On Wednesday night we hosted our ‘Love Thy Single Self’, an evening exploring singleness and romance (or lack of) and how the Church gets the whole thing wrong.
Questions like: ‘what does our faith say about casual dating?’ and ‘what does Song of Songs mean to a single Christian guy?’ were the order of the night in Islington’s Island Queen pub.
After that, our (married) coordinator, Thomas, asked the room what were the worst things that married folk and church leaders say to single people. The responses were so good that we thought we’d compile them into a post. Here they are:
- What about [insert name]? You two would make a great couple.
Sorry, I didn’t realise I had a sign hanging round my neck saying: “Hi, please point out every single person to me, KTHANXBYE.”
- Use the gift of singleness to accomplish God’s work
Ok this one is in the Bible, sort of. But does it mean I’m going to be single forever? Do divine gifts have an expiry date? What about my free will?
- Be patient… it’s coming
So what you’re saying is, I don’t have to do anything? Just sit and wait. Can I at least look at tinder?
- Marriage isn’t always wonderful.
This is the relationships version of: “Nah, the party wasn’t that great anyway.” I know you’re trying to help, but it’s patronising.
- But, you’re such a great person.
Yep. Know that already. My greatness has nothing to do with my relationship status, though. Jesus was pretty great. Mother Teresa too.
- What’s wrong with you?
Hang on, I thought I was such a great person? I don’t know, what’s wrong with you for asking such a crap question?
- Get a move on.
What’s the rush? I might be happy single. If I’m not happy single, I’m certainly not going to rush into something just for the sake of it.
- Do you not want a boyfriend/girlfriend?
Ah, because wanting one means having one, right?
- You’re being too fussy
I know, having standards is pretty overrated, huh?
One area that provoked a lot of conversation was in the fact that singles are often overlooked or disqualified from positions of leadership within the Church. Jesus was single. He did alright. Saint Paul didn’t do too badly either.
Perhaps part of the problem is in our view of leaders. Do we look at Church leaderships as part of the linear process of growing up? The process that goes: school, university, job, dating, engaged, married, children, leadership, etc. If that’s the case, it’s easy to see why single leaders aren’t too common. Maybe single leaders will get distracted from their employment?
In reality, life doesn’t work like that. What happens when you lose a job? What happens when a relationship falls apart or is lost? What happens when there’s infertility? People are more than their current position in life.
Perhaps we need to be more honest about all that? How can we teach those younger than us that life doesn’t flow in a neat, replicable pattern?
This is why threads exists, to acknowledge that we have doubts and questions about things, and that we’re trying to be as honest about it as possible.