views and thoughts on topics, especially ones pertaining to christianity – with an emphasis on how most christians either ignore or discriminate against unmarried christians – and how christians have turned marriage and parenting into IDOLS and how there is no true support for sexual purity, virginity, or celibacy among christians – this is a blog for me to vent; I seldom permit dissenting views. I don't debate dissenters ————-
The ad gives a brief description of Brooks, including a photo with the disclaimer, “I look just like my picture, except I now have grey hair.” The “About You” section states applicants “Will be attractive being height and weight proportional.” It also goes on to say that applicants should be prepared to have children with Brooks and also be a stay-at- home mom.
He said his father has been ill and wants a grandson to carry on the family name.Brooks compared his father to Larry David’s character in the TV series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” saying he “thinks he does the right thing, and then it all blows up in his face.”He said he’d never buy an ad like this himself, but “it’s worth a shot. Can’t hurt.”
I find that a lot of Christian-written material for adult singles is too sickeningly sweet.
There is an absence in most Christian-penned material for singles that honestly, really gets into and grapples with, how hard, painful, or disappointing it can be to be single into your 30s and older, when you had really expected or had hoped to marry.
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.
Bethke: “Christians Do Not Need To Get Married To Live A Full And Flourishing Existence”
Before I get to the link itself (the editorial is located on The Christian Post site), whoever Tweeted the link to the article via Christian Post targeted “Young” Christians. I tweeted that account to tell them their quote – “[Christians] Do Not Need To Get Married To Live A Full And Flourishing Existence” applies equally to older Christians as well.
I find it irritating that frequently, when commentary about marriage comes up on Christian sites, nine times out of ten, it addresses singles who are in their 20s, or at least younger than age 35. There are adults singles who are over the age of 35, and I am sick and tired of this group being ignored.
My second point of contention is the headline itself as it appears on the Post’s page:
Jefferson Bethke to Christian Singles: Don’t Make Marriage an Idol
Normally when I link to other people’s blog posts or to news articles, I like to keep the original headline intact, or as close to the original as I can. In this case, I opted to change it as it appears in the heading on my blog. I find that headline as it appears on The Post to be problematic and troubling, because it seems to imply that a single adult wanting to get married is idolatry itself.
That is not so. Merely wanting something it not necessarily tantamount to making whatever that ‘something’ is into an idol.
Too often, Christians shame single adults for wanting to be married – stop it.Stop doing that. There is nothing wrong with a single adult wanting to be married or experiencing episodic bouts of unhappiness or frustration with being single when they’d prefer to be married.
Secondly, it’s generally not adult singles who make marriage into an idol, but churches, church culture, and 95% of married Christians.
Often times, married Christians make marriage out to be God’s intended purpose for most people, and they behave as though singleness is “second class,” a mistake, a bad thing, or a disease to be cured.
Would yours truly writing this post like to be married? Yes. However, this does not mean I take kindly to either being ignored due to my single status or treated as though I am not worthy, good, or worthwhile because I am single. (Please see this post on my blog for more on that.)
Here is the link to the Christian Post editorial (I changed the headline in my link to something less grating) what he says in this interview / editorial applies to singles of all ages, not just “young Christians”:
Young Christians should understand that being single is acceptable within the church, and they should avoid an idolatrous worship of marriage, evangelical speaker Jefferson Bethke said in a recent YouTube video.
In a brief video on his personal channel, Bethke addressed the idea of singleness, suggesting that often times, the modern church does a poor job of making single Christians feel welcome and accepted.
His message, he explains, is directed specifically at church leadership, as he believes churches need to sincerely ask themselves “are we making a space for single people?”
“So many times, we do such a bad job of creating a space for singles,” Bethke explains, adding that young Christians “do not need to get married to live a full and flourishing existence.”
Bethke notes that while church leadership don’t explicitly say it, singles can feel like “you’re a JV Christian until you get married.”
Critique of: Why Single Men May Not Be Having the Most Fun by W. B. Wilcox (who tends to be a marriage idolater and anti-singles bigot)
I would encourage you to take anything this Wilcox guy says with a huge grain of salt, especially if it pertains to singleness.
Wilcox is a huge marriage idolater and is anti-singleness. He has the tendency to write anti-singles editorials in a push to elevate marriage. I’ve written of his anti-singless, singleness fear mongering before (Link): here.
Wilcox seems to feel that if he can scare singles about being single – such as telling us that being single will increase our odds of being raped or getting toe nail fungus or growing a third hand out of our heads – that this will motivate all us singles to run out and marry right away.
Of course, one problem with that view is that there are plenty of singles who do want to marry but are unable to find a partner (see this link as one example, see this link for additional commentary).
These anti-singles marriage idolaters (like Wilcox) just ASSUME all or most singles HATE marriage and are intentionally avoiding it, when such is not the case for all singles.
Guys like Wilcox have this terribly biased view that married life is the only way to go for anyone, that to improve a society or culture, everyone should marry (and marry in their 20s), and live out the 1950s nuclear family Ward and June Cleaver lifestyle, and he (like a lot of my fellow conservatives) is very put off that so many people are opting out of marriage, or just staying single whatever the reason.
So, these marriage idolaters do everything they can to write pages claiming that being single is not as safe, healthy, fun, or wise for individuals or culture as marriage supposedly is.
Articles like this also fail to take into account the “equally yoked” teaching which exists among Christians, a rule which prohibits Christian singles from marrying Non-Christian persons.
The problem with this is that for every single Christian man, there are 55 million single Christian women (no, that’s not an exact figure – it’s my way of saying… There are not enough single males for the single religious ladies who want to marry).
At one point in his article, Wilcox goes on and on about how lonely some single guy is who he discusses as an example of how crummy single life can be for some men.
True, being single can be or feel lonely at times – but so too can being in a marriage.
I was in a long term, serious relationship, and there were times that although I was sitting in the same room as my fiance, I still felt all alone, because the ass hat (my fiance) was not meeting my emotional needs; he did not care to, he was terribly self absorbed. I blogged more about that (Link): here, in this older post if you’d like to read that.
Having a romantic partner is no guarantee you won’t experience loneliness.
Articles like this one I am linking to you here in this post just perpetuate the notion that there is something “wrong” with being single, or that being single is not “as good” as being married.
I’m not sure if Wilcox is a Christian or not, but I do know that there is nothing in the Bible that says that being married is better than being single, or that everyone being married “cures” society of its problems.
I would not be surprised if singles advocate Bella DePaulo doesn’t, in the future, refute this page by Wilcox in (Link): her column over at Psychology Today – or, you know, it looks like (Link, off site): she’s already refuted the Wilcox page, in a fashion.
Edit (Feb 15, 2016). Ms. DePaulo dropped by and left a comment below. I wanted to edit this post to add a link she left in her comment, and one other one:
This Wilcox piece is singles shaming at its finest – painting singleness as though it’s some mental or physical health problem that needs the cure of marriage. Or, you could say it is a form of ‘singles concern trolling,’ I guess.
Views such as Wilcox’s also suggest that a person cannot or does not become a “whole” person or a mature person unless or until he or she marries – something which the Bible does not endorse at all. A person does not have to marry or become a parent in order to reach maturity or wholeness.
Also note how often Wilcox seems to be stressing people marry in their 20s in his essay – marriage idolaters such as this show no consideration for anyone over 30 or 40 or older who would like to marry but who find themselves single. Marriage-pushers such as Wilcox come across as being very ageist.
Bradford Wilcox is the (Link): director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow of the (Link): Institute for Family Studies. He is the coauthor of “Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos.”
…Oh, the life of the young single man. Pop culture’s depiction of young men’s single years as impossibly fun, footloose and fancy-free has a certain purchase in our culture. It’s one reason why plenty of young men look at marriage as a “ball and chain,” but that mind-set can have a number of downsides.
I’m a [Single / Unmarried] Woman, and my Church Didn’t Know What To Do With That – by A D Abdallah
This author hits on a lot of points I have on my own blog in the past few years.
One point she hammers on which I have blogged on a couple of times myself, is that a lot of churches, for some stupid reason, equate having sex and/or being married with becoming an adult.
You can be an adult at age 40, but Christians will still treat you as though you are a child because you have never married, and they associate being married with being an adult. This needs to stop. You don’t need to marry, have sex, or have children to be a full-fledged adult.
The author also discusses another common experience among a lot of Christian women: the huge pressure other people place on you to marry and to marry right away, and that you should change aspects of yourself (such as “dumb yourself down”) to attract “husband material.”
Notice how Christians just assume you want to marry or that all people will marry. The reality is that not everyone wants to marry, and some people, even if they do want to marry, never manage to because they never find a suitable partner.
I am putting this blog post under the rubric of “ageist” or “ageism” because I have noticed that churches, while fine with singles who are under the age of 25, tend to ignore or insult singles who are over the age of 25 or 30.
Some excerpts (with a comment or two below this excerpt by me):
Our identity isn’t stagnant, figured out when young, and never changing or developing. No, it is formed throughout our lives, especially during transitions. While some aspects endure, others mature, some are added, and still others are cast off.
When I was about sixteen, a pastor told me to be less assertive and strong because otherwise I’d never find a husband. Mom says I came home saying I couldn’t deny who I really was in order to please others.
But my husbandless twenties left me wondering about who I was. Not about whether I was assertive or strong, but about my identity as a woman. I had only understood womanhood in the roles of wife and mother, roles I did not have.
After college graduation, I moved to South America to teach school. The church kept me in the jovenes group—the one for teenagers and other unmarried folks. Two years later, in my rural Pennsylvania church, people treated me like I was still a college kid. I knew I was in the fourth year of my teaching career, but was I a woman or still just a girl?
Marketers – and Churches – Create Mania Over Millennials
This is about corporations, but I feel this applies equally to churches.
Most churches today fall all over themselves to attract or keep kids, teens, and above all, The Millennials. I’ve written about this before, such as (and see the links at the bottom of this post under “Related Posts”):
The extremely annoying obsession businesses have marketing to millennials has not gone unnoticed. The following is about secular businesses, but just as much fixation with millennials goes on among churches, and it needs to stop.
Churches are also losing members from Gen-X and older.
The Tic Tac Mixer is another play in the millennial mania overtaking all manner of businesses that seems to be getting more obsessive by the day. But some question the necessity of such focused attention on the tech generation.
…It’s another play in the millennial mania overtaking all manner of businesses that seems to be getting more obsessive by the day. Not since the baby boomers came of age has a generation been the target of such fixation.
But this has a 21st-century style of urgency — with 24/7 micropandering, psychographic analysis, a high-priced shadow industry of consultants and study after study. (A few from recent days: how luxury brands can connect with millennials; what millennials think about restaurant-loyalty programs; and which emotions most influence the purchasing decisions of millennials. Answer: anxiety and empowerment.)
All cater to a generation, generally viewed as people born from about 1980 to 2000.
Goldman Sachs has gone as far as to research what (older) millennials are naming their babies. GameStop, a leading purveyor of video games, promotes its “insider knowledge” of the generation. Even coffee — an industry that would seem to have the generation in the bag — is frothing.
…. Misguided attention
Some analysts and consumers have begun to ask, “What about the rest of us?”
Why so many empty church pews? Here’s what money, sex, divorce and TV are doing to American religion
Because I sometimes blog about why people quit church, or the phenomenon of declining church membership, I am including this news story.
However, I don’t care that families are not attending or that young people are not attending, because there is already FAR, FAR too much attention paid by church culture to youth and married couples and the nuclear family. There is not enough attention paid to older single (as in never married) adults or widows / widowers.
America’s churches are in trouble, and they are in trouble in communities that arguably need them the most.
One of the tragic tales told by Harvard scholar Robert Putnam in his important new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” is that America’s churches have grown weakest in some of the communities that need them most: poor and working-class communities across the country.
The way he puts it, our nation’s churches, synagogues and mosques give children a sense of meaning, belonging and purpose — in a word, hope — that allows them to steer clear of trouble, from drugs to delinquency, and toward a bright and better future, warmer family relationships and significantly higher odds of attending college.
The tragedy is that even though religious involvement “makes a bigger difference in the lives of poor kids than rich kids,” Putnam writes, involvement is dropping off fastest among children from the least privileged background, as the figure below indicates.
Don’t want to be at the birth of your child because it will put you off sex? Man up! Women deal with it, so you should too – from DM – Why Christians Need to Teach that Sexual Ethics Are For Everyone Not Just Teens or Singles – and Male Christian Entitlement
Earlier this week Daily Mail writer Rachel Rounds said the reason her sex life was still in tact was because her partner hadn’t seen her give birth
Tracey Cox is not impressed and says sex is not important at this point
Alongside grief and poor health, post pregnancy should be a no sex zone
British mum Rachel Rounds caused quite a stir by announcing the reason her husband still fancied her is because he didn’t attend the birth of their child.
As someone who specialises in advising people on sex and relationships, I am obviously going to champion the benefits of sex.
But I’m also fully aware there are times when sex – very necessarily – gets put on the backburner and takes not just second, but last place on the priority list.
If you’re grieving the loss of a parent, stressed to death at work, sick or surviving on one hour’s sleep a week with a screaming baby, who the hell even thinks about having sex, let alone makes the effort?
The Never Ending Love Affair by The Barna Group With The Millennials
Evangelicals and other conservative Christians have a nasty habit of ignoring certain groups of people – such as the elderly, widows, widowers, the divorced, and never married adults who are over the page of 30.
At the same time these groups get nary a mention – or tweet – other groups, such as The Millennials, are focused upon obsessively. (That, or married couples who have children. Married couples who have kids get lots of coverage in evangelicalism as well.)
I began following the Barna Group Twitter account about two or three months ago (or it feels that way; it may have been longer or shorter than that).
During that time, I have noticed that they tweet about the Millennials frequently, or on a consistent basis.
Every so often, the Barna Group will tweet about general topics that are not necessarily pertaining to Millennials, such as…
Real data confirms how drastically the moral,social, and spiritual lives of Americans have changed and are changing. https://t.co/5EUnqFSQZA
(Barna Group tweet: “Real data confirms how drastically the moral,social, and spiritual lives of Americans have changed and are changing. https://www.barna.org/churchless“)
Which is fine.
However, I have yet to see a Tweet, or a regular series of tweets, addressing studies or articles about Gen X, Gen Y, adult singles, the divorced, or widowers, and, in particular, why these slices of the demographic pie have stopped attending the church, or why they are feeling neglected, and how churches can win these groups back.
If you’ve read blogs and books by people in those demographics, or the work “Quitting Church” by Julia Duin, you will see that many other people, who are not millennials, are dropping out of church also.
But all the publicity and hand-wringing by Christians (including the Barna folks) concerns the Millennials.
Is this a money making thing? Do churches or Christian groups or polling groups get more money by focusing on the current crop of 20-somethings?
Because I’m at a loss to understand what the extreme concern is over whether or not a 21 year old frat boy decides to stop going to church – and little to no attention is being shown for, example, the 38 year old, never married, childless woman who has had it with church and has quit.
I find it ironic that Barna Group seems to be concerned over Millennialls quitting church, but one factor of several I have personally quit church (and possibly the entire Christian faith) has to do with evangelical Christianity’s fixation upon youth. Christians never shut up about married couples, marriage, or “the millennials” and “how to reach children.”
Meanwhile, next to no effort is made by Christians to minister to anyone over the age of 29. If you are over 30, never have married, and never have had children, churches are not welcoming.
I have tweeted to The Barna Group several times in the last few months pointing this glaring omission out – that they rarely tweet about other groups.
A couple of times, one Barna Group lady, and some Barna Group guy told me they do sometimes do research on other groups. The guy who has tweeted me back two or three times seems annoyed by me.
I’m not purposefully trying to annoy him or anyone at his group, but I am merely pointing out the on-going tendency by their group, and Christians in general, to completely ignore non-Millennials, and I find this tendency, well, highly annoying.
Today, under yet another Millennial themed tweet by the Barna Group, I replied, “Another tweet about the Millennials,” and this exchange happened:
I don’t recall ever asking or demanding that the Barna group cease tweeting or writing about the Millennials (though I do think it an enormous waste of time and concern to expend this much effort on 20 somethings).
My point is, if you are going to yak about the Millennials, research them, tweet about them, coddle them, and try to reach out to them to win them back to church, you really ought to be spending an equal amount of time on other groups.
For every tweet, survey, or article about The Millennials, how about one about widows of any age, or divorced people or adult singles?
Over half the American adult population is now single – adult singles now out-number married couples in our nation. You’d think this would merit more attention (and in the form of Tweets and surveys) from Barna, but they seem overly preoccupied with the Millennials who are already a very self-absorbed bunch; they don’t need any more attention.
If you’re in a group that insists on tweeting about the Millennials five or more times a day, how about an equal amount of tweets about other demographics?
Here are some more tweets from the Barna Group about Millennials, observe the date and time stamps on each (farther below).
In-between these tweets, Barna Group does sometime tweet about issues that pertain to everyone, not just Millennials, such as this one, which mentions “adults,” and not millennials in particular.
(I tried to copy only different tweets from their Twitter page, but there may be one or more duplicates below that I pasted accidentally. Barna Group sometimes re-tweets the same material several times over, so some of what you see may appear to be a duplicate, but is not.)
(And you see that “Continue Reading” link below (if you are viewing this on the blog’s main page?) Click that to continue the post and see more Millennials obsession by Barna Group, there are even more tweets)
Someone a few months ago sent me this article about a youth leader who likes to provoke his students to a state of screaming enthusiasm with gross-out games. (Warning: the article itself and the other links in the following paragraph are extremely gross. Home-school moms might want to look away.)
The article describes how this youth leader had a teenager with hairy armpits smear gobs of peanut butter on his underarms; then the youth pastor asked for volunteers to lick it clean and swallow the peanut butter.
The youth leader uses skits like that to “shock and astound.” (Those are his exact words.) He told that secular reporter that he does things like that all the time to get the students excited, so that they will talk about the church.
Submitted by:on August 1, 2000 Materials: Peanutbutter, Jelly, and Bread, 2 dufflebags… Messy Rating: Special Considerations Duration: 5-20 minutes Cost: $5.00
Two guys are geting ready for their dates, after working out at the gym. (Have to be really sweaty. Need two volunteers who are not afraid of anything.) The thing is, they don’t have any deoderant, hair gel, and did not have time to eat. They then pull out the PB and put it under their arms for deoderant.
Next they pull out the jelly for the hair gel. Now they are ready for their dates. But one thing remains, they are still hungry.
They then pull out the bread, taking one slice and rubbing their armpits. Taking the other slice and rubbing their head. Then putting the two pieces of bread together for their sandwhiches. But that’s not all. They switch snadwhiches and have a bite or two!!!!
This will gross out anybody, kids or adults!!! This is an awesome ice breaker for new groups!
In the course of looking up the peanut butter in the armpit story, I found this page:
Four sets of parents are suing a church in Indiana for what happened at a New Year’s Eve lock-in. A youth leader chewed up a mixture of dog food, sardines, potted meat, sauerkraut, cottage cheese, and salsa, topped off with holiday eggnog. As if this spectacle were not disgusting enough (let the reader beware), he then spit out the mixture into a glass and encouraged the members of the youth group to drink it!
Some of those who did, of course, became sick, whereupon their parents sued the church.
….Then there are games designed to appeal to adolescents’ hormones. These include kissing games like “Kiss the Wench.”
“Leg Line Up” has girls feel boys’ legs to identify who is who.
Some of them have odd homosexual subtexts, like “Pull Apart,” in which guys cling to each other, while girls try to pull them apart.
Another has girls putting make-up on guys, leading to a drag beauty show. Then there is the embarrassingly Freudian “Baby Bottle Burp,” in which girls put a diaper (a towel) on a boy, then feed him a bottle of soda, and cradle him until he burps!
The Midlife Church Crisis – how churches marginalize anyone who is not married with young children and middle-agers are leaving church
I have linked to her material before. I am over 40, never married, never had any kids and noticed by my mid 30s that churches are far too fixated on “family” and children.
This married woman, Van Loon, didn’t notice until she reached her 40s or so and became an “empty nester” (her children grew up and moved out).
I have been saying on this blog for over a year now that many churches, especially Baptist and evangelical ones, tend to exclude every one, except for children and young married couples.
If you are over 30, still not married, or are married with no kids, or are divorced or widowed, you are not even thought to exist by most churches, or your needs are not ministered to.
Everyone is expected to support the 29 year old married couple who has a baby and a toddler.
I see no place in the Bible that permits such favoritism, the negligence, by churches, of entire groups of people (such as adult singles and widowers) to coddle one other group (young nuclear families), but this happens routinely in U.S. churches.
The thing I find sad or frustrating is that while never married, childless adults such as me spot by our mid 30s, or earlier, that churches are too fixated on married with children couples and how this creates all sorts of problems for adult singles and churches, but it takes such couples into their 40s -or older- and it takes their kids growing up and moving out on their own- for these married couples to begin to notice the same thing.
If you’re a 40- or 50- something woman whose kids have grown and gone, and are now just noticing how churches place the “traditional family” on a pedestal and ignore everyone else, welcome to the club. We older, never married, childless singles have known this for years and years and years.
….I’ve had one too many conversations with empty-nester peers about what it’s like to go to church once our kids are grown and gone. Our midlife crisis of faith came from questioning not our beliefs, but our role in the body of Christ.
When the bulletin is filled with announcements for mothers of preschoolers’ gatherings, family camping weekends, and Vacation Bible School, I know I’m welcome to lend a hand by baking muffins or doing crafts. I’ve gotten the message that, now that my own children have grown, my role is to support the real focus of the church: families.
Decades ago, baby boomers and older Gen Xers pushed to create churches centered on the young, nuclear family. Sadly, this ministry model now excludes many of us. Having outgrown the local church’s core programs, we’re left to usher, teach fourth-grade Sunday school, or attend committee meetings. At times, I can’t help thinking: Been there, done that. Got the Christian T-shirt to prove it.
….Anecdotally speaking, it seemed that those over age 40 who discovered meaningful service, worship, and connections reported that their church was committed to intergenerational ministry rather than family-centered, child-focused programming. Though there is some overlap between the two ministry philosophies, the congregations that concentrate on families with children under 18 unintentionally marginalize those who don’t fit the profile.
… When we church leaders ape our culture’s obsession with all things young and cool—targeting the same desirable demographic groups as do savvy advertisers—we communicate to those who don’t fit those specs that they are less desirable.