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Jun 22, 2023Liked by Dani Treweek

I'm not a fan of handing out medals for Christian behaviour anyway, but if we WERE going to be handing them out, surely those who hate being single and long to be married, yet are still joyfully serving God in their present circumstances would be far more worthy of medals than those who have happily chosen celibacy?

It also feels a bit arrogant for anyone to assume they know the mind of God for their entire future. I fully believed I would be single for life, but never considered making some major public commitment to that state because a) I don't see anywhere in the Bible where we're called to do that and b) I felt it would be wrong to commit to never marrying when I didn't know what God might have planned for me. And just as well too, because He very unexpectedly called me to get married in my mid 40s, which I totally did not see coming...

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Jun 22, 2023Liked by Dani Treweek

Our church family is going through 1 Corinthians, and my teaching elder has been getting all your articles (and a big hint to get your book!) as we head towards chapter 7. ;)

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Thank you for sharing that Katy! So glad that in God's kindness my musings are proving helpful for others!

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I’d go so far as to say that in most cases declaring that “I” have decided on “my” plan for “my” life is idolatry no matter what good cause one is dedicating oneself to. It’s Self-Determination dressed up as service to God rather than “thy will be done.”

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Thanks for this article. I appreciate you addressing this concern. I wonder if some of this thought comes from 1) wanting to affirm celibacy for SSA Christians, and 2) pushing back against a strawman of the self-indulgent single with impossibly high marital standards.

I think you are right with "The increasing contemporary fixation on chosen vs unchosen singleness is evidence of the way we embed far greater moral value and dignity into the exercise of individual agency than we do a willingness to accept what has been given to us by a good God and to live faithfully in that assignment."

And with this "His point is that you don’t need to choose a life situation in order for that situation to be meaningful."

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Thanks for this Dani. I found it incredibly encouraging to read 1 Corinthians again in light of your commentary. Love Christ in every circumstance he has placed us!

I wonder if married Pastors are hired because a fear exists around singles being sexually immoral that does not exist as much for the married. I would love your comments on this topic as I wonder if this perception may be the root of much discrimination in churches for those who are single.

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On the note of what Katy said, I've definitely been sharing some of your posts with my church family and with my pastor (who has been absolutely great about taking my concerns and ideas seriously). And your book has been crucial and formative in my own research into singleness and all things related. :-)

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"which raises the question of why evangelical churches are so darn insistent on only hiring married pastors. But hey, that’s a discussion for another time" >>> Present this argument by all means yet I reckon you will alienate many Sydney Anglican congregants who value having pastors who have had similar life experiences to themselves.

Stay in your pond; single ministry to singles, and you'll be fine.

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Although, and I speak as a long-term single, there is a difference in intentional singleness, where you can devote all of your time/energy to serving God and the church, vs the unintentional singleness where at least some of your time/energy is going to be dedicated to finding a suitable spouse and/or grieving the absence of one.

Peace in singleness is the gift that releases the singleton to serve wholeheartedly, but to my mind that comes through active decision to be at peace with it - ie it is intentional, whether originally chosen or not.

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I disagree with your caricatures there. Firstly because not all “intentional singles” devote ALL their time and energy to ministry. They still have friends, family, work, hobbies, rest and other (good) preoccupations. Also, they don’t magically become immune to wasting their time and energies just because they’ve chosen to be single. This kind of heroic idealisation of them as almost otherworldly characters does them no service.

Likewise, not all “incidental singles” are out there dedicating time to finding a spouse or too busy weeping in a corner over the absence of one. I dedicate literally zero of my time to looking for a husband. The same is true for my male and female friends. What we do do is seek to build and invest in a wide network of relationships. Even when we were in our 20s we were spending the same kind of time and energy building relationships just like our partnered/married friends. And just like our intentionally single friends, our lives are full and complex. We’re not sitting at home, wasting time, pining for a spouse anymore than our intentionally single friends are magically transformed into people who devoted all their time and energy to ministry and don’t ever get distracted by the necessities and mundanities of life.

Yes, there are differences. Some of those are good. Some of them not so much. But the peace comes not by our willingness to “choose” to be at peace with it, but through God who strengthens us to be content in whatever situation.

… for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:11-13

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