Single-blindness in the Church

It’s been a while since I posted here, but something happened not long ago that showed me just how blind many in the Church are to the needs of singles.

I dropped by Southern Baptist Seminary, mainly because I wanted to check out the LifeWay there. While looking around the store, mainly at the bookshelves, I decided to try to find whether they had any resources specifically dealing with singles. It took some serious looking—while the shelving is organized by general topic, you can’t see a “Singles” sign anywhere.

Unless you happen to look in the “Marriage” section… and scan down to the lowest level of a three-level shelf… and to one corner of said shelf (which is about 12 to 13 feet across)… and then find maybe a dozen different titles. And one or two of those I saw on my visit were actually about marriage! And, may I add, a couple of the titles that are about singleness were by Joshua Harris of I Kissed Dating Goodbye fame (though not IKDG itself)… the same Joshua Harris who has now apologized for the work that made him a celebrity in certain Christian circles (as Amir pointed out on this blog last year).

Keep in mind that SBTS is one of the largest seminaries in the world, not just in the US, and trains a pretty substantial number of the SBC’s ministers (plus a decent number from other Protestant traditions). And yet in the bookstore of arguably the flagship seminary of the SBC, there seems to be virtually nothing in the way of resources to deal with singles or singleness.

And the single community in the Church is much larger than many people think. Not long ago, one of the two churches I go to—easily the biggest church in the area where I live—had a sermon series on relationships, with the first one being on singleness. (In fairness, this was only one of several recent signs that this particular church is starting to “get it” when it comes to singles.) During this first message, the pastor pointed out some statistics about this congregation that may (or may not) surprise you:

  • Of this church’s membership in the 21–35 age bracket, about two-thirds are single (as in “not currently married”, which is my definition of “single”). Not really that big a surprise to me, given the way our culture has been going in recent decades.
  • In the 35–65 bracket, almost a third of the membership is single—a statistic about which the pastor openly expressed surprise.

If this congregation is typical of others within the Church as a whole, it means that there’s a huge community in the Church’s very midst that too many congregations have ignored (if not worse). And it isn’t helping when one of the more prominent institutions in American evangelicalism (i.e., SBTS) apparently doesn’t consider that community important enough to provide the resources that could help future leaders deal with it.

One year ago today…

…a young woman in the Cincinnati area played in a college basketball game.

But not just any game.

You see, she had an inoperable brain tumor, and it was touch-and-go as to whether she’d see 2015. But thanks to her school, the planned opponent, another local school, and the NCAA, her dream came true.

And it didn’t end there. She played in three more games before her condition made it impossible for her to keep playing. This past April, she lost her battle, but not until she had raised more than $1 million for research on the cancer that would end her life. And her legacy lives on, as the two local schools have teamed up for an annual season-opening event that will bear her name.

Over the past year, I couldn’t help but contrast the story of Lauren Hill to a couple of others that made the news.

The day before Hill’s first game, Brittany Maynard, who was also suffering from a terminal brain tumor, chose to end her life, as she had announced several months earlier, with most of the MSM cheering her for her “courage”.

And then there was Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner, whose story has been covered ad nauseam over the last few months. Most tellingly, when it came time for ESPN to announce the 2015 recipient of its Arthur Ashe Courage Award (handed out at the ESPY Awards ceremony in July), it went with Jenner—to considerable criticism, with Bob Costas (no conservative himself) calling the announcement “a crass exploitation play.” Hill’s first game did receive the consolation prize of the “Best Moment” award at the ESPYs.

Courage? Lauren Hill, in her current state, has more courage in her little finger than Maynard or Jenner has ever had or will ever have. Unlike Maynard, she kept fighting and kept active until she couldn’t go on any longer, and she and her family left it up to God when she’d go. (I don’t know Hill’s religious affiliation, but she did go to a Catholic college.) Unlike Jenner, she didn’t seek to change the hand she’d been dealt in life, and in fact embraced it.

Call me politically incorrect, insensitive, transphobic, whatever… i don’t care. This is my opinion, and I’m sticking with it. PERIOD.

 

Note: The tagline for this post may read November 3, but it’s still November 2 where Amir and I hang our hats.

America’s Dumbest Criminals, Part 197,814

Time for the newest entry in our series of utterly stupid wrongdoers!

Setting: A cell phone store near Pueblo, Colorado.

A 60-something man with a felony record sees a younger man talking to the clerk. He apparently decides he’s got an easy score, so he identifies himself as a cop, and asks the man in front of the desk if he’s a drug dealer because he has so many phones. He then demands that the younger man give him the drugs. The younger man asks for his credentials, and the older man demands the drugs again.

That’s when the younger man ID’s himself as a real cop and arrests the older man for impersonating a cop.

 

Hypocrisy, Islammunist style

Last month, the Pew Research Center surveyed nearly 40 countries worldwide on the question, “Should society accept homosexuality?”

Needless to say, the answer was “yes” in the US and Western Europe. Near the bottom of the list: Pakistan, at 2%.

But that’s not the end of the story. FAR from it.

The survey also looked at the frequency of Google searches for terms related to gay porn, starting in 2004 and continuing to the present.

Pakistan’s world ranking in search volume for the following terms was:

  • shemale sex — #1
  • teen a*** sex — #1
  • man f***ing man — #1
  • gay sex pics — #2

But wait, it gets better. The highest number of hits for some of these terms, including “shemale sex”, come from Peshawar—a bastion of conservative Islam and currently on the front lines of the GWOT.

HT:  New York Post, with more extensive coverage in Mother Jones (extreme left-wing rag)

 

The fall of Bobby Petrino: a long time coming

As promised, I’m continuing with my posts on the Bobby Petrino scandal. This time, I’ll focus on the man himself.

Since his story has been beaten to death throughout the sports media, I won’t go into any great detail. However, as I see it, it’s yet another example of that cautionary saying: character matters.

Pat Forde published a great piece showing just what kind of a fellow Arkansas hired. Now, without further ado… Bobby Petrino’s Greatest Hits!

2003: Petrino is hired by Louisville from Auburn, where he had been offensive coordinator under Tommy Tuberville. However, Auburn decided Tuberville wasn’t winning enough for them, especially against Alabama, and started quietly looking for a new coach. Very quietly.

Enter Petrino. Auburn officials take a flight to a small airport across the river from Louisville, where Petrino meets them… while both teams’ seasons are still going on. And two days before Auburn’s biggest game of the season, the Iron Bowl against Alabama.

So, we have Petrino going behind the back of Tom Jurich (U of L athletic director) and Tuberville (his former boss). Not to mention Auburn going behind the back of Tuberville. But wait, it gets better. Petrino continues to deny that he had met with Auburn until two reporters for The Courier-Journal (Louisville’s daily paper), one of them Forde, present him with proof of the flight… and Auburn finally owns up to its role in the affair.

2004: You would think Petrino would have learned a lesson from this. But no… he met with Notre Dame officials during the season, at the same airport, about their coaching job. He also met with Florida and Ole Miss during the season.

At the end of the season, he pledged his loyalty to U of L, and signed a contract extension. The ink was barely dry before he went behind Jurich’s back yet again to interview with LSU. He then made a big show of withdrawing from consideration… after it was obvious LSU would hire Les Miles.

2005: Petrino says he has no interest in the NFL, but interviews with the Oakland Raiders. Do we see a pattern here?

2006: Petrino signs a 10-year contract with U of L, and insists on adding a $1 million buyout clause. Five months later, after one of the greatest seasons in the school’s football history, he leaves for the Atlanta Falcons.

2007: Petrino leaves the Falcons with three games left in the season without telling his players. He is announced as the new head coach at Arkansas the next day. Sure, his time in Atlanta was during the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal… but running out on a head coaching job during the season is very bad juju.

The pattern appears to be that of a person who’s out mainly for himself, no matter who he steps on along the way. Given that behavior, it should be no surprise that Petrino admitted to an extramarital affair—or that he was found to be communicating with at least one other woman. Lest we forget, both women are about the age of his oldest children.

I don’t have any personal animosity toward Petrino. I hope he can work out his issues, preferably away from the public eye. But, his fall from grace should be a warning to all of us—and a reminder that, to borrow a phrase from Amir, the Law of Sowing and Reaping shall not be up for repeal any time soon.

Common sense out of Arkansas

I’ll have more to say on the firing of Bobby Petrino, but I’ll start by saying that I’m pleasantly surprised that Jeff Long showed he was an athletic director, not just an athletic supporter (to shamelessly steal a past line of Amir’s).

Then again, Long didn’t have much choice in the matter. Arkansas was staring right down the barrel of some hard-core litigation. When you’re the highest-paid public employee in the state, hiring your mistress is very bad juju… not to mention a sexual harassment suit (or two or three) in the making. Add to that lying about her being present when you wrecked your motorcycle, and effectively making the university complicit in your lie… and only coming clean when her name is about to be released in the police report.

Yes, regardless of wins and losses, and Petrino’s deserved reputation as one of the best offensive minds in football, Long absolutely did the right thing, even if it was the only thing he could do.