CoE VIb: We Must Start at the Head and Work Down

Before we talk about pants and what should cover the lower body, we must start at the head. I’ve written several posts on women wearing pants, and how that custom has weakened and blurred the distinctions between men and women in the Western World. I stand by most of what I wrote in those posts, yet we should start at the head–the command of our faith, and source of the same–which is the Word of God taught by the Apostles to us, the Church. We must start at the head, and work down.

If you asked me what needs to be done to begin to reintroduce good order to Western churches, my first change would be for us to be obedient to the Word of God from 1 Corinthians 11 on head coverings; and to require obedience to it upon pain of refusal to worship, or even excommunication. The individual church’s heads must teach head coverings for women but not for men, and the church body must obey. The family head must uphold it, and–supported by the church heads–the family body must be expected to obey. We must start at the head, and work down.

Those who are in submission, which is all of us, must look to our individual heads and see that it is suitably covered or uncovered so that our responsibilities are clear to ourselves and others. We must individually own those responsibilities, and take joy in them. What I mean is: I can’t expect someone to act as my subordinate if they will not accept that truth. If she won’t take the teachings on head coverings, then pants are a moot point because she will not accept the sign, symbol, and practice of submission. We must start at the head and work down.

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The Movements are Subject to the Spirits

Transcribed (as best I could) from the audiobook  “Resolute Determination: Napoleon and the French Empire”, by Prof. Donald M.G. Sutherland and from Recorded Books.

The (ed: French) Church was reconstructed as a largely royalist church. The church had split in the early years of the (ed: French) Revolution, and in the schism there is a pro-revolutionary and an anti-revolutionary faction. Because of vicissitudes of revolutionary politics, the pro-revolutionary church was purged and largely destroyed in what’s called the Dechristianization Campaign.

When the church was reordered in 1802 the personnel they had to draw on were clergy who had gone underground, or who had been expelled; indeed as far away as Baltimore or Quebec. They came back, but they came back often bitter, highly politicized, and royalist. Napoleon was well-aware of how potentially dangerous this could be and thus the necessity of subjecting the church to political tutelage.

The Church was a church in crisis almost from the beginning. There had been no creation of clerics for an entire decade; perhaps close to a generation. It was very hard to get seminaries up and running again. The clergy was aging, and the clergy of the restoration church–the Concordat Church–was much smaller than the old regime church had been.

The result was Catholicism itself changed. That kind of Catholicism was a traditionalist Catholicism with a spectacular (what historians of the Church call) “Feminization of Catholicism”[1] in the 19th Century that survived Napoleon’s fall in 1815. There’s a spectacular growth of female religious orders; hospitals, teaching orders, even some contemplative orders. There were probably more female nuns in the 19th Century than there had been in the golden age of the church in the 13th Century. There was also the revival of poor-relief and a Christianization of poor-relief institutions, medical care, and education for small children.

Priests themselves began to change their recruitment patterns. In the old regime priests had been highly educated, middle class, endowed by their fathers to study in the seminary, largely urban. In the course of the 19th Century, and under Napoleon, a ruralization of the Catholic clergy began. Thus, the clergy acquired a lot of peasant attitudes; dislike of towns, superstition, emotionalism. There’s a huge cult of saints and a very emotional kind of Catholicism emerges in the course of the 19th Century; what historians call a “Feminized Piety”.

Popular piety was very difficult to control because the church was so small and the clergy was aging. Popular piety was always a suspicious matter to the clergy, but in the early part of the empire and beyond there’s nothing they could do about ordinary people reviving suppressed feast days, for taking initiatives in the liturgy, for the laity insisting that the clergy authenticate relics which the clergy resisted, or miracle cures that curates were expected to authenticate and things of that sort; where the clergy simply felt overwhelmed by the revival of piety among the laity.

The civil code which we referred to earlier, also had some interesting developments; especially with regard to the status of women. As we have seen, it authorized divorce, and introduced a double-standard in divorce which made it easier for a man to divorce his wife than vice-versa. On the other hand, divorce was extremely rare under this period and becoming more rare as time went on. The overwhelming number of plaintiffs in divorce cases were not men, in fact, but women who were suing for divorce in order to complain about their husbands who deserted them and the purpose was to reclaim the property that they had brought to the marriage in the marriage contract.

That last paragraph is somewhat confusing out of context. What Sutherland said is that even though women did not have the right to divorce, they were still suing for divorce (asking a judge to make the divorce); and women did this more often than men who actually had the right to divorce.

He goes on to say that the response of society under the “liberty” provided by the Revolution and Napoleon was for marriage to be delayed, and also that France was one of the first countries in Europe to adopt the use of birth control despite the fact that birth control was banned by the Catholic Church; including the Concordat Church.

What Enlightenment and revolution promised was relief from harsh rulers and injustice. What it delivered was a dictator and disorder in families and churches. If Sutherland’s account is correct: The fascinating part is that Traditionalists were not even a speedbump to Liberalism. In fact women from the now disordered families and churches remade Traditionalism in their own image. It is still with us.


[1] Emphasis not in original.

 

CoE V: I Am Not Called to “Lead” in the Bible

Our age’s focus on a husband’s leadership is a clever redirect away from the Biblical command for wives to submit and obey. Every instance of Biblical instruction to husbands and wives say the same thing: Wives submit to and obey your husbands. Husbands love and care for your wives. That’s the instruction in 1 Peter 3, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3; in every instance where the Christian home life is addressed.

The wisdom here is simple, but deep and powerful. If she follows then she is able to fulfill her God-given design. Through Christ she is empowered to be godly even if her husband is a fool; even if he tries to lose her. Likewise, a husband cannot be thwarted from loving his wife. Even if she does not obey him that is no bar to his God-given ability to love and care her despite her wickedness. If he loves and cares for her, and she refuses to obey he is clean. He did not fail to lead.

I’ve written many posts and comments about a husband leading his wife, and I was fundamentally wrong. Over the years it has come to be that the liberal progressives proclaim the right thing for the wrong reasons and the traditionalists fight back with nonsense, and I fell into it also. Christian Feminists (both overt and those undeclared and unwitting) are quick to point out that it is a wife’s duty to obey and not a husbands right to force her to submit. Traditionalists have tried to fight this by demanding husbands lead better, and by stealing the glory of obedient women for themselves; such as when a man says his wife follows him because of his good leadership.

And all of it–the progressive tactics and the traditionalist response–is meant to tangle us up so that a wife’s temptation to rebel and abandon is never the topic of discussion; so that no one says, “Wives, obey your husbands.”


Of course there are times where a spouse’s behavior is so wicked and odious that individuals should take prudential action under the guidance of secular and religious authorities. That’s not the topic today.

They Know How to Follow

In a comment on Dalrock’s post “Feminine Wiles” I wrote:

A woman who is strongly attracted to a man will look for ways to please him; without any prompting on his part, and no matter what the consequences.

What I should have wrote was: A woman who has set her mind on a man will look for ways to please him; without any prompting on his part, and no matter what the consequences.

It is often the case that a woman chooses a man to whom she is not “strongly” attracted, but for unattractive reasons: wealth, security, etc.; in other words for the Beta Bucks. Either way to get what she wants she will follow him around…often literally.

This is what a man wants from a wife. It is what a wife is. That is why a woman is tempted to stop following and rebel after she marries.

Blinded by Rose-Colored Glasses

The lives of Jacob and Leah and Rachel are fascinating because we are blinded by Courtly Love when we read their story.[1]

Leah is not pretty, but she is a virtuous wife. She uses everything her power to get Jacob’s attention, and to serve him. She produced the line of priests in Levi and the line of kings in Judah, through which came the Christ. She is jealous of Jacob and his affections even though she wis hated by Jacob. There is no mention of Leah causing Jacob any grief, or reproaching him for anything. Leah just wants to be pleasing to Jacob and the Lord.

Rachel is beautiful. That is her one virtue. Otherwise: Rachel is a complainer and will harass Jacob. She steals her father’s false idols and then hides them under her vagina while feigning menstruation. She’s fickle and lets her father marry Leah to her betrothed (under subterfuge) without complaint, and is fine for Leah to sleep with Jacob right up until Leah is honored above her because of Leah’s children. Rachel wants children not so that Jacob will love her, but because she is jealous of her sister (that was probably the first time in her life for that experience) AND she blames Jacob for her barrenness.

The difference in character is stark when you compare what Leah and Rachel uttered when they named their children. Leah is joyful, and she praises Jacob and the Lord. Rachel complains and loves herself. The exception to Rachel’s pattern of selfishness is Joseph, who goes on to save the people of Israel.

The Sons of Leah (including through the servant Zilpah)

  • Reuben: “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”
  • Simeon: “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.”
  • Levi: “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.”
  • Judah: “This time I will praise the Lord.”
  • Gad: “Good fortune has come!”
  • Asher: “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.”
  • Issachar: “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.”
  • Zebulun: “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.”

The Sons of Rachel (including through the servant Bilhah)

  • Dan: “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.”
  • Naphtali: “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.”
  • Joseph: “God has taken away my reproach.”
  • Ben-oni: “son of my sorrow”, or “son of my strength”. [2]

If you read about Jacob Rachel and Leah and see an aspirational love story: I pity you.


[1]Repurposed from a comment at Dalrock’s.

[2] Jacob changes it to Benjamin: “son of the right hand”.

A Churlish Defense

I originally posted this as a comment under Scott’s post “The Christo-Rational-Consensus Approach” at his recently revived blog, American Dad Web.  I think it’s coherent enough to stand as a post on its own; though I’m often my own worst critic.


Because we are mostly the sociological descendants of Anglo-Saxons, here’s something to think about:

Before the Norman Conquest of England, the accepted premise was that the land was owned by the people; more specifically by the person who was on it; whether male or female. A king rules over the people, but he doesn’t rule their lands directly. With William the Conqueror comes the French idea that the land belongs to the king, and that the people belong to the land. That is very different. So, for example, peasants couldn’t just up and move to another lord’s land because they belong to a defined space. But a king (as ruler of the land) could give peasants to another land, or his peasants could be another king’s by that second’s conquer of the land. Really, a peasant wasn’t of the king. He was of the land. Kings though are not tied to a land. They are something else; something above. Hence: Rigid class structures. That’s a problem because it fundamentally divides the people from its leader.

Nation states are an attempt to correct that. It says that the people and the nobility (the leaders, regardless of nomenclature) both belong to the land. That’s why Marx saw nation states as an obstruction to class struggle; because it gave an excuse to unite the leaders and the people. Marx saw that the actions of the nobility often belie their true allegiance: Like everyone they are prone to be allegiant to themselves first and to make common cause with other wealthy and privileged people from other nations, rather than with their own native peoples. Technology matters too: Marx lived in the time when the ship and the train raised the ability of the commoner to move across borders just like the nobles did.

Like Marx, I think nation states are a less-than-stable idea. Unlike Marx, I think that the problem is more fundamental than that of classes. I believe “class warfare” is a symptom of the sickness which places people under land instead of over it; of saying that people belong to a land instead of to a family and by extension to a nation of people–and that land belongs to them each, individually.

There’s a lot more that can be said about this. For example: In pre-feudal England, each free man (which were the great majority, only slaves weren’t free men) was required to own a spear and was subject to be summoned for war; usually on a rotation. Which makes sense: It’s your land, you defend it. Feudalism led directly to professional mercenary armies that worked anywhere and everywhere for the highest bidder while the inhabitants of the lands in contest got burned, pillaged, and raped–because it wasn’t the peasants place to fight.

Again, there are a lot of things to look at. Feudalism is like a softer Sparta where the 10% of Spartans ruled (brutally) over 90% Helots. Anglo-Saxon England was analogous to Athens. Early America was also in the vein of Athens (e.g. 2nd Amendment of weapons and militias), but we are rapidly moving towards a more feudal and Spartan model (e.g., civilians thanking warriors for their service of invading countries to the sole benefit of the leaders) instead of actually picking up a weapon and defending what they own.

Marx was a wicked and short-sighted man who weaponized envy on a multinational and multigenerational scale, but nation states don’t set the world in order, either.

This Weekend on: What’s the Real Tradition?

I take it as axiomatic that the lives recorded in the Bible are, overall, just like ours; that we can read about their decisions, relate to their circumstances, and think about how to apply that history so that it informs our own decisions. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, or that we always get it right. it doesn’t even mean the people in those histories got it right. It just means we can learn from them.

According to traditionalists (and others): Men are supposed to chase, and women are supposed to be caught. Or they might say: Men are to initiate, and women are to respond. Imagine a party. There are single men and women. The traditionalist wants the men to pick a woman, and then woo her. Then he (the trad) wants her to respond with a Yes, or No, or Show me more. That traditional mating ritual is wrong and foolish. Roissy/Heartiste’s maxim that “Men display, women choose” is much more true. Go to a party and see for yourself.

The traditionalist might counter, “Well, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. A real man pursues what he wants.” I say that is half-assed crossdressing. It is the man acting like a woman while the woman smirks and presides.

If you fancy yourself a traditionalist and disagree, then here is an exercise for you: Search your Bible for a story about a man who woos a woman directly. If it’s traditional it should be easy to do, right? If or when you find it put it in the comments and let’s see how that story plays out, and how it compares to the others. Let us discover what is the real tradition.