The How To Status of Modern Men and Women

Today I wanted to learn how to…something. I forget now. Instead, Google’s auto-complete gave me a good primer on what others want to learn.

Him: I hope she likes my tie. Her: Check out this ass!

Him: How did Gramps do this?
Her: Check out my ass!

 

See here for more.

Back in a Bit & Katy Perry Puts the Fun in Funeral

I’ll be gone a few days, and have set the comments to moderation. (Back now.)

In other news, Katy Perry tells it like it is. Therefore, there is no excuse for missing the message that feral women are celebrated, and celebrating as they sing along in their cars.

It’s strangely fitting that the interludes are reminiscent of old horror-core rap like Gravediggaz and some of Wu Tang Clan’s more gruesome tracks…which is saying a lot. Investigate at your own risk. Vile stuff.

Dark horses draw hearses. Of course, we have heard and known these things.

5 My son, attend unto my wisdom,
and bow thine ear to my understanding:
that thou mayest regard discretion,
and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb,
and her mouth is smoother than oil:
but her end is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a twoedged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
her steps take hold on hell.
Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life,
her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
Hear me now therefore, O ye children,
and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Remove thy way far from her,
and come not nigh the door of her house:
lest thou give thine honour unto others,
and thy years unto the cruel:
10 lest strangers be filled with thy wealth;
and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
11 and thou mourn at the last,
when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
12 and say, How have I hated instruction,
and my heart despised reproof;
13 and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers,
nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
14 I was almost in all evil
in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

Willow Creek Pick-Up

Christian congregations across the Western world have been losing congregants for decades, if not longer. To combat this problem, in 1992 Bill Hybels started Willow Creek, and that church became a movement and a system, called “Willow Creek”.

Basically, it was a huge re-branding service that sold the idea that the problem with church was that it was seen as “churchy”. It is characterized by things such as describing itself as “seeker-friendly”; meaning non-confrontational, and throwing out the window repentant, discerning, yoke-ing bits of the Gospel. Things like: “You’re a sinner, and you’re in danger of Hell.”, “Becoming someone new means to stop being the old you, and that means behaving differently.” No more “First Baptist of Nowheresville”. Instead the Willow Creek system would recommend something like, “The Center of Overcoming Faith”; an unfortunate yet fitting descriptor.

What was defenestrated were several of the pillars of Christianity, and in its place was brought in marketing and psychology. People were no longer sinners, they were potential consumers of Christianity. The goal of the church was shifted away from boring old repentance and discipline, and towards convincing them that Christianity was pleasant, helpful, harmless, and comfortable; that it would improve your life both in quality and quantity. People in sales and marketing like to call those who buy many and varied things “discerning”; a fact that is belied by their multiplicity and variance. It was the Gospel stripped of all nutrients, coated in sugar, and believers as consumers.

Think of this method as the applied psychology of churching. Churches being Christians institutions, you could call this disaster for American Christianity: Christian Game.

Sheepwolves

There’s a concept that’s popular among right-leaning people, [1], and it goes like this:

There are three kinds of people in the world: Sheep (who cannot defend themselves), Wolves (who use violence to prey on the sheep) and Sheepdogs (who use violence against the wolves to protect the sheep).

People will tell you that they like this metaphor because sheepdogs do good work; that the sheepdog’s willingness to meet wolves with wolf-like violence is an expression of its true love for the sheep. To those people, the sheepdog is special because–like wolves–it has claws, fangs, strength, speed, and that it delights in the hunt, and in the kill; yet the sheepdog is on the side of the sheep, and that this is called righteousness.

This belief is how police officers (those conservative heroes) become paramilitary units; how they justify themselves (proclaim their righteousness or excuse their unrighteousness) when they kick down the wrong door; murder pets; slaughter children; abuse and embarrass innocent people. Because the more closely a person believes that what makes sheepdogs special is the sheepdog’s likeness to wolves (possession and desire to use claws, fangs, etc.) the more likely that person is to prefer the sheepdog metaphor.

Cops will tell you that they do what they do–whatever that is–out of love for the people. It’s a deep deception that corrupts the officer because he begins to think he is the source of that love. Then, having made himself the source of love for the people, he begins to think that what he does as cop (particularly the use of violence) is “real love”, as opposed to whatever it is that all those who are not officers do. Whatever that is, it’s not “real love” because “real love” includes the desire to do violence, so non-officer don’t “really love”. Now he’s not only the source of love, but separate from them. He begins to think that whatever he does is born of love, and can justify to himself any action he takes–especially violent–as an act of love. This is called self-righteousness; which is wicked. We recognize it when SWAT teams bust into a house, and shoot a little girl.

It also misses the point of sheepdogs. The more a dog emphasizes its natural dog-ness the more likely that it will start cannibalizing the herd, because the nature of a dog is very much like the nature of a wolf. What is really interesting and useful about sheepdogs is not their dog-ness (their resemblance to wolves) but that–despite their natural resemblance to wolves–they pursue resemblance to shepherds. Sheepdogs, like shepherds, spend the great majority of their time leading, corralling, watching, and instructing the flock; walking, barking, and nipping at the sheep. A good sheepdog does not pursue threats to the herd, but deters them, and–once threats are deterred–returns to the herd, and concerns itself with keeping the herd together.

The cause of this is not love for the sheep–although that often develops–but love for the shepherd. The best sheepdogs seek the shepherd’s approval above all things; receive sustenance from the the shepherd’s hand. They revel in the shepherd’s triumph over the wolves even if it was their own fangs which the shepherd used to do it, because they recognize that it was the shepherd’s investment in them that delivered the wolf into their mouths. They celebrate the shepherd. Another way of saying this is that really good sheepdogs are just extensions of the shepherd; that they are, in fact, little shepherds.

In addition to what I’ve said above: Shepherds have a much longer and greater pedigree than sheepdogs. Why, then, don’t truth-loving, God-fearing, Bible-clinging, gun-toting Americans or other Westerners just pursue the life of a shepherd instead of doing this song-and-dance about sheepdogs? It’s because they believe shepherds are weak, stupid, dirty, and boring. (Sounding like the perception of fathers and husbands yet?) They’d rather be wolf-like “for” the sheep; they want to be Sheepwolves.

Sheepwolves, though, don’t exist. They never have because not only are they not real, they are impossible. They’re just wolves without any sense at all. The senselessness of would-be sheepwolves is apparent because “sheepwolves” (ironically and insanely) are the ones who can’t distinguish between sheep and wolves. It’s just the sort of damned nonsense you’d expect from demons.

You’re going to have to choose: Shepherd, sheep, or wolf.

[1]I don’t remember where I first heard it, but you can find an extended version of it here.

Grin and Bear Them

Once a month some of the men of my parish meet for breakfast and discussion. The discussion centers around various “projects”; books we’re reading along together; Christian documentary films; that sort of thing. Breakfast is provided by two members who volunteer (or are volunteered if they seem to have forgotten to do so for awhile), and the details of which are worked out between them. I was one of those men at the last meeting I could attend.

The other was George; a kind man who is old enough to be my father. (In fact I am always the youngest person of the group by at least 25 years.[1]) George is always about doing things for others. He likes Habitat for Humanity, food drives, toy drives, city missions…projects with real physical results for people; the Body doing bodily things. This is an excellence in him. For that reason he was excited to prepare breakfast, and immediately had in mind breakfast burritos.

This was good news to me because I really just cannot stand eggs, and breakfast is always some egg dish. I don’t like them scrambled. I don’t like them fried. I don’t like omelets. I don’t like them in a casserole. I don’t like them on a plane. I don’t like them on a train.  Having warned him of my infirmity, we agreed to split up offerings: He would bring beef and egg along with some orange juice, and I would bring chorizo and potato to be chased with muffins. For some reason–whatever else we have–there are always orange juice and store-bought muffins; probably for people who don’t like eggs. They appear to be only and all the members under age 60.[2]

The plan was to make the burritos myself. I’d get up about 5:30am to start. It was a good plan. Satisfied that the plan was good enough as is, I slept in until nearly 7:00am.

I arrived at the church about twenty minutes to eight, and started the big cylindrical stainless steel coffee pot. The organizer was there, and he directed me to the platters and whatnot I needed to lay out the burritos and muffins. Having done that, I went outside to smoke a cigarette and wait for George to show up. A few minutes later his wife pulled up to drop him off. As he was getting out I could tell they were having a disagreement; something about how to organize their day. When he shut the car door it was hurried and relieved. It sounded like he was closing that one back closet; the one that is embarrassingly overstuffed with the things a man hates for his wife to keep, and that are all jumbled up with the things she won’t forgive him for not throwing away.

“Good morning!”

“Hey, Cane.”

We set it all up and when everyone showed we said a prayer and dug into food.

“Hey! Real muffins!”, someone exclaimed.

“Yeah, Evie made them. She loves to do that stuff.” Evie is my third daughter, and almost eleven.

“So, what are choices here?” someone else asked, wagging a finger at the two platters of burritos. George replied,

“Well, those are the ones I brought, and they’re egg and cheese. The other ones are Cane’s, and they’re…?”

“Potato and chorizo.”

“You guys made these?”

“I did, yeah.” George said.

“Mrs. Caldo made mine.”

“Really!” There were low whistles and exclamations out of each of the twenty or so men in the the room; all 60 or over.

“Yessir. I got up this morning, and found her in the kitchen. She said she had got up at 5:00am, went to the store, bought the ingredients, came back, and was cranking them out.”

“Boy, are you spoiled!” and other heckles were thrown at me, as men do.

I nodded and grinned, “She’s all right for a girl.” The room exploded in loud disbelief.

“You better not let her hear you say that!”, someone belted out.

Several others sang the harmony, “Yeah, really!”, “No kidding!”, etc.

Each of them thought I was getting away with something; that I had spoken out of turn. Some of them laughed with embarrassment, like I had told a dirty joke. Some of them suggested caution in a way that approached sincerity. For my own good, you see. A couple gave me looks of disgust. I just shrugged and again gave them the grin that so often at home had earned me a whippin’, in school had landed me in detention, and in the office had cost points on my reviews. But, look: I can’t let them get me down. Then where will they be? Eventually those grins invite people to investigate you because grins mean something. They have a way of confronting people that a smile just doesn’t. Nobody every heard of a blank grin.

By the end of that meeting I had one confederate. Ralph’s in his 80s, and his wife died this past year.

[1] To give you an idea: In January we had a diocese-wide gathering attended by about 120 men. They had us all stand up, and then sit down as our decades of age were called out: 80s, 70s, 60s, and so forth… I was one of three remaining when he called out 30s. There was one in his 20s; a priest. The gathering was a troubling experience which I would like to write about, but I am not sure what about it I want to say. Suffice it for now that I was the only person to get actually yelled at, more than once by more than one man, over the two days.

[2] In a previous post I estimated they were 55 and above, but I’ve since found out they’re all over 60.

The Cool Carousel: A Musical Observation of the Hegelian Mambo over a Generation

1998:

2006:

2012:

The problem for the so suave neo-reactionary Gamester, you see, isn’t that Eros is barbaric. It is that Eros currently isn’t white enough. If we can just make it more white–as the good Lord intended with Greece–it will be a better god.

Cha cha cha…

The Reasonable Investigation of the Pragmatism and Sophistication I Lack

The other day I wrote,

“This is a long conversation that I’m not terribly interested in having right now. Suffice it to say that a clear reading of the Bible is more useful, shorter, and deeper than some ancient nerd’s meandering attempt to justify the living Christ to dead Greeks.”

This terribly offended Novaseeker’s sensibilities, and he went around to at least three blogs of which I am aware, and made sure the people he respects knew what scurrilous things I had said about Aquinas. Fearing that the implications of my sin might be too subtle for gentlefolk, he made plain for them that I am “a buffoon”, “anti-intellectual”, and to be ignored post-haste before too much damage is done.

People did not imagine Thomas Aquinas was a nerd? I don’t think there is anything controversial about that characterization. Even if it’s wrong, surely it is well within the bounds of imagination; something on the scale of mistaking a New Zealand accent for Australian. That sort of error might be ruffling to a Kiwi, but only because he’s sentimental about New Zealand–as a Kiwi ought to be. However; I think a nerd chauvinism is counter-productive to the cause.

I propose that: If any philosophy or practice has attracting women as a goal, part of that philosophy or practice ought to be avoiding sentimentality for nerdiness; whether or not nerdiness itself can, should, or will be avoided.

Because on the rest of the statement there can be no disagreement if we are Christians and we believe the Bible to be true. The Bible is the foundation; not Aristotle. We do not believe the Bible because it agrees with Aristotle. Aquinas’s intent was not to supplant the Bible, but to expand out from it. In the same way, it’s better for everyone to read the Bible than to simply accept my interpretation and move on. I am going to miss things; things that are in and under and around and brought to the very text I might be talking about at the moment.

The applicability of Aristotle’s methods of reasoning may be corroborating evidence that is useful for evangelizing lovers of Greek philosophy, but to the great mass of us it is not terribly useful. The guy who runs a dry cleaner simply has very little use for Aquinas; to say nothing of the dry cleaner’s wife, or the shopboy that works for him. That’s who I write to: The Christian Everyman. It takes no imagination for me to believe Pope Francis would agree with me.

This, though, is my favorite of Novaseeker’s decade of derision:

And now our Aquinas bashing moron Cane is attacking me (he’s right, I always saw him as a dangerous moron, but only recently has he opened the kimono fully on his moron nature). Anti-reason, Anti-Greek, Anti-Eros, Anti-Aquinas — I mean, anti anything intellectual other than “art which involves no system”, which of course is not how actual writers and artists proceed — they all have a system. Anyway, beware this crackpot as well. He is an emblem of what is wrong, and Zippy’s easy association with such a crackpot is condemnation in itself.

By “attacking”, you can see he means, “Cane understood my string of criticisms against him”; showing once again an oversensitivity to utterly uncontroversial remarks.

I propose that: If any philosophy or practice has confidence as a goal, part of that philosophy or practice ought to be avoiding knicker-twist for mundane expressions of understanding; lest its adherents be undone by “thank you”, or “I see what you mean.”

Most of the rest of the comment begins understandably enough: He implies that he does not agree with me about several things. But note the italicized portion that not directly about me. “Zippy’s easy association with such a crackpot is condemnation in itself.”

Has it not been maintained and endlessly repeated by Novaseeker that the reasoning of “guilty by association” is no way for Zippy, myself, or anyone else to judge the truth or utility of a concept; such guilty associations being precisely the foundation of my cautions against pagan philosophies and religions? Yet is it not also the case that it is associated guilt which Novaseeker himself is (reasonably!) wielding against the idea of guilt by association?

That’s the problem with faith in the reason of man. Men aren’t reasonable, and even when they are, man’s reasoning can be broken upon itself.

In that same thread, Nick B. Steves wonders:

“I cannot imagine Zippy being too happy about Aquinas bashing?”

Zippy can answer for himself about his emotional state, but the important thing to remember is this: Who cares? What Zippy finds noteworthy about me is that we end up in the same vicinity of truth. Do you know who else is likely to end up in our vicinity? Someone like Roissy or Roosh, because they are willing to sacrifice everything to get to the truth. Each Dido[1] utterly committed to their first love.[2]

Novaseeker, I think, will not; at least not now. He is pragmatic and sophisticated, and those love ease and comfort above all, because–by definition–pragmatic and sophisticated people aren’t looking for the truth, but tools for easy living. That goes for most of the denizens of the Men’s Sphere.

I got nothing for those people. I truly don’t. This is fundamentally different than the poor man who needs some help getting by. The man waylaid in the road doesn’t need tools; he needs a friend who will pick him up, tend his wounds, and pay his way. For him I have a few meager answers that I will share along my way.

Finally, a word to Novaseeker on being moderated by Zippy: Hey man, I been there.

[1] I did not say one cannot see truths in Athens. I said it is infinitely better to know Jerusalem. So much so that by comparison Athens is practically irrelevant, and very often misleading; that one cannot properly even see Athens until one has been to Jerusalem.

[2]It remains that there is only one King, one Truth, with power over life and death Who has gone before us.

Making Heads or Tails of It

A few months back, one of the sermons at my church was on Luke 14:25-33

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

The same basic sermon I will relate to you now, I’ve seen it at least twice in the Men’s Sphere. It is, in my experience, very commonly heard from pulpits. The message of this sermon is that Jesus was telling us that it’s a matter of good judgment to be a good Christian. That if we do it wrong–if we aren’t living the Christian life properly–then there will be hatred between us and our fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, and sisters because we have led them astray, or at least not been Christian enough for them to know that the Christian life would be good for them.

He went on to say that because we are sinners, this will happen sometimes, and these times will be like taking up a cross. We will not be able to avoid times when we have to choose between Christ and what our families want, and even between Christ and what we want. Yet, if we are careful to count the cost before we build our individual towers of family, of our professional lives, etc., then we won’t have to hate our fathers, mothers, and so on; that our careful consideration of how to live as a Christian will bring easy and solid construction of our lives.

It is then said that the fourth part of the parable is that in this world we are outnumbered; as the king of 10,000 is outnumbered by the army of 20,000. That the world’s king of 20,000 will wage war against us and try to destroy our individual towers with our individual troop of 10,000, and that we–as the religion of the Prince of Peace–ought to be ambassadors of peace to those kings of 20,000 troops. That if we make terms with the world, then peace will reign and we will be the blessed peacemakers that Christ spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount. Furthermore, that if we have counted the cost correctly, and built our towers accordingly, then we have nothing to fear from the king of 20,000 because our foundation is solid. The priest said this hearkened to the parable of the man who built his house on the rock, and the man who built his house on sand.

You’ll notice that there is some cross-referencing there (making peace, and peacemakers, tower foundations and foundations of rock versus sand), and this makes for a tidy sermon on how we ought to be good Christians. It also provides a test so we can know if we are good Christians according to this system of measure:

  1. Good Christians don’t hate their family; usually because they have Christian families.
  2. Good Christians should expect comfortable lives; inasmuch as they are doing things right.
  3. Good Christians’ towers are completed because they are well-built.
  4. Good Christians overcome the powers of the world by being kind to them, and so gain peace from the world.

Conversely, if you fail to pass this test–if you strive with family, or your situation is precarious, or people find you disagreeable–then that means you are a failed Christian, or a foolish Christian, or at least you still have a lot of work to do. And, because it is true that we are sinners who fail and are foolish who still have a lot of work to do, this all makes sense to us. Sound familiar?

I will tell you what I told our priest that day as I shook his hand after the service: “That interpretation is very wrong.”[1]

1. With the exception of husbands and wives, family are not chosen. Particularly with regard to fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters we have no control over who or how they are, and consequently no direct responsibility for how they behave or what they profess. If you choose Christ and they have not you will have to hate them. Hate, like love, being an action.

2. We should understand that “what you do is who you are” and so Jesus is also saying that our rejection of them will be hateful to them. You will end up being tortured (“on a cross”, at the least: emotionally, spiritually, and socially) by them because of Christ.

2. When you sit down to count the cost of building your tower of family, what you will discover is this: You are going to die, and it will be before your family is complete. You will be deserving of mockery if your plan is to build your own family or legacy because you will not see it through. Give up your plan to build your family, and make it your mission to build God’s family; Christ’s tower. He is the only one who will live to see it through to the end. So if you want your work to be completed and endure, then you can only being doing His work on His tower.

3. The king of 20,000 that is coming against you and who cannot be overcome is Christ. You cannot defeat Him and the only way your people will survive–the only way you can make peace with Christ–is to surrender yourself and your people to Him. If you do not: You and they will be destroyed. Your people will see this surrender as hate because submitting to Christ is not what they want to do. That hatred is evident in every child as they rage and cry whenever she is denied something that is not good for her, or whenever you discipline him for a wrong.

The key to understanding this bookends the text. Jesus starts and ends with the ultimatum: You either give up everything for me, or you are going to lose everything–now. This isn’t an argument the Greeks would have appreciated as it is utterly from the authority of Him who has power over life and death. It is a coin-toss by the Maker of people, coins, and tossing. Below are the rules of the coin-toss.

Heads: Christ wins. Tails: You lose.

We can go a lot of different places from here, but what’s interesting to me right now is the question of why this triplet of parables is so commonly misinterpreted. I think the answer has to do with a desire for control; first and foremost. There is precious little control in those allegories.

Secondly, there is the misconception that we have something to offer that Christ needs from us. We labor under the delusion that we are in a position to make an exchange with God; that there is an economy between us. This is akin to saying there is an economy between parent and child when there is nothing the child owns (or is!) that the parent did not give him. Christ is not offering a trade, but reclaiming at sword-point what is His. This is what we mean when we say Christ redeems. Whoever gets in the way is a thief, and worse.

Third, there is genuine desire on our parts to be like our Older Brother; to be helpful, and to just want to be a part. It never sounds like being a part when the people you look up to tell you to get behind them. It just feels like they’re bullies, and this feeling keeps us from recognizing that we would be added to the throng of 20,000.

Finally, there is just plain confusion on our parts because Christ literally loves us to death, and it makes no sense from a material perspective. It is beyond logical; not illogical, but rational constructs cannot contain it. We try to work this out in our tiny little minds, and we can’t contain it all, either. There are days of insight and nights of near-complete black, but mostly we see in imperfect shadows and reflections.

Making too much of the patterns we only darkly see, these desires spin and rationalize until we contrive that there’s got to be some system at work, and that if we can just crack it then we could be really useful to Jesus, and the people around us. If we could just find the all the little reasons of why God does what He does, and the cosmic interworkings of how He does it, then we could rationalize it all and create a system of how to be good people.

How to really help people–Jesus-like–without actually relying on Jesus ourselves because we are deceived into believing we’ve gained an understanding, and that understanding from visions half-seen. The first part is Satanism, and and the second part is foolishness. It replays itself over and over again among God’s people; from the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, to the worship of the Golden Calf. From philosophy, to psychology. From theology, to evolution. From legalism, to libertinism. From the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, to the desire for relevance of the Emergent Church movement. From Girl Power, to the art of seduction.

That search for the system contains the contradiction that dooms us: Good people don’t need to be saved. Good people don’t need Christ. There is no such thing as a “good” Christian and a “bad” Christian; just as a person is either human, or not; just as he is either alive, or dead. There are only Christians, and those of the world. Work which you are through fear of the King who approaches your tower, and tremble at his might. Or die.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

For in Christ is all the wisdom and knowledge of the world; among other things.

This is why I continue writing about the dangers of approaching personal relationships in secular terms. I don’t just write against Game, as I am commonly misrepresented. I’m writing against all those things I listed above, and more. These contrivances of men have long infected the church.[2] We live among a people where tomorrow is a holiday instead of a holy day, and that holiday is named after a saint who is a saint for reasons unknown to anyone. On this holiday we celebrate sentimental and irrational eroticism. We lie, and call these desires “love” instead of calling them desires, and therefore we do not even attempt to direct them as the will should always direct emotions.

That’s what adherence to philosophies, deceits, tradition, and rudiments (these are all tools) gets us. Don’t adhere to those things: Filter them. See through them, not by them. You and we will know what you see through and what you see by according to your praise.

Edit: This should have been added and addressed above:

A Song of degrees for Solomon.

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:
except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows:
for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

[1] I did continue and tell him this same gist, but I didn’t want to hold up the line. He agreed.

[2] I hope you understand that there is a starker difference between wisdom and science than there is between physics and biology. If you find yourself tempted to argue that one can’t learn algebra, or how to drive a car, from the Bible you have bigger problems than whether you can handle a woman.

Compounding Cupidity

For at least two years I’ve had the same Gravatar: “Cupid Chastised”, by Bartolomeo Manfredi.[1] You can see it here. From the comments, some of my interpretation of the piece:

I believe is it Mars whipping Cupid, and Venus interfering. I think it’s natural to assume that Cupid must have shot someone that caused a complication for Mars–either stopping a war Mars didn’t want stopped, or starting a war of which Mars does not approve. I’ve always thought the doves flying away (doves are symbols of peace) actually encourages the latter interpretation. This is a war Mars does not want.

So, we have a picture of manliness whipping Cupid for interfering, and he’s using a cord of three braids to do it. I’m fairly knowledgable of tropes, and the most common trope of cords with three braids is the three-fold cord of marriage–which makes sense. Marriage is the whip of manly civilization that brings sexual energy to useful purpose.

What’s interesting to me about Venus is: 1) She doesn’t seem to be trying very hard to stop Mars. Maybe this has happened before? Maybe she’s assuming Cupid’s immortal state will spare him? Maybe she’s afraid if she’s too aggressive Mars will turn on her?

My money says those things in her hand are the key. Yes, she’s trying to spare Cupid, but her real concern is salvaging those arrows of Eros. Just as Mars came to represent general manliness and male energy, so Venus came to represent femininity and female energy. Why save the arrows? Hypergamy in corruption seems to be a pretty good explanation.

I go on later to talk about the symbolism of the three-fold cord.

The important point isn’t whether I’m reading Manfredi correctly, but that years ago I had deduced that the problem with Christian marriages concerns the involvement of the spirit of Eros; Cupid’s Greek name. Additionally, I have been writing a series of posts called “Doublethinking Lust” as a sort of spot-treatment guide to how Christians have idolized lust–Eros, Cupid–and keep it under the their skirts.

These years later, Social Pathologist (who is always interesting) too has decided that Christians really need to take a second look at Eros; that is: Cupid. SP’s take is wildly different: He thinks we need more reverence for the spirit of Eros.

I think the errors with that should be obvious, but if I have learned one thing in my time here in the Men’s Sphere it’s this: Most people don’t know what they are talking about. Because of that, they don’t know what others are talking about. This impairment is much more foundational than definitions of Game (conversations of which irritate some people, and even I find tiresome), but it remains that I am trying to have a discussion with people who don’t know what the word spirit means. They don’t know what the Gospel actually is.[2] So when I tell them that Game tinkers with spirits and stands against the implications of the Gospel they don’t know what in the world I’m talking about. I strike them as a different species. Presumably, that means as a subhuman oppressor.

They dismiss spirit as something that is not really real, but merely imaginary. It’s mere to such people because don’t know that imaginary things can be real things because they don’t understand that the word imaginary doesn’t actually mean pretend. These things are important to know for a person who is going to preach “Fake it ’til you make it.” Fake WHAT until you make WHAT?

“Fake it ’til you make it.” is a spiritual discipline (This is probably a good time to point out that the word discipline shares the same root as the word disciple, and that the practice of the previous results in the formation of the latter.) It is imagining (making and assuming the image of a spirit with your mind) until that spirit has conformed your form–your mind, your will, your heart, your spirit–to it. What does the Bible that God used His people to write, collect, and protect) say about this:

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Look at what it says! The whole person of the Christian is to be transformed by the renewing of the mind; which is where the spirit works. Paul continues on to say what that renewing looks like:

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

There goes self-esteem. There goes self-confidence, and in its place keeping confidence (faith with) God. There (certainly!) goes irrational self-confidence; as irrational is not sober. There goes Demonstration of Higher Value. There goes pride. Lest anyone get confused: This is criticism of worldly Christians, and the merely worldly.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation.

No deceit allowed; not even to make someone feel better.

Abhor that which is evil

Stay away fornication, among other things.

cleave to that which is good.

Hooray for marriage! Hooray for what marriage represents!

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Make it your business to show good men as successful

11 not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

No lounging poolside.

12 rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Keep morale high.

13 distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Be generous.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

No hating on non-Christians or other enemies, but hoping for their conversion.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.16 Be of the same mind one toward another.

Sympathize, and put your feelings to the side for the sake of others.

Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.

Don’t chase success, but make effort to make less fortunate men successful.

Be not wise in your own conceits.

See things from others’ perspectives, and don’t put too much trust in your own.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil.

No paybacks. No revenge. No “mutually assured destruction”. No “go bags”. No plots of humiliation.

Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Be truthful and do not lay traps for others.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Make effort to not only avoid conflict, but to find common ground; though not at the expense of the what has been said above.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Not only: No paybacks, no revenge, no mutually assured destruction, no go bags, no plots of humiliation; but do good to them. Sacrifice for them. Do not fight fire with fire. The answer to the Feminist who gets mad at your holding the door is to call her “ma’am”.

Please understand that this is in contrast not only to what worldly people say and do (PUAs, Oprah, Muslims, etc.) but in contrast to those Christians who sniff that the sort of men we have today aren’t the sort of men who could have stood with Constantine, Charles Martel, or any of the other so-called “heroes” of pre-Enlightenment Christendom. Anybody who believes the might of God and rightness of Christianity was proved by martial force, cultural dominance, or even accumulated traditions of worship is making the mistake that I’ve gone on about over and over:

Here in [The Book of Job] the question is really asked whether God invariably punishes vice with terrestrial punishment and rewards virtue with terrestrial prosperity. If the Jews had answered that question wrongly they might have lost all their after influence in human history. They might have sunk even down to the level of modern well-educated society. For when once people have begun to believe that prosperity is the reward of virtue, their next calamity is obvious. If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue. Men will leave off the heavy task of making good men successful. He will adopt the easier task of making out successful men good. This, which has happened throughout modern commerce and journalism, is the ultimate Nemesis of the wicked optimism of the comforters of Job.

Most people–including most professing Christians, and across history–have answered wrongly. Social Pathologist, Novaseeker, Vox, and those like them say that the answers to what ails Christians is a dearth of Cupid, a disdain of Aristotle, a hunger of Machiavelli, and a lack of Neitzsche–all those thinkers and thoughts which we mean when we ask, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” They speak as non-Christians when they do. Not because Jerusalem cannot benefit from Athens, but because those who mistake success for righteousness do not understand Jerusalem at all, and so they do not know that while they may mean to add to Jerusalem, what they do in their ignorance is flood it with successful invaders and say it is good.

So it’s no bad thing to learn from Roissy’s dissections that the old saw is truer than you knew: “Beauty is old skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone.” Adapting Christian marriage and the Christian view of sex is the problem. Thomas Aquinas’ desire to learn from Aristotle and pass it on to Christians wasn’t his problem. The error was trying to create a philosophy of God that satisfied Aristotelian logic; along with assumptions that success meant good merely because it satisfied our desires to want success to be the reward of virtue. Christians (Jerusalem) can certainly benefit from non-Christian (Athens) thought. It happens all the time. However, it is profoundly unlikely to happen when the Christian making the Athenian argument earnestly likens marriage with prostitution; marriage with fornication; marriage with mathematics; and even marriage with operating a car.

We’re told what marriage is like: It’s like Christ’s relationship to the Church. It’s like farming. It’s like shepherding. It’s like work. We’re also told what sex is like:

Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

It’s like enjoying work. Let the married eat and be filled with the joy of sex and let it produce. It is a reward for the work. It draws the worker onward to more work and more reward. It is pleasurable even when not profitable with children, and reaps profits even when it’s not terribly pleasurable. Whoever is not treading out the grain should not eat, and whoever is treading out the grain should not be kept from eating. These things work together, and are self-evident.

As a general rule: If there’s something important for the Christian to know, it’s something that can be learned by even the commonest of men; like farmers, and shepherds. Simpletons can’t help but intuit the ox-and-grain truth about sex and marriage, but the educated hem and haw; harrumphing about that what we could really use here is some more Eros (from the Greeks; so famous for homosexuality that Greek is now a euphemism for sodomy) and Cupid (from the Romans who’s sexual achievements are orgies and egalitarian divorce laws).

The existence of these things among Christians is evidence of them having been poisoned with Cupidity; not a sign of its absence. We see a similar cupidity when the response to teen pregnancy is contraceptives, abortion, and college instead of marriage.

10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

The Christian who wants to consume sex must tread marriage, and sex should not be withheld from the married.

18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

[1] For a brief time, I changed it to a picture I took of a sign over an airport luggage carousel. It read: “Please Stay Off The Carousel”.

[2] The Gospel is the story of Jesus Christ: The good news that God became man, died on the cross to take away the sins of all who believe on Him and to reconcile and redeem sinners to God; hat He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven to rule. The Gospel is not lived, but told. Acceptance of the Gospel should and will inform how one lives, but it cannot be told in silence.

Doublethinking Lust IV: The Evolving Metaphor of Annulments

Recently, I’ve had the same discussion with a couple very smart Christian men, and it goes something like this:

Cane: Anyways…That’s why it’s important to accept the truth of the Creation Story, and how evolution leads a person astray.

Friend: Really? I think the important thing is to keep the metaphor of the Creation Story. We can recognize the truth of the findings of science as long as we keep the metaphor.

This scenario is ripe for doublethink, and it performs the trick of making the accumulation of believed facts (what we call science) the justice or moderator of truth so that from age to age we keep going back and re-interpreting the truth (The Creation Story) that was given to us.

This is an extremely seductive tack to take because we really want to believe scientists. They’re so successful. I mean, they seem really smart and earnest. They can solve big math problems (we who cannot, believe), and see atoms (we who cannot, believe), and they just have all kinds of superpowers (we imagine) and they’re always making up words for all the things they know that we do not. Pope John Paul II committed this error when he endorsed the philosophy of evolution; not only by endorsing it, but by referring to is as factual when it is absolutely NOT factual, but philosophical.

This is a trend of modern Catholic pontiffs. According to this essay Pope Pius XII was the first Pope to make this error, and Roman Catholics later compounded it when they cranked up the annulment mills.

Wait, what?

This is (part of) how such disparate topics are related:

In 1951, interestingly, Pius XII (who so grudgingly acknowledged the possibility of evolution) celebrated news from the world of science that the universe might have been created in a Big Bang.  (The term, first employed by astronomer Fred Hoyle was meant to be derisive, but it stuck.)  In a speech before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences he offered an enthusiastic endorsement of the theory: “…it would seem that present-day science, with one sweep back across the centuries, has succeeded in bearing witness to the august instant of the primordial Fiat Lux [Let there be Light], when along with matter, there burst forth from nothing a sea of light and radiation, and the elements split and churned and formed into millions of galaxies.”  (ME, 254-55)

But the Pope didn’t stop there.  He went on to express the surprising conclusion that the Big Bang proved the existence of God:

“Thus, with that concreteness which is characteristic of physical proofs, [science] has confirmed the contingency of the universe and also the well-founded deduction as to the epoch when the world came forth from the hands of the Creator.  Hence, creation took place.  We say: therefore, there is a Creator.  Therefore, God exists!”

The man who laid the groundwork for the Big Bang theory, astronomer Edwin Hubble, received a letter from a friend asking whether the Pope’s announcement might qualify him for “sainthood.”  The friend enthused that until he read the statement in the morning’s paper, “I had not dreamed that the Pope would have to fall back on you for proof of the existence of God.”  (ME, 255)

See, if you’re the sort of Christian who relies on human feelings and rationalizations to acknowledge God, then you’re the sort of Christian who must accept that unhappy wives who want to be free from their husbands are onto something. Then (rationalization demands) you must re-interpret your theology against divorce because so many congruent human perceptions (the unhappy wives) simply can’t be wrong! It would look like you made a mistake if you just whole-heartedly accepted divorce, as mainstream and evangelical Protestants do.[1] So, to resolve this contradiction, maybe for starters you just stop refusing communion to divorcees. That will tide you over while you dig through your theology (another system of rationalization) until you find…A-ha! Annulments! So, you crank up the annulment mill and just say, “That didn’t happen.”

Thomas Aquinas realized this sort of thing would be a problem, too, and abandoned his Summa Theologica–his attempt to synthesize Aristotelian philosophy, Averroes Muslim philosophy, and the divine revelation of the Jews and Christians. Why the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans (my peeps) continue to lionize the work he himself rejected will never make sense to me except as yet one more warning to beware the contrivances and rationalizations of even the wisest and best of men.

This is all because there is–behind every form of knowledge–a spirit, and when ever we put any knowledge to practice what we are doing is invoking spirits. Spirits are not new things. This is why the stupid old hillbillies like Mennonites, the Amish, SSPX-ers, etc. can be wrong about many and various things, but who still proclaim the Creation Story as fact, largely, do not practice divorce. They do not practice annulment. They do not hook-up. They do not “court” in any way we could refrain from snickering at.

[1]Yes, it does make those Protestants look very, very bad. So bad that we have to wonder if they’re actually Protestants; actually a form of Christian.

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