Many articles have been written about churches refusing to accept the resumes of qualified unmarried men when they look for a pastor. Not surprisingly, the reasons remain the same – They want a man who can relate to their families, they want a man who knows about the responsibility of a family, they want a man with a proven track record, they want a man who will not hit on the women in their church, they want a man who is not a homosexual, they want a man who has sewn his wild oats and settled down. Churches take pride on looking for their family man. They even brag about their family church and how they need a family preacher. The only problem is that none of it is in the Bible. Who will relate to unmarried people? Or do they not really matter? The requirement of a married preacher is never mentioned in scripture. What these churches are doing, however, is providing a deeply perverted witness to the rest of the world. The hypocrisy of the church is the number one reason we have same sex marriage in this country today. I realize many of them claim that a married man is what their congregations want. If that’s the case, then what gives congregations the authority to overwrite the scripture? Isn’t it really just a case of moral relativity disguised in choir wardrobes? Isn’t it just bigotry dressed up in Sunday clothes? If a congregation preferred a homosexual preacher, would that be written down as scripture too?
Now, if you asked a churchgoer what they had against an unmarried man being called to preach in their church, most of them would say they loved all single men and welcomed them into their church. This is another problem that needs to be underscored – Churches and their good intentions are far removed from reality and from what the world sees. Questions about marital status and number and age of children have been used for years to discriminate against women. What would happen if the EEOC had authority over the hiring practices of churches? That’s easy. All churches would be without a preacher tomorrow. But for now, they continue to work their cotton fields with a good rope on a tree limb for anybody that’s not white enough, married enough, or wealthy enough. To come under compliance with EEOC regulations, at least half of their preachers (CEOs) would have to be single men. What’s the chance of that ever happening?
Another thing that needs to be taken seriously is authenticity. For anybody to speak about the gift of celibacy (singleness) in church, they need to possess the gift themselves or have someone standing beside them who does. You can theorize all you want and talk about how things should be. But this is something the church must see. Paul was not afraid to say “I wish every man was like me.” But would Paul even be allowed in churches today? Married folks – How would you like me to host a marriage retreat at your church? See how light is thrown into dark shadows when the tables are reversed?