She said no - Jesus Army Life

How counter culture could you go?
Mont Saint Michel Revisited Originally uploaded by Ben Heine
I was challenged to write this ok?

So I'm making it up as I go along.

And it's my fault. A friend asked me what she should blog about and I tried to think of the most challenging thing possible.

So I said, 'write about celibacy'. And she said, 'only if you do too!'

It should be easy for me. I mean I live with several people who have decided that they are never going to marry. Why? Because they love God so much they want to live entirely for him (together with their friends).

But that sentence is enough to send most minds spinning. Mine too sometimes...

And yet I've seen it in action and it works, not always, but mostly; and it's a beautiful thing...

It's great to be around single people who just want to live life to the full, but not in a way that serves their own interests, but others'. There's a family who live in the house too and they bring lots of life - in fact the simple humour and pleasure of sharing their lives is truly humbling - but it's different. Being with celibates is inspiring, not because they are individually anything amazing (though they are) but because their direction in life causes you to look upwards to greater things. To things like living for God.

And there's an even edgier reality to all this. I spoke to a man yesterday who knows a family with 13 children - 13! There's no selfishness in that kind of life is there? Plenty of joy I imagine, but not much spare cash or time. They didn't do it because they wanted to live-the-good-life. They made a strong choice not to live according to the common assumptions about how to be happy but in a way that fully celebrates life and yet is counter cultural.

In its own way, but in the other direction, celibacy is a full-on way of life too. Indeed it goes further in not choosing the world's standards but a different way. I have friends, male and female who've said no to marriage for an adventure full of sacrifice and experience. A life filled with the choice to give yourself to other people and to God. In effect they've said no to the love of one friend above all others in exchange for a yes to the freedom to love as many friends as possible as much as possible. Famous Christian celibates like John Stott, Mike Pillavachi and Jackie Pullinger Corrie Ten Boom have always done that.

And I'm grateful that people like this, counter cultural people, married and celibate people, have always blessed me as I learn to follow Jesus, who is the ultimate in counter culture - because, of course, he wasn't married either was he?


Metaphysically fixing - Jesus Army Life

I arrived home planning to spend the evening in the park. It was a hot day and the evening was free. So I fixed myself dinner but then soon found myself fixing something else.

One of my friends came to report that a pipe was leaking. I'd known the pipe had been dodgy for the last week but she told me water was coming through the ceiling, which made things a little more urgent...

Photo originally uploaded by Terekhova
So much for an evening in the park.

After about an hour of prodding and lifting floor boards, shouting down two floors and reaching into impossible places, we got the problem sorted.

And I'm glad we got the pipe fixed together. It was good working with the sister, she's a very practical sort of person and a friend I cherish. But occasionally it can be difficult to reach past that practical side of her nature.

It's not only this friend in particular, it can be all friendships in a community life which struggle to get past this obstacle. Community is a very practical thing in some ways. We deliberately share our possessions, our money, our space, our transport so that we can share our lives. But community isn't only sharing things on a practical level - it has to go beyond that - it's sharing the smallest of joys, a greeting on the stairs, a frustration over a problem, a silent moment.

If life together is only shared practically then community does not exist, but if in each moment you can savour the privilege of working together (a thank-you for the lift or the meal, an invitation to share in an activity together, through every small encouragement) then you will be able to fix a lot more than broken piping, you can also fix broken hearts.
Encourage one another every day
Hebrews 3

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another
Hebrews 10