The Graduate Christian Fellowship invites you to:
Starting a Conversation about Christians and Singleness An evening of eating, discussing, laughing, discerning, praying, etc.
with the GCF community
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Chaplain’s office, Wycliffe College (basement)
6:00 – Dinner
7:00 (or so) – Something After Dinner – discussion, etc.
Our society, popular culture, churches and families have plenty to say about coupling up. Even the university is in on the action, complete with a concert and published research (see The Bulletin‘s Feb 8 Valentine’s Day issue). With or without either marriage, sexual activity or clear answers (and the many possible combinations of these), romantic relationships in their many forms are pretty thoroughly discussed in a variety of contexts.
Singleness, by contrast, seems to be something of an un-topic. It is seldom addressed as a discussion of its own, and when it is, it’s typically understood in terms of what it’s not: singleness defined by the absence of romantic relationship, as in “Why isn’t a nice young woman/man like you married by now?” It’s especially surprising given that a growing number of North American adults are single, whether waiting longer before getting married, being single again after a divorce, or simply remaining single.
I must admit that our campus ministry hasn’t been all that different. Although characteristically comprised mostly of single young adults, we have not had an intentional discussion specifically about this topic as long as I’ve been involved here. So starting this week we’re aiming to address that gap with at least a couple GCF Thursday evenings.
This week we’ll try to open up the topic in a broad way, exploring some of our own experiences, the many facets and nuances of the theme, and the diverse – often contradictory – messages that we get from our families, churches and culture. Next week we’ll look more deeply at what the Bible has to say that can be helpful in guiding our thoughts, actions and relationships.
It’s worth acknowledging at the outset that this is complex topic fraught with all manner of dilemmas and potential tensions. We come from so many different places: female and male, in a “relationship” or not, married or unmarried or divorced, sexually active or not, entering or leaving relationships, content or dissatisfied with our situation, with emotions anywhere from ecstatic to profoundly miserable, feeling like we’re part of the GCF community or on the periphery, coming from God-only-knows how many different theological positions or sexual orientations, having thought deeply about these matters or coming to them for the first time. More often than not, as Facebook states so succinctly, “it’s complicated.”
Despite all that, or more accurately, because of that very complexity, we believe it’s important to have this conversation at GCF, so we’re prepared to accept the risks. Our hope is that, in the context of a diverse, caring and insightful Christian community, guided by the Spirit, scripture and compassion, we can explore the too-long-neglected theme of singleness in ways that can be both life-giving and redemptive.
If that sounds like something you want to be a part of, then please join us for dinner and discussion this Thursday. And if you know of anyone else who needs to be part of this conversation, please bring them along.