I Will Wait for You – a poem by JANETTE…IKZ
How can single people effectively support each other?
Akirah commented on the last post, saying, “Thinking about women, I think a lot of us would benefit from friendships where men are not the sole focus. Supporting each other in all areas of life remind women that there’s much more to living than finding a husband. So I’d say, find friends who affirm you in all areas.” I think many women are guilty of having a one-track mind, and that carries over to their conversations and relationships with other women. Perhaps we become the people whose first question is “Are you dating anyone yet?” though we dread when parents, clergy, or non-single friends do the same to us. It’s important to express interest in the lives of our friends and not just the love lives of our friends. Show your friends that you care about them as a person. Your friend is not just a “single person” but also an employee (or not – also an important part of their life), a child, maybe a sibling, perhaps a model train enthusiast – many things aside from their relationship status, which describe who they are at this point in time.
It’s easy enough to have a one-person pity party. I’ve had nights where I just laid in bed listening to every unrequited love song in my music library. And when we do talk about relationships with single friends, it can be easy to compare sob stories. We must try not to indulge bitterness toward singleness, though. Some of the earlier response posts mentioned other ways to think about singleness, none of which require bitterness or a negative attitude. Encourage other single people to take advantage of the unique opportunities that singleness offers, whether they are interested in picking up a new hobby or need to discover their value as an individual. Read Redefining Singlehood for an example of having positive and encouraging conversations with friends about being single.
This is the final post in the Single Sunday series, but I doubt it will be the last post on the topic. I encourage everyone to continue the conversation and to think about how you view singleness in your own life. If there is a question you would like this blog to address, post it to the Facebook page or as a comment on any of the previous posts. Continue to share the series with friends and continue talking about these questions. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this series and participated in the conversation!
2009 Panel on Singles in Ministry with Shaine Claiborne
What does the Church need to hear about singleness? Few people in today’s Christian culture, even among singles, understand that singleness is a calling from God. For some it is temporary, but for others it is life-long. Rather than view singleness as a calling, many in the Church tend to view singleness as a state of brokenness needing to be fixed by marriage.
There seems to be an overwhelming sentiment about singleness as a bad thing. It is not good for the man to be alone. And so, God made a helper for Adam. But being single is not synonymous with being alone as we sometimes assume. God did not say It is not good for the man to be single or unmarried. If that were His intention, do you think He would have married when He took human form as Jesus? It is not good for the man to be alone, but at the same time it is not bad for the man to be single.
A recent New York Times article explored the difficulty of single pastors to find work “in a field where those doing the hiring overwhelmingly prefer married people and, especially, married men with children.” There is open prejudice against single people leading congregations, and there are questions about their ability to counsel married couples and parents, in addition to what the article calls “irrational fears.” I cannot speak to the theology of those denominations who believe the Bible calls for married leaders, but the Church needs to be reminded to cultivate single people for ministry. We, too, seek opportunities for service or perhaps feel called to leadership – and not exclusively in the singles ministry. But how can we fill these ministerial roles if the Church does not allow it or think we should simply because we lack a spouse?
One woman in the article talked about interviewing for pastoral positions, saying, “they often acted like I’m not quite whole because I’m single.” Feeling incomplete, like less of a person, really damages the value we feel as individuals. It can be enough of a struggle to feel valued as a single person thanks to society, media, and personal doubts, but if there is one place we can trust to feel valued, it ought to be the Church.