Sunday, September 5, 2010

Singled Out (Pt1)

The first few months of 2010 saw me up to my neck (almost literally!) in books on the topic of singleness. Yes, I’m single. No, I wasn’t immersing myself in books on singleness just for the fun of it (Psssst…trust me when I say, some of those books weren’t much fun!).

The reason for all the singleness books that littered my desk for months on end was that I was preparing an EQUIP10 elective on the topic, and I wanted to be informed about what other Christians were saying about the Bible’s teaching on singleness.

As a result of my research and reading, two things became very clear to me:

1. There are only so many ways that the word ‘single’ can be incorporated into clever puns for book titles on the topic. To all the budding authors out there, I’m sorry to say that I think they have all been exhausted at this point!

2. There have been a LOT of Christian books written on the topic of singleness, and after reading most of them, I was sad to discover that there were very few that I felt comfortable recommending to others.

That’s why I am so enthusiastic about ‘Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must be Reinvented in Today’s Church’. Not only does it boast one of the better ‘single’ title puns… but I have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending it as a great (and biblically faithful) read on the topic of singleness.

In fact, by the time I had finished the book I was so excited that I jumped straight on Google to locate an email address for the authors. Here is an excerpt of what I sent to them:

"It was with MUCH thankfulness and rejoicing that I just finished ‘Singled Out’ yesterday! Finally a book I can put on my resource list and which I can whole-heartedly endorse. It was wonderful to be exhorted and encouraged (in accordance with Scripture) about the joys, challenges, sadnesses and purpose of being single this side of the cross. My soul was greatly refreshed by the biblical and theological truths you outlined in ‘Singled Out’."

And so that’s my prayer for us over the next month here on the EQUIP Bookclub – that God will refresh our souls as we come to consider the biblical and theological truths of singleness in the lives of his people.

I’m looking forward to spending the next month with you all!


Jean said...

Did you read "Did I kiss marriage goodbye?" by Carolyn McCulley? What did you think?

Jean said...

And what were some of the other books you read, and which would you recommend / not recommend?

Dani said...

Hi Jean,

Yes, I did read "Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye" and remember thinking that Carolyn had some really helpful things to say (I would need to go back and skim it to say more at this stage... the number of books I read on the topic all end up a bit of a blur in my mind!!).

It is certainly one that I would recommend as one of the better options out there :) I also like Al Hsu's discussion about the 'Gift of Singleness' in 'The Single Issue' (also published as 'Singles at the Crossroads').

In terms of which titles I would not so happily recommend... Let me preface this by saying that my intention isn't to 'have a go' at the authors of these books. Both of them have some helpful things to say at points, and the authors are both sisters in Christ. So please don't hear me trying to tear them down. I wouldn't write anything here that I wouldn't be happy to say to them directly! (In fact, I'm fairly sure that I did seek to make some direct contact at some stage).

Having said that, I have some major concerns about the foundational theological arguments of both of the books listed below (and therefore their suggested application). I'd like to be able to recommend that you read them for yourself and make up your own mind... but to be honest I'm just not sure that I CAN recommend them at all, as (in just my own personal opinion) I don't consider them to be particularly helpful or biblically sound discussions of the place of singleness in the lives of God's people. Hope that doesn't sound too OTT!

'Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness' by Debbie Maken

'Get Married: What Women can do to Help it Happen' by Candace Watters

Jean said...

Thanks, Dani.

I'm glad to here you liked the McCulley book, I thought the parts I read (about 3-5 chapters) were great, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

I've bought the book you're doing this month too, thanks for the recemmendation!

I'll probably also have a look at the others you mention, to help me think this issue through.

Thanks for all the work you've done on this, I know what it's like to read a pile of books (or bits of books) on a topic! (That's where the McCulley one came in. :) )


Jean said...

That is, "I'm glad to hear" - oops! That's what you get for not proof-reading comments!! :)

Jean said...

And another one my single friends have found useful ... "Loves me, loves me not" by Laura Smit. Have you come across that one?

Jean said...

Here's an interesting link from Ali - Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart - have you read this one?