Old Testament Studies Blog on Various Topics From Early Marriage to Sexual Sin to Evangelical and Baptist Propensity to Make an Idol Out of Family Marriage and Parenthood Etc Etc

Old Testament Studies Blog on Various Topics From Early Marriage to Sexual Sin to Evangelical and Baptist Propensity to Make an Idol Out of Family Marriage and Parenthood Etc Etc

I’m not necessarily in agreement with all views of the guy behind this blog, the OTSB (Old Testament Studies Blog).

For one, he seems to be a Calvinist, and I disagree with Calvinism.

OTSB guy discusses some of the same issues at his blog that I discuss here on mine. It looks as though he has not made a new blog entry since October 2013.

Blog’s Main Page:
(Link): Old Testament Studies

(Link): The Dark Side of Evangelicalism-A Response to Accusations on the Boundless Blog
(Re: Christians denigrating singlehood and idolizing marriage)

Excerpts:

    The case in point is a recent radio podcast put out by the folks over at Boundless. Steve and Candice Watters were in Louisville, Kentucky for the Give me an Answer conference at Southern Seminary.

    While they were there, they interviewed Albert Mohler for their podcast.

    During the podcast, the following dicussion took place. I want you to read this carefully, and ask yourself if what Dr. Mohler says in the bold portion is consistent with scripture! It begins at 24:15:

    Candice- Are you encouraged by Mark Regnerus and others who are encouraging early marriage, and do you think that this movement will gain traction?

    Dr. Mohler- Well, I’ve been at that a long time, and I can tell you its extremely controversial whereas throughout most of human history that would be the mormal expectation.

    I am encouraged…It’s going to be a counter-revolution. We are literally going to have to stand against the kind of demographic tide that is coming at us, and say…you know, here is the question.

    I just want to ask you this honestly. I talk to young guys about this more than probably any other subject when they bring it up and say, you know, here is the issue: How are you going to be holy without marriage?

    And that’s a tough question to answer, unless, you know, if God has called you to missions, if God’s called you to special service and deployment in this area, then the word is going to compensate for that, but, for most guys, the big issue is just this now long wait.

(Link): Kristin and Ted Kluck Write of the Familiolatry in the Modern Church

(Link): Famliolatry on Display Again

(Link): Why Getting Married Early Will Not Stop Sexual Sin

(Link): Marital Gnosticism in Evangelicalism

Excerpts:

    I think we as a church have boughten into a form of gnosticism which I will call “marital gnosticism.” We seem to think that the way to the higher Christian life is through marriage, and, although single people are a part of the church, they simply are not as “enlightened” as those who are married.

    Hence, we need to encourage, and even shame single people into getting married, so that they will become “enlightened” like the rest of the married people. It is gross, ridiculous, gnostic thinking.

    Not only does it not work [marriage cannot change the heart; only Christ can], even worse, it alienates singles. Singles who see this kind of behavior know that they are not part of the “enlightened” gnostic group, and thus, they are pushed further and further away.

(Link): Another “Marriage is a Cure All” Message

(Link): Horrendus Eisegesis from Evangelicals in the Culture War

(Link): Challenging the Challenge to the “Unnecessary” Delay of Marriage

Continue reading “Old Testament Studies Blog on Various Topics From Early Marriage to Sexual Sin to Evangelical and Baptist Propensity to Make an Idol Out of Family Marriage and Parenthood Etc Etc”

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)”

American Churches Need to Address Growing Numbers of Unmarried / Single People

Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles?

Source:
(WWW.)christianpost.com/news/pew-for-one-how-is-the-church-responding-to-growing-number-of-singles-70586/

Before I paste in excerpts from most of the article, I wanted to comment on this part of it first:

“Some churches are certainly aware of this demographic, but other churches are almost impervious to it,” says Danylak. “The church focuses on marriage and family, with the expectation that by focusing on family, you’re encouraging singles to get married.”

I addressed that very point in a previous post (-HERE-). Focusing on marriage constantly does NOT encourage singles to want marriage more.

The problem is most unmarried American Christian adults already want to be married, but they cannot find suitable people to date! And while they remain unmarried, they are having struggles and issues that married people do not always face, such as a more intense struggle with loneliness, along with other issues.

For a pastor to keep harping on marriage week in and week out, as most do in their services or literature and blogs, only alienates unmarried adults further, and it’s also painful for some, for it’s like eating a bag of potato chips and chocolate cake in front of a friend who you know likes junk food but who is on a diet.

It’s very cruel to constantly throw something in someone’s face that they want but cannot have, obtain, or achieve – yet most Southern Baptists, conservative churches, and evangelicals continue to do this very thing in regards to marriage vs. singlehood to the long term unmarried and celibate.

Here’s more from the article:

Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles?

By Sarah Hamaker , Christian Post Contributor
February 29, 2012

One can be the loneliest number, especially in the church. Today, there are more singles in the United States than at any other time in history – 43.6 percent of the U.S. adult population are unmarried, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

“The number of single adults in the United States has been rapidly approaching the number of married adults, and this is an unprecedented culture shift that is dramatic,” says Barry Danylak, author of Redeeming Singleness. “This is not an American phenomena – it is seen in nearly all of the modernized and industrialized nations.”

The church, long welcoming to married with children congregants, has been slower to adjust to this demographic shift. “At least 80 percent of every denomination do not have a targeted ministry to single adults,” says Dennis Franck, national director for Single Adult/Young Adult Ministries for the Assemblies of God denomination, headquartered in Springfield, Mo. “However, the majority of churches are not trying to exclude singles, but they are more marriage and family focused, which means singles are not acknowledged very often.

The Rev. Alan Fretto, a single senior in Danbury, Conn., points out, “The church is geared toward children, women and couples. There is very little in most churches for singles, and yet singles dominate the church population. Singles need to be encouraged and included in the process of the church, and should be considered a valuable asset to the church.”

Readjusting Focus

Many churches have yet to formally acknowledge singles in their midst, either with targeted ministries or inclusion in preaching or teaching illustrations and examples. “Some churches are certainly aware of this demographic, but other churches are almost impervious to it,” says Danylak. “The church focuses on marriage and family, with the expectation that by focusing on family, you’re encouraging singles to get married.”
Continue reading “American Churches Need to Address Growing Numbers of Unmarried / Single People”

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”