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June 10, 2009

Preach it, brother

Jon Acuff recently has had some excellent posts at Stuff Christians Like, poking some gentle but thought-provoking fun at how the church tends to treat singles. Yesterday there was this, under the title "Asking our kids to be a mini Jesus":

A lady I work with once enlightened me, “You just wait until you have kids.” I’m not sure what she thought would magically happen the instant I became a father, but it didn’t (apparently). I know this because at the time she uttered her prophetic words to me, I already had two kids… precisely twice as many as she had. . . .

There’s a million ways to express “Kids = Big Faith.” And if you’re single or childless, there has to be a part of you that thinks, “Fantastic! The missing link in my faith is having a kid. I have zero kids and zero prospects. I’ll just be over here with my small, incomplete faith. Awesome.”

Jon, if you read this -- THANK YOU.
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Steve (SBK)

Jon always makes me laugh... and sometimes cry.
On the other hand, isn't it more appropriate, rather than "Asking our kids to be a mini Jesus" or asking "Are kids a walking, talking daily reminder of Jesus?" to see kids as an opportunity *for us* to be a mini Jesus or "little Christ"? One reason, I think, that people in the Church talk this way is because, guess what, those little humans under our care are not going away so it is you, the parent, who has to sacrifice a little bit more of yourself and love, for the sake of your kids. They aren't the ones ministering to us, we're the ones serving them. I know it must be difficult for singles to hear such things that Jon talks about, but at the same time, it sort of sounds like he's heard kids referred to as faith-dispensers, and I just think it's the reverse. Does this make sense?

Jason Taylor

I always had an objection to mini-Christ and things like that. The reason is that What Would Jesus Do simply isn't the same as What Would Jesus Want You to Do. Jesus lived in a different culture and had a prophetic vocation. He also as it happens will come back in glory to judge the living and the dead which is something kind of difficult for most of us.

What Would Jesus Want You to Do has a different connotation. It reminds you that you were placed where and when you are placed and in the circumstances you were placed for a purpose. And you should carry out Jesus' purposes with regard to where you are.


I read recently that some parts of the Gospels are arranged topically rather than chronologically, which makes Matthew 19:1-15 interesting, particularly verses 10 and 13.


It is clear, though, that churches who mistreat singles in even the slightest way haven't thought enough about verse 12.

I wonder if this is a bigger problem in evangelical Protestant circles, since Catholics have that long tradition of saints who were overwhelmingly single.

Jason Taylor

Of course that is because Catholics have a long tradition of saints who were clergymen.

I never felt mistreated. I sometimes felt like an outsider who couldn't quite get in but that was because of being an intellectual and because of being an introvert, not because of being single.

Dan Gill

Not to pick on singles, but there were things I didn't appreciate until I had children. The first was that it gave me a greater understanding and appreciation of God's love for me. When I first held my son, I was filled with a fierce love that I really had not known before, even for my wife, whom I love dearly. I knew in that moment I would gladly die for my child. And that is but a small portion of how God loves us.

I am not saying you cannot understand these things without having a child. But I did not before that time.

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