What Celibacy Means – “Living without sex doesn’t mean living without love”
My one-time stalker, blogger and professed Christian celibate and sexual purity apologist (though not one in reality – regarding the apologist part, that is), John Morgan (link), will have a hissy over this article I am linking to in this post (he visits my blog and/or Twitter on occasion to steal blog post ideas and concepts), because he thinks celibacy is non-applicable to homosexuals, an idea I have refuted (Link): here.
(If Morgan feels that yes, celibacy is applicable to homosexuals, he needs to go back and re-word one or two of his essays to clarify.)
Morgan should be glad that homosexual celibates are speaking up about celibacy and presenting it as an option for singles, because the heterosexuals in the church are not!
Rather, the hetero preachers and Christian writers and bloggers continually -and incorrectly- depict celibacy as a special super power that God grants to a tiny few, and that most are not capable of, when the reality of it is that the Bible says all adult believers are capable of sexual self control (see link and link), not just a small, tiny, specially gifted group of singles.
(Link): The Gay Catholic Writer Who Changed My Life [A discussion of celibacy] by W. Hill
- Eve Tushnet taught me that living without sex doesn’t mean living without love.
- ….Tushnet is a gay Catholic writer who embraces her church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality.
- By the time I learned about her, I’d been admitting to myself for a few years that I was gay, though I hadn’t told many other people yet. I was still too frightened and unsure of what kind of welcome (or lack thereof) I’d receive.
- You know those novels and movies about the yearning, aching twentysomethings who are trying to disentangle and sort out their erotic and religious longings, while dreading loneliness and rejection above all else?
- That was me. Imagine Charles Ryder from Brideshead Revisited, all angsty and insecure, but with a small-town-USA upbringing, and you’ll get the picture. I needed a lifeline. I was hungry to know I wasn’t alone.
What Celibacy Means
In the years since reading Tushnet’s article, I’ve come to think this isn’t only my question. It’s the same question asked by a growing number of people who identify as gay and Christian.
Up until recently, we’ve been an easy-to-miss group, to be sure, but lately we’re coming out of the closet in more and more churches, sitting in the pews listening to the same sermons and singing along to the same hymns.
And many of us are embracing the church’s traditional, Scripturally-rooted teaching that marriage is the union of male and female, estranged from one another in the Fall but reunited and reconciled through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Same-sex sexual unions, for all their admirable qualities, can’t mirror la différence and thus, we believe, are ruled out for Christian believers. Consequently, many of us are embracing celibacy as our form of witness to the creational-and-redemptive divine mystery.
But they—we—are not sure what that celibacy means for our future. Does it amount to a despair-inducing sentence of isolation? Does it cut us off from the shelter of home, the consolations of making a family with those we love, and the bonds of kinship?
- …. Tushnet simply examines several possible ways that gay Catholics may give and receive love while remaining faithful to traditional Christian sexual ethics. There’s a chapter on friendship—not the anemic variety we now associate with Facebook verbs (“friending” and “unfriending”), but the vowed, lifelong kind associated with the church fathers and saints like Francis of Assisi and Clare, his spiritual sister. There are chapters on intentional community and parish life.
Related posts, this blog:
(Link): Typical Erroneous Teaching About Adult Celibacy Rears Its Head Again: To Paraphrase Speaker at Ethics and Public Policy Center: Lifelong Celibacy is “heroic ethical standard that is not expected of heteros, so it should not be expected of homosexuals”
(Link): Asexuality and Asexuals
(Link): Pastors avoid ‘controversy’ to keep tithes up, author says – Confirms What I’ve Been Saying All Along, Re: Churches: Contrary to Progressive Christians, Churches / Christians Do Not Support or Idolize Sexual Purity, Virginity, or Celibacy – they attack these concepts when not ignoring them