The Thirty Year Old Virgin

No, it’s not the second instalment of the franchise which began in 2005 with the release of The Forty Year Old Virgin.

Come to think of it, perhaps there’s something there.  By number four in the franchise (the year 2030 perhaps?) we might have the hilarious The Ten Year Old Virgin, especially if the disgraceful public sexualisation of our children masquerading as information and education campaigns contains apace.

But I digress.

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Steve Carell: The fifty year old version 

I want to talk about a thirty year old virgin.  And not some mealy-mouthed, unsure of himself slightly geeky loser thirty year old virgin.  I know, crazy right?  After all if you’re a virgin at thirty then something has gone horribly wrong.

Anyway this thirty year old virgin is a really gifted bloke.  He is also a compassionate bloke.  A man who follows God.

He’s saved people on the brink of death.  Whenever there’s a tragic situation he’s often there to help in word and deed.

He also hangs out with the people who would never darken the door of a church, the “sinners and tax collectors”.  In fact, he not only hangs out with them, he eats meals with them, cries with them, and shares his life with them at cost to himself.

And he’s no Sabbatarian.  On the days that the people of God regularly gather to hear the Word and be taught, he is often absent, because he’s off healing the sick, or spending time with those people who’d never be seen in church.

More than that:  When those so called “sinners” have their relationships and sex lives crumbling around them, they don’t think, “You know what, I can’t tell him about this, he’s a thirty year old virgin.”  No, he’s the very bloke they talk to.  And not just him, but a bunch of his friends who have gathered around him, with the same aim of reaching the sinners and tax-collectors.

Funnily enough I have heard – and it’s on record – that the self-righteous don’t like him that much, this thirty year old virgin.  One in particular, who he’d been trying to help, vilified him by saying that he’d missed the theological mark by a long way, a long, long way. Unlike them of course.  Unlike their crew who had ticked all the boxes that the self-righteous like to tick amongst themselves.

And the response of that thirty year old virgin to that slight?  Sorrow and prayer.

What makes all this good stuff possible in a thirty year old virgin?  He follows Jesus. “Wait?  Don’t you mean he IS Jesus?  That’s what you meant to say, right?”

Nope.  He follows Jesus, that other thirty year old virgin.

My mate’s just a regular Aussie, a footy playing bloke who happens to work in the emergency services. A thirty year old virgin who wants to be like that other thirty year old virgin Jesus. Who wants to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and give up his life for Jesus, because that’s what that thirty year old virgin Jesus did for him (give or take a year or three of extended virginity).

Why does this matter?  Here’s why.

We live in a culture, and now, sadly and increasingly a church culture, that claims unless people are able to have the sex they want with the person they want, they are somehow less.

That unless they have the possibility in the future of sex with the person they want,  they are somehow less.

They are less informed, less capable, less emotionally developed, less able to engage with people confidently and selflessly. Less able to lead a fulfilled life.  Less capable of knowing who you truly are.  Less satisfied. Less, less, less, less, less.

And it’s a damned lie.

And I know of at least two thirty year old virgins who would tell you so.

 

4 Comments

  1. It’s been my experience that non-Christians are far more accepting of the decision not to have sex than many are led to believe. Most of my non-Christian friends simply assume at first that I have had sex, but when they find out that they haven’t, they are actually supportive of it – “wow, Robbie, that’s an amazing sacrifice that you make, one day the woman you love will be truly lucky to have you”.

    Of course, this is if I couch the comment in terms of “I want to wait for the woman who is right for me, not the first woman who throws herself at me, and I just haven’t met that woman yet”. In these terms, the world at large is not against celibacy, and in fact most of my friends show admiration for this way of thinking. However, if I couch the statement in other terms – I am waiting for marriage because it was I think god wants for me”, this is where the head shakes come from. Not that I have chosen to be celibate, but because they perceive that my celibacy is a forced one made by adhering to a particular set of dogmas that I happen to hold true. The impression is that I am “denying” myself in favour of a promise that may not even be true.

    And while it is true that some non-Christians don’t get the idea that one can be happy without sex, most that I have met (at least those that I have met and continue to remain good friends with, which is quite a large number, coming from an extremely non-Christian area of Australia) not only respect the decision but respect me personally for having that conviction, provided that conviction is a choice made by myself and for my own well-being and not one that is forced upon me by a belief system that tells me it’s wrong to do it.

    Movies like the 40-year old virgin (haven’t seen it, probably never will) satirise pop-culture, and while the do reflect cultural norms and stereotypes they do not allow for that significant group of non-believers that say “hey, if you don’t want to have sex that’s your choice, no one is going to laugh at you for it”.

  2. Both marriage and celibacy are declared by Paul to be gifts (charismata) from God in 1 Cor. 7:7. Moreover, while marriage is a gift given only to some, celibacy is a gift given to all at one season of life or another–pre-marriage and, for many, post-marriage as well.

    Also, while Jesus is the role model par excellence for celibate living, He later married and is an equally valuable model spouse–particularly for husbands (Eph. 5:22ff.).

  3. You know, I read this and wondered if you’d have the plot twist of, “I’m referring to Jesus,” and was really hoping you wouldn’t because your 30 year old Aussie paramedic mate just jumped off the page as a great guy that I really prayed existed. And he does!

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