Privacy In The Bible

For Catholic Stand (http://catholicstand.com/) July, 2013.

Even though we may not find the word in scripture, the Bible does give us guidelines regarding privacy. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they were immediately aware of their nakedness. Then in Genesis 3:21 “the LORD God made leather garments, with which he clothed them.” The eighth commandment also deals with privacy: “You shall not steal (Exodus 20:15). And this is the basis of property rights today, a Genesis concept carried down to the 21st century. If we include intellectual property and anything that is not ours, then the importance God places on privacy cannot be overstated. Since our bodies are our property (through the grace of God), we must have complete control over who comes into our space, unless we are a threat to ourselves or others or are being confronted by law enforcement. The very nature of a human being requires privacy, and after birth we quickly learn the meaning of “mine.” Charity is another topic in the Bible that also deals with privacy. Matthew 6:3-4 reminds us: “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Since alms includes every act of charity we do, that pretty much also covers everything. How private are our gifts supposed to be? They are not to travel from one side of your body to the other, from your left hand to right hand. Contrast that with today’s practice of churchgoers publicizing gifts and using them as tax write-offs. Later in Matthew 6 we read how important privacy is in our prayer life. “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you (Matthew 6:5-6). Hypocrites may have recited long prayers in an attempt to compensate for their evil lives. They could not comprehend a one on one conversation with God. Since God is a private person, it only follows that we reach our highest level of communication with our fellow man in a one on one setting in the privacy of a quiet room, a real room with real chairs.

Exodus 20:16 warns us not to bear false witness against a neighbor. Spreading false rumors is an invasion of privacy because it is a betrayal of friendship and trust, an act of misrepresentation. Who are our neighbors? Who are our friends? With the digital age, our definition of friends has expanded to include chat rooms and Google Circles. We have social media friends we have never met and pretend that we “like” everything they do. Our human nature is one of private face to face conversation which cannot be replaced with email, text messages, chat rooms, or tweets. It’s the way God made us. Research has even shown that babies can recognize their mother’s voice in the womb. I don’t think it will show that babies recognize their mother’s iPhone ring or email alert. We depend on privacy for civility and it is deeply engrained in our worship experiences. Imagine what would happen if confessions became public, if priests posted them on internet blogs, if webcams were set up in confessionals. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate invasion of privacy? Civil servants are also expected to keep things private for the security of their country. Doctors and lawyers are expected to keep their records confidential. When everybody knows everything, nobody will know anything.

Moses met with God privately in the tabernacle, affirming his existence in time and space. Even the temple itself speaks to the privacy of God, as well as the secret nature of the holy of holies. This may well be the first documentation of private property rights. If Christ lives in our hearts today, is it not a Sanctum Sanctorum, a holy of holies? The Catechism of the Catholic Church has much to say about privacy. “Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it (No. 2489).” The problem we have today is that there is little respect for truth and everybody thinks they have a right to know everything. Courts enforce privacy where there should be none and outlaw privacy where it is necessary. Privacy rights for teenagers and contraception comes to mind.

With the digital age, we have fooled ourselves into believing that privacy is as good as a digital password, that everybody has equal intelligence, that all opinions are of equal value, and that all knowledge resides in portable devices in the palms of our hands. Instead of the Bible, many people turn to the news for truth. But the media do not have a good track record when it comes to privacy. “Interference by the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes upon their privacy and freedom” (No. 2492). The essence of our beings and dignity of our souls cannot be measured by computers. Machines know no privacy. They only know what man has programmed on their silicon chips. Do we really want the reality of our lives to become a point on a computer screen?

Perhaps the defining glimpse of privacy in the Bible is found in Matthew 24:42: “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” When we come to the realization that the most important date and hour in the history of mankind has been kept secret by an omnipotent God, then we may come to realize the importance of privacy in our own lives.

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The Supreme Court’s Flawed Reasoning On Same Sex Marriages

Julia had been studying hard for the upcoming final exams during her freshman year at Florida State.  She even sacrificed sleep and often didn’t have to eat.  It all paid off though when she received a 98 on the precalculus test.  However, there was one small plank in the cogwheel that Julia had not planned on – and that was Rhonda.  Instead of studying for the test, Rhonda took off to Panama City with a group of girlfriends.  She figured she could cram it all in the night before.  Besides, she didn’t have to miss sleep – and she certainly didn’t miss any meals.  Rhonda made a teary-eyed 56.  She was furious and complained bitterly to the math professor, saying that it was just not fair for her to feel uncomfortable and of less worth than Julia, saying that her dignity and status in the class were in jeopardy.  She also complained that it gave Julia an advantage over her when the GPA scores were tallied at the end of the semester and would give her an advantage when looking for jobs.  Such immature extremism is not uncommon in universities.  He agreed and decided to “scale” everybody’s grades.  So instead of Julia receiving a 98 on the test she now received a 76.  And instead of a 56, Rhonda received a 76. Oh how happy she was.  The professor reasoned that all of his students should feel they have equal intellectual abilities and not be made to feel uncomfortable because someone else is smarter.  He assured Rhonda that her dignity and status would not be compromised because of a low grade.

Does this socialist approach to test scores sound familiar?  It should if you’ve been following the recent decisions handed down by the United States Supreme Court.  In the words of Justice Kennedy:  “The State’s decision to give this class of persons the right to marry conferred upon them a dignity and status of immense import. But the Federal Government uses the state-defined class for the opposite purpose—to impose restrictions and disabilities.”  The right for gay people to marry automatically gives them dignity and status? Mr. Kennedy, what on earth are you thinking? Marriage automatically confers dignity and status? Has our marriage and family worship society gone that far? What if I found my German shepherd having sex with the chocolate lab down the street? Would that confer on them dignity and status of immense import? Would we need to pass a law to protect their personal freedoms? What restrictions and disabilities does DOMA place on the gay community?  Did the justices let money trump principle? I’m afraid so. The case involved the same sex marriage of Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer and their estate tax:  

“When Spyer died in 2009, she left her entire estate to Windsor. Windsor sought to claim the federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses, but was barred from doing so by §3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which amended the Dictionary Act—a law providing rules of construction for over 1,000 federal laws and the whole realm of federal regulations—to define “marriage” and “spouse” as excluding same-sex partners. Windsor paid $363,053 in estate taxes and sought a refund, which the Internal Revenue Service denied.”  http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_g2bh.pdf

You can substitute the characters in the above story with Windsor (Rhonda) complaining that if she was a man (Julia) she wouldn’t have to pay the $363,053.  Instead of grades being leveled out, it was money.  A married couple might have a dollar more than a gay couple.  So it boiled down to greed and envy. The least common denominator approach to social and ethical matters is incompatible with Christian principles.  Does America want to be a one size fits all cardboard box, a country that is indistinguishable from any other non-Christian country in the world? 

The rulings should be a wake up call for all Christians in the country, a time to reflect on the only two authentic Christian lifestyles – marriage and celibacy.  Protestant churches have traditionally been slow to respond to ethical dilemmas of the day.  The definition of marriage needs to be continually discussed – giving affirmation and encouragement to those who have faithful marriages.  And churches need to throw away the golden calves of marriage and family and give affirmation and encouragement to virtuous singles and those with the celibate gift. Instead of marriage and homosexuality, the choices need to be presented clearly as marriage and chaste celibacy.

We need not sugarcoat our words with comfort measures.  The Bible is very plain spoken on matters of homosexuality.  The Christian community doesn’t need to feel compelled to bring their standards down to the level of the court, down to the level of the least common denominator.  Those men will have their judgement.  Instead of responding to the recent court decisions with righteous indignation based on God’s word, the country’s religious leaders seem to have thrown up their hands in defeat and climbed aboard the rainbow train of gay pride. Russell Moore, the SBC’s ethics leader, called on all Southern Baptists to view this as an “opportunity to love our gay and lesbian neighbors as Jesus does” http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/06/26/how-should-same-sex-marriage-change-the-churchs-witness/). This is an opportunity to speak the truth. Instead of sugar-coating, Christians need to respond with the definitive double-edged sword of the spirit which states “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9).” 

At the heart of the matter is misplaced priorities. Yes, as Justice Scalia said, the worship of marriage and family really has gone that far – “The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.” America’s churches are largely responsible for this exalted conception of marriage. To keep their numbers and tithes up, they have bowed to the golden calf of marriage for so long that their eyes are blurred and they can’t see it. Just as the church took their eyes off the Bible and looked to the popular opinion of the masses, the Supreme Court took their eyes off the constitution and looked to their own flawed wisdom in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Why Wait On Marriage? Rearranging The Pyramid

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I know many answers have been given to this question over the years – everything from sexually transmitted diseases to religious reasons.  But all of them seem to lead to more questions.  I’ve had 52 years of waiting to think about it — and this is my answer from a Christian point of view.   We know that Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work out for the good for those who love the Lord.  But I think it’s human nature, even for those with tremendous faith, to look for a more tangible answer.  God designed us to be curious and ask questions.  That’s how our civilization advanced.  So why did our creator command us to wait?  Here are a few reasons you may not have thought of.

First of all, fornication does not reflect the commitment and exclusivity required for a lifelong marriage.  And it does not reflect the marital relationship between Christ and the church, with Christ accepting the church as his virgin bride.  The biggest spiritual event in your lifetime (next to accepting Christ) need not be a memory filled with regret and repentance, which becomes part of your spiritual background check for the rest of your life.

Even though it can be forgiven, premarital sex prevents a marriage from reaching its full potential.   Imagine, two minutes of dowsing the flames and then the fire may never be that hot again.  You could even be left with cold charcoal that won’t start at all, trying to recreate the magic of the first flame for the rest of your life.  Since it compromises the trust factor, there will always be questions.  There will always be doubts.  How do I compare to what he has already had?  Does she really like this or is she just pretending?   This is probably the most difficult thing for people to understand, that forgiveness does not erase permanent consequences.  Some of the gravest consequences are not easy to see.  Sexual misbehavior is far different than stealing a soft drink, feeling guilty, and then taking it back to the store.  With fornication, you are taking it back to the store for the rest of your life.  The Bible even tells us that sexual sin is sin against our own bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19). So it is not on the same level as every other sin. Of course, an extremist will say that a one night stand does not ruin a person for the rest of their life.  “Ruin” may not be the appropriate word, but it does put a limit on a person’s self-fulfillment – including his sexual fulfillment. Imagine, two minutes of dowsing the flames and then the fire may never be that hot again. Apostle Paul could not have put it more elegantly when he said “it is better to marry than to burn.” See 1 Corinthians 7:9. After something burns, the only thing left is charcoal. Charcoal does burn again. This simple analogy give us a glimpse into Paul’s genius and the infinite wisdom of
God’s word and understanding of our needs.

Maslow believed our hierarchy of needs and path to self-fulfillment could be divided into five categories and that everybody had to start at the base and work their way up the pyramid sequentially with basic needs at the bottom and highest order needs at the top. He placed sexual desire at the base of the pyramid on the same level as food and water because he gave it a free pass. A marriage commitment did not fit into his pyramid. A closer approximation which more accurately mirrors God’s creation would put it on on level 3 with love and affection. Premarital sex effectively removes level three though by dropping sex down to base of the pyramid with a slab of ribs and bottle of Bud, thus rearranging the sequential steps. Then you are left to reach the top without love and affection, which is much more difficult and many times impossible. That’s one of the reasons we have such a high divorce rate — love and affection are folded in the napkin as a slab of ribs.

Interestingly, the pyramid underwent a revision in 2010 by a team of psychologists from Arizona State University (http://researchmatters.asu.edu/stories/maslows-pyramid-gets-much-needed-renovation-1664). The new pyramid placed “mate acquisition, mate retention and parenting” at the top of the pyramid, completely replacing self actualization. These researchers believe sex is a constant need and represents the ultimate goal for all mankind. It’s a fairly accurate reflection of the falling moral standards in America. Sex on top. Sex on the bottom. Sex all over.

Another reason for waiting is that you cannot reclaim the part of you that was given away to a non-committed partner, including your unique expression of love that was created as part of God’s ongoing creation process, much like the ongoing process of reproduction and new life created in the womb.  This language is so unique that no two couples establish the same one on bonding, much life a fingerprint. Premarital sex denies God’s creation and denies that the sexual bond and communication established is part of that creation. It tells God and the world that you know more about creation than he does.  And since there is a language walking around with no decoder (lifetime partner), premarital sex becomes a source of embezzlement and opens the door wider for people to blackmail each other.  It throws a wrench into the natural workings of human interaction and civility, allowing greed to take a firmer hold. So premarital sex not only makes it much more difficult to reach your potential as a human being, as reflected in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but it prevents a society from reaching its maximum potential. Imagine what would happen if a device was invented that allowed everybody in the world to have the same intelligence. It sounds like a good idea. But it would not work for the good of the individual or society. Romans 8:28 is still true and applies to all areas of the human condition and we may not be able to comprehend the enormity of “all things.” That’s two small words on a page, one giant concept for mankind. God’s creation is infinitely gigantic.

The Internet And Virtue

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According to the internet, approximately 99% of all articles dealing with celibacy are related to the Catholic church and/or homosexuality. Meanwhile, protestants are grappling with gays in the Boy Scouts, support for Chick-fil-A, and preachers gone astray. Think about that. The headline issue of the day for Catholics is gay priests. The headline issue for Baptists is gay Boy Scouts. And the store managers are arguing about what to do with the teenager who stole the candy bar while somebody walks out the front door with the cash registers. One mark for Chick-fil-A. One mark against the Boy Scouts. One extra cookie for the internet.

Southern Baptists very rarely mention anything about human sexuality and virtue from the pulpit. Actually, all their churches are autonomous and are not required to follow any resolutions handed down from the SBC. In my 52 years in the Baptist church, I think I’ve heard two sermons on sexual ethics. They readily join the internet discussion, however, on gay rights and same sex marriage. However, such a reactionary approach will not carry their values to the next generation. There is nothing permanent about relative morality, allowing the scandal of the day to define standards, especially when it becomes a 24-hour news cycle on the internet.

More importantly, many churches today allow the scandal of the day to define their language – especially through the internet. Terms like adultery and fornication are long gone. And celibacy has gone the way of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The only way they know how to communicate their positions on social issues is by responding to controversy, like gays in the Boy Scouts. Most Baptist church goers only find out about the SBC’s stand on important issues through cable TV, internet, and other media. And they tend to use their annual convention as a photo op for ethics reform. This year it was Boy Scouts. Next year it may be genetic cloning. They do not proactively communicate their values with language on their web site or elsewhere that includes celibacy, virginity, premarital sex, purity, loyalty, fidelity, loyalty, commitment, etc. As mentioned in a previous post, the SBC’s new ethics director (Russell Moore) has even recommended “premarital sex” be dropped from all conversation. Terms such as adultery and fornication, he says, need to be brought back. What a mind blowing idea. I’m sure that will happen overnight.

I’ve recently read several blogs dealing with virtue and Christian singleness. I guess the internet provides a degree of anonymity, allowing for such topics to be discussed. Not surprisingly, most are by young Catholic single ladies. One wrote she was waiting on a Catholic gentleman because only Catholic men wait until marriage before having sex. Really? If a virtuous Protestant single reaches a certain age and is still waiting, are they obligated to join the Catholic church to converse with other like minded people? Has the internet given churches a reason to continue to discriminate on the basis of age and gender? In my opinion, it has – especially social media. Churches feel more comfortable narrowing their local outreach because they feel the internet “will take care of everybody else.” Thus, more churches are focusing on international ministries – while neglecting their own community. Many Baptist churches now put more money in Annie Armstrong than they do their own youth programs. In their minds, teenagers don’t live across the street – they live on the internet. Is an address becoming a thing of the past?

I’ve often heard it said that what was right is now wrong and what was wrong is now right. It seems that the English language is full of examples. For instance, 30 years ago the word “virginity” was talked about with respect and dignity. Now it has been relegated to a vulgar word in locker room talk. Do an internet search on the word. Does anything look positive. Does anything look remotely Christian? For language to take a dramatic change like this in a short period of takes a gigantuous social phenomenon. What has allowed our language to be degraded and dumbed down in the last 50 years? What has allowed vulgarities to creep into our conversation? I think one of the largest contributors is the internet. It has allowed everybody to have a bully pulpit, so to speak. The internet today is slowly becoming another pornographic tool; ad-driven, porn sponsored, and money motivated. Everybody has jumped on board with a voice to be heard, an agenda to pursue. The child molester gets as much exposure as Mother Theresa. Every opinion is regarded as equal value, every idea a font size. Can the reality of your life be narrowed down to a point on a computer screen surrounded by pornographic images, the latest mattress sale, and male enhancement pills?

We need to consider the internet’s fleeting nature when defending Christian virtue and remember that a computer can never take the place of human reason. It will never be able to tell our children how far is too far, bring them to church on Sunday mornings, or teach them right from wrong.

I don’t allow cookies.

Talking About Premarital Sex Is Wrong?

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Russell Moore

Recently the Southern Baptist Convention elected Russell D. Moore as president of its Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission (ERLC). Moore is an interesting choice because of his ultra liberal views on everything from immigration to same sex marriage. In his article “Premarital Sex” that appeared on his January 3rd blog (http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/01/03/premarital-sex/), he stated that: “Christians talk a lot about premarital sex. And I think that’s a mistake. I don’t think it’s a mistake because the issue is unimportant but because the grammar is skewed. The word “fornication” is almost gone from contemporary Christian speech. It sounds creepy and antiquated. Instead, we talk about “abstinence” and “premarital sex.”” Moore serves as another classic example of someone in academia talking about something they know nothing about. He is a married man with children. He is no more qualified to advise single Southern Baptists on ethical issues than Bugs Bunny, regardless of who he knows and how many degrees he has. Add to that his effort to unskew our grammar and it becomes humorous. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to know that most non-Christian singles will know what premarital sex is and will have no idea what fornication is, other than what they’ve heard on late night comedy. So why is Moore urging us to use terms like “fornication” instead of “premarital sex?” Because premarital sex makes too many people uncomfortable. And that might translate to decreased SBC membership. It’s not politically or financially correct. His views are the same with illegal immigration. He doesn’t like the word “illegal” and believes all should be given “compassionate” amnesty. But if you really want to know where Russell Moore stands on sexual ethics, I suggest you read his article “Like, A Virgin” that appeared in the May/June 2011 issue of Touchstone (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=24-03-016-v). In it, he criticized a chaste young college student for wanting to know about her boyfriend’s past: “Thus, you are not “owed” a virgin because you are one. Your sexual purity wasn’t part of a quid pro quo in which God guaranteed you a sexually unbroken mate. Sexual fidelity isn’t some heroic measure at all; it is our obligation as creatures of God.” Moore even takes the atheist position of putting all sin on one level: “The chaste Christian is blessed indeed, especially in these pathetic times, but he or she has rebelled at other points and been forgiven.” This may come as a shock to Moore, but sexual fidelity today is beyond some kind of “heroic measure.” It is astonishing that the ethics leader of the largest Protestant denomination in the world who holds many academic degrees is not even aware of 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” The calvinist movement has been strong in SBC leadership for quite a while. Their views are not in line with traditional SBC theology and represent a minority of its membership. Moore has made public that he he a calvinist (http://firstthings.com/blogs/evangel/author/russell-d-moore/). He also supports “sexual complementarity” and appears to support same sex marriage by referring to “marriage cultures,” but his stand on these important issues seems to change from day to day (http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/05/24/is-your-church-ready-for-the-marriage-revolution/). He also stood by Starbucks and their decision to support same sex marriage (http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/03/25/should-christians-boycott-starbucks/). The more he rationalizes his liberal stands, the more he digs himself into a hole. About the strongest statement he has made against same sex marriage is that it is “harmful to human flourishing.” Now, that is a “creepy” statement. See http://www.helwyssocietyforum.com/?p=3569. Moore has even made disparaging remarks about the SBCs own True Love Waits abstinence campaign, saying that “True love waits, yes, but, more importantly, true love mates.” See http://www.abpnews.com/faith/theology/item/8107-redeeming-fornication#.UbdXypywWEs. Yet another example of idolizing marriage and family while turning a blind to the celibate lifestyle.

It might have been funny when Nixon asked David Frost in his 1977 interview if he had been fornicating recently. Today it wouldn’t be funny because nobody would know what he was talking about. Premarital sex – That seems plain spoken enough to me.

Celibacy And The Jucara Tree

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NPR recently covered the natural link between the Jucara tree (a type of palm) and the Toucan bird, drawing the conclusion that the big seeded Jucara tree depends on the large billed Toucan bird for its seed dispersal. And because much of the forest in this region of Brazil has been destroyed by human intervention through logging, hunting, farming, etc., the Toucan bird population has drastically declined – threatening the survival of both species (http://www.npr.org/2013/05/31/187165764/big-mouthed-toucans-key-to-forest-evolution), thus guaranteeing the survival of the Jucara species with smaller seeds that could be dispersed by other birds. Of course, there are many more examples of natural cycles found in nature such as bird rookeries and alligator farms, wildebeests and lions, pitcher plants and insects, raptors and prey, etc. In his NPR article though, Mr. Joyce discounted the role man played in this ecological disruption, referring to it as another example of evolution. It was man’s alteration of the environment that forced the Jucara tree to adapt, not an intelligent genetic process within the seeds. And it was man’s alteration of the environment that led to the disappearance of the Toucan birds. There was no cross-species genetic evolutionary process involved. The birds did not cause the changes in the tree populations. Rather, it was man’s choice to disrupt the forest with logging, farming, development, etc. So many scientists today can’t see the forest from the trees. And many take it for granted that the general public will swallow any cause and effect relationship, especially when it comes to the environment. While it may not have been a 50/50 ratio, the balance of birds/trees was natural for that region of the world before bulldozers and greed arrived. The interpretation of the changes in the forest as being evolutionary is interesting. Evolution takes man’s reasoning out of the picture and places him on the same level as the animals. It replaces God’s creation with survival of the smartest monkey – or smartest tree. Could it be that man’s treatment of nature mirrors his treatment of himself? After all, if a man doesn’t believe in God, how can he take care of God’s creation?

Like the imbalance in the Brazilian rain forest, could it be that a culture will always collapse when it does not maintain a marriage/celibacy balance? It happened with the Roman Empire. Have the small seeds of marriage and family choked out the larger seeds of singleness from the Christian lifestyle forest? By losing never married Christians from the church (See Julia Duin’s book “Quitting Church” at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/quitting-church-julia-duin/1114938133?ean=2940016277004), we have in turn lost celibate values and the Lord’s concerns (see 1 Corinthians 7). Just as there is nothing inherently wrong with small-seeded Jucara trees, there is nothing inherently wrong with marriage. But you have to step back and look at the whole forest to see what is missing, to see the predominance of the smaller seeded trees, to recognize the loss of values of an entire species. In an unnatural forest with no Toucan birds and no one to disperse the seeds of St. Paul and the Lord’s concerns, it may be too late to reverse the imbalance. For instance, never before species of mushrooms, ferns, and fungi will take root under the canopy of the small-seeded trees. They will all eventually be considered native species for that area. Local residents will not even question their existence. Likewise, never before seen fungi like homosexuality has taken root in the one-sided forest of marriage and family; a forest that has few singles for the kingdom, where Toucan birds are an endangered species; a forest where life is not valued and rare species stepped on and destroyed.

As Christians, is there any way to reverse these changes? Consider for a moment the possibility that all of the Jucara seeds were the large variety when they fell to the ground and became small after one year of not being picked up by a Toucan bird. There would be a small window of time to increase the population of the birds, thereby allowing for survival of the native large seeded trees and Toucan birds. In other words, the potential for maintaining the ecological balance would be there for a short while. So it is with celibacy and the single life today. Children hit the ground after their teenage years with big dreams which become small after accepting society’s expectations of marriage and family and abruptly encounter the responsibilities of parenthood. Instead of taking notes in a college classroom, they are standing in line at food stamp offices. Many probably do have a disposition towards celibacy. But after pressure from their peers, parents, church – and after nobody steps forward to guide them down this road of discernment – they ultimately throw away their dreams and choose the default road of marriage. Default is easy. It requires no intelligence. Another small tree of marriage is reproduced that could have been become a larger tree of celibacy, thereby preserving the Christian lifestyle balance. More Christian singles need to step forward and mentor others along this narrow road. The biggest road block to this, of course, is the cloud of suspicion hanging over every Christian single adult today, the cloud of homosexuality and “alternative lifestyles.” In Catholic Stand’s article “The Other Vocation Crisis,” Mary C. Tillotson stated: “In one sense, marriage is a “default” vocation – it’s where the majority of Catholics are called. But it’s unreasonable (and unhealthy) to assume that Catholics who don’t become priests will fall back on the healthy, holy domestic church thing. Many wander off and, ignoring the Church’s teaching, take up “alternative family styles.” See http://catholicstand.com/the-other-vocation-crisis/. The situation is even worse in Protestant churches because they don’t even acknowledge the celibate lifestyle. Many more singles have wondered off in their churches. They are hunkering down in fear, assuming that all singles are homosexuals if they are not married by a certain age. While the Catholic church is dealing with a crisis among their priests, protestants are dealing with a crisis of ignorance among their congregations.

That’s where we are today – a society that has interfered with God’s natural order. With a status of idolatry being placed on marriage and family, celibacy and purity have been removed from the forest and concern for the Lord’s affairs have disappeared like the Toucan bird. And since the natural order has been disrupted, a culture of adultery, homosexuality, and fornication has been allowed to grow in the shadows of family values. Now it’s being brought out into light. Even the Boy Scouts are out loud and proud, while Christians remain quite on the sidelines. In such a society, you will not find a well balanced system with faith, love, and hope. Instead, you will find a system of pessimism, hate, and despair. Such happens when a society turns it back on God and denies his creation.