People qualified to actually speak on the topic…

There’s an element of hypocrisy in me pontificating about the meaning and value of celibacy.  This post, I’m going to let people who are in a better position to speak on such things do so.

My good (internet) friend Romanos drew my attention to this particular quote.  It is from an adherent of the Orthodox tradition.

“Fleshly marriage is not marriage worthy of man’s nature or his expectations: it means ultimately becoming one flesh with some other mortal being and producing more mortal beings, all of them – parents and children – condemned to death. Formed by God and having the divine breath within him, man has need of God. He wants to live with Him. It is then that he has a normal relationship with himself, his brethren and the whole of creation.

Just to live with one’s fellow men, with temporary, fleshly and restricted interests, is a torment: it is a meaningless coexistence or the jostling of a crowd filled with noise and loneliness. But ‘it is not good for man to be alone’: man needs divine company.”

And from the Cloister Walk, “Here are the words of a Benedictine sister, startled to be asked about the power of virginity.  “This is something I carry very deep within… that I carry very secretly… virginity is centered in the heart and could be named ‘singleness of heart.’… Virginity is a state that returns to God in wholeness.  This wholeness is not that of having experienced all experiences, but of something reserved, preserved, or reclaimed for what it was made for.  Virginity is the ability to stay centered with oneness of purpose.”

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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