A Single Crisis

Being Christian + Single = State of Confusion.

Why? Because the Christian + Single is constantly bombarded with confliciting stories, advice, opinions, viewpoints that come pouring out of hidden corners, secular and/or sacred. Each one claiming soundness and reality. Each one might be right, might be wrong.

On one side, there's the teachings of "Sex and the City." The TV show that has had an incredible impact on modern single life. Apart from the promiscuity, of course, I sometimes find myself identifying with main lead Carrie's thoughts on singleness. Are single women the new bachelors? What if we really do create our own relationship myths, just to tell ourselves we're ok? Sometimes, I catch myself falling into many of the philosophical traps the the four ladies project and forget to think Biblically about my singleness.

In contrast, you have Debbie Maken. I'm sure she meant well when writing Getting Serious About Getting Married, but her book is as confusing as its secular counterpart. But the funny thing is, both hit the same point: How do singles survive in the growing masses of single people?

"Sex and the City" says to experiment with all forms of sexuality, live single life to the fullest, no strings or emotions attached. Getting Serious says to go sign up at an online dating service, 'cuz by golly the call to singleness is a sin! (Ok, I agree with Maken, but I still find her incredibly proactive resolution to be unsettling and sometimes just as extreme as Sex's.)

From Maken's book, I appreciated her thoughts on how the church has hurt singles and her list of "what not to say to a single Christian." Especially refreshing in contrast to Carrie Bradshaw. (Someday, I'm going to watch that show with laptop in hand to notate all the theological errors and then comment on them...)

Here is Maken's list: (Married people, take note please. In reading this, I found that when these things were said to me, they were most often said by well-meaning married friends.)

1. "Singleness is a gift." By questioning singleness, you question God's sovereignty. If you're single, that must be God's will for you.

2. "Wait on the Lord."

3. "Jesus is all you need." Singles are told that being discontent with your singleness is a sin. God won't ever change your situation until you learn absolute contentment. Guess we're all in for a shock...

4. "Being single = knowing and serving God better." Only if you're truly called to singlehood... Like Maken says, God reveals Himself mostly through families.

5. "Single = Celibate." Ha! Go watch "Sex in the City." Being Christian + Single = Abstinent? Absolutely.

6. "You have to be the right person to meet the right person." Since when does sanctification reach a final goal this side of heaven?

7. "It's better to be single than to wish you were."

8. "As soon as you stop looking, you'll find the right person." I personally hate this one. Really, what is that supposed to mean? I'm pretty sure all the Biblical examples of singles were actively scouting.

9. "It's God's will that you are single right now." In Maken's words, "Protracted singleness rarely glorifies God and cannot save you, sanctify you, or justify you in God's eyes." Besides, how does someone else truly know what God's longterm will is for you?

10. "There's no shame in being single." Even Sex's Carrie Bradshaw hates being single! Why else would she write a column complaining about it? The whole point of the show is to exemplify a lifestyle that covers up how empty [God-less] singleness can be.

11. "Dating is fun!" Again, deep down, Carrie doesn't think so either.

My additions to the list (i.e., personal pet peeves):

12. "What? Only __ years old? You have all the time in the world!" Time for what, really? Research tells me my biological clock is ticking and that barrenness past 32 significantly increases the chance for breast cancer.

13. "Whatever you do, don't settle for second best." People forget that singleness is often the result of a choice not to settle.

So what are singles to do? I have no idea. If I did, I wouldn't be writing this...


Memorial Day Memories


Reviewing Butler and Books

Abby and I went to college and started Veritas together. I made the cookies and she wrote a book about it. Ha ha! Finally,after several years, I've read her book. And it's good too. Sorry, Abby, for not reading it sooner...

It was interesting to read Abby's perspective on liberal academia, based upon her experience at the same liberal university I attended/am attending/hopefully will graduate from at some point... It was convicting to read how she responded to the staunch liberalism she encountered, to reflect on the various professors and classes I've had, and then to remember how often I sat still and silent. Thank you, Abby, for taking a stand, the stand I was too shy to take!

It's a handy guide on "How to survive liberal indoctrination at college." While it may not apply to every university situation, I would definitely recommend it to any highschool senior intending to attend a secular university, especially if they're from a conservative background. Why? Because Abby presents the case the all the prep in prep-school can't prepare you for the intense defense Christians have to play at college. Abby's talented writing style is easy to read, humorous, and to the point. If you've ever read Lori Borgman's column in the Monday paper, you'll know what I'm talking about.

I always thought Abby had a particularly bad experience at Butler, but now I'm wondering if maybe I just had a particularly good one.



I'll get there someday

...I feel the need to post, but all I have time for is "hello." I'm under pressure with getting somewhere with my thesis. Being finished is still way off in dreamland... I'm starting to stress, a lot, especially that June 20 isn't a feasible deadline...
...I've been having computer difficulties. Anyone know a good fix-it store?
...I have many thoughts and more books to post about, but no time right now... I'll get to it
...Megan's home now. That's good.
...Meredith's still cute as ever.
...I'm done with coursework. That's a plus.


Today's Dose of Procrastination

New music... Read what Veith says. From a quick listen, I'm definitely interested...

Twins... the incredible survival...


Reading Infidel in Indianapolis

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has an incredible story to tell. She is brutally honest with herself, her past, and her observations of the world around her. Infidel is the story of Ali's spiritual and political journey from a Muslim Somali household to democratic freedom in the West.

I have not studied Islam as I should, so reading Infidel was somewhat of an eye-opener. "Reading Infidel in Indianapolis" is a reference to "Reading Lolita in Tehran" because after reading this memoir, I think it is a valuable book for American women to read, and to wake up to the abuse and suffering that their sex endures in other parts in the world. (But as Ali points out, Muslim women suffer everywhere and anywhere and that the West should recognize the violation of human rights in its own backyard.)

It was fascinating to see the beauty of Christianity through Ali's eyes, although she may not recognize it as that. As she encounters the Western world after her escape to Holland, she is amazed that an entire moral system can exist outside of Islam and comes to the conclusion that is is so much better than anything Islam can offer. Ali makes friends with a Christian woman and her observations on Christianity are worth noting.
Ellen and I had numerous conversations about her Christian beliefs. Her relationship with God seemed to be about dialogue and love, a striking contrast to the fear and submission I had been taught to show.
According to Ali, Islam is concerned only with the future afterlife. Life on earth is a test, and if you pass, you earn your way to heaven. As Ali points out, with such a worldview, why do anything to improve life on earth? This is the reason she claims so many Muslim countries are in poverty - not because of politics, but because of theology. Ali witnesses the contrast in the Christian West where life on earth is valued.

I thought Infidel serves as a testimony to the freedom Christ brings. Like Ali saw herself, Christ is concerned with how we live our lives today, here and now. This is where sanctification lies; this is true freedom.


Continuing Thoughts

I was discussing the frugality issue with my dad and he brought up and interesting alternative viewpoint. He suggested that as Christians, perhaps we should be questioning ourselves on what is extravagant rather than what is frugal. As he mentioned, the Christian community lags in environmental concern and instead preaches a theology of wealth and prosperity. Stewardship has little place in the lifestyles of Christians today.

How is stewardship defined today? I think it varies from person and situation, but essentially it is concerned with three things: eternity, sanctification, and contentment.