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The Celibacy Myth: Loving for Life: Part 3

Continuation of the outline of the book: The Celibacy Myth: Loving for Life; Charles A.Callagher and Thomas L. Vandenberg. St Paul Publications. England. 1987

Chapter 2: Matrimony and Celibacy: Adversaries or Allies?

 celibacy mythCelibacy and marriage have a great need for each other.

Celibacy, according to the New Testament, is for the Church, for furthering the Kingdom of God. Marriage, too, is for the Church, for furthering the Kingdom.

Celibacy is not a private affair between oneself and God; neither, is marriage. Both are to enrich the Church.

 “When a priest it totally taken with his people, absorbed in them, then celibacy becomes ”of course’ instead of ‘I have to’.” In this way celibacy is no different from faithful marriage. A faithful man promises commitment to one woman and that ‘narrowness’ enhances that one relationship.

It seems that the higher marriage is upheld, the more too is celibacy – and visa-versa. Both marriage and celibacy are a calling, a sacrament. To uphold the sacredness of one is to uphold the sacredness of the other.

Matrimony and celibacy are church experiences; they are complementary life styles meant for each other.”

Celibates need a relationship, friendship, with happily married couples – not just with ones who need their advice because they have problems.

Of both celibacy and marriage: Together, they are reeling from the shock waves of a society that has turned its back from the very notion of commitment itself.” Where marriage fails, so will celibacy and visa versa.

To be continued.

 
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Posted by on Fri 15th Feb 2013 in Books

 

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Let King Jesus Reign! Comment by David Lee

DAvid LeeLet King Jesus Reign! Comment by David Lee, a Christian celibate and electrical engineer living in Flore, Northamptonshire. Who are we really accountable to and who are we wanting to please?

The Church of England appears to be having some difficulty agreeing qualifications for bishops. I am an outside observer, so it does not affect me directly, but what has interested me is the arguments that are being used. Internally, the Church of England has produced theological and scholarly documents (see http://www.churchofengland.org/our-views/women-bishops.aspx for an outline) but what has been reported by the press has more often been on how such things are seen by those outside the church ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20443718 for example). I want to ask to whom the church should be accountable?

Although accepting that there is some truth in the church existing for those outside of her, my vision of her is as the Bride of Christ, called by her Lord out of the fallen, corrupt world, made of those who have washed their robes spotless in His blood, and adoring her Lord. What we have in day to day life here on this earth is clearly less than that, but I want to live for eternal things, not the temporary passing fashions of this world. That I see as being one of the sustaining things for my celibate calling.

It is true that in this valley of tears we have many uncertainties as to how best to follow our Lord, how best to be His body, displaying His life here, and I admit it is in that area that the debate on women bishops is active. Acceptance of celibate gays is not contradictory to the injunction to abstain from sexual immorality in the New Testament. Indeed, with western society having an infidelity rate amongst heterosexuals of over twice the rate of homosexuality then infidelity, being directly against that scripture, should, for us, be a higher priority issue than gay behaviour. Dare we suppose that statistics for Christians would be much better than for the society in which we live? Who has not known sexual temptation? – For me, I know how easily I could fall (see 1 Cor 10v12) so have no desire to be harsh on any who have fallen.

Let us not lose sight of our call as a church, to be the Kingdom of God, the place where God rules, and His will is the highest aim. I have long esteemed the cry of the Scottish Covenanters of 1685, “Let King Jesus Reign”, in response to the state seeking to control their church. They knew, and did not fear to pay the cost of that declaration then. Nowadays, the cost is more likely to be character assassination, a small price compared to denying our King.

 
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Posted by on Fri 25th Jan 2013 in Contemporary

 

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Doris’ story: celibacy frees me to live out more fully what God has invested in me

Doris - freedom in celibacy

Doris: “I love celibacy because of the freedom it gives”

Doris (34) was born in East Germany and now lives in London. She tells her story:

“When I was 13 I watched a documentary about orphan kids in Africa. It got to me and made me cry and I realised that without God I couldn’t make a difference.

“I knew I needed to put my life in God’s hands to make it worthwhile. I prayed, ‘God, have my life.’ Later, when I was 17, I was baptised in water and the Holy Spirit.

“When I was 18 I read Shadow of the Almighty, a book written by the wife of Jim Elliot, a missionary in Ecuador who had been killed trying to reach a primitive Indian tribe. As a young man, Jim had basically said, ‘If God wants me to stay single, I will.’ I wondered, ‘How can anyone pray like that?’ I really wanted to get married. I’d been brought up with five brothers and sisters and wanted to marry young. My parents’ marriage, too, was a good one – an example I could follow. I was so challenged by this book and I prayed for the ability to pray like Jim Elliot.

“Around this time I was apprenticed as a health care assistant and came to London for a gap year as an au pair. Later on, I was hoping to go to Africa to work in an orphanage.”

While in London, Doris was invited to Spreading Flame, a Jesus Fellowship community house in Acton. She said, “I fell in love with the vision of community and let go of my plans to go to Africa. God was calling me here.

“When I moved into Spreading Flame I was inspired about celibacy by the example of two young celibate sisters. People were really doing it! I prayed about it and the more I got to know the calling of the Jesus Army, the more I fell in love with the vision of celibacy, although I still wanted to marry and have kids.

“I felt God say, ‘Choose which gift you want’ (marriage or celibacy). I thought it would be better if He made the choice! In one of our Sunday morning church meetings I sensed God offering me the gift of celibacy. I had the impression of a grey parcel; it didn’t look very attractive but inside I knew it would be colourful. Again God gave me a choice.

Finally, at the age of 24, Doris made her decision to make a celibacy vow. ‘I’ve never regretted it although God tested me from the word go.’ Yes, Doris has fallen in love since and has been very tested on celibacy but, “the calling has outweighed the testing. In times like that I’ve hung onto my friends. People believed in me despite my struggles – and that made me believe I could pull through.

“I love celibacy because of the freedom it gives and I can do the things I love to do such as spending time with young sisters in the church – something I really love. I also love doing domestic work at Battle Centre, the Christian community house where I live. It is an amazing way to build the kingdom of God. The kitchen is the hub of the house. I’m available to people – celibacy gives me that freedom.”

What about the future? “I’m expecting, anticipating new things – and still excited about living in community. I look forward to making disciples and seeing them come into the kingdom of God. So far I’ve been mainly a friend to people but I want this to develop more and more into spiritual motherhood.”

Doris finished by saying: “Celibacy frees me to live out more fully what God has invested in me. I want to be content with whatever situation God puts me in. It may sometimes be day to day ordinary things like scrubbing floors and loos and kitchen pans but, even in these, I can find the extraordinary, supernatural life of God.”

 
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Posted by on Thu 6th Sep 2012 in Contemporary

 

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Coincidences

I’ve noticed a lot more coincidences since I started following Jesus.

It was a secret exchange in the middle of the night, I think around 1am.

And there I was going to work as usual; yet everything had changed.

I was bursting to tell someone, but who?

I decided it had to be Ruth, my good friend and mentor of several years.  I was to see her at 6.30pm, so until then I would have to treasure the secret of my hidden vow and trust it hadn’t been a dream.

I had been testing God’s call on my life for a few years and finally I had found the quiet faith to be able to say a sure and certain YES.  I knew I would not get married or have natural kids, but that in my spiritual DNA was a life of adventuring in God’s kingdom as a celibate.  I was excited!

So there I sat at my desk, grinning, thinking it all seemed surreal.  I logged on to my PC as usual and the verse of scripture that always appeared when I logged on flashed onto my screen.  The log-on scripture was changed from time to time by some unnamed person in IT and it had been changed that morning.  The new verse was from Jeremiah 50:5 ‘They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.’

Coincidence or God’s loving and characteristically attentive and timely response?  Whatever it was, I was happy.

 
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Posted by on Wed 5th Sep 2012 in Snippets

 

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