News headline: Out of Wedlock Births Are Now The “New Normal”

Remember my previous, recent post,

Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

That post was brought to mind when I saw this headline on CBN News.com:
Out-of-Wedlock Births Society’s ‘New Normal’
(Source: cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2012/December/Out-of-Wedlock-Births-Societys-New-Normal/ | Date: December 18, 2012)

___START EXCERPT____

More children are now being born outside of marriage, according to a new study by the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values.

The report focuses on what it calls “middle-America,” the nearly 60 percent of Americans who complete high school but not college.

Among that group, 44 percent of children are now born outside of marriage. That’s up from 13 percent in the 1980s.

___END EXCERPT____

And yet, most American churches continue to act as though everyone (at least as though Non Christians) is a virgin until marriage and has two or three kids by the time they are 30 years old, and continue to act as though such married couples stay married (even though divorce rates are very high, for both Christians and Non Christians).

Oddly, though, and as I have mentioned in other posts, most churches behave as though all unmarried Christians are engaging in sex (even though some of them are not), and even though they tell unmarried Christians in sermons, magazines, television shows, and blogs, “But you really should not have sex outside of marriage! Fornication is a no-no. But remember, when you do have sex as an unmarried person (and we all know you will!), God will forgive you, so the fornicatin’ all over the place is all cool! So don’t worry about it!”

(That is a topic I discussed in yet another older post, The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity)
Continue reading “News headline: Out of Wedlock Births Are Now The “New Normal””

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”

Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex (list 2)

Remember my last post on this topic:

Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex

Because the church does a hideous job of providing encouragement, support, and examples of celibacy and virginity to Christians over 25/ 30 years old, here’s another list of secular examples you may find encouraging (though a few on this list might be Christians):

Celebrity Virgins: Stars Who Spoke Publicly About Being A Virgin

(source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/04/celebrity-virgins-stars-who-spoke-about-being-virgin_n_2239884.html)

If you want to read the whole list please visit the URL above. Here’s just one example:

Adriana Lima
Victoria Secret model Adriana Lima was often dubbed the “world’s sexiest virgin.” She had no problem strutting her stuff in bikinis and lingerie, but decided she wasn’t having sex until after she was married.

“Sex is for after marriage. [Men] have to respect that this is my choice. If there’s no respect, that means they don’t want me. When we’re traveling together for the first time, we sleep in different rooms. That’s the number one thing,” she told GQ in 2008.

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.
———————
Related posts this blog:

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

Same Old Tired Advice to Christian Singles

Related: 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
————————–
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

Article: Why Are So Many Professional Millennial Women Unable To Find Dateable Men?

Why Are So Many Professional Millennial Women Unable To Find Dateable Men?

(Link): Why Are So Many Professional Millennial Women Unable To Find Dateable Men?

I would add that much of this article rings true for Christian women now who are over the age of 35 – although I can’t agree personally with the “they’re still single because they put career before marriage” shtick this article raises; that was not true of myself, nor many other Christian women I’ve come across who wanted to get married but the right guy never showed up.

This “put career before getting a mate” spiel is actually a nasty stereotype that a lot of idiotic conservative Christians throw into the faces of Christian women who are mid-30s or older who wanted marriage but never got married.

I’ve seen this point raised time and again in Christian books or blogs about prolonged singleness whose authors blame Christian women for why they remain single. The fact is, most (Christian) women don’t put career before marriage – for some awful reason I do not grasp, God has refused to provide mates for a hell of a lot of sincere Christian people, despite the fact the Bible says whatever you pray in faith, God will grant you.

Despite that misgiving, I feel that other aspects of this article have some merit. Here’s the article:

Why Are So Many Professional Millennial Women Unable To Find Dateable Men? by Larissa Faw Contributor

    But now, a growing number of Millennial women are beginning to fret over the unanticipated consequences of prioritizing our careers before love. And I only need to look at my group of friends to see this reality. Again and again, year after year, my successful, gorgeous, and amazing friends remain kiss-less on New Year’s Eve. And on Valentine’s Day. And on the 4th of July. The only dateable men we encounter are either attached, gay, or otherwise involved in “it’s complicated” situations. We are coming to the realization that we were unwittingly playing a game of musical chairs — while everyone was pairing up, those focused on our careers are left standing alone.

    And we can’t figure out what is happening.
    Continue reading “Article: Why Are So Many Professional Millennial Women Unable To Find Dateable Men?”

Celebrities who waited until marriage to have sex

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

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

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

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

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

Lolo Jones

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

Kathie Lee Gifford

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

Lisa Kudrow

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

Kevin Jonas

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

Mark Driscoll and Other Sexist Preachers Would Probably Approve

I have a feeling sexist Seattle pastor and wanna be cool guy Mark Driscoll would give this husband’s actions a stamp of approval. Driscoll, and other complementarian gender guys pretty much believe a woman owes sex to her husband whenever and where ever and how ever he wants it.

They might toss in a few qualifiers like, “such- and- such a sex act should not be done if one partner is really against it,” or something, but from many articles I’ve read about Driscoll, comments he has made in sermons, and interviews with former members of his church, and based on comments I’ve seen about other Christian gender role traditionalists, they do pretty much believe that sex is one-sided: that sex is for a man only; a woman is obligated to give her husband sex whenever and how often he wants it, even if she’s not in the mood, or feeling sick, or is not comfortable with certain sex acts.

Florida man, refused sex, chops off most of girlfriend’s nose
(http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/denied-sex-man-cuts-girlfriend-nose-article-1.1202726)

    Novemember 15, 2012, By Charlie Wells / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    A sexually frustrated Florida man chopped off most of his girlfriend’s nose when she refused to have intercourse with him, cops said.

    Ricardo Salamanca of Plantation, Fla. has been charged with aggravated battery and is currently sitting in jail on a $75,000 bond.

    The twisted nose job took place on the night of Oct. 28, after Salamanca’s girlfriend left him at a local nightclub.

—–(end news story quotes)——

I can just see sex obsessed and sexist pastors such as Driscoll, Ed Young, and others thinking that is a great way of keeping wives in line: threaten to cut their noses off if they refuse sex, or actually cut their noses off if they don’t. I seriously think that some within the traditional gender role camp within conservative Christianity are remarkably and eerily like Muslim Taliban, who shoot girls in the head for attending school and wanting other girls to have educations. Most mainstream conservative Christians are not like that, but some on the fringe are that creepy and sexist.

Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

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

———————

I am not a liberal or a Democrat, and I am not against “traditional,” “family,” or “biblical” values nor the “nuclear family,” nor am I against “traditional marriage,” but I do think the American Christian church of today places far, far too much emphasis on these issues, to the point they make people who are not married at age 25 with three kids feel unwelcome.

I am in my early forties, and I am a Christian female, as well as a conservative Republican, and despite the fact I wanted to be married, it never happened.

Do churches care about me, or people in my stage of life? Nope. They offer no services or sermons for the older single who has no kids, childless or childfree. We are ignored, or else treated like trash by the Southern Baptist denomination and by evangelical churches.

So I agree with some of the content in this web page I have quoted below, and I can see its implications for contemporary American Christianity, not just Republicans.

What I am afraid of is that Christian leadership from various churches and denominations will see political stories such as this one about Obama winning the 2012 election and think the only corrective is to go even more into hyper-drive regarding the pushing of “family values,” or cries of “save the nuclear family.”

Why do I find this a concern? Because the conservative American church has already been obsessive about protecting the nuclear family (and marriage) for decades now, which has led to the dating drought in the church, prolonged singleness among Christians, and ostracizing older singles or married couples with no children, because they do nothing to help older singles actually get married, or make marrieds with no kids feel welcome.

Most American church groups fixate desperately on getting singles of teen-aged years and people in their twenties in the church door, so as not to “lose the younger generation,” but as personal experience and Julia Duin’s “Qutting Church” book demonstrate, this unfortunate, nauseating, and age- based discriminatory fixation has led to singles over the age of 30 leaving the church in droves because THEIR needs are not being met – older Christians are being ignored in favor of luring in the kids.

As a result with their disappointment over the Republican 2012 Presidential defeat (I’m not happy with Obama winning a second term, either), I can just see some pastors and conservative Christian groups buckling down even harder on defending heterosexual marriage, sexual purity (which is a bit of a joke; many conservative Christians groups claim they support virginity, celibacy, and sexual purity but do not), and so on, which will only hurt older Christian singles more, or at least not do anything to improve their plight.

The American church, Southern Baptists included, refuse to be dragged into the 21st century. I do not agree with liberalism, homosexuality, abortion, or any of that, and I don’t know what the solution is to the erosion of “biblical” values, but I know what it is not, and what has not worked: continued obsession with 1950s American culture – of pretending like we are all still living in 1955 America, or that we should return to that era.

I’m tired of being ignored or being under-utilized when I attend a new church because I’m not a wife or a mommy or because I do not have a penis. I am not June Cleaver, the perfect 1950s fictional housewife with husband and two kids who wears pearls while she vacuums. I want a church that deals with my existence and acknowledges it – I’m over 40, a woman, I’ve never married or had a kid, and I do NOT like children. I have NO interest in working in the church nursery or the kitchen.

How TV Killed the Republican Party’s Family Values

(thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/15/
how-tv-killed-the-republican-party-s-family-values.html)

by Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, Nov 15, 2012 4:45 AM EST
Republicans are searching for an explanation as to why voters rejected their vision of America. The answer may be on their television screens, where an ever-expanding, bluer definition of family values makes their nostalgic idea of family values feel like a foreign world.

The biggest loser of last week’s elections may have been the Republican Party’s image of the American family. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, blamed the Republican loss on a dramatic change in our country’s “moral landscape.” He’s right, but this isn’t new: the GOP vision of America, which includes patriarchal churchgoing families with sexually abstinent teenagers who have no use for birth control hasn’t been a reality since the 1950s

So what happened? As it turns out, one of the most influential forces in changing Americans’ definition of family can be found in the homes of liberals and conservatives alike: their televisions. Slowly over time, the family sitcoms that Americans have been watching for decades effectively transformed what was once the culturally reinforced American ideal family into a relic of the not-so-distant past.
Continue reading “Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville”

Send Us Your Money Thon – TBN Praise A Thon

Please do not leave general, generic “I hate TBN” rants in this thread, if you want to leave a comment. This is not the thread for that purpose. This is a thread specifically about their “Praise a Thons” and how boring and annoying they are! (If you are dying to post a “I sure do hate TBN and / or the Prosperity Gospel they are always pushing” rant, then use this thread. Thanks.)
——————————–
TBN began its tele-thon two days ago. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I think this is the third one they’ve done this year (they normally do only two per year). If this is the third one, I wonder why they’re doing a third?

I have always disliked the TBN tele thons which they call “Praise A Thons,” so I don’t usually watch them.

I’ve watched these TBN “give- us-your- money- thons” only long enough in the past a few times to see they are very boring, they usually have the same con artists doing “plant a seed!” type sermons (and they always include the preacher guy with the horrible blond hair that looks like a bad, cheap wig), other bad preaching, and loud, horrible singing.

One thing that particularly disgusts me about their Praise A Thons is that they air them even on Saturday mornings in place of the kid cartoons, and they also run Praise A Thons on Sunday mornings.

If you are a network that claims to be all down with spreading the Gospel, I would assume you would forgo the begging for money shtick so that little children can see cartoons about Jesus on Saturdays and that house-bound people, including seniors, can watch preachers on Sunday morning, but noooo, they can’t spare Saturday and Sunday mornings and have to run these dull Praise A Thon things on weekends too.

They also began at some point running the Praise A Thon for a second week, which is also annoying. The first week, this money grubbing, boring show is aired 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and then the week after, they tend to run it from about 4 PM to about 7 PM to 9 PM. As if running it 24/7 week one was not enough.

How I wish there was a sound alternative to TBN. Not only do they air too much Prosperity Gospel trash, but these Praise A Thon things are boring, and they do them 2 – 3 times a year.

TBN Christian Network – Your All-Purpose Bash TBN Thread!

I’ve noticed the few times I’ve left posts about specific complaints or observations about TBN, I’ll get visitors who leave generic “I hate TBN” type of comments, and that’s not what I’m hoping to see in the comments.

I don’t completely agree with all teachings on TBN, so I’m sympathetic, but how about not using any and every post of mine that makes a reference to TBN an excuse to just bash TBN in general?

Two posts before this one, for example, I made a post today noting that TBN keeps airing Paul Crouch Sr. telling and re-telling how he founded TBN, and how repetitive and annoying this TBN history lesson is. Instead of agreeing with that specific point, one visitor used that post to bash TBN in general terms.

I propose if you are a TBN-hater and want to rant and rave about how they push the “Wealth and Health Gospel” and how Jan Crouch’s pink hair is funny looking, and so on and so forth, that you use this particular blog post for that, instead of using each and every post I make mentioning TBN to gripe in general terms about TBN.

Believe me, I’m sympathetic to much of your disdain for TBN, but that doesn’t mean I want every single post I make about them on my blog to turn into an all- purpose ‘I sure do hate TBN, those Word of Faith heretics!’ type rant fest. If I make a post with a SPECIFIC gripe about TBN, please address that specific point, instead of telling me “they’re frauds, greedy, and Word of Faithers,” since I already know all that and agree with most of it.

Cartoons and Kid Programming on TBN

It’s good the people at Christian network TBN occasionally mix up their Saturday morning kiddie programming, but last time I watched, they removed a few of the shows I liked, such as one of the cartoons about animated bugs – either “Hermie” or “Carlos the Caterpillar,” they removed “God Rocks!”, and they removed a few other of my favorites.

Yes, I’m an adult over the age of 40 who admits to watching Saturday morning Christian kiddie shows. Ironically, I find TBN’s kids shows better, more biblically correct and encouraging, than most of the material aimed at adults on TBN. Their kid shows seems largely free of the prosperity gospel nonsense that permeates their adult programming, for one thing. I am not, however, a fan TBN’s shows such as “iShine KNECT” (aimed at tweens), and I wish they’d remove that show.

When I began watching TBN kid programming several years ago, they had a bad, bad tendency to keep airing the same set of shows over and over to the point I saw each episode a million times each. I’m talking specifically about “Bible Man,” and “McGee and Me.” Those two shows dragged on and on for about six or seven years until they pulled them and replaced them with other shows. To make matters worse, “McGee and Me” was filmed in the 1980s and clearly looked it – and the music, the pop rock soundtrack, sounded very 1980s too.

This past Saturday or so, TBN began airing old black and white episodes of the show “Lassie,” which I think originally were filmed in the 1950s. I like dogs, and have nothing against Lassie, but I find the show a little boring and can’t figure out why a Christian network is airing it.

I guess not every show has to contain an explicit Bible lesson in it, or quotes from the Bible, but I’m not seeing what a show about a dog who saves people has to do with Christianity?

I never get tired of “Davey and Goliath.” I at first did not like “The LADs TV” show, but it grew on me after a few months but was recently pulled from the TBN Saturday morning line up. About the only new addition they made that I enjoy is some kind of art show, where an artist shows kids how to make drawings and crafts.

The “Greatest Heroes and Legends of the Bible” cartoon show (or whatever it’s called – it is hosted by actor Charlton Heston) is okay, but I find the song numbers a tad annoying. The introductions, which are hosted by Heston, are way, way too long and dull.

I’m an adult and after the first couple of minutes of Heston giving the upcoming cartoon’s back-story bores me to the point I lose focus on what he’s saying. I can only imagine how a kid must feel having to sit through five to ten minutes of tedious exposition by a then- 75 year old (or whatever) white haired Heston, before getting to the cartoon show.

The “Auto B Good” show. The Vallery Girl accent of the pink car, while cute at first, grows annoying after awhile. One irritating aspect of this cartoon is that it’s clearly a rip off of Disney’s “CARS” movie (I’m assuming it came after CARS).

Christians in entertainment – cartoons, movies, rock music – have this stupid, irritating tendency to copy and mimic something that has become popular in secular culture. It makes us Christians look even more pathetic to the secular culture, as though we are trying too hard to look cool and relevant, like Mark Driscoll fixating on sex, cage fighting, and wearing skinny jeans in his sermons (pastor Ed Young is also guilty of all that): it makes him and Christianity by association look LAME, not cutting edge or cool.

Not that story again (Crouch Sr on TBN creation)

I am watching Praise the Lord on TBN. It’s the episode they filmed in Israel several months ago (in late 2011) where Joseph Prince was the main speaker. They have re-run this episode several times already in the past few months.

Anyway, at the start of this, Paul Crouch Sr. once again told the story about how TBN got off the ground. The bank demanded some kind of payment from TBN by 5 PM or they wouldn’t be approved for a loan or going on air, or whatever. So Crouch tells how some guy visited him to say “Here is a check for a lot of money. I was going to use it to buy a boat, but I felt God telling me to give it to you.”

Crouch then tells how he raced to the bank with moments to spare, and that is how TBN got on air.

This story wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact he seems to tell it fairly regularly. About 15 – 20 years ago, they even filmed a re-enactment of it, where they show him racing down the halls of TBN to race to the bank.

I know, I watch way too much TBN. I’ve tried to stop. I don’t agree with any of the Prosperity Gospel dreck they stand behind and promote, but they do occasionally air decent material.

I hope they stop airing Crouch Sr. re-telling his “run to the bank just to deliver the check in the nick of time story” any more.

People Who Marry for the Wrong Reasons

There are times when I hate being single and wish I had been married, but there are times I’m glad that I’ve remained unmarried into my forties. One reason is that I see people who marry all the time – for the wrong reasons, and they are miserable.

There is a lot of societal pressure to marry, and to marry by the age of 35 at that, which is why so many women (and maybe some men) marry someone they are not truly happy with or in love with, and they get divorced years later.

Here’s another example, a letter sent to advice columnist Carolyn Hax with this heading:
“Quest for public approval pushed her into marriage and is keeping her there”

Here is what the letter writer said:

I don’t know why I got married. Probably a swirling mix of low self-esteem, anxiety and the desire to prove my mother wrong about my boyfriend caused me to pressure him to propose. What I’m left with is a husband who doesn’t really love me and the sinking feeling that I made a terrible mistake.

I don’t know how much effort to put into making this work vs. cutting my losses. He isn’t a bad person, but we don’t make each other particularly happy and this isn’t a relationship where I feel treasured. I would get a divorce without thinking about it, but I’m embarrassed about the possible “I told you so’s.” I keep hoping the minister made a mistake and we’re not really married and I can just walk away.

On a similar note, here’s an article that says that married women are cheating just as much as married men these days:

(Link): The New Face of Infidelity: Research shows women may be cheating now almost as much as men; the toll of new temptations

Here are excerpts from “The New Face of Infidelity,” by Peggy Drexler, October 19, 2012

…Lately, however, researchers have been raising doubts about this view: They believe that the incidence of unfaithfulness among wives may be approaching that of husbands. The lasting costs of these betrayals will be familiar to the many Americans who have experienced divorce as spouses or children.

Among the most reliable studies on this issue is the General Social Survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which has been asking Americans the same questions since 1972. In the 2010 survey, 19% of men said that they had been unfaithful at some point during their marriages, down from 21% in 1991. Women who reported having an affair increased from 11% in 1991 to 14% in 2010.

A 2011 study conducted by Indiana University, the Kinsey Institute and the University of Guelph found much less of a divide: 23% for men and 19% for women. Such numbers suggest the disappearance of the infidelity gender gap, but some caution is in order.

…And if you believe the General Social Survey’s finding that 14% of women are cheating, keep in mind that 86% aren’t.

Still, even though survey accuracy is difficult to achieve and experts are by no means unanimous, it would appear that women are, indeed, catching up. In my own work as a psychologist and in my social circle, I see more women not only having affairs but actively seeking them out. Their reasons are familiar: validation of their attractiveness, emotional connection, appreciation, ego—not to mention the thrill of a shiny new relationship, unburdened by the long slog through the realities of coupledom.
Continue reading “People Who Marry for the Wrong Reasons”

The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity

The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity

I am put off and annoyed by common comments and advice I see by Christians regarding sexual sin.

First, it is assumed by most Christians, including preachers, that other Christians over the age of 25 are having sex, and having lots of it, possibly with many different partners.

This assumption annoys me. I’m in my early 40s, and my virginity is still intact. The fact that someone can remain a virgin past 25 years old seems inconceivable to most Christians. I expect that shoddy, short-sighted attitude from secular culture, but other Christians? What a let down.

Secondly, for all conservative Christianity’s supposed upholding of sexual purity and virginity, I see the opposite in practice and in living these teachings out in real life.

As I addressed in my previous post, many American Christians pay mere lip service to sexual abstinence for all unmarried people, and lay it on extra thick for teens and those up to age 25.

But past age 25, especially past the age of 30, Christians who have still refrained from sex are either ignored (we get no material or sermons encouraging us, no practical help or tips on how to stave off loneliness and so forth, or no ‘patting us on the back’ for a job well done), or we get subjected to odd looks, insults, or put downs from the Christian culture. (One reason for this is that it is assumed we failed because we did not marry and have kids.)

In light of all that, it cannot be said that American Christians are truly committed to virginity or sexual purity. They claim they are, but in practicality, where the rubber meets the road, they are not.

If you cannot support those Christians who are over 35 years old who are celibate, you are not genuinely in favor of the belief that ‘sex is only for marriage,’ because if you were, you’d put your money, time, and effort where your mouth was.

One of my biggest pet peeves revolves around how Christians, especially pastors, address sexual sin. (Click the “more” link to read the rest of this post.)
Continue reading “The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity”

Those Times When You’re Glad to be a Celibate, Single Christian – 1 Corinthians 7:28

1 Corinthians 7:28:

But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

Skimming over a list of recent secular advice columnist Carolyn Hax columns recently, I feel happy with never having been married, and that I am a life long celibate.

Sometimes, I feel upset at having arrived in my 40s without ever married, but then I see things online or on the TV that makes me feel glad I am still single and not having sex.

Here’s a selection of just a few of Hax’s recent column headlines:

  • Carolyn Hax: History of bad partners; adulterer in their midst – OCT 17
  • Carolyn Hax: When to disclose you have herpes – OCT 16
  • Carolyn Hax: Boyfriend has anger issues, but he won’t go to therapy on his own – OCT 15

“When to disclose you have herpes.” –When to disclose your herpes?! Good grief. I have never been in that situation and likely never will be.

It’s hard being a celibate Christian over the age of 40.

We’re mostly invisible to the American Christian church at large, and get no encouragement or support to remain celibate.

I’m constantly inundated with pro-sex (and pro-marriage) messages and images every time I turn on the television, go to a movie, look at a magazine – and that’s just from “Christian culture,” not counting the mountain of sex messages and imagery I get from secular culture, not just in regards to sex, but the secular culture keeps up this facade that a person cannot be validated unless one is in a romantic relationship.

Regarding my point that the current American Christian culture is just as obsessed with sex as is the secular culture, here are a few examples: everything from pastor Mark Driscoll’s frequent kinky, perverted, sex-filled sermons (he even sexualizes non-sexual content, such as the book of Esther), and pastor Ed Young’s stupid, immature, weird, tacky “Sexperiment.”

You can read more about those topics here (I am not necessarily in full agreement with all views on all topics on blogs and sites I link to):

Ed Young’s Sexperiment, from Church Marketing Sucks

The Trouble with Ed Young’s Rooftop Sexperiment

Esther, Mark Driscoll, and using rape to control women

Profane Preachers Contribute to Killing the Conscience

This discusses how Driscoll and other pastors are obsessed with sex:

The Church of Sex

Older celibates get treated like weirdos or failures in and out of the church, by Christians and by secular people.

The hypocrisy from Christians is amazing on this point. They frequently lecture teen aged Christians, and the 20-something Christians, to refrain from sex outside of marriage, but when these Christians actually succeed in doing this, and remain unmarried and virgins into their 40s and beyond (such as yours truly), we get treated like second class citizens and freaks by the church. (click “more” to read the rest of the post)
Continue reading “Those Times When You’re Glad to be a Celibate, Single Christian – 1 Corinthians 7:28”

Single Christian Women Have No Protection according to some preachers

Single Christian Women Have No Protection according to some preachers

I’m watching pastor Jeff Schreve on his weekly series, “From His Heart Ministries” giving a sermon on marriage today. Schreve seems like a sincere pastor and an all around nice guy, but he seems to believe in male headship, and as (Link): I am a biblical egalitarian, I don’t share his view on that matter.

However, another thing Schreve is talking about that I find disturbing: he said in part of this sermon that a woman is under the protection of her mom and dad until she marries, then she is “under the protection of her husband” when she marries. The Bible does not teach this concept, not in the New Testament.

((edit): This teaching also sounds eerily like Reconstructionist / Quiverfull teachings, see: (Link): Christian Patriarchy Group: God Demands You Marry and Have Babies to Defeat Paganism and Satan. Singles and the Childless Worthless (in this worldview))

Problem: I am in my early 40s, pastor Schreve, and never married. I am single, a Christian woman. So who is my “protection,” pastor Schreve?

I am not the only one, there are many, many Christian women my age and older who have never married, and a lot of them live alone, work jobs, and pay rent alone.

Who is our “protector”? If you say God, Holy Spirit, or Christ, I don’t get it – would that same answer also not be true for married women? Why would a woman’s “protector” go from Father, Spirit and Son to husband just because she marries??

(Edit.) I watched the following Sunday’s sermon, where this same pastor did a topic about the role of women. I don’t recall everything he talked about, but I do remember he once again neglected to mention women over the age of 35 who have never married or had kids.

Schreve again mentioned how there is no higher calling for a woman than to raise children (although, again, the Bible does not teach either concept, but actually holds (Link): singleness and being childfree in higher esteem and no, the Bible does not teach that God “calls” some to singleness, either, so a preacher cannot brush this off by saying, “It’s okay for YOU to be single if God called you to be” – I have addressed these unbiblical views in other posts, so I shall not get into them here – see some of the links at the bottom of this post for more).

Some married women are infertile and unable to have a baby: how do you suppose it makes THEM feel to hear that their only God-approved role in life is to crank out a kid, if they want one, and are unable to have one? And neither should women who choose NOT to reproduce, though they are capable, be made to feel ashamed of this, or judged, or condemned.

Schreve basically said that it’s “best” for a woman to stay at home and raise her kids while the husband works outside of the home. That is his opinion, and he is welcome to it, but please, point me to the Bible verses that teach this view (the Bible is silent on the matter).

I could just as easily argue that it’s best for a child for the father to be a stay- at -home dad and raise the kids, while mom goes off to work.

I’m astounded that this pastor, like so many other Christians, continue to assume that everyone over the age of 25 is married and/or a parent these days.

Census data continue to show that more and more Christians over 20 are not marrying at all, or not marrying until much later in life (current percentage of adults over 18 who are single is now 44%).

I sent his (Schreve’s) ministry an e-mail mentioning all this but all I got was a reply saying they would forward my e-mail to the pastor. (edit, Feb 2014. I never got a reply to that e-mail, nor was the topic addressed and corrected in future sermons.)

I wish pastors would wake up and realize this is 2012 and we are no longer living in 1955 America where everyone is married by 20 years of age with three kids.

By hyper-focusing on marriage and parenting, and telling never married, childless or childfree women over the age of 40 that their greatest, or only, calling in life is to be a wife and mother, you are needlessly marginalizing and insulting never- married adults, widows, the divorced, and the childless and the childfree.

If you are a preacher who holds such views about marriage, gender roles, parenting and/or you are neglecting the never-married adults (as well as other singles, such as the widows) in your audience, you are also neglecting, or violating, biblical passages such as (Link): Matthew 10:34-37 and (Link): Matthew 12:46-50 . You need to repent of your nuclear family, strict gender role, and marriage idolatry.
————————-
Related posts, this blog:

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): Parenthood Does Not Make People More Loving Mature Godly Ethical Caring or Responsible (One Stop Thread)

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?

(Link): Marriage Does Not Make People More Loving Mature Godly Ethical Caring or Responsible (One Stop Thread)

(Link): According to Pastor ( Jimmy Evans ) It Takes One Man and Woman Married To Equal A Whole – so where does that leave adult Christian singles ?

Driscoll also has incorrect, unbiblical views about adult celibacy:
(Link): Preacher Mark Driscoll Basically Says No, Single Christian Males Cannot or Should Not Serve as Preachers / in Leadership Positions – Attempts to Justify Unbiblical, Anti Singleness Christian Bias

(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

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

(Link): Preacher Whose 90% of Sermons are About How to Have a Great Marriage Warns Audience Not to Make Marriage an Idol – Kerry Shook Update and Irony Alert

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex – supposedly – Re Celibacy

(Link): A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood (article) – how Christian teachings on gender and singlehood contribute to raunch culture and fornication etc

(Link): ‘God’s Purpose for Women,’ by Matthew Hagee – Hagee Teaches that Single Unmarried Women Do Not Have a Purpose in Life God has no purpose for singles

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan

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

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link): Why Unmarried – Single Christians Should Be Concerned about the Gender Role Controversy (some preachers are teaching that unmarried adults are not 100% human, not 100% in the “image of God,” that they must marry first)

(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): Christian TV Personality and Preacher ( Jimmy Evans ) Says You Cannot Meet God’s Destiny For Your Life Without A Spouse = Anti Singleness Singlehood Singles Bias Prejudice Making Idol out of Marriage

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Christian Stereotypes About Female Sexuality : All Unmarried Women Are Supposedly Hyper Sexed Harlots – But All Married Ones are Supposedly Frigid or Totally Uninterested in Sex
———————-

“So Good” (or “That’s so good”) phrase over used by preachers

Previously on the Christian Pundit blog:

“Come on now!” phrase over used by TBN personalities

I have tried curbing my TBN-viewing but still wind up watching quite a bit of it. I’ve noticed in the past two or three years that many of the pastors and personalities have this totally annoying habit of saying, “So good” or “That’s so good!” when they are talking to another Christian (usually a preacher), and the guest says something they think is profound.

I’ve seen several different ones do this. I wish they would stop.

So to all the preachers on TBN: STOP SAYING, “SO GOOD, THAT’S SO GOOD!” everytime someone else says something you agree with. Just stop.

There’s some lady named Stephy who has a blog that keeps trends of stupid things in contemporary Christianity called “Stuff Christians Like.” She should really consider adding “That’s so good” to her list.