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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Basement Singles Group

How do they really feel about the Singles group? It's hard to say. On a large church campus with many new classrooms, an outstanding view and a beautiful new sanctuary, in an area that looks like they could be running a retreat house, the Singles Group meets on alternating Sundays in the basement of the Old Church Sanctuary built in the 1970s where the high school group used to meet. And in fact, some of them were in that high school group. Yes, someone had a brilliant idea of what to do with the singles too old for the Young Adult group; hide them. What singles? And yet, there in that room, we were told there would be a Christian Comedian to come and talk about dating. I asked, "Oh wait, you mean to make it funnier than it already is?" The whole room laughed. My prediction is that it will be Kerri Pomarolli who used to be on Leno. She got married at the ripe OLD age of 30. I'm sort of on the cusp of the two groups. I turned to the woman next to me:
Savvy: Wait, are they having someone talk about dating because they actually want us to date?
Leader: Yes. They even want us married!
Savvy: What? No I kissed dating goodbye?
Leader: Oh, you missed our big singles retreat. We talked about how you actually DON'T have to be content with being single and that it's OK to be actively seeking a spouse.
Savvy: You don't say. Wow. This is revolutionary.
(And a big in your face to half of the people who have given me some seriously dumbass advice.) And then there was the friend who told me to find a hobby. A woman at the table who was in her 40s and had been married had never heard of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Thank God that evil poison of a book hasn't spread to everyone.

Savvy: I hate that book. It was written by a teenager for teens, not by someone who has actually been truly single. He didn't and still doesn't know what's really out there.

Joshua Harris, I double DOG dare you to read my blog.


Lanel said...

I've been reading your blog for a while...great stuff, I've been enjoying it. :)

I think finding a balance between being satisfied with who you are as a single person but then knowing that it's OK (even good) to still want a partner and looking for one is a good thing.

Funny story about the "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" book. I went on a date (yes, a DATE) with a guy a few years back (probably close to 10 years back). Nice guy but he didn't pay for dinner...not a good way to impress me on the first date. But, I forgave and went on a second date, picnic at the beach. Didn't wait to make the picnic with me, just brought his own and made me scramble and pick something up for myself at the store. Whatever, I wasn't impressed. He kindly explained on the way home from the second date that he "kissed dating goodbye" and was living by that philosophy. In other words, he was going to DATE but wasn't going to pay for said dates.

Being single is fun. :)

SavvyD said...

I've had many a friend buy me a drink, or buy dinner for me and it meant NOTHING. He wasn't even acting like a friend. He was using "not dating" as an excuse to be rude. Unbelievable. Obviously his mama didn't teach him any manners.

Dating is damn funny done wrong.

LadyElaine said...

I think Lanel's right. Balance is key here. Harris's book talks a lot about motives and intentions. Even he himself argued that his book was about getting back to God's heart in regards to the way we treat each other in relationships. However, there is a bigger question in all of this that affects your dating philosophy: What is the whole point of courtship/dating? Also, another question to ponder is this: What is the point of relationships(in general?) Is it all about you, God, or is it somewhere in between?

Somehow, I think the problem that I have with dating philosophies in the church is that we don't give liberty and boundaries when needed. Someone writes a book and tells their story of how they met their spouse, and shortly thereafter it becomes a ten step program on what EVERY single should do in their relationship, which, frankly, is some stuff I could make my lawn grow beautiful flowers with.

SavvyD said...

Hey Lady Elaine--The outcome and the intention may not always match up. Someone may start dating someone and want to marry, but that may not happen for a variety of reasons. There is a general trend toward not trying. There is also no way of knowing who is ready. It used to be that society helped move things along, now we are left to make our own choices and forced to discern someone else's readiness. I think that many people are frustrated with this. Unless you are a teen it's a bit ridiculous to not date and you can hurt someone by "not dating" and being "just friends" even though the whole world sees something different--like that you are spending every day and every weekend together. You want to know about a person? Ask them to coffee and see how it goes. It may go nowhere. It may go somewhere. Hate coffee? try lunch at an inexpensive yet decent place. It could be that your asking would make it crystal clear that person doesn't like you back and would make it clear at that moment. In the past weeks I got to know someone who is leaving town. We only went out in groups and I found out from his sister that he hasn't dated much because he has moved around and because it would be serious when he did. I know he cared for me, but I'm not sure how much. It could be that we will continue getting to know each other via Facebook and email and when he comes back down for a visit he will have had time to think about it. I would be willing to move for a good man. My preferred mode would have been to go out just the two of us, but seeing what he is like, I can see why that didn't happen. Sometimes as singles we glorify things like finding ourselves before getting married. We have made things a requirement for marriage that aren't necessary. You don't have to be perfect in your relationship to God, church attendance, job or anything else. You can find yourself after getting married young and having children too. A dream deferred makes the heart sick.

SavvyD said...

And by the way, I totally understand about the fertilizer comment. ;)

Emily said...

Hi Savvy - I think that you have a good point about being able to find yourself after you are married. I know several people who say that they have become more aware of themselves after they met their spouses. I don't suppose that it means that it is better to be married, but I really don't think that it is necessary for one to be single for a given season to "find themselves". It seems like when you live in an intense community setting, like marriage - you really learn about the good, the bad and the ugly about yourself.

I think that people have many different views towards singleness and that people should respect and seek to understand everybody's feelings about it. I also feel as if Singles Ministries in churches are the first ones to go and the ones that receive the least amount of funding - can't figure out why, but my friend, who leads one at a big church, told me that it is a major problem.

SavvyD said...

It may be that it's really uncharted territory for alot of churches. The timing of marriage has changed drastically in 100 years. I saw a church marriage registry and the typical age for the ladies was 14-19. Completing high school was not required or possible. Then kids got married after HS, then they started getting married after college. Now there are many who are still single after that. Churches didn't used to HAVE young adult groups. Now there are many who find themselves in various stages of divorce. How do you meet the various needs of all of these people?? The church has to respond to the needs of its time.

Coy G said...

I know this isn't the appropriate blog to comment on, but I figured you'd get around to seeing this faster since its your latest blog. Anyways, I'm not much a religious person so church and all that is not very high on my list of hobbies. However, I do appreciate that you can be religious and still not be overly in love with going to church. I wish I knew more people who shared your philosophy on things regarding church.. I'd be able to be around church goers more often! Thanks for the insight!

SavvyD said...

Coy--you may comment on anything at any time. Organized religion is a bit like organized sports. Sometimes it's fun and sometimes it's not. Sometimes people do the wrong things. The problem is that if we don't organize, we get nothing done. Most people use the "I don't like organized religion" phrase to mean that they don't like anyone looking at what they do and telling them how to live their lives--including who they live, sleep and smoke out with--especially who they sleep with and how often. It does take time to find a church that is a fit and makes you feel welcome. Be well.

tannen said...

Hello Savvy,

Another perspective on dating for marriage from a very different part of the church catholic. I'd watched it a about a year ago and only remembered it after reading this post on your blog. Doctrinal issues aside, I think there are some good points here:


hope you see Seattle (both of them!) soon.

SavvyD said...

Thanks Tannen! What a great listen! Great words of wisdom for any person in any church.