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Chaste, chaste such a waste…

August 7, 2007

I was reading an article over at Dan’ place Culture Choc about the plan for 80 clergy in the ELCA to come out at their biennial assembly meeting in Chicago, today. In the article Eileen Flynn quotes the current ELCA sexual conduct policy for it’s clergy:

Married ordained ministers are expected to live in fidelity to their spouses, giving expression to sexual intimacy within a marriage relationship that is mutual, chaste, and faithful. Ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding are expected to abstain from homosexual sexual relationships.

This got me to thinking on the word chaste, and how well, un-fun it sounds.

Main Entry: chaste
Pronunciation: 'chAst
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): chast·er; chast·est
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin castus pure
1 : innocent of unlawful sexual intercourse
3 : pure in thought and act : MODEST
4 a : severely simple in design or execution : AUSTERE <chaste classicism> b : CLEAN, SPOTLESS
chaste·ly adverb
chaste·ness /'chAs(t)-n&s/ noun
synonyms CHASTE, PURE, MODEST, DECENT mean free from all taint of what is lewd or salacious. CHASTE primarily implies a refraining from acts or even thoughts or desires that are not virginal or not sanctioned by marriage vows <they maintained chaste relations>. PURE differs from CHASTE in implying innocence and absence of temptation rather than control of one’s impulses and actions <the pure of heart>. MODEST and DECENT apply especially to deportment and dress as outward signs of inward chastity or purity <preferred more modest swimsuits> <decent people didn’t go to such movies>.

When I am doing the freaky-sneaky, I don’t want it to be pure, modest, or decent.

That’s how I behave in church.

In my home, with my door closed, I don’t want to know anything about that stuff. I just want to enjoy myself.  Let loose. Live a little.

Ok, live ALOT.

And, while I don’t want to spend alot of time thinking about it, I hope my clergy can live ALOT when their doors are closed too.

Be they gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever.

It’s none of my business what is involved, but, for their sakes, I hope it isn’t chaste.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. rick allen permalink
    August 7, 2007 2:05 pm

    Funny how different words have different connotations for different people.

    When I think of the word I think of Penelope, heroicly holding out against the suiters as Odysseus struggles to return home.

    Or St. Francis praising Sister Water:

    Laudato si me signore per sor acqua, lo quale e multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.

    May Thou be praised, My Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

    It is a word perhaps that the Victorians wore out for us, and the moderns have made a joke of. But the ancients and the medieval romancers saw it as something wondrous and awe-creating and, yes, rare.

  2. episcopalifem permalink*
    August 7, 2007 4:42 pm

    Rick is making me feel like a depraved person today.

    What are you? my external conscience?? HUH?


    I know. Chaste is one of those little words that either makes you sigh and go…how quaint. %-)

    Or it makes you growl and go….how quaint. 😡

  3. rick allen permalink
    August 7, 2007 5:54 pm

    Sounds like a Twilight Zone episode. May be I AM your conscience. On the internet. And that’s why I seem to float noiselessly in this void……

  4. episcopalifem permalink*
    August 7, 2007 7:00 pm


    It’s a big voooid. Good thing we are all together out here in it.

  5. August 7, 2007 11:28 pm

    I’d rather be chased than chaste.

  6. August 8, 2007 8:18 am

    Very, VERY good, Mystical!!

    I’m all about modesty out in the world. It would not bother me a *bit* if I never saw another thong peeking out of someone’s jeans, or someone’s “muffin top.” (BTW, men—I can count on one finger the number of your sex I’ve seen lately who are fit enough to mow the yard shirtless. Do us all a favor, please…)

    But “chaste” behind closed doors? Uh huh. No how, no way. Read the Song of Songs and I believe you will see that I have biblical warrant for that view. 😉

  7. episcopalifem permalink*
    August 9, 2007 5:18 am

    I’d much rather be chased than chaste, too, Mystical.

    Now THAT sounds like fun.

    Not boring a’tall.

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