Captain Sensible writes:
The front page of today's Daily Mail reports that Sir Paul Coleridge, the judge in charge of family courts across south-west England, will give a speech to family lawyers, describing family breakdown as a "cancer" behind almost every evil affecting the country. He warns that the collapse of the family unit is a threat to the nation that is as bad as "terrorism, street crime or drugs".
The 58-year-old judge, who has himself been married for 35 years and has two sons and a daughter, will say that: "Families are the cells which make up the body of society. If the cells are unhealthy or undernourished, or at worse cancerous and growing haphazard and out of control, in the end the body succumbs."
God's plan for humanity (otherwise known as the Creation Mandate: to marry, to have children, to work) seems to be increasingly acknowledged as the best way for society to function by various prominent figures and media commentators outside
of the church.
But I wonder how the Body of Christ can be healthy and nourished if we ourselves continue to ignore God's commands, and instead extol the virtues of singleness and childlessness as a valid alternative lifestyle choice for men? (I say men, because this is almost never a choice made by women.)
Perhaps one example of the "haphazard" side effects of this cancer in the world, are the steps women are now being forced to take, if they do not wish to remain childless throughout life.
According to an article in the April issue of Red magazine ("Do dads have a sell-by date?"), the number of single women having IVF treatment has increased 2.5 times between the years 2000 and 2005. (Source: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) And these figures do not include the women who have the less costly, and less invasive IUI treatment.
The article goes on to state that at the Donor Conception Network (DCN), which supports the parents of donor-conceived children, a quarter of their 1,100 members are single women.
Olivia Montuschi of the DCN is quoted as saying: "I would say that 99.9% of so-called single mothers by choice, would have preferred to have the child in a relationship, but that is not how life has worked out for them. A number have been with long-term partners who wouldn't commit to having a child, so they've gone ahead on their own."
This post is not about the ethics of such treatment. Nor is it about the tragedy of so many children growing up without fathers - even when the conception is arrived at naturally - due to relationship breakdown, married or otherwise.
Rather it is about the dire effects of ignoring the marriage part of the creation mandate, whilst at the same time enabling men to have premarital sex (or if they are church-goers, probably primarily pornography), with no encouragement to find and commit to one woman and raise their own family.
We cannot impose our beliefs on society, but we can, and must, be salt and light.
As such, we need to stop kidding ourselves that single Christian men in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond are "gifted with the self control to remain celibate and that's wonderful, even though your lifestyle is actually no different to men that are
able to accommodate a wife and family, in fact probably it is a lot worse".
But rather face the awkward fact that they are more likely gifted with an internet connection, which makes them to varying degrees addicted to pornography, warping their God-given sex drive, and so disincentivising them to find a wife, in a not dissimilar fashion to men in the world that are having regular sex.
If our church leaders can tear themselves away from overseeing a busy schedule of women's and children's ministries, they really should be focusing on the evils of pornography addiction for single men, before such a time that a stronghold sets in.
And again, I have to encourage single Christian women to look outside of church circles for a believing man to marry and have children with, before they get to the stage where a) they are in a desperate hurry due to God's design of the biological clock, and b) all the best of the men in the world are already snapped-up by women that were not badly advised to "wait" and "wait", for something that God has already told us to get on and do.