Prejudice is like a cockroach: it is able to get into the smallest of places, and it never seems to die. What's worse is that everyone carries the cockroach of prejudice somewhere inside of them. Prejudice is a pre-conceived notion, an irrational assumption, a judgment against another without any evidence. We believers are called to rise above showing "personal favoritism" (James 2:1), because there is "no partiality with God" (Romans 2:11). Even so, prejudice against single pastors abounds.
Prejudice against single pastors
When I press people on why they think single pastors are treated with suspicion, 99 percent of the time I get a list of fears rather than actual evidence:
"What if he's gay?"
"What if he flirts with all the single women at church?"
"What if he tries to steal a married woman for himself?"
"There must be something wrong with him because he's single."
"Aren't single pastors more likely to molest our children?"
Fear. That's what binds these comments together. Especially the fear of human sexuality/desire. As if human desire is a monster that can only be tamed by marriage. This fear certainly doesn't come from being bombarded by national sex scandals involving protestant single pastors! So where does it come from? It is the cockroach of prejudice creeping around in the dark corners of our mind. It's an irrational assumption that singles lack self-control, while married people do not.
For example: a church I know has a new rule. There must now be two Sunday school teachers in each classroom. It's a good rule to be sure. But the reason for the change was due to a single man who replaced a married man as the Sunday school teacher. The parents were "terrified" that the single man couldn't be trusted. It's hard enough to get men to volunteer at church. Here's a guy that loves Jesus and wants to serve but is treated like a potential child molester because he's single. This prejudice needs to be lovingly corrected and talked about if we want to overcome it in our churches.
Another common fear I often hear is, "A single pastor can't give counsel to married people." Yet it is on two single men that we base virtually all of our marriage advice—Jesus and Paul. Do you think Jesus and Paul gave inferior marriage advice because they were single? Family and marriage therapists give counsel all the time on things they have not experienced themselves (loss of a parent, divorce, drug addiction, etc). Experience is not our only teacher; formal training and learning from the experience of others are also good teachers.
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