Friday, May 06, 2005

A complaint against the church

I have a complaint against the church. It isn’t one for which I would be excommunicated (at least I hope not LOL) because it really isn’t a core doctrine or practice. I’m not taking issue with anything in the creeds or confessions or constitutions. My complaint is how the church deals with single people. Being in a covenantal church, people see the marriage state as being really better in almost everything than the single state. This is usually an unwritten assumption, but I believe it shows forth in their practice all the time. We have sermons about loving your wife as Christ loved the church; about how we ought to raise our children, and about how our spouses are not perfect and are no substitute for Christ himself in our lives.

In my more bitter moments, I ask how this could possibly apply to me? You kind of have to be married before you have children to raise, and you have to have a spouse to have a problem with too much focus on them. How am I supposed to related to loving my wife as Christ loved the church without being married? I’m not saying these are wrong to teach these, but something needs to be said to those who can’t relate to this. It is almost like they are saying “Well, you don’t understand now, but hopefully one day you will. Until then, just try to pay attention and maybe you’ll remember this when it really is applicable to you.”

All in all, I think I agree with this basic assumption. Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians seem to be generally more directed towards those who would endure persecutions. Of course it would be better to be unmarried during a time when Christians were being thrown to lions, burned, and all other such manners of persecution for the faith. Christians aren’t being hunted down in modern America today, so this seems to be a lesser concern. My other reason for agreeing with the assumption that marriage is better is that there seem to be two good things that were instituted before the fall that continue to this day. One institution is a person’s vocation/job (Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.), and the other is marriage (Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." And Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.). Marriage is indeed honorable among all.

Now given the knowledge that people are not born married, this means that for the first part of our lives (and it might very well be the most important part because that is when our beliefs and thought patterns are formed) a person will be single. They will then somehow magically transition to the marriage state. For some people this will no doubt be easy, they have their childhood sweetheart that they’ve known since 5th grade and it has been known since about the 8th grade that they will be married. Then there are those that went to college to get what I’ve affectionately heard people call their “MRS” degree. (I’m not trying to say this is wrong, I’m sure there are many good schools in which you can get a good education and still get your “MRS” degree) What about the people that went to school to get an education (*gasp*) and focused on that instead of other things? Now they come back to the small churches that teach the truth and are silently informed that pretty much anyone of any value already got married during college. Or to put it another way, how many opportunities are there when the church has 50 members and 40 of those are couples and most of the rest are recently confirmed children?

The larger, mega-churches solve this problem by creating singles-groups and such things. There is no doubt this works in some cases, but for some reason I think there is a better solution. The problem with these is that usually this separates the single people out so much from the rest of the congregation that they loose a lot of good examples in the married couples. The uninstructed need good examples of Godly marriages to pattern theirs after; instruction with words is good, but examples fill in the missing pieces.

I don’t have a solution to this problem; I hope someone wiser than I does though because I don’t like the current situation.


At 9:28 AM, Anonymous The German said...

"The uninstructed need good examples of Godly marriages to pattern theirs after; instruction with words is good, but examples fill in the missing pieces."

The married people aren't better than the single people. I would say that the married people need these examples more than the single people do.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Swinder said...

Of course the married people need these as well, but those just starting out need them the most!

I never said the married people were better than the single people. I suggested marriage was a better state though...

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous The German said...

LOL, I don't want to argue about this on your blog... I'll save it for the chat window.


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