God Didn't Make Our Bodies Only for Sex
Intentional or not, these communal habits subtly suggest that God doesn't really need our whole bodies, except to make new humans. Yet how strikingly different was Jesus' approach to his own and others' embodiment! He constantly enjoyed the sensual feast of dinner parties, showed immense concern for disease and physical ailment, and frequently touched the people he healed though proximity wasn't a requirement for miracles.
Chastity for Jesus was richly and fully embodied. Shouldn't ours be too? Last time I discussed how singleness uniquely frees us to pursue relationships, but I also want to suggest some ways it frees us to use our bodies nonsexually. I hope these two pieces help kick off some larger, longer, more in-depth conversations we as the church need to have about what the season of singleness is for, instead of just what it restricts.
Patronize the arts. Singleness brings a fair degree of financial autonomy. Thus, I've invested a good deal in CDs and mp3s, concert tickets and support of the non-profit radio stations whose blues programs I so enjoy. A lot of that has been predicated on my own enjoyment, but more and more I do things like order my music from the amazing if often behind-the-times record store near my house, or buy CDs I don't always like because I believe in the musicians who recorded them, and want those artists to keep on creating.
In a brutally pragmatic culture like ours, the arts can seem more "nice to have" than essential, especially in difficult economic times. Yet, certain arts engage our senses in ways that draw out our humanity as nothing else can. The longer I live, the more convinced I am that the arts play a vital role in helping us become all that God created us to be, in helping us be fully human. And when you patronize the arts, you are not only living more wholly yourself, but also helping to sustain artists so they can help many people become more fully human.
Explore all five senses. Sex is probably one of the most completely embodied acts a person can undertake, insofar as it engages all the senses. But I wonder sometimes if that doesn't result in a somewhat superficial sensuality. To use a possibly very flawed example, imagine a special engine with five spark plugs. When the starter fires and power is equally distributed to all five spark plugs, the engine roars to a start with enough strength to move a car. I doubt many people have watched that happen with conventional engines and wondered how each individual spark plug would function when isolated and given full power. But let's say someone tried that experiment with this engine, and it turned out the first spark plug could play "Taps," the second grilled a sandwich, the third sang "Hallelujah," the fourth blew a lavender-smelling steam that freshened your breath when inhaled and the fifth used the sun to bleach all the stains on your shirt. Who's to say our bodies aren't a bit like that engine?