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Croc thoughts

Singleness can be a calling, not a curse

Drew Shriner poses with his Crocs.

By Drew Shriner | Echo

I’d like to make a wager: one of many Christians’ favorite Bible passages to ignore is 1 Corinthians 7:25–40. This is a passage where Paul, a famous single person, encourages others to not marry as he did

Singleness, as a calling instead of a temporary state, is a classic spiritual discipline. Not until the Reformation did clergymen marry. To this day, both clergy people and lay people of various traditions choose not to marry.

However, based on discussions I have participated in, many people on our campus do not see singleness in a positive way. It is either a state to get out of (e.g. “Ring by Spring”) or something to proudly embrace. . . until the person you like finally comes around.

That is, of course, unless you are homosexual. Then people are perfectly content to tell you that singleness is a worthy life calling. Despite the biblical merit of that advice, it is unfair and hypocritical to push something on someone else that you have never thoughtfully considered for yourself.

Let’s put something on the table: marriage is not the ultimate fulfillment of human life. Humans are both relational and sexual beings, and marriage gives some fulfillment to those identities, but Jesus is the prime example that you do not have to be married to be a completed human being.

Unfortunately, I believe we have lost the notion of singleness as a life calling.

Churches do annual sermon series on marriage, but not until recently had I ever heard singleness as a life calling mentioned. Even in the recent chapel on relationships and marriage, singleness was not mentioned as a possibility. Instead, it was assumed that everyone is going to make the decision of who to marry, not if they marry.

The New Testament seems fairly clear that Christians need to consider that second question before going any further.

Marriage is a worldly thing. There will be no marriage at the resurrection (Matt. 22:30). Marriage and family come with added burdens and concerns that can prevent one from being able to follow God’s call. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians, someone who is married also has to think about pleasing their spouse instead of focusing solely on how to please God.

Of course, it would be lazy exegesis to stop there. In the same section, Paul admits that it is not sinful to get married, and he even encourages certain people to get married. In multiple places in the New Testament, Priscilla and Aquila are an example of a missionary couple that is able to serve God well while being married. However, we have to admit that marriage is not a necessary part of the Christian life.

As a campus of individuals committed to following Christ, I believe that it is important to prayerfully consider whether we should find someone to marry before worrying about who that person is.

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