Heaven Help the Single Christian…


because the book certainly won’t!

Being nearly 30, I have been given all sorts of dating and single-woman books since I was in high school. Let me give you a quick run-down of my experience with dating and relationship literature:

High School Mid to late 1990s: Elisabeth Elliot was highly regarded for Passion and Purity, and she was re-gaining some attention due to Quest for Love being published. Then comes along a new guy, Joshua Harris. He wanted all of us church-goers to not date. While all of these books have merit for trying to help teens and young adults navigate what is involved in a real relationship, sadly, most discussions turned into “AAGGGGHHHH, they’re DATING not COURTING!” We continually missed the point. In worrying how a relationship looked to our Christian friends, we concerned ourselves more with the label than what made a healthy relationship.

College 2000-2004: I was the date-less wonder. I will talk about my issues in later posts, maybe. As for literature – a little more Joshua Harris, only now he had some competition – Cloud and Townsend. But with people being in college and of marrying age, there were the “Song of Solomon” studies. Then gender studies hit Christian circles with publications such as Wild at Heart and Every Man’s Battle. Women had the companion books to these along with Lady in Waiting. Or if we were tired of dating or single studies, there was a plethora of Beth Moore material.

2004-2007: Learning the career life. After “church shopping” in Wichita, I found a church to land at. The pastors at the church tried so hard to get us single-folk to date, and I managed to be ignored in the dating and marrying circles. Anyway, there were several Sunday School series devoted to dating. Then a sermon series on marriage (longest 8 Sundays of MY LIFE!!!!).  And the ever present awkward question of “Why hasn’t some guy come along and snatched you up yet?!?!?!” Me: “Um…stammer….um…think of snarky response.” Thanks…that’s exactly what a single woman wants to hear.

2008-present: So now I’m an Orthodox Christian. I must say, one of the draws of The Church was its view of marriage and singleness. Both, hear that, both are callings. You can be called to marriage, to single service among the laity, to monasticism. Equality. What’s “wrong” with you has nothing to do with your marital status.

Most people at my (small) parish know I want to get married, and some have attempted to help. There was a suggestion for me to attend a Parish life conference or visit a monastery.

[Sample dialogue]
Me: Um….visit a monastery to find a husband?
Zealous Parishoner: Yeah! Monastery pilgrimages are a good way to find other pious Christians.
Me:
Huh?

Then our library displayed a copy of “Heaven Help the Single Christian,” and someone pointed to it saying, “Hey, I thought of you when I saw this book.” Facepalm. Heavy sigh.

Early on in my Orthodox catechism, I was a quick and regretful learner of my potential-mate pool. Basically the men fall into these criteria:
1. Already married
2. Have it together spiritually, but don’t have a great personality
3. Too afraid to ask you out
4. Some of those that do ask you out end up revealing themselves as lying, cheating @$$#&!@!
5. Or for those that ask you out, it just doesn’t work.

(Author note: I do realize that #4 is specific to my experience. Please forgive any bitterness and jadedness that I have passed on to you.)

But alas, I wondered if there was something new I should learn about dating in the ancient church. My curiosity got the best of me, and I thought, “What could it hurt?”

Well, the book didn’t hurt, but it didn’t help.

Part 2 coming soon.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Part 2: Heaven Help the Single Christian… | tallrayofsunshine
  2. Anna
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 12:57:18

    we concerned ourselves more with the label than what made a healthy relationship.

    Good point! Looking forward to part II

    Reply

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