I have mentioned Dr. James Houston in previous blogs. In his book, “The Heart’s Desire,” he states that “chastity is emotional sincerity, by which we express our emotions openly, not dishonestly. It involves how we really feel.” Chasity is an old-fashion word that needs to be in the vocabulary of men in our day. It involves more then sexual purity. Chastity, “is not a deadening of the heart,” according to Ronald Rolheiser, “a stripping away of our sexuality, but a deeper maturity that lets our sexual energies flow out in a more life-giving way.” “To tamper with the sincerity of your emotional life,” observes John MacMurry, “is to destroy your inner integrity, to become unreal to yourself and to others, to lose the capacity of knowing what you feel. There is nothing more destructive of all that is valuable in human life.” A man with a healthy chaste life will reflect an ongoing integration of sexual purity and emotional integrity.
Men pride themselves in being objective, able to fix and solve problems. We like to be under control. But our journey into a Christlike character involves not only ascent into greater intimacy with God, but also descent into the realities of our soul life. This I have always found to be this messy and confusing. I continue to struggle with the integration of sexual purity and emotional integrity. I know I am not alone. Paul reflects this frustration in Romans 7. “I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it. I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions….don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” (vs.18-20 – Message) Men, we can not “fix” our inner life. We have to welcome and embrace what is there. Bringing integration to our sexual energy and our emotional life is a life long project.
A chaste man does not live in denial of his sexuality, rather he desires to properly channels his sexual energy, while being honest and open about his emotional life. Since chastity is emotional sincerity, there is no need to repress sexual desires, but accept them realistically. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” The Message puts it this way. “You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” It was a great relief to me on my spiritual journey, when I could stand in the light of God’s love, knowing that I had deep sexual passions, that needed to be rightly channeled and integrated with my emotion life. Trying to control all this energy by will power proved to be unfruitful. What has been most helpful for me, is to live in openness and honestly before the Lord, in full recognition and acceptance of an embodied spirituality, which includes my sexual desires, while embracing my deepest desires for God and an acceptance of my emotional needs
I have struggled mightily in writing this blog. My humble attempt on a very difficult subject could be meant for someone reading this blog. My word to you is this – “Desiring God while be honest about your sexual passion as well as your emotional needs is ‘like coming out of the closet.'” By that I mean, men just don’t want to talk about emotional integrity and sexual purity.