Two good reasons to blog a little on the current Compass Class series, "Single & Satisfied." One is this Lexington Herald-Leader article on what appears to be a great parallel to Lakewood's own Koinonia groups. There's loads of mirror images to what I believe most Koinonians experience, but there's also a few points that add some new light to our shared state in life:
According to the 2000 census, 45.6 percent of the 221.1 million adult Americans are single. Almost 43 percent of Kentucky's 3.2 million adults are unmarried.
With more than three-fourths of single adults claiming to be Christians and only one-third of them attending church functions on a regular basis, the church has a large group of people to draw into its doors. But the task is tricky. Single adults don't fit into one nice, neat mold. They span generations and life experiences.
The never-been-married crowd is by far the largest contingent. Members typically range in age from early 20s to mid-30s. They tend to be educated professionals who live away from their families and are putting marriage on hold.
In May, the U.S. Census Bureau found that the average age for a first marriage was 27.1 years for men and 25.8 years for women, up from 23.2 and 20.8 respectively, 25 years ago.
But by putting off marriage, young adults are finding it harder than in years past to easily plug into church while in their early to middle 20s.
Read the whole thing, though. Sounds like they've got a great group going up at NorthEast Christian Church.
Locally, we all had the treat of Tracy leading the class prior to service. It's been too long since the lectern has been so blessed, but Mike & Cordell did an admirable job in the meantime. The series we're now in the midst of derives from the teachers' reflections on Tony Evans' book "Being Single & Satisfied." It's a brief, brisk read that focuses mainly on Paul's message from 1 Corinthians regarding singleness and marriage. I've previously blogged on the book, so I won't add much more than that.
What's always refreshing about Tracy's classes is that she has a great way of augmenting the material from the book in a way that ingrains it into our own experiences (or at least mine ... but I'd find it very weird if I'm alone on this). What I took away from the class was this:
"What you value, you protect" ... Tracy pulls another one of her classic analogies here by offering a million dollar ring off her hand. It rings true to me in a far harsher way. I once interned in Washington DC for a summer. On my exit out of town, the cab dropping me off at the bus station ran off with my tickets and camera in tow. Upon calling the cab company to retreive my bounty, I was greeted by a smart alecky customer service agent who informed me that if the tickets were so valuable, I should have kept a closer eye on them. Suffice it to say, that didn't go over well at the time. But the simplicity of the message is true. Currently, I travel around with my laptop a good deal. It's also one of the most valuable possessions I have since I do a lot of work on it for people that like to sign checks over to me. Believe me when I say I keep close tabs on that sucker when I'm out and about.
Likewise, our hearts are to be protected and guarded. That's not to suggest that they should be locked away, though. Just like I've got to haul the laptop to work almost every day, there are times when you've got to step out on a limb and expose your heart to some amount of risk. The letter to the Corinthians tells us to "remain with God in that condition in which he was called." Yet, as Evans tells us, too many times we separate our status from our calling. There's clearly a purpose for all of us to be in the state we're in at the time of God's calling. That may not mean you stay there throughout. But the time that you realize someone else is running a similar race to yours ... and pushes you to strive harder in your calling ... is probably a far better time to think about God calling you to marry than any other set of situations.
"Don't compare your insides to somebody else's outside" ... another great powerful phrase to ponder. Too often, we look at others as if they're living the perfect life when, in fact, they're not. I remember having dinner with some married friends of mine a while back. Thought they'd reached a very wonderful point in their lives, both together and individually. It was enough to be envious of them. But later conversations would prove otherwise. We rarely see the whole picture of other people's lives. And while there is typically something we can learn from everyone, we shouldn't accept the corrollary that we might learn everything from any one person.
As always, good stuff. There's plenty of good seats available for the Saturday night class. Feel free to join in if you're not already doing so. Is there any better way to spend a Saturday night?