Thursday, August 27, 2009


All Alone?

Justin Taylor links to an article by Tim Adeney, "Making Singleness Better." I do not want to be too negative here, this article does contain some good ideas and advice well-taken, but it is nothing that I have not read and that has not be written dozens of times before. That is one of the problems with the whole "singles ministry" phenomena - much flash, little substance, and what substance there is, is well, kind of like Velvetta - a poor substitute for the real thing.

I've said it before, but I think it important to establish my credentials here - 20 years single adult, 13 years married - I think I know both sides of this issue pretty well. If there is anyone thing I have discovered in that experience it is that while the circumstances of my life are quite different married than they were single, I am essentially the same person.

Indeed, the lovely Mrs. Blogotional has done much to round off the hard edges that I have, but at the basic, definitional level, getting married changed things around me, it has not changed me. That means, I think, that the distinction between married and single is largely cultural, not spiritual. The difference is better analogized to the difference between rural and urban life, or life in California v life in Mississippi. Such does not minimize the difference, it simply says that when it comes to what the church is supposed to do and be about, how to minister to a single person is not that different from how to minister to a married person. (The psychological needs may be different, but that is not really the mission of the church. It's important, just not a direct ministry of the church.)

Which means that from my perspective the best way to "make singleness better," is to quit treating singles like a thing apart - or different - or weird - or damaged - or anything else that makes them distinctive - they are part of the saints, just like everyone else. That does not mean we do not reach them in their unique circumstances, it just means we treat them as different, just like everyone is different, but not distinctive.

All those years I was single there was one thing that would rile me no end. "Well you're single, you're different." I would shoot back quite quickly, "No I'm not, I'm just single."

I think if the church quite worrying so much about the "special" needs of singles and worried more about the needs they have in common with everyone else things would work much better.

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