Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 47 Comments
I do not think it means what the Rev. Richard E. Helmer, rector of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Mill Valley, California, thinks it means:
Chastity means setting aside dominance and control and seeking instead a new way to relate to the world and to God.
That’s not what it says here. Welcome to Deep Episcopalianism, folks. Strap yourselves in because you are about to go on one hell of a wild ride.
Having spent an increasing amount of time in conversation with married couples in recent years, the most commonly destructive dynamic in any relationship I have found has to do with a failure of chastity. But I don’t mean sex outside the marriage. By chastity in marriage I mean the challenge of setting aside the stubborn drive to control or change the person we most cherish.
Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. As long as I set aside “the stubborn drive to control or change” my wife, I can schtup every hot female in the parish right up the va-jay-jay and still have a “chaste” marriage? Apparently.
When couples learn this, the effect in their relationship and family is simply astonishing. Anxiety and anger levels drop almost immediately. There is a renewed simultaneous sense of freedom and connection. Spouses allow their partners to grow. Parents allow their children to seek accountable maturity. Needs are articulated. Resentments are set aside. Rather than using or abusing the relationship to change others, the relationships by themselves become transformative. Everyone is changed.
You’d be in a good mood too if you were bumping uglies on a regular basis. But chastity isn’t just about families or friends or a three-way with your next-door neighbor’s wife.
Chaste leadership serves and seeks to set example rather than manipulate or control.
Your secretary should want to have that nooner. She should never be forced or manipulated into it.
Chaste leadership is honest about the power it holds and seeks to exercise it with transparency, deliberation, clarity and the good of others first and foremost in mind.
Does that attractive female canon to the ordinary enjoy being spanked? Don’t judge her but try to see things from her perspective. And your wife will never miss that spatula.
And chaste leadership learns to live with the reality that we are never in full control of outcomes,
Particularly since your prostate operation.
that consequences bad
Despite your prostate operation, you were still able to get it up.
flow from every action, and that ends rarely if ever justify means.
But do you know who most emphatically isn’t chaste these days?
Chastity deserves a thorough study by everyone presently involved in the tired crisis of the Anglican Communion. The desire to manipulate outcomes, to control others, to dominate an otherwise messy situation inherited from our colonial, modern past is all about unchaste approaches to relationship. And our late great crisis is rife with unchastity.
Raise your hand if you didn’t see that one coming.
We see it a lot in bishops and clergy attempting to manipulate the situation to their own ends. We see it in the floundering of the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury attempting to control through appeasement and veiled threats.
Helmer’s too smart to play the martyr.
We see it in the unwillingness to acknowledge our actions within our own Church have unforeseen consequences for everyone — both good and bad.
We have already seen the failed outcomes of dishonest ecclesiastical legislating that is inherently unchaste for its attempt to placate rather than humbly hold the truth. And we know too well the abuse of reports and non-binding councils as instruments of shadow law, and the potential of distorting covenant into a tool of manipulation.
However it’s obvious where Helmer stands.
But there is good news. Chastity has been in evidence in the increasing number of voices of those who recognize our disagreements as a Communion, but yet insist that costly communion in Christ is far more valuable than agreement.
And if that wasn’t clear enough for you…
Chastity has long been in evidence by those courageous, oft-threatened “firsts” of our faith who inhabit dangerous positions not for power or the quixotic pursuit of perfection, but simply by being who they are and following God’s call as best they can. The consecrations in the Diocese of Los Angeles are some of the most recent examples of this form of chastity.
Basically, we’re down to this. The consecration of a practicing homosexual is a “form of chastity.” Strenuously objectiing to it is a form of unchastity. Since chastity really has nothing to do with sex.
Oh, it does if you’re going to get all superficial like the conservatives do. But to be really chaste, you have to go a lot deeper than that. So deep that you’re going to need Dick Helmer to show you the way down.
Chastity demands we return to what is real, setting aside the spectacles of objectification, and learn again to see ourselves, others, and the world through Christ’s loving eyes. Chastity calls us to embrace our humility and acknowledge our lack of control — to some degree over ourselves, and to an even greater degree over others. Chastity asks us to hope rather than to expect, to forgive rather than to condemn, to cultivate rather than destroy. Perhaps most importantly, chastity insists that God be God, not a projection of our own desires. Chastity towards the divine is captured in that critical turn of phrase in the Lord’s prayer: “thy will be done…”
Actually, chastity means refraining from sexual intercourse unless you’re married to the person you’re doing or the person who is doing you, as the case may be. No more, no less. But any port in a storm, huh, Dick?