• Single People Understand Marriage Better than Married People Understand Singleness – Being Single Over the Age of 30

Single People Understand Marriage Better than Married People Understand Singleness

There is a complementarian Christian guy named “KAS” who posts at Spiritual Sounding Board blog – I rather wish he did not, but that’s another topic for another day.

KAS is one of those dopey married people who thinks single adults can never, ever understand marriage or how stressful marriage is.

And he might have a point if we’re talking about a 15 year old teen-ager – but not if we’re considering older adults who have had careers, paid bills, or been in serious relationships of their own, and I do think most of the participants at SSB blog are over 30 years of age. KAS is not being read by or commented at by 15 year old kids.

In contrast, many married Christians mistakenly think they understand adult singleness just fine. But they would be wrong.

I’d say this is especially true of married Christians who are in their 40s, 50s, or older, who got married while teens or say, by their mid-20s.

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• Judgementalism About Grief – Matt Was Her Boyfriend Not Her Husband – Only The Grief of Married Mourners Counts, Apparently

Judgementalism About Grief – Matt Was Her Boyfriend Not Her Husband – Only The Grief of Married Mourners Counts, Apparently

I do wish that grief over death of a loved one was blogged about more on abuse survival blogs, because in addition to being hideous at dealing with sexually or spiritually abusive pastors, churches (and Christians generally) are terrible at empathizing with the person who is in mourning.

A woman (whose name is Megan Devine) wrote an essay on Washington Post (of which I am unable to read in full because I used up my three free articles per month limit) where she described her experience after her boyfriend, Matthew Potvin, died. Matt died at age 39 from having drowned in a river.

You can also read about this here:

Swimmer killed in river’s current

Maine man gets swept away by river, dies – 2009

Matthew J. Potvin Obituary

Apparently, based upon reactions to this woman’s essay that appear on the Yahoo! news summary of it, she was saying that nobody took her grief seriously because Matt was “only” her boyfriend and not a husband.

Here’s a link to that story on Yahoo:

Her partner drowned at 39. She learned that for the young and unmarried, death has no playbook. 

Most of the responses to the woman’s essay were compassionate or understanding, but not all.

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• The Marginalization of Single Women Via The Billy Graham Rule, Fleeing the Appearance of Evil, and James Dobson

The Marginalization of Single Women Via The Billy Graham Rule, Fleeing the Appearance of Evil, and James Dobson

There is much more I could say about the Billy Graham Rule (sometimes also referred to these days as “The Mike Pence Rule”) than what I am writing about here and now, but for this post, I wanted to narrow it down a little bit.

In the context of the Bill Hybels scandal discussion, news sites and abuse survivor blogs are mentioning how mega-church preacher Bill Hybels told one of his targets that under the advice of Focus On The Family’s James Dobson, he wanted to watch some pornography movies.

So, Hybels  – who was married – asked his target, an unmarried woman staffer at his church, a Pat Baranowski, to run out and buy or rent porn, then he watched it with her while wearing nothing but a bathrobe. Baranowski also lived with Hybels and his wife in their home for approximately two years.

One of the spiritual abuse survivor blogs covering this whole ordeal is The Wartburg Watch in this post, where one of the TWW bloggers, Dee, wrote this:

James Dobson was part of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in the latter half of the 1980s. Note how Hybels cleverly used something that was true to give him plausible deniability.

Mr. Hybels told Ms. Baranowski that he had been told to educate himself on the issue by James Dobson, founder of the ministry Focus on the Family, who had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan to an anti-pornography commission.

Calling it research, Mr. Hybels once instructed Ms. Baranowski to go out and rent several pornographic videos, she said, to her great embarrassment. He insisted on watching them with her, she said, while he was dressed in a bathrobe.

I am opposed to the BGR (Billy Graham Rule), for a few reasons, one of which is because it (like a lot of complementarian teachings, though side note: I don’t believe Hybels was complementarian) assumes several obnoxious things and perpetuates sexist stereotypes: it assumes that men, all men, are unable (or maybe unwilling?) to control their libidos, that all single women are sexual temptresses who have loose sexual morals and are willing to have affairs with married men.

Because of these assumptions, some Christians believe that men and women should not be alone together, especially not married men with single women.

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• Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?

Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?

If you are a Christian person, you should base your life decisions on what you believe and know to be best or right for you and your particular circumstances, rather than-

Relying on what you think God wants and prefers, or on what your church’s pastor thinks the Bible is conveying, or on what your interpretation of the Bible is, or on what your favorite Christian author is telling you on about any given topic.

Christians – even those whom say they adhere to Sola scriptura or Prima scriptura – do not agree with each other, or with other Christians, or with other Christian denominations, on many subjects.

Why would you subject major life choices, such as if to marry, whom to marry, when to marry, or whether to divorce or not, based on what you think the Bible (or your church) says on these issues, when your interpretation, or theirs, could be incorrect?

And when your church’s understanding conflicts with that of another ten churches on the same subject?

Your church or pastor or favorite preacher may say God never allows divorce for any reason at all, but at the same time, there are 500,000 other preachers, churches, and denominations which do say that it’s “biblical,” moral, fine, and acceptable, for one person to divorce another in cases of physical abuse-

And / or, in cases of adultery, and/or or perhaps in cases of neglect, emotional or verbal abuse, or in other scenarios.

So, does it really make sense to base your choice of what to do in life on what one church, one denomination, one flavor of theology, or one Christian says, when Christians themselves are not in consensus on what God thinks or prefers on these matters?

White American Christians at one time used to use the Bible to justify and defend the practice of 19th century whites owning black people as slaves.

Most of us today recognize slavery as being immoral, even though the Bible does contain passages addressing the treatment of slaves in the New Testament, and I believe in the Old, as well.

(That the Bible mentions something, or establishes rules for something already in place in a culture, such as slavery or polygamy, does not necessarily mean that the Bible, or the God of the Bible, agreed with whatever that practice was, or that it was ever God’s intent for humanity in the first place. This is a point that is often lost on critics of the Bible or of Christianity.)

If Christians misused the Bible to perpetuate the evil that was slavery – and they did in fact do so – that goes to show that Christians can misuse and misunderstand the Bible concerning other issues today, such as divorce or gender complementarianism (women’s roles).

Who says your church’s preacher’s interpretation is correct?

Or that John Piper’s is correct? or Al Mohler’s or J. D. Greear’s or Russell Moore’s? Or Mark Driscoll’s? Or that the Roman Catholic Pope’s  or Magisterium’s is correct?

Or who says the interpretation of the Bible by other Christian authors, theologians, or preachers, on these and other topics, is correct?

They could be absolutely and terribly and thoroughly in error on whatever topic they are addressing, whether they are appealing to biblical passages or not.

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• Gender Complementarianism Contributes to Gender Confusion

 Gender Complementarianism Contributes to Gender Confusion

In the past year or so, I’ve seen headlines go through my social media feed indicating that Christian gender complementarians believe that not only can complementarianism fight abortion, high divorce rates, and everything in between, but they believe that complementarianism – strictly defined and enforced gender roles – is the solution for gender confusion.

I guess under “gender confusion” they mainly have in mind transgenderism and maybe the concept of gender fluidity.

Rather than clarify matters, gender complementarianism creates gender confusion.

First of all, who or what says what is masculine or what is feminine?

Many complementarians – and people in secular culture – seem to define behaviors such as watching NFL football or assertiveness as being “masculine.”

But I have a female friend and an Aunt, both hetero women, who like football. So who says football is inherently masculine? Or that only men can or should enjoy it?

I used to work with a man who hated NFL and most sports. He told me he loathed being around guys who were sports-heads and never discussed anything but. And he was a “straight” guy (he later married a woman and had a son with her).

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• Friendship as a Foundation: Moving Beyond Bill Hybels and Anxious Egalitarianism Pt 2 by Dan Brennan

The following article by Mr. Brennan also discusses the sexist, ridiculous, anti-singles, ineffective, Billy Graham Rule (aka the “Mike Pence” rule):

Friendship as a Foundation: Moving Beyond Bill Hybels and Anxious Egalitarianism Pt 2

Snippets:

…Three weeks ago, virtually any red-blooded American egalitarian would have ascribed so much “power” to what they thought was a “healthy” egalitarian model led by Hybels [Hybels is now in trouble for allegedly acting inappropriately towards women who worked with him at his church].

Now we know, with all this stuff coming out—there was a lot of psychological social sexist ministry happening under his leadership that was happening underneath the surface egalitarianism.

… One of the biggest reasons we are here is that Willow Creek egalitarianism never took a woman’s intimate personal power in friendship, seriously.

… Before #MeToo, both complementarians and egalitarians paid lip service to women’s intimate personal power in non-romantic relationships.

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• A Letter to Pastors in the Age of #ChurchToo By Maggie Konstanski

A Letter to Pastors in the Age of #ChurchToo By Maggie Konstanski

A few highlights from that page:

… While I have personally found God’s redemption and love for women in these difficult biblical stories, I know countless women who remain frustrated and confused about how God views women.

… Women’s experiences with violence and marginalization inform how we read the Bible; how we relate to God; and how we interact with our brothers.

And for survivors of violence, the church’s unbiblical teachings on gender roles are confusing and harmful.

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