Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stuff Church People Say to Singles, Part 4

I just love this froggy in hats. So I brought it back.
I heard a woman in her 60's say this to a woman in her '40's who had survived and escaped an abusive first marriage and was lonely for companionship. Yes, for real. And I'd wager every single has heard it at one point or another.

Church People Say: God's trying to teach you something, and when you're ready, he'll bring Jack/Jill.

Translation: This is basically your fault because every married person is better at relationships than you are.

Consider: I have lived in many places around the country, and the typical age people wed varies. Does this mean that entire regions North of the Mason-Dixon are relationally behind? And that those teen brides in Podunk are vastly ahead in the partnership game?

I have mentioned this earlier this week, but it bears repeating because it is a big deal. Single does not equal spiritual dunce.

And yet almost every church, if they have a singles group at all, holds a midweek service roughly three hours long that combines lots and lots of repetitive music and a reminder not to have sex. Why is it that we think singles need an extra service each week? Why not just do something fun, or meet at Starbucks just to chat?

The ultimate problem is that we forget we're all meant to be one body, and the segregation common in most churches doesn't help. Believe it or not, singles have more going on in life than not having sex.

 The early church didn't have separate small groups for single ladies, single guys, marrieds with young children, marrieds with old children, marrieds with no children, and marrieds who act like children. They were one body.

Face it, single or not, people today deal with self worth issues, jealousy, anger, childhood events, lust, lostness, and more. And I think we miss out on a lot of wisdom, camaraderie, and potentially vital friendships when we make the  people over 57 years-old meet separate from parents of babies born in January.

During my stint in Arkansas (Wooo Pig Sooie!) I made some amazing friends that I will keep always. They consist of a fifteen year-old, a (I won't say her age) spiritual mentor who has more energy than I do, and three married gals, all with young kids. I know, crazy, right? I can't imagine those years without these friends, and I would hate to miss out on more kindred spirits because I have to attend the people-with-highlighted-hair group, and they're tucked away in the people-who-write-left-handed group. It's one thing to have interest or topical groups, but another entirely when folks are told who they can "do life" with, as the fad saying goes, and you can only do life with people just. like. you.

I feel incredibly lucky to have found an extensive and varied group of friends who see it that way. Most of my friends these days are married, and are fabulous. We talk about their married joys and woes and my single joys and woes and all the other parts of life that aren't marital-status dependent. I think people are trending that way (or I just found all the good ones...hehehe) and that gives me hope.

We are supposed to be diverse, not divided. Thank God we are. It's not always easy, people just like us feel safer, and I get that. But it is sooooo worth it!

Now I have to go study for my people-who-like-sparkly-things group...


  1. (Tried to comment early but the mobile version of blogspot kept deleting my comment as I hit preview...)

    Dan & Jarrod told me to check out what you were writing this week. I'm really glad I did and I'm on this side of the internet cheering you on. I just spent 4 years in seminary where there's this weird disconnect between what we're taught about marital status being irrelevant to teaching ability and what some students & most of the churches seeking to hire us (well, the married ones, of course) believed. As a single woman, I learned the same exact things as those married men, and in some instances may teach it better, but will be overlooked/ignored for ministry positions and constantly asked these questions/told these things. There's this disturbing mistrust of single women in ministry (in America and certainly the South), as if something is wrong with us for not wanting to do things conventionally.

    So really, thank you for saying what I believe and confronting what many women don't want to

    1. Thanks, Kerry. Yes, and amen. I spent 14 years in the South and know what you're dealing with. Fight the good fight!!! You were called on purpose.