(This one is on singles and the church, it’s a topic that seems to be coming up everywhere I look these days. I had planned on writing something different, but for some odd reason, this just needed to be said.)
The 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey from the Pew Forum says that 44% of Christian women attend worship services weekly and 34% of Christian men attend worship services weekly. Even if all of the men are married to some of the women in the survey – that leaves about 10% of women to be single weekly attendees. If I did the math right, that’s 10 million of them.
10 million single women are told that they’re Ruths who must wait for their Boaz
10 million single women are told that they’re Esters who must wait for their Xerxes
10 million single women who are told that the Proverbs 31 wife is what they ought to strive to be like
10 million single women who are told that “women will be saved through childbearing”
So they go to church week after week, do women’s Bible studies and wonder what they’re doing wrong.
But there aren’t 10 million single men that are told they’re Boaz who must find their Ruth
But there aren’t 10 million single men that are told they’re Xerxes who must find their Ester
But there aren’t 10 million single men that are told they’re to be the husband of their Proverbs 31 wife
But there aren’t 10 million single men that are told it’s their duty to become fathers
Because they, and millions more don’t go to church.
Let’s re-write the ‘norm’ book, shall we? As long as this imbalance exists, there were always be singles (usually women, but men, too) in the church. Let’s minister to their needs without sending them mixed messages about their love lives, because it’s not their fault the imbalance exists and it’s not the Churches job to play the role of matchmaker or chaperon. And let’s find a way to teach Biblical concepts that’s not through the lens of parenthood being a goal – not everybody can have children. Let’s find a way to include them in the church without assigning them kitchen or cleaning or nursery duties – there’s lots of other ways ladies can contribute and minister to the community. Let’s stop focusing on the Ruths and Esthers and preach a little more on the Deborahs and Phoebes. Or the church can keep on doing what it’s doing and watch 10 million single women walk out of it’s door to marry all them non-churchgoing Christian men.
Paul was a fan of being single, I don’t believe he would have ever preached on Ruth telling single women to wait for their Boaz. He would have pointed out that Ruth was the equivalent of the breadwinner in her household in that day and age. Can you imagine what the Prov. 31 wife could get done in a day if she were single? She sounds like an apt description of a businesswoman to me. I’m pretty sure that there was this guy named Jesus that was single, too. Being single is usually temporary anyway, but no single person should be made to feel excluded and irrelevant in their own church for not being like everybody else. God values each and every one of us individually as we are, in Him alone do we find our true worth and the one relationship that will last forever.