Dan responded to a Facebook post from fellow blogger Tim Challies about the "problem" with Christian singles today. Tim wrote:
One of the biggest problems in the church today is the failure of young adult men to value and pursue marriage.
First, I'm impressed that Tim can even spot single men in the church. They're the most ignored people in any given congregation. Dan aptly responded by pointing out that, hey, let's not leave the blame with the guys.
It was almost always the woman who broke things off in a relationship. I knew a lot of single Christian guys, and they were typically the dumpee, not the dumper. These were good guys, too. They WANTED to get married. It’s just that their girlfriends didn’t—at least not to them. So just who is putting off marriage here?
I've been a singles minister and spent possibly thousands of hours talking to single men and women online since 1996. By virtue of my own singleness, it has been the center of my personal ministry as an adult. Now, as a widow after seven years of blissful marriage, I'm getting a grasp on the complete awkward nature of being a single person at the beginning of middle age.
Are my credentials set? Good. Let me lay one on y'all:
I've never actually met a mature Christian single who didn't want to get married, didn't constantly dwell on feelings of inadequacy of being a single Christian, didn't abhor the isolation that comes with being a single Christian in virtually every congregation, didn't dread every moment when certain married Christians would come by and pass judgment -- usually passively and even unwittingly -- by NOT inviting the single people to their couples gatherings.
I don't know where Tim goes to church, but it seems to be in another universe than the one I live in. Even the immature Christians have a great burden to get married to another Christian because they are told over and over and over again by Christian culture (and often times by their own church, by way of agenda, if not outright from the pulpit) they are incomplete Christians until they are married.
No, Tim, I'm sorry. You have it wrong.
One of the biggest problems in the church today is the failure of the church to teach singles how to live a life of purposeful singleness
I agree with Dan, as well, about younger Christians -- often females -- who keep impossible checklists for the kind of mate they're looking for. And, yep, that list shrinks as life goes on.
What I feel I need to add to Dan's post is that we have ruined an entire generation of young Christians with programs designed to produce the type of behavior we prefer but fail to deliver grown-up hearts sealed with Christ. We have seemed much more concerned with tertiary issues like abstinence and not concerned enough with primary issues like teaching young people to become servants of the kingdom of God.
What's worse is we promise these kids things we can never deliver, like that perfect prince or perfect princess they're supposed to be saving their virginity for. We DEIFY marriage for them at an early age, turning it into something to be worshiped, and possibly something actually unattainable. It puts them on a mission for that person they can't live without, instead of looking for that person they can live with.
I have met good women who have gone through life terrified of men, not because they've had bad experiences with them, but because they've been so committed to the cause they took up as teenagers, they have almost no relational experience with them. I have met good men so discouraged by the constant rejection in pursuit of the thing they've been taught to pursue, they have all but lost hope and given up.
But none of them suffer from a low value of marriage. None of them have spent a day celebrating their singleness. Not in this culture. Not under the constant barrage of Focus on the Family and weekly Sunday sermons on family, marriage, raising children, etc.
And that, my friend, is a major problem.