It usually takes time for me to respond to things (as no doubt the few remaining readers to this blog probably know). So it’s not surprising that as I listened to my ipod today, to a program that was “live” on radio about a week ago, I found myself needing to respond to something.
The actual podcast was about North American demographic shifts and the (apparently lamentable) trend of people putting off marriage into their late 20s or (gasp) their mid thirties. The program also seemed to have a culprit for the problem, which is those shiftless, unworking, uncaring single Christian males.
Of course, I actually somewhat agree. There is a problem when the vast majority of guys I know (Christian and otherwise) would much rather level the jewelcrafting skill on their undead mage instead of get social with the opposite sex and possibly begin a family with them when they’re in their late 20s. That said, there are some other facets of modern life that may be affecting the situation that isn’t based on the laziness or lack of courage in the typical Christian male.
In the first place, it’s not a picnic being a single man in my line of work. It seems to me that protestants make the reverse mistake of Catholics when they expect their Church leaders to be married (apparently so that they can recruit the erstwhile mate into Church activity). The result is that, even if I want to be married (I do), there aren’t a lot of women lining up to be married to a (likely poor) pastor and have to face the judgement of a congregation week in and week out.
This is especially the case if you are a guy who is attracted to (as I am) intelligent opinionated women. I honestly do not do well when the person I am spending time with has no desire to engage in conversation deeper than the weather, or how good she looks. It’s further complicated by the fact that a pastor needs to actually marry a fairly mature Christian, and if you’re of my theological ilk, one who would prefer that I work hard to be the main breadwinner.
Culture in 21st century Canada is not positive to any of these requirements, and most of the women I know who meet some of these necessities, don’t meet others, and in the rare cases of a woman who reaches this age meeting all of those facets, they’re most likely called to ministry in a place that I am not (serious Christians seem to get serious about what God calls them to in life).
So what am I trying to say? Sure, I agree that there are cultural problems leading to Christian guys putting off marriage, and there is a sense in which many Christian guys use the Christian moniker as a reason to be a wuss, but those aren’t the only reasons for a Christian guy to be single into his 30s.
Christians are called to glorify God in all they do, and especially in marriage, which is a picture of the love between Christ and the Church (meaning a bad marriage preaches a false Gospel). Given that situation, and the shallowness of western Christian culture in many places, don’t be surprised if it takes us guys some time to find women they feel they can create a good marriage with, and that they are careful in finding one.
Singleness is not evil, and it is not necessarily an example of a man unable to commit, or in an extended adolescence. Maybe it is just the way God has written that man’s life story to His greater glory.
Soli Deo Gloria.