I started reading the book and reviewing every chapter because the content was so refreshing to me and my guess is, very likely, refreshing to my social circle as well. Refreshing is a strange word; it carries as much meaning as the word interesting. ‘Oh, that dress is… interesting.’ Think you get the drift. There’s not much virtue in the word, like good and bad, but in this age of skepticism and cynicism, refreshing is authentic, and perhaps that’s what people yearn for.
Enough about the word refreshing. This is my last review of the rest of the book, ’cause I’ve moved on to other books and I don’t want to be stuck with writing reviews for a book that I need to let go. It’s thought-provoking because it tackles head-on topics like the issue of God’s will regarding marriage/singleness, which my circle hardly discusses. After reading the book, my take on it is, really, use your wisdom and discernment to choose your partner or continue in your state of singleness. It’s within your individual will even as God presents us with different opportunities. He lets us go our way.
I do wish that more would have the opportunity to read the two chapters ‘From Loneliness to Solitude’ and ‘Temptations Singles Face’. Think we are living isolated lives increasingly, and this breeds a loneliness that hollows the soul and engenders situations where we are more susceptible to temptation. Hsu suggested that we need to question our feelings and assumptions when we are gripped by loneliness. One good assumption that he pointed out was the belief that we don’t deserve to be lonely:
In this age of entitlement, many of us grew up without having to work very hard for various benefits in life. We have come to believe that we are somehow entitled to a life without loneliness or even entitled to a dating partner or spouse. We must recognise that we have no real basis for any such sense of entitlement.
It’s getting the wind knocked out of you to question this right of entitlement. Aren’t all of us entitled to love? Love, yes, but what kind? Perhaps what we crave for is romantic love above all else. Then what about phileo love between friends, affections for familiar people like family, and what about agape love that’s unconditional? These are the perspectives the book offered that lead you to discover what you really desire in the deep recesses of your heart.
The book is balanced in addressing the social issue of singleness and attempting to understand the single’s psyche while bringing in Biblical perspectives to address the desires and temptations of the phase. While I wished that the author had not framed his content based on the US context of mobile adults in the chapter of From Aloneness to Community, perhaps that’s the primary audience that he was addressing. If you want to be provoked regarding the issues surrounding singleness, read this book. But it comes with a warning: singleness might become more acceptable and viable to you than before. But singleness/marriage should not be the end in itself. It’s best represented by this quote at the back of the book: Ultimately, singleness is not a problem to be solved by marriage; like marriage, it is an opportunity in which to follow Jesus. To get a firm theological grounding on singleness, I plan to read the book Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life by Barry Danylak and John Piper (yes, I’ve already bought it). Perhaps in a few months’ time.