Donkey Talk

King Solomon, ~300 B.C.

25 I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. 26 And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her.27 Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— 28 which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

Mom, ~last month

You know, Cane: Women lie a lot; especially when they’re young. All the time. I really hate to say that, but… If they think it will get them something, or get them out of trouble, or, make them look better, yeah, just get their way…women will just lie to everyone and even themselves. Haha! Yeah…especially themselves…

This truth about women (mothers, wives, sisters, daughters…all of them) is the one thing that men dealing with women need to know. The temptation for them to lie is very powerful; in no small way because their nature is to desire more than it is to discern. I suspect this has always been true, but I also think it must be even more difficult to resist in our current culture than in some previous ones. The permeation of relativism in our culture means that their grasp of the truth (when spoken, written, heard, etc.) is more tenuous

Along with that: I cannot imagine that there have ever been more systems for a person to skip between; each more beguiling than the last in its explanation of how to cure what ails a woman. Buy this. Move here. Grow that. Eat this. Pray this. Do these… Men are susceptible to such systematic ruses also, but as women will (and do!) follow, men falling to such sorceries only adds to women’s burden.

Nor can we forget that the laws, traditions, and sentiments of our era force men into the service of women without a reciprocal service, or even gratitude.

So, if this is true, can a man trust a woman? He can, but that trust must be based on watching what she does. A submissive wife, or daughter (or son for that matter) is known by her obedience; not by her lip-service. Let me put St. Peter’s admonition to wives’ obedience under a different light: Her words, even grumblings, are meaningless if she is respectful and has pure conduct; which is submission. Therefore, husbands with obedient wives must not let their own sentimentality get in the way of work. There is plowing to be done. Enjoy (as in: “bring joy into”) it, for there is no plowing in the grave.

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17 thoughts on “Donkey Talk

  1. Men study mathematics so know 2+2=4. Women have been told 2+2=4, but feel if it would be nicer 2+2=3 or 2+2=5 might be acceptable. Mens lies are hard, Womens are soft. But that makes it more difficult to detect and/or correct.

    The evil is worse because it is less culpable, but just as serious. Lies murder, as they have a common father. Men at least are decisive about shaking their fist and saying “non servium!”. Women just go about their business, and stop serving God and start serving the Devil without really noticing.

    See! Fruit! Yummy! Try it, you’ll like it! Did God really say it? Did he mean it?…

    Because to women the TRUTH is more amorphous, fuzzy, negotiable, they can’t defend themselves as easily as men. The problem is that if the woman gives in, the man is put in a terrible position. Choose between God and wife. He should always choose God and kill the problem at the first appearance. But usually it is easier to compromise until she turns into a she-devil where it is going to be painful if not impossible to correct.

    It is said that men don’t ask for directions. But it is women who refuse to find a man who has not merely a proper moral compass but GPS. Not getting to your destination city is inconvenient. Ending up in hell instead of heaven is eternal death.

  2. Solomon, I hear, was a genius. I’ve been meaning to work this verse into my Sunday School lessons for a while.

  3. As an aside, I think one of the most important things a boy learns growing up is when to _not_ listen to what his mother is teaching. This doesn’t mean betraying her or dishonoring her, but realizing that there really is such a thing as Old Wives Tales (or false histories created by women incidentally). It is that point that he really begins to cross over into manhood.

    It is also a hard lesson, because she is after all mom.

    Aside part two, one might mention that this might be one of the reasons Mary is so strangely quiet through all the NT narrative (she almost talks less than every other female character in the account). She has learned when not to tell tales and absent that is a much more quiet and reflective woman.

  4. Mens lies are hard, Womens are soft. But that makes it more difficult to detect and/or correct.

    It has taken 25 years to lift the veil , even for a moment, from my wife’s eyes, about lying. A women seems to incorporate lying, dissembling, disingenuous intent, and obfuscation in almost any earnest dialog it is near impossible to demonstrate to her that she does this. A woman will at the same time make statements about how “lying is a deal breaker” and find lies or ill intent behind a man’s words no matter how boldly truthful they are. This juxtaposition of heralding integrity while subtly lying is maddening.

    Recently in discourse about this my wife made a rare if inadvertent admission when she impeached herself by saying “well yea I do do that but the reason i do that is XYZ”. Goooaaaalllll! She realized suddenly that she had closed her own loop. She had laid bare the mechanism through which she justifies the low level of dishonesty that so often informs the passive aggressive voice she falls into.

    Im not naive enough to think that once outed the behavior goes away. The quote above explains why. A man caught in a hard lie is, well, caught in a hard lie. Its fact vs. claim….and facts win. The women literally frames dialog according the whatever her XYZ is.

  5. @GK Chesterton said
    Aside part two, one might mention that this might be one of the reasons Mary is so strangely quiet through all the NT narrative (she almost talks less than every other female character in the account). She has learned when not to tell tales and absent that is a much more quiet and reflective woman.

    That’s a bit of an assumption to make based on no evidence. Perhaps she wasn’t mentioned much because she really wasn’t all that important to the account aside from Jesus’ birth.

  6. thehaproject said: That’s a bit of an assumption to make based on no evidence. Perhaps she wasn’t mentioned much because she really wasn’t all that important to the account aside from Jesus’ birth.

    Not so.

    Άγγελος πρωτοστάτης, ουρανόθεν επέμφθη, ειπείν τη Θεοτόκε το χαίρε ́ και συν τη ασωμάτω φωνή, σωματούμενον σε θεωρών Κύριε, εξίστατο και ίστατο, κραυγάζων προς αυτήν τοιαύτα ́
    Χαίρε, δι’ ής η χαρά εκλάμψει ́
    χαίρε, δι’ ης η αρά εκλείψει.
    Χαίρε, του πεσόντος Αδάμ η ανάκλησις ́
    χαίρε των δακρύων της Εύας η λύτρωσις.
    Χαίρε, ύψος δυσανάβατον ανθρωπίνοις λογισμοίς ́ χαίρε, βάθος δυσθεώρητον και Αγγέλων οφθαλμοίς. Χαίρε, ότι υπάρχεις Βασιλέως καθέδρα ́
    χαίρε ότι βαστάζεις τον βαστάζοντα πάντα.
    Χαίρε, αστήρ εμφαίνων τον ήλιον ́
    χαίρε, γαστήρ ενθέου σαρκώσεως.
    Χαίρε, δι’ ης νεουργείται η κτίσις ́
    χαίρε, δι’ ης βρεφουργείται ο Κτίστης.
    Χαίρε, Νύμφη ανύμφευτε.

    Which means:
    An archangel was sent from Heaven to say to the Mother of God: Rejoice! And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he was amazed and with his bodiless voice he stood crying to Her such things as these:

    Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth:

    Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease!

    Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam:

    Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve!

    Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts:

    Rejoice, depth undiscernible even for the eyes of angels!

    Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King:

    Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all!

    Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear:

    Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!

    Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed:

    Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator!

    Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

  7. FYI Cane,

    Your link to St. Peter’s admonition is not working.

    Good post on which to ruminate. I would like to hear you unpack your last two sentences sometime.

    Reminds me of another quote: “Wherever you are, be all there.”

    [CC: Thanks. Fixed.]

  8. @Anaxios

    Welcome.

    For my fellow non-Orthodox: Anaxios is quoting an old hymn of the Eastern Orthodox Church. According to Wikipedia, it is said to have been given to a man named St. Romanos the Melodist, by Mary, in a dream.

    @Empath

    This juxtaposition of heralding integrity while subtly lying is maddening.

    Haha! Yes, it can be. For me the key was to understand that their heralding is not any more earnest that the rest of it. I don’t lie to Mrs. Caldo, but the truth is that she doesn’t really care except as to the immediate, ah, utility. To her, words are very often meant for an effect unrelated to truth; to pretty the air, for use as weapons, for soothing, to pass the time, etc.

    To give an example: A man, in play, states a falsehood to his wife. They laugh over it together. Later they fight. When they do, she will say he meant the lie; which she knows is not true. They fight some more. If it continues on long enough, she will be angry at him for not lying about the lie; by which I mean she is now feigning a want in herself for him to have lied. This he did originally in jest.

    What, one wonders, can possibly be in her head? I suggest that she was happy at the happy time (lie in jest or not) and this is how she is processing it.

  9. The older I get the less mental effort I spend processing the words of women. The first time I had an entire conversation with a woman without knowing the subject of the conversation or listening to anything she said is a fond memory. Even funnier is the fact that she seemed very pleased with the conversation at the end of it. Hopefully I didn’t agree to anything I’ll regret later.

  10. @Kidd

    In the long run, I predict that strategy bites men in the ass. A lot of men have been ass-bitten as their “amused mastery” turns to nonchalance, and then silent irritation, and then true apathy. Women will notice right away the truth of your actions. Its the truth in words that often eludes and bores them. But make no mistake that they are watching you like a hawk, and will pick up on apathy. That’s why watching them works. The truth in deeds cannot be hidden.

  11. That’s a bit of an assumption to make based on no evidence. Perhaps she wasn’t mentioned much because she really wasn’t all that important to the account aside from Jesus’ birth.

    I’d say that is a pretty protestant, and American protestant at that, read of Mary. One would imagine if it was true she would have disappeared entirely post-birth. She doesn’t. She just doesn’t talk much.

    @Cane,

    Anaxios is quoting an old hymn of the Eastern Orthodox Church

    One that is sung/chanted quite a bit this time of year. I have to admit the fasting, the reading of the gospels during Holy Week, leading up to the fires on Easter morning is a powerful thing. Unfortunately one does not sleep much either.

  12. @GKC & thehaproject

    I have serious concerns about RCC and EOC Mariology, but it cannot be that St. Mary’s only importance was giving birth to Jesus. She is there to witness Him as a child teaching in the Temple. She prompts Jesus’ first miracle which kicks off His active ministry on Earth. She is there at the foot of the cross, and is addressed. It’s hard to overstate the importance of that: He’s allowing Himself to be killed, naked, and (I do not mean to denigrate this, but) going through the final acts necessary to complete the Law and prophecy (being the worm, saying “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani”, choosing to drink the sour wine, etc.) It’s almost methodical. That is to say it was liturgical. (This opens the question of when, where, why, and how liturgy is necessary or desirable now.) Regardless, Within that Liturgy of all liturgies, Jesus addresses Mary.

    So, it cannot be that Mary’s only importance was birthing Jesus, and it definitely suggests that Mary’s near silence through all of this is important to contemplate.

  13. One of my favorite prayers goes something like this – please forgive the poor translation, I am doing it off the top of my head:

    O Lord, listen to me … Banish through Your angels all demonic despair far away from me so that I can bless Your Holy name and praise and sing for the immaculate Mother of God, Maria, who You have given to us sinners as a protectress. And receive her, she who is praying for us. For I know that she is an image of Your love for mankind and is praying unceasingly for us.

  14. forgive my dredging up of an old post.
    I couldn’t help but notice how lightly everyone passes over Mary’s initiating Jesus’ first miracle.
    According to John 2. Mary comes to Jesus, “they have no more wine”. Was that said with a drunken slur in her voice? Why did she care? Why did she think he could, or would, do something about it?
    Jesus’ reply was, to use modern language, “yea Ma, so?”
    Then Mary becomes the only person in the history of the universe to get away with completely ignoring the Son of God. I always hear the next line shouted from a second story window in a thick Brooklyn accent, “do what he tells you”. It doesn’t say, but I hear Jesus sigh, roll his eyes, and almost in a fit of exasperation, overdo the solution with the 6 wash jars of water.
    It seems to me that this “first miracle” was almost coerced by Mary’s carnal needs, either of want, or showing off Jesus’ abilities, or of a desire of greater social status by being the mother of those abilities.
    My personal takeaway from that story is that I should emulate the servants, by doing what I do everyday, “to the brim” so in order for God to bring glory to himself through what I do day in, day out.

    I enjoy your blog Mr Caldo, and am praying for soft hearts for both you and your wife.

  15. I think you would have to work hard to read Mary there as engaging in coercion. Not to mention the logical result of that would be very near if not completely blasphemous.

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