If you are single, you’ve heard countless responses (good and bad) from people when they learn of your “unfortunate” relationships status, or lack thereof. Want to read about my experience being single and hearing these things? Here’s that post.
My dear friend and coworker Pastor Khristi Adams (@KhristiLauren on Twitter) has just released her book “The Misinterpreted Gospel of Singleness: A Cultural Critique of Myths Surrounding Singleness in the Christian Community” and what an impression this has made on my and our Christian community here! Here’s the link so that you can buy it on Amazon! It is an incredible book, full of wisdom and grace as Khristi unpacks some of the myths we have seemingly unintentionally adopted about singleness. One of my favorite touches on the piece is how she’s titled each chapter after one of those myths that get proposed, things like:
- The Myth of the Singles Ministry: “You know, there’s a ministry in the church for people like you.”
- The Myth of the Perfect Image: “I’ve got to carry myself the way a woman of God should.”
- The Myth of the Phrase “Being Married to Jesus”: “I am not single, I am taken. I am married to Jesus.”
- The Myth of the Deadline: “You better get married – you don’t want those eggs to dry up.”
- The Myth of the End All, Be All: “Don’t worry, your day will come. One day you’ll be as lucky as me.”
In this book, Khristi crafts a beautiful conversation with the reader through her gracious but pointed language, calling attention to these myths and the impact they have on our community. She also utilizes these little personal anecdotes to conclude each chapter, from a real live person whose experience has reflected a consequence of that myth and truly hammers home the way people are being wrongly treated, devalued, and hurt in our church family by these lies.
The book read quickly and easily for me as a single person, drawing you into this conversation as if Khristi is an old friend to whom you’ve shared each of these trials. I liked each chapter more than the last, and truly felt as if the last chapter – “The Myth of the End All, Be All” was the most poignant and really hit the nail on the head with the message I’ve experienced the most often and strongly from the church. Here, Khristi describes a message given at a Christian Marriage conference that perpetuated this message again, and she writes that “blaming single people for their singleness, whether it’s by circumstance of choice, is religious bullying. (R. Albert Mohler) went on to berate singles for not taking marriage seriously, when in all actuality, some may argue that the Christian community takes it way too seriously.” Within the Christian community, the message I’ve heard the most loudly is this one, that marriage is the goal for us as Christians, because it leads to creating families and the discipleship of children. Khristi does a great ob examining this message and bringing light and clarity to some of these places in the conversation.
Overall, I felt that Khristi does a great job of providing space for reflection and self-evaluation and doesn’t glorify singleness or the single person. She encourages humility, sensitivity, and care for each other in our church families, particularly when it comes to this issue, and reminds us that we are a community called to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice, and that requires awareness of the messages we are sending in all our words and actions. This is a great book for all and brings some great reminders abut genuine community that we can always use. (buy it on Amazon!)