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

Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians | Re: Marriage Not Happening for Hetero-sexual Christians Over the Age of 30

While conservative Christians keep on despairing that today’s American culture no longer resembles 1950s “Leave It To Beaver” families, the majority of them keep right on ignoring one significant group: unmarried Christians over the age of 30 who want to get married but who cannot find a Christian partner.

About the only Christians who have taken note of this plight are those who are in the group themselves, such as myself.

There are many Christians over the age of 30 who want to get married, but they cannot find a suitable partner at church, through friends, or on dating sites. And their petitions to God on this matter are not working. God remains silent and does not move.

Meanwhile, we unmarried Christians [* please see March 2016 update at the bottom of this post], who want marriage but for whom it remains out of reach, stand by and see the never-ending avalanche of blog pages, magazine articles, and booklets printed, or radio shows broadcast, by mainstream evangelical groups bemoaning the fact that 20-somethings are putting off marriage until their late 20s, or that they are dropping out of church altogether, with a smaller amount of attention paid to topics such as divorce and how to keep a marriage together.

But there is nothing from the Christian community, no attention, prayers, concern, or material, for those who cannot even get to the altar to begin with (with the exception of a small amount of Christian material which insults us and puts us down).

I was reminded of all this again when skimming over parts of a book online. The book is “Church in an Age of Crisis,” by James Emery White.

In a chapter about marriage (I don’t see any chapters on prolonged singleness among Christians – which is typical), he writes in a sidebar:

— Begin Quote from Book —
The Crumbling State of Marriage

-[1] For the first time since the US began tallying marriages, more Americans of prime marrying age have stayed single rather than tied the knot

-[2] Proportion of married adults of all ages was 52 percent in 2009, down from 72.2 percent in 1960 – the lowest percentage since the US began tracking in 1880

-[3] Cohabitation in the US has nearly doubled since 1990

— End Quote from Book —

As for point 1, (“more Americans of prime marrying age have stayed single rather than tied the knot”), how many of those singles want to stay single? How many of them have intentionally chosen to stay single into their 30s and older? Why is this distinction almost never made?

How many of those singles are like me, who always desired and expected to marry, but it just never happened? Why do these worried and pearl-clutching conservative Christians always seem to assume that those of us Christians who have remained single past the age of 30 or 40 have deliberately chosen to remain so?

(Please click “read more” to read the rest of this post.)
Continue reading “Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage”

Reviewers of Dobson’s book about parenting girls confirms it – U.S. Christians fixated on 1950s culture

Hmm. Maybe I should stop listening to Christian radio host Mefferd (her show is online here). The show title was “Mefferd speaks to Dobson,” with no indication of what the topic would be.

I clicked and listened. The show I listened to online is (Link:) here.

Most of her show topics are pretty interesting, but occasionally, she veers off into views I don’t agree with, or she interviews guests whose views make me want to puke.

As it turned out, Mefferd was interviewing Christian author Dobson about a book he wrote a few years ago called “How To Raise Girls.”

I’ve addressed in previous posts how most American churches and Christians are stuck in a 1950s time warp, where they continue to judge all behavior and culture by TV shows from the 1950s.

These types of conservative Christians look upon such television shows or the 1950s itself too, too fondly. I agree that the culture today is vulgar and coarse, and probably more so than it was in the 1950s.

However, and alarmingly, some conservative Christians consider 1950s American culture an ideal one, one to be emulated at all cost – they don’t hold Jesus Christ as the prime example to be emulated, mind you, but 1950s American culture.

Among other topics, I mentioned in the post “American Women Serving in Combat,” that one possible reason Christianity is failing today in the United States and church membership is lagging, is that American Christians spend more time wagging their index fingers at liberals and liberalism, and talking about the evils of contemporary culture (such as the existence of abortion and so on), than in actually helping people – specifically helping other American Christians.

If American Christians spent more time actually meeting the emotional and practical needs of other American Christians, instead of ignoring them in favor of pontificating on abortion, the legalization of homosexual marriage, concern about feminism, or on raising funds (for the billionth time) for rice and beans for starving orphans in Africa, maybe more Americans would find being a Christian more rewarding, practical, beneficial, and want to attend church regularly.

I listened to Mefferd interview Dobson concerning his book “How To Raise Girls,” and was completely turned off.

Gender complementarians (such as Mefferd and Dobson) over-empahsize their view that males and females differ.

Biblical gender egalitarians, such as myself, agree there are differences between males and females.

However, the older I get, I no longer buy the view that males and females are polar opposites across the board.

I think the genders have a lot in common, and both genders are expected by God to imitate Jesus Christ.

There is no “pink” Jesus for girls and no “blue” Jesus for boys.

Anyway, Dobson spent some time telling Mefferd on this radio show that Christian parents ought to raise their little girls to be “lady like.”

That term is rather sketchy and vague, and I don’t recall him clarifying what he means by it. Maybe he was more clear what he means by that term in his book.

I am going to assume for the purposes of this post that I understand what he was getting at with the phrase “lady like.”

I was definitely raised by a “June Cleaver” (1950s fictional television character) type of mom myself – all the way.

I crossed my legs when I sat down, wore panty hose under dresses, did not use cuss words, never wore pants to church services, didn’t sleep around, was never blunt or confrontational – I was a sweet, helpful little doormat who repressed all anger.

I can’t even begin to describe how being raised to be so “lady like” did so much damage to me, how many problems it created.

I am now trying to un-do the years of beliefs and behaviors I was taught was proper, godly, or lady like for a Christian female.

And it’s that very “ladylike” behavior that was so crippling for me (and other Christian women) that Dobson wants other girls to strive for.

There’s this assumption by these Dobson types – the ones who think little girls should be taught to be “lady like” – that if a female is raised to be a gentle, soft spoken, coy, compliant little thing, that this will attract men to her as she ages, and she will be able to get a husband.

I can see how that sort of thinking was true when my mother was a teen ager, but it’s not true for women like me who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s.

Being coy, passive, meek, modest, mild, self-effacing, totally selfless, nurturing, and compliant (“ladylike”) does not guarantee a girl a spouse any more, and is actually a lure for abusive men, which gender complementarians don’t seem to realize – or care about.

Being “lady like” also stunts a girl’s ability to become an independent adult.

After listening to Dobson’s interview with Mefferd about his book about girls,  I went to a book review site and looked Dobson’s book up.

I read reviews by people who read Dobson’s book, and they interestingly echo some of the views I expressed in my post the other day, over conservative Christianity in general.

You will see some of those views here, ones that I’ve brought up before about the state of contemporary Christianity, that these reviewers repeat about Dobson in particular, like how these reviewers notice that….

  • Dobson idolizes 1950s American culture;
  • Dobson, like so many other biblical gender complementarians, portrays un-biblical codependency as being desirable in a female, or mistakes codependency for being some kind of biblical standard for femininity;
  • spends more time complaining and bitching about liberalism than he does in actually dispensing useful parenting advice, etc:

From reviews of Dobson’s book “How To Raise Girls”

Review by Aaron Thompson

(who gave the book a 2 star out of 5 star review):

This review is from: Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women (Hardcover)

I’ll just say I’m not a fan of James Dobson, but I have a habit of reading books even if I don’t think I’ll like them. I got this for free, so I thought I’d give it a go.

True to what I expected, I thought the book was far too negative. The majority of the book is spent talking about how the world is terrible and getting worse by the second. He spends a lot of time recounting “the good ol’ days”, which I assume is when he was a young person. I think it’s safe to say the world was just as bad then, just in some different ways.

I also think he is far too old-fashioned. Call it what you will, but I don’t think it’s necessary for a man to walk on the street side of the sidewalk or order for his date. Those types of behaviors would drive me crazy. In general, I don’t agree with the 1950’s housewife idea he has for women. If a particular woman wants her relationship to work that way, fine. But many don’t.

And lots of men don’t want that, either.

And guess what? We are dedicated Christians. I do like a little romance to be sure, but if my husband acted the way Dobson advocates for, I would feel completely smothered.

Dobson also makes himself sound outdated by comparing piercings to self-harm, such as cutting, and saying that it means you hate yourself.

No, Dr. Dobson, I didn’t hate myself when I got my tongue, nose, lip, and whatever else pierced. I just liked the style at the time.

It had no bearing whatsoever on my relationship with God, and it did not mean I was sexually abused, drank alcohol/did drugs, or had promiscuous sex. In fact, none of those things were the case with me.

I also disliked his assessment on Disney Princesses. He’s a big fan. He says girls love them because they’re beautiful, have it all together, marry Prince Charming, have an unlimited wardrobe complete with fancy dresses, and everyone loves them.

They are the epitome of femininity and represent wanting to feel beautiful and loved as well as secure.

I don’t think those are very Christian attitudes, to be honest.

I would rather be focusing my life on whatever God calls me to, even if it’s hard. Even if it’s dirty. Even if it calls me to be lonely, ugly, poor, or unmarried.

I think the Princesses give the wrong idea that desiring security and beauty is more important than desiring God. Would I completely ban a daughter from playing with Princesses? Of course not. It’s fun to dress them up. But I do worry about her “looking up” to them.

Honestly, I don’t think Dobson includes enough scripture. When he does, the majority is from the Old Testament. That’s not bad, but I would like to hear the words of Jesus and his disciples. To me, the book (and Dobson, for that matter) is about Traditional America first, Jesus second.

There are a few things I found worthwhile in the book. Dobson had interesting information on warning signs to look for in teenagers with things like sexual abuse.

This is helpful, because my husband is a youth pastor. I also appreciated the ideas for daughters and fathers to strengthen their relationship. I know that a lot of girls don’t have fathers in their lives, or if they do, their fathers are distant, so I think this is a great thing for fathers to hear and possibly be convicted about.

All in all, I think there are far better parenting books, but in most books, you can find a few worthwhile things.

(Please click the “read more” link below to read the rest of this post)

Continue reading “Reviewers of Dobson’s book about parenting girls confirms it – U.S. Christians fixated on 1950s culture”

America’s Exodus from Marriage (copy)

America’s Exodus from Marriage

source:
commentarymagazine.com/2013/01/17/americas-exodus-from-marriage/

Some excerpts (with a few observations by me below this; click “read more” to read the entire post):

by Peter Wehner
Jan 17, 2013

…This study [“The President’s Marriage Agenda for the Forgotten Sixty Percent,” which is the centerpiece of the latest State of Our Unions report”] focused on the nearly 60 percent of Americans who have completed high school but do not have a four-year college degree.

What we’re seeing is a rapid hollowing out of marriage in Middle America–with 44 percent of the children of moderately-educated mothers born outside of marriage. “We’re at a tipping point with Middle America,” W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading scholar on marriage, told National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, “insofar as Middle Americans are on the verge of losing their connection to marriage.”

We are “witnessing a striking exodus from marriage,” according to the study.
Continue reading “America’s Exodus from Marriage (copy)”

‘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]

Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good challenges conservative Christan emphasis on “family” (copy)

As a never-married adult Christian, I am disturbed by the undue emphasis American Christian culture places on “the family,” by which they mean the 1950s standard of man married to woman with one or more children.

Maybe conservative Christian groups are correct and secular culture is hostile towards the nuclear family, but the obsession they have with defending it means these Christians frequently ignore or exclude anyone who does not fall into the nuclear family demographic (married couples with children).

(I discussed this issue in previous posts on this blog, such as: Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville)

I came across this book review which also discusses the topic (copy of a post at goddiscussion.com; source: (www)goddiscussion.com/85000/jesus-family-values-by-deirdre-good/:):

Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good offers challenge to conservative Christian views

[The book review opens by describing how some American Christian groups claim that the nuclear family is under attack, as do some European groups, such as the British “Christian Action Research and Education, or CARE for short”].

…. [I]t is quickly apparent that the family is viewed in exclusive terms as being two parents (of different sexes) and children. But the grandaddy of all advocates of the ‘Christian family’ is without doubt the the behemoth that is Focus on the Family a multimillion dollar ministry formerly headed by James Dobson whose aim is to “help families thrive.”

Anyone would think that the testimony of the Bible was unequivocal given the unanimity with which Christian marriages laud their particular vision of family as the very bedrock of civilization.

But, even excluding the First Testament with its references to polygamy and like exercised by God’s righteous the Second Testament is far from clear. To cite one primary example Jesus in Matthew 10: 35-37 makes the startling comment that his mission is not so much to establish Christian families that will form the basis of a Christian civilization but is rather to “set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (English Standard Version).

Deirdre Good in her book Jesus’ Family Values offers a succinct but powerful challenge to this conservative hijacking of ‘the family’ as being a mainstay of Christian civilization.
Continue reading “Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good challenges conservative Christan emphasis on “family” (copy)”

Do Women Need Marriage Anymore? (copy)

I’ve been seeing lots of articles like this lately.

Source:

(www.) citibank.com/womenandco/article/do-women-need-marriage-anymore.jsp

Do Women Need Marriage Anymore?

The New York Times article, “For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside of Marriage,” really got us thinking about motherhood, money, and marriage. The story addresses the changing face of family in the U.S., and how illegitimacy no longer has the same stigma for young unmarried mothers—in fact, it is the new norm.

And while 59% of all women who give birth in the U.S. are married, it is the generation of young mothers under 30 who have tipped the scales the other way—with the biggest jump among white women in their 20’s. So, why are so many young women choosing NOT to walk down the aisle? Is it possible that men are phasing themselves out of their role in society and don’t even know it?

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

In the tradition of marriage, the notion that you marry for love is relatively new. In fact, it was not until the 1920’s that dating became a popular trend. Historically, marriage was a simple economic union between families. It was our human need to ensure our survival and better our position in society. And while most of us today shudder at the thought of living in a loveless marriage, the economic need for a woman to wed has typically outweighed that of men—that is, until now.

Gender Role Reversal
According to a Pew Research Center study, between 1970 and 2007 the education and income levels of married men and women have completely flip flopped. Until the last couple of decades, more men completed college and were the sole bread winners of the household. But today, the tables have turned.

The 2009 Labor Census showed that when the recession hit in 2008, 75% of the decline in unemployment was among men of prime working age, while the growth rate of women in the workforce actually increased. Plus, there are more women today graduating from college than men, and the dual income household is commonplace—with many women making more than their husbands. All of these changing factors have greatly increased the man’s economic need to marry while decreasing the financial motive for women.

Education and Marriage

That said, according to the studies, education—therefore income level—and marriage go hand in hand. The Times article and the Pew Research Center state that college graduates still “overwhelmingly marry before having children, turning family structure into a new class divide.” According to University of Pennsylvania sociologist Frank Furstenberg, “Marriage has become a luxury good.”

Adding to the divide is the finding that educated men have been quicker than their blue-collar peers to give women equal authority and play the partner role. Therefore, the trend suggests that many young, lower income women are finding themselves having children with men who not only cannot provide financially for their family, they are not providing other partnership benefits that would make a formal union beneficial, such as taking on the non-traditional role of stay at home dad.

The New Economics of Marriage

Today’s woman is no longer faced with the inevitability of relying on a man for income. So when faced with the prospect of a shotgun wedding, it’s not surprising a new generation of young mothers are asking: what’s in it for us? And even though statistics show that children born outside of marriage are at greater risk to fall into poverty, fail in school, or suffer emotional and behavioral problems, many women will try living with their “baby daddy”, but refuse to marry him.

For lower income parents, when it comes to qualifying for government aid, sometimes it’s simply more economical to stay single. But it’s not always the motivating factor. Many of these working mothers have no interest in struggling to financially support their out-of-work boyfriends. In fact, they’d rather keep their independence than risk a failed marriage in the long run.

The question remains, what do the men think of all of this? If the traditional role of the man in the family structure is changing, what will his new role be?

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”

If your sermon or program supposedly benefits everyone… (post about Christian singlehood)

I was looking for more material about Christian singleness when I found this video:

“How Does Our Church Host a 607 Experience Without alienating Singles, Grandparents, or those without Children?”
(The URL is: http://d6family.com/607/experience/howdoiuseit#howdo )

Edit. Aug 2014. That URL no longer works, they removed the video. You can still view it here: Video Link, Vimeo

I have no idea what the “607 Experience” is, as I did not watch every single video on the page, but from the one I watched, I gather it is yet some other family-centric event for churches to host for nuclear families (nuclear family = typical 1950s American family consisting of husband, wife, one or two kids).

The male host of the video says he recognizes that some Christians may be worried that his “607 Experience” may make singles or MWKS (married couples without kids / children) feel alienated…

But, he feels this program will still be beneficial to singles and MWKS, since it covers topics like how to pray effectively, or some such.

He’s not the first Christian I’ve seen use this tactic. I’ve seen other Christians or pastors say, “Well, my sermon series on marriage may make the never-married and divorced feel alienated, but you should not feel that way you unmarried people, because you can still find information in this series for use in your life!”

Is that so? Well then, what is the point in billing such series or sermons as “for the family,” or putting “marriage” or “parenting” in the titles of these events? If the material can be applicable to all (such as offering suggestions on how to pray better or some other generic, Christian topic) why not title the event, “How to have a better prayer life”?

My second question and concern is, what does this church or Christian group do for singles specifically? In other words, is there a “608 Experience” that is geared only towards the NMNKs (never- married with no kids), where this same man from the “607” video would tell married with kid couples, “But please, don’t feel alienated you married people! Even though you are married with kids, our service for singles can still be of benefit to you!” If this church (or group) is not devoting equal time to singles, then their “607 Experience” is wrong, wrong, wrong, and yes, it will alienate the unmarried and other individuals who don’t meet the “married with kids” demographic.

Forget married couples with kids – the real danger today is for the unmarried Christian. Screw the Christian married couples; it’s singles who need the church’s help and attention. Even secular society discriminates or ignores singles.

The male host of the video said he simply suggests pastors who host a 607 to “just put the elephant in the room right out there.” Just be up front and tell your never-married and divorced or Married- with- no- kids couples that the service will be devoted to marrieds with kids, he advises.

Wouldn’t that be a little like a white Christian host saying on a video for pastors,
“Our series will only focus on how great white people are, and teach people more about white people,” and then telling the pastor,
“But see, that’s okay, because you’re being up-front with, and transparent about, your prejudice.

Therefore, I’m sure any Black, Hispanic, and Asian Christians in your church will be fine and dandy with being so blatantly excluded YET AGAIN. I mean, surely they must agree that white Christian people are under attack by secular society, so I’m sure they’ll be okay and so very understanding with the needs and problems of Asian, Black, and Hispanic Christians being shoved aside, YET AGAIN.”

I swear to goodness the American church is almost completely oblivious to how badly they are excluding people (specifically, never- married people over 35 years old, the divorced, people with no kids, and the elderly) and giving Christianity a black eye to so many people, with the continual insistence upon the self-serving fixation on “marriage and parenting, marriage and parenting, marriage and parenting” mantra.
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Related posts this blog:

(Link): The Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon” line

Pastor Kerry Shook’s Marriage-centric Sermons

Pastor Kerry Shook is pastor of a church in The Woodlands, Texas, and he has a weekly television series. He seems like a genuinely nice guy.

I have watched most of Shook’s television shows over the last few years. It seems that about 90% of his sermons pertain to marriage and how to have a better marriage.

In tonight’s episode, the topic is once again about relationships. Shook used the word “relationship” in the sermon a lot, and the sermon stops to show a segment where a middle aged man is interviewed about his relationship with his elderly father.

However, the rest of the show, the word “marriage” is specifically used several times.

Again, Shook seems like a genuinely nice guy, but many of his sermons revolve around marriage, such as sermons about how to be a better spouse, or how to understand your spouse better.

I have yet to hear Shook give a sermon to the people in his audience who are 40 years old or older and who have never married. Heck, I have not even so far heard the guy give a sermon devoted entirely to singleness for any age group, for those over or under 40 years of age.

I don’t think these pastors, and lay persons in churches, realize just how much they ostracize never-married Christians and make them feel excluded. The non-stop emphasis on marriage (and parenting) is totally alienating and off-putting to never-married people who don’t have kids.
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Related posts this blog:

(Link): The World Does Not Need More Marriage Sermons – They Don’t Stop Divorce or Get People Married

(Link): The Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon” line

(Link): Kerry Shook Devotes Yet *Another* Show / Sermon to Marriage

(Link): Kerry Shook Sermonizes on Marriage AGAIN (don’t let your flame die down sermon)

(Link): Kerry Shook ‘Shark Weakness’ – yet another marriage sermon

Never Married 38 Year Old Christian Guy Wants to Know Why Churches Treat Him Like a Freak

Click the “more” link below to read the rest of the post

I totally related to this guy’s question. A guy calling himself “John” wrote in to the Christian television show “The 700 Club” and asked the hosts a question about why, as a 38- year- old, never- married man, so many churches have rejected him (or left him feeling rejected).

I’m just a few years older than John is, though I am a woman. I have never been married, but I wanted to be. I don’t know why I’m not married.

I have to disagree with host Pat Robertson’s reply – Robertson tells the guy, John, that the rejection is all in his head and that churches do not “reject” older singles. WRONG!

The letter writer, John, may not be “rejected” per se by churches, but most churches, and many Christians, do treat single or never- married Christians over the age of 35 and 40 differently – and that in a negative fashion.

We older, never married (single) Christians are either ignored by churches, or most Christians and churches assume that everyone over 25 years old is married with kids, or, they assume if you’re 40, you have been divorced at some stage – (wrong again, I’ve never been married).

Some Christians (the married ones) let loose with the gossip and slander against the older singles…. they assume if you’re over 35 and never married, you are some how “flawed,” a weirdo, or homosexual (none of that is true, either).

Here is a partial transcript from today’s show:
Continue reading “Never Married 38 Year Old Christian Guy Wants to Know Why Churches Treat Him Like a Freak”

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

Please click the “more” link farther below to read the entire post.

I disagree with some of the positions of the “marriage mandate” crowd, including those of Debbie Maken, who wrote a book about the issue.
I intend on posting more content about the ‘marriage mandate’ perspective in the future but thought I’d start with excerpts from a good review of Maken’s book and view.
(Link): 30 and Single? It’s Your Own Fault [ by Camerin Courtney]
  • There are more unmarried people in our congregations than ever, and some say that’s just sinful.
From Ms. Courtney’s article:
  • By that October, they were engaged.
  • Following the path afforded by her ethnicity (she’s Indian), she [Debbie Maken] signed up with an Indian Christian Web agency to find a suitable suitor and, aided by her parents’ watchful care, started e-mailing a man in July 2001.
  • Now happily married and the mother of two young girls, Maken drew a map—in the form of her book, Getting Serious About Getting Married—to the Land of Marital Bliss. She hopes to prevent her daughters and countless single women across the country from having to experience any more “unnecessary protracted singleness.”
  • ….In later chapters, she addresses the well-meaning advice handed to singles in Christian circles—such as “just wait on the Lord to bring a mate to you” or “Jesus is all you need”—and deftly explains some of the erroneous thinking and theology surrounding each.
  • At her best, in passages such as these, Maken gives platitude-battered single women needed permission to admit, “I’d like to get married, and that’s okay.”
  • Unfortunately, these bits of trend-spotting and balanced synthesis are drowning in a sea of shame and blame.
  • Maken seems to think a vast majority of singles view their solo status as a special gift from God (a stance I’ve seen in only a fraction of the thousands of e-mails I’ve received as a columnist for ChristianSinglesToday.com, a CT sister publication), a notion the very subtitle of the book urges them to reconsider.

Continue reading “Article: 30 And Single? It’s Your Own Fault”