The Single Issue by Albert Y. Hsu
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The Single Issue seeks to challenge the view that singleness is a problem in itself or carries second-class status. Although singleness has problems (as has marriage) the author has a vision of Christian singles no longer living in fear of being alone in the world, but living out a message of hope for the world.
The book presents a ‘practical theology’ of singleness, addressing fundamental issues of Christian identity in today’s world. One helpful chapter summaries the relevant OT and NT teaching (especially Jesus and Paul) and explores changing attitudes to singleness through church history to the present day against this scriptural background.
The author contends that singleness is not a spiritual gift in the sense of a special empowerment for the contented celibate life. Instead, the gift of singleness or marriage is a description of an objective status (which may or may not be temporary). He challenges many of the conflicting temptations singles face: to put life ‘on hold’ until marriage, to be over-committed or self-centred, or to live a life of regret for missed opportunities.
Singleness is seen as providing freedom for personal growth and opportunity for service. The author suggests that the solution to the problem of loneliness is the discipline of solitude: inner fulfilment and satisfaction in being alone with God. However this should not be an end in itself, since the cure for aloneness is community (and not marriage). The author makes practical suggestions about how community can be developed through the involvement of singles in the church family.
Finally the book challenges the reader to ‘rethink romance’ and the serial dating mentality prevalent in western culture. It encourages Christian men and women to relate first and foremost as brothers and sisters in Christ in relationships of genuine friendship.
Essential reading for young single adults for and those with pastoral responsibility for singles (especially pastors, elders and homegroup leaders).
by JoShields on 11th March 2011