*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Consecrated Celibacy: A fresh look at an ancient calling by Christine Barnabas

by
06 January 2023

Lyle Dennen looks at celibacy in religion

CHRISTINE BARNABAS’s book is subtitled A fresh look at an ancient calling. She looks through the lens of new monasticism and Celtic spirituality to enable an individual to achieve a commitment to celibacy outside of joining a community or the priesthood.

Barnabas first looks at the biblical teaching on singleness and celibacy and argues for it as a valid alternative to marriage: not necessarily holier, but an equal calling. Consecrated celibacy is vowing your life, out of love of Christ and for the sake of the Kingdom of God, without any other primary relationship with another person. The author looks carefully and thoroughly at a process of discernment with a spiritual director or soul-friend. If one has some sense of a calling to this, or just an interest in the subject, the first half of this book would be an excellent, practical guide.

Even if you have no interest whatsoever in this calling, the middle chapter, “Sexuality and Celibacy”, has profound insights for any person who wants to hold together spirituality and their sexuality. To make sense of one of these, you have to explore the other. The author makes an extensive argument for the connection of sexuality and spirituality. Beyond just genital sexuality, Barnabas looks at the positive range of body, touch, and pleasure, and the hurts from upbringing, abuse, broken relationships, and shame. She sees the body as a sacred threshold.

Whether you are a celibate or not, you have to learn intimacy with the body and intimacy with the Divine.


The Ven. Dr Lyle Dennen is Archdeacon Emeritus of Hackney, in east London.

 

Consecrated Celibacy: A fresh look at an ancient calling
Christine Barnabas
Sacristy Press £14.99
(978-1-78959-234-4)
Church Times Bookshop £13.49

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

  

Put asunder?: a Church Times Webinar

20 February 2024 | 6pm GMT

An expert panel discusses the introduction of Prayers of Love and Faith and blessings for same-sex couples.

Online Tickets available

 

Keeping faith in Journalism: a Church Times Webinar

11 March 2024 | 6pm GMT

An expert panel discusses trust between the media and the public

Online Tickets available

 

Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available

 

 

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)