Church of One

Sometimes I don’t know where I fit in Christianity. It’s been that way for awhile now. As a single young woman who is barely a twenty-something, I’m too old for the college-age group. I’m not eligible for the other groups and I don’t really fit anywhere. It’s been the same problem in the last three or four churches … I’m a group of one.

I’ve heard the sermons over and over again ‘just in case’ God will introduce ‘the one’ in the near future, I know what role I’m expected to fill and what Bible verses support that teaching. Just as Christ loves the Church, my future husband is supposed to love me. Christ = Husband. Church = Wife.

That means somewhere out there, there’s a Christ who doesn’t have a Church. A Christ that’s supposed to be the initator of our relationship that’s doing anything but what he’s supposed to be doing. Sometimes the way this teaching is taught, the Church is supposed to call her Christ lord and Jesus Christ Lord. My Lord, where is my lord?

Perhaps you can see the problem I have with this whole teaching. It puts me in a position where I have no say over anything. As a single woman, I have the audacity to tell God that his plan doesn’t work for me. That I don’t want to be a wife just yet, that I don’t want to have a lord just yet, and that I don’t want to be that Church any longer.

That’s why I think they don’t know what to do with single people. After all, Paul was married to his ministry, but Scripture has no Paulettes. When they talk about singleness being a gift, they always emphasize “but it’s better to marry, let they burn with passion.” Which is why there aren’t any groups aimed at encouraging single people to take things one day at a time, follow God for that day, and to let everything else fall into place. No, the idea seems to be to create family outings (and invite the singles so that they have an example of proper Christian families), center mens and womens groups on being fathers and mothers (and invite the singles so that they have lots of good helpful advice when they get started), and do nothing but preach about the greatness of marriage being just like being a Christian. Marriages are okay, but Christian marriages are a far holier thing that God expects of everyone.

Something they’re doing must be working really well … I can testify that the last four churches I attended had no one else my age to hear these messages. Is it possible that the Church has it all wrong? That they are sending the wrong message and cannot see the dozens, the hundreds, and the countless thousands that leave the church every day because they no longer fit? What if the reverse message, that Jesus came to seek and save the lost … not for the lost to be saved they need to seek the church is what really needs to be heard. One thing I do know, the longer they keep up this teaching, the more people who don’t fit will flee from it. Quite possibly, I’ll be among them wandering and wondering just where I fit … where I was meant to belong.

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5 thoughts on “Church of One

  1. We live in a time when the church idolizes marriage and family, when children are made into golden calves, and everybody else is marginalized. Actually, the opposite is true. Apostle Paul viewed celibacy as a better option. Unfortunately, many churches have taken his letters to the Corinthians out of their Bibles. God never promised any of us a spouse. And the Christian life was never meant to be comfortable. I encourage you to continue to speak up on this issue. There are more of us. Just not in one place.

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    • I wish I knew where that teaching … that idea came from. I know that sometime in the 1970s or 1980s Egalitarianism rose to prominence and Complementarianism was formed to counter it. Either way, the conversation seems to always be about how to be Christian wives or how to be Christian husbands, but never how to be single Christians. I grew up in a denomination that became exceedingly complementarian and often conflated gender roles in the home with gender roles in the church. Boys were always asked to be first in everything, and then the girls were permitted to speak up only if no boys volunteered. Sometimes I wondered if God made a mistake making me far more interested in the Bible and Church history than being a wife and mother as spiritual concerns are apparently a matter for the spiritual head of the family, which are always men. The worst thing about it all was the umbrella of spiritual authority idea where the picture plainly showed that if I wanted Jesus in my life the right way, I had to go through my future husband to get to Him.It is as if the Church has forgotten that following God is sometimes more important than having a family applies just as much to women as it does to men.

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      • I think spiritual concerns should be a matter for women just as well as men. Jesus had women in his life. He listened to them. They were not mute servants. They had especially important roles at the time of his resurrection.

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  2. Hi there,

    I join you on these issues of singleness and being a woman who is more interested in seeking God’s righteousness, more interested in seeking the scriptures, doing expository studies, and thinking through theology, more interested in seeking ways to serve and glorify God with the gifts that He has given me than in seeking a husband!

    I share your bewilderment about where to “fit in” in the body of Christ without being married, having children, or gunning for a relationship that ends in marriage. I do not believe that God made any mistake in creating me the way I am (any more than He was mistaken about you).

    I have been especially struggling with this recently as I feel like (as a single woman, no kids, never been married, and quite content thank you lol), I’m a “threat” to married people, not in the same “club” as the kid ones, and as a strong, single woman (yes, I understand the biblical limitations of a woman in regard to leadership within a church structure), perhaps a bit of an anomaly — but God created me this way. What do you do with me, body of Christ? I don’t seem to fit into your women’s ministries with fluffy, happy studies or into the nursery or into the sewing group… And you are right in saying it has the result of driving me out of the body. Perhaps I have not yet had the insight or vision to see where it is I *can* serve there (in person rather than only online, but I have served online for many years now and see it has greater value than many may grant it…).

    You may also be interested in reading the posts Elizabeth (The End Time blog) has made in the last few days about singleness (people who are content to remain single with Christ as their sole husband). It’s here: http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2015/04/joy-in-singleness-though-youd-never.html

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    • In all of my previous churches, ‘full participation’ was limited to married adults with kids, sure single people could show up to the ‘family fun evenings’ but they’re designed to keep kids occupied by playing games and adults just talk – if I wanted that, then I could just go to services. The nursery always asks for help, but once you get started, there’s no ‘out’ unless you move to another church – otherwise people look at you like “You used to help all the time and now you just don’t do anything. What’s wrong with you?” I just don’t like how it’s automatically assumed that all young women are created for the sole purpose of watching the nursery, I know it’s not for me. I think churches need to create areas where we can serve, where our gifts are encouraged, and we feel included … it’s not that much to ask for.

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...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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