Around these parts, we talk about a lot of things pertaining to people who are single and also Christian. We talk about relational well-being, mental health, and calling. We also talk about the reality of being single in a culture low to high key obsessed with marriage. We don’t talk much about dating. However, I endeavor to invite y’all into an ongoing conversation about both what’s hard and what’s great about being a single Christian.
One thing that’s come up for me as I’ve ventured into this conversation, is a question I asked on social media a couple of months go. When we hear the phrase “single Christian,” what kind of person comes to mind? What do we assume to be their biggest concerns? What happens when we carry over these assumptions to all singles, or we assume all singles are primarily worried about getting un-single?
What happens when our picture of the single Christian doesn’t include divorced people, widows, single parents, LGBTQ+ Christians (celibate or not), singles who don’t want to get married, and never-married folks 40+?
To have a truly robust conversation about singleness we have to take into account the many subgroups and intersections that pop up in each experience.
Even those of us who are single might struggle with this. When I’m thinking about what kinds of things to write about here or on social media, or even in the book I’m working on, I have a particular person in mind. Aside from the question of what I am able to speak to with the most authority, there’s also communication best practices. These dictate that if you spread yourself too thin trying to speak to too many people at once, you won’t reach anyone.
That’s one of the things I love about the podcast. I get to bring in people with very different experiences of singleness and ask them questions. And, based on my analytics, y’all like that, too.
A broader conversation on singleness invites us to learn from each other, to value each other as the particular part of the body of Christ we represent right now, and embrace one another as siblings and fellow co-heirs with Christ.
We need each other. If we want a church that reflects the equity inherent in the gospel (Galatians 3:28), and a church culture that reflects the value system of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5-7), we need to be mindful of who is calling the shots and who is driving the conversations.
Limits are part of being human. I think that’s ultimately a good thing or at least an invitation. They invite us to pause and look around. They can invite us into the humility necessary to see and hear one another. They can remind us how our value system has gotten out of whack. They can nudge us to consider what we might be missing or who we are leaving out. Only God is omniscient.
Part of the design of the church is to recognize and honor those limitations. Not only does it point us to our need for God, but it also points us to our need for each other.
Where might God be inviting you to notice your limits? What is one small thing you can do to honor those limits?