views and thoughts on topics, especially ones pertaining to christianity – with an emphasis on how most christians either ignore or discriminate against unmarried christians – and how christians have turned marriage and parenting into IDOLS and how there is no true support for sexual purity, virginity, or celibacy among christians – this is a blog for me to vent; I seldom permit dissenting views. I don't debate dissenters ————-
Category: how christians are keeping singles single
When Mormonism Sounds Like Gender Complementarian Christianity – Also: Man Shortage in Mormonism Just Like Christianity
It is creepy how much Mormonism sounds like Christian gender complementarianism. Also, it sounds like a lot of the same problems that befall Baptist, Reformed, fundamentalist, and evangelical Christian adult singles are some of the same issues that are faced by Mormons.
DAEJEON, South Korea — Ashley Farr, once Miss North Salt Lake Teen USA, is the first in her family’s long line of Mormon women to become a missionary, and in December she embarked on her new life in this gray corner of Asia.
She packed her bag according to the church’s precise instructions: skirts that cover the knee, only one pair of pants, earrings that dangle no longer than one inch, and subtle but flattering makeup, modeled in photos on the church’s website.
… In the coming years, these women are expected to fundamentally alter this most American of churches, whose ruling patriarchs not long ago excommunicated feminist scholars and warned women not to hold jobs while raising children.
[Mormon] Church leaders have been forced to reassess their views because Mormon women are increasingly supporting households, marrying later and less frequently, and having fewer children. And for the first time, waves of women like Ms. Farr are taking part in the church’s crucial coming-of-age ritual, returning home from their missions with unprecedented scriptural fluency, new confidence and new ideas about themselves.
Already the church has made small adjustments, inviting women to weigh in on local councils and introducing the first leadership roles for female missionaries. When a band of Mormon feminists staged a demonstration last year in Salt Lake City calling for women to be ordained as priests, their demands were felt in church headquarters — in part because the church’s own surveys also reveal streaks of female dissatisfaction.
… To revise female roles in the church threatens what many see as the very foundations of the faith, which dictate that men are ordained as priests at the tender age of 18, taking the title “Elder,” while women, who can never progress beyond “Sister,” are considered holiest and most fulfilled as wives and mothers.
Many Mormon women embrace their traditional roles and flinch at the word “feminism”; a small movement to encourage women to wear pants instead of skirts to Sunday services was met with an angry backlash. Even younger Mormon men are often uncomfortable with the ambitions of their female peers, some women report, creating a chasm of expectations between the sexes.
But if the church, which keenly polishes its image, does not update its ideas about gender, it may be seen as out of step with contemporary life, an untenable home for women who are leaders in their workplaces and breadwinners in their households.
“The great unfinished business in the church is gender equality,” said Joanna Brooks, an English professor at San Diego State University who often writes about her experiences as a Mormon woman. “An increasing number of young Mormon women are growing up in a world where they not only can work, but have to work, and they are operating 12 hours a day in contexts where gender is irrelevant, but in a church structure where all financial and theological decisions are made by men. This will just stop making sense.”
…. “Maybe in the past, homemakers didn’t get that chance” to do missions, said Mrs. Christensen, her eyes welling.
“It used to be that mission was the rite of passage for men, and marriage was the rite of passage for women,” said Ms. Hanks, the feminist scholar who returned to the church. Now, she said, “the church has officially established the mission as an equal rite of passage for women.”
A picture in the lobby of the Seoul mission depicts a male missionary preparing to go out tracting, or canvassing for converts, as a knight in shining armor. On a recent trip home, Mrs. Christensen bought a matching image of a sword-wielding sister missionary, so the women would be able to see an inspirational portrait, too.
… But some former female missionaries said their 18 months of proselytizing planted new questions about inequality.
Gender Complementarian Advice to Single Women Who Desire Marriage Will Keep Them Single Forever / Re: Choosing A Spiritual Leader
Usually, I am not a fan of the “and that’s why you’re still single” view dished out in Lonely Hearts columns, but can I tell you, if you are a single Christian woman wondering why it is you’re 35, 45, or 55 years old and still single – though you want marriage – it may just be that you have too many qualifications you insist a man must meet before you will consider marrying him.
This isn’t quite the same thing as scolding a woman for “being too picky.”
Often, being “too picky” is distorted by critics of singles to mean that “you insist every man look like actor Brad Pitt and be a multi-millionaire,” when, usually, a woman who is “being too picky” is merely holding out for a solid, average guy, someone who has a steady job and who will treat her well.
And there’s nothing wrong with having standards, ladies.
Don’t settle for some ugly, fat, broke, and/or abusive guy just for the sake of being married, or getting your marriage-obsessed family to back off.
No, I’m not talking about being picky (having standards). I’m talking about erecting all manner of laughable, unwise, unduly limiting, idiotic restrictions on to mate selection that some Christians recommend you do, such as only be willing to marry a Christian man if he is your “spiritual leader” or if he goes to church every week.
From the ladies’ section of Christianity Today online magazine:
See how that’s designed to limit the number of potential mates a single Christian woman may choose from? Yeah, and it’s not helpful.
Look, in my Christian days, all I was looking for in a guy (in- so- far as religious traits were concerned) was that the guy was a sincere Christian.
I was not even insisting and demanding that a suitor had to be more spiritually mature than me, be my spiritual head, lead me in prayer, be at the same level as me spiritual-maturity-wise, or know the Bible better than me, or attend church weekly. And I am still single in my 40s.
There are not a lot of men out there who meet the Basic Christian Criteria – which is, the guy accepted Christ as Savior, so what makes the author, Hill, believe a single woman cannot only get a Christian (a man who accepted Christ as savior), but also one who is her “spiritual leader”?
Feb 25, 2014
Religious education in Australian schools should be scrutinised: most parents do not want children to be taught creationism, or their daughters told that their nipples are a ‘temptation to men’
Most people who read this are probably going to focus on the dinosaur teaching, and even get offended at the ‘homosexual feelings’ comment. I am not terribly interested in any of that. Here is where I got tripped up (emphasis mine):
Another primary school’s principal demanded an apology and is now hosting a departmental investigation after SRI [Special Religious Instruction] volunteers gave year 6 children a “Biblezine,” advising girls how to avoid making their nipples a “distraction and temptation to men,” explaining that wives must “submit” to husbands and instructing children never to act on homosexual feelings. She called the material “completely inappropriate,” “against fundamental school values” and said it “smacks in the face of everything we do.”
SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The system, I understand, in Victoria has changed, in that now parents can opt in to the classes, whereas previously it was an opt-out system. Doesn’t that give parents more of an option?
JOE KELLY: Yes, it does and it doesn’t. It was very clear at this school that parents were very confused about what actually was on offer.
Quite a number of them thought the course was a study of religion, a comparative religious course – which I have no objection to.
But the course is not that – it is one, it is a course of instruction in Christian dogma, and there are children that attend this program because parents, for a whole range of reasons, either don’t understand exactly what it is, I’ve spoken to some parents who have their children going because they don’t want them sitting out in the corridors doing nothing for that period of time. I’ve had other parents say, look, my husband’s Indian, we have our own religion, but I don’t want my son to look different or to be out of sync with the rest of the class.
So there’s a very dysfunctional element about the whole management of it.
Parents and teachers have called for an urgent overhaul of religious education in schools after year 6 children were given material claiming girls who wear revealing clothes are inviting sexual assault, and homosexuality, masturbation and sex before marriage are sinful.
Students at Torquay College were presented with “Biblezines” as a graduation present at the end of their Christian education program, run by Access Ministries – the government accredited provider of religious instruction in Victorian schools.
The magazines, Refuel 2 and Revolve 2 – which intersperse the text of the New Testament with dating advice, beauty tips and music reviews – warn girls not to go bra-less because “your nipples are much more noticeable and a distraction and temptation for men”, and not to wear tube tops and low-rise jeans because men are “sexually stimulated by what they see”.
“The Bible says not to cause anyone else to sin. Are you putting sexual thoughts about your body into guys’ heads? If you are showing a lot of skin you probably are,” it states.
The material, produced by the News Corp-owned Nelson Bibles, America’s largest Christian publishing house, also “exposes the lie of safe sex”, claiming that condoms condone promiscuity, and urges those who think they are gay never to act on it.
In response to an agony aunt-style question about, “How far can you go before you are no longer pure?”, the document reads: “Let’s put it this way: How much dog poop stirred into your cookie batter does it take to ruin the whole batter.”
…. Access Ministries says it did not approve the Biblezines, or their content, and they were a graduation gift from local churches, which normally donate traditional Bibles.
In a statement, chief executive Evonne Paddison said: “This year there was a huge rush for the Bibles and, for reasons we do not yet understand, it seems as though 15 copies of Refuel 2 were handed out. Students were asked to return them on the day . . . Our agreed curriculum teaches the basic beliefs of the Christian faith and does not stray into areas of sexuality at all. We are extremely disappointed that this has occurred and will continue to investigate how it happened.”
[—- end article excerpt ———]
There are parts of this stuff I actually agree with, and parts I do not.
My wife and I raised four daughters — without shotguns in the house! — and three of them have already married. We love our sons-in-law, and it’s obvious God handpicked each of them to match our daughters’ temperaments and personality.
I have always believed God is in the matchmaking business. If He can do it for my daughters, He can do it for you.
…. Today I have several single female friends who would very much like to find the right guy.
Some tell me the pickings are slim at their church, so they have ventured into the world of online dating. Others have thrown up their hands in despair, wondering if there are any decent Christian guys left anywhere.
They’ve begun to wonder if they should lower their standards in order to find a mate. My advice stands: Don’t settle for less than God’s best. Too many Christian women today have ended up with an Ishmael because impatience pushed them into an unhappy marriage.
Please take my fatherly advice: You are much better off single than with the wrong guy!
Speaking of “wrong guys,” here are the top 10 men you should avoid when looking for a husband:
1. The unbeliever. Please write 2 Corinthians 6:14 on a Post-it note and tack it on your computer at work. It says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (NASB).
This is not an outdated religious rule. It is the Word of God for you today. Don’t allow a man’s charm, looks or financial success (or his willingness to go to church with you) push you to compromise what you know is right. “Missionary dating” is never a wise strategy. If the guy is not a born-again Christian, scratch him off your list. He’s not right for you. I’ve yet to meet a Christian woman who didn’t regret marrying an unbeliever.
He goes on to list more Christian men he thinks a Christian single should not marry, including: the liar, the playboy, the dead beat, the control freak, the man child, the narcissist, the bum – and a few others.
I’m not even sure where to start with this.
First, let me say I enjoyed one or two points he made, and I agree with them, such as point #10,
10. The control freak.
Some Christian guys today believe marriage is about male superiority. They may quote Scripture and sound super-spiritual, but behind the façade of husbandly authority is deep insecurity and pride that can morph into spiritual abuse.
First Peter 3:7 commands husbands to treat their wives as equals. If the man you are dating talks down to you, makes demeaning comments about women or seems to squelch your spiritual gifts, back away now. He is on a power trip. Women who marry religious control freaks often end up in a nightmare of depression.
I applaud him on point #10 there, good job on point 10! Woo!
Point #9 (about avoiding the “man-child” category of adult males) isn’t altogether a bad point, either (I was engaged to a quasi man-child, and no, I did not enjoy it), but that point taken too far, or if over-emphasized, and we are getting into Mark Driscoll territory (click here for more on that), and lots of younger males in particular are deeply insulted by some of Driscoll’s views about men.
On the one hand, the guy who wrote this, Grady, assumes God will send you (you being a single Christian woman who wants to get married) the Christian man o’ your dreams.
If this is so, why does Grady make a long list telling single women not to marry a drug addict, bum, control freak, liar, etc?
If it were true that God just blessed single females with a “dream boat” of a Christian spouse, if they just trust God and pray about it, there would be no need for a woman to use her discernment and weed out the pigs, dogs, and liars from the Prince Charmings, and to have these lists of what sort of men to avoid marrying in the first place, now would there?
If you have bothered to read any other posts at this blog before, you know my deal.
But if you’re new, here’s a recap:
I’m over 40 years of age, raised a Christian, dreamed of being married, still single in my 40s, bought into evangelical/Baptist propaganda from my youth forwards that if I only trusted God for a spouse, stayed sexually pure, prayed, and waited, that God would deliver “Mr. Christian Right” to my front door. (I even tried dating sites, went to churches, volunteered at soup kitchens, etc., still no spouse.)
Despite all my waiting, praying, staying a virgin into adulthood, attending church, using dating sites, volunteering at charities, ‘looking to the kingdom first,’ and having faith, and all the other twaddle Christians tell you that you must do to earn or obtain a spouse – God never did send me a spouse.
And did I mention the part where I’m in my 40s now? It’s more than a bit ridiculous to keep telling women at my age to “keep praying, trusting” and all the usual advice these 50- year- old, married men issue to 15 or 23 year old single women.
That is one reason I cringe when I see Christians write comments such as these, by J. Lee Grady, who wrote on the page I excerpted above:
…and it’s obvious God handpicked each of them [the husbands] to match our daughters’ temperaments and personality.
I have always believed God is in the matchmaking business. If He can do it for my daughters, He can do it for you.
Buddy, I don’t know how to tell you this… but God did not “hand pick” husbands for your daughters.
Your daughters simply dated around until they found a man they felt compatible with, and they got lucky. And who knows if all the marriages of all three of your daughters will last?
Maybe one or more of your daughters will divorce in the future. If one of them divorces, how will you stick to the belief that God “hand picked” their spouse for them?
Why would God “hand pick” a man for a woman only for their marriage to fall apart years later? If God did the spouse choosing, don’t you think there would be little to no divorce, rather than the 40 – 60% divorce rate among Christians we do have these days?
You have plenty of other single Christian women out there that prayed and waited, and God did not “hand pick” any husbands for them.
Yes, 2 Corinthians 6:14 is, contrary to what Grady states, an outdated biblical rule, especially in the United States of America, where studies I read say there are about three un-married, adult Christian women for every one un-married, adult Christian man.
That means about two out of three Christian women who are single who desire marriage (assuming they all want to marry) will be unable to marry a Christian man, because there are not enough Christian men for the ladies to marry.
The “be equally yoked” (or in the negative, “do not be unequally yoked”) is only serving to keep single Christian women who desire marriage indefinitely single – it sets up an unrealistic, unnecessary hurdle they must contend with in mate selection and in getting to the altar.
Not only that, but some Christians are not even clear on what “being equally yoked” really means. For example, some gender complementarians would tell single Christian women it is not enough for her to marry a Christian man, oh no, but the man she marries must also be one she feels she can “submit to,” or one who can be her “spiritual leader” or “spiritual head.”
Some preachers, such as Seattle’s Mark Driscoll, have also told women, or implied or alluded, to only marry a guy who has his own car and a steady job, on top of marrying only a Christian guy.
Driscoll also stated that Christian single women should NOT marry a Pro-Choice man, see this link:
Although I do not agree with Regenerus (Christian college professor and author) on everything, he rightly pointed out over a year ago in an article that Christians are un-biblical to keep adding more and more criteria on Christian mate selection lists that they expect Christian single females to adhere to, because such criteria are keeping too many women single too long.
Here are some of Regenerus’ remarks from that article:
— start quote —
Genuine interfaith marriage is a challenge I don’t recommend. But as marriage has shifted in purpose over time, many Christians have added layers of meaning onto Paul’s wise command.
“Unequally yoked” has evolved into a graded criterion for an optimal mate rather than a simple test for an acceptable one. This is a problem. Why? Spiritual maturity is not equally distributed among men and women in the peak marrying years. Quality survey data reveal only two serious, churchgoing evangelical men for every three comparable women.
Thus, one out of every three evangelical women is not in a position to marry a man who’s her “spiritual equal,” let alone “head.”
This elevated standard now translates — for women, at least — to something like this: “Find that uncommon man who is your spiritual equal or leader, not to mention kind, virtuous, industrious, employed, and, if possible, handsome, and then figure out how to make him want to marry you.”
A tall order it is.
As a result of the increasing “failure to launch,” evangelicals find themselves saying lots of nice things about the benefits of singleness (which certainly do exist), but seem unwilling to move their boundary stones for marriage. Except that they have moved them, away from acceptability and toward ideals. It’s not a surprising move, since marriage is far more voluntary and economically unnecessary for women (and men) today than it was as recently as 50 years ago.
Basically, not only are Christian singles told to hold out for ONLY another Christian single, but if they are female, and depending on which type of church or denomination they belong to, they are also told they can only marry a Christian man IF he meets one or more of the following criteria:
1. she can picture herself submitting to him;
2. he is more spiritually mature than her;
3. (if in an IFB church), he must be King James Version Only;
4. (if in a Neo Calvinist church), he must be a Calvinist
You might as well also add other, too narrow, picky, and ridiculous requirements for a spouse, such as, in addition to being a Christian single man (which are very rare to start with), the man in question must :
1. the man must have one blue eye and one green eye;
2. the man must own a pet llama named Henry;
3. the man must have a hobby of collecting Mego Star Trek figures;
4. the man must have the habit of picking all blue M&M candies out from every package of M&M candy he opens
5. the man’s favorite day of the week must be Tuesday;
6. The man’s middle name must start with the letter “Q”
The longer one makes a “list of criteria for a martial partner” the smaller the pool of eligible mates one has to choose from.
I really do not think most Christians appreciate this fact – and it’s common sense, but it sails right over the heads of most married Christians who dole out this useless advice to singles.
“I’ve yet to meet a Christian woman who didn’t regret marrying an unbeliever.”
And I’ve seen a fair share of online testimonies by Christian women who did marry a Non Christian and have no regrets about it. They say they have happy marriages and are doing just fine.
I wonder if part of the stubborn insistence by Christians that single Christian women should break up with a Non-Christian man (even if they are in love with him), and “trust God” to send them a Christian guy later on, is a denial that there are simply not enough Christian men for Christian ladies to marry.
Christian apologist William Craig Lane unfortunately seems to assume if a Christian single woman is dating a Non-Christian man, that if she breaks up with the guy, that in his good time, God will send her, or reward her with, a Christian husband – but this is not true (see this page, off site: (Link): Marrying a Non Christian, reply by William Lane Craig).
A lot of Christian women find themselves waiting, waiting, waiting for a Christian spouse, just as Lane Craig and others advise – and die never having married.
And bear in mind that Craig admits in that answer on that page that he’s been married to a Christian women for 30 or whatever years – I notice that frequently when Christians who tell hurting, lonely singles to stay single while “waiting on God for a spouse,” they are themselves MARRIED and have BEEN MARRIED FOR DECADES.
How EASY it is for YOU, married guy of 30 years, to tell 25, 35, 45 year old women who WANT marriage, but who are SINGLE, to keep tossing out suitable men, one after the other, just because they are not Christian.
Give me a break. This is nothing but a cruel, devious trick that is unnecessarily keeping droves of single Christian women single indefinitely, or well into their 40s and older.
Over a year ago, I found a long thread on a Christian forum where many Christians who had married atheists and other types of Non Christians talked about their marriage experiences, and many of the Christian women said their marriages to their unbelieving spouses were fine.
There was no abuse, their unbelieving spouses did not cheat on them, respected their faith, and so forth. If I can find that discussion I will link to it. I can’t remember the name of the forum I found those testimonies on.
If you google it, you can of course find a ton of lay-persons on the internet claiming that a Christian to a Non Christian marriage will end in failure and heartbreak – but again, I’ve come across plenty of positive testimonies about it as well. I don’t think Christian to Non-Christian marriage is necessarily doomed to failure.
I preface the link, which is much farther below to an atheist blog page, by saying this: I notice that often times atheists take the “be not yoked” teaching as a personal slam against atheists, which it’s not intended to be, not from the Christian view.
When Christians talk about being married to only other Christians, they are not suggesting that atheists are evil trash and not good enough for Christian companionship.
I mean, look it, you have a lot of Christians who fall in love with a person who is an atheist (or agnostic), and then they run to a preacher asking, “Is it a sin for me, a Christian to marry this atheist? I’d really like to marry him/her, but he/she is an unbeliever, and I don’t know what to do.”
In other words, if all Christians every where thought of all atheists as being evil idiot dirt balls, you would not see this question raised to start with, because you would not have Christians dating and falling in love with atheists (and other types of Non-Christians).
The “be not yoked” teaching is more pro-Christian and supported out of concern for the Christian’s spiritual well being, and is not “anti atheist.”
The teaching is mainly spoken out of concern that a Christian who marries a non-believer might have his or her faith compromised, or the atheist spouse may act as an obstacle to the believing spouse serving God, attending church, and so forth.
It’s a pro-Christian teaching, not anti-atheist, but a lot of atheists choose to misinterpret it in that way. Like the guy on this page below does – the guy who runs the “Friendly Atheist” blog.
I sometimes visit the Friendly Atheist’s blog and even agree with him at times on some subjects, but not totally on the “be not yoked” teaching, where he takes the teaching as an intentional insult against atheists.
I do, however, agree with some of this other views on the issue, which you can read about here:
That page even has quotes from a friend of Mehta (the atheist blogger guy) who is a Christian, Alise Wright, who is married to an atheist. He gets her take on the situation. Here is one quote by Alise Wright on his page:
— start quote—
Due to our differences in faith, my husband [who is an atheist] and I [who am a Christian] have had to work on our ability to communicate a bit more.
It requires us to find the areas where our common ethos meet and build on that. It requires us to be more generous and more forgiving with one another because we are determined not to be another statistic in the broken marriage category. Interfaith marriages are happening.
Rather than simply saying, “Don’t do that,” the Church needs to look for ways to encourage couples who are in these marriages instead of leaving them to their own devices.
If we truly want to recognize marriage as something beautiful and sacred, then we need to provide tools to help those who have married someone outside of the Christian faith find that in their spouse and in their marriage. I agree with those sentiments above.
Grady ends his editorial, “10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry,” by saying,
“Your smartest decision in life is to wait for a man who is sold out to Jesus.”
Er, no. I’m in my early 40s and still not married. You are, when you get down to it, asking me to stay single until I die. No thank you.
God has done didley squat NOTHING up to this point to send me a spouse, so I have to take matters into my own hands, which means getting back on to the dating horse once more, but this time, when I do, I will not be eliminating Non-Christians from the pool of candidates.
I leave you with this image, and a few comments below it:
By the way, what of the ten men on that list that Grady names, the liar, bum, etc.? Is Grady saying such men, if they desire marriage, will never, ever get a spouse?
Is he saying God will deny such males spouses, and they are doomed to die alone and single?
Does Grady believe such men will have to clean up their acts before God will allow them a spouse?
I hate to break it to Grady, but I have a bazillion examples on my blog of Christian men who got married who turned out to be drug addicts, rapists, burglars, serial rapist, porn addicts, pedophiles, and cheaters.
Obviously, God does not expect a person to “clean up” his act before allowing him (or her) to marry.
Of course, I doubt many women would want to marry a man who is a liar, cheat, bum, or man-child, so it may behoove such men to clean themselves up on those grounds, but I don’t see any evidence that God prohibits jerks, idiots, and loons from marrying; quite the contrary, my blog has many examples of jerks, abusers, idiots and loons who got Christian spouses in spite of all their sins, defects, and character flaws.
EDIT. I do not know who originally drew the skeleton lady sitting on a bench drawing you see above. I’ve seen it around the internet forever. I would love to give the original creator credit, but I have no idea who made it. I changed it a little to add text to it.
————————– Edit, March 22, 2014
This guy (Steve Strang) apparently feels Grady’s editorial is awesome – it’s not.
One reason Grady’s piece took off like wildfire on social media is because Grady’s article was copied to liberal Christian groups and sites who thought it was awful. That is one reason why a lot of people shared it on Facebook and tweeted it all over town – to ridicule it and criticize it, not laud and praise it.
Though I do agree in part with Deb, who left this remark on the Charisma News site – she is right that churches ignore adult single celibates and instead opine about the already-married:
— start quote—
That article went viral because it spoke to a need that’s not being met in the church. Men & women in the church need honest, direct guidance in navigating the waters of single life.
The church on the whole, including those singles, would rather put on a front that everyone is celibate and reading the Bible when they go on a date.
Those “dating waters” are treacherous! There are sharks and snakes everywhere! I only spent about two years in those waters–I divorced a “serial adulterer” after over 30 years– but I got an eye-opening education in those two years and at times nearly drowned.
I think I met every man listed in J. Lee Grady’s article. He is so on-point! I could write a book on being a Christian single in today’s world!
Just by observing the other singles, I realized I shouldn’t date men in church.
From what I saw, the men dated outside the church because they wanted to have sex but not have to face the woman in church on Sunday.
Churches need singles groups that tackle the issues of singleness frankly instead of turning a blind eye to the fact that their singles are having sex, getting pregnant, getting diseases and dealing with all manner of sexual perversion while still being active members of the church.
This environment is creating people with a seared conscience.
We must bring righteousness and holiness back into the church, along with a strong dose of truth and honesty. Truthfully, that must start with our leaders’ behavior.
Being single and celibate in today’s society is very difficult. They need a strong support group and strategies to succeed at being single and dating.
For me, when I was ready to get married again, I stopped “dating”. I stopped communicating with the men in whom I was interested. I prayed for God to show me to my future husband….I prayed that my husband would find me.
Deb, I agree with some of what you wrote, but differ on one or two points. I did not care for parts of Grady’s editorial, however.
I wrote a blog post about it (Christian Pundit on Word Press), called “A Critique of – 10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry by J. Lee Grady / And on Christians Marrying Non Christians -and- Unrealistic, Too Rigid Spouse Selection Lists by Christians”
As I said on my blog, Grady made one or two points I agreed with, and a few I did not.
I can’t share your passive approach to dating, however. I am over 40, female, never married, was a Christian for many years, was taught to simply pray, wait, have faith and God would send me a spouse, yet I remain never-married into my 40s. There are many other single, adult Christian females in the same position as myself.
If you want to get married you will have to date. Dating is not fun or pleasant, but it is something a woman must do if she wants to get married.
Even men who claim to be Christians on dating sites I’ve run across are sex-obsessed pigs who don’t even attempt to live celibate, single lives, as they should be doing, since the Bible teaches sex is for marriage only.
But you have to wade through the muck of the dating world to get married. God does not magically grant most women with a spouse who simply pray, hope, and wait for one.
If that worked for you, great, but that passive “wait, trust, and pray” has not worked for lots of single Christian women who find themselves still single past the age of 35 and 40.
I do agree with you that most churches and denominations ignore adult, single celibates and sexual purity standards. I am still a virgin at my age, and churches ignore celibate adults who are over 30, and they also tend to ignore the divorced, childless married couples, and widows / widowers.
I have seen virginity and celibacy mocked and downplayed, even by Christians in the past few years, everyone from the more liberal Christians (which I would expect) but also by self professing conservatives, such as Southern Baptist Al Mohler, Russell Moore, and blogger Tim Challies.
Conservative Christians actually diminish sexual purity now and feel it’s impossible for anyone to remain a virgin past age 25 / 30, even though plenty have accomplished that.
So many Christian women (and a smattering of male ones, but it’s mostly female) are now saying they found sexual purity and virginity teachings they heard while in church, or in other Christian material and venues when they were younger, to be so incredibly guilt- or shame- provoking (because they voluntarily chose to engage in pre- marital sex at an earlier time), that conservative, Christian males (and some females) and entire Christian groups (such as “Focus on the Family”) are now writing many blog pages and articles downplaying celibacy and virginity.
Tim Challies (who is a famous Christian blogger) went so far at to say on one of his blog pages a few months ago that “even fornicators are virgins now” to soothe the guilty feelings of fornicators who read his blog.
Christian television host Pat Robertson recently said on his TV show that virginity was for Mary (mother of Jesus) only, when a viewer wrote in asking a question about sexual purity.
Guys like Robertson feel that hetero pre marital sex is inevitable, unavoidable, and that churches should teach an “easy breezy” forgiveness message about sexual sin. His view on this is common among other Christians these days.
There are other examples, but that should suffice. Christians are no longer upholding adult celibacy, or the notion of staying a virgin until marriage, even if one is over the age of 25; they are not telling fornicators to repent of the fornication / sexual sin. (Some Christians object to the term “fornicate” itself these days, it’s considered too judgy or “old fogey.”)
Even main stream Christian groups and denominations have caved in to secular culture on sexual issues, and act as though hetero sexual sin is no big deal. Some will condemn homosexuality til the cows come home, but dismiss hetero sin of the sexual variety.
Though, strangely, I have seen some Christians (who are hetero) who feel so sorry for homosexual singles, they say they are fine and peachy with homosexuals having pre marital sex, but these types of Christians still feel that hetero singles must abstain – it’s a sexual double standard.
In the introduction I saw, Hagee did a disrespectful impression, a mocking tone, of what he imagines a single, Christian woman who is praying to God for a spouse might sound like:
“Oh Lord, when will you send me a perfect Mr. Right,” and he replied (doing an impression of God), “Why would I send him to YOU for you to mess up? You are going to ruin him.”
Hagee then did a reverse situation, where he did his impression of what he thinks an unmarried man might sound like in prayer to God for a spouse. Yes, it was also disrespectful.
Hagee also made the comments, “So you say you are single. Well, let me ask you something: How can God answer your prayer until you become someone’s answer to prayer?”
I’m not even going to bother listening to the rest of the sermon, because I doubt it’s any better than those first 2, 3 minutes of the intro.
Just those two minutes are filled not only with derision for singles who desire marriage, but also with some incorrect theology.
Some Christians assume if you are 25, 35, 45 years old, or older, and still single, it must be your fault.
The ladies who are over 25 and 30 who are still single get told often that they are “too picky.” This view, as I saw from the brief video clips, seems implicit in Hagees’ outlook about single women.
Let me just stop you right there.
Okay Matthew Hagee, assuming you have a daughter (pretend that you do if you do not).
If your daughter is still single at 35 years of age, and she desires marriage, would you honestly tell your OWN daughter to “settle,” to marry the 567 pound slobby, abusive, stupid, unemployed man?
No, you probably would not.
Would you seriously tell your own daughter to marry any guy who comes along, even if there is no attraction, or he mistreats her, or she doesn’t feel in love with him, or what have you?
You probably would not, no.
Yet you feel just fine implying these very things on a stage in a church full of people during a service that is being broadcast to millions in the United States and around the world.
Why do you believe that your hypothetical daughter is more worthy of respect than myself or other single women who are not your daughters?
Another mentality that some Christians have is that God is keeping you single until he can “clean you up” or fix you in some way. No where does the Bible teach that God has to take you through your paces, perfect you, or make you be good enough, before he will “reward” you with a spouse.
The Bible does not teach that a person has to “earn” a spouse.
The Bible contains examples of people who stole spouses (David and Bathsheba).
The Bible also has examples of complete idiots who got great spouses (Nabal was the idiot, Abigail his wife, you can read more about them (Link): here. An excerpt from that Bible passage reads: “His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.”).
If God required everyone to be totally holy and pure before sending people spouses, and forced everyone to get all their personal sins and characters flaws in check before permitting them to marry, how does one account for all the Christian husbands who are pornography addicts, child sex abusers, drug addicts, and wife beaters?
Stop holding out a husband or wife as a reward to good Christians who get their ducks lined up in a row.
I’m still a virgin in my forties, and God never did reward me with a husband for sexually abstaining this long, and I am not fat and ugly – I was engaged for several years.
Non Christian and Christian men have flirted with me, asked me out on dates, have seen my photo at friend’s homes and asked friends if they could be fixed up with me on dates, etc.
That this Hagee person (who is married himself with a kid or two) would choose to mock, ridicule, and bash single adults on a sermon that aired on Valentine’s Day of all days is reprehensible and shows a total lack of compassion and understanding for what it’s like to be a single past one’s late twenties.
It’s no wonder churches are losing members, they keep bashing (when not ignoring) 44% of the American population (i.e., adult singles).
And again, many resources I have seen point out that for every Christian adult man, there are three, adult, unmarried Christian women.
Meaning, not all Christian women who want a Christian spouse can even get one, leaving them to stay single, or marry outside the Christian faith. Do Hagee and jerks like him who bash singles from the pulpit ever mention these facts? Nope.
It’s just rudely assumed by these anti-singles preachers that single women over 30, 40 years of age are single because they are too picky, fat, flawed, are feminist man-haters, or are messed up in some way. That American demographics are not in favor of American single women who desire marriage are never mentioned.
You can dig around this blog to find many other posts like those, use the post tags, the search feature on the right hand side of the blog for that, or use the archive pull down menu and jump around at random.
All I will say about Gothard here is that he’s over 70 years of age, a very famous Christian in certain circles, and he has never married.
A bunch of women who are now in their 40s or there abouts have been coming out of the woodwork to say the dude was inappropriate with them when they worked at his place when they were in their teens or 20s.
Singles Who Desire Marriage and 1 Corinthians 7 – it’s benefits, drawbacks – also: 1 Timothy 4:3 and Christians cannot agree on biblical doctrine
I first began this post with only an intent on discussing 1 Corinthians 7 in mind, but as I began typing, it meandered a little into other (but related) topics, then I wandered back to the 1 Cor 7 discussion.
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.
9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
…25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.
27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife.
28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
…. 32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.
33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—
34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
I have had a blog visitor who says she (or he? Though I think she is a she) loathes and hates 1 Cor 7.
I left her a reply under a previous thread which reads:
I actually rather
1 Corinthians 7,
when it’s used as a weapon or condescending slogan against singles who want marriage.
But, in other contexts, I like that 1 Cor 7 passage, because married Christians (who are the ones who idolize marriage) need to be reminded that marriage is not better than singleness… that is, churches / body of Christ need to stop showing favortism to married with children couples, as they often do.
If anything, I see some pastors (such as Mark Driscoll, whom I wrote about recently (Link): here ), twist and distort 1 Cor 7 and try to explain it away – because he (and other Christians) view singles as being abnormal, or they view the state of singleness as being abnormal, or not as good as, being married, which is an INSULT to adult singles.
I know it can hurt or be frustrating to want marriage when you are single BUT (at least for me), so long as you are single, until you marry one day (assuming you marry), don’t you want preachers and other married Christians to stop acting as though you are somehow lower or not as godly or mature, or not deserving of a church’s finances and time, just because you are single?
That is why I like to toss 1 Cor 7 in their faces (and other passages).
There are some never married Christian adults who actually LOVE the GOS (“Gift of Singleness” or “of celibacy,” “GOC”) talk, they have stopped by this blog before to say they like these phrases…
I can’t get these types of adult, Christian singles to see that not only is neither phrase in the Bible, but the phrases are mis-used and abused by married Christians and preachers to keep singles single – the ones who want marriage.
The GOS/GOC talk and terms are used to maintain discrimination against singles. (I’ve blogged about that before, just search the blog using the phrase “gift of singleness.”)
I also have many blog posts talking about the cliches that Christian singles who desire marriage get from married Christians, and it annoys me too. Here are a few posts about it:
… I have similar blog posts, those are just a few.
To sum up, 1 Cor 7 can be a helpful ally and tool in the arsenal of an adult Christian single who runs into Christians who idolize marriage – the ones who behave as though single adults are losers.
I was at a right wing, political blog where all the married people were responding to a news story about childless and single women.
Many of these right wing people on that blog were insulting singles and the state of being childless.
Even secular right wingers tend to make an idol out of marriage, parenting, and the nuclear family.
Many married right wingers, even the secular ones, assume women who are never-married and childless past their 30s are man-hating, atheistic feminists who vote Democrat and have posters of Obama all over their bedroom walls with lipstick-kiss marks on them.
These types of right wing morons never realize that women can be conservative Republican and/or Christians and be single and childless into adulthood, based on circumstances they had no control over, or, based on their choice (but choices which are NOT based on atheism, feminism, liberalism, or hatred of God, country, conservatives, or babies).
Singlehood and childless/child-free are not bastions or life stations of liberal feminists and Democrats only. There are plenty of right wing, Republican, Christian, pro life women who choose to stay single and childless, or who find themselves that way due to circumstance.
Every time these types of right wing jackholes bash liberal feminists for being single and childless, they are also inadvertently bashing Republican, Christian, childless/ childfree women too.
When I tried explaining to these people that I am right wing also, but I am single and childless myself, some of them mellowed out in their criticisms and slams against singles and the childless, but some actually ramped the vitriol up… UNTIL… I quoted this at them:
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.
Once I quoted that from 1 Cor 7, that shut the married Marriage and Baby Idolaters up pronto.
Several replied, “You’re right; the Bible and God are okay with singleness, and women are not expected by God to have kids if they are single, and marriage is a choice, not a commandment. You are right.”
So, 1 Cor 7 can come in handy for an adult single who is getting damn tired of hearing she is a failure or weirdo for not being married past her 20s.
Oddly, the fact that Jesus Christ and Paul were single seem to usually not leave much of an impact on married Marriage and Family Idolaters, when that fact is thrown in their faces.
But, and stranger still, Jesus’ and Paul’s singlehood and childless status is none-the-less a tid bit that Married, Christian Condescending People like to remind Non-Content Adult Singles of.
Seems like 30% – 40% of articles I read for singles by married Christians likes to offer the chirpy reminder, “Remember, singles, Jesus and Paul were single and childless too!”
Okay, Enthusiastic Christian Married Guy, it’s good for you to respect singleness and being childless by recognizing that Jesus Christ and Paul was single and childless.
Married Christians should indeed keep that in mind, that Christ and Paul were single and childless, because God knows, Christians often go blank on that and assume Marriage and Kids are God’s default for EVERYONE.
However, while that is great for Jesus and Paul, I personally would like to marry so I can bang a man weekly (ie, get my sexual lusts fulfilled), have some constant companionship, to stave off bouts of loneliness. Maybe get chocolates in a heart shaped box on Valentine’s from a sweetie pie, instead of eating Campbell’s soup for one over the sink again. That sort of stuff.
On the one hand, 1 Cor 7 can be used as a weapon against married Christians by singles, against the types of married Christians who tend to elevate marriage at the expense of singles and singleness. That is to the single’s advantage.
On the other hand, some Christians, usually married idiots, misuse 1 Cor 7 as a battering ram against adult singles who want to get married.
And that is not right; the twisting or abuse of 1 Cor 7, borders on this:
1 Timothy 4:3
3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
I’m an American in 2014. There is no “present” crisis going on with me personally in 2014 America, as there was when Paul wrote to people telling them it is better for them to remain as they were (single if single, or married if married), given their “present crisis.”
Whatever that crisis was – maybe Christians were being persecuted for being Christian?
Mefferd Guest Incredulous that Preachers Push Kids To Marry Early
I will be tweeting a link to this to Janet Mefferd.
Mrs. Mefferd (if she is reading this at all!), I realize this post is way long.
However, I would appreciate it if you would read it and really take to heart and consider what it is saying, and maybe take the time to look over the links to other materials I’ve provided. The evangelical and Baptist and Reformed churches are alienating and hurting a lot of celibate, single adults.
Today, at least 44% of the American adult population is single [Sept 2016 update: as of 2014, according to various news sources, that figure is now 51% or higher]. This includes a big chunk of Christian women over 30, 40 who would like to marry, but marriage is not happening for them.
Evangelicals, however, continue to ignore these singles to harp on (nuclear) family, marriage, and babies.
And yes, Evangelicals are pushing for Early Marriage. They are not helping the over-30 singles, but ignoring them and advising 18 year olds to marry now.
I sent Janet Mefferd (Christian radio show host) an e-mail several months ago alerting her to some of the un-biblical, strange, and insulting views of adult, celibate, Christian singles that are held and taught by married Christians – even by famous Christians, such as Southern Baptist Al Mohler – but I got no reply from her.
I have no idea if Mrs. Mefferd read my e-mail or saw it. I used the “contact form” at her site to send her the message.
I don’t always agree with Mrs. Mefferd on all issues, but I do like her on a personal level, I sometimes feel a bit grouchy with her if I feel she’s falling into the “family idolatry” trap that is so pervasive among evangelicals and other Christians…
But I do appreciate that Mefferd thinks Christians should actually expect other self professing believers to walk the Christian walk.
Because when it comes to virginity and sexual purity – though I myself am an ACTUAL virgin past my 40s (since I have not married) – I am now seeing a Christian culture that runs from ‘Laissez-faire’ on sexual ethics to bashing and attacking the concept of virginity and adult virgins themselves. Here are just a link or two (more links at end of this post):
One of several reasons I am drifting towards agnosticism after having been a devout Christian since youth has to do with this very topic: Christians being hypocrites, especially on these sexual issues.
Here I stayed a virgin into adulthood, trying to stay true to the faith and the Bible’s teachings (that is, I am a LITERAL virgin, not one of those fornicators who calls herself a “born again” or “spiritual” or “secondary” virgin, puh-leaze).
And instead of getting acknowledged for remaining sexually pure into middle age (notice that mothers in churches get carnations, they get recognized, on Mother’s Day, etc, what do virgin, adult women get? Nothing, that’s what, no sermons, no flowers, nothing), nor do I get support (emotional, practical, or financial support) from Christians during my celibate, adult singleness.
I am getting blamed and bashed for being a virgin past 40, or totally ignored (links about this below).
False teachings about celibacy, adult singleness, and sex abound in Christendom these days, even among conservative evangelicals, but not many Christians care or even notice.
Even when I alert other Christians to this information, they do not seem to care.
Evangelical, Reformed, Fundamentalist, and Baptist Christians do NOT esteem virginity or celibacy for anyone who is over 25 years of age but actually attack both concepts. (Keep reading, I explain more below, with links to proof.)
In this audio (see link to audio below), where Janet Mefferd interviews Stanton of Focus on the Family, Stanton disputes some recent findings by some study about divorce rates being higher among Protestant Christians.
(I blogged about that study a few days ago, (Link): here).
In this interview with Mefferd, Stanton says the researchers concluded that one reason for higher divorce rates among Protestant Christians is that Preachers encourage young people to marry early (ie, very young).
Stanton laughed this claim off and said, “I have never heard such a thing, ha ha ha.”
The reason some pastors are advocating Early Marriage is that they see high rates of fornication going on among self professing evangelical youth.
Evangelicals, Reformed, Baptists, and other sorts of Christians, assume if they can get a teen Christian to marry at age 21, that pre marital sex will not be an issue, and that the rates or pre-marital sex among youth can be lowered.
Deeter’s page about early marriage contains several unbiblical positions, as well as a few naive stereotypes about marriage, and some, consequently, insensitive assumptions about singleness.
I would have left comments for Deeter below his blog page, but there was a notice saying that blog comments are closed, so I was unable to leave any remarks.
Early Marriage advocates are showing a high disregard for the biblical teachings of virginity- until- marriage, as well as celibacy, by their continued erroneous, unbiblical assumption that no adult can control his or her sexual impulses past a certain age.
These Christian early marriage proponents do NOT support or respect virginity.
I am sure they would pay lip service to the idea of virginity and celibacy, but in practice, no, they do not respect virginity.
Early marriage advocates won’t even attempt to defend the concept of virginity and the practice of sexual purity and self control, but instead “throw in the towel” and recommend that Christian youth get married before hitting 25 years of age or so.
The Bible does not advise any particular age at which to marry.
While the Bible does talk in one New Testament passage about ‘marrying, rather than burning with lust,’ the Bible nowhere commands marriage by a certain age – but it does talk about self control. (More on that farther below.)
Independent Fundamentalist Baptist College Kid Friendship Permission Form – Christians lowering marriage rates due to their own stupid teachings about sex, dating, marriage, etc
This is via Stuff Fundies Like – it contains a photo of a “friendship pass,” a form college students are required to fill out if they intend on spending anytime with an opposite gender friend (from a Baptist / Christian college):
This is a Friendship Request Form from Providence Baptist College which may seem a little odd until you realize that boys and girls who want to “court” have to get permission from the college admin.
The problem is, of course, that that not a lot of kids wanted to make the comittment required to fill out a “Courtship Courtesy Request Form.” Since too many students were refusing to fill out the CCRF early in their relationships (and claimed “just friends” status) the friendship request form was born.
There’s no word on whether they also have “eyes met across a crowded room” or “just really wishing she’d notice me” forms.
C.B.M.W. Tells Christian Singles Not To Talk To Each Other – aka, How Christian (specifically gender complementarian / biblical womanhood and manhood) Teaching on Dating and the Genders Contributes to Protracted, Unwanted Singleness Among Christians
Here’s a recap for newbies to my blog:
While Christians complain about delayed marriage, lack of marriage, and raising rates of divorce, their own moronic teachings about love, dating, sex, gender roles, and romance actually contributes TO delayed marriage, lack of marriage, and raising divorce rates.
This is especially so for conservative Christians who adhere to something called “biblical gender complementarianism,” also known as “traditional gender roles” or “biblical womanhood / manhood.”
In American culture, the majority of us Americans do not get married via arranged marriages (where in our parents select our mates for us).
We are expected to converse with members of the opposite gender we find interesting and attractive and date them to see if there is any chemistry that can lead to marriage (if marriage is our goal).
Many Christians, though, are so paranoid of fornication (pre marital sex), that often, in their dating advice given in books, sermons, TV shows and blogs, they will instruct the genders to basically stay away from one another.
That’s right. They will tell singles, even adult males over the age of 30, to refrain from taking a grown woman out for a cup of coffee, don’t phone her too often to chat, because coffee dates or phone chats always lead to sex, because (supposedly),
1. all men are hormonal, lusty sex driven beasts incapable of love, romance, and sexual self control
2. all single women are jezebel harlots who will screw a man in a heartbeat
I know it’s easy to read those two points and think you are reading secular views of the genders, but no, that’s what evangelical, fundamentalist, Baptist, and Neo Reformed, and above all, gender complementarians, teach.
This brings me to this post by the CBMW (Council For Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) – they are gender comps. They believe that a man talking to a woman can and will lead to sex, or confused expectations in women (though there may be a grain of truth to this point), so single men should not talk to single women.
Given that view, I have no idea how these geniuses (I use that word sarcastically) expect a man and a woman to then date and then marry. This is a recipe for keeping singles single.
There is a certain amount of truth with the fact that Non Christian and Christian males are not asking women out on dates, which yes, leads to frustration on the part of Christian (and Non Christain women, click here to read), but I don’t get this dude’s equating talking to avoiding dating.
This Gunter guy may be warning ladies not to allow men to string them along, which is fine, but the first step to marriage is dating, and first step to dating is talking to and with someone, so I don’t think it’s entirely wise for this guy to depict all talking as being problematic.
More Virgin and Celibate Shaming in Article: How the New Abstinence Movement is Trying to Reshape Our Views on Sex (from Relevant Magazine) Another Christian Anti Virginity Hit Piece – Fornicators Need To Repent of Their Pride in their Fornication Testimonies Maybe?
There are one or two people quoted in this article from Relevant magazine who defend virginity, but there are several sections that are heavy on virgin-shaming.
I would not say this is one of the worst anti-virginity Christian works I’ve seen, but it is rather bad in parts.
Basically, it’s the same ol’, same ol’ – that, supposedly, purity and virginity teachings need to go the way of the dinosaur because women today who are now 30 years old who had consensual sex when they were 15 or 20 years old feel just oh- so- icky and guilty when they hear positive, biblical messages about virginity, or, they say, when they heard such teachings when they were 18 years old and in Sunday School, or attending “True Love Waits” conferences.
The end result: once more, in the process, the concept and practice of virginity -by those Christian adults over the age of 25 who are still holding on to their virginity- are inadvertently shamed, or their actual virginity is disparaged or disrespected. I don’t think this is a winning strategy, nor do I find it biblical.
Where I do agree with some of the individuals interviewed in this piece is where they point out that evangelical Christian teachings about sexuality get carried into the extreme absurd, where young kids are told to not so much as kiss, hold hands, or go on dates alone.
What happens when you limit a kid’s exposure to the opposite sex to that insane degree and instill that level of paranoia of fornication, is you make kids socially awkward, they don’t spend enough time around the opposite gender and hence learn how to enteract comfortably with the opposite gender, and therefore, they never marry, or not until much later in life.
Emily Maynard remembers the construction-paper illustrations and signed pledge cards, the rings with the hands holding the heart and the lock-and-key necklaces.
She remembers the after-church conversations with friends at 14 or 15 years old, barely teens, wholly in love with Jesus and trying to figure out how to honor Him with their lives. She remembers their promises to save their first kisses for their wedding ceremonies and, years later, the notes in their wedding programs announcing it.
That part seemed rather “fetishized,” she says, but she did feel a little embarrassed and upset when her dad didn’t pony up for the “purity ring,” more for social reasons than anything else.
She remembers the conferences and camps and the admonishment not to give her heart away by having sex before she was married, or maybe even kissing before then or, just to be safe, by having a crush on a member of the opposite sex.
In short, Maynard remembers growing up in the purity culture of youth ministry in the late ’90s and early aughts, a culture that persists today amid growing backlash.
61 Year Old Woman Chose To Remain Single Wonders Why Churches Treat Singles Like Dirt
This woman says she is 61 years old and chose to remain single. She wonders why churches make a big deal out of marriage and married couples and ignore singles. You might want to visit her blog page below and leave a comment.
In the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc.,) we really don’t see Matthew & Rose, Mark & Betty, Luke & Beatrice, John & Sally, etc.
Why do churches put so much emphasis on couples, inferring that singles who have chosen celibacy really don’t have a place (of course unless they are teen or twenties)?
I gave my life to Jesus at 16, and now am 61, and chose a path of singleness, according to the ability God gave me. I am confused because there seems to be such heavy emphasis on couples (nothing wrong with couples; I had extra-terrific parents for example). However, it is hurtful to feel like singles are the “low end of the totem pole” in Christian service and responsibility.
My parents had two girls (one married, and one single…me).
Do pastors cater to couple images because they presume tithing is higher? Is there cultural etiquette persuading the church more than templates of the New Testament church?
Astonishing: Evangelical Baptist – David E Prince – Wants to Know Why Evangelical Baptists Are Not Worshipping Marriage More
Individuals are saved via faith in Jesus Christ; the Bible says nothing of saving or redeeming cultures or marriage.
They Bible does not say that individuals are saved via marriage, neither does the Bible say culture is saved by marriage.
The Bible does not talk about “defending marriage,” or say that doing so is a necessity, or that Christians should be excessively preoccupied with doing so, as so many Baptists and evangelicals are these days.
The Bible does not say Jesus Christ died on the cross to save marriage.
I say all that because of stinky, horrid editorials such as the one featured in this post by David E Prince, who elevate marriage to the Gospel itself, when the Bible does no such thing.
This (see link to editorial on Baptist Press by David E. Prince, farther below) is another editorial bemoaning the lack of early marriage among evangelicals, another Christian who feels that marriage “reflects the Gospel” (as if singlehood does not), and who wonders why evangelical Baptists are not idolizing marriage more than they are.
Honestly. I cannot make stuff this up.
Only a marriage-worshipping Christian, who is probably married himself, can possibly be blind to the fact that evangelicals and other conservative Christians are already living in a sea of non stop pro-marriage sermons, books, conferences, and TV shows and have been living in a marriage-obsessed culture for over 20 years.
This guy thinks that Baptists and evangelicals are not worshipping marriage enough.
Wowzers, this guy is completely clueless.
As I have blogged about here for the past two or three years, Evangelicals, Baptists, Neo Reformed, Fundamentalists, Quiverfull, Reconstructions, and other Christians, have already made a huge idol out of marriage and parenting, to the point that those who are childless, child free, or single (widows, never married, divorced) are either
1. ignored by most Christians or
2. ridiculed, criticized or put down for being single / virgins (when not being ignored).
Because marriage idolaters such as the guy who wrote the page to which I refer will often brush away their marriage idolatry, when brought to their attention, by a mere wave of the hand with,
“Well, of course, if God called you to singleness, that is fine; I don’t mean to suggest YOU are in error for being single!”
The problem is, God does not call anyone to singleness or “gift” them with it, and a blase dismissal such as that (ie, the aforementioned “singleness is fine if God has gifted you with it” rhetoric) does nothing to negate the fact the one making the comment is still in fact WORSHIPPING MARRIAGE and is none the less making singleness out to be a second class station in life.
Evangelicals, Baptists, and other varieties of conservative Christians, have been hand-wringing and wailing about divorce, pre-marital sex, abortion, and such, in addition to making every other book, blog, and sermon about, in praising, the wonder of marriage, for over two decades now, and it has done nothing, bupkiss, nada, to stem the tide of divorce or fornication in larger culture and among Christians.
You know the definition of insanity: it’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Okay, then, the constant harping by Christians about the gloomy fate of marriage has done nothing to increase marriage rates, or to decrease adultery, divorce, or fornication.
So, maybe it’s time for a new strategy by Christians, such as, oh, helping adult singles? Or, is it just easier to sit on your ass writing “woe is the state of marriage today!” editorials?
Despite the fact that the Bible does not say all Christian adults will marry or should marry, nor does it say that God commands all to marry, nor does Scripture say that staying single is sin or failure, and,
Despite the fact the Scriptures warn against idolizing the (nuclear) family, marriage, or having children, and,
Despite the fact that the Bible actually discourages marriage (in a sense) and esteems singleness by saying things such as,
1 Corinthians 7:
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.
Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released.
Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.
But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
And despite the fact Jesus Christ warned against making too much of marriage, nuclear family, and children (in Matthew 10):
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.
-yes, despite all this biblical favor for singleness and warning of making too much of marriage and family, this Prince guy writes this hogwash:
Excerpts from the editorial – Fair Use; using quotes from editorial only to comment upon it (and there are additional thoughts by me below these excerpts):
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) —
“Lord, thank You for the life of this beautiful little girl… Lord, give her a future husband who loves You and serves You and will protect, provide and love her as Christ loves the church. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
As I lifted my head in that hospital room after praying for the family and their newborn baby, I carefully gave the child back to her mother.
I saw the grandparents who were in the room glaring at me with astonishment on their faces.
The grandfather spoke up and said, “What kind of prayer was that? Why would you already be talking about a husband? She may not even get married! Who knows what she will become?”
These grandparents were not liberal progressives. They were Bible Belt conservative evangelicals who would heartily defend every word of the Bible as God’s inerrant Word and would be appalled at the notion of legalizing same-sex marriage.
The moment hit me like a ton of bricks. Without a doubt, the proponents of same-sex marriage have lost an understanding of what marriage really is — but, in alarming ways, so have evangelicals.
How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both
If Christians really supported celibacy and virginity, they would stop maintaining and defending the idea that everyone is incapable of resisting sexual temptation.
Many Christians assume nobody is immune from having sex, except for a tiny percentage of those “gifted” with celibacy of singleness (despite the fact that Bible teaches no such thing).
Sexual self control is depicted in the Bible as being possible by everyone, not merely a “chosen few.”
Christians betray and belie their supposed support for virginity and sexual purity when they keep running around repeating and teaching cultural assumptions, such as, all single women have uncontrollable sexual appetites, seek to sleep with married men, men cannot control their desires, and a man and a woman cannot be platonic friends with each other.
Christians do not believe that sexual purity and virginity is possible.
They assume everyone and anyone is having sex outside of marriage or looking at porn, and many times in sermons and blog pages about sex, the preacher in question assumes the reader cannot keep his or her pants zipped up.
The assumption is that you are a sexual sinner and can just seek God’s forgiveness for it and deem yourself a “born again virgin,” or, the young teens are told to marry very early to avoid falling into sexual sin.
You will notice the assumption underlying all these ideas is the belief that nobody can resist sex for more than 20 minutes at a time, or past one’s early twenties.
The observations made in this page linked to below are the same ones I’ve made, and that have been made in books by Christian authors who have written about adult, Christian, single life.
One reason single adults, particularly single females, are shuffled off to the side and not included by Christians and others, is that everyone assumes single females are temptresses who cannot be trusted around married men.
People cannot conceive of adults having platonic relationships with one another. It is always assumed, even by Christians, that everyone is out for sex, and this means that singles are very isolated.
Nobody wants to invite single women out to dinner or to their homes and so forth. It’s a form of discrimination, yet I’ve seen Christians defend it on other sites.
I recall back in the 1970s when some groups began rumors about Jesus: that he was supposedly homosexual because he sure did travel alone with males a lot.
Newer homosexual propaganda tries to read homosexual erotica into every and any other relationship in the Bible, such as homosexual apologists insisting that King David and Jonathan were more than good friends, if you know what I mean.
Here are excerpts from (but please click the link to read the entire page; I don’t think my excerpts to this page does it justice)…
One of the casualties of the Sexual Revolution, however, is a significant one: Friendship.
It is an irony of Modernia that the secular elites believe that it is perfectly reasonable to assume that mankind has the ability to the change the climate or end poverty, but is incapable of keeping his or her pants on. We can do anything, if we put our minds to it—except, of course, stop ourselves from devolving into an irrational pool of primal passion the moment we are presented with the opportunity for sexual (mis)adventure.
That’s because “abstinence,” the Sages of the Sexual Revolution inform us from a wealth of inexperience, is “unrealistic.”
Thus, every friendship is now suspect—cross-gender friendships especially, mind you, but certainly not exclusively.
This is not merely my own observation, either.
Many of my friends, from every walk of life and varying worldviews, have made the same complaint. Friends, you say, people say knowingly if you’ve begun spending what they consider to be a significant amount of time with someone, Interesting.
Pop culture confirms and accentuates this new assumption, as well—nearly every sitcom on television has the characters eventually falling into bed with each other, as if it was simply a matter of time and the buzzer had gone off indicating that the “friends” period was over and “friends with benefits” could now ensue. In fact, the smash hit 1990s NBC sitcom Friends features nearly every character sleeping with the other at some point.
… The suggestion that “intimacy” necessarily translates into “sex”—which it certainly does not—is one that is extraordinarily reductionist in its analysis of the human person. The idea that two human beings cannot share a close, personal, and meaningful relationship with each other without any sexual component whatsoever is one that assumes human beings, in all their glorious and messy complexities, cannot be interested in someone else without demanding something—and something physical—from them. It assumes that real friends, friends who share common ground upon which to discuss life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, will at the end of the day measure the happiness of such a relationship and trade it in for fleeting physical pleasure, regardless of the cost.
…It assumes that the physical will always beat out the cerebral and intellectual in the value judgements people make. This attitude is stupid, offensive, immoral, and, I think, increasingly intolerable, as it has cast a pall of suspicion over many relationships that in days gone by would have been considered perfectly ordinary.
… And what a dreadful, reductionist assumption it is to see people enjoying one another’s company and assume that the only thing they have to offer each other is sexual favors.
———————- Related posts, this blog (use the tags below this post, or the search field off to the right on this page to find even more related posts):
How American Christians Were Influenced by 1950s American Secular Propaganda to Idolize Marriage and Children and Against Singles and the Childless -and how over-emphasis on “family” and lack of respect for singleness started a backlash against both (excerpts from ‘Pornland’ book)
Excerpts from Pages 2- 5 of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality by Gail Dines – read it for free on “Google Books.”
(Below this long excerpt are a few observations by me):
For a magazine [Playboy] to clearly state that it was not “a family magazine” in the 1950s was close to heresy.
According to social historian Stephanie Coontz, it was during this period that there was an unprecendented rise in the marriage rate, the age for marriage and motherhood fell, fertility increased, and divorce rates declined.
From family restaurants to the family car, “the family was everywhere hailed as the most basic institution in society.”
The mass media played a pivotal role in legitimizing and celebrating this “pro-family” ideology by selling idealized images of family life in sitcoms and women’s magazines, while demonizing those who chose to stay single as either homosexual or pathological.
The most celebrated sitcoms of the period were Leave It To Beaver,Father Knows Best, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. The ideal family was white and upper middle class, with a male breadwinner whose salary supported a wife and children as well as a large home in the suburbs.
The primary roles for men and women were seen as spouses and as parents, and the result was a well-run household populated by smart, well-adjusted kids.
The print media also got in on the act, carrying stories about the supposed awfulness of being single. Reader’s Digest ran a story entitled “You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are to Be Marred,” which focused on the “harrowing situation of single life.”
One writer went so far as to suggest that “except for the sick, the badly crippled, the deformed, the emotionally warped and the mentally defective, almost everyone has an opportunity to marry.”
In the 1950s, “emotionally warped” was a coded way of saying homosexual, and indeed many single people were investigated as potential homosexuals and by extension Communists, since the two were often linked during the McCarthy years.
This pressure on men to conform not only to the dictates of domestic life but also to the growing demands of corporate America had its critics in the popular media. Some writers pointed to the conformist male as a “mechanized, robotized caricature of humanity… a slave in mind and body.”
According to Barbara Ehrenreich, magazines like Life, Look, and Reader’s Digest carried stories suggesting that “Gary Gray” (the conformist in the gray flannel suit) was robbing men of their masculinity, freedom, and sense of individuality.
While pop psychologists criticized the corporate world for reducing American males to “little men,” it was women in their roles of wives and mothers who were essentially singled out as the cripplers of American masculinity. As Ehrenreich has argued, “the corporate captains were out of the bounds of legitimate criticism in Cold War America,” women were the more acceptable and accessible villains.
Described as greedy, manipulative, and lazy, American women were accused of emasculating men by overdomesticating them.
They don’t think a woman should ever ask a man out. Wow. Well, I can tell you baased on the Christian guys I’ve seen online (especially the ones in their 20s), they expect, hope and dream that the woman will ask them out because a lot of them are petrified of rejection and approaching a woman.
———————– Related posts this blog:
By the way, where the Bible says “two is better than one,” that is not exclusive to a martial relationship only.
That phrase can refer to a brother and sister, a grandmother to her grandchild, a neighbor to another, a co-worker to another co-worker at a job, or two platonic friends.
Jesus Christ explicitly taught that placing marriage, “traditional family,” and pro-creating above the family of God is sin, and it is also misplaced, and it needlessly excludes singles (the never married adults, the divorced, the widows and widowers), and those without flesh and blood family-
Jesus Christ said:
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10)
“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—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” (Matthew 10: 34-36)
“If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26)
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
I guess Mohler is totally unacquainted with the Bible.
He, like many other conservative Christians, needs to repent of making an idol out of marriage, of having children, of the 1950s nuclear family ideal, and for his blatant shaming and degradation of singleness.
He and other Southern Baptists also need to repent of the youth worship: the non-stop fixation on the teens and twenty-somethings.
I used to be a Christian teen and twenty-something and find myself quite possibly walking away from the Christian faith in my 40s, due in part to the youth worship that goes on in Southern Baptist churches (they do not care about middle aged or senior adults), and how singles (or singleness itself) are shamed, treated with scorn, or else ignored.
Mohler also incorrectly assumes (based on other comments he’s made I’ve seen in the past) that a lot of singles are intentionally remaining single: this is false.
As I have explained on older posts (but will not belabor here), all this harping on “rah rah, marriage is great!” (as well as gender complementarian) rhetoric is actually perpetuating protracted singleness among Christians of all ages, even among the ones who desire marriage.
Ironically, if churches supported singles and singlehood (and gender egalitarianism), more of us would be getting married.
If the Mohlers of the Christian world truly gave a damn about marriage, they would be helping singles, not disparaging singles or singlehood.
Helping singles and respecting singleness, as well as respecting celibacy in the unmarried who are past the age of 30, would help more singles get married, it would cut down on sexual sin (even among the married Christians), and it would also put a huge dent in the strides pro- homosexuality advocates have made in Christian culture, which troubles the hetero- marriage- worshippers so. These facts keep sailing right over their heads, however.
Responses to Mohler (or like-minded) by Christians, including singles:
Next link. Regarding the nutso Quiverfull-ish, Doug Phillips, Vision Forusm-ish sexist beliefs of treating women like unthinking chattel and keeping them at home with their fathers, even if they don’t marry into adulthood:
My main concern, however, with the vision of SAHD [Stay At Home Daughters] laid out in [Phillips’ version of] Sleeping Beauty is that it seems to progressively break down healthy boundaries in father-daughter relationships.
… In Sleeping Beauty, however, it becomes clear that “helpmeet” is only one example of a more extensive terminology shift. Fathers are said to “court” and “woo” their daughters and ultimately “win their hearts.”
I don’t agree with what appears to be that blog’s rejection of biblical sexual ethics, or disregard for people who have remained virgins into adulthood, in favor of sugarcoating biblical sexual teachings so as to soothe the consciences of women who say they feel shamed or get hurt hearing that pre-marital sex is sinful according to the Bible, but I do agree with the blog’s disdain for biblical gender complementarianism.
Guest comments at that page (and I agree with these comments):
My favourite is their “committee” page [the writer may be referring to the gender complementarian group CBMW] where each women’s career is labelled “homemaker” and then proceeds to list all the conferences she will be attending for the next 12 months – I added up one of the women’s ‘away’ dates and figured the only way she could be a ‘homemaker’ was if she lived in a motor home.
Christina Steve Dawson • 7 hours ago −
I suspect this is true. Otherwise they would have noticed years ago the irony of women building careers in which they travel, write, and speak, all for the purpose of convincing other women not to have careers.
Rachel Held Evans Mod Christina • 7 hours ago −
Oh my gosh! This DRIVES ME CRAZY! I went to this “biblical womanhood” conference a couple years ago where many of the attendees were professional women with careers. And the speaker – a professional woman herself – proceeded to dis on feminism as an anti-biblical worldview…starting with second wave feminism and using Mary Tyler Moore as an example of a first step away from biblical womanhood. It was so confusing
Why Even Middle Aged Married with Children Christians Are Leaving Church Not Just Unmarried Singles | 40 Somethings
You already know, if you are a Christian over 30, or maybe mid 20s, that churches ignore you in favor of catering to those already married with children.
Churches are nauseatingly obsessed with marriage, parenting, and the nuclear family.
However, it takes some married Christians longer to catch on to this; they tend to be blind to it – specifically, the married with kids couples who don’t start to notice the idolization of the family by Christians and churches until their own kids grow up and move out of the house. It is at that point they no longer fit the target demographic of most churches.
These sorts of Christians (middle aged married, with older kids) say they didn’t realize until they got into their 40s and 50s and their kids moved out how little most churches care about, or minister to, people who aren’t married with kids at home.
Read more about it here (among other reasons why middle aged adults are dropping out of church):
Here is an excerpt from part of that page (please click the link above to read the rest):
Is it possible to spiritually “outgrow” a local congregation?
It is not only possible, it happens more often than you’d think. One trend I saw in my poll of those over 40 was that a notable percentage of those who’d changed churches or decreased their level of “official” involvement at their present congregation did so because they’d grown past what the church offered.
I’ve met precious few church leaders who believe that anyone could “outgrow” their congregation. Think about it. When was the last time you heard a church leader explain the departure of a long-time member who’s chosen a different faith community in glowing terms?* “Ken and Julie have left our beloved Baptist church to join Messiah Lutheran because they believe God has called them there, and frankly, we don’t have much to offer them beyond great preaching, the opportunity to help out at Awanas, and Ken’s role as a deacon, which is basically a building caretaker.
They’ll be able to grow much deeper there because they’re going to become Stephen Ministers at the church and use their gifts of encouragement and service in a much more meaningful way.
Too, their new church has a great history of spiritual formation-oriented small groups, and we are praying they find rich growth and deeper connection with God in their new congregation just up the street. May God bless you, Ken and Julie. We love you and are grateful for the time we’ve had with you in this church.”
…Those over 40 grew up in what was dubbed as the Me Generation. The questions of selfishness are legit and need to be answered. But as I’ve already pointed out (Link): here [In Defense of Church Hoppers], many who leave churches have valid and important reasons for doing so.
What I’m hearing from those who’ve responded to my survey is that growth has often taken them out of churches where they’ve grown weary of passivity (all meaningful ministry is reserved for paid staff, or limited by gender/racial beliefs held by the leadership team) or the constant requests for time and money to support the ego-driven “vision” of a leader. I believe both of those reasons are markers of growth in a leaver, not a sign of selfishness.
A few excerpts about her survey of over 40 Christian adults who stop going to church:
Nearly 84% of respondents reported they were married, 10% said they were single (never married), and nearly 6% told me they were separated or divorced. Since I am a rank amateur when it comes to knowing how to best query demographic data, I do wonder if the way I worded question about marital status may have confused respondents. Those figures don’t entirely make sense to me.
…I did hear sadness, burnout, anger and a deep desire for true community. I also heard people drawing boundary lines around their limited time and energy. And I heard a very strong distaste for the institutional insistence on lockstep theology and ideological uniformity among members. If one popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, I would characterize most of the less-involved group’s answers to the survey’s “why” question as coming from a longing to gain (or regain) spiritual sanity rather than engaging in an axe-grinding habit:
[said one respondent]
… As I’ve grown older, I find my needs have changed.
I don’t need a weekly barrage of long, multi-point sermons going over and over the same basic areas of scripture and doctrine while avoiding large chunks of the Bible.
I need something to the point that I will consider and chew on over the week. I don’t just want to be immersed in the church, I want to live out my faith in the community, and that takes time that previously I might have spent at other church activities.
Being part of a triple decker sandwich generation: youngest offspring finishing university and marrying (and moving); downsizing; health issues (self and hubby); caregiving aging parents (and helping them move); supporting parents as they die . . . challenging to have predictable time to commit to church involvement.
Burn out, kids grown, felt a bit suffocated in the rather non-porous church bubble, doubts.
…Sunday School is geared for “newbies” who have almost no understanding of Scripture or the church. Events designed to get people to “plug into community” are “child-centric” (Easter Egg hunts, Fall Festivals bouncy houses, face painting, games/rides, VBS, etc.)
…Captial Campaign every 3 yrs to build new structures & keep things “fresh” and “new” and attractional to younger families w/ kids; etc.
… Tired of the way church is run and the failure to address some of the real life issues. Also, my wife and I left for 6 months and no one noticed.
But they did call to ask me to teach Sunday school. I agreed and went back. We then realized that after being gone for 6 months (and not giving during that time) no one realized we have been gone, including people we sat next to each week. We wondered why we kept attending.
Sarah Bessey, a gifted thirty-something writer, noted in her post last week at Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog that as she was pulling together research for an upcoming book, she discovered how many midlife women felt marginalized by church and culture alike. She noted that the church often mirrors culture in way that cause pain for those of a certain age:
Sadly, perhaps we need to admit that we don’t honor age in our churches either, particularly for women. Once a woman reaches a certain age or if a woman is not considered beautiful or outgoing or charming, she often disappears in the eyes of her community.