Tuesday, 28 June 2016


'Any theory divorced from living examples...is like [an] unbreathing statue.'
Gregory of Nyssa in Sarah Coakley, The New Asceticism, p.53. 


'...the reflective, faithful celibate and the reflective, faithful married person may have more in common - by way of prayerful surrendering of inevitably thwarted desire to God - than the unreflective or faithless celibate, or the carelessly happy, or indeed unhappily careless, married person.' 
Sarah Coakley, The New Asceticism: Sexuality, Gender and the Quest for God, p.39. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


'One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself - creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.'
CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, p.46.

Monday, 20 June 2016


'All intimacy depends on transparency to others.'
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.166. 


'Sometimes celibate people fail to see that some of their own needs are met in the ministry they have chosen. For example, many celibates chose helping roles but fail to recognize that a large part of their motivation may be their normal need to engage others personally and nurture them. But they tell themselves that they have to "get away" from those in order to meet their own needs, and then will be driven by these same unacknowledged needs to overextend themselves in their in their work and say yes to every request for help. Eventually they will think of themselves as "victims," or they will begin to think they have earned the right to have others "take care" of them. They will demand that others meet their needs.' 
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.159. 


'...if we take up the celibate life and try to live with a self-sufficient image of ourselves, we will act as if we have no needs. Eventually we will experience our normal needs for intimacy, affection, affirmation, and won't know how to make those needs know, because the self-sufficient image has been accepted by too many people.' 
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.158. 

Sunday, 19 June 2016


'...the meeting of an individual's needs for intimacy is partly the responsibility of the individual. That individual must make the needs known in a way which encourages others to meet those needs. I think this is done primarily by expressing our gratitude when others have met our needs, and not demanding our needs be met only in the way we want.' 
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.152. 


'On the physical and emotional level, celibacy is the ability to know oneself as sexual and to experience some considerable comfort with that knowledge. It is the ability to regard oneself as sexual without experiencing the internal or external demand to do something about it - neither the need or demand to make it go away, nor the need or demand to act it out. It is the choice not to act out one's sexuality in a genital or romantic way. 
On the level of relationships, celibacy is the ability to cherish and nurture other people's being and becoming with establishing bonds of mutual emotional dependence with them. It means not to be married, and not to be pursuing the path which naturally leads to marriage. It is the ability to establish warm and deep relationships with others by loving them and being loved by them in a non-exclusive and non-possessive way. It is a way of loving which allows the celibate person to say, "They and I are better off for our having been together, but no worse off for our parting."
On the practical level, celibacy is a way of remaining significantly more available to cherish and nurture others' being and becoming because of the choice not to take on the responsibilities of establishing and maintaining one's own family unit...' 
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.140. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016


'All religions lead to God, no question about that. All empty out there right in front of the judgement seat of God. But there is only one religion that has a Saviour. Jesus Christ is the Saviour you need.' 
Vijay Menon in Mark Dever, God and Politics, p.41. 


'....Christians are like cockroaches. We can survive anything by the grace of God.' 
Mark Dever, God and Politics: Jesus' Vision for Society, State and Government, p.29. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


'I once heard a married woman say that Christian married couples need Christian celibates within the believing community in order to show the world what distinguishes Christian marriages from others. 
Christian marriage is a sacrament because it is a sign of something real but invisible, namely, Christ's selfless love for his church. A celibate commitment is not a sacrament because it points to what is visible in Christian marriage, but which is easily missed or misunderstood, namely that self-fulfillment is not the ultimate meaning of life. 
The "bottom line" for Christians who take each other for life no matter what, must be a selfless love which is a visible expression of Christ's selfless love in taking his church to himself. Celibates within the same believing community highlight this dimension of Christian marriage by living in a way that recognizes that self-fulfillment is not the ultimate meaning of life.' 
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.104. 


'...I am reminded of a priest I know who always concludes his final session with couples about to be married with some rather startling words. "We'll see you in church on Saturday. And after you won't even think of me until 18 to 36 months have passed. Then you'll be back to tell me that your marriage isn't working. Well, I'll tell you right now that your marriage isn't going to work." The couple's faces usually fall, and as they look at each other, and then back at the priest, he continues, "No marriage I know of ever worked. Either two people put their hearts into making it work or it dies. So put your hearts into making what you say yes to on Saturday work."' 
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.64. 


'"If I knew then what I know now, I never would have made this commitment" is the phrase I have heard from celibate and married people alike. It strikes me that every decision and commitment is, in the light of subsequent information and experience, ill-informed. That's just the way life is. Whether we would or would not "do it again" is hardly the point. The point is whether or not we are actively pursuing the fulfillment of the commitment we have made. When we begin to concentrate on what our life isn't, and neglect to reflect on and actively pursue what it is, trouble will almost certainly follow.' 
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.58. 

Thursday, 9 June 2016


'True human intimacy is the fusion of personalities that still leaves all personalities intact. If in the privacy of my lonely moments I can remain in contact with my limited, unique, separate and incomplete self, I am prepared to enter into life's moments of intimacy.'
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.36. 


'Life has its moments of loneliness. Sometimes we experience them in a crowd; sometimes when all alone. Sometimes those moments are deliberately chosen; sometimes they seem forced upon us. Loneliness can become unhealthy and even neurotic if it is not entered into in a healthy way, or if it aggravated by fear, guilt, anxiety, depression, alienation, self-doubt or hostility. But in and of itself, loneliness is simply one of life's moments.'  
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.27.  


'Life has moments of intimacy. Sometimes they are accompanied by great affection, sometimes not. Sometimes they are pleasant, sometimes sad. Sometimes they are sexual, sometimes not. Sometimes they are romantic, sometimes not. As often as two or more persons are intentionally transparent to one another in a way which brings their personalities together without obliterating any of them, there is intimacy. The moments come and go; the capacity for intimacy remains. Moments of intimacy are always satisfying in some way, but they are always incomplete. Even when they are very satisfying in the joy of the moment, they are incomplete in that the moment ends. Other concerns of life teach each sharer of the intimacy into other p[pursuits with other people. But intimacy is one of life's moments.'
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy, p.25.  


'Intimacy seems to me to be a moment of being with another and enjoying it; loneliness seems like a moment of being separated from others when I would like to be with them. Hostility and alienation seem like moments of being against others and in some way enjoying it, or of experiencing others being against me and not enjoying it. Loneliness and intimacy seem like unavoidable moments of life for normal people. Hostility and alienation seem like unnatural human experiences, even though we might experience them often in our lives.' 
Keith Clark, An Experience of Celibacy: A creative reflection on intimacy, loneliness, sexuality and commitment, p.20. 

Thursday, 2 June 2016


'...people only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them.'
Jean Monnet in John McCormick, Why Europe Matters for Britain: The Case for Remaining In p.12.