‘Contemporary Christian Virtue’ -Another Blog That Discusses Older Unmarried Christians

Another blog that talks about singleness and older Christians:

Contemporary Christian Virtue, by Shannon Mulvari

One of my favorite posts was this one – which unfortunately only shows up in google cache (she discusses how singles are stereotyped in the church, among other topics, such as how Christian culture exploits celebrity Christian virgins, how celibacy is usually ignored, etc):

Christian Single Adults Not Welcome in American Churches, by Shannon Mulvari (was first posted December 12, 2012)

I don’t know why its author edited or deleted that blog page – it’s an excellent page, and I wish she would re post it.

Here are just a few excerpts:
———————————
Don’t have a wedding band? Don’t have a marriage license? Don’t have children in tow? Played by all the rules and never found that special someone? Looking for encouragement and affirmation? I would not recommend churches today – unless you want to be treated like a leper. They do not welcome single adults, especially those who are older and never married. I’m not sure of all the reasons for this phenomenon. But I can tell you it’s a fact. And it works in both directions. Singles don’t feel needed or included in church activities. And churches don’t include them in leadership roles or welcome them in their congregations or social circles.

… This brings me to [another] reason singles have been excluded — Marriage and the nuclear family have been elevated to the point of representing the highest form of Christian standards. Church members with the gift of singleness who are concerned about the Lord’s affairs as Apostle Paul explains in 1 Cor 7 have been placed in fantasy land. They are theorized as an anomaly so rare, it doesn’t warrant a second thought. They can’t see beyond “the whole world is going to hell.” Instead, churches are hunkering down in fear of the gay lifestyle and circling their wagons tight around their nuclear families – at the expense of every other Christian virtue. I don’t support same sex marriage or the gay lifestyle either. But I don’t let that control my every thought and behavior.

… The fact is, we are no longer living in Mayberry [fictional American town, in a 1960s American television show, where most everyone had Judeo-Christian values] where innocence was taken for granted. There are no rewards for the virtuous Christian single today.
————————————-
[Read the rest of her post]

How Christians and Churches Can Be of Help to Older Singles (copy)

One caveat about this post below (originally by a New Zealand author) that I am copying: the author seems to suggest if you are still single past a certain age, it’s because you are ugly. I disagree. I am attractive. I have had males (including Non Christian men who did not know I am a Christian) see my photo at a friend’s house and a sister’s house and request to be set up on dates with me.

I’ve been “hit on” by Non Christian men. So my looks are not the problem – sometimes a person can be very attractive but yet not meet the right mate. Being pretty is not a guarantee of getting a man or of keeping one. Look at movie stars such as Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe: beautiful women and considered sexy by most, but they each kept getting divorced.

I also disagree with this author’s assertion that loss over being an infertile married couple who wants kids is tougher than suffering from loss over never being married but wanting marriage – sometimes I’m okay with being single, but sometimes my grief over missing it far, far out weighs the pain of any infertile woman who misses having a child. That woman at least has a spouse. I have nobody.

TALK DOWN – Preparing for singleness when you’d much rather be preparing for marriage

by By Ross Clark

Source:

singleness.org/talkdown.shtml

… Go to any Christian bookshop and you will find a mass of books on the big issue, the life-changing decision of getting married, and how you should prepare for it. But books on the single life are much harder to come by.

For many, the process of coming to terms with being single is ferociously difficult, yet there is little help to be found in the Church. Pastors spend much time helping faltering marriages. Helping a faltering single is a lesser priority. Why? Shouldn’t we be thinking of how we prepare some people for the single life, specially when their own natural inclinations lie in other directions?

Not every Christian single makes it—too many of the older singles drop out of our churches, and/or marry unbelievers. We need to ask what the churches can do to help Christian singles, because the problem of unreasonable and unrealised expectations which many singles struggle with has its roots in the churches’ own Teaching.

The Glittering Prize

What messages are we giving our teenagers and singles?

Gather a group of fourteen year-olds from any church scene and make them our reference group. Put them in one place, and the conversation will eventually turn to relationships and romance. Given the age, immaturity, and emotional state of the people concerned, that is hardly surprising. But what’s a youth leader to do?

The Biblical standard—no sex outside of marriage — is absolutely clear, and youth leaders work hard to teach it. Generally, they will say something like, “trust God, and he will have his best for you. Save yourself for marriage, it’s your loss if you don’t. God blesses those who trust him.” Or, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”. Somewhat out of context, Jer 29:11 will get a look-in.

Dating, at any age, is often described as “not really God’s will. Instead, trust him to bring you his choice for you.” Or — and without any Biblical justification — “God already has someone for you, if you just trust in him”. A variant on this is, “Yield your rights and God will have just the right person for you”.

When the issue of sexuality is confronted, dire warnings are given to anyone who would threaten to cross the line, generally raising the obvious threats of STDs and pregnancy. Later on, the concern shifts to Christians who ‘live in sin’, and all sorts of horror stories will be trotted out about what happens to the Christians who do so.

And so a very powerful expectation is created concerning marriage: it is made to appear the ‘glittering prize’, God’s blessing for doing the right thing, particularly in facing off sexual temptation. The teaching that obedience will inevitably be accompanied by the appropriate blessing — generally, a good marriage, family and status amongst the people of God — further cements this judgment. That this becomes part of the “success fantasy” foisted on people (the term is Tony Campolo’s) is not even realised.
Continue reading “How Christians and Churches Can Be of Help to Older Singles (copy)”

The Church Needs A Different View of Sex and Singleness (copy)

THE CHURCH NEEDS A DIFFERENT VIEW OF SEX & SINGLENESS

Originally posted to:

goodwomenproject.com/sex/the-church-needs-a-different-view-of-sex-singleness#idc-cover

Excerpts (by Leigh Kramer, from 2010):

….You see, I am a rare breed. Some might even say an endangered species. I’m a 31-year-old virgin. Rest easy. I’m not dating anyone right now, nor am I going to bed with the next guy I encounter. I’m committed to seeing my virginity through to marriage or death. Whichever comes first.

…I’m not ashamed of my virgin status, but I don’t broadcast either. Most people assume that I have had sex because that is true of most women in their 30′s. Abstinence, chastity, whatever you want to call it, is no longer the norm.

I honestly never thought I’d still be single at this point in my life. I can’t help but wonder if I would have made the same choices had I known what lay ahead.

Does that shock you? It shocks me a little. We live in an age where premarital sex is accepted and often expected. It’s difficult to be countercultural when it comes to sex. There are even churches that don’t take a hard line on the matter.

Grace and forgiveness are extended to those who had premarital sex – and rightly so. Secondary virginity is an option. On the other hand, I’ve had friends that purposely had sex knowing they’d ask for forgiveness later.

Then there’s me. I love finding other ‘older’ virgins. Solidarity and all that. But also because I want to know why they waited and continue to wait. What do they do on the hard days?

Because hard days, or weeks, happen. Sex is best reserved for marriage but it’s hard being the odd woman out. I fervently hope I’ll be able to experience sex in the context of marriage someday. Now is the time to do the work of being faithful so that when I am in a relationship, regardless of my boyfriend’s sexual history, I will not falter.

I’m not alone in this. The church must start having a different conversation about sex and singleness. Here are a few suggestions of what I’d like to see.

1. Explore the framework of chastity.

Telling people to save sex for marriage is not enough when marriage isn’t a guarantee. Chastity is a way of life, looking at our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s not solely focused on the physical act of sex. We need to get away from “how far is too far” and move toward respecting ourselves (and our partners) as men and women made in the image of Christ.

3. Don’t teach that sex is a reward.

First, it’s not the best way to motivate someone toward obedience. This might also explain why many Christians marry young, only to divorce later. Marriage is about more than sex. Second, what message does that send to those who are obedient but don’t receive the ‘reward’? Have I somehow been a bad virgin? I don’t worship a God who would punish people in this way.

4. Don’t elevate marriage over singleness (or vice-versa).

The amount of people who are single, divorced, or widowed is roughly equal to those who are married in most congregations. Yet sermons tend to be directed toward those who are married and parenting. This leaves a good portion of the congregation feeling left out – and these are the unattached who continue to go to church. Many simply choose not to go anymore. We all have much to learn from each other, no matter what our stage of life.

[5. Include the unmarried]

Married folks, please support the single people in your life. Let them be a part of your family gatherings but also schedule one-on-one time as well. Single folks, identify the people in the trenches with you and continue to build those relationships. Having support in place now means you’re more likely to be ready when temptation hits.

American Churches Need to Address Growing Numbers of Unmarried / Single People

Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles?

Source:
(WWW.)christianpost.com/news/pew-for-one-how-is-the-church-responding-to-growing-number-of-singles-70586/

Before I paste in excerpts from most of the article, I wanted to comment on this part of it first:

“Some churches are certainly aware of this demographic, but other churches are almost impervious to it,” says Danylak. “The church focuses on marriage and family, with the expectation that by focusing on family, you’re encouraging singles to get married.”

I addressed that very point in a previous post (-HERE-). Focusing on marriage constantly does NOT encourage singles to want marriage more.

The problem is most unmarried American Christian adults already want to be married, but they cannot find suitable people to date! And while they remain unmarried, they are having struggles and issues that married people do not always face, such as a more intense struggle with loneliness, along with other issues.

For a pastor to keep harping on marriage week in and week out, as most do in their services or literature and blogs, only alienates unmarried adults further, and it’s also painful for some, for it’s like eating a bag of potato chips and chocolate cake in front of a friend who you know likes junk food but who is on a diet.

It’s very cruel to constantly throw something in someone’s face that they want but cannot have, obtain, or achieve – yet most Southern Baptists, conservative churches, and evangelicals continue to do this very thing in regards to marriage vs. singlehood to the long term unmarried and celibate.

Here’s more from the article:

Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles?

By Sarah Hamaker , Christian Post Contributor
February 29, 2012

One can be the loneliest number, especially in the church. Today, there are more singles in the United States than at any other time in history – 43.6 percent of the U.S. adult population are unmarried, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

“The number of single adults in the United States has been rapidly approaching the number of married adults, and this is an unprecedented culture shift that is dramatic,” says Barry Danylak, author of Redeeming Singleness. “This is not an American phenomena – it is seen in nearly all of the modernized and industrialized nations.”

The church, long welcoming to married with children congregants, has been slower to adjust to this demographic shift. “At least 80 percent of every denomination do not have a targeted ministry to single adults,” says Dennis Franck, national director for Single Adult/Young Adult Ministries for the Assemblies of God denomination, headquartered in Springfield, Mo. “However, the majority of churches are not trying to exclude singles, but they are more marriage and family focused, which means singles are not acknowledged very often.

The Rev. Alan Fretto, a single senior in Danbury, Conn., points out, “The church is geared toward children, women and couples. There is very little in most churches for singles, and yet singles dominate the church population. Singles need to be encouraged and included in the process of the church, and should be considered a valuable asset to the church.”

Readjusting Focus

Many churches have yet to formally acknowledge singles in their midst, either with targeted ministries or inclusion in preaching or teaching illustrations and examples. “Some churches are certainly aware of this demographic, but other churches are almost impervious to it,” says Danylak. “The church focuses on marriage and family, with the expectation that by focusing on family, you’re encouraging singles to get married.”
Continue reading “American Churches Need to Address Growing Numbers of Unmarried / Single People”

Same Old Tired Advice to Christian Singles

Related: 

Alpha Females (book by Suzanne Venker) Part 1 – Nothing New Under the Sun. Conservative Women Keep Issuing Same Sexist, Unhelpful Dating And Marital Advice to Women


I left a comment on a blog page (What’s a [Christian] Single Girl To Do?) about singles, whose author was trying to give advice to Christian singles. I don’t know if my comment will be published there or not so here is a copy. (click on the “more” link to read the rest of the post)

This is a copy of my reply on a blog page, “What’s a Single Girl to Do”

I’m a never-married Christian female, over 40, and while this editorial started out well enough, it’s filled with the usual unhelpful, vaguely insulting, or hurtful tripe we singles get subjected to on a regular basis by Christians who, I assume, sincerely feel they are being helpful. However, basically in this editorial, we are being given the old, worn out adage, “don’t look for ‘The One,’ be ‘The One’.”

We are also essentially being treated to the same adage one often sees in these articles about Christian singles who are desiring marriage, ones about ‘putting Jesus first,’ and other performance- based and religious- sounding attitudes.

Sorry, but being a good Christian girl over the years, living a pure life, praying and trusting God for a spouse, trying to “be the one and not look for the one,” and seeking God first in life and serving Him, etc etc and all the usual advice and admonishments one hears from preachers and Christian bloggers, did not garner me a spouse.

Further, that assumption in and of itself is not entirely biblical or compassionate – for the most part in the Bible, God does not place parameters on His grace, that if only you shape yourself up, work hard enough (or pray hard enough) or meet some other criteria, then and only then will He bestow a gift to you (such as marriage).

The author seems to be hinting that if we are not “submitted enough” to Jesus or to the Father now, the Father will not grant us or bless us with a spouse. I’m sorry, but no, that is not so. The Bible does not teach that.
Continue reading “Same Old Tired Advice to Christian Singles”

Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex

I think it’s a sad, sad commentary on American society these days when people who are virgins until they marry, or who remain celibate after a divorce are considered special, unique, or newsworthy. If anything, waiting until marriage, even if you’re a virgin at 30 or 40, because you have not married yet, should be viewed as the norm, not the exception.

However, I think maybe an article like this might encourage some older Christian singles, since goodness knows they aren’t getting encouragement for remaining celibate from the church in America.

I have no plans of copying the entire list, so if you want to see it, you will have to visit their site.

Celebrities Who Abstained: They Waited Or Are Waiting Until Marriage To Give Up Their V-Cards
Source:
styleblazer.com/75357/celebrities-that-waited-for-marriage-or-are-waiting-until-
marriage-to-give-up-their-v-cards/

These stars might be sex symbols, posing in sensual photo shoots, shooting steamy scenes and writing lyrics that could sing the pants off anyone, but don’t be mistaken: these celebs are pretty conservative when it comes to what happens between the sheets. Here are 19 celebrities who waited til marriage or are waiting until marriage to give up his or her v-cards.

Lolo Jones

The American Hurdler that fell short of medals at the 2012 Olympics is still holding on tight to her V-Card. “It’s just something, a gift I want to give my husband” says 30-year old Jones, saying that abstaining from sex has been “Harder than training for the Olympics.” The American Hurdler that fell short of medals at the 2012 Olympics is still holding on tight to her V-Card. “It’s just something, a gift I want to give my husband” says 30-year old Jones, saying that abstaining from sex has been “Harder than training for the Olympics.”

Kathie Lee Gifford

The Today show host kept her sacred treasure all to herself until she was 22, when she gave it up to her first husband Paul Johnson, something she reveals in her autobiography. “My lifelong self-consciousness about my body seemed, miraculously, to fade away…” Gifford says of the experience.

Lisa Kudrow

The Friends star is nothing like the free-loving hippie she played on the show. Lisa remained a virgin until she was 31, a decision she explained while promoting her 1999 film The Opposite of Sex. “My virginity was something I’d decided was very precious…an honor I was bestowing on a young man.” That young man turned out to be her husband, Michael Stern.

Kevin Jonas

At the age of 22, the oldest Jonas Brother wore a “purity ring” until 2007, when he married Danielle Deleasa (the co-star on the new reality show Married to Jonas.)
Continue reading “Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex”

Standing Alone – single or never married Christians over 35 years old

This material is from Standing Alone by Cristina Foor

There are more singles in the United States than the entire populations of France and The Netherlands combined. But the church, for the most part, ignores their needs.
A large segment of our culture walks past the doors of our churches every Sunday, almost entirely unnoticed. Many of these passers-by will, at one point, find their way into our sanctuaries. But all too often they will end up feeling as if they are still invisible.

Why? Because the church typically ignores this particular group of men and women–singles.

Some 98 million Americans today are single, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (Current Population Survey, March 2000). That’s close to half of our population age 15 and older. That’s more than the entire populations of France and The Netherlands combined. And this trend toward singleness in our society seems to be on the rise.

Whether it is by choice, by the death of a spouse or by the unforeseen end of a marriage, the fact remains that more and more men and women are becoming single. Mirroring society at large, it is estimated that more than one-half of the church population is now single, too. Ministry to this group has become imperative.

A strong singles ministry can strengthen a church’s overall ministry effectiveness. That being the case, the lack of ministry to single adults must simply constitute denial of this large and growing population.

If churches want to remain relevant and meet the needs of people in our present culture, it is essential for them to develop an effective singles ministry. The issues and challenges peculiar to singles must be acknowledged and addressed.

In order to reach this harvest field, however, the church needs to understand this group and its many dynamics. Singles should never be viewed as people to be pitied or prayed for, as if their singleness were a weakness to be overcome.

As Carolyn A. Koons and Michael J. Anthony stated in Single Adult Passages: Uncharted Territory, the mind-set in many churches today must be altered if a successful ministry for singles is to take place.

Much of the time singles live on the fringes of church life because they feel the church doesn’t understand or care about their particular needs. Singles’ needs differ greatly from the needs of those who are married. With the demise of the traditional family unit in our country, and in an attempt to re-establish lost family values, many churches have focused their attention on those areas while ignoring those who are not currently in families.

The church must shed its indifference toward singles and realize that couples are not better than singles, only different. In many churches, there seems to be little, if any, recognition that singleness inherently presents unique challenges and issues that need to be addressed. In addition, there has been very little real movement toward specific training for this ministry area.
Continue reading “Standing Alone – single or never married Christians over 35 years old”