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.

What Does the Handrail Say?

(Author’s note: I started this post immediately after I read Vascularity’s question, and before the torrent of comments about what The Law says about marriage, divorce, and polygyny. When that back-and-forth kicked into high gear I decided to let that play out before I put this online. If you dare to read it I think you’ll have a good understanding of why I think about The Law the way I do; which I believe keeps with ancient tradition.

If, instead, you take a gander at the wall of text and decide that such an endeavor is ridiculous: Then you’ll truly be picking up what I’m about to put down. That’s not a shot at the commenters as much as it is at mankind in general. This is what we unwittingly asked for when we ate the fruit. I can be as bad as the rest.)

A question in a comment on the previous thread:

I’ve been divorced twice. Is my second marriage in God’s eyes illegal? Am I permitted to get married a third time (not that I would). If my second marriage was sin, I presume I am forgiven. Any Christian clarification is appreciated.

I don’t have enough information to answer this question. To begin, I’d have to know a lot more about Vasc and his ex-wives.

  • Was he Christian at the times?
  • Were either of the wives?
  • Are they or have they re-married?
  • Were they married before they married Vasc?
  • Why does he want to know?
  • Many more…

St. Paul twice said, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” It’s my experience that to ask about the legality (the Law of God) of a thing is almost always to ask the wrong question. There are many ways to think about the Law. Here’s one of mine.

The Handrail

The Law is like a handrail along the path that we are to follow towards God. It certainly marks the path, but is not part of it. It is helpful to reach a goal, but not a goal in itself. It can be grasped, leaned upon, and aid you in standing back up if you fall, but it cannot actually move you along, or take you anywhere of its own power. In fact, it’s worth noting that a handrail can reliably be used to lead towards a thing, or away, and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Distance occludes our vision, and while we often look ahead to see The Law zigging south into a valley, we do not see it beyond that; zagging back north over the mountains. Who can make straight what He has made crooked?

It serves as a barrier, but only one of choice: It’s function is not to stop you from going where you want to go. Some people like to think of The Law as a fence. If we call it a fence, we would have no choice but to say it’s not a very good fence; because a fence that can be surmounted or subverted effectively ceases to be a fence…at least for whoever goes over or under it. A jumped handrail, though, continues to serve its intended purposes; even for the would-be escapist. In contrast to a fence: The handrail of The Law is fundamentally good however we interact with it; always ready to be of use in each of its intended capacities.

Lastly, we should note that the existence of the handrail of The Law is itself condemnation of the danger of our position and the weakness of our abilities. If we were on open ground there would be no need of a handrail. If we were surefooted, clear-eyed, and attentive the handrail would be superfluous. Its presence is proof that we are in need of salvation because we are bound for damnation.

Keeping these things in mind, let’s look at one of the laws that we Christians have decided is unnecessary for us: Clean and unclean animals.

(Stop lyin’. I saw you with that grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp.)

11 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the hare, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.

Why these animals? God’s people have never been totemists who believe the clean ones contain good spirits and the unclean one bad spirits. I have done no formal study on this, but it seems to me that even in these foods we find examples of how we should live. Cloven-hoofed animals are sure-footed, and another way to say “chews the cud” is “ruminate“.

Sure-footed and contemplative of God’s word is the goal; not strict legalism. Abraham had no Law. Those who live by faith regard the illumination of the trail that The Law surely provides, yet do not get stuck clinging to one part of it. No one can grasp the whole of The Law anymore than you can grab an entire handrail. It wasn’t meant to be, and we were not meant to.

So, at one place along the way polygyny is lawful, and in another it is not. In one tight climb divorce is not outside righteousness, but in an easy descent it is an abomination. It’s not a matter of “Is polygyny or divorce legal?” (all things are lawful for me…), but a matter of “Is it good for me?”.

Most men are remarkably ill-suited to answer those questions about themselves even if they “know” The Law; sometimes especially because they do! This is why we have the Church. Avail yourselves of It, brothers.

What Are We Doing Here II: That Rock Has Moral Value

Leave it to Dalrock to ask the hard questions. I’ve twice deleted 1500-plus words on this subject because both drafts went in the wrong directions. I’ve chosen to just go the direct route; taking it for granted that everyone understands I’m arguing ideas, and that I have tremendous respect for Dalrock.

In the comments of my previous post Dalrock asks some questions that highlight a clear distinction between myself and most of the rest of the Manosphere, and the majority of the Western world. I had wrote:

Should we blame mental/spiritual sickness on intrinsic womanhood? No, but that’s what the idea of the Feminine Imperative does. It’s the equivalent of blaming war on manhood.

To which he replied:

I don’t think “blame” is an accurate word to describe Rollo’s view. This is actually an area where I disagree with him. Rollo is very careful to avoid value judgments, especially when he is describing the actions of women. Beyond this, your argument resembles the feminist denial of nature in the nature vs nurture debate. Are you arguing that there is nothing intrinsic to womanhood (in general). Or are you arguing that there is nothing intrinsic to womanhood which when unchecked can produce bad (or even catastrophic) results?

As the paragraph goes on, Dalrock does the same thing I do: He digs through my statements to unearth the principle lying below; the frame of the argument. Another way to say that is he is discerning the nature of my argument.

1) Blame is the right word. It’s called the “Feminine Imperative”. The title (to which I obviously disagree, but I’m trying to not lose anybody in the argument) lays the blame directly at the feet of women, womanly behavior, and those who work with with. Rollo may claim that this is not blame, but it can be no other way. At best, it’s confused to call something “feminine” and not “blame” it on women.

In that same vein: We should be judging and assessing value. Aside from the (hopefully) common sense perspective that good is better than bad, and that profitable is better than unprofitable–we are Christians. We are followers of the son of the One True God, Creator of all, and we are made in His image. What does He do? He makes things, and then He judges them. “This is good”. “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Lawlessness…lacking judgment…lacking value assessment.

Christ goes further in the Sermon on the Mount. He says:

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

In my thoughts, I keep coming back to this passage in my refutations of the desirableness of Game (as based on Dark Triad traits, or the 16 Commandments of Poon; both of which dovetail smoothly with the precepts of the Feminine Imperative as most specifically laid out.), but for right now I just want to look at the bolded part. Whatever we do not give value to is worthless. Whatever value we blind ourselves to–in a misguided attempt to be impartial or inclusive–is filling ourselves with emptiness…nothing…darkness–because the light is empty, valueless, and know-nothing. We should be extraordinarily careful in rendering judgment, but to refuse to value is as bad as valuing improperly, i.e., to choose evil over good. How we should value things could be another very long post, or it can be summed up as: value as God values, and not as the world does. No man can server two masters.

2) Nature-vs.-nurture debates are usually nothing of the sort. They’re almost always nature-vs.-nature arguments, with each side choosing to emphasize or detract from various natural components.

For example: Egalitarians almost always consider themselves nurture-over-nature; that the “environment” (peer-group, parents, education, etc.) around a person can override or overcome a person’s “natural” tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. First, humans are inherently social creatures. Environments are completely natural phenomenon, and part of the person’s make-up. It’s not extra-personal. Lots to be said here, but I’ll move on.

More importantly: Egalitarians are trying to bring cognizant and demonstrable equality to things that are nature-ally very similar already. Both men and women are human. They can mate. They have extraordinarily similar sets of organs, motivations, and environments. In turn, apes aren’t far off. In fact you have to drill down a few levels into the secular scientists’ animal kingdom before you hit truly different classes of creatures. What egalitarians say to themselves is “This woman-thing has a head and a brain and a heart just as man-things do. They can both learn and speak and read and do all the same sorts of things. There are really only minor natural differences. Therefore: we ought to see them as equals.” It’s not an argument based on nurturing at all!

The Judeo-Christian paradigm is very nurture-over-nature.

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;”

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Nature is the flesh; which is death. Our way–Christ’s way–transcends death, and it does so by a nurturing process. In the beginning, the natural way was life in the Garden of Eden, but because we nurtured evil, that nurturing overcame the nature of life and wrought destruction on the whole planet.

See, when you’re talking about a nurturing thing that is not natural (else one cannot have a nurture-vs.-nature discussiono at all), what you’re really talking about is the spiritual-vs.-the natural, i.e, spirit-vs.-flesh. Egalitarians have NOTHING on Christianity when it comes to truly parsing out the powers of nature and the powers of the spirit.

“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.”

Paul is talking a nurtural war; not a natural one.

“Well, Cane, that’s not really what we mean when we say “nature” and “nurture”, and talk about their various influences.” I know. And I’m telling you that because of this you haven’t even really begun to consider the implications of nurturing and the spirit world because this whole way of thinking about nurture and nature without a spiritual context comes about because these things have been discussed for decades now without assigning value; without judgment…like secular scientists. The Christian ALWAYS has recourse to a definitive ruler on the value of things–all things–and it’s most readily available as scripture. If we’re not starting from the principle and presupposition that scripture is profoundly correct on the nature of man and his state, then we are living with darkened lamps. Everything is darkness to us. In such darkness, you might grope upon a trope like “Feminine Imperative”, and not have the light to see that an amoral genetic conspiracy theory is bunk. This becomes obvious once you realize that even the tree outside your window is NOT amoral, but has a moral value, and that value is probably good. It is intrinsically good–from the beginning it was good. We can know this because God said so. It’s in the Bible. Why we can trust the Bible is another post. For now, I’m assuming that if you can accept that a man who claimed to be the Son of God was raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven, then you can accept that God meant it when He invented trees and said “It is good.”

3) In this last bit, I’ll turn to the word intrinsic, and how I meant it. I mean “from the beginning”, or “by design”. The amoral view of the natural universe is inextricable from an amoral view of feminine nature, and vice versa: a moral assessment of the natural universe (And, again: “It is good.”) necessitates a moral assessment of the nature of women. Therefore, as a follower of Christ–Son of the Creator of the Universe–I must reject the amoral view of nature, and I must accept the goodness of the intrinsic (intended/designed) nature of women. By this light I can see clearly. And if, by this light, I see evil in women, then I must recognize that evil as something separate from their nature. It must be something that grows there, i.e., something nurtured by themselves or another, or both. Whether it is a psychiatric disease like narcissism, or “mundane” spiritual disease like lust, or something exotic like demonic possession–I can categorize them under the heading of “sinful nature”.

Don’t get me twisted: Females have a nature. Hypergamy is a real thing, and I wholly believe it’s scriptural. It’s also a decidedly good thing. Think about it: Her hypergamy drives her into your arms. She wants to “fight” with you, and she wants you to win. It’s a fixed fight! This sort of thing is illegal in real fights because the profits are simply too high! If you don’t like this, then the problem is you. Yes, things can go wrong and she can abuse it out of all proportion, but it is an intrinsically good thing.

This, finally, brings us back to the comments of Dalrock’s post that inspired my previous post, upon which Dalrock’s comment and this post grew. In an attempt to describe what a Masculine Imperative would looke like, commenter Bluedog wrote:

A human MI society would be a society where the MI has totally dominated over the FI, so again I’d look to lions as a template for this. You would expect to see high concentrations of women around highly dominant “alpha” males, and you would expect to see men “in between” prides – either because they haven’t established a pride yet or because they got kicked out of one.

The human nuance in this is that I think you would see both men who freely choose to not have prides, who “go their own way” as it were, as well as men who are between prides but wish strongly to have them. All in all, I would imagine this to be a fairly violent and dystopic society.

The assessments of most other commenters lined up with this greatly…which is hilarious because this is what the Feminine Imperative is purported to be! Especially the highlighted portion. That’s right: What we’re here complaining and trying to understand is as much about the society as men have ordered it as how women have…just not most men. Surely not you or I.

Which is what I’ve been saying all along. There is a conspiracy, but it’s not so much run by women as it is run by very rich and powerful (in a worldly sense) men, and perpetrated on average women (which is almost all of them) who don’t even rise to the level of co-conspirator. They’re simply not that smart, important , or powerful enough to be anything but CONSUMERS of the conspiracy. Actually elite women are some of the most hurt by this paradigm. Don’t believe me: Ask John Legend’s model fiance Chrissy Tiegen about Farrah Abraham. Her rage isn’t because somebody banged Farrah, but because all you have to do to make national news is get knocked up as a teen and then make a sextape. I’d never heard of Tiegen before this, but she’s apparently kind of a big deal–and here she is outshined by a common (6 looks; considering physique) whore at the whim of the owners of Viacom and Vivid–companies run by elite men. Warren Buffett is calling for more women in business? Why? Because he knows (whether he has the vocabulary or not) that hypergamy dictates that he’ll get his way and their money. He’s not about empowering women. He’s about enriching himself. To do this: he jumps to the middle of the herd bleating, “Bah-ah-ah! Women are great! Bah-ah-ah!”

Part of the Feminine Imperative stipulates that women gather around each other when enemies attack. Let’s be clear: Tiegen is in the majority in calling Abraham a whore. So trusting to the amoral knowledge of the FI we should expect that Chrissy Tiegen would support and herd-gather around Farrah Abraham. Society doesn’t approve of Abraham–so they’re not gathering around her either…until Tiegen tweets her as a whore in unison with society. Then all Twitter-Hell breaks loose. Why? The Feminine Imperative is at an amoral loss to explain it; unable to tell the sheep from the wolf, and so calling all both. But widespread narcissism–a fundamentally spiritual disorder of falsely assumed self-godhood–explains it. Tiegens critics: 1) assume she is talking to them. 2) assume she is talking about them 3) afraid that someone like Tiegen might reveal their inner-sextaping-teenmom tendencies. So they rage. Tiegen, too, is a narcissist–surprised to discover that her Twitter followers are real people and not just props–so she rages back at them. All the while, each sheep in this milieu (Tiegen, Abraham, and the Twitter followers are trying to jump closer and closer to the center of the herd; to sacrifice enough others to calm whatever and whoever the enemy is. They don’t really care because narcissists can’t be bothered to actually figure that out.

Ok, Cane. Why is this important? What does it matter whether we call this–whatever it is–the Feminine Imperative, or Sin Nature? One, because the truth is important. It just is. If you don’t believe that then stop reading this and everything else I ever have to say.

Two, because those elite men know what I’m talking about. We can’t even fight them for our kids if we don’t know what game they’re playing. This is spiritual warfare, and they know even if it’s too “religulous” for them to say. Maybe you think that too. You might think I’m talking about angels and demons and “invisible bogeymen”…and I am. I’m also talking about how one five year girl with 30 minutes and a bad attitude can transform a whole team of five year olds from content and happy to maladjusted assholes. That’s not the Feminine Imperative–that’s Sin Nature.

One day I’ll go back to posts under 2,000 words.

Love and Attraction in Eden

To SunshineMary, who won’t give up:

Hypergamy is the female desire for a better man. Koreogamy is the male desire for another woman. Polygyny is what we get when these forces meet. Monogamy is the standard Christians have been given.

Christianity calls us to the Truth, as Christ is the Truth. So how do we reconcile these seemingly un-Christian concepts with the very Christian concept of monogamous marriage? “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

So watch this…

If you are a Christian, that means to be in Christ, and He in you. To be in Christ means to be part of an eternal, ever-new being; the Alpha and the Omega. Who He is today he will be tomorrow, but He will be greater than He was before. You, Christian, are therefore a new creation in Christ; more Him today than you were yesterday; less you today than you will be tomorrow; ever-new, ever-you, as you were meant to be.

If you are married, that means for a man to leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. She becomes his body, and he becomes her head. The two become one. Together, in Christian marriage, they are a new creation in Christ. The husband who love his wife, and is respected by her, becomes more Christ-like, renewed and transformed to be more like Christ, more like himself. The wife who respects her husband, and is loved by him becomes more Christ-like, renewed and transformed to be more like Christ, more like herself.

The woman a man marries today is not the woman he will be married to tomorrow, and the man a woman marries, likewise. Through this sanctification process of leading and encouraging each other to be new and more Christ-like; she gets a new and better husband; stronger, wiser, and braver than she had yesterday.  The husband wakes up with a different wife than he went to sleep with. She is more beautiful in his sight, more elegant, and graceful than the woman he married.

Oneitis is the only reconciliation of these truths. Bite once, and bite deeply.

Half As Well As You Deserve

Most people would call me a conservative, with libertarian leanings, and I don’t argue with them. I read a lot of self-professed conservative writing. I write from a position that nearly 100% of non-conservatives would call conservative, and I’d wager over 50% of self-proclaimed conservatives would, as well.* It stands to reason that we (conservatives and I) agree on a lot of things. It also stands that a good deal of the reason we agree is because my mind has a conservative bent to it, and so does theirs.

The illusion with this is that it’s very easy to start thinking that because someone agrees with you, and you agree with them, that you’re right. The reality is that very often you’re simply agreeable to each other; you like each other. This is how liberals get stuck thinking their views are correct, because it is a human problem. It is also how one corrupts another; agreeing and amplifying each other until the Tea Partiers are standing out there with signs that say “Keep Government out of Medicare”, or a wife comes home from one too many Girls’ Night Outs and announces that she’s not happy.

The fact that someone likes me, or I like them, or I agree with them, or they with me has very little bearing on how I should interact with them, and no bearing whatsoever on whether they are right. Do they agree with God? That is the question you have to answer to say whether a person is right. Which is about much more than whether they pay lip service to God, or quote scripture…whether I like it or not.

It’s not enough to write or visit or comment on the blogs of self-professed Christians if what we say there is not consistent with Christianity; whether by wrong orthodoxy or devious orthopraxy. Of the two the second is much worse. So, what are you doing there, on those blogs?

Before you answer that question, ask yourself, “Am I the kind of guy who likes to impose my frame on others through force of personality, or am I the type of guy who tries to endear myself to people by showing that I’m compatible with them? Be honest because this will tell you not only what you’re doing there, but how you’ll be perceived by others–especially women. They have much more training and inclination to social forces than most men, and will sniff you out before even you know what you’ve implied. If you’re that second guy you are at a huge disadvantage in the amplify and agree game, and you will get turned around by someone; either the women, or the first guy. Because I think you’ll understand me better, I will refer to the first guys as Alphas and latter as Betas, and consider the whole thing a Game.

Each comes with a particular set of dangers for the man who would do right. The Alpha can cause needless divisions among otherwise agreeable people, thoughtlessly seduce women, and corrupt men. Betas are at risk of being corrupted, envy, and malice towards women in general.

More that though: the Beta is at risk of continuing to be a Beta. It is foolish for a man to believe that a woman (who is not his wife and with whom he agrees) is on his side. She is either in total rebellion, simply surviving in the midst of the herd, or a follower of someone else. If a man finds himself thinking he’s on the same side of things, what he’s really noticing is that he is in enough agreement with her leader, or her current social group that she keeps him around. (The Alpha runs the risk of usurpation of her rightful leader.) He is a Beta orbiter. If a man spends enough time in the women’s quarters (and he’s not banging the women, in which case he would be a prostitute) at some point he stops being a visitors, and he has become a well-behaved social eunuch.

Except he’s not going to like being made a eunuch, and at some point he’s going to have had enough–which is when the Beta is going to have a Beta explosion, and say some shit about being ready to divorce with Go Bags; how all women will ultimately betray all men; how they are all waiting to do evil to all good men (as Betas believe themselves to be) and good to evil men (as all Betas believe Alphas to be)–evil men the Beta wants to codify and learn from.

In other words: The Whispers get to the Beta, and he gets corrupted into not only accepting the Alpha fucks and Beta bucks paradigm as a truth about the nature of sin, but into reacting like the sort of woman that exemplifies the paradigm he so detests. He becomes a man who hates what he wants, and wants what he hates.

13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

It becomes a sort of intellectual cuckoldry** for the Beta to wish to be the man that the sin nature of his wife wants to spend time with; he has gone too far and accepted what he should not. Adultery and cuckoldry are such noxious a sins because they are the very picture of the idolatry shown in Genesis 3: the consumption and bearing of disordered fruit from an illegitimate authority.

Our Lord truly is Lord of all, including evil. He can take even that and have good come from it. If we are His servants we should do likewise. Sometimes that means making sons and daughters of cuckoos (as has been done for all who were born in sin but now live in Christ), and sometimes that means not putting yourself or others in a position to create more of them. Say, by spouting foolishness on a blog (because you wanted to connect with, impress upon, or deride a woman) for the sake of what you happen to like, or agree with. (By the way: I’m still not talking about sex, per se.)

Some men are so worried about being betrayed in their home life, that they get online to practice for it. Some women are crying out to help them. Nearly none of them will realize who is who until it’s too late. This is especially true of Christians, just as it was more true of the Jews in the Old Testament. We should not be ignorant. Know the truth, repent, and be transformed before the harvest. The scythes are coming.

* “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

** To some that term is going to sound too harsh, and it will lead them astray by thinking I’m making a mountain out of a molehill.  In reality, cuckoldry is one of many similar disorders that is caused by sin in sexual relations. Bastardy is obviously related, as is adultery, and fornication, incest, homosexuality, bestiality…the whole of Leviticus 18. All these terms describe disordered relations of people, and one is not much better than another. And they are related. It matters that immediately following in Leviticus 19 is concerned with keeping sacrifices (our actions) to the Lord holy, and to love our neighbors, and treat them fairly. The transgressions of these are the very things that lead to the wreckage we read of in Hosea; a wreckage that looks horrifyingly similar to the Church in Western Civilization. We can be in agreement and like each other all we want. If we do not make submission to the legitimate Authority first and foremost: we’re going to live abominable lives.

Shine ‘Em Up!

Though I would rather be home waking up to the scent of Mrs. Caldo’s daily offering of fresh-brewed coffee, and preparing myself for church*, instead I am on the road and serving my earthly masters at a fashion show.

More on that later, perhaps.

Per my habits, I visited the circle of imperfects. Being that I had nothing to do today but be available, I had put on my navy suit and some snappy burgundy Rockports: standard business fare. It was foggy, which means still, and I was enjoying the peace of it when a security guard followed the sound of her footsteps out of the mist.

“Mornin’ “, she warned. Her face was nearly as lifeless. She was a heavy-set middle-aged black woman, her stiff hair tied back in a severe bun. Wires of it shot out in rebellion of the stricture. Her shirt had taken the same tack, and hung untucked from under her black windbreaker. “SECURITY”, it said. All of which gave me the impression that it was the end of the graveyard shift for her; which did something to explain her Droopy Dog expression. I took Droopette’s challenge, and fired back.

“Good morning!”, I bawled. The main cannon so discharged, I followed up with a full broadside of pearly whites. It was a withering attack, and her morosity immediately sunk into the the watery air. One lone woman survived, and she raised the white flag of a smile.

She really was very black, and so the surrender was quite stark, spectacular, and pleasing.

Victorious, I turned back towards the fog and took a drag from my Pall Mall.

A signal rocket flared up behind me. “Mm oos uu ah shiny!”, it said.

“Sorry. What was that?”

“I said them shoes sure are shiny! Did you do that yourself?”

“I do shine my own shoes, but these are fairly new. I’ve only worn them three times.”

“Oh, ok. Well they look real good. Have a blessed day!”

“You too, ma’am.”

A man that takes the time to run a quick clean-up–on shoes or attitudes–makes them much brighter; though some shoes take much more work than others, and some shoes simply cannot be salvaged.

*Allow me a brief aside: Get dressed for church. Proper dress for the occasion is a recurring theme in scripture. Do this because it is good for you, and good for those around you. Your nakedness is uncovered by God (for good and bad; for the joy of communion and pain of the need for repentance.) but our dress is an expression of our attitude and spirit towards whatever occasion or event we are attending. Understand that it is the adornment of the spirit that is important, but we are half animal. What we express physically–with clothes–has an effect on our spirit, and vice versa. I lay no undue burden on you to wear a suit or meet any specific standard, but you can at least tuck in your shirt men, and cover your shoulders ladies. This is not a fashion show, but an intimate family wedding rehearsal dinner. (Resale shops are your friend, if you are cash-strapped. There is almost no excuse in America.) Do not get caught undressed. Again: I’m speaking about the spirit, and how your spirit will respond to the flesh. Because every rivers runs into the sea, and our Lord reaps where He did not sow, this habit will overflow from Sunday mornings into the rest of your life. You will reap benefits from being dressed for the occasion at work, school, home ,and–yes–from women. Also, men: Go to church. If nothing else, you can get a sense of the importance to not be an effeminate leader.

TM, TAM, and Me

The people over at the TalkAboutMarriage forums have been having some good discussion on my TM post. I want to address a couple things though, in case they come back to check.

1) It keeps being said that I think TM’s wife is an unbeliever. Now, in Christianity, unbeliever has a very specific and derogatory meaning. I am aware of this, and that’s precisely why I didn’t use it. I wrote:

The implication then is that TM’s wife has, in fact, become a non-believer in their marriage. She is a like a priest who has rejected her religion, but still pays tithe out of superstition. It’s a sort of witchcraft meant to protect her from any allegations of wrongdoing.

Please, TAM folks, I am not speaking on the condition of her salvation, but on the condition of her marriage. In turn, how she responds to the Holy Spirit as regards her marriage may indeed endanger her salvation*, but it is not the absolute measure of it. My comparison was of a priest who only reluctantly performs his priestly duties. Insofar as we all (men and women) have our role to play in rendering duties (ordained and mundane; from priests to wives) we ought to do it with gratitude for the opportunity, even if we cannot muster joy.

2) To Wazza, who said:

You know, for years I’ve read all the biblical allegory comparing our treatment of God to how a wh0re treats their spouse, and for years I have lived with the pain of my wife’s affair. Today as a result of your post I joined those two up in my heart for the first time. He must love us so much to forgive us.

My wife knows I reconciled once but will not do so again. Where would I be if God took that line with me?

This is a great insight for Wazza. God has put a limit on what and how long He will tolerate our sins. In the meantime, we images of God understand that love and forgiveness to do not originate from us. We reflect it from Him who is love, by turning our face to Him. That is a lot easier to write on a blog than to practice when we have been wronged. Immeasurably so in Wazza’s case, as he has been wronged in the very manner that God chooses to express the disgust and separation revenge our sin deserves from Him. Our job is not to be infinitely forgiving, but to keep God before our faces, and reflect God’s mercy as best we can.

*Or proof of no previous existence thereof, or need for extended Purgatory-Time; depending on your denomination’s particular form of theological knicker-bunch.

Tacomaster Desires Steadfast Love

UPDATE: I have cleaned up some sentences and added a couple more since I first posted this. A friend pointed out that the words I chose could be misconstrued.

Yes, it’s been awhile. This is my return post, wherein I respond to a commenter at Dalrock’s, who asked for advice.

Tacomaster said: Another awesome post Dal and I liked your table.I’m posting before reading the comments so excuse me if this has been touched on. My wife and I are both believers, married almost three years. Initially she didn’t understand the importance of frequent married sex. I was in Hell the first year of marriage with the 1-2 sex episodes/month.

I went to the young couples pastor at church who was an Omega, married about 15 years or so (told me him and his wife didn’t have sex much either and it was ultimately her decision) and only saw him that one time for advice. I fought with the idea of divorce because I was tired of living a sinful life of having sex out of marriage and wanted this to work. My wife and I waited til we were married to have sex by the way. She had one previous partner.

She’s familiar with the verse you mentioned in your opening and the sex has increased but to be honest, it really sucks. She has a ton of stipulations and rules which destroys the passion and spontaneity of it. Plus the fact that she jumps out of bed immediately afterwards to “clean up” kills the mood—oh, and there’s the pressure to “hurry up and c*m” thing that I hate. I’ve never been a porn watcher in my life (never interested me) but these last few months have gotten into it. Is this what Christian marriage sex is? I can’t talk about this with my guy friends. The sex feels like a duty she’s fulfilling. Any input is appreciated.

Here’s my input: Tacomasters’s (TM from here on out) wife is not interested in loving him, or being married to him. They don’t have a sex problem, they have a love problem. Sex is beyond an obligation; it’s a good and necessary function of a marriage; a fulfilling and wholesome manifestation of desire for that person. It is the epitome and consummation of marriage. To say that sex is an obligation of marriage is like saying a mother has an obligation to feed her children. That is to say: A mother who can, but does not, is no mother at all. TM’s wife does not desire him. That’s to say: she does not desire to be desired by him. The first thing TM needs to do is accept this; which is an extraordinarily painful thing to do. This is where TM finds himself: Married to a harlot who is demanding better emotional payment for her services, but expecting a wife.

It must be understood that the sexes were designed for our benefit and understanding. Man was made first, and woman was made for man. Women were designed specifically to be desired by men, and by that desiring to bring completion and projection. That completion shows in the physical world as sex, when the man’s desire for a woman brings forth ecstasy and life. It’s easy to see orgasm as completion, and procreation as projection of life, but there is also a projection of ecstasy that makes the difficult times more easy to bear. Sexual delight is a marvelous grace; a physical symptom of the blessing that love can bring to the lover and the beloved, the man and the woman.

Yes, the woman is the beloved. I do not say that women don’t or can’t love, because they certainly can, and most often do so when men can’t or won’t. (Nursing homes, orphanages daycares, and hospitals are brimming with women.) Nevertheless, women thrive when they are the object of love. Little girls don’t dream of being possessed by the best man in the world. They dream of be the most desired woman in the world, and they dread being desirable to no one. Grown women fantasize about being swept off their feet by powerful men and forces beyond their control. Their bodies are formed in such a way that they receive pleasure in the most vulnerable of positions. They’re mind-bogglingly pliant, yielding, and literally impressionable. Yet, their physical pleasure centers are arranged in such as way as to be accessible to all but the most corporally aggrieved of men. Their emotions are likewise, and we see this in the breadth of men–and the diverse actions among those fellows–that they find attractive.

The desire to be loved is one of the reasons church is so appealing to women. Even if you made churches more male-oriented: as long as mankind is the object of God’s love, and church–that is, communion–is the most tangible expression of God’s love on Earth then women will be beside themselves to get in. The Israelites forbade women from entering the inner courts (you can’t get much more male-oriented than that), and my bottom dollar says ancient Jewesses were dying for access because they were sure those within were more loved by God than those without. No doubt pagans have the same problem. You can always pick out a hindu woman by her dress, but hardly a man. I don’t doubt that for every male worshipper of Zeus, he was but one pebble among the womanly sands of Hera. Among the Muslim extremists, it is the women who are the most extreme. It is women who hold each other’s daughters down for female genital mutilation. It is women who force the burka on each other. These deformities of culture aren’t hate, but perverted concern; that the subjects of such atrocities might be lovable.

Within Christian marriage sex is the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, between a man and a woman; between the lover, and the beloved. No one, but the two consecrated by covenant with each other, are allowed to enter into that blessed union. Which brings us back to TM’s problem: his wife doesn’t want to be beloved anymore. They’ve read the passage from 1 Corinthians 7, so she dutifully doles out sexual welfare every so often to fulfill the obligation they believe is set forth in that scripture. The obligation is not to have sex, but to not deny each other of it, and that is the worst case scenario. It is a warning that sexual denial within marriage is a very serious matter threatening the very existence of the marriage, and therefore their relationship with God which is bound up in the Christian marriage.

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

For husbands desire steadfast love and not duty, the knowledge of him rather than sexual welfare.* A husband wants to know his wife, wants her to want to be known by him, and wants no one else to else to know her; to keep her separate and secret for himself, which is holy and beautiful and erotic. That passage from 1 Corinthians 7 isn’t a rebuke of husbands and wives who don’t want to have sex with each other. It’s an exhortation to fulfill their good and holy desires with one another.

7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

We modern Christians (and no doubt earlier ones as well) are putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble because we are not taking into consideration to what St. Paul is responding. The Corinthians had send him a letter mentioning that the church had decided that abstinence was the right thing for all Christians, married or not. St. Paul’s response is to say: “No! By all means: husbands and wives are supposed to have sex!” The Christian marriage covenant is such a powerful spiritual bond that it is to be that the husband controls the wife’s body, and the wife the husband’s. His words are meant to free them from heresies and misunderstandings that have led them into sin and sexual slavery. St. Paul is not merely obliging TM’s wife to have sex with him; he is removing the false narrative that good Christians don’t have great sex. They certainly do, and to deny one another is to deny not only the flesh, but God’s intent, as well. The implication then is that TM’s wife has, in fact, become a non-believer in their marriage. She is a like a priest who has rejected her religion, but still pays tithe out of superstition. It’s a sort of witchcraft meant to protect her from any allegations of wrongdoing.

Wrongness is not the bloody point! She. Is. Rejecting. Him. And she has no excuse because she has been given that marvelous ability to be lovable, and to be loved. It is not TM’s fault. This is a choice she has made. Even if her emotions are not into the idea of sex, she ought to be saying to TM, “Husband, I desire to be pleasing you, and to be pleased by you.”, which is absolutely true. If she did, she would find that–sooner or later (and the sooner the more she means it)–she would get what she really wants, which is to be loved by a man she considers worthy.

In the meantime, TM, do not ask that woman for sex. Stop lying to her and yourself. Stop trying to do what she wants so that she wants to have sex with you. Tell her the truth for a change; that you want to bang her silly, and that she should let you know when she’s ready. Then, stop talking to her except as necessary. When you do, be as polite and formal as you can. Do not hold hands with her. Do not hug her, or kiss her. If she says she loves you, say, “If you loved me, you’d kiss me.”, and be sincere about it. If she comes in for a kiss, then make it a big one, and escalate from there, groping and fondling and all the things a man wants to do his woman until you’re having sex. If she recoils, do not react. Just go back to the routine, and don’t give in.

Make your world what you want it to be, to the best of your ability. Do the chores YOU think need to be done around the house, and only those chores. Regardless of what the previous arrangements were: This is now your house, and you decide what is important. Don’t slack. Do make it a point to take care of the things you think need to be taken care of.

Get your finances in order, if they are not. Make a budget, and stick with it.

Christ informs us of how we should behave when fasting, and I think it should apply even when we are fasting from tasting the fruit of our spouses:

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

In other words: Make yourself look good; take care of yourself. Groom yourself and dress well. If you don’t know how, start here. I haven’t gone through the new Style Guide, but I imagine it’s even better than their old style series. You will feel better.

If you don’t exercise, start. At least go walk every day. In fact, it would be a good idea to invite her to go walking with you, but do not ask. Say: “I’m going walking. Come with me.” and then go. Either way, it will be important and good for you to be active. Physical activity will help you think clearer, sleep better, and feel better.

Whatever you do, while you are doing all these things: Try to smile. If she tries to pick a fight with you, say: “I’m trying to love you, not fight with you.” Leave for a bit if you have to, but never for the night. Do not–under any circumstances!–sleep on the couch, or in another room. That is your house, your bedroom, and your bed. You are allowing her to use them because you have grace and compassion.

Trust God to bring you through this trial and her and work this out for your glorification, as He promises to those who love Him.

As a side-effect: she will wonder what the hell is going on. That is good. Intrigue is catnip to women. BUT UNDERSTAND THIS: That you are not doing these things to please her. You will do what is good, and she will choose to follow, and to be your helpmeet suitable…or not. This isn’t about winning her over, or manning-up for her. That boat has sailed, and she has committed to before God regardless if you’re a lady-killer or a loser. This is about you loving your enemy as your Father in heaven does, heaping coals on her head, and not giving way before the wicked.

If she tries to “earn points” or appear like the good wife by paying you compliments, or at least like she’s not so bad** then say something like, “Thanks. If you really liked it you’d kiss me.” Let her know what you want, and that you won’t be satisfied with head pats and compliments. So if she says, “Will you stop that!” You say, “No.” with a smirk, or a knowing smile. If she retorts with something passive-aggressive like, “Geez, I’m just trying to be nice!” then you say, “A kiss would be nicer.” Never lose your frame of reference that this about her accepting your good and blessed desire to love her wholly, and that means physically, and that means sex! This isn’t about her being right, or good, or nice, or anything other than her being fully accepting of her husband as wives ought to be.

All the while: be praying for her. It will do you both good. We have been given no occasion to mistreat our spouses, for we are called to love even our enemies…which sometimes our spouses are. Bear in ming that loving them does not mean doing what they want. It means doing what is best for them.

Finally, stop masturbating to porn. It is poison. It is so tempting because those dead soulless pictures of dead soulless women exist to please you, and that is what you most desire from your wife. Do not let them pervert your good and natural desire. It will corrupt you, and has negative effects mentally, physically, and spiritually.

*I encourage you, dear readers, please: By all means look beyond the verse I’ve quoted to the whole context of the book of Hosea. It’s about a man who marries a harlot who scorns him, and how that is a symbol for how God’s people have abandoned the love of their life; who has provided all for them, forsaken others for them, and Who–with long-suffering–desires for them to be reconciled to Him.

**And she will, because she will dread the thought of actually being “that bad”, and therefore unlovable–the one true horror of women.