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”

Preacher Mark Driscoll Bashes Single Christian Males Some More

Preacher Mark Driscoll Bashes Single Christian Males Some More
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Thank you for the comments on the blog. I logged in today to find I had about 8 or 9 comments from about four different people. I cannot promise I will respond to each one. If and when I do reply, it might be tomorrow or later.
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Now on to Mark Driscoll’s recent young, single, male- bashing fest. Which is in the tradition of Debbie “Marriage Mandater” Maken’s habit of bashing young, single Christian men.

I’m a woman. So I tend to blog from, well, a woman’s perspective and primarily concerning how unmarried women are treated by evangelical Christians (and other sorts of Christians – the Neo Reformed guys and Baptists can be pretty bad).

Occasionally, I do get male readers on this blog, so I sometimes will do a post such as this one.

The older, single Christian males get stuck being stereotyped by married Christians, and Christian culture in general, as either
1. homosexual
2. pedophile or
3. social loser / weirdo

Your younger, single Christian men, those 20ish into maybe their mid 30s, get a whole other set of stereotypes from conservative, evangelical, Baptist and Neo Reformed Christians. More on that in the remainder of this post.

Seattle area Neo Reformed preacher (and all around egotist, sexist, sex obsessed, attention whore) Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church was in the news a lot the past couple of months, for crashing the “Strange Fire” conference and more recently and notoriously for being accused by conservative Christian radio show host Janet Mefferd of plagiarism.

Those topics – the Strange Fire incident and the Mefferd situation – have been blogged to death the past two weeks by a million different people. You can do a search online and quickly find a billion pages about both incidents.

Here lately, though, Driscoll was interviewed by popular right wing commentator and former Fox News cable television host Glenn Beck.

Driscoll took the opportunity in this interview with Beck to bash young, single men.

I have read a few articles about the interview, but I have so far not been able to bring myself to actually watch the video of it.

I assume Driscoll was foremost being critical of Christian single males, but perhaps he was speaking in generic terms, of all men in their twenties, both Christian and Non Christian.

While I largely abhor Driscoll on so many fronts, I do think he may have a small point where he criticizes single men for not asking women out on dates. I do see that as being a problem for Christian single males in their 20s and even much older.

Continue reading “Preacher Mark Driscoll Bashes Single Christian Males Some More”

Preachers and Christian Media Personalities: Re: Marriage – You’re missing the point stop trying to argue or shame singles into getting married

Preachers and Christian Media Personalities: Re: Marriage – You’re missing the point – stop trying to argue or shame singles into getting married

Many evangelical, neo Calvinist, and Baptist preachers, as well as secular right wing persons, think tanks and personalities are continuing to operate under the false illusion that the reason so many Christian adult singles are not getting married into their late 20s, their 30s, and 40s and beyond is because they hate marriage or are intentionally choosing not to marry.

So, we see a spate of articles, blog posts, or hear podcasts where the likes of Al Mohlers, Mark Driscolls, and others, try to shame or guilt singles into getting married (some of these Christian personalities are harsher on male singles than they are female singles, while some distribute the harshness pretty much equally between the genders).

Some of these famous Christians enjoy citing dubious research to scare us singles into getting married, that supposedly, married people live longer and healthier lives ((Link): debunked here), and so forth.

While there may certainly be some adult (Christian) singles who have deliberately chosen to not marry, there are many, many Christian adults singles over the age of 25, 30, 40 and 50, who still desire marriage, but despite praying and hoping for a spouse, they are still single.

And some adult singles find this situation, and the incredibly obnoxious, resultant “blame game” played against them by pro-marriage Christians and the Christian pro-traditional marriage culture, very, very painful and frustrating.

I am one of them. I was a Christian for many years, and I had fully expected to marry by age 35 at the latest but am early 40s now and still unmarried.

I was told from a young age by preachers, my Christian parents, and Christian culture (Christian books about dating, etc), that if I prayed, had faith, waited on God’s timing, and stayed a virgin, that God would bless me with a spouse.

I did all that: stayed a virgin, prayed, had faith, trusted God for a spouse, but the wonderful Christian husband I was told would be mine never did manifest. I am still single after all this time.

And yet, some Christian preachers will ignorantly and presumptuously lecture me, and singles like me, in their blogs, podcasts, books, or sermons that I am still single because I must obviously, according to them, be

      a career driven, feminist, man-hating shrew;
      I must despise marriage and am choosing to avoid it;
      I must love singledom freedom too much to give it up;
    or, I must have committed fornication, so God is withholding a spouse

– all manner of false assumptions are made.

These types of Christians have no clue why I am still single, but it sure does not bother them from making malicious, insulting, rude assumptions and unfounded speculations.

I do not hate marriage. I am over 40 and have never had sex. I did not place career first. I am not a man-hating, secular feminist.

Yet, Christians continue to assume if you are single past age 25 or so, it must be due to a reason such as that, or else, they feel, you are intentionally avoiding marriage.

None of these ignorant Christians want to notice, consider, or opine on, the contributing factors undergirding unwanted, protracted adult singleness that are beyond the control of singles, such as…

The job landscape has changed, which prevents a lot of young men from being able to marry (it takes a lot of money to support a wife and child, which happens to be the stereotypical preferred Christian family structure (Link): Male Employment Trends May Not Bode Well For Marriage).

And no, pushing people to marry at age 18 or 21, and instructing the church to fund and finance young married couples to make the whole thing easier, is not the answer, either.

In addition, this nauseating push by Christian leaders to marry “teeny boppers” off by the time they are 18 or 21 years old still does nothing for me, age 40ish and still single, and there are many, many singles such as me, who are never married past age 30 who desire marriage: what church, will you do to help me and those like me get a partner?

Telling me I, a 40-something woman, should marry at age 18 is an anachronism. I’m past age 18 now. So what now? How will you help me achieve my goal of having my own traditional marriage?

There are other single men and women my age who are asking the same thing on other blogs out there; I am far from alone.

Another factor ignored by the Christians who try to shame and blame adult singles into getting married:

Christian teachings on gender roles and dating/ sex/ and marriage have themselves contributed to prolonged, unwanted singleness among Christian singles, which I shall not get into here, because I have explained it before in other posts (such as (Link): here, (Link): here, (Link): here).

To the preachers and Christian media personalities out there:

Stop assuming all adult singles do NOT want marriage.

Start addressing those of us who DO WANT marriage, but it has, for whatever reason that is not our fault, been DENIED us.

Stop fretting that marriage is not happening among younger generations and using that as an excuse to blame and rail against the phantoms of liberalism and secular feminism.

Start addressing specific steps churches and Christian culture can take to help marry off over-age 30 singles who desire marriage.

Consider re-examining, re-tooling, or scrapping altogether your teachings on sex, gender roles, dating, and marriage, because those are some of the very things which have inhibited Christian singles from dating and getting married.

For instance:

There are entire blogs and sites dedicated to how the Christian dating book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” kept an entire generation of Christians single into their 30s and beyond, with its faulty, naive assumptions about sex, dating, and gender roles and so on.

And these still-single Christians (who have been damaged by books such as “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and similar Christian material) are people who were desiring marriage, not trying to avoid it! (Example: (Link): (Blog): I Kissed Dating Goodbye: Wisdom or Foolishness?)

Stop assuming all never-married adults past the age of 30 are single by choice, or that God has called them to be single. by the way, the phrase “Gift of Singleness” and “Gift of Celibacy” are NOT in the Bible. Here are a few instructive links about that:

      (Link):

The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy

    )

(Link): The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

Many of us singles over the age of 30 desired marriage and do NOT understand why God never sent us a spouse, as preachers say God will do if we just pray and wait.

Stop preaching that singles are “less than.”

What I mean is that fringe kook groups, as well as more “mainstream” preachers and speakers, have been teaching the last several years, that it takes one man married to one women to reflect God, or to fully express God, etc., when the Bible not only does not teach this dreck, but the Bible already says that an unmarried woman alone fully reflects God, as does an unmarried man alone.

Seriously, some preachers, or some Christian fertility cultic groups, teach that singles are not as fully Christian, or as fully human, as married couples are, and some of these nasty assumptions also spill over to married couples who are infertile (ie, you are not fully Christian or human unless you are married AND producing children). I have several posts like this one on this blog:

      (Link):

According to Pastor – Jimmy Evans – It Takes One Man and Woman Married To Equal A Whole – so where does that leave Christian singles ? / Too Much Sex Talk | Making Marriage into an Idol Marriage Idolatry Anti Singles Singlehood Singleness Unmarried Bias Prejudice

Here’s another:

      (Link):

Why Unmarried – Single Christians Should Be Concerned about the Gender Role Controversy – because some Christians are teachng that unmarried people are not fully human or not “whole” – preachers who teach that single people are not fully in God’s image unless they get married

Jesus Christ never married and never had children, does that mean Jesus was not fully human, not fully Christian, and not fully reflecting God?

Putting aside for a moment that many of us older singles WANT TO BE MARRIED and find it puzzling, infuriating, or frustrating that we are not married…

Also, for those singles who do decide to remain single and/or never have children, and who are happy remaining single and childfree: respect those choices.

The Bible does NOT condemn singlehood, the Bible does not mandate marriage or procreation (both are presented as being OPTIONAL in the New Testament), the Bible does not teach that marriage is better or more holy or godly than singlehood.

Nor does the Bible teach that God “calls” anyone to singleness, or that singleness is only for “a few.”

Up to 44% (or more) of America’s population is single now, including a huge chunk of conservative Christians, so obviously, if one believes in that nonsense about God “calling” any one to singlehood, God is calling many, many to singlehood these days in the United States not “just a few.”

The Bible presents lifelong celibacy and singleness as being completely fine, valid options for the adult believers, and there may be a number of Christians who are truly happy and fine being single, but many Christians – the ones who have turned traditional marriage and having children into idols – completely ignore the Bible’s teachings on singleness to present it as being the option or last resort of only “the few” or only “those who are gifted with it,” or to make marriage sound superior to singleness.

It is especially troubling when the pro traditional marriage types, such as Al Mohler, quote the “singles die sooner than married” type studies with such glee, not only because such studies are usually flawed, but because they are denying or disrespecting God’s very own teaching on singleness: that God is totally fine with people choosing to remain single, and that the Apostle Paul and Jesus Christ were themselves single.

At any rate, there is a boat load of adult Christian singles out there who very much would like to get married, and we are being neglected. Or, Christian spokespersons keep wrongly assuming we are deliberately choosing to avoid marriage for any number of reasons.

Christians need to help us older singles get married, if we desire marriage, and they need to respect us as singles for so long as we do remain unmarried, even if that remains a lifetime.

I’ve yet to see any preacher discuss the following: why is God (that is, assuming the God of the Bible exists, and that He cares about people and actually listens to or replies to prayer) permitting so many adult Christians to remain single for so long, despite the fact they do, contrary to much Christian spin one reads, desire marriage, and have been praying to God for a spouse for decades?

The majority of Christians do not want to touch this topic at all.

I wonder why that is? Are they happier sitting back complaining about society and griping about liberals and feminists than they are in actually taking constructive steps at rectifying the situation (ie, helping older singles who want marriage to get married)?

See also:

(Link): Conservative Christians Are Now Blaming Homosexual Marriage on Heterosexual Single Adults
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Related posts this blog:

(Link): More Anti Singleness Bias From Al Mohler – Despite the Bible Says It Is Better Not To Marry

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

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): Article: 30 And Single? It’s Your Own Fault (say some Christians – book review of Debbie Maken marriage book)

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

(Link): The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy

(Link): Singleness is Not A Gift

(Link): Christian Males Blaming their Unwanted Protracted Singleness on Feminism – They have the wrong target

(Link): Secular Media Also Pushing Early Marriage

(Link): Christian Gender and Sex Stereotypes Act as Obstacles to Christian Singles Who Want to Get Married (Not All Men Are Obsessed with Sex)

(Link): Asexuality and Asexuals (people who are not interested in having sex, dating, or getting married)

(Link): Young Mothers Describe Marriage’s Fading Allure

(Link): How Christians Keep Christians Single (part 3) – Restrictive Gender Roles Taught as Biblical

(Link): The Nauseating Push by Evangelicals for Early Marriage

(Link): Parenting (being a parent / procreating) Does Not Necessarily Make People More Godly or Mature: News headline: Tennessee couple rented daughters for pornographic videos: police

(Link): Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

(Link): Why all the articles about being Child Free? On Being Childfree or Childless – as a Conservative / Right Wing / Christian

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link): Conservatives and Christians Fretting About U.S. Population Decline – We Must “Out-breed” Opponents Christian Host Says (and why the Bible does NOT support this strategy)

(Link): Fatherhood Not Quite the Producer of Manly, Mature, Godly Men Some Conservative Christians Make It Out To Be

(Link): Motherhood Does Not Necessarily Make Women More Mature, Selfless, Responsible, Or Spiritual

(Link): Motherhood Does Not Make Women More Godly or Mature (Mother Suffocates New Born and Shoves It In Toilet)

(Link): Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex – supposedly – Re Celibacy

(Link): Christian TV Personality ( Jimmy Evans ) Says You Cannot Meet God’s Destiny For Your Life Without A Spouse = Anti Singleness Singlehood Singles Bias Prejudice Making Idol out of Marriage

(Link): Post by Sarah Bessey Re: Churches Ignore Never Married Older and/or Childless Christian Women, Discriminate Against Them

(Link): On Vulgar Language at This Blog

There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or Being Called to Either One

The following reader response (by gortexgrrl) appeared on a blog by a guy named Jeremy, who read a blog post about singleness by another guy named Kostenberger and blogged about it.

Gortexgrrl references Debbie Maken in passing in one of her posts below. I do not agree with all of author Debbie Maken’s views.

Maken pushes for something called “marriage mandate,” and despite what goretexgrrl states below, Maken does go a little “blame the victim” on women who desire marriage, yet who still find themselves unmarried into their 30s and older.

Yes, Maken seems to most heavily blame men for women being single, but I’ve read comments by Maken on other blogs and excerpts of her books, and she does blame women a little bit – she assumes if you are a woman who is still single at 35 or 40, it’s because you didn’t do enough to get a spouse when you were 25, or there was something more you could have done.

The Makens of the world refuse to acknowledge that marriage is often beyond a person’s control: you can join every dating site on the planet and go to every singles church function known to mankind and still find yourself single at 40.

Here are the posts where “Gift of Singleness/ Celibacy” was discussed:

Regarding “Gift of Singleness / Celibacy” and 1 Corinthians 7:7

By gortexgrrl 

The confusion created by the three different meanings of the “gift of singleness” that you’ve aptly described in your first post would seem to be good enough reason for everyone to just abandon the term altogether.

The “gift of singleness” is a term that appears nowhere in the Bible. Nor does “the gift of celibacy”.

When I posted my concerns about the problems created by the “GOS” [Gift Of Singleness] on Kostenberger’s blog, they were removed (along with others, particularly those that questioned whether or not he had actually read Maken’s book, since he seemed to suggest that it was about blaming women, when the blame was really more heavily directed towards men).

Free speech. Academic freedom. Do any of those things have any meaning in the minds of theologians? Here’s one of my posts, you can critique my thoughts on “the gift of singleness” as well as the question of censorship while you’re at it:

Unfortunately, I must vehemently disagree with the glowing reviews in the posts above and object to this mischaracterization of Maken’s book. She does NOT say “women who are in their late 20s or in their 30s and still unmarried have got only themselves to blame for lack of effort”.

If anything, she lets the women off the hook and blames single men and faulty church teachings for the current epidemic of protracted singleness among Christians.

Maken’s critique of the man situation would have been better if she had not indulged in an imbalanced “man bashing” and if she had acknowledged the severe shortage of men in our churches (which is indeed the greatest cause of protracted singleness among the female faithful). However, her indictment of problematic church teachings was ABSOLUTELY GROUNDBREAKING, especially in “rethinking the ‘gift of singleness’”.

With all due respect, there’s no such thing as “The Gift of Singleness”. The original biblical texts use no such term.

“GOS” first appeared in the Living Bibles of the 70’s, and later in The Message, perhaps to mitigate or update the Catholic notion of “the gift of celibacy” (also not biblical). 1 Cor 7:7 in the NRSV reads

“I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.”

Paul states his own preference regarding singleness/celibacy (scholars have debated for years which one) and makes a aside about the uniqueness (“IDIOS”) in how God gifts us (“CHARISMA”: grace gift, not ’spiritual gift’ per se) using a phrase common to Greek speakers to this day “HOS MEN HOUTO DE HOS HOUTO”, which has an INDEFINITE meaning: “like this and like this (and like this, etc.) It’s meaning is NOT either/or, as in “gift of marriage” or “GOS”, it’s less specific than that!

In light of “the present distress” (v.26) the option of singleness/celibacy is presented by Paul as a RECOMMENDATION, not a “gift”.

Continue reading “There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One”

The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

A lot of times, Christians like to toss the phrase “gift of singleness” at singles, though I have seen some intriguing arguments online that most Bible translations get the phrase wrong.

It’s also interesting to note that one seldom hears Christians refer to marriage as “the gift of marriage.” Christians apparently feel a need to sugarcoat singlehood, because some singles are not happy or comfortable being single.

The problem with the “Gift of Singleness” rhetoric is that there is a sizable percentage of Christians who wanted to be married, and who expected to be married, but who remain un-married into their late 30s, 40s, 50s, and older.

The majority of Christians who are in this position do not regard singleness as a gift, nor has God lifted their sexual desire, nor has he removed their desire for marriage. It is quite insulting and a slap across the face to such singles to tell them God has “gifted” them with singleness.

(This is a post for those Christians, the ones who wanted to be married, but it never happened. This is not a post for the ones who frequently pipe up when this discussion comes up: “Oh but golly, I’m fine with being single, and I do think it’s a marvelous gift!” If you are one of those singles, I beg of you, please don’t chirp in with how gifty you consider singleness, otherwise, you will be one of those Christian singles I’ve blogged about before: (Link): Types of Christian Singles Whom I Find Annoying)

I have seen various arguments put forward that Paul was not saying that singleness is a gift, not in the sense American Christians make it out to be.

Here are links to other sites, blog pages, or comments by everyday Joe’s who are commenting on the “Gift of Singleness” teaching:

From the blog, “Single, Unexpectedly”

Before I get to the links: I find it a tad amusing that the woman who writes it is already lamenting being single at 30 years of age: I’m in my early 40s! I’ve run into marriage minded Christian women who have never married and are in their 40s. If you think it’s bad at age 30, try being early 40s or older. Here are the links from “Single, Unexpectedly”:

(Link): Is Singleness Really a Gift? – Part 1

(Link): Is Singleness Really a Gift? – Part 2

(Link): Is Singleness Really a Gift? – Part 3

(Link):Is Singleness Really a Gift? – Part 4

Excerpt from the above page:

    … the GoS [Gift of Singleness] doctrine is a relatively new doctrine, a Johnny-come-lately interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:7. It is not how this text has traditionally been understood through the annals of Christian history but has come up only in the last forty years or so to try to explain the recent explosion in singleness among adults. // end of excerpt

Regarding the next link or two: they mention Debbie Maken. Please note that I do not agree wholly with Debbie Maken on each subject: from excerpts of her books I have read, she goes overboard on the topics of marriage and singleness, where she denigrates singlehood, and where she’s into blaming and shaming singles for being single.

Maken acts as though if you just go out a bit more often, or sign up for a few more dating sites, you will get a husband. She is wrong. It doesn’t necessarily matter how much effort a single woman puts into getting a spouse – she can try and try and go out all the time – and still remain single.

Where Maken gets things right is where she criticizes Christians and churches who over-sell, or over-spiritualize, singleness, and who discourage or shame singles who want to be married from trying to get married.

Here’s the Maken link (remember, Maken gets very much into a “blame the single for being single” perspective, so really think if you want to read this – it may be more offensive than uplifting if you are a single):

“Rethinking the ‘Gift’ of Singleness” by Debbie Maken

That page references this one:

(Link): Rethinking the Gift of Singleness

Continue reading “The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’”

Atlanta Baptist Church Missing Person Project Missing the Unmarried – Charles Stanley on Singleness – Unanswered Prayer

Atlanta Baptist Church Missing Person Project Missing the Unmarried

Hats off to these guys – preacher Charles Stanley’s Baptist church in Atlanta – for at least attempting to de-focus on the usual evangelical, fundamentalist, and Baptist favored demographic of “young married couples with kids.”

This Stanley led Atlanta church is focusing on widows, “the needy” (their phrase), prisoners, and one or two other, usually- neglected- by- Christian groups. That is all fine and dandy, but I see no acknowledgement of un-married people in the list of people they hope to cater to.

Almost half the adult American population is single. A lot of Christians are in that figure, too. Where are the programs and appeals to unmarried adults in this “Missing Person” ministry by Baptist Church of Atlanta? Here is a link to their ministry:

(Link): Missing Persons Ministry (Atlanta Baptist Church, Charles Stanley preacher)

SINGLES

See the bottom of that page for the categories of people they are hoping to serve and reach – it includes “The Disabled,” “The Widows,” “The Orphans,” etc, but no mention of never-married adults past 30.

In last night’s broadcast of Stanley’s “In Touch” program, where he talked about people’s desire to be loved, he got on to this spiel about people who are still single, who would like to be married.

Stanley said it’s far better to be single than to be married to the wrong person. This is a common saying spouted off at discontent, unhappy singles, and does nothing to cheer us up.

I was engaged several years to an idiot, so I know that “being with the wrong person” can be worse than being single. But I do not appreciate my desire to still be married brushed off as though it’s unrealistic, stupid, or immature, and that is what that bit of common wisdom does.

Continue reading “Atlanta Baptist Church Missing Person Project Missing the Unmarried – Charles Stanley on Singleness – Unanswered Prayer”

The Types of Christian Singles Who Annoy Me

The Types of Christian Singles Who Annoy Me: The Perpetually Sunny Happy Christian Single Who Is Totally Thrilled With Singleness; The Condescending Single Who Brays “Jesus is all you need, your earthly happiness doesn’t matter”; or the Single Who Is Too Spiritual About Singleness

I. The Perpetually Sunny Happy Christian Single Who Is Totally Thrilled With Singleness And Doesn’t Understand Why You Can’t Be Too

To clarify something: there are times when I feel relieved about being single, and there are other times it bothers me. I’m not wholly on one side of the fence or the other.

I was just saying (Link): in a post yesterday I get very pissed off and annoyed over these sunny attitude, Rose-colored- glasses- wearing unmarried women (sometimes men, but it’s normally a woman) who go on and on in their editorials for Christian singles about how they are golly gee whiz happy-happy to be single, they love living for just Jesus by golly!, and they say they cannot wrap their heads around singles who think that singlehood sometimes sucks. They think everyone should be as happy-happy with singleness as they are.

The fact is, some of us are not always happy with singleness 100% of the time, and your constant sunniness about it is unrealistic, irritating, doesn’t acknowledge the pain some of us go through at times, and by being so dang chipper about singleness, you’re sort of denying how most churches and denominations ignore or belittle singles.

II. The Super Spiritual Christian Single Who Likes to Say Over and Over: “Jesus and My Bible is All I Need and To Want Anything Else is Inappropriate, Especially In Church” (Single Who Is Too Spiritual About Singleness)

These are usually the ones who pipe up in blog comments in articles for singles who say church is for worship of the Lord and Bible devotions only, that’s all THEY want when they go to a church, they say they are deeply offended when “Brother Hank” or “Sister Sally” tries to play match- maker for them.

And, they say, singles should not be using church to find a mate, because that’s turning church into a “meat market.” And remember, according to them, church is for worship and Bible reading and study only, nothing else.

If you are the kind of single who wants to view church as a Bible study only, fine for you, but don’t sit there and lecture myself and Christian singles that it’s wrong for another Christian person to use church to meet a mate.

There are other reasons for the creation of the church besides worship, Bible reading, the Great Commission, and helping African orphans.

Continue reading “The Types of Christian Singles Who Annoy Me”

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”

Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage

Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians | Re: Marriage Not Happening for Hetero-sexual Christians Over the Age of 30

While conservative Christians keep on despairing that today’s American culture no longer resembles 1950s “Leave It To Beaver” families, the majority of them keep right on ignoring one significant group: unmarried Christians over the age of 30 who want to get married but who cannot find a Christian partner.

About the only Christians who have taken note of this plight are those who are in the group themselves, such as myself.

There are many Christians over the age of 30 who want to get married, but they cannot find a suitable partner at church, through friends, or on dating sites. And their petitions to God on this matter are not working. God remains silent and does not move.

Meanwhile, we unmarried Christians [* please see March 2016 update at the bottom of this post], who want marriage but for whom it remains out of reach…

Stand by and see the never-ending avalanche of blog pages, magazine articles, and booklets printed, or radio shows broadcast, by mainstream evangelical groups bemoaning the fact that 20-somethings are putting off marriage until their late 20s…

Or that they are dropping out of church altogether, with a smaller amount of attention paid to topics such as divorce and how to keep a marriage together.

But there is nothing from the Christian community, no attention, prayers, concern, or material, for those who cannot even get to the altar to begin with (with the exception of a small amount of Christian material which insults us and puts us down).

I was reminded of all this again when skimming over parts of a book online. The book is “Church in an Age of Crisis,” by James Emery White.

In a chapter about marriage (I don’t see any chapters on prolonged singleness among Christians – which is typical), he writes in a sidebar:

— Begin Quote from Book —
The Crumbling State of Marriage

-[1] For the first time since the US began tallying marriages, more Americans of prime marrying age have stayed single rather than tied the knot

-[2] Proportion of married adults of all ages was 52 percent in 2009, down from 72.2 percent in 1960 – the lowest percentage since the US began tracking in 1880

-[3] Cohabitation in the US has nearly doubled since 1990
— End Quote from Book —

As for point 1, (“more Americans of prime marrying age have stayed single rather than tied the knot”), how many of those singles want to stay single? How many of them have intentionally chosen to stay single into their 30s and older? Why is this distinction almost never made?

How many of those singles are like me, who always desired and expected to marry, but it just never happened?

Why do these worried and pearl-clutching conservative Christians always seem to assume that those of us Christians who have remained single past the age of 30 or 40 have deliberately chosen to remain so?

Continue reading “Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage”

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”

Marriage Mandaters – Mocking Faith


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

At the blog The Gift of Singleness (located at thegiftofsingleness.blogspot.com), in an entry entitled “The Importance of Waiting on the Lord” (dated January 17, 2007), the blog’s author, someone calling herself (or himself?) “Captain Sensible,” compares having faith in God to provide one with a spouse to having faith in God to reveal to a student which college the student should chose.

The comparison at that blog is made to ridicule the notion of any Christian having faith in God for a spouse.

The idea that a Christian would rely on God for college membership choice, or God’s direction or leading in the matter, is viewed by “Captain Sensible” as being silly and unrealistic, so the analogy is that relying on God in the area of marriage is also ridiculous.

Look, I fully appreciate the frustration of Christians who are single well past the age of 35 who dearly want to get married and have no current prospects (I am in that group myself), but I was very disturbed by the cynical attitude of that blog.

After having skimmed over some of “Captain Sensible’s” other content, I find myself agreeing with some of it and enjoyed some of the humor (such as the January 13, 2007 post entitled “Beware! The 14th February approaches!”).

But as I was saying, I do find certain aspects of the marriage mandate crowd’s attitudes (including some of those expressed by Captain Sensible) upsetting.

To mock and ridicule a Christian for having faith in God for provision, whether we are talking about food, water, shelter, a job, a spouse, a baby, a healing, or what have you, seems very antithetical to Christianity.

Especially when one considers all the passages in the Bible where

(a) Believers are chastised for NOT having faith in God and

(b) Believers are strongly commended for having faith (see, for example, Hebrews chapter 11 in the New Testament)
Continue reading “Marriage Mandaters – Mocking Faith”

Singleness Is Not A Gift

Singleness Is Not A Gift

I really do not believe that singleness is a gift.

I think if God actually grants someone with that so-called “gift,” then that individual will not be bothered in the least not to be married. (Edit: I no longer even believe the Bible teaches the concept “gift of singleness.” See links below for more, under “Related posts this blog”)

However, I am in my late thirties, never married, and it bothers me very much. I always wanted to be married, and I would still like to be married, so I seriously doubt that I have the “gift of singleness.”

I am so tired of hearing cliches and oft-worn phrases directed at singles such as “singleness is a gift.”

I can most assuredly tell you that no, it is not a gift. It’s a curse. It’s lonely. It’s terrible. It’s embarrassing.

Prolonged singleness is especially difficult in a culture where most people do get married, and where people, especially Christians, assume everyone over age 35 is married (or has been at least at one time).

I did not “choose” to be single, by the way. I am not a man-hating feminist. I was never obsessed with my career.

While doing a web search for the phrase “singleness is not a gift” I did find a few blog pages or comments I could relate to, a few of which I will paste in below.
Continue reading “Singleness Is Not A Gift”

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?”

Topics Preachers Should or Shouldn’t Mention When Discussing Singlehood

Here are a few suggestions as to what I think Christian pastors and Christian talk show hosts should (or should not) preach or discuss when addressing Christian singlehood.*

Sex, Sex, Sex and More Sex

I think sex is one topic that Christian pastors need to stay away from when talking to or about singlehood, or they need to stop lecturing about it as often as they do.

Anytime pastors or Christian personalities (such as people who host Christian television shows) do bother to address singles (usually they’re fixated on married life, unfortunately), it’s usually nothing more than to issue dire warnings about not giving in to sexual sin.

Continue reading “Topics Preachers Should or Shouldn’t Mention When Discussing Singlehood”

List of Christian Singlehood Annoyances, Part 1

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

There are some things I find annoying about being a single Christian person, and I thought I’d write about some of them. I may edit this post in the future as more cross my mind.

Most singles can probably relate to most of this list, but some are specific to me and my views, tastes, preferences, and experiences.

Continue reading “List of Christian Singlehood Annoyances, Part 1”

Article: 30 And Single? It’s Your Own Fault

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

I disagree with some of the positions of the “marriage mandate” crowd, including those of Debbie Maken, who wrote a book about the issue.

I intend on posting more content about the ‘marriage mandate’ perspective in the future but thought I’d start with excerpts from a good review of Maken’s book and view.

(Link): 30 and Single? It’s Your Own Fault [ by Camerin Courtney]

There are more unmarried people in our congregations than ever, and some say that’s just sinful.

From Ms. Courtney’s article:

By that October, they were engaged.

Following the path afforded by her ethnicity (she’s Indian), she [Debbie Maken] signed up with an Indian Christian Web agency to find a suitable suitor and, aided by her parents’ watchful care, started e-mailing a man in July 2001.

Now happily married and the mother of two young girls, Maken drew a map—in the form of her book, Getting Serious About Getting Married—to the Land of Marital Bliss. She hopes to prevent her daughters and countless single women across the country from having to experience any more “unnecessary protracted singleness.”

….In later chapters, she addresses the well-meaning advice handed to singles in Christian circles—such as “just wait on the Lord to bring a mate to you” or “Jesus is all you need”—and deftly explains some of the erroneous thinking and theology surrounding each.

At her best, in passages such as these, Maken gives platitude-battered single women needed permission to admit, “I’d like to get married, and that’s okay.”

Unfortunately, these bits of trend-spotting and balanced synthesis are drowning in a sea of shame and blame.

Maken seems to think a vast majority of singles view their solo status as a special gift from God (a stance I’ve seen in only a fraction of the thousands of e-mails I’ve received as a columnist for ChristianSinglesToday.com, a CT sister publication), a notion the very subtitle of the book urges them to reconsider.

Continue reading “Article: 30 And Single? It’s Your Own Fault”

How Active Should a Christian be in Getting a Spouse?

How pro active should a Christian be in seeking a spouse?

The following content was originally published on my Geocities site in December 2005-  where indicated, parts of it were edited in May 2010 to add a few new lines here and there. Please click the “more” link below to read the entire post.


Can You Depend On God To Send You Your Spouse / Is It Okay To Have Faith In God For This?

How Much, If At All, Should A Christian Seek His Or Her Spouse?

December 2005

I am a Christian woman who has never been married but would like to be.

If you ask God to send you the right person and you trust God to send you the right person to be your spouse, yes, it will happen.

I realize I am a rarity in saying that.

How many other Christian singles sites have you been to where they quickly add an asterik and a footnote by such a comment saying, “… um, unless of course God has willed you to be single forever.”

(I absolutely despise such defeatist thinking. Christians are called to speak the truth in love, but then, we’re also told to have hope, to have faith, and to encourage one another, not depress one another.)

Such writers then blather on about being “content in your singleness” and how singleness is such a “gift.” I personally do not regard singleness as being a “gift.”

Continue reading “How Active Should a Christian be in Getting a Spouse?”

Is Getting A Spouse Like Looking for a Job?

Answering the ‘Getting a Spouse is like trying to get employed’ argument

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

The “Getting a Spouse is like trying to get employed” argument

Many critics of the faith-based approach to obtaining a spouse, the ones who feel a Christian should be continually pounding the pavement actively looking for a mate, frequently drag up the “employment” argument.

I’ve seen this argument used many a time, by regular Christians opining away at blogs and forums, to professional writers who churn out relationship advice for the Christian lovelorn. And am I ever sick and tired of seeing it.

It goes something like this (though I’m sure you’ve seen it used a million times before on various Christian sites, as I have):

“But if you’re trying to get a job, God expects you to mail out resumés and go on job interviews, otherwise you can’t realistically expect to get a job. It’s not just going to land in your lap without any effort on your part!”

Sorry, but no, not quite. Maybe Non-Christians have to approach finding a mate in that manner, but not the Christian.

Continue reading “Is Getting A Spouse Like Looking for a Job?”