Bay-Bees – Have Lots of Them (Addendum)

(Addendum to previous post):
“Bay-Bees – Have them, have lots of them and NOW, no matter what!, say some Christians”

I meant to include this in my previous post on this topic but forgot to (someone left me a response in that thread disagreeing with me, and I left her a response). Anyway….

A woman wrote in to Pat Robertson’s show the other day, The 700 Club, to ask if she should permit her daughter to stay in the same bed as her boyfriend when they come over for a visit.

Robertson then got into this tangent where he said, “Marriage is for making babies.”
(Or, he might have said, “Marriage is for pro-creation.” I forget the exact wording of his remark, whether he used the term “babies” or “pro creation,” but he did say, “that [babies / pro creation] is the purpose of marriage.”

I don’t recall any biblical passages stating that the sole reason for marriage is to have babies. (I don’t even remember any verses saying it’s the primary reason – but perhaps it’s in there, and I just forgot.)

I think a lot of conservative Christians – the ones who have made idols out of marriage and having children, and the more extreme patriarchy- type lunatic “Quiverfull” groups – tend to stretch verses such as “be fruitful and multiply” to apply in situations where they do not, or are not, for all Christians for all times in all situations.

I would dare say since God presented Eve to Adam after having said, “it is not good for man to be alone” that one primary reason for the existence of marriage is for companionship. Not baby-making, but for companionship.

Sure, baby-making might be ONE reason for the creation of marriage by God, but it’s not the ONLY reason, as Robertson implied in his response.

This bizarre obsession with marriage and cranking out babies is one reason why so many people, Christian and Non, feel so unwelcomed or alienated from churches, or why they stop going.

People, including Christian people, who are childless, child-free, never-married, or widowed are frequently over-looked by most American Christianity.

The never-married (over the age of 30), the child free, the childless, and the widowers – their needs are dismissed or never acknowledged to start with. They are not usually mentioned from the pulpit, or on mainstream Christian blogs, in magazines, or in most Christian books about relationships.

Most attention by conservative Christians is spent hand-wringing over and worrying about the decline of marriage, the decline of the U.S. birth rate, complaining about the Democrats, or complaining about the legalization of homosexual marriage.

As for the hand wringing about the decline of marriage by conservative Christians, it is highly hypocritical of them to do this.

When older, never-married Christians ask for help from their Christian communities to get married (“please help me get a spouse! Introduce me to some great singles, or create more singles functions where we can meet and mingle”), they are scolded and lectured and get comments such as… THEY, the singles who desire marriage, are

  • “making an idol of marriage”
  • “be content in your singleness, it’s a gift!”

  • “we can’t turn the singles group into a meat market, it’s for Bible study ONLY”
  • “God may have called you to life long singleness”

-and older unmarried Christians get other such un-helpful comments like those.

Note to churches and preachers:
If you want the marriage rate among Christians to sky rocket, get off your asses and start helping Christian singles, who are ages 30+, to meet other Christian singles so that they can date and then marry. Provide practical assistance in this area.

Anyway, I don’t see any biblical grounds for thinking that making a baby is the sole, or primary, purpose of marriage.

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Unmarried / Single People Are Supposedly Bitter & Have Too Much Baggage – and that’s why you’re still single they say

Old accusation and stereotypes tossed at unmarried people, even if and when it’s not true: “You’re Bitter!” and “You Have Baggage!” (“And that’s why you’re still single!”)

Before I get to the purpose of the post, a couple of points:

1. Wooo! I am on a roll today! This must be my fourth post in a row today. I need to go jogging pretty soon, though, so I will have to leave the computer for that. But your married Christian bloggers can’t complain, since they say my one magical key in getting a husband is jogging regularly (men don’t want ugly fatties, I’m told).

2. As for the blog post’s heading.

I think Google weighs post titles more heavily than post tags, which is why some of my post headings are insanely long or appear strange.

I normally would not put both terms, “unmarried” and “single” in a post subject heading together, but I don’t know if a person out there will be doing a search using “unmarried” or “single.” Now for the post:

— Hey, since you are unmarried, you simply MUST be BITTER and have TOO MUCH BAGGAGE! —

I really intended on making this post after doing one about how Christians approach the issue of physical appearance, especially as it pertains to dating and marriage, before making this one, but I think that one will take longer to write than this one, and I’m not in the mood to write another long post today.

I’ve seen some Christian bloggers – usually married, male ones – who, when they write a blog post about dating and marriage aimed at unmarried people, if they engage with dissenters in their comment area, will invariably throw the word “bitter” at commentators who hold opposing views.

While it certainly may be true that some unmarried people are bitter – because they want to get married but remain single – I don’t think it’s true of all unmarried people.

I will address the topic of “bitterness” farther below, but I wanted to turn attention to the “I bet you have baggage!” stereotype first.

— BAGGAGE —

I think telling unmarried people they have “baggage,” as in, “the reason you are still single past the age of 35 is that potential suitors perceive someone of that age as having too much baggage” is an idea (and insult, really) that is over-used on blogs, in books, and in TV segments on Christian programs about dating and relationships. I have seen this term used on Christian sites and secular ones about dating and relationships on a somewhat recurring basis.

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

Continue reading “Unmarried / Single People Are Supposedly Bitter & Have Too Much Baggage – and that’s why you’re still single they say”

What Christians Can Learn from The Walking Dead Re: Family, Singleness, and Marriage

When secular sources get it right – The Walking Dead

(I can see disgruntled “Caryl” fans wanting to leave me argumentative comments about this post. If so, please see the “Policy on Dissent on this blog” before being tempted to leave me a nasty gram. Thank you.)

On the cable channel AMC’s hit show about the zombie apocalypse, The Walking Dead, the topic of ‘what is family’ is explored every so often, as it was most recently in last night’s episode, “The Suicide King.” The show centers on sheriff Rick Grimes, who leads a group of survivors, some related by flesh and blood (or marriage), but most not.

The character Rick Grimes has a wife named Lori and son named Carl, and a newborn daughter named Judith (the wife, Lori, got killed a few episode ago).

Other characters under Rick’s charge include (but are not limited to) Hershel Greene, who has two daughters, Maggie and Beth. All the other members of Rick’s group are unrelated through birth or marriage (some previous members were killed in older episodes). They have banded together to survive.

One of Rick’s group includes the redneck survivalist character, Daryl Dixon. Daryl has become the show’s most popular character.

Daryl and his older, racist, sexist, violent brother Merle get separated early on in the show. Daryl grew up in his abusive older brother’s shadow. When Daryl was not being ignored as a child, he was being physically and verbally abused by his brother and possibly by his father, when they bothered to pay any attention to him.

In the episode ‘The Suicide King’ (first aired February 10, 2013), Merle re-enters Daryl’s life. Daryl decides to leave Rick’s group to go off alone with his brother again, because Rick refuses to allow Merle to join the group.

Rick tries to talk Daryl into staying (without his brother Merle), but Daryl is still stuck in the idea that flesh and blood ties is what constitutes “family,” or that flesh- and- blood ties should take priority to other sorts of bonds.

The character Glenn, who doesn’t want Daryl to leave the group, tells Daryl that Merle may be “your blood, but not mine.” Glenn explains that the group of survivors, headed by Rick, is his family now, even though Glenn is not related to any of these people through blood ties – and Rick tells Daryl, “you are part of this family.” Daryl still decides to leave with his brother Merle, however.

You can view a video clip of a few moments of that scene, and the actors from the show discussing the concept of “family” in this video clip:

(Link:) (SPOILERS) Inside Episode 309 The Walking Dead: The Suicide King (Video on You Tube)

Rick’s group of survivors have been more of a family to and for Daryl than Daryl’s own flesh and blood relations – despite a few arguments with one or two other group members (such as the late Shane Walsh), the group has treated Daryl with kindness and respect, and they have come to rely on him for protection and defense.

In one of the last few episodes, when Rick falls apart after his wife Lori dies from childbirth, Daryl willingly risks his life to go out in search of baby formula for the newborn.

In yet earlier episodes, Daryl took it upon himself, and puts himself in danger, to go searching alone in a zombie-infested forest for the twelve- year- old daughter of Carol, Sophia, who went missing at one point.

Daryl, despite his racist family of origins, freely and glady, with no prompting from any one, gives up some of his big brother’s antibiotic and painkiller medication to a black group member, “T-Dog,” who was gravely injured.

Remember, none of these people – Carol, the new born child, T-Dog, Rick, Sophia – are Daryl’s flesh and blood family, but he still acts on their behalf anyway.

In another episode, Rick, Glenn, Oscar and Maggie – all of no relation to Daryl – go to the town of Woodbury to rescue Daryl from one of the show’s bad guys, the Governor.

Throughout the series, Daryl has shown himself not to be a racist, sexist jerk like his older brother Merle. He has a difficult time emotionally connecting with other people, but he is, at his core, a decent guy who tries to help other people.

~~~~~~ ASIDE ~~~~~~~~

Before I return to the main theme of this post (which is, ‘who is family’), I wanted to address another issue about this show:

It may resonate with this blog’s particular audience to know that the actor who plays Daryl has said in interviews that in his mind, the character Daryl, who is also in his 40s, is a virgin. The show’s writers have, so far, never given Daryl a love interest or a sex scene – and remember, Daryl is hugely, hugely popular with the show’s viewers.

(Please click on the “read more” link below to read the rest of this post. Thank you.)
Continue reading “What Christians Can Learn from The Walking Dead Re: Family, Singleness, and Marriage”

Ask Amy Advice Column – on using the word “Family”

When secular sources get it wrong – Ask Amy advice column

In a response to a woman who is planning on getting married, advice columnist Ask Amy replies in part:

If you are brave enough to leap into your future by getting married and forming a new family, then you and your fiance should be brave enough to assert yourselves now.

Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I get tired of seeing the word “family” defined as only “married couple” or “married couple with children, or married couple who we will all assume will have children some day.”

Ask Amy is apparently falling into this habit – referring to this bride-to-be and her husband as “forming a new family.” Maybe there’s a case to be made that unmarried people are a “family of one.”

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?

(Please click “read more” to read the rest of this post.)
Continue reading “Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage”

Topics: Friendship is Possible / Sexualization By Culture Of All Relationships

Every so often, the “Ask Amy” advice column can be instructive, or it reflects themes I’ve mentioned on this blog before.

A letter I saw today was one of those times; this is a letter from a married person to “Amy,” who answers letters mailed to the “Ask Amy” column:

DEAR AMY:

  • “Worried Husband” asked if it was OK to have a “secret friendship” with another woman.
  • Friendships help us get through life. One problem with our understanding of marriage is that it should be the “be-all and end-all” relationship. That is simply impossible. It’s this wrong-headed belief that drives us to feel as if we must have “secret” relationships.
  • If we can learn to develop honest and mature relationships with our spouses (and our friends), we avoid the destructive baggage that comes with keeping secrets. Your spouse doesn’t need to know every single thing that you do or say or feel, but she/he does have the right to not be lied to.
  • Secrets, in the sense of this situation, are lies. — Sally

DEAR SALLY:

  • I agree. Thank you.

I happen to agree with the letter writer too.

There is a web site which is about friendship, and if I could recall its URL, I’d give the link, but I don’t recall it at the moment. At any rate, one of the site’s guest writers, or maybe the guy who runs the site, laments how everything in our culture, and all relationships are sexualized to the point people just assume that males and females cannot be, or remain, platonic friends.

If and when every encounter or relationship is assumed to have romantic or sexual undertones, or that it will result in that, it makes many people hesitant to reach out to other people. It makes females hesitant to befriend males, males females, and marrieds reluctant to befriend unmarried people.

I’m not saying this is not a possibility, by the way. Many, many times over the years, I’ve had men mistake my platonic conversations with them as flirting. A lot of men assume if you are talking to them, even about mundane topics such as the weather, they assume you are hot for them and want to sleep with them or at least date them, when those are nowhere near your mind at all.

But then, I take it that this is due to the fact that males have been conditioned by churches and secular culture to view all women as temptresses who want them sexually. (I discuss this farther below.)

The church is not immune from this sort of thinking, either. Even Christians assume a man and a woman cannot be friends, or cannot remain friends for long, without the relationship turning sexual and/or romantic.

What this does is isolate unmarried people even further than they already are. (I’m not the first to pick up on this, of course. If you’ve read other blogs or books by and for unmarried Christian adults, you will see they’ve noticed this as well.)

It’s often assumed by Christian and secular culture that all men are wolves with huge libidos who will prey on a woman sexually if given even the smallest of opportunities. That may be true of some men, or even 80 – 90% of them, but not all.

And I have to wonder, even if the figure is as high as say, 90%, how much is that due to the male gender’s intrinsic biological make-up, or how much of that is due to the fall (sin entering the world via Adam and Eve) and/or how much is due to socialization.

I have to wonder, if you keep repeatedly telling a young male from the time he’s age ten or 12 or 15 on up, that he’s an absolute horn dog who cannot resist sex, and he’s supposed to want sex all the time, if he will then begin to think and feel that way precisely because he’s being conditioned to believe it by his teachers, blogs, parents, churches, etc., and how much is truly innate?

And there again, the disturbing, sick, troubling, ironic thing (in my view) is it is not just secular culture via movies, TV shows, movies, and rap and rock songs telling young males they’re horn dogs who have an insatiable thirst for sex, it’s also the typical preacher, Christian dating advice blogs, and Christian relationship books that do so as well.

So maybe it’s more of a self-fulling prophecy. Maybe a lot of young guys with otherwise average- to- low- sex drives would not have sex outside of marriage, or at least not before a certain age, if they were not hearing the implication all the time from pastors, Christian dating blogs, secular sources, etc, that there is something wrong or weird about them for either not acting on the urges they have, or for not having a huge sex drive to start with.

Anyway, the socialization aspect especially intrigues me because I was just listening to an online interview a while ago by a Christian guy who visits high schools to talk about sexuality with students, and he said there are teen males who don’t want to have sex yet, who don’t feel ready to have sex, who approach him in private after his lectures, to say they feel tremendous pressure to start having sex, but they’d rather not. They are looking to him to give them responses they can give to people to get them to back off with the pressure.

These teen males say to this Christian guest speaker that males in particular are ridiculed or harassed for remaining virgins past a certain age – which I do not doubt.

(By the way, if I were them – it’s nobody’s business as to your sexual status. If you are a 15 year old guy and your friends ask you if you’re still a virgin, and you would rather not answer for whatever reason, then tell them, “that is private and none of your business.” You’re under no obligation to tell people about your sex life, or lack of one.)

As a female, I can say this pressure and ridicule is also true for females, and it has been true over the last 20 or 30 years. Maybe it used to be true up until the 1950s or mid 1960s, that remaining a virgin until marriage was a huge virtue for females, or that it was more expected of females than males, but about the time I was a teen (in the 1980s) that was no longer true.

Girls get picked on and thought of as “nerdy,” unhip, weird, or a loser if they’re still a virgin at age 18, 20, etc. Girls get bombarded constantly with these idiotic messages from secular feminists that having casual sex and viewing porn is “empowering” for them, so they feel expected to have sex.)

The teen males aren’t alone in being made to feel like freaks or kill joys if they’re not sexually active – teen girls and women in their 20s and beyond also get subjected to this pressure, ridicule, disbelief, etc.

These male teens I was discussing a moment ago would prefer to remain virgins, at least for awhile longer, but they don’t know how to fight the taunts and pressure from their peers to cave in and have sex.

From a female vantage point, I get sick and tired of married women, or chicks with BFs (boyfriends), assuming I want to steal their man. I’ve been a “goody two shoes” my whole life – I’d never break apart another couple. I’m actually the last woman you have to worry about trying to steal your sweetie. For a woman to behave as though I’m a potential “home wrekcer” has always been deeply insulting to me. (I probably have better morals than they do – which I say not to brag, but only to point out how hypocritical some people can be.)

Secondly, on the part of the man or the woman (for I’ve had married men assume I can’t wait to bed them, so they must keep their distance from me), I almost never find these men attractive….
(please click the “read more” link to read the rest of this post, thanks.)

Continue reading “Topics: Friendship is Possible / Sexualization By Culture Of All Relationships”

Links about the never ending obsession with why the kids are bailing on church (one stop thread)

(Series of links to pages about declining church membership and/or the Christian faith, particularly among people under the age of 25. I might include links by older / unmarried/ mentally ill people who say they felt alienated by churches and quit, too… On second thought, I might paste some of the testimonies into a new, separate post later.)

I had no plans of making any new posts this evening, but as I was browsing the Christian Post site, I found this:

(Link): Why Are Young People Leaving Religion?

As I find more stories and reports whose authors write about or continue to pass out and faint over people under the age of 30/25 dropping out of church, I’ll add those links to this post; it has been tagged with the phrase “ageism – one stop thread” (located on the right hand side of this blog).

You may want to click that link every so often to see if I’ve added any new links.

I’ve seen many such stories over the past few years but did not think to save links to them.

I’m sorry to beat a dead horse (I talked about this issue here, among other posts), but really, I can’t fathom what all the hand wringing is about over people under the age of 25 leaving church or the faith. Perhaps I should feel concerned, but I don’t. I can’t even fake concern. (click “more” to read the rest of the post…)

Continue reading “Links about the never ending obsession with why the kids are bailing on church (one stop thread)”

America’s Exodus from Marriage (copy)

America’s Exodus from Marriage

source:
commentarymagazine.com/2013/01/17/americas-exodus-from-marriage/

Some excerpts (with a few observations by me below this; click “read more” to read the entire post):

by Peter Wehner
Jan 17, 2013

…This study [“The President’s Marriage Agenda for the Forgotten Sixty Percent,” which is the centerpiece of the latest State of Our Unions report”] focused on the nearly 60 percent of Americans who have completed high school but do not have a four-year college degree.

What we’re seeing is a rapid hollowing out of marriage in Middle America–with 44 percent of the children of moderately-educated mothers born outside of marriage. “We’re at a tipping point with Middle America,” W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading scholar on marriage, told National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, “insofar as Middle Americans are on the verge of losing their connection to marriage.”

We are “witnessing a striking exodus from marriage,” according to the study.
Continue reading “America’s Exodus from Marriage (copy)”

Ageism in the Church – The Insufferable, Obnoxious Fixation on the Under-25s Demographic

One of the themes of this blog is exploring how and why so many American churches and denominations and the Christian community in general either ignore never-married Christians over the age of 30, or treat them like garbage.

On a similar note, I’ve noticed that a lot of American Christians are guilty of ignoring or not caring about the needs or spiritual growth of anyone over 25 years of age.

My mother used to take me to church weekly when I was a child. We moved often, so the older I got, we did not attend churches as often.

I definitely remember feeling welcomed at church at ages 3 to 10. I did not feel like an outsider at a young age. There were Bible stories for us read out of kiddie Bibles, and punch and cookies.

I went to different churches here and there, off and on, in my 20s, but not often enough to pick up a feel of how Christians treated 20 somethings.

I began going to church regularly again when I was in my mid 30s. It was then, walking in to a church alone at 35 or 36, that I felt out of place and peculiar. It was then I began to notice how I was one of the few people sitting alone in the pews. Everyone else was part of a couple.

I further began noticing how most of the sermons or activities were for married couples or pertained to parenting.

I had wondered if I was alone in noticing or feeling these things until a few years ago, I began reading the occasional book about singlehood in Christianity.

The authors of these books confirmed it was not in my imagination, and that a lot of other unmarried Christians past the age of 30 noticed the same things I was.

One of the books I read, Quitting Church, by author Julia Duin, mentioned how churches are alienating not just unmarried people in general, but anyone over the age of 25, and I agree. (Please click the “more” link to read the rest of the post)
Continue reading “Ageism in the Church – The Insufferable, Obnoxious Fixation on the Under-25s Demographic”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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”

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

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

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

Edit. Aug 2014. That URL no longer works, they removed the video. You can still view it here: Video Link, Vimeo

I have no idea what the “607 Experience” is, as I did not watch every single video on the page, but from the one I watched, I gather it is yet some other family-centric event for churches to host for nuclear families (nuclear family = typical 1950s American family consisting of husband, wife, one or two kids).

The male host of the video says he recognizes that some Christians may be worried that his “607 Experience” may make singles or MWKS (married couples without kids / children) feel alienated…

But, he feels this program will still be beneficial to singles and MWKS, since it covers topics like how to pray effectively, or some such.

He’s not the first Christian I’ve seen use this tactic. I’ve seen other Christians or pastors say, “Well, my sermon series on marriage may make the never-married and divorced feel alienated, but you should not feel that way you unmarried people, because you can still find information in this series for use in your life!”

Is that so? Well then, what is the point in billing such series or sermons as “for the family,” or putting “marriage” or “parenting” in the titles of these events? If the material can be applicable to all (such as offering suggestions on how to pray better or some other generic, Christian topic) why not title the event, “How to have a better prayer life”?

My second question and concern is, what does this church or Christian group do for singles specifically? In other words, is there a “608 Experience” that is geared only towards the NMNKs (never- married with no kids), where this same man from the “607” video would tell married with kid couples, “But please, don’t feel alienated you married people! Even though you are married with kids, our service for singles can still be of benefit to you!” If this church (or group) is not devoting equal time to singles, then their “607 Experience” is wrong, wrong, wrong, and yes, it will alienate the unmarried and other individuals who don’t meet the “married with kids” demographic.

Forget married couples with kids – the real danger today is for the unmarried Christian. Screw the Christian married couples; it’s singles who need the church’s help and attention. Even secular society discriminates or ignores singles.

The male host of the video said he simply suggests pastors who host a 607 to “just put the elephant in the room right out there.” Just be up front and tell your never-married and divorced or Married- with- no- kids couples that the service will be devoted to marrieds with kids, he advises.

Wouldn’t that be a little like a white Christian host saying on a video for pastors,
“Our series will only focus on how great white people are, and teach people more about white people,” and then telling the pastor,
“But see, that’s okay, because you’re being up-front with, and transparent about, your prejudice.

Therefore, I’m sure any Black, Hispanic, and Asian Christians in your church will be fine and dandy with being so blatantly excluded YET AGAIN. I mean, surely they must agree that white Christian people are under attack by secular society, so I’m sure they’ll be okay and so very understanding with the needs and problems of Asian, Black, and Hispanic Christians being shoved aside, YET AGAIN.”

I swear to goodness the American church is almost completely oblivious to how badly they are excluding people (specifically, never- married people over 35 years old, the divorced, people with no kids, and the elderly) and giving Christianity a black eye to so many people, with the continual insistence upon the self-serving fixation on “marriage and parenting, marriage and parenting, marriage and parenting” mantra.
———————
Related posts this blog:

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

Pastor Kerry Shook’s Marriage-centric Sermons

Pastor Kerry Shook is pastor of a church in The Woodlands, Texas, and he has a weekly television series. He seems like a genuinely nice guy.

I have watched most of Shook’s television shows over the last few years. It seems that about 90% of his sermons pertain to marriage and how to have a better marriage.

In tonight’s episode, the topic is once again about relationships. Shook used the word “relationship” in the sermon a lot, and the sermon stops to show a segment where a middle aged man is interviewed about his relationship with his elderly father.

However, the rest of the show, the word “marriage” is specifically used several times.

Again, Shook seems like a genuinely nice guy, but many of his sermons revolve around marriage, such as sermons about how to be a better spouse, or how to understand your spouse better.

I have yet to hear Shook give a sermon to the people in his audience who are 40 years old or older and who have never married. Heck, I have not even so far heard the guy give a sermon devoted entirely to singleness for any age group, for those over or under 40 years of age.

I don’t think these pastors, and lay persons in churches, realize just how much they ostracize never-married Christians and make them feel excluded. The non-stop emphasis on marriage (and parenting) is totally alienating and off-putting to never-married people who don’t have kids.
————————–
Related posts this blog:

(Link): The World Does Not Need More Marriage Sermons – They Don’t Stop Divorce or Get People Married

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

(Link): Kerry Shook Devotes Yet *Another* Show / Sermon to Marriage

(Link): Kerry Shook Sermonizes on Marriage AGAIN (don’t let your flame die down sermon)

(Link): Kerry Shook ‘Shark Weakness’ – yet another marriage sermon

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

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

———————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How TV Killed the Republican Party’s Family Values

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

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

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

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

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”

Married Pervy 50+ Year Old Pastor Diddles 16 Year Old Kid

Married Pervy 50+ Year Old Pastor (Jack Schaap ) Diddles 16 Year Old Kid – Married Christians Not More Mature or Sexually Pure than Un-Married Christians

 Below is a link to a story about a 50-something preacher, Jack Schaap, who was carrying on a sexual affair with a teen aged girl from his congregation.

A lot of Christians like to tell un-married Christians that un-married Christians are not as mature or responsible as married people are.

Even if you are age 40 or older, a lot of married Christians assume you, a Christian single, have the maturity or life experience of a typical 15 year old kid. 

 A lot of preachers assume that un married Christians have raging hormones and have a different sex partner every night of the month. They never seem to figure out that marriage does not make people immune from engaging in sexual sin.

Married people are not always immune from immature behavior or selfishness, either. 

This originally comes from 

http://www.singlemind.net/?p=7281

Preacher Jack Schaap–pastor of FBC Hammond Admits To Having Sex with Teen Girl Repeatedly

Jack Schaap–pastor of FBC Hammond, IN–was fired after admitting to an affair with a 16-year-old girl.

Being a megachurch pastor, he probably qualifies as an Alpha, and power does tend to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

But still…he is married, and has almost 40 years on the girl with whom he was fornicating. 

Oh, and he has written books on dating

This entry was posted on Friday, August 3rd, 2012 

This same pervy pastor also made this disgusting video, where he simulated masturbation from the pulpit, in front of people, including kids: 

(Link): Jack Schaap demonstrates how to polish a shaft 

Marriage does NOT make a person more mature or sexually pure than an un-married person, as that video and news story demonstrate. 

Never Married 38 Year Old Christian Guy Wants to Know Why Churches Treat Him Like a Freak

Click the “more” link below to read the rest of the post

I totally related to this guy’s question. A guy calling himself “John” wrote in to the Christian television show “The 700 Club” and asked the hosts a question about why, as a 38- year- old, never- married man, so many churches have rejected him (or left him feeling rejected).

I’m just a few years older than John is, though I am a woman. I have never been married, but I wanted to be. I don’t know why I’m not married.

I have to disagree with host Pat Robertson’s reply – Robertson tells the guy, John, that the rejection is all in his head and that churches do not “reject” older singles. WRONG!

The letter writer, John, may not be “rejected” per se by churches, but most churches, and many Christians, do treat single or never- married Christians over the age of 35 and 40 differently – and that in a negative fashion.

We older, never married (single) Christians are either ignored by churches, or most Christians and churches assume that everyone over 25 years old is married with kids, or, they assume if you’re 40, you have been divorced at some stage – (wrong again, I’ve never been married).

Some Christians (the married ones) let loose with the gossip and slander against the older singles…. they assume if you’re over 35 and never married, you are some how “flawed,” a weirdo, or homosexual (none of that is true, either).

Here is a partial transcript from today’s show:
Continue reading “Never Married 38 Year Old Christian Guy Wants to Know Why Churches Treat Him Like a Freak”

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”