Is Celibacy Enough of Anything?

Imagine a stellar candidate for ordination as a Presbyterian minister. He has all the public gifts, is academically awesome and well-received by all the staff and leadership as he comes down to the end of his 18 month internship. Ball golf and disc golf, usually two under at both. He is married, in his late twenties along with his wife. They have no children, and he replies uncommonly when queried. “We aren’t going to have children. I’m just too selfish. I don’t want to limit myself, or our marriage. I got a vasectomy right after we got married, and I have no regrets. We are happy together, and it maximizes our usefulness. In some ways, its also a social justice thing now.”

Of course you converse, you listen, you let him stroll you around this unusual life decision. At the bottom of it, and he does not deny it, the man is just too selfish to willingly beget children. His self-awareness really does help his preaching. He actually has a nightmare at least once a year that his wife conceives miraculously. He is heart against it. There is just no way he could have children-- it would destroy their marriage, he would destroy their marriage, that just can't happen, "and not to mention my calling from God" which would get sucked down the hole. "With me just in misery, and Bev."

She says that a lot of her oldest friends have decided against kids, “it’s not that shocking.” Yes, he is a believer in the Lord Jesus. Yes, you bet that guy's getting ordained somewhere.

Compare that to a celibate gay man. We aren’t getting hung up on labels. Queer man, same-sex-attracted man. He avoids with all sorts of care and energy opportunities to act out his sinful desire, but he is a 6 on the scale all day long. He has considered marriage a couple of times– not engaged but serious pondering. He has not gotten married because he doesn’t desire sex with a woman but with a man. Not promiscuity or anything still considered deviant or degrading, just a man. Yes, he reduced Ephesians 5 just like that. Yes, he wants a family– or at least those significant life long relationships. No, he isn’t opposed to children. He won’t get married because of his sexual desires. Of course, marriage doesn’t fix gay people. It doesn’t fix anybody. It does change them-- one way or the other. It's powerful stuff.

No, I am not slagging on people without children or people who are unmarried. There are lots of different circumstances and situations. I am distressed for people estranged from their adult children, but sandpaper parents aren’t just sad people. I have a great deal of empathy for widows and widowers– but it is different if they killed the spouse. More and more people are single or married without children because they are selfish and enslaved to foolishness. There are various reasons to be celibate, and some of them are not admirable at all. It may be remarkable, impressive when you compare yourself– but not automatically admirable. Yes, that is a credible profession of faith. You bet he's getting ordained somewhere.

What's it like with Rev. Him? What's the what? Did Ephesians 5 get harder, easier, what-ier? What do we do with our sinful desires? What's the basic strategy of the Christian life?

This whole thing is only one half about homosexuality. Good thing we got a world-view.

With a hyphen

Those who profess an identity (such as, but not limited to, “I’m selfish and don’t want to love children or be ruled by whatever fidelity in family might send my way”) that undermines or contradicts their identity as new creations in Christ, either by denying the sinfulness of fallen desires (such as, but not limited to “I want to surf every Saturday till my knees give out”), or by denying the reality and hope of progressive sanctification, or by failing to pursue Spirit-empowered victory over their sinful temptations, inclinations, and actions are not qualified for ordained office.

[proposed amendment to the Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America]