Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

churches and their painful singles groups

For today's post, I went from pregnant to these_3_remain to Stuff Christians Like to their top post of 2009: Surviving Church as a Single. I'm happy because my surfing journey defies the usual law of "your internet only goes downhill"... you know, you go to Wikipedia to learn about the fall of communism and somehow drift around and end up at the penis articles? Sick human curiosity only pulls you towards the weird stuff?

Any way I loved their post about surviving church as a single because I've done it and it's SO TRUE. I was thrown in with the college kids whose main problem was picking out what color of inflatable furniture to use in their dorm rooms. And I have heard prayer requests for all the "single lonely people". It's really bad.

And you have to remember, if I do say so myself, I was like the zen master of single, really rocking it, I was having a wonderful time. Being single in your mid-20s opens a whole universe. My experience was that single people have a look, a radar, a secret eye-contact language that only we understand. You may call it the meat market but I called it an adventure. It doesn't happen on college campuses where no one is really looking. It happens at clubs, grocery stores, I had it happen at the doctor's office (maybe not appropriate but he started it).

But at church it all comes crumbling down and you lose that "I'm in AWESOME WORLD" feeling in a sea of pity and very limited selection. There aren't many single people who like going to church. Most people go to church because they're afraid their kids will be satanists, and because it's easy for them. It's a terrible rut the church has gotten into, where the worst sins have to do with drinking and having sex and those sins have a definite target audience. If I'm 28 and married, I can drink because it's legal and have sex with the man I love because he's my husband. If I'm 18 and single, it's illegal to drink and I'm supposed to not think about sex. Who would go to a place like that?

Well, married people.

You get the idea that singles groups are there for you to become unsingle. You feel like you have leprosy. You feel like a sinner. Forget the prayer for the single and lonely, commenter Elizabeth claims to have heard one for the "single, lonely, elderly, ill and dying". It's like that. For a while my church was listing the singles group not on the side of the bulletin with men's, women's, and youth meeting times, but right alongside cancer support and alcoholism.

So my recommendation for churches:
1. Stop with the singles groups, you've already failed there in too many ways to count.
2. Have honest conversations with married people about why most of those slackers stopped going to church in their 20s, you might learn something! Quit praising them for their cute kids, they weren't always so married and perfect.
3. If there's a "young adult" group, make sure they're all out of college.
4. Team your young adult group up with other churches so it's not so small.
5. Highlight the awesome mission-type things those groups can accomplish because they don't need to all hire babysitters.

Honestly, having a crappy singles program is worse than having no singles program at all. If you can't pull it off, outsource.

I think it's interesting that on this blog with daily updates, their top article was about singles. Obviously there's some kind of void here. And the single commenters weren't trying to hook up with each other or learn more about becoming unsingle, they were complaining about how they're treated at church! It takes some real guts to keep the faith under those conditions. I only spent about five years after colelge being single at church but it was five long years... I almost said lonely in there, but that would imply that I was lonely because I was single. I wasn't. I only felt lonely for an hour and a half every Sunday morning. And apparently, I was not the only one.
Tags: christianity
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