A few days ago I invoked a firestorm on my Facebook newsfeed when I stated my preference to not date “churched” guys, and while I had the gambit of responses, I realized that it was becoming clearer and clearer that most people, with the exception of a few, were unclear on my position, as well as what I was referring to in another thread about HORRIBLE advice that marrieds give singles, ESPECIALLY in church culture. As a never married, thirty-something former recovering Church girl, I knew that I needed to share how I really feel. And in this circumstance, my alter ego Angry Jess comes to the surface reeeeaaal quick.
So, in short, I’m simply going to break down my current “doctrine” on these two issues, because while it is simple for me, my explanation may not be so much to those who are still very much trapped in the church matrix. Before we get to that, we must understand that there are several factors involved that led to my decision, which are the following:
- American Christian culture is very much all about the idolatry of the (MOSTLY WHITE)traditional, heterosexual, nuclear family structure. Ministries (and the marketplace) are devoted to supporting (and profiting off of) that family structure, almost to the exclusion of anyone who doesn’t belong. That is a huge part of the reason why many young adult and singles ministries struggle because the very reason for their existence was not to actually support those particular life stages, but to act as a way station for dovetailing its participants back into the church system.
- Christian culture has a VERY difficult time actually saying what they actually feel and think. It is very much wrapped in passive aggression and drenched in “God’s will” or “God’s Word says” type language(and we’re not even going to talk about the high levels of assegesis that goes on). It would be easier for a moderator at a political debate to get an honest answer than it is to get a churched Christian to be truly honest about how they feel.
- Many single Christian women (especially churched) have been very much taught (albeit implicitly) that their maturity as a believer was dependent on their marital and fertility statuses. It also doesn’t help that in Christian culture, social hierarchies are very much dependent on these things. On the flip side of that, Churched men have a very difficult time separating their masculine identity and worth due to what they have been taught about their purpose, how to relate to women, and how to engage with the world around them.
- Lastly, Christian culture is very insular. Your ability to “fit in” is very much dependent on how well you conform to the group.
So in short, considering all of these factors, I knew I had a few options. I could continue to stay in the system and try to spark thought and consideration. After all, I didn’t magically come to the conclusions I did overnight. My other option was that I could also stay and in the meantime, create an environment that would help those who needed a place to vent their frustrations and actually find a way to co-exist with the churched. Or, I could just leave, searching for an environment where my acceptance and respect was not predicated on matters beyond my control.
And I decided to leave. In my closing statements, Angry Jess takes the wheel:
F*ck it. I know myself, and I know that I want a relationship with someone that can clearly state what they want, without the churchy clichés and platitudes. I want a relationship with someone who doesn’t see relationships through the lens of ownership, power dynamics, and hierarchies. I want a relationship with a person who sees me as a human being and as an equal partner, and I want someone who is secure enough in themselves and their decision-making to expend the effort and time to engage in a relationship. And last, but damn sure not least, I need to be sexually attracted to them. And I’m not attracted to churched guys. AT. ALL. Sorry bros. We can be friends. I’m sure, as my friend Dell, says, “There are plenty of women available that want their ring fingers taken over for Jesus Christ.”
And for you churched, married folks out there? LISTEN to you single friends. LISTEN. Sit with them in their pains and frustrations. If you don’t understand what they mean by something, ask for clarification, NOT to justify yourself. Someone did it for you before you got hitched. Don’t give churchy platitudes and Jesus Jukes (thank you, Jon Acuff for that golden term). And if you don’t know how to do this? Just simply say, “I don’t know why this hasn’t happened for you yet. But I am praying for answers and peace.” It’s OK to say you don’t understand. You can even say that you don’t get it(as it’s been quite some time some of you were single.) That’s cool. But don’t continue to respond with the same sh*t that we explicitly asked you not to respond with. That sh*t is maddening. That’s like asking someone not to kick you in the crotch and then, after you tell them, they decide to kick you with a spiked pointy toe shoe.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below.