“One clear difference between Christianity and Judaism (and all the other traditional religions) is the former’s entertainment of the idea that singleness as the paradigm way of life for it’s followers.” Stanley Hauerwas
Think about it. Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, was single. The Apostle Paul, the leading theologian who set the bar for how to follow Jesus Christ with your whole life and who set the pace for how the church would thrive in stressful times and in many different cultures, was single. Single adults cannot be seen as less fulfilled or lacking in some spiritual development if the two people responsible for the founding and leadership principles of Christianity were single. Yet, the church and almost every culture on the planet says differently.
Single people are constantly bombarded with statements like the following:
1. As soon as you’re satisfied with God, he will bring that special someone into your life.
2. You’re too picky. No one is perfect.
3. As a single person you can commit all your time to the church, taking care of mom and dad, job, justice issue, mission…(you fill in the blank).
4. Before you can marry someone wonderful, God has to make someone wonderful out of you!
Beneath statements like this is the underlying idea that somehow single people are deprived or live unfulfilled lives. As a pastor, I want to say, “I’m sorry.” I am sorry for what the church has said and done to make you think that you are not enough. I am sorry that the bible study groups tried to set you up on ridiculous blind dates—they were only projecting their own ideas onto you. I am sorry that the church has placed such an overt preoccupation on family, children and legacy without honoring singleness as a gift from God. I am sorry you feel like an outcast in society because within true Christian community you’re valued as a joint heir with Christ regardless of your marriage status.
Single people, you are enough. You were made in the image of God. Jesus died to bring us all into the Kingdom of God. Our Christian hope turns the church community into something profound. Our gospel beliefs create a bond with Jesus and with other Christians stronger than any other connection in the world. Our identity is wrapped up in Jesus. We are all valuable to him. We all sin and need redemption. We all can experience the amazing transformation of deep repentance which includes forgiveness and freedom. Single people, you are capable of having deep meaningful relationships with others. You have capacity to love extravagantly, openly and without regard to your marriage limitations. You are loved and lovable.
This Sunday we launch a new ministry and a new season of relationship building at Wheatland. The Big Picture: Singleness, Marriage and Me is a series that will help us discover together what it means that God created us to be in relationship with him and others. We can learn how to have great relationships whether we are single, married, divorced or single again after the death of a spouse. The Bible begins and ends with a wedding. Marriage is a big deal in the bible. So we will discover together some of the biblical precepts during this series. 'Married People' events launch September 22, 2017. Director of Children and Family Ministry, Chris Rechsteiner, along with Char and Arlyn Brower, are guiding us along the path of “Married People’ as part of Wheatland's Children and Family Curriculum. You can learn more about Married People on our new website: Wheatlandsalem.org. You can also go to Marriedpeople.org for more information. See you in church Sunday.
Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. I Corinthians 6:19-20 The Message