Experiencing Singleness

In our culture, some experiences are awarded more social credit than others. For example, my parents love to remind me that those without children cannot offer robust opinions on rearing them. Since others (such as my aunt and uncle) have not experienced parenting, their opinions are less valid–regardless of what other experiences they may have had while living extensively overseas or participating in children-oriented church communities. The idea that one particular experience is necessary in order to be fully informed is severely lacking in nuance. I believe that personal experience serves to develop empathy, but it does little to nothing to develop a logical, coherent worldview. I might go so far as to argue that personal experience clouds rational judgement. Any rounded conversation should include people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Using the experience of one particular event as a metric of a speaker’s validity prevents dissenting opinions from being heard.

In my own life, I have not experienced a romantic relationship. I have gone on a few dates, but I have never had a boyfriend. In both religious and secular contexts, this means that my voice is excluded from some conversations, as I “clearly” cannot understand the full complexity of dating. While it is true that my lack of dating experience can make it hard for me to empathize with people who make questionable decisions for the sake of love, I believe that my experience of long-term singleness gives me a unique, needed perspective on romance.

Because I am experiencing singleness, I know first-hand that it is possible to live a happy, meaningful, community-filled life without that one special person. I am not interested in a relationship for the sake of a relationship; I only want to date if the person I’d be dating would help me stay on the path I’m committed to follow. Because I am experiencing singleness, I have deeply and personally considered a future life without marriage–thus giving me empathy for same-sex-attracted and divorced individuals who consider life-long celibacy as God’s call for them. Because I am experiencing singleness, I first turn to God for emotional support when I am feeling broken; I have no close relationship that is competing for that place of honor. I agree with Paul; my worries are more for the things of God as I am not distracted by the concerns I would have for a boyfriend or husband. My singleness is not defined by the absence of experiencing dating–just as dating is not defined by the absence of experiencing singleness.

I’d like to see a world where people with a wide variety of experiences – from well-to-do, white, straight-laced families to poor, minority, free-spirited individuals–all had an equal place at the table of community conversation.

Lord, may the church be one.

 

Additional Resources

http://www.amazon.com/Singled-Out-Celibacy-Reinvented-Todays/dp/1587432374

http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Me-Not-Ethics-Unrequited/dp/080102997X

“Do you believe in evolution?”

I want to get this topic out of the way right at first. While evolution isn’t particularly important to me, I am often asked about my response to this debate, and so I have given my answer some consideration. I am saddened by the divisive way this issue is often discussed. Young-earth Christians are too often addressed as ignorant fools, and evolution proponents are too often portrayed as evil liars.

I’d like to give a unique answer to the question, “Do you believe in evolution?” to two key audiences: the scientific agnostic and the Christian lay-person.

FOR THE SCIENTIFIC AGNOSTIC

Yes, I do think that evolution is a helpful, useful theory. I do not see inconsistencies with this perspective and the idea that God is creator. For example, imagine someone asked why the pot of water on the stove is boiling: it would be perfectly accurate to explain the mechanisms of heat convection and the relevant intermolecular forces of water, but it would also be perfectly accurate to say that it’s because I wanted a cup of tea. Explicitly, I see evolution as the mechanism that God chose to use when he created the Earth. In fact, my understanding of evolution leads me to marvel and worship God for his creativity and divine providence as he is continually active in sustaining the world.

FOR THE CHRISTIAN LAY-PERSON

No, I do not “believe” in evolution in the same way that I “believe” in God, but I do think that the scientific evidence strongly supports the theory of evolution–and as God is a rational creator, studying his creation through science is an inherently Christian activity. The Bible was not intended to be read as a scientific textbook; instead, it is a compilation of literature that explains who are are in relationship to God. The Genesis story depicts God as the creator of the world, concerned for his creation, and in an intimate relationship with humanity. Evolution does not negate this worldview! While some Christians have considered the Biblical  and scientific evidence side-by-side and have determined that a young-earth creation narrative is the most likely, I disagree. I hope, however, that we would be able to debate this issue and still refer to each other as “brother” and “sister” at the end of our conversation.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

http://www.amazon.com/Species-Origins-Americas-Creation-Intellectual/dp/0742507645

http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=3704