Amid all the discussion of marriage and ‘alternative’ sexual relationships and the interpretation (or dismissal) of the key biblical texts there is something very often missing from the debate. What is that missing element?
We are blinded from seeing the importance of this by various inter-connected myths:
- Sexual activity is necessary for human flourishing and identity.
- A single person is not whole / fulfilled / valuable without a sexual relationship.
- The cure to loneliness is romance / marriage.
- A single person cannot be deeply loved or experience emotional intimacy without a sexual / romantic relationship.
- Deep love between two people must be romantic / sexual.
- Deep celibate love between people of the same gender is impossible.
These are lies. The perfect man, perfect human – Jesus Christ – was single. Romantic and sexual relationships are not the only place in which we find love, intimacy and fulfilment. Deep love (contrary to Freud) is not always basically sexual. As Christopher Ash argues, marriage is not given as the Bible’s ultimate answer to the problem of loneliness – actually friendship is the great answer. Relationships within the local church and in the context of gospel partnership should be places of intense love (cf. 1 Thessalonians 26-8:8,17,3:1; 4:9-10) and the fostering of deep friendship like that between David and Jonathan.
Resources to stir our thinking:
- I’m a Southern Baptist and I love a man (Chad Ashby, TGC)
- How can you live life without sex (Ed Shaw, Living Out) – and the whole Living Out site
- Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual and The Church (Peter Hubbard, 10ofthose) – reviewed by Tim Challies
- Spiritual friendships: musings on God, sexuality, relationships (blog)
- 12 ways to make (and keep) friends (David Murray)
- True Friendship: Walking through life with your Christian friends (Vaughan Roberts)
- Legal recognition of marriage and the way of Jesus (Paul Blackham) – a provocative article with a long and interesting discussion thread which is a model of good Christian discussion
And extra resources specifically on singleness:
- Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life (Barry Danylak, Crossway) – sample including foreword by John Piper
- Mobile Member Care Team – Singleness – Communique Aug 2010
- John Stott on Singleness (from the very helpful book Singles at the Crossroads by Albert Hus)
- Vaughan Roberts on Singleness