Picture this. You are sitting in church minding your own business the Sunday after the timing is everything part 1 events. You’ve been to Sunday school and are excited to hear another lesson from Hebrews (where we have been for a couple Sundays). In the pre-lesson the minister calls urges us to encourage and support the young married couples in order to grow future leaders in the church. Amen. Then he talks about supporting engaged coupled. OK. Then he says to encourage those couples who should be moving towards getting married, like 2blu and MensHealth. Umm, say what? Did the minister just call me by name from the pulpit like that, followed by how we’ve been hanging around each other for too long for folks not to expect a formal commitment? Yes, he did, along with several other couples, one of which is composed of septuagenarians who just ride ti church and go to the gym together; we all need to stol this foolishness and get married. Direct from the pulpit, with a chorus of amens.
So it’s Sunday again, and I find myself with a little less pep in my step this morning. The above really did happen; it wasn’t a bad dream. MensHealth and I have discussed it, and ironically, our singles ministry leader, who was out of town when it happened, chose the topic of answering the “when are you getting married?” question as Tuesday’s lesson.
It was really shocking to sit there for that and not even be able to defend yourself against some of the obvious implications of this pre-sermon “encouragement.” I am not cohabitating, fornicating, forsaking the assembly, or in any way setting a bad example by making sure we talk through and work out some things before we decide to marry. Haven’t they heard “marry in haste, repent at leisure”? Whether or not we marry, we haven’t set a bad example tor anyone and we aren’t going to mock the institution of marriage by marrying without being sure.
I don’t know how the other couples, assigned from the septuagenarians, feels about being called out, nor why they aren’t engaged or married already. I can speculate, but it really doesn’t matter. As much as I advocate marriage, it’s not something to enter into lightly or to put undue pressure on someone to do. I think it was wrong to call people out from the pulpit by name about their marital status,especially if you are ignorant of the reason for the same. Even if you think something sinful is going on, I don’t agree with saying it from the pulpit. Come and speak to that person face to face and talk to them. If it’s serious enough to withdraw from them, then follow the Protocol the Bible lays out for withdrawal. But unless you are announcing the church is withdrawing from me, or some other confirmed reason, don’t call me out from the pulpit.
As I said, today is Sunday again. I didn’t get to speak to our minister after services about this, and this will be my first time seeing him since. How would you handle this situation?