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Book Review – One by One by Gina Dalfonzo

August 10, 2017

Gina Dalfonzo states her purpose clearly: to help local churches serve and support single adults well. She contends that in so many aspects of church life, singles adults, men and women, are treated as second-class citizens, excluded often unintentionally by thoughtless individuals and structures that sideline singles from growing spiritually and from serving in meaningful ways in the life of a congregation.

After sharing some horror stories and discussing some ways churches communicate to singles they are either pariahs or projects rather than people, Dalfonzo attempts to identify and explain some of the unbiblical thinking the church expresses by action, and sometimes in words. While she does address some legitimate concerns, this reader found it difficult to track with the critiques. A few chapters seemed to be an extended rant about Joshua Harris’ book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. As with most of the chapters in this middle portion of the book, she identifies a few legitimate criticisms but then seems to ramble on. In the final section of the book, Dalfonzo again identifies some positive ways of connecting singles to church life, though there is nothing exceptionally creative (ie. The reader thinks, “Wow, I never thought of that idea as a great way to help singles connect!”).

Admittedly, my expectations were erroneous. In the critique section, I was hoping for clearer theological explanation “defending” singleness and biblical discussions on sexuality, identity, meaning of life/purpose, etc., factors I believe are central to the church’s poor understanding of singles and thus poor ministry with/for singles. She touched on some of the areas, but not nearly with the depth or clarity desired. I think the various stories she shared on the troubles singles encounter in the church demonstrate solid biblical teaching of these areas is weak.

Here are a couple examples of the kind of discussion I thought Dalfonzo would analyze and address:

Its an interesting enough read, and I will gladly share the book with a pastor or other friend interested in the topic, but I cannot say I will recommend it.

Note: This book was provided to the reviewer at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review by Baker Books.



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