Us and them
“men are like chocolates…wait too long and only the weird, nutty ones are left”
Hand towels with quips and quotes like these line the towel racks of the bathrooms in my parents’ home. I always leave one of the bathrooms chuckling or smirking at the cunning little sayings, they’re funny and I love them…in fact I may have helped pick out a few.
But back to the men are like chocolates thing… I was at home for a significant amount of time this past year and this saying caught me after awhile, and honestly I’m beginning to believe it’s really true. Sometimes it feels like I live in this world sandwiched between those navigating life’s milestones well and oddballs…or am I becoming the weird nutty one?
I’m a single, twenty-something post grad adult. I have a solid job and work hard… where do I belong? Where is my place in the church? I’m not newly married, or even engaged, so young married group doesn’t fit. I’m not in college anymore…in fact, I have my Masters and use it in my job to discipline, counsel, and mentor college students….I can confidently say, I’m in a different place…so where do I fit?
Where does any single, post-grad, twenty or thirty-something fit in the church? I am finding in more and more conversations with friends that their church feels like the loneliest part of their life. It’s exacerbated by this “us and them” mentality that is apparently woven through our Christian culture. Don’t get me wrong…single adults do it too…we allow the “us and them” ideology to continue. And I accept that there are certainly pieces of life that I won’t understand until I am married or having children of my own, but that does not make me less of an adult or human. It sounds ridiculous to type, but believe it or not, this is the message being sent to single adults: “You are not fully an adult, you are not mature, you are not welcome until you’re married.”
Single or married, it takes courage to walk in this world as a believer…and I don’t know about you, but I would rather do it in community, a community known as the Church.
Life constantly separates us into categories, but I do believe there is a time and a place for “women’s, men’s, children’s, youth, newly married, young family, hill-toppers, etc.” ministry as we can identify with those navigating similar seasons and circumstances. I respect that, but are we not the body — a whole body that was designed to be united?
No community is perfect; however, my church in Los Angeles did a fantastic job with this – community groups were based on location and open to the family. I found that it encouraged me to live daily life in community God had provided.
This may feel more like a rant than a well-thought out composition because it really is a topic that weighs heavy on my life and holds significant relevance. This relevance crosses state lines and is a pervasive topic among my peers. All humans have a deep desire for community: to be known and do life together. There is not clear delineation of ownership and responsibilities for the “us and them’s” because the entire body needs to take ownership and action.
What will you do?