In a faith centered on love and inclusion, are single people and their God-given gifts truly being welcomed in our churches? According to theologian Christina Hitchcock, definitely not. Instead, she argues, American evangelical churches suffer from a fear of single people.
In Breaking the Marriage Idol, Kutter Calloway describes how the modern church has become distracted by pagan norms for sexual expression and marriage, and why this contributes to our idealization of marriage and the marginalization of unmarried persons. Arguing that the church has bought in to the Hollywood notion that marriage is the antidote to sexual promiscuity, Callaway calls the church to provide new stories to refute this superficial formula. He offers vision for how the church can become a place where love for the other is the pinnacle, and both unmarried and married persons lead and follow side by side, representing the best expression of God's intent for his people.
Theologian and author Alice Mathews recently said in a Christianity Today interview with Hannah Anderson, “Satan knows that if he can keep women out of service, in the church and in the world, he will have won an enormous victory.” Mathews’s most recent book, Gender Roles and the People of God, takes back some of the territory gained by the enemy.
Throughout the book, Widder asserts that today's church is broken when it comes to singleness. But she holds both singles and the church responsible for not treating each other with respect and dignity.
Intended for single women and the churches they attend, Single Women: Challenge to the Church? tackles the unique challenges faced by single, Christian women through the eyes of nearly 100 women who were surveyed and interviewed for the project.
Based on my reading, Winter in each instance seems to interpret key texts in dispute in a way completely in sympathy with the hierarchical-complementarian agenda. If his exegesis were compelling we would need to listen, but it is not.
Women in the Church is a dangerous book which should not have been published because, while it appears to be scholarly, it actually teems with historical and theological errors and also emotional subjectivity. Alan G. Padgett has provided a critical rebuttal to Women in the Church in the Winter 1997 issue of Priscilla Papers.
She moves beyond pity or self-centeredness and arrives at a place of understanding. She has excellent advice for those "shipwrecked on the Isle of Singleness," and uses positive possibilities to draw us back to the God who loves us.