Real Men Don’t Impede Her Desires

Men will set expectations for other men. They will say things like, “You’re not a real man if you don’t know how to change your own oil.”, or,  “A real man knows how to harvest game from the field.”, or, “Real men help women first.” They will hold such expectations on a regular basis, and they will invent new ones as needed to make a point about the importance of this thing or the other.

Men will also set limitations for other men. They might say, “A real men would never wear a dress.”, or, “Real men don’t play video games for hours.”, or, “A real man never hits a woman.” I trust you understand the dynamic of expectations and limitations to which I refer. They know that a man is a man. What they mean by real is good; good men will do these things and won’t do those things.

Now, once in a great while a man will set a very general expectation on women. If he is a bold Christian he might say, “The Bible says wives should submit to their husbands.” It’s hard to imagine a safer statement than that. The man himself hasn’t actually placed any expectation on women.  Yet even then he will surround it with quibbles and bromides and caveats and exceptions so that the plain and unoffensive statement has no practical meaning whatsoever; lest some man out there start to actually believe what the Bible says. But at least he made some vague attempt at something that might look like an expectation if it is seen at some distance in a dark alley on a moonless night.

What he will never, ever, do is say, “Women shouldn’t  _________.” You can fill in the blank as you like. It doesn’t matter because whatever it is that you think women shouldn’t do won’t actually be said. You can think of the manliest activity, and ultimately a modern man will reason that a woman must not be forbid to do it because she wants to, and because he refuses to stand in her way. Only jerks do that, they say; only a jerks makes a women forgo something she wants to do. He will marshal all forces of technology or rule available to ensure that she gets to try whatever she wants. Worse: He can’t explain why.

He can explain that he doesn’t allow his son to wear skirts even just once a year because it is unseemly for a man to wear women’s clothes. But he cannot explain why he lets his daughter wear a ballcap, jeans, and sneakers as routine. If his son is given a doll he will throw it out, but if his daughter is given a football then the municipal Pee-Wee league needs to give her a shot on the field. If his son picks up knitting needles his father will sneer and deride, but if his daughter picks up a gun then she will be able to defend herself. If his son puts on shorts he will be corrected to dress respectfully. If his daughter dresses like a slut she is merely expressing herself, and what man would dare to make a concrete pronouncement on modesty anyway? Who does he think he is?

They can’t draw a line anywhere around women; what women are, what women aren’t;  what women are to do, what women are not to do.Any man who can find a reason to let her have her way (any reason will do) is an enlightened hero. But any man who forgets himself and tries to put real material expectations and limitations on a woman is scorned as a misogynist and belittled as a wimp who can’t handle women. He will be told it’s not his place to say what his wife or daughter–or wives and daughters in general–are to do or not do.

This is one of the themes which I have come back to over and over. I talked about it with modest dress in sports, cowgirl crossdressing, pioneer women, women roaming malls and churches in various states of disrobe… Modern Christian men simply will not stomach the idea of actual, real, discriminating expectations and limitations on women; of telling them, “No.”

 

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Stop Being Distracted

Taken (only slightly edited) from several comments on Dalrock’s post, “First They Came for the Bald Men”.


The movement of which Antifa, commies, Democrats, etc. all belong isn’t anymore essentially Left than its opponents are Nazis. The essence of the movement to which these groups belong–what they have in common–is a hatred of three things:

1) Christianity
2) Men
3) Whites

The order of hatred depends on with which faction of the movement one deals, but the three are essential. For example: Feminism hates men first, then Christianity, then whites. Black Lives Matter orders it Whites, Christianity, then men, I think. Sometimes, as in the case of Antifa, more than one plank is of equal weight. Antifa hates America as a whole because it recognizes that America is fundamentally a work of white Christian men.

It’s not autonomous vs. totalitarian, nor is it globalists vs. nationalists, nor is it politically correct speech vs. free speech. They are not FOR anything in particular. They exist to be AGAINST things. Specifically, they are against

1) Christianity
2) Men
3) Whites

Some are fine–and even for–capitalism in China, India, wherever–as long as the benefits are not for Christian white men. They love to welcome Muslim mid-easterners, but the Christian mid-easterners are served right to be killed and exiled. There is no rhyme or reason to these affiliated groups except what they are against. Leftism has nothing to do with this movement.

They don’t know or care what Left means.
They don’t know or care what Nazi means.
They don’t know or care what Globalism means.
They don’t know or care what Right means.
They don’t know or care what Fascist means.
They don’t know or care what Nationalism means.
They don’t know or care what Communist means.

The words, to them, contain no meaning whatsoever. Those things are just words that dead white oppressors made up to separate the real people of color from each other and their belongings. They appropriate and use these terms as various forms of subversive weaponry: dog whistles, cloaks, and diversions.

Most people, people who describe themselves as Conservative, or even merely “normal” just don’t accept what they actually see. And the self-styled Conservative press are trained to look for ideological underpinnings and try to perceive the “end game”. There aren’t any. It’s just envy and hatred. The average American refuses to believe that and so they theorize imaginary ideologies and end games for BLM, Antifa, Feminists, and so forth.

Envy and hate aren’t ideological points. They are of the spiritual realm. It’s a spiritual war; not an ideological war, nor an ethnic war.

Provoked Judgment: The Pareto Principle of Manliness and Femininity

Sexual dimorphism in humans is real. There are sex differences and they cannot be overcome except that they are eliminated altogether; the result of which is less than human. But it is not as pronounced as in other mammals. One poignant example is that no other male mammal spends as much time caring for offspring as human males. Maladjusted and bitter feminists gripe about leaving women behind to care for the children, but men are the most tenderhearted males in the kingdom. A man is more womanly than a lion is lioness-ly. He’s also more godly; since women are also made in His image. The inverse is also true.

The division of male authority and female desire is not absolute. Men have desire too, and women also have authority. For the sake of ease of memory, think of it as another example of the Pareto Principle: 80% of a man’s decision-making is in reference to his authority, and 20% is influenced by his desires. The reciprocal is true for women: 80% of choices follow desire and considerations of authority make up 20% of their M.O.

I’m far from the first to recognize this: Taoism’s yin-yang concept is apt. The difference between my view and the Taoist view is, I think, that the yin-yang is egalitarian, and my view is patriarchal. The circularity of the yin-yang symbol is fundamentally egalitarian; each side chasing the other and going nowhere. I submit that there is an order: Authority–judgment–should rule desire even as desire provokes judgment, and that we should desire to go up, towards God and His authority.

An Example of the Difference Between Deception and Capitulation

For Donal Graeme, Moose Norseman, and Deep Strength; who are thinking through how men and women differently go astray.

Helen wakes and gets ready to see Tom; whom she desires. She does as she has been taught women do to get a man’s attention; what every woman she knows does. She shaves her legs. To her face she applies concealer, powder, lipstick, rouge, mascara, and eyeshadow. She films her dyed and highlighted hair with potions, and blow-dries it into a shape that defies its natural tendencies. Hose tightens and disguises her cellulite, while heels sculpt her legs and buttocks to appear longer and more pert. She puts on a bra that bulks her breasts before lifting and separating them. She tops it all with a frock which gives the appearance of bigger breasts, a smaller waist, and longer legs, and a spritzes herself with perfume to make herself smell different. She is pleased with herself, and thinks this is good for her and Tom; especially if it makes him love her.

Tom sees Helen. He is Texan and crass, and so he says to himself, “I believe I’d drink her dirty bath water.” Of course he believes nothing of the kind. It’s a funny thing to say (in a crass way, of course) because Tom knows drinking dirty bath water is foul, and wrong; just like fornicating with Helen. It’s an admittance that he’d give up his wisdom and respect for a chance to indulge himself in her deception, and her in her arrogance. He is not deceived about the nature of the event. He’s making a choice in full knowledge of what is right and wrong.

Did Helen deceive Tom with her appearance? Somewhat. He is aware it’s a show, and that it’s a show of an available woman. But keep in mind: In order to deceive Tom into believing she is more beautiful than she is, Helen has invested more than two hours in a campaign against her natural state. It is an elaborate and precarious setup which could not survive a washing. If Tom is fooled, then it is because the preparation was so intense.

To Helen he says, “What a lovely-looking lady”; whom he is not loving, and who is not a lady.

She falls immediately for his two-second line.

“The Difference between Gold and Pigs”, or “Mennonites in the Mist”

Some people are laboring under the delusion that there exists a continuum upon which modesty slides; that on one end there is attractiveness, and on the other end there is immodesty, and on the other end there is unattractiveness, and on the other end there is gaudiness… If you have figured out that we have too many ends for one continuum, then keep reading this post.

Modesty is first and foremost about holiness. Holiness is about keeping things separate that do not belong together, and keeping things together that do; to set aside for a particular purpose.

Immodesty isn’t about being “too attractive”. Bare breasts aren’t immodest because men find them alluring. Bare breasts are immodest because they don’t belong to anyone but the owner and her husband; who are one flesh. Don’t show what cannot be shared, and what you do show be prepared to lose. Likewise, modesty isn’t about being “not too attractive”. A nude fat guy with seeping wounds all over his body is not modest either; no matter how unattractive he is.

Modesty is on its own continuum, and attractiveness on its. They are separate things, and the second is much more subjective than the first in the eyes of those on this side of the dark glass. The author of Proverbs 11 said it this way:

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is a beautiful woman without discretion.

Neither diminishes or even modifies the other. Gold is worth its weight whether it adorns a pig or a king, and a pig is an unclean beast no matter how much gold it drags through the mud. It only seems like the pig and the gold are modifying each other if we walk by sight rather than by faith. The faithful one distinguishes (again the idea of setting aside; making discrete) To the pure all things are pure: pigs, breasts, gold…everything. Even Mennonites!

Mom in a Shoe linked to some clothes

2010 sized3

that others[1] labelled “uncool”, “unattractive”, “weird”, and so forth. Whatever else one may say about them: One must admit that Mennonite women dress as their fathers chose, and not as their own natures tempted them. If you cannot say one other good thing about them, then you can say–must say–that they are obedient in their dress, even if nothing else. If modesty is of a kind with set apart, and separate, and pure, and obedient, then the dress of Mennonite women should be seen as–at the very least–women in contrast to the bedazzled pigs of modern society.

Do not put them down. Do not put down the clothing of any modestly dressed women if you want to see more modesty in general. You can encourage, or suggest, or model..but what does it mean to call a woman “uncool” in a world full of pigs? It’s foolishness. Say nothing if you cannot say speak good of good things. From the same Proverb:

With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
    but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
    and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.
12 Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
    but a man of understanding remains silent.
13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
    but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Besides: Look at the picture. Those are four beautiful girls. Appearances can certainly be deceiving[2], but judging by appearances: Any young man would be lucky to gain the favor of those girls’ father, marry one, and then in holiness dress her up for himself however he would like.

[1] These people are mostly young, and had the poor judgment to be born in the modern era just like the rest of us. I don’t blame them for being ignorant, but here it will be challenged. PancakeLoach was one of them, and she’s now engaged in a multi-comment, multi-post rant against me which is totally incoherent. This is what she choose to do when I pointed out that she is among those who are sneering at Mennonites. This has seemed better to her than to say, “My bad”, “point taken”, or something similar.

[2]For all I know they might not be family, and that photo could have been taken right before they modeled bikinis for another company. 

The Sacrifice of the Canaanites

When a grim post at a downstairs blog such as mine gets hits from the ironically-named upstairs blog “What’s Wrong with the World”[1], I wonder if, in some small way, it is not a bit less wrong now than it was the day before.

If you follow the link to the comment and from there back the the original post, you’ll find another link to the actual argument under discussion. She writes:

I have no solution to the slaughter of the Canaanites. It’s that simple. I don’t know. As far as I can tell, the text of Old Testament Scripture indicates that God ordered the Israelites to kill children down to and including infants, and this is a problem. (Women as well, but at least one can conjecture that maybe all of the people from the age of reason on up had committed crimes worthy of death. Not the babies, though.) Prima facie, this is in direct conflict with the commandment to do no murder. Any attempt to answer the problem by saying that original sin means that no one is really innocent proves far too much, for it removes the rationale for regarding the killing of infants generally as murder.

There is no particular textual reason to take the problem passages to have been added later. It helps a little bit if one is not a strict inerrantist. But even then, what one is left with, at most, is something like, “Maybe God didn’t really order that, but my only reason for thinking that is that, as far as I can tell, it is completely incompatible with divine goodness. I’ll hope to have this clarified when I get to heaven.” One piece of good news, as far as it goes, is that there is nothing about the slaughter of the Canaanite children that is theologically necessary to the truth of Christianity. Unlike, say, the historical existence of Adam, the killing of Canaanite children is not woven into the warp and woof of Christian theology, doctrine, or ethics. Very much to the contrary.

And then she writes a whole bunch more that you don’t have to read because I’ve already quoted authoress McGrew sending herself astray…which I’ll come back to.

Let me state right away that the text is clear: The slaughter of the Canaanites was commanded by God. It’s not a translation issue. It’s not a euphemism. It’s not a parable. It’s not a myth. It is history, and the command to slaughter gentile (and Israelite) infants, children, and women is encountered multiple times in the OT testament. Here is the command from God; when the Israelites are instructed in how to conquer Canaan.

10 “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. 11 And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. 12 But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13 And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, 14 but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lordyour God has given you. 15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. 16 But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, 17 but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded, 18 that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the Lord your God.

“Devote them to destruction”; as in “sacrifice them”. This passage has the context of an offering about it. The “Slaughter of the Canaanites” is a holy endeavor to its core, and in all its facets. It is a direct command from God. It cleanses the land of abominations. It preserves the Israelites from abomination. It performs the spiritual alchemy of turning abominable meat into a pure sacrifice worthy of the Most High God and gives even them a place to honor Him. It is also an opportunity for the Israelites to participate in God’s plan, and share in His holiness. I think even referring to is as the “Slaughter of the Canaanites” is a slander. I call it the Sacrifice of the Canaanites.

And it requires the shedding of innocent blood.

Children, especially infants, are innocent. However; they are not perfect. They are not sinless. They are not selfless, or even aware of others. They are not worthy and they have no worthy works. Innocent means they are not accountable; not that they do not offend, or that they are good. They are also signs of innocence, and that important for us and for our instruction.

It is upon this last that McGrew’s consternation turns. She thinks that if she knows anything, then she knows that infants are innocent. Alongside that, she thinks she knows that killing innocents is murder and always wrong; unless it is God himself actually doing the killing.[2] Lydia McGrew is wrong, and what follows is how we know she wrong.

She wrote:

One piece of good news, as far as it goes, is that there is nothing about the slaughter of the Canaanite children that is theologically necessary to the truth of Christianity. Unlike, say, the historical existence of Adam, the killing of Canaanite children is not woven into the warp and woof of Christian theology, doctrine, or ethics. Very much to the contrary.

It is bad to punish innocents, but punishment is not what God commanded. He commanded they be sacrificed. We’ll see this again later when the Lord of Hosts sends His only begotten Son to live as Himself and as us, and explicitly to be sacrificed to satisfy His own holiness, and for us and our salvation.

“Yes, but they were babies–”

Let me explain that you should shut up. Jesus is more than innocent. He is the Christ who chose to take on mere flesh. He is the only begotten Son of God. Unlike an untested infant, Jesus was tested in the refiner’s fire and found flawless, and a worker of many and marvelous good works; perfect as His Father in Heaven is perfect.  He is unique, flawless, utterly selfless, and very God of very God.

Did you ever wonder what it might be like to think about that? To not only think, but prepare the world for it? Since at least Adam, God has been planning  and moving to send His Son to be sacrificed to reconcile an adulterous people…humiliatingly, naked, painfully, on a cross, by Gentiles at the request of His own flesh and blood because they were cowards. That is INFINITELY more strange, startling, and inexplicable than the Sacrifice of the Canaanites by the Israelites.

Fretting over children sacrificed to a just and holy God who is the Lord of life is a mental walk in the park by comparison. Those who cannot see that have made idols of the flesh and their own wooden theologies, doctrines, ethics. That is to say: They’ve made idols of themselves, and that is very easy for us to do.

It gets back to the eye being the lamp of the whole body, and if our eye is dark (say, by being blasé about the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ) then the darkness in our body will be great. We will stupidly disconnect Him from other stories of sacrificed innocents, and from ourselves who are made innocent by His sacrifice, yet still die.

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Weren’t they family; the descendants of Noah who alone survived God’s extinction of all other human life? Are innocents not valuable that God would abandon them in death? Isn’t taking up your cross doing what is distasteful and painful to follow God? Was Jesus not deadly serious (even when not literal) when He spoke of a sword? This is the lamp that should light your eyes.

There’s a lot more to say on the topic. I haven’t even touched on God having a soft-spot for those who intercede but which the Jews consistently refused to do, or the real reasons the Israelites balked at killing, or why they didn’t balk when they did kill, or why the prohibition against murder is more about the murderer being separated from God than the murdered being separated from life…lots of stuff.

[1]By the bye: The answer is “us”.

[2]Without getting too derailed: Suffice it to say that this is a foolish train of thought headed for God is Unjust station, and carrying murderous angels as passengers; among others.

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.

This is How We Shall Live

When I was growing up, our church devoted one Sunday a year to youth. Instead of the pastor preaching, and the music minister leading the hymns, on that particular Sunday evening service various youth were chosen to take up those roles. One of those years, I was asked to give the sermon for the Youth Service. I chose Ephesians 6:10-20. It was the only sermon I ever preached, as I rejected the path of a pastor, or priest. This is not that sermon, but it is still a passage I reflect on often, and from which others who are searching out what it means to be manly might profit.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

“Finally”: As in utterly, regardless of all else, most importantly, this is it.

“be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”: Have confidence (confidence means “keep faith with”) put your faith with God’s love for you and in His ability to sustain and perfect you as He sent His only Son to die for your sins, and then bodily raised Him from the dead, and took Him back to rule in Heaven. Not faith in yourself; not in your talents; not in your accomplishments; not in others, nor their talents or accomplishments; not in civilization; not in progress; not in politics; not in kings; not even in priests and pastors.

“Put on the whole armor of God, “: There is a battle; a testing, and that battle is one where you will be attacked, and you need to armor-up to be prepared and protected. This armor is from God and for you.

“that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”: It is a curious thing to recommend armor against schemes. Armor seems an unlikely choice to defend against traps, subterfuge, misdirection, seductions, temptations. It is counter-intuitive to armor up against schemes. (Machiavelli and Sun Tzu would surely scoff.) To armor-up is to prepare for direct conflict; when next we are informed that the enemy will attack indirectly. Our nature is to respond in kind; to fight fire with fire; strategy with strategy; psychology with psychology; subterfuge with subterfuge; misdirection for misdirection; seduction over seduction; scheme against scheme; devilry with devilry; evil for evil. If you’ve been churched (especially Protestant), it’s very likely that what you’ve been told is this is because we’re spirits fighting a spiritual war, and “armor” and “schemes” are just poetic stand-ins for “good things” and “bad things”, respectively, in the overall battle.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”: The answer to the puzzle of “Why armor against schemes?” is in the word “we”, and what “we” are. We are flesh and blood and spirit fighting against purely spiritual things. Our inclination (again) is to fight fire with fire–spirit with spirit–but what Paul is saying is that we fight the spirit with flesh and blood also, and so we need a flesh and blood defense. He is recommending a visible armor to fight invisible evils. It’s important that others can see your armor, which is your works.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”: Our goal is not to kill, but to withstand. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, Jesus said. That kingdom is besieged, and as the Church–the woman/son in the relationship between God and mankind–we are defenders of the hearth; not conquerors of the invaders. Our part is just to withstand, and that will be enough. Moreover: By necessity our home is our hospital, and anyone stricken down can find succor within. Having been taken captive to Christ’s home, they become free comrades. We can do this because we have confidence in Christ’s victory over Satan, evil, and death; in the power of His might.

“Stand therefore”: Get (you) up! Man (get) up! Woman (get) up! We hear little of the first, lots of the second, and near nigh of the third.

“having fastened on the belt of truth”: Take up the truth first. Whatever your starting principle is, that is your truth. It is the foundation and binding of the rest of the armor, and covers the stomach and loins. They hold fast the places of hunger and desire. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” So, keeping in mind what we’ve learned so far about man’s proclivity to fight fire with fire: While it would seem intuitive to counter bad behavior or culture with bad behavior or culture, the way we are instructed is to counter it is with taking up the Gospel. It surrounds the place where you get “feelings in your gut”; where you find the guts to continue on because of the truth that is in you. Jesus said it this way:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

This is the opposite of pride, self-esteem, irrational self-confidence, and “believing in yourself”; the opposite of greed; the opposite of lust; the opposite of wrath. This is truth encircling, covering, training, girting, and belting down animal desires.

“and having put on the breastplate of righteousness”: Righteousness performs two important tasks. Most importantly it guards your heart. Returning to the Beatitudes, Jesus says:

8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Acting rightly will keep you from temptations, agonies, broken hearts, and sentimentality. The second task is showing your emblem, your heraldry: to Whom you belong, and what honor and decorations have been given to you. And that honor is persecution:

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Persecuted for the sake of the emblem upon your chest, the sign of your Master, and the owner of your inheritance.

“and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”: Having been equipped to stand with truth and righteousness, you will be prepared to be sent forth into dangerous terrain with unsure footing. Where once the unfulfilled law marked the way no man could go, now is passable to him who walks in the gospel of Peace; making the good news of peace wherever he goes.

In Romans Paul writes with this same metaphor:

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

It is a reference to Isaiah, one of the prophets who lived in the times of fall of Israel and Judah, and wrote of better times to come:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
that publisheth peace;
that bringeth good tidings of good,
that publisheth salvation;
that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Jesus calls those who wear the shoes of the gospel blessed, peacemakers, and the children of God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” Having girt your desires with truth, plated and polished your breast with clean action, and strapped on the surefootedness of the Gospel: Do not think you will be attacked face-to-face, and keep the faith that you are being attacked because they recognize righteousness as the mark of the evil one’s Enemy; because you are doing His work, and not because you are being punished by God.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

These fiery darts come in many forms: arrows, javelins, spears, gossip, false accusations, divorce, rebellion, mockery… More deadly are the darts that burn with the poison of flattery, sensuality, sentimentality, and seduction. Whatever you may have heard about keys and locks: The master keys of Earth, and their holders, can only open empty graves.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
their inward part is very wickedness;
their throat is an open sepulchre;
they flatter with their tongue.

&

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 two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
her steps take hold on hell.

The clever among them know it, but they return to it over and over again like dogs to vomit.[1]

“and take the helmet of salvation”: The head is the container of the mind, and four of the five senses. Here we see the fading beauty of the world; we hear the gospel and the law; we taste the salt; we smell death. Altogether, we can know and reason the need for our salvation. The head is also the master of the body, and with it we command the limbs to work out our salvation as we keep the fear of the Lord ever-present in the mind, and there He does His work in our minds.

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

which we then pass down to the body; eating and digesting His work which brings nourishment and enables our bodies to obey the head; which is protected by this salvation process.

“and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”: The one weapon of God; His Word literally embodied in Christ; and also figured in the Bible, and in the Lord’s Supper. It is a double-edged sword to be wielded offensively–to cause offense–for the defense of others. Unlike all the other pieces of the armor of God, it is never used in place, or at rest. It does not perform its task while sheathed, or simply on your person. You never complete its training; the more you use it the more it teaches you about its use. It is the only item that can cause injury to the wielder, and easily in the hands of the foolish, but familiarity strengthens the mind, body, and spirit. Swung swift and accurate, it sings, and it is beautiful, light, keen, strong, and lethal.

“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”: Be mindful and steadfast in your defense, and more for the defense of others. Keeping communication to God open; especially for your fellow protectors, who are also under siege; sacrificing the priority of your desires, for their needs.

“and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”: This same armor is the uniform-chain of an ambassador-slave to Christ; whose yoke is easy, and who grants freedom from the world. Everywhere the servant of Christ goes in His uniform, His chains, His armor; the ambassador-slave is free from all ideologies, theories, politics, and various contrivances of men.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

In the King James Version, it begins: “Finally, my brethren…” which tells better whom Paul is addressing. This after he addressed children and servants (among whom are wives; as some brethren are to other men). This last chapter is the summary of how we are to relate to and serve one another in our service to God.

[1] This link came in precisely as I wrote that sentence. Not sure what to think about that. YMMV.

Neither Saved Nor Spent, But Invested

I want to take a short break from my series to talk about a discussion in the comments of Dalrock’s latest post on women delaying marriage. I think he’s right in the aggregate, but there’s also some room to talk about the different ways this is ship is going down within the American Christian community.

When I write this blog, I always do so with my son in mind, but my child who is actually at this phase of life is my eldest daughter, Tina. A few weeks ago we went to breakfast at one of our family’s favorite restaurants. Everyone else was busy, and she’d managed to miss the times we’d went. Our waitress, Kacey, was blonde, petite, and young; no more than 22. After she took our drink order, she walked out of the room. As she did so she turned and locked eyes with me for a full five seconds.

“Tina.”, I said.

“What?”

“Just…watch our waitress.”

“Okaaaaaay…”

“This is how to get a man’s attention.”

“What?” She had no idea what I was talking about.

“You’ll see.”

What ensued, horrified and fascinated Tina. Every time Kacey came to our table–about every three minutes–she lingered. She’d ask for refills, and then stay to chat. Then she’d come to check to make sure we liked our food…and she stayed to chat. After a few times, she started touching my shoulder. Then she just started stopping to chat and touch my arm. On one of these occasions, when the table behind Tina called for our waitress’ attention, Kacey merely leaned towards their table while extending her hand out to me; physically communicating for me to hang onto her. Tina literally used her hands as blinders; alternately laughing and gawping in shocked horror.

On the drive home we talked about it.

“So, what did Kacey do to get my attention?”

“She just… She was touching you–Dad, that is so gross–and she kept coming by every five seconds.”

“How did I know she was going to do that?”

“I have no idea.”

“Because she looked me in the eye for, like, ten seconds. No, more like five. Anyways: Long enough for me to know she was interested. If you want men to know you’re interested, you have to let them know. We are notoriously bad about noticing it until it’s too late.”

“Wow. That could be so awkward. What if he doesn’t respond?”

“Imagine being the man, and having to risk actual rejection when you ask a woman out.”

“Good point. Still…”

“I was clueless that your mother was interested in me. One day, while working in class, she asked me if I ever just wanted to kiss somebody. Totally did not register why she asked me, so I said “Nope.” and went right back to work. I remember thinking she was a strange girl.”

“Dad…seriously? What is wrong with you?”

“She hadn’t made eye contact. She hadn’t touched me. She had a boyfriend. We’re not mind-readers, and I’ve known plenty of girls that wanted to use guys to pass along their interest in another man. I wasn’t interested in that game.”

“I told Missy what you said–“

“About what?”

“–about us being the most attractive now that we’re ever going to be, and to use this time to find a husband.”

“And?”

“We both got depressed.”

I laughed. “That won’t do you any good, and it’s exactly why I told you to watch the waitress. You can’t wait around for a guy to overcome your shyness for you. If he’s a guy worth having, he might be too busy doing something else to see that you are interested. You’ve got to make the first move, and then see if he responds. Men should make the call, but women should give out the number. Make sense?”

“Yeah.”

“Kacey was cute, wasn’t she?”

“Gross, Dad.”

“I’ll let you tell Mom.”

“She’s going to kill her.”

In general, women are the ones delaying marriage, but they’re getting an awful lot of help from their fathers. From the secular view, this primarily takes the form of daddy really pushing college[1] and telling his daughters that you never know if a man is going to stick around or not; they must be able to fend for themselves. Secondly, these days even fathers are telling their daughters to “play the field” before the settle down. “Settle down”…what an ugly way to frame it.

More traditionally-minded Christians practice this same marriage aversion, but add to it the nonsense that their daughters are spiritual princesses. A decade or so ago the keeping-up-with-the-churchy-Jones’ Christian fathers started dating and marrying them. That is…so weird and wrong.

For the moment I’ll ignore the extreme connotations, but, why in the world teach casual, bloodless, dating? That’s crazy, and unfair to both her and her date. They both have sexual energies burning holes in their pockets, and Dad’s modeling for them to bury those talents in the ground when he ought to be encouraging them to invest them. The only explanation is that the sort of Dad who would date his daughter doesn’t actually see sex as the gift and responsibility that it is.

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

That gift and responsibility was given to the actual owner of the vagina; not Dad. It belongs to her until she marries; at which point she trades it fair-and-square for a dick.[2] What he should be doing is encouraging and directing her to make the trade with someone worthwhile; both physically and spiritually. Extended, platonic dating during her prime years is not the way to do that.

At the same time these fathers are acting out strange perversions of the modern courtship model, they are disparaging all the young men in their churches. They don’t have a degree. They don’t have a good enough job. They don’t have “godly enough” parents. They don’t have “a heart for Jesus”. It’s all bullshit. While Christian women are taught that Jesus is their personal boyfriend, Christian men are taught that they are the guardians of Jesus’ personal girlfriends; to let one of them be touched by a mortal is anathema. I was a 6’4″ 225lbs two-sport athlete; at church every day but Friday and Saturday; president of the youth council and the youth choir; son of a minister; personally led people to the Lord; had preached a sermon…and I still wasn’t good enough.

The situation is this: We’ve got women who are allowed to walk around in disrobed states, but discouraged from showing specific interest. Men who aren’t allowed to look (because women are half-naked), but are somehow supposed to differentiate and pursue their One True Love who ignores them. The fathers won’t allow their daughters to engage anyone who isn’t the equivalent of an established 35-year old, but in an age-appropriate body. And everybody is convinced that sex is the greatest thing ever and also a naughty thing–all at the same time. These things (among others) exacerbate, and even encourage, the problem of women delaying marriage.

[1] Especially the full away-from-home college experience: “Will this be the night I decide to be a bad girl! I totally could, you know. I wouldn’t, but it’s just so exciting to think about. I mean, I won’t be a real bad girl like Suzy Skankerini. After all, I can control myself if I want to, and I’m pretty sure I want to. Do I want to? Yes, I do…O.M.G, Billy looks so hawt!

[2] This, by the way, would be a good time to cuss to yourself if you’re a father of a daughter. It doesn’t have the same punch to your gut to say, “She wants a husband.”; “She wants a mate.”; “She anticipates marital union.” I really don’t believe you’re telling yourself the truth with those talk-around phrases. What she wants is dick. Marriage is how Christian women go about getting it, and it is good.

Doublethinking Lust I: Sex Ed

I fully intended to finish my 1/3 written post on Sunday School, but I don’t feel I’ve done due diligence on the topic of Christians celebrating deviant sex and relationships, and it is nagging at me.  As well, I want to tie in the lengthy conversation about Christians and “bad words” that occurred under the previous post, because it is of a piece with the issue of why so many Christian wives and daughters are so unprotected, undisciplined, indiscriminate, and too often feral.

As I re-read my posts one of the things I failed to do was clearly state my case. Here it is: The media we consume is by-and-large propaganda. It’s intended effect is to destroy authority and create women likely to act on sinful and thoughtless urges, because unregulated urges mean more sales. This dissolution is taught at least somewhere within most television shows, movies, books, and songs.

At the same time, this propaganda machine discourages fathers and husbands from exercising any meaningful authority, and discourages women from taking them seriously if they do. It does so by portraying disapproving fathers and husbands as unreasonable, mistaken, tyrannical, and heartless. Conversely, the only fathers and husbands who are uplifted are those who do not confront actions of rebellion or sin. Theirs is but to give hugs and understanding.

Encouragement of feral female licentiousness and discouragement of the discipline of modesty is omnipresent in the fiction of Western Civilization, and it’s also true of any journalism or editorial that touches on the subject of sex or romance. In effect it is a much more comprehensive sex ed concerned not only with which bit goes where, but how the producers of media believe men and women should relate, how families should be ordered (or not!), and how to make decisions on sexual matters.

Within these (deviously informal but extremely well-funded) sex ed seminars, there are also individual scenes of propaganda are targeted at a particular sex. In the past media was designed to appeal to as broad and general audience as possible, but as liberalism has progressed (and with the aid of technology and increasingly specialized labor) this is no longer necessary to accomplish their goals.

The go-to formula to get men in the theater is to make the protagonist violent. The violence of the protagonist is almost always perpetrated in protection of, or revenge for, some person or people, and the violence is committed against clearly-defined bad guys who–in addition to being generally dastardly–almost always initiate the violence first. There is at least a tenuous relation to the concepts of justice and defense of the weak. Revenge becomes a symbol for justice. (Granted: Somewhere further down the list of tropes to entice men is naked women.)

When media producers want to appeal to women they put the protagonist into a pornographic scene. This is usually fornication and adultery, but an emotional affairs[1] will do. Once in awhile sex and love between a husband and wife is depicted, but by-and-large the captivating moments aimed at women are illicit relationships. These pornographic scenes are intended to appeal to women along the same tenuous lines as the violent revenge and protection themes appeal to men. So, if revenge is meant as a symbol of justice, what ideal is pornography meant to symbolize?

Eros.

Unfortunately for Christians: Eros does not differentiate between good and evil sexual desires. It’s a pagan concept that has no place in the Christian worldview, yet we accept it reflexively because in our society it is the dominant frame of reference for love between a man and a woman. Consequently, deep confusions of the pagan and Biblical worldviews exists in the Church. We can’t articulate the difference between sex with a whore and sex with a wife. There are Christians leaders out there teaching that husbands should stop lusting after their wives, and other Christians teaching how to find a soul-mate; two actions that are fundamentally impossible if Christianity is true.

Now media can be churned out at a very high rate with cheaper and faster production; especially since they regurgitate [remake or adapt] the same films, shows, songs and books over and over. Each rumination is more granular, more targeted propaganda, than the last iteration of the cud. Family films skew chick flick. Adventures become shoot-em-ups. This in itself purposefully divides the audiences; driving fathers and husbands towards one theater, and wives and daughters towards another; segregated sex ed.

When we uncritically watch the propaganda we not only cannot differentiate between love and lust, but are confirmed in our decision not to. Against this, the argument is often put forth that these bits of propaganda are “just movies”, or “just songs”, or whatever; that we don’t really take them seriously, or even pay attention to them. But, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Depending on the source: 80-97% of American Christians engage in extra-marital sex. Those figures don’t account for french-kissing, fondling, or day-dreams. Does anyone seriously believe 80-97% of American Christians engage in revenge slayings? How many have even started a fist-fight; maybe 20%?

This is because we have a way to talk about justice, to teach it; to have a discipline about justice because it is common between Christianity and paganism…or at least translatable. There is no direct corollary in Christianity for the concept of Eros. The closest is lust, and we–especially women–are taught explicitly to avoid discipline when in pursuit of lust because Eros is explicitly about loss of control, and madness. We’re supposed to let Eros magically happen and simply enjoy the ride.

We kept on confusing pagan Eros and Christian romantic love until now we are at the point where we have realized Orwell’s doublethink about all things sexual; .

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

It’s so pervasive in the culture, that if you eradicated every piece of media that endorsed Eros, there would be nothing left to entertain women but housekeeping shows. If you bring it up too many times they start to get the idea that you’re serious about closely watching what they watch. That might mean boredom, and them’s fightin’ words. More troubling: We like the way we feel “in love”. We like undisciplined nature. We like uncontrolled emotions. We’re “in love” with Eros.

And if you don’t think this describes you, then what is the Biblical corollary to “in love”?

[1]All Christians accept that sex outside of marriage is illicit, but not all Christians know that–outside of marriage–the expression of emotional romance is usually illicit, too. It is, and it shouldn’t be hard to figure out because these expressions are inherently sexual. In fact, I think it is true to say that we do know this, but we choose not to care because no one says anything, and we really like how it feels.