A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood (article) – how Christian teachings on gender and singlehood contribute to raunch culture and fornication etc

A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood (article) – how Christian teachings on gender and singlehood contribute to raunch culture and fornication etc

This was actually a decent editorial – usually Christian blogs and magazines publish naive or insulting dreck about singleness and women. This editorial points out many of the flaws in Christian teachings and attitudes on singleness, marriage, sexuality, etc.

It also manages to weave into the discussion how Christian teachings about gender roles, women, sexuality, dating, marriage, adulthood, singleness, etc, contribute to societal issues such as fornication and so on.

(Link): A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood

    The dialogue we missed about Miley Cyrus and coming of age.

by Tish Harrison Warren, guest writer

In the overblown bluster about Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance, we neglected a crucial discussion about growing up female in our culture.

CNN highlighted the point Cyrus was trying to make, declaring that “she is, after all, no longer the teen Disney star she once was.”

Her performance was a public pronouncement of her coming-of-age. We’ve seen this before: A young, seemingly innocent star throws off the yoke of childhood naiveté and announces her adult identity in a display of sex appeal and ebullient debauchery. It’s become a predictable script.

That’s why this article is not about Miley Cyrus, Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, or any ingénue du jour.

I’m interested instead in what leads Miley Cyrus or the midriff-baring girl up the street to believe that in order to prove her adulthood, she must become an object of male sexual consumption. And I’m interested in how the church can offer her an alternative.

The widespread agreement that Cyrus’s willingness to be objectified marks her attempt to assume the mantle of womanhood indicates a deep problem with the way we define female adulthood.

Obviously and unavoidably, part of becoming an adult woman has to do with female embodiment and sexuality. We gain the ability to reproduce with all the excitement, responsibility, and monthly annoyance that entails. But biology is not enough to indicate adulthood in our culture. Miley Cyrus had a post-pubescent body long before the VMAs.

In order to be seen as an empowered adult in our contemporary society, we can’t just be mature sexual beings; we must be sexually available. As females, we often demonstrate adulthood by using our sexuality in ways that invite, in fact that practically beg for, the male gaze.

It is a sort of post-sexual revolution version of the debutante coming out.

Some factions in feminism even point to this kind of overt rejection of sexual boundaries or morals as an act of empowerment. I am woman, watch me twerk.

Unfortunately, defining adulthood through sex or sexual activity is not limited to secular culture but has also affected the church. We imbibe these broader messages about how girls come of age, but if our church culture does not provide an alternative way to come of age outside of marriage, young women who remain celibate and unmarried struggle to understand themselves and be understood as fully women and fully adult. Young women in our culture use overt sexual allure and sexuality to show that we aren’t kids anymore.

The church instead must offer another way to attest to our adult womanhood.

If we do not, when we encourage young women to remain chaste and value modesty, it will inadvertently be a message of juvenilization–to remain good “little girls.”

In order for celibate adults to be acknowledged as adults in evangelical churches, our understanding of adulthood needs to be clarified and decoupled from sexual activity or marital status.

Right after I graduated from college, a much-trusted older single woman said to me, “You keep referring to yourself as a girl. You need to refer to yourself, and anyone else your age, as a woman.” (I’m still amazed how often women in church, particularly women in their 20s, are referred to as “girls.”)

Soon after that, another older friend approached me worried that a middle-aged man in our church was flirting with me. I was floored.

It never occurred to me that this man might be romantically interested. He was clearly a grown-up, and I didn’t think of myself as one.

I didn’t exactly think of myself as a youth anymore, but neither did I see myself as a proper, official “Adult Woman.”

I told her as much, and she replied that I was in fact an adult and that it was high time I owned that identity.

She was right. I was 22 and clearly an adult. But I had grown up in an evangelical culture that closely associates being an adult with being married.

I was at that point an unmarried virgin, so through the eyes of both pop culture and evangelical culture, I saw myself as somehow less than a fully adult woman.

Thankfully, I had these individual conversations that challenged me to inhabit an adult identity. But for those who don’t, we have no ecclesial, communal way to initiate single Christian young people into adulthood.

Consequently, I know single women in their 30s who feel marginalized by the narratives of Christian womanhood. They don’t fit in with amped up, youth-group-like singles groups, but they feel alienated by their adulthood-as-marriage church culture.

To some extent, in liturgical traditions like mine, the historic practice of confirmation might serve in part as a coming of age celebration, affirming that a child has grown into his or her own person of faith and commissioning the young into a life of mature discipleship.

However, in order for confirmation to actually be significant as a rite of passage, we must recover a theological and communal vision for the practice.

Perhaps we evangelicals need to consider making this tradition a bigger deal, a significant celebration and achievement.

I have a priest friend who leads confirmation and often finds the ritual can be rote and meaningless for families, even a sort of “graduation” from church.

Lower church traditions don’t have any practice wherein young adults publicly appropriate the Christian faith as their own (outside of baptism, which even in Baptist circles many do as young children).

To truly initiate the young into adulthood in the church, we need a practice that’s rigorous and profound, that calls people to be mature, articulate, faithful believers in Christ, that challenges them to take on the responsibility and joy of being adult leaders and culture shapers, and that is a real communal celebration (with good food and champagne toasts.)

Historically, confirmation provides space for people to own the faith for themselves and to more fully walk in the Holy Spirit as they commit themselves to serve the church.

After our eldest daughter was baptized, we had a big party. Our friend who is an organic caterer and another friend who was a pastry chef pitched in to make it one of the happiest, most beautiful days of my life (with some of the best food). A friend in attendance said, “Man, this is better than a wedding.”

Unlike baptism, confirmation is not a sacrament and does not have the theological import thereof. But if we want our young women to feel valued, welcomed into adulthood, and affirmed as strong, independent women without having to reject modesty and chastity or twerk with Robin Thicke, then we need meaningful, communal rites of passage.

Maybe celebrating confirmation like we mean it is a step in that direction.

When my daughters come of age, I want them to refer to themselves and to truly know themselves no longer as girls but as women, not because they’ve achieved the male gaze or even because they’re married, but because the people of God, as a community, have called them women. And not just women, but women of the church, sealed in the Holy Spirit, with gifts, strength, and worth as members of and contributors to the bride and body of Christ.

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Related posts this blog:

(Link): On Miley Cyrus Being Sexual at 2013 VMAs – Hypocrisy of Secular Feminists

(Link): How Christian Teaching on Gender Roles and Sex Can Mess People Up in Adulthood (from Wine and Marble blog, post by a former Christian guy)

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

(Link):  An Example of Mocking Adult Virginity Via Twitter (Virginity Used As Insult)

(Link): Atlantic: “The case for abandoning the myth that ‘women aren’t visual.’”

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

(Link): Ryan Gosling and Shirtless, Buff Cowboy Photos on Social Media – Yes, Christian Women Are Visually Stimulated and Visually Oriented (Part 2)

(Link): How (Married) Christians and Christian Teachings About Dating/Marriage Are Keeping Single Christians Single Part 1

(Link): Superman, Man Candy -and- Christian Women Are Visual And Enjoy Looking At Built, Hot, Sexy Men

(Link): Online Dating: Women Want Younger Men (article)

(Link): Women Are Visually Oriented Too – Reminder 1

(Link): Women Are Visual And Like Hot Looking Men (Part 1) Joseph in Genesis Was A Stud Muffin

(Link): The Annoying, Weird, Sexist Preoccupation by Christian Males with Female Looks and Sexuality

(Link): Article: Scientists: Why penis size does matter [to women]

(Link): Married Women Engage in Sexual Sin – and most men in denial particularly Christian conservatives

(Link): More ‘Men Are Visual’ Baloney, Discussed at Another Blog

(Link): Conservative Christian Sexist Immature Imbecilic Pressure on Women to Look Pretty and Skinny and to Put Out Sexually

Focus on the Family advice columnist perpetuates stereotypes about single women

Focus on the Family advice columnist perpetuates stereotypes about single women

I left a comment on this page, but it’s in moderation, and I do not know if it will be slated for approval.

This page doles out the negative stereotype to insecure married women that they should not allow their husbands to befriend unmarried women, because that’s “dangerous.”

Because, you know, all of us single women who meet a rotund, balding, dowdy, middle aged married man for lunch at Chili’s during a work day are dying to get into his pants. 🙄

Because we’re horny, unscrupulous harlots like that. 🙄

Oh no, we single ladies who meet with married co workers for lunch don’t actually care about just being friends and chit chatting, or eating the fried mozarella sticks, we want to run our fingers through the few strands of wispy hair left on the married co worker guy’s head. 🙄 Only in the world of insecure married women and conservative Christians.

Married, insecure women: you gotta be suspicious of any and all unmarried women, they all want to go to bed with your husband! Single women are sluts with no morals, and married men are all horn dogs who think with their penises, who cannot resist a sexual come on should they receive one.

Send all unmarried women off to a walled village on a remote island to remove all temptation for married men! Who cares if single adult women are lonely and need friendship too? Treat them as though they are the problem and wall them off, by golly.

By the way, it ain’t single ladies you gotta look out for, it’s the married ones who are screwing around with married and single men:
(Link): New Study Released: Cheaters: More American Married Women Admit to Adultery (links)

Here is the odious page that perpetuates the stereotype the single women are harlots who seek out married guys for affairs:

(Link): FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: HUSBAND’S FRIENDSHIP WITH WOMAN COULD HARM MARRIAGE

Here’s the summary of the letter: a married woman writes in to the Focus on the Family advice columnist, a Mr. Jim Daly, to say her husband has been meeting regularly, alone, with an unmarried female coworker for lunch. Should she be concerned – because she says she sure is.

Daly replies (this is an excerpt, not the full reply):

    Your concerns are warranted. Your husband may genuinely feel sorry for his co-worker and have a desire to make her feel welcome at the office.

    But consistent one-on-one time with her is not a healthy idea. Most people who fall into extramarital affairs didn’t set out to do so. Rather, the illicit relationship began on innocent terms.

    There are always compelling reasons to be cautious about opposite-sex friendships outside of one’s spouse. Before you were married, you may have had lots of friends of the opposite sex, but things are different now. Once you say, “I do,” your bond with your spouse takes priority over every other relationship.

Here is the comment I left on their page, but I have no idea if it will be printed or not (it contains some typeos):

    Regarding the first letter and its response: this is what is wrong with Christian teaching on marriage, the genders, and relationships, and it unfairly isolates unmarried women. Single women are often viewed as “threats” by married Christian men and women, but they are not. 

    Why is the letter writer afraid of her husband eating alone with a single (as in an unmarried) woman, alone as in, they are probably eating at the same table in a restaurant daily? Men and women, even married ones, can be platonic friends. Unmarried women should not be cut off from social support just because of Christian gender stereotypes, paranoia over sexual issues [e.g, possibility of adultery], and due to married women’s insecurities.

    Recent news stories point out that more married women are instigating affairs these days, and sometimes with married men – it’s married people who are cheating on each other with other married people, it is not unmarried women seeking out married men to have affairs.

    This comment from the reply is patently false and un-biblical:

      ‘Once you say, “I do,” your bond with your spouse takes priority over every other relationship.’

    That is wrong. Jesus says in the Bible that you are to be inclusive of every one, that if you put spouse, brother, mother, sister, son or daughter before Him and fellow believers in Him, even if you are not married to them or related by flesh and blood, Christ [says] that you are not worthy to be His follower. 

    Why? Because Jesus knew that some believers have a propensity to put “family” and “marriage” before helping *spiritual* brothers and sisters in Christ – leaving many childless widows, never married and divorced adults, with no social net, no community, and no support. Jesus was seeking to eliminate this problem, but ‘Focus on the Family,’ their mouth pieces, and other conservative Christian groups are seeking to maintain it.

    This means married men can and should befriend single women – teaching married couples that single women are “dangerous,” or some kind of temptation, is deeply insulting to single women, and it needlessly excludes them from much needed socialization, support, and community.

    Most churches are so fixated on marriage and parenting that they ignore never married, childless adults over the age of 30 (and we comprise almost half the American population). 

    Single women have no where to turn for help or support or friendship, and census data show that up to 45% of the adult population is single these days. Many of us do not have aunts, uncles, friends, spouses, brothers or sisters we can turn to.

    I am in my early 40s and still a virgin because I have never married. I have often encountered married men (and sometimes single men) who mistaken my platonic overtures at chit chat as flirting, and they sharply tell me they are married or seeing someone, as though I am a temptress who was trying to get them in the sack by a simple “hello, how are you” greeting. I would never break up a marriage. I would never sleep with a married man, so I find it very insulting that a lot of men just assume a simple “hello” means I want to have sex with them. 

    Also, a lot of these married men are egotistical: I am a very attractive female, but they, (these married men who mistake my polite chit chat as come ons), are typically repulsive looking, fat, ugly, etc. I would not sleep with them even if I were that kind of woman, and they were the last man on earth. 

    A lot of married women need to keep that in mind too: your husband ain’t all that hot looking, so stop assuming every unmarried women who strikes up a conversation with him, or who has lunch with him during the work day, wants to bed him. You can keep your beer gutted, toothless, balding, middle aged husband. We don’t want him, not like that, not in a sexual way.

    By the way, sexual self control is possible, but if Christians keep maintaining these rigid stereotypes, as they often do, that all single women are Jezebel harlots who want to sleep around, and that only men like and want sex, and that men think of nothing else, and they can’t help themselves around unmarried women, you are perpetuating some of the very issues Christians complain about (divorce, porn usage, fornication, etc).

    If you need more understanding of this topic, and how these sorts of stereotypes against single women (advice such as, “Oh no, married men should not eat lunch with unmarried women”) are damaging to singles and the Christian community at large, and how it is un-biblical, please read a copy of the book “Singled Out” by Christian authors Field and Colon.

    BTW, Focus on the Family does not truly care about marriage or family, their name is a misnomer. If Focus on the Family really cared about marriage, they would be taking steps to help the largest group of unmarried Christian adults get married: single Christian women over the ages of 30, 40, and older, and they would stop obsessing over the already-married, or over the 20- something singles. As it stands now, FOTF does nothing to help older singles, not to get married, and not with anything else.

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Previous posts, this blog:

(Link): Focus on the Family having financial problems – aw, too bad (not!)

(Link): Good Grief! Five Million Dollar Family Idoltary on Display: Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills – Please, when you say you support marriage, be honest about what you REALLY mean

(Link): Married Youth Pastor Father of Four Caught Raping and Molesting Several Little Boys claims the molesting kept the boys sexually pure and cures them of homosexuality

(Link): Focus on Family spokesperson, Stanton, actually says reason people should marry is for ‘church growth’

(Link): Fatherhood Not Quite the Producer of Manly, Mature, Godly Men Some Conservative Christians Make It Out To Be (married man fantasized about murdering, eating women)

(Link): Apparently Marriage and Parenting Turns Adults Into Incestuous Child Rapists

(Link): Married Christian Preacher Men are Drug Addicts and Thieves

(Link): Motherhood Makes Women Selfish and Thieves

(Link): (Married) Pastor Busted in Prostitution Sting – If Married Sex So Great Why Do So Many Married Christian Men Have Affairs

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

(Link): Married Christians Defending Married Male Preacher Caught in Sexual Sin – Re TBN Paul Crouch / Jimmy Swaggart 1988 Broadcast

(Link): Married Christians Who Were Arrested for Rape, Attempted Murder, or Other Crimes – more examples

(Link): Married Church Pianist Found Guilty of Repeatedly Raping Little Girl Over Four Years

(Link): Married Christian Expert on Child Spirituality Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Porn

(Link): Married Preacher and Father of Five (Geronimo Aguilar) In Trouble Over Multiple Affairs and Sex with Kids

(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): Lousy 40 Year Marriage – Husband Cheats on Wife for Decades

(Link): Married Woman Has Affair With Married Man While Her Own Husband Deals With Cancer Stricken Parents

(Link): Porn Usage Stats Among Christians 2013 (article)

Good Grief! Five Million Dollar Family Idoltary on Display: Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills – Please, when you say you support marriage, be honest about what you REALLY mean

Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills – Please, when you say you support marriage, be honest about it

MORE OF THE SAME

Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

News headline:
“Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills”

LOL! Yes, because NOT “targeting the family” and NOT ranting against social ills has led to all the fornication, divorce, and porn use among Christians today! LOL! Are these people from Mars or what?

The ONLY thing most right wing Christians (and I am right wing too) have done the past several decades is complain, bitch, and moan about biblical ethics going down the crapper.

They are forever complaining, bitching, sermonizing and blogging against the rise of single mommy households, the supposed evils of feminism, the delay of marriage, climbing divorce rates, their supposed (note: it’s supposed; they don’t really care) horror at fornication, but all this lambasting of the evils of culture has done nada, zero, zippo to halt any of it.

Why do they think more of the same, and in the form of a multi- million dollar movie, will change anything?

WHEN YOU (you = conservative Christians, preachers, Focus on the Family, etc) SAY YOU ‘SUPPORT MARRIAGE,’ PLEASE, LET’S GET HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU -REALLY- MEAN BY “YOU SUPPORT MARRIAGE”

Then you have these thousands of Christian single women ages 30, 40, and older who would simply adore having a spouse, they can’t find one, and the church and these para- church, or concern groups such as “Focus on the Family,” do jack squat to help them get married.

Apparently, when these conservative Christians say they care deeply about marriage, these “Focus on the Family” sorts really mean they only care about getting 20 somethings married.

Anyone past age 30 can go take a long walk off a short pier in these marriage discussions.

Please be honest about it, Focus on the Family leaders and preachers of America, by what you really mean about ‘caring about marriage.’ You mean you care about 20-somethings getting married. You don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone past the age of 29.

As a never married 40 something, yes, I really need a five million dollar movie about societal ills like I need a hole in the head! That will surely bring Mr. Right my way, good going, para church group! 🙄

Some guy in this interview, John Shepherd, says that family is the “building block of society.” The guy did not provide a Bible citation to back this assertion.

In what sermon did Jesus say that the nuclear family was the building block of society?

Where did Peter, Luke, Paul or other New Testament writers make that claim? The Bible made the opposite claim: the Bible teaches that the spiritual family, that is, anyone who believes in Jesus, was to take precedence over blood ties (the nuclear family).

(Link): Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills

    BY TYLER O’NEIL, CP CONTRIBUTOR
    September 6, 2013|5:27 pm

    Focus on the Family is launching a new $5 million documentary film and curriculum project to bolster families across the world and address social ills like homelessness, gang violence and assault.

    “In America, there is one divorce every 13 seconds,” according to a video released by Focus on the Family (FOTF) announcing the organization’s new initiative, aptly named “The Family Project.”

    The promotional video flashes through news headlines that report on increasing rates of divorce and the effect fatherlessness has on children – higher risk of suicide, teen pregnancy and gang membership.

    On the video, the FOTF president announces that The Family Project is set to include a feature film, “a documentary that lifts up God’s design for the family” and presents the biblical view as the best family structure – a goal to aspire toward.

    “When you watch the news and read the headlines, it’s easy to despair,” explained Jim Daly, president of FOTF. Nevertheless, he calls for hope to stem from the Christian community. Daly summarized John 16:33, where Jesus says there will be trouble in this world, but adds: “I have overcome the world.”

    John Shepherd, president of Mpower Pictures, the company that will produce the film along with FOTF, explained that family is the “basic building block of society.” Shepherd said the project aims to “empower not only the artists, but also the audience to make positive change in the culture.”

    One of the news reports at the beginning of the video lists robbery, sexual abuse and assault as being on the rise, and includes a woman explaining the gang mentality. “If you want to be a man, this is what you do. You kill other people, you join a gang, you get somebody pregnant.”

    These social problems, the film suggests, tie back to the lack of fathers.

    Only God’s plan for the family can answer the mindset of gang culture, Daly argued.

    “We want to recast a vision for family,” he said, noting that the the project, expected to cost $5 million, includes the cost for the film and for a multimedia curriculum to “guide people through the understanding of why God designed family the way that he did.”

    Tim Sisarich, the host of The Family Project, also affirms his belief that God’s grace and truth, no matter what a family’s circumstances might be, can inspire hope again. “We know an architect who can bring us back to the original design for family,” he said. “If we have to go to the ends of the earth to bring this truth to light, then let’s do it.”

    The project was announced Thursday and is expected to take more than a year to complete. Filming for the documentary began in March and will finish this month, with a release coming to theaters in late spring 2014. The multimedia curriculum will release in mid-summer, and an online training program will launch next winter.

    According to its website, FOTF plans to partner with churches in order to achieve three goals: “Truly understand the significance of God’s great plan for humanity through families, Live with purpose and an eternal perspective, and Model God’s redemptive design for family to their neighbors, peers, coworkers, and ultimately, their culture.”

Do the people who make up Focus on the Family not have Matthew Chapter Ten in their Bibles?

Matthew Chapter Ten

Jesus Christ, one of the main founders of Christianity, speaking:

    34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    35 For I have come to turn

    “‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
    36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

    37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

Hmm. Where in any of that did Jesus say His big priority was on protecting the American traditional family unit? Where did Jesus say His big plan for fighting gang culture or divorce, homosexuality, war, or whatever else, was focusing on the nuclear family?

And where do singles fit into any of this? Why do these Focus on the Family weenies not feel that society cannot be healed or helped via the un-married? Do families play the role of the Holy Spirit?

Can the Holy Spirit not work through singles? Does the Holy Spirit not gift singles for ministry, only married couples? Where is that heresy taught in Scripture?

‘Focus on the Family’ members need to take the traditional family off the altar they have placed it on. God says you are to have no other gods before Him, but they have put “family” before God.

If you visit the Focus on the Family site right now, there is a big green donation button where they are asking for donations, I believe for this movie/project.

The link leads (Link): to this page at their site. Excerpt from that page:

    (From Focus on the Family web site)

    Why does the world need families?

    This won’t be news to you.

    Our culture today is a confusing mix of wildly differing views on family . . . what a family is and why — or even if — it matters.

    Family is a revelation of God.

    God’s Word tells us that family does matter, of course. But we haven’t fully appreciated or understood why it matters. He designed the family. It’s His gift to us. And He intends it to be a platform for transformation in our world.

And singles do not matter? God cannot or will not “transform” the world through singles or the childless? Where does the Bible teach any of that (hint: no where; it’s not biblical).

Again (Link): from that page:

    (From Focus on the Family Web Site, on page asking for five million dollars in donation for film project, a film to promote families)

    How can you be involved?

    As a trusted partner in this family ministry, you’ve already demonstrated how deeply you care about the future of traditional marriage . . . about equipping moms and dads to raise kids who serve the Lord . . . and about keeping homes centered on His Son, Jesus Christ.

    That’s why today we’re asking you to support The Family Project financially. We’re seeking $5 million to underwrite development, distribution and marketing costs.

    Why do families work? Because God himself designed them. Thriving families will lead to thriving communities. And thriving communities will transform the world. People will find purpose, joy and redemption. And generation after generation will create a positive legacy.

God designed singles and singlehood, too.
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Related posts this blog

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

(Link): Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

(Link): The Way We Never Were (book – Family Idol)

(Link): Focus on Family spokesperson, Stanton, actually says reason people should marry is for ‘church growth’

(Link): (Link): The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

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

(Link): Christians and Churches Discriminate Against Unmarried People / Singles

(Link): A Critique of the Family-Integrated Church Movement by Brian Borgman – Christians turning the family into an idol

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

(Link): Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols

The Way We Never Were (book – Family Idol)

The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz (Author)

Someone on the Jesus Creed blog mentioned the book “The Way We Never Were.”

(Link): BOOK REVIEW : Skewering Myths About the Family : THE WAY WE NEVER WERE: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz

Review is from 1992, by CONSTANCE CASEY. Excerpts:

    American families have changed in the last 20 years–nearly half of all families with children have both parents working–and our anxiety about change is no delusion.

    There has certainly been some decay in values recently. As Coontz tartly observes, “Twenty-five percent of the people polled in a recent national inquiry into American morality said that for $10 million they would abandon their entire family; a large number of people are evidently willing to do the same thing for free.”

    Coontz believes that what we’re experiencing now, however, is not so much the family’s dissolution as “an erosion of commitment to social obligations in general, and to children in particular.” Furthermore, things weren’t all that great before.

    Chapter by chapter, Coontz takes on the myths. Divorce may end many marriages now, but largely because of high mortality rates, the average length of marriage in Colonial times was less than 12 years.

    The “Life With Father” Victorian family–in which men were the breadwinners and women the domestic angels–owed its existence to the fact that other families were poor. Middle-class women had time to spend with their children because they employed laundresses and maids and cooks. Often these German or Welsh or Irish immigrant servant “girls” really were girls, as young as 11.

    While 20% of American children today are poor, she writes, “At the turn of the century the same proportion lived in orphanages, not because they actually lacked both parents, but because one or both parents simply could not afford their keep.”

    Coontz’s take on the Golden Age of the family–Ward and June, Ozzie and Harriet–is not brand new, but worth restating. “The apparently stable families of the 1950s were the result of an economic boom–the gross national product grew by nearly 250% and per capita income by 35%.” Most important, there was steady employment for the Ward Cleavers of America.

    Ozzie never came home with a pink slip and never applied for welfare. But the Nelsons and the Cleavers were generously underwritten by the federal government. Because of the extraordinary boom, the feds could afford to be generous with everything from education money to housing loans and highway construction.

    Part of the mythology of the Golden Age was that only morally deficient families required government help. As refutation, Coontz provides a wonderfully specific example–Phil Gramm, senator from Texas and staunch opponent of government handouts: “Born in Georgia in 1942, to a father who was living on a federal veterans disability pension, Gramm attended a publicly funded university on a grant paid for by the federal War Orphans Act. His graduate work was financed by a National Defense Education Act fellowship, and his first job was at Texas A & M University, a federal land-grant institution.”

    Coontz makes it hard for us to blame the usual suspects for family decay–those negligent working mothers and those immoral teen-age girls. She demonstrates that most of the family problems associated with working women rise from “the inadequate and incomplete integration of women into productive work.” And she charges that, “The image of teen-age girls having babies to receive welfare checks is an emotion-laden but fraudulent cliche.” If welfare benefits cause teen pregnancy, “why is it that other industrial countries, with far more generous support policies for women and children, have far lower rates of teen pregnancy?” (Incidentally, the highest rate of teen-age childbearing in 20th-Century America was in 1957.)

    “Children do best,” Coontz concludes, “in societies where child-rearing is considered too important to be left entirely to parents.” In order to be elected these days, candidates have to demonstrate that they care deeply about their own children. We should demand that they also care about other people’s children.

Info on the book:

    The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families. Placing current family dilemmas in the context of far-reaching economic, political, and demographic changes, Coontz sheds new light on such contemporary concerns as parenting, privacy, love, the division of labor along gender lines, the black family, feminism, and sexual practice.

And:

    Did you ever wonder about the historical accuracy of those “traditional family values” touted in the heated arguments that insist our cultural ills can be remedied by their return?

    Of course, myth is rooted in fact, and certain phenomena of the 1950s generated the Ozzie and Harriet icon. The decade proved profamily–the birthrate rose dramatically; social problems that nag–gangs, drugs, violence–weren’t even on the horizon.

    Affluence had become almost a right; the middle class was growing. “In fact,” writes Coontz, “the ‘traditional’ family of the 1950s was a qualitatively new phenomenon. At the end of the 1940s, all the trends characterizing the rest of the twentieth century suddenly reversed themselves.”

    This clear-eyed, bracing, and exhaustively researched study of American families and the nostalgia trap proves–beyond the shadow of a doubt–that Leave It to Beaver was not a documentary.

    Gender, too, is always on Coontz’s mind. In the third chapter (“My Mother Was a Saint”), she offers an analysis of the contradictions and chasms inherent in the “traditional” division of labor.

    She reveals, next, how rarely the family exhibited economic and emotional self-reliance, suggesting that the shift from community to nuclear family was not healthy.

    Coontz combines a clear prose style with bold assertions, backed up by an astonishing fleet of researched, myth-skewing facts.

    The 88 pages of endnotes dramatize both her commitment to and deep knowledge of the subject. Brilliant, beautifully organized, iconoclastic, and (relentlessly) informative The Way We Never Were breathes fresh air into a too often suffocatingly “hot” and agenda-sullied subject.

    In the penultimate chapter, for example, a crisp reframing of the myth of black-family collapse leads to a reinterpretation of the “family crisis” in general, putting it in the larger context of social, economic, and political ills.

    The book began in response to the urgent questions about the family crisis posed her by nonacademic audiences. Attempting neither to defend “tradition” in the era of family collapse, nor to liberate society from its constraints, Coontz instead cuts through the kind of sentimental, ahistorical thinking that has created unrealistic expectations of the ideal family.

    “I show how these myths distort the diverse experiences of other groups in America,” Coontz writes, “and argue that they don’t even describe most white, middle-class families accurately.” The bold truth of history after all is that “there is no one family form that has ever protected people from poverty or social disruption, and no traditional arrangement that provides a workable model for how we might organize family relations in the modern world.”

    Some of America’s most precious myths are not only precarious, but down right perverted, and we would be fools to ignore Stephanie Coontz’s clarion call. –Hollis Giammatteo

    From Publishers Weekly

    The golden age of the American family never existed, asserts Coontz ( The Social Origns of Private Life ) in a wonderfully perceptive, myth-debunking report. The “Leave It to Beaver” ideal of breadwinner father, full-time homemaker mother and dependent children was a fiction of the 1950s, she shows.

    Real families of that period were rife with conflict, repression and anxiety, frequently poor and much less idyllic than many assume; teen pregnancy rates in the ’50s were higher than today.

    Further, Coontz contends, the nuclear family was elevated to a central source of personal satisfaction only in the late 19th century, thereby weakening people’s community ties and sense of civic obligation.

    Coontz disputes the idea that children can be raised properly only in traditional families. Viewing modern domestic problems as symptoms of a much larger socioeconomic crisis, she demonstrates that no single type of household has ever protected Americans from social disruption or poverty.

    An important contribution to the current debate on family values.

Christian Post interview with T D Jakes: Family, Family, Family

Christian Post interview with T D Jakes: Family, Family, Family

They even managed to work the word “family” into the heading:

(Link): Interview: T.D. Jakes on Faith, Family and the Scripture He Turns to in Difficult Times

A few quotes from the article (with emphasis added by me in bold) -notice how often motherhood, fatherhood, and “family” is mentioned, but when mentioned, they are not referring to “family of God,” but to the “traditional family,” comprised of flesh and blood relatives:

    BY MELISSA BARNHART, CP REPORTER

    DALLAS, Texas— Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House and CEO of MegaFest 2013 spoke with The Christian Post at the kickoff of the three-day inspirational festival about the importance of having a personal relationship with God. Jakes also explained why adults need to step up and set the example of making their Christian faith the foundation for the family to depend on through all of life’s tragedies and disagreements.

    [Interviewer Question]
    … Why is it important to have a Christ-centered family? With the millions of children who are being raised in fatherless homes, why is it important for an adult in the family to step up and teach the younger generations how to establish a strong faith in Jesus Christ?

    Jakes:
    I think that Christianity for the Christian family becomes the ideal to which we aspire. And we grumble with the realities of being human, and having human children, and human relatives and human friends. And those are realities that we can’t totally divorce ourselves from, but if we don’t have a common ideal, then there’s no cohesiveness to which we can galvanize a family and build your life around.

So, once more, the picture I get from reading what Christians have to say about Christianity may lead one to think one has to be married and have children – be in a “family” (ie, nuclear family) – to be a real Christian or to experience Christianity. If so, that would mean that myself and a hella lot of other people do not qualify.

Knock it off with the all the family talk, preachers and Christians. There are never married, childless adults in America too, as well as widowers and divorced people. The reason a big chunk of Christians are no longer attending churches anymore is because they are single and/or childless and cannot cope with yet another sermon on marriage or kids. You want your church membership rolls to increase? Start paying attention to adult singles and their needs.
————————
Related posts, this blog

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols

(Link): American Christians Idolize Motherhood – Mommy Rhapsody

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Un Happy Mother’s Day – universal church continues to worship parenthood, family

(Link): Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

(Link): Being Single In The Church (article)

(Link): The Decline in Male Fertility (article)

(Link): The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link): Childfree Christians / Childfree childless

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

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

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

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

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

(Link): Christians and Churches Discriminate Against Unmarried People / Singles

(Link): Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

(Link): A Critique of the Family-Integrated Church Movement by Brian Borgman – Christians turning the family into an idol

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

(Link): Refreshing: Christian Researcher Disputes that Youths Are Leaving Churches in Droves, Disagrees that Churches Should Be Family Focused

Christian Males Blaming their Unwanted Protracted Singleness on Feminism – They have the wrong target

Christian Males Blaming their Unwanted Protracted Singleness on Feminism – They have the wrong target
——————–
EDIT. From another author, who is a Christian man:
(Link): Feminism, Singleness, And The Idol Of The Nuclear Family

I just now discovered the Spiritual Sounding Board blog made a post about a similar topic back in May of this year that you may want to read (as well as comments by the readers at the bottom of the page):
(Link): What is the Big Deal About Feminism and Christianity?

(Link): Trends in male employment may not bode well for marriage (article)
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Christian Males Blaming their Unwanted Protracted Singleness on Feminism – They have the wrong target

Blaming feminism for protracted, unwanted singleness among males is an attitude that I’ve seen among “average Joe” Christians around the internet the last few years, on their blogs and in forums.

Certainly, conservative Christian groups and think tanks, such as “Focus on the Family,” are probably the most responsible for fostering these views among the unmarried, rank and file Christian males.

These conservative Christian groups blame feminism only, or first and foremost, for everything, for all change in society, or what they perceive as being negative change – for delayed age of first marriage; lower birth rates; women outperforming males in classrooms and on jobs, the rise of divorce, and on and on it goes.

I suppose a feminist was behind the grassy knoll, too. Oswald did not act alone.

If you need a reminder about me (most of this can be found on this blog’s “About” page), and I feel this is pertinent to state up front, because often, male, Christian, gender complementarians (traditional gender role advocates) wrongly assume from the get-go that a (quasi former) Christian woman such as myself, who does not agree with their traditional gender role perspective any longer, must be a bra-burning, Bible-hating, liberal feminist, when the truth is:

  • -I am a social conservative
  • -I am a Republican
  • -I was a Christian since childhood
    (but have been slowly walking away from the faith the last year to two years)
  • -I grew up with a Christian mother who defined herself as being a “traditional wife”
    (in today’s Christian lingo, my Mom was a “biblical gender complementarian”)
  • – I was a “biblical literalist”
    (and still am, to what degree I still identify as Christian)
  • -I tried my hardest to be a “biblical gender complementarian” myself
    … but the older I got, by my mid to late 30s, I saw that the Scripture does not support the view

What I am not, and what I do not believe:

  • -I am not a secular feminist, nor do I agree with all their views
  • -I do not hate men
  • -I am not “anti” family or “anti” marriage

I have on occasion defended unmarried Christian males on this blog.

I think that often, many Christians adhere to offensive stereotypes of Christian men who are over 30 years of age but who have not married.

One common stereotype is that such men are homosexual. Another is that older single Christian males are pedophiles. That they are not as mature as their married counterparts.
Another is that they are not fully in God’s image, that they need to be married (and preferably with kids) to be considered wholly in God’s image. I have written a few blog posts criticizing some of those views.

I do not blame all men every where for the widespread problem of unwanted, protracted singleness among Christians these days.

I also don’t blame feminism. (So it makes me wonder why some of the Christian single men are so vehemently insistent that male singleness is the full responsibility of Christian women. Or of feminism.)

Continue reading “Christian Males Blaming their Unwanted Protracted Singleness on Feminism – They have the wrong target”

The Trend of Older People Becoming First Time Parents

The Trend of Older People Becoming First Time Parents

The person who wrote this page doesn’t seem too keen on the idea that people are becoming parents later in life:

(Link): How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society The scary consequences of the grayest generation. by Judith Shulevitz

Two reasons I am linking to that page (which is very, very long), is…

1. It points out that older males produce deformed kids. Often, there is sexism involved, where people assume only older motherhood is dangerous, but older males produce defective sperm.

In that way, Shulevitz’s article is similar to this one:
(Link): The Ticking Male Biological Clock – WSJ.com

2. The mere fact the page is discussing the situation at all shows it’s becoming more and more common in American society.

Typical of Christians and conservatives (and I am a conservative myself, but one who disagrees with other conservatives in how they handle or behave about some cultural issues), but in this otherwise left-leaning publication, the author (who I would assume is liberal) chooses to bitch and gripe about the situation, rather than just acknowledge that things change in culture. She sounds like a typical conservative.

Here are excerpts from the very long article:

    by Shulevitz

    Over the past half century, parenthood has undergone a change so simple yet so profound we are only beginning to grasp the enormity of its implications. It is that we have our children much later than we used to.

    This has come to seem perfectly unremarkable; indeed, we take note of it only when celebrities push it to extremes— when Tony Randall has his first child at 77; Larry King, his fifth child by his seventh wife at 66; Elizabeth Edwards, her last child at 50.

    This new gerontological voyeurism— I think of it as doddering-parent porn— was at its maximally gratifying in 2008, when, in almost simultaneous and near-Biblical acts of belated fertility, two 70-year-old women in India gave birth, thanks to donor eggs and disturbingly enthusiastic doctors. One woman’s husband was 72; the other’s was 77.

    These, though, are the headlines. The real story is less titillating, but it tells us a great deal more about how we’ll be living in the coming years: what our families and our workforce will look like, how healthy we’ll be, and also—not to be too eugenicist about it—the future well-being of the human race.

    That women become mothers later than they used to will surprise no one. All you have to do is study the faces of the women pushing baby strollers, especially on the streets of coastal cities or their suburban counterparts.

    American first-time mothers have aged about four years since 1970—as of 2010, they were 25.4 as opposed to 21.5. That average, of course, obscures a lot of regional, ethnic, and educational variation.

    The average new mother from Massachusetts, for instance, was 28; the Mississippian was 22.9. The Asian American first-time mother was 29.1; the African American 23.1. A college-educated woman had a better than one-in-three chance of having her first child at 30 or older; the odds that a woman with less education would wait that long were no better than one in ten.

    It badly misstates the phenomenon to associate it only with women: Fathers have been getting older at the same rate as mothers. First-time fathers have been about three years older than first-time mothers for several decades, and they still are.

    The average American man is between 27 and 28 when he becomes a father. Meanwhile, as the U.S. birth rate slumps due to the recession, only men and women over 40 have kept having more babies than they did in the past.

    In short, the growth spurt in American parenthood is not among rich septuagenarians or famous political wives approaching or past menopause, but among roughly middle-aged couples with moderate age gaps between them, like my husband and me.

    OK, I’ll admit it. We’re on the outer edge of the demographic bulge. My husband was in his mid-forties and I was 37—two years past the age when doctors start scribbling AMA, Advanced Maternal Age, on the charts of mothers-to-be—before we called a fertility doctor.

    … Soon, I learned that medical researchers, sociologists, and demographers were more worried about the proliferation of older parents than my friends and I were.

    They talked to me at length about a vicious cycle of declining fertility, especially in the industrialized world, and also about the damage caused by assisted-reproductive technologies (ART) that are commonly used on people past their peak childbearing years.

    This past May, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 8.3 percent of children born with the help of ART had defects, whereas, of those born without it, only 5.8 percent had defects.

    … What science tells us about the aging parental body should alarm us more than it does. Age diminishes a woman’s fertility; every woman knows that, although several surveys have shown that women—and men—consistently underestimate how sharp the drop-off can be for women after age 35.

    The effects of maternal age on children aren’t as well-understood. As that age creeps upward, so do the chances that children will carry a chromosomal abnormality, such as a trisomy.

    In a trisomy, a third chromosome inserts itself into one of the 23 pairs that most of us carry, so that a child’s cells carry 47 instead of 46 chromosomes. The most notorious trisomy is Down syndrome.

    We have been conditioned to think of reproductive age as a female-only concern, but it isn’t. For decades, neonatologists have known about birth defects linked to older fathers: dwarfism, Apert syndrome (a bone disorder that may result in an elongated head), Marfan syndrome (a disorder of the connective tissue that results in weirdly tall, skinny bodies), and cleft palates.

    Continue reading “The Trend of Older People Becoming First Time Parents”

I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent (editorial by G. Dalfonzo) – The Christian Tendency to Worship Family, Motherhood, and Children

I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent (editorial by G. Dalfonzo)

A preface before I give the link to the Dalfonzo editorial:

I’ve never had any children either, which, coupled with the “never married” status, means I do not exist in most churches, or, when I do, I get treated like a freak or failure.

Because, you know, there are a lot of so-called Christians who still believe a woman’s only, or highest calling in life, is to be a wife n’ Mom, despite the fact the Bible does not teach this.

By the way, people who know they do not want to have children usually refer to themselves as “Child free,” or “CF.”

Those who want to have a baby but cannot due to infertility or whatever reason, go under the term “Childless.”

I am somewhere between CF and Childless.

Jesus Christ said that believers should not place any sort of relationship above him – not motherhood, fatherhood, marriage, kids, uncles, grandmas – but Christians continue to disobey Christ on these points.

To refresh your memory, here are Christ’s words (this is from (Link): Matthew 10):

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Here’s an editorial by a Christian woman who discusses how culture and churches mistreat women who have never had children – and she is a woman who wanted to have children of her own but was unable to:

(Link): (Link): I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent

Quotes from the page:

    by Gina Dalfonzo

… We hear a lot about the Mommy Wars. But there’s another cultural throwdown going on in the parenting sphere, and that’s the back-and-forth between parents and non-parents.

This increasingly acrimonious debate gets summed-up in lists of ill-informed assumptions and casually dished-out stereotypes. Both sides fall back increasingly on the old “You just don’t know what it’s like to be us!,” with blog posts like:

-(Link): 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents
-(Link): 17 Untruths People Believe About Non-Parents
-What Is the Deal With the Child-Free Group Hating Children?
-STFU, Childless People
-Smug Parents

The assumptions we throw at each other are unfair and often hurtful.
Some parents, dealing with the grueling 24/7 reality of raising children, dwell on how the childless just can’t understand them. That sense of belonging to a special, misunderstood group can make anyone who’s struggling feel a little better. Most of us fall prey to that kind of temptation now and then.

Yet, speaking as one of the childless, the non-parents, the “non-breeders,” the truth is: Just because some of us really don’t know what it’s like to be parents, that doesn’t make us completely ignorant. Or inferior.

Continue reading “I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent (editorial by G. Dalfonzo) – The Christian Tendency to Worship Family, Motherhood, and Children”

Conservative Christian Think Tank Says: “Preach the Gospel of Marriage”

Conservative Christian Think Tank Says: “Preach the Gospel of Marriage”

This is stunning. You would think conservative Christians would at least pretend to care about Jesus, or to pretend that the Gospel is about Jesus, but look at this headline:

(Link) Female Policy Experts: To Help the Poor, Preach the Gospel of Marriage

Also, that headline reminds me of this Barna survey:
(Link): Creepy: ‘Barna: [Christian] Women Value Family Over Faith’

The “Gospel of Marriage?” I can’t say that I’m surprised. I just posted this a couple days ago:
(Link): (Articles) Marriage Rate At All Time Low

As soon as I saw those news stories a couple days ago saying that marriage rates are at an all-time low, I was wondering how long it would be before the Pat Robertsons and Heritage Foundations and Focus on the Families Christian groups would start issuing statements about how horrible it is, along with the requisite “blame the feminists, 1960s culture, and homosexuals” for hetero marriage declining. I am guessing this is just the first of more similar editorials to appear in the days and weeks to come.

Here are some excerpts – and I’ve just now skimmed down the page to see that yes, these people are blaming feminism (with a few additional comments by me below this, down this page):

Female Policy Experts: To Help the Poor, Preach the Gospel of Marriage

    By Tyler O’Neil , CP Contributor
    July 23, 2013|5:40 pm

    Female policy experts discussed the finding that women are breadwinners in four of ten American households but how that doesn’t necessarily mean their children are well supported financially or emotionally in a two-parent family, at the conservative Heritage Foundation on Tuesday.

    “Any conversation that we’re having about poverty has got to take into account marriage and the relationship between marriage and poverty,” said Jennifer Marshall, director of Domestic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. She argued that, far from liberating women from oppressive marriages, the feminist movement has restricted many of them to a poorer social class.

    A Pew Research report from late May sparked the debate. Entitled “Breadwinner Moms,” the survey “really capitalized on this ‘You Go Girl,’ sentiment that is so prevalent in our culture today,” Marshall said. Despite the positive headline, the analyst broke down the report’s ugly details.

    While women do bring home the largest income in four of ten American households with kids under 18, only 15 percent of those households have a father. In the other 25 percent, a single mother brings home the bacon.

    Worse, Marshall argued, the median annual income of those single mothers only hits $23,000. Forty four percent of these mothers have never been married, and a third are not even working, but rely on welfare.

    “In the wake of the sexual revolution and the feminist movement, the path to marriage and to married family life is much more challenging,” said Marshall. She encouraged society and the church to focus on each individual woman’s flourishing in her own way, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all push for careers that boils down to “you go, girl!” [i.e, feminism]

    Churches are uniquely suited to address this issue, since they have “relational capital,” the Heritage scholar explained.

    Since marriage reduces the chance that a child will be poor by 80 percent, training for marriage should be a key part of a church’s outreach to the poor. “We need to be helping cultivate the skills for marriage in communities that are in need.”

    But preaching on this issue is far from easy, warned Kay Hymowitz, senior fellow at the Manahattan Institute, contributing editor of City Journal, and author of Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age. “The churches are often in a very difficult position because many of the parishioners are single parents,” she explained.

    … The major story “is less the rise of women and more the fall of low-income, less-educated men,” said blogger Cathy Reisenwitz. With the decline of manufacturing, more men struggle to make a living and provide for their families. “Women are taking the lead in their own lives because they have to.”

    …Mona Charen, a columnist at National Review and moderator of the panel, noted that strong marriages persist among more religious Americans. “To the degree that secularism replaced piety as the norm, we are seeing a collapse of this marriage culture which I think is so damaging to the country.”

About this:

    Churches are uniquely suited to address this issue, since they have “relational capital,” the Heritage scholar explained.

Surely you jest. And I apologize for calling you Shirely.

Churches cannot even get adult celibacy and adult singleness right – they shun and ostracize adult singles (and sometimes the divorced); so what in the hell makes these commentators think churches will be able to reach or to help convince teen-age or young 20-something single mothers to marry?

About this comment from the article:

    In the other 25 percent, a single mother brings home the bacon. Worse, Marshall argued, the median annual income…

Note the use of the word “worse,” as if to suggest the previous fact – mothers “bringing home the bacon” is wrong or bad – folks, this ain’t 1954 anymore.

Women do not have to stay at home and only be a wife and mother if they do not choose to do so. This is the reality we are in today. If a woman genuinely wants to be a stay at home wifey and mommy, I don’t oppose that. But some women don’t find either role appealing, or due to economic pressure, cannot afford to stay at home and getting a job becomes a necessity.

The Bible does not say women are limited only to wife and mommy roles, even though back when the Bible was written, those were the only roles pretty much available to women, outside of home business owners, or being a prostitute.

A lot of Christians assume that because all the Bible usually mentions are wives and mommies (there are exceptions mentioned in the Bible, such as warrior women, female Apostles – research ‘Junia,’ etc), but by and large, because society was patriarchal, women did not have too many options available other than wife and motherhood… so, the Christian gender complementarians wrongly assume that those must be the only roles God considers acceptable for women.

Today, a woman can become a police officer, computer programmer, brain surgeon, auto mechanic, lawyer, and other sorts of occupations that did not even exist 2,000 – 5,000 years ago.

About this:

    Mona Charen, a columnist at National Review and moderator of the panel, noted that strong marriages persist among more religious Americans. “To the degree that secularism replaced piety as the norm, we are seeing a collapse of this marriage culture which I think is so damaging to the country.”

It is constantly assumed that Christian women are choosing to remain single, which is how I take her comment that “the marriage culture has collapsed,” as though women are intentionally setting out to do this. Plenty of Christian women want to get married, but there exists no single male Christians to marry.

Marriage has not “collapsed,” not among Christians, but is simply not taking place. These articles and editorials seem to assume that Christians these days hate marriage, do not wish to be married, and are thrilled to remain single, when none of that is the case.

The problem is not that Christian singles don’t want to get married but that they cannot find someone to marry.

Anyway, I am troubled by the turn of phrase “Preach the Gospel of Marriage.” There is no “Gospel of Marriage” taught in the Bible, only the “Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

If you are a Christian, don’t you think it’s more important for a young, Non Married single mother to find Christ as savior, than to lecture her on how supposedly oh so badly she needs a husband?
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Related posts this blog:

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

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link): Focus on Family spokesperson, Stanton, actually says reason people should marry is for ‘church growth’

(Link): Christian TV Personality / Preacher ( 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): Singles in the Church by Dave Faulkner / Also: Isolated: single Christians feel unsupported by family-focused churches (article / survey)

(Link): Response to the Hemingway Editorial ‘Fecundophobia’ – conservatives and Christians continue to idolize children, marriage – which is unbiblical

(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

(Link): Good Grief! Five Million Dollar Family Idoltary on Display: Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills – Please, when you say you support marriage, be honest about what you REALLY mean

Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

Single Adults Why They Stay and Why They Stray (from church) Book Excerpts

Note: several questionable people have roles in this book, in the form of editing, or as contributors, such as…

    – a gender complementarian, Wayne Grudem; gender complementarianism (Link):

is not biblical

    ;
    -neither is “biblical counseling,” yet Edward T. Welch, who is a “biblical counselor” also had some kind of role in this book,
    – C. J. Mahaney – accused of being involved in a ten year cover up of child sexual abuse at his churches,

so I offer this link with a caveat.

The author of the particular chapter I am quoting seems okay, and I don’t see too much that I disagree with in his chapter.

What is really funny is that this book (I’m not sure when it was published, I am just now finding it today), echoes many of the things I’ve said on this blog before.

Edit: this book was published in 2003, but this is the first I am seeing it, or reading excerpts from it. It is incredible how the author noticed most of the same disturbing anti-singles views and trends that I have in this blog the last three years.

As I am a NEVER MARRIED woman, I am not going to present the full section under “divorce” in the chapter. You can visit the link to read it if you want.

The following is available for free on Google Books (this particular book is entitled “Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood”) :
(Link): Single Adults in Your Ministry: Why They Stay and Why They Stray
by Dick Purnell

    … Do you know how many single adults sit in your congregation each Sunday? Recently I was speaking in a church to three thousand people. I asked for all the people who were unmarried and twenty-two years old or older to stand up. Over a thousand people stood up! The audience was surprised and gasped at the large number…

Do you realize that the number of single adults in America exceeds the total national population of all but eleven of the world’s 192 nations? How shocked would you be to discover that the number of single parents is greater than the entire population of Colorado and Tennesse combined?

According to the 2000 U.S. census 40 percent of all adults eighteen and older (forty-eight million) are single. We are seeing a tremendous shift in American social values.

The median age of a first-time marriage is now twenty-five among women and twenty-seven among men. The fastest growing family type is single parents.

If your church is in an urban area, the percentage of single adults near you is much higher than a rural area. Singles gravitate to the cities for jobs, things to do, and others to meet. They are searching for connection and community.

They are often afraid of loneliness, commitment, and isolation. Most of those under thirty have never been married. The average age of a married person’s first divorce is thirty-four. That means after years of marriage, they are thrown back into the dating scene. They feel awkward and unprepared. They face the same relationship challenges that teens face, but they feel out of place.

One woman said to me, “I am now single, but I feel married. I don’t want to be single, but that was forced on me.” They have been out of the dating world for so long that they have very little idea what to do. And no one is helping them or even having a discussion about some of these issues.

Most singles are invisible to churches.

… They represent every economic stratum you can imagine – everything from presidents of major corporations to the unemployed and all in between. Fifty-three percent of all unchurched adults are single.

But our churches are built on a mind-set of marriage, and singles are often neglected. They are the “Great Invisible Mission Field.” However, businesses are very aware of singles. If you look at the advertising on television or in magazines, you will find that a huge number of ads are geared to attract single people.

Sports clothing, beer, cell phones, and a myriad of other products are marketed to singles. They have the largest amount of discretionary income. But the church in general has a difficult time attracting them and capturing their attention and commitment.

Many single adults believe that the church excludes and ignores them. They feel like the church is either neglecting them or is just not interested in them. So single adults vote with their feet. They come to church for a few months or years; but when their needs are not addressed or they never hear a sermon addressed to their unique issues, they fade away and go somewhere else – or stop going to church altogether. They hear sermons preached on topics such as “How to be a Godly Husband” or “Becoming a Godly Wife.” But they have never heard a sermon on “How to be a Godly Single Adult.”

… [Singles] don’t stay because there is no emotional glue to keep them there. They are not the “squeaky wheel” that is going to ask the pastor to give a sermon directed toward them or to pound on the door of the budget meeting pressuring for more funding. They just fade away.

Are you desperate to attract single adults to your ministry and get them involved? Here is my top ten list on “Why Single Adults Are Turned Off by the Church.”

Number 10: Frivolous jokes degrade the single lifestyle.
Grandparents, pastors, and married friends all have jokes about singles. All the married people laugh, but the single buries the snub under a weak smile.

I was single for forty-two years. When I served as an assistant pastor in my middle thirties, I heard lots of good-natured jokes, but often the ribbing was not funny to me. “Hey, are you afraid to take the responsibility for a mate?” Here I was in charge of several significant ministries in the church, and they tell me I’m afraid to take responsibility?

“Maybe you are just too picky. Are you looking for a perfect wife?” In other words, if you lower your standards you may get somebody.

“You’re not getting any younger, you know.” That was supposed to pressure me to get moving? Sometimes I would get the big one: “What are you waiting for?” Like I better hurry up before I miss the “right one.” But isn’t there a sovereign God? His timing may not be my timing – or the timing of the people who ask me to hurry up.

In trying to encourage me, people would give what I call romantic testimonies: “I finally gave everything to God, and six months later I found the right one.” But I was forty years old and had been a full-time minister for over fifteen years.

Was there something I had not given up to God that some married twenty-year-old ha already given up to God? All the marriage formulas that people give singles may be individual experience they had, but those formulas are not normative for all believers. Why should I seek the holy grail of marriage if God wants me to be content in every situation?

After four years as a pastor, I resigned from my church. Even though I was no longer was the pastor, I continued to attend the church. A single female friend of mine from Kansas came to our city one weekend to visit some of her college buddies. I brought her to the 11 A.M. church service. As we were walking down the aisle, an elderly usher led us to a front row for seating. The organ was softly playing and everybody was kind of quiet. When we stopped to turn into the row, he handed my friend a bulletin and said to me loudly so most of the people could hear, “Hey Dick, when are you going to marry her?” I wanted to die right there, but first I wanted to punch his lights out.

These kinds of jokes will not attract singles to your church! No way! They degrade single life as if the only bright future is for married people. That idea is not found in the Bible. Even the apostle Paul stated that an unmarried person can have undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32-35). He did not consider singleness a joking matter.

Number 9: Church leadership is mainly interested in the interests and needs of married people.
The pastor and leaders are usually all married with very little significant empathy or understanding of the unique needs and concerns of single adults.

Single Christians are rarely eligible to be members of the governing board. There are very few single senior pastors. The silent criterion of marriage eliminates singles from serving in many aspects of the typical church. If you carry that to a logical conclusion, the Apostle Paul would not be qualified to be a pastor or elder. Even Timothy would be shut out of the opportunity for leadership.

After four years as an assistant pastor, I wanted to become a senior pastor. I had a total of fifteen years experience in the ministry and two Master’s degrees. However, when I sent in my resumes, not one church ever asked me to candidate, because I had to write on the front page of the resume my marital status: “Single.” Who wants a senior pastor who is single?

It was a bitter experience. I was unqualified to be a senior pastor of a church because I did not have the “Mrs.” degree. Many men graduating from seminary have tremendous pressure put on them. If they want to rise above the level of youth pastor, they must be married. Why is marriage the unspoken golden key that unlocks the door to pastor advancement?

Number 8: Budgeted funds for single ministry are usually inadequate or nonexistent.
Many churches don’t budge anything for singles. When the churches that have budgeted some funds for singles ministry must cut the budget somewhere, the singles ministry often is the one that gets the ax. “Singles are adults – they can handle it,” the budget committee says. But the message that gets across is, “You are not as important as other people in our church.”

… The message the singles hear is loud and cleaer: “You are the lowest on the totem pole. Your needs come last. You are not worth our paying a minister who can meet your needs.” Therefore, singles respond with their feet. They say, “I’m out of here.”

Number 7: Singles feel the church neglects them.
They feel like barnacles on the side of the church ship – there but forgotten. Marriage is espoused as the norm, and singles just don’t fit the model.

I have conducted over three hundred single adult conferences throughout America, Canada, and twelve other countries. Yet only nine senior pastors stopped by to observe and/or greet the crowd.

The even was in their church, in their building, and these are adults. I remember each of the nine because they are so rare….

Number 6: There is a perception that single adults are morally loose.

If a person is not married by mid-twenties, there is something wrong, it is generally thought. A particular church was in the process of trying to hire a youth pastor. Since they could not find one for over a year, they held a congregational meeting to explain the progress they were making. The elder in charge presented all kinds of reasons for the delay in locating the right person for the position. At the end of his explanation, I stopped up and asked, “Does the person you are looking for have to be married?”

You could have heard a pin drop on the carpet. People gasped. It was the unthinkable question. The elder hemmed, and he hawed, and he slithered all over the platform. All I wanted was a yes or no. He was very obviously unnerved by my question. Finally some lady in the very back said, “What we need is a role model for the young girls. So I think he should be married.”

“You mean to tell me, in this entire congregation there is not one woman who’s a role model for the girls?” Silence.

“I tell you what I think the real reason is. You are afraid that a single pastor would be sexually frustrated and have sex with one of the teenage girls. Out of all the pastors I have known personally, four have had affairs and left the ministry in disgrace. Each of them was married. Almost all the other pastors I have read about in magazines and books who have committed adultery were married. True, married people do not have a corner on the market in becoming immoral. But you should not be prejudiced against a single adult simply because he is single.”

I tried to tell them that some of the best youth pastors in America are single. I wasn’t a very popular guy after that. The elders eventually hired a youth pastor. Yes, he was married.

Some churches won’t allow singles to teach Sunday school for fear these men and women will succumb to sexual temptation. That is unfounded fear. We all need the power of God to overcome temptation. Don’t single out single people as the most likely to succumb. That is unfair and inaccurate. Single adults want to be respected and trusted. Let them show by their faithfulness that they have a genuine relationship with God.

Number 5: Marriage is portrayed as normal for everybody.
If someone is not married by thirty something, there must be something wrong with him or her.
(please click on the “continue reading/ read more” link to see rest of the post. Thank you)

Continue reading “Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts”

Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

I read a long book review at Christianity Today. I posted about this before, in regards to a Mefferd radio program where Meffered interviewed an author who wrote a book where the author theorizes church decline is on the increase because Americans are not marrying and having children (see (Link): this post).

Here’s the problem: most conservative Christians bemoan the fact that churches are in decline due to lower marriage and birth rates, and they feel the solution is, that is, the fix, to get more people into church, is that Christians have to tell Christian youth to marry at age 21 and have ten kids apiece. In other words, push marriage even more than they have been doing the past 40 or more years.

Why is this a problem? Because this approach is anti-biblical. ANTI BIBLICAL.

Jesus Christ said spiritual family is to take priority over flesh and blood family. Jesus Christ emphasized that his kingdom is to be increased by believers telling non-believers (non family, people who are not related to them) the Gospel message.

I suspect that Jesus realized that many cultures have the tendency to use biological family as a safety net, which means anyone who lacks a family, that is, any one who never marries, or they marry, but their spouse dies and they are childless, is without a support system.

I’d guess Jesus also realized that some cultures would worship family (i.e., (Link): Chinese and Japanese ancestor worship).

I recently made a post (Link): detailing the problem about Mormons worshipping the nuclear family.

If the contemporary American Christian church treated singles and singlehood with as much devotion and interest as they do nuclear family and the already-married, attendance might go through the roof.

About half the adult American population is currently single. But most singles feel ostracized, ignored, or, if they are noticed, insulted, by preachers and church laity.

When you are insulting or overlooking about half the American population, and turning them away with your attitude (such as, clear preference for marrieds over singles), that should be a huge clue to you that your priorities are out of whack.

Focusing on marriage even more is not the way to get marriage rates to increase ((Link): as I’ve written about before), but more emphasis will actually repel singles from church.

If you want marriages to increase, it means helping an un-married Christian woman meet and date an un-married Christian man – but churches refuse to play this role.

Indeed, churches typically act as impediments to singles who desire marriage.

Such Christians, and even (Link): very annoying pious singles who don’t want marriage, say Christians should not use church as a match-maker capacity, lest it turn church into a “meat market,” as they claim (wrongly!), a church’s only function is “Bible study” and other abstract religious practices.

Still other churches will tell what few singles they do have in attendance that rather than trying to make marriage happen, platitudes are issued to encourage singles to remain single, such as, “be content in your singleness” or, “Jesus is all you need.”

Conservative Christians twist their hands in worry that Christians are not marrying, but when an un-married Christian single mentions her hopes and worries about getting married one day, those very same “woe is me, marriage is not happening among Christians” type of Christians will chide that single for wanting marriage, or for trying to get married!

Such Christians will tell the unhappy single who wants marriage things such as, “You are turning marriage into an idol. Jesus is all you need. Your earthly happiness does not matter, keep eternity in mind instead.”

As a result, the un-married woman feels very ill at ease in most churches, and not very welcomed.

Not only is the single Christian woman shamed by Christians for wanting marriage, or asking church members for help in this area, but with all the constant sermonizing on marriage from the pulpit (i.e., “Today’s sermon: Ten steps to having a great marriage!”), with all the church activities geared towards the already-married (“This Wednesday night: potluck suppers for the family at 6 PM in the church dining area, bring your kids, eat with the family!”), with the negative stereotypes among Christians, such as – all single Christian women are harlots, homosexuals, or losers – single women get tired of all this (as do the single males), so the singles stop attending church.

So all we are left with are already-married people with children in church.

If your goal is to get singles married off, start paying positive attention to the singles – and to singles in their 30s and older, not just the 20 somethings, for the love of God.

If you want marriage to increase among Christians, make singles feel welcome at your church (and treat singleness with respect in Christian culture).

This could entail things such as…

1. -Take active steps to get singles married, such as hosting more singles mixers on church property, or off-property.

2. -Church wide, hold a regular prayer routine where the married Christians ask God to send the singles spouses

3. Stop perpetuating marriage/sex/single stereotypes, such as…

-All single Christian women are horny whores who cannot be left alone with a married man
(it is true that women have sex drives but it is not true that all women will cheat with a married man);
-There’s something “wrong,” “weird” or “flawed” with someone if they’ve not married by age 25 to 35 – 40
-Singles are not as sexually pure or mature or godly as married people
-etc.

4. Stop with the platitudes that are keeping singles single, such as telling singles,
– “Jesus is all you need”
– “Be content in your singleness”

5. -Publish more blogs, radio shows, and books discussing the struggles singles face; preachers need to do more sermons about singleness, and I don’t mean the ones that contain platitudes as in point 4 above, or the simplistic “sex is for marriage only singles, remember that”

Here are quotes from the article by Jordan Hylden, (Link): Is Family Decline Behind Religious Decline?:

    Only the family factor does the trick [in explaining the decline in church attendance/membership in the USA]. As sociologist Brad Wilcox has shown, about a third of the recent decline in American adult church attendance can be “explained by the fact that fewer adults are now married with children.”

    Eberstadt [author] thinks this insight can be extended to much of European history, pointing out for instance that the French birthrate began declining as early as the late 18th century.

    The relative buoyancy of the American family, by contrast, likely explains why America has long been more religious than Europe.

    It is finally the birth control pill, which in the 1960’s made contraception widespread and detached sex from marriage, that did religion in—as birthrates went down and divorce rates went up, church attendance went into freefall.

    Eberstadt offers up some good reasons for why family and faith are connected. The miracle of birth, she argues, gives people a strong push toward the transcendent, and raising children points us toward the self-giving agape love that Christians believe is the heart of God.

    The fundamental question—what do we teach our children? —propels people to think about the sources of truth and goodness, and so to God and religious community.

    The Rest of the Story

    No doubt, there is much truth in such observations. But there is also much to question. Charles Taylor cites a passage from Dostoyevsky, contrasting one man’s wide-eyed wonder at the miracle of a newborn child with the very different reaction of the midwife, who only sees “a further development of the organism.”

    The miracle of life was really there, Dostoyevsky meant to say, but there was something about the social imagination of 19th century Russia that made it possible for some people to block it out.

    It is this something, what Taylor calls the modern “social imaginary,” that Eberstadt in the end does not adequately account for. Her treatment of the role played by the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and modern science is deeply inadequate, greatly discounting their importance.

    She fails even to mention the intellectual roots of these shifts in late-medieval theology, as the theologian John Milbank and others have argued for.

    Taylor and Milbank, by contrast, tell a story that goes something like this: Once upon a time, everyone lived in an enchanted world, filled with spirits and magic. In the West, the rise of Judaism and Christianity began to displace the spirits —only the one true God was almighty, and the spirits were either worthless idols or weaklings in the face of the Lord’s power.

    Christ, as it were, began to cast out the spirits from the world. But the ancient and medieval church’s sacramentalism kept the world enchanted, only now with the grace of God.

    This began to retreat with the Reformation, when God’s presence shifted from the sacraments and the priests to the Word alone. Nothing was enchanted now, except the Word.

    This Word marched forth, carrying with it a powerful drive to reform European society after its demands. To a large extent, it succeeded, but at the same time religious conflict unleashed years of bloody war.

    Many became skeptical that the Word could really bring about reform, but gained confidence that we could reform the world ourselves. For the first time in history, it became possible to conceive of an “exclusive humanism.”

    Secular politics, science, and technology became humanism’s tools, and as time went on these took hold of more and more of human activity and imagination. God became a hypothesis that society had little need for.

    Meanwhile, the post-Reformation churches had some success at mobilizing believers, in a new world in which faith was no longer simply part of everyday social life. But the church all too often allied itself with fading political regimes, discrediting it in the eyes of many.

    The First World War’s senseless violence shattered for a generation the old Christendom synthesis of church and state, and Europe’s churches have never been the same.

    The church held on in America, since the war did not shatter us like it did the Europeans, and because our churches were not in any case allied so tightly with the state.

    But the 1960s began to change that, as the civil rights movement and Vietnam began to topple the confidence of many in the American Establishment, and insofar as the “mainline” churches were viewed as part of the status quo.

    The American social imagination split in two, and ever since then has been characterized by culture wars, with most of religion on the conservative side.

    By not telling this story, Eberstadt has left out the lion’s share of “how the West really lost God.”

    No doubt, her “family factor” played its part, and she is at her most convincing when she shows how family decline was part of a broader trend toward modern individualism.

    She never claims that family decline is solely responsible, but she claims far too much for it.

    It is an odd story of Western secularization that leaves to one side most of what Western culture has thought and imagined in its common life about God. // end of article excerpt

If the only way a church can grow, or remain stable, is by people marrying and having babies, you are “doing church wrong.”

Jesus Christ did not teach that the church would grow via marriage and “baby-making.” Christ taught the direct opposite: believers would share the Gospel the world over with non-believers they were not related to.

If churches followed the teachings of Jesus Christ, their attendance records would be stable or on the increase: by reaching out to everyone and anyone, not ONLY “married with kids” couples!

Jesus instructed Christians to go after the “least of these,” which would include anyone who does not fit the vintage American ideal of normalcy and success: middle class, white, married- with- kids.

Churches ought to go after the widowed, divorced, and the never-married, and the childless and childfree with as much fervor as they seek and cater to “married with children” couples, but too often, churches exclude these groups.

Most churches remain clueless, arrogantly fixated on reaching the already-married with kids, and fringe, highly specific groups, such as homeless crack addicts, starving African orphans, and now, kids caught in sex trafficking.

If you are “Average Joe American Singleton,” most churches don’t give a rat’s ass about you, and it shows. You feel it when you walk into a church. And it is “Average Joe Singleton” that makes up to about half the American population these days but churches remain oblivious or they just don’t care that they are excluding this huge number of this type of people.

Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols

Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols –
Biblical Christians should be very concerned that they are mirroring Mormons

I did a little bit of reading about Mormonism several years ago. I don’t remember everything I read, but I do vaguely recall from what I did read that Mormons place a lot of emphasis upon marriage and family.

Mormons believe in the afterlife that a man can become a god, and he needs a wife and kids to repopulate the planet he becomes ruler over, or something like that (seriously, they believe this stuff.)

It’s very strange, nutty, and very sci-fi. You can read more about these beliefs (Link): here (CARM), (Link): here (CRI) or (Link): here (Let Us Reason).

Mormons place a lot of emphasis on family and marriage and having a lot of children, and it has something to do with how many planets they get to rule in the afterlife.

When doing an internet search about singleness, I’ve noticed about one-third of the blog pages and forum discussions that show up are for and by Mormons, complaining how there are so many un-married Mormon ladies who want to get married, but they remain single into their 30s and older.

The Mormon singles also complain about Mormon leaders ignoring singles, and about the special preference their denomination/church gives to married couples.

I am struck by how similar all this Mormon singleness talk is to how conservative Christianity treats marriage and singlehood, and how conservative Christianity worships marriage.

Some of the blog pages I’ve seen by Mormon single women sound like something I could have written about being a single in a Christian upbringing and environment.

I just came across this while doing a web search today:

    (Link): Family Values. Strengthening Families. [Mormon site]
    Mormon.org

    mormon.org/values/family‎
    The happiest marriages and families are those grounded on the principles Christ … She told me she had read The Book of Mormon but was unable to find anyone that …. We welcome all to visit and worship with us in our Sunday services.

On that Mormon web page is a heading that reads, “Families Come First.”

At the bottom of that same Mormon page is a category heading of “FAMILIES PREPARE US FOR ETERNAL LIFE.”

What is eerie about that Mormon web page title, tag line, and other content on the page is that it resembles the same “Rah rah, family values!” rhetoric conservative Christians continually publish and produce – such as, well, (Link): “Focus on the Family.”

(Glancing over the FoF (Focus on the Family) home page, I notice there is no mention made of the un-married, of singles – FoF should care, because if they can help singles get married, there would be more families for them to focus on. This fact continues to escape these marriage- and- family- obsessed Christian groups.)

Then, about a week ago, I found a page, (Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family), whose Christian author also noticed that some portions of conservative Christianity have deified and idolized family and marriage as much as Mormons have. I would highly encourage you to read that page.

Here’s a blog page by a Christian guy who has lived around Mormons, and he has noted that Mormons have idolized family and marriage, much like some Christians are guilty of:

(Link): What Evangelicals Can Learn From Mormons: Family

Excerpts from that page:

    [After summarizing how Mormons idolize family, marriage]

    Who doesn’t want a happy family? Who wants to see their family die off one by one? Who wants to be alone? I certainly do not and nor does anyone if they have had a decent family experience or something similar.

    This is the hope that Mormons are peddling. It is the leading foot of their Gospel and the discerning believer will see it is just not the Gospel.

    So what can evangelicals learn from this perversion of the Gospel centered on the nuclear family?
    We must preach joy, hope, and love from the Gospel and not life circumstance.

    Whatever joy and happiness can be gleaned through family should pale in comparison to knowing Christ. If family is were you find joy and happiness then you will be sadly surprised in an eternity staring into the face of Christ. Paul considers “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus [his] Lord.” (Philippians 3:8).

    The Gospel can and will influence and improve our family relations but this is not the ultimate in view. A radical focus on the Gospel, Christ’s work, as our source of joy and happiness then opens the door for people of all life settings to begin to live in goodness of the Gospel among the wider family of God.

    We must reassert the Family of God as primary to the Gospel above the Nuclear Family.
    As Dan Edelen pointed out 1 Corinthians7:1-40, Luke 18:28-30, Mark 3:31-35, and Isaiah 56:3-5; these verses all give good counsel on what the new family of God looks like above and beyond the nuclear family.

    I might add to this list 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 with its picture of the body of Christ and the differently gifted members there within. I would further point my LDS friends to Christ’s discussion with the Pharisees in Mark 12:18-27.

    The marital arrangements of this world will be superseded by a much greater marriage arrangement and that is between Christ and His church.

    We must remember now that our marriages and families, as sweet and important as they are, are only meant to prefigure our future union as the church (family of believers) with Christ.

    We must work hard to understand the role of singles in the Family of God.

    In 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 Paul makes the case for the single’s ability to be free from the anxieties of this world and be anxious about the things of the Lord. This is set against those that are married that must be, by nature of life setting, concerned about the things of the world and not just about the Lord’s work (1 Corinthians7:32-33).

    In Fact Paul points to the fact that those that are married have divided interests (1 Corinthians7:34). Picking up Cheerios in a minivan may be more of a divided interest than living the dream.

    As the church we would do well to promote the health and Godly vitality that singles can bring to the church as those committed first to the work of the Lord; only to relinquish that work do to a calling to marriage or uncontrolled passions.

    Instead of always pushing and prodding singles toward marriage why not push and prod toward Gospel work! One’s singleness can lead to the most fruitful and enriching time with the Lord if the focus is on Christ and His work and not the lack of marital union.

    We must be careful not to take the renewed interest in family ministry within the church to far. The Mormon Gospel of family should serve as a warning to Evangelicals in our endeavors to more fully embrace the family in churches.

    It is a very good thing for us to think about how to minister to families in our churches, but we must not carry our ministry to far and eclipse the wider family of God we have been called to be a part of.

    While I doubt many evangelicals will wrap family in with the Gospel as Mormons have done, we have come dangerously close at times. Family is super-important and is the primary place most of us will live out our Christian witness, but we must keep first things first.

To read the rest of that blog page, (Link): please click here.

Continue reading “Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols”

Could it be: Churches now pressuring fat slobby males to get in shape too?

Could it be: Churches now pressuring fat slobby males to get in shape too?

Christianity Today article: The Fitness-Driven Church

Excerpts:

    by Leslie Leyland Fields [ posted 6/21/2013 8:03AM ]

    In 2011, pastor Rick Warren threw out a challenge: “Okay guys, I’ve only gained like three pounds a year, but I’ve been your pastor for 30 years. So I’ve got a lot of weight to lose. Does anybody want to join me?” He expected a few hundred to straggle to the first meeting. Twelve thousand showed up.

    Shortly after, 15,000 from 190 countries signed up online to follow a diet, exercise, and Bible study program named “The Daniel Plan,” after the Old Testament prophet’s refusal to eat the Babylonian king’s rich food. Two years after it began, Saddleback congregants have lost more than 270,000 pounds. A major publisher is set to launch the Daniel Plan as a book-plus-media package in 2014.

    Losing to Live and the Daniel Plan join a host of faith-based wellness programs launched within the past decade: Firm Believer, Bod4God, WholyFit, Body Temple Wellness, and Body Gospel, to name a few. Faith-based diet and nutrition books, all claiming to shrink believers’ waistlines while expanding their faith, continue to make the bestseller lists. Local churches are building gyms and beginning neighborhood health ministries. Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, opened an exercise facility in 2006 with 200 members. Now its church-run BX (Brainerd Crossroads) Center has grown to 54,000 square feet and 3,000 members.

    The Christian wellness trend has unfolded amid national debates about health care, childhood obesity, government-banned large sugary drinks, and who or what is to blame in a country where about 1 of every 3 adults (35.7 percent) is clinically obese.

    …Not to dampen enthusiasm, but in truth, another reason such programs are taking off is sheer need: On a national scale, we churchgoers weigh in as among the heaviest. A 2006 Purdue University study first broke the news that religious people tended to be heavier than nonreligious, with “fundamental Christians” weighing in as the heaviest of all religious groups. Lead researcher Ken Ferraro minced no words: “America is becoming a nation of gluttony and obesity, and churches are a feeding ground for this problem.”

    An 18-year Northwestern University study released in 2011 found those who attended youth group as teenagers were 50 percent more likely to be obese by the time they were 50 than those who didn’t. Pastors’ health has likewise declined in the past decade, so much so that a number of denominations have formed their own pastor health programs. …

    … But he [preacher Grainger Browning] wonders if he’s making a difference: Leading a men’s retreat recently, he realized that “75 percent of the men at the meeting were on medications. I see people who are literally digging their own grave with their teeth.”

    …”We’ve been teaching very little about ‘body care,’ and when we do, it’s primarily negative: don’t get drunk, don’t smoke or take drugs, and don’t have sex outside of marriage,” Gary Thomas, author of Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul, tells me. “Until recently, we’ve not known where to go from there.”

    Continue reading “Could it be: Churches now pressuring fat slobby males to get in shape too?”

The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Idolizing the Family by Gary L. Almy

by Gary L. Almy

God created the family for His purposes and for our good. I am now in my thirtieth year of marriage to one wife; I will be forever grateful to my parents; they gave me the first birth, without which the second is certainly not possible; they cared for me; they fed, clothed, and educated me. Moreover, the Lord commands that I honor them. I am thankful to God for making me the father of five children and for what He taught me through that experience. Yes, God created the family, but as with any good thing created by God, it can become an idol.

I contend here that the Christian church in America today has made an idol of the family. Idolatry can be defined as the act of making a created thing an object of worship. It is no light matter to place any creature in the place of the Creator. Idolatry always takes the gifts of God and attempts to use them specifically to achieve what we want, i.e., to use them for our own comfort and/or power. Take the word “idol” and look up the verses listed under it in your concordance; this will show you how very seriously God views the matter of idolatry. It is not as though we have not been warned. We have and the warnings are heavy. Why is it such an important issue to our Creator-Redeemer? God simply says in Exodus 20:5, “for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.”

Lest you doubt that something as lovely as family could ever be used by godless men for selfish purposes, consider the following from the bulletin insert entitled “The Church Around the World,” June 1999:

“James Dobson’s radio commentaries on the family are broadcast in China. Ai Jai is sanctioned by China’s Bureau of Radio and Television. Dobson, or Dr. Du as he is known in Chinese, is heard on more than four hundred facilities. The stations make up China National Radio, the government network. The government has asked Focus on the Family for permission to run the printed form regularly in the Beijing daily newspaper.”

The same Communist government tortures, imprisons, and places in slave labor those who bear real witness to Christ. In fact, this same bulletin has the following news:

“Hong Kong Christians are being pressured to stop ministering in mainland China. A magazine in Hong Kong that published articles detailing persecution of unregistered churches was closed, and leaders of a large evangelical church in Hong Kong were refused entry into the mainland recently. Three other Hong Kong churches said that mainland officials asked them to stop working in China” (“The Church Around the World,” July, 1999).

Is this government going to sponsor any genuine Christian message, any offense of the cross? Focusing on the family comes from the world, and the world loves it–as does the godless government of Communist China. The world loves the idea of the family, but hates the real Christian message. Don’t forget that fertility rites and worship of ancestors permeate paganism. Such things should have no part in real Christianity.

All of Scripture agrees with David in Psalm 119:112 in saying, “I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.” Nowhere are we told in God’s revealed Word to focus on the family.

In fact, there has been no highway quite as broad anywhere for the Freudian heresy as the road that opens when the church makes marriage and family the focus and reason for existence, both for the individual and for the church itself. Look at church bulletins, letterheads, and general outreach if you think I am extreme in accusing the modern church of doing this.

Continue reading “The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)”

Un-Happy Father’s Day!

Un-Happy Father’s Day!

I don’t have much to say about this that hasn’t already been covered in my previous blog posts about how many Christians have turned Motherhood into idolatry, so I refer you to those posts:

(Link): Un Happy Mother’s Day – universal church continues to worship parenthood, family

(Link): American Christians Idolize Motherhood – Mommy Rhapsody

(Link): Mother’s Day Ain’t A Happy Holiday For Some

I will say that I don’t think men get subjected to the line that women do… which is (if you are female): “Your highest, or only calling in life, is to be a wife and mother.”

I don’t remember any preacher ever saying to males, “”Your highest, or only calling in life, is to be a husband and father.”

I have heard preachers and lay person Christians go on and on about how “important” fatherhood is (isn’t it interesting that they don’t harp on how important husbandhood is?), but I don’t see as much emphasis on men to be daddies as I do the pressure on chicks to get pregnant and pop out a baby.

Men who do not like babies are not thought of as weird, at least not anything I’ve seen. That is one bonus you males get.

If you are a female like me who does NOT like babies or children, and/or you don’t particularly want a kid, you are thought of as almost evil, or as a freak, because don’t you know, all women are supposed to ADORE babies and want one? We’re all supposed to be maternal (we’re not).

When will Christian churches begin honoring singles who don’t have kids?

Why do they obsess over how important fathers are, but never a peep about how singles are part of American society and the church too?

See, yet another “Oh my gosh, we’re so worried about the state of Fatherhood in the USA” article, from a Christian magazine:
Is Fatherhood Fading Out?, from Christianity Today

No concerns over how single, childless men are treated in society or church. Oh no, we’re going to clutch our pearl necklaces over the decline of fatherhood.


Related:

(Link): Mommy Blogger Confesses in Blog Post that Mommy Blogging is a Bunch of Fake, Happy-Clappy B.S. – Kind of Like Most Christian Adult Singleness Blogs

The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)

The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)

You can find copies of Idleman’s book “Gods At War” for sale online.

I have written in a critical fashion of Idleman before, as I am not a fan (pardon the pun) of his “Not A Fan” book, which unintentionally sets out to place yokes and a works-based mentality upon Christians. Read more about that here and here and here (“Radical Christianity”).

I have not read the “Gods At War” book myself but have seen Idleman interviewed about the book, and I caught one or two episodes of a Christian show based on his book.

While I disagree with his “Not a Fan” works- based type of approach to living Christian daily life, I do feel Idleman is correct that most American Christians have made a deity out of marriage and family.

In the book “Gods At War,” Idleman discusses how Christians can turn anything into an idol from jobs to entertainment, and he has one chapter in his book on “family.” He mentioned in an TV interview that some Christians are guilty of turning their spouse, their marriage, into idols.

You can read free previews from the chapter “The God of Family” in Idleman’s book on Amazon .com. Or, you might be able to read free excerpts on (Link): Google Books here. Try (Link): Chapter 12 God Of Family (this link should take you directly to chapter 12, but it looks like it’s taking you to the intro. You’ll have to scroll down or jump to Ch 12).

(Please click the “read more” link to read the rest of this post and to see a video interview with Idleman about this topic.)

Continue reading “The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)”

Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): Source

Please note: I offer a link to this with a caveat: the author appears to be a ‘gender complementarian,’ and I completely disagree with the CBMW-ish type of view of “complementarianism.” I am a gender egalitarian. However, this author does get some points right, including the portion I have excerpted below.

Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

  • Lie #3: Women Can’t be Fulfilled or Spiritually Effective Without a Husband or Children.
  • The third lie is that women can’t be fulfilled or spiritually effective without a husband or children. Some churches teach that God’s perfect plan for every woman is to be a wife and mother. Period. Sometimes Christian women successful in business or some other professional field are made to feel unwelcome at a church, as if they are an unhealthy influence on “purer” women.
    Continue reading “Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)”

Atlantic: “The case for abandoning the myth that ‘women aren’t visual.'”

Atlantic: What Being Editor in Chief of Playgirl Taught Me About Female Desire – The case for abandoning the myth that “women aren’t visual.” by Ronnie Koenig

You’ll notice that this editorial from The Atlantic I linked to below says the same thing I have said in previous posts on this blog – women, and yes, this includes Christian women, are in fact visually oriented, but this is a fact that some men, especially conservative Christian men, find threatening or uncomfortable.

Men coming to terms with the notion that women are visually oriented might require men to get off their flabby asses and work out at a gym, jog five days a week, and go on a diet to lose the beer gut – just like women have felt pressured to do for decades.

It’s not enough for a man to have a healthy bank account -or to pray daily and read the Bible- to nab a woman, he needs a nice bod and pretty face to go with all the other qualities, too.

Excerpts from The Atlantic editorial by by Ronnie Koenig:

… But I figured there had to be some women out there who actually got turned on by the images in our magazine.

“Who exactly reads Playgirl, anyway?”

It was a question I got all the time during my time at Playgirl, where I eventually became editor in chief. I knew what it implied—that no straight woman in her right mind would actually volunteer to look at naked male genitalia.

But the magazine, which has been a cultural icon since its inception in 1973, is not just for gay men. Some women like their beefcake, and others (like me) prefer the skinny rockstar look. But I was pretty sure that all of us, at some point, want to ogle naked men. Because I felt so certain that there was a female audience for Playgirl and because there was little demographic research made available to me, I began to seek these women out.

….Then there were the throngs of women the other editors and I met on a night out scouting for new talent at Hunkmania. I figured stuffing dollar bills into the G-strings of hunks with enough oil on their chests to keep us from fracking for at least a decade was the enterprise of bored suburban housewives, but these were hot young 20-somethings cheering and screaming for the guys.

At the office, when I opened our Centerfolds’ fanmail, the envelopes were addressed in girly, bubble handwriting. Along with glitter and confetti, out of these letters spilled all the dirty things these women wanted to do with our hunks.

And although the men in our magazine were never my cup of tea, it bothered me that people would repeat the old refrain that “men are visual” and women require an emotional connection in order for their panties to get wet. The idea that women ARE visual when it comes to sex makes people uncomfortable.

It’s a lot safer to say that women prefer erotic fiction (“he put his hand on my pulsing sex”) or the images found in a silly romantic comedy montage: couples holding hands, feeding each other strawberries, and taking long, luxurious bubble baths together. The idea that we want to be visually turned on, that we expect potential partners to be visually appealing (and not just good providers or charming jokesters) is, to many people, pretty threatening.

A recent study at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis backs up my theory. Study leader Andrey Anokhin measured the brain activity of women while they were viewing erotic images. Anokhin expected the women’s response to be slower compared to men, which would align with previous research on the subject, but in fact it was just as fast. “Women have responses as strong as those seen in men,” he said.

Whether it’s Daniel Craig emerging from the ocean in a cock-revealing bathing suit, Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Adam from Girls with his shirt off (yes, please) women desire visual stimulation just as much as the next guy.

Women may not be turned on by a full-page picture of a penis the way men might like to look at close-ups of vaginas in porn, but what we’re discovering is that male and female sexual desire is more alike than different.

In his new book, What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, journalist Daniel Bergner finds there can be a vast divide between what society expects women to desire and what actually turns them on. In an interview with Time he explains how scientific evidence forces us to reevaluate old assumptions about women and sex.

“We’re speaking in generalities here, but on average, we’re told that women are sexually programmed to seek out one good man and thus more suited to monogamy. That seems so convenient and comforting to men and so soothing to society, that we can rely on women as a kind of social glue.”

By citing studies using plethysmography, which measures blood flow to the vagina, Bergner begins to demystify a subject that had previously seemed unknowable. Instead of relying on hearsay about what women want, we are challenged to look at the hard science.

Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and a co-author of a study published in the February 2013 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says that while the psychological differences between men and women have historically been neatly lumped into two distinct categories, statistical evidence does not support that. The study authors write:

Contrary to the assertions of pop psychology titles like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, it is untrue that men and women think about their relationships in qualitatively different ways… Even leading researchers in gender and stereotyping can fall into the same trap.

What turns women on is not a mystery wrapped in an enigma. The pervasive idea that female arousal is a circuitous, delicate, and finicky thing is a sneaky way of spaying us.

It’s certainly more socially acceptable for men to value physical appearance. Case in point— male nudity at the movies. When we see male nudity on film it’s often played for laughs.

While men (and women) are treated to Halle Berry’s breasts, the best we girls can get is “joke dick” — think Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Mark Wahlberg at the end of Boogie Nights.

If we acknowledge that women are visual creatures then it puts more pressure on men to look good.

While a shlubby sitcom writer might try to convince us that hot girls do, in fact, want to marry fat, funny bald guys, most women want to be visually attracted to their partner.

In fact, a 2012 survey conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that physical attraction matters to both men and women. Seventy-eight percent of over 1,000 men and women polled said being attracted to their partner is “very important.”

Sexuality is not a one-size-fits all proposition. And I’ll admit that many women are not turned on by the images in Playgirl.

But I’m against downplaying the strength, vigor and animalistic quality of female sexual arousal by dressing it up with flowers and chocolate-dipped strawberries. When it belongs to the right person, a naked male body can be exactly what a woman wants.

—————-
— Related Posts This Blog–

(Link): New study: Average American man is ugly and fat – And yes, men, you should panic because American women DO judge you based on your looks

(Link): Women Are Visually Oriented Too – Reminder 1

(Link): Why Doesn’t Your Husband Want to Have Sex? by E. Bernstein

(Link):  Yes Women Are Visually Oriented – Hundreds of female marathon runners abandon their race to mob ‘impossibly handsome’ policeman for selfies

(Link): Women Are Visual And Like Hot Looking Men (Part 1) Joseph in Genesis Was A Stud Muffin

(Link): The Annoying, Weird, Sexist Preoccupation by Christian Males with Female Looks and Sexuality

(Link): Article: Scientists: Why penis size does matter [to women]

(Link): Married Women Engage in Sexual Sin – and most men in denial particularly Christian conservatives

(Link): More ‘Men Are Visual’ Baloney, Discussed at Another Blog

(Link): Conservative Christian Sexist Immature Imbecilic Pressure on Women to Look Pretty and Skinny and to Put Out Sexually

—————

Stereotypes Against Singles Refuted Series: Married IFB Preacher Arrested for Being Serial Rapist

Stereotypes Against Singles Refuted Series: Married IFB Preacher Arrested for Being Serial Rapist

Before I post about the serial rapist preacher, I do want to point out that some churches may be turning their noses up at singles for positions of leadership not always out of an outright bias against singles or singlenes, but that many churches, especially of the IFB bent apparently, are cheapskates: they want a married pastor because they get two slave laborers for the price of one, a husband and his wife.

Apparently, a preacher’s wife is expected to fulfill unpaid roles at many churches and in many denominations, such as providing free church child care; running and organizing church activities; and playing the piano during church services.

Some people at one forum were copying “Pastor Wanted” ads into one thread, and a few of the advertisments specifically required that the pastor applying have a wife, and the wife’s duties were spelled out, as “she must be a piano player,” etc.

The thing I find sad and funny is that these are not biblical standards in the first place, and some of the churches adhering to these standards claim to be “KJV Only” or to care deeply about “biblical standards.” The Bible does not say all preachers/ teachers have to be married, or have to have children, or that a pastor must have a wife who plays musical instruments.

Note also that a lot of this abuse against women (and young girls) by Christians are in churches that have a low view of the female gender, which they call “traditional gender roles” or “biblical gender complementarianism.” They adhere to very strict gender role perspectives. These types of churches/ Christians typically believe a woman is suitable for only being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. The males have very sexist views of women and usually blame females for being raped -much like Islamic honor killing culture.

Now, the star attraction of this post, the biggest reason you clicked the link to read this post:

Ah yes, another married person, and a pastor no less, was revealed to be less than saintly. The guy was arrested for being a serial rapist. He worked as a preacher. He hanged himself while in jail.

Mr. Pervy Pastor had two or three children, so he was a father, too, not just a husband.

And we know that conservative Christians think that fatherhood (or motherhood) automatically make a Christian more responsible and godly. *Snicker*
(See previous post on this blog: (Link): “Fatherhood Not Quite the Producer of Manly, Mature, Godly Men Some Conservative Christians Make It Out To Be”)

News reports such as these do not fit in with the paradigm held by a lot of conservative Christians, particularly Baptists (IFB and SBC and others) and conservative evangelicals that married people are more sexually pure, more morally upright, or more mature than never-married adults (or the divorced) over the age of 25 – 30.

The truth is that married people are no more godly, mature, responsible, or sexually upright than singles.

Most “sexual purity” sermons, books, and blogs about sexual sin assume that all singles, or at least those under the age of 30, are “randy” all the time and having sex with hundreds of partners per week, even though that is not true for all singles, especially not all Christian singles. (Note the ageism, not just the single stereotype in play: most churches don’t even stop to consider that singles over 30, 40 have sexual desire, or they don’t care.)

Here are some links and excerpts about the pervy rapist IFB preacher (even in death, his pastor friends, who knew the truth about the guy – that he was reportedly a rapist – gave him a glowing eulogy in one of their publications. Link to that below):

(Link): “Spinning Scandals Redux” (Deceased Pervy Pastor Known To Be Pervy By All Gets Glowing Obit from IFB Church Publication) (via “Stuff Fundies Like” site)

(Link): Pastor’s arrest, suicide stun church

(Link – from a blog): Two Sides of Matthew Jarrell

(Link): Former York County pastor’s arrest, travels spark nationwide sex-assault search (story dates from 2011)

    By TED CZECH
    Daily Record/Sunday News

    York, PA – In May 2007, the Rev. Matthew Dwayne Jarrell picked up a woman in Texas. She said he flashed a gold badge at her and told her if she did not do what he wanted, he would arrest her.

    Instead, San Antonio Police arrested him and charged him with sexual assault. In his vehicle they found two knives, a stun gun, leather gloves, video equipment and a machete.

    Last week, Jarrell, 41 — who at one time served as pastor of Old Paths Baptist Church in North Codorus Township — was again arrested on a sexual assault charge, this time in West Virginia.

    Police there say he offered a woman a ride home, drove to a secluded area and raped her.

    Continue reading “Stereotypes Against Singles Refuted Series: Married IFB Preacher Arrested for Being Serial Rapist”

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

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

I really don’t feel as though I fit in anywhere, even among singles. I am single and have never been married but would like to be married. Then there are times I’m fine with being single.

A problem I have experienced is that most people fall into strictly one side or the other, or some married people handle singlness strictly one way or another; there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground, but I’m in the middle.

There are occasions I’d like to be married, but I resent being overlooked, hounded about, or mistreated by churches and society while I am single, or for being single.

I’d like to be married because it would be great to share life with someone. It would be nice to have companionship.

However, I don’t think I should fall into the codependent habit of thinking I require a man to be whole, happy, or to have an identity.

I also reject Christian sexism (which sneaks into churches under the guise of “gender complementarianism”) which teaches all manner of obnoxious garbage, such as, women need a “male priest” (a.k.a. a husband) to access God on their behalf (yes, they really do teach this crud), or, women need a “male covering.” No, we don’t need either one of those. Those ideas are foreign to the Bible.

Yes, I hope to marry eventually, but while I am single, I want to be treated with respect by secular and Christian culture. I want to be noticed and acknowledged while I am single.

Churches, preachers, and most married Christians typically ignore singles over the age of 30.

If they aren’t ignoring us, churches, pastors, and married Christians are treating us singles over 30 as though we are slaves meant to do nothing but church menial work. Or, they insultingly assuming we’re all fornicating, or, they assume we are still single because we are weird, fat, ugly, socially retarded. Or, they wrongly assume, we singles past 30 must be blazing homosexuals, or stalwart, liberals and feminists.

For singles such as myself who want marriage, it’s frustrating and insulting to hear from preachers and churches that I should just accept singleness, I should “be content,” or I should “make the most of my singleness” and to hear other platitudes.

I abhor the books and blogs by older Christian singles such as myself who have thrown in the towel on their own hopes of marriage to lecture singles like me to just give in too, and they write we should remember God doesn’t care about our earthly happiness (supposedly), and we should remember eternity, where we’ll all be single anyhow.

I want to be respected while I am single and have my needs met by churches as a single. I want to be met where I am. I don’t want my singleness brushed aside, overlooked, or treated like it’s a disease that needs to be cured.

At the same time, though, I want my goal and hope of getting married one day to be RESPECTED and ENCOURAGED, not as is the usual case: shamed, insulted, ignored, or put down, and don’t tell me it’s a sin to be single, or that I am at fault in any way for being single, or that I failed because I was supposed to be married by my mid-20s.

I also don’t want to be given guilt trips or have it implied I am being selfish or ungodly for wanting to be married.

I don’t want pastors, Christian dating and relationship advice authors, and older Christian singles telling me to lay down my hope of being married.

I don’t want or need any more stupid, condescending, rude advice or cliches such as “just grow your hair long,” “Jesus is all you need,” or, “try eHarmony.”

Singles who are happy being single, who don’t want marriage at all, should be respected for remaining single if they so choose.

Some first marriages today in the USA aren’t taking place until one or both partners are in their late 20s or older. I have started collecting news stories of people who don’t get married for the first time until age 35, 40, 50, or older.

I’m afraid a lot of older married couples (as in ones who have been married for decades now) haven’t caught on that culture has changed, and people are delaying marriage until they are older – and contrary to the Al Mohlers and Debbie Makens of the world (the few Christians who do bother to notice that people are marrying later in life), that is not necessarily bad, sinful, or wrong. You just might get married for the first time in your late 30s, age 45, age 55, or who knows when.

Nobody should be pressured into marriage. Singlehood needs to be accepted and respected as a valid life choice for Non Christians and Christians. But often, it’s not. Here’s an example from an “Ask Amy” column:

DEAR AMY: My daughter, 40, was married to a man who was mentally abusive. He estranged her from her brother and friends and tried to end her relationship with her father and me. When she divorced him about five years ago, we were very happy. Fortunately there were no children.

A few years after the divorce she went to therapy, but I don’t know how much progress was made. Now she has no desire to date or to have a committed relationship with a man (or woman, for that matter).

She just says she is not interested. Her brother, who is married, has tried multiple times to encourage her to have a relationship with someone. The way he approached the subject was somewhat harsh, and she is more adamant than ever about meeting or dating.

She is a beautiful and intelligent woman and a very successful lawyer with her own practice. She and I are close. We are able to speak openly with each other, but this is a delicate subject. We are a very small family, and my husband and I won’t be around forever. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.— Worried Mother

DEAR WORRIED: My advice is that you (and her brother, especially) should stop urging your daughter to believe that there is something wrong with her.

You don’t say that she is angry, depressed or friendless, only that she is a successful survivor and a very successful professional and a beautiful, intelligent and lovely daughter.

Marriage and intimate emotional partnerships are not the answer for everyone. If your daughter says she is not interested in having this sort of relationship in her life, I think it would be great (and honest, true and supportive) for her family members to believe her. And then stop bothering her about it.

Amy’s advice is good on this letter. People should not be pushed or hounded into getting married. Singleness should be respected. Singles should be respected.

At the same time, though, remember:

If you are an un-married person who is desiring marriage, that’s acceptable too, regardles of you age.

Don’t let anyone, not famous preachers or older Christian singles in books, blogs, or forums, make you feel ashamed, selfish, or guilty for wanting to get married or for actively pursuing marriage (if you are using dating sites, asking friends to fix you up on dates, using churches to meet other singles, etc).

——————-

Related Posts:

(Link):  Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage

(Link):  Research: Being Single [or Fear of Being Single] is a Meaningful Predictor of Settling for Less in Relationships

(Link):  ‘Leftover’ Is A Term Used In Many Parts of Asia For Women Who Haven’t Married By Their Mid-20s