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

(I posted this to a previous entry but it’s so good, I wanted it to have its own page. Click “More” to read the entire post. I have looked at the HTML behind this post and cannot figure out why the blog is displaying the font at such a huge size.)

Quitting Church

The URL is-

blog.beliefnet.com/textmessages/2009/02/quitting-church-a-qa-with-juli.html

(An interview with author Julia Duin)
Q. How have megachurches reshaped our thinking about church life?

People want their needs met. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I was really attacked on a recent radio show for suggesting churches should be more willing to cater to some pretty obvious needs.

Like, I was asked what singles – an underserved group if there ever was one in church life – need, and I said, “To get married.”

Pastors in other countries, e.g. India, see matchmaking as part of their job description but here in the States, it’s every believer for him or herself. And there are record amounts of single Christians out there today, few of whom wish to be that way.
I really got attacked for suggesting peoples’ needs should be met, as the typical churchgoer is supposed to be in this to be a servant, not to get their needs met.
At least that’s what’s preached.
That is nonsense, of course; parents walk in all the time expecting to have their children given Christian teaching in Sunday school, so that “need” is considered legit. People do need friends, they need fellowship, they need to hear from God. What is so bad about churches tending to those things?
The megachurches have set themselves to identifying felt needs and providing the staff and programming to meet those needs. They’ve brought marketing into the equation. I am not a megachurch attendee, as I like to know my pastor and have my pastor know me, but I can see the attraction.
Q. You say that today’s churches are set up to minister to whole families, but not so much to singles and women. What are singles and women experiencing at church today?
Women are slotted into childcare jobs and maybe ushers or the choir – or the worship team, as it’s called today.
But women like me, who are seminary-educated, are given no place to teach. The offer is never extended. Ditto for other women who are lawyers, accountants, etc., who know things that could be of some benefit to the body of Christ. These women are underused at best. Or they are told they can only minister to other women.
When you’re used to be treated equally in the job market, it’s like entering a time warp when you go to church and are told that who you are is dependent on who or what your husband is.
Women whose husbands are elders or ministers have more freedom to exercise ministry, but all other women aren’t given much of a chance.
What’s also galling is how so many women are treated like sexual temptresses. I get tired of pastors telling me they cannot be alone with me and can’t meet me for coffee somewhere, while it’s OK if they get together with a male parishioner.

Young Mothers Describe Marriage’s Fading Allure

Young Mothers Describe Marriage’s Fading Allure

    Sixty-three percent of all births to women under 30 in Lorain County occur outside marriage, according to Child Trends, a research center in Washington. That figure has risen by more than two-thirds over the past two decades, and now surpasses the national figure of 53 percent.
    The change has transformed life in Lorain, a ragged industrial town on Lake Erie. Churches perform fewer weddings. Applications for marriage licenses are down by a third. Just a tenth of the students at the local community college are married, but its campus has a bustling day care center.
    The New York Times interviewed several dozen people in Lorain about marriage here. What follows are their stories.

Continue reading “Young Mothers Describe Marriage’s Fading Allure”

The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage

From the New York Times, excerpts from:

The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage

In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that monationwide surveyving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.

But that belief is contradicted by experience. Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.

Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.

WHEN researchers ask cohabitors these questions, partners often have different, unspoken — even unconscious — agendas. Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment, and this gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage. One thing men and women do agree on, however, is that their standards for a live-in partner are lower than they are for a spouse.

Sliding into cohabitation wouldn’t be a problem if sliding out were as easy. But it isn’t. Too often, young adults enter into what they imagine will be low-cost, low-risk living situations only to find themselves unable to get out months, even years, later.

…I’ve had other clients who also wish they hadn’t sunk years of their 20s into relationships that would have lasted only months had they not been living together. Others want to feel committed to their partners, yet they are confused about whether they have consciously chosen their mates.

Founding relationships on convenience or ambiguity can interfere with the process of claiming the people we love. A life built on top of “maybe you’ll do” simply may not feel as dedicated as a life built on top of the “we do” of commitment or marriage.

Singles, Never Married People Endure Bias, Marrieds Get Favored Treatment

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In a Married World, Singles Struggle for Attention

By TARA PARKER-POPE

Here’s a September celebration you probably didn’t know about: It’s National Single and Unmarried Americans Week.

But maybe celebration isn’t the right word. Social scientists and researchers say the plight of the American single person is cause for growing concern.

About 100 million Americans, nearly half of all adults, are unmarried, according to the Census Bureau — yet they tend to be overlooked by policies that favor married couples, from family-leave laws to lower insurance rates.

That national bias is one reason gay people fight for the right to marry, but now some researchers are concerned that the marriage equality movement is leaving single people behind.

“There is this push for marriage in the straight community and in the gay community, essentially assuming that if you don’t get married there is something wrong with you,” says Naomi Gerstel, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst who has published a number of papers comparing the married and unmarried.

“But a huge proportion of the population is unmarried, and the single population is only going to grow. At the same time, all the movement nationally is to offer benefits to those who are married, and that leaves single people dry.”

Yet as she and other experts note, single people often contribute more to the community — because once people marry, they tend to put their energy and focus into their partners and their own families at the expense of friendships, community ties and extended families.

In a report released this week by the Council on Contemporary Families, Dr. Gerstel notes that while 68 percent of married women offer practical or routine help to their parents, 84 percent of the never-married do. Just 38 percent of married men help their parents, compared with 67 percent of never-married men. Even singles who have children are more likely than married people to contribute outside their immediate family.

“It’s the unmarried, with or without kids, who are more likely to take care of other people,” Dr. Gerstel said. “It’s not having children that isolates people. It’s marriage.”

The unmarried also tend to be more connected with siblings, nieces and nephews. And while married people have high rates of volunteerism when it comes to taking part in their children’s activities, unmarried people often are more connected to the community as a whole.

About 1 in 5 unmarried people take part in volunteer work like teaching, coaching other people’s children, raising money for charities and distributing or serving food.

Unmarried people are more likely to visit with neighbors. And never-married women are more likely than married women to sign petitions and go to political gatherings, according to Dr. Gerstel.

The demographics of unmarried people are constantly changing, and more Americans are spending a greater percentage of their lives unmarried than married.

While some people never marry, other adults now counted as single are simply delaying marriage longer than people of their parents’ generation did. And many people are single because of divorce or the death of a spouse. About one-sixth of all unmarried adults are 65 and older; nearly one-eighth of unmarried people are parents.

The pressure to marry is particularly strong for women. A 2009 study by researchers at the University of Missouri and Texas Tech University carried the title “I’m a Loser, I’m Not Married, Let’s Just All Look at Me.” The researchers conducted 32 interviews with middle-class women in their 30s who felt stigmatized by the fact that they had never married.

“These were very successful women in their careers and their lives, yet almost all of them felt bad about not being married, like they were letting someone down,” said Lawrence Ganong, a chairman of human development and family studies at the University of Missouri.

“If a person is happy being single,” he said, “then we should support that as well.”

Bella DePaulo, a visiting professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has a term for discrimination against single people, which she calls one of the last accepted prejudices. It is the title of her new book, “Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters and How to Stop It.”

Continue reading “Singles, Never Married People Endure Bias, Marrieds Get Favored Treatment”

Welcome to the Blog

An introduction to the blog

I intend on covering different topics on this blog, everything from politics to pop culture and everything in between, and obviously, Christianity.

My main reason for creating the blog now has to do with the issue of Christian singles, specifically something called “the marriage mandate,” which I will be discussing in a future post or two.

I myself am a Christian, in my late 30s, and have never been married.

At one time, I had a modest web site, hosted by free hoster Geocities, about Christian singles. Geocities is now defunct, so my site no longer exists, but I saved copies of the web pages, and I’ll be posting most of them to this blog eventually.