Christ And Cupid

In her book, Quitting Church, Julia Duin writes a very interesting chapter titled, “The Loneliest Number” where she advocates for churches to see their role more as matchmakers and less of celibacy creators.  Here are a few key remarks:

  • America’s 89.6 millions singles head just over half (50.3 %) of all American households, according to the 2006 census.  About 50 million have never married.
  • In a Feb 2006 Pew Research Center poll in which people in forty-five nations were asked what them happy, 43% of married people said they were “very happy,” compared to 24% of singles.
  • Statistically, singles lead the pack in terms of people sliding out the back doors of America’s churches, and many singles never make it in the front door.
  • It seems as though the purpose for many of their [church’s] groups was to keep people single, not match them up.
  • But I believe the attitudes towards singles that exist in most churches drive singles away.
  • Churches teach “you must be content with your singleness since you cannot change or control it;  Jesus is all you need to be happy.”
  • …Christians have a duty to marry, unless God has specifically called them to be single.
  • People living alone are one of America’s fastest-growing groups.  Do churches constantly use the mantra “family friendly” to describe themselves…?
  • The flip side of the coin is that churches pay attention to singles only in terms of how they can serve.
  • They [singles] have had it with putting in twenty or more years of service to their churches and getting little or nothing back.
  • Singles are seen as a dysfunctional people with problems, sex-crazed animals with hormones out of control, and people who do not put a whole lot of money in the plate.
  • For thousands of years, parents have done the marriage arranging.  Only in the past century have singles been left on their own with no help from their family.
  • Christians, I realized, think that marriage will just happen, but Jews understand the need for some human intervention.

Well, there is definitely a lot to consider above.  I will leave you with Duin’s conclusion and her final question to us all:

Singles desperately want to marry, although many feel ashamed to admit it.  If churches automatically assisted their singles in finding mates–unless specifically told not to–this would remove the shame factor and restor the marriage process as a natural stage of life.  It would also be easier to find theologically compatible mates this way.  Plus, a ministry along these lines would relieve the pastors, who often have been unwilling to help.

Singles are immensely valuable to the church; after all, Jesus was a single.  But would he approve of how so many churches have become singles warehouses instead of wedding makers?

An interesting question for consideration.


~ by Dave Smith on May 6, 2009.

7 Responses to “Christ And Cupid”

  1. wow…while correctly diagnosing some very prominent & problematic ills with the church & singleness, she goes off the deep end and ends up promoting just as shallow and problematic understanding of singleness as what the church currently has. i think you’d be wise to quit reading : )

  2. She actually has a quote just like yours in her chapter from a pastor.

    I was just getting ready to set you up with Mrs. Perfect too! :>)

  3. I can only add one thing to what jdh said:

    I shudder to think who my church would have paired me with. I have no doubt that had they chosen (as much as I love them, mind you) that I would have ended up being miserable and wishing for divorce.

    Okay, two things to add:

    From the little I’ve read, it sounds like we’ve got another “I kissed dating goodbye” on our hands — meaning it’s just as crappy as that book but from a different perspective.

  4. Joel…here is the girl I was going to hook you up with:

    But I sent her to someone else. Sorry.

  5. Wow, that girl is rough…look how messy her hair is

    Obviously we do not want the church to become a matchmaking service, which I agree with the wisdom already expressed here takes a tough issue and goes to the other extreme

    At the same time, I think I can at least see the motivation here as I can remember my single days in the church and how there was nothing more I would have liked than to meet some nice girls at church that shared in my interests and beliefs. It always felt impossible because those in charge were obsessed with ensuring that the church was not a meat market. No reason to ignore the elephant in the room…the church could be a great place to meet someone of the opposite sex that shares your core values…sure beats the other options I had of meeting other people.

  6. Well said Brian…giving us a real example of the other side.

    Yea, the girls hair is pretty messy, but she’s got a great personality and very submissive…which is the only type for Joel! :>)

  7. The pastor of any self-respecting bible believing evangelical church would certainly kick that girl with the messy hair out until she cleaned up. How dare she set such a bad example of a christian woman. That’s why I kissed the church goodbye!

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