Singleness: Australian Stats and Refelctions

In preparation for the upcoming Christ Centred Singleness workshop I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading into singleness in today’s culture.

I read an interesting quote a while back that suggested that the hardest impact of being single hits around the age of 35. This is when the majority of one’s peers are either married or in de facto relationships.

relationships by age

After having a quick look at the 2006 Australian census data the quote was backed up. The ages of 35 and 74 are where the greatest number of people are living in committed relationships.

It seems that ages 18-24 are a period where singleness is prevalent, and those who are looking for their life companion are amongst others of a similar mind-set. This means that peer support is at its peak for singles in this age group.

From 25-30 years of age is the biggest jump into marriage. The marriage and de facto statistics triple from ~20% to ~60%. Suddenly the cultural norm for those in this age bracket is to be in committed relationships.

Then from ages 35 through to 74, at any given time more than 1 in 5 Australians are not living in committed relationships. This means they are in the minority and are travelling through a significant period of time alone. This is a time where people are raising families and accumulating wealth. Think especially of the single parents who invest all their resources into their children.

Then later in life the rate of singleness significantly increases. This is obviously because of an aging population. The number of widows and widowers increases dramatically. For some of these people, they will be learning how to live a life of singleness for the first time in 40 or 50 years.

If singleness is such a prominent issue within our culture why is it never talked about? The answer is quite simple, because our culture has built up marriage to be the epitome of significance. We’re told that we aren’t really whole until we find our ‘other half’. The media suggests that if you’re single there’s likely something wrong with you; you’re likely not attractive enough, don’t have enough money, too old or are socially awkward.

Australians have become convinced that singleness is a period of transition. It’s a time of reconnaissance, as we find our life long partner. It’s a time to be free from commitment, until you’re fulfilled by that same commitment. As Australians we typically want to have our cake and it too.

It’s time we had a long hard look at the place of marriage in our culture. Marriage shouldn’t be about determining one’s value or significance.

Our culture needs to look at how we can edify those who aren’t married or in committed relationships. Singles can add value and meaning to our communities. The goal of a single person shouldn’t be primarily to get married. Maybe it’s time our culture started to value singleness as a real authentic means of contributing to society.

Whether you’re single, married, divorced or widowed, you are important to those around you. You have every right to love and be loved in a community. Everyone is single at the beginning of their lives, some people move into relationships, and the vast majority of people are single again at the end of their lives. If anything, relationships are the time of transition between the state of singleness.

Testimony: Where is your faith?

It’s not often I’m moved to tears during a Church service… maybe it’s because I was going through a pretty tumultuous time of life, or because this is a particularly moving testimony, or more likely both. This is a bloke from our church sharing about his tough, but rewarding journey in life. This testimony penetrates a generation gap and shows that our faith is best placed in the Lord Jesus.

Where Is Your Faith? ::: And Now For Some Questions Jesus Asks from Creek Road on Vimeo.

Justin Bieber: Put God and family first

The king, Elvis Presley began developing his musical talent in a church. More recently pop-sensations such as Britney Spears, Eminem, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber (among several others) have all at some point claimed to be Christian’s that have come under the spotlight of fame and popularity.

The downside to this is any Google search will reveal the explicit controversies that these super-stars have been involved in. From provocative dancing, drugs, sex and indecent exposure to pregnancy scandals and sexual provocative attire. Are these so-called Christians giving the rest of us a bad name? If so, whose fault is it?

I stumbled across an article titled ‘Justin Bieber: Put God and family first’ (10th August 2011) (link here) and it made me ponder on the absolute misrepresentation of Christians in the media. So what the deal? Is Justin Bieber a Christian or not?

Bieber was quoted saying: “I want to say that anything is possible … You got to keep Go

d first and always remember to keep family first. Jesus loves every one of you!”

When the Rolling Stone Magazine asked him about his opinion on sex before marriage he was quoted: “I think you should just wait for the person you’re … in love with.”

These are pretty contrasting views from the teen pop-sensation. Obviously every Christian knows that God’s view on sex before marriage is a little more stringent than ‘waiting for love’. But all this is old news you say…

So I went a little further and dug up an interview with Bieber’s mum whose name is Patty. Patty had some very interesting things to say. When asked about other teen-celebrities being seduced by the cultures of pop fame she answered:

“We need, in this time more than ever, to lift them up in prayer. They are a mouthpiece for a generation. Let’s pray for them, let’s encourage them. Let’s spur them on to the Lord.”

What a great encouragement that is. She doesn’t accuse these young adults of not being Christians, nor does she depict Bieber to be a saint, rather she sends out a ‘call to prayer’. Encouraging all those onlookers who condemn with judging eyes not to kick them while they are down but rather to lift them up in prayer.

My prayer is going to be that God will grant me the wisdom to not judge things beyond my understanding (like the state of sanctification of people I’ve never met). And that the Holy Spirit would continue to work in the lives of Christians who stand in the spotlight of celebrity fame. That He would continue to convict and lead people like Bieber and I will thank Him for the wonderful works that He has already done in these people’s lives.