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We’re All More Than We First Appear

19 Nov

My blog name makes me uncomfortable. It didn’t start out that way, but in the time since Passover, when I started this blog, I’ve had various people comment on the name. I’ve had someone ask me if I’m a racist because of my blog name. I’ve had someone else tell me the “white” part seemed weird. And I find myself, more and more often, talking about SWC instead of Single White Christian.

So why Single White Christian?

I was trying to accomplish two things with my blog name. I wanted to be 1) funny and 2) honest.

Funny, because it’s like a personal ad, right? SWF seeking SWM, GWM seeking GWM, SWM seeking SWF for FWB LOL. Except, of course, it isn’t funny if I have to explain it.

Honest, because I need to acknowledge upfront that, while I feel my life has known hardship, I am still speaking from a place of privilege. I can’t pretend to speak from any other point of view than a single, white, Christian woman. I can’t speak for gay people or black people. I can’t speak for men. I can’t speak for Asians or Frenchmen or Australians, for that matter, but I thought Single White Straight Lower-Middle-Class USian Christian might be too hard to remember.

I want to open a dialogue with people of other backgrounds and worldviews. I want to ask questions and learn from people, and maybe find something I can teach others. And if I start off by using language that is off-putting to others, I’ve already put myself at a disadvantage.

After my last conversation about the name of this blog, I started thinking about renaming the blog. I talked it over with a good friend who’s been super supportive of this effort…and who finally admitted that she felt a little weird about the white part. Rather than renaming, though, she suggested a redefining.

SWC means Single White Christian, yes. But what else can SWC mean?

  • Seeking Welcoming Church
  • Saved With Christ
  • Sharing Wonderful Companions
  • Shoulda Woulda Coulda
  • Sleep/Wake Cycle
  • Single Without Children
  • Snarky While Charming?

What do you guys think? Did the name confuse you? Make you angry? Make you ask questions? Would it be better if I found something else to call this blog? (And if you say yes to that, you’d better have some clever suggestions!)

Or do I own this name? Do I inhabit this name? Do I say, “Yes, I called it this. Yes, I realize now that it makes people uncomfortable. Yes, I know better now. But no, I’m not covering up this mistake?”

Or do you think it wasn’t a mistake at all? Do you actually (gasp) like the name? Did you see the blog name and think, “Yeah, I can identify with this chick?”

Let me know!

Single-and-Not-Dating…With Caveats (Part 3)

27 Sep

Last Monday I started answering a question Edarnut asked me: There seem to be 3 kinds of Christian singles: Single and looking for a spouse, single and dating but not really spouse hunting, and single and not dating. Which are you? And how is the “singles ministry” dynamic between the 3 types?

Then on Thursday I continued my response and talked about how I came to realize I was content with singledom.

Today I want to explain the caveat I added to her category–that is, that I’m not opposed to marriage.

First I need to clarify that I’m not talking about marriage across the board. I’m not opposed to that, either, but I mean specifically that I’m not opposed to my own marriage. I don’t dislike men. I believe in the institution of marriage. (I also believe the government shouldn’t be defining it, but let’s not get into politics today, huh?)

I’m just not actively seeking marriage. I’m not actively seeking a spouse.

Christian readers of my blog are probably familiar with the story of Isaac and Rebekah, how the servant set out to find a wife for Isaac, prayed to God for a sign, and was granted that sign. The servant asked Rebekah for water at the well, and she offered to draw water for his camels too, whereupon he decked her out in jewelry and proclaimed her the bride God had chosen for his master.

Well, I like to joke that if God sends a dude with camels and bracelets to ask me for water, that’s about the only way I’ll end up married. That might sound flippant, but what it boils down to is that if God wants me to get married, He’ll place the right man in my path at the right time and cause me to know His will.

At which point I hope to heaven I’m wise enough to recognize it!

But I’m not anticipating that day. I’m not holding my breath waiting for a Prince Charming. I’m not praying every day for my future husband. Frankly, I don’t know if he even exists, and I’m not fussed either way. Why should I pray for some dude who may not even be real, especially if I’m not even staying awake nights hoping he is?

What I want to focus on is the here and now. The missions God has placed in my life. The passions God has given me regarding how to serve Him. The conditions in which I currently serve God.

So I’m not opposed to marriage. I’m just not out there looking for it.

Single and Not Dating. That’s me. With caveats. 🙂

Single-and-Not-Dating…With Caveats (Part 2)

20 Sep

On Monday I started answering a question Edarnut asked me: There seem to be 3 kinds of Christian singles: Single and looking for a spouse, single and dating but not really spouse hunting, and single and not dating. Which are you? And how is the “singles ministry” dynamic between the 3 types?

As I said Monday, I’m Single-and-Not-Dating-or-Actively-Seeking-a-Spouse-(Though-Not-Opposed-to-Marriage). I paused in my Singledom Narrative at the ripe old age of a broken-hearted twenty-five. My first serious, long-term relationship had just ended.

It took me about a year to really get over that. In the meantime, I was happy to flirt and go on occasional, casual dates, but there were no real connections. Then about nine years ago, through a coworker, I met a really nice guy who was, intellectually, academically, a Christian, but who had no true emotional or passionate faith in Christ. He professed Christianity, I liked him, he liked me, we started dating.

It didn’t work out. I’d gone back to grad school that summer, I was diagnosed with chronic depression that summer, and the relationship was just one thing too many for me to put energy into. The fact that I chose to let the relationship go probably speaks volumes about how well it wasn’t working.

I changed jobs a couple of times, including a career change. I left the church I’d grown up in for a more Biblical, dynamic, growing church. I hit thirty, still single. I began to think it was impossible to meet single, Christian guys.

Then…

…slowly…

…I started wondering if I still wanted to meet single, Christian guys. At least in a romantic capacity.

I’m an only child with a close relationship with my parents. I grew up able to entertain myself for hours by reading, thinking, or telling stories in my head. Eventually I started writing–a fairly solitary hobby. I come from a family where bachelor uncles and unmarried aunts are perfectly normal.

I experience loneliness, but I had learned by then that relationships are no guarantee against loneliness.

I had become accustomed to making decisions without having to consider other people. I had grown used to being able to take all the closet and dresser space for myself. I have never wanted children, so I felt no biological clock nagging at me to marry and reproduce.

In short, I was content in my singledom.

And in a couple of days, I’ll explain my caveat. Until then, anyone else want to weigh in on this?

Single-and-Not-Dating…With Caveats (Part 1)

17 Sep

A while back…uh, okay, a long time ago now…I invited questions from people here. Then I neglected to answer those questions, and it’s too bad, because there were some really great ones.

Today I want to try to answer one of Edarnut’s questions: There seem to be 3 kinds of Christian singles: Single and looking for a spouse, single and dating but not really spouse hunting, and single and not dating. Which are you? And how is the “singles ministry” dynamic between the 3 types?

First of all, as of right now, a few weeks from my thirty-sixth birthday, I’m definitely in the Single-and-Not-Dating category of Christian singles. And to sub-categorize myself a bit, I’m Single-and-Not-Dating-or-Actively-Seeking-a-Spouse-(Though-Not-Opposed-to-Marriage). But that hasn’t always been the case.

Just a few days ago I was going through some old papers and I found some of my abysmally depressing journal entries from college. When I was eighteen, I was certain I wanted to get married. When I was nineteen I even thought I was madly in love with someone who might make me agree to have children. When I was twenty and newly disillusioned with my corner of the Christian subculture of my big State U, I started looking at men I met outside of church. When I was twenty-one, I was desperately and secretly in love with a man who I imagined–no, not getting married to–but meeting again in ten years and having a passionate affair.

Please keep in mind, if you will, that I had all of these feelings and beliefs and odd ideas all before I received my first kiss.

Yep, you read that right. I’d never even had more than the most basic sort of Christian non-relationship*, but I had daydreamed about marrying at least a dozen different Christian guys, and having a torrid affair with a non-Christian guy.

Fast forward to the mid-twenties and I actually started dating, but I was a serial monogamist. I never really got the mindset behind playing the field. The summer I was twenty-four I met a younger guy and fell head over heels in love, and for once it seemed mutual. But he was still in college, and at the end of the summer, you can guess what happened. The relationship ended on my twenty-fifth birthday. It broke my heart, but I was in the middle of a quarter-life crisis anyway; I’d reached twenty-five without having a book or story published. The melodrama of having my romantic hopes dashed had to fight with the melodrama of career angst and self-doubt.

And that’s where I’m going to pause this story until the next blog post. (I promise, I’ll post the rest in a couple days, not a couple weeks!)

—–

*You know what I mean when I say “Christian non-relationship”, right? It’s that torturous state of hanging out with someone of the opposite sex in all kinds of group situations, where all the other members of the group know you like him, and a lot of the other members of the group think he likes you, and the people who know what’s really going on feel superior, and you end up with your heart broken.

What? Bitter? Me? Pssht.

Ask Me

13 Aug

I don’t know where the breakdown falls in who’s reading this blog, but I seem to have a decent mix of married people and single people. I came up blank when trying to think of a post tonight, so I decided maybe you guys could help me out.

Are there things you want to ask me but haven’t? Whether you’re married or single at 25, are there things you wonder about being single at age 35?

I have things I wonder about married people, after all.

question marksI wonder about the primary reason for getting married–which I know is highly personal, but is it because you were tired of being lonely? because you wanted kids? because you wanted to take a lifelong journey with this particular partner?

I wonder how married people do their finances–do you have his, hers, and ours? Do you keep all your finances together in one set of accounts and one budget? How do you keep track of all the little places money trickles out? (I have enough trouble keeping track of one person’s expenses!)

I wonder if married people secretly feel sorry for me, or secretly feel superior to me…or secretly feel jealous of me.

So maybe there are things you wonder about me. If so, here’s the place to ask! I’ll try to answer any questions as openly as possible.

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