Features

Single minded

"Single minded" Continued...

Issue: "Summer Books 2004," July 3, 2004

Yet some small, stubborn part of me expected, when I turned to the new Christian chick lit, a new ending. I imagined that the plot would not move us relentlessly toward coupledom, but might open up space for that Christian alternative-a hip, urban gal who finds a way of making peace with singleness, peace found through security in God, the community of the church, and the slow transformations of discipleship. After all, in the Christian moral vocabulary, marriage is a good thing, but it is not the only good thing. Singleness is also a good thing. Jesus, we might remember, managed to live a perfect life, and, Dan Brown's suppositions to the contrary notwithstanding, the only marriage plot it included was the eschatological wedding feast with the church.

Indeed, for Christians, marriage and singleness are not merely "lifestyle options," they are callings, and both the state of marriage and the state of singleness have something to teach the church. What marriage teaches the church is something about the communion between people that is now possible through Jesus Christ; what singleness teaches the church is the eschatological reality that singleness, as it were, trumps marriage. Singleness reminds the church that our most basic and fundamental relationship is not that of husband and wife, or parent and child, but with Christ and the rest of the church, as His Bride.

That I expected a plot twist in Christian chick lit is, perhaps, just as naïve as my original hopes for Bridget. For the contemporary church, with its emphasis on marriage and the nuclear family, so rarely proclaims this good word about singleness. Christian chick lit seems the perfect place for that proclamation.

-Lauren F. Winner is the author of Girl Meets God: A Spiritual Memoir. She regularly contributes to Books and Culture and The New York Times Book Review. Her latest book, Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity, will be out from Brazos next April.

Lauren F. Winner
Lauren F. Winner

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