Celibacy – Life Beyond Circumstances

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I’ve always found it interesting that churches consider marriage a sacred commitment and “singleness” a state of selfish abandonment and uncontrolled desires, when in fact the Bible talks more about celibacy than it does marriage. How did the church come to worship sex and toss out celibacy as an unfortunate circumstance? There are many reasons. But at the top of the list is the fact that the Protestant Reformation rejected not only celibate priests, but the whole idea of spiritual rebirth and fruitfulness, claiming that making babies was the only way the human species could reproduce. Unfortunately, the church never learned to think long term and never learned anything from what Jesus taught Nicodemus:

“Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.'” John 3:5-6

In other words, Protestants rejected the whole message of the New Testament because they refused to move beyond the flesh. Sex in marriage became just as important as food in the stomach. And babies became the holy grail of life itself. When they abolished monasteries and convents, they erased the identities of generations of people who had the God-given charism of virginity. Christ was one of those people. Protestants no longer saw their choice as between marriage and celibacy as outlined by Paul in the New Testament, but between marriage and “living in sin” as outlined by a culture of divorce. These are the circumstances they want you to forget. When the reformers established settlements in the American colonies, they brought the Old Testament and all of its sexual fulfillment and fruitfulness with them and burned the New Testament and spiritual rebirth to make way for a new sexual awakening. Marriage was no longer a right. It was a rule. As a matter of fact, weddings were founded on divorce, courthouses and redistribution of land. Marriage became the social expectation. Honorable singles became the dishonorable outcasts because, if young people were not married by a certain age, it was assumed they were either fornicators or homosexuals. With the choice of celibacy out of the way, any lifestyle besides marriage became viewed as an unfortunate circumstance. For the Protestants, church was not about salvation through Christ. It was about circumstances. It was about salvation through marriage and children, because that was the only way they could “redeem” their sexual desires. Their idea of an afterlife never got any further than the inheritance they left their children. Indeed, the foundation of Christianity today is not built on Christ. That would take an amount of invisible faith. Rather, today’s Christianity is built on a woman’s visible ability to give birth to children and a man’s ability to be responsible for them. Christ is not in the picture. The Southern Baptists make that very plain in their Faith and Message Statement: “God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.” Nowhere in the Bible does God grant any special privilege to the nuclear family or “persons related to one another by marriage.” As a matter of fact, it says just the opposite: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29. The Baptists’ “message” is merely the creation of a couple of preachers who had one too many drinks after a Wednesday night prayer meeting.  Sadly though, people still believe it.

But rejecting celibacy had long term consequences the Protestants were not aware of. While tooting their horns about how the commitment of a man and woman in marriage represents Christ’s marriage to the church, they forgot how the commitment of a celibate person represents total faith in God for the necessities of daily living and how it symbolizes eternal life in heaven where there are no marriages. The only problem is that celibacy is something that can’t be seen. For Protestants to have faith in anything, they have to see it. That’s why the invisible vocation of celibacy was replaced with the circumstance of an empty ring finger called “singleness.” They could see who had not “put a ring on it.” So the only commitment the church knows anything about today starts with “courtship” and ends with “I do” and a wedding night of sexual salvation.

Celibacy became a circumstance when the church replaced biblical truths with moral relativism and lowered their standards to the level of the masses. As Russell Moore of the SBC said recently, “We have a responsibility not only to speak truthfully. But we have a responsibility to contextualize not only to the present culture but to the future.” Contextualize?  That is so clever.  Leave it to wordsmith Moore to figure out a politically correct way of describing moral relativism. Protestants have for a long time based their beliefs on changing circumstances. They learned how to contextualize their pocketbooks too, and learned that talking about divorce and other circumstances in a “fallen world” was a lot more profitable than talking about the truth in a world that had turned its back on God or about the realities of hell.  Comfort sells. They learned that marrying a cohabitating couple with a child in tow was like money in the bank.  The church was no longer a body of believers, but a group of seekers with different circumstances. No one could claim to know the truth anymore, because the “gospel” changed with the times. DivorceCare was a lot more profitable than talking about uncomfortable subjects such as adultery and fornication. Circumstances make a lot of victims. Victims make the church a lot of money.  Can you imagine an older man standing up during a Baptist service today and saying, “I wish all men were like me”?  What a scandal!  Who does he think he is!  Celibacy is just a circumstance Protestants associate with the Catholic Church and the same sex marriage scandal.  When churches are seated at the golden calf of marriage and family, it’s not possible for them to live without sex. They must show the world visual proof of their marital bliss with wedding rings and marriage licenses, and how committed they are to their spouses until . . . they divorce. After all, it’s just a season of marriage, right?  It’s no longer about who a man is. It’s what he looks like. Who he’s married to. What his family looks like. How many children he has. Where he works.  People today believe all men have the capacity to reach the same spiritual significance, no matter what their station in life is.  That may be true if we didn’t have choices about our stations in life.  But all of us make our own choices, no matter how popular or unpopular they may seem to the rest of the world.  That’s why so many churches report the results of opinion polls and statistical charts and ring their hands over people marrying later in life. As unbelievable as it sounds, they claim to know how many people God expects to be married and how many people he expects to be single. They email a copy of the opinion polls and numbers up to God every 90 days or so and wait on his pronouncement.  I’m sure that will put a smile on grandpa’s face.  People know so little about the Bible that they buy into it.

For many Protestants, moral relativism started in 1 Corinthians 7:26 when Paul mentioned remaining a virgin because of the “present distress.” It was exaggerated to mean all of Paul’s writings in the New Testament, especially those dealing with sexual ethics, were dependent on his circumstances. They didn’t think it applied to them because they knew the “end of the world” was not going to happen anytime soon. Not only that, they really didn’t think they had to take anything Paul said seriously because it was “just his opinion.” So their solution was to consider what he wrote not even part of the Bible. That was a grave mistake. Paul was not just another bloke Christ called off the street to write some of the Bible. He wasn’t just a dude who happened to fall into these circumstances. He was heavenly inspired. God placed him in that place at that time for a reason. In actuality, Paul declared that God’s call to salvation reversed a person’s circumstances. People with the gift of celibacy pointing toward eternity are necessary for that to happen. They are necessary witnesses to spiritual rebirth and to the Christian slave becoming the Lord’s freedman and to those who were free becoming Christ’s slaves. A wedding is a very short-lived event. What happens after that? Paul did not fall into the unfortunate circumstances of celibacy because of some impending catastrophe. His choice between marriage and celibacy is the same as ours today. He had a right to marry, as he straightforwardly states in 1 Cor 9:5-6: “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?”  Paul was not secretly cohabitating with Timothy’s sister or getting free milk from a cow.  He wasn’t staying up late nights playing video games.  What “life group” class would you put him in?  What kind of circumstances would your church have to build up around him to make everybody comfortable?

My life of celibacy is something I also freely chose and something God has allowed me to do. Yes, I have the right to marry just like anyone else. But I have not denounced marriage as being evil, as popular thinking may have you believe.  I have renounced it for something better, for life beyond this earth. Denounced and renounced are two words that sound the same but have very different meanings. I know a life of sacrifice is hard to believe in churches today because their faith goes no deeper than a wet diaper and after school childcare. So while I may have not have a ring on my finger, I do know what commitment is. I ask that you keep an open mind for commitments you cannot see and levels of faith you cannot understand. While I may not have the trophy wife, passel of kids, and graduation pictures hanging on the walls, be mindful of children who are not the products of flesh, but of spirit.

http://christiandaily.com/article/russell-moore-laments-how-evangelicals-today-regard-politics-as-their-own-religion/56127.htm

The Twisted Marriage Idolatry Of Al Mohler And Southern Baptists

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Just when I think the Southern Baptists can’t sink any deeper in sex worship, somebody comes along and does even better. In this case, it’s Al Mohler. You can read his latest article, “Marriage as a Part of Adulthood,” here:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/preparing-for-marriage/marriage-as-a-part-of-adulthood

There’s really nothing new because he has been preaching his marriage mandate for many years. He’s one of those mature Baptist brethren who think single adults over 23 are “living in sin.” And yes, he’s one of those “full quiver” men who do not think sex hormones can be controlled and recommends marriage at 12 and 13 years of age to prevent fornication.  I guess that makes sense on a primordial level if we assume men have no more self control than the apes.   And I’m sure he’s passing on his “wisdom” to the Baptist preachers of tomorrow.  He bemoans the current generation of cohabitation.  But what else can we expect from his generation, the generation of divorce and adultery? In this piece he does something I’ve written about before and, as always, I think it’s rather comical. He throws in the obligatory “unless given the calling of celibacy” footnote in one sentence, just in case somebody reminds him that Jeremiah, Paul, and Jesus himself never married.

“For all these reasons and more, Christians must understand that, unless given the calling of celibacy, Christians should honor marriage and seek to marry and to move into parenting and the full responsibilities of adulthood earlier rather than later in life.”

“Unless given the calling of celibacy.”  Isn’t it wonderful what commas can do for you?  They make it look like everything that’s wedged in between them is a passing thought.  Not only is Bro. Al a full quiver man, he’s a full Oxford comma man too.   But Al, I have a couple of questions.  I visited your fine Baptist church recently and what you need to understand is that all of your single women leave a lot to be desired. That’s right. All of them are prostitutes, except the ones who are Christian women of course. They’re on the streets of Louisville every weekend making money to buy their next fix of drugs. Your women should honor their bodies as temples of God and become full time mothers. Then they can step into their role as responsible adults.  How would I know who the good Christian women of your church are? How would I even know you have any? Would they wear different colored dresses? Have a different hairstyle? I would have no way of knowing. My question for you is this: How would you know who does and does not have “the calling of celibacy?” Since you regularly throw in this “rare exception” clause when you write about marriage, you must know such a person. Can you give us a name? Have you polled the unmarried people in your church to see who has what calling? Has anyone helped them discern celibacy? Let’s take it one step further. I’m sure you can name thousands of married couples you’ve known over the years. Of the 7,125,000,000 people on earth, can you name two Baptist preachers who are called to celibacy? If you can’t, then you probably shouldn’t mention it at all. It really is pathetic.  I can only speak for myself as one of those people called to celibate life, but I do not wish to be included in such a sordid “family focused” soap opera and Cialis sponsored worship hour.

All In The Family

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I recently wrote the pastor of a sizeable church in my area, asking him if he ever discussed the gift of celibacy during his sermons. And I asked him why his church, which is almost 200 years old, had never hired an unmarried preacher. This was his reply. I changed the names of everybody, except myself, and changed the name of the church.

Dear Mr. Morgan,

Thank you for your recent note. It is a rather interesting topic. But here at Family of Grace Baptist Church we welcome everybody. It doesn’t matter what their background is. We just want to express God’s love. There are more married folks here at Family, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love singles too. Our youth pastor spends a good deal of time with the youth and they go on a spring retreat every year. We understand their struggle to find a suitable spouse in a time when there are not many Christian singles to be found. But we share God’s love with them too and are there when they falter in their faith. As you know, many of them have problems keeping their sexual desires under control. We show them mercy and grace and give a special offering every year to the local teen pregnancy center. But the line has to be drawn somewhere and here at Family of Grace it’s drawn on the issue of homosexuality and celibacy. We cannot go down the same road that our country is and we will have no part of same sex marriage. Now, let me be clear. Here at family, we do not follow the doctrines of the Catholic Church with all of their problems with homosexuality among priests trying to follow vows of celibacy. We have a responsibility to be fruitful and multiply. And we recognize that the family is paramount and is the glue that is holding this tenuous society together. We could never hire a man as a pastor who had not matured and shown responsibility for caring for a wife and family. You’re welcome to come visit and I know one of our outreach directors would be happy to talk with you about the grace and mercy Christ offers. Just tell him what your name is so he will know who you are and where you go. Again, thanks for your letter.

Ben Wright, Pastor
Family of Grace Baptist Church

How High Do You Want To Fly? More On Discerning Celibacy

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8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19:8-12 (NIV)

To understand these verses, we may be wise to put ourselves in the disciples’ shoes because our idea of the permanence of marriage goes no deeper than it did for the disciples 2000 years ago. What are the consequences of divorce and adultery today? They’re about the same as the disciples thought – None. Not only did they think they could divorce their wives for any reason under the sun, they thought they could circumvent marriage and still sign up for intimate encounters on Ashley Madison. This is the image of single adults that the church puts forward today – extended adolescence with no responsibility. For the Protestant preacher, a single adult is someone who is having illicit sex and pretending to be married. They are the women who need to become respectable. They are the men who need to man up. How can I say that so confidently? If the only two Biblical options for humans on this earth are heterosexual marriage and celibacy, how much time has your preacher spent at the pulpit talking about celibacy? If there are more unmarried people today than married, doesn’t that mean there are more people called to be celibate before marriage or celibate for a lifetime?

Matthew 19 is not a parable. It is a truth, a description of reality. The truth includes both marriage and celibacy, regardless of what the polls and surveys say. If there was only one person alive with the gift of celibacy high up in the Himalaya Mountains, every preacher and testifier to the grace of God still has the responsibility of spending equal amounts of time covering both. Unfortunately, most churches today, like the skeptical disciples, spend more time talking about divorce. Even more tragic, churches are spending more time talking about perversions like homosexuality and sodomy. They will never be able proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in reactionary mode with branded catch phrases like “universal love” and “convictional kindness.” All that does is grandfather in more approval and affirmation of the divorce culture of the past and give a nod and wink to the “if it feels good it must be right” theology of today. And did you notice that Christ used the permanence of marriage in Matthew 19 to reinforce the permanence of celibacy?

Imagine that divorce is like a jet fighter pilot bailing out when the going gets rough, as the disciples saw it. He may have some cuts and bruises, but he’ll probably be able to walk away from it. Now, imagine a group of military fighter pilots in training. The instructor explains to them that 1 g = the force of gravity, or 1 x their body weight. Then he tells them that very few humans can withstand more than 5 g-forces without losing consciousness and more than likely dying from complications. But since he doesn’t know which ones of them (if any) have that ability, he proceeds to tell them how to operate the flight controls when they are in a tight turn and pulling more than 10 g-forces. He ends it by telling them to be sure they have no other humans or animals on board because they will be dead when they land on the runway. “If you smell something funny, check for a dead soldier somewhere in the cockpit because very few people can survive those kinds of forces.” I know that is a weak attempt at a 21st century version of Christ’s metaphor of the eunuch. But I think you get the picture. Some people have the ability to pull super-human g-forces. Some people have the ability to control their biological drives. You have the responsibility to find out what you can and cannot do.

When you think of a eunuch, do you think of part of a man’s anatomy missing? A scalpel? When you think about a dead combat pilot in the cockpit of a plane, do you think of foul play? A murder? If you do, you definitely belong in the disciples’ shoes. We have to be willing to let Christ briefly suspend what we think we know about a eunuch and understand how difficult and uncommon the gift of celibacy is. How difficult? I think that gets to the heart of the reason he chose the metaphor of a eunuch to describe people who can accept such a calling. A person’s ability to submit their entire life and body to the will of God, including sexual desire, is just as difficult as a man castrating himself. That’s how difficult. The disciples’ dreams of extended adolescence were dashed. No more fun without commitment. For those of them who were married, it may have sounded like a death sentence. The first thing that flashed through the disciples’ minds upon hearing the word “eunuch” was probably not riding off into the sunset with three or four women on the backs of their camels and a couple of bottles of wine. It was probably more like you thought – a knife, some screams, and a lot of blood. That’s precisely what Christ wanted us to think, before he redefined the word eunuch.

Do you have a passion for something that is off the beaten path and so far out of this world that you feel no one relates to you? Are you willing to be put under the knife and risk your life to see that it gets done? For instance, it could be supplying water to a third world country or rescuing orphans whose parents were killed in civil wars. Is your passion for this so much a part of your identity that you can see the face of God in it? Do you feel that not having had a sexual relationship allows you to better relate to the people you are called to help? Do you feel that a sexual relationship would take away a part of you that is important to carry out your mission? If so, then God may have given you the ability to withstand the forces of sexual desire and fly a little higher than his creation on earth. He may have allowed you to look directly into the Son without getting burned.

What The Gift Of Celibacy Is Not

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These points are from a Biblical perspective and not from the perspective of opinion polls, majority votes, church tradition, or doctrinal statements, etc.

First of all, celibacy is not a choice you make. It’s a supernatural ability (spiritual gift/charism) given by God to only a number of people. We can pray that we recognize and nurture it. But the choice we have is whether to accept it or not. Think of an athlete who was born with the body and balance for the high beam. She has the God given ability to win a medal at the Olympic games. But it’s up to her to start training and go for the gold.

Celibacy is not something that is instructed in the Bible. There is no formula and no special prayers. It is, however, affirmed as being a higher calling than marriage, in that heaven is higher than earth. It doesn’t matter whether or not your church respects it. It’s a Biblical fact.

The gift of celibacy is not the absence of sexual desires. It is the ability to control them. People who have it are able to remain unmarried without sex and not burn. However, they are not cold prudes with no appreciation for the mystery of sex.

The gift of celibacy (or singleness) is not what a person has while waiting for marriage. It’s not what a couple does before they get married. While God calls everybody to remain a virgin and celibate before marriage, the gift of celibacy is a long-term commitment, just like marriage.

Someone with the gift of celibacy is not going to fit any “life stage” group or similar gender/age/marital status-based group that a church may conjure up.

The gift of celibacy is not tied Biblically to the Catholic Church. It’s merely part of their church tradition. Considering the Protestant Reformation, this is probably the hardest truth Protestant churches will have to accept.

The gift of celibacy has nothing to do with monks, nuns, or any other religious persons. And it has nothing to do with living in communities such as monasteries and convents.

The gift of celibacy has nothing to do with homosexuality or same sex marriage. Many churches are simply replaying what they hear in the media because they don’t understand what the Bible says on the subject.

The gift of celibacy is not compatible with someone who has had sex. If we are to believe that a faithful marriage involves a husband and wife who have not had sex with anybody else during their marriage, we are compelled to believe the same about faithful celibacy. The Bible deals with ideals when it comes to sexual ethics. It does not deal with “should have beens.” Otherwise it would not contain the terms adultery and fornication. That does not mean a person can’t be forgiven and commit again to live without sex until marriage.

Celibacy is not a social status that affords people special privileges. It is not something given to only third world missionaries in order to do “ministry service.”

Celibacy is not perfection. If you believe that, you have fallen for a straw man.

Celibacy has nothing to do with having more time to do God’s work. Because there are so many things to do, it often results in less time.

A life of celibacy is not a life of failure. It is a life of faith and sacrifice that married life cannot attain.

Celibacy is not emptiness. It is a life that has been filled by something much more than sex.

The gift of celibacy is not a label you put on someone after their death and after a vote has been taken to determine their worthiness. If we’re going to do it that way, we should do the same for marriage – take a vote after both the husband and wife are dead to determine if they were faithful to each other and if they were really married.

Celibacy is not the denial of our maleness or femaleness and it is not the denial of our sexuality.

Celibacy is not a byproduct of some negative life experience, such as a troubled home life or a bad relationship with a mother or father.

Celibacy is not a life without commitment. It is a life with more commitment. Who is more worthy of sacrifice, a spouse or God himself? It reminds the world that there is more to commitment than the bells and whistles of a wedding ceremony.

Celibacy is not a default state a person enters when a single adult can’t find a spouse. It is an intentional choice and a positive response to God. It is made public for that very reason. It symbolizes our total dependence on God and eternal life in heaven for all believers.

Celibacy is not living selfishly for ones’ self. It’s just the opposite. It is living for everybody else. Marriage is about exclusion. Celibacy is about inclusion.

Celibacy does not lead to a life without children. That may be so from a biological standpoint. But from a spiritual standpoint, we have more children than anybody else.

Celibacy – From Choice To No Choice

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At the time of Christ and when Paul wrote his epistles, it was taken for granted that people could choose between one of two legitimate Christian lifestyles, either a life of marriage or a life of celibacy. This balance expressed both the “be fruitful and multiply” mandate of the Old Testament with the spiritual rebirth mandate of the New Testament. Paul makes that abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 7, talking about how married people are concerned about the affairs of the world and virgins (unmarrieds) are concerned about the affairs of the Lord. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the world to upset this balance and place more value on virginity and celibacy and look at marriage as something of a lower calling. Jerome even wrote, “I praise marriage and wedlock, but only because they begat celibates.” Of course, what followed was the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, with the reformers complaining about the requirement of celibacy being placed on priests and other religious. This resulted in the upset once more of the celibacy/marriage balance with more value being placed this time on marriage and family. Calvin himself believed that “the life of a single person is often much more miserable than that of a married person.” He also believed people with the gift of celibacy were “rare, not one in a thousand, for they are a special miracle of God.” So the intention of the Protestants was to glorify marriage and cast doubt on those who claimed to be able to live without sex. In other words, Protestants were no friends to singles from the beginning and were skeptical of the existence of people with the gift of celibacy, save some kind of ” miracle.” Things got even worse for unmarried people in the 20th century with Sigmund Freud comparing the human mind to an iceberg with only one-tenth of it visible above water and the other 90% of it made up of “the urges, the passions, the repressed ideas and feelings . . . a great underworld of vital, unseen forces that exercise an imperious control over the conscious thoughts and deeds of individuals.” All unmarried people became suspicious because, as Freud said, they were just looking for outlets for their sexual urges.

Did churches have enough intelligence to see above Freud? Did they have any faith left in the salvation of man?  Unfortunately they did not. Protestants bought into his twisted ideas hook, line, and sinker. The only faith men had left was in their ability to satisfy their wives in the bedroom because that’s what made them real men.  Families started to avoid singles altogether, making sure their children didn’t sit with one during church service. Preachers started to ramp up their sermons on marriage and family and decry the evils of “extended adolescence,” telling their flocks that “singleness is a sin.” This is where we’re at today – sex worship.  Southern Baptist preachers are telling their 12 and 13 year olds to get married to avoid fornication because, as Freud said, it’s not possible to control repressed sexual urges. It’s hard to comprehend that we have church leaders who are slaves to sexual sin. But they’re just reflections of their flocks who jump from one spouse to another through no fault divorce. Indeed, we have come from the time of Christ when the choice was between marriage and celibacy, as outlined by Paul, to today where the choice is between marriage and cohabitation, as outlined by your local preacher of choice. We have come from a time when self control was possible to a time when self control is out of the picture. Who do we have to thank for all this? In my opinion, it’s the immoral leaders of the churches and especially the privileged academics who are leading Protestant denominations swiftly to the land of Sodom.

The Surprising Comfort Of Celibacy

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If I live to be 100 years old, the one thing I will remember about the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage is their assumption that gays were “condemned to live in loneliness” without marriage. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to realize that they were just expressing what most Americans already felt and what most churches already taught – that a family and comfortable sex lives were required to enter adulthood in America. I’ve written for years about the church’s idolatrous worship of sex, but never thought I see the day when the U.S. Supreme Court would declare marriage a constitutional right. But this didn’t happen overnight. So what was it that made Justice Kennedy believe that gay people were “condemned to live in loneliness?” The church. Not just the Catholics and Protestants, but all of them. Where do people get married? The church. What institution has traditionally set the standards for sexual ethics? The church. I believe Kennedy was calling out churches as hypocrites because the sexual ethics that they preached didn’t match the sexual ethics that they practiced. He packed a lot of punch into that one word, “condemned.” I can hear him asking churches, “Who are you to condemn those who can’t get married when you can’t remain faithful in your own marriages?” “Who are you to talk about marriage when half of your congregations will get divorced?” With “condemned,” he was also taking a stab at church weddings and the false separation of church and state that has existed in this country since its founding. Indeed, here we have a case where the church is not condemning the state. Rather, the state is condemning the church. So this contrived separation may get even wider. What condemned gay people to live in loneliness? Are we so naive as to believe that they didn’t have sexual relationships because they didn’t have marriage licenses and the blessings of church weddings? No. What condemned them was the church’s idolatrous worship of heterosexual marriages and families. What condemned them was the absence of any other alternative besides family life. What condemned them was the church’s narrow mindedness and inability to see reality beyond their own stained glass windows and rose colored glasses. What condemned them was their own pride, greed, and unwillingness to talk about such matters in their churches. So I think Justice Kennedy was also saying to the church, “You made some false assumptions. So I’ll make some false assumptions.” For instance, the church has also seen single adults as adolescents until they married. So, the Supreme Court lumped them in with gays too. Why not? They never had an identity to begin with. It was like Kennedy was giving the faithful a taste of their own medicine. He took the church’s own traditions and unwritten rules, twisted them around a bit, and threw them right back at the pulpits.

However, all of these assumptions and elevation of marriage to a civil right also underscore why lifelong virginity is a spiritual gift. Not only is it difficult in and of itself, society’s dismissal of it does not lead to a life of comfortable acceptance. Yes, I get lonely, very lonely indeed. But I don’t think I’m any lonelier than Christ was while on this earth. I don’t expect the state, church, or anybody else to do anything about my loneliness. I accept it. I relish it. And I dare say most of us with this gift would say the same thing. I realize that for a person to live today with unmet desires is unheard of and that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is sacred as scripture. But all traditions and family legacies were tossed out the door when Christ entered the world. I live by different rules. In a real way, I see my role today as making comfortable people uncomfortable and taking the padded cushions out of comfortable padded pews. I don’t look to a marriage to define me as an adult. God has already done that. I don’t look at surveys. I don’t take votes. And I don’t care how popular or unpopular I may be. I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that just because the Bible allows for a life of marriage or celibacy that half the people must be married and half the people must be celibates. That will never be the case. Even if there have been only five people with the charism of virginity since the time of Christ, the Bible is just as true today as it was 2000 years ago. God is not a God of democracy. He is a king. He does not have to consult a supreme court. He is the court and final judge.