Tim Skene Speaks About Celibacy: Freedom to Explore, Pioneer, Workout and Undertake

tim 2Undividedblog asked Tim Skene, originally from Australia and now living in the UK, four questions:

1.      Tell us a little about yourself and why you are celibate.

I work as a Centre Manager in central London for a Christian charity working with all kinds of people. I have been a Christian for 23 years, living in a Christian community which has all things in common. I have remained single for most of that time and my intention is to remain so. My unmarried lifestyle gives me more time, opportunity and energy to focus on serving the purposes of God. I have enjoyed the freedom to explore, pioneer, workout and undertake the responsibility of the great vision that my church has to offer as a single man without the cares and responsibilities that go with married life.

I really appreciate and enjoy living together with many others as part of an extended community house family; otherwise I would find such a lifestyle choice very difficult.

2.      How have you found celibacy?

I have enjoyed the freedom celibacy brings to be involved with many of the exciting and fulfilling activities that our church has to offer. It enables me to spend more time with God, people and His works. It’s not always been easy. For some years I struggled with my commitment to being single but that experience has taught me to work within my own personal boundaries and have more respect for others’ boundaries as well. Opportunities to be unfaithful have also presented themselves over the years but, fortunately, I have won through the testings.

3.      How have people both inside and outside the church responded to your celibate commitment?

I was amazed at how easily my old friends back in Australia responded to my story to become a celibate Christian. They can’t really understand it and I’m not sure whether they really believe it. They probably think I’ve become some kind of monk which I guess, in some ways, I am! My Grandmother, who was a Christian, found it very difficult to understand. People in the church are fine about it; it’s all part of our vision and quite clearly encouraged by Jesus and Paul as the best option.

4.      What is your vision as a celibate?

Tim 1I don’t really have a vision to be a celibate! It’s a gift that enables me to be more effective in my vision to be a disciple in order to enable others to achieve their best for God and to see His kingdom extended here on the earth.

A few more thoughts:

The gift of celibacy is pretty amazing! To find the freedom from the chains of promiscuity has really bought me a lot of peace. We’ve all got to work out our relationships – with the Lord, with others. It doesn’t matter if you’re married or single – that’s what it comes down to. Celibacy is a really important sacrificial gift that gives me power to enable me to build the church. It’s something I have received by faith, like all the giftings; it’s risky, challenging and a bit mysterious but, hey, aren’t most of the valuable things in life?

3 comments on “Tim Skene Speaks About Celibacy: Freedom to Explore, Pioneer, Workout and Undertake

  1. I would be interested to hear your specific understanding with regard to where celibacy is ‘clearly encouraged by Jesus and Paul as the best option’..

  2. Personally, I would be very hesitant to say in such black and white terms that Jesus spoke of celibacy as the best option. He clearly endorsed marriage and saw celibacy as a gift from God which some are able to accept, but not all. His words are, “the one who can accept this (i.e. the gift of celibacy) should accept it’ (Matthew 19:12).

    However, I think Jesus’ chosen celibate lifestyle has something important to show us. I would guess He chose this way for several reasons, one being He did not want the distractions of family life as He called men and women into God’s new order – the kingdom of heaven. (Remember at that time Jewish rabbis were all married men.)

    Perhaps it is better to say, it is best for some, though not all, to follow Jesus’ radical example. Following His example of celibacy gives wider opportunities to focus with less distraction on spreading and building His kingdom.

    Concerning Paul: Although he strongly endorsed marriage, I believe he did perceive celibacy as the preferred option, a way to greater fruitfulness. He wanted all his converts to be single-minded in their devotion to Jesus and His kingdom and, for him, being single meant that undivided devotion was easier to grasp hold of and maintain.

    Like Jesus, Paul saw celibacy as a gift and didn’t expect everyone to take it up. For instance, he expressed that it was best not to be celibate if you are forever struggling to reach into it.

    Paul wrote: “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. (1 Corinthians 7:7).

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