Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Purity, Celibacy, Chastity

Interestingly, I've noticed that the times I get the most hits on my blog is when I discuss adultery. I mentioned this to my Dad the other day, and he was like, "You are probably getting the porno traffic"... Hmmm... Somehow I think this discussion of purity, celibacy and chastity isn't going to register so high on the types of words people search for on google... ;-)

I read this earlier today and have been thinking about David's question about what purity is... I think in Christian circles the word 'purity' has become a synonym for 'celibacy'. The majority of its usage seems to be in discussing with particularly teenagers why they should save themselves for marriage. And in all honesty this discussion is probably surrounded with a fair amount of panic for those on the receiving end, it's the "ahh, man... that's like so harsh! what if I never marry, will I like die a VIRGIN". And that's even if it's not said.

However, I think maybe 'chastity' (monogamous sexual expression with our spouse (i.e. person of the opposite gender to whom we are married)) is a better synonym for purity. I think it's a lot more useful as a definition because it applies to unmarried and married people.

For unmarried people doesn't have the total "you can NEVER have sex, you will most probably die a virgin" connotations that celibacy has. It has lovely promise of future godly possibilities ala Song of Songs (why does nobody preach on SoS??? It'd kill the theology of anyone who reckons God made sex just for procreation or that God thinks sex is dirty etc).

For married people it's a reminder that marriage isn't a get-out-of-jail-free-card for lust. On the Stuff Christians Like blog I remember Jon mentioning with disgust the idea in the book "Every man's battle" that men should use their wives like methadone. His comment being, "if we're supposed to love our wives like Christ loved the church, did Christ ever get a 'fix' off the church?"

In defining chasity earlier, I used the term 'sexual expression' for want of a better phrase, to cover a multitude of thoughts/behaviours. (Much as the NT uses the greek 'porneia' to cover a multitude of sexual sins!) According to the sermon on the mount, the kind of faithfulness in regard to our sexuality that God calls us to in marriage, is that we do not even have lustful thoughts about people to whom we aren't married. So purity--chastity therefore, is total sexual faithfulness to our spouse; thought, word & deed.

WIthin the confines of marriage, have fun with each other, read Song of Songs in The Message if you need some hints... Yup it really does say that IN THE BIBLE...

God bless,

No comments: