The Church Needs A Different View of Sex and Singleness (copy)

THE CHURCH NEEDS A DIFFERENT VIEW OF SEX & SINGLENESS

Originally posted to:

goodwomenproject.com/sex/the-church-needs-a-different-view-of-sex-singleness#idc-cover

Excerpts (by Leigh Kramer, from 2010):

….You see, I am a rare breed. Some might even say an endangered species. I’m a 31-year-old virgin. Rest easy. I’m not dating anyone right now, nor am I going to bed with the next guy I encounter. I’m committed to seeing my virginity through to marriage or death. Whichever comes first.

…I’m not ashamed of my virgin status, but I don’t broadcast either. Most people assume that I have had sex because that is true of most women in their 30′s. Abstinence, chastity, whatever you want to call it, is no longer the norm.

I honestly never thought I’d still be single at this point in my life. I can’t help but wonder if I would have made the same choices had I known what lay ahead.

Does that shock you? It shocks me a little. We live in an age where premarital sex is accepted and often expected. It’s difficult to be countercultural when it comes to sex. There are even churches that don’t take a hard line on the matter.

Grace and forgiveness are extended to those who had premarital sex – and rightly so. Secondary virginity is an option. On the other hand, I’ve had friends that purposely had sex knowing they’d ask for forgiveness later.

Then there’s me. I love finding other ‘older’ virgins. Solidarity and all that. But also because I want to know why they waited and continue to wait. What do they do on the hard days?

Because hard days, or weeks, happen. Sex is best reserved for marriage but it’s hard being the odd woman out. I fervently hope I’ll be able to experience sex in the context of marriage someday. Now is the time to do the work of being faithful so that when I am in a relationship, regardless of my boyfriend’s sexual history, I will not falter.

I’m not alone in this. The church must start having a different conversation about sex and singleness. Here are a few suggestions of what I’d like to see.

1. Explore the framework of chastity.

Telling people to save sex for marriage is not enough when marriage isn’t a guarantee. Chastity is a way of life, looking at our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s not solely focused on the physical act of sex. We need to get away from “how far is too far” and move toward respecting ourselves (and our partners) as men and women made in the image of Christ.

3. Don’t teach that sex is a reward.

First, it’s not the best way to motivate someone toward obedience. This might also explain why many Christians marry young, only to divorce later. Marriage is about more than sex. Second, what message does that send to those who are obedient but don’t receive the ‘reward’? Have I somehow been a bad virgin? I don’t worship a God who would punish people in this way.

4. Don’t elevate marriage over singleness (or vice-versa).

The amount of people who are single, divorced, or widowed is roughly equal to those who are married in most congregations. Yet sermons tend to be directed toward those who are married and parenting. This leaves a good portion of the congregation feeling left out – and these are the unattached who continue to go to church. Many simply choose not to go anymore. We all have much to learn from each other, no matter what our stage of life.

[5. Include the unmarried]

Married folks, please support the single people in your life. Let them be a part of your family gatherings but also schedule one-on-one time as well. Single folks, identify the people in the trenches with you and continue to build those relationships. Having support in place now means you’re more likely to be ready when temptation hits.

News headline: Out of Wedlock Births Are Now The “New Normal”

Remember my previous, recent post,

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

That post was brought to mind when I saw this headline on CBN News.com:
Out-of-Wedlock Births Society’s ‘New Normal’
(Source: cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2012/December/Out-of-Wedlock-Births-Societys-New-Normal/ | Date: December 18, 2012)

___START EXCERPT____

More children are now being born outside of marriage, according to a new study by the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values.

The report focuses on what it calls “middle-America,” the nearly 60 percent of Americans who complete high school but not college.

Among that group, 44 percent of children are now born outside of marriage. That’s up from 13 percent in the 1980s.

___END EXCERPT____

And yet, most American churches continue to act as though everyone (at least as though Non Christians) is a virgin until marriage and has two or three kids by the time they are 30 years old, and continue to act as though such married couples stay married (even though divorce rates are very high, for both Christians and Non Christians).

Oddly, though, and as I have mentioned in other posts, most churches behave as though all unmarried Christians are engaging in sex (even though some of them are not), and even though they tell unmarried Christians in sermons, magazines, television shows, and blogs, “But you really should not have sex outside of marriage! Fornication is a no-no. But remember, when you do have sex as an unmarried person (and we all know you will!), God will forgive you, so the fornicatin’ all over the place is all cool! So don’t worry about it!”

(That is a topic I discussed in yet another older post, The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity)
Continue reading “News headline: Out of Wedlock Births Are Now The “New Normal””

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”

Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex (list 2)

Remember my last post on this topic:

Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex

Because the church does a hideous job of providing encouragement, support, and examples of celibacy and virginity to Christians over 25/ 30 years old, here’s another list of secular examples you may find encouraging (though a few on this list might be Christians):

Celebrity Virgins: Stars Who Spoke Publicly About Being A Virgin

(source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/04/celebrity-virgins-stars-who-spoke-about-being-virgin_n_2239884.html)

If you want to read the whole list please visit the URL above. Here’s just one example:

Adriana Lima
Victoria Secret model Adriana Lima was often dubbed the “world’s sexiest virgin.” She had no problem strutting her stuff in bikinis and lingerie, but decided she wasn’t having sex until after she was married.

“Sex is for after marriage. [Men] have to respect that this is my choice. If there’s no respect, that means they don’t want me. When we’re traveling together for the first time, we sleep in different rooms. That’s the number one thing,” she told GQ in 2008.

Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex

I think it’s a sad, sad commentary on American society these days when people who are virgins until they marry, or who remain celibate after a divorce are considered special, unique, or newsworthy. If anything, waiting until marriage, even if you’re a virgin at 30 or 40, because you have not married yet, should be viewed as the norm, not the exception.

However, I think maybe an article like this might encourage some older Christian singles, since goodness knows they aren’t getting encouragement for remaining celibate from the church in America.

I have no plans of copying the entire list, so if you want to see it, you will have to visit their site.

Celebrities Who Abstained: They Waited Or Are Waiting Until Marriage To Give Up Their V-Cards
Source:
styleblazer.com/75357/celebrities-that-waited-for-marriage-or-are-waiting-until-
marriage-to-give-up-their-v-cards/

These stars might be sex symbols, posing in sensual photo shoots, shooting steamy scenes and writing lyrics that could sing the pants off anyone, but don’t be mistaken: these celebs are pretty conservative when it comes to what happens between the sheets. Here are 19 celebrities who waited til marriage or are waiting until marriage to give up his or her v-cards.

Lolo Jones

The American Hurdler that fell short of medals at the 2012 Olympics is still holding on tight to her V-Card. “It’s just something, a gift I want to give my husband” says 30-year old Jones, saying that abstaining from sex has been “Harder than training for the Olympics.” The American Hurdler that fell short of medals at the 2012 Olympics is still holding on tight to her V-Card. “It’s just something, a gift I want to give my husband” says 30-year old Jones, saying that abstaining from sex has been “Harder than training for the Olympics.”

Kathie Lee Gifford

The Today show host kept her sacred treasure all to herself until she was 22, when she gave it up to her first husband Paul Johnson, something she reveals in her autobiography. “My lifelong self-consciousness about my body seemed, miraculously, to fade away…” Gifford says of the experience.

Lisa Kudrow

The Friends star is nothing like the free-loving hippie she played on the show. Lisa remained a virgin until she was 31, a decision she explained while promoting her 1999 film The Opposite of Sex. “My virginity was something I’d decided was very precious…an honor I was bestowing on a young man.” That young man turned out to be her husband, Michael Stern.

Kevin Jonas

At the age of 22, the oldest Jonas Brother wore a “purity ring” until 2007, when he married Danielle Deleasa (the co-star on the new reality show Married to Jonas.)
Continue reading “Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex”

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

 

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.

*(I refer to it as a denomination, though I’ve seen some folks on social media toss a fit and scream about how technically, Southern Baptist is not a denomination. Too bad, I was raised as one, and I don’t care if you like me referring to it as a denom or not, you’re going to have to just deal!)

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”

The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity

The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity

I am put off and annoyed by common comments and advice I see by Christians regarding sexual sin.

First, it is assumed by most Christians, including preachers, that other Christians over the age of 25 are having sex, and having lots of it, possibly with many different partners.

This assumption annoys me. I’m in my early 40s, and my virginity is still intact. The fact that someone can remain a virgin past 25 years old seems inconceivable to most Christians. I expect that shoddy, short-sighted attitude from secular culture, but other Christians? What a let down.

Secondly, for all conservative Christianity’s supposed upholding of sexual purity and virginity, I see the opposite in practice and in living these teachings out in real life.

As I addressed in my previous post, many American Christians pay mere lip service to sexual abstinence for all unmarried people, and lay it on extra thick for teens and those up to age 25.

But past age 25, especially past the age of 30, Christians who have still refrained from sex are either ignored (we get no material or sermons encouraging us, no practical help or tips on how to stave off loneliness and so forth, or no ‘patting us on the back’ for a job well done), or we get subjected to odd looks, insults, or put downs from the Christian culture. (One reason for this is that it is assumed we failed because we did not marry and have kids.)

In light of all that, it cannot be said that American Christians are truly committed to virginity or sexual purity. They claim they are, but in practicality, where the rubber meets the road, they are not.

If you cannot support those Christians who are over 35 years old who are celibate, you are not genuinely in favor of the belief that ‘sex is only for marriage,’ because if you were, you’d put your money, time, and effort where your mouth was.

One of my biggest pet peeves revolves around how Christians, especially pastors, address sexual sin. (Click the “more” link to read the rest of this post.)
Continue reading “The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity”

Those Times When You’re Glad to be a Celibate, Single Christian – 1 Corinthians 7:28

1 Corinthians 7:28:

But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

Skimming over a list of recent secular advice columnist Carolyn Hax columns recently, I feel happy with never having been married, and that I am a life long celibate.

Sometimes, I feel upset at having arrived in my 40s without ever married, but then I see things online or on the TV that makes me feel glad I am still single and not having sex.

Here’s a selection of just a few of Hax’s recent column headlines:

  • Carolyn Hax: History of bad partners; adulterer in their midst – OCT 17
  • Carolyn Hax: When to disclose you have herpes – OCT 16
  • Carolyn Hax: Boyfriend has anger issues, but he won’t go to therapy on his own – OCT 15

“When to disclose you have herpes.” –When to disclose your herpes?! Good grief. I have never been in that situation and likely never will be.

It’s hard being a celibate Christian over the age of 40.

We’re mostly invisible to the American Christian church at large, and get no encouragement or support to remain celibate.

I’m constantly inundated with pro-sex (and pro-marriage) messages and images every time I turn on the television, go to a movie, look at a magazine – and that’s just from “Christian culture,” not counting the mountain of sex messages and imagery I get from secular culture, not just in regards to sex, but the secular culture keeps up this facade that a person cannot be validated unless one is in a romantic relationship.

Regarding my point that the current American Christian culture is just as obsessed with sex as is the secular culture, here are a few examples: everything from pastor Mark Driscoll’s frequent kinky, perverted, sex-filled sermons (he even sexualizes non-sexual content, such as the book of Esther), and pastor Ed Young’s stupid, immature, weird, tacky “Sexperiment.”

You can read more about those topics here (I am not necessarily in full agreement with all views on all topics on blogs and sites I link to):

Ed Young’s Sexperiment, from Church Marketing Sucks

The Trouble with Ed Young’s Rooftop Sexperiment

Esther, Mark Driscoll, and using rape to control women

Profane Preachers Contribute to Killing the Conscience

This discusses how Driscoll and other pastors are obsessed with sex:

The Church of Sex

Older celibates get treated like weirdos or failures in and out of the church, by Christians and by secular people.

The hypocrisy from Christians is amazing on this point. They frequently lecture teen aged Christians, and the 20-something Christians, to refrain from sex outside of marriage, but when these Christians actually succeed in doing this, and remain unmarried and virgins into their 40s and beyond (such as yours truly), we get treated like second class citizens and freaks by the church. (click “more” to read the rest of the post)
Continue reading “Those Times When You’re Glad to be a Celibate, Single Christian – 1 Corinthians 7:28”

News story: Eunuchs Really Live Longer

Eunuchs Really Live Longer

A historical study of castrated men in Korea finds that they outlived their peers by a wide margin

By Alexandra Sifferlin

“Our study supports the idea that male sex hormones decrease the lifespan of men,” the authors write. Based on earlier research, the authors argue that one explanation for this could be that male sex hormones may negatively influence the immune system and “predispose men to adverse cardiovascular attacks.” They note further that the theory helps explain why females — in many species — live longer than males.

….And there are other reasons that women may outlive men, including for example the presence of estrogen, which may help enhance longevity. Also, as ABC News reports:

Females may have an advantage in longevity because they have a back-up X chromosome, [Dr. L. Stephen Coles, a co-founder of the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group,] said. A woman’s body is a mixture of cells, half containing an active X chromosome from her mother and the other half from her father, he said. If there is a defect on one X chromosome, half of her cells will be unaffected.

 

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”

Article from The Atlantic: Not Wanting Kids is Normal

From The Atlantic (I’m not in complete agreement with all views on other issues by the woman who wrote this:)

Not Wanting Kids is Entirely Normal

Source:

theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/09/not-wanting-kids-is-entirely-normal/262367/

Why the ingrained expectation that women should desire to become parents is unhealthy

Snippets:

[Article opens by mentioning former Nebraska state law that allowed parents to drop off their children with no legal repercussion; was meant to protect newborns, but an age limit was not stated in the law]

….A couple of months in, 36 children had been left in state hospitals and police stations. Twenty-two of the children were over 13 years old. A 51-year-old grandmother dropped off a 12-year-old boy. One father dropped off his entire family — nine children from ages one to 17. Others drove from neighboring states to drop off their children once they heard that they could abandon them without repercussion.

….On November 21, 2008, the last day that the safe haven law was in effect for children of all ages, a mother from Yolo County, California, drove over 1,200 miles to the Kimball County Hospital in Nebraska where she left her 14-year-old son.

What happened in Nebraska raises the question: If there were no consequences, how many of us would give up our kids?

….Whether it’s because of hardship or not, many Americans are giving up on parenthood.

In February 2009, someone calling herself Ann logged onto the website Secret Confessions and wrote three sentences: “I am depressed. I hate being a mom. I also hate being a stay at home mom too!” Over three years later, the thread of comments is still going strong with thousands of responses — the site usually garners only 10 or so comments for every “confession.” Our anonymous Ann had hit a nerve.
Continue reading “Article from The Atlantic: Not Wanting Kids is Normal”

Older Christian Singles and Celibacy (There Are No Consequences for Sexual Sin)

Older Christian Singles and Celibacy (There Are No Consequences for Sexual Sin)

(click on the “more” link to read the rest of the post)

I am including in this post an URL to an interview with a Christian author regarding a book she wrote about Christian singleness and celibacy.

I will only be quoting portions of the interview, which I am chalking up to “fair use.”

If you want to read the rest, I would advise you to visit their site:

(Link): Every Older Singles’ Battle – Christianitytoday.com Article

I wanted to preface the quoted material by making a few comments.

For all my life, I fully agreed with and abided by the Bible’s teaching about sex being for marriage only. I thought, when I was in my 20s, and even into my mid-30s, that I would be married by the time I was 35. That did not happen.

My views on sex may be changing slightly now that I find myself over 40 and still unmarried.

I still believe that the Bible is clear that sex if for marriage only. I am not going to sit here and try to explain away biblical passages that tell readers sex is for marriage only, as I saw one 25 year old, liberal Christian female do on her blog.

To paraphrase this other female blogger, she said that the Bible is “not clear at all that sex outside of marriage is sinful or wrong.” I disagree. The Bible is pretty clear about the topic.

My stance, however, is that I think it’s unfair and unrealistic (I’m not sure what word to use to describe this) to expect any Christian over the age of 30 to remain perpetually chaste, regardless of the Bible’s teaching on the matter.
Continue reading “Older Christian Singles and Celibacy (There Are No Consequences for Sexual Sin)”

Childfree Christians / Childfree childless

(click “more” to read the entire post)

I’ve visited a few blogs and discussion boards for people who are “childfree.”

Most childfree people bristle at being referred to as “childless,” since most of them never wanted to have kids and intentionally took steps to avoid having any, such as undergoing sterilization procedures.

The term “childless” signifies to them that they wanted kids but could not have them, as well as other unwanted connotations, so they dislike the term.

Before I discuss my views on these childfree sites, here is my background and views as they pertain to kids and other topics I see regularly brought up on childfree forums and blogs:

I do not have any children. I have never had children. I have never married. I wanted to be married and would still like to be married.

I’ve never felt totally comfortable with the idea of becoming pregnant and having a baby, but I was never totally opposed to having one of my own.

I do not hate children, but I don’t like most of them. Most children are irritating and too loud. Most teens are obnoxious and idiotic. I don’t think 99% of infants are cute.

I am pro-life; I do not support abortion, nor do I support homosexuality or the legalization of homosexual marriage.

I am a social conservative and a Republican.

Here are my experiences of visiting childfree blogs and forums…

While I can relate to many of the problems and situations described at some of these sites, such as The Childfree Life discussion board or Bratfree Forum, I am dismayed or put off by some of the comments and attitudes I see by some members.

There is quite a bit of profanity on those particular boards and on others like them;  there are jokes about killing or maiming kids/babies (implied); rude or cruel comments about people who did nothing to deserve it; many generalizations or gross misrepresentations or misunderstandings of conservative Christians.

Continue reading “Childfree Christians / Childfree childless”

Article by J. Watts: The Scandal of Singleness – singles never married christian

Excellent piece by Jackson Watts (I omitted the footnotes; you can visit the link “The Scandal of Singleness” to view them); click the “more” link to read the rest:

(Link): The Scandal of Singleness

Sometimes others know us better than we know ourselves. Though the world sees through a darkened lens, occasionally it observes something in Christians worth considering. Recently, a New York Times has done just that in exploring the bias in evangelicalism against hiring unmarried pastors [1].

Erik Eckholm recounts the case of one experienced pastor unable to find work after searching since 2009. According to Eckholm, most evangelical churches will never seriously consider a single pastor for fear that (a) he cannot relate well to married couples, or (b) his sexual orientation is in question. While it would be easy to target search committees for their myopia, the data shows that this bias extends throughout many evangelical denominations.

This trend represents the concerns of Christians about the state of marriage in America. Many publications have noted the fact that unmarried adults are now the largest demographic in America. According to the last census, nearly 50% of American adults are unmarried—the most in history. It is in this vein that evangelical theologian Al Mohler responds to Eckholm’s findings: “Both the logic of Scripture and the centrality of marriage in society,” he said, justify “the strong inclination of congregations to hire a man who is not only married but faithfully married” [2].

So, is this bias against singles, especially in ministry, justified? Is the privileged status of marriage over singleness Scriptural? Is singleness as scandalous as some imply? I contend that the church’s witness is hindered insomuch as it ignores or belittles faithful expressions of singleness in the church.

Continue reading “Article by J. Watts: The Scandal of Singleness – singles never married christian”

Sex and Never Married Single Christians / Virginity Virgin

Sex and Never Married Single Christians / Virginity Virgin

(Link): No One Wants to Talk About It

By Julia Duin
Why are evangelical singles sleeping around?

(Link): Where Are America’s Virgins? Discouraging the Virtuous

Excerpts:

Three decades later, virginity is under such withering attack, you would think it was child abuse. It is associated with words such as ‘frigid,’ ‘prideful,’ ‘judgmental’ and ‘holier-than-thou.’  “Virginity” was on the Washington Post Outlook section’s 2010 list of the year’s top 13 things to “throw out.” There are now books out with titles like “The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women” by Jessica Valenti.

….The nay-sayers seem unusually ferocious these days in their zeal against the ideal of virginity. I am surprised at how would-be defenders in the religious community are doing such a poor job of striking back.

In January, Christianity Today’s women’s blog, Hermeneutics, reviewed WeWaited.com, a singles site for virgins seeking other virgins. The writer suggested the idea was unrealistic, moralistic and “poses problems” in terms of exalting a potential partner’s virginity rather than his or her Christian commitment. Yet, now as in previous eras, virginity is a major test of one’s Christian commitment.

Agree with the Bible or not, Scripture is clear that sex is to be abstained outside of marriage. It is the job of the church – likewise the mosque and temple and other traditions that at least on paper aspire to purity at the marriage altar – to hold the line. The church has surrendered its teachings on chastity, so it’s no wonder that even among the devout, the virginity percentages are dismal.

Continue reading “Sex and Never Married Single Christians / Virginity Virgin”

Remaining Chaste in an Unchaste World

God’s Alternate Intimacy ~ Remaining Chaste in an Unchaste World

– by Julia Duin

Excerpts:

[I met my friend for lunch and] she told me of the thirtieth birthday party of another single friend. One of the birthday cards she got said on the front that there are worse things than being over thirty. On the inside it announced, “You could still be a virgin.”

I can still see the pain on her face. “I felt like a freak,” she told me. I think many singles lose their virginity because they have no compelling reason not to do so. They don’t want to be considered freaks.

Many of our friends — even our Christian friends — consider life without sex abnormal. If we are divorced or widowed, they wonder why we don’t use our newfound freedom to explore sexual frontiers; if we used to sleep around before conversion but now do not, they wonder why we are suddenly acting virtuous.
Continue reading “Remaining Chaste in an Unchaste World”

Older Single Christians And Sex – article by Julia Duin

(Click the “more” link to read the entire post)


Why are evangelical singles sleeping around?

By Julia Duin

Not long ago, a minor flare lit the evangelical horizon as Lauren F. Winner, a senior editor for Christianity Today, wrote a tell-all column on “evangelical whores.” The piece appeared on the new multi-religious website, Beliefnet.com.

Miss Winner, a fairly recent convert to Christianity from Orthodox Judaism, had written a potboiler of a piece suggesting that unmarried Gen-X evangelical Christians often sleep together and that the rest of us might as well deal with it.

Married evangelicals, she wrote, aren’t willing to talk about sex to their single friends, “except to remind us that True Love Waits. This slogan,” she continued, “might work when you’re 15. Ten years later, catch-phrases don’t really do the trick.”

She went on to describe how the typical church doesn’t really get it. Well-meaning preachers use platitudes to remind their singles to stay celibate, if they say anything at all. Most don’t. Instead, pastors ignore the “thousands” of unmarried evangelicals who disobey this injunction. Why, Miss Winner asked, can’t we talk about this reality?

Continue reading “Older Single Christians And Sex – article by Julia Duin”