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I sat down in church on a recent Sunday, flipped through the bulletin, and saw that the readings for the day were about marriage: Genesis 2:23-25 and Matthew 19:4-6. I groaned. After a still-fresh breakup with a boyfriend, the last thing I wanted was to sit through another sermon on the joys of matrimony. That sermon might apply to the 9 a.m. service, I thought, but here at the 11:45 service there are lots of single professionals.
To his credit, my pastor tried to make the sermon relevant to those of us who weren't married. And as I listened, I became persuaded that maybe I had something to learn. After all, I'm not a thief, but I can usually find something valuable in sermons about stealing. He spoke about the responsibility of the community to support people's marriage vows; I could sign on to that. But then he veered: "This is not only germane to those of you who are married," he said, "but also to those of you on the marriage market who are looking to be married."
He could have stopped there, but instead he added, "Though, frankly, if you're single and Christian and you want to get married, you're in the wrong city—unless you're male. It's the same demographic story in all the churches in New York City. We have many bright, interesting single women and not too many single men." He was trying, I think, to be funny. He failed. All the single women in my pew cringed. A single man across the aisle smirked.
I know what you're thinking: Another article by a single Christian kvetching about how the church is so insensitive—how her needs aren't being met, how she's not being respected. Another single Christian demanding to have it both ways—"Please fix me up with your cute nephew, but while you're at it, validate ...1