Realizations

Philosophy in the Middle of the Desert

Crisis Philosophy October 28, 2014

[as originally typed up on my iphone from 4:30-6am, 101714, after waking from a nightmare, terrified by the disgusting abominations I saw and felt, as if they were really happening]

 

The disgusting, demonic nightmare:
The old, placid doctor talked to his assistant (a pretty, young blonde in a labcoat), as if another routine day on the job:
“Yes, my dear. We’re going to rape you and burn you and chop you up and freeze you.”
The young lady was standing very routinely, but with a sudden look of surprise and confusion. Then two men came up from behind and grabbed her, put her down on the ground, and put a large ice bag on her neck.  She screamed as they started chopping her ankles with a butcher’s knife. But the scene cut right before the blade touched her flesh. And I thought, well that’s a relief the scene was cut, otherwise it would have been inappropriate.
Then I was on a bus and this same scene was playing as a movie on a screen. I was watching it again with the other people on the bus and when it got to the point of chopping her ankles I knew the camera would stop again just in time before the blade cut, otherwise it would have been inappropriate for a public place like that. But there was sitting in front of me a pretty young blonde, similar to the young nurse in the movie, and she turned her head away right before the chop, in horror, unable to watch anymore. Then the movie showed the nurse’s head on the ground next to the opaque freezer box which contained her chopped up body. And that’s when I woke up, full of terror and overcome with disgust at the darkness of that movie. And yet I already said in the dream that “at least it wasn’t inappropriate”, though that same “appropriate” movie caused the girl in front of me to turn in disgust, and was enough for me to wake me up in a terrified panic. What symbolism there is all throughout this dream!

And, as only a dream can do, my mind and heart were suddenly opened, and I could feel the fear and pain that blonde nurse experienced, and all my first world problems vanished. I realized that intense human suffering like that was going on right now in the world; it didn’t end with the Holocaust. And being in that fatal doctor’s office with that nurse, I felt her panicked desperation as she thought “Surely there is someone who can save me! Surely there is someone coming for me, or at least working or fighting to get here and rescue me!”

 

Then this dialog played in my mind while I was recovering from the dream.
Old European gentleman: “Oh come now. Eat. Drink!  Be merry. There is much to do, but there is also a time to enjoy life!”
Neo: “No. You don’t get it. You don’t realize how evil evil is. If you did you wouldn’t be able to put that food down. You would be staying up all night thinking and working to save these innocent people right now. The hand is cancerous and its spreading faster than a venom, but because of the remaining good in it we ignore the bad for a little bit longer, hoping it will get better… Hoping until it’s too late.”
Gentleman: “You can’t just throw away the good with the bad, the baby with the bath water!”
Neo: “But I say, yes!  Throw it out!  Better to enter life with one hand than to burn in hell with both.  The thing that’s keeping this kind of evil active is humanity’s existence. As long as we’re still around there will be immense suffering, because there will always be demons to put evil emotions and ideas in our hearts, and just enough lazy, complacent good people to keep the world good enough, and not altogether bad enough to cut off. Good enough people are the problem. It’s the hardworking man in Iowa who works an honest job and comes back to a wholesome meal with his family and settles in for a night in front of the tv. This is the problem. This is what’s allowing more time for the evil in the world to go on betraying and cheating and lying and piercing and burning. This is what’s keeping the stew just lukewarm enough to not be thrown out.  Oh, you don’t understand the evil that exists!”

God, destroy this Sodom even though there be 10 righteous in it!

 

I think about the horrible, utterly disgusting depravity of this world with its inhuman media, making movies like Human Centipede. Not only are people given opportunities and incentives to let their minds wander to such dark corners, inspired by the dark boundaries surpassed by those before them, but then they invest time and money to not only make their evil imaginations visible, but to put them in other people’s heads, into the minds of people that might not ever think of these evil things otherwise. Such is the cancer of pornography and MTV and Hollywood, who makes inescapable commercials that are literally filled with the same scenes that made movies in the 60’s rates R, and in the 50’s rated X.  And yet most Americans think this is … Wait for it… GOOD!!!  We have been so numbed to the evils of pornography that we have also been numbed to the good of innocence and virginity. Numbed to how good it is seeing a young woman as a soul, created in the image of God, and the beautiful work of art she is within, and thus is our desire to protect her from pain and devaluing numbed. The hardworking family man in Iowa is doing nothing to stop this genocide, but instead embraces it, even if only subtly, and subjects his family to it as acceptable prime time tv!  He is the problem. He is in the way of justice and mercy. He is no better than the passive Germans who kept living everyday life when there was a concentration camp in their backyard. Oh that you were hot or cold, holy or evil, but you are lukewarm, and even though you are not altogether bad you will be thrown out, and cause the rest of us to be thrown out with you.

 

When we were children our eyes were still open to see the gravity of evil and it could make us vomit, but today we have been so numbed to how great this evil is, that instead of vomiting out the poison we laugh at it, ingest it, spread it, and it kills us all. America could very well be the most wicked nation on Earth, for we are a Great Whore seeking out nations to invite to drink our cup of adultery, and so make them guilty also. And as if our rated R movies and pornography and sex slavery wasn’t bad enough, what’s even worse than all of that is that we stamp “In God We Trust” on it. I assure you God doesn’t take that blasphemy lightly.

 

Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is being tortured just as bad as the horrors of the Nazis and their Holocaust.  Like what’s going on in Iraq at the hands of ISIS right now.
If I live a good, comfortable life but someone else is living in Hell as we speak, then may both our lives be snuffed if it stops their suffering; for pain is more tangible than joy. Until then let us fight this horror with whatever time and energy we have left.
I pray God would have mercy on us, as in the days of Noah, and wipe us all out for the sake of the suffering that we have allowed to become this unimaginably horrible. I don’t care about justice, all I care about is ending the pain. With people going through this kind of intense pain right now, how can we do anything but be constantly working to rescue them? I mean, we’re in a state of emergency crisis! Put on hold your job, your marriage, your parenthood! Don’t you dare waste any more time on entertainment and recreation when you could always be doing something to help in the fight against the suffering of the innocent. I know you’d wish people would give up entertainment to fight for you if you were in that kind of pain. If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.
Better to err on the side of righteousness and holiness than on the side of blasphemy, apathy, laziness, lust, and violence.

 

———————–

The next morning I knew I had to do something. And while I’m limited at helping to fight the genocide of ISIS (you can support Voice of the Martyrs as they are actively helping those victims), I knew that there were plenty of horrors happening in my own backyard, and so I signed up to volunteer myself (not just my money) with End Slavery TN. Even if all I can help with right now is sorting papers or doing data entry or writing essays, I’m at least part of the solution to bring relief to the suffering. Even if I can do nothing more than menial tasks right now, so that more active people in the organization aren’t tied down doing them, then I will allow more time/energy/attention to be directed to help the suffering.  In whatever we do, we need to live like we’re really in a state of emergency crisis, because we are.

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Cave of Lusts/Entrance to Paradise December 9, 2012

[written on 112812, with additions on 12812, Jeremiah 9:23-24, Revelation 7: 14b-17]

There is a cave that leads to Paradise.  7 men went in, hoping to come out on the other side.

One man, a coward, left the cave soon after entering, too paralyzed by his worries of the unknown to continue.

In the cave, the 6 found an abundance of the rarest mushroom delicacies in the world, and one man couldn’t help but start eating them.  Upon gorging himself, he grew an unnatural smile and sank to the floor, as the mushrooms had intoxicated him.  As the 5 moved through the cave they came to a wall with a small opening at the bottom.  If they were to continue they would be forced to crawl under it to get to the other side.  Unfortunately, the fat man was too dazed at that point to continue with them.  The group tried pulling him under the wall with them, but he just couldn’t fit and had to be left behind, though they doubted how much further he would have made it even if he could have fit.  But he told them he’d meet up with them in Paradise (though he acted like he was in paradise right now) after he slimmed down in size (as he popped another mushroom in).

Once the 5 all made it under the wall, they found themselves in a tunnel, with what sounded like flirtatious giggling echoing in the distance.  They followed the tunnel towards the noises and turned around a corner to find a band of extremely attractive, nude women.  The 5 moved awkwardly through their midst, trying to ignore eye contact.  But one man couldn’t help at least looking.  He caught eyes with one of them, and soon after was in conversation with her.  The tunnel opened up into a large cavern, but the lecher stayed behind, already being caressed by the women, saying that he would follow them shortly.

The 4 saw the flickering of light bouncing off the cave ceilings up ahead and entered into an elaborate treasure room.  After being amazed by the vast treasure, the group continued, coming to a small ledge that they had to climb over.  But one man shouted “Paradise indeed!” and, finding a treasure chest, filled it with as much gold as he could and planned to follow them out the other side.  However, the rich man could barely drag his heavy chest, and certainly couldn’t lift it over the wall.  They figured he’d figure out the futility of his plight and soon follow them.  He never did.

It looked like whoever had owned the treasure room also had an armor room.  The 3 stepped into a room lined with great, metal armor and powerful weapons.  They thought this would prepare them for whatever lay ahead in the other rooms, so they suited up and grabbed one big weapon each.  However, the only exit they could find was a small, dimly-lit hole towards the top of the far wall.  As they tried climbing the wall, they soon realized how difficult it was to climb with all of their heavy accessories.  2 men, giving up on trying to juggle the weapons in their hand while climbing, threw them to the ground and were able to climb much easier after that.  However, once they reached the hole, they couldn’t fit through with their armor and were forced to jettison it.  Meanwhile the strong man below was still struggling to even climb on the wall, not willing to give up his means of power.

The 2 fell with a crash down into another room, much lower than the previous one had been, and were bruised.  After a few minutes of recovering, they noticed a hole in the ground.  While light made their current room at least dimly visible, this hole below was pitch black.  As the one man sat on the edge preparing to climb down, the other man blasted him.  “What! Are you crazy?  You saw how far that last drop was, and that was through a dimly-lit hole.  This hole has no light at all!”  “Well, it’s our only shot of reaching Paradise.”  “Well, who really said this cave leads to Paradise in the first place?  I’m starting to think it was all made up.”  “Believe what you want; I’m going for it.”  “You fool!” said the smart man.  “It’s common science that if there’s no light then there’s no other exit down there! You’ll fall to your death or get stuck with no one to save you!  This was fun and all, but it’s time to go back.  Was the life we had so bad anyways?  Not even paradise is worth this.”
“Say what you will.  I’d rather die trying to get to Paradise than be stuck in the Hell we were in before.”

With that, the last man slipped into the black, bracing himself for whatever lay below.  In the darkness he hit a rock which rolled him into another rock which rolled him into another rock and there he lay, in the darkness, in the silence.  After coming to, and somewhat in pain from the fall, he balanced himself to his feet.  There was darkness all around him as he felt around the cavern room for anything.  He thought that maybe the 2nd man had been right.  Then his eye caught a tiny beam of light coming out of a small hole in the wall, only the size of a needle’s eye.  The light danced around with wild colors, and as he pressed his eye up to the hole he could see glimpses of Paradise on the other side — green pastures and still waters — accompanied by cheerful voices and laughter.  Prying himself away from the hole and its bliss, he began frantically feeling the wall for a door or some kind of exit, as if his separation from Paradise had set him on fire.  He felt nothing.  The room around the hole was completely bare, with no ledge or anything to climb on.  With fury did he pound his fists at the hole, trying to break it open to the other side.  Futile.  Finally, he dropped back into the darkness to his knees, helpless.  There in the dark silence he could hear weeping and gnashing of teeth from his former companions in the previous chambers above, held in bondage by their lusts.

Yet here was this righteous man, who forsook all those temptations in pursuit of God and still couldn’t make it.  He was no better off than they.  In his depravity, the self-righteous man cried out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Suddenly there was a crash, and the needle-sized hole broke open, filling the room with phantasmagoric light.  Another crash against the wall and the hole opened more.  Then, with a 3rd crash, a sheep from the pasture burst through the rock, bruised and bloody from the struggle, and collapsed, dead at his feet.

It would be the easiest door he’d gone through of the hole experience.  But it was even easier than that.  He didn’t even get the chance to step forward before he was escorted out by a shepherd from the other side.  He had seen the sheep rush over, hearing the man’s crying from within the cave.  But the shepherd was content to have this new man take its place in his flock, saying to him, “I will guide you to springs of the water of life: and God will wipe every tear from your eyes.”

Which part of the cave are you stuck in?

//

 

Sociosuicide August 23, 2012

[as written from 81611-6412, with additions and editions on 82312]

 

When first talking to my Dad about the possibility of going part-time to focus on music and life he said, “Don’t do that!  You’ll go through Hell!”  What, as if this is paradise?  Maybe I have to go through Hell to find out what paradise is.  Otherwise I may be in paradise right now thinking it’s Hell all the time.

 
You can survive without money, but there’s no point in surviving if you don’t have time.

 
Why waste the best years of your life?  Why spend the prime of your life confined to a cube, not even taking advantage of your young, energetic, healthy body?
Waste the prime of life slaving to save up money for the end of life when your body’s too achy from all those years of slaving to really enjoy it.  Work during the only years when you could actually be adventurous and do anything you want, only to retire when your outings are confined and safe.  I say the exact opposite: retire while you’re still young and work when you’re old.

 
It’s not like a job is going to be anything too physically-challenging for someone in their 60’s.  Especially since by the time I’m in my 60’s everything will be copy-and-pasting on computers anyways, so I’ll be confined to a cube (just like an old person would be in a retirement home) and clicking mouses all day (just like an old person would be doing anyways, playing solitaire and surfing the web).
Slave your whole life away and by the time you can finally retire you’re too old and achy and fragile to do the things you would do if you were younger.

And sadly you have to factor in the possibility that you wouldn’t even live long enough to retire (especially with the age of retirement getting pushed back), in which case your whole existence was all about school or working since you were like 5, and then ended before your life could be known for anything other than that.  What a shame it would be for you to invest all your time in a job, just longing for the day you retire, only to randomly get killed by a drunk driver at the age of 60.  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you.  Then whose will all these things be which you have acquired?’” [Luke 12:20]

I wonder if an old man on his death bed would be happy he played it safe his whole life, giving up the risk of adventure for the mediocrity of comfort and security?  I doubt it.  After all, he still dies just like the man who dies while mountain climbing or sky-diving.  What does it matter at that point how you die?  And though the latter died sooner, who had a more fulfilling life overall?  You’re going to leave this earth one way or another; you might as well go out with a bang!  And live a more exciting life until that bang comes (if it ever does indeed come).

 
“Stand by and see the salvation of our God.”

 

Whereas on our first trip to the new city I was yelling “Livin’ the dream!  Livin’ the FLIPPIN’ dream!!”  Now I somberly mutter under my breath with reverence “Living the dream.”  Do I have cold feet?  Of course I’ve got cold feet!  But I choose to force those cold feet forward.  I don’t wake up everyday with such a strong conviction of faith so as to meditate on every one of my problems until I have peace about each one, but I do have an over-arching faith that says “I’m scared about these circumstances I’m going through, but I know God will make it all work out in the end one way or another.”  And so my act of faith isn’t staring at my fears in the face and laughing at them, my act of faith is to not think of them at all and trust that God’s plan isn’t dependent on me having faith about each one, but instead having faith that he’ll make it all work out, and it’s not going to help anything by me thinking about them.  Even if my goal is trying to muster faith against each problem individually, chances are if I think about a problem I’ll unavoidably worry; so why even think of them?  My act of faith is to keep flying by the seat of my pants, not paying attention to the details (lest I worry), and trusting that God will make me land where I’m supposed to.

 

[This is something I had to learn from going through major depression during the struggles with my band’s old drummer.  It seemed that he would be quitting the band (which for me was ultimately a sign that my dream of music wouldn’t work out and everything I’d banked my life on was a mistake), and so I was stressed, depressed, and anxious as I was forced to wait for him to get his act together and figure out what he was doing.  The mood of every day hinged on what kind of response I got from him.  Then one day he randomly just hit us with the news that he was moving out of state, which had nothing to do with the band but had to do with family issues, so it was completely out of our control.  That’s when I realized that all this time I was trying to fix the situation and manipulate it to work out in my favor, but in the end the outcome was completely independent of me, and I couldn’t have influenced the situation one bit.  The outcome was still going to happen regardless of me.  I had the realization that instead of spending that month in depression, stress, and anxiety, I could have simply not cared or thought about the situation at all, and instead chilled out and enjoyed life for a month, and the result would have been exactly the same!  …only in the second scenario I would have had a much better month of my life.]
“Stand by and see the salvation of our God.”  For some reason, in times like this, a verse will just randomly come out of my inner being, and the same verse keeps coming over and over (as was the case when I was nervous about talking to Mike Minter on the phone and the line “Why do the nations rage when their king is on the throne?” kept coming to me all week).  This particular line is one that got into my head from one of Minter’s sermons referring to Moses’ statement when the people were dead-ended by the Red Sea (the specific wording I think is a combination with Isaiah 52:10, after being recently amazed by Rich Mullins’ song “52:10”).  Just as in the past when God had everything fall into place miraculously and amazingly, even now I’m seeing the pieces coming together and all I can do is keep going, awaiting the miraculous as in the past, and say “Stand by and see the salvation of our God.”  May I fall into place, and then stand back and be amazed at the puzzle You have made!

//

 

America = Fake February 20, 2012

Filed under: The American Dream — milesprowers @ 1:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

[first inspired sometime in 2011, but all written on 21912]

If I had to sum up America in one word it would be…… fake.

A fake country with a fake government run by fake politicians ruling over fake people with fake bodies running on fake energy working fake jobs to spend fake money on fake food and entertainment, but it’s all good because on Sunday you get to go to a fake church and hear a fake message about a fake religion from a fake pastor with fake worship and fake prayers to a fake God. Wow.

In other words… America is a fantasy-land nation living like life is good while most other countries are starving. Yet we don’t have the money either, we’re just taking out loans to live like it. The only reason we have any money at all is because our government has taken out loans and given that money to us. And so we have money that isn’t ours that we get from working in cubicles, riding the fumes of caffeine that our body has become dependent upon, hitting buttons all day that increases numbers in the cyber-world, buying and selling digital concepts like stocks. And after sitting down all day pressing buttons in a box inside an air-conditioned, florescent-lit bigger box we walk 20 feet and sit down again in our car which takes us to another box (that we bought with money we don’t have) where we walk 10 feet and sit down the rest of the night isolated from the world and eat food someone else made for us that delivered to our house, all the while staring at a square that persuades us of a fake reality until we fall asleep. And then we do it all over again. And again. All the while increasing our loans. Alone with a loan. Using plastic to pay for plastic surgery and plastic houses, as plastic politicians with plastic personalities and plastic messages tell us to keep doing it, because that’s what the plastic government takes out loans to pay them to do so our plastic will keep swiping. And we the people vote it to stay that way, because that’s the way we want it. But this is fun! This is the life! Oh, and we’re a “Christian” nation, though no one really believes in it.

But why shouldn’t the government be that way, when that’s how its people are, which make up the government and represent the people? “We the [fake] people”. I was thoroughly disturbed the other night as I heard a speech straight from the top of the DIA who said that it’s too late for America. He said the next president cannot fix it. America will no longer be the world’s superpower in the coming years. People have been paranoid about America’s collapse for hundreds of years, predicting the end as a consequence for anything they don’t agree with. But one prediction is 100% sure: we are closer to it now than at any other time in American history, than any of the times of those predictions (because after every one of those predictions America came out from the smoke every time). But if people were freaking out in the 60’s when the debt was in the billions, they had all the more reason to in the 90’s when the debt was over a trillion dollars. I mean, a trillion is an unfathomable amount of money! A trillion seconds ago there was no life on this planet. How much more now when the debt is increasing exponentially at several trillions a year!!! If nothing else, we are one day closer to the end than we were yesterday.

The thing that’s most dis-heartening is that it could be fixed. It could be fixed soon. With the brilliance and skill and resources and annual gross income of America it isn’t impossible to pay it all off in a few years. But no one would be up for that. No one would let go of their possessions or freedoms for a moment without a fight and lawsuits and insurrection first. No one would give up the American Dream, even if it was to save the American Dream itself. “That’s their problem. It’s not my fault we’re in this mess. Stinks to be the next generation that will have to sell their freedom to pay off the debt. As for me I’m living the dream while it’s still an option, even if it’s at the expense of my children not getting to live it.”

As it turns out, the thing America is known for is the very thing that is rapidly killing us: pride. America takes pride in its pride. Proud to be an American.  But don’t people get that pride is the worst sin of them all? The Bible says pride is what caused Satan to become the greatest enemy of all time, and it’s the main sin charged against the stereotype evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s the main thing Jesus railed against on Earth and said kept a person out of Heaven (Luke 18). Because pride is taking the place of God, that’s why it is the worst sin. Yet it’s in all the commercials and Olympics and Super Bowl and TV shows and concerts and YouTube. Pride = America. It puts America on the same level as Sodom and Gomorrah. But every single person in America already knows this, because everyone knows the infamous slogan “Pride comes before a fall,” and so it’s no surprise to us. Everyone knows what’s coming, but we keep on living the dream, hoping that someone else will fix our problems and cut us a break. We can’t stop. Not only are we headed for destruction, but we ourselves are racing there. We are addicted to nihilism. We are ferociously sawing the limb we’re sitting on. So that’s our fate. We see the dead end coming and don’t see a way out, saying, “So be it. Might as well enjoy it while I can.” Rather than experience the pain of losing a limb we choose death.

As the DIA man said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” All 15 trillion of those dollars will have to be payed. By someone. Someone will have to take a hit. Someone will have to voluntarily lay down the only life he will live and the only chance to pursue his dreams so that someone else can pursue theirs. Or else they’ll be forced to, like in the Great Depression. Kids during the great depression weren’t saying, “When I grow up I want to be a fire-fighter.” You got whatever job you could scrounge for. It stinks for all those talented athletes and artists in the 30’s who didn’t get the option of having a career they loved, unlike all the other American generations before and after them. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is. It’s not fair that you have to be the generation that gives up your career ambitions and possessions so that later Americans can have them. It’s especially not fair that you’re paying for the mistakes of big businesses, the greediness of Wall Street, and the natural ups and downs of the economy. But either we suck it up, stop pointing fingers, forgive, and all sacrifice together for the good of America’s posterity or …………… America dies.

[Yes, I used 15 dots.]

There’s no fair solution. As mere finite mortals there’s no way to perfectly judge and extract from each individual exactly what they owe, especially since no one thinks they’re to blame. Better to give up money voluntarily than be taxed by force, especially when it’s going to a good cause like saving America. As opposed to the only other alternative of holding onto your money right now and becoming enslaved to another nation again, when you’ll lose it anyways, but having to be enslaved first. Everyone will take a hit, but the sooner we take a hit the better, while there is less to hit. Might as well go ahead and take a hit now while America is still a country and you still have a job. People will lose jobs and people will lose money, that’s not an option. The only option is whether that loss comes through freedom or slavery, choice or force?

My advice: Stop charging, start paying. Stop buying, start saving. When you buy, buy American, and withdraw enough real cash to survive for a while. Otherwise it’s all fake, digital IOU’s stored in a cyber bank that will be wiped out with one delete key or the pull of a plug (as already happened once). Move close enough to your job that you can ride a bike, or move in with your family and friends. Buy enough storage food to last you for several months, and learn how to survive without electricity. Aka learn how people have been living all along.

Or maybe we could just sell Alaska to Russia for 15 trillion dollars and then it’d just be the Alaskans’ problem, and then we can still get that new car we are going to take out a loan for. But then in a few years we’d be back to 15 trillion dollars in debt and have to sell Hawaii to China.

//

 

Living Sacrifices November 9, 2011

[This and the following Living Sacrifices parts written from 61511 – 112511]


Genesis 1:27
– God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created them. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. But then man sinned against God and God left the Earth. The Earth, now separated from its creator’s direct presence, became cursed. Instead of being “very good” it became imperfect, and then bad, and then very bad. Yet some men still tried to take up their calling and fulfill their purpose of worshiping God, taking care of the Earth, and living the life God created them to live (fulfilling their good human desires and thus taking part in God’s pleasure of creation and life). And in those simple times it was enough to satisfy God. Good men lived good lives and were blessed in life. Bad men lived bad lives and eventually died, and that was it. But it still wasn’t like God intended it, and so God sought to restore his relationship with man (the main point of the creation).

Acts 17:30:Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

So it was that God made the Old World with its Old Covenant to pass away and he introduced a New Covenant which ushered in a New Age. But this new age wasn’t a new world, but rather simply a preparation for the New World, in which Shalom (perfect earthly harmony) would be restored to Earth and God would once again live alongside man as originally intended. As the old age was ushered in with God himself on earth walking alongside man, so was the new age instated with God himself walking alongside man, except this time God came to Earth in the form of a man, whom the world knows today as Jesus. And Jesus changed everything.

Whereas in the beginning God said, Enjoy life to the fullest, now he said, Live for a transcendent cause beyond this life, sacrificing your life for the sake of others. Before he said, Be fruitful and multiply, now he was saying, Take in the widows and orphans, and if anyone can remain single he should, for the end is near.

He said before “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.” (Ecc. 5:18 & 9:7)

Now he gave man a divine mission saying, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:15)

Instead of Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die, it was “They will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.(Matt 24:9).

Jesus turned everything upside down in this new age, and his followers followed suit. His disciples actually acted like the end was near: quitting their jobs, leaving their families behind to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth preaching the Gospel.  Even the ones who weren’t traveling sold their possessions so as to use everything in their power to prepare the world for the end. All their time, all their talents, and all their treasure. Aka the exact opposite of the American Dream, which more or less reverts back to a Christianized Old World mentality of “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die and go to Heaven.”

Christianity was a radical, revolutionary philosophy and way of life. It wasn’t acceptable to society back then and it isn’t acceptable in our modern-American church society either. The New Testament I read implies we should all surrender everything we have to live as living sacrifices, sacrificing everything we have to speed the Great Commission and hasten Christ’s return. Keep nothing for ourselves except that which equips our ministry, use the rest of our money to fund other ministries. Recognize that God owns everything, so everything that we have is only what God has chosen to loan us–talents he will one day come to collect, expecting at least interest. (Matt 25)

I haven’t taken a vow of poverty, mainly because Christ advised us not to make vows, but it is my conviction to live a life of “moderate poverty.” I still have a car and a computer and spend money on things that work towards my calling, but that’s it. I feel that as Christians we have no place to spend our money on anything that goes beyond necessity. Absolutely no vanities. Cut out expensive vacations, nice jewelry (including engagement rings), movies, cable, music, and restaurants from your budget.  Of course some times going out is almost as cheap as buying something at the store and making it at home(and more conducive to your schedule); and sometimes (such as when travelling) you don’t have means of cooking.  Restaurants are especially hard to avoid because people assume everyone goes out to eat and so I’m always invited to restaurants, which gets awkward constantly declining and you don’t want to disrespect people or miss out on opportunities to “fellowship in the gospel” with them.  So my rule is that I don’t go out to eat unless it’s really cheap (like $2), it’s my only option, or it’s for a special occasion (which includes evangelistic opportunities).  I would even go so far as to not invest much in retirement, since it’s a gamble anyways, because you could die tomorrow (unless of course you could designate your unused retirement funds to a ministry).
Of course there’s no way to make it all cut and dry because there are gray areas. Such as when it seems I “need” something to make my ministry as effective as possible– in my case I feel called to reach people through music (which can be more expensive the more effective you want it to be). But the bottom line is that as Christians we cannot afford the time or money to have lives of vanity.  Even when it comes to our necessities we shouldn’t indulge in luxurious necessities. We need food to survive, but we don’t need the best-tasting food to survive. I challenge people to buy generic brands of everything. It will never be as good as the real thing, but that’s the price you pay for being a Christian (an incomparably smaller price than what God payed for you). I’ve heard it said that it’s not how much you spend that counts, but how much you have left.  In the story of the poor widow’s offering, Jesus said her last 2 pennies were more than all the other donations combined.  (Mark 12:41)

How much money would you give to save someone’s soul from Hell?

$1,000?  $1,000,000?  The answer should be, of course, “All of it.”  Well, believe it or not, this option actually exists.  You can pay to save souls by funding missionary work and child sponsorship, which presents the gospel in the most persuasive of ways and will inevitably save souls. So how much of your salary should you give towards the Great Commission? All of it.  That’s not to say you give away all your money and have to dig through the dumpsters (that you live in) to find food. The healthier you are mentally and physically the more effective you are in The Great Commission, and the more effective you are at making money which can fund The Great Commission. Your specific calling will determine how healthy you should be or how much effort you put into your job, so as to not hinder The Great Commission by being too healthy or too hard of a worker.

Do not waste any of your time. Even in obeying the sabbath to rest don’t waste your time. Rest by reading literature to strengthen your spirit and meditation to stay close to God and hear from Him. If you’re too tired to read or pray then sleep or rest to get as much rest as you possibly can so that you’ll have all the more energy during the week to be active every day, draining your life and pouring it out as a drink offering. Do not watch TV for the purpose of being entertained only; only watch TV if it is spiritually-edifying somehow. If you desire entertainment then be entertained in a spiritually edifying way, aka fellowship with other believers in godly community, encouraging and sharpening them. Laugh at the things God would laugh at and let the joy and love of Christ which comes from fellowship of believers abound, which is greater recreation than any pop culture. Otherwise what good is entertainment or recreation if it doesn’t help progress God’s will?  It is just a waste of time that could better be used fulfilling the Great Commission, even if it’s incrementally. If you find spiritually-edifying recreation to not be entertaining then you need to change. Your senses have been so numbed by their over-stimulation from this over-indulgent society that you can’t even enjoy the basic pleasures of life, you can’t enjoy the things that were created to please you.

When you’re on your death bed, what will you wish that you had done with your life?

The way I see it is like this: Every single thing that you do in your life will affect the ultimate number of souls who go to Heaven or Hell. Through a spiritual butterfly effect something as simple as a disgruntled comment to a stranger you’ll never see again (who at least assumes you are a Christian) can turn that stranger against Christ by giving them a bad impression of Christians in general and thus Christianity, so that they are more likely to avoid it altogether. Their impression creates a subconscious instinct that guards them from being offended again.  Once they are hardened against it, they go on living their life subconsciously discerning reality around them, but now they lean towards anti-christ explanations and are progressively built-up to explain away Christ. Oh, that not one person would go to Hell because of us!

Therefore, every single thing that you do needs to filter through Christianity. From the first thing you do in the morning to the last thing you do at night. From the way you dress, the way you communicate, how you make money, who you associate with, etc. If you’re too tired, get more sleep. If you don’t have enough time/talent/treasure then cut out the things in your schedule getting in their way and put new things in your schedule that increase your time/talent/treasure for the ministry. If you’re not good at speaking then work on what you are good at. If you’re ignorant on apologetics, learn them now. Stop reading this and go learn it so that you can “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (Peter 3:15) And set up barriers in your life to prevent “the cares of this world” from stealing away your time/talent/treasure.

What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor. 7:29)

 

Living Sacrifices: Celibacy, pt. 1 – Paul’s Reasons for Celibacy/Marriage?

THE LOGIC BEHIND CELIBACY

*My main goal behind writing a persuasive argument in favor of celibacy is most pointedly (and most realistically) to simply open the average Christian’s mind to the option of celibacy for their consideration. And by using the 2 things we already trust in (divine revelation and logic) to support that option I hope to prove that it’s actually not radical or weird. Not to brainwash you with propaganda so as to join my ranks, but to show you what the Bible has clearly stated about it for 2000 years. Not to encourage you to join some kind of faith-based cult by tugging on your hearts, but to let you see that celibacy in general resonates with our innate sense of logic, so as to seem even more logical than marriage.*

Persecution
I’ve heard it argued that Paul was specifically talking about his era when referring to staying single because of how extreme the “present distress” was (1 Cor 7:26). But at the time Paul wrote that the persecution hadn’t even reached the peak it would in later years. And if he referred to the future, then was he only referring to until the 4th century when Christianity stopped being persecuted in the Roman Empire? Is that when Christians started marrying suddenly? So now that we’re not living in “present distress” in our country is it suddenly okay to live carefree lives, marrying and living comfortably in our pursuit of happiness like in the Old Covenant? Those early centuries of persecution were no doubt terrible, but were they anymore extreme than the persecution still going on right now in the world?

I wonder if the fact that we’re not personally being persecuted means we’re not living like we’re supposed to. How can we justify living a life of leisure when our brothers in the world are STILL living in persecution like the early church? Shouldn’t we forsake the excess resources which afford us a luxurious lifestyle to turn our lives and resources toward the alleviation of current persecution? If we did this we would feel the effects of persecution personally.

But really what does persecution have to do with celibacy anyways? I suppose it’s because a wife could do more harm than good in a persecution-inclined culture where your responsibility as a husband could collide with your responsibility to the ministry– as portrayed in the following joke:

What do you call a missionary’s wife in the 10/40 window? A bargaining chip.

My point is just that the logic behind celibacy goes far beyond persecution. Are the people right now who are being persecuted like the early church called to celibacy more than we? No, I think the point of Paul advocating celibacy is because the end is near. We don’t know when it is and so we need to live as if the end is tomorrow. And if the world’s ending tomorrow why would we get married, and especially have kids? Is that what Jesus advised us to do? No, just the opposite! He actually spoke woes to them that do, as he said in Matt. 24:19: “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!” He doesn’t encourage people to keep living life like it’s always been, but instead to stop and prepare for the end. “Yeah, but people have thought it’s the end for thousands of years.” Wow, do you so quickly take the side of those “mockers in the last days” who say “Where is this second coming?” It’s that conviction of the end being nigh which continues to push the gospel ever forward despite the dangers.  Without that we wouldn’t have even gotten this far.

For “…they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” –Matthew 24:38-39

Lack of Self-Control
Personally speaking, most of the time I don’t struggle with lust and romantic longing, but occasionally I do.  And in those times I‘m shaken to my core, to the point I would consider throwing away all my commitments, calling, and logic for companionship.  For what’s the point of celibacy if you’re too depressed to be productive–which was the whole point of being celibate?  Those times when I have given in to romance are easily the worst parts of my whole life; nearly all the valleys in my life’s vicissitudes are the direct result of romantic deprivation.  But it’s important to note that these valleys almost exclusively come after being around women which arouse a desire in me which I don’t want to fulfill.  It’s not being by myself that makes me lonely; it’s the angst of being without something I suddenly desire that so greatly depresses me.  I think if I were distanced from women (and romantic allurement) and had friends/family with me to keep me from loneliness (through accountability/fellowship) I would still struggle just like everybody does (priests, monks, apostles), but not enough to consider marriage as my calling.

You may think, “If he were really called to celibacy then he wouldn’t struggle with it.”  But doesn’t everybody struggle with it?  Isn’t that the way we were originally designed so as to populate the Earth?  All I know is if the Bible says Jesus was tempted in every way then surely he was tempted by the most tempting of human desires (romance and sex).  And if Jesus was tempted, of course a mere mortal like Paul would be, too.  I don’t see why Paul’s thorn in the flesh wouldn’t have been something like the temptation of those intense romantic or sexual passions he fought against yet still couldn’t shake.  I know during my past (and current) crushes I’ve begged God more than 3 times to take it away (to no avail I might add).  And yet Paul’s own romantic and sexual temptations weren’t enough to persuade him toward advocating marriage; it was in spite of them that he encouraged celibacy. Paul and the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 16) are the only people in Scripture I can think of whose call to celibacy was clearly, biblically-ordained, and yet if even Paul (the main advocate of celibacy) struggled against those temptations then why wouldn’t we also (who would be blessed to become even half of what Paul was)?  The struggle isn’t a clear indicator of your calling.

Is molestation at the hands of priests a sign that God never intended people to be celibate?  I don’t think so.  Maybe it’s a sign that we weren’t intended to make vows of lifelong celibacy.  Because it would have been better for those men to have been married all along than to be set apart to God only to end up burning with passion anyway and that passion being forced to manifest itself through a perverted outlet.  I think it’s these situations Paul is referring to in 1 Corinthians 7:9 which justify marriage.

You get the impression from reading that passage that the only thing Paul considers worthy to justify a marriage is lack of self-control (as if you would inevitably sin more without marriage to legalize your lustful thoughts and actions).  But is he justifying the lack of self control itself?  Isn’t this just a cop-out for sin?
“I have the choice between surrendering every area of my life to Christ’s discipline or giving in to my lust by justifying it with marriage?… That’s a no-brainer!”
That’s kind of like justifying your gambling problem because you donate the money you get to missions.  You don’t do anything to fix your self-control problem, but just get married only to find out later that your burning passions are too large to be righteously satisfied in marriage, and now you’re tempted by sins worse than the fornication you were tempted with before marriage.  Marriage won’t cure a lustful heart.

I used to think (as most men do) that living a lust-free life is not possible, it’s just part of a man’s daily life.  And I freely confess that I still struggle against my day dreams and wandering eyes (sometimes giving in), but I also confess that I know what it’s like to be broken free from the bondage of lust, and it’s so much better than any temporary ecstasy that has such addictive baggage.  I can only speak for myself, but God in his amazing grace allows me to break free from lust and then sustains me for extended periods of time (see my essay, “How To Overcome Lust“).  In those anti-lust streaks I don’t mean that I simply refrained from having sex or making out or looking at porn or masturbating, what I mean is I never even entertained a lustful temptation in my head!  I’m hesitant to even share that lest I be judged as being prideful, or lest people say “That’s a clear sign you’re called to celibacy; as for me I could never do that so I must not be.”  But I share that for the sake of telling you firsthand from experience that, in a society where Christians don’t really think it’s possible not to lust, it IS possible, and I don’t think escaping the sin of lust should be anyone’s determining reason for getting married. Sex will fade, and then what’s left in your marriage if that’s the main thing that brought you two together?

Lust is what keeps us on the same level as animals, and keeps us from being on the same level as angels.

And so people say, well, I struggle with lust so I must be called to marriage.  But Paul’s not saying marriage is for people who simply struggle with lust, but rather people who can’t control themselves enough to not have sex and commit fornication.  It’s better to be married than to sin by having sex outside of marriage.  This justification is for the people who know their extreme tendencies and are smart enough to recognize their weaknesses and beat them to it. Though I think a sex-based marriage will always be less successful than a ministry-based marriage of people who developed self-control before getting married.

 

Living Sacrifices: Celibacy, pt. 2 – Love vs. Romance vs. Calling

Filed under: Celibacy,The American Dream — milesprowers @ 10:06 pm
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Love vs. Romance
[I think it’s important to point out the difference between love and romance. You don’t love your family the same way you love your girlfriend; the latter would be considered romance. So rather than risk any confusion when referring to love, I will always refer to romantic love as “romance” and never just “love”, as is the common use in our culture.]

I’m always amazed by the people who freak out at me as if by my denial of romance I’m thwarting God’s plan for my life and passing up the mate God wants me to marry. As if life is a game where you have to play all your cards right or else you screw up and you’re accidentally off track the rest of your life. And how is it that I screwed up? By analyzing my life and earnestly seeking out how best to serve God instead of just giving into my selfish desires on a whim like the godless American majority? If anyone would hear God’s call for marriage wouldn’t it be those who surrender to His will and open their ears to hear from Him? If we are celibate because we honestly feel it’s God’s will, then we will marry when we honestly feel it’s God’s will. If it’s God’s will He would make it so, change the circumstances, change our hearts, and those of our soul mates, to bring us together providentially, not through eHarmony or dating every girl you see at church. It’s in His hands, any other way is faithlessness, out of fear and out of His will. There’s times and seasons in our lives, and God changes us according to our best fit in reaching the world. But at the same time there weren’t “times and seasons” in Paul’s life, and we must live with that resolve until God tells us otherwise.

I think of romance like hard drugs.  Romance is something you find physically tempting because of its promise to pick you up from your neutral-to-depressing existence and put you on cloud 9 in an experience of emotional ecstasy.  Once you give in just a little bit and have that first taste, your system is completely transformed to revolve around it.  It’s all you can think about, all you care about.  It immediately detours your plans for the day all the way until the day you die.  All your previous ambitions and decisions are immediately thrown out the window and replaced with attempts to get another taste.  Yet neither are necessities for living.  Neither help you physically or spiritually.  And in fact they do harm to your potential and that of the Great Commission as they throw away your time, talent and treasures.   Any spare time you have is spent thinking about it, to the point that you can’t really enjoy anything else anymore, so that anytime you are without it you are in emotional misery, which affects your mind, body and relationships to make all of them miserable as well.  Whatever time you do have is spent trying to get it back or fantasizing about it.  Whatever spare money you have is used to bring it back to you.  And then, of course, you neglect using your god-given talents by instead laying around, listening to the siren’s song in a euphoric state, and are no good to anybody.
How can anything be good that you are obsessed with all day?  The first thing you think of when you wake to the last thing you think about when you go to bed.  How can anything be so obsessive and yet considered good (aside from God, of course, whom we should be obsessed with all the time)?  Isn’t that just as bad as hard drugs?  In fact, isn’t that the reason hard drugs are considered bad?  Because they possess you and take over your life so that every decision is made in favor of that addiction, and so they destroy your life and recreate your identity.
[Of course this argument is largely referring to the puppy love stage, which is temporary….but I wouldn’t know anything about that having never made it beyond the puppy love stage.  🙂   And sadly I fear that many couples never make it past this romantic infatuation before getting married (so that their marriage is based on emotion instead of reason), and that is why they do not last.]

The truth is that romance is blinding, and if you randomly fall in love with someone, regardless of their compatibility, then your mind (being now possessed and controlled by emotion) will shape logic around them, shape God’s will and your calling so that the person fits in right at the center– your new god. Can’t you see that this addiction (just like any other) is idolatry?  And yet it feels so natural, so right!  When you’re in love there’s no such thing as logic, because your emotions refashion your previously existing logic. And if, as was my case, the logic is square against the romance in any area, you just ignore it. When in doubt, side with emotion. Because you and your body feel emotion. You don’t feel logic. Your primal desires are more desperate to be satisfied than your mental unsatisfactions. Romance is invincible and blind. That’s why it’s important to look for a mate not based on romance, but before romance sets in and blinds you to God’s will.

I ask you, is that love? In the immortal words of Haddaway, “What Is Love?”
If Paul, writer of majority of the New Testament, encourages celibacy then why is it so rare today? Wouldn’t we all pursue, or at least consider, his logical, God-ordained advice? It wasn’t a command, just advice. But personal advice coming from the main apostle, perhaps the greatest Christian to ever live, shouldn’t that be heeded more than the advice of any other christian leader since? I mean, it’s in the Bible! And who is the opposition? Not the Catholic church, whose leaders are celibate. It’s the comfortable American church that fits into an unbiblical, non-sacrificial, hedonistic society pursuing the American Dream. It’s just Christian enough to get into Heaven, but not Christian enough to make a difference. Unchristian enough to fit perfectly in the devil’s plan. Why would Satan waste time on the lost who are already lost when he can just keep Christians from reaching them?

Romance Is Not Ideal
 34Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” –  Luke 20

If nothing else, we can all agree that at the very least romance is not ideal, otherwise it would be in Heaven.  Because Heaven is ideal and marriage (thus sex and romance) isn’t in Heaven, marriage must not be ideal.  And if there won’t be marriage in Heaven why bother dealing with it here on earth?  Of course, you could argue “because you won’t be able to experience it in Heaven”, but isn’t the goal of Christianity to do God’s will on Earth as it is in Heaven?  And to ultimately prepare this Earth to become Heaven, which will descend to reside here at the end of the age? If God’s will is perfectly done in Heaven where there is no romance then what does that imply we should strive for here on Earth in making this place more like Heaven?

Remember that in the beginning, when God commanded marriage, that everything was perfect and he himself dwelt there so that there was no need of Heaven on Earth; Heaven was already on Earth.  Which raises a serious question: God created romance in the beginning, and wasn’t all God’s creation perfect and thus ideal?  Perfect, yes; ideal, no. Because it’s only perfect for this particular, physical world; it’s not the overall, universal ideal.  Just like planet Earth itself: though perfect, it was never intended to be as good as Heaven.  As Luke says, there is no marriage because there is no need for marriage.  In other words, the point of marriage in the beginning was to procreate and keep mankind alive (and tending the Earth), but since man doesn’t die in Heaven, there’s no need to procreate, thus no marriage (thus no romance which is the seed of the others).

Which also raises an interesting point: If the main point of marriage was to populate the Earth, now that the Earth is more than populated does that original intent hold the same weight? I’d argue that the Earth had become completely inhabited by the time of Jesus, so when Jesus fulfilled the Law (including “be fruitful and multiply”) and encouraged celibacy in Matthew 19 the timing was Providential.  God created romance in the beginning, thus it was “very good.”  But oh, how things have changed!  The version of romance we have today has been corrupted just like everything else post-Eden, so who’s even to say that it is still just as “very good.”  But that’s besides the point; the point is that even if modern romance is still good according to God’s design, it’s not the best.  Romance is good, but giving up your own romance/pleasure for the greater good of humanity is better.

Imagine all the drama that would vanish if there were no ulterior motives and mind possession from lust/romance.  Imagine people living without exclusive relationships to be jealous of or bitter about, to make for awkward situations. No one would be left out or marginalized based on their insecurities, looks, or handicaps.  While there would still be jealousy, loneliness, etc, it wouldn’t be magnified by this amazingly-large staple of human life, this void which only serves to intensify the pain of those who would be single regardless.  People would just be people, living together as friends.  Some are better friends than others (enter jealousy/bitterness/loneliness), but there’s no exclusive/legal/sacred bond between 2 people.  There would still exist the same kind of issues that exist today among people, it’s just that they wouldn’t be romance-related, which probably takes away half of our major issues.  Oh, what a relief the very thought is!


Your Calling
Doesn’t God have a divine plan for every person? Don’t we need to seek Him and wait on Him to reveal our specific calling, how to fulfill it, and the provisions needed to fulfill it, all exactly as God planned it? Of course. If that’s how it is with the most important thing in our lives, wouldn’t it be the same with the other most important thing in our lives (aka, marriage)? Worrying about marriage and rushing around trying to find a good enough girl to marry lest you miss it and are lonely your whole life or it’s too late to have kids is the same thing as worrying about missing your calling and rushing around trying not to waste time and plugging into a ministry based on society’s influence on you and what’s available, instead of based on prayer and seeking God’s voice that calls you to the ministry He created you for. No devout Christian condones the latter, why then is it the norm to condone the former?  Just as God created you for one specific ministry above all others, so God has chosen one soul-mate to complement you above all other people.

Everyone should start off as celibate until God reveals his talent/ministry/calling so they know what attributes to look for in a mate, but waiting on God to join them together supernaturally, not just marrying whoever is convenient or who you happen to be around and fall in love with.  Because you’re not just marrying another person, you’re marrying your future self- as you two become one mind. It’s not good to live a life of solitude unless you’re specifically doing some good project that requires it (ie, monks copying manuscripts). Celibacy might not be best for you if you struggle more than usual with being single while living in a world of single women to tempt you and married couples to make you jealous, bitter, lonely, feeling left out, and longing. But struggles are inevitable while living in this sinful world in our sinful flesh, regardless of your calling.

Celibacy is a gift (1 Cor. 7:7), but what is the gift exactly? A lower sex-drive? Simply more self-control? Greater contentment or independence? Couldn’t it just as well be the realization and conviction that Paul himself had that this life is short and temporary and we should live as such? Many things are done better with a helper (someone to pick you up, as iron sharpens iron), but some things are better done alone.  And why can’t your helper just be a friend? Celibacy doesn’t mean living a life of solitude, in most cases celibates would probably have more friends than couples because couples are so tied-up with each other they don’t have time or care about socializing. It’s not like being single means you’re all alone and don’t have any friends or family, or you’re living a sad existence alone at your house every night. If you’re single you probably have roommates and it’s like being in college your whole life, which could be better than marriage.

Just as your talents are spiritual gifts, the means by which you employ them (ie, celibacy/marriage) is a gift, too. Sure celibates are seen as set apart or above the norm of society and flesh. But I think couples can still be “set apart” or holy in contrast to the society they live in, and in deed should be. In fact married couples probably have it harder being in, not of, the world as they live more in the midst of the world and its temptations and trials, whereas celibates are typically set apart literally and physically. The married are tempted to keep up with the Joneses and the American Dream, and in fact the world looks down on them, too.  Because they’re abnormal just like the celibate, though not as much.
But just as one member of the body isn’t better than another, the means of one calling (celibacy) isn’t better than another (marriage). We’re two different kinds of people, members of the body, with different functions/missions. Celibates shouldn’t look down on the married for “giving in” to their primal desires. And the married should not criticize celibates for being “too uptight”, “legalistic”, “missing out on the joys of life”, or “rebelling against their design”.

Of course the most persuasive argument for celibacy comes from just reading 1 Corinthians chapter 7, which I encourage you to read alongside this essay, and I don’t feel the need to expound on it because it speaks for itself. But where Paul talks of his own advice (not of the Lord), the Lord Himself gives the same advice in Matthew 19, and if the Lord is giving advice, is it really just advice? Jesus says getting divorced and remarrying while your spouse is alive= adultery. The only justifiable reason for divorce is if your spouse committed adultery, but even then the innocent person is forced to commit adultery when they marry someone else (it’s the only justified adultery). The disciples responded saying that it is better to never marry once, than be divorced once. Then Jesus condones their words in a curious way by saying, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given….[For] there are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” Jesus changes the topic slightly to affirm the call to celibacy, later echoed by Paul (the 2nd most influential person in Christianity, next to Jesus). God Himself lays it out plainly: If you can remain single you should. Which seems to me that if you can remain single but do not, you are not living up to God’s expectations. It seems like He’s saying if you’re not sure you are called to be married then stay single. It is better to lean towards remaining single and being sinless than to lean towards marriage and possibly sinning. Better to err in the noble fight for righteousness than to err by simply giving in to the temptations of the world.

Ministry before Matrimony, Matrimony above Ministry
You should not marry because it feels good, nor should you be celibate just to lock yourself away to meditate in a euphoric state all the time (get high on God). The feeling you feel doesn’t benefit others, so it’s not worth doing unless it benefits others, such as if it is a means of a spiritual rest or equipping to prepare for future service. When it all comes down, the only reason you should marry is if it brings you closer to God to help you preach the gospel better. If your relationship takes away time from service or hinders your relationship/growth with God then you are clearly in sin. But if you’re married then it’s too late, and you have higher responsibilities than your calling. You must first understand your calling, then if marriage would help it or hurt it, then figure out what type of person would complement your ministry. Although only God ultimately knows what would help our ministry, there should still be some obvious things to look for and look against.
What is the one thing you are best at?

I think the answer to this is the clearest indicator of where you could make the biggest impact for the Gospel’s advancement (aka your calling).  I have the gift of song-writing; I feel it is the one thing I can do better than anything else.  So if I felt called with my mind and God’s spirit to marriage, it would only make sense to marry someone who would understand my calling, appreciate my songs, give constructive criticism to strengthen my ministry, and also give me enough time and space alone to work on them. It would be a sin to marry someone who I’m attracted to, though they could care less about music and would get mad at me for spending large amounts of time writing and thinking. If they need more time with me to fulfill their own calling so that my own is watered down and put on the shelf then I screwed up in marrying the wrong person, going with my emotions rather than the spirit, not waiting for God to reveal it first and confirm it in a way that makes sense.  And I fear that is the fate of many (if not most) marriages, if they aren’t centered on ministry. I’m not saying your ministry takes priority over your marriage in your daily life (it’s the opposite), but your ministry/calling comes first chronologically in your life-time and defines what your marriage will be.  If at all.  Marriage takes priority over ministry, so make sure your marriage complements both the ministry of the groom and bride. That way when you make marriage your top priority you strengthen your ministry at the same time.

Luke 14:16-24:  Jesus said to them, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many… One said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’  … The master said … “None of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”