Here is the second and last entry concerning singleness from David Matzko McCarthy's book "The Good Life: Genuine Christianity for the Middle-Class." In the weeks to come, I will be posting writings from other Christian writers and thinkers, so stay tuned.
If singleness is a state of life in its own right, sex within marriage begins to look different. In our culture of sexual access, sex is a basic drive and image of vitality and the "fullness of life." In an economy driven by producing more desire, sexual desire corresponds to a need to desire more and more. Sex becomes an image of economic excess and loose attachments, which give opportunity for restlessness and freedom. Sexual desire requires a kind of nomadic existence, where desire pushes us to imagine having what we do not yet have and living in a world that is not yet our own. The Christian life represents an entirely different kind of homelessness, where we accept hospitality as a gift and settle into a place. Christian singleness and marriage alike form an alternative. In each, we are called to resist self-serving habits, to give ourselves over to the needs of others, and to be critical of our own desires. We are called, even in marriage, to submit sexual desire to our greater desire for friendship with God, spouse, and neighbor.
If sex is a representative image of cultural excess and detachment, then singleness within the church is the contrasting image. We should accept that it is a mark against our faithfulness when we lack the kind of communities that can sustain the single life as one that is rich in friendship, intimacy, purpose, and love. In sexual matters, as well as marriage and family, we have before us the adventure of community and the gift of God's hospitality. When we are open to God's bounty, we are not able to follow Jesus alone. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are brothers and sisters before we are married or single. Before we are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, we are gathered as God's friends. (pg. 61-62)