tag : bright yellow-green apples: swing your own incense

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Friday, July 02, 2004

swing your own incense

The latest directive from UCCF on the permitted living status of my housemate as Reading University's relay worker next year unsurprisingly had me a little wound up in indignation. Aparently, whereas before he wasn’t allowed to live in the same house as a female, now he is as long as there are at least two there. Leaving aside the enormous assumptions going on in such living regulations. This made me consider relationships in general.

In young Christian environments there seems to be a lot of self conscious consideration and neurosis in dealing with the opposite sex, relationships and intimate relations in the religious ghetto. From this you might be able to tell that I'm in high cynicism mode today.

Cynicism aside. I seem to recall one of the most sympathetic writings on celibacy I have managed to encounter, after having struggled thus far to see any positive aspects to the idea, pointed out that remaining institutionally and personally separated from romantic involvement with others ensured that relationships with those around the person in question were not strained or pressured by any such intentions. It enables someone to be a blessing to someone else without any weight of expectation.

There is something to be said in this, and I think the example of single people, who are able to be of even greater help to others because of their situation, concurs with such a moderated view. It has made such a 'vocation' almost seem viable to me, and who knows maybe it will yet - even if in a non-institutional way. But ultimately I fear it still rests on the separation out of particular people on some ontological basis. Relationship rules, one of many different markers, almost seem to deny that each and every person in the community is called to selfless service of others. That all should be equally concerned to fulfil our mandate of care to each other. It's such a background of 'set apartness' which made me shift uncomfortably on my kneeling pad as assistant server a few years back, aside from the deliberately stoical position!

I'm not happy about separatism of our officiators and leadres in general. It's not just that I think vicars and relay workers should be fully part of their community, even more so I think that everyone in the community should play such roles. The priesthood of all believers might mean something more than a sectarian protestant rallying cry. Idealism...


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