I suppose in some ways this is an okay article.
The guy who wrote it is kind of doing a take on some book or article he read about how Christians should approach sexuality, which is all well and good, but the article basically concludes by saying the solution for the chaste is to view Christianity as a “banquet.”
I know you’re randy and want to have actual sex with an actual person, but just think about how great Jesus is and that will take care of it, seems to be the conclusion.
I’ve seen this approach before to this issue by other Christians, but it does not satisfy me. It spiritualizes away a primal, very real and physical desire.
Telling me to imagine pretty sun sets if I have a craving for a piece of lasagna is not going to help me want the lasagna less.
(Link): The Good News About Our Longings: Sexuality and Spirituality by R. Villados
…At the core of this interplay between sexuality and spirituality is desire and longing.
What we do with our sexual desires and longings says a lot about what we believe about God. Which is why we need to clearly define terms.
…Defining spirituality and sexuality can seem like a daunting task because there’s lots of confusion with these words, so in offering a simple way forward, I have found Deb Hirsch’s definitions (found in her book, Redeeming Sex) instructive.
…The Church has not often integrated these two dimensions of life [sexuality, spirituality] well.
…Author Ron Rolheiser notes that throughout history, there has been a “divorce between Religion and Eros.” He writes,
“like all divorces it was painful and in all divorces the property got divided up: religion got to keep God and the secular got to keep sex. The secular got passion and God got chastity.”
It’s important to note that in his usage of the word “chastity,” Rolheiser is critiquing popular notions of how chastity is understood, not diminishing it as a powerful and sacred way of life. But his point is well taken.
The author then runs through three views of sex that Christians and culture take. He feels this is the best one:
3. The Banquet
The gospel offers us a Banquet. The Kingdom of God is a feast. It’s a feast of communion with God which leads to a feast of communion with others. The gospel is the message that all of life, through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, is a gift to be enjoyed and ultimately points us to God—this includes sexual desire.
In the Banquet, we are reminded that from the very beginning humanity was made for community and intimacy with each other. We have often misplaced our longings and have reaped the consequences, yet the offer remains. The sexual desires we possess, when ordered rightly, bring us to communion with God.
In this respect, the love of God doesn’t remove our desires, it reorders them.
The Banquet is the recognition that we were created for ecstasy, but that ecstasy is only found in God.
So the thinking is, I guess, to take your sexual frustrations and desires and focus them on God, or busy yourself so much into working in soup kitchens, that you hopefully won’t notice you’re not getting laid.
If that author, or another person finds that helpful, okay, but that sort of thinking does not do anything for me.
To quote participants from another site (which I quoted on my own blog in a review of the book “Singled Out”): (Link): (Source):
My sentiments exactly, Joe and Marie. Platitudes and churchy blather to singles has gone beyond ridiculous. I wrote a scathing review of this book on Amazon titled “An Unchosen Single Does Not a Celibate Make”. Exhortations to the involuntarily single to be not only sexually abstinent but “celibate” are psychologically vexing. Celibate service is for those who are passionately inclined toward it (as per Matthew 19:11-12) — not a consolation prize or default for the circumstantially single.
Posted: August 11, 2009 11:22 PM
I’m 39 and still a virgin. I don’t need any more lectures on sexual purity. I either need a husband or a rooftop and an AK-47. It’s getting ridiculous when I hear the same platitudes over and over again. Singleness is not a gift. The ability to stand celibacy is and I was in the bathroom when that gift was handed out.
by Joe Chip:
Eh, this whole obsession with “living as a Godly single” always rubs me the wrong way… there is nothing wrong with being single.
There is nothing wrong with being married.
But there is everything wrong with pretending that sad, depressed and lonely Christian singles can buy books and intellectualize the pain away.
It’s a real issue and the answer may just be found in a mate. “It is not good for man to be alone.”
Comments by me on that older post:
Because based upon the book review, the book itself appears to be filled with arguments that try to intellectualize Christian singleness, and hence, make prolonged singleness seem more palatable, acceptable or attractive to those who are afflicted with it.
(January 2014 Edit: I later read a copy of the book [Singled Out] months after writing this post, and the book does have its good points, but is also chock full of shaming older single people who still want marriage, which is not a good thing.)
…In other words, it’s [Christian book about singleness] one of those nauseating works that tries to convince the Christian man or woman that if you’re never married and / or are still a virgin past the age of 35 that is wonderful and peachy keen because you’re such an asset for the Kingdom of God.
It’s one of those Christian books that tries to sugar coat how horrible it is to never be married [when you had expected and still would like to be married]. It’s one of those works that tries to get you to see the sliver lining or bright side in being without a partner.