Monthly Archives: April 2014

Selected Sunday Scriptures- #21

Today’s will be a short one, focusing on the Gospel of Luke:

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma′us, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cle′opas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

(Luke 24:13-27)

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”

(Luke 24:44-49)

These particular verses are important because they detail how Jesus revealed the full measure of truth to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. He opened their minds to the full truth of His Being. They also, I believe, explain a great deal of how the Gospels can account for what Jesus did at times when the disciples or Apostles themselves were not present. It stands to reason that when He was explaining all the scripture to them, He also explained in depth the nature of His walk with them. That would have naturally included Hs temptation in the desert by Satan, His prayers while they slept and so on. Of course, Mary would have also been able to fill in details on the early life of Jesus as well, as she was with the apostles in Jerusalem after the resurrection.

I will end this post will a small segment from Psalm 49:

Truly no man can ransom himself,
    or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of hislife is costly,
    and can never suffice,
that he should continue to live on for ever,
    and never see the Pit.

(Psalm 49:7-9)

Indeed, no man could ever hope to pay the debt of his life. 10,000 talents is beyond anyone’s measure to pay. Thankfully our God paid the price for us, that we might Live.

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Saturday Saints- #13

Today’s saint goes back towards the beginning of the Church, when the Romans still persecuted the faithful.

Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy, or Saint Lucia (Italian Santa Lucia), was a young Christian martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution. She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches. She is one of eight women, who along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Her feast day, known as Saint Lucy’s Day, is celebrated in the West on 13 December. St. Lucia of Syracuse was honored in the Middle Ages and remained a well-known saint in early modern England.

[You can find the full wiki article here. ]

While little is known of Saint Lucia, she has been a popular saint for many centuries. Given her embodiment of charity and chastity, it is only fitting that she is associated with light and the bright eyes that are so characteristic of Godly Femininity.

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Objective And Subjective Attraction

I.

The subject of Attraction was widely discussed in one of my Lenten password protected posts, Picking On Me (now private, like all its kin).  I found that some of the ideas mentioned in that post were especially insightful, in particular the discussion over “objective” versus “subjective” attraction. Since that post is now locked up, those ideas are effectively hidden away, constituting a loss in my book. I am creating this new post because I want to highlight them for all my readers, and to both save some of what was discussed as well as hopefully continue the conversation from before.

As far as structure goes, I’m first going to recreate some of my post below. Then I will rephrase some of the better comments out there so that their origin is unrecognizable. Finally I will add my further thoughts on the subject.

II.

My commentary on “Types” was a major driver in the discussion of of “subjective” and “objective” attraction. Here is most of what I wrote:

Everyone has a preferred “type”, or possibly more than one. I think that “type” is a combination of features that we like which add together into a pleasing package. I know that I have a set of features in women which I prefer, which added together gets close to an “ideal” for me in terms of physical appearance. Some variations are acceptable in this, but overall I think that I have a clear set of preferences.

In the past there was a large enough pool of marriage-worthy candidates that most folks (although admittedly not all) could satisfy at least some of their preferences. But nowadays only those with a really high value can afford to be so picky.

I think that for most guys, and I admit to speculating here, that if a woman meets enough of the features we care most about, we are willing to give a lot of leeway on the others. Essentially, we have a sort of “good enough” level not unlike what I talked about in Romantic Architecture. So if a guy cares about X, Y and Z, in that order, then if he finds a woman with a high X, but the Y and Z aren’t high, he might not mind any deficiency in those features that much. But the opposite, a woman with only a high Z, might not cut it. Again, this is rampant speculation.

That led to some other observations and thoughts:

  • Women have types just as much as men do. And like men, the pool is restricted given the current marriage marketplace.
  • A preferred “type” can be personality based as well as physical based. Although for men, for whom physicality determines most of attraction, a woman’s personality has little to no impact on her attractiveness. Rather, it impacts her desirability.
  • There is such a thing as “sexual draw.” Difficult to define or explain. Basically when a person feels a pull towards someone much stronger than would be expected from their apparent attractiveness. It is unique, between an individual man and woman.

At this point I offered the following:

1) Objective Attraction- the man finds a woman attractive on an objective, impersonal level. This is the “rate me by my photo” level of attraction. It is non-dynamic, meaning it requires seeing a woman at a distance or not in person.

2) Subjective Attraction- this is where a man finds a woman attractive on personal, even visceral level. This is what we mean by “chemistry.” This is heavily dynamic, and probably relies on body language clues, smell and maybe pheromones/hormones. As such, requires close proximity.

3) Personality Compatibility- this is where a woman’s personality matches up with a man’s, such that they “get” each other. This is what we mean by “fell for one another.”

More comments followed:

  • Someone expressed the belief that subjective attraction might be a learned behavior. The possibility of it developing during the bonding that comes through sexed being one example.
  • The dynamic of men being drawn to women like their mothers would be a possible manifestation of “subjective attraction.”
  • The converse could also be true. Both in that this 3-step process would apply to women and their attraction to men, and that women being attracted to men like their fathers would be a subjective attraction example.
  • A preference for a woman/man of a certain race is another manifestation of “subjective attraction filters.”
  • Someone mentioned the role of smell and immune systems, and posted the following link: Major histocompatibility complex and sexual selection.

And that wraps up the discussion of the subject in my old post.

III.

A.

As I hinted at earlier in the comments of the older post, I see attraction as a three step process:

  1. Objective Attraction
  2. Subjective Attraction
  3. Personality Compatibility

Objective Attraction is based on universal criteria. For male attraction to women, this would include features like waist-to-hip ratio, breasts, lets, etc. For female attraction to men, this would be along the lines of the LAMPS/PSALM factors. These are criteria that all men and women have to one degree or another, although individuals will have preferences and might favor one feature over another.

Subjective Attraction is entirely personal. A combination of genetics, learned behavior and environmental factors might all play into it. Most of the subjective attraction factors are based on “triggers” that require close proximity to someone. My suspicion is that subjective attraction is heavily influenced by subconscious or unconscious triggers in our brain, which are hardwired to filter for specific traits as highly desirable (or the reverse). . This might be due to certain traits/features being ideal to combine with one’s own genetics in order to maximize the benefits to any progeny. While it is possible that at some point in the future we might be able to understand this for individual persons, at this point it is far outside our capabilities. As such, subjective attraction is a series of unknowns.

Personality Compatibility is also individual in nature. Although it is not, in my view, quite so occult as subjective attraction remains. Rather, using concepts like Myers-Briggs, we can get an estimate of what personality types we might be more or less compatible with. However, MBTI isn’t perfect, and doesn’t explain all the “deep” connections out there.

B.

Now, this particular pattern might only apply to men. For women, where personality plays into attraction in a way that it doesn’t for men, it might be simpler or more complicated. My suspicion is that for women Personality Compatibility probably folds into Subjective Attraction, leaving just a 2-step process. Given the monogamous nature of women, and the desire for male commitment (preferably from a single man who encompasses all the positive male attributes), it makes more sense for this kind of arrangement. For men, on the other hand, who have polygamous instincts (albeit on a sort of sliding scale), it makes sense that there would be a separate personality component. After all, if we are going to stick to a single woman and invest in her (and our offspring), we need to be able to tolerate her presence.

One consequence of this formulation of attraction is that it highlights the inherent weakness of any kind of objective classification system. The “1-10” scale or my LAMPS/PSALM formulation are based only on objective criteria. Adding in personal, subjective criteria makes them much less accurate and effective at describing the attraction process. Of course, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, there is a strong argument the other way.

If subjective attraction is something that can elevate a person’s attractiveness beyond what their “objective” measure would indicate, it means that a person should never consider themselves “out of the running.” Individualized and hidden preferences might mean that that you trip someone’s subjective triggers despite the fact that they would normally not be attracted to you on a purely objective level.

An interesting point is that usually we don’t differentiate between objective and subjective attraction. That is because most of the time we become familiar with someone through in-person contact. This close proximity allows that subjective measurement of attraction to take place. So most of the time we don’t realize that there is a difference. It is only when we get a non-personal image of a person- like through photos and video for example, and then later meet someone in person, that we can appreciate the distinction.

This has the greatest impact in online dating. That is a medium where objective attraction is established at first, without the subjective components being tested. Because of this, it is possible that someone might seemingly meet the objective criteria of another person and have that person convinced that they are attractive, only for that to be dashed when personal contact occurs. On the other hand, it might also mean that someone might be on the fence about another person’s attractiveness, but meeting them in person triggers their subjective qualifiers and pushes that person into the attractive category. Because of this phenomenon, it is best for folks engaging online to meet in person as soon as reasonably possible.

IV.

The major point to draw from this post is that nothing beats personal, face-to-face contact. However much your personalities might mesh, and despite whatever reactions photos and video might bring, meeting in person trumps everything. It also means that someone should never consider their cause hopeless. The occult nature of subjective attraction means that you just might be what someone else is looking for, even though they don’t realize it. And that brings this particular post to a close. If I forgot anything, or anyone has anything to add, please mention so in the comments.

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A Portrait Of A Mind

It has been over a month since my post “Making Faces“, wherein I expressed a desire to acquire a distinctive gravatar to use around these parts. I asked my readers to submit their ideas in the comments, or to send me suggestions via e-mail. Several folks obliged, and supplied some suggestions on various graphics to use. There are some good choices, but I hold to the view that the more the merrier. So I am using this post to showcase the existing suggestions and give folks a chance to make some last minute submissions. Voting will commence in about a week, so its now or never. Well, probably not “never.” I may change the gravatar again at some point (perhaps next year?).

Below are some of the images already submitted:

 

Words of Wisdom- From Elspeth

An Owl- Mrs KTC

Wisdom Sign- FeminineButNotFeminist

Wisdom Sign- FeminineButNotFeminist

Cross and Bible- FeminineButNotFeminist

Cross and Bible- FeminineButNotFeminist

Oil Lamp- FeminineButNotFeminist

Oil Lamp- FeminineButNotFeminist

Samson- Seriouslypleasedropit

Sword of the Lord- Moose Norseman

Armor of God- Amanda

Oil Lamp Before Mosaic of Christ- Ev

Byzantine Knight- MarcusD

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Woman, Why Are You Weeping?

Good Friday is a day of grief and remorse, a time for our heart to be filled with sorrow. Holy Saturday is a day well suited for quiet contemplation and reflection, but the sorrow lingers still. Today is Easter Sunday, a way where sorrow is replaced with joy and gladness. As Mary Magdalene learned, it is not a day for weeping:

Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag′dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo′ni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” 18 Mary Mag′dalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

As Saint Paul explains, the resurrection of Jesus is a foreshadowing of the resurrection of the dead at the end of the age:

Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

12 Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 “For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection under him,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.

(1 Cor 15:1-28)

In my Good Friday post, Agnus Dei, I covered how Jesus came to live among us in order to take away the sins of the world. The nature of sin and sacrifice is not something that I have always understood well. In fact, one really has to have a decent grasp of the Old Testament (which is the most generous description of my understanding of the Old Testament I dare to give) in order to truly understand that. For me, that has been a recent process. Before that time, I focused on another aspect of Jesus’ life among us, namely nature as both Man and God.

To me, at first, the message of Jesus (the one that I understood best, anyways) was that God would never ask of us what He wouldn’t be willing to undergo Himself. Like everyone Human being following Adam and Eve, God endured all that we must endure. He was born of a woman. He was born to a noble lineage, but his family itself was not well off. He grew up, and was obedient to His parents. Later, He walked among us, teaching us the Truth and working great miracles. As a result of this he was slandered, with many vile, and false, accusations made against him. Eventually, he was arrested, tried unjustly, tortured, and finally forced to endure a slow and agonizing death. There is little in the way of the misery of life that Jesus did not undergo while he lived among us. To me, this was a striking thing- the Creator of the entire universe was willing to subject Himself to the pitfalls of mortal existence, all for the benefit of the very people who rejected Him.

This was a very humbling lesson when I first came to understand. It still is, in fact. Yet it is also a comforting one. For I know that nothing I do, nothing I experience, nothing I suffer, will be any worse than what my God endured on my behalf nearly two millennia ago. It is a hard path that I walk, but I do not walk it alone, for He is with me on it, and the gladness that fact brings me cannot be taken away by this world or its ruler.

I leave everyone with these words of King David, which are eminently suited for today:

11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    thou hast loosed my sackcloth
    and girded me with gladness,
12 that my soul may praise thee and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever.

(Psalm 30:11-12)

[Today’s post takes the place of my usual Selected Sunday Scriptures post.]

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One Body

As most readers of my blog are aware, there has been a serious dust-up in the manosphere as of late. I hadn’t involved myself before because I couldn’t see how my intervention would have made the situation any better. If anything, it would have probably made matters worse.

However, Deep Strength, in his post Unity, has pointed out that as Christians we (or rather, I) shouldn’t have been concerned with who was right or wrong. Rather, what we (I) should have been doing was urging repentance and reconciliation. This is because we are all, as Christians, supposed to be united as one body in Christ. As part of one body we must maintain unity and peace among ourselves.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

(Ephesians 4:1-6)

Dissension and division have no place amongst us. Now, if most of those involved weren’t Christians this wouldn’t be an issue. But nearly everyone involved at least professes to be a Christian. And unfortunately many involved have not followed the precepts that the Apostle Paul has outlined for us.

Deep Strength’s post already encapsulates most of what needs to be said. So I will keep the rest of this short and to the point. I urge everyone involved to stop what they are doing, and to look inside themselves. Search your heart, and delve into your soul. Ask yourself if you have acted as Christ would have acted. Are you motivated by love, or something else? Then ponder on this:

25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

(Ephesians 4:25-32)

  • For those who have done wrong to others, I urge you to seek forgiveness from those you have wronged.
  • For those who have been wronged, I urge you to forgive those who wronged you that seek your forgiveness.
  • For those who have neither wronged nor been wronged, I urge you to pray for reconciliation and peace among your brothers and sister in Christ.

Lastly, keep in mind the words of our Savior:

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

(John 13:34-35)

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The Bridegroom Is Away

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

(Matthew 9:14-15)

Holy Saturday is a difficult day to write about. It lies between the sorrow and guilt of Good Friday, and the joy of Easter. Scripture sort of skips over it, and that isn’t really surprising when you think about it. After all, it was the Sabbath, a day of rest:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

(Exodus 20:8-11)

My approach for Holy Saturday has usually been to use it as a day of reflection and contemplation. Self-deprivation and denial I reserve for Good Friday, when it seems most appropriate. Instead, on this day I look back on the last year, and discern where I went right, and where I didn’t. I try and avoid distractions, which necessarily requires that I spend most of the day alone. Of course, being an introvert, that really isn’t a problem for me. Oftentimes I will use this day as an opportunity to refresh myself on the New Testament. That is my goal for this year as well.

I find this kind of seclusion and forced isolation to be very helpful to my spiritual life. Sometimes we all need the opportunity to sort our thoughts and find peace with ourselves and the world. Even Jesus saw the need to escape the bustle of life and went off at times to pray by Himself. So too I would encourage all my readers, and hope that they have a blessed Holy Saturday.

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