Marrieds, Angry Jess, and Christian Culture

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


Originally posted on DJ Nate Geezie:

People don’t listen to me. I’m used to it tho. So now that I’m blogging again this will serve as official record that I told each and every one of you that Ari Lennox was insanely gifted and you need to get familiar….and quickly.

Or you can stay asleep.

Hailing from the great city of Washington DC, she has been making noise for years and steadily increasing her fan base by means of her frequent use of YouTube and Twitter. 

Her newest song “Bound” is spellbinding indeed…

Check out her earlier projects “Ariography EP” and the “Five Finger Discount” and be on the lookout for her new release.


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The Church Worth Coming Back To (A Message For The Left-Out)

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:

This week, I found myself in uncharted waters.

For the first Sunday in 17 years, I was not on staff at a local church; waking-up without a group of students and families to care for, and without a building to drive to; no sermons to give, no songs to sing, no greetings to deliver.

With the suddenness and messiness of the transition of the past few days, I knew there would be grief and confusion to process, and the dizzying flood of conflicting emotions that comes with any major life change. (In a year that’s seen me lose my dad, leave a job, move our family, and now be leaving another job, I fully expected those feelings of loss and sadness to come, and they have).

However, the one thing I didn’t expect to feel so instantly and so sharply in response to losing this central part of my life, was relief.

There was an almost tangible exhale…

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Putting the “Spin” on Spinsterhood

I initially started this blog as a space to share my thoughts, and at the time that I started writing, it was primarily about my (perceived) perpetual state of singleness. Much has changed however, and as I discover more and more information about my “spinsterhood”, I realize that my story is still very much unwritten. While I am still single, I feel much more in control of my life and happiness than I’ve ever been, and that means that I am the one in control of the story, therefore putting my own “spin” or perspective on it.

I believe that spinsterhood is a term for a period where marriage and family was the only means to pursue any sort of ambition in a society and culture that objectified and treated women as property. Women who didn’t or couldn’t comply with that cultural expectation had to do what was necessary to survive. As a post-evangelical seeker, I am simply discovering the idea that spinsterhood in this day and age, to me, is living life on my terms, trying to manage my engagement with society at large on those terms.



A Post Evangelical Millenial and a Pastor walk into a Coffee Shop….

There are many things swirling around currently, and I think they all center around simple things with unknown consequences: hard conversations, confrontations, and heartfelt communication. Much of it can be expressed and addressed as far as my own actions. But it is the actions of others that I cannot control, a reality that is freeing, and, for an affirmation starved people-pleaser, somewhat terrifying.

But, as I am getting better at honestly expressing my opinions and feelings, I realize that such expressions have consequences. Thankfully, I am getting closer and closer to caring less about the opinions of others and more about living a risk averse, constricted life.

So, I’m just going to come out and say it. At this moment, knowing what I know now and seeing what I’ve seen, I find it increasingly harder to see Christ in American Christian culture. In my mind, I wish I could meet up with the personal embodiment of American evangelical Christian culture and ask the following questions:

1.) What is WITH your culture’s obsession with women getting married and having babies? Why do you act as if we’ve imbibed the FemiNazi Kool-Aid when some of us say that we’re not sure about either one or decide forego them both?

2.) When it comes to current affairs (especially those political) seen as a “spiritual issue”, and your political involvement part of the “spiritual battle” for the soul of the country? And why when such efforts are unsuccessful, are you so prone to a fatalistic response of resignation, as evidenced in comments like, “God changes hearts”. If God changes hearts, then why are you so devastated when laws aren’t changed?

3.) Why is respectful enforcement of the Golden Rule towards unbelievers (yes, that includes those of other faiths and atheists also) seen as a sign of our impending apostasy?

4.) Why are you so willing to be covered in the muck, dust, and trash of another country but so resistant to dig into the glorious ruins of your own backyard you call home?

5.) Why are my questions taken as quarrelous attacks, my wonderings as a sign of faithless wander and my desire for discussion seen as demonic division?

6.) Why do you speak in code? What is difficult about saying what you believe, feel, and think without invoking the Holy Trinity or the “God’s will” stamp of approval? How does this spread the gospel and make it more accessible?

7.) Why are you so afraid? Are you afraid of the possibility that listening to another’s story will invalidate yours? What is at stake for you if you’re wrong? Is it everything? Is it nothing? Or is it somewhere in between?

8.) How (and why) did you forget that the very world that hated Christ and killed Him was (and still is) the same world that God loved (and still loves) enough to redeem?

9.)Why does extending grace and compassion often invoke fear of anarchy and unrest? Why is having mercy on others often feared as implicitly justifying sinfulness? Does it matter if we’re not the Lawgiver and Judge?

10.) Are you avoiding my questions because you’re uncomfortable with them, or because you’re uncomfortable with the actions that must be taken in the answers?

I suspect that I would probably get the “you poor confused” person look….

What do you Really Want?

This blog has meant to be the chronicles of a Christian single woman and her quest to live in a way to completely remove the social stigma of the term spinster, but somewhere along the way (namely, in the past year)I have come to conclusion that such a goal is not only a fruitless pursuit but not a worthy pursuit of my time and energy, especially given the fact that I simply have become more and more apathetic to the idea of living my life according to others(read: society and yes, even other Christians’) expectations. It really came down to a simple question:

  What do you want?
Not what your family wants. Not what your friends want. Not even what the world/society/church thinks you want. What do YOU want?
And when I actually allowed myself to answer those questions, I realized that my actions in answering those questions would be different and affect the relationships around me, not to mention exposing what I really believed and valued about my life and the world.  
As a result, you’ll find that there are more posts expressing my dreams, using my gifts to enrich the environments around me, and no longer hiding my true nature to pacify the insecurities of others. 
So I know what I want now. What happens next after I go for it is an adventure I embrace…

Good Morning, Rejection, You’ve Been a Faithful Friend

Good morning rejection,

It’s good to see you again

Thank you for showing me

that you’re a steady friend

who I can always count on seeing

no matter what I do

You especially show  yourself when

it comes to the ugly truth


By now I’ve come to see you

lurking in pauses and silences

laced in phrases of back-handed compliments,

“You’ll be a great wife/mother one day”

“You’re such a great sister”

I used to be annoyed by your presence

it grew to silent toleration instead

now that I’m seeing you again this time

I’ve realized that you’ve been my one true friend.

Your handiwork has left a few blows, but they’re now

a scarred tattoo around my heart

It seems that no matter how much time has passed

we never spend that much time apart.


So I appreciate your timing and the consistency of your stay

Because you’ve finally gotten through to me

that things will always be this way.