What Does a Married Pastor Have to Say to Singles?
- Thursday, August 14, 2003
Three school kids are being quizzed by their teacher on basic math. "Billy, what is three times three?" asks the teacher to the first student.
"That's a very interesting answer. What about you Mary?", comes the question to the second child.
"Oh that's easy. The answer is Tuesday."
"I see," says the increasingly concerned teacher. Then to the third child, "Johnnie, can you give me the correct answer to the problem? What is three times three?"
"No problem. The answer is nine."
With a sudden swell of relief, the teacher responds, "Correct. That's excellent, Johnnie. Now for the other students, can you tell me how you got that answer?"
"Sure," says the beaming young scholar. "I just subtracted 274 from Tuesday."
This is a column for Christian singles. I'm a married guy. Some folks would say that the logic of a married man writing a column for Christian singles makes about the same amount of sense as little Johnnie's approach to math.
Like Johnnie, I might stumble on some good answers to the questions you face. But how do you know I have any idea what it takes to get to the answers? So right off the bat I'm asking you to approach this column with an open mind, or at least with a willingness to grade on the curve.
It might be helpful for you to know why I care about the lives of single folks enough to write about you.
Well, I was single once. As far as I can tell, virtually every married person I know was single at one time. These were formative years in my life. Much of who I am as a Christian man was shaped in the experience of singleness. I remember with great fondness the sense of freedom of being a single man, as well as the times of loneliness and longing for a partner in life.
I also have had the exciting privilege of serving in ministry to single adults for more than fifteen years, including nine years as a singles pastor. The concerns of single adults have been my concerns in ministry; they are the burdens I ponder and carry in prayer.
Neither of these experiences, however, would qualify me to speak into the life of a single man or woman. I would never pretend that my life as a married man makes it easy to understand singleness in our day. I respect too much the vast differences in these seasons of life to have confidence in my opinions.
It is important for you to know that the idea of The Rich Single Life is not my personal take on singleness. In fact, it's not so much a philosophy as it is an anthropology. By that I mean, what you will read here isn't how I think you should live as a single person, it is a description of what I see being lived around me.
This column is an attempt to give testimony to the flesh and blood lives of my single friends-men and women; brothers and sisters-who are embracing the grace of God to live for God in a very challenging world. My contribution has been to be a thoughtful observer, to try to put into a helpful format a picture of single life that is truly possible, because it is truly being done.
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