The Problem With Church Folk: Presumption Over Relationship

#QTNA: Does presumptuous unsolicited advice ever go over well?
Not too long ago, I received a message (via a social media platform) from a woman who attended the church I used to attend in Florida. The message didn't contain any text—not even a greeting—just a link to a video clip of a sermon.

For context, I've had a total of maybe two conversations with this woman, all very brief and to the point. Nonetheless, I thought perhaps it was a profound word that she just had to share, so I clicked it... It was a man preaching about singleness. He started out saying that God "doesn't give companions, He gives helpers," and then went into a spiel about people wanting a significant other but not working. His example being that Adam was busy naming the animals when God decided to create Eve. I didn't get past that part.

Aside from thinking "wtf" (yes I thought that, see footnote below), the following are a few thoughts that popped into my head:
  • Did you send this because you think that I need to hear this?
  • If so, are you implying I am a person that wants a spouse but isn't working?"
  • How would you know if I want a spouse?
  • Actually, how do you know I don't have a spouse[2]
  • Why would you send me this?
  • Did you send this to other people?
As I mentioned, this woman and I have never had a real conversation. For all she knows, I could have a boyfriend. I could be engaged. Throw in the fact that we haven't spoken since before COVID started and I have been in a totally different state for 8 months: I could be married for all she knows. It is very presumptuous of her to assume not only that I am single, but that I also need help with my singleness (as though it is a disease in need of curing).

After simmering down a bit, I cut her a little slack on the presumption of singleness as I've probably mentioned it on my YouTube channel/podcast before, though I don't know if she follows either. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she does. However, that didn't suddnely make the message less bizarre.

There are three types of "work" the man in the clip could have been referencing: physical, spirtual,or emotional. We have physical jobs we do in this world to earn money to pay pills; this is one form of work. There is spiritual work we do both on ourselves and for the Kingdom; this is another form of work. Lastly, there is emotional work that many require to heal from childhood traumas... What type of work was he referencing?

It doens't matter what type of work the man was referencing because this is where my lack of relationship with this woman shines clearest. Literally, the hardest thing about dating is making time for it. I work full time as a software engineer and prior to relocating, also volunteered as a mentor for college women in STEM. I worked with an organization called BOLD Justice to hold elected polictions accountable and fight for a better community.[3] I was in leadership for our young adult ministry and a Sabbath school teacher for the youth class. I have this blog, a podcast, and a YouTube channel dedicated to the Most High God. I have also seen a therapist about past traumas concerning racism in my childhood (as well as for anxiety in grad school). If that's not working, I'm just going to have to be single and lazy cause I can't add much more to my plate.

The thing is, she wouldn't know any of this because we've literally never had a meaningful conversation! (And contrary to the fact that I'm pretty open on the blog, podcast, and YouTube channel, I don't use social media as a diary).

Perhaps she meant well, but I'll never know because she didn't communicate (and I refuse to ask, because I'm too blunt and liable to say something I shouldn't say). A simple message with the link would have done wonders. For all, I know she could have been sharing it with me because she thinks I'm still a youth leader; she could have been hoping that I would pass the information on and it may have had nothing to do with me personally. It's possible that if I'd listened further, the person said something I echoed in one of my posts and maybe she sent it because she thought I'd agree. However, I'll never know because she didn't articualte her thouhgts.

The problem with most Christians—specfically church folk—is that instead of developing and cultivating relationships that lead to organic conversations, they pass out unsolicited advice based on assumptions they've made. Even as a follower of Christ who has done much work on my temper and controlling my tongue, I had quite a few choice words in response. I imagine a younger, less mature version of myself and I see exactly why young people don't want anything to do with the church. Unfortunately, when people behave like this, they're claiming to represent The Most High God (which is both bearing false witness and using God's name in vain) and it doesn't just turn people away from the church but away from God Himself. Let's not continue this.

Footnotes

  1. Many Christians subscribe to the belief that "cursing" is wrong. While I would agree that you should watch your mouth on the basis that you may offend ofters (Romans 14), I would like to point out that there is a difference between a "curse" word and a cursing a person. Simply speaking negatively about a person is cursing a person. Shouting an expletive when you drop something on your foot is not cursing a person; there really isn't any difference in screaming the f-word vs. ow in this situation. So while I strive to keep my vocabulary clean and am mindful of how I use my words toward (and about) others, I often think "wtf" and see nothing wrong with it.
  2. There are several people at that church that I had known for a year or two (I mean I had actually had conversations with!) that ended up having spouses and I didn't even know. While I disagree with the belief, many in that church believe jewelry to be a sin and therefore a large portion of them don't wear wedding rings. Thus, it's equally plausible that while I was attending the church, I could have had a whole husband she wasn't aware of. Throw in the fact that I haven't seen this woman in person (nor had a conversation with her) in over two years and I could have met someone and gotten married in that time.
  3. BOLD Justice (Broward Organized Leaders Doing Justice) is a coalition of religious communities that research problems in the community—such as treatment of homeless people, care for mental health and the elderly, uneccessary arrests, and more), then work with elected official to implement solutions to said problems. While I was there, the main issues worked on were providing stable housing for those struggling with mental health, creating civil citations to reduce the number of arrests for minor infractions (particularly for youth), and ensuring all nursing homes have generators and are inspected so that the elderly are provided with safe living spaces.

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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