Ministering to the Unmarried by Noel Cameron

Ministering to the Unmarried by Noel Cameron

I post this with a misgiving or two. At one point the author actually describes singleness as being a problem:

    God has a solution for the problem of singleness.

As the kids say today,
*FACEPALM*

To characterize singleness as being a “problem” is, in a way, insulting to singles.

Now, I am a single who desires marriage, and I tire of the simplistic “rah rah, singleness is a gift” rhetoric which cheapens what I go through at times, but, I do want to be respected as I am, which is SINGLE.

I do not like being referred to as “a problem” because I am single. I would advise Christian authors to be careful in how they phrase articles for adult singles.

(Link): Ministering to the Unmarried

    by Noel Cameron

    Effective ministry to single adults—widowed, divorced, or never married—is one of the most difficult challenges facing the church today.

    Although church-related activities absorb youth, children, families, young couples, and other special-interest groups, single persons usually find themselves on the periphery of church life.

    Many beautiful lives go unnurtured, and the body of Christ is seriously crippled.

    If the minister is to meet the needs of the unmarried, he must under stand what those needs are. He must understand the pressures the single adult confronts. And he must grasp the Biblical perspective of singleness.

    Consider the dilemma of the single adult. He or she feels isolated and often neglected by the church for several reasons.

    First, the very fact of his singleness often creates insecurity that makes it difficult for him to point out the deep and varied needs of single people.

    Moreover, the single person is keenly aware of an apparent church perspective that implies that success and fulfillment and even normalcy as a person are to be found only in marriage.

    Christianity is often seen as a family affair. Thus, the single person has difficulty identifying fully with the life of the church.

    Second, the church is oriented toward couples and families, especially in its social fellowship.

    How often have churches innocently planned dinners, weekend activities, or socials for couples and families, without a thought for single members, who circulated on the fringes of the activity or avoided it entirely, their hearts lonely and heavy, be cause they did not really fit?

    Unknowingly the church has many times shaped its life to inhibit the singles’ involvement, thus neglecting vitally important needs.

    [comments by Christian Pundit:
    snip author’s critique of singles ministries as being “dating services.”
    I for one would LOVE to attend a thriving “dating service” type church event or class if there are tons of good looking single men to flirt with, choose from, and pursue, thank you very much. It’s either look for a man at a church, or try “eHarmony” dating site, or the corner bar.]

Third, the church pastor usually finds ministry to the single adult very difficult. Since ministry to singles almost always focuses on social relationships and needs, the pastor feels a desire to protect himself from real or potential dangers to his ministry and reputation, and thus shies away from an involvement in personal ministry with single adults.

In public ministry, church activities tend to center around youth and families or around singles as an isolated group. Both situations substantially sever the single person from the heart of the church.

Continue reading “Ministering to the Unmarried by Noel Cameron”

Good Posts on Singleness from ‘Crumbs From the Communion Table’ Blog

Good Posts on Singleness from Crumbs From the Communion Table Blog

I’m not sure, but I think the guy who owns this blog is either a Christian homosexual, (or is hetero but supports homosexuality? – okay, yes, he says on his “about” page, ‘I run The Gay Christian Network, a nonprofit organization’), but he makes some very good points about how churches treat all singles, whether of the hetero or homo variety.

If he is a supporter of homosexuality in some fashion or another, do not let that dissuade you from reading his blog pages, because there’s a lot on there that a conservative, hetero Christian can agree with. Some of what he writes mirrors things I’ve been saying on my blog the last couple of years.

He also illustrates many of his posts with some happening animated GIFs. It’s worth a visit just to see the GIFs he chose for some of these blog posts 😆

(Link): Nine Ways Your Church Can Support Singles, by Justin Lee

(Link): Singles: Why Are Churches So Bad At Dealing With Them?, by Justin Lee

(Link): What Every Woman Wants. Or Not.

I believe both single MEN and women can relate to that blog post, “What Every Woman Wants. Or Not.”

I for one am sick and tired of the assumptions made by biblical gender role complementarians about womanhood (and manhood), one reason being such rigid gender role teachings actually are contributing to the rash of unwanted, protracted singleness among Christian adults.

Not only should you read “What Every Woman Wants. Or Not,” you should also take a look at the comments on the page, because you will see a few single women discussing what it’s like to be a single Christian. Even if you are a single male, you might relate to an extent to some of the things the women wrote in the comments.

……………..EXCERPTS……….

(Link): Nine Ways Your Church Can Support Singles, by Justin Lee

    The challenges we singles face go beyond financial considerations and how to abstain from sex. In a church culture that emphasizes the family unit above almost all else, where is our identity? How do we spend our time as we age and so many of our peers are busy with their families? And what do we make of the fact that even our Christian communities sometimes treat us with condescension or suspicion for being single?

    These are much bigger questions than we can address in one blog post, but for now, here are 9 ways your church can begin ministering better to single people.

    1. Include singles in your church leadership.

    2. Talk openly about singles—in sermons, in staff meetings, in church literature, everywhere you do ministry. When you do, think about how what you say and do affects different groups of singles, from the celibate gay man to the widow. Don’t let “singles” be code for “young people.”

    5. Give singles the opportunity to lead the singles ministry.
    Many pastors think they’re avoiding potential problems by having married folks lead the singles ministry, but honestly, that feels so condescending. It also gives the distinct impression that we’re all just supposed to be on a journey toward marriage, at which point we’ll be taken more seriously.

    7. Be particularly cognizant of the times many people gather with their families—holidays, important life moments, illness, etc.
    Create opportunities for your church to be their family in those times. You know all that love, support, companionship, and stability you get from having a spouse and children? We need those things, too. Think about how your church can fill those gaps.

(Link): Singles: Why Are Churches So Bad At Dealing With Them?

Excerpts:

    by Justin Lee

    … See, American Protestant churches are great at supporting families. If you want to know how to be a better, more godly husband, wife, parent, or child, we’ve got you covered. We’ve got books. We’ve got classes. We’ve got sermons. We’ve got small groups. Here, have a special edition Bible.

    But too often, we don’t seem to know what to do with single people other than somehow shove them into that frame.

    It’s not that churches don’t know they have single people. The trouble is, many churches think about singleness only as a young person’s issue. And what do single teenagers need? Lots of advice on controlling their sex drives until marriage, apparently. But single adults need a lot more than that.

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Related posts this blog:

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

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

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

(Link): Why Even Middle Aged Married with Children Christians Are Leaving Church – Not Just Unmarried Singles | 40 Somethings Gen X Quitting Leaving Church

(Link): Why Churches Don’t Have Singles Ministries (article)

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

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

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

The Cloying Annoying Nauseating G-Rated Wholesome Saccharin Sweet Tone of Articles by Christians For Christian Singles – Christian Material For Singles is LAME

The Cloying Annoying Nauseating G-Rated Wholesome Saccharin Sweet Tone of Articles by Christians For Christian Singles

(Edit months after the fact: this blog post may contain adult language, as in cuss words. Or not. I don’t remember. But it’s a possibility.)
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I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to post about this before.

If you are looking for a positive, happy-happy blog to cheer you up about being single, this is not the blog for you.

I don’t aim to give people the warm and fuzzies about being single. I’m not trying to make you feel rotten about being single, either, though.

I am trying to Keep It Real.

I just told a blog visitor in a comment (in the blog post about the 34 year old single woman who is tired of being asked when she will marry), who seems to find this blog depressing, or too negative for her tastes, or something, because I am seldom upbeat and happy:

    …I actually had a visitor here about a week ago who says she really likes this blog because it is “raw.”

I know what she means.

Personally, I tired of the saccharin sweet tone of Christian blogs for singles, and there are many of them out there, if you are looking for upbeat and encouraging conversations about being a Christian single when you feel down about it.

I got turned off by those sites after having looked at them over a period of years.

Sites such as “Christianity Today,” “Boundless,” and “Her.meneutics” (and other Christian sites/ blogs) strive to be G-rated and clean at all times. They are usually afraid to be blunt and real about life, about marriage, about singlehood.

Many Christian sites and blogs (even the ones run by lay persons) are deathly afraid of using rough language, being negative, everything always has to be sunny- sunny, sweet, upbeat, and paint a rosy picture of being a Christian single. In my opinion, that is not real. That is not reality, not to me.

I never got anything out of the sweet, G-rated, prim and proper, super nice blogs for Christians that tell singles to “serve Jesus,” “find contentment in Jesus,” and so forth. These little platitudes don’t convey the deep loneliness and pain some singles who desire marriage contend with.

And that is all very true.

I like that I can come to my little blog here and cuss and rant and be negative (you too can start your own blog. These Word Pres blogs are free).

Continue reading “The Cloying Annoying Nauseating G-Rated Wholesome Saccharin Sweet Tone of Articles by Christians For Christian Singles – Christian Material For Singles is LAME”

National Anti Porn Prayer Day – Call Me Cynical, but…

National Anti Porn Day. Call Me Cynical, but…

(Link): Over 40 Groups Join National Day of Prayer Against Pornography Next Week

God does not seem to answer prayer, assuming He exists. (Link): On Prayer and Christ’s Comment to Grant You Anything You Ask in His Name

These Christians can pray all day to fight porn, but I don’t think it will help much.

But I also find this funny. Christians will devote a day of prayer to stamping out pornography, but goodness help the unmarried single who goes to a Christian or church group and tosses out a prayer request for a spouse.

Based on many stories from singles I’ve seen on the internet or in books about Christian singles, and attitudes from Christians I’ve seen on television about it, if an unmarried Christian asks for prayer to receive a spouse, or for practical help (eg,, “Can our church host a social event for over – 30s singles this week?”) they will be told they are selfish, or no, church cannot be turned into a “meat market,” or, they will be told any one of several nauseating cliches, such as, “Be content in your singleness.”

Also disturbing is this idea by some married Christians who refuse to help a single get married is that they feel it all has to be Supernatural, so they feel there can be no human involvement at all.

That is, a lot of married Christians believe if God wants you married, then God will deliver you a spouse via angels carrying him along. Any and all human involvement is thought to be wrong or bad.

There are instances in Scripture where yes, God acted totally alone, or via angelic beings, but there are also instances where God worked THROUGH SOMEONE to accomplish something.

So I have no idea why Christians feel it unbiblical or wrong for one Christian to set up another Christian on a date, or for a church group to host an adult singles function at a church on a Friday night.

Why does it not occur for Christians to be FOR something than always AGAINST something?

Instead of (or in addition to) holding an Anti Porn Prayer Rally, why do Christians not host a national “Pray for Christian Singles Who Want A Spouse” rally?
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Related posts this blog:

(Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan

(Link): The Right One – Do Unmarried Christians Only Need Jesus in Common to Marry ? [Also: is it wrong for Christians to pray for a spouse for themselves or for other Christians? – scroll down to section entitled, “Pray For the Right Car – But Not For the Right Spouse?”]

(Link): Quitting Church – why single Christians aren’t going to church – church has failed Christian singles

(Link): Reaching single adults in a married world (article)

61 Year Old Woman Chose To Remain Single Over Life and Wonders Why Churches Treat Singles Like Dirt and Favor Married Couples

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.

(Link): so few churches acknowledge singles in light of 1 Corinthians 7: 6-9 is this an oversight?

    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?

Singled Out: How Churches Can Embrace Unmarried Adults by Christena Cleveland

Singled Out: How Churches Can Embrace Unmarried Adults by Christena Cleveland

This is a rather long blog post. I do not want to reproduce the entire thing, so please visit the blog and read the entire thing.

I would also encourage you to read the visitor comments at the other blog. Those are quite informative too.

She raises points in her blog post about Christians and singleness and marriage that I have been discussing at my blog here for over a year to two years now, including the concept of “married people privilege,” which I blogged about months ago here on my blog: (Link): Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Marrieds Think Single Life = Easy / Marrieds and Parents Turn All Topics Into Them And Their Needs / Problems

Here is the link to the other blog entry about singleness:

(Link): Singled Out: How Churches Can Embrace Unmarried Adults by Christena Cleveland

    By christena on December 2, 2013

    … After doing extensive interdenominational research, Dennis Franck,the national director of single adult ministries for the Assemblies of God denomination, concluded:

    “The vast majority of evangelical and Pentecostal churches of any denomination are ‘marriage and family focused.’ That in itself is not a bad posture. Most Christian leaders understand the importance of marriage and the church’s role in strengthening the family unit. The unfortunate reality, however, is that our marriage and family emphasis many times does not include single adults. This is not necessarily by design but is often by ignorance and neglect.”

    … Meanwhile, single people are relegated to the margins.[ii] Whether this is intentional or not, this “married people monopoly” results in a Christian world in which single people are often misunderstood, ignored, overlooked for leadership positions, caricatured, equated with immaturity, and little more than a punchline or an afterthought. To me, it makes sense that churches and Christian organizations have a poor track record when it comes to honoring single people.

    … [A]fter interacting with the church, many singles start to wonder:
    Is there something wrong with me? Is God working in my life? Am I as valuable (to God, to the church) as married people? Does God love me as much as he loves married people? Does God have good things in store for me as a single person?

    … In a Church that was founded by a single guy, singles are terribly marginalized. There’s something wrong with this picture.

    So without further ado, here are my tips on how church people (pastors, leaders and other influencers) can turn this barge around and begin to create communities that honor the image of God in single adults.

    6 TIPS ON HOW MARRIED CHRISTIANS CAN EMBRACE SINGLE ADULTS

    1. Admit that singleness is complex and that you know little to nothing about it.

    A lot of people seem to think that singleness is to marriage as junior varsity is to varsity.

    As a result, married people sometimes mistakenly believe that they know something about singleness when in fact they don’t. Singleness isn’t a junior varsity version of marriage.

    It’s an entirely different sport – and if you haven’t played it, you haven’t mastered it.

    The average marrying age is 29.8 years for men and 26.9 for women. If you got married before these ages, then it makes sense to acknowledge that your experience as a single adult is below average. In other words, you don’t know a lot about singleness. This calls for humility.

    2. Recognize that as a married person, you are privileged.

    Married people run the Christian world.

    For example,

    – Since many pastors, board members, and organizational leaders are married, the married perspective is well-represented in the Church in ways that the single perspective is not.

    – Married people are much more likely to get hired as pastors.

    – A quick search at Amazon.com reveals that for every 1 Christian book on singleness, there are 298 Christian books on marriage.

    – Just for getting married, friends and family members buy married people expensive gifts like Kitchen Aid mixers (a mark of privilege if there ever was one).

    – Marriage is the norm, the gold standard.

    If you don’t adhere to it, people ask questions.

    Case in point: I’m out-and-about in the Christian world a lot these days. As a result, I meet new people all of the time. The fact that we’ve just met doesn’t stop Christians from asking me why I’m not married.

    Out of the blue, and with a quizzical look, they’re like, “How come you’re not married?” It’s my most frequently asked question. Seriously.

Please visit her blog page to read the rest. Thank you.
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Related posts, this blog:

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

(Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan

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

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

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

(Link): No Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity [they ATTACK both concepts]

(Link): 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

(Link): Part 2, The Parable of the Neglected Unmarried – Single – Christian

(Link): Married People Who Find Themselves Single Again – Spouses With Dementia / Married People Who Are Lonely

(Link): Singleness Is Not A Gift

(Link): Astonishing: Evangelical Baptist Marriage Idolater David E. Prince Wants to Know Why Evangelical Baptists Are Not Worshipping Marriage More

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

(Link): False Christian Hype About Waiting Until Marriage For Sex – We’ve Gone From “It’s Mindblowing” to Now: “It’s Magical” Re: Timothy Keller / Tim Keller Virginity Celibacy Singles PreMarital Sex

(Link): Christian TV Show Host Pat Robertson Disrespects Virginity – Says Pre-Marital Sex Is “Not A Bad Thing”

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

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

(Link): Why So Much Fornication (sex outside of marriage) – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity

(Link): Tim Challies Christian Blogger Who Proclaimed That All Fornicators Are Virgins Is Now Telling People Not to Look In Lust – WTF?

Reaching single adults in a married world (article)

Reaching single adults in a married world

(Link): Reaching single adults in a married world

    By Dennis Franck

    While navigating church foyers across the country, singles encounter a traditional attitude towards marrying and doing so early in life. “Why isn’t a nice young man like you married yet?” “I don’t understand how a beautiful girl such as you, with a good job, isn’t dating.”

    Well-meaning individuals are usually unaware of the pressure and discomfort their questions cause.

    When coupled with seemingly spiritual advice — “God has someone for you” or “Wait for the right person” — such remarks lay guilt on a young adult who may not feel the need or desire to marry yet, or may already struggle with personal doubts.

    Marital patterns are changing, and these changes have created a new single adult subculture with new thoughts, attitudes, myths and sometimes misunderstandings about singleness.

    For the postmodern person (born 1965-1982), for example, issues like finishing college or grad school, getting a good start on a successful career or taking time to improve their skills might take precedence over the desire for a permanent relationship.

    The postmodern person may not see a need for marriage at all, believing that the benefits of marriage (sex, children, companionship, etc.) are available without the legal process and formal marriage commitment.

    Where is the balance between the traditionalist’s pressure to marry and the moral libertarian’s disregard for marriage?

    Historical attitudes concerning singleness

    Over the course of history marriage was expected of most adults. During the 20th century, attitudes toward singleness changed, slowly.

    From 1900 to the 1920s, single women were labeled “old maids.” During the ’30s and ’40s single women graduated to the title of “spinsters.”

    Carolyn Koons, in her chapter entitled, “Today’s Single Adult Phenomenon: The Realities, Myths, and Identity” from the Baker Handbook of Single Adult Ministry states:

    Society tried to attack the “problem” of female singleness (seldom were single men focused on) by writing major articles addressing the issue, such as: “Does It Hurt to Be an Old Maid?” “Alarming Increase of Old Maids and Bachelors in New England,” “Family Parasites: The Economic Value of the Unmarried Sister,” “The Sorrowful Maiden and the Jovial Bachelor,” and “There Is No Place in Heaven for Old Maids.”

    During the 1950s and 1960s divorce increased in the United States.

    This was the beginning of the institution of no-fault divorce, a legally convenient way to end a marriage without a biblical reason.

    During the 1970s, single adults were labeled as “swinging singles” thanks to the “new morality” that emerged.

    During the 1980s, it appeared that singleness was here to stay. Single adults came to be seen as hard workers, healthy, physically active and affluent. Singles were a dramatically growing segment of society.

    Ministering to single adults

    God created human beings to be multifaceted creatures comprised of at least six dimensions: spiritual, social, mental, physical, relational and emotional.

    Each of these areas of life represents certain needs that can be met by fellowship with the Lord and with people in and through the ministries of the church.

    If the church does not address and meet these needs, single adults may look in other places for their fulfillment — places that are not always spiritually, emotionally and relationally healthy.

    Each area can be targeted and developed in the lives of single adults by planning ministries that address specific needs to be met and skills to be learned. Consider the following lists.

    Spiritual life
    – Sunday School classes
    – Conferences, retreats, seminars and workshops
    – Discussion groups, Bible studies, prayer meetings
    – Community service/outreach projects
    – Support groups for divorce recovery, addictions or other personal needs

    Social life

    -Structured and casual activities promoting fun and
    laughter (banquets, parties, dinners, game nights)
    – Experiencing new activities (ball games, rodeos, stock car races)
    – Developing existing social skills, learning new social skills, learning to feel comfortable around the opposite sex

    … The programs and activities in a single adult ministry need to be varied and diverse. Single adults who will attend can range from teens to seniors.

    Events need to factor in the five types of single adults who potentially attend, each with unique and similar needs — never-married, divorced, widowed, single parent, separated.

Click here to read the rest
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Related this blog

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

(Link): Why Churches Don’t Have Singles Ministries (article)

(Link): 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 – [both = marriage, having kids] (excerpts from ‘Pornland’ book)

Astonishing: Evangelical Baptist Marriage Idolater David E. Prince Wants to Know Why Evangelical Baptists Are Not Worshipping Marriage More

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).

Bigots (“bigots” referring to Christians who are so rabidly pro marriage to the point singles and singlehood are disparaged) such as the guy, Prince, who wrote this cringe- inducing editorial assume the only solution for the rising tide of divorce and such is to harp on marriage even more, an attitude that Christian writer Candice Watters also espouses, and which I eviscerated her for in a post here (“Candice Watters and Boundless Blog Gets It Wrong / Christian prolonged singlehood singleness singles ignored”).

Before I proceed, I want to mention that:
Nowhere does the Bible teach that God gives anyone a “gift of marriage,” or “a gift of singleness,” or a “gift of celibacy”

Why do I mention that?

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:

(Link): FIRST-PERSON: An evangelical war on marriage? by David Prince

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.

Continue reading “Astonishing: Evangelical Baptist Marriage Idolater David E. Prince Wants to Know Why Evangelical Baptists Are Not Worshipping Marriage More”

Why Christians Need to Uphold Lifelong Celibacy as an Option for All Instead of Merely Pressuring All to Marry – vis a vis Sexless Marriages, Counselors Who Tell Marrieds that Having Affairs Can Help their Marriages

Why Christians Need to Uphold Lifelong Celibacy as an Option for All Instead of Merely Pressuring All to Marry – vis a vis Sexless Marriages, Counselors Who Tell Marrieds that Having Affairs Can Help their Marriages

First, my standard foreward:
Christian sex propaganda says: if you wait until marriage to have sex, the sex will be great and frequent. Reality: a lot of married people (who are Christians when married and/or virgins) end up in sexless marriage or one or both partners get hooked on porn or have affairs. You will see further examples below.

Notice in the advice under letter 2 below, the doctor actually advises that the spouse consider an affair, because lifelong celibacy is (supposedly, despite the fact that many people live it out) an impossibility (people are “reluctant to be celibate…” – more like, people are too lazy to even try; it’s easier to indulge a passion than tame it or conquer it).

Yeah, if Christians have ever wondered why they should teach life long virginity (and/or celibacy/ chastity) as a distinct possibility every one is capable of (and not just for a “gifted few who have been called by God”), rather than keep screaming at everyone to “go out and get married now, marriage is better than singleness, and it’s better to marry than burn with lust” -arguments which ignore chicks like me who have tried to get married but can’t find Mr Right, supporting and encouraging adult celibacy not only acts as counter effect against the militant homosexual arguments in favor of homosexual sex, but to knock down the advice of doctors who are telling married guys, “go ahead and cheat on your spouse if you are so horny you can’t stand the sexless marriage anymore.” 🙄

I keep seeing the occasional editorial advocating that married couples should cheat on each other to save the marriage, or to spice it up. This sort of thinking goes back to the 1970s or 1980s, when Ann Landers or Abby would discuss this issue in their columns.

Before I get to the sexless marriage letters, here’s the one from Salon where some counselor recommends that married people cheat on each other:

(Link): The Upside of Infidelity Can an affair save your marriage?

You see, Christians running about screaming repeatedly, as they usually do, “If you burn with lust, you must marry,” is a technique that not only does No Good for randy Christian adults who totally want to marry and have sex but who cannot find a suitable mate (spouse), but it does nothing to counter the secular arguments put forth by relationship counselors that tell married couples, “Bored with your partner? Simple: Have an affair!”

Christians need to put forth positive cases in support of adult virginity and adult celibacy to win against the tide of sexual sin and filth advocated by secular society as being solutions.

Christians merely screaming “No, no, no, wrong! Sex is only for married couples, God designed sex only for a married couple!!” does bupkiss, nothing, zippo to help people who either are unable to marry, or for the already married who are being advised by doctors that a bit of cheating can “save” their marriage.

It’s interesting and rather pathetic how the knee jerk reaction and assumption by most therapists and preachers is to advise people to have sex.

Of course, most Christians would advise people to have sex only with a spouse, but the fact remains that Christians and Non Christians seldom, if ever, present abstaining from sex as a possibility for adults past age 25, whether it pertains to singleness or in marriage

Nobody every considers celibacy an option in any conversations about marital problems (or in other contexts, ones for single people).

Sex is always just assumed as something everyone should have, or is having, and should be striving to have, even by Christian marital counselors and by preachers, and even though the Apostle Paul wrote that a married couple can make a deliberate choice to abstain from sex for an agreed upon amount of time.

(Link): How to Handle a Sexless Married Life

      • Posted on 10/23/2013

by Dr. Pepper Schwartz

  • Q: As a survivor of childhood incest, I’ve been in therapy for close to 20 years. However — possibly because of the anti-depressants I take — my libido is dead and gone.
    My sexual parts are unresponsive.
    My doctor has suggested various treatments, including hormones, and my husband never complains; he loves me as I am and doesn’t want me to undergo painful procedures or take hormones. Is there anything you can suggest to help? I feel like my dear husband is missing out on a sex life.

Continue reading “Why Christians Need to Uphold Lifelong Celibacy as an Option for All Instead of Merely Pressuring All to Marry – vis a vis Sexless Marriages, Counselors Who Tell Marrieds that Having Affairs Can Help their Marriages”

Why Churches Don’t Have Singles Ministries (article)

Why Churches Don’t Have Singles Ministries (article)

I see a lot of arguing about this online, mostly by the unmarried.

Some adult singles want singles ministries/classes, some do not.

I think it depends on how the church in question runs the ministry.

Unfortunately, too many churches spend no money on the adult singles class; they treat the singles ministry (SM) like a “ghetto.” They drop you off there then forget about you and get back to the business of catering to the marrieds.

I have a hunch if more churches actually integrated the SMs into the rest of the church, you would not see adult singles saying, “Oh no, I’d rather NOT have a SM and just attend classes with the married people.”

Excerpts from first part of the page (please click link to read rest):

(Link): Why My Church Doesn’t Have a Singles Ministry

    BY KRIS SWIATOCHOIN
    [Kris Swiatocho is the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries.]
    LEADERSHIP · MARRIAGE & FAMILY
    31 JUL, 2012

    I have been single my entire adult life. Because I am single, I have had a front row experience of how churches are reaching and growing singles adults.

    As a result, I have found that most churches simply did not know much about us nor how to reach us. After several years of serving on various single’s ministry leadership teams as well as starting my own, God called me to help others do the same.

    Specifically to help reach the church, the pastors and staff; to educate and provide resources so that ALL churches would know how to reach singles.

    While there are several large churches that have a singles pastor or director and are doing a great job in reaching and growing single adults, most churches do not. Most churches give various excuses such as:

    [Church Excuse 1] We don’t have any single adults.
    Well this is because you either are not defining singles correctly or simply have not looked at your membership demographics (or the demographics of your area).

    In most large cities in the US, single adults are out numbering the married’s. I know this might be a shock to you considering the churches numbers do not reflect this. This is because we are not doing what is needed to reach them.

    Single adults range from the 18 year old that still lives at home to the 29 year old single parent who has never been married to the divorced dad with grown kids to the 58 never married now taking care of their mom to the 68 widower who lives alone.

    It’s not that you don’t have single adults in your church or community; it’s how to reach them.

    So where do you start? How do you find them? 1) Look at your existing membership/attendance rolls and see who is not married. Categorize by age, past marital status, if they have kids that live at home or grown, etc. 2) Contact your town/city and find out the demographics of those living within a 5 mile radius. Once you find out this information, it will help you in the direction of how to reach them.

    You may find out you have a lot of single mom’s or widows. Depending on what you have the most of could determine whom you try and reach and how to minister to them.

    Please know I believe singles ministry is simply one way to bring singles into your church. The goal with all ministry is reach people for Christ, help grow them so they will in turn reach and grow others (single or married).

    [Church Excuse 2] If we start one, I hear it will end up being a meat market.
    I love to always answer this question and say, “Yes, it sure will, they can meet Jesus.” Churches have a huge fear that their singles ministry will end up being focused only on finding a mate.

    My first thought is… “and where would you like us to find a mate… in a bar?”

    My second thought is… “who is leading your singles ministry?”

    Church as a whole can easily be a place to only be fed and healed from a physical standpoint. But didn’t Jesus use these ways to minister so he could get to the person’s heart? He would feed and heal the body so that he could later feed and heal the soul?

    So if your singles ministry is thriving and growing and people come to meet the opposite sex, then who cares? It’s up to you as a church, as a pastor to get them connected to the whole body of Christ.

    Continue reading “Why Churches Don’t Have Singles Ministries (article)”

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

More Anti-Singleness Bias From Southern Baptist Al Mohler – Despite the Bible Says It Is Better Not To Marry

I guess Al Mohler must know better than the Apostle Paul, who wrote,

    Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do (1 Corinthians)

Here is another Mohler hit piece on singleness (hyping marriage to the detriment of singleness, which God never does in the Bible):

(Link): Two Is Better Than One—Who Knew? – from October 4, 2013

Brief excerpt from Mohler’s page:

    Nevertheless, married women also survive longer than unmarried women with the same disease. Even husbands really help. Single patients are far more vulnerable.

  • All this is testimony to the power of marriage, and to the fact that marriage is one of the greatest gifts God has given his human creatures.
  • –(end excerpt)–

I believe Mohler has several other obnoxious articles against singleness at his blog, that is but one.

Some of Mohler’s contentions about married people living longer and being happier have been refuted by Bella DePaulo; please see these sites:

By the way, where the Bible says “two is better than one,” that is not exclusive to a martial relationship only. It 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)
  • (end quotes)

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, having children, 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 walking 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.

Many of us had hoped to marry, but there were not enough single Christian men to marry, so we singles either stay single or marry Non-Christians.

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:

(Link): Singleness a Sin? by Camerin Courtney

(Link): In Response To … Al Mohler on Singleness and Childlessness

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

(Link): Have We [conservative Christians, Baptists, evangelicals] Said Too Much? (About Marriage, that is)

Apparently Mohler believes job discrimination against the unmarried is ethical and “Christian” too; see this page:

From Single and Sane Blog:
(Link): The Single Pastor
————————–
Related posts, this blog:

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

(Link):  Women Who Stay Single or Get Divorced Are Healthiest by B DePaulo

(Link): Conservative Christians Are Now Blaming Homosexual Marriage on Heterosexual Single Adults

(Link):   Please Stop Shaming Me for Being Single by J. Vadnal

(Link):   Preacher Says in Sermon that Single Men Who Play Video Games Are Losers Who Have Retarded Spirits and This Creates Dating Problems for Women

(Link):  Salvation Army Bans Duggar / Quivering Cult’s ‘Retreat’ (Called ‘Get Them Married’) that Promoted Arranged Marriages for Teen Girls – Quivering Advocates Are Anti-Adult Singleness and Anti-Celibacy 

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

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

(Link): When Adult Virginity and Adult Celibacy Are Viewed As Inconvenient or As Impediments [by Christians]

(Link): Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?

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

(Link): Yes, Some Women Use and Look at Pornography (including Christian ones)

(Link): Why So Much Fornication – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity

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

(Link): Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – Easy Forgivism

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

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

(Link): No, Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity (Many Christians Actually -Disrespect- Virginity, Celibacy, Sexual Purity)

(Link): Married (Christian) People Aren’t More Virtuous Than Christian Singles

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

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

(Link): Christian Double Standards on Celibacy – Hetero Singles Must Abstain from Sex but Not Homosexual Singles

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

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

(Link): Are Most Churches Too Judgemental About Sexual Sin? (of the hetero variety)

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

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

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

(Link): Why Unmarried – Single Christians Should Be Concerned about the Gender Role Controversy

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

(Link): Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Leader Al Mohler Makes Tacky, Crass Sex Joke on Twitter

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

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

(Link): How About Using Celibates as Role Models For Celibacy? (Oddity: Christians Holding Up Non-Virgins [Fornicators] As Being Experts or Positive Examples on Sexual Purity)

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

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

(Link): New Study Released: Cheaters: More American Married Women Admit to Adultery (links)

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

(Link): Grandma Smashes Infant Granddaughter to Death with SledgeHammer, Slits Infant’s Throat – Motherhood Does Not Make Women More Mature, Godly

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

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

(Link): Focus on the Family Members Practice Infidelity or Homosexuality and Get Divorced and Remarry – links to exposes
——————–
Articles / editorials on other sites:

(Link): Excellent Article by J. Watts: The Scandal of Singleness – singles / never married christian

Christian Single Adult Ministry (Video Series and a Web Site)

Christian Single Adult Ministry (Video Series and a Web Site)

Site (below there are links to some of their videos):
(Link): AoG Single Adult Ministries Home Page

I’m not completely up on AoG theology, so do not assume I agree with everything they believe in just because I’m linking to some of their content.

Based upon the first couple of minutes I’ve seen of one of their videos below, they sound biblical enough. I didn’t hear any huge, glaring red flags.

But again, me linking to some of these pages /videos should not be considered a wholescale seal of approval by me of every view or comment in every video or on every page.

I have not watched every video or read every page, so for all I know, some of their ideas or teachings are un-biblical or stupid.

They have many videos. I am not linking to every single one.

Videos from an Assemblies of God group on Adult Singleness:

(Link): Meeting the Diverse Needs of Single Adults

(Link): Misconceptions of Single Adults and Single Adult Ministry
“Marriage is not a half person and a half person coming together to make a whole person,” said one guy in the video. AMEN!
(But – that is a teaching a lot of PREACHERS perpetuate in their sermons.)

(Link): Trends in Single Adult Ministry
-in that video, a few trends are discussed:

    – they discuss online dating sites

    – one guy says his research shows the more healthy a single is, the less likely he or she is to attend a church singles group.

    (I would agree with that. Not just healthy, but the more attractive. Most singles I see in singles classes when I visit are quite dumpy looking.)

    – they mention age of first marriage has gone up in the last 30 – 40 years

    – cohabitation

    – financial problems with older (as in over 30) singles / unemployment

    – poverty, and how it hits widows, single parents, divorced

    – churches are fixating on nuclear families, not singles or step families, etc.

    – churches should be hiring full time adult singles preachers but refuse to

From their site (this is a page, not a video):

I agreed with some of the points on this list, but not all:

(Link): Myths of Singleness

Excerpts (this is not the entire list, and these are the points I mostly related to or agreed with):

    Myths of Singleness

    Single adults are a threat to married adults –
    Some insecure married adults believe this. It is almost always unjustified! It is usually the married adult which feels this, and as a result, alienates the single adult. There are plenty of single adults in this country (82 million to be exact) to discover without looking at married adults!

    Single adults are not complete until they are married
    Because of the emphasis on “marriage and family” in most evangelical churches, single adults may feel like a “half person” at times! Phrases such as, “I want you to meet my better half,” and questions and attitudes like, “Why isn’t an attractive woman like you married yet?” do little to help a single adult feel complete. The truth is, “We are complete in Him!” (Colossians 2:10)

    Single adults have more money than married adults
    There are a few single adults who make good money and may have more than married adults. Generally it is untrue, though! Young single adults are not into their income producing years yet; divorced single women almost always take a huge cut in their income; 60% of single-parent females make less than the poverty level; most widowed adults live on a low, fixed income.

How Not to Help All the Single Ladies (excellent article)

This is an excellent editorial about single women from a Christian source. Most Christian commentary on singleness sucks, but this was good.

(Link): How Not to Help All the Single Ladies

    Blaming women for their own singleness is about as productive as a ‘Cosmo’ checklist.

    by Sharon Hodde Miller

    [snip comments about her meeting with middle aged Christian women friends who had never married]

    Several weeks later, I spoke with another friend across the country who also wondered at her singleness and ached to find a godly man.

    In each of these conversations, I struggled to find the right words.

    Part of me wanted to shout, “What’s wrong with men? These ladies are amazing! They should be fighting guys off with a bat.”

    But the situation is more complicated than that. For one, women in the American church outnumber men. In 2009, sociologist Mark Regnerus reported in CT that there are 3 single women for every 2 single men. Simply put, there aren’t enough Christian men to go around.

    Add to that the elements of romantic chemistry, life circumstances, and God’s providence—all factors that are simply out of one woman’s control. It’s not her fault, and there’s nothing wrong with her. Nevertheless, most longtime single women are tempted to pause and wonder, Is it me?

    Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly single women out there who have difficult personalities.

    But, there are married women with equally challenging personalities who still managed to find a mate.

    Having a strong personality or being independent or failing to look like a supermodel are not deterrents to finding a spouse.

    Dating is not simple. There is no tried and true formula.

    Which is why I become frustrated whenever I come across articles, blog posts and books purporting to tell women why they are still single, and how they should act to snag a man.

    Continue reading “How Not to Help All the Single Ladies (excellent article)”

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

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

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

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

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

    BY MELISSA BARNHART, CP REPORTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Link): American Christians Idolize Motherhood – Mommy Rhapsody

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

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

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

(Link): Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

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

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

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

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

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

(Link): Childfree Christians / Childfree childless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Single Christian Woman – Mandy Hale – Featured on Christian Show to Discuss Adult Singleness

Single Christian Woman Featured on Christian Show

This is blog-worthy because most Christians shows, most of the time, fixate on MARRIAGE and ignore singleness.

On today’s episode of “The 700 Club” an unmarried Christian woman, Mandy Hale, was interviewed. She wrote a book called “The Single Woman.”

The lady interviewer says that Mandy has been in a few relationships but is now single by choice.

Hale says she has “not kissed dating goodbye” and says she wants to be married, but is trying to be happy while single.

Hale says you are already complete and don’t need a partner to complete you. She says she will be joining Christian Mingle and writing articles about her experiences with them. (But please see this: (Link): Beware of Rapists on Christian Dating Sites (rapist used Christian Mingle site to meet his victims) )

You can read more about that interview with Hale here – there is a link to the video of her interview on this page too:

(Link): Have an Awesome Life as a Single Woman

    APPLAUDING SINGLENESS
    Mandy grew up in a Christian home and was baptized as a little girl. When she was 20, she rededicated her life to the Lord and was baptized as an adult.

    Mandy, now 34, says she had always wanted to get married by the time she was 25.

    Six years ago, Mandy was in a relationship which she describes as unhealthy that lasted two years.

    “Once I got out of the relationship, I was in a new place,” she says. “I was excited to be single and was looking for books about embracing single life.” Instead all Mandy could find were books on how to date a man, land him and keep him.

    “There was nothing about enjoying the moment,” says Mandy.

    She was looking for a voice of hope for single women among all the voices of discouragement. There weren’t any. “So I decided to become one,” she says.

    Mandy started a column, which soon led to The Single Woman Twitter page which almost overnight began to pick up steam. That led to a Facebook page, which led to the creation of a website a year later, which led to an e-book which became a published book, The Single Woman.

    She says many have often labeled a single woman in her late twenties and beyond as “single and desperate.”

    Instead of being viewed as a choice, being single seems to denote a lack of options.

    “Everyone wants to meddle in the life of a woman who refuses to settle: setting her up on endless dates with guys she has no interest in, calling her desperate, lonely, or too picky, or asking, ‘What’s wrong with her?,’” says Mandy.

    The path that Mandy sees is quite different. “The modern-day single woman is something to be applauded as bold and courageous and unique, not lauded as sad or pathetic or weak,” she says.

    HAPPILY SINGLE

    Mandy says being happily single does not mean you’ve sworn off love, or given up on the hope of finding your Happy Ending. “It simply means that you’re determined to have a Happy Everything,” she says.

    Mandy reminds single women to design a life so amazing that you don’t want to be rescued from it. “The only thing we single ladies need to be rescued from is the notion that we need to be rescued.”

    Being Happily Single is also the precursor to being Happily Taken. You cannot have one without the other.

    Many reminds single ladies to watch for red flags.

    Once when Mandy was on a first date, the man was a perfect gentleman all night.

    At the end of dinner, he turned to her and asked her for $40! Though he made up a litany of excuses as to why he needed the money, Mandy says it was the sketchiest first date she had ever been on.

    Obviously there was no second date.

    Maybe your red flag isn’t as blatant as Mandy’s but she recommends that whenever you are feeling a moment’s hesitation to pause and evaluate the situation.

    Mandy says you should be asking, “Is God trying to tell me something,?”

    She reminds us that God has our backs enough to send the signs, but it’s up to us to read them.

    Mandy was chosen by Oprah to be one of her Life Class Bloggers in 2011, was voted “Woman of Influence” by the Nashville Business Journal in 2011 and is a frequent contributor for the Huffington Post and Lifetime’s The Conversation.

    Celebrity Twitter followers include Sherri Shepherd, Nicholas Sparks and Michelle Williams. Visit her website at (Link): www.TheSingleWoman.com [note: this link will forward you to the page selling her book on Amazon.com] or follow her on Twitter @TheSingleWoman.

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

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

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

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

is not biblical

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

so I offer this link with a caveat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most singles are invisible to churches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This could entail things such as…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Rest of the Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helping Christian Singles Meet Christian Singles (to date)

Helping Christian Singles Meet Christian Singles (to date)

There is a category of postings at another blog for Christian Singles (links below).

Beware though, for its writers are Biblical Gender Complementarians.

(In a nutshell: Biblical Gender Complementarians believe the only or proper, biblical role for women is to be married with a baby, staying at home, making casseroles; they frown on women working outside the home, some of them are against women attending college, etc.

Some gender complementarians would deny my description of complementarianism and say it’s a strawman – only to turn around two minutes later and blame uppity feminist women who get college educations and use The Pill who do not want to stay at home with a kid, who do not want to stay home organizing a husband’s sock drawer, and who do not want to stay home cooking casseroles for the downfall of American society).

(Link): True Woman: Singleness Topic – several posts about singleness – Beware – this blog is by ‘Biblical Gender Complementarians’

About the only worthwhile material I found on their site so far was this (from (Link): Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? (An Interview with Carolyn McCulley, Part 2):

    What role can the church play in the lives of single adults who have a desire for marriage and family?

    I believe most Christian singles would value their pastors and married couples in their churches introducing them to godly prospective mates, rather than feeling the need to resort to such options as going online and wading through a pool of strangers.

    I know many marriages that started with a simple observation made from a married person to a single man:
    “Have you ever considered [insert name here]? I’ve observed your friendship with her and see many qualities in her that could make her an excellent wife for you.”
    I call that the Foot-In-The-Small-Of-The-Back Ministry and I commend it to married people everywhere! I can assure them their efforts would be received with much gratitude. // end quotes from other blog

WORD OF ADVICE, CAUTION FOR MARRIED CHRISTIANS WHO ARE CONSIDERING PLAYING MATCH MAKER FOR THEIR UN-MARRIED CHRISTIAN FRIENDS

May I add a warning and a caveat to what she said? While I mostly agree with her views on singles appreciating help from other Christians in being set up on dates etc, I am aware that (Link): some singles – particularly the Holy Roller, super spiritual types who are so damn irritating – would be deeply offended by church members trying to fix them up with men.

Then there is the problem of married Christian people thinking any old single with a pulse is a great match for any other single with a pulse! – WRONG. Contrary to “Christian marriage experts” (Link): it takes more than Christ in common for two singles to hit it off.

I have read testimonies by 27 year old divorced church- attending women, with kids from their previous marriages, whose married church lady acquaintances tried fixing them up with the never-married, 45 year old, 800 pound, overall- wearing hillbilly, church- going- guy named Bubba, who has bad breath, lives in his Mom’s basement, collects Star Trek dolls extensively, and is socially awkward and plain old unattractive.

While I do feel many singles (men especially) are way too damn picky about physical appearance in mate selection, nobody can be blamed for wanting to date or marry someone they find at least somewhat easy on the eyes.

Continue reading “Helping Christian Singles Meet Christian Singles (to date)”

Southern Baptists on Boy Scouts and Homosexuals – Misplaced Priorities

Southern Baptists on Boy Scouts and Homosexuals – Misplaced Priorities

I am a social conservative, and I don’t support homosexuality. I probably wouldn’t be too opinionated about homosexual marriage either way if not for the homosexuals who are absolutely militant about their lifestyles and try to sue the crud out of anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or bakers who, due to religious reasons, (Link): don’t want to provide cakes for homosexual marriage ceremonies.

I also realize that militant homosexual groups are very vocal and active in trying to cram their views down the throats of all Americans, which annoys me to no end. I don’t particularly care if people are homosexual, as long as they’d get off their soap boxes about it and stop forcing the matter.

However, many conservative Christians, and certainly the Southern Baptist Convention and series of churches, remains abnormally fixated on all things homosexual (and on other aspects of secular culture), as well as too keen to try to push Christian agendas via politics.

At the recent SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) held in Houston, Texas, here is one consensus they reached:

(Link): Southern Baptists condemn Boy Scouts over admission of gays

Excerpt (by the way, this article incorrectly refers to Southern Baptists as “Protestants”. Southern Baptists are not Protestants):

    The nation’s largest Protestant denomination stopped short of calling for its member churches to boycott the Boy Scouts, but voiced strong opposition to acceptance of gay scouts – with a top church leader predicting at the annual gathering of Southern Baptists that a “mass exodus” of youths from the program that has been a rite of passage for more than a century.

Instead of being preoccupied by those outside the church, Christians are supposed to help fellow Christians first and foremost ((Link): Galatians 6:10), and primarily judge those who are within the body of Christ, not obsessively focus on judging Non Christians in secular culture:

    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? (1 Cor 5:12)

Southern Baptists and a lot of other Christians claim they are concerned about the inroads homosexuals are making in culture, not just with the BSA (Boy Scouts), but concerning the erosion of “traditional marriage.”

The deterioration of traditional marriage by homosexuals does not really matter all that much, when there is currently a sizable section of Americans, particularly unmarried Christian hetero-sexual women, who desire marriage, but there are no marriage partners (single Christian men of comparable age) for them to marry.

Continue reading “Southern Baptists on Boy Scouts and Homosexuals – Misplaced Priorities”

Being Single in the Church (article)

Being Single in the Church (article)

I was brought up in the Southern Baptist church and do not agree with all teachings of the Roman Catholic Church (such as their rejection of sola fide and sola scriptura), but while the following article addresses singles in the Roman Catholic Church, I could totally relate to it. If you are Baptist or Protestant (and unmarried), I think you will be able to relate to it, too.

Being Single in the Church (article)

Excerpts…

    By Emily Stimpson – OSV Newsweekly, 7/24/2011

    Although it may be reassuring, in some ways, that today’s unmarried Catholics have lots of company in the single life, it’s also a problem. Never before have quite so many adults, Catholics or otherwise, delayed marriage quite so late in life. Some delay by choice. Others by chance. But marriage is delayed regardless. And the results are often less than rosy.

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