I’ve posted over on the Passing the Salt Shaker blog again, this time on the way that the unmarried can help married persons to understand their vocation.
[T]he New Testament treats the unmarried state as one that Christians can purposefully pursue and one that is even preferable in certain instances, allowing one to devote oneself to the service of the kingdom of God in a fuller manner (e.g. Matthew 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:6-9; 25-40). One of the things that this does is to disrupt the cultural script of marriage as a matter of course. Marriage ceases to be something that we just do because that is what everyone is expected to do and becomes something that we need to think about as a particular Christian vocation among other vocations.
Read the whole thing here.
Excellent reflections, Alastair!
I had internal rumblings about a call of celibacy, and while that was not (seemingly) my calling, I think it ought to be seen as a question of vocation vs. the script as you say. You hear some people talk about it with a sort of fatalistic drear: “If it’s God’s will…”
My friend may never get married and his previous church had a culture of unintentioned shame for the unmarried. Yes, marriage is good and their should be support for married couples of all walks of life. But so should there be council for single peoples. In fact, maybe even the grouping of people for “support groups” is foolish. It’s too fine a segregation in places that don’t need it. Do we really need a group for married people vs. single people? A separate ministry?
I’m all for a division between men and women, even younger and older in some places, but the above, which is all too common, ends up shaming the older singles. A single man in his 40s has probably a lot more in common with a 40 married man than those in their 20s. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Lust and interpersonal conflict are common to all (most of us have lived with family or a roommate for some extended time).