Single and Christian

The Marginalization of Singles in Church – What is the Solution to This?

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Singles seem to be getting the short end of the stick in Christian churches and are often marginalized, shamed, and literally left alone.  The Marginalization of Singles in Church – What is the Solution to This?

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Becky, found SSB through someone’s link and responded to an old article on singles: Singles in the Church: Treated with Respect and Dignity?

I want this place to be a “sounding board” where my readers can have a voice and express their concerns and so I asked Becky if I could repost her words in a new article.

Since blogging and hearing the voices of singles, I have been keeping my eyes and ears open to how churches treat them and it is troubling to see the way singles are marginalized, especially when we see that Jesus and Paul and so many key figures in Scripture were singles.  Why do we allow this to continue? What can we do to help remedy this situation? ~Julie Anne

 


 

Singles at church, small__11523664833
photo credit: Eyesplash – feels like spring via photopin cc

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I also am single, served in my church and in a women’s Bible study for years. I don’t mind doing my share of serving but I do resent the fact that others think I have ‘extra time’ to serve and that simply is not true. Since there is no one else to help me at home or help pay for bills I have no choice but to work full-time and take care of the house, car, and everything myself as best as I can.

I did so much obliging and serving that I neglected my own needs for years. The state of my own home reflects this. I became completely worn out and embittered by that.

I finally took some steps down because I was so worn and was too easily angered.

I still serve and help out in various ways just not to the extent as before.

And as for getting help to meet a christian mate, I would really like that but for some reasons churches are reluctant to do this. Anybody have any ideas why that is? We come to church to grow in faith and for spiritual insight in regards to drawing closer to God, looking forward to our heavenly future, but also to find hope for our earthly future which for many would include marriage.

And that brings up another point, have you also noticed that in many churches today there are all these women only Bible studies and men only Bible studies? I feel like they are keeping us separated so that we can’t mingle and get to know a potential christian mate.  And that really hurts.   beckyg1003

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204 thoughts on “The Marginalization of Singles in Church – What is the Solution to This?”

  1. @Singleman:

    I’ve been set up for dates three times in my life. The first two simply didn’t work out; the third, which I mentioned in a prior comment, was a disaster. In the case of the latter, the person who set up that date seemed more interested in screening to make sure I was safe than getting to know me as a person.

    In my few arranged dates/dating-service disasters, the atmosphere was of a high-pressure, one-shot, all-or-nothing job interview. You had only ONE chance, period.

    This does not make for a relaxed and pleasant time.

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  2. @Daisy:

    In that story I read about, the 20 something women were understandably creeped out and blabbed to the preacher who then kicked the 40 something men out, because the men, despite being warned, kept going back to the 20 yo class to hit on the 20 yo females. I do think that is inappropriate.

    I also believe if more men would date closer to their age, they would be more likely to get a woman, but every man, from age 15 to 95, insists on dating only 21 year old women.

    Didn’t Voddie “Beat the shyness out of Fluttershy” Beaucham say something similar before veering off into Craster’s Keep territory (“And that’s why God gives a man daughters”)?

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  3. P.S. I think it also has to do with internal self-image. How many of these 40-to-95-year-old guys think of themselves as still REALLY 21? I know my internal self-image stalled sometime in my thirties, despite the 58-year-old I see in the mirror.

    I’ve heard it said you always have a soft spot for the pop music of the time when you were in your twenties (I keep going back to Eighties music); maybe that holds for other preferences than musical?

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  4. @SteveScott:

    “…but I do resent the fact that others think I have ‘extra time’ to serve and that simply is not true.”

    I always hated this. I think the ones who always made this claim looked back on their own slothful, lazy days in the singles group and concluded that all singles lived like that.

    When I was in my twenties, I had a LOT of free time but no money to do anything.

    Now that I’m in my fifties and fairly successful, I have the money but not the time.

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  5. @Daisy:

    I mean, do they expect the 38 yo single female to stick to only another 38 yo?

    That WOULD fit in with American Dream Suburban culture of roughly WW2 to 1970. I was in grade and high school in the Sixties and early Seventies and the cultural expectations for marriage ages WERE that rigid. The girl could NOT be older than the guy and could be no more than three years younger than him. That was all. Marriage was usually when the guy got out of college (where applicable) and the girl just graduated high school.

    The actual pattern in my high school (1969-73) was a senior guy would date a freshman girl (three-four years difference), go steady through her high school years, then marry as soon as she graduated. Three years after my own HS graduation, I was probably the only single left in my graduating class.

    Somebody claimed this was a corollary of the Nifty Fifties trope of marrying the Girl Next Door. Since so many Fundagelicals seem stuck in the Nifty Fifties, maybe that’s where they’re getting it?

    BeforeWW2, it wasn’t unusual for the wife to be noticeably younger than the husband, especially the higher the social class. And not just as “trophy wife”, either. Since a woman’s status was largely determined by her husband’s status, the pressure was to “marry up” and men would take some time to establish themselves in that higher status, probably in their 30s at least before they became attractive successful marriage material. While the standards of ideal female beauty stayed around 21. (I’m a guy; I’ve noticed this in myself; while I aged, my idea/image of the ideal girlfriend didn’t.)

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  6. Brenda R wrote: “That whole 2 are better than one thing is great, if the second person is doing their share.”

    Yes. I simply meant that for me there is now more than one person to do laundry, even if with kids it is waaaay more. When I was single, ironing my shirts and slacks was usually an “oh, no!” moment on Sunday night after all my busy church and kingdom work was done, and that meant getting into the apartment laundry room before it closed. 😦

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  7. HUG said, “P.S. I think it also has to do with internal self-image. How many of these 40-to-95-year-old guys think of themselves as still REALLY 21? I know my internal self-image stalled sometime in my thirties, despite the 58-year-old I see in the mirror.”

    I kind of see what you’re saying, but so far as dating goes, I’m early 40s and have always had a preference for men around my age.

    When I see 20 year old men now, or mid / late 20s, they look so young to me, almost like children.

    I would prefer dating a guy closer to my age, because we’d share a similar history, similar background in music and culture. I do not see why so many men over 35 are so hung up on dating women more then 10-15 years their junior… and no, I don’t think it’s about baby making.

    A lot of people toss out the “Oh maybe he wants more kids, and he feels a woman under 35 would be able to have more babies” rationale, but I don’t think that is truly it for 95% of them.

    It could be men over 40 assume women under 35 are more physically attractive, or, I suspect, they are too insecure to date an older woman, because older ladies have more life experience and won’t tolerate as much nonsense as a younger lady would.

    Any way you cut it, though, I think if a guy 40 or older wants marriage or girl friend, he should date women close to his age, rather than chasing after 25 year olds.

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  8. missdaisyflower philosophied: “They have created the very problem they complain about but never seem to get a clue to this.”

    Bingo. (Same is true for man-made church membership junk). I notice this truth in many areas. It’s the law of unintended consequences. They solve one problem by creating new ones, and the problems mushroom.

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  9. “My view is if preachers are going to sermonize on marriage, and they in fact do so, and they do it constantly, they need to give equal air time to adult singleness, but they do not.”

    What exactly is salvic about marriage or singleness? Is there a different sanctification/abiding in Christ for the married and single?

    I don’t get it. I think we take proof texts from 1st Century letters and try real hard to apply them in detail to the 21st Century where women are no longer under the Roman household codes. Women had no choice about being single in the 1st century unless they were real wealthy and had choices. They were considered chattel. Marriages were arranged very young. Loving your wife had nothing to do with marriage back then. We simply do not view marriage the same way today.

    So if pastors must preach on such things why not focus on what Paul said about being single? There is a reason and I think it is more cultural than “biblical”.

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  10. Singleman, that would make it difficult if you work nights. Wow. I hadn’t really thought about that.

    But please, I want to put something to rest about men and hair. At least with my circle of women friends over the years, not even one has ever complained about lack of hair on their man. It’s a nonissue. 🙂

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  11. Singleman,
    From everything I have ever read, men are the ones who think their hair is of major importance. Women are very happy with men who have lots of hair, no hair, or anywhere inbetween. I have to agree.

    HUG,
    What drives me up the wall, are men whose first wives were close to their age, but in their second marriages these men hunt down the 20 year younger women, and get them. I know of a 68 year old man whose first wife ( divorce) was one year younger. Second wife ( death) was three years older than him. Third marriage: he’s 68 and she’s 49. I may add that what seems to have made this possible was online dating.

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  12. The idea of separating genders in bible study was supposedly to keep people from being distracted (according to my first college church). On the one hand, I see their point: it WAS distracting for me to pay complete attention when there was a cute guy across the room I was sort of interested in. On the other hand, you also have to trust that the participants of a bible study are, in fact, serious about studying the bible…and the fact that men and women are included shouldn’t get in the way of that.

    For what it’s worth, these cross-gender bible studies is how I met my fiance.

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  13. @HUG, I promise never to forget. I honestly never thought I would get married. I’m still in a bit of shock over this.

    @Brenda, I completely sympathize. We (my medical team and I) suspect MS is one of my many diagnoses. And I’m only 27. I never know on a day to day basis what I am going to be capable of doing. Today I might have the strength to make dinner and wash the dishes but tomorrow might be a microwave meal. Scratch that- tonight is a microwave meal as well. 🙂 You mentioned getting three meals out of a restaurant entree – my fiance calls those “planned-overs” instead of leftovers. If there is ever anything I can do to help, please let me know.

    @Daisy, to a degree I agree with you about dating near your own age. But my fiance and I are one of those couples with a significant age difference. That gap allowed my fiance to be much more accepting of both my abilities and my disabilities. To be perfectly honest, I have not met a guy in my own age bracket who was willing to accept the fact that I cannot bear children under any circumstances nor do I necessarily desire to adopt. I have to put my own health first ahead of potential parenthood. My fiance took several years to heal from a nasty divorce and an ex-wife who emotionally abused him. He has a teenage son who will live with us very part-time but we seem to have bonded quite well so far (he calls me his “bonus mom”). Every circumstance is different. I did not enter into this friendship thinking about marriage. We were simply two celiacs trading recipes back and forth and the relationship developed very slowly. I wish you all the best and hope that you do find someone to love. I have learned much from you and your wisdom.

    @Singleman, I am so sorry for how you have been treated. Not all of us are like that.

    To those of you who are single due to divorce or death, your pain is not forgotten. I think I can speak on behalf of everyone here at SSB and say that we will always support you.

    Thank you all for your well wishes for my upcoming marriage in 17 days. These last few days are bittersweet as I prepare to leave my home state and move 1400 miles and say goodbye to many friends and loved ones. I have been richly blessed through the fellowship on this blog.

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  14. “But please, I want to put something to rest about men and hair. At least with my circle of women friends over the years, not even one has ever complained about lack of hair on their man. It’s a nonissue. 🙂 ”

    JA, when the combover and hair transplanting gave way to the shaved-head studly look, the issue waned greatly. 🙂

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  15. Mandy. Thank you so much for your kind offer. I would love to reciprocate. It is a problem doing things for one another as the secrecy of where and who we are on this type of site is a barrier. I understand being ok one day and not the next or maybe ok half a day and not the rest. My boss is great. He can tell when things aren’t working as they should and picks up the slack in the office. X did not understand MS and didn’t want to. If the rules for diagnosis would have been as they are today 30 years ago, I would have been diagnosed years ago and he wouldn’t have married me. I have met couples in which their spouse knew about their disability before they married and chose to love and care for them anyways. What wonderful God sent people they must be. I am so glad that your fiancé must be good with your diagnosis. I have others as well. MS is the worst of them though and some caused from the MS. I love the term “planned overs”. That is very accurate.

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  16. Julie Anne, thank you.

    Brenda, I am so sorry about your ex-husband. My fiance has known about my challenges from the very beginning- I refused to hide them. If he was going to be scared away for those reasons I wanted it to happen sooner rather than later. He is very gentle and kind and always more than willing to pick up the slack when I have bad days. In fact he can read my pain better than I can – I’m so used to just ignoring the pain until it is out of control but my guy can pick up on the small signals and encourage me to rest. His teenage son is equally as wonderful with my disabilities; right now my bonus son is trying to figure out a scout service project that benefits the disabled community in his hometown. You know how familiar it can be to always be on the sidelines of life. My fiance refuses to let that happen; this past January he found a sit-ski program near our home so that I could experience the freedom of skiing with him. I don’t think I stopped smiling or giggling for the entire two hours. Neither of us are perfect but we continue to find ways to love each other on a daily basis. I am cautiously optimistic for the future.

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  17. I am finally getting back on line after being away for several days. I am amazed at all the comments here and am still reading through them. Some very good points are being made here. To start with, I realize there is is some purpose in women only and men only Bible Studies offered by a variety of Churches, both denominational and non denominational but I they do not meet everyone’s spiritual and social needs. That is what churches need to consider, I think. Also, I don’t expect a church or someone in the church to match me up with the right suitor. However, I would like them to provide and foster a right environment for us singles to meet and get to know each other. I have been in Christian singles groups and I can tell you they do seem to just fall apart so being in such a group doesn’t seem to be the answer although I haven’t completed closed the door on that possibility.

    But, a long time ago, (like 10 or 15 years ago), I was in a really good and healthy adult Bible Study group that was open to everyone, single, married, man, woman, and different ages. A pastor was leading it and he would always start out with an ice breaker question. That let each of us to share a personal story and we enjoyed hearing each other’s stories and so getting to know each other; very enjoyable fellowship. Then our pastor took that ice breaker question and would lead us into the Bible study topic for the evening. We studied about such subjects as God’s gift of salvation, coping with fear, and other spiritual topics which we all can relate to and apply in our lives. I would really like to be in another Bible Study group like that which is open to both genders and that it addresses topics which all Christians face (married or single, male or female).. By being in these women only groups, I come out knowing many neat christian women and so have many women friends but my number of christian female friends far outnumber the christian male friends I have in my life. And those male friends barely know me because we rarely have opportunities for socializing and fellowship. Therefore, I hardly know them as well and before I know it, they have found a mate for life all because I didn’t get a chance to know them. I would like to know more about what christian single men think on on many subjects, I feel very out of touch in knowing anyone.

    Singleman hit upon another issue that I also deal with. I too work evenings all the time and some weekends and holidays. This leaves very little time for socializing with others and that has also led me to be too dependent on my church for help in this. To top it off, I also am hard of hearing which causes me to be very quiet, shy, and very self-conscious. I do use hearing aids but they don’t help in all situations. I also agree with others here that internet dating really doesn’t help. I have tried it, and that too just doesn’t seem to be the answer. I am still praying about all of this and for God to guide me in where to go with it. I am trying to visit another church BUT guess what happened there? “Oh, welcome to our church, here is neat Women’s Study you can join,” Sigh…

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  18. beckyg1003, your response brought back a memory for me that when I was a child (70s-80s) my parents worked with a church that had mixed gender Bible studies, and which produced a fair number of marriages! They were always happy about those unions, some of couples in their late thirties. It was an SBC church, and thinking back to that time, there also was no ‘women’s minister’, ‘men’s minister’, etc. I’m just wondering when that trend began, and why those divisions even started. That same church now has all those distinctions, and their Bible studies and groups are often segregated by gender.

    I remember that marriages also came out of the choir, which numbered in the hundreds. The move to praise teams has eliminated that nice way of meeting people. Perhaps I should look for a church that still has a big choir!

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  19. Back to the original thread title ~ What is the Solution? ~:
    Simple.
    Quit trying to import the values an mores of a bronze age desert tribal culture & a 1st cent. Greco-Roman one into the present day. It ain’t gonna work after the novelty of setting up the apostle Paul as a new Moses and his writings as a kind of new Torah to be obeyed without question wears off.

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  20. LJ, I have very and fond memories of that mix gender Bible Study group and I think I have been looking for another one like that but they seem to not exist. I started to visit another church in hopes of finding such a group.But like I said, they also directed me to another women’s only study. I really want to get out to expand my horizons and possibilities in meeting people. I feel very, very trapped here and hurt by my situation which is also why I stepped back from some of the ministries that I have been involved in. I am doing a lot re-thinking about myself, and my current church life in an effort to find a solution.

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  21. Becky – Thanks for allowing me to share your story in a post. As you can see, it has brought in a lot of comments from others who have experienced something similar.

    I have a question for Becky and any others who might want to respond: have you gone to church leaders to address these specific concerns? If so, what was the response you were given?

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  22. Having seen the damaging effects of Christian culture deeply steeped in Patriarchy, I am not sure if being marginalized in that toxic environment is such a bad thing.

    If you followed all the rules by getting married and having kids, the system sucks you into Patriarchy culture which is where the abuse and weirdness happen because you are in the right demographic. But if you stay single, then the system simply ignores and sidelines you (while taking your money and labor). Given a choice between marginalization and abuse, I would much rather take the former. I should count my blessings. I did not put my wife and kids through decades of non-sense.

    I have long wondered why the Pharisees did not use Jesus’ singleness against him. No Pharisee ever suggested that Jesus and his disciples were homosexuals even though several in the group were in their 30’s and maybe even older. Could it be because today’s Christian culture is even more legalistic and judgmental than the Sanhedrin? Could conservative Evangelicalism out-Pharisee the Pharisees of Jesus’ day? I am starting to think so.

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  23. JA,

    I remember once bringing up the social situation with an elder at the first PCA church my husband and I joined after being married. This must have been before the birth of our oldest. Basically, unless you had kids and were involved in the homeschool co-op or the local classical Christian academy, you were a non-entity socially speaking, even if you were married. Those we had made friends with at church were either older empty nesters, or single adults including those in their 30s and 40s. To really be part of the ‘in’ crowd you had to have at least one school age kid. People in this church also tended to have larger than average numbers of children, so anyone who had stopped after just one or two kind of stood out. Nobody there called themselves “quiverfull”, but the results of that doctrine were very visible on any given Sunday.

    The elder responded that this was the kind of thing that they as elders needed to be hearing, but as far as I know nothing was ever done about it.

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  24. Several years ago my church held a congregational meeting. While the primary focus of the meeting concerned other matters, the senior pastor mentioned at one point that he’d realized the church wasn’t doing enough in ministering to singles. I almost fell out of my seat, and I subsequently learned several other singles at the meeting had a similar reaction. During the question-and-answer time which followed, I asked the senior pastor if he had any specific plans regarding ministry to singles. He didn’t and there was no subsequent follow-through, just like previous occasions when the topic arose.

    Earlier this spring my church devoted several sermons to 1 Corinthians 6 and 7. Following one of the Sunday services I had a brief conversation with the pastor in charge of discipleship and suggested he consider launching a Sunday school class presenting practical information for singles who want to get married. I also suggested that the class be open to older singles like myself as well as young adults. He said he’d consider it. Soon thereafter, I read a bulletin announcement that he was one of two pastors scheduled to go on sabbatical leave this year; he’s since begun that leave. I guess I’ll have to remind him again when he returns later this year.

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  25. Steve S said,

    missdaisyflower philosophied: “They have created the very problem they complain about but never seem to get a clue to this.”

    Bingo. (Same is true for man-made church membership junk). I notice this truth in many areas. It’s the law of unintended consequences. They solve one problem by creating new ones, and the problems mushroom.

    Yes, in order for most of us to marry in the USA, we date. Even before dating, there has to be some rapport or chatting between a man and a woman.

    However, most evangelicals, Baptists, etc, prohibit the genders from mixing and mingling. They warn against it, so far as to say that a man and woman meeting at a Starbucks will end in sex.

    They also (as the OP was pointing out) segregate the genders in church, making it near to impossible for a single woman to get to know a single man, which could lead to dating and then marriage…

    But then these same Christians complain or tsk tsk about how there are so many single adults, don’t these single adults want to get married?

    They are oblivious that their teachings and attitudes about the genders and the paranoia is playing a part in keeping Christian single men and women apart and making it tough on them to marry.

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  26. I am having trouble posting, the blog keeps freezing up. I will try posting this again. I apologize if this post shows up as a duplicate.
    —————————-
    Lydia said, “What exactly is salvic about marriage or singleness? Is there a different sanctification/abiding in Christ for the married and single?”

    Nothing. And a lot of churches act as though – (as HUG has pointed out as has been said at the IMONK site) – that Salvation is by Marriage Alone.

    I’ve seen blog posts and books and sermons where some Christians teach that a spouse “sanctifies” a person, and Julie Anne did such a post on this blog about a month ago, I believe, where she quoted some complementarian guy or someone as saying a woman needs a husband to sanctify her.

    I don’t mind if preachers tackle topical issues, personally.

    My mother died a few years ago, so I would appreciate hearing sermons on how to deal with death of a loved one, for example, or related topics, such as, Heaven and the afterlife.

    I just want equal time on subjects.

    If evangelicals are going to make every third sermon about marriage, they need to devote an equal time to singleness, or be fair and drop marriage altogether.

    It’s not fair to make every 3rd sermon about marriage and then say nothing about adult singleness.

    Also, Church programs and social events are heavily skewed to married couples and the nuclear family as well, with all the “family pot luck suppers” and so forth.

    It may be that such events do not mean to say that single adults cannot attend, but I know when I, as an adult single, see the word “family” in the heading of a church bulletin, I assume the mean “only married couples with kids may attend.” I am discouraged from showing up.

    Churches need to watch the wording they use on church signs in the front yard and in their bulletins – they need to stop using “family” because it sounds like they have no intent on allowing adult singles to show up or be included.

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  27. becky said,

    I am trying to visit another church BUT guess what happened there? “Oh, welcome to our church, here is neat Women’s Study you can join,” Sigh…

    Yes, I have noticed that sort of thing as well.

    Any time I show up to a new church, they want to send me to a “woman’s only” class, even if the church has a mixed gender class (but many churches do not even have a mixed gender class, they only have segregated ones).

    At one church where I showed up brand new, they were going to send me to the woman’s only class, and I had to request to be sent to the mixed gender one. And that mixed class was a dud anyway, as most of the men there were too old or very strange. (And many churches don’t even have many men in attendance anyhow.)

    But it does seem to be the norm to send all women off to a woman’s only class if a new single women shows up.

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  28. @ Muff Potter
    I am wondering if the problem is not so much what Paul wrote but that a lot of evangelical and Southern Baptist Christians have distorted what he wrote, or added American cultural ideas to it?

    A lot of Christians will take a Bible verse such as “abstain from all appearances of evil” and then contort that to mean a man (whether married or single) should never, ever meet alone with a woman, even if that women is in trouble or in danger and needs help.

    Seriously, Christian author Ed Stetzer wrote a blog post about this, telling men to stay away from all women, and he quoted that verse as “proof” for his position.

    I personally do not think Paul’s (or whomever wrote that New Testament verse) “abstain from all appearance of evil” was saying, “Men, stay away from all women all the time.”

    I think your guys like Ed Stetzer and others assume because they personally may see a man and a woman together and automatically assume “those two must be having an affair” that everyone else thinks that way too, hence, to them a man and woman seen together is considered to be “an appearance of evil”.

    Or, Stetzer thinks if he were to be left alone with a woman, that the woman would make a pass at him, *and* that he would be weak, cave in, and have sex with her.

    Either way you look at it, these men are making assumptions and reading stuff into the biblical text based on their personal hang ups.

    When I see a man and woman together, I don’t always jump to the conclusion that sex is going on.

    I also think it takes a lot of ego for men like Stetzer to assume any and every woman who meets alone with him would find him attractive and want to take a rumble in the hay with him.

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  29. beckyg said,

    I started to visit another church in hopes of finding such a group.But like I said, they also directed me to another women’s only study.

    This is re hash of what I just said above, but I feel your frustration and pain.

    I’d like to be married. And anytime I show up to a new church, they always want to send me off to a woman’s only adult singles class – this is true even for a church or two I’ve been to that have mixed gender classes.

    Another pet peeve of mine: when I am a newcomer at a church, they always assume I am divorced and have children. I have never married, nor have I ever had children, and I’m in my early 40s.

    Julie Anne said,

    I have a question for Becky and any others who might want to respond: have you gone to church leaders to address these specific concerns? If so, what was the response you were given?

    I’ve never approached a preacher or church staff about this.

    I’ve read of other adult singles who have, though.

    Out of all the anecdotes I’ve read about it, the preacher either gets miffed or offended by the observation he is not catering equally to singles, or……

    The preacher or other church staff toss the problem right back on to the lap of the person who brought it up by saying,
    “Since you are so concerned about this, why don’t YOU start up and head an adults singles class.”

    These are adult singles who don’t have the time, know how, gifting, or interest in running an adult singles ministry, they are just wanting the church to provide one they can attend, but the preachers put the burden right back on to the adult single.

    It’s interesting most churches do not have this attitude towards marriage stuff, though. They will back and fund and staff married people classes with no problem.

    In yet a few other anecdotes I’ve read, the adult single approaches the church to do more for adult singles, but the church refuses to cough up the necessary funds.

    Churches prefer to pay their money on stuff like counseling courses for married people or fun events for little kids.

    I’ve only read of one anecdote over the past few years where an older single said in a blog post that he told the preacher at his church in private that he was not including adult singles enough in his sermons, etc, and the preacher agreed and tried a bit harder.

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  30. David C said,

    I have long wondered why the Pharisees did not use Jesus’ singleness against him. No Pharisee ever suggested that Jesus and his disciples were homosexuals even though several in the group were in their 30′s and maybe even older. Could it be because today’s Christian culture is even more legalistic and judgmental than the Sanhedrin? Could conservative Evangelicalism out-Pharisee the Pharisees of Jesus’ day? I am starting to think so.

    It is strange how singleness is usually only respected in the very specific cases of Bible persons such as Jesus or Paul, but living adults today in America? Churches look down on them and harbor stereotypes.

    Another thing I have noticed is that most evangelical / Baptist/ Reformed Christians totally ignore adult singleness, unless and until some liberal think tank claims that Jesus Christ was married and/or was a father.

    Like with that Da Vinci Code book a few years ago, that claims Jesus was married, and then the papyri fragment in the news about a month ago that referred to Jesus having a wife. Well, then, all the evangelicals and other conservative Christians got into an uproar to vehemently defend the singleness and celibacy of Jesus Christ.

    And I sat there thinking, how hypocritical! The only time most Christians care a whit about singleness and adult celibacy is if it is in reference to Jesus only.

    Those of us who are over 30, single, and celibate? The Christian community does not really care about us, or supporting us.

    There are a few Christians who do notice adult singles, but they bash us and put us down, such as Southern Baptist Al Mohler.

    So you have this double standard by Mohler types, where they praise the celibacy and singleness of Jesus Christ and apostle Paul, but if you are “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” and single and celibate in 21st century America, they heap scorn on you for it.

    Like

  31. @ singleman MAY 27, 2014 @ 8:39 PM

    Yep, that is another response I have seen over the years about this, when an adult single approaches the church for more help for adult singles, they claim they care and may act to move, but nothing is ever done.

    But I also see a lot of stories where the preacher tosses the problem right back into the lap of the adult single making the inquiry, telling the adult single, “What do YOU plan on doing? Why don’t YOU start the class?”

    Like

  32. @ Cindy K MAY 28, 2014 @ 6:00 AM Cindy’s Link:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-27/hamad-elliot-rodger-and-hate-crime-hypocrisy/5478820

    Cindy, there was a similar story in the news 3 to 5 years ago.

    A guy in his 40s (George Sodini) was frustrated because he was single and could not get dates.

    Even though he would ask the ladies why, they would just say they found him nice but did not want to date.

    So, he took a gun into a lady’s fitness center and killed several women. I found a link about it:
    Police: Gym shooter ‘had a lot of hatred’ for women, society

    I don’t think these kinds of guys understand dating is hard for most everyone, including for women. They seem to think they are the only ones who have a hard time getting into relationships.

    It’s not easy meeting a compatible partner, whether you are male or female. This is one reason I get fed up with Christians (usually married ones) who blithely toss off the “try e Harmony dating site if you want to get married!” cliche at adult singles who want marriage.

    Folks, getting a mate is not as simple as using a dating site.

    I am not against dating sites and may turn to them once again at some time in the future, but…

    On the dating sites, you still have to weed though weirdos, nice- but- incompatible types, flakes, perverts, etc, and sometimes there are NO matches for you at all.

    I used to be on eHarmony, and they’d send me about two matches per month.

    When I stopped paying them money, the matches totally dried up, and their “search” system thing claimed it could not find a single single men in my area. I then changed the geography thing to say “any man in any part of the USA” and it still would not send me matches.

    It is not easy to get a partner / get married for anyone.

    About the only exception to that are the people I know who have very low standards – they are willing to date hard core drug addicts, and so forth – and yes, those types of women who will date ANYONE, no matter how messed up the person’s life is, are able to get boyfriend after boyfriend, but then they complain about how all their boyfriends are disappointments.

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  33. I don’t think these kinds of guys understand dating is hard for most everyone, including for women. They seem to think they are the only ones who have a hard time getting into relationships.

    Afternoon drive-time yesterday played some excerpts from the Santa Barbara Massacre’s video manifesto clips.

    What I heard was a Hollywood Highborn kid with a sense of “I’m Entitled!” who had just realized the Cosmos does not revolve around himself and his wants. And I had some pretty strong gut reactions to his Manifesto:
    He bitched about how he was 22 and still a virgin.
    ME: I’m 58 and still a virgin — GROW UP!
    He bitched about how No Woman Found Him Attractive.
    ME: I’m 58 and no woman ever found me attractive. I GOT A LIFE!
    Then he started on how the women dared to snub HIM! HIM! A “Perfect Gentleman” (direct quote — if this had been played on morning drive-time instead of afternoon drive-time, they would have played the chorus of #SELFIE in the background at that point).
    Then he went on about how “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” and finished with “Now Is The Day of Retribution…”

    Like that one FBI profiler describing the kickoff kill of one serial killer as revenge for real or imagined rejection:
    “The next Good Looking Woman I come across Is Going To Die.”

    This is one reason I get fed up with Christians (usually married ones) who blithely toss off the “try e Harmony dating site if you want to get married!” cliche at adult singles who want marriage.

    After my breakup with Ann in the late Eighties, I must have spent three grand on dating sites. Biggest waste of money I’ve ever experienced.

    About the only exception to that are the people I know who have very low standards – they are willing to date hard core drug addicts, and so forth – and yes, those types of women who will date ANYONE, no matter how messed up the person’s life is, are able to get boyfriend after boyfriend, but then they complain about how all their boyfriends are disappointments.

    As well as fanning Santa Barbara Shooter-like resentment and Manosphere attitudes in the guys they dumped for their User-and-Abuser SOULMATE. I saw that happen a couple times when I was still raw from my breakup, and it has an effect on your attitude towards women.

    It was like nothing triggers the “OOOOO MY SOULMATE! HE’S SO (gasp) EXCITING!” response in a female as a User and Abuser. Like when you hate women so much all you can think of is Using and Abusing them, suddenly they’re throwing themselves at you “OOOOOOO MY SOULMATE!!!!!!!”

    Message given: To be irresistible to women, Be a User and Abuser.

    You can see how this is not going to end well.

    Like

  34. @Daisy:

    I also think it takes a lot of ego for men like Stetzer to assume any and every woman who meets alone with him would find him attractive and want to take a rumble in the hay with him.

    on a lighter note, like some really repulsive guy doing this?

    (which I have seen IRL — real brain-bleach time)

    I’ve also seen the genderflip version of this, where one thoroughly-nasty woman with a personality pickled in strong vinegar was CONVINCED all the men she encountered were trying to “have their way with her” because she was so SEXAY. Even to the point of floodlights under all her house eaves so the Uncontrollable Rapists couldn’t sneak up on her. Not only was she a thoroughly-unpleasant control freak, she was delusional.

    Like

  35. An earlier commenter mentioned what he called “married singles”. That made me think of all the Christian wives out there who are married to nonbelievers who won’t go to church. Many of them have children they are trying to raise in the faith, but alone. My mom and I were in this situation for most of my childhood, and beyond. A woman like that could be said to be single, spiritually speaking. She certainly needs plenty of love and support, which we usually had in our Christian and Missionary Alliance church. I wonder what would have happened if we had been in a Southern Baptist context, though. Would Mom have patronized and pitied, or would she have been supported because hey, at least she married and procreated?

    Like

  36. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    To be irresistible to women, Be a User and Abuser

    That is sad. I myself feel I am a jerk/abuser magnet. If there is one within a 5 mile radius they will find one. In that 5 mile radius I guarantee there are a few. Nice guys don’t give me a second glance so I know how you feel. The abusers have a knack for hiding it well until after the I do’s are over.
    I don’t know what the answer is. My daughter, now 35 tried dating sites and all the men wanted was fun and sex. She found her husband on an online video game site. After what she told me about dating sites and what I hear on the news, I’m staying clear of them. I’d rather remain single than go through all of that again.

    Like

  37. Thanks, JA. I will say that I am thankful that my mom did not try to raise me in a patriarchal denomination. I can only imagine how we would have fared in a church comprised mostly of intact, biological nuclear families where men’s spiritual headship was emphasized. We got lucky in part because in the church I spent my teens in, Mom was not the only wife there in that predicament. The ladies of that small church really were able to minister to one another in many ways. She now goes alone to a former PCUSA church that went to ECO, and while it’s not a megachurch, there are Christians there from all backgrounds and life circumstances and she is once again very supported.

    My husband and I are a little too conservative to join an ECO or EPC church, but if either one of our daughters found herself in that situation later in life, we would have to counsel her to very carefully evaluate any PCA church to see what the environment was like for anyone with a “non-ideal” family.

    Like

  38. HUG, I related to your post and am in strong agreement.

    The kid who shot people up does sound very entitled. I also rolled my eyes at the “I’m 22 and still a virgin, woe is me,” comment he made.

    Yeah, pal, well, I’m in my early 40s and still a virgin and have (on the internet) met other women and some men in their 40s/50s who are virgins and still single, and they’d like to marry and have sex eventually. You don’t see us firing on people.

    It’s similar to preacher Mark Driscoll complaining in blogs, books he wrote, or interviews about how sexually frustrated he used to be because his wife did not want to perform certain sex acts on him, or, how he complained about how difficult he found it if he had to go for more than two to five days without sex with his wife.

    (Oh boo- freaking- hoo, Driscoll! I’m a celibate over the age of 40 who would like to be married, I am playing the world’s tiniest violin for you.)

    While I usually sat around waiting for men to make the first move (because Christian culture and secular both repeatedly tell women “men like to pursue, so don’t initiate the flirting with the man, let the man start with you), I never the less have flirted with a few guys over my life, showed interest first, and they either already had girlfriends (which I did not know), or there was no chemistry.

    So sometimes, we women face rejection when we make the first move. That 22 year old guy was living in a very myopic universe if he thinks everyone else has dating/marriage stuff super easy, or he’s the only one who faces rejection or non interest by the opposite gender.

    (Yes, I have met some people here and there who seem “charmed” when it comes to dating, they easily get into one relationship after another with decent quality partners, but for a lot of us, it’s not so easy.

    Then there are the women I know who have such low standards, they will date ANYONE, so yes, they constantly have a boyfriend on their arm, but he’s usually the type of guy no other woman would want to date)

    HUG said,
    After my breakup with Ann in the late Eighties, I must have spent three grand on dating sites.

    I hear you. I just feel when I get to a point in my life where I can start dating, I might give them another try. I’m not sure where else to go to date guys.

    I just get so tired of Christians (it’s almost always the married ones) who act like getting a spouse is a snap and easy peasy, just join a dating site and VOILÀ, you will get a partner in the next two minutes.

    HUG said,
    Message given: To be irresistible to women, Be a User and Abuser.

    I don’t want to write a ten page manifesto on this, but believe me, most women do not want the user and abuser.

    The women who go after them have emotional problems, some are codependent (and any man is better than no man in their thinking). Some of these women have terribly low self esteem and feel they don’t deserve a stable, secure, employed, steady, gentle, compassionate man.

    You have to understand, there are a ton of single women out there like me who try to AVOID the users, abusers, and creeps.

    I was holding out for a clean cut, educated, kind hearted, Christian guy. I have had a sister and few friends here and there who dated or married the users and abusers, and no thank you, I don’t want that for me. A lot of us are looking for a decent guy, but we keep running into mean guys, or users, etc.

    What I see on dating sites (before they stop sending me matches), though , are “Christian” men who tell tawdry, off color jokes in their dating profiles, which is a turn off to me.

    Like

  39. NJ said,

    An earlier commenter mentioned what he called “married singles”. That made me think of all the Christian wives out there who are married to nonbelievers who won’t go to church. Many of them have children they are trying to raise in the faith, but alone. My mom and I were in this situation for most of my childhood, and beyond. A woman like that could be said to be single, spiritually speaking. She certainly needs plenty of love and support, which we usually had in our Christian and Missionary Alliance church.

    I was just reminded the other day about my grandmother by someone.

    They said my grandmother (who was widowed and living alone) was friends with a married lady from church. The MCL (married church lady) would come over to my grandmother’s house several times a week and talk to her half a day – because she had emotional issues and was lonely.

    Remember, this was a married lady. Her marriage had to be very lonely if she was constantly having to go to my grandmother for emotional support.

    So it’s true that people can be lonely within marriage and for all practical purposes be single.

    I was engaged for a few years in my early 30s, and my ex was not good at meeting my needs at all. I often sat in the same room with him and felt all alone.

    Like

  40. Brenda said,
    I don’t know what the answer is. My daughter, now 35 tried dating sites and all the men wanted was fun and sex.

    Yes, that sounds familiar. A lot of self professing Christians who use dating sites were polled a few months ago, and a huge number (I don’t recall the exact figure, but it was big) said they don’t have a problem with them or anyone having pre-marital sex.

    If you scroll back up this page, you can see posts by people who talk about that, about 50 year old Christian men who date a woman from church and expect the woman to have sex with them on a first date.

    As I have told HUG many times, I used to try dating sites, and the so-called Christian men on them sometimes tell dirty jokes, or make sexual comments, right there on their dating profile page.

    It really amazes me. I’ve tried living up to the Bible’s teaching that sex is for marriage only, so that I’ve never had sex, but I see all these Christian men on dating sites expecting sex prior to marriage and/or telling bawdy, crass sex jokes on their profiles.

    If you are an actual Christian guy (not a poser or false convert), and you are serious about attracting a good, decent Christian woman (especially on a dating site), my advice:
    drop all the sex jokes and sex cracks and tawdry commentary from your dating profile page, don’t make sex jokes or sex demands in the early stages of communicating with a Christian woman on a site, and don’t expect sex from the lady before marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Amen, MissDaisyFlower. Either that or go to the bar and pick up somebody. Stop posing as a Christian.

    Like

  42. Daisy, I think they should leave all of that sex talk up there front and center on their bio so ladies like you can easily weed through the muck. If I were single, I’d rather know straight up than waste my time finding out later on a date that there is one agenda.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. That is a good point, Julie Anne! (And thank you once more for providing a forum to talk about adult singles and for caring about us.)

    When the creeps advertise their creepiness up front, it does make it easier to weed them out.

    I’m not sure if the guys doing it are actual Christians or posers. I really cannot tell.

    I wonder if part of the problem too is that some of these guys behaving this way that I have seen on these sites – who claimed to be Christian – a lot of them are also divorced.

    I have never been married. My entire life I believed strongly that sex was for marriage only, so I never “put out.”

    I’m wondering if a lot of these Christian guys who are over 35, 45 and up, years old and divorced have a more lax view on sex, and that’s why they feel so comfortable making the bawdy, sex-tinged jokes and stating up front their favorite sexual preferences on their dating profiles, or in the “getting to know you” stages on these dating sites when they talk to Christian women?

    These guys need to realize that just because they are 40, 45, or 50 years old and divorced and had regular sex with a wife at one point does not mean other Christian women they are hoping to attract (who may be widowed, divorced, or never-married) will think kindly of their sex jokes, or bringing up sex topics early in the “getting to know you stages” on dating sites.

    Like

  44. As far as older Christian men behaving just like the world regarding sexual matters, if most pastors assume that all Christian singles past a certain age are fornicating, maybe these guys are operating from that same assumption?

    Liked by 1 person

  45. @ NJ,

    As far as older Christian men behaving just like the world regarding sexual matters, if most pastors assume that all Christian singles past a certain age are fornicating, maybe these guys are operating from that same assumption?

    That could be. They really need to be aware that there are some Christian singles who are still abiding by biblical standards of sexuality.

    If you’re a Christian guy advertising a sex-tinged profile with naughty jokes on your profile, you’re most likely going to attract a vixen, a woman with pretty loose morals, or low standards it the sex department.

    Maybe that is what some of these men want… but then why admit in public (on the dating profile) to also being a Christian too?

    I have pretty decent morals in the sex area – I have not slept around.

    If you are a true blue Christian man who takes the Bible and all this stuff seriously, and you hope to attract a woman like me (who has lived a consistent godly life, who is the genuine article), you’re not going to attract me by behaving like a horn dog on dating sites.

    I figure either these guys don’t know that, or they don’t care, because they are really angling for “easy” women?

    I haven’t figured them out, the men who behave that way. I do wonder who it is they are hoping to attract with the naughty jokes or emphasizing sex as much as they do on these sites.

    Like

  46. I’ve never been on a dating site, so I guess you must be talking about some pretty inappropriate and crass behavior? I mean, I’ve got a somewhat naughty sense of humor myself and managed to offend one roommate at Cedarville because I think Monty Python clips are funny. (Actually any British humor, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, any movie with Leslie Nielsen in it, South Park, you get the idea.) Now I suppose if a guy has his favorite sexual positions right there on his profile, or tells you he expects sex from the get go, I’d be avoiding that myself.

    It used to be that even non-Christian men knew not to be cads, at least in public. Now I wonder if what my own children’s chances are of marrying well once they are grown, even in the Church.

    Like

  47. Missdaisyflower, I can almost guarantee that the older so-called “Christian” men had the same attitude towards sex while they were married and could be a reason they are divorced. Their wives got fed up with it. All kinds of people claim to be “Christian”, it doesn’t mean they have ever put their faith in Jesus and given their lives to Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. @ NJ, I’m not sure how to explain it.

    I don’t want to offend anyone reading here or trigger blog moderation, if I give examples, my post may be sent to the gulag.

    It’s not that these guys I saw were saying totally “X rated” stuff, but it was, IMO, inappropriate, especially for guys claiming to be Christian and right there on their profile page for any and all women subscribers to view.

    Some of these guys, it’s not even that they were being totally crass, but from the start, they tell you they expect sex “X” number times per week, they really DIG sex, they LOVE it, and any woman they marry must love it, love it, love it…

    Some of these men kind of get into the frequency they want for sex and expect and/or preferred sexual positions – right on the profile, OR, in the early ‘getting to know you’ exchanges handled by the dating site software / apps.

    Some were indeed crass. One guy who “hit on me” on one dating site, he was age 50ish, had a joke on his profile page about liking and wanting to give “multiple o’s.”

    (He spelled out the word, I did not there, but I’m sure you can use your imagination).

    I’m not a prude and can deal with some amount of sex or potty humor, but IMHO, it is totally inappropriate on a dating profile, or early in the relationship.

    If you and I are dating, and after so many months you then want to make a slightly risque’ joke, I can take that. But the guys who do this up front on a profile? It strikes me as being a little perverted, inappropriate, etc.

    Like if a female gold digger states up front on her dating profile: ‘Hey men, you MUST be a doctor and earn $200,000 per year and own a BMW, or else no dates from me.”

    Or if a female like that said on her dating profile, “Men who want to date me: You must earn a six figure income and own a built in swimming pool and a mansion. I want the finest things in life. I prefer a man with a lot of money.”

    How many men would want to date a woman who just spells it out like that, and up front?

    Well, that may not be a good example because one thing is that men often focus ONLY on a woman’s looks (her profile photos) and don’t read her profile.

    Assuming males did actually read the profile of that gold digger woman, how many of them would really want a woman who, at the start, is demanding and stating her income preferences in a man?

    I’d think most men would be turned off by a woman who does that, if the first thing out of her mouth on a dating site is, “So, how much do you earn per year? Do you own your house, or rent? Do you own a porsche?”

    But these men I see on the dating sites feel that questions/concerns about sex- related stuff like that is fine and dandy on a dating site, but to some women, such as myself, it is a red flag and a turn off.

    Some women may not mind, though. I have seen unmarried Christian women who actually think it’s good that men are upfront about liking sex on the dating sites, because that way, if you are a woman who really likes sex too, you’ve found a match (that is their rationale). I personally think it’s tacky and un-gentlemanly behavior, however.

    If sex is all-fired important to you, then, IMO, you wait until you’ve dated the woman X number weeks before raising the topic. But these guys put it up there front and center, first or third thing you see on their dating profile, or by the second communication they send you.

    I’m not against all risque’ behavior but there is a time and place for it, and IMHO, a self professing Christian guy putting it on his dating profile is not the place and time, and it sends the wrong message to women such as myself who have very traditional sexual values.

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  49. @ Brenda,

    MAY 28, 2014 @ 1:32 PM
    Missdaisyflower, I can almost guarantee that the older so-called “Christian” men had the same attitude towards sex while they were married and could be a reason they are divorced. Their wives got fed up with it. All kinds of people claim to be “Christian”, it doesn’t mean they have ever put their faith in Jesus and given their lives to Him.

    Very good points!

    You can just call me “Daisy,” if you like, by the way. (I tried signing up at this blog as “Daily,” but it said that name was already taken.)

    Like

  50. If sex is all-fired important to you, then, IMO, you wait until you’ve dated the woman X number weeks before raising the topic. But these guys put it up there front and center, first or third thing you see on their dating profile, or by the second communication they send you.

    Daisy, I’d peg these guys as horndog/nymphos, totally clueless, or both.

    Though you might want to save the best of their “up there front and center” for a collection of “World’s Worst Pickup Lines”…

    Like

  51. … or in the “getting to know you” stages on these dating sites when they talk to Christian women?

    Maybe they’re stuck on the Biblical meaning of “know”?

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  52. @Daisy:

    When I see a man and woman together, I don’t always jump to the conclusion that sex is going on.

    That’s because you don’t have a dirty mind and these MenaGawd DO.

    Like

  53. H.U.G. Mark Driscoll is known for his “sermons” about sex. The one I heard in particular was on the book of Solomon’s Song. He went into different sex acts that women should be performing on their husbands or they are not following the Bible. If I were his wife I would have died of embarressment. He is most certainly a MenaGawd, but in no way do I consider him a Man of God and would not stay in a church where he was in the pulpit or anyone like him. There is nothing wrong with marital sex, but it should be private between a man, his wife and God.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. I see I made a typeo above, it should have said “Daisy” for my name, but for some reason I typed in “DaiLy” 🙂

    @ HUG,

    Daisy, I’d peg these guys as horndog/nymphos, totally clueless, or both.

    Though you might want to save the best of their “up there front and center” for a collection of “World’s Worst Pickup Lines”…

    It was pretty consistent, sadly.

    It seems there’s a fair number of men who claim to be Christian who act in an inappropriate manner on dating sites, but they don’t seem to feel there is anything wrong with it.

    Then I also come across stuff like this, and I find it so sad:
    “Religious Dating Sites: More than Half of Users Surveyed Are OK with Premarital Sex” (relevantmagazine.com)

    According to a new survey by two religiously-themed dating sites, Christian Mingle and JDate (an online community for Jewish singles), attitudes toward sex, marriage and abstinence are continuing to shift.

    Their “2014 State of Dating in America” report shows that 87 percent of those surveyed would have sex before marriage, and, likewise, 87 percent said they don’t think it is inappropriate to move in with a significant other before marriage.

    By comparison, in last year’s survey, just 85 percent of users thought premarital sex was OK. The survey echoes the findings in a piece we published back in Feb. 2012, that found that Christian singles are increasingly approving of sex before marriage.

    Like

  55. While dating, I have also come across those who say they are christian and later find out that they are not really living as a christian. Such as when it seems they are seeing someone else You really have to be patient and prayerful and wait for the truth to come out on that. I believe God will let the truth come out especially when you pray about it and give it some time. One fellow i dated for a while admitted that he was seeing other women and I asked him how that fit into his Christian life. He said that he hadn’t given that part of himself over to God yet. In another words, he was not going to stop seeing others and he called me, “Oh Jealous One.” What he didn’t understand that when a fellow insists on dating and being intimate with many others is that made me feel like I, by myself, was not good enough for him. God is so right that in a marital relationship that it must be one man and one woman. Each one needs to feel valued and loved by the other.

    I also try not to jump to conclusions and judge someone because sometimes my perception of a situation can be very wrong. Being too quick to judge can really hurt someone and you can lose their trust. I have seen that. I have seen others misunderstand and misjudge me. I then step away from that person feeling hurt because they never took time out to try to really understand me and I no longer trust them. Also I myself have made that mistake towards others. The same thing happened, that person then does not trust me and does not want to give me another chance..So now I also pray for God to give me better understanding about a new person that I am dating or one that I am interested in and would like to date. Once you’ve built up that trust in a relationship you really do need to protect it. It is too fragile and too easily broken. Re-earning that trust and rebuilding it is very hard. Another thing to remember is forgiveness. I know I am not perfect and have not walked the perfect walk in Christ but neither has anyone else. I am very hard on myself about mistakes I have made. We all need God’s grace and forgiveness in our lives. And I know I need to be able to forgive those who’ve hurt me so that I can move forward in life again.

    As for asking for help in my current church about my situation, I had made it known to others that I am having some struggles and have shared to some in depth, I was told to stay in this women’s Bible study. They are lovely and prayerful women, but being in these different Women’s only Bible studies is not the answer. I am trying another church as a way to expand myself and trying to keep my eyes appealed to new outlets. And I trying to remain prayerful and faithful to God in all of this.

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  56. “Religious Dating Sites: More than Half of Users Surveyed Are OK with Premarital Sex” (relevantmagazine.com)

    These people are the wolves that can’t find the zipper to put their sheeps suit on. They lurk around anywhere that they may find an unsuspecting sheep they may trip up for their own selfish pleasure. I decided a while ago that I would rather live alone for the rest of this life than to ever find myself in the grasp of another wolf’s claws.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. beckyg1003,
    I share your disappointment with how churches are not doing much of anything to help adult singles who want to be married, and they keep segregating the genders, which also harms the chances of a woman who wants to marry.

    Keeping single males and females apart in church and church events also keeps them from getting to know one another, which means dating is not likely to happen, so marriage is not going to happen, either.

    That is a huge glaring problem but most (married) Christians don’t spot it, don’t realize it, or do not care.

    In our culture, we use dating to get to marriage, since we don’t use arranged marriages.

    I’ve yet to figure out how married Christians (who normally met their spouse while in college) expect us post-college (as in, over-age 30 singles) to meet a mate in and around church or church sponsored functions, if they stick all men in one classroom at church, and all ladies in another.

    Chances are, when the currently-married Christians who make up these stupid church rules on gender met their sweetie in college, they sat right next to him / her while in math class – there was a chance for the genders to meet and mingle in college or high school. Not so in most churches.

    If their math or history class had been segregated with all men in one class and all women in another, and lunch time segregated, they never would have had the opportunity to get to know their honey pie.

    Yet, married adult Christians do this to adult singles in churches – we’re over 30, 40 years old, and they insist on keeping us apart, which keeps us single.

    About dating more than one guy. I’m actually not opposed to it, if the relationship is not serious.

    I actually read some good dating advice from a Non Christian that made sense to me… she recommends that women date 2 or 3 guys simultaneously.

    If you stick with only one man at a time, you are putting all eggs in one basket, so what happens when he breaks up with you, or the guy is a jerk, or it doesn’t work out? You go back to being single.

    If you have 2 or 3 men on your plate, you juggle between them to figure out which is the best for you. It’s not a matter of being deceptive, either. You could let each man know you are dating others, you are not exclusive with them. That’s actually the point of dating – you’re going through a process of trying out different men to see which is the most suitable partner for you.

    The only issue with this approach is if you consider the relationship exclusive but the man is seeing ten other women. Then it’s a problem.

    If it’s only in the early stages of “getting to know you” it’s not really cheating if either person is dating around. You’re supposed to date around a lot with different guys.

    When/if feelings develop, then you need to talk to the guy and ask DTR, define the relationship.

    If he’s not wiling to get serious with you and drop the other ladies, then move on until you find the guy who is.

    It’s the same for you. Maybe the guy you are dating comes to you and says, “I want to take this relationship to the next level, how about you.”

    Whenever I start dating again, I plan on dating more than one guy at a time.

    Also, at my age, I don’t have time to fiddle around doing this long term, dating one guy for several months to see if it works out and being exclusive with that one dude.

    That type of thing is for when you are 22 years old and have years ahead of you. I am early 40s now in age. I don’t have time to drag things out, nor am I interested in things going on and on. Other women my age may feel differently, but that’s just me.

    Like

  58. @ Brenda

    Brenda said, These people are the wolves that can’t find the zipper to put their sheeps suit on.

    Some may be wolves, but I fear a lot of actual Christians today do indeed have very loose sexual morals.

    I have seen some Christians arguing on sites that the Bible does not clearly condemn pre-marital sex, for example, so they feel pre marital sex must be okay with God, or a moral grey area. (I have seen a few of the participants over at Wartburg Watch blog also use that line of argumentation when we discussed this issue in the past.)

    I’ve seen interviews with preachers who admit they don’t preach against pre-marital sex because it might offend people in the audience or shame them.

    You’ve heard of Christian blogger Tim Challies? Him, and guys like him (eg, Russell Moore etc), have written articles sort of putting virginity and celibacy down. Challies said in his blog post months ago that “even fornicators are virgins now.” These authors suggest that actual virgins are “prideful” or have “made a fetish out of virginity.”

    I’m an actual virgin, and I”m in my early 40s – it’s not easy, but I’ve refrained from sex and I’m in my 40s now, and I was waiting for marriage. I was engaged to a man for several years, and we spent time alone at his house, but no sex happened. I had plenty chances to have sex, if I had so chosen.

    When I see Christians writing “even fornicators are virigns now” – like Challies has done- how do you think that makes me feel? Or the guys like Moore who say that actual virgins have “made a fetish out of virginity”?

    I get that guys like that are replying to the scads of 34 year old Christian ladies on line in the past few years who say,
    “I fornicated when I was 13, and the sexual purity lectures I heard when I was 18 in Sunday School that compared me to used chewing gum made me feel so ashamed.”

    Okay, so Challies is trying to soothe their injured feelings and guilt. But over-soothing the sexual sinner discourages the guy or lady (such as me) who are virgins over age of 30.

    Challies, Moore, etc, are trying to cheer up and console sexual sinners at the expense of actual celibates and virgins, so that is not right, IMO.

    It is akin to Al Mohler who defends traditional marriage by taking regular pot shots against adult singleness, which he has done on his blog as well as radio interviews.

    Defending traditional marriage is fine, but not when the person doing it uses insulting adult singleness as a tactic, but that is what a lot of Southern Baptists and evangelicals do.

    There are times when I think it’s easier to stay single rather than worry about weeding out creeps or putting up with all the troubles that come with a relationship.

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  59. It occurs to me I never did directly address the question of the OP,
    “The Marginalization of Singles in Church – What is the Solution to This”

    Here is Part 1. I will make a part 2 instead of making one big, long post.

    I have dropped hints in posts above of what churches can do to help. There are books and blogs online that have tips on how churches can help single adults.

    One thing they can do is stop using the term “family” all the time, unless they explicitly explain in their signage, sermons, and bulletins that “family” means anyone who believes in Jesus as savior (ie, spiritual family)

    Whenever an adult, childless single sees the term “family” at church, it’s usually taken to mean, “man and woman married with kids.” So we automatically feel excluded.

    More tips.

    Stop treating marriage as the norm, or as though it’s more approved by God than adult singleness and celibacy.
    I want to be married myself, but while I remain single, I don’t want to be treated like a freak or failure for being single.

    Allow adult singles to serve in a meaningful way in churches.
    Often, churches do not permit adult singles to act as leaders or teachers. All roles go to married people, even teaching adult single Sunday School classes!

    Adult singles are often only allowed to show up to a singles class, never mingle with the marrieds, and are expected to fold up chairs, clean the church kitchen. They are treated like second class citizens, lepers, and as maids.

    Preachers: stop sermonizing on marriage all the time, or, give equal time to sermonizing about adult singlehood too.

    Preachers: stop using marriage and parenting as sermon, book, or blog illustrations.

    Instead of using “wife,” “son,” and “daughter” terminology in your sermons all the time, such as,
    “To explain this biblical principle to you, let me tell you this story of last week, when I took my son to the football game, and we…”
    or, “My wife and I blah blah blah…”

    Say instead,
    “My cousin Herbert and I,” or, “My neighbor Joe and I,” or, “the time I told my dentist Jenny Smith a funny joke….”

    Like

  60. More tips on how preachers and churches can help adult singles, or not make them feel excluded.

    (I hope I am not annoying anyone with all the posts in this thread, but I thought it would be more courteous and easier for readers to break my thoughts up over a few posts, rather than one big long one).

    I’m not sure how many links we can put in per post here. Here is a page or so with advice on how preachers/churches/laypersons can help adult singles.

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

    What Churches Should do For Singles by T Campolo

    Please pay special attention to the part of the Campolo page that begins,

    But what about the host of Christians who want to be married, and are single by no choice of their own?

    Because there is a pretty big number of Christian single women today who did want to get married but are having problems finding a Christian man to marry.

    Such women do not view singleness as “a gift” and tire of hearing from married Christians how awesome singleness is because we can “serve the Lord more.” (The Lord is great, but I want a husband.)

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  61. My personal tips on how preachers, churches, and Christians can help adult singles (continued):

    Please stop with the “warm and fuzzy” family or marriage examples in sermons or interviews about Biblical stuff, or the amusing spouse stories
    (occasionally it’s fine, but preachers do this constantly)

    I cringe when preachers think they are giving a touching, warm and fuzzy to the congregation when they – and yes, I have actually seen and heard preachers do this – talk with fondness about their children, they get real emotional and start to weep and choke up in a sermon, such as,

    “Then there was the day the wife and I brought little Joe Jr home from the hospital.

    I looked down at that little face of his, clutched his tiny hand in mine, and I began sobbing, oh the beauty of this child, and he was mine, so tiny, so fragile.

    I knew I would do anything and everything for that boy ‘o mine, and having a baby son reminds me of God the Father’s love for me, and at last, I understand now…

    [and then the preacher inserts more stories intended to be funny, about how Joe Jr spat up his baby food on him, etc, or more heart warming, cute Joe Jr stories]…”

    – As an adult, childless single, personal anecdotes such as those do not warm the cockles ‘o my heart, they make me feel excluded.

    I also don’t see how to apply the pastor’s baby stories to the Bible story he’s preaching, and how it in turn makes it relevant to my life or walk with God.

    I totally get that parents are often very fond and proud of their babies and grown children, but it is so frustrating and hurtful to have these types of examples tossed in your face about every third sermon, or every blog page by church people, when you are single and/or childless, or are child free.

    What of the infertile married lady, front pew of your church, who hears that sort of stuff (and preachers pepper their sermons with their maudlin, weepy, “Joe Jr, he’s my precious baby son” stories almost every single sermon)?

    That story is just a painful reminder to the infertile lady she cannot have a baby. Then ladies like me are pained because we associate “baby” with being married, and it reminds me I am still single.

    Also, sermons should be about Jesus, not about your wife and son Joe Jr.

    (I’m not against topical sermons per se, but if you preach on marriage, you should make the next sermon about adult singleness, and stop using all the Joe Jr or “my wife” examples.)

    It takes little effort to stretch and use non-marriage/ non- parenting examples in your sermons.

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  62. Additional tips

    Married couples should include adult singles at holidays and meal times or whenever.
    At least ask if the adult single at your church from time to time if he or she would like to come over – for tea, coffee, lunch, or out to lunch at a diner, or to a movie sometime, or over to your home to watch a DVD.

    The adult single may have to turn you down because he/she is busy, but keep asking every few weeks or every other month.

    If you have kids… some adult singles may not mind if they are around, but…

    If the adult single is having a tough time with something in their life and needs to chat with you about it and and get your emotional support, they will not feel comfortable opening up to you about a sensitive, adult issue if you have a five year old or ten year old child, or a teen age kid, within ear shot.

    It’s also hard for an adult single to comfortably converse with you in your home (especially about sensitive or painful topics) if your child is interrupting every three minutes to beg for ice cream, whine about things, or flutter about the room.

    – Preachers, Christian lay persons, and Christian wives:
    Stop treating all adult single women as though they want to sleep with your husband, and teach that men (including marrieds) should never talk to or hang out with single ladies.

    Not only is that insulting and hurtful, but it excludes single women more so.

    Nobody will ask adult single ladies over for meals or out to a movie. Not all adult singles have a flourishing social circle – some do, but some don’t. Some could really use the friendship.

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  63. Daisy,
    I don’t think singleness or marriage are any harder one than the other. They each have their hardships and trials Personally, I would rather weed the garden than weed through the available men who are out there. At my age, there are not that many available and a whole lot of women wanting to find one of them. I think I will stay out of their way.

    You’ve heard of Christian blogger Tim Challies? No, I haven’t and from what you said, I don’t want to. I have a great deal of respect for unmarried people who remain celibate. It is good and glorifies our Lord.

    There are many pastors out there who claim to be Christians. Watering down what the Bible has to say in order not to offend someone….well, they may as well not open their mouths. They are leading people in the wrong direction. Those who preach and teach will be judged more severely. I wouldn’t want to be on of them.

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  64. Additional tips:

    If you attend church weekly, intentionally keep an eye out for the adult who walks in ALONE and make a point to greet them and make them feel included,
    ask them if they would like to sit with you during the service, and introduce them to people there you already know.

    After the service, ask if you can take them out for a cup of coffee at a local diner, or take a rain check if they say they are too tired or busy.

    Tell them you are so happy they came, and you hope to see them again next week, or some time soon.

    When you meet a new adult who walks in alone to your church do NOT assume their marital status. (I am over 40, never married, no kids – but every church I go to, they assume I am divorced with a kid, and I find this offensive.)

    Figure out before hand other stuff to talk about with the adult new-comer who walks in to your church alone. (For example, ask them if they are new to the area, how do they enjoy the area, do they have any hobbies, can you or the church assist them in anyway?)

    Do not focus all questions and conversation around marriage and parenting with the person who walks in alone to your church or who you happen to meet in your neighborhood.

    When an adult new comer walks in to your church alone, and if you are a married parent, please do not ask stuff like,
    -How many children do you have?
    -How long since your divorce?
    -Where is your spouse?

    If and when the new person at your church says, “I’m not married, I have no kids,” please do not walk off and just leave them standing there (yes, this happens to A LOT of adult singles in churches).

    I don’t know if married couples realize it, but (and especially if you are shy and / or an introvert) it is very scary, intimidating, and uncomfortable to walk into a church alone, if you are single over age 30, 40, or older.

    Churches need to go out of their way to greet and be friendly to the person who walks in alone. A lot of married parents act like adult, childless singles are from Mars and they treat us like aliens.

    Some people walk in to your church alone because their spouse just died six months before, or divorced them a month ago. It’s painful for them to get the assumptions that they are still married, or the ‘where is your spouse’ questions.

    The instant a married, Christian mother finds out you are never married/childless, they usually either act like,
    1. you are totally foreign and have zero in common, so they walk off and leave you,
    2. act like you are not as good as they are, you are defective or a loser

    This is not just me who has experienced that. I have read books by and for adult Christian singles, and many un-married women have told stories in these books of being new at a church where it does not go well.

    These other singles also say the minute the married parent lady finds out these women are single with no kids, they instantly turn on their heel and walk off, never to speak to that single lady again. This is so hurtful and offensive, but it’s kind of common in some churches.

    Church people should not treat solitary adults differently from adults who walk in to church as pairs.

    There is also a double standard that is common. To use one story as an example:

    A single woman talked about how in one book I read she had been attending a church for a year or more, but nobody there went out of their way to greet her or get to know her.

    But a year later, her parents (who are a married couple) visited her with her at her church.

    She said the difference in treatment was staggering. The instant her mom and dad walked in, the entire church swarmed in about them, hand shaking, greeting, being all warm and fuzzy, asking them lots of questions, patting them on their backs.

    When she walked in alone, she got no such greeting.

    If you are a married person with children, you need to figure out other topics to discuss with people at your church and other avenues besides parenting and marriage.

    You need to plan this ahead, so next week, when “Miss Suzie Single” walks in to your church, you will have topics to chat with her about, and not just stand there like a deer in the headlights with a blank look on your face when she says, “No, I have never married, and I have no kids.”

    I have a married woman friend with a son, but she talks about farming with me, politics, art, museums, movies, etc.

    My married lady friend doesn’t make every conversation about her husband or son, or treat me like a freak because I am single with no kids, nor does she act like we have nothing in common just because I’ve never married but she has.
    ———————————–
    Off the top of my head, those are tips on how Christians and churches can help adult singles. I am sorry if I went on for too long.

    There are books and blogs out there by other people with even more advice on how to help singles.

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  65. One last tip or two.

    Christians and Churches: Help adult singles to marry who want to get married. Make actual gestures of getting them married off, don’t just spout off cliches and Bible verses at them.

    Fix them up with any singles you know, or make the offer to.

    Ask them first, though. Some singles do not want you to play match maker, but some do. Some singles would welcome being set up on dates with other singles. It depends on the single.

    For those singles who would appreciate help and who want marriage, churches need to stop telling singles things such as, “be content in your singleness,” “trust in the Lord’s timing for a mate,” and “take joy in singleness, because it gives you more time to serve God” – and the other cliched baloney.

    Churches: Stop refusing to host or hold mixed-gender Sunday School classes, dinners, dances, and potlucks where adults singles can flirt and date all because you are afraid of “church being turned into a meat market.” That is a lame excuse that is keeping singles from getting a shot at marriage.
    Because if the church doesn’t help singles meet other singles to date, we singles either have to go to night clubs, bars, or try dating sites.

    Telling adult singles to “be content” or “take joy in serving God” is total bunk to the single who wants marriage, these are hurtful platitudes.

    Like

  66. I have a great deal of respect for unmarried people who remain celibate. It is good and glorifies our Lord.

    I didn’t find out until late into the weekend that the speaker at our family retreat was single. He’s 66 and has always been single. He is very active in his ministry work and with all of his traveling, it might be a challenge for him to be married. He had some great talks.

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  67. JA, Would love to have heard him. I’m sure there are plenty of Christian women who would love to join him in ministry. Perhaps he, like Paul, didn’t feel called to me married.

    Like

  68. Brenda,

    What’s interesting is that he made references to marriage quite a bit in his talks. He used the VINE (John 15) acrostic and the emphasis was on love winning over law.

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  69. Married couples should include adult singles at holidays and meal times or whenever.

    The assistant pastor who preached on singleness when my church covered 1 Corinthians 7 earlier this spring made a similar suggestion, something I recalled as I spent yet another Easter Sunday afternoon alone this year.

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  70. I have a great deal of respect for unmarried people who remain celibate. It is good and glorifies our Lord.

    I prefer the term “chaste” to “celibate.” Chastity is something all Christians can practice, singles by abstaining and marrieds by remaining faithful to their spouses. Celibacy, on the other hand, indicates something permanent. I’m not ready to declare myself a celibate yet as I still have a desire for marriage and definitely do not have the gift of celibacy.

    Another thing to keep in mind: While singles abstaining from sexual relations may be good and glorifying to the Lord, let’s not use that as an excuse to bash and shame those like myself who’ve stumbled and fallen along the way. I’ve had that happen before even though I’m now trying to put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing. I had a conversation with a friend concerning such matters last night, and it was so good to talk about that part of my life with a fellow believer without being shamed for my past.

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  71. singleman, The difference is noted. I never thought of being celibate as an eternal thing, but the time before, after or between marriages. I am not at the present time married, but older people than I have found someone, so I suppose there is an outside chance of finding someone.

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  72. singleman said,
    The assistant pastor who preached on singleness when my church covered 1 Corinthians 7 earlier this spring made a similar suggestion, something I recalled as I spent yet another Easter Sunday afternoon alone this year.

    I have to say I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to being alone on holidays, since I’ve been doing so the last four, five years. I’ve learned to adapt, but, if I was still a church goer and wanted to spend time with a family, I would invite myself.

    I don’t know if it’s my age or what, but the older I get, I’m not as bashful as I was before about asking up for what I need or want.

    Meaning, if I was still going to a church, I would flat out announce during a Sunday school class and to married couples out in the main worship area, “I am an adult single, all my family is either dead or on the opposite coast, I end up eating holiday meals alone, I don’t like it, one of you needs to invite me over for the holidays.”

    Seriously, I would toss it out there like that.

    If other Christians are going to be in their little bubbles and be self absorbed weenies and not think to ask me I will ask them to ask me. Squeaky Wheel gets the grease.

    Since my mother passed, I now pick up the phone or e mail and flat out tell some of my extended family I need help or whatever. One or two of them have actually started to step up to the plate now, after I reminded them I am here and hurting and need help.

    I think my days of being passive and silently hoping Christians offer to do the right thing are over. I remind them to do the right thing now.

    These people SHOULD be inviting you over on weekends every so often, or for holidays, etc. If they are not, and you want to be included, I would bring it to their attention.

    Tell the preacher at your church to make an “Adopt a Single for a day” program where all the adult singles who want to eat with a family at a holiday put their name on a sign- up sheet with their contact information, pass that sheet around the church, and married couples pick a name off the list and adopt that single for that holiday. If they are not going to volunteer, make them volunteer.

    Also tell the other adult singles to band together.

    Ask “Sally Single” and “Steve Single” from your singles class if they would like to eat some K.F.C. take out chicken the next holiday at your place with a DVD in the movie player.

    Don’t wait for them to ask you, don’t wait for “Mr. Preacher Man” to step up and do the work, because often times, church people shirk responsibility.

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  73. singleman said,
    yet as I still have a desire for marriage and definitely do not have the gift of celibacy.

    I don’t think the Bible teaches “gift of celibacy” or not as commonly understood.

    Christians assume that because I am a never married virgin at 40ish years of age, I must be “gifted with celibacy.”

    Preacher Mark Driscoll, for instance, flat out says in one of his blog posts about adult singles that if you are single past age X, God gifted you with celibacy, meaning, he says, God supernaturally lowers your biological sexual drive, he removes your libido (or that caused you to be born from the start with no sex drive). That is FALSE, FALSE, FALSE.

    I don’t mean to be crass, to be polite as I can about it, I may be a virgin, I may be single, but I do indeed have a sex drive. God did not whisk out a wand and wave it over me and remove all my sexual desire.

    A lot of Christians have very mistaken ideas about adult single sexuality and libido.

    They think if you are still single past age X and abstaining, you have no sex drive, God removed it from you, or you don’t want to have sex, and all sorts of bogus, incorrect ideas.

    Some assume that because we singles are not having sex this means we are not sexual beings, they think it takes having sex to be sexual, which is ALSO FALSE.

    Chaste or celibate singles are not the same thing as asexuals. Asexuals experience little to no sex drive.

    Many Christians also overlook my category: single, celibate, but who WANTS to get married and have sex.

    They assume if you are single at my age, it is because you do not want marriage, you don’t want sex, or you chose career over marriage, etc. Wrong! I am not sure why I am still single at my age. I don’t feel that being single is “a gift.”

    As to your other comments,

    Another thing to keep in mind: While singles abstaining from sexual relations may be good and glorifying to the Lord, let’s not use that as an excuse to bash and shame those like myself who’ve stumbled and fallen along the way. I’ve had that happen before even though I’m now trying to put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing.

    Dude, no, it’s the opposite now! You will be shamed for being a virgin now.

    The thinking by most Christian preachers and magazines, etc, now is that they expect everyone past 25 years of age to commit fornication.

    There is no recognition in Christian culture these days that such a person as me exists: over age 40 and still a virgin. They just assume someone of my age has already had sex.

    There is a backlash against virginity and sexual purity teachings in most of Christianity today, because mostly 30 year old Christian women give this testimony:

    “I had consensual sex when I was 15 with my boyfriend. Then when I was 17, our Sunday School teacher compared having pre marital sex to used chewing gum. That made me feel dirty and ashamed, so I think churches need to stop teaching that the Bible demands staying a virign until marriage.”

    So, what has happened in the last few years, is that Christian bloggers like Tim Challies have written blog posts insulting virginity and the concepts of sexual purity and saying things like, “Even fornicators are virgins now,” and Russell Moore shamed a young virgin woman who wrote him a letter, where she said she was concerned her sweetie had sex already with another girl, telling her she has made an “idol” out of virginity (she did no such thing).

    I’ve since seen sever more blog posts with anti virginity sentiments like that on other Christian blogs, such as “Focus on the Family” etc.

    You have a slew of liberal Christians these days, and they have even influenced conservatives, who hate modesty and sexual purity teachings and ridicule them at every chance.

    I agree there are some problems with some of those teachings as taught by certain religious groups, but I disagree with the liberal Christian solution that “let’s just chuck all biblical sexual standards altogether.”

    Far from being shamed for having previous sexual experience before marriage, today’s Christians will mock and shame you for being a virgin past your mid 30s (or older), and some of them will shame you for not having babies, especially if you are a woman. They would prefer a woman have pre-marital sex if it produces a baby, rather than be a never-married virgin woman such as myself.

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  74. My formatting in my post above got messed up, there should be a blockquote end tag.

    My comments start at,
    ” Dude, no, it’s the opposite now! You will be shamed for being a virgin now.”

    The comments prior to that were singleman’s (his quote started with “Another thing to keep in mind: While singles abstaining from sexual relations may be good and glorifying to the Lord,”).

    Mod note: Daisy, I think I got it, let me know if something is off.

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  75. I have also remained celibate and therefore faithful to God waiting for marriage. And I mean I have protected myself and waited for the right man to marry for years even when pressed to do more. Because there are some men out there professing to be Christians but want to become too intimate and have that sexual relationship with a marital commitment. In staying firm and guarding myself I have lost boyfriends and all chance of ever having any children because, like my mom, I went through menopause early. Now I hurt when I am expected to care for others’ children knowing I will never have one. How do others here cope with that? This is another reason, I have cut back from serving in some capacities. That just hurts too and this also feeds into my bitterness. I can be a teacher and a babysitter for other’s children but I will never be a mother. Church leaders don’t understand that side of it either.

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  76. Becky. I understood it fine. You articulate well another painful issue of wanting to have a baby. That’s sad. Thanks for sharing your world with us. It’s important to discuss these things because if one part of our Body of Christ is suffering, we need to be aware if it.

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  77. Becky,

    I may have mentioned this further up the thread, but I have been seen as a pariah in my peer group for about the past fifteen years. I don’t have children, not because of any decision against parenting but because of miscarriages and health problems that make adoption untenable as well.

    When in therapy for trauma, it seemed that every week, the waiting room at the Christian (clinical LPC) counselor was packed full of homeschooling moms and their kids. I was asked a couple of times if I had children (a conversation starter, I guess). I dreaded it. After two months of seeing the same mothers week after week who were waiting for family therapy or were waiting on their children, a few really looked down their noses at me, so much like many of my same-aged peers did at church. One evening, by the time I made it into the counselor’s office for my session, I was in tears.

    She and I explored the grief that I felt, for my days of conceiving were apparently gone as I moved closer to the next phase in life. We dug deep to identify the false beliefs about myself as a person that I’d created because I had no children and what rested underneath my feelings of inadequacy. She did EMDR work for trauma with me, and we “reprocessed” those feelings of grief with this approach. It was funny, but right after that phase in therapy, all of those mothers who were there in that office for nearly a year disappeared. I prayed on the way home when it was clear that things had changed with scheduling that perhaps God filled that office with moms to push me to work on this element of loss for me. I didn’t have babies, but I needed to mourn the loss of the opportunity.

    Though I purposely don’t go to church anywhere near Mother’s Day, after doing that grief work with the therapist, I don’t have that much trouble with it. I also moved through a lot of my fear about not having a right to an opinion when I wrote about Lydia Schatz and Hana Williams. I am not a parent, but I have a right to an opinion as a human being, a Christian, and as a nurse. And my best girlfriend says that I can take credit for at least two of her kids — but she gets to pick which ones at any given time. They have been a joy to me for many years.

    And God’s grace is sufficient for the rest. He’s given me really wonderful opportunities to be motherly and to mother — different people in different ways. I got to bottle feed Doug Phillips baby deer years ago. I bottle fed two baby kittens who were a week old. At parties, I sit on the floor with kids, and if there are none, I sit with the elderly. There, I find joy. And I move on from the people who don’t offer me any acceptance and love. It’s none of their business anyway.

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  78. Becky, You are doing what is right in the site of God. If you lost men because of your choice to wait for intimacy until marriage then they would have only caused you more pain later on if you gave in to their demands. I married a boy who claimed to be a Christian, had 2 children, he had many affairs and was very abusive to me and our son. It would be painful for me not to have children, but the way it turns out I am watching their pain because of the way things turned out. God has a plan for you and it will be good for you in hte end. If you don’t feel that caring for other people’s children is right for you, don’t let anyone push you in to it. Find out where God has a good fit for you. (((((HUGS))))) Also, Remember Sarah gave up on having a baby, but God had a plan.

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  79. My post is mainly in response to beckyg1003 and Cindy K.

    There is definitely a problem with men who claim to be Christian but who expect or demand sex while dating.

    There was an article about it months ago:
    Christian Dating Culture – Women Struggle in Dating Scene That Expects Openness to Premarital Sex

    I am not seeing, hearing, or reading Christian preachers who are addressing these types of topics.

    Preachers today are bizarrely obsessed with fighting or discussing traditional marriage v. traditional marriage. It escapes their notice that there are a lot of single Christian women who are staying sexually pure, following all the rules as it were, but still not getting Christian spouses.

    The Christians who have picked up on this phenomenon still do nothing to help post-age- 30 singles get married, they only say churches need to encourage today’s teens to marry by the time they reach 20.

    I myself have given up and am now prepared to start dating Non-Christians. I’m not dating yet, but when I do, I am going to consider Non Christian men.

    I’ve never been strongly interested in having children. I am neither particularly for or against having children myself.

    My issue is not that I do not have children and may never have one, but that Christian culture promotes motherhood to such an exaggerated degree that they marginalize or exclude women who cannot have children or who do not want to have children.

    If I had a nickel for every time I saw or read the conservative Chrisitan attitude that a “woman’s highest, greatest, or most godly role and calling in life is to be a wife and mother” in Christian sermons or literature, I would be a multi-billionaire by now.

    A variation of that is this comment I’ve heard from preachers in sermons: “There is no more important job (for a woman) than raising a child.” – A view which basically implies women who do not or cannot reproduce are worthless, and their lives mean nothing. Sometimes secular culture echoes these sentiments in the media as well.

    I am not against mothers or motherhood, but I am opposed to secular culture or churches basing all of a woman’s worth on whether or not she marries and/or has children.

    (I will continue my thoughts in a separate post.)

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  80. (continuing)

    As far as coping.

    I sometimes speak up and out on blogs or in face- to- face meetings. If I come across a Christian once more giving voice to the idea that a woman’s only worth comes via marriage/parenting, I correct them on that.

    I am astounded at the number of Christians who are ignorant that there is even such a creature as a never married, childless female over age 30. I’d say about 99% of Christians assume all other Christians are married with kids. You have to educate them.

    I remind them that not all women marry or have babies, and to insist a woman’s only calling is to marry/parent is hurtful and offensive to women who cannot or do not do either one.

    Another coping mechanism. I avoid churches on Mother’s Day and the like. However.

    Some churches have so idolized motherhood (and marriage), even should you attend a church on a Non- Mother’s- Day type holiday or social event, you will still get smacked upside the head with the “motherhood is sacred” message.

    For example. I once went to a Baptist church (Sunday morning service) that held an impromptu “honor the new mothers” ceremony in the middle of the service. It was months away from Mother’s Day when this ceremony happened.

    The preacher asked all the mothers of new-born babies to step forward. They did. He prayed over them, uttered blessings, and I think gave them flowers. (Had I known the preacher was going to do that, I would have skipped church that day.)

    I was mid-30s at this point, very much wanting to be married.

    I believe it is wrong to have sex, and hence, children, prior to marriage, so to me, babies represent marriage.

    I cried after I left that church service. I did not understand why at first, until I realized it’s because that ceremony reminded me once more that I was still single.

    There are no church ceremonies that give flowers, blessings, and prayers to never-married, childless, virgin ladies who are over 30, 35, 40 years of age.

    If churches are not going to honor and publicly celebrate all women of all life stages, conditions, and situations during church services, they should stop honoring motherhood, IMO. (This view point ticks off some mothers out there, but that is never the less my view.)

    I mentioned this above, but any time I am new at a church, they assume I am divorced with children.

    (Churches of America, stop making assumptions about an adult who walks in your doors alone. Don’t ask the new comer, loner adult how many she kids she has, or how long she has been divorced.)

    Also, I’ve never felt at ease around babies and children. Even as a child, I preferred adult company to kids.

    Yet, every church on planet Earth assumes on mere basis I am female, I would love to work in the church nursery, or around babies and kids in some fashion.

    Wrong. I would prefer working in the church’s multi-media, internet, audio and/or TV department with other adults.

    Cindy K
    You mentioned experiencing grief over what you could not have. The same thing happened to me, but with me, it was marriage, not the issue of being childless.

    I went through a grieving process in my late 30s that I was not married and may never be. I had to accept the reality marriage may never happen. (Allowing myself t go through a grieving process was also another manner of coping that helped.)

    Most church people don’t get this at all.

    They understand women mourning over the death of an infant or having a miscarriage, but they are ignorant that women who can’t get pregnant at all (via infertility or who cannot find a husband) also grieve for not being able to have a baby, and you have women like me who mourn having wanted to marry but who still do not have a spouse.

    This makes the Christian tendency to utter little cliches about ‘being content in your singleness’ and other things like that all the more annoying. I want my loss acknowledged and recognized by other Christians, not brushed off with platitudes, or ignored.

    Some lady wrote a page about this topic about a year ago, about how single women mourn never having a husband, or women who want to have children but who cannot have one. I believe this is the page:

    My Secret Grief. Over 35, Single and Childless by Melanie Notkin

    The sadness I’d feel around my period was deeper than hormonal. I was mourning the loss of one more chance at the family life I always dreamed of.

    And I grieved alone.

    Grief over not being able to have children is acceptable for couples going through biological infertility. Grief over childlessness for a single woman in her thirties and forties is not as accepted.

    … This type of grief, grief that is not accepted or that is silent, is referred to as disenfranchised grief. It’s the grief you don’t feel allowed to mourn, because your loss isn’t clear or understood. You didn’t lose a sibling or a spouse or a parent. But losses that others don’t recognize can be as powerful as the kind that is socially acceptable.

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  81. Daisy, I have to agree with you. I know many life long single women with no children who have lead healthy, God fearing, productive lives. They managed not to turn into vegetables because they had no husband or children. Everyone makes choices. Those choices are between you and God. Married, not married, children, no children, why should anyone else make it their business?

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  82. missdaisyflower:
    If I had a nickel for every time I saw or read the conservative Chrisitan attitude that a “woman’s highest, greatest, or most godly role and calling in life is to be a wife and mother” in Christian sermons or literature, I would be a multi-billionaire by now.

    I have actually said to people that, “In hindsight and with a belief that God is sovereign, God must have called me to a different path. He does that sometimes.” Maybe I’m not called to the “highest.” Maybe I’m called to something that they deem to be less. (My comfort in that is that the last shall be first at some point.)

    I have also said that “If you believe that God opens and closes the womb, why do you assume that I have not trusted Him in this way, but He just chose not to open mine?”

    They usually clam right up and then never speak to me again. And that works out to be just fine for me most of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  83. Missdaisyflower,

    What you’ve written is beautiful. And grief sometimes comes back to me at times, but it is not overpowering. Few people understand how to grieve loss, and Christians can be notorious for shutting down this process by shaming people for not “counting it all joy” in the way that they deem fit.

    I also pray that verse from Isaiah, asking that God make me that much more fruitful in other ways:

    “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD. (54:1, NIV)

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  84. Cindy K, this is a tad off the marriage / single / childless topic, but as far as grieving goes.

    Yes, most Christians are the absolute pits when it comes to grieving. They don’t know how to handle it, and oddly, I found this to be true even of Christians in their 50s and 60s who had experienced a death in the family.

    My mother, who I was very close to, died a few years ago. The Christians I went to during my time of pain – from folks at a local church to extended family – either blew me off, uttered cliches at me, or tried to get me off the phone as fast as possible, or ignored my e-mails.

    Another set of Christians I went to handled it another way:
    One of the most irritating, insensitive things that happened where the Christians who tried to diminish my pain – and not meet it head on by comforting me – by essentially telling me to go into denial and ignore my pain (they kept telling me to stop thinking about me and go serve in a soup kitchen).

    Then, another group would diminish my pain over the loss by comparing my situation to homeless crack heads or orphans in India.

    Their point being that because I am not homeless and have a roof over my head that my life is totally awesome, so I should not be sad, or I was not entitled to feel sad and miss my mother. I find that attitude to very offensive.

    I don’t go up to homeless crack heads in America and tell them their plight is nothing because some where in India is a paralyzed kid begging for bread. I don’t go up to such children in India and tell them that somewhere in South America are orphans picking through trash to eat, so they can stop their crying. But Christians pull this kind of nonsense on other hurting Christians constantly!

    There are parallels to this with singleness and childlessness. I have seen equally insensitive advice put forth by married people or parents to those who are single or childless.

    I have seen women on other Christian sites tell Christian women who are infertile to go volunteer at kiddie Sunday School so they can get their “kid fill.” They are told to baby sit other people’s kids, etc.

    I think what those women really need is for someone to just sit and hold their hand as they cry and give voice to the pain they feel over not being able to have a baby of their own.

    They do not need to be told to go volunteer at a Sun. school or orphanage. They need their pain validated and heard, not shoved aside with suggestions on how they can push it down by “serving others.” But Christians pull that advice out all the time. It drives me up the wall.

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