The Full Cane Caldo

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am an extrovert and over the past month I’ve been able to meet up with four of the authors and commenters[1] that travel in the same blogging circles. This brings my total face-to-face encounters to seven, and I am very glad to report that I enjoyed them all, and I look forward to seeing them all again, and to meeting more people as they allow.

Of these recent conversations, one small off-hand comment by me during dinner and the reply to it lingered more than the others; especially in light of some recent kerfuffles. I had said off-handedly, in the course of a larger point, “I don’t want people to like Cane Caldo.” to which it was replied, “Hmm, interesting.”

I didn’t mean it is my preference for others to dislike my online personae, but that I am very conscious of the fact that the Internet is an unavoidable world of masks. We may shout solidarity or whisper truths about ourselves to one another, but we should not fall in love with the masks. That goes double for oneself. All of which brings up the question of exactly how masked am I?

Good question. I’m probably the last person who should try to answer it, but I can relate a story.


Last year a friend of mine threw a party. All of us have been close since high school, and so we happily attended and enjoyed the chance to reconnect while our wives giggled and our children played. All of us men smoke, and so we spent most of the time on the back porch smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, poking fun at each other and laughing.

The kids–about ten of them–were outside with us. There was a trampoline. They jumped and tussled and laughed and cried and got over it when we made sure they weren’t injured and told them to get over it. Sometimes a mom would come out to furrow her brow and find out what was going on. And we’d laugh and tell her to get over it, too, and so they all got over everything and the kids would go back to play and the wives would go back to their fun.

The sun was on the horizon and and we had just assuaged hurt feelings and staved off bitterness. There were no women in earshot, and the children were in oblivious play. My friend, a military vet for almost two decades said, suddenly serious, “I just want to thank you guys for showing me how to be a man.” We protested, but he wouldn’t have it. He talked about growing up without a father, and–a year younger than us–about how he took to us as older brothers. And we are brothers, and we had been young together.

Because the laughter of men is catnip to women, they would occasionally come outside and hang around; just being pretty and waiting for an entrance to the conversation. Then, after a bit, they’d go back inside and rejoin the wives. They wanted to belong to the laughing men, and that is good because they do. But bubbling up from under that goodness was something else, and that was the desire of our wives to be the center of the laughing men. That is not good, as you’ll see.

It was dark, and some had drank a bit too much beer. We were still on the back porch, but the kids had moved inside to the toys, and the wives had come outside to us. One man’s wife could no longer withstand the desire to be the center of our attentions, and so it happened. She went inside and came back with a box. She said, “You guys are going to love this game.”

Everyone but my wife and I knew what it was, and the rest of them smirked and giggled nervously. I asked, “What’s it called?”

She beamed. “Card’s Against Humanity. It’s a party game with topics that are just stupid, or kinda mean, or kinda gross, or whatever.”

“Gotcha. That doesn’t sound like a good idea.”

“No, it’s really fun.”

“Ok. It still sounds like a bad idea. It sounds like the game is to make everyone feel awkward.”

Then, to prove it was fun, she read off one of the Cards Against Humanity in front of me, my wife, my friends, their wives, and even my adult daughter. I don’t remember what she said except that it had the word “cum” in it. My wife and daughter looked at the ground and immediately began for the safety of house.

“That’s enough.”, I barked.

Her grin faded and she began to protest. “No, it’s just funny–“

“It’s not funny. It’s embarrassing. If you want things to get awkward, then I can make it awkward.”

Silence. She bowed her head, slipped the card back into the case, and went inside. Our host pulled me aside and said, “Man, I want to apologize. I knew what it was and I should have said no. I guess I just…” He trailed off. He didn’t know what to do because it wasn’t his wife.

“It’s over now. I know that everywhere else she goes people would love her for bringing up that game; even other Christians. They don’t think it’s a big deal, and so she’s been tricked into thinking it’s acceptable because it’s “just a game”. She had no idea I’d have that reaction. I’m not mad at her. It just needed to stop.”

“Well, I’m sorry anyways. I’m glad you said something, and I wish I had. I shouldn’t allow it around my family, either.”

“Bro, we’re all learning.”

A few minutes later the woman came back out. She said she was apologizing to my wife, and then she realized that she should be apologizing to me; which she did and I forgave her. Her instincts to apologize to my wife were correct, though. I treasure my wife and kids, and her offense wasn’t against me but against my family, by extension my brothers, and by further extension my brothers’ families. If it had been just us guys when she pulled that stunt, I would only have looked at her husband with a concerned scowl and then walked off.

By the way, he was silent the whole episode.

As far as I know, everyone left on good terms. Still, it would have been much more pleasant for me and probably everyone else if that game had never come up. Then again, it wasn’t really the game’s fault, either.


 

(Author’s Note: Title taken from here.)

[1] They can choose whether or not they want to accept the infamy.

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More Like Them Than You Realize

There is within Protestant circles an idea that the Early Church–that is to say the first generations of the body of believers both individually and corporately–had it right, and that we should endeavor to go back to doing things the way they did. This idea is very appealing to men who are discouraged at the prospect of attending churches of the present because, at present, churches are full of feminism, hucksters, con-men, fornicators, and all such manner of evil behavior that is dishonoring to Christ and harmful to the whole church. Solomon, at Dalrock’s blog said it this way:

I might suggest, however, that you look into the works of David Bercot, who has done extensive research on the early Christian writers (pre Constatntine)

Their “church” looked a lot like my meetings do. In addition to not being corrupt by feminist garbage at every level, the leaders of their groups were unpaid, preventing the conflict of interest.

Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? I have never heard of Mr. Barcot and I don’t know anything he has written, but I doubt it matters. In the epistles of the New Testament we have the best and first-hand accounts of how the Early Churches conducted themselves. Let me tell you: If you read the epistles from Peter, Paul, John the Beloved, and the others then you really get a sense of how pleasant, and giving, and humble, and orderly these churches…

No. The picture is of how bad were the churches. Apparently, Solomon is not alone in desiring to withhold a living from pastors. Paul writes to the Early Church in Corinth:

This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

If you’re not feeling the Corinthians’ shame, then you aren’t reading it right. “Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.” Endure anything: Even the cheapskate, hypocritical, commandment-shunning finger-wagglings of reprobate and miserly little Corinthians who won’t provide for those who feed them living bread, and slake them with living waters. Paul shamed the Corinthians and used their wormy excuses to boast of the importance of the Gospel.

Don’t take my word for it: The epistles go on and on like this: Stop whoring with false idols. Stop whoring at all. Stop refusing marriages. Stop divorcing. Stop setting up heretic traditions as law. Stop withholding from those deserving. Stop women from clogging churches with noise. Stop men from passive inclusion. Stop bickering over what you think you’ve figured out, and focus on what has been revealed.

Shame! Shame! Shame!

So the picture of the Early Church is very much like the ones we have today. They were full of loud-mouthed women and their silent male enablers. There were con-men in positions of privilege, and men who would use the vacuum of male voices as license to fill the void with every sort of nonsense and premonition.

The bad news is that we still struggle with the exact same problems after more than 2000 years. The good news is that the instructions to the errant Early Church are still valid for us, and we have them. We, having their bad examples and their excellent corrections, should not bring the shame of the Corinthians and the Ephesians, and the Galatians upon ourselves by continuing in their same errors.

Stet

brother bob: As your pastor, i have decided we must uphold the scriptures as authoritative even if those issues that make us uncomfortable. So, tonight, we’re happy to have Ann Bethel Perry-Hargrove speak to us at First Protestant Church about the prohibition of Women speaking in church. Ann Bethel?

Ann Bethel Perry-Hargrove: Thank you pastor! What a lovely auditorium you all have been blessed with, and I’m so quiet to be able to speak to you in a excited way.

It really has to do with inner wholeness, right? Introversion or extroversion or even boisterousness are personality traits instead of virtues. I think that’s why it’s a quiet spirit instead of flat out quietness.

The quietest Woman I know is also one of the most rebellious Wives I know.. because Her quietness is a symptom of Her brokenness. She’s a natural extrovert Who was crushed into quietness and passivity. Her quietness comes from timidity, excessive fear and self consciousness, which also causes Her to have a hard heart towards Her husband.

I also know a very loud Woman Who is a natural introvert, but Her need for attention dominates everything else. Her noise level is also coming from inner brokenness and dysfunction.

I guess to Me a quiet spirit is more about restfulness, trust, contentment, peacefulness. you can be restful and cheerful, peaceful and animated, content and chatty. As long as She’s becoming whole inside and submitted to God, a Woman’s personality will be becoming more of a blessing and asset to those around Her.

brother bob: What a great message. Thank You Ann Bethel. Inner wholeness is a great topic; like breathing: Where would we be without it? i think She’s exactly right that inner wholeness is the main thing to draw from paul’s words. Would any of the Women like to comment on that while we have the whole body gathered together in worship? Great! Yes, Lindsey?

Lindsey Rapha Haines: Most men aren’t very lovable, but Women are great and I like talking.

brother bob: Amen, Sister. i know i speak for all of us when i say we appreciate Your courage to speak out.


Bay Area Comics

It was 10 AM, bright, and warm. My crew, local guys, were due a coffee break. We headed across the street to a little cafe.

“It’s striking how few good-looking women there are in this city.”, I mused. “I’ve spent months in all of the big metropolitan cities of America, and they are all populated by good-looking women; except San Francisco.”

“City of seven, man.”

“Seven what?”, I asked. I thought he meant to tell me seven things that made up the city and which explained the sad state of the female population.

“Sevens. The women here are all sevens. City of seven.”

“So you’re saying seven is the ceiling for San Fran?”

“Yep.”

“I think you’re right. I haven’t seen any eights or nines.”

“For a ten she’s got to be sweet, you know; to get that little bit extra that just puts her tsk! He motioned with his hand as if putting one thing on top of another.

“Sure.”, I replied.

“We don’t have those.”


It was 11:30 PM, dark, and cool. Two men, one white and the other black, walked down a poorly-lit street away from the train station. They passed burbling bums tucked into vestibules, litter, a pile of vomit. At the edge of a run-down gas station a Mexican woman yelled at a man obscured by the open hood of an SUV. Half the streetlights were out because of road construction and temporary walls lined both sides of the asphalt. The sidewalks were shallow canyons, and in the remaining pools of lights you could see one man wore a hoodie and jeans; the other a blazer paired to khakis. Between the lights they were just shadows of men; one was big.

He looked to the side; the way you do when you want to catch something in your peripheral vision, but you don’t want to appear to looking around.

He noticed, and continued to close the distance, fast.

There was no time for the guesswork of peripheral information. He needed to know if he needed to prepare for a confrontation, or run, or relax.

He was walking very fast.

In his best and cheerful English he made diplomacy while the man was ten yards back, “How are you doing, sir?”

“I’m doing good, man. How are you?”

“I’m good, thank you.”

“Have a good evening.”, I said.

“You too!”, he relieved.


In San Francisco, near Union Square (which is infamous for transients and hookers), there is a Chinese-run walk-up pizzeria (whose pizza is not very good), and within which there is a bucket with a sign scribbled with “Tips are SEXY!”. They don’t actually serve you, though. America.


The number of beards I saw on men was encouraging, but considering the rest of San Franciscan society it would be wrong to take those expressions of manliness at face value.


Wait, I got another one… I was smoking a cigarette in front of my hotel, my back to the street, when a trolley car stopped next to me.

“Biz’nez man! Hey biz’nez man!”

I turned to see the black trolley driver and his passengers all looking at me. Confusion broke as I realized I had been conscripted into the troller’s improv troupe. “What’s up!”, I cheered.

“Hey, biz’nez man, this is Mike; Mike from Seattle.”, he said while motioning towards a middle-aged tourist perched on the outermost step of the trolley.

“Hey Mike, from Seattle. What are you doing: Just hanging out?”

What a groaner, I know. But everyone laughed, and Mike from Seattle seemed to enjoy himself.