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.” 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, especially for a childless person to build relationships with nuclear families. 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, which is a UK-based organisation that launched in 2014 to promote biblical emphasis on valuing singleness within the church. David told us about their work and vision.
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. The purpose was to collect some perceptions of singleness from a range of people – male and female; single and married; young and old.
The topic of masturbation is rarely addressed by churches and so Christians can find themselves conflicted by feelings of shame, confusion and self-justification on this common struggle. Gary explores out what the Bible says about masturbation and proposes some practical wisdom to escape from the cycle of shame, frustration and failure.
In those moments where we singles may be struggling, probably the last words we want to hear are, “God has just called you to be single, right now”. Something about this isn’t very reassuring, especially if we lack any sense of calling to singleness. Don’t worry - this kind of plainly apparent calling isn’t the experience of most.