such a brave decision to walk away from the lusts of their flesh. You. Go. Boys.

    …If you’re a Christian virgin, you are no more righteous than anyone else (regardless of how long you’ve been wearing that promise ring). And if you’re not a virgin, you are no less righteous than anyone else — the only thing that makes you righteous is faith in the perfect blood of Jesus.
    Whatever you did (or didn’t do) in the past simply isn’t part of the Christian equation when it comes to your worth, so you can go ahead and stop obsessing over your virginity now.

    … People of Planet Evangelicalism, I have good news: This is not the Gospel.

    … Remember, Jesus “saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5, ESV).

Call me kooky here, but I have never once heard any Christian imply that one is saved via being a virgin.

There might be some fringe, barely Christian group somewhere that teaches this perspective, but it’s not a view I’ve seen in my many years of reading about Christian teachings on sex. So I call “straw man” argument on that.

I’ve never once heard a Christian claim that one is made righteous and right before God by being a virgin, or that virginity was a component in the Gospel message.

Continue reading “Joshua Rogers of Boundless / Focus on the Family Attacks Biblical Teaching of Virginity Until Marriage”

The Cloying Annoying Nauseating G-Rated Wholesome Saccharin Sweet Tone of Articles by Christians For Christian Singles – Christian Material For Singles is LAME

The Cloying Annoying Nauseating G-Rated Wholesome Saccharin Sweet Tone of Articles by Christians For Christian Singles

(Edit months after the fact: this blog post may contain adult language, as in cuss words. Or not. I don’t remember. But it’s a possibility.)
————————-
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to post about this before.

If you are looking for a positive, happy-happy blog to cheer you up about being single, this is not the blog for you.

I don’t aim to give people the warm and fuzzies about being single. I’m not trying to make you feel rotten about being single, either, though.

I am trying to Keep It Real.

I just told a blog visitor in a comment (in the blog post about the 34 year old single woman who is tired of being asked when she will marry), who seems to find this blog depressing, or too negative for her tastes, or something, because I am seldom upbeat and happy:

    …I actually had a visitor here about a week ago who says she really likes this blog because it is “raw.”

I know what she means.

Personally, I tired of the saccharin sweet tone of Christian blogs for singles, and there are many of them out there, if you are looking for upbeat and encouraging conversations about being a Christian single when you feel down about it.

I got turned off by those sites after having looked at them over a period of years.

Sites such as “Christianity Today,” “Boundless,” and “Her.meneutics” (and other Christian sites/ blogs) strive to be G-rated and clean at all times. They are usually afraid to be blunt and real about life, about marriage, about singlehood.

Many Christian sites and blogs (even the ones run by lay persons) are deathly afraid of using rough language, being negative, everything always has to be sunny- sunny, sweet, upbeat, and paint a rosy picture of being a Christian single. In my opinion, that is not real. That is not reality, not to me.

I never got anything out of the sweet, G-rated, prim and proper, super nice blogs for Christians that tell singles to “serve Jesus,” “find contentment in Jesus,” and so forth. These little platitudes don’t convey the deep loneliness and pain some singles who desire marriage contend with.

And that is all very true.

I like that I can come to my little blog here and cuss and rant and be negative (you too can start your own blog. These Word Pres blogs are free).

Continue reading “The Cloying Annoying Nauseating G-Rated Wholesome Saccharin Sweet Tone of Articles by Christians For Christian Singles – Christian Material For Singles is LAME”

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)”

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”

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

Southern Baptists – Still Majoring in the Minors and ignoring the never married (singles) – Why Church Membership Is Down
also: Seeker Friendly Preachers Driving Members Away, Worship of Youth by Churches, other issues

It looks to me like a Christian’s top priorities, tied in at #1 place, are evangelizing the lost and caring for other Christians (Galatians 6:10).

Christian singles past the age of 30 have swelled in ranks the last couple of decades, but SBs (Southern Baptists) and other Christian churches and denominations continue to either ignore singles, or treat them like dirt when they do pay them attention.

Up to half of the American population over 18 years of age is single now, and there are many Christians in that figure.

Then your Southern Baptists lament, cry, and render their garments, or complain about a decline in SB membership and a rise in those who consider themselves “nones” (of no religious affiliation).

I’ve written about this before, but if you are a church who wants your attendance or membership numbers to go up, try ministering to 50% of the population that has been ignored: singles who are over 25 – 30 years old.

I was looking over a Southern Baptist publication recently, and in covering the recent SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) in Houston, where a bunch of resolutions were passed, I noticed that even this article chose to focus on homosexuals in the Boy Scouts (BSA), gender neutral Bibles, youth leadership programs, and seating at the front of the convention.

Some examples:

(Link): Southern Baptists approve resolution criticizing new Boy Scout policy allowing gay members

(Link): SBC critiques Scout policy but no call for mass exodus

This Southern Baptist article, from “The Baptist Messenger,” mentioned nothing about never-married adults, the divorced, or reaching and serving the widows and widowers.

The article also mentioned nothing about the child sex abuse resolution, which it should have. Southern Baptists have a terrible, inexcusable history of sweeping child sex abuse by Baptist preachers under the rug.

(Link): Southern Baptists urge [child sex] abuse reporting

Here is the coverage of the 2013 SBC from a Baptist publication – notice the fixation on cultural war crap including homosexuality and gender roles (vis a vis a Bible version using gender neutral terms)

>> (Link): Messengers ‘Round Up’ in Houston for SBC Annual Meeting, The Baptist Messenger

The article below references CBMW (Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) as being “scholarly.” Oh please! CBMW is a sexist organization whose members keep trying to prop up ways to rationalize the repression of women in the SBC. A far better resource on the topic of gender and church/Christianity is (Link): CBE – Christians For Biblical Equality.

Excerpts (from “Messengers ‘Round Up’ in Houston for SBC Annual Meeting” by The Baptist Messenger); there are additional comments by me below this long excerpt:

    HOUSTON, Texas—
    More than 5,000 Messengers from throughout the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) gathered for the Annual Meeting, which met in Houston June 11-12. On more than one occasion, leaders and speakers pointed to Oklahoma as a shining example of how to give and serve.

    Several resolutions were referred to the Executive Committee (EC) for study to be reported back to the SBC in 2014. They were:

    That the Executive Committee publish a theological position paper on Southern Baptists’ use of gender-neutral Bibles, reconsidering the three SBC resolutions opposing the use of such translations, and consult the “scholarly work found in the CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) article, ‘An Evaluation of Gender Language in the 2011 Edition of the NIV Bible,’” offered by Tim Overton, Muncie, Ind., Halteman Village.

    That a special task force be appointed to explore youth programs to teach leadership skills and moral standards once offered by the Boy Scouts of America “seeing they have lost their way and lost their moral compass, the Bible,” submitted by Harold M. Phillips, messenger from Port Deposit, Md., Pleasant View.

    That the SBC reevaluate Article III of the Constitution, particularly subpoints 1 and 2 to update minimal standards used to define participating churches and messengers, offered by John Mark Yeats, pastor of Fort Worth, Texas, Normandale. Yeats noted that the base gift of $250 required to send each additional messenger to the SBC has not changed since 1888, “a sacrificial amount then, but a token amount today.”

    A motion by Paul Cunningham, a messenger from Oklahoma City, Northwest, asked that reserved seating at the front of the auditorium be open to all messengers and not reserved for groups other than the handicapped. The Committee on Order of Business reported that the motion “was well received” and will be implemented.

—– END ARTICLE EXCERPT —–

No mention in that coverage of child sex abuse in SBC churches, and nothing about helping never- married, over- the- age- of- 30 adults, or other types of singles.

Not only should the SBC focus on mature (as in post age 30) singles to get them in to the church (the SBC has made marriage, the nuclear family, children, and parenting into idols that are worshipped, and those who don’t fit any of those roles are shunned and excluded), but they need to stop obsessing over the culture wars.

Even I, who was staunchly a right wing social conservative since my teen years, am fed up with the never-ending complaining and pulpit-pounding about homosexuals, homosexuality, abortion, the Democrats, liberals, and the Obama administration.

The SBC seems to expect that, say, a shaven-headed butch lesbian who is a stalwart, far- left- wing liberal and pro-choicer, and a big fan of “womym’s lit,” is going to get on board with Christian values and begin opposing abortion or homosexual marriage. This is so unrealistic of the SBC that it borders on delusional.

You cannot argue the un-saved world into accepting Christian values, because… they are not Christian. The Scripture says something about non-believers being spiritually dead, and not fully capable of understanding or appreciating godly values.

Ergo, it’s a waste of time, energy, and resources to try to police the un-saved culture on matters or morality. (The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, who are we to judge those outside the church should we not judge those who are in the church, etc, and so forth.)

I don’t recall the Apostle Paul spending all his time (or any of his time, actually) trying to topple all immorality around him in the secular cultures in which he lived; he simply told Christians living in those areas to resist from joining in the bawdy behavior around them being committed by the un-saved.

The Christians in the New Testament were instructed to stand out of the immoral culture by not adopting its practices. They were not told to fight whole-scale against the immortality of secular society by pounding lecterns and issuing condemning press releases and resolutions against homosexuality, adultery, or what have you.

This continual fixation on non-Gospel and non-helping-people topics by Southern Baptists is another factor pushing me away from any further SB church attendance.

If I start going to church again (even though I’m a bit of an agnostic now), I think I may try other denominations, even ones that may be more left- wing politically or theologically than I’d prefer, if they place caring for people first, and if they don’t opine about their left wing politics and social causes all the time.

I am also fed up with a church body in America that is captivated by youth. Not just the Southern Baptists, but a lot of Christian groups and churches are too narrowly focused on people under the age of 30 or 25.

Churches and Christian media keep publishing article after article crying, whining, or expressing bewilderment about how the 21 year olds of today aren’t married yet, or how they’re viewing porn, or, isn’t it a shame that 20- somethings support Darwinism and reject Creationism, and oh, gosh golly, ain’t it awful that 20 year olds drop out of church?

Meanwhile, you have people who have been Christians for years (decades, even), who, when they get to their 30s or 40s or older (and haven’t married yet), and they start realizing church bodies are not fair to all, that churches and denominations don’t support every one, but that churches typically only support married couples with kids, and the youth, they have no incentive to return to a church.

Most models of church services and church programs are about how to reach married- with- kids couples, and how to attract and tickle the ears of teens and 20 somethings, and in the case of “seeker friendly” churches, how to attract Non-Christian people ages 20 – 39.

The end result of all this is that anyone over the age of 40, especially the un-married genuine Christians, are shoved aside and forgotten, and church services consist of too-loud, obnoxious, lead- guitar- ripping, and playing of inane “Jesus rock and roll ditties,” with a dweeby preacher who wears skinny jeans, Hawaiian shirts, and flip flops on the platform, all to look “cool.”

As you grow older (I should say, as most people grow older- preacher Mark Driscoll, who is in his mid- or- late- 40s, appears to have arrested development), you stop caring about whether a church service is hip, cool, and totally entertaining.

As you grow older and you experience tragedy, say the death of a family member, you want compassion, help, encouragement, care, companionship, and maybe some theological answers to the pain of life in the sermons and in church groups. You could not care less if the preacher is “hip and trendy” and wearing a goatee and flip flops, and you do not care if there is a lead electric guitarist in the church “praise band.”

Not that I’m a fan of totally mind-numbing sermons myself, I hate boring sermons, but as you get older, you’re more interested in understanding life, how to make it through life, and where you fit in to the scheme of things, and why God isn’t answering your prayers, than you are in being entertained on a Sunday morning. I think that is what a lot of early 20 somethings (pre- age- 25) need too, but some of them are too dumb and inexperienced at life to realize it yet.

And why in the name of Frank would you want to dumb down your services to reach only, or primarily, some idiotic college frat guy who is 20 years old? Or some 35 year old agnostic hipster?

Some churches do this. Seriously. Listen to a podcast by Christian Pirate Radio (aka “Fighting For the Faith,” from about a week ago, see link in this blog’s side bar) where a preacher says in the broadcast of his sermon that church is for the lost – although the Bible says church is for the saved, not the lost.

Further, this same preacher says he wants church services to be like “Disneyland” (yes, that was his exact word) so that the un-saved people who show up to his church won’t find his church “boring” and will be apt to return.

News flash for seeker friendly preacher dweebs: Reaching the lost is one goal or task of the church, but church itself is for the saved, even Jesus said so.

That same preacher said if you are a mature believer in the faith, you should just skip his Sunday services altogether (!!!) since they will be dumbed down to appeal to ignorant agnostics and atheists who show up; he said if you are a knowledgeable Christian, you should join one of the church’s Wednesday night small Bible groups.

Amazing. The guy actually admits to not giving a damn about genuine Christians who need help and guidance from the body of Christ. He is willing to toss actual Christians under the bus to reach a 20 year old un-saved twit. Jesus Christ said, “Feed my sheep.” He did not say, “Ignore the sheep to reach the goats.”

(By the way, there are Christians in their 20s who are spiritually mature, maybe more so than some self professing believers who are in their 40s. When I use the word “mature” I am not always referring to age. I was a serious and very devout Christian in my 20s, and I know there are others in their 20s who are like that. I do think many 20- somethings do not take the faith seriously, and are immature about it, though.)

So, seeker- friendly preacher guy, you’re going to ignore 99% of the American population to reach these small, idiotic demographics? That, combined with one or two other reasons I mentioned above (such as churches ignoring singles) is why SBC, fundamentalist, and evangelical churches continue to lose members.

Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): Source

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)”

Christian Teachings on Relationships: One Reason Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married)

Christian Teachings on Relationships: One Reasons Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married)

I’ve discussed this before, but it’s worth mentioning in its own post:

Many Christians say they are concerned that more and more Christians are not marrying at all, or not marrying until later in life. They don’t understand why.

One of several reasons single Christians are remaining single is due to typical teaching about dating and marriage from most conservative Christian preachers, bloggers, and authors.

Because many Christians remain terrified of other Christians possibly getting involved in fornication, most of their relationship advice, even to unmarried Christians over the age of 35, comes down to: stay away from the opposite sex.

Telling females to stay away from males and vice versa, will only result in keeping Christian singles single.

Other approaches, such as “courting” and telling Christians to “date in groups” doesn’t work, either.

I can understand the group dating approach for teens or maybe blind dates, but for adults over the age of 25?

Evangelicals and Baptists guarantee prolonged or life long singleness by making the dating process convoluted and making singles paranoid of the opposite sex, or acting as though each and every meeting between the genders can and will end in sex.

If Christians want Christians to marry, and they keep saying they do, they need to stop advising Christian singles to stay away from singles of the opposite gender.

That should be obvious, but in many areas of American Christianity, it’s not.

–Some Christian Women Shy Away From Marriage Due to “Biblical Gender Complementarian” Teachings–

On another note, I’ve seen several younger Christian ladies say on other blogs that one reason they stay single is that they are afraid to get married.

They are afraid to get married because many churches teach ‘biblical gender complementarian’ garbage.

Continue reading “Christian Teachings on Relationships: One Reason Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married)”

Part 2, The Parable of the Neglected Unmarried – Single – Christian

Part 2, The Parable of the Neglected Unmarried Christian
———————-
(Link): Part 1: The World Does Not Need Another Marriage Sermon
———————-
The end of Part 1 read:
While the conservative Christians remain fixated on giving yet more marriage sermons, and bemoaning the liberal attacks on “traditional families” and “traditional marriage” they continue to ignore the needs and problems and mere existence of people over the age of 30 who are not married or who have never been married.

———————
–The Parable of the Neglected Unmarried Christian–

Jesus Christ told the story of the Good Samaritan. In that story, several people, including a priest (on his way to temple – “church” – services, I take it), walked on by the guy who was bloodied, beaten to a pulp, and on the ground and didn’t help the guy.

How many pastors and Christian organizations today keep on walking past the bloodied, bruised, hurting, scared, lonely, frustrated or confused, un-married adults over the age of 30, and do not stop to help them?

Cliches and platitudes, lectures, and un-solicited advice hurled at un-married Christians who desire marriage (such as “serve more!,” “read your Bible more!” “Jesus is all you need, He is sufficient!,” “be content in your singleness,” etc.) are not help, by the way. Nor are those approaches helpful.

Most of the Christians walk on by the bloodied, hurting older Christian singles (and other sorts of hurting Christians, such as those who are grieving over the death of a loved one) because they are in a rush to attend their church services to give (or to listen to) another sermon on marriage and parenting, or the threats of liberalism on “traditional family values and the American constitution.”

(Don’t forget the sermons about tithing and how to be financially successful, pastors love those too.)

So imagine that there is an un-married Christian who was attacked and left for dead on the side of the road, and she keeps getting passed by other Christians who notice her, but who do nothing to truly help.

To put another twist on this story, if we were running it parallel to that of Christ, who made the ‘much- hated- by- the- Jews’ Samaritan Guy the “hero” of His version of the story, it would probably be a homosexual, liberal, atheist, pot-smoking, long-haired Democrat who would stop and offer actual and practical assistance to the bloodied, wounded, un-married Christian on the side of the road.

Yes, contemporary, conservative Christianity’s greatest enemy would be the hero of this version of the Good Samaritan story, which most conservative, American Christians would likely identify as a homosexual, atheistic, Democrat (and, for those pastors still ten years or more behind culture trends, an enemy who also plays “Dungeons and Dragons” and reads “Harry Potter” books).

I can see that scenario happening.

I can totally see an evangelical Christian pausing to tell the wounded, and possibly dying, un-married Christian on the road side,

    “Lady, I’m sorry you’re hurting and beaten, but I’m on my way to baby sit in the church’s nursery and write another book about the importance of children and the horror of legalized abortion!

    Children are so important to the church, more so than any hurting un-married adult.

    Children are the future of America and the Christian church! They are our only hope for spreading the Gospel!

    I’ve decided to ignore the Bible passages where Christ says that one’s spiritual family is to take precedence over blood relations, and the parts that talk about converting Non Christians outside my family. Who needs any of that?

    The homosexuals and liberals are trying to destroy the traditional family and traditional marriage, and Muslims are out-breeding the Christians; that will never do.

    I simply must care for Christian youth first and foremost and really shout about the urgent need for Christian pro-creation.

    Wish you well, but I gotta go now!”

Next, I can see Southern Baptist president Al Mohler stopping for a bit, but only to offer absolutely no practical help to the injured, un-married Christian woman, but only to give her a condescending, judgmental lecture
(please click the “Read More” link to read the rest of the post):

Continue reading “Part 2, The Parable of the Neglected Unmarried – Single – Christian”

Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good challenges conservative Christan emphasis on “family” (copy)

As a never-married adult Christian, I am disturbed by the undue emphasis American Christian culture places on “the family,” by which they mean the 1950s standard of man married to woman with one or more children.

Maybe conservative Christian groups are correct and secular culture is hostile towards the nuclear family, but the obsession they have with defending it means these Christians frequently ignore or exclude anyone who does not fall into the nuclear family demographic (married couples with children).

(I discussed this issue in previous posts on this blog, such as: Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville)

I came across this book review which also discusses the topic (copy of a post at goddiscussion.com; source: (www)goddiscussion.com/85000/jesus-family-values-by-deirdre-good/:):

Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good offers challenge to conservative Christian views

[The book review opens by describing how some American Christian groups claim that the nuclear family is under attack, as do some European groups, such as the British “Christian Action Research and Education, or CARE for short”].

…. [I]t is quickly apparent that the family is viewed in exclusive terms as being two parents (of different sexes) and children. But the grandaddy of all advocates of the ‘Christian family’ is without doubt the the behemoth that is Focus on the Family a multimillion dollar ministry formerly headed by James Dobson whose aim is to “help families thrive.”

Anyone would think that the testimony of the Bible was unequivocal given the unanimity with which Christian marriages laud their particular vision of family as the very bedrock of civilization.

But, even excluding the First Testament with its references to polygamy and like exercised by God’s righteous the Second Testament is far from clear. To cite one primary example Jesus in Matthew 10: 35-37 makes the startling comment that his mission is not so much to establish Christian families that will form the basis of a Christian civilization but is rather to “set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (English Standard Version).

Deirdre Good in her book Jesus’ Family Values offers a succinct but powerful challenge to this conservative hijacking of ‘the family’ as being a mainstay of Christian civilization.
Continue reading “Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good challenges conservative Christan emphasis on “family” (copy)”

Candice Watters and Boundless Blog Gets It Wrong / Christian prolonged singlehood singleness singles ignored

Candice Watters and Boundless Blog Magazine Are So Wrong. So Very, Very Wrong (Regarding Singleness and Marriage and the Church)

Candice Watters really missed the mark in her blog page for Boundless, “Mind The Single Minded Church.”

Watters notes that one reason so many singles have cited for dropping out of church attendance is that so many churches are “family focused.”(I think this is especially true for singles over the age of 35.)

When one has never been married but one’s local church never offers programs or sermons aimed at the particular heartaches and challenges of being single, one does tend to feel ostracized, ignored, hurt by this, or taken for granted, and so they stop attending church.

Most church sermons (the ones about how to be a better spouse or a better parent, or other marriage-related topics) are completely irrelevant to most singles.

I am one single who would not object to the occasional marriage or parenting sermon or after-church program, but it seems they are way, way, way too frequent, not only in local churches, but on Christian television shows, and on Christian blogs and in Christian magazines.

Marriage or parenting are the only metaphor preachers use in their sermons, tracts, articles, or books, as I’ve noted in previous writings on this blog.

As someone who has never married or had kids, it really stings, hurts, and annoys to always hear marriage (or parenting) used as the default story illustration in sermons or Christian books/ TV shows/ magazines. It would not be difficult for preachers or Christian television hosts to use other, non-marriage metaphors to make their points, and to stop making singles feel so excluded.

Because older singles (older, as in over 35 years old) feel so overlooked and out of place by a marriage-obsessed church body, many do stop going to church.

Therefore, some singles, some Christian authors, and a tiny minority of married pastors, have suggested that to make singles feel more included, that the church needs to stop focusing as much on the family (and on marriage) as they have been doing.

Christian author Watters, who contributes to the Christian blogzine “Boundless,” however, feels this is a bad idea and that doing so will actually create the reverse situation: make marriage even harder to obtain for Christian singles who want marriage. I have no idea how the hell she arrives at such a bizarre conclusion.

Watters asks (I am amazed that she asks this, but then I think Boundless is an extension of “Focus on the Family” organization, so there is a pro-nuclear family agenda to maintain at all expense, I suppose),

“But is it in the best interest of single believers who hope to marry some day to attend such churches [that stop relentlessly sermonizing and focusing on children and marriage]?”

My answer is YES it is. HELL YES.

The extreme family (marriage and kids)-centric outlook of most churches is what is driving singles away in the first place.

If you hope for singles to meet at church (and then marry), one has to get them to attend, which naturally means removing aspects they find hurtful or a turn-off.

And singles are not going to bother showing up to attend if their current needs and current status (which is singlehood) is being ignored.

Or, when the needs and issues of the single are not being ignored, they, or the singles themselves, are usually being insulted, as is the case in some churches who make marriage sound more biblical, proper, or better than singlehood, or they make singlehood sound abnormal (which is what Boundless does, especially in regards for singleness over the age of 30).

Some churches, and some Christians, elevate marriage to such an absurd degree to the point they make singleness sound bad, weird, shameful, un-biblical, or disgraceful.

I do want to get married – but the way to get me to show up to your church and meet a single Christian man at your church (if such a creature even exists?) is once I get in the church door, treat me with just as much attention and respect as you do the marrieds.

Ignoring me, or ignoring what I go through as a single, gives me no incentive to return to your church (or any church that operates this way), Ms. Watters.

Your church can offer as many pro- marriage rallies, pro- parenting seminars, and pot luck suppers for “families” as they wish, but if they keep ignoring my status in life as a single, it’s very wounding, infuriating, and annoying – and I won’t be back.

Or, if your church insults me by (including but not limited to), (and yes, some Christian writers and publications have indeed mentioned or done the following, I am not fabricating this),

  • blaming me for my singleness (i.e., I did not deliberately choose to be single this long; I did not put career before marriage, etc – contrary to “marriage mandaters” such as Debbie Maken);
  • or by implying I’m a sex- crazed floozy (because you know the usual assumption even by other Christians is that all Christian singles past age 30 are having sex all over the place);
  • or by teaching I’m weird, I must have too much baggage;
  • I’m second class – not as mature, responsible, or valuable as married Christians;
  • or, according to the pastors and married people, I’m there only to serve the marrieds and the Christian nuclear family (e.g, babysitting the married people’s kids in the church nursery);
  • (if my presence and needs as a never-married woman over the age of 35 are actually acknowledged, which they rarely are), or, if, in most sermons, your pastor goes on and on about how great or challenging marriage is (as though being single is shameful or does not pose challenges), and
  • your church caters primarily to marrieds while offering next to no programs and help to singles,

-also gives me no incentive to return to your church. That’s the way it is.

The fact is that the never-relenting beating on the pro-marriage, pro-parenting drum by preachers and church laity can, and has, driven older singles away from the church.

You writing your editorial saying churches should keep on beating the same pro-marriage (pro- kids) drum is not going to rectify this, and it is not the way to address the issue.

Watters believes that downplaying the amount of attention marriage receives in churches (for the sake of making singles feel more welcome) would mean that churches would somehow be elevating singlehood to a preferred, super-spiritual status, and that this would be harmful to marriage. Again, I have no idea how she arrives at this conclusion.

Maybe Watters believes that cutting the amount of time and attention lavished on marriage (by Christians or by local churches) would mean treating the institution itself as unimportant, but that is not necessarily so. A church or a preacher can still easily uphold marriage as being biblical and wonderful – but they do not have to do so by preaching on the topic practically every single Sunday, which has been the norm the past few decades.

Singles are not asking for married people, and for the topic of marriage itself, to be totally ignored by churches, nor are we asking marriage to be insulted or put down. Most of us singles want to be married too.

We older singles are asking for equal time and equal respect, not for preferential treatment. Why is this such a hard concept for Watters and those like her to grasp?

Instead of a church offering a six- week marriage series, for example, why not cut it down to two or three weeks? Or, why not devote a six- week singles series in addition to the six- week marriage one? (Click on “more” below to read the rest of this post)

Continue reading “Candice Watters and Boundless Blog Gets It Wrong / Christian prolonged singlehood singleness singles ignored”

Ageism and Singlehood

click the “more” link  below to read the entire post.

One thing that disturbs me as a never-married woman who is in her late 30s are the number of ageist comments I see on the internet and in advice columns telling women who are 35 or older that they’re “too old” to get married, that no man can possibly want them.

Continue reading “Ageism and Singlehood”

Boundless Asks: Is Boundless Biased Against Single Women?

Please click the “more” link below to read the entire post

After skimming over various articles at Boundless, especially the ones about single Christian females who are over the age of 25, yes, I’d say they’re biased. I try to avoid their site.

Here is a link to a page at their blog:

Is Boundless Biased Against Single Women? by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Continue reading “Boundless Asks: Is Boundless Biased Against Single Women?”