My Conversation with Steph Penny
In March, right before this pandemic began, I took a workshop with the Muse Writers Center on how to build a platform as an author. About to launch How to be a Happy Bachelor, I thought this would be a great course. And it was. The instructor, Sylvia Liu, recommended using Twitter because your ability to view (and be viewed) is unlimited. So I stepped up my Twitter game, and in doing so, I found Steph Penny, an Australian author who has many of the same views on marriage and childfreeness (yes, I made that word up) that I do.
It was hard to find a common time, but we finally did so, and we had quite the conversation! I shared some of my views with her on bachelorhood and childfreeness. I also learned quite a bit about how some churches view singledom. I was overjoyed to see that as a married woman who supports her church, one of her missions is to help make churches more inclusive of singletons.
I was happy to hear Steph’s story about a conversation she had with a female pastor in which she brought some of her ideas about inclusivity of singles, which the pastor was very happy to hear. This brought to mind a conversation I had with Tyler Sit, a minister at New City Church, a very progressive church in Minneapolis, MN, in which he talked about singlehood as a valid lifestyle choice. He even had a sermon about it, which I can’t seem to find on the Internet anymore.
And it makes sense! I’m no Biblical scholar, but I do know that Jeremiah was single, Paul even endorsed singlehood, and let’s not forget Jesus Christ (I wish I was quick enough to come up with that argument when a religious former colleague of mine responded to the title of my book with “You need us!” I could have said, “Aren’t you supposed to be a Biblical scholar?”) I’m all about family-friendly programs, for those who have kids. And if churches are going to have Singles groups, they shouldn’t solely be focused on matchmaking. In Steph’s words, many singles just want to meet other singletons to hang out with, without the conversation devolving into “my kids” or “my husband/wife/partner.”
Bottom line: it’s not just about us singletons. If religious institutions want to ensure their long-term survival and thriving, they need to become more inclusive. It is predicted that by 2030, one in four adults will have never married by the age of fifty. Many will probably go to religious services. As our population of singletons increases, such institutions will need to meet their audience where they are. And if more married folks have the mindset of Steph, they’ll support inclusivity of singles.
So let’s move forward!
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My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.