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It isn’t fair that some folks remain single when they’d rather be partnered.Loneliness and longing can be meaningful, but usually that transformation from suffering to beauty can happen only if we attempt to live into this one wild life we’ve been given, to look for possibility, to open ourselves to God’s creative presence.[Not what I expected from my interfaith marriage: One teen is Christian, the other Jewish] I offer the example of Jesus not because I think he was likely celibate, but rather because his life demonstrates what it might mean to be both different and beloved, chaste but never cut off.
We’re all called to exercise chastity in a variety of ways, though the details will vary given our individual situations.Plenty of women and men love sex, and need it — we need bodily pleasure, remember — and the abundant life for them will involve seeking out relationships of mutual pleasure.Chastity, or just sex, requires that whether we are married or unmarried, our sex lives restrain our egos, restrain our desire for physical pleasure when pursuing it would bring harm to self or other.Jesus was different and his path was likely puzzling to those around him, even as it puzzles us still today. In church, being overweight and dating feels like a sin.] Singles can yet have intimate relationships. One of the most unfair things the Christian tradition has foisted on singles is the expectation that they would remain celibate — that is, refraining from sexual relationships.Can single Christians find hope in this, courage and sustenance here? No one need be defined by relationship status, or remake themselves to fit into existing social structures and roles. American Christians sometimes conflate celibacy and chastity, too, which is a problem.
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He saw them through the eyes of love, whoever they were.