I'd like to begin this series of reflections with an excerpt from David Matzko McCarthy's book "The Good Life: Genuine Christianity for the Middle Class." This particular excerpt offers an alternative perspective on a couple of issues that I have seen discussed and debated in discussions of Christianity and singleness.
Singleness, for Paul, represents an ideal, not for the sake of sexual opportunities, but because sex is excluded as a concern. This idea seems unreasonable to many of us. It reverses the way that Christians now typically think of singleness and marriage. Christians today tend to think that singleness ought to serve marriage. We ought to endure a sexless life of singleness in order to save ourselves for marriage. Marriage is the goal. Paul, on the other hand, assumes that marriage ought to look as much like singleness as possible. In 1 Corinthians 7, singleness is the goal. Singleness, for Paul, is an elevation of our natures that depends upon life within the family of God. Singleness is a sign. In our world, it can be a sign of loneliness and a lack of love. However, in the history of Christianity (until very recently), singleness is a sign of the riches of common life. It is the opportunity to give ourselves more fully to others in love of God and neighbor. It is freedom, not for loose commitments and sexual opportunity, but for deeper bonds to people whom we can love and serve, such as our neighbors, brothers and sisters, the sick, the poor, and the imprisoned. (pg. 61)