An interesting article posted yesterday on Her.meneutics. Whilst it’s good to see the realities of celibacy debated out in the open (and offer a balance to our ‘couple culture’), yet again celibacy is framed in terms of ‘waiting’.
Well, I’d like to add another seemingly always overlooked angle – and that is this – for some of us celibacy is a pro-active choice. We are waiting for nothing, we’re already here.
Singleness and celibacy may not be:
a) a response to the circumstances we find ourselves in (ie “divorced, so I’ve got to put up with the bloody awful state of being single when I want to be in a couple”) or
b) a thing to endure whilst we are waiting for a husband (“I’ll keep myself pure until Mr.Right comes along and then everything will be perfect”) – by the way, I read a great article on this subject here http://intentionaltoday.com/purity-before-marriage-does-not-guarantee-perfect-sex-life-in-marriage/
Newsflash – some of us don’t desire to get married – either ‘now’, ‘later’ or ‘never’. OK so I appreciated that sometimes people say this kind of thing because they’re reeling in heartbroken agony from the breakup of a previous relationship and in that ‘never again’ headspace (I know that feeling well). Or maybe it’s because that person has no ‘biological’ desire (I’m talking the desires for either or ‘babies’ or ‘practising making babies’, which is essentially what couples can do that singles can’t) – but hey, you know what, that’s not always the case.
Sometimes I think God does really does call people into lifelong singleness/celibacy, and they know it up-front and are glad of it. Perhaps it’s better to describe it as an enabling to live that life one-day-at-a-time (heaven knows I need the enabling!), rather than a calling. Yeah, it’s not easy, but it can be a choice.
If debates about celibacy and singleness are always couched in terms of ‘keeping pure whilst waiting’ then I fear we’re missing a trick; it problemetises celibacy into something that needs to be (or eventually will be) ‘fixed’ by becoming a couple, and potentially misses out a wider and richer wealth of experience in terms of what celibacy is and the rewards it has to offer.
Great article, as I say, but yet again it’s all about the ‘wait’ – and that’s not the whole story.