Unsuitable: A Podcast with Mary B. Safrit
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:9-11)
Y'ALL. The first episode of my dear podcast will be up and ready FRIDAY. Ok, it's the trailer, but still. It is, one might say, the start of something new.
I want to make sure you know exactly why I decided to make a podcast, besides the fact that making podcasts is just what people do nowadays. They're the new blog.
I was listening to an episode of a podcast for Christian singles, which shall remain nameless, about how to talk to dudes. As part of my research, I have to read and listen to what's out there. This podcast featured three guests who had been married for 10+ years, discussing things like "be more interested in sports." I turned it off. The advice was probably helpful, but it wasn't what I was looking for.
I wanted a podcast where singles talked about their whole lives, not just what was missing from it. I wanted it to go deeper than a feigned interest in tossing the old pig skin around. I wanted to talk to real life Christian singles in all of their humanity and dignity. We are real humans with real struggles both relating to our relationship status and completely separate from it, and I longed for a platform that honored both.
So I decided to make one.
This podcast is for and about people who find themselves between church and culture. You're unmarried, so you should fit in with non-believers who are also single. But you live by a different set of priorities and values. Because of those beliefs and morals, you should fit into the church, but there you are met with an overwhelming pressure to be married--through the sermon illustrations, available ministries and resources, and your fellow congregants.
Maybe you're filled with a feeling a lack, a belief that you cannot be a good, mature Christian without the specific challenges of marriage.
Maybe you feel out of place, or stuck, or useless, or unsuitable to serve in your church. Friends, I want you to know that this is not true. I want to provide you with examples of Christian singleness. I want you to embrace your full identity, an identity that is so much bigger than your relationship status. I want you to see the worthiness that you've been given as a member of the body of Christ. You were created with depth and courage and beauty, and I want you to believe that. You can grow as a Christian without a spouse. You can continually learn new depths of Christ's love if you never have a biological child.
The American single is a growing demographic. As a church, we need to provide community and encouragement. We need to find a way to talk about singleness and singles that is not reductive, but fully embraces our humanity. We need to not be lazy in how we respond to struggles and frustrations expressed by our single friends. We need singles ministries that are not meat markets.
This starts with seeing the singles among us as full human beings who have unique gifts and perspectives and experiences to offer the rest of the church and the world.
Wow, Marebs, you might be thinking. Nice sermon, but why should we listen to you? You're just a chick with a blog.
I've been working on a book about what it's like to be a single Christian woman for about a year (get the full low down on Unsuitable, zee book). I've researched what's out there. I've asked questions. I've prayed and pondered. I am currently living and breathing this stuff because I feel the need for it. I have felt the conversation void and the lack of visibility for singles. I have felt the shame at being unmarried, even though I didn't want to be married at this moment. I have felt my own condescension toward those who express dissatisfaction in their singleness. So with all of this stewing around, I started writing and planning and dreaming and praying. This is the fruit of that labor, and I'm only just getting started.