Last year, the number of people living alone in the UK surpassed 8 million for the first time. Our so-called “connected lifestyles” have often failed to help us encounter other people in truly satisfying ways: being a virtual friend or subscribing to a newsfeed is no guarantee of closeness to another human being. Of course, we need to find meaningful community that is realistic in today’s world. There’s no point in talking nostalgically about memories of pen pals and tea ladies...
I need to make a declaration right at the outset, for transparency. I’m an unmarried man. There, I’ve said it. Not an easy thing to admit to as a Christian in your early fifties. Particularly in a social media-driven culture where your ‘relationship status’ is considered to be a key aspect of your identity.
Covenant Eyes is a popular provider of internet accountability software. It has recently launched its new Screen Accountability software. I have used Covenant Eyes for several years, so when they launched this change I was interested to see how it worked.
Our pastor recently preached a Sunday morning sermon on marriage and the family. He prayed for “our marriages and families” at the end and then added the line, “and we also pray for those who are single.” I peeped around the room and thought that he might just as well have said, “and Gary too” since I was the only single person there!
In an increasingly busy and individualistic world, and in a church culture which seems to promote nuclear family relationships over singleness, it can be challenging to build meaningful friendships within the church. It can be especially hard to build relationships with nuclear families, particularly as a childless single person. And yet Jesus calls for radical community centred around Himself and the gospel.
In this interview, we sat down with Dr David Pullinger; a leading researcher in singleness and religion and a Director of Single Friendly Church.
In June 2019, I circulated a pair of surveys about singleness in the UK church – one survey for single people and one for married people. It’s a simple survey and I’m not claiming it represents the whole church. However, the purpose was to collect some perceptions of singleness from a range of people – male and female; single and married; young and old.
The article “Is it OK to masturbate?” is never out of the top three most-read articles on the TFT website. But the topic is rarely addressed Biblically and so we can find ourselves conflicted by feelings of shame, confusion and self-justification. Because of the taboos that surround discussing masturbation, many of our beliefs and feelings about this subject were probably formed in our teenage years.
In those moments where we singles may be struggling, probably the last words we want to hear are “Well, God has just called you to be single”. Sometimes this sentence comes with a “right now” on the end. Something about this isn’t very reassuring. When we think about people who experienced a calling of some kind in the Bible a few images may come to mind.