The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


February 18, 2008

Singled out

Last Thursday was Valentine's Day.

I had the day off for a medical appointment. On my way to the doctor's office, I drove past the megachurch on the corner. Its sign proclaimed: "Singles can make unique disciples."

It made me wonder: Does my marital status influence my faith life?

I'm not sure. I expect my married friends represent a range of spiritual experience. I have married friends who are doing Lenten devotions together. I have friends with children who haven't been to worship since their children were born. I have other friends who seem so like-minded they don't need discuss their faith with each other.

I don't connect my spirituality with my status as a single person. The peaks and valleys of my faith have been something entirely separate from my romantic relationships. I can say that being single means I have time to read and intentionally explore my spiritual life, which I find rewarding.

I appreciate the sentiment of the church-sign statement in that it recognizes that being single isn't a "problem" to be "solved."

But it still made me bristle, a little. Why? I'd rather not, shall we say, be singled out. Why not celebrate the spiritual gifts of all people, regardless of their marital status (or gender, or ability, or background).

For more on the topic from The Lutheran, check out:

The single way by Debra K. Farrington (September 2000)

Single but whole by Kristen Groetch (September 1996) and

The spirituality of being single by Jon M. Sweeney (November 2007).

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Embracing diversity