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Single and EqualI read this candid comment today from Samira, a single Christian woman, and I want to share it. Samira (that’s her in the photo) says a lot here in very few words.

As a girl that has no singing talent whatsoever, is horrible with children and single at 26 (because you can’t be a single woman at 26 and be right with God, right?), I have often struggled with finding my place in church. I honestly think I have a lot to offer but finding the opportunities to do so is really hard.

Recently, while sitting with my mom I had a small epiphany. We were watching a mini-series based on King David’s life and after seeing how some of the women were treated (concubines and all that stuff) my mom said “Thank God that Jesus came, because women didn’t have it easy.”

My jaw dropped. My mom is very conservative and quite the traditionalist. She’s never been submissive to the point of oblivion but she sometimes struggles with my loosely feminist sensibilities.

Hearing her statement made me think that Jesus died and was resurrected so that I can be an equalist. If I get married one day I will honor and respect my husband but I’m sure as heck hoping that he will do the same to me. I will also offer what God has put in me, even if it means doing it outside the church’s four walls. Isn’t that where it counts anyway?”

Great comment!

Here are some of my thoughts on this:

I have many single friends with lots to offer, and I know that some of them find it hard to fit in with congregations that promote marriage as the ideal, or with congregations that promote a certain brand, or culture, of femininity and masculinity. My single friends have struggled to find ministry opportunities, much like Samira. Unlike the real-life experiences of my friends, however, Paul says that singleness is an advantage in ministry (1 Cor 7:32-35).  So something’s not right here.

Do any evangelical churches promote and support singleness as much as they promote and support marriage? We don’t have to look far to see a plethora of Christian ministries and conferences supporting marriage and family life, but it’s hard to find evangelical ministries that support and encourage singleness and ministry.

I think many churches need to take a long look at their culture and see whether it is as biblical, as gospel promoting, and as inclusive as it could be. And, while I agree that most ministry is actually done outside of the “church’s four walls”, there is a need for capable women and men to be ministering together as equals within the “four walls”.

Our equality, whether male or female, single or married, poor or rich, whatever our ethnicity, is thanks to Jesus: his death, his resurrection, and his Spirit which has been poured out on “all flesh” (Acts 2:17-18). Denying true equality, including equality in ministry, takes the lustre off the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and limits its liberating power.

Samira blogs at Re*Fresh in BOLD here. [This blog is currently inactive.]

Related Articles

Complementarians Single Out Single Women
The Holy Spirit and Equality in Acts
Submission and Respect from Wives in 1 Peter 3:1-6
Submission and Respect from Husbands in 1 Peter 3:7-8
Does “Role” Mean “Rank” in Complementarianism?

4 thoughts on “Single and Equal

  1. In agreement! I read this post as a recommendation from my sister and was inspired to comment – so here goes my two cents!

    I agree that the church has created a very specific category for women, and as a single 29 year old I have definitely struggled (and continue to struggle) with what is my purpose/role within the church walls. I do like kids and have worked (and enjoyed) contributing to the children’s ministry at my church, but it’s most definitely not how I want be defined. Even though I enjoyed this one ministry, I am also confident that that is not where I am to develop and grow as Christian, while continuing this journey.

    Everyone tells me to fellowship to help me pin-point an area of ministry, but unfortunately I find this hard to do when I can’t seem to relate to others: since I’ve never had kids, I can’t possibly understand moms; no husband- means I can’t understands the up and downs of relationships; still live with my parents- well obviously I don’t know what it is to have to sustain a household… See my point?
    And the sad part is that this is not an issue that is simply affecting women, a co-worker once shared how hard it was for him to fit in church when he became a teen father at the age of 15, since all the resources pertaining to this issue were geared towards teen/single moms.

    I think that we as the church need to reevaluate how we are functioning and what we are offering to those seeking; not everyone fits neatly into a category, and we are comprised of more than one category. We are more than married, single, women, men, single parents, we are Children of God.

    Sorry for the long comment, and thank you for writing this blog.

  2. Hi Brendy, Thanks for leaving your comment.

    I totally agree: we are all individuals and don’t fit into neat categories. It can hurt when we are lumped together with others and squeezed into “pigeon holes” where we don’t really belong. And it can hurt when we aren’t even invited into these “pigeon holes.”

    It also hurts when we are simply overlooked and our talents are ignored.

  3. “Do any evangelical churches promote and support singleness as much as they promote and support marriage?” – and the follow-up question is: If not, why not? Marriage is not an elevated status in the New Testament.

    1. There’s a huge difference between the Old and New Testaments in how women and marriage were viewed. Marriage is most certainly not an elevated status in the NT, if anything, singleness is.

      By the turn of the first century, many churches had groups or “orders” of virgins and widows who were female ministers involved in a variety of services. The letters of Ignatius bear witness to this.

      I think it’s the teaching that came out of the Reformation that elevated marriage and motherhood. These teachings were a reaction against the celibacy enforced by a corrupt Roman Catholic church.

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