This post is really not about singleness. Although, by way of getting to something that has me increasingly troubled, I will use singleness as the spring to launch into what I believe is the root of a problem, particularly in American evangelical Christianity. In contending with my own issues related to singleness, I note this as an objective observation, which actually prompted my thoughts on this matter along with other things related to ecclesiology that have come across my radar.
The single person who longs to be married, is generally told to be content in their present circumstance. That single person should not express too much their desires for a partnership otherwise it gets labelled as idolatrous. So the burden on their heart to be loved, accepted, to belong to a union with another is supressed lest the desire turn into an idol. Now, I am not saying that we should not learn contentment for there is biblical support to do so, such as Paul says in Philippians 4:13 that he has learned to be filled (content) in whatever circumstance he is in. Although I would contend that the contentment in this case based on his argument is more related to material comfort. There is also the idea that we must endure hardship. That doesn’t mean we are not impacted by it, but in consideration of our life not being our own, we consider the prize more worthy than our loss or pain.
Nonetheless, I have noticed the extent to which we celebrate love when it does happen. From the time that special person is realized, each successive step in the relationship is met with announcement and fanfare. The no longer single person can rave about their significant other. They can publicize how wonderful it is and begin including their significant other in with every conversation. The engagement is announced and every one celebrates. This is just the beginning as the lives of these two people are intertwined, so is the display of the union.
So what is interesting to me is that the single person who desires this kind of celebration is told that it can be idolatrous. But when it actually happens, it is not. What is missing and longed for when it is not there must be supressed, but not so when it actually happens. It is celebrated and encouraged. Why is the partnered person not told that they are being idolatrous? I don’t know about you, but this seems awfully hypocritical to me. Continue Reading →