“Relationships often find you when you least expect rather than you finding relationships. That’s my single, inner Christian voice speaking in response to silent but questioning minds of others at CTS, “Will I find love here?” Who has the time anyway? Good intentions to have meaningful, cordial relationships often get buried under the pile of unfinished readings and pressing assignments. They’re trampled down by the weight of what seems to be more important things for us to do. We want to finish seminary and get it off our check list, at least for some of us! In the final analysis, God acts providentially even at CTS to bring people together, to invite us into life-long commitments of either friendship or marriage not just for our happiness but for our holiness.”
“I think that CTS is very accepting of both marriage and singleness. I appreciate being in a setting where there are large populations of both single and married students. I think there is a bit of a tendency to view single students simply as those who aren’t married yet, but I’ve encountered more pressure toward marriage in other settings that I’ve been in. Overall, I’ve found the culture of CTS toward marriage to be pretty healthy.”
I think that singleness and marriage are both important for the Kingdom of God. This is a topic that I hadn’t really thought about much before taking Pastoral Care with Rev. Nydam last spring. Marriage is certainly important for building families and creating good environments for children to grow up in, but I also see marriage as an opportunity for spouses to partner together in working in the Kingdom of God. For me personally, being a married student has helped me stay more grounded and connected to the world outside of the seminary, and my conversations with Tess help me practice explaining the things that I’m learning in a less technical, theological way. Singleness is important for the Kingdom because single persons often have some extra freedom for service that married people, with their extra responsibilities at home, do not have. Single persons are called as much as married persons and give us a necessary reminder that we bear the image of God as individuals, not just as married couples. Married and single persons can and should collaborate because of the different viewpoints that they have on life and service in the Kingdom. Neither marriage nor singleness is superior to the other, and we all need connections to the community and family of the body of Christ.”
“I think there is a good blend of marriage and singleness. I don’t feel out of place or excluded from the community of married individuals, but rather feel welcomed by that community of married students. Things aren’t divided between married and single. People don’t get together in exclusive married groups. I don’t feel a sense of pressure from classmates or faculty as to why I’m still single in this point in my life.”
“It seems like it is an increasing pattern that single individuals are finding a certain fulfillment in the work of church ministry and feeling called to CTS. Far too often the church as a whole, and our denomination in particular, has seen singles as merely persons-in-waiting for a spouse, as not fully whole without a spouse, rather than recognizing singleness as a legitimate time to bear great fruit. For some it may just be a season, but for some it may be a life calling, and we should avoid assuming that singles are less than human for not having a spouse. After all, Jesus Christ seemed pretty single and yet lived a fairly fruitful life. It is my hope, then, that this new pattern might allow us to see both marriage and singleness as gifts from God. I hope we avoid triumphing either gift over the other, and recognize each as vital to the life of the church.”
“When people at the seminary meet me apart from my husband, they usually assume I am a student here. But when people meet my husband and I together, they expect that my husband is the student, or that we are both students. People seem a bit thrown off when they realize that I’m working on my M.Div. but my husband is not going into ministry. “Pastor’s husband” is not a category that we seem to be familiar with here. “Seminary spouse” is often code for “seminary wife.” It seems that we expect female pastors to be either single or married to male pastors. Are we uncomfortable with the idea that a female pastor might have authority over her husband in church?”
“Single. What’s so disdainful to some about that word? After the question of whether I am married or not is answered with, “I am single”, I get some funny looks. It is quite clear from the Scripture, that Paul and Jesus led very fruitful, and caring lives as single believers in the one true God. And I have never doubted their leadership in the Scripture, because they were “single”. I think the next step for the church is to be more hospitable to people who are single.
At Calvin Theological Seminary, it is fine to be single, while participating in studious discernment of vocation for Christian ministry. I thank God for the community of friends at CTS, and to be single is to be ready to serve God. Being single is not a disqualifier for being a pastor. As a matter of Scripture, Paul makes an eloquent case for staying single if serving Christ in full time ministry.”