Our Priorities Are Off When Family Is More Important Than Church – Jesus’ focus was on the family of God, not the biological family. by J. Hellerman

Our Priorities Are Off When Family Is More Important Than Church – Jesus’ focus was on the family of God, not the biological family. by J. Hellerman

I’ve been saying the same thing on this blog the last few years: American Christians have turned the Nuclear Family, and all that goes with it – Marriage and Children and Parenthood – into idols.

American Christians have done so to such a degree that anyone who is not part of such as family, anyone who is single or childless, is marginalized.

Edit.

By the way, Facebook group SCCL posted a link to this same editorial (link to SCCL discussion thread). Unfortunately, many of the participants in the thread have chosen to take the editorial the wrong way – they think it’s rude, inappropriate, or weird to ask or expect Christians to make spiritual family (other believers) a priority to them, over their biological family, or in addition to.

The posters at SCCL clearly do not understand – you have people (such as me), with little to no biological family, and people such as myself (older singles with no kids) are side-lined, minimized, all by a church culture that hypes and deifies “the nuclear family,” children, and marriage.

I do not think a Christian should so prioritize his church that he ignores his biological family, but we have the opposite problem in many churches today – people who are widowed, never married, divorced, or childless are treated like trash, and their needs go unmet, because too many churches cater to the traditional family unit, something Jesus expressly forbid them from doing.

(Link): Our Priorities Are Off When Family Is More Important Than Church – Jesus’ focus was on the family of God, not the biological family. by J. Hellerman

Excerpts:

…  American adults, according to (Link): a recent Barna study, are “most likely to point to their family as making up a significant part their personal identity.” Country and God come next. Christians are no exception; natural family has usurped God and his family as the primary identity marker for most church-goers.

Most of us prioritize our commitment to family above our commitment to the church. This is unfortunate, because the Bible offers us a different set of relational priorities.

Continue reading “Our Priorities Are Off When Family Is More Important Than Church – Jesus’ focus was on the family of God, not the biological family. by J. Hellerman”

Eight Ways to Rethink the Conversation About Singleness by K. Kreminski

Eight Ways to Rethink the Conversation About Singleness by K. Kreminski

  • PREFACE: my blog stalker, John Morgan, is probably going to take this link I spotted today and share it on his own blog, reference it on his own blog, or visit this other blog to leave a comment there.
  • The guy apparently takes content from my blog without giving me credit, which is not only dishonest or unfair, but it’s hypocritical, because in the past he deemed me untrustworthy for not stating my real name on my blog or posts.
  • If you think I am untrustworthy for using a pen name, or for whatever reason, stop taking any links, content, and ideas from my blog to use on your own blog, or to run over to other sites I link to in order to leave comments there. You are being a huge hypocrite.
  • Please see (Link): this post for more on John Morgan or (Link): this post. Thank you.

This blog post by Kreminski about singleness (link and excerpt much farther below) hits on several points I’ve been raising on my own blog for the last 3 or 4 years:

Christians are already too marriage focused, and in their defensive posture of saving culture and marriage from what they perceive as threats (such as homosexual marriage and liberalism), they hype marriage to the exclusion of singleness.

Some conservatives and Christians go so far as to denigrate singleness in order to extol marriage, something the Bible never does. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7 it is better to stay single than marry, and that marriage does nothing but bring people problems in life.

I have also noted on my blog many times before that the demographics in our nation (and others) have shifted with more people staying single over their lifetimes, or, if they marry, they are marrying at much older ages than they used to. Most conservative expressions of Christianity, however, continue to cater to married couples.

Out of the Christians who do notice this demographic shift, they shame singles for being singles and promote something called “early marriage.” These Christians shame and scold Christians to get married, rather than just accept them in their single status.

In previous blog posts, I have also discussed what I termed “Married People Privilege.” Married people, especially ones with children, like to think that their lives are ten times more difficult than that of childless singles.

Continue reading “Eight Ways to Rethink the Conversation About Singleness by K. Kreminski”

A Valentine for the Single Christian by K L Bishop

A Valentine for the Single Christian by K L Bishop

She says a lot of things in her post I’ve been saying on my blog for years. So if you appreciate some of the points I’ve been making on my blog, you should probably dig this.

(Link): A Valentine for the Single Christian by K L Bishop

Excerpts:

  • …. It seems that being single in the church is a difficult situation these days. Many churches have made marriage and family somewhat of an idol. There have probably been millions of sermons delivered on dating, courting, marriage, waiting for marriage, etc.
  • But it is not often that our pastors preach to the adult singles in the pews, or encourage people to embrace their singleness.

Continue reading “A Valentine for the Single Christian by K L Bishop”

❤ Valentine’s Day, the Church and Single Awareness Day? by J. Storment

❤ Valentine’s Day, the Church and Single Awareness Day? by J. Storment ❤

❤

I don’t think I am actually going to make a Valentine’s Day post this year ON the day itself, or shortly before.

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, so you can consider this here post this blog’s annual Valentine’s Day (Singles Awareness Day) post.

Unless I come across a really groovy, outstanding V-Day post between now and then, this is it, then I will consider logging in and making a new post – but I will be kind of busy later this week, so I don’t know if I will have time.

The following is a blog post that covers much of the same ground my own blog has addressed:

(Link): Valentines Day, the Church and Single Awareness Day? by J. Storment (on Jesus Creed blog)

Excerpts:

  • So unfortunately this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday.
  • I say unfortunately because in most of the churches I’ve seen in life make a really big deal about marriage and families and romance and kids and happily ever after, and rightfully so. Those are good gifts from God in many people’s lives.
  • vDayImage
  • But what is so unfortunate about Feb 14th falling on a Sunday this year, is that many (most) churches have gone beyond celebrating marriage and family.
  • For the past several decades we’ve all but idolized it.
  • … Stanley Hauerwas points out that when Christianity first was introduced to the pagan world it changed the way they viewed marriage because it de-idolized it. After all, there was no more radical act in that day than to live a life without producing heirs.

Continue reading “❤ Valentine’s Day, the Church and Single Awareness Day? by J. Storment”

Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It

Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It

A few excerpts by a single adult who was pressured to marry by her church but later regretted the marriage and divorced:

(Link): Singles ‘Need’ The Freedom To Choose by All Thinx Christian

  • I would never have thought the church would be a place where people were compelled to be married, but I found out the hard way that it is.
  • …Despite my yieldedness  and commitment to the LORD and His people, I was somewhat marginalized and often treated badly (disrespected and short-changed whenever possible) by God’s people.
  • When I complained about and challenged this behavior in one of the pastors I highly regarded and who was my mentor at the time, he informed me the problem with giving me full leadership support and integrating me into the life of the church was due to unmarried state. He said to me “If you were married, it would be different.”
  • After about another year of this very painful treatment and believing that the only reason for it was because I was unmarried, one day I went before the LORD and said “If marriage is what it will take for me to be properly treated in the church, then send me somebody and I will marry him.”

Continue reading “Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It”

Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work

Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work

A recent post I made, along with a comment left under it by a regular blog visitor (hello mikewchair2165!) got me to thinking of something I’ve noticed or experienced myself when visiting other Christian forums or blogs.

The previous post I refer to was this one:

(Link): “When Your Dad Dates Your Boyfriends”

I had remarked in that blog post that using faith to get a spouse simply does not work. It did not work for me. I grew up in an evangelical, Southern Baptist family and church environ, and I listened to or watched a lot of TV sermons by evangelicals and other types of Christians on Christian TV. I also read a lot of Christian publications that sometimes had articles about dating and marriage.

So, from my youth and into my 20s, I was exposed to a lot of evangelical views, teachings, and advice about dating, gender roles, how to get a spouse, and so forth. The vast majority of material and teachings I was exposed to conveyed the idea that a single adult who desires marriage should be passive and “trust God” to send him or her a spouse.

This was usually taught as, you should just go about your daily life, attend a local church, but trust God to send Mr. Right into your life.

As I am not a man, I can’t gauge exactly what kinds of teachings evangelicals give men on these subjects and how often – I didn’t pay as much attention to the stuff being specifically directed at men on some topics (depending on what the topic is), because I’m not a dude.

However, from what little I do remember, about any time I have paid attention when Baptist or evangelical Christians were telling single males how to get a wife, they usually stressed that the man should be very active, and go out trying to find a date.

Christians usually tell the men to get off their duffs and look for a wife because “he who finds a wife finds a good thing” (which is quoting some Bible verse). But, there was also a strain of teaching given to men, which is quite similar to what we women were taught, of, “Just pray and trust God, and God will send a suitable partner across your path, no effort is required on your part, effort shows  you are not trusting God.”

So I suppose some Baptist or evangelical men are also given the message that getting married is a very passive endeavor, with no effort on their part, it’s all up to God, which is also what Christian women are taught from the time they are girls.

As I am a lady, I will explain things from the woman’s view.

If you are an unmarried man (especially one who is over 30 years of age) who was brought up in a Baptist or evangelical church or family, you can weigh in and explain your experience in the comments below, how this stuff is taught to men, to give any visitors a more informed view, if you like.

The advice I heard from Christians growing up, on how and when to marry, (and all this was usually depicted as being “biblical” or “Bible based” advice, so of course if you are a sincere Christian, you want to do what is “biblical” and “pleasing to God”) is that you have to do X, Y, and Z, to get a spouse.

Sometimes, doing “X, Y, and Z” was presented as necessary, otherwise God would punish you by refusing to send you a husband.

That is, God will not send a godly, Christian husband to a woman, unless she does “X, Y, Z” and avoids doing “A, B, and C.” The particular advice here can vary.

Sometimes Christian advice about dating, marriage, and other issues is contradictory.

For example, because so many Christians are paranoid and fearful or despise secular feminism, they will tell Christian single women,

“Do not be too independent. That will turn off men. You have to make the man feel as though you NEED him.”

On the other hand, Christians will tell single Christian women, “Don’t be TOO dependent on a man. You have to be independent, because being too dependent will turn a man off, you will be seen as too needy or clingy.”

So, the conflicting message to Christian single women is:

  • Be independent, but at the same time, do not be independent.

In the physical appearance department, single Christian women are told: be pretty, but do not be pretty. We are told these conflicting messages:

  • Men are visually oriented, so you must be thin and pretty to attract and keep a man. But, do not be pretty, lest you cause a brother in Christ to stumble and make him lust, and, remember, God loves you for your heart.

If I thought about it long enough, I could go on with other examples that are double standards, contradictions, and impossible to follow.

One teaching that is fairly consistent: Christians either out right say or imply that virginity is necessary for a Christian woman to get married. (I seldom to never hear Christians stress male virginity is necessary for a Christian man to “earn” a spouse.)

We women are told, or it is implied, God will not send a loving, nice, financially stable, Christian husband to a fornicator, so you best keep the skirt down and the legs together.

Never mind that over the years I have seen so many testimonies (on Christian shows!) of women who admit they slept around for decades, even working as call girls or strippers, even knowing it was sin, yet they later married a nice, Christian, middle class husband.

Anyway, other Christians may add other supposed qualities a Christian woman must possess before God will “permit her” to marry, or to “reward her with” a husband. Some Christians may tell a woman to “seek God first,” or “be content in God” before God will send you a spouse.

Other Christians will include all that stuff, or simply advise you to “trust in the Lord,” or “pray regularly for a spouse” or “have faith and believe, and it will come to pass in God’s timing.”

Some will tell a woman that she must pray regularly, read her Bible often, and volunteer at a charity.

Here’s the problem: you can sincerely follow all this supposed “godly” or “Bible based” advice on how to get a mate and still end up being single.

I know I followed all the advice and have never married, and I am over the age of 40 now.

When I began picking up on this around my mid or late 30s, and I started posting concerns, questions, and comments about these subjects on other Christian forums, blogs, and sites years ago, nobody had an answer.

A few people were sympathetic. They told me they were in a similar position.

However, more often than not, when I would point out,

  • “I don’t get it. I had faith. I went to church, I trusted God, I read my Bible, lived a clean life style, truly believed God would provide, and I’m still a virgin. I did all the things I was told to do by Christians to get a spouse, but I am still single. What is going on, I don’t understand?” –

instead of receiving compassion and sympathy, which is the response I should have received, or else, I should have received serious responses to my issue, I would instead get shamed, criticized, attacked by both married and single Christians. Continue reading “Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work”

Kerry Shook Marriage Mystery Sermon Series. Singles Ignored AGAIN.

Kerry Shook Marriage Mystery Sermon Series. Singles Ignored AGAIN.

Feb 15, 2015

Oh geeze. Kerry Shook is starting a new series tonight called “Marriage Mystery.”

I’d say the majority of this guy’s sermons are about marriage. Why? When over half of the American population is NOW single, why does he fixate on marriage?

I’ve tweeted Shook before – links to some of my blog posts here pointing out that he preaches on marriage far too much.

Shook offered the (Link):  Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon” line at the start of his sermon.

I am a never-married woman over the age of 40. I will probably never marry. So no, Shook, your endless sermons on marriage won’t or do not help me.

When are you going to present yearly sermon series addressing adult singleness and celibacy? Enough already with marriage, marriage, marriage.

————————————

Related Posts:

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

(Link): Pastor Kerry Shook’s Marriage-centric Sermons

(Link): Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States

(Link):  Stop Overlooking Singles in Church By Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence

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

(Link): Kerry Shook on Marriage AGAIN. About not letting your flame die down.

(Link): Shocker: Kerry Shook Show Last Night NOT About Marriage

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

(Link):  Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin

(Link):  Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

(Link):  Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless

Stop Overlooking Singles in Church By Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence

Stop Overlooking Singles in Church By Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence

(Link): Stop Overlooking Singles in Church By Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence

Excerpts:

  • This past August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 50 percent of the adult population (older than age 16) is single—a statistic up from 37 percent in 1976. Is this represented in our congregations? When you scan your congregation during boring moments in the sermon (or if you’re behind the pulpit or microphone and you look out), who do you see?
  • What is the single experience in the church today, and how can those of us who are married help the church become a more welcoming place to those among us who have never married or are divorced or widowed? Though it may seem like a difficult task, there are small, intentional ways we can include everyone in the church community fold.
  • Because I wed soon after college, I’ve spent little time in church as a single person.

  • However, I have had several lengthy conversations with friends like Karen and Kristie who shared with me experiences and ideas about singleness and the church, both as lay people and from current positions of pastoral leadership. Here’s what I learned about how married people in the church can better engage with our single sisters and brothers.

    1. It Is Not Good for a Person to Be Alone

    Perhaps you remember Genesis 2:18 from its frequent inclusion in wedding ceremonies: “It is not good for the man to be alone,” God says after he has created man and plants. God creates animals, but none of them are quite right. So God creates Eve. This text is often used to support God’s plan for human marriage, but I propose broadening it to include edifying human relationships in general. There is a huge difference between Adam and a single person: Adam was completely alone. He had no family or friends. And that was not good.

  • But one thing churches can provide for all is community. We must be careful here, though—careful of the church’s tendency to create homogenous groups, excluding singles. For instance, many women’s Bible studies may take place during the day when a single woman may be at work.
  • Or, perhaps, women’s ministry guest speakers may focus on marriage relationships. This can be alienating to single women. “You have to be more intentional to be in deep community when you are single,” Karen Hallberg, pastor at Thornapple Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says.
  • ————————

Related:

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

(Link):  Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin

(Link):  Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

(Link):  Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless

(Link): Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States

(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 the exceptions the few with the gift of Marriage

Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless

Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless

(Link): Woman killed herself after struggling to deal with being unmarried and childless by 30

My comments about this news story, before I get to the excerpts:

The way I first saw this story presented online, the woman’s suicide was due to her wanting to be married and a mother, but found herself still unmarried and childless at age 30.

She did, however, have a steady boyfriend at the time she took her life. The article also mentions that around 2011 her mother died.

I have no idea if this woman was a Christian or what her beliefs were.

I do wish that Christian church – conservatives, Reformed, evangelical, fundamentalist and Baptists – would do far more to minister to never married, childless adults in their churches and communities.

As it is, Christians in many nations have made getting married and being a parent the pinnacle of one’s life and regard marriage/parenthood as the only avenues to being a “grown up” and treat singles as though they are children – even 40 and 50 year old adults who have never married.

Women are constantly told by conservative Christians – who have an unhealthy obsession with and paranoid fear of secular feminism – that marriage and motherhood are their only choices in life, that they are the only God-ordained, God-approved roles for women (even though the Bible does not teach this).

Or, it is strongly implied by conservative Christians that marriage and motherhood are VASTLY SUPERIOR to singlehood and childlessness, and that God secretly prefers it if women marry and crank out children.

Yes, conservative Christians on occasion will pay “lip service” to respecting singleness, but they never-the-less usually strongly imply that singleness (and being childless) is “second best,” or in some way inferior, when compared to marriage and parenting, and that being single is not God’s preferred plan or intent for humanity.

For more on that flawed thinking, please see:

Never married, childless (and divorced, child free, widowed women) are either consistently ignored by most of Christian culture, or else, if they are spoken to or about, are treated like freaks, losers, and failures.

Continue reading “Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless”

Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles? by S. Hamaker

Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles?

This link below is from 2012 but is as timely as ever. This will still be pertinent and relevant 20 years from now because I predict the whole of American Christianity will still be failing singles into the future.

(Link): Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles? by Sarah Hamaker

How are they responding? Not very well, that’s how.

Most churches continue to ignore singles, except for the sliver who note we exist but who blame and shame us for being single (as I have blogged about before, with links to examples).

Though I must disagree with the person quoted in the article who said, “church is for women.” No, it’s not.

Women are more marginalized at church than males are. Oh yes, they are, more so than males, click here and read this for an explanation.

Males run all churches. Women are barred from leadership in most churches.

It is breath-taking when Baptists and other denominations bar women from leading, preaching, and teaching…

But then these same Christian males (and a handful of the females who support sexism in churches under the names of “biblical womanhood,” and “gender complementarianism”), complain, moan, and gripe in their books and blogs that “Christianity is too feminized, it is feminizing men, and Christianity is not masculine enough.”

Yeah? If that is so, whose fault it is?

Why, it’s the men who are at fault.

You males prohibit women from leading, preaching or having any meaningful input in churches, yet you have the nerve to complain that church is “too feminine”? It is to laugh.

Preacher John Piper wrote some time ago that he believes that “Christianity is masculine.”

This Piper has many nutty views about women which I shall not get into here, but anyway, if you google for it, you can find many pages about his belief that “Christianity is masculine.”

Here is one page of a million on the issue:
(Link): Piper’s ‘Masculine Christianity’ Actually Emasculates

And goodness help you if you are a never-married and childless woman in Christian circles, because you are the lowest of the low on the totem pole in churches, even below the single males.

(Link): Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles? by Sarah Hamaker

    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.”

    Continue reading “Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles? by S. Hamaker”