It Is Good: Theological Reflections on Celibacy and Sexual Life




Varnell, Bradley

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As western social mores concerning sexual life and order have changed with increased rapidity the church has seemed at a loss as to how to guide Christians to live lives of sexual wholeness and holiness. This has resulted, so my thesis argues, from the gradual loss of the witness of celibacy in the life of the church which has unmoored larger accounts of marriage and family life from ‘thick’ Christian theological foundations. To accomplish this argument, I first turn to the Christian past and the unique context in which early Christians developed their theologies of marital and family life alongside and in response to Roman and Jewish articulations of the family. This theology is contrasted with the reigning account of our own day, discussed in chapter two, where marriage, family, and sexual life have once against become paramount. Chapter three, the heart of the work, articulates a theology of celibacy in response to the realities described in chapter two with the goal of re-imagining celibacy as a way of sexual life that not only speaks to singles within the church, but impacts the practice of marriage and family life in congregations and parishes. Chapter four concludes the work by addressing the nature of this impact on family life and larger forms of human relating.



Celibacy., Christianity and sexuality., Sexual Theology.