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Archive for tag Singleness

A few reasons why Christian guys stay single...

  • Immaturity. Prolonged adolescence, along with the rest of mankind. Or should I say western malekind.
  • Insecurity. Fear of rejection (being turned down hurts, you know).
  • Ineligibility. Besetting sin or lack of stability. Whether something addictive, like alcohol, drugs, porn, etc or simply not having the financial stability for marriage.
  • Isolation. Not knowing or having opportunities to meet eligible Christian women in the right age bracket.
  • Idiocy. Stupid or irrational reasons, like having completely absurd criterion for relationships. And lists harder to fulfil than all the messianic prophecies.

Immaturity is probably best addressed via close leadership. Boys need men who set examples that they can aspire to; who beat them up when they need it and know when to encourage them. My experience is that there are far more potential Timothys in the church than Pauls. Girls feel free to suggest this to leaders in your church.

Insecurity is probably best addressed in two ways: firstly pressure - which needs other guys who make sure that the consequences of wussing out are worse than being rejected. And secondly girls in particular need to be exceedingly careful in the way they talk about their Christian brothers. If you mock Jim when he's not around, Bill will assume you probably do the same to him.

Another aspect of insecurity relates to the way girls appear. A guy is often less likely to consider a girl if she appears to "have it together" too much. Too much ambition in a conflicting direction is a no-no. Likewise too much neediness is offputting. We either get the impression that we'll be incompatible or insufficient.

Ineligibility on account of a besetting sin is probably best dealt with with the help of other, preferably older, godly guys. And often you won't know anything about it - but pray for all the guys you know anyway. All guys are either struggling with sin or submitting to it. Either way they will be helped by your prayer.

Ineligibility because they have no steady income or immediate prospect of being able to support a wife is trickier. Again prayer. But choosing to honour guys who take their studies seriously and are willing to work and handle money sensibly will help create a culture in which this is less of an issue.

Idiocy is pretty much universal. And the application of a large leather bound bible to the forehead may well be appropriate. Guys who are waiting for the spirit of Mother Teresa in the body of Heidi Klum need to be woken up sharply. And they need to be taught what to value and cherish. Which, TBH, is probably best done with an open bible and a more mature guy - certainly in the gathered church and often one to one as well. Girls should probably raise this to with church leaders if it's not being adequately addressed.

It's not exhaustive, but those are a few of the issues that spring to mind. A penny* for your thoughts...

* Delivery of cash is subject to availability and requires personal collection with adequate proof that they were actually your thoughts. If this presents a problem, feel free to comment for free anway.

Dialogue is dead

Take this Boundless article as a case in point: http://www.boundlessline.org/2008/06/flee-sexual-imm.html.

The comments basically fall into two categories:

Category A: People who are shocked/dismayed by the amoral presentation of sexual relationships in Sex And The City.

Category B: People who essentially filter out or overlook the sex and feel a connection with the relational turmoil of the characters.

As complain SatC is bad and that Bs don't understand the seriousness of the sexual content.

Bs complain that SatC addresses the reality of singleness and that As (and Christians in general) don't take sufficiently seriously the difficulty of being single.

It's a common pattern of miscommunication. Product X contains both good and bad elements. Christian A declares the bad to be so bad that all good is negated. Christian B declares the good to be of sufficient value for the bad to be overlooked/fast-forwarded. And neither seems interested in what the other side has to say.

FWIW, I think Suzanne's assessment is right. To a significant degree our beliefs are socially conditioned: we will tend to want to believe the same things as the people we admire and connect with emotionally. The first job of a writer of fiction is to connect us emotionally with the central characters - to give us the illusion of intimacy. The script writers make us invest time in learning their stories, their attitudes and values and in learning to empathise with them - because that's what will pull us back to watch the next episode. From crowds crying out "Is Little Nell dead?" to internet based campaigns to restore Sara Tancredi for Season 4 of Prison Break, the emotional connection between the consumers of fiction and the characters they observe is sufficiently powerful to spill over, affecting emotions, values and behaviour in the real world.

That said - in this instance - I wonder how much of (particularly American) Christianity's obsession with the urgency of marriage comes from the bible and how much is merely a spillover of the cultural "You're no-one unless you've got someone" diktat.