Marriage-Pushing Zealot Wilcox Suggests that Being Single is Immoral: National Review Article

Marriage-Pushing Zealot Wilcox Suggests that Being Single is Immoral: National Review Article

I’ve written about Wilcox many times before. Wilcox is obsessed with marriage and advocating for it, and in the process, he enjoys insulting singleness and adult singles, although the Bible states in 1 Corinthians 7 it is better to remain single than to marry, and of course, as we all know, Jesus of Nazareth, who is highly regarded by many, never married.

Jesus remained single and celibate and never formed his own “nuclear family,” because he was more concerned with establishing a spiritual family, and he taught his followers to be just as, if not, (Link): more concerned with spiritual family than with biological family.

But marriage-idolaters and singles-shamers, such as Wilcox and Al Mohler, continue to promote marriage far too much, and they tend to do so consistently at the detriment of singles.

Allow me to first provide a few excerpts from the National Review piece by Wilcox, then I will explain the flaws with some of the points below the excerpt:

(Link):  Private Schools Outpace Public Schools in Putting Kids on the Path to Marriage

Excerpts:

By W. BRADFORD WILCOX , PATRICK WOLF & PEYTON ROTH
Sept 2020

There’s more to a quality education than academics; good schools give students a healthy moral environment that appears to shape their future family life.

… Different kinds of schools, with different moral ecologies, set our children up for success or failure in areas of life outside of the classroom. Chief among these is family life.

We know that men and women who forge strong and stable marriages are generally happier, healthier, and more prosperous. [Note from blog owner: this is a repeated but false claim across marriage-hyping articles; please see (Link): this post for refutations]

Continue reading “Marriage-Pushing Zealot Wilcox Suggests that Being Single is Immoral: National Review Article”

Why You Will (Eventually) Marry the Right Person by D. Teller

Why You Will (Eventually) Marry the Right Person by D. Teller

(Link): Why You Will (Eventually) Marry the Right Person by D. Teller

Excerpts:

As 2016 drew to a close last month, I opened my newsfeed with dread, braced for more gloomy tidings. Sure enough, amidst the news round-ups and “best of” lists was The New York Times’ most popular article of the year: “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.”

…For readers not familiar with the article, written by best-selling philosopher Alain de Botton, allow me to summarize. The author begins with the perceptive, if bleak, observation that humans are terrible at choosing good mates.

Continue reading “Why You Will (Eventually) Marry the Right Person by D. Teller”

Dallas County Candidate Admits Plan To Reward His Children Who Marry White, Straight Christians

Dallas County Candidate Admits Plan To Reward His Children Who Marry White, Straight Christians

Talk about turning marriage and “family values” into an Idol – this guy takes the cake.

(Link): Dallas County candidate admits plan to reward his children who marry white, straight Christians

By Marwa Eltagouri // May 18, 2018

The estranged brother of a former judge running for county commissioner contacted the Dallas Morning News earlier this week with a bold assertion: That the candidate, Vickers ‘Vic’ Cunningham, was a lifelong racist.

Cunningham, a former criminal district judge, largely denied his brother’s accusations. But he confirmed to the newspaper that he had set up a living trust with a clause that would reward his children if they married a white person.

Continue reading “Dallas County Candidate Admits Plan To Reward His Children Who Marry White, Straight Christians”

The Dating Project: A Documentary Movie About Singleness and Dating

The Dating Project: A Documentary Movie About Singleness and Dating

I saw one of the movie-makers for The Dating Project interviewed, and she says that this movie is promoting the idea that people start dating again.

The focus is on younger people, but I see this problem among folks over the age of 30 as well. If you are 30 or older now (as of April 2018) and grew up in a conservative Christian family or church, you were probably taught (and still taught) a bunch of dating concepts and ideas that have actually kept you single (see this post as an example).

I am over the age of 40 and have never married. I was engaged in my late 20s to my early 30s but broke up with my fiance. I have always wanted to be married, but I never found the right person.

As far as I could tell in seeing the interview with the woman film-maker of this dating movie, the assumption seems to be that being single is “second best” or weird.

Let me just say, as I’ve said many times on this blog, that on the one hand, while there is nothing wrong with being married or wanting to get married, that there is also nothing wrong with being single, and it is wrong to (Link): to denigrate singleness to promote marriage.

I’d like my desire for marriage to be respected, but at the same time, so long as I remain single, (Link): I’d also like myself and my singlehood status to be respected, not jeered, mocked, or put down by conservatives, who frequently shake their index fingers in the faces of singles like myself, and who write fear-mongering articles about how supposedly single life is so much more horrible than married life (see anything written by (Link): Bradford Wilcox or (Link): Mark Regnerus), all because they are worried about declining marriage rates.

I want to be married one day, and I don’t appreciate Christians telling me that my desire for marriage is “an idol” (for it is not), but I also do not appreciate Christians or secular talking heads on television news stations shaming singles for being single and for making singleness sound as though it’s a disease one should be ashamed of having.

Many times, conservatives (of which I am one) assume, quite wrongly, that any one who is single past the age of 30 is single deliberately. Especially if one is a single female past age 30, Christian talking heads will write blog posts or opine on television news programs that such women must have put career over marriage, or they are harpies who hate men – but this is usually not the case.

As a right wing (conservative) woman who always desired marriage, I find myself single by circumstance, not due to choice. I did not put career above dating or marriage, and so on and so forth. I find such assumptions, which are often held by other conservatives and by many Christians, deeply insulting and ask my fellow conservatives to stop making such assumptions.

The Dating Project Movie

Here are some links to articles about The Dating Project movie (a movie which I’ve only read a little bit about, I have not seen it yet):

(Link):

(Link):  From hook-ups to romance, ‘The Dating Project’ explores the one thing we all want

(Link):  BC Professor Says Traditional Dating Has Deteriorated 

(Link):  Dating 101: Film takes aim at America’s hookup culture and the death of courtship

Excerpts:

The shock of reading Laura Sessions Stepp’s 2007 book, “Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both,” hadn’t worn off when I was offered the opportunity to view an advanced screening of “The Dating Project,” a film about modern relationships that will be released nationwide—for one night only—on April 17. Both are a wake-up call for Americans, many of whom are in the dark about how dramatically dating has changed.

So dramatically, in fact, that it no longer exists. Dating is officially dead.

Continue reading “The Dating Project: A Documentary Movie About Singleness and Dating”

The Rhetoric of Singleness Blog – Links, Comments, Thoughts

The Rhetoric of Singleness Blog

Warning: I discovered through further reading that the author of the blog is a complementarian. I disagree with complementarianism; more on that below.

Had I known from the start she is a complementarian, I may not have started composing this post. I am leery of pointing anyone to a complementarian resource, but here we are.


As of today, I see only a small number of posts on the The Rhetoric of Singleness blog, dating from April 2017, and this blog appears to be from a Christian perspective – but then, her blog does not display a list or pull down menu of all her posts.

Even though the blog looks to be on hiatus, I’ll link to it on the off chance the blogger resumes writing again.

The person behind this blog says she’s single, in her 30s, and has yet to marry but would like to.

(Link): The Rhetoric of Singleness Blog – main page

Some of the only posts I am seeing on this blog include:

(Link): Pursuing Marriage

In that “Pursuing Marriage” post, she says she is a believer in gender complementarianism.

For example, here’s part of what she writes:

So, what options does that leave me, a woman with a complementary view of gender roles, of pursuing marriage? I know for some women who see no options left to them there is a strong temptation to bitterness, resentment, and to denigrate our single brothers who are called by God to the leadership role in the pursuit of marriage.

// end excerpt

Oh no. I (Link): used to be a complementarian myself but ditched it by my mid 30s.

I heard all the same stuff from conservative Christians growing up, as this other blogger likely did, such as, how (Link): men are supposed to be the heads in marriages, God supposedly created women pretty much to exist (Link): only to wait on menand so on.

(And I remained a conservative, even after I realized that complementarianism is false and actually quite sexist – it doesn’t just teach that men and women “complement” one another but that there should be a male hierarchy, of men ruling over women.

Contrary to what complementarians would have you believe, abandoning gender complementarianism will not turn you into a left wing, abortion-supporting, man-hating feminist. I am still right wing, even after leaving complementarianism.)

I am no longer a complementarian, but can pin point complementarianism, among a few other things, as being (Link): one reason as to why I am in my 40s and never got married.

Continue reading “The Rhetoric of Singleness Blog – Links, Comments, Thoughts”

700 Club’s Christian Host Pat Robertson Says that Singleness Is Terrible, Marriage Superior, and Singles Will End Up Miserable – Segment Also Supported Other Myths of Singleness Vs Marriage

700 Club’s Christian Host Pat Robertson Says that Singleness Is Terrible, Marriage Superior, and Singles Will End Up Miserable – Segment Also Supported Other Myths of Singleness Vs Marriage

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote that it is better to stay single than it is to marry. Jesus Christ himself never married.

The Bible does not extol marriage or pro-creation above singleness and being childless or child-free.

In spite of all that, today’s (December 20, 2016) episode of the Christian show The 700 Club, host Pat Robertson spoke poorly of singleness and said marriage is preferable or better than singleness.

On today’s episode of the Christian show The 700 Club, there was a segment about how millennials are reluctant to get married.

The show interviewed a few millennials, who are conservative Christians, about marriage.

One of these young ladies interviewed said, “It’s [marriage] is the most important thing.”

I would assume that young woman probably wants to marry some day. So did I when I was her age, but it never happened.

I am now in my 40s and have never married because the right guy never came into my life. I am single against my will, not because I choose to be.

Just because you want to be married does not mean you will marry. This is one fact these early-marriage advocates and other marriage-promoters never consider.

By the way, no-where does the Bible say that “marriage is the most important thing [in life].” I have no idea where that woman is getting that notion from, unless it’s being shoved down her throat by her conservative Christian church.

After the interview clips were shown, host Pat Robertson opined about how great marriage is, and in the process, he ran down singleness and singles.

Continue reading “700 Club’s Christian Host Pat Robertson Says that Singleness Is Terrible, Marriage Superior, and Singles Will End Up Miserable – Segment Also Supported Other Myths of Singleness Vs Marriage”

Memes Against Marriage Pressure – A Group of Single Adults That Also Supports Celibacy

Memes Against Marriage Pressure – A Group of Single Adults That Also Supports Celibacy

(Link):  Memes Against Marriage Pressure

  • By Christine Franciska
  • BBC Indonesian Service
  • Marriage is seen as inevitable in Indonesian culture, with friends and family often putting pressure on young people to find a partner and settle down.
  • But one group of young people is fighting back, using social media to celebrate singlehood with laughter.
  • Jakarta Lonely Council (or Dewan Kesepian Jakarta) – a play on the name of a well-known independent art body Jakarta Art Council – has become a kind of Facebook haven for single people.
  • The group’s most popular posts are when they alter quotes from famous and prominent people to make memes related to single status, loneliness, and the feeling of longing for your ex.
  • “The compulsion of dating on Saturday night is a bourgeois conspiracy,” says one post. Another declares 14 February as Single Pride Day with the phrase: “Single, but proud.”
  • ‘Celibate for purpose’
  • One of the founders said the page was created two years ago for fun, because the members love making memes and wanted to laugh themselves.
  • “When we created the page, most of us were single. But now, one of us got married. How cruel is that?” said one of Jakarta Lonely Council’s initiator, who wanted to keep their identity anonymous.
  • The creators, mostly young people, come from different professions; one is a researcher, a writer, and a lecturer. They use “celibate for purpose” in many posts, to emphasise that being alone or single is a choice and there is nothing wrong with it.
  • Continue reading “Memes Against Marriage Pressure – A Group of Single Adults That Also Supports Celibacy”

    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

    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 

    Before I present you with the links to the news reports about this story (which are much farther down the page), I wanted to make some introductory comments in general, and a few specific comments refuting a few points from a pro-Quivering page about celibacy.

    In regards to the specific news story I am blogging about today, this Quivering group is completely overlooking Apostle Paul’s comments in (Link): 1 Corinthians 7 that it is better for people to remain single than it is to marry – and Paul does not say that this teaching is in regards only to “a few,” or only a “minority” of people.

    The Bible nowhere states that marriage is “a norm,” or that God expects or wants all, or most, people to marry.

    It just so happens that in other cultures thousands of years ago, most people did happen to marry – one should not deduce from this cultural situation that God supported it or wanted it to be so. It just was what it was.

    If the Bible said that all or most ancient Jews painted their bodies green once a year and balanced weasels on their heads while jumping up and down on a watermelon one week out of a year, one should not assume from this that

    • 1. God created that cultural practice and/or that
    • 2. God wanted Americans in the year 2016 to practice these things as well.

    The Quivering group’s position on marriage, celibacy, and singleness is unbiblical, not to mention disturbing.

    According to this article (linked to much farther below), the Quivering group was going to call this event, (where they set up marriages for little girls to marry), “Get Them Married.”

    Why not have an event called, per 1 Corinthians 7, “It Is Better To Stay Unmarried”?

    Am I opposed to marriage? No.

    Is the God of the Bible against marriage? No.

    But the Bible does not say that being married is better or more holy for girls, women, or culture, than being single, but a lot of Christian groups, and these wacky Christian cults, insist otherwise.

    Christians need to do a better job of recognizing adult singleness and celibacy as legitimate, godly, biblical lifestyles and choices for all persons (and not only meant for a small minority of people who were supposedly “gifted” with it), instead of promoting marriage and natalism as the only legitimate avenues or as ways of fixing culture, the nation, or as pleasing God.

    Continue reading “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”

    The Marginalization of the Average Joe and Practice of Selective Compassion by Christian and Secular Americans

    The Marginalization of the Average Joe and Practice of Selective Compassion by Christian and Secular Americans

    I think conservative writer Ann Coulter’s editorial about Christians who shuffle off to assist ebola patients in Africa – which got her all sorts of vitriol by both left and right wingers, Christians and Non Christians – has been proven right.

    I first wrote about that in another post or two:

    (Link): Ann Coulter’s Article Hits Home — Literally, by S. Harris – And: further thoughts on U.S. Christian Priorities and Reverse Racism

    (Link): Strawman Argument: “You’re Creating a False Dichotomy” – No, I’m Not (Re: Coulter editorial and U.S. Christians aiding foreigners)

    After American, caucasian movie actor Robin Williams died from suicide a few days ago, on the one hand, there was, yes, a lot of sympathy and sadness expressed for him and his family online in the days that followed, as it should be.

    But there were also some very insulting, unsympathetic views published, and at that, based on William’s skin color or his mental health problems, not only by guys like Bill McNorris and Christian Matt Walsh, but by atheist writer P Z Myers.

    As far as I can tell, the Bible does not adhere to the concept of “privilege” as believed by liberals. The American progressives harping on “privilege” causes them to refuse to show care and concern for the groups they believe to be in power.

    Jesus Christ taught that people’s sins comes from their hearts (from within), not from their environment, and he did not endorse the view that because you or your group has been systematically mistreated or oppressed at the hands of another group, that this excuses your sin, or makes it acceptable for you to hate your oppressor, or for you to refuse to show compassion to that group.

    In Jesus’ day, ancient Israel was ruled first and foremost by the ancient Romans, and on a lesser level, by the religious ruling class (the priests and Pharisees).

    A lot of American liberals will say it’s impossible for an American woman to be considered sexist, or for female dislike of men to be considered sexist, because men in American society hold all the power. They will say that because whites held all the power in the USA, that one cannot consider a black person’s prejudices against whites a form of racism.

    Then we also get into the identity politics and hate crime laws, where liberals believe that someone should receive a harsher, or specific charge of hate, for, say, mugging someone in a certain group that they consider unprivileged.

    For example, a crime that is motivated by hatred of skin color, where a white guy punches a black guy in the face, is supposed to be worse than, say, a white guy punching another white guy. A guy murdering someone who happens to be homosexual is supposed to be a hate crime, but the same act is not considered a hate crime if a homosexual or heterosexual murders a heterosexual guy.

    I have never understood these positions, because, for one reason of a few, it doesn’t square with the Bible.

    Jesus never once taught the Jews of his day that it’s okay for them to hate the Romans, nor did he excuse their dislike of the Romans, on the premise that the Romans held all the “privilege” or “power.”

    Continue reading “The Marginalization of the Average Joe and Practice of Selective Compassion by Christian and Secular Americans”

    Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

    Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

    Don’t Let Someone Who Gave Up On Their Dreams Talk You Out Of Yours

    In a couple of posts in the past (such as (Link): this one), I discussed the disheartening trend I see in Christian books, articles, interviews, or blogs by (1.) other never-married adult Christians who are over age of 35 or 40 (or, (2.) on occasion by married Christians who condescendingly lecture adult singles on these issues).

    These (I am speaking of group 1 above) are adults who had hoped to marry, but they remain single into their late 30s or beyond.

    (There is also another group, Christians who are over 40 years of age, who are thrilled and totally at peace at having never married and never really cared either way if they ever married or not. They are guilty of what I write about in this post, too.

    Hell, I sometimes see single Christians below the age of 35 who are guilty of this, but their views stem more from being naive about life.)

    The never-married Christians, who are past the age of 35 or 40, who have given up on ever getting married themselves then turn around in their interviews, articles, and books and shame other post-age-35 singles from pursuing marriage.

    I kid you not. They will guilt trip you if you still hope to marry some day, and you are past 35 years old.

    They have given up hope of ever getting married themselves, so they go about trying to convince other singles to give up, too. They will try to shame you out of pursuing your dream. They will tell you that at 40, you are too old to be on dating sites and still expecting marriage.

    They believe you should only think of “eternity,” or, they will argue, you should be consumed in this life only with thoughts about Jesus or with how to serve Jesus in the here and now.

    They will shame you by telling you that it’s selfish, immature, un-christian, or self-centered (or a combination of all those things) to go after an earthly pursuit such as marriage, even though Jesus did not preach a “pie in the sky” theology, but said he came so that you may have life more abundantly – that means NOW, not after you’re dead.

    Many Christians believe in a theology of CODEPENDENCY and ASCETICISM, both of which are condemned in the Bible (see for example Colossians 2:16-22). It is okay to seek after your own personal happiness in the here and now. People who tell you otherwise are peddling false doctrine.

    Don't Give Up On Your Dreams
    Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

    If you are over 35, have never been married, and would still like to be, don’t let anyone else dissuade you from pursuing marriage, especially the ones who once held the dream but have given up.
    ———————-
    Related posts:

    (Link): It’s Not Too Late, And You’re Not Too Old

    (Link): Radical Christianity – New Trend That Guilt Trips American Christians For Living Average Lives

    (Link): Christian Singles Never Marrieds – it’s okay to get your needs met

    (Link): Christian Double Standard – Pray Earnestly For Anything & Everything – Except Marriage?

    (Link): Singleness is Not A Gift

    (Link): Desire for Marriage is Idolatry?

    (Link): Gift of Singleness Gift of Celibacy Unbiblical – Those Terms and Teachings Contribute to Fornication / Editorial About Sex Surrogates

    This applies to marriage, too:
    (Link): Hypocrisy in Christian Culture – Those who idolize parenting chide infertiles for trying to have kids
    ———————————-

    Just How Family-Centered Is the Bible? by J. Starke – An Essay that Hits and Misses

    Just How Family-Centered Is the Bible? by J. Starke

    I offer this link with a caveat or four.

    Before I get to the link itself, here are a few of my problems with it (with additional critique below the link and excerpts from it).

    This essay comes from a site sponsored by a bunch of people, “The Gospel Coalition,” a phrase which sounds so darn “biblical,” but I sharply disagree with them (not all their views are ‘biblical’).

    The Gospel Coalition is comprised, for example, of Neo Calvinists (or they support Neo Cal preachers and doctrine; I am not sure if every last writer at their site is a Neo Cal).

    Further, they are gender complementarian (also known as “biblical womanhood and biblical manhood.” As taught by these people, their views of gender roles are not biblical.

    If you’d like to see a contrary conservative, biblical Christian view about gender and gender roles, please read the material at (Link): Christians For Biblical Equality.)

    There are some aspects of this writing that seem to be an even-handed essay telling Christians to be careful about not making too much out of “family” and “marriage” to the point either or both become idols, but there are still one or two aspects of this that I still disagree with and will comment on that below the long excerpt.

    (Link): Just How Family-Centered Is the Bible? by J. Starke

    Starke begins his editorial discussing how marriage today is in trouble, divorce is on the rise, and so on.

    Excerpts:

      by J Starke

      …. But with every response [by Christians to issues in secular culture such as rising divorce rates], there’s always the danger of over-correction.

      It’s not that I think some evangelicals have become too conservative or too traditional. I worry that they’ve simply adopted traditional cultural and societal norms, instead of biblical norms.

      Zechariah

      … The two birth announcements in the Gospel of Luke to Zechariah and Mary reveal how a society’s “traditional” family values may not line up with God’s.

      Zechariah, the priest married to a barren woman, and Mary both heard miraculous announcements about impending childbirth.

      Yet while Zechariah responded with skepticism and doubt, Mary responded with faith and wonder.

      So why would Zechariah, a priest, doubt an angel of the Lord? He knew the story of Abraham and Sarah, so the idea of an older, barren woman giving birth wouldn’t be ridiculous to him.

      But consider Zechariah and Elizabeth’s situation. Some of you may know the pain of not being able to have children.

      It’s the feeling of 10, 20, even 30 years deeply desiring children with hopes unfulfilled.

      Zechariah and Elizabeth also suffered shame. Luke 1:24-25 reveals Elizabeth’s heart. She said, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

      By reproach she meant the shame that comes from known barrenness. Maybe some of you have experienced this reproach from more conservative societies, where family is held in such a high regard.

      If you’re nearing your 40s with no children and maybe not even married, you start to receive questions like, “When are you going to get yourself a husband?” “When are we going to start seeing some little ones around here?” You hear the whispers. Every baby shower brings guilt and shame.

      Zechariah and Elizabeth also dealt with questions about whether they did something wrong to deserve barrenness.

      Was there some hidden sin? Worse, Zechariah was a religious leader, a priest!

      Can you imagine how this public shame undermined his position, his authority?

      So for Zechariah, pain and sorrow turned to shame and disgrace. He held on tightly to the cultural idol of family. This idol filled his heart so that there was no room for the truth of God’s promise, even if he heard it from an angel. The good news of a coming son did not inspire joy but unbelief. It’s too late. We’re too old.

      … But there’s another wrong view. A society can make the family the most important thing. It can become an idol, something that fundamentally defines us. We regard anyone who never marries or cannot have children as somehow subhuman. They must have done something wrong to upset God.

      …By contrast, the Bible actually teaches a radically subversive message about the family. God, we often discover, is the cause of barrenness in women.

      Stories of family dynamics rarely flatter. You’ll never find a Leave it to Beaver household in the Bible. Rather, we see constant distress, rivalry, and jealousy.

      Usually this dynamic doesn’t result from undervaluing children. No, we see it when children become the most important thing! Not only that, Jesus also has some deeply alarming things to say about the family, sounding almost cold and uncaring—see Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 14:26.

      And finally, it’s difficult to make family the most central thing for Christians when the two most prominent figures in the New Testament, Jesus and the apostle Paul, were both single. Actually, Christianity made singleness a legitimate way of life for the first time in any culture or religion.

      Christ and the Church

      Before you thumb your noses at traditional values on marriage and family, remember this: When God wanted to paint a picture of his great love for he church and cost of his death, he cited marriage between a husband and wife. God in Jesus Christ is the faithful and sacrificial husband for his bride, the church.

      ….While the family cannot be so important that it invades the space in our heart that only God should occupy, we see that even from Creation, God designed marriage and family to result in a maturing society. Zechariah, however, warns us not to make family the ultimate thing. He turned it into a false god, leaving no room for the truth of the real God.

      … But their [Christians’] convictions should come from the Bible, not simply the norms of traditional societies.

    I commend this author for pointing out that some Christians have turned marriage and family into idols, but I feel he gets a few things wrong and makes a few comments that are insensitive to certain types of people.

    Here are some additional problems I have with this paper, as outlined below.

    Starke starts out sounding sympathetic to barren or single adults who desire marriage and/or children. Starke writes,

      ..Zechariah and Elizabeth also dealt with questions about whether they did something wrong to deserve barrenness.

      Was there some hidden sin? Worse, Zechariah was a religious leader, a priest! Can you imagine how this public shame undermined his position, his authority?

    I don’t recall the Bible explicitly saying that this couple was shamed and blamed for being without children, but Starke assumes this was so.

    If we grant Starke that point:

    When I first read this essay, I assumed Starke “felt” for Zack and Liz (Zechariah and Elizabeth) and how terrible it must have been for this couple to have supposedly been shamed or insulted over their childlessness.

    Instead of rebuking the judgmental pro-family types for shaming “Zack and Liz” for being without children, which is what Starke should be doing, Starke instead shames and blames Zack and Liz themselves for supposedly having had made “the family” into an idol (though the biblical text does not say this).

    I have more to say about this below this next excerpt.

    Starke wrote:

      So for Zechariah, pain and sorrow turned to shame and disgrace. He held on tightly to the cultural idol of family. This idol filled his heart so that there was no room for the truth of God’s promise, even if he heard it from an angel.

    There is nothing wrong with Zechariah, or with anyone, wanting to have a spouse or a child.

    Simply wanting or desiring something that the Bible does not condemn does not mean one is idolizing it, yet Christians constantly make this leap.

    I find this attitude by Stark fairly insensitive.

    I have observed for many years now that among Christians who idolize marriage and family, it is made an idol by those who are already married, who are already parents, who tell the never-married and the infertile they are not as good, godly, mature, and worthy as marrieds and parents (hence my one stop threads on (Link): marriage and (Link): parenthood).

    It’s the already married and those who are already parents who have turned marriage and parenthood into idols, not the childless and not the singles.

    How cruel it is when the majority of Christian culture sets both things up -marriage and parenthood- as idols to be prized and then shames, rebukes, or blames an unmarried person for wanting a spouse, for seeking a spouse, or for an infertile couple to seek medical care to become pregnant.

    Christian singles are told by Christians that they are not as mature, godly, or responsible as married couples are, but if they still desire marriage or attempt to get married – by using dating sites, for example – they are told they are “idolizing” marriage.

    It’s a highly hypocritical move that Christians foist on other Christians, but they do it constantly.

    I’ve written of it before in pages such as:

    When Starke advises Christians not to turn marriage and family into idols, who exactly is he warning?

    Because it sounds to me as though Starke is, in this essay, further shaming and blaming singles or infertiles who hanker after spouse and children, when he should be solely directing his criticisms at the overall Christian culture, which is maintained and controlled by people who are, 99% of the time, married with children.

    Most churches will not even consider permitting un-married adults into positions of leadership, teaching, or preaching. Churches are heavily biased against singles and childless individuals or couples.

    Singles should not be shamed for wanting or seeking marriage, and childless people should not be shamed for seeking to have children, especially not in a culture, Christian culture, that keeps cramming the idea down everyone’s throats that marriage and parenthood are more “godly” than singlehood or the state of childlessness, and how marriage and family is so important and fundamental for American society.

    Wanting to be married is not “idolatry.” I have discussed that in a few posts before, such as in one by Mark Driscoll (I believe it was this post, (Link): More Singles Commentary by Mark Driscoll (“Two Mistakes Singles Make”), or, it may have been in this post: (Link): Mark Driscoll on Single Christian Women Who Desire Marriage – the positives and negatives of his piece ), and this one:

    It also seems to me that the author dances around the stereotype that singles who hate being single and long for marriage are “bitter” which in turn is a component of “singles shaming.”

    I’d say most of us older singles are not “bitter” about it, but have either come to terms with it, or feel sad about it at times, or both.

    You can largely come to accept your single status but occasionally feel sad about it.

    You can also point out how wrong Christians are to idolize marriage and treat adult singles like trash, but that does not make one “bitter” – it’s offering a much needed critique of Christian culture.

    (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 SingleStarke writes,

      While the family cannot be so important that it invades the space in our heart that only God should occupy, we see that even from Creation, God designed marriage and family to result in a maturing society”

    “God designed marriage and family to result in a maturing society?” He did? Really? Please provide book, chapter, and verse for that, because I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that declares this.

    That belief that God intends “family” to be for the “maturing” of society, or to act as its backbone, is not even mentioned in the book of Genesis, which describes God creating the first married couple, Adam and Eve, and Adam and Eve having their first son.

    That God allegedly uses marriage for anything (beyond anything other than for continuation of the human species and as one illustration of Jesus’ relationship to the church) -as a building block of culture, to sanctify people, to mature people and such- are merely assumptions Christians make repeatedly, with no biblical basis.

    I’ve written about this issue before, like in this post:

    Starke says,

      Before you thumb your noses at traditional values on marriage and family, remember this: When God wanted to paint a picture of his great love for he church and cost of his death, he cited marriage between a husband and wife. God in Jesus Christ is the faithful and sacrificial husband for his bride, the church.

    I also wonder who these comments are aimed at. Who does he think may be “thumbing her nose at” marriage?

    I am over 40 years of age and still would like to be married. I am not “anti marriage.”

    I am very disturbed and angered at how highly other Christians elevate marriage, to the point marriage, and the 1950s nuclear family unit, is turned into a “golden calf” they worship.

    Continue reading “Just How Family-Centered Is the Bible? by J. Starke – An Essay that Hits and Misses”

    Heartless, Simplistic, Crap-tastic Christian Advice by Carolyn Mahaney – for singles who desire marriage / and Re Girl Talk Blog

    Heartless, Simplistic, Crap-tastic Christian Advice by Carolyn Mahaney – for singles who desire marriage

    Remember my post of a few days ago, this one:
    (Link): Hypocrisy in Christian Culture – Those who idolize parenting chide infertiles for trying to have kids

    This post is the of the same sort, only you can substitute “singles who desire marriage” for the “infertile people who desire to have children” angle.

    Most of conservative Christianity declares that a woman’s only or greatest calling in life is to be a wife and mother.

    Many women naturally want to get married even without that propaganda.

    So, what do Christians do when a Christian women has arrived at age 35 or 40 or older and still has no ring on her left finger?

    Well, by golly, recite a few Bible verses about jealousy at her and tell her to stop “envying” women who do have marriage and children.

    Because, you know, if you want marriage badly, they are saying, you are supposedly “making an idol” out of it.

    These hypocritical messages from Christians who strongly push traditional marriage to begin with are so deceitful: they hammer Christian adults to desire, want, and strive for marriage, but if marriage does not happen, they then condescendingly lecture them to “stop envying those women who do have spouses.”

    How cruel. Does Satan himself write their blog posts for them?

    Does the church make marriage into an idol? Yep, it sure does. That does not mean it is idolatry for an unmarried person to still desire to get married herself, however.

    Singles who desire marriage should not be guilted or shamed for wanting marriage, or be told they “want it too much” or are “making it into an idol.”

    Here is the stupid post that got me riled up:
    (Link): When Someone Else Gets What We Want by Nicole Whitacre and Carolyn Mahaney, Contributors, Sept 2010 – on Crosswalk

    The same post is also located here, on a different site:
    (Link): (Part 1) When Someone Else Gets What We Want by Nicole Whitacre and Carolyn Mahaney, Contributors, Sept 2006 – on Girl Talk blog

    (Part 2) Battle Plan for Fighting Envy by Carolyn Mahaney, Sept 2006 – on Girl Talk blog

    Mahaney, by the way, is a member of, or contributor to, the dreadful CBMW (gender complementarian group) and is apparently married to C J Mahaney, who stands accused by many families of his church system who say he knew of child sexual abuse committed by various church staff for years and did nothing to stop it. There are many articles online about that; just google the guy’s name if you want to read about the abuse cases and lawsuit.

    Anyway. Here are excerpts from this crap-tastic editorial, shaming single Christian women for wanting to be married (a goal in life these same idiots say women should have to start with) – and there are more observations by me below these long excerpts:

    “When Someone Else Gets What We Want” by Nicole Whitacre and Carolyn Mahaney, Contributors, Sept 2010

      Nicole: What do we do with a good, yet unfulfilled longing that won’t go away? First, we thank God that by His mercy we desire one of His good gifts.

      However, we must also regulate our desires. We must not love or long for one of God’s good gifts more than we love or long for God Himself. If we do, then we have essentially made an idol out of this good desire and we are worshipping it instead of God.

      As teacher David Powlison paraphrases the eminent John Calvin: “The evil in our desires often lies not in what we want but that we want it too much.”

      One sure indicator as to whether or not a good desire has morphed into an idol is how we respond when someone else gets the very thing that we want but don’t have. When a close friend—who was perfectly happy to be single—up and gets married, and we are, literally, left behind. Or when, as is the case for a friend of mine, we know five other girls who are pregnant and we are not.

      And what about the woman who gets married younger than us, whose job is more glamorous than ours, whose house is bigger than ours, whose marriage is better than ours, whose life is easier than ours, whose children are more well-behaved than ours, whose popularity is brighter than ours, whose intelligence is greater than ours? Need I go on?

      Envy is a sin common to women. But do we always see it for the rancid evil that it is? Several months ago, I found myself envying another woman’s happiness. My husband encouraged me to study the topic of envy, and gave me some material to read. In the course of my study, the following string of thoughts by Cornelius Plantinga hit me straight between the eyes. Buckle your seat belt, for these are hard, yet necessary words.

      …. How do we get there? Mom will share a biblical strategy for overcoming envy.

      A Battle Plan for Fighting Envy

      Carolyn: “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good….Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul (1 Peter 2:1-3, 11; emphasis mine).

      …Here is a simple (not easy mind you) yet effective strategy for going on the offensive against envy:

      1. Pray daily for the person we are tempted to envy. Persistent envy can be overcome with persistent prayer. We will find it is very difficult to go on envying someone for whom we are regularly asking God to bless and prosper.

      [remove remainder of suggestions; you can click the link above if you wish to read the rest of the list]

      Originally posted May 15, 2007

      This article was adapted from “Girl Talk” – a blog kept by Carolyn and her three daughters for women in all seasons of life.
      Carolyn Mahaney is a wife, mother, homemaker, and the author of Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother, Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood and Shopping for Time: How To Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed (written with her daughters). During her more than 30 years as a pastor’s wife, Carolyn has spoken to women in many churches and conferences, including those of Sovereign Grace Ministries, which her husband, C.J., leads. C.J. and Carolyn have three married daughters and one sixteen-year-old son, Chad.

    Er, no. You can’t create this intense longing for marriage among young Christian women, pressure them to think marriage is the only acceptable route for them and God’s only design for them, as these ‘gender complementarian’ women and other Christians do, but then give these condescending, simplistic little lectures peppered with little Bible verses in an editorial, telling them they are idolizing marriage: you guys are responsible in large measure for making marriage an idol to start with.

    You can take your condescending, insensitive- to- single adults, polly-anna, cloying editorial and cram it where the sun don’t shine.

    I love it. You have all these lonely, disappointed wounded Christian single women who had so hoped to marry out there, and rather than cheer them up, you scold them by assuming they are guilty of “envy” and of “idolizing marriage” and are now shaming them and scolding them.

    Un. Freaking. Believe. Able.

    Also, after having skimmed over several of their other blogs posts at the “Girl Talk” blog under the “singles” category, a lot of those other blog posts also made me want to vomit with their polly-anna, simplistic advice, and other reasons (which I shall not go into here and now).

    You’ll notice too, that only in the realms of marriage and perhaps child bearing, do Christians trot out the “you want it too much” line.

    I have never seen a Christian use this rhetoric to shame another Christian who wants a new job, new college degree, new car, new hair cut, new shirt… it’s often applied only to marriage and having a kid. If you say you want a husband, they will say, “You want a husband too much!”

    If, however, I say, “I sure wish God would heal me of my allergies,” you will get an “Amen, I hope so too, let me pray for your healing!,” rather than an, “Oh gosh, you are wanting a healing too much. Stop making an idol out of sickness and healing!”

    Christians do remain in a state of cognitive discord on marriage, and they keep maintaining a nice set of double standards or hypocritical ones about it.

    These married Christians (and some the annoying super spiritual Christian singles, see (Link): this link) cannot make up their frigging minds:

      #1. Either marriage is great and all of us should aspire to it,

      ~ OR ~

      #2. We should all seek to stay single because wanting marriage is idolatry and means we are guilty of envy.

    Make up your damn minds about this already, Christian community! Stop expecting Christian singles to adhere to both points #1 and #2.
    ———————————————
    Related posts this blog:

    (Link): Desire for Marriage is Idolatry?

    (Link): Christian Double Standard – Pray Earnestly For Anything & Everything – Except Marriage?

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