RSS

Undivided blog has now moved

silver ringWe are very please to announce that Undivided blog, as of today, has moved.

Thanks so much to everyone for following the Undivided blog through its first eleven months of life. This move signifies an end to a great first year for the ever-growing Undivided blog team, and marks the beginning of a new chapter.

All existing content, including posts, pages and, very importantly, all of our readers’ comments, can from now on be found here: http://undividedblog.org.uk/

New posts will all go onto the new site from now on and this old site will not receive new content.

As well as receiving a facelift, the new blog, now being hosted on its own domain, is free of third party advertising (phew!) and has some interesting new features.

Check it out – but first! …

Just a quick reminder of things you might need to do on the new blog site when you get there:

  • Re-subscribe to receive posts by email from the new-style blog
  • Change your bookmarks and other links to this old site, replacing them with the new URL
  • Share it socially with your friends using the new share buttons on the new site

There’s a new post by jfaire waiting there to welcome you now. Go take a look.

Thanks again for your support from all the Undivided team! :-)

 
Comments Off

Posted by on Sun 9th Jun 2013 in News

 

Tags: , ,

Giving the best

You know the saying “saving your best till last?”

Well I’m not the kind of girl to keep the my favourite part of the meal until the end, oh no not me. More the “guzzle it just as soon as possible” (in a polite manner of course)’ kind of girl. However, occasionally I have given my last Rollo away.
the lake

Recently when wandering along the shores of Lady Bower Reservoir at some early bird time in the morning, I was aware of many of my lacks and needs. The need for a bigger heart of love, more energy to do and give, more patience, the list goes on.

Surely though, God, our Heavenly Father, just wants our love? Our childlike, trusting, faith filled, delighted, grateful love?

In deciding to remain single for Jesus, to invest who I am and what I have in serving Him and His church, I realise that I have given him the cream of the milk, the best in my heart. My most intimate and secret love in my heart is wasted on Him. It may be a little strained at times, it may feel like it is falling short or not making the grade, but it is all I have.

God spoke back to me in the fullness of my heart. I know complete fulfillment and contentment deep inside. He has my best, I have His love and smile.

 
Comments Off

Posted by on Fri 10th May 2013 in Snippets, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Seven Silver Rings: Seven Celibates Tell Their Story

seven silver ringsIn ‘Seven Silver Rings’ seven celibates from the Jesus Fellowship tell their very varied stories – why and how they chose celibacy, the trials and joys, the vision and outworking of the gift. The stories are interspersed with chapters on  topics such as the biblical foundation of celibacy, celibacy in history, celibacy today and some FAQ.

Here are some quotes from three of the contributors:

‘Celibacy is reckless in its devotion to God! It’s giving up the best and the first for stuartGod – not the leftovers.’ Stuart

‘Celibacy is an amazing gift of love that has the power to enhance all you do in living for Jesus. I have many heroines who have trod this way before me who have really inspired me – Mother Teresa, Basilea Schlink and St Teresa of AvilaVanessa amongst others. Their greatest influence upon me has been to show me the need for a consistent contemplative and prayer life that matches my service for God. This, for me, has been one of the real secrets of how I keep going and how I keep discovering more of Jesus. Prayer is the oxygen for my celibacy. If I stop communing with God, I die spiritually.’ Vanessa.

selina‘In my gifting as an evangelist I’ve found celibacy to be central, especially with messed-up young people. In many young people’s lives there has never been love without a price tag of some kind. I’m aware that when you’re a celibate there’s a quality to your love for people. This love is unconditional, centred upon them and shows respect, rather than fulfilling some need in yourself. Celibacy is not for yourself – it’s for others! Pouring out the love that is within is what fuels the celibate gifting. If you stop loving and being among people, the gift dies!’ Selina

A review of this book can be found on the Single Consecrated Life (SCL) website (Anglican).

http://singleconsecratedlife-anglican.org.uk/silver_rings_20.html

Partial copies of Seven Silver Rings are available on google books; full copies are available via Jesus Army website:http://www.jesus.org.uk/books

 
Comments Off

Posted by on Fri 3rd May 2013 in Books

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Reality Verses Romance: Attaching Our Hope to a God-given Vision

Alison Moore lives in London and has been a committed Christian celibate since 2006. She writes about her experience of coming to terms with her past, leaving aside ‘unreal’ dreams and attaching hope to a solid vision God has given her.

Ask most men what kind of film they like to watch and they will tell you that the fast-paced movies with plenty of action and adrenalin appeal to them.  Movies like Fast and Furious which portray a successful tough male persona are popular – it is the strength of the man and his ability to affect the situation around him which is significant.

As for us ladies, well – the majority of women identify on some level with characters like Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice and her desire to win the unruly Mr Darcy. It is her beauty and its capacity to affect others which counts.

Why do these stereotypes appeal to us? They appeal to us in a very healthy way to demonstrate positive behaviour and can provide healthy role models. Strength for men can be character strength and leadership, not just brawn, and beauty for women can be grace, humour, determination and so on.

Yet sometimes fiction can function as a substitute for us and instead of leading us into reality it can trap us ouFast and furioust of it. Sometimes a painful event can stop us from moving forwards.

When I was a teenager I rebelled and got into going out with boys, getting drunk and staying out. My behaviour resulted, after a few years, in me getting pregnant, having the pregnancy terminated and losing the love of my life. For many years I just couldn’t get over it – the whole thing was just so devastating and I didn’t have a clue how to get over it. Nothing helped.  My life was totally destroyed.

Because the reality of my life had hit a brick wall, my only option for a while was to take refuge in my imagination and somehow that imagination seemed to offer me hope. In my imagination I would have a second chance, fall in love, get married and have children.

The trouble with my dream is that it just wasn’t real. And it took a very long time before I could let go of the fact that deep down I was still in love with the father of my pregnancy and face the fact that my dream was never going to happen. It can be very easy for us to nurture things which are not real because we kid ourselves we can get something for nothing and we can comfort ourselves or put a lot of hope in these things. We can substitute the hope for the reality of doing anything about it.

Anything which is not real is not of God. God is in the business of reality and the plan He has for us is 100% real.  He has created us and everything which is for us. It is only what He has created us for that will satisfy because these are the things we are made for.

Maybe we think one day we will get married or have children or be a great leader or plant a church or something but if the origin of it is not from God and we are just ‘dreaming’  or we are still hanging on to things from the past which have themselves moved on, then it doesn’t happen.  When it doesn’t happen we get sick, frustrated, older and just don’t fulfil our potential in life – we get ‘stuck’.

Lots of people like to watch films because they identify with a deep need in us to be beautiful or to be strong.

Imagination can be a very powerful thing because we attach hope to it and that hope gives direction for our future.

But – as a friend of mine quoted –  ‘entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy’.

It took me a long time for me to realise that my dream wasn’t going to happen. And, when I did that, I needed to repent of my dream and turn away from it. That was a very difficult thing to do because then I had to face the devastation again because that was my reality and it was still there – just the same many years later. Reality doesn’t change without us in it – that’s the amazing thing and that’s what makes it our reality. The only way I could face that devastation and loss was with someone else who had been there before me and that person was Jesus. But I found oupride and prejudicet very quickly that He was there to bring me healing from the old wounds and so much joy as I realised that God’s love had been there with me all along.

How powerful it is when we attach our hope to a vision God has given us.

As one of our pastors was saying last night – ‘What is the dream God has placed in our hearts? What is the dream that God has placed in your heart?’

Do we need to repent of hopes which are not of God to make room for the ones which are?  How amazing and how wonderful that would be.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on Fri 26th Apr 2013 in Contemporary

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Mystery of Love For The Single: Fr.Dominic J. Unger

Lisa Gee Book review by Lisa Gee

“The Mystery Of Love For The Single.” Fr. Dominic J. Unger, O.F.M. Cap.

The sub-title is “A Guide for Those Who Follow The Single Vocation in the World.”

 First published in 1958. Republished by TAN BOOKS in 2005.

This book is unique because it speaks to singles that plan on living their lives in the world but remaining single for the kingdom. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The mystery of man’s love for God
  • The single vocation in the world
  • Spiritual nuptials through perfect chastity (one of my favourites)
  • The manner of dedication
  • Careers and home life
  • Some basic helps in safeguarding purity

Fr. Dominic writes of a joyful life for those choosing a celibate lifestyle: one that blesses the church, the world at large and the person living this call to the utmost. He writes, “One does great honour to God and, besides, such a vow to live chastely brings stability to one’s life and adds strength, psychologically”.  (P60)

mystery of loveIn most books about celibacy the bent is toward those in religious orders; this is not so with “The mystery of the love for the single”. From the first chapter to the end it speaks to modern people who come to this call in a variety of ways.  It gives practical advice such as for careers, housing and social life. The chapter on ‘manner of dedication’ is full of wisdom in taking this call step by step, recommending a temporary promise for the first year then evaluating one’s own heart before making a final promise. It supplies different prayers and ideas for the dedication.

The chapter on ‘safeguarding purity’ is most helpful.  A quote worth remembering is “moderation always”

Here are a few more quotes

 “The Heavenly Spouse cares with special solicitude for those who follow Him in virginal and perfect chastity, He protects them, consoles them, helps them, rejoices their hearts.” (P81)

  “Single people in the world are ..freer than priests and religious. They do not have to wait for the counsel or command of superiors before taking care of urgent works of mercy.” (P68)

“Precisely because such single men and women are so beneficial to the Church and are such a power for the church’s apostate do the heretics oppose them and persecute them.” (P39)

“All this excellence and reward of virginal and perfect chastity adds up to one thing: a life of genuine peace and joy already in this world, and of hope for even better things in the next.” (P94)

I am unsure if I am doing this book justice.  For me I was struggling in this calling, like walking in the dark, often feeling out of step with the world around me. Then I found this book which I almost didn’t buy because I didn’t like the cover!

I have re-read this book often and learn something new each time. I will end with what I wrote on the inside cover when I first finished it “A great book! A gift from God, the author of all that is good”

 
Comments Off

Posted by on Tue 23rd Apr 2013 in Books

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

A Second Call: Lisa Gee on Celibacy

Lisa GeeMy name is Lisa. I am 48 years old and have been living single for the Lord in the world for a bit now.

When did I first hear the call?

The first time I heard the call was at my first communion. I was seven and did not know about any such thing. All I knew was that I wanted to belong totally to Jesus and that thought brought me joy. I wish I could report that I kept that ideal but I did not. Why? Maybe I did not trust that this call was real; also I had never met anyone living this way. So I got married and soon had five children. However my husband was an alcoholic and we were separated.  There I was, alone, with five children under eight. What was I to do? The wise thing family and friends thought was to find a nice Christian guy and try this whole thing again. But God had other plans and in the midst of all my worries and fears I heard the call again. Of course there was joy but I thought I have to be reasonable, don’t I? After pondering it for another 3 years I said “yes” to this beautiful way of life in March 1996 and made a public declaration in August of 2000.

What sustains me in this calling?

The most important thing for me is time alone with God in both quality and quantity. If I cut this time short I forget why I am doing this and it becomes drudgery.

Single parenting and celibacy, how does that work?

That was a deep concern of mine; would this choice make life harder on my children? The answer is the divorce made life a struggle but celibacy brought stability and a sense of peace to the home. While we never had much money, my children love each other and treat me with respect and in it all God is glorified. I am the least of all celibates and do not consider myself equal to those who have been true since their youth. But I am grateful that God made something beautiful out of past mistakes. My hope is in His Kingdom when we will see Him as He is.

What has been my biggest struggle?

Unbelief! “Is that God really calling you? Are you sure?” This has left me weak but God is strong and that is my hope. Another pitfall for me was to ask everyone and their uncle about the call. While it is good to check in with a trusted friend or spiritual adviser at the end of the day no one knows that tug in a celibate’s heart and it cheapens the call when we try to defend it from those who just don’t understand. Keep holy things holy. This call is holy!

Next week: book review by Lisa

 
1 Comment

Posted by on Thu 18th Apr 2013 in Interviews

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Celibacy Myth: Loving For Life: Part 6

celibacy myth This is an outline of the final chapter of the book: The Celibacy Myth: Loving for Life; Charles A.Callagher and Thomas L. Vandenberg. St Paul Publications. England. 1987.

This is an excellent book written mainly for Catholic priests but it has relevance for all Christian celibates.

Chapter 7: Despair or Hope?

The writers tell us that we must deal constructively with our hurts, to look them in the face and address them. Failure to do so will lead to pessimism, negative attitudes and despair. We have to take responsibility for our lives in this.

Despair is looking on the world with a sense of powerlessness. It is battling against insurmountable odds. Yet, we are not alone and Jesus said ‘Fear not’ to the pessimist and to the one in despair. We must overcome negativity, pessimism and the consequent loss of vision; God is with us and we live in faith and hope. Whilst we love, we have hope but when we cease to love we also cease to long, to hope, to have faith. Lack of love and pessimism go together.

The battle is for the Church, for a strong brotherhood with deep bonds of pure love: with this celibacy will win or fail. The question at the heart of the Church is this: will we all chose to love, to forgive, to be reconciled? Will we fight to make it work, not as an institution but as a living body? Celibacy will only work in the context of the Church being a ’living Body of Christ’.

As celibates, we chose a way of loving for life.”

A married leader’s primary intimacy is with his wife. A celibate’s primary intimacy is with the people of God.  In this way a celibate is that more given over to the Church. A celibate’s life should be totally centred on his people – there is no tension and conflicts of interest.

 
Comments Off

Posted by on Tue 2nd Apr 2013 in Books

 

Tags: , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers