Saturday, October 16


I am consdering sending this essay in to my college paper. I'd like some critiques first, though!
Biola is often known as a marriage school. Jokes on this subject abound, ranging from the "Bridal Institute of Los Angeles," to comparing Biola to a cobbler's shop (they take you in, mend your soles[souls] and send you out in pairs). But perhaps this is too often taken for granted, and we forget to think about the other option.

Many of us don't know much about celibacy--and sometimes even assume that it is based on the idea that sex is evil. Before I continue, let me take a few moments to explain the basic ideas behind the practice of celibacy.

First of all, celibacy is thought to allow a person to be devoted to God alone. This is not to say that celibacy is the only state in which a person can be devoted to God; most people can marry and be devoted to God. Look at people like Billy Graham, or Jim and Elizabeth Elliot. Marriage itself is service to God; it has been known as the "bloodless martyrdom." But some people need--or wish--to be free of relationships that could distract them from God. I know that in my own life, celibacy is in some way a concession to a weakness, since I cannot--at least at this stage of my life--focus on human love and the love of God at the same time.

Secondly, celibacy leaves one free to do whatever God may call on him to do. Wht does God call most people to do? Get married, have kids, love their family, and serve God. But perhaps God leaves a few people unattached who can drop everything at short notice, and do something drastic that needs to be done. It would be cruel and irresponsible for someone with a family to care for to leave them and run around doing dramatic things. (yes, this sentence is bad; someone help!)

This being said, why should we at Biola think about celibacy? After all, most of us don't come from churches with a monastic tradition, and we grow up thinking about "when I get married..." Also, if the majority of us neither need nor want to be celibate, why should we think about it?

Firstly, Christianity has a long monastic tradition: many of the great saints were celibates. If nothing else, most Christians at most places at most times have found celibacy to be a good thing, whether they themselves were celibate or not.

Secondly, celibacy might be God's will for some of us. Let's face it: not all of us will get married, for one reason or another. The only options that Christians have been given are monogamy and celibacy. If we do not marry, then we must be celibate.

This leads to the third, and perhaps most relevant point. Even those of us who will get married but are not married yet must be celibate. This should not be a passive celibacy, one that is merely waiting for marriage, but an active one. Know who you are and who God wants you to be. You are not half of a soul, looking for a missing half. You are a whole person, made in the image of God. In the time of celibacy before marriage, learn how to be a whole soul and to serve God in the way He designed you to. Celibacy can, after all, be a preperation for marriage.

I hope I have made it clear that not all or even most people should be celibate. But we should learn the value of it, since we are all called to celibacy before marriage, and a few of us may take it as a permanent lifestyle.

Tuesday, October 12


Today's Bible study at the Reynolds' house was about the importance of names. The story of my name is rather interesting.

My parents, when they were in college and after they first got married, had an older couple who were their friends. They seem to have been everyone's friends, actually. Anywhere you go in that area, you can find people who know and remember this couple. The woman's name was Elizabeth Joy Wilson, and she went by Betty. My parents liked that name (and her herself!) so much that that is the name they picked for me.
Elizabeth Joy means "joyfully consecrated to God;" unless I am much mistaken, I believe my parents also picked the name because they wanted their first child to be dedicated to God (I could be wrong about this, but I think maybe not). I never went by my full name, but my family always called me Betsy. One time when I was in about first grade, a girl at a camp asked me what my middle name was, and when I told her, she said it was a dumb name. For years afterward, I hated my middle name.
At one point in my life, I had only one or two friends in my life...except on the internet, where I was fairly popular. On-line, I went by the name Joi, a spelling of my middle name that I made up while trying to register for AOL instant messenger. Soon I identified with the name Joi more than the nickname Betsy; it simply felt more me, even though I was going through severe depression. When I came to college, I used only the name Joi. After going through a time of difficulty and taking anti-depressants, I finally began to grow into my new name, and began to learn to be truly joyful again (Joyful is actually one friend's nickname for me).
I recently made a very difficult decision regarding the direction of my life. since it will no longer be spent in the way that I had always thought it would, I am planning to dedicate my life to my friends around me, to serve them and help them on their journey.
And so we come full circle. I plan to dedicate my life to helping those around me, behind-the-scenes as it were, just like my namesake.