In a well-functioning church married people should have a stake in the lives of singles and singles in the lives of the married. No two parents can be all things to their children – and there can be great benefit from a trusted other who is external and objective.
How did a single, celibate, fifty-something Christian woman become an ally of those struggling with their sexuality and gender? By giving up on the truth of God’s Word? By discovering a convenient theology of liberal grace? Or by selling out to a worldly mantra of tolerance? Actually, it was none of these.
I could see that people were different at church compared to primary school. My church friends were true, loyal and kind. However, school friends liked you one week and not the next, or a fellow classmate would call you names if you beat them in PE.
My church has its own same-sex attraction support group. Our group meets three to four times a year. As I reflect on what it means to share life together, I am struck by how important this support group has been for my own growth as a Christian and for sharing life with others.
I grew up in a family that sometimes attended the village church, although sometimes only at Christmas and Easter. At the age of 8, I started boarding at all-boys schools. I remember, aged 12, anxiously saying to myself, “There’s something wrong with me. I’m made to love boys, not girls.”
There was a time when I lived a gay lifestyle, but that all changed, very gradually, when it became clear that God wanted me to live differently, as a celibate man. Through His grace, God has sustained me in that commitment. Now, looking back, I can see just how the Lord was working in my life.
In this article, Rhoda explains what it was like for her to come to terms with her enduring same-sex attractions, having been born just after the war. She reviews her struggle with singleness, in particular the feelings of loss once she realised that she would not have biological children of her own.
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.
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!