Stop Focusing on the Family and Start Serving the Singles

17 Apr

Every Christian in the U.S., and probably most non-Christians as well, has heard of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. After all, they are actively anti-abortion, want abstinence-only education, and are vocal in speaking out against homosexuality–all political hot-buttons these days, for Christians and non-Christians alike.

My issues with Focus on the Family are numerous, but I’m going to focus on a single issue today: singleness.

You see what I did there?

Focus on the Family is, by definition, a family-oriented organization. That’s great, but what I object to is their treatment of singles. Rather than ignoring singles altogether, they seem to view singleness as a condition to be cured or, at best, grown out of.

Scanning their Boundless website

  • I see articles with titles like: “In the Meantime”, “Addicted to Adultescence”, “Powerful Attraction”, “How to Relate to Men”, “He’s Not My Type”, and “Prep for the Wedding Night”.
  • I see advertisements for books like Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help it Happen, The Ring Makes All the Difference, and I Kissed Dating Goodbye (ugh).
  • I see the tagline of their Boundlessline blog: “Bringing focus to the single years”.

Do you see a trend here? Everything on the website and blog, all the resources recommended and articles written, tell singles we need to grow up and get married.

Okay, there are a few articles that acknowledge that some people may be “called to singleness”. Frankly, I loathe that phrase. Whether or not I am called to singleness, I am content being single, and that is as Paul has commanded. But apparently, according to articles like “A Balanced View on Singleness” by Alex Chediak, I just have “too little desire for marriage”. Chediak’s solution? I apparently need a “kick in the pants”.

Never mind that I don’t feel that labels such as “extended adolescence” or “fear of commitment” are applicable to me. (In fact, in that same article, Chediak advocates that pastors should interfere if they think a single person is stuck in neutral and needs to get married. I can’t think of anything that would make me leave a church faster than if my minister got up in my grill about being single.)

I could keep going. I actually printed off several articles I wanted to respond to when I started this post. I’m angry and feeling alienated by Boundless’ attitude towards people like me — people who are single and content to remain so.

But frankly, I’m not sure there’s much point in railing against Boundless and its parent organization, Focus on the Family. After all, they are self-admittedly focused on the family.

I think, rather, it’s time for singles to start focusing on ourselves. After all, if singleness was good enough for Jesus and Paul, who are married people to tell us it’s a bad thing?

So how about it? Anyone want to help me start an organization called Serve the Singles?

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4 Responses to “Stop Focusing on the Family and Start Serving the Singles”

  1. robschumann April 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I’ve always hated the phrase “the single years”, because it implies that it’s supposed to be a temporary situation. FotF is the worst with that. My mom subscribed to their Brio magazine for me in high school. Every issue made me angry with just how out of touch they are.

    Our church has a singles void. It’s so difficult to find the critical mass of people to get and keep a singles ministry going. Post-college, early career, people don’t want to stay in our small town. If they return, they’re either married or see themselves as too old for a singles ministry.

    • robschumann April 17, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

      Gravatar is all messed up. You know who this is.

    • SWC April 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

      Hey, thanks for commenting! I remember getting Brio magazine too! And yes, that’s exactly why I don’t care for the phrase myself. Sure, for a lot of people, the “single years” are just a temporary situation, and that’s great. But let’s acknowledge that for some people, single is permanent, or at least very long-term, and let’s give those people the support they need, int the way they need it!

      My church doesn’t have a singles ministry. I can only name one other single person off the top of my head. There are plenty of people who might be single, but they attend with members of the opposite sex, so I’m not sure.

      I honestly don’t want to start a singles ministry at my church, but I would sure love to help with one. Hmm…maybe I should relocate your direction. 😉

      • robschumann April 18, 2012 at 9:02 am #

        The Ozarks are quite pretty. Just saying…

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