Tag Archives: religion

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?

Why I’m starting this blog

26 Mar

Tonight, my church held a Passover Seder meal, led by the lovely Fiona Sorbala of Chosen People Ministries. The organization exists to bring the good news of Jesus the Messiah to Jewish people everywhere. It’s a great idea, and the meal was informative and moving.

I started thinking about questions I wanted to ask my Jewish friend, and I wondered if she would be offended that my Christian church celebrated her Jewish holiday. Would she consider it cultural appropriation, or would she acknowledge the logic of Christians celebrating a meal that our Messiah also celebrated the night he was betrayed? I don’t know. I haven’t asked her yet. To be honest, I’m still trying to muster the courage. It’s so easy to offend people, even when it isn’t intended.

I attended the meal with my parents. I love my parents, but I have yet to meet a single person over the age of 23 at my church. Part of that is my fault. I enjoy working with teenagers, so the sum of my involvement at church so far has been helping out with the high school youth. But to be honest, I don’t see a lot of opportunities for me to meet singles at my church.

I have nothing against married people, and have lots of married friends. But I want to have friends who can relate to my every-day living situation. I have some single friends I keep in touch with via online channels, and that’s great. But I want to have friends I can go out to dinner with or hang out with on a Friday night.

Gandhi exhorted us to be the change we want to see in the world. I need to step up my game, no question.

This blog is me, starting out to do just that.

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