Well yesterday I received a fair amount of feedback on my blog. I had no idea my thoughts would be so controversial! I talked to my pastor about it some, and he felt that I was not wrong for being so honest about my thought process. He did, however, advise me to be cautious in my honesty since some people who haven’t been reading my blog long or carefully might get the wrong idea and be led astray about what is a healthy approach to singleness, versus an unhealthy approach.
So in the interest of being above reproach, I wanted to follow up yesterday’s post with some final thoughts. First and foremost, I want to reiterate that my frustrations with the church were not meant to be read as coming from the most Christ-centered part of my heart. As I mentioned before, my thoughts went through a *process,” and I had hoped that in leading you through that process, you yourself might be able to leave your frustrations behind and enter into a more profitable state of mind.
I had also hoped that by being honest about my frustrations in singleness, my honesty would prevent some of you from feeling completely isolated in your struggles. I find there to be nothing more defeating than talking with Christians who can’t relate to my struggles, and merely tell me to “buck up.” What I find far more edifying is when Christians admit, “Hey I’m right there with you! Let me share with you how I’m working through it.” That said, I’m sorry if my honesty came off as a belittling of the family or of marriage, because that was not at all my intent.
Having said that, I also feel the need to reemphasize that the family is of the utmost importance. It is one of the most fundamental building blocks of our culture, and should be treated with that degree of honor. However, I think one of the commenters said it best when she mentioned that the stark distinction between marrieds and singles is probably not a healthy one. That comment gets to the heart of what I meant to convey in the last post–
When I argued that churches need to be held accountable for their ministries to singles, I did not mean that we should have more singles events and worship services. On the contrary, singles should be enveloped into the larger life of the church. Instead of having ministries that are JUST for married people or JUST for single people, we need to be intentional about ministering to BOTH, holistically. To divide up these demographics can be practical at times, but ultimately undermines the very essence of the Church if taken to an extreme.
We should therefore keep in mind the extent of our connectedness. Single people will one day be married, so it makes no sense to focus solely on putting out fires in marriage, fires that could have been prevented had we properly nurtured single people. Likewise, solid, Christ-centered families can minister effectively to those without families if we equip them to do so.
As the Body of Christ, we are all intimately connected to one another, so any ministry should have the whole Body in mind. A ministry that focuses on one demographic alone without at least keeping the rest of the Body in mind will become inherently narcissistic. And single people are just as guilty of this as married people.
Wherever you are in life, you are going to have your own struggles. As another commenter wrote, marriage can be extremely difficult, so it’s not as if us singles are the only ones with hardship. That said, we will all need ministering to at one time or another, but what we do well to remember is that there is no “me” or “them.” There is only “us,” as we are united in Christ. That is our primary identity, which means we should help our churches minister to the whole Body as effectively as possible, no matter the stage in life. I should be just as invested in the success of my friends’ marriages as they are in helping me to maximize this season of my life.
That, I believe, should be our ultimate goal. It’s okay if you are not there yet–clearly I am not–but I pray that my brothers and sisters will show me the grace I need to get there along the way.