Monday, July 30, 2012

a not so "straight" perspective on singleness

dan here.  my blog on singleness blew up way beyond my imagination.  when i wrote it i knew it wasn't all encompassing but didn't really care...and figured my other four readers didn't either.  i was wrong.  of the many areas i missed, two are: marriage doesn't "fix" life and the "calling" of singleness.

my new denver church co-worker and friend, stephen redden, posted a response blog "not single" which was fantastic.  it blew mine outta the water.  if you haven't, you should read it. 

i received an interesting comment on the blog from a dear and close friend (signed "another single christian brother").  my friend is attracted to guys, not women.  so, i invited him to blog on his unique views on singleness (below).  it's fantastic, i hope you'll read along. 


enjoy.  

_______________

Singleness. I feel like everyone is talking about it, so I decided to join in on the conversation. I’ll admit though, I have a unique perspective on this issue. I am a Christian guy in my mid-20's who is not attracted to women – I am attracted to guys. Hear me out. I think I might offer a different view on the issues of singleness and marriage.

First, I firmly believe that marriage is designed by God to be between one man and one woman for life. Given my own situation, with a desire to be true to God’s word, I have chosen to live a life of purity. I’m not interested in “easy,” I’m interested in pleasing God. So really, I’m no different in that respect than what God expects of every person who is single. But, I feel like to many, maybe most people, "singleness" is considered just a waiting area where we can be happy and content but never truly fulfilled until that "special someone" comes into our life. Marriage is the goal, and that period of singleness is just part of the journey. But what if that is not the right perspective?

photo via
I can’t help but feel like marriage is a measure of success not only in our culture, but also in our churches. If you never get married you are looked at differently, thought of as weird, somehow considered “less than”. I believe that God created us as relational beings who want and need intimacy. One way that is fulfilled is through marriage. In fact, Jesus chose the occasion of a wedding to perform his first miracle. But even though marriage is a gift of God, can we really claim that marriage is a promise from God for all of us? Can we simply “walk through” our single lives waiting for God to fulfill a promise that he never really made?

I suggest that we broaden our view. Maybe we are first to live our lives married to Christ (Matt 6:33). Then if one day God brings a spouse into our life, that’s awesome; if he doesn’t then that’s awesome too. After all, Paul was never married, but who wouldn’t want the kind of walk with God that Paul experienced, living right smack in the middle of God’s will? If the measure of success is whether one gets married, then where does that leave someone like me who may never get married? What are my biblical options? Paul went so far as to claim that singleness actually can be a gift (1 Cor 7:7). So if you’re currently single let me challenge you not put so much pressure on yourself to find a spouse. If it’s your heart’s desire to be married, then be honest with God about it. If not, that’s cool too. God knows your heart. But I’m asking you to dare to pray bolder than that! Pray that you may know Christ in a deeper, more intimate way – that he may be the true desire of your heart (Psalms 42:1-2). And don’t merely pursue God to get what you desire. Purpose in your heart, and have the faith to believe, that whatever he desires for you will be your deepest source of fulfillment.

And if you’re married, remember your single brothers and sisters. When you got married you didn’t graduate to the “next level” of fellowship. While your spouse will always comes first – after all you are now one – God desires us to live in fellowship and community together as one body of believers in Christ without putting each other in categories like “singles” or “marrieds”. As a married couple, Pricilla and Aquila, partnered with a single guy, Paul. Likewise, let’s continue to strengthen and encourage each other on this journey of faith. We’re strongest when we are bound together pursuing a common purpose.

Sincerely – Another single Christian brother.

38 comments:

  1. Agreed with all of this. Good job buddy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. agreed, adam...it's very well written. thanks for reading. lotta love.

      Delete
  2. Appreciate you sharing this Bro. I think I can apply some of this even as a straight guy who isn't super stoked about the idea of marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this!! Brought me to tears. Such an incredible testimony!!

    "I can’t help but feel like marriage is a measure of success not only in our culture, but also in our churches."... So true!! Singleness is viewed as nothing short of a curse - a "trial" we all have to endure until we receive the blessing of marriage.

    "I feel like to many..."singleness" is considered just a waiting area"... I wonder if women feel even more trapped (and frustrated) with this perspective. The world tells us that women can do anything men can, and it is acceptable and encouraged to pursue a man. By the Church's standards women are to "wait" for the man to express interest, "wait" for the man to pursue. These differing views leave women stuck between a rock and a hard place. And unfortunately,(and this is where I, and so many other women get frustrated) I've noticed that a lot of men (and, of course, not all men) aren't willing to rise to the challange of simply asking a girl out so that marriage might someday be an option. This results in a lot of waiting with no results. Almost every conversation I've had with women regarding singleness ends with someone saying, "Man up! Just grow a pair and ask her out!" (not kidding)
    Sure, I could probably be the one to ask a guy out. It's not hard. What's the worst that could happen? But I don't think I should have to. And quite frankly, I don't want to date a guy who would take such a passive role in a relationship. And so I wait...
    ... because I have standards. I could easily "resolve" this singleness issue at any moment with any guy I find off the street. But I want a man who loves Jesus more than he will ever love me. And I want a man who knows what he wants and isn't afraid to go out and get it. So I am waiting by choice. I'm single by choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. amber! thanks for sharing some of your thoughts here, i really appreciate you taking the time to do so. hugs.

      Delete
  4. This is an incredible and challenging post. It's beautiful that it's Paul who teaches us what Love is, "Love never gives up, Love cares more for others than self, Trusts God always, Never looks back, but keeps going til the end" {1 Cor. 13, MSG}. Paul models that Love isn't a relationship status, its the way we live our lives. Love "isn't interested in easy, love is interest in pleasing God" always. Thanks for writing this and encouraging us. Love wins, Lm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. so, so true...thanks for the comment, LM.

      Delete
  5. Great thoughts. I think this post balances some of the tensions of this conversation well. One of the challenges I see to this conversation (and many others) is that as Christians we are trying to discern and pursue God's created best within a world of imperfection. Yes, God created and God designed marriage as a gift to be experienced between one man and one woman for life. That was his created intent for all people.

    However...in a broken, fallen world all bets are off. There are no guarantees. God's perfect plan has been thwarted. Some people (few) get married and enjoy that gift for life. Some of them (about half in America) know the pain of that union dissolving in divorce. Still others see their union cut short by the death of their spouse. Others will never experience marriage. In all cases God's grace is sufficient. "Purpose in your heart, and have the faith to believe, that whatever he desires for you will be your deepest source of fulfillment." Amen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. great thoughts, stephen...thanks for sharing them with us.

      Delete
  6. This was really good. Thanks for sharing this, "Christian Brother". Keep pressing onwards and inwards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for reading, matty. and thanks for the comment. lotta love.

      Delete
  7. This post is so profound. I've never really thought of singleness as the waiting room for marriage but that is exactly what society tells us. This post reminds us that what society teaches us is not what God has promised.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hey andi...i agree, very profound...i hadn't thought of it either. thanks for reading and thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  8. Excellent perspective. Thank you for sharing it with us. And to the author: Thank You!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're welcome...and i'm sure he says you're welcome, too. ;) hope you're well.

      Delete
  9. It occurs to me as I get older that the important thing to do is just live my life to the fullest expression of what it is meant to become. All this looking and waiting and wondering tends to distract from the important tasks at hand. When and if there is a partner in the matter, platonic or intimate, then I need to be open to that possibility and not write my own plan for how things are meant to work out. And certainly stop wasting time waiting to get started for that perfect mate to come along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. as usual troy, i always appreciate you following along and supporting me and this blog! you're a wise man...thanks for giving some feedback. lotta love for ya!

      Delete
  10. Great article. True and brave. There may be a book that should be written here. The author stands on a unique platform to be able to have a voice people should listen to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for your comment, brian. agreed, love his platform and voice...glad he's able to speak from such a unique perspective. see ya around campus!!

      Delete
  11. As a single woman of 28, the usual question I get from friends (regardless if I met them two days or two months ago) is "So... how's your lovelife?" I have to admit I ask the same thing. At the same time I don't want to be someone who just sits around and doesn't live out my Godgiven talents and gifts just because there is no ring on my finger. The past blogposts have once again reminded me how to best view marriage; as a gift, not a promise, as a potential blessing but not a solution to all my problems. My goal will now be to keep my eyes focused on God and the fact that only He can fulfill my deepest needs. To be thankful for all of the wonderful (non-romantic) relationships I do have with friends and family.

    Thank you for being a much needed voice in this discussion.

    And Dan, the next time you think you only have four blog readers, think again. Some of us even live all the way across the Atlantic Ocean! Sorry about the caps though...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dear "across the atlantic ocean" commenter,
      wow...where are you reading from?? and thank you for reading and thanks for your comment...it's so true. also...good work on all those caps!!

      Delete
    2. I'm reading from my living room (enter laughter here) which is located in Sweden. Found this blogpost via a friend and just wanted to encourage you! Btw, caps rules!

      Delete
    3. haha, solid. sweden?? nice! thanks for reading.

      Delete
  12. I thought this was a very interesing perspective - one I hadnt thought of before. I actually have a christian guy friend who is gay who I am wondering how to reach out to him. I dont know how to phrase this or ask this andto I dont want to offend anyone, but we all are aware that homosexuality is a sin and GOD is against it -just look at what GOD did by destoying Sodom and Gomorah because of their behavior and sinful sexual acts. I know of people who have been homosexual and turned from that lifestyle...GOD redeemed them and they went on to marry someone of the opposite sex and have a family. So if GOD can do that for some cant He do that for all!?! Cant He redeem and heal all homosexuals and isnt it possible that all could turn from this lifestyle!?! And as christians shouldnt we be encouraging our brothers and sisters in this lifestyle to turn to GOD turn over their sin to Him and have Him take the driver seat....just like all other sin...I know that its hard to do and may seem impossible...but with GOD all things are possible!! Or am I missing something or is there something I dont understand....if so, help me to understand! Ultimately I just want to reach out to my friend and encourage him to leave this lifestyle. I hope I didnt offend anyone as that was not my intention. I am truly asking outto of christian love. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for finding this blog and thanks for your comment. imma let my friend respond to this comment ;) lotta love.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Dan I greatly appreciate it! :)

      Delete
    3. Hey Dan - I have started a Christian blog...if you'd like to check it out, here it is: WalkingWithGodInTheDesert.blogspot.com.

      Thanks ~ Bethany

      Delete
    4. Dan, Thanks so much for providing me this outlet and giving a voice to my perspective! I have been truly touched by the response and comments to this post! God has shown me a lot about myself as I continually grow in him and I am excited and blessed to be able to share that!

      Bethany - Thanks so much for your comments! You bring up a lot of things that I’m sure many people have wondered about themselves. First let me just say that I appreciate your desire to want to reach your friend. Your love for him is evident throughout your comment. I wish more people shared your desire! The overall response to this blog and your sincere questions prompted me to spend sometime giving you a thoughtful response, in the process I decided that it's time for me start my own blog to address not only this topic but other topics as well. I've posted a response to your questions at my new blog

      http://anotsostraightperspective.com/2012/08/04/hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner-what-does-your-friend-really-hear/

      I hope this gives you a different perspective on how to approach your friend! Please feel free to comment if anything is unclear or if questions still remain! God Bless!

      - A Not So "Straight" Perspective

      Delete
    5. bethany,
      thanks for sharing your blog...i'm now following along!

      and homie...love that you started a blog...excited to follow along!!

      Delete
    6. Dan- Thank you for following my blog.
      ...in my "Singleness in the Church" post I feature your blog....i hope you dont mind!?! :)

      Delete
    7. Dear " A Not So Straight Perspective" thanls for your response and your blog ...I am now following you. :)

      Delete
  13. Dan and Christian Brother (and Stephen Redden),

    Thanks a ton for this series of posts. They are excellent. I wish I lived in Denver so I could hang out with you guys as you honestly pursue Jesus and navigate the waters of singleness, marriage, same sex attraction and all the things that surround our sexuality.

    Keep pursuing Jesus!

    jim
    Jim Rolf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for reading, jim...it's an honor to have you read along! many blessings to you in your new season/transition in life!

      Delete
  14. Thanks for sharing this post. It was so good to think differently about singleness in this light. I'm grateful for little unexpected blessings like this.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am usually more attracted to girls than guys. They are just prettier. Still single. Staying single. Loving Jesus more everyday. Finding an intimate relationship with my God that I doubt would have happened had I spent my time and energy on a marriage. Finding complete and utter fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Not really interested in getting married unless some guy is as much of a Jesus Freak as I am. Synergy is an amazing thing for the Kingdom.

    ReplyDelete