What Christians Don’t Want to Admit About Celibacy and Homosexuality

What Christians Don’t Want to Admit About Celibacy and Homosexuality

In my last post, I discussed the loss of physical touch in American culture and the role it’s played in stripping gay people (and everyone else) of access to non-sexual affection. Today, I want to talk about an even deeper trend. The decline of social capital.

Celibacy is next to impossible for gays, lesbians, and other LGBT+ folks thanks to the decline in social capital.

There’s an elephant in the room when it comes to LGBT+ issues, and many Christians will never admit it. It’s like there’s this collective fear that if we let the secret slip, then all the hordes of gay people who were going to live a celibate lifestyle won’t buy it anymore. News flash — most of them don’t buy it already.

So I’m just gonna say it: The social landscape of modern America is making celibacy practically impossible.

There. I said it. Celibacy is next-to-impossible. It’s not like gay people don’t know it already. It’s not like everyone doesn’t know it already. And it’s time we came to terms with it. We’ve got to admit the truth before we can change it.

So I’ll say it again. Celibacy is becoming impossible thanks to our declining social reality. And it’s time we did something about it.

The Modern Social Reality

In the past, a variety of social institutions provided us with robust centers of community. From union membership to PTA involvement to even something as simple as joining a bowling league (as Robert Putnam described in Bowling Alone), associations sprang up out of a deeper sense of togetherness in American community. Everyday life provided a context for meaningful relationships to flourish.

But about 70 years ago, Robert Nisbet observed that alienation and cultural disintegration were the outstanding characteristics of contemporary time (check out his book, Quest for Community). He feared that the erosion of American community charted a course to where only the individual and the all-powerful State would remain.

Just one generation later, his words have never been truer.

You can feel it. When browsing through social media photos of people you haven’t seen in 10 years. When spending the day with colleagues whose knowledge of your personal life is limited to the pictures you keep at your desk. Or when giving a stiff smile to the neighbors who pass you by in the park.

Social involvement has drastically declined as more and more people are doing things alone.

Social Isolation + Sexual Liberation = …

The weakening of social connections took place at the same exact time that people became “sexually liberated.” The result was the perfect storm. As communal ties slowly decayed, people increasingly stockpiled their relational needs into “the one.” A significant other who gets to play jack-of-all-trades in the person’s relational life.

Everybody everywhere is now searching for love and no longer finding it apart from romance. Popular articles have headlines like, “Finding Real Love” or “12 Basic Rules to Find Love.” Click on the links, and you’ll discover they’re not really about “love” at all, unless you narrow down the concept of love until it’s unrecognizable. They’re about finding a romantic partner. That’s what “finding love” has come to mean nowadays. Fewer and fewer people have people anymore. Instead, they’ve got significant others whose relational obligations are becoming ever more exhaustive as community continues to wane.

The reality is that erotic love, classically considered to be the lowest and basest of the loves, is slowly becoming the only kind of love that we think about.

Gay People Want the Same Sort of Things That Straight People Want

Here’s the crux of what I’m getting at: we’ve got to realize that gay people are no different than anybody else. If straight people are coping with the loss of community, then so are gay people. If straight people are searching for love in a disintegrating social atmosphere and only finding it only through romance, then so are gay people.

It’s not rocket science, and the LGBT+ community has been more than forthcoming about it. It’s written all over the signs at Pride events, printed on t-shirts, shouted as slogans. “Love is love” – “This is what love looks like” – “Embrace love!” Why do gay people want to get married? For the same reason that anyone wants to get married these days. For love.

Thing is, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a gay person searching for love. We all need love. What’s wrong is a lost culture with such bleak social conditions that we stockpile love into marriage. It’s not just wrong for gay people. It’s wrong for everybody. But that’s the reality of 21st century America. 

Responding as a Church

When it comes to LGBT+ issues, the first and most important concern for the church is not that gay people are getting married. It’s that Christians, including LGBT+ believers, are not finding relational satisfaction apart from marriage and/or romance. Love and well-being are no longer communal endeavors, and vibrant relational connectedness is becoming increasingly esoteric.

While I’m a firm advocate for the celibate lifestyle and remain very committed to a traditionally biblical sexual ethic, there’s nevertheless a hard truth that Christians need to face. Biblical celibacy should never require a greater relational sacrifice than giving up sex. But in today’s relational economy, more often than not it does. When you tell a gay person to be celibate, you might as well tell them to be lonely. It’s the truth we’ve got to admit. The truth we need to change.

Shouting, “One man, one woman!” louder and louder isn’t the answer. The answer involves a careful examination of American community, a look into the reasons why denying the right to marry has become synonymous with denying the right to love, and a willingness to fix these problems, at least within the church. 

Making Celibacy a Feasible Lifestyle in Christian Community

In God’s reality — which is the actual reality — celibacy is more than just feasible. It’s actually preferable. But biblical celibacy depends upon biblical community. This means that before discussions of celibacy will ever become fruitful on a larger scale, Christians need to be willing to address our social condition. At the end of the day, we can’t expect celibacy to be attractive to a gay believer if it’s not even remotely attractive to a straight believer. If you yourself don’t want the product you’re selling, then why are you selling it?

I’ve already discussed a number of ways that the church can begin to address this cultural moment (check out my previous posts). Stop idolizing marriage and the nuclear family and instead start actively defending what the Bible teaches: that the body of Christ is just as important as (if not more important than) marriage and biological connections (1 Cor. 7). Start seeing friendship as a profound embodiment of Christ’s love toward us, equal in profundity to the embodiment of his love through marriage (John 13:34; 15:12-15). Teach Christians to redefine their notion of “family,” no longer as a biological reality but as a spiritual one (Matt. 12:46-50). Get comfortable with displaying affection (Acts 20:37).

To be fair, many churches already have a number of systems in place for building community. Things like small groups, potlucks, programs, classes — the structure is there, but the mindsets need to follow. After all, Jesus did say that people will know that we are Christians by our love (John 13:35). Somehow I don’t think he was talking about romance.

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Savannah
Savannah
3 years ago

I agree with most of your points here. Nearly all of them except the leading one: that this is an elephant in the room. This is no secret and never has been down here in my circles, and I say “down here” because The South. Here I don’t see it as something Christians don’t want to admit. I see it as something they take for granted even more than non-religious friends do: celibacy equals loneliness and lifelong virgins are super strange hermits that are tolerated and pitied. There is SO much pressure on single folks here, male and female, and I couldn’t know for sure of course, but it seems even more so on females, to find that “one” and start the baby making. Why? “Because I don’t want you to grow up and be lonely.” “I’m worried that you’ll miss out on happiness.” True things said to me when it looked like I was being too independent and not dating…cause I don’t. That is true. Haha! It was all meant for kindness but it only further drives home the point that in the culture here my singleness is something I should fear. Celibacy ISN’T a product folks would buy themselves here. It’s like a plague and marriage is athe cure. Even in our literature stuffed with maiden aunts and the like, celibacy doesn’t seem too respected UNLESS the celibate person is waiting in purity on their true love. Otherwise celibate folks are eccentrics you don’t understand who get the sunny chair on the porch and either annoy people with too much talk or are seen and not heard because what do that have to contribute anyways? How does that factor in my church circles with concerns about the spiritual and social health of LGBT+ people? Unfortunately there aren’t many concerns because people in my circles seem to treat LGBT+ Christians like they do single straight Christians–they don’t exist.

I know that was a rant and that it was harsh. Fact is though this is how my church culture has made me and several other singles within it feel. And of course my church is full of sincere people and I’m sticking with them. I think every older and younger generation deals with this: misunderstandings because the times are a-changing. It’s just lonelier down here as the South lags behind everyone as usual. Grandparents and great aunts and even mamas are wondering why the grandkids ain’t married and all the single grandkids are wondering why they think it’s so easy to meet people and make friends when community has all but disappeared. I think everyone would do good to read your thoughts. Marriage has def become an idol and the lack of community has made it a last refuge for anyone feeling that lack and for gay Christians as well as singles who go year after year with no dates and for whom marriage sounds like something that happens in stories and to other people this is super unhealthy. God bless us everyone.

TLDR: I agree but marriage is such an idol in the South that the disdain for celibacy is no secret and no elephant in the room.

Savannah
Savannah
3 years ago

Well by Georgie you’re welcome! Haha! And I understand better now what the “elephant” is. Yes. Since LGBT+ concerns aren’t usually the concerns of people in my church circles I have never had a conversation about gay Christians and celibacy with anyone that I remember down here. But in general if I did they’d probably assume celibacy is a good thing in that specific case and that IS a def double standard.

Meg
Meg
1 year ago
Reply to  Savannah

As a long time married, straight woman I’ve always had very strong boundaries in place regarding friendships with the opposite sex. I think mainly because trust was a difficult thing for me to grasp being raised with abuse so in order to feel secure those are the walls I put up and expected the same from my spouse. It wasn’t until my daughter who recently came out as bisexual asked me the question, “Well who am I suppose to be friends with then?”, that my paradigm shifted.

The issues you bring up regarding our society is also why I think my thinking as a Christian has shifted to being ok with monogamous homosexual relationships. There doesn’t seem to be any place for close, affectionate, non sexual relationships in our current culture. It is hard enough finding a place to fit as a straight single. The feeling of alienation must be profound for LGBT as the very narrow definition of allowed connection within our churches leaves a lot to be desired. Babies die without human touch and connection, yet we expect those who have chosen the life of celebacy to forgo intimacy because it’s seen only through the lens of sexual desire. I do see hope that there will be a shift away from this thinking in talking with my young adult children and their friends. I sometimes think also that the rise we see in open and poly relationships makes perfect sense in a culture that only allows or puts on pedestal eros love as the only true path to intimacy.

As I maneuver this world with a gay daughter and a son who is dating a bisexual young lady, I’m grateful you are writing about these topics as I want to learn and grow. Thank you!

Royal E Magnell
Royal E Magnell
3 years ago

Solid points. I’m not sure the when we had a more vibrant social / cultural scene celibacy was valued any more than it is now, but it’d be a bit more palatable. And it’s certainly not valued now.

Lauren
3 years ago

I think it’s a strong point that, if single straight Christians view lifelong celibacy and singleness as loneliness and misery that they could maybe endure with God’s grace, why do they expect LGBT+ Christians (or even non-Christians) to accept this outcome joyfully? I actually think the answer to this question is that straight Christians who take a strong stance on LGBT+ celibacy are thinking from one these possible foundations: 1) There is no expectation that LGBT+ should feel happy, because they are gay, after all, or 2) LGBT+ people shouldn’t strive to be celibate; they should pray to be straight, and therefore marry and be happy. Of course, there are many Christians who do not have a strong stance on this topic and are very confused as to where their opinions should rest, probably because they have seen the false thinking behind the two, aforementioned mindsets.

Sharon Correll
Sharon Correll
1 year ago
Reply to  Lauren

I see two fundamental problems: (a) Christians view marriage as the source of all love and happiness, and (b) they don’t value their relationship with Christ enough for it to be clear to them that some loneliness and sacrifice are worth a life of peace and fellowship with God. So they aren’t capable of saying with authority that a celibate Christian life is a good thing.

While I agree with the author that the church should be a place where singles find a sense of home, much more than it often it, I’m not sure it’s realistic to think that that more than a minority will not experience at least some sense of loss and struggle. The fact is that MOST people experience grief and suffering in important areas of their lives, but for some reason the struggle of loneliness is perceived as worse than others.

Tristan Foster
3 years ago

Thanks for sharing! I agree. As a gay Mormon, I have to separate doctrine from culture more often than I’d prefer.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago

You have built a life around rationalizing a sinful life choice. My hands and Gods hands are tied in commenting on an article where the founding presuppositions are rooted in a act that Moses and the apostle Paul said were outlawed, both new and old testament.

solidarityblogger
3 years ago

I have been married twice, divorced twice, and share your frustration about the way even in the church we are suspicious of friendship between the sexes. My second wife could not comprehend that I could be just good friends with another woman I knew through a prayer group and the workplace. She couldn’t wrap her head around the idea that I am far more comfortable with women than with men, in no small part because of bullying and because women tend to be more in touch with feelings than men. Almost all of my close friends have been women, none of these relationships have ever been a threat to my fidelity in marriage, and since my second divorce I have become comfortably celibate for the rest of my life it that is God’s will. I would rather have friendship than all the baggage associated with marriage in our culture. And I can tell my friends “I love you” without it ever meaning more than agape without a trace of eros.

Courtney
Courtney
3 years ago

I really appreciate your thoughtful words & agree that the Church is a family & should resemble that in every way! my main issue is that (in this article, at least) it feels like the ethics put forth 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5 are at odds with each other. I think Christians can easily be for celibacy, community, AND marriage/family. since marriage is rooted in creation & because the marriage relationship mirrors the “profound mystery” of Christ & the Church….it should be esteemed. again, thank you for the needed challenge against the status quo in many churches.

Hunter Rasmussen
Hunter Rasmussen
3 years ago

I am really grateful for this post. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone else who has heard of Ed Shaw’s “Same-Sex Attraction and the Church,” besides the person who recommended it to me; originally published in the UK with the title, “The Plausibility Problem,” he spends a book making the points you are so articulately making here. I strongly recommend…anyone read his book. I’ve read several books on biblical perspectives on SSA and whatnot, and this still sticks out to me as my favorite and probably the most important.

ricky jones
3 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this. I agree with every point. So much so that when I planted a church, we made friendship one of our core principles.

I would like to ask you this question because I agree with you. Please do not take it anything more than the desire for an honest conversation. If erotic love is the basest level of love, then is the lack of erotic love reason enough to eschew marriage?

I ask because I regularly meet with and occasionally counsel gay men who are striving to be celibate. In almost every case I come away thinking, these guys would make great husbands, and I know several women who would love to be married to someone like this. When I bring the issue up, they never consider it for long. It seems that the idol of romance has become so dominant, that no one is willing to even consider a marriage without it. Other cultures and generations have had marriages flourish without sex. I don’t see why ours has to be different.

I’m not saying marriage is the answer to every question. And I am by no means discounting anything you have written. But I want more for my SSA friends than bowling leagues and community groups.

Thanks for reading.

Brittany
Brittany
3 years ago

All of this is so impossibly true and I couldn’t agree more! For all Christians, regardless of sexual orientation, if you’re not married, you ought to be waiting and praying for the day you are and if that day never comes, you either did something wrong or something’s wrong WITH you. And I just don’t think that’s the way it should be. Our culture has made marriage and family the pinnacle of life and while they can be very fulfilling, there’s absolutely a lot more to aspire to in life. There’s got to be more than that. I’ve always wondered, in a world where getting married and having children is not only the norm, but expected, where does that leave gay people? Thank you so much for addressing all this! It’s a topic that’s not discussed nearly enough.

Sean Timothy Maguire
2 years ago

I appreciate your attention to this important topic.

Have you read the book “The Gospel Comes With a Housekey” which talks about Biblical Hospitality? I think it is very closely connected to Biblical community.

Tammy
Tammy
2 years ago

It is nice to read something that resonates both intellectually and spiritually. This has been such an intense struggle as I broke up with my long time partner (whom really was the one person in my life I’ve felt most connected to) because I just could not reconcile and it wasn’t fair to me or her or to God even though it was and had always been very a part of my orientation. It’s been a living nightmare since really. Sometimes one stops feeling even human at the core of need and desire. What’s funny is, it’s the emotional affection and authentic conversation, the trust, I miss the most. I also realized that spiritually we would never connect. I need Christ in my life and I made a choice. I would love to hang out with people who understood it at the depth of its reality over the noise but there are far and few that wants to deal with it authentically. Sure, everyone has an opinion, a conviction, a stance – but so do people who suffer through these everyday struggles. And what is even sadder is that the celibate, gay christian community can be such force of inspiration, encouragement and strength for one another if we’d only let it be. What would millions have done without AA? And that is not even in the spectrum of human sexuality! Why do so many fear these bonds even when grace is at the center of it? It isolates, marginalizes and hurts the potential healing that can take place amongst us.

Loved the article, the articulation that is so desperately needed today.

James Matamoros
James Matamoros
2 years ago

Really great points. I have definitely felt the lack of community and disdain for singles throughout my life. I agree it is very unhealthy.

I like Orthodoxy’s views on celibacy and community. I converted from Protestant to Orthodox about a year ago, and one thing that really drew me to it was it’s strong sense of community-you’ve got a spiritual family youre accountable to, you eat together, confess to your priest, and have godparents and even the saints in heaven who are praying for you. Plus, they always revered celibacy. I feel like part of the problem is in the Protestant reformation, the rejection of Catholic ideals went too far. Of course, I can’t say the solution is to convert, but I do like the church I go to now. It would be great if more churches were so loving.

I enjoyed this article though and thought you might too.
http://www.neamericandiocese.org/orthodoxy/celibacy.aspx

Liz
Liz
2 years ago

I’m finding your website to be such a thoughtful place, which I really appreciate – thank you for creating space for real dialogue and for this article which raises really important points, lots of which I’m trying to grapple with in my personal life and find challenging. (For context, I’m writing from the UK but I think there’s overlap in Christian culture).

I definitely agree that the idol of the nuclear family is harmful, and would say that’s true of its impact on those who are married and parents, as well – not just those outside the paradigm. As you mention in other articles, we find our fulfilment in Christ and in keeping in step with the Spirit without reference or comparison to what he’s asking of others (Gal 5:25-26). I know that for me keeping in step with the Spirit includes my calling into heterosexual marriage and motherhood, with all of the opportunities and obstacles to Kingdom-living that this brings. But it’s not limited to that – it also includes work, creativity, authentic friendship, and it redefines all of those things to make them worship. I feel like the sacrifices I make to love my family have to be those that are acceptable to God; sacrifices to be obedient to God’s calling over all aspects of my life. Idolising family life really limits the fullness of life that we have in Jesus and burdens a small number of interactions with impossible expectations.

However, one of the things I struggle with in trying to engage in a range of loving, life-giving relationships and activities is energy. As an introvert, I really need time alone – with my thoughts, with God. These are the places that shape me and help be become my best self, and I fight for them because I see that template in the way Jesus frequently withdrew. (Busyness is another idol I think we need to be conscious of in our culture – being addicted to the status of being stressed and in-demand, the sense of worth/self-importance that we can find ourselves deriving from it.) I love real connection with others, but am learning that I only have so much capacity – and that’s fine, that’s my humanity. So, I do prioritise my family, but not because they’re my family per se, but because I’m trying to be faithful to the things God has called me to. I also prioritise other things and other people as I discern them to be where God wants me. But none of us can (or should try to) be all things to all people, which is why the body is so important because inclusive love needs to be a collective effort.

I also think ease and convenience are other addictions of our time that we need to consciously grapple with, and rediscover the beauty of struggle. I’ve had some really negative experiences as I’ve attempted to deepen my relationships – e.g. an abusive and frightening voicemail left on my wedding anniversary by someone with a complicated background who we opened our home to but who felt slighted by our behaviour on one occasion. I’ve had friendships implode, or just crumble away. I’ve been heartbroken, and I’ve broken other people’s hearts too. But I think we have to learn to glory in sharing in the sufferings of Christ (which surely includes being misunderstood and rejected) and trust that he can forgive us for our shortcomings, heal us, reinvigorate our efforts and make us wiser and more loving with each attempt. We have to trust that He is building His church (Matt 16:18), and He knows all of the many ways to put the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6).

On a practical note, I wonder whether we need to examine our relationship to money and material possessions? The more I explore it, the more it seems to me that being engaged in co-operatives of all kinds would bind us to each other in meaningful ways (i.e. meeting each other’s practical needs through sharing and shared endeavour), allowing for more natural contexts of emotional intimacy and known-ness. Maybe it could even shift some of the earning pressure that means so many of us work such long hours, with barely any leftover time and energy the other aspects of our lives. I’m definitely at the beginning of trying to understand the implications of that and put that shift into practice in my life, but if anyone wants to talk to some people further along the road with this, there are members of Woodlands Church in Bristol UK who have lived together in community houses for years: https://woodlandschurch.net – There’s nothing specific about it on the website, but I’m sure you could get in touch for more information.

Anyway, sorry for the huge comment – the article really struck a chord!

Nick the Geek
2 years ago

I’m going to go ahead and avoid addressing much of what you said. As a straight, white male it’s not something I can really begin to understand enough to address.

However, there is one thing here I want to talk about, “Stop idolizing marriage and the nuclear family and instead start actively defending what the Bible teaches: that the body of Christ is just as important as (if not more important than) marriage and biological connections (1 Cor. 7).”

Based on my opening I worry you might consider how I’m going to attack this. I’m not.

I applaud you for bringing this up. So many in the church in America do make idols of the traditional marriage and nuclear family to their detriment and the loss of community in the church.

I’m married and have 4 children and have been or nearly 20 years.

But I know a lot of “singles” and see how the church is primed to marry them off.

Just yesterday my pastor was making a point in his sermon that really rang true for me. He commented that so many say, “Family first,” but that is against what God said. Only God can be first. Jesus really put it to a head when he called someone to follow him and said, “Let the dead bury the dead” to the excuse that the man needed to bury his family first. In another instance Jesus’ family shows up and he tells the disciples, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers.” Then he established that his family are those who do his will and the will of the Father.

Jeff Huston
2 years ago

You’re on point about everything here. Very well said and observed.

I’m straight but a lifelong single (I’d rather not be, but hey, that’s how things shake out for some). As others have pointed out, so much of what you say resonates for straight Christian singles, too, even if it’s not as compounded for them as it is for a gay Christian.

Things changed for me entirely when I became an Eastern Orthodox Christian over four years ago. Suddenly, me not being married wasn’t strange in the least anymore, or something to be pitied.

There’s a lot of reasons for why that is within the Orthodox culture that I’ve experienced, and one of the most prominent ones is monasticism. The fact that monastics are a part of Orthodox culture, are so revered and esteemed and part of the fabric of the Church, bleeds into the entire culture — including to non-monastic celibates, how they live, and how they’re perceived. I have little doubt that Protestant West’s entire rejection of monasticism is very much at the heart of their dysfunctional relationship with celibacy (even regardless of what kind of cultural or social decline we may find ourselves in, although those things are certainly making matters worse right now).

Esteeming the ever-virginity of the Theotokos (Mary) is also a key to a healthy, reverent, and biblical perspective on celibacy and singleness (for both straight and gays).

Jeff

Chad
2 years ago

This is brilliant and thoughtful and something I hope to share with other straight believers. In my experience, far too many seem to view everything as a theological matter without really caring much about the consequences of their beliefs on people different than themselves. After spending most of my adult years believing same sex acts to be innately sinful, I flipped my views about five years ago to side A. I had felt there was something wrong about how the Church dealt with LGBT issues in spite of wanting to hold to traditional beliefs, and a lot of that is connected to what you write about here about love beyond romance. Just the other day, leaving the church on Christmas Eve, was another reminder of this, as I went away with not just my wife but also my in-laws and my daughter; I wouldn’t have their love if it weren’t first for my wife’s love. Thinking about this five years ago and still today, it does seem to me that the Church often does a poor job providing community for the very people it expects to remain single. (This is to say nothing of churches that think merely identifying as gay or lesbian is itself sinful and still believe in conversation therapy.) While I was and remain convinced enough for my own conscience that God can approve of same-sex romance, the feeling that the Church had dropped the ball in providing for the human needs of gay and lesbian Christians was a big motivator for me in causing me to reexamine my beliefs in the first place. I can’t speak to the experiences of LGBT believers and all the moral and practical issues they face, but I think straight Christians with a traditional sexual ethic have themselves to blame for the changing sexual ethics after failing to give not just LGBT Christians but also young straight, cis-gender Christians reasonable and compassionate answers about what this all means for LGBT persons. I do believe that has been a huge factor in making otherwise traditionally-minded believers change their minds.

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Grace
Grace
1 year ago

This is a really interesting article…I stumbled across it by accident. I’m not married. I’d like to be but so far it hasn’t happened. Church (and finding one) is a strange experience. If you’re not married, after a certain age, the narrative seems to be that you ‘must be waiting’ and so therefore are happy to be either fixed up with any single male (no matter how wildly inappropriate) or to ‘get practice’ babysitting other people’s children. There’s an assumption I’ve got loads of time and spare cash (none of which is true) and don’t get me started on the ‘side hug’….the hug that everyone gives to avoid the teeniest part of their front making contact with yours. ? I’m not angry or upset about it…I get that it’s come from a good place, but the idea that a person is either married or ‘looking’ isn’t helpful, especially to people who are choosing a celibate path. Personally, I’d just like to be treated for who I am, not my marital status. I don’t see it as relevant. I don’t see myself even as ‘single. I’m just not married. That doesn’t have a bearing on who I am as a person.

RebeccaNazzer
1 year ago

Agreed. Though I’m straight, I’m also celibate. My marriage ended due to my husband’s unrepentant infidelities. I don’t want to bring another man into my young children’s lives, and I believe both Jesus and Paul’s words that I will be better off remaining single. I struggle with loneliness everyday. I’ve been very intentional about finding community, but it is difficult. To give credit where credit it due, the community I do have comes from the body of Christ – I’ve had to go to multiple churches/groups to find some here, some there – that’s OK it’s all one body. Still, I feel the isolation everyday. Married people feel it too, but to a lesser extent – until the marriage is ripped apart by porn, adultery, or abuse by one spouse, and the other spouse has no one to support them. Those outside the church feel it too – no more neighborhoods. It’s endemic.

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