Late to Potluck: The dating predicament of 30+ year-old single Christians. And what to do about it.
Art by sevelletheartist.com
Part 3 of 4
Mainstream culture offers Christian singles many tempting solutions to our late to potluck predicament – the most ubiquitous of which is snacking.
A Ruined Appetite
The documentary The Men Who Made Us Fat chronicles the food industry’s success in disrupting traditional mealtimes and creating the now ubiquitous “snack time.” The marketing behind changing cultural thinking and habits about food is nothing short of impressive. The repercussions however, as the documentary title reveals, are nothing short of disastrous.
Who among us hasn’t at one time or another ruined our appetite for a good meal by snacking? Whether our bites between meals are conventional sweets or “healthy snacks” (another clever food industry ploy), we are individually and collectively suffering from health issues simply for want of waiting until mealtime.
The pseudo-science of Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s and 50s has done an equally effective job of teaching us that “snacking” sexually on pornography, masturbation, pre-marital sex, and same-sex escapades are not only normal, they’re necessary for a healthy sex life.
Sexual “snacking” is not merely impacting when single Christians show up to potluck, but the number of singles who arrive. Potluck is seen as altogether undesirable when “snacking” is used to take the edge off pre-mealtime hunger and tide over those who don’t want to sit down and commit to a full meal.
It wasn’t until the 1990s, when Dr. Judith Reisman published her book Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud: The Indoctrination of a People that Kinsey’s hidden agenda and questionable methodology were exposed. 1 By that time however, Kinsey’s misinformation had lodged itself in the American psyche and found ready ambassadors in media, entertainment, academia and sadly, also made its way into the church.
As with the perils of food snacking, here too studies continue to reveal the devastating effects of our exaggerated, sex-crazed culture that uses oneself and/or others as props merely for lustful sexual gratification. Contrary to its purported ability to guide you “out of your sexual shell” and improve your sex life through “sexual self-discovery,” masturbation instead conditions your privates to respond to your hand or sex toy. You are left drained of sexual energy and disinterested in and unresponsive to the touch and unique sensation of sex with your spouse. It can also lead to genital and nervous system damage.1,2,3,4
Pornography kills the senses of wonder and captivation that you should have for your spouse and replaces them with discontent. What results is our society’s “pornography distortion” – a misshapen belief and attitude with respect to what constitutes healthy sexual relationships that effectively deaden desire for your marriage partner. 1,2,5
Premarital sex, whether with the opposite sex or the same sex, leads to a variety of psychological and physiological damage when we have multiple sexual partners. Humanity is not emotionally or physiologically wired to experience broken bonds.1,3,4 Men and women were created as complementary polarities to together experience deep intimacy, that of being fully known and fully loved, within the committed lifelong relationship of marriage.6,7
Choosing to explore and enjoy God’s ingenious gift of sexuality in the safety of marriage and monogamy in the face of Hollywood and society’s incessant campaign to the contrary is no small challenge. Admittedly, abstinence is difficult ('cause we're hungry!), though not impossible, and allows us to circumnavigate the abundant sexual and emotional health issues inherent to lifestyles of promiscuity.1,3
In the arenas of both food and sex, we want to cultivate healthy appetites. There are no “benefits” of snacking. All it does is give you a false sense of satiation and ruins your hunger for the real thing.
“I don’t have my V card anymore… It makes me feel like I’m not worthy.” Josephine and I had been talking about guys and the shame she felt from her sexual past made her believe she was damaged goods. She was convinced she didn’t stand a chance with church guys who wanted a virgin bride.
If you’re one of those daughters of God who feel like you’d never be good enough to be blessed with a spouse because you haven’t walked with Jesus long enough, or close enough, I’ve got great news for you:
That’s not how God operates.
We don’t need to jump through spiritual hoops to get our Father’s attention or win His favor. From this moment on, consider yourself freed from this idolatrous practice. Only in relationship with pagan deities must humans earn love and good graces. The God of heaven and earth is altogether different!
Covered by His mercy, empowered by His truth, and transformed by His grace, you have no less chance of being served at potluck than any other church member.
Just get there on time!
Now let’s say one Sabbath, haystacks (known as taco salads to some) were on the menu for potluck. Experienced potluck servers will have everything set out in the order the yumminess is to be piled onto your plate: First the tortilla chips, then the beans, then the rice, followed by the dairy-free cheese for optimal melting, then topped with lettuce, salsa, onions, black olives, and a dollop of dairy-free sour cream to finish.
You’re hungry but late to potluck and though there’s nothing left to eat, you decide to sit and fellowship. Seated across from you is a sister who arrived to potluck on time, made herself a haystack, but didn’t eat much of it. She mixed all the ingredients on her plate together until they were indistinct from each other, took a few forkfuls, poked and prodded her meal, but decided she isn’t hungry after all. She then wipes her mouth with her napkin, crumples it up in a ball, places it on top of the uneaten dish – the universal sign of being finished with one’s meal – pushes the plate away from her, and turns her attention to the lively conversation at hand.
And there you sit hungrily.
Had that haystack been yours, you would have delighted in every morsel. But alas, it’s not your plate.
Albeit seemingly unfair, and a heartbreakingly tragic waste of food, it’s not your plate.
It’s so sad when we witness someone not appreciate or love her spouse as she should or as her spouse deserves. Our culture would have us believe that we would be justified in getting romantically involved with that poor under-appreciated husband.
But it’s not justifiable. Not in any way. Not even a little. It’s not your plate.8
In the next post, we’ll talk strategies for finding love in ways heaven would approve. I’ll also share a relationship resource for singles that has rocked my world!
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Names have been changed
1 Mark Gungor, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage: Unlocking the Secrets to Life, Love, and Marriage (New York: Atria Books, 2009).
2 What I Wish I’d Known Before Watching Porn
3 Promiscuity Data: Guest Post
4 How the Condom Culture Is Killing Sex
5 Hearing on the Brain Science Behind Pornography Addiction and the Effects of Addiction on Families and Communities
6 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 NKJV
7 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:24,25 NKJV
8 “You are not to commit adultery… You are not to covet your neighbor's house. You are not to covet your neighbor's wife, his male or female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:14, 17 ISV