When I first started this blog about a year ago, one of my main goals was to share stories. By nature, I tend to intellectualise a bit and default to sharing ideas rather than stories, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that there’s a deeper kind of learning that happens through embodied experiences and stories. Some learning is more caught than taught: especially the kind of learning that involves character growth and worldview shifts. So I wanted to share with you a story of how my church family taught me about family.
"Do you love him?" "No, we're just friends." "They were 'intimate' with each other." "During lockdown, we were only allowed to visit a person if we had an 'intimate relationship' with them." I’ve been finding that there's a lot of confusion out there about the difference between intimacy and sex. The quotes above show how we often use love/intimacy as a stand-in to describe sexual/romantic relationships as though they are basically the same thing.
I've been thinking a lot about what it means for humans to be embodied people--not just spirits, but people made of physical bodies who relate to each other in embodied ways. I am someone who deeply craves physical touch, and it's been a weird year to think about this stuff during 2020 while touching other people has suddenly gained a whole lot more baggage than usual.
I’ve been [very] single for 25 years. Mostly it’s been a great time and I’ve written about the joys of single life in earlier posts. I will keep on saying that singleness is a good calling worth celebrating more, and when I say that I will mean it from my heart as I experientially delight in the richness and freedom of single life. But alongside all of that, I want to also talk about the hard stuff. I want to name the grief we experience in singleness, the kind of loss that might be so subtle that even we ourselves don’t see it as actual loss.
On Monday I took the day off work and drove to the Glass House Mountains to climb this peak. Despite the relatively easy hike, the view from the top was absolutely magnificent. It was a full 360 view of a steep drop-off on all sides and stunning landscapes as far as the eye could see. … Continue reading Solitude
In my last post I talked about the idea of cultural scripts that tell us how to live and behave: what to aspire to. Cultural scripts embody the virtues a community values most highly. But what do we do when our community doesn’t value things that ought to be valued? What do we do when the cultural script we are handed is inadequate in guiding us to a life of flourishing? I think our culture needs to re-write those scripts.
What does it mean to celebrate? We talk about valuing singleness and single people in the church, but is valuing something the same as celebrating it? What makes a celebration?
If yesterday’s post gave you the impression that being single while stuck at home during a pandemic is fun and games, today I’m here to tell you it’s not. I’m all about celebrating stories of flourishing single people, but I’m also all about honest vulnerability and admitting when things suck. So here are some of the things I’m struggling with that singleness didn’t prepare me for.
As someone who [mostly] identifies as an extroverted people-person, I’ve been extremely surprised to find how much I’m enjoying the self-isolation life. I might even go so far as to say I feel like I am flourishing more right now than I have in years. This has been a bizarre experience to make sense of, especially as I see people all around me struggling with loneliness, anxiety or despair.
I originally wrote this about a year ago in response to a message I received from a colleague asking "How do you do the abstinence?" I'm posting that response here hoping that it might address any similar questions you might have about singleness, celibacy, and my personal religious convictions.