Contemporary American culture—very much including Christian culture—finds it hard to understand celibacy as anything other than a deprivation. And lots of us also experience celibacy as mostly deprivation, rather than an arena for love. In this workshop, I’ll look at Christian history, theology, and art, in order to suggest ways in which celibacy offers unique forms of openness to love, intimacy with God, and witness to Heaven. I’ll also share my own story of discovering beauty in celibacy even though I never wanted it—if celibacy is a “gift,” I’ve finally stopped looking for the returns counter.
Eve Tushnet lives in Washington, DC, where she was raised somewhere between atheism and Reform Judaism. She cofounded her high school’s gay/straight alliance and entered the Catholic Church in 1998, during her sophomore year at Yale University. She is a freelance writer and a recovering alcoholic. In 2010, she was profiled in the New York Times’s “Beliefs” column.
Tushnet blogs regularly at The American Conservative and Patheos. Her work has been published by the Atlantic, Weekly Standard, Commonweal, and First Things, and she has written for the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog and the New York Times’ “Room for Debate.” She has spoken on being gay and Catholic at Carnegie-Mellon University, Georgetown University, Princeton University, Fordham, among others. She has also addressed a group of campus ministers in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and spoken with Interfaith Voices, a syndicated public radio show. Tushnet contributed an essay on gay Catholic life to the 2008 anthology Faith at the Edge, and has essays forthcoming in books from Fordham University Press and Notre Dame University Press.