Tuesday, August 31, 2010

single.

Since my previous post was about marriage and people who are married and me being married and the kind of guy you should look for, I wanted to post something about singleness too.

I'm pretty sure I've posted on this subject in the past, but it's a good one, so I'm going to post again.

I've noticed that in the Christian culture it seems like getting married is the thing to do.  It seems like your right of passage is to find a husband or wife and settle down and have some kids and have a good job and all that stuff.

I think that the American culture is sort of getting away from that whole deal but instead they're marketing just shacking up together instead of getting married because then if you want out it's a whole lot easier on the legal system.  Plus the general populous is pretty cool with everybody having sex with whomever they want to, as long as they use protection and don't spread around nasty diseases.

In the Christian culture, we're trying to stay away from the sex with multiple partners and shacking up thing, but we're pushing the whole - get married and have kids thing. 

I know that growing up there was never a doubt that I would find a nice young man and settle down some day.  It was expected.  You go to school.  You go to college.  At college you find a nice young man.  You get married.  You get jobs.  You have kids.  Then your life is pretty much over.

It wasn't something I really questioned until I made some single friends who were my age or older and talked to them about what it was like for them. 

A lot of single people over even twenty-five feel judged and questioned much of the time.  People always asking them when they're going to get married and settle down.  When they're going to have some kids.  When are they going to grow up and start real life?

This makes me mad.

Paul (the one in the Bible) talks about how being single is BETTER.  It's a GIFT.  Getting married is something you do because you can't keep it in your pants (so to speak).  It's better to get married than to burn with desire.  So if you're burning with desire then by all means, get yourself married.  But if you're NOT, then why should you have to?

I love my husband and my family more than words can possibly express, but I think sometimes - if I were single - WOW - the things that I could do.

Just think - without having someone else to worry about, it would be easy to quit your job and go somewhere else.  It would be easy to take some time and hike the AT or be a missionary or live with the poor or join an intentional community.  It would be easy to live with friends, to go back to school - you don't have to worry about anyone's mouth to feed but yours.  There is no guilt about the sort of housing you're living in - it's just YOU.  No spouse, no kids, just you. 

If you feel like God is calling you to something, you don't have to question what it will do to your family.  You can just DO IT.

Can you imagine if Jesus had been married and had children???

(I know there are all kinds of theories floating around about that idea...but let's just stick with traditional Christian text right now for the sake of argument...)

Would Jesus have been able to go to the cross with a wife and kids to worry about?  Leaving his wife a widow in a culture where a woman couldn't support herself through employment?  Talk about an irresponsible jerk! 

No, being single was the way to go.  For sure!

If you have a family, you've got to be responsible for them.  Period.  It's tacked on to your responsibilities here on earth.  This is WHY Paul says that being single is where it's AT!

So...for all you single people out there, or those who really just don't have any desire to get married - I salute you.  And envy you just a little bit.  I envy your freedom and your ability to be closer to your Creator on your own time.  I pray that you will find strength in this gift from God and power to fight through the ridicule to hold on to the pearl with which you've been presented.  Press on toward the prize, ladies and gentlemen.

4 comments:

Jeff said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I've thought that a long time about the church and how it (we) treats single people. There is a lot of pressure to get married and have a family. I've noticed even that a lot of times when you're single, you're not eligible for leadership and I find that really sad.

Missy said...

I think that there's this whole, you can't be a grown-up unless you're married thing. Hates it. Not that I think rights of passage are bad. I think our culture could use some positive rights of passage, or...rites, I suppose it would be - but I pray that we can change the way we look at singleness.

Pete Ramsey said...

As usual, you've nailed the issue on the head.

The (huge) church we went to in PA had a Young Married Ministry and a college-focused group, but basically nothing for single adults in their 20-30s. There was also some sort of middle-adult-married-with-kids group, so the expected progression was rather obvious.

Besides the obvious benefits of being single, I dislike that single people are segregated from the married cult. I've had some incredible friends who happen to be single, and I miss interacting with them in formal church groups.

A related topic is the break-down of church groups by age. I like interacting with other age groups...sometimes more than my own age group. Why is the US church (and general culture too) against mixed-age groups? I think the resulting alienation is a big part of why many older people in our country feel useless and depressed.

Becka said...

Funny, Missy, that you mention this because I was ridiculed as a child for ONLY wanting to just grow up, get married, and be a mom. Of course, there were times when I informed the inquiring minds that I wanted to be a teacher and a chef and fire truck driver when asked the usual, "What do you want to be when you grow up" question, but always there was the constant "mom and wife".

My mother loves my father and my father loves my mom, but mom always said she married him too quick. For that reason, she pressed us girls to be "single and free" for a long time before settling down. I rejected the idea. It seemed silly and a waste of my time when I clearly knew I wanted to be married.

Well, I tried it for a while. Actually, just got done trying it. Turns out, it was a waste of my time. My purpose is to be married, and it's all I ever dream about. For other people, I cannot say. They must find their path in life. Mine is with Chris and the children we'll have. I can't bear to think of doing anything else. I suppose I've always thought that weird about myself. I was told growing up that I can be anything but I can't be everything. Well, anything is a big thing. I just want to be a mom.

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