10 July 2019 | Valerie Y. Bernard-Allan’s 2016 PhD thesis, “It Is Not Good to Be Alone; Singleness and the Black Seventh-day Adventist Woman” was mentioned in a recent Christianity Today article about what Christians make of church relationship advice.
The article, titled “What Christians Really Think About the Church’s Relationship Advice” is a book review of author Vicky Walker’s new title “Relatable: Exploring God, Love, & Connection in the Age of Choice.”
The article states that Bernard-Allan’s findings on black Seventh-day Adventist women and Walker’s survey results of Christians both reflect “lofty views of marriage” among Christians.
Walker writes from a largely British Protestant perspective. She reports from a survey of over 1.400 Christians in the United Kingdom that “Half of the survey respondents (49.8%) agreed with the statement ‘Christian culture emphasises abstinence over teaching about healthy relationships.’”
Walker faults Augustine with negatively influencing church teaching on sex and flags Christian teachers’ tendency to gloss over the singleness of Jesus and Paul. She challenges the modern Christian tendency to paint marriage as an ideal outcome, at times portrayed as preferable to singleness.
Walker spends time on the challenging math issues that result in more Christian women insisting on finding partners of the same faith than do Christian men.
“[W]hat arises swiftly and awkwardly is a maths problem: if only half of Christian men insist on a partner of the same faith, that means only one-sixth (16-and-two-thirds %) of Christian men in total share the same conviction as almost half ([or] 45%) of Christian women. Yes, for every hundred Christians, 16-and-a-bit men and 45 women have “same faith” as a nonnegotiable.”
Walker claims that churches often tend to overlook this challenge as they idealize marriage.