“Stay Hungry” For Better Piety

Though his text should carry a warning for much of its content (page 68’s error of calling unborn children “potential life” is especially grievous, and scripturally-suspect psychobabble abounds), John White does, in this late-seventies text, provide some information of possible use to resolute celibates like myself. Today’s quote also helps one see why wise practitioners of spiritual disciplines have long seen fasting, ostensibly only corrective for gluttony, as in fact helpful with a broad range of sins, lust among them. “Just as the fasting person finds he no longer wishes for food…, so some are able to experience the peace of sexual abstinence….Everything depends upon their mindset or attitude. The slightest degree of ambivalence or double-mindedness spells ruin. I cannot stress this principle enough. Neither hunger for food nor hunger for sex increase[s] automatically until we explode into uncontrollable behavior. Rather it is as though a spring is wound up, locked in place, ready to be released when the occasion arises. And should that occasion not arise (and here I refer especially to sex), I need experience no discomfort.”—John White, Eros Defiled: The Christian & Sexual Sin, pages 28-29 in the 1977 IVP edition (3rd printing, 1978).

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