Once in a while, I get into times of doubting — specifically regarding my choice of celibacy. I know there exists the possibility of marrying the opposite sex but, frankly, I do not see that happening. I used to desire a family, but I have changed all of those plans because of my faith.
Am I an idiot to change my entire life because of my faith? At first glance, it seems a bit ridiculous that I try to resist sexual temptation, or resist the pursuit of a boyfriend, or choose celibacy all because of my faith.
I recently sat at my piano in a melancholic state, reflecting on my life. One area of personal temptation is “emotional porn,” usually some sort of gay romance on Netflix.
I got drunk on this desire for same-sex romance: some guy to sleep with, not just for sex, but for warmth beside me in bed.
Sleeping by myself is one of the loneliest experiences.
I desire a guy to cook dinner for.
A guy to go on long walks with me and hold hands.
As I sat and reflected on celibacy and the loneliness in my life, I thought to myself: I cannot do this. What if I am wrong in my understanding of Scripture and I am suffering for no good reason except for my own stupidity and ignorance?
Some have an “affirming” view of Scripture. I have tried so many times to convince myself of this view — life would be so much easier. But as someone trained in biblical interpretation, I cannot get there.
People approach Scripture with different rules and presuppositions to interpretation. The rules of interpretation determine the outcome of interpretation. In order to have a gay-affirming view of Scripture, I’d have to change my entire framework for interpretation and essentially all of my theology.
I am not prepared to do that.
So, what do I do? Am I just screwed by my faith?
I think I have a faulty presupposition — that the answer to loneliness is a committed relationship like a marriage. After America’s same-sex marriage ruling, one of the Supreme Court justices stated that we cannot condemn LGBT people to a life of loneliness.
The problem with this thinking is that I know plenty of already married couples who are incredibly lonely. Marriage or any committed relationship is not the answer to loneliness.
In times of doubt and confusion, like that one night sitting at my piano, I have learned that there is clarity in Jesus. Jesus defies all standards set by the world around us. We have no doubts that Christ lived the most fulfilled life.
Jesus was single, but not lonely. He had a close knit community with God and friends. He was continually outward focused to the needs of others.
We live in a time when the individual is more important than the collective community, and we close ourselves off to the Lord to follow our own inner law. We are so focused on our own needs instead of the needs of those around us.
After this reflection, I realized that my doubts are not caused by an unfulfilled Christian life; in fact, the Christian life is very fulfilling. But my ideas on relationships formed by culture are very unfulfilling. My lifestyle so often follows the examples set by the culture around us and not by the example of Christ.
If my life was formed after Christ’s example, then my doubts caused by loneliness would not take root.
What do I do now? How do I escape the loneliness? It’s not by getting a boyfriend, but seeking deep authentic spiritual community.
I find it ironic that our culture cares so much about not being lonely, but nearly every aspect of our culture goes against authentic community. Thus, those of us with SSA have to go against the grain of culture for that authentic community.
Do you ever have doubts about choosing a life of celibacy? Do you view a married relationship or a boyfriend as the solution to loneliness? How does the single life of Jesus bring clarity and hope to your life of celibacy?
* Photo courtesy photosbydannyb, Creative Commons.