“Oh, another one!”. Those were the words of a TFT member, spoken in jest, at a recent conference after I told them I’m studying part-time for a graduate diploma in theology. I’m not sure if the proportion of Christians who experience SSA that go on to study theology is statistically abnormal, but I’ve enjoyed doing something that has been on my heart for a number of years.
We all bring baggage with us when we approach Scripture. It might be personality quirks like introversion and self-reliance, or culturally conditioned philosophical concepts like individualism. These things act as static that we must try and tune out. When we do, we are better placed to hear what Scripture teaches on community...
This a beautiful story, very well told. Becket Cook tells the reader what it was like to be immersed in the gay lifestyle on the US West Coast, and how the world looks from that perspective: “I wanted everyone to be free to be who they were with wild abandon and without shame, completely comfortable in their own skin.”
It is often quite strange to look back over my life and see where God has brought me, sometimes with my full awareness, at other times organising events in the background. It would be great to say that my journey has been straight forward and pain-free, but that wouldn’t be honest or accurate. However, I am very aware of God’s love, care and protection over my life over the years...
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.