Monday, April 24, 2006
the warped theology of singleness
from Singled Out by God for Good
by Paige Benton, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary. She serves on staff of the PCA's Reformed University Fellowship at Vanderbilt University.
Warped theology is at the heart of attempts to "explain" singleness:
· "As soon as you're satisfied with God alone, he'll bring someone special into your life"—as though God's blessings are ever earned by our contentment.
· "You're too picky"— as though God is frustrated by our fickle whims and needs broader parameters in which to work.
· "As a single you can commit yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord's work"— as though God requires emotional martyrs to do his work, of which marriage must be no part.
· "Before you can marry someone wonderful the Lord has to make you someone wonderful"— as though God grants marriage as a second blessing to the satisfactorily sanctified.
Accepting singleness, whether temporary or permanent, does not hinge on speculation about answers God has not given to our list of whys, but rather on celebration of the life he has given. I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me. It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single. The psalmists confirm that I should not want, I shall not want, because no good thing will God withhold from me.
Such knowledge of God must transform subsequent knowledge of self— theological readjustment is always the catalyst for renewed self-awareness. This keeps identity right-side-up with nouns and modifiers in their correct place. Am I a Christian single or am I a single Christian? The discrepancy in grammatical construction may be somewhat subtle, but the difference in mindset is profound. Which word is determinative and which is descriptive? You see, we singles are chronic amnesiacs— we forget who we are, we forget whose we are. I am a single Christian. My identity is not found in my marital status, but in my redemptive status. I am one of the "haves," not one of the "have-nots."