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I do want to get married – but the way to get me to show up to your church and meet a single Christian man at your church (if such a creature even exists?) is once I get in the church door, treat me with just as much attention and respect as you do the marrieds.As someone who has never married or had kids, it really stings, hurts, and annoys to always hear marriage (or parenting) used as the default story illustration in sermons or Christian books/ TV shows/ magazines.
Maybe Watters believes that cutting the amount of time and attention lavished on marriage (by Christians or by local churches) would mean treating the institution itself as unimportant, but that is not necessarily so.(These are also the same Christians who are wringing their hands in worry about how Christians are delaying marriage well past age 30.)Overall, evangelical Christians, fundamentalists, and most Baptists are constantly going on about how godly, great, and desirable marriage is, but those very same Christians, when confronted by a single Christian who gets vulnerable and admits to wanting marriage, will shame and ridicule that single for wanting marriage.I think most married Christians have no idea how to really comfort older singles who want marriage, much the same way many Christians have no idea how to properly comfort the woman (or man) who is in grieving over the death of a loved one. Churches that don’t offer practical help for marrying well often imply that it’s much more spiritual to focus on Christ and let the marriage thing happen if it’s meant to be.Watters notes that one reason so many singles have cited for dropping out of church attendance is that so many churches are “family focused.”(I think this is especially true for singles over the age of 35.)When one has never been married but one’s local church never offers programs or sermons aimed at the particular heartaches and challenges of being single, one does tend to feel ostracized, ignored, hurt by this, or taken for granted, and so they stop attending church.I am one single who would not object to the occasional marriage or parenting sermon or after-church program, but it seems they are way, way, way too frequent, not only in local churches, but on Christian television shows, and on Christian blogs and in Christian magazines.