A friend of mine retweeted the following tweet today in regard to Valentine’s Day, singleness, and the church. ht Steve B.
I think it is an excellent point and I would add that the same is true for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and those who don’t have children.
I believe the reason this happens is because churches tend to make an idol of the nuclear family. Thus, I’ve heard Christians say that when they finally follow Jesus properly, when He is their “all in all,” then He will obviously provide them with a spouse, because certainly the plan is for them to have a spouse. In this idolatry the will of God always involves a nuclear family and thus the church is shaped around the nuclear family. In this idolatry you simply ignore all the singleness that is found in the New Testament.
In my opinion the idolatry of the family is also why so many churches do so many activities to focus on families and forget others. In some ways the family often becomes what the church is all about, rather than Jesus. My family and I experienced this when we moved to Wisconsin and tried to visit every church in our area to get a feel for what was going on in the community of faith. As a 40 year old couple with a middle schooler and elementary school aged child you better believe we were a hot commodity. People would literally chase us down into the parking lot to make sure we got information concerning the programs they had for our family. I can’t speak to whether the same was done for my single, and childless brothers and sisters in Christ, but I know that personally I often did not receive the same receptions when I visited churches on my own. Very often I could walk in and walk out unnoticed.
Don’t get me wrong, the family is a great thing. The family of God is a central part of the kingdom of heaven, but the family of God isn’t the same thing as the nuclear family of modern, Western society. The nuclear family is parents and 1.13 kids (stats here) in a single family dwelling. The family of God has significantly more diversity within it. Couples, Singles, Parents, Grandparents, Childless, Children, etc., etc. living as the family of God so that there are no longer any “widows and orphans” because no one is left out in the cold.
To all my single and childless brothers and sisters in Christ. You are important parts of the family of God. We need you and what you bring to the family. You aren’t third or fifth wheels. You are another aspect of the image of God and you help all of us to understand our Lord better and live out His grace. Thank you for who you are and I ask your forgiveness for when I haven’t seen you or acknowledged you.