from My Recommended Reading List (Part 11 of 12)
One of my goals for this blog in 2013 is to spotlight my “Recommended Reading List”. “Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life” by Barry Danylak is the selection for November. To view the complete list of my favorite books on the subject of same-sex attractions, click this link: My List of Recommended Books
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t agree with every single idea, concept or thesis discussed in every book on my list. But each selection contributes insight and understanding to the subject.
As I consider the subjects I address on this blog, I have a need to include a resource on the subject of singlehood. Mark Yarhouse, in one of his books, made the following observation:
When churches value being single not as a stage to “get through” but as a good state to be in, they can provide a place that is valued and meaningful to the Christian who is also a sexual minority.
For many who contend with same-sex attractions, being alone, being celibate and/or being single are enormous challenges that need to be acknowledged and addressed. I have placed links to several helpful resources about these issues on the “Resources” page.
This book is the only one on my recommended list that isn’t wholly focused on the run-of-the-mill discourse surrounding homosexuality. The topics of gender and sexuality are touched upon briefly; but this is not a book about gender or sexuality. It is neither a “self-help” nor a “how-to” book. It is not a cultural analysis of what it means to be an unmarried person in a 21st century western society. It is an encouraging theological study geared toward single adults. However, I believe most Christians should seek to be blessed by its insights.
Outline of Chapters
As a Bible student and teacher, I found the author’s exegesis and analysis of Scripture enlightening and very exciting. One may be tempted to skip the first 100 pages but if you do, you may find your total experience with the text less satisfying.
Chapter 1 – Begetting from the Beginning: Procreation, Marriage, and the Blessing of God to the World
Chapter 2 – Living in the Land: Why Every Israelite Man and Woman Married
Chapter 3 – Prophetic Paradox: How Failure of a Nation Brings Blessing to the World
Chapter 4 – Good News for the Gentiles: How Abraham’s Offspring Come from Jesus Alone
Chapter 5 – The King and the Kingdom: Jesus’ Surprising Statements on Singleness and Family
Chapter 6 – A Charisma in Corinth: Paul’s Vision of Singleness for the Church
Summary of Content
In Chapter One, the mandate “be fruitful and multiply” and the Abrahamic covenant are the focus; procreation and offspring were essential to the covenant promises and God’s blessings.
In regards to marriage and propagation, restrictive stipulations abound in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The goal of Chapter Two is “to show the critical importance of marriage and offspring in relation to these three pillars – covenant, inheritance, and name [legacy] – and show the interrelationship between them.” (page 56)
Tracing the fundamental paradox of Isaiah’s message, Dr. Danylak presents evidence in Chapter Three that the barren woman and the eunuch (figures of disgrace and scorn for ancient Israelites) are blessed in the outcome of the work of the suffering servant . . .
Though the barren woman and the eunuch are gendered portraits, as we shall see, the blessings they represent are not gender specific. Both are begetters of spiritual offspring and can serve as models of devoted service to the Lord. It is in the life and ministry of the church that Isaiah’s vision take hold. – page 113
Thus the focal point of Chapter Four is “how the New Testament explains and develops Isaiah’s paradigm shift in light of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and reflecting on some the implications that this theological paradigm shift has upon the nature of singleness, marriage, and procreation in the new covenant.” (page 116)
The themes of Chapter Five are especially impressive:
- Jesus’ discussion of birth and new birth in the kingdom
- Jesus’ tenets on singleness: eunuchs for the kingdom (Matthew 19:10 – 12) and angels in heaven (Luke 20:34 – 36)
- Jesus’ dramatic and surprising comments on family and new family
Much of the apostle Paul’s teaching about marriage and singleness is found in First Corinthians chapter 7, one of the most difficult texts in the New Testament to decipher. Danylak does a wonderful job of bringing to bear the witness of first century Greek-Roman culture, mores and philosophical thought to his analysis. I believe his conclusions at the end of Chapter Six are solid . . .
The capability to remain single is thus to be regarded as a spiritual gift, and it is characterized by three predominate features: a life of simplicity free from the stresses of spouse and family, a life that finds sufficiently the blessings of Christ alone apart from the experiences of sexual intimacy, marital companionship, and physical family; and a life ready and free for service to the King in whatever way he should call. – page 211
To be a fulfilled and complete Christian – as a single person – can be a powerful witness to the complete sufficiency of Christ.
In other words, I can celebrate, honor, glorify and please God as a single man. I don’t (shouldn’t) have to act like or feel like a second-class misfit or less valuable than any married person within the church. I can’t use fear, self-pity, self-righteousness, an inferiority complex or same-gender attraction as an excuse to hold myself back in a self-imposed prison. I must grab the opportunities I am given and live my life with the grace, strength and love the Lord gifts to me.
Links and Resources
(1) From the author’s publisher:
(2) Here’s the link to this book’s Amazon.com page:
(3) Dr. Danylak’s promotional video for this book:
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2013.
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