Sam Allberry (@SamAllberry) has written a slender book called 7 Myths about Singleness (Crossway 2019) [amazon], and the only thing I didn’t like about it was the cover.
Allberry, a single pastor and speaker at RZIM, deals winsomely about the church’s various misconceptions about singleness (not all of which are consistent with each other): 1. Singleness is too hard; 2. Singleness requires a special calling; 3. Singleness means no intimacy; 4. Singleness means no family; 5. Singleness hinders ministry; 6. Singleness wastes your sexuality; and 7. Singleness is easy.
What I liked most about this book was that it wasn’t particularly directed at single people. The target audience is believers who want to think about biblical teaching on the subject and includes married and unmarried believers. It would seem to me that the topic is pretty relevant to readers of the New Testament given that Jesus (certainly) and Paul (probably) were single. How can we be so quick to see marriage as a virtual requirement for ministers and the “highest calling” for others?
Allberry says, in his conclusion:
When I started this project, my initial aim was to write about the goodness of singleness . . . . But through it all I have been increasingly preoccupied with something else – not the goodness of singleness but the goodness of God. The issue is not whether this path or that path is better, whether singleness or marriage would bring me more good. The issue is God and whether I will plunge myself into him, trusting him every day.
P. 149. If that’s not relevant to us all, I don’t know what is.
Lyman Stone, writing for Vox, adds* his voice to others suggesting that we are having too few children in the United States.
He looks at polling data to show that while the Total Fertility Rate is now only about 1.8, the number of children desired is much higher. He explains why this shortfall is bad for our society, and proposes some fixes (all interesting) but this paragraph brought a grin to my face:
If getting ahead in your industry requires happy-hour drinks three nights a week, that’s unfriendly to families and may be preventing your female colleagues from having the family they want. Check your childlessness privilege. If you never volunteer to babysit your friends’ kids, but expect to benefit from their Social Security taxes, you’re a societal free-rider.
I would have never thought to say this, honestly.** There are many other rewards to having larger-than-replacement families, but this Vox article does raise some points we don’t often hear. Lyman Stone, “The US needs more babies, more immigrants, and more integration,” Vox (Nov. 10, 2017) [link].
*I guess he “added his voice,” but I did not see the article at the time.
**He also proposed special parking privileges for minivans, but that proposal is way too late for us.
Three stimulating articles, without any obvious common theme except the most common of all — a fallen world with fallen people in it:
“Ultimately, God is still good. And he is still enough.” Bekah Mason, “Finding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman,” Christianity Today (June 2017) [link].
“I am capable of any sin. And God loves me in spite of my sinful nature.” Sanya Richards-Ross, “My Abortion Broke Me, God Redeemed Me,” Christianity Today (June 2017) [link].
“What explains a person or a group of people doing things that seem at odds with who they are or what they think is right?” Malcolm Gladwell, “Thresholds of Violence,” gladwell.com (October 19, 2015) [link].
But still, there is always the offer of God’s grace.
In post-Obergefell America, Evangelicals and other orthodox Christians will be unable to outrun our freakishness. That is no reason for panic. Some will suggest that a Christian sexual ethic puts the churches on the “wrong side of history.” Well, we’ve been on the wrong side of history since A.D. 33. The “right side of history” was the Eternal City of Rome. And then the right side of history was the French Revolution. And then the right side of history was scientific naturalism and state socialism. And yet, there stands Jesus still, on the wrong side of history but at the right hand of the Father.
Interesting article by Russell D. Moore in the current issue of First Things (“Evangelicals Won’t Cave: Why evangelicals will not be surrendering to the sexual revolution,” October 2015 (http://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/10/evangelicals-wont-cave).