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.
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.