Take a Number

I want to examine a few sentiments that are often expressed by professing Christians in the Men’s Sphere; many of them in the comments of my last post.

1) “I can read Game blogs, and practice Game while retaining my Christianity and continuing to be sanctified because I can separate and ignore the bad stuff like fornication when I see it, and that part I simply don’t buy or perform.” (For this portion we’ll focus on the easy things. I won’t even discuss that Game is often an exercise in pride, effeminism, etc.)

The second is like it.

2) “I cannot go to church and serve because while that would in some ways benefit my spiritual growth and be helpful to others, I can’t separate their pedestalization of females from the decent things that I could otherwise do there.”

If you believe this of your own situation, or that these statement are compatible, then you’re admitting you actually have a very faulty filter, and so are not in a position to make a call about either.

3) “Not everything I need to know is in the Bible. It doesn’t tell me how to fix a carburetor, or how to paint.”

That knowledge is not needed to live a good life. If you think it is, then you don’t know what the word need means.

4) “Since my goal is to find a good Christian wife, I have to learn how to find and attract one. Since Game writers are the only ones giving advice on how to get a girl, I have to go to them. The Bible doesn’t teach the technique/system. If they are: Prove it.”

Sometimes I have to really power through these comments and requests, but this one’s easy, and I’ve written about it before. Here’s the Bible on: How to Get a Good Christian Wife:

House and riches are the inheritance of fathers:
and a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Good news: Your search is over. Bad news: You need patience, and you need to stop telling yourself you need a wife because you don’t.[1] Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3 show how a husband can be part of this process, because a wedding is the beginning of a marriage (the beginning of a wife) not the end. (I was glad to see that Vox is now rhyming with me on this point.) The desire for a wife and sex is real and reasonable, but it is not like the desire for food. It is like the desire for wealth or knowledge; wholesome, but unnecessary.

5) “The Bible doesn’t tell you about how to deal with women; how women really are. It doesn’t tell you about shit-tests.”

Let’s back up one whole verse:

A foolish son is the calamity of his father:
and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

Contentions; as in she contends often, and often for no good reason. Several times in the book of Proverbs alone are we warned about contentious wives. We’re warned about contentious men, too, but the warning count on contentious wives outstrips them. The Latin root of the English word here is “tenere”; which means a shell, pot, or hard covering. The root of “test” is “testa” also a pot, brick, nut or other hard encasement. The word picture is a wife who will not open to her husband; who greets his presence with a defensive posture…a shit-test. It’s worth noting that the encouragements and warnings given in Proverbs are respectively for and against moments and choices that everyone will face.

How do you respond to this contesting? The same way you do anyone else:

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 neither give place to the devil.

Love them; as in do them good. We are instructed to love our wives, love our neighbors, and love our enemies. Sometimes wives are all three. It’s no sin to remain steadfast in your actions (love) while telling them that their contentions are bitter and wicked attempts to drive you away. Catch that? You be the rock, and you tell her the truth. What you don’t do is just take it and tell yourself you’re stoic.

6) “Watching porn and playing video games has nothing to do with attracting women. It’s a distraction from the real problem that girls don’t like good Beta men like me.”

You need to wake up. If you’re a nerd, that sentiment does not apply to you. No man gains points with a woman by the revelation (by design or otherwise) of watching porn, and if you’re not cool you will lose a lot of status. Video games–particularly RPGs, shooters, and other non-sport and non-casual video games–are nerd signals. If you’re cool: You will not be docked for it. If you’re a nerd, or display introverted nerd-like tendencies: You will be. Fairness and reason have nothing to do with it. It’s about the aesthetics and the correlations.

The same is true for trading card games, role-playing games, comics, anime, science fiction, and other frivolities of the introverted. If you have fantasy artwork for an avatar and you complain to me that girls don’t like you, the reasonable assumption is that you’re either displaying way too much nerdiness, or that you’re not selecting nerdy enough girls. There are nerdy women out there who like those sorts of things, and you can keep your hobbies and get one of them. They are often fat, unhygienic, shy, or otherwise aesthetically hobbled, but if you would make a good husband, perhaps she would make a good wife.

Limit yourself to a maximum of two of those nerdy hobbies, and over the course of a week spend less than one hour a day on them. So if you spend seven hours playing Call of Duty on a Saturday: No video games or other nerd hobbies for the rest of the week. Then put the rest of that time into more productive and attractive activities. Nobody gets docked by sane people for lifting weights, reading the Bible, taking walks, Sudoku, writing, cooking, painting, woodworking, or any number of other things. Here’s a generalization on how to know if a hobby is nerdy. If, at the end of the hobby’s endeavor, you don’t have a new product, life experience, or life skill: It’s probably nerdy. Collecting or buying baubles does not count as production.

[1]One of the ways a lot of pastors go wrong is that they tell men that if God hasn’t given them a wife that means they don’t deserve one yet. We can’t know that, and I think that is exactly the sort of disrespectful nonsense that drives our bust-to-bust Economy of Respect and miserliness. All we can know is that God hasn’t given them one, and that therefore he does not need one.

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42 thoughts on “Take a Number

  1. Sorry, but you are making that Proverbs 19:4 into something it isn’t. Saying that because prudent wife is from God, your search is over is like saying that because children are God’s gift you don’t need to have sex to to conceive one. Also you can read 31:10 for counter-argument – that God won’t just send wife to you but activity is indeed needed on man’s side.
    Also your attitude of “God giveth and taketh, you don’t actually need a wife” in this specific matter seems to be in conflict with “let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” (and given that it’s actually not written anywhere in Bible that we will have always enough to eat, your separation of needs and wants seems quite pointless)…

    Also I think it’s important to read Proverbs as proverbs – something that is wise and generally true, but not really some kind of God’s promise to people – which you seem to disagree with (judging by your interpretation)

    Anyway your point 4 seems to be contradicting point 6, basically:
    “you don’t have to search for wife, God will give it to you” vs “don’t be an idiot, if you want to ever land a wife, you have to be high status but porn watching and doing awkward nerdy stuff certainly isn’t helping in it. (btw, this is exactly kind of advice which lack of was Free Northerner criticizing – although it’s quite common sense)

    P.S.:
    your answer to point 1 was really lazy the way you just decided to merge it with point 2 – why don’t you answer it separately?

  2. My point about fixing my car is not how necessary it is. My point is that it is not irreligious to fix my car, and the instructions are not in the Bible.

    OK, anyway, somebody who knows what to look for can find stuff that’s relevant. The men who don’t have a clue what to look for are still at sea. Millions of Christian men have read those verses, and your interpretation didn’t occur to them. Where it says “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife”, that’s clear. You can’t miss the point. Your game verses, not so much. I guess there’s a verse you coild interpret as “tease her when she’s moderately upset until she laughs, and then quietly consider that she may possibly have a legitimate point”, but is it clear enough to cut through what men hear from their pastor telling them to man up and supplicate?

    If the Bible alone were enough for most men, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It demonstrably is not enough.

    Any idiot knows it’s unchristian to bang sluts. That message is getting out just fine. Any Christian reads Roissy, he knows which parts of that message are sinful. The danger of the churchian supplication message is that it’s superficially “Christian” in content, the people selling it call themselves “Christian” and are accepted publically as Christians, and the voices refuting it are marginalized. When you say it’s all unchristian gibberish, you sound like a conspiracy theorist.

    Personally, I don’t worry about Christian men reading Roissy. I encourage them to look outside a church that cynically lies to them. If I were you, and I wanted them not to read Roissy, I would provide a genuinely Christian alternative source of wisdom on the subject. I would not tell them “just be yourself, read the Bible, and wait for God to find you a girl”. Their mothers said that, and they know it’s not true. God evidently is not in that business, because it’s not happening. There are a lot of things God expects us to take responsibility for in our own lives.

  3. Cane, you are addressing the wrong problem. Men usually don’t have the tools to be able to practically apply biblical injunctions, which you assume they can. Pastors are a key link in exposition of the Bible so that it can be made practical. I think that pastors have done an exceptionally poor job of telling men how to find wives. Hence, men are going to game sites to figure out some sort of strategy. Maybe pastors don’t know what to tell wife-seeking men any more. Also, there are also the problems of feminism, pedestalization, etc., which pastors aren’t addressing.

  4. Oh, I think that pastors don’t know what to tell men because they don’t understand the culture. And if the pastors are liberal, they may well be a major part of the problem–supporting feminist imperatives, etc. If they are traditional, they may support the pedestalization of women.

  5. Also, “you don’t need a wife” may be so, but it is not unchristian to want one, and it is very strange to suggest that involuntary celibacy and broken marriages should be the norm among Christians.

    To recommend celibacy for the average man is not Christianity as we have known it for 2000 years.

    Besides, you just said it’s practical to get anf keep one without game, and now you’re saying it isn’t, but hey, don’t sweat it — you don’t really need one anyhow (saith the man who has one, right?)

    Another point: I recommend Roissy in part because he’s pro-civilization and actually recognizes the importance of intact marriages, in his own deranged irreligious way (I’m not gonna mount a general defense of a man who’s generally indefensible and proud of it). Blackdragon, I would never recommend.

  6. Good point on recognizing that there are girls that do like geeky things. Some of them are even cute. It’s the combination of nerdiness AND introversion that’s a killer. My husband points out that I was too weird to ever have much male attention. And I’m an introvert. So I’m a female nerd. In God’s Providence, I found an extrovert nerd who appreciated that the qualities that would make me a good wife were being ignored by the general population. His gain.

    So, TL;DR, either broaden your horizons, or seek a girl that already likes your quirks, but recognize that if you’re writing off the girls who are nerdy introverts, the girls you’d rather have (why? What on wrath do you have in common with them?) are probably writing you off for the same reason.

  7. @ Cane…

    As addressed earlier, the reason why Christians are going to game sites is because they TELL them a system. It may not always work and I do believe it is a placebo but it stresses doing something and points out the dark nature of females which has been well covered up by the other side. The advice on which women to avoid alone is worth the reads. Consider all the “man up and marry the slut” shaming from Christian leaders…those aren’t prudent woman. Now I have a good filter to know what a prudent wife is should the Lord give me that gift.

    I was not given anything explicitly from my father, the church, society, etc…other than “be yourself and be good”. Everything was more or less implied…but that is tough to get when you have so many different areas of propaganda being thrown at you and most are to ruin your masculinity. How are we supposed to know that when nobody explicitly points that out in the churches? Do most men outside the sphere realize how much they are being emasculated daily? Do most men know what they are doing that shows active emasculation? I doubt it because I see it all the time in the area I live. The only ones that haven’t are like fish in water…they’ve always been that way and never consider that others are outside that water.

    And I say you can separate the good from the bad given that you are asking God for wisdom…fornicating is sinning, getting your butt off the couch and working out is good. Passive aggressive tricks with women is bad…going up, overcoming your fear, having outcome independence and talking to a woman you are interested in is good. Game causes a man to be effeminate through doing, and many other place tell men to be effeminate by being.

    To sum up…pray and ask God for the tools you need in your particular situation (because He knows more than you or anybody else will)…then stop being afraid, get off your butt, and use those tools to the best of your abilities. I can give my list of what I do as ideas…but it will not be your list. The common theme of the lists is that it better produce.

  8. @earl,

    I think much of what you said can be summed up in “be a saint.”

    Not a nice, Christian guy. A saint. Be the kind of man that people either love with all their heart and would do anything for, or otherwise hate with a red passion. It’s founded on faith, which is not a warm fuzzy feeling, but the kind of absolute trust in God that allows you withstand torture without flinching. If you don’t care what the world thinks, why should you care what any particular woman thinks?

  9. Agreed with earl. The problem isn’t so much that men don’t have the skills—anyone who’s played with a dog has “Game.” The problem is what they do have that they shouldn’t—particularly, modern lies in their heads.

  10. Cane:
    Good news: Your search is over. Bad news: You need patience, and you need to stop telling yourself you need a wife because you don’t.

    Yep. Now someone will come by with a 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 citation in 3… 2… 1…

  11. seriouslypleasedropit:
    The problem is what they do have that they shouldn’t—particularly, modern lies in their heads.

    Yep. And replacing those old, rusty lies with new shiny ones will work out badly in the long run. Folks need to learn to live patiently with the hole left by the uprooted lies.

  12. When my wife and I moved back to Illinois from out West, our son moved in with us. He was, at that time a terribly broken young man. He had had two relationships in which the women had ripped his heart out. He was finished with women, nothing good to say about them ever. He lived with us five years in which we required nothing from him at all. He needed rest for his soul, like Elijah running from Jezebel. Five years, because he ain’t Elijah and I’m not God. After five years our son said,” I’m tired of being white trash living with my mom and dad.” And he set out to find a compatible women that he could marry and live his live in peace and joy with. He found one rather quickly; on Craig’s list. She liked just what he liked(all nerd) and desired a quite life just as he did. When they met he smoked. She has asthma. He quit smoking. She is Vegan, he is not, but he defends her choice relentlessly. They desire no children, which is a disappointment to me but, ” for this cause shall a man leave his mother and his father and cleave unto his wife” so it is not my business, It’s between him and God and I’m content to let God sort it out. So, how did my son find his wife so quickly? It started with his decision to have a wife first. Did God have anything to do with it? Depending on your point of view, yes…or no. On May 19,1986, God gave me a ‘word’ about how Jonathan’s fate was tied to the sin of his father Saul, and how that applied to me and my son. I have not smoked since that day. Is God involved in my son’s life? Depends on your point of view.

  13. @seriously
    ASD=”Autism Spectrum Disorder”
    No, not all men have the skills. I have a lot that I have worked hard _over the decades_ to develop, but there are still holes in my understanding of social phenomena. I also have trouble doing real-time analysis, which showed up recently when I failed to realize at the time that a woman was flirting with me. And conversational skills require development for many of us. I tend to engage heavily non-verbally with some success–smiles, eye games, touch; also do a _little_ verbal sexualization. Timing is my biggest problem.

    Playing with dogs doesn’t require near the level of verbal skills as does Game.

  14. @theasdgamer, Ever heard if a guy named Mike Burry? He made millions in the collapse of the mortgage bubble, and during the middle of that was diagnosed with ASD (Aspergers to be exact, but I understand they’ve since done away with that as a diagnosis.) based on observations of his 4 year old son. He found his wife online, and had about as blunt a description of himself as you can probably imagine.

    Michael Lewis profiles him in “The Big Short”.

  15. @Pilgrim

    Sorry, but you are making that Proverbs 19:4 into something it isn’t. Saying that because prudent wife is from God, your search is over is like saying that because children are God’s gift you don’t need to have sex to to conceive one. Also you can read 31:10 for counter-argument – that God won’t just send wife to you but activity is indeed needed on man’s side.

    You have misread my post, and it appears you have read erroneously into my post.

    In general: “All good things come from God.” Period. That’s revelation. You’re still criticizing my lack of a system when I’ve told you that living life is not a system. Even if I’m wrong, you should not expect a systematic approach from me. Man, I don’t even have a theology.

    Likewise: proverbs are proverbs, but Proverbs is the Word of God.

    (btw, this [ed: #6] is exactly kind of advice which lack of was Free Northerner criticizing – although it’s quite common sense)

    So you liked point #6? I’d be curious to hear if other did, too.

  16. @theringmistress
    Thanks for the lead.

    @seriously
    About 10% of the population are autistic, from what I’ve read. I’m not a special case in the sense of being autistic–just a member of a minority.

    Autism hasn’t totally impaired my socialization. It’s not like I haven’t had some success with women. Back in my pre-Christian days I had a fling with a 9 who was engaged; after I became a Christian I married a 10 who was “new off the lot.” My wife was way out of my league (she says I’m an 8). There were doctors chasing her and a wealthy hospital administrator offering her marriage. I was an unemployed student when we met and wasn’t earning much when we married.

    Like most autists, I’m pretty traditional. I’ve kept my vows. Like most married guys, I have to fend off advances by women. Being autistic hasn’t stopped that.

    For the first several years of our marriage, I stayed out Saturday nights playing my hobby with friends. My wife wasn’t happy about that. When I stopped doing that, she became less attracted to me–probably because she was less worried about what I was doing and because she thought that I had submitted to her wishes. (I decided to do it independently of her wishes, but she didn’t know that.) I now go out almost every night to indulge a new hobby; she is fine with it, but I need her to shit-test about it for it to help my dominance. Guess I’ll have to make her jealous somehow.

    Funny, I never had to mate-guard my wife–she always did it herself, despite her being such a catch. I did once make a point when we were engaged that I could easily pick up a woman quickly with escalation, even during the day without alcohol being involved; maybe that had some impact on her thinking about my value. That incident was preceded by a big fight and was followed by an even bigger fight. Still, it bore lasting dividends.

    I’ve found that a _little_ g-rated flirting can improve my social standing. Call it “charm.” Properly used, charm can brighten someone else’s day and make it pleasant for others to be around you. When Proverbs speaks about charm negatively, it’s talking about something that is intended to lead to sin, so parsing the meaning of “charm” is important.

    @Cane
    Even though Proverbs is inspired, that doesn’t mean that the way that we read Proverbs is necessarily inspired.

    Game is an art, true. However, we can learn about the arts by reading about them as well as trying to practice them. There’s a lot about Game that can be communicated. Certainly, much can be learned about women by reading about them.

  17. God is not a system. You don’t put in a quarter and expect to get a gumball or candy. You especially cannot expect to have any sort of Justice served to you in this fallen world; only in the perfection of Heaven can you find true Justice and Mercy.

    Is that to say that you should not try? No, if anything, you should try harder. Take up your cross and learn what it is to be Christian. You have no foresight on if God is using this time to form you into a better husband for your future wife, if he’s giving you the tools for your future marriage to prosper instead of falling into ruin, or any other of the numerous mysteries God might have in store for you.

    Stop using a fallen world as an excuse. Use every gift God gave you to collect more for his harvest, and realize that every time you go out of the house to do that, any single female you meet could be your future wife. Stop and talk to them. Take your time, have patience, and give your Godly Masculinity to the world. Your cup will run empty. And God will refill it fuller than it was before.

  18. Cane: Concerning #6, when my son met his wife he also had a collection of porn, mostly Asian, which he stopped using and boxed up. I found it about a year later and asked him what I should do with it. He said burn it, which I did. I still think that the firm decision to marry, by a man or a woman, allows God’s provision to be made visible.

  19. @Cane Caldo:
    with my English proficiency it’s really quite possible I misread it, although I really can’t see how to interpret “your search is over” in this context otherwise than “you don’t need to look for wife, God will send you one”

    That part about reading Proverbs as proverbs probably wasn’t even on topic here, but I’ve been cautious when seeing Proverbs used in arguments after observing parents whose children left God proclaiming Proverbs 22:6 in prayer as if it was some kind of God’s promise to people…

    And I certainly liked part 6, because it’s straightforward practical advice (which is close enough to “system” for me – and probably as close as it gets to system for you), although I haven’t really met anybody expressing that opinion in begining, which makes it, well, considerably less practical.

    @Zippy:
    dam, I was off by 7 verses, if I knew it would make your day, I would have certainly used that one instead

  20. Millions of Christian men have read those verses, and your interpretation didn’t occur to them.

    Where are these men? I mostly see Christians who don’t take the time to read (much less study) the Bible.

  21. I agree that to the extent Game is read about and/or practiced for the purpose of fornication, then it is clearly bad. However since it is a man’s Biblical duty to rule his house well and if (“if” ha ha ha ha ha ha) his woman is being difficult and clearly making him rule poorly, and if the Game literature is used to try to make her less difficult, I see no problem.

    One amusing thing I must try to propagate. You may have seen Donal Graeme’s article also lamenting that game is bad and wishing for an alternative. I lampooned his Alternative as the Gnome’s Alternative to Game:
    1 Exhibit goodenss in a masculine way
    2 ???
    3. Collect panties

  22. Cane,

    I’ve been reading manosphere blogs for a long time. And that includes yours now. I started way back before all these blogs appeared, back when it was alt.seduction.fast. When that finally degenerated into an arguments between several authors on it, I moved to better material. But they had a great tutorial that had all the best points lined out. Through all their links and recommended books, I found and read all the PUA material I could find. Practiced it in church. Agreed that the techniques could help me get a wife, but also agreed that fornication would be wrong. How could I then have R Don Steele’s string of three pearls so I would not be lonely horny and desperate, and therefore attractive? How to have The Right Attitude? Or, should I go to the Philippines and look for a wife?

    Somewhere along the line more blogs began to appear that were about feminism and mens issues and I began reading them. What is new now is that Christians have found this material and are doing their own version of it. It’s much needed, in my opinion and it would not exist if there were not a need for it. Usually there will be a Christian version of anything that gets big in the general culture and that’s why there are books like No More Mr. Christian Nice Guy, which contains the same material as No More Mr. Nice Guy, but with some chapters about men being told to be effeminate in church. And now there are many Christian “red pill” blogs. I consider this material vital information. (And a lot of it is imperfect, and a lot of it is opinion, but still, it’s great that these issues are being hashed out.)

    I solved my mate search by outsourcing my dating life overseas. Been married 5 years now. I’m probably still a beta loser, but awareness helps and it’s a lifelong process of recovery from a certain upbringing and many years of living “blue pill.”

  23. Hate to tell you this, but “reading the Bible” is definitively in the “nerdy hobby” group. So is reading anything, period, but reading the Bible is particularly so. (Not saying I don’t do it.)

  24. @Marissa

    Ha!

    @Johnny

    First: Please pick one sign-in, and stick with it.

    Hate to tell you this, but “reading the Bible” is definitively in the “nerdy hobby” group. So is reading anything, period, but reading the Bible is particularly so. (Not saying I don’t do it.)

    You’re confusing nerdy with intellectual. So, for example, civil engineering isn’t nerdy; it’s intellectual. Computer Science is nerdy. There’s not a rubric for this: I’m just reading the landscape. The fact that nerds often go in for intellectual pursuits does not make those pursuits nerdy.

    Conversely: Science Fiction is nerdy. It’s intellectual too, but that’s beside the point.

  25. Pingback: Responses to Alternatives | Free Northerner

  26. Pingback: On Nerds « Calculated Bravery

  27. “a prudent wife is from the Lord”

    This verse does not say that bad wives are from God, only prudent ones. I am unaware of any verses that say all wives are from God. Does anyone know of such a verse?

    “The desire for a wife and sex is real and reasonable, but it is not like the desire for food. It is like the desire for wealth or knowledge; wholesome, but unnecessary.”

    This statement is a bid deal for a lot of men, myself included. Just because Zippy preemptively ridiculed 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 as being an invalid counterargument does not make it so. Marriage is not a requirement for all as proven by verse 8. However, verse 9 says there are some who cannot contain / have not continence / etc. The solution is not to try harder or repent or be patient. The solution is marriage. It is better to marry than to burn. I’ve read this passage many times, and the plainest reading indicates that for some (it seems most men), this desire for sex/marriage is beyond real and reasonable; it burns. The conclusion that marriage is necessary for those who burn makes more sense than to conclude it is unnecessary and just a reasonable desire.

    For those who say otherwise, a solid biblical exposition on why would be much appreciated. If my mind needs renewing in this area, I would appreciate guidance on that path.

  28. jsr:
    The solution is not to try harder or repent or be patient.

    If you don’t have the option of a marrying a good wife right now then repenting and trying harder and being patient is most certainly “the solution”. St. Paul doesn’t say that every man who wants a wife is entitled to one and will be given one.

    So if you don’t have the option of marrying well right now it means that yes indeed the solution is to try harder, repent, and be patient.

    People are always saying that they cannot be sexually continent, so they need to (X); where (X) is use contraception, remarry after divorce, fornicate with a girlfriend, masturbate, whatever. That is just a bunch of pish-posh. “Chastity is difficult”. Well, yes it is. And getting married won’t change that, frankly.

  29. So, Zippy old boy, are you saying that divorce is never justifiable? “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Mt. 19:9 http://biblehub.com/matthew/19-9.htm

    Immorality here can mean anything from adultery to fornication to going on a sex strike against one’s spouse. All were considered immoral by the ancients.

    Here’s a link to the whole chapter: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+19

  30. @JSR

    This verse does not say that bad wives are from God, only prudent ones. I am unaware of any verses that say all wives are from God. Does anyone know of such a verse?

    Here is a verse, Proverbs 18:22

    Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,
    and obtaineth favour of the Lord.

    Good for what, though? We all want to think we’re destined for honorable use, and we are too often told that this MUST be true. Paul says this in 2 Tmothy:

    20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

    And if he does not purge, then he may find himself broken as and by a dishonorable vessel of a wife. Notice that Paul is using the same imagery here that he does in the 5th chapter of his letter to the Ephesians on marriage: vessels, cleanliness, and belonging to a master.

    Beyond the lattice of individual verses, there is the the simple fact that we either believe that God joins to together in marriage(“What God hath joined let not man separate” ~Jesus), or we don’t. Do you believe?

    This statement is a big deal for a lot of men, myself included. Just because Zippy preemptively ridiculed 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 as being an invalid counterargument does not make it so. Marriage is not a requirement for all as proven by verse 8. However, verse 9 says there are some who cannot contain / have not continence / etc. The solution is not to try harder or repent or be patient. The solution is marriage. It is better to marry than to burn. I’ve read this passage many times, and the plainest reading indicates that for some (it seems most men), this desire for sex/marriage is beyond real and reasonable; it burns. The conclusion that marriage is necessary for those who burn makes more sense than to conclude it is unnecessary and just a reasonable desire.

    Your persistence commends you, and compels me. Look at the text, though:

    7 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

    8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

    The first thing you need to notice is that the Corinthians wrote Paul, asking him if Christians should be allowed to marry. Paul’s response is why to ALLOW them to marry. It is not a command for people to marry. It is not a command for them to marry people against their will. He’s saying it is allowed, these are the reasons why. Notice that in the middle of this Paul switches from what is allowed, to commands: “Defraud ye not one another…” perceiving that some would use a false excuse of holiness to seek advantage over their spouse.

    He explicitly then states that marriage is permitted/allowed/let, and not commanded.

    As for burning: He starts off: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless…”

    He’s talking to men who have “touched” a woman. And from there, all through the rest of the chapter, he’s talking to men who have an arrangement with, or intimate knowledge of, a particular woman. That is to say: It takes two to burn. The lone desire to have sex is not to what he is referring with burn, but a spark shared between a man and a woman, and not any man or woman, but only a man and a woman who are free to marry according to the rules that Paul lays out (a virgin, a widow; not married, etc.)

  31. The Autistic Gamer:
    Yes, divorce is never permissible. Matthew 19:9 refers to a concubine (or “girlfriend” as they say these days). That non-marriage relationship may be ended, and indeed should be unless you marry her.

  32. jsr:
    I didn’t say that the verse was pish-posh. I said that interpreting it to mean that if you “burn with passion” you are guaranteed a good wife is pish-posh. And that pish-posh is a premise of all of the “but I really really want seeeeeexxxxx…” objections.

  33. Zippy, lol, “concubine?” Or “girlfriend.” Where do you get that? Looks like the context is talking about Adam and Eve and Moses commanding men to provide a “certificate of divorce.” Why do you need a “certificate of divorce” for a girlfriend? And was Eve Adam’s girlfriend or his wife? The greek word can mean woman or wife, depending on context.

    Looks like you’re just reading your own meaning into the passage.

  34. The Autistic Gamer:
    Looks like you’re just reading your own meaning into the passage.

    No, what I’ve done is inform you of the traditional reading of the passage, based on the actual Greek word used in the New Testament.

  35. Zippy, great job going to an authority and ignoring the context! Congrats! Oh, errr, mmm, my point still stands, I guess, since the authority didn’t reply to any of my questions.

  36. TAG:
    Whether you agree or not you should at least try to understand the traditional view. It is newfangled some-kinds-of-protestant permissiveness on divorce that arbitrarily ignores, not just context (e.g. first century Jewish customs), but actual Scriptural language, the position taken by the early Church, and the simple matter of assuming that Christ didn’t contradict Himself.

    Obviously you’ve not dug into this before. Take all the time you need.

  37. Zippy, thank you for the link. I understand your position better now. However, you still have failed to justify your reading of “concubine” for “gunaika.”

    I’m not going to try to defend Protestant errors of interpretation/translation. It’s clear that “porneia” means all types of sexual immorality. I don’t limit it to adultery. Hence, arguments based on Protestant translators limiting it to “adultery” are irrelevant.

    In general, Jesus’ commands in Mt, Mk, and Lk concerning the requirements of the Law of Moses have application only to those who are under the Law of Moses, which is not currently in place anywhere in the world. Peter and the Jerusalem Council made clear what is expected of gentiles in Acts 15 and that doesn’t include any prohibition against divorce and specifically excludes attempts to place gentiles under the Law of Moses.

    The question of divorce and remarriage on the basis of sexual immorality under the Law of Moses is controversial–no question. I would argue that Mark and Luke present the broad picture of marriage being generally indissoluble, while Matthew also considers an exception which allows divorce in a particular instance. This allows for no contradiction and retains inerrancy. Of course, Christ could have addressed the issue on more than one occasion, so Matthew’s rendering of Christ’s words could have come from a different occasion than Mark’s or Luke’s.

    “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases” This text seems to indicate that the marriage bonds do not remain in force if an unbelieving spouse abandons a believer.

  38. TAG:
    There is a long history of Christian theology, tradition, and practice dealing with non-sacramental marriages too (that is, natural marriages where one or both spouses are unbaptized, where there is a previously-existing polygamous natural marriage among pagans who want to convert to Christianity, etc). Those ‘natural’, non-sacramental marriages are dissoluble by the apostolic Church (not the state) under certain very narrow conditions.

    But I’ve probably already put more words into this side-topic on Cane’s blog than I should, so this isn’t the place to go into it. The overall point is that you read me correctly when you interpreted my words as asserting (among other things) the indissolubility of Christian marriage; and that I don’t come by this view arbitrarily or capriciously.

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