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.

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