Saturday, December 1, 2012

More Background Info on the Movie: UnMarried

There is a slice of heaven on earth when we can relate to one another in the church, regardless of the form our family takes, as individuals equal in worth, significance and value.  ~Wade Burleson

The other day, I posted about a new movie coming out called UnMarried.  I really appreciated the contributions in the comments.  Just as I suspected, the singles who read my blog are not feeling the love at church.  They do feel "singled" out.  It seems there is an underlying favoritism toward married and families.  This is a concern to me.  It does not seem very loving.

Blog reader, Serving in Japan reminded me that they used the phrase "prolonged adolescence" in reference to singles in a summary of the film, so I wanted to take another look at what was said.  Here is the summary from the UnMarried website

They're everywhere. Unmarried, young Christian adults. Some searching and praying for that perfect match from Heaven. While others have all but abandoned the whole idea of marriage altogether.
Many are still at home, living a life of prolonged adolescence, with no hopes of marriage in sight. What has caused this drastic change that has reshaped the lives of an entire generation into singleness?
Join us as we search out the biblical answers for what has taken place, and interview theologians, families, young Christians (married and unmarried alike). Be with us as we search the scriptures for truth.

I did a little more digging to see what/who is behind this movie.  UnMarried is being promoted by Family Vision Films.  I visited the Family Vision Films website to read their "About Us" page:

Family Vision Films began in January of 2011 after a family discussion about the difficulty of finding excellent Christian films all in one place.
We want to bring to you the very best, the "cream of the crop," of God-honoring DVDs.  We strive to offer comparable prices and the lowest possible shipping. 
As a family with 11 children, we well understand the need to budget our funds wisely!

They also included a picture of their family with eleven children and sign their name Jason and Jennifer Ross.  Could this be a full-quiver family?  A Patriarchal family?  

I found another website featuring this video.  This comes from Renewing Housewives site whose e-mail address shows a Family Vision's e-mail address - what do you know - Jennifer is the blogger there.  Also, the e-mail address for Renewing Housewives is "info at familyvisionfilms dot com", so apparently whomever mans the Family Visions e-mail account also is getting the e-mails from people wanting to connect with Renewing Housewives.   

Disclaimer:  Just so you know, the e-mail you send to BGBCsurvivors @ gmail dot com does not go through any e-mail account of my husband's.  I am the only one who reads that mail.  I don't know why I never felt compelled to say that before.  I'm feeling an icky feeling even having to mention that.  

Take a look at the "feel" of the website.  This is my first clue of "Patriarchy" - the Victorian look.  Hmmm - that might be an interesting blog post.  I'll make a note of it.  I may need to take a break from this post for a sec to get a JA attitude adjustment.  

Here is the blurb about the upcoming film UnMarried posted on the Renewing Housewives website

Well!  As we continue to work on our second Homemaking DVD, we have started another one as well.  My very visionary husband has been inspired to produce a film that explores our current epidemic of protracted singleness in the church.

  • Why are there so many unmarried Christians?
  • What is causing this trend?
  • Is it even an issue?
  • And what can we do?  What should we do?

We are still in the production stage of this film.  We hope to release in the Spring of 2013.   Please pray for us as we seek the biblical answers for what has taken place, interview theologians, families, and young Christians (married and unmarried alike). 

Will someone please tell me what a very visionary husband is?  No, never-mind, I don't want to know.  We may not need to delve into that wording specifically, but it's important to note that both Kevin Swanson (mentioned in the previous post on this topic) and the folks at Family Vision/Renewing Housewives are from the Patriarchal mindset.  This is a culture that idolizes families and puts great emphasis on raising Christian families for the future generations.  They are also "full-quiver" -  having as many babies as possible and populating the earth with Christian offspring - little warriors for Christ.  Not to say any or all of that is bad, but it is an agenda that consumes every aspect of their lives.  (For further reading on patriarchy, I highly recommend Cindy Kunsman's articles.  Here's a very helpful one.)

 It deserves to be said again: God is far more concerned about the functionality of the individual Christian in the family than the form of the family the individual Christian is in.   ~Wade Burleson 

When I read or hear strong words against a specific group of people, it makes me wonder if there is a deeper message beneath.  Those strong words and generalities (ie, prolonged adolescence, protracted singleness) created a conflict in my mind and I'm not even single.   I think what was lacking to me was love and grace.  It seems to always come back to that.  Some people have in their mind the way things "ought" to be and if you don't fit within their "ought-to-be" mindset, then they feel you need to be called out on it.  And many times it becomes such an issue that people suggest that even the "gospel" depends on it.  There's that buzz word again.    It may not be "gospel" whatsoever, but their message is sometimes cloaked with that "gospel" word to draw you in and convince you that it is the "right" or "gospel" way.  If you are a Christian, you can't argue against "gospel", can you?  Take note:  spiritual abusers use this manipulative tactic to control.  

In my first blog post regarding the movie, UnMarried, I also quoted notes from a sermon by Al Mohler.  I do not believe Mohler and Swanson are from the same camp, but they are presenting a similar message on this issue of singleness.  I don't care for the way they are presenting their messages.  There may be some truth to the fact that some singles are wasting time or "floundering around".  The twenties is a challenging time in someone's life.  They are newly out of high school, trying to figure out their niche.  There are other complicating matters in 2012 than in previous decades: we have a very difficult economy, difficulty finding jobs - even for college graduates at the Master level.  There are definitely more distractions with technology.  But we have to be careful to not generalize and not label a whole group of people just because of their marital status.  We can't presume to judge their hearts.

Thankfully, not all church leaders and pastors portray singleness in such a derogatory fashion.  Last week, I read an article from Pastor Wade Burleson and found it so refreshing.  The family units we see in 2012 look quite different than 50 years ago.  A couple parts of Wade's article apply to singles and I thought it would be good to provide a healthy balance here.  The quotes are from the middle of the article, so please be sure to check out the whole article to get the full context:   Focus on the Function of Your Life, Not the Form of Your Family.

When church leaders put an emphasis on the form that family units should take, even if it is a well-intentioned effort to encourage families, the emphasis of Scripture is missed. God is not nearly as interested in the form of a family group as He is the functionality of the individual person. Let me prove this:
(1). Marriage is temporal, not eternal.  
Granted, there are a few non-traditional western religions (i.e. Mormonism) and  a few long-time eastern religions (i.e. Islam) who advocate that marriage, even mulitiple marriages for men, are eternal. That's just not so. Jesus said that in heaven we "will not marry nor be given in marriage" (Mark 12:25).
Marriage is something that is not eternal. At some point, marriage will end for everyone.  If a marriage happens to end here on earth for a Christian, it is possible for that Christian to experience the same fulfillment and joy here and now that he or she will experience eternally. A divorcee who trusts Christ, a graced widow or widower, and even Christian singles who have never married or never will marry have as much personal value, identity and significance as any married Christian. In fact, it might be said that there is an advantage for the Christian who is not married; he or she has the opportunity to understand how to function individually now as Christ intends us to function eternally then.
So let me be crystal clear. Since marriage is a form of relationship that will one day end for everyone, when there is an overemphasis in church on the form of one's family to the neglect of the individual's function within his or her family, then churches fail in our biblical mission. The function of a Christian within the family never ends, and when properly understood, never fails. So what is our function as Christians? We are to love others in our family unit as Christ has loved us (John 15:12).  When we learn to function in this manner we never fail, though the form our family takes comes to an end (I Corinthians 13:8). 

I hope my single readers are encouraged by Wade's words.  You singles are valuable to the Body of Christ (and to me).  You are just as valuable to Christ as me, a married woman and mother or as a pastor or as a child.  When we look at the full picture, we are all equals among Christ.   I hope you take great comfort in that truth.

photo credit: f2b1610 via photopin cc


  1. Reading this, I was reminded of a prior church I attended that was proud of "growing the church from within"...

    I was also reminded of a high school classmate/pastors daughter so many years ago who heard MARRIAGE as a mantra from her mother. She went to college, met a guy who proposed on the second date and ended up in an physically abusive relationship.

    Maybe, just maybe, the sex culture has hit the church as well as the rest of the world. "Everyone should have sex", the church and especially these people want people having sex on their terms.

    1. Joel - Your comment reminds me of how the patriarchy/courtship/purity mindset has backfired for adult kids. Some of these young adults are so confused sexually, it's not very pretty. Legalism and someone else's agenda does not always yield good results!

    2. Headless Unicorn GuyDecember 3, 2012 at 8:52 AM

      "Growing the Church from Within"?

      That anything like "Bedroom Evangelism"?

      Or "Outbreed the Infidel"?

  2. Headless Unicorn GuyDecember 1, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    That "Renewing Housewives" title block is the most ornate, flowery, over-flourished font I've ever seen. Add the amethyst-on-lavender color scheme and I could feel my testicles shrinking from the estrogen overdose.

    Will someone please tell me what a very visionary husband is?

    A husband who "Sees Things (TM)" a la Mark Driscoll?

    1. HA - That's funny, HUG. Yes, I suppose Mark would call himself a visionary husband. Readers: do a Google search: Mark Driscoll and pornovision if you are unfamiliar with the Driscoll reference.


    IMHO, singles are not a problem. It is their business if they want to remain single. And some probably do want to find the right mate, but haven't yet. Not a problem.

    I see large families as a problem these days. Who can afford so many kids? I know I couldn't and we are very frugal. Of course I'm retired and have to be. But I can bet that with those large families they are being supported to some extent by our tax dollars! And that grips me! I don't think it is anything to be proud about. Seriously, I don't know how they can even afford to feed them and keep them in clothing. Not to mention costs of schooling. But I suppose it is HOME schooling.

    We just heard from Chryssie Rose a few blog posts down. On her blog she speaks of never having a childhood. She was the oldest and had to help raise her siblings. And her father was abusive. (Sorry Chryssie... It's not your fault dear.) Her father seemed to think she should stay around and be his maid until she turned 30 or so... (my take on it)

    Singles = NO problem. People breeding like rabbits = PROBLEM.

    How in the world do you find all of these NUT CASES?
    I hope their films do NOT sell!!

    1. Sheep-Dog: We have a large family (7 kids). I've been a stay-at-home mom since the day our first child, Hannah, was born. My husband is an engineer, so that helps, but I have always been very frugal. My kids wore garage sale clothes when they were young. We make most of our food from scratch (it's better that way). There are ways of doing it.

      Although there may be some large families who do utilize government assistance, I would say very, very few large families in the full-quiver, conservative Christian homeschooling movement would accept anything from the government. They are largely anti-government. I personally do not know one large family who accepted government assistance in the 20+ yrs I've been connected with homeschooling.

    2. Thanks Julie Anne,

      That actually gives me a much better feeling about those folks. I was not referring to homeschooling as a bad thing. I have a close friend who chose that way for his two children.

      My wife goes to Goodwill a lot. She has never bought new clothes much in the 40 years we have been married.

      I'll be honest, I need to do some Googling. I don't know the difference between a full-quiver and a half-quiver.. lol

      This stuff is all new to me... Never heard of any of it until I found your blog this year.

    3. I've been meaning to tell how I was influenced by the full-quiver aspect of the homeschool movement. Maybe I'll have to do that soon. Everybody's story is different. I have a few strong opinions about it. No surprise there, huh? :)

    4. I'm not sure I would condemn the whole movement. There are several factors I see.

      1) I wouldn't hesitate to believe it is not for everybody. In fact, it may be only for a small minority.
      2) The things proposed on the sites may work better with some kids than others (I would say the same thing for public/private/home school).

      The biggest thing I see is they try to shoehorn everyone involved into the same mold, whether or not it fits.

  4. thank you for your advocacy, JA! you have such a great heart and voice for those that are TRULY marginalized!

    1. Tammy - - I have people like you to thank. I was not paying so much attention to this topic until my readers expressed it here. I do "listen" to my readers. They teach me a lot!

  5. A church that is entirely focused on the family will have the following people on the margins: singles, handicapped and the elderly.

    As for the flowery blog header, occasionally I will search homeschool blogs. If I see a header like that, I immediately hit the back button. These folks long for the world to be in a different age - they were born at the wrong time.

    1. Kathi - You and I are moms. We do laundry. This Victorian image that patriarchal, full-quiver homeschoolers plaster all over their blogs, websites is a farce. The only way someone would be able to wear flowing stainless white gowns like that is if they had a staff of workers doing their laundry. Give me a break.

      At my house, I'm begging my 2 youngest (10 and 6) boys to find some jeans without holes in the knees. And what's a shirt without a little peanut butter on it?

    2. Julie Anne - My greatest trick in the book? Teaching my kids to do their own laundry. I haven't done their laundry for 4 years now! And, now my husband feels like he has to set a good example, so he keeps his own dirty clothes separate from mine and does his own laundry! That just leaves me with my own and the towels. Not too bad, eh?!

      However, trying to find a shirt that doesn't have some sort of grease stain on the front is a bit of an issue. I do admit that I love cooking so much that I haven't had my kids get too involved in that. It's time, though.

    3. Headless Unicorn GuyDecember 3, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      The only way someone would be able to wear flowing stainless white gowns like that is if they had a staff of workers doing their laundry.

      And servants to clean the house.
      And servants to do pretty much everything.

      Hmmmmm... Don't a lot of these "patriarchl, full-quiver homeschoolers" curriculums hold up the Confederate States of America (and their Peculiar Institution regarding certain Animate Property) as a Godly Golden Age?

  6. Thanks so much for raising this issue. It is so refreshing to have this called attention to and be recognized for what it is- an unhealthy and unbiblical way of looking at people.

    The whole premise for the movie you mention and the questions it asks (what can we do about it?) assumes that people need to be fixed. This hs been the most significant hurtful aspect of being single in church. Outside the church with nonChristian friends, I am a person with unique traits and talents. Inside the church, I am someone who needs to be fixed.

    I can say that one of the blessings of being single and being treated in this way is that it has developed in me a deeper empathy for others who are marginalized by the "church", the very folks whom Jesus hung out with and commands us to love. Having this experience makes it easier to look a homeless person in the eyes and see beyond the clothes and the sign and see them as a person, with a story to tell, who wants to be valued and respected. The same with disabled folks and anyone else who doesn't fit the mold. No one wants pity. They want to be treated as fellow image-bearers of christ.

    1. "No one wants pity. They want to be treated as fellow image-bearers of Christ."

      Never heard it said better Recovering Pharisee.

      Thanks for your work Julie Anne! You are helping many.

    2. Headless Unicorn GuyDecember 3, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      The whole premise for the movie you mention and the questions it asks (what can we do about it?) assumes that people need to be fixed. This hs been the most significant hurtful aspect of being single in church.

      A few years back, one commenter on Internet Monk put it this way:
      Tuesdays -- Ministry to Alcoholics
      Wednesdays -- Ministry to Singles
      Thursdays -- Ministry to Homosexuals

    3. Recovering: Thank you for sharing your heart on this difficult topic. The notion that singles have a problem that needs to be fixed is so wrong. I do not and will not align myself with that crazy idea. I love reading your comments because you express the problems so well. I know so many singles are reading your comments saying, "yea, what she said!" Thank you!

    4. Wade - I so appreciate your sensitivity on these topics. I love that I can send my readers to your blog and they will "experience" a pastor who understands their struggles and who can sympathize with them. Thank YOU!

  7. 1) Why is the church so intent on controlling people's private parts? Isn't that something they can figure out on their own with God?

    2) If being single is bad, why are virgins blessed in the bible?

  8. Wow - I guess I must be in an unusual church - one that values and needs it's singles (and men or women with a spouse not in attendance). We count on them to be as involved in the ministry as everyone else in the church. We need them in music, as ushers, in children's ministries, bringing food to those in need, cleaning the church - you know, all the stuff the married people do. But we also call adult members "brother" or "sister" - thus eliminating the verbal difference of Mr and Mrs vs. Single-so-and-so. I think that actually helps a lot - sort of like speaking a verbal positive affirmation. If all the singles were taken out of our church, or prevented/discouraged from being in the ministry, we'd have a lot of ministries left with holes, or falling apart altogether. In our church the biggest "categories" we have are kids, adults, and members (certain areas of ministry are reserved only for members for accountability purposes). I think this is very reflective of a church filled with individuals who are looking to the Lord for guidance, instead of to eachother or to man's doctrines for answers.

    1. kats - - Hopefully your church is more normal than unusual. The things I post about are trends and extremes (hopefully they don't get mainstream), but they are noteworthy because these trends can infiltrate other churches and that is why I post about them so that people can be aware of them. I'm glad to hear your church seems very healthy. That's great! Thanks for your comment. Your last sentence is right on!

  9. So, I honestly thought that I WAS going to get married at one point. College boyfriend of two years and we talked about marriage, talked about where we were applying to grad school together, etc. Long...CRAZY story. But, in the end, I went to work (he had one more semester to complete). He started not answering calls, never calling me back, etc. I went down there with a friend and found out he had been with another friend and they were now engaged!!!!!!!!! (nutshell version...pretty much all that is important at this point)

    SO, after that...I became angry and didn't care about dating, etc. I went right into grad school and focused on my career.

    After a few years post-grad school, I did start dating again. Met some great guys on a Christian dating site. But, no long-term deals.

    THEN, I had an accident and health issues, involving surgery and recovery. When you're in/out of surgeries and recovering and working, it doesn't leave much room for dating. Plus, no energy and after surgeries you don't necessarily feel desirable.

    All that being said, these things could not be avoided or would've never been resolved by me just all of a sudden being aware of biblical understanding of marriage, singleness, etc.

    Okay, just thought I'd let you know, I tried. I'm not necessarily closed to meeting a guy. I just am in a mode of take it or leave it now.

    1. SF - Your story is a perfect example of life's circumstances getting in the way. The presumption in the movie trailer and other comments I've read seems to imply that many singles are making the choice to "prolong their adolescence" by being self-focused and playing instead of trying to get married. That is extreme thinking and while there is an element of truth, I highly doubt most singles fit in that category and it's insulting to present it like that.

      Do they think this movie is going to convict singles who are living this lifestyle to change? If they come across condescending by saying words like "prolonging their adolescence", I can only imagine what the response will be.

    2. I think that the response will be that people will get word out about this movie and tell others to just avoid it!!

    3. I have to agree with you Barb. IMHO, the people promoting that film are totally out of touch with reality of the times we are living in. "Normal" people will not watch it or will laugh at it, in my opinion.

      And SF, I wish you all the best. I just saw an online video that showed women are surpassing men in the workplace and in the higher level management jobs. Reason: We are leaving (pretty much) a manufacturing society and becoming a service oriented society. Women are a better fit for a lot of what is needed to be done in today's workforce.

      Of course that doesn't mean all women in the workforce will be single, or childless. But the old patriarchal view of women staying home and raising a dozen kids just won't fly in today's society.

      I remember a cute song by Loretta Lynn from about 35 years ago. Some of the lyrics, "I ain't gonna be your settin' hen, since I got the pill." ROFL

  10. I posted this comment on ThatMom's blog, and it fits well here too:

    Two of my most favorite professors in college were single women. One remained single on purpose (the other I’m not sure about). This gave her time to focus on her students and her church. I think she’s in her 70′s by now and is still single. That’s one “prolonged adolescence!”

    I also recall two sisters who were college alumnae who remained single. They dedicated their long lives to overseas missions work. Would they be seen as not having purposeful lives because they chose to never marry?

    1. Kathi, Did you read Grudem's rules on TWW? Many would say that if they taught men, they were out of line. I can't remember who it was asking one of those Gospel Coalition guys something like: if you were on a boat in the middle of a storm where everyone could die, would it be wrong of a woman to present the gospel to men? Or are they out of line? Kathi - -so here we go again. I dealt with this in my own church, but isn't this the same thing with the bigger church at large? Men, self-appointed men, are deciding for the rest of us what women can say and do? They are speaking on our behalf. Is your blood pressure rising? Mine is.

      Do you think God is going to say, "Nope, sorry, a woman presented the gospel to you and I reject that." Where does this insanity come from?

  11. Do these people think that God is not sovereign? My understanding is that He has purpose and plans for each one of us.

    Psalm 139:16 New Living Translation:
    You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

    For some, His purpose may not include marriage and/or children. Really, if He wanted all these "aimless" singles to get married and start producing then He would provide mates for them.

    At former church, I encountered similar hostility for being married without children. We heard sermons about the evils of the wife working, and eventually became aware of gossip alluding to our being unable to conceive. My heart was deeply wounded. If God had wanted us to have children, no birth control in the world would have been effective.

    Where is the love? God will build His church. He will create the families He desires. We do not need to worry about anyone else's singleness or childlessness, unless they ask for our help or our prayers.

    1. Wallflower - - - Amen!!! You're so right. Isn't God sovereign? This is that double-speak we so often hear, isn't it?

      I have been thinking more and more about this movie and I'm wondering if this puritanical legalistic culture where we forced our children to close their eyes when seeing female joggers or turn over magazines with inappropriately dressed women has made young adults paranoid of the opposite sex and prolonged their singleness? They are taught: do not look, do not touch and so they have been trained to stay away from them for so long. I'm feeling a blog post come over me.

    2. I think it makes them paranoid and fearful of the opposite sex, but it also creates an unhealthy focus and curiosity about sex. I grew up in a fundie church, where I attended the Basic Youth Seminar (given by the Institute in Basic Live Principles in the 70s & 80s). The seminar was considered a must for teens and families at my church. Over emphasis on dating, marriage, getting it "right". I would rather have heard about learning to identify my spiritual gifts and developing my God given abilities. I needed confidence that I could sense God's leading in my life more than I needed rules, controlling and warnings.

    3. I just hit "publish" on my post and just read your comment for the first time. You will see that we were definitely tracking on this. I agree 100%. Your "God is sovereign" helped in my post. It was right on!

  12. Please forgive me if this has already been mentioned, but didn't Paul teach that he thought all should be single like him? In his opinion, marriage was only for those whose sexual drive was too strong, and NOT getting married could possibly cause them to sin. I think any church who looks down on singles, and puts the married on a pedestal, is not biblically literate.

    1. Ya think? Isn't it odd how they seem to overlook this passage of scripture? I really don't get it.

  13. I stumbled upon this today and wow, it's nice to know there are other single people out there in the church that feel the same way you do and have had similar experiences.

    I attended a church for several years and began to notice that every time we had prayer in the services, it always specifically called attention to the marriages and families.

    After listening to that for literally several years, I'll admit I became frustrated (being a life-long single person) and approached a member of the leadership to ask why the single people in the church were not valued like the married people and families were.

    I explained that it was a single person (me) who drove to the church at 4:00 a.m. on Sundays to either turn on the heat or A/C to ensure the married people and families had a comfortable environment to worship in. It was a single person that drove back to the church again before service began to set up the fellowship/reception area. It was a single person that volunteered to set up communion so the pastor didn't have to arrive early to do that. It was a single person that was there to open up the church on Wed. nights and get things ready for the mid-week service. (And ironically enough, there were people who attended the church, married with children, who lived on the church property and never offered to walk across the parking to lot to help with any of this.)

    I asked him the question, Are not single people entitled to the same respect and dignity as a human being as married people or families? I wasn't looking for recognition for my actions, I just wanted to know that I mattered as a human being.

    To his credit, he apologized for the oversight and confessed he'd never really thought about it since he had been married for so long and a parent as well. After that, everyone in the church was included in corporate prayer.

    Having grown up in the church and being over 50 years old, I know how most of the churches I've been in view single people. You are incomplete and need to be married/fixed. They form "singles ministries" that are more often than not, attempts at match-making. That's the church's way of dealing with single people.

    My Bible says that I am complete in Christ, He is the one who completes me, not another imperfect human being. If it were true that another person completes me, we wouldn't have all the divorce in the church. For the record, I'm completely in agreement with marriage as the Bible defines it, but I don't see it as an idol that is to be worshipped.

    I also find it interesting to note that Jesus Himself defines the greatest example of love in John 15:13 and nowhere in that verse does it allude to spouse, children, other family members, but rather friend. It seems to suggest the 1st point, marriage is temporal, not eternal.

    1. Still frustrated - THIS post ^^^^^ needs to be seen by more than me. I'm afraid that since this post is nearly a month old, most regulars will not go back to read it unless they have subscribed to comments. I'm going to make a post out of it. I know there are singles who will benefit by reading it. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. You are exactly right - singles have been treated as if they are subhuman. That is WRONG. I'm going to do my best to give singles a voice here.


    2. Thank you Julie.

    3. stiilfrustrated - FYI - I am saving your story to be posted mid-Jan. My blogging friends, Dee and Deb at The Wartburg Watch blog and I plan to do a series at the same time on singles and so I'll be saving it for then :)

    4. Ok, thanks again Julie. Hopefully it will help the church to see single people as equally valued for the contributions we make.


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