Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A single leader calling singles "rebellious."

I recently struck up a Facebook friendship with this pastor who is ministering to singles outside of the U.S., although he is from the U.S. I shared with him our concerns that the Church, by and large, is not interested in helping singles find their mate, even through a healthy Christian avenue such as Cache' Connections, although they are always ready to help people with other personal needs such as pre-marriage counseling, divorce or addiction recovery, parenting, financial freedom, etc. Here's what he had to say:

With regard to the Church and singles, in some ways that's true, but in my experience as a single adult and watching other singles, I have developed a theory which I have seen born out more than once. Single people are the most "rebellious" and independent people on the planet. By the nature of our singleness, we do what we want, when we want, with whom we want, and we generally have the money to do what we want, and we rarely make firm plans because there is always something better which we may want to do. We often times give lip service to spiritual leadership because we are independent in everything we do...we work, we support ourselves, we manage our own homes, etc, and so with regard to spiritual accountability we tend to make decisions, and then seek pastoral approval rather than seeking spiritual counsel before making those decisions. And that is most often times seen in bad relationships and broken lives. And our "dating" lifestyles don't help that much. Single people tend to isolate almost immediately upon begin to date and that tends toward some potential issues. Privatization as an American right has often been confused with sensible accountability. :-) And, of course, that does not apply to everyone and some singles and churches have handled this better than others. But as a general rule, I have seen the same born out here. It's just who we are and trying to help people find a godly and healthy balance is never easy.

I'm not even sure if his comment is an answer to my initial concern, unless he is stating that the Church is not interested in dealing with this "rebellious" segment, or is he saying that singles wouldn't accept the help, or ...? Your thoughts?

~ Linda
Cache' Connections


Allison said...

Perhaps this man has a very different experience with singles from his work in another country. My observations--and personal experience-- in the States could not be more different. Granted, it's just an impression rather than anything based on hard statistics, but my impression is that the vast majority of singles in the States are singles as a result of divorce or death of a spouse. Both of those situations leave singles at a period in life in which we are completely bound by the schedules of others--our children whom we are now parenting on our own and leave little time for anything else; we're raising this family on one salary and so have less money than ever; many of us have to take on extra work to make ends meet and we're exhausted; if we don't seek spiritual counsel I wonder how much of that is because we are part of a population that the Church as a whole prefers to pretend doesn't exist. This doesn't sound rebellious to me. It sounds like a group of people doing their best to survive and thrive and to follow Christ in the most sincere way they can, and I find this man's comments unnecessarily harsh.

Jim said...

Ouch! That said, as a singles leader (15 years), there is some truth in what he says. The desire to be independent and (overly) significant hurts marriages and makes commitment difficult....Many singles are Single because they aren't willing to compromise in a relationship. Common statements I've heard "I've been single ao long that I probably couldn't live with someone"..."or "I'm fine. I don't need someone to tell me what to do!" or "I don't want to BELONG to someone" or " I cannot find anyone worth having". While we should nEVER compromise our relationship with GOD, we have to submit to one another in all other relationships.

Linda said...

Thanks for taking time to give us your feedback, Allison. I anticipated hearing from single mothers, so asked about his thoughts on single parents ahead of time. Here was his comment:

"Single parents are different, clearly, but on that point I know single parents that because of their children don't consider themselves as "single." Context is key. And I know single parents who do just what I said about spiritual authority and counsel based on the same premise...they run their own homes, make their own money, etc. So even they, based on those points, act very independently."

I believe this pastor has spent plenty of time in the U.S. and is of substantial age to form his opinion.

This blog post was of course not meant as a slam, but as an eye opener for the Church as a whole.


Anonymous said...

Different strokes for different folks. As a never-married, I see so much of the strain, pressure, and demands that are put on my married friends, who for the most part, *try* to project that they have it all together. So, yes, guilty as charged that I treasure my independence greatly and would be loathe to give it up easily.

Anonymous said...

The word "SELFISH" leapt out of the webpage as I was reading it. There is much truth to that, it really does happen that way for many of us. We do tend to get in a habit of ME-ism. Part of that is we generally have no one to answer to, at least within our homes.

Whether that is a willful, sinful attitude is between the single and God. One thing is for certain: when a single does decide that they wish to share their life with someone, the selfishness will need to decrease tremendously, or the relationship will have a difficult time.

Laying down one's life to each other by serving each other, looking to the other's highest good and respecting the other person will serve the couple well.

But calling singles rebellious is unfair to those of us who are genuinely serving the Lord and people from the heart.

newviewlori said...

I can see Allison's point. I've been there. I can actually see Jim's point of view as well only bec. things are perceived so differently. However, there are people who could be helping out in the church that choose not to. Depending on who you talk to in a church, as well as the generation they've been brought up in tends to direct there thought on the matter. There seems to be a lot of unnec. expectations when working with some people in the church. I still believe if the "single" person has time to work with and it works with the people at the church and is team effort by both parties it should be meant to be. Honestly, I think singles as a whole are misunderstood. Lastly, depending on the guys or gals we've been around, it's safer to be single. There is definitely two sides to every story.