I’m surprised how many people read my last post, although I guess that’s what happens when you link it to Facebook. I’ve never done that before, but I just felt so passionately about it I wanted to start a discussion. Though I’m wondering if people are a little afraid of it.
I’ve been thinking about how the post I wrote isn’t something new, not a new thought I suddenly had today. It’s based in kind of a larger church thing I think about a lot. One of the best books I’ve ever read about being single, and being married, and all of it together is Real Sex by Lauren Winner. It influenced greatly how I think about the community of the church, and gave voice to something I couldn’t quite put into words.
Forever I’ve been opposed to singles groups, and dividing small groups into marrieds and college age and singles. I couldn’t really express it, but it just felt so…wrong to me. Like when the men and women divide and go into different rooms at parties, I just don’t get it. Winner put it perfectly:
One of the best ways Christian communities can support chastity is to ensure that married people and single folks are in relationship with one another. Fostering relationships between married and single means not assuming that “couple” is the basic unit of Christian identity. It means asking the single person not only who are you dating? but how is God calling you to be faithful now as you are? It means making sure you have an odd number of chairs at your dinner parties. Fostering relationships between single and married Christians can help with the old accountability saw. A dating relationship is not private affair-when you are dating, your friends ask you questions, and they won’t let you hide behind vagueness and innuendo. But relationships require more than having honest heart-to-hearts with one another. Relationships require that married people must invite single people into their lives, and vice versa. This means not just inviting your friends over for dinner; it means going grocery shopping together and taking vacations together. It might even mean-as it does for Christians who create “intentional communities” in houses or neighborhoods-married couples or families with kids living with unmarried folks. In Romans 12:1, Paul instructs the church to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.” The grammar of that command is odd-we are offering bodies, plural, as one living sacrifice, singular. But that seeming grammatical slip, I think, tells us a lot about community, chastity, and prayer. Those who are not married and those who are married offer our bodies as a single, communal sacrifice to God. It is something we do together-as one Body.
Lauren F. Winner. Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity (pp. 141-142). Kindle Edition.
Winner’s quote, her thoughts, have everything to do with why I wrote my previous post. We need each other. We can argue whether or not the family has become an idol. I personally think it has, but that is neither here nor there. I love being part of people’s families–being invited to children’s birthday parties or on family outings. Some of my greatest joy comes from my nieces and nephews and getting to be part of their lives. My previous post is sort of the flaws…pointing out where I think the church fails to recognize singles as part of the Body…kind of leaves us out. Winner points out for me where the Church does it well. I have seen it in action…I have friends who have kids who treat me like part of their families. They’ve invited me in, and I hope I’ve been able to give back by loving on their kids.
My previous post probably sounded like a complaint. Really, for me, it’s a hope. There are LOTS of ways my current church has made me part of the family, has valued me and walked along side me as I figure out how to grown in Christ. This is just one more way I think we can live into the Kingdom just a little more.