Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tim Gunn chose celibacy thirty years ago. How about you?

I'm writing three loosely connected blog entries. The first one was about marriage. The second was about divorce. This third one is about celibacy.
Tim Gunn, Wikipedia pic

I started watching Project Runway this summer. (Thanks, free Hulu!). Project Runway is a contest show where each week the fashion designers must create a fashion look and the best one is selected and the worst one causes the judges to boot the designer. During the times while the designers are creating, a man named Tim Gunn who used to be a professor of fashion at the Parsons New School for Design in NY comes in and consults with the contestants. He mentors them and helps them. He is very good at what he does.

Being the fashion industry and set in NY, there are many gay contestants. Some don't talk about it and some do. Mr Gunn doesn't. After binge-watching a bunch of episodes, I became interested in Mr Gunn. He seemed like a very nice man.

Googling him yielded uniformly that he is, indeed, a nice man. He's very caring and genuine with the contestants and very skilled in his ability to mentor and draw out their thoughts and convert them to concrete design. I enjoy his style as a teacher and also his clothing style!

It turns out, that yes, Mr Gunn is gay.

The most prominent item in the search results was this: he stated in an interview last year that he has been celibate for 29 years.

photo credit: Dead  Air via photopin cc
He said that his partner broke up with him, which was devastating, and said the boyfriend did so because Gunn's sexual perfomance wasn't all that great. It also was said that Gunn had struggled with his sexual preference and as a result he had attempted suicide as a young man. Gunn said that he made the decision to abstain from sex because "it's very psychological". Lastly, he was very worried about staying healthy, since at that time the pestilence afflicting the gay world, AIDS, was rampant. He said he is glad to be alive today.

When Mr Gunn made his declaration last year, it stunned secular society (at least, the segment of the society that follows these things). The LA Times said that he "blew the nation's mind this week" and asked, "How weird is it to go without sex for 29 years?" Others speculated that this was so unusual that perhaps a new disorder should be added to the DSM-IV for asexuality. The tone of the article was that certainly no one would make this choice if there wasn't something wrong with him.

Certainly, society's pressure to be sexual was felt by Mr Gunn, who insisted that he had 'nothing to be ashamed' of, and that he "is a fulfilled individual."

Excesses at the NY Gay Pride parade.
photo credit: Boss Tweed via photopin cc
Heterosexual youths hook up like it's nothing nowadays. The adherents to a homosexual lifestyle in particular insist that one be promiscuous, in a celebration of 'pride' in their choice to have unnatural sex. Gay men are supposed especially lusty and proudly strut and have sex at the drop of a hat.

The day after Mr Gunn's revelation, the LA Times reported, "Today, Tim Gunn' was one of the mostly widely searched terms on Google, partly because such an admission was shocking even in a world that thrives on TMI."

That's because the lustful world cannot conceive of a person not indulging their lusts.

Here is the point, he made a personal decision to refrain from sexual activity (for whatever reason) and held to that for three decades. If a man who has unnatural lusts can do that for himself by himself, then what can a person struggling with homosexual thoughts and desires do who appeals to the Holy Spirit? The Spirit aids us in resisting lusts, and Mr Gunn shows us that it can be done.

The Holy Spirit helps all of us in resisting that which is not profitable. He helps us resist any and all sins. In today's society, l-ust, promiscuity, fornication, homosexual sex, adultery, p-ornography are the most deeply embedded of the sins and the ones society most pressures us to succumb to. However they are exactly the sins which should be most resisted.

photo credit: EssG via photopin cc
This is what Jesus said about marriage and the marital bed:

"For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” (Matthew 19:12)

So there are three categories. Those who were born without an ability to engage in a sexual union. Second, some have had some sort of accident, or undergone some kind of religious rite, or some slaves castrated to work in a harem, etc. and physically cannot perform.

The third category are people who feel led to remain single and not married (not because of an unwillingness to commit) but do so by a dedication to this state of singleness ('made themselves') and it is for the sake of the kingdom.

Jesus is saying many things here. First, that if you are married, it is not good to be celibate. Celibacy is only good for those who are not married. The context of his sermon here is on the subject of marriage & divorce.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5,
"Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

So we know not to make ourselves eunuchs if we are married. That does not further the cause of the kingdom.

At the end of His talk, Jesus said "let them receive it." This means receive His whole teaching on marriage, sex, and singleness. It is not a command, because He said, 'let them' receive it. If you are married, have a happy and fruitful marital bed. If you are single and feel that the Lord is not leading you into marriage or back into it if you are widowed or widower, let them receive it. It is all for the sake of the Kingdom.

Now, does one think that the Holy Spirit is not going to help in either of these cases, the married or the single? Of course He will! He ministers to us, helps us resist unwanted thoughts, convicts us of potential actions, brings scripture to mind in dangerously tempting situations.

The world cannot understand a Christian's actions regarding sexual conduct. The world was amazed, perplexed and felt almost betrayed by Mr Gunn that he chose to make himself a eunuch for three decades.

They won't understand. Here is John MacArthur expounding on the Matthew verse, especially the part where Jesus says, 'let him receive it.'

photo credit: soundfromwayout via photopin cc
"I think this is a very important statement at the end of verse because, you see, the Lord puts this in there knowing that most people aren't going to be able to hear this, right? I mean, if I go into the average situation with a bunch of pagan people, I mean, if I went down and spoke at the local Kiwanis club, for lack of a better illustration, or if I went into the local college classroom and I said, "Now, I want you to know, people, this is the law, here's what is God's standard: you will marry one person for the rest of your life and make a lifelong commitment‑‑no divorce. Furthermore, if you are single, you remain single for the sake of the kingdom of God, not to play around." Now, how well would I be received? They'd say, "Who is this idiot? Where did you come from?"

Take heart single people. The Holy Spirit will help you resist desires. Gill's Exposition explains of the Matthew verse:

"But here it means such, who having the gift of continency without mutilating their bodies, or indulging any unnatural lusts, can live chastely without the use of women, and choose celibacy: for the kingdom of heaven's sake; not in order, by their chaste and single life, to merit and obtain the kingdom of glory; but that they might be more at leisure, being free from the encumbrances of a marriage state, to attend the worship and service of God."

If you are single, choose celibacy. You are doing something for the Kingdom! Not that your choice expands it, but that in the extra time you have in being single, you can devote yourself to the Lord instead of the the spouse & children. If Tim Gunn can do it without aid of the Holy Spirit, you certainly can. "Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

Why should you cast your cares on Him? Because He cares for you.
photo credit: Lel4nd via photopin cc

4 comments:

  1. The Catholic position in this instance would be that it was in fact the Holy Spirit who assisted Mr. Gunn in his celibate lifestyle, even without him knowing it.

    As an analogy, there must have been times when you have secretly helped the children whom you teach in ways that they do not understand. It was not necessary in those instances for the particular child to "pray" to you directly to help in them in a specific manner, especially since they might not have even understood what they needed due to their immaturity, etc. Likewise, God is wiser than us, according to Orthodox Christian belief, and can help us in our path to redemption even if we are quite weak mentally, spiritually, or otherwise.

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    Replies
    1. The Catholic position is an impossibility. Additionally, it is false-

      1. If you have the Spirit, you know it. (John 14:26, John 14:15-17)
      2. No one who is not in the faith has the Spirit. Catholics who adhere to the dogma promoted by the Church do not have the Spirit.
      (Catholicism is a false religion, as false as Wiccanism, Buddhism, and Islam).

      3. The RCC believes that we control the Spirit and can accumulate merit thru sanctifying actions, not the other way around. "...Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification." CCC 2010. This is false.

      4. Homosexuality is a sin and Mr Gunn said that though he has been celibate for 30 years, that does not preclude a homosexual relationship in the future. This is a sin (1 Cor 6:19). Anyone with the Spirit would not say that nor aim for it. They would be saying the opposite.

      5. As for your analogy, I have noticed that in attempts to explain the non-orthodox portions of the Roman Catholic faith, Catholics will usually offer a man-made example as a truth and a proof text. Usually connecting it tot he point they wish to make by the word "Likewise..."

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    2. Wow. Catholicism is false... All of our firsy Popes can be traced back to the original 12 apostles - including St. Peter... Whom Jesus turned to and said on this rock (cephas, actually) I build my Church (not community). Our Church was founded by the divine...not man.

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    3. Hi Iljo,

      Yes, Catholicism is false. Jesus founded the church upon His truth, Himself. He did not found the church on a man named Peter. He was responding to Peter who replied that jesus was divine, and Jesus said, Yes Peter, yuupon that rock (truth, ME) I found this church."

      Matthew 16:17-18
      Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

      Here is an explanation of that verse which the false Catholic Church has twisted to mean the church is built on Peter as the first pope (which is untrue)

      Is Peter supreme among the Apostles?
      https://carm.org/peter-supreme-among-apostles

      The Roman Catholic Church claims that this is where Peter is conferred with authority by Jesus since Peter is the rock upon which the church is built. But, this is not the case. CARM has dealt with this issue in the article Is Peter the rock on which the Church is built? where we see that Peter is not that rock. Rather, Christ is the rock on which the church is built. Furthermore, if Matt. 16:18 means that the keys of authority were given to Peter and his successors, why is it that Jesus gives the same authority to all the disciples in Matthew 18:18? for more, see the link

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