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.
Receiving a gift should stir feelings of great gratitude. But if we were to play a word association game with ‘singleness’ - described in Scripture as a gift (1 Corinthians 7:7) - how many of us would associate it with joy, thankfulness and other positive emotions? There have certainly been times I’ve failed to treat this gift as something good, provided by our loving heavenly Father. So, why is singleness not valued as it should be?
In 7 Myths about Singleness, Sam Allberry turns the tables on a subject that has been taboo for too long. It opens up doors to love God and love people more. Most of all, I felt empowered knowing I am not alone – Jesus has already walked the path I have and reminds me the gospel is good news for everyone whether you are single or married.
It’s worth reminding ourselves that every human being experiences singleness. Some will marry, and half of them then experience singleness again when their spouse dies. So, while the issue may have a particular resonance for those with SSA, it is relevant to everyone – not least single Christians.
In the final seminar taking place at the TFT National Conference, we will be discussing the biblical overview for sexual ethics, With plenty of time for questions and discussion too.