Monthly Archives: April 2015

Selected Sunday Scriptures- #72

A conversation I had earlier in the day, and a homily I heard, prompted me to seek out this particular part of the 127th Psalm:

Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has
    his quiver full of them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

(Psalm 127: 3-5)

One of the points I’ve made a number of times on my blog is that life isn’t fair and that God doesn’t owe us anything. That means that he doesn’t owe us a spouse… and he doesn’t owe us any children. This particular Psalm is a powerful reminder that children are a gift from God. Given this, I have trouble understanding why so many Christians seem so eager to keep their families small. Financial hardships and worrying about having enough food on the table is one thing, but most of those I see adopt this attitude are not destitute. More than a few are quite well off. They could easily support more. For myself, I don’t understand how they can reject such a gift as that from God. I think of all those who want children, or more of them, but cannot have them, and I imagine that they must be even more frustrated than I. And I suspect that God is the most frustrated of all, for in rejecting His gift they also reject him. With all of this in mind, I would ask my readers to pray for those husbands and wives who do want children, or more of them, but cannot. May God grant them that special blessing and the joy of being a parent.

This moves me to the second passage, from First Timothy:

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; 18 for the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 19 Never admit any charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without favor, doing nothing from partiality. 22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor participate in another man’s sins; keep yourself pure.

(1 Timothy 5:17-22)

Two things interest me about this passage today. The first is that we should be generous to our elders- our priests. They do the Lord’s work, and this should be recognized and compensated by us. While they should always be in our prayers, let us also take the time to find ways to reward them for their labor. Whether it is in time, coin or something else, they deserve it.

The second bit that caught my attention is the public rebuke of sin. The scandals in the Catholic Church are an unfortunate example of what happens when we ignore scripture. While the Church should never be quick to punish a priest without verifying wrongdoing, such wrongdoing should never be covered up. Those who betray their sacred charge as inheritors of the Apostolic Tradition must be called out and exposed. It must be made clear to all that such actions can never be tolerated. We can see in the present day the terrible cost that comes when this sage instruction is ignored.

Finally, I conclude the post with this snippet from the Gospel according to St. Mark:

14 And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”

(Mark 7:14-23)

It is not unheard of for some manospherian commenters to make the argument that Jesus never condemned fornication by men. They dismiss any criticism of their immoral lives by saying that it was the machinations of Jesus’s disciples which lead the Church to condemn sexual immorality by men other than adultery. This is of course utter rubbish, on many levels. The most obvious is the fact that the apostles and disciples of Jesus, whom they condemn, are the ones who brought us the words of Jesus in the first place. But an even greater retort is this passage above, as well as its counterpart in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus clearly condemns several different sexually immoral practices here, including fornication, adultery and licentiousness. PUAs pretty obviously practice the first and the last of those, and therefore have no leg to stand upon. The passage above makes for an easy counter to their arguments, and so I keep it around whenever dealing with those sorts. I don’t expect them to change their behavior, but for those wavering who are reading them, it might make a difference in helping them stay on the narrow path.

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Saturday Saints- #65

As always, the letter K is one with a sparser set of saints to chose from. However, that does not mean that the field is devoid of entries. Our saint for today hails from the Eastern Church, Saint Kassia:

Kassia (Greek: Κασσιανή Kassiani; 805/810 – before 865) was a Byzantine abbess, poet, composer, and hymnographer. She is one of the first medieval composers whose scores are both extant and able to be interpreted by modern scholars and musicians. Approximately fifty of her hymns are extant and twenty-three are included in Orthodox Church liturgical books. The exact number is difficult to assess, as many hymns are ascribed to different authors in different manuscripts and are often identified as anonymous.

In addition, some 789 of her non-liturgical verses survive. Many are epigrams or aphorisms called “gnomic verse”, for example, “I hate the rich man moaning as if he were poor.”

Kassia is notable as one of only two Byzantine women known to have written in their own names during the Middle Ages, other being Anna Comnena.

More can be learned about her at her wiki, found here.

St. Kassia

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Tradition Thursday- #20

The series continues with St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechetical Letters. This post features the second part of his fourth letter.

Of the Soul.

18. Next to the knowledge of this venerable and glorious and all-holy Faith, learn further what you yourself art: that as man you are of a two-fold nature, consisting of soul and body; and that, as was said a short time ago, the same God is the Creator both of soul and body. Know also that you have a soul self-governed, the noblest work of God, made after the image of its Creator : immortal because of God that gives it immortality; a living being, rational, imperishable, because of Him that bestowed these gifts: having free power to do what it wills. For it is not according to your nativity that you sin, nor is it by the power of chance that you commit fornication, nor, as some idly talk, do the conjunctions of the stars compel you to give yourself to wantonness. Why do you shrink from confessing your own evil deeds, and ascribe the blame to the innocent stars? Give no more heed, pray, to astrologers; for of these the divine Scripture says, Let the stargazers of the heaven stand up and save you, and what follows: Behold, they all shall be consumed as stubble on the fire, and shall not deliver their soul from the flame Isaiah 47:13 .

19. And learn this also, that the soul, before it came into this world, had committed no sin , but having come in sinless, we now sin of our free-will. Listen not, I pray you, to any one perversely interpreting the words, But if I do that which I would not Romans 7:16: but remember Him who says, If you be willing, and hearken unto Me, you shall eat the good things of the land: but if you be not willing, neither hearken unto Me, the sword shall devour you, etc. Isaiah 1:19-20: and again, As you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification. Romans 6:19 Remember also the Scripture, which says, Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge Romans 1:28: and, That which may be known of God is mani festin them Romans 1:19; and again, their eyes they have closed. Matthew 13:15 Also remember how God again accuses them, and says, Yet I planted you a fruitful vine, wholly true: how are you turned to bitterness, thou the strange vine Jeremiah 2:21?

20. The soul is immortal, and all souls are alike both of men and women; for only the members of the body are distinguished. There is not a class of souls sinning by nature, and a class of souls practicing righteousness by nature : but both act from choice, the substance of their souls being of one kind only, and alike in all. I know, however, that I am talking much, and that the time is already long: but what is more precious than salvation? Are you not willing to take trouble in getting provisions for the way against the heretics? And will you not learn the bye-paths of the road, lest from ignorance thou fall down a precipice? If your teachers think it no small gain for you to learn these things, should not thou the learner gladly receive the multitude of things told you?

21. The soul is self-governed: and though the devil can suggest, he has not the power to compel against the will. He pictures to you the thought of fornication: if you will, you accept it; if you will not, you reject. For if you were a fornicator by necessity, then for what cause did God prepare hell? If you were a doer of righteousness by nature and not by will, wherefore did God prepare crowns of ineffable glory? The sheep is gentle, but never was it crowned for its gentleness: since its gentle quality belongs to it not from choice but by nature.

Of the Body.

22. You have learned, beloved, the nature of the soul, as far as there is time at present: now do your best to receive the doctrine of the body also. Suffer none of those who say that this body is no work of God : for they who believe that the body is independent of God, and that the soul dwells in it as in a strange vessel, readily abuse it to fornication. And yet what fault have they found in this wonderful body? For what is lacking in comeliness? And what in its structure is not full of skill? Ought they not to have observed the luminous construction of the eyes? And how the ears being set obliquely receive the sound unhindered? And how the smell is able to distinguish scents, and to perceive exhalations? And how the tongue ministers to two purposes, the sense of taste, and the power of speech? How the lungs placed out of sight are unceasing in their respiration of the air? Who imparted the incessant pulsation of the heart? Who made the distribution into so many veins and arteries? Who skilfully knitted together the bones with the sinews? Who assigned a part of the food to our substance, and separated a part for decent secretion, and hid away the unseemly members in more seemly places? Who when the human race must have died out, rendered it by a simple intercourse perpetual?

23. Tell me not that the body is a cause of sin. For if the body is a cause of sin, why does not a dead body sin? Put a sword in the right hand of one just dead, and no murder takes place. Let beauties of every kind pass before a youth just dead, and no impure desire arises. Why? Because the body sins not of itself, but the soul through the body. The body is an instrument, and, as it were, a garment and robe of the soul: and if by this latter it be given over to fornication, it becomes defiled: but if it dwell with a holy soul, it becomes a temple of the Holy Ghost. It is not I that say this, but the Apostle Paul has said, Do you not know, that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you 1 Corinthians 6:19? Be tender, therefore, of your body as being a temple of the Holy Ghost. Pollute not your flesh in fornication: defile not this your fairest robe: and if ever you have defiled it, now cleanse it by repentance: get yourself washed, while time permits.

24. And to the doctrine of chastity let the first to give heed be the order of Solitaries and of Virgins, who maintain the angelic life in the world; and let the rest of the Church’s people follow them. For you, brethren, a great crown is laid up: barter not away a great dignity for a petty pleasure: listen to the Apostle speaking: Lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for one mess of meat sold his own birthright. Hebrews 12:16 Enrolled henceforth in the Angelic books for your profession of chastity, see that thou be not blotted out again for your practice of fornication.

25. Nor again, on the other hand, in maintaining your chastity be thou puffed up against those who walk in the humbler path of matrimony. For as the Apostle says, Let marriage be had in honour among all, and let the bed be undefiled. Hebrews 13:4 Thou too who retainest your chastity, were you not begotten of those who had married? Because you have a possession of gold, do not on that account reprobate the silver. But let those also be of good cheer, who being married use marriage lawfully; who make a marriage according to God’s ordinance, and not of wantonness for the sake of unbounded license; who recognise seasons of abstinence, that they may give themselves unto prayer 1 Corinthians 7:5; who in our assemblies bring clean bodies as well as clean garments into the Church; who have entered upon matrimony for the procreation of children, but not for indulgence.

26. Let those also who marry but once not reprobate those who have consented to a second marriage : for though continence is a noble and admirable thing, yet it is also permissible to enter upon a second marriage, that the weak may not fall into fornication. For it is good for them, says the Apostle, if they abide even as I. But if they have not continency, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 But let all the other practices be banished afar, fornication, adultery, and every kind of licentiousness: and let the body be kept pure for the Lord, that the Lord also may have respect unto the body. And let the body be nourished with food, that it may live, and serve without hindrance; not, however, that it may be given up to luxuries.

Concerning Meats.

27. And concerning food let these be your ordinances, since in regard to meats also many stumble. For some deal indifferently with things offered to idols , while others discipline themselves, but condemn those that eat: and in different ways men’s souls are defiled in the matter of meats, from ignorance of the useful reasons for eating and not eating. For we fast by abstaining from wine and flesh, not because we abhor them as abominations, but because we look for our reward; that having scorned things sensible, we may enjoy a spiritual and intellectual feast; and that having now sown in tears we may reap in joy in the world to come. Despise not therefore them that eat, and because of the weakness of their bodies partake of food: nor yet blame these who use a little wine for their stomach’s sake and their often infirmities 1 Timothy 5:23: and neither condemn the men as sinners, nor abhor the flesh as strange food; for the Apostle knows some of this sort, when he says: forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe. 1 Timothy 4:3 In abstaining then from these things, abstain not as from things abominable , else you have no reward: but as being good things disregard them for the sake of the better spiritual things set before you.

28. Guard your soul safely, lest at any time thou eat of things offered to idols: for concerning meats of this kind, not only I at this time, but ere now Apostles also, and James the bishop of this Church, have had earnest care: and the Apostles and Elders write a Catholic epistle to all the Gentiles, that they should abstain first from things offered to idols, and then from blood also and from things strangled. For many men being of savage nature, and living like dogs, both lap up blood , in imitation of the manner of the fiercest beasts, and greedily devour things strangled. But do thou, the servant of Christ, in eating observe to eat with reverence. And so enough concerning meats.

Of Apparel.

29. But let your apparel be plain, not for adornment, but for necessary covering: not to minister to your vanity, but to keep you warm in winter, and to hide the unseemliness of the body: lest under pretence of hiding the unseemliness, thou fall into another kind of unseemliness by your extravagant dress.

Of the Resurrection.

30. Be tender, I beseech you, of this body, and understand that you will be raised from the dead, to be judged with this body. But if there steal into your mind any thought of unbelief, as though the thing were impossible, judge of the things unseen by what happens to yourself. For tell me; a hundred years ago or more, think where wast you yourself: and from what a most minute and mean substance you have come to so great a stature, and so much dignity of beauty. What then? Cannot He who brought the non-existent into being, raise up again that which already exists and has decayed ? He who raises the grain, which is sown for our sakes, as year by year it dies—will He have difficulty in raising us up, for whose sakes that grain also has been raised ? Do you see how the trees stand now for many months without either fruit or leaves: but when the winter is past they spring up whole into life again as if from the dead : shall not we much rather and more easily return to life? The rod of Moses was transformed by the will of God into the unfamiliar nature of a serpent: and cannot a man, who has fallen into death, be restored to himself again?

31. Heed not those who say that this body is not raised; for it is raised: and Esaias is witness, when he says: The dead shall arise, and they that are in the tombs shall awake Isaiah 26:19: and according to Daniel, Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame. Daniel 12:2 But though to rise again is common to all men, yet the resurrection is not alike to all: for the bodies received by us all are eternal, but not like bodies by all: for the just receive them, that through eternity they may join the Choirs of Angels; but the sinners, that they may endure for ever the torment of their sins.

Of the Laver.

32. For this cause the Lord, preventing us according to His loving-kindness, has granted repentance at Baptism , in order that we may cast off the chief— nay rather the whole burden of our sins, and having received the seal by the Holy Ghost, may be made heirs of eternal life. But as we have spoken sufficiently concerning the Laver the day before yesterday, let us now return to the remaining subjects of our introductory teaching.

Of the Divine Scriptures.

33. Now these the divinely-inspired Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament teach us. For the God of the two Testaments is One, Who in the Old Testament foretold the Christ Who appeared in the New; Who by the Law and the Prophets led us to Christ’s school. For before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, and, the law has been our tutor to bring us unto Christ. And if ever thou hear any of the heretics speaking evil of the Law or the Prophets, answer in the sound of the Saviour’s voice, saying, Jesus came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. Matthew 5:17 Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. And, pray, read none of the apocryphal writings : for why do you, who know not those which are acknowledged among all, trouble yourself in vain about those which are disputed? Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament, these that have been translated by the Seventy-two Interpreters.

34. For after the death of Alexander, the king of the Macedonians, and the division of his kingdom into four principalities, into Babylonia, and Macedonia, and Asia, and Egypt, one of those who reigned over Egypt, Ptolemy Philadelphus, being a king very fond of learning, while collecting the books that were in every place, heard from Demetrius Phalereus, the curator of his library, of the Divine Scriptures of the Law and the Prophets, and judged it much nobler, not to get the books from the possessors by force against their will, but rather to propitiate them by gifts and friendship; and knowing that what is extorted is often adulterated, being given unwillingly, while that which is willingly supplied is freely given with all sincerity, he sent to Eleazar, who was then High Priest, a great many gifts for the Temple here at Jerusalem, and caused him to send him six interpreters from each of the twelve tribes of Israel for the translation. Then, further, to make experiment whether the books were Divine or not, he took precaution that those who had been sent should not combine among themselves, by assigning to each of the interpreters who had come his separate chamber in the island called Pharos, which lies over against Alexandria, and committed to each the whole Scriptures to translate. And when they had fulfilled the task in seventy-two days, he brought together all their translations, which they had made in different chambers without sending them one to another, and found that they agreed not only in the sense but even in words. For the process was no word-craft, nor contrivance of human devices: but the translation of the Divine Scriptures, spoken by the Holy Ghost, was of the Holy Ghost accomplished.

35. Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than yourself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if you are desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave , and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle ; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament.

36. Then of the New Testament there are the four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are mischievous. The Manichæans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which being tinctured with the fragrance of the evangelic title corrupts the souls of the simple sort. Receive also the Acts of the Twelve Apostles; and in addition to these the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the last work of the disciples, the fourteen Epistles of Paul. But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in Churches, these read not even by yourself, as you have heard me say. Thus much of these subjects.

37. But shun thou every diabolical operation, and believe not the apostate Serpent, whose transformation from a good nature was of his own free choice: who can over-persuade the willing, but can compel no one. Also give heed neither to observations of the stars nor auguries, nor omens, nor to the fabulous divinations of the Greeks. Witchcraft, and enchantment, and the wicked practices of necromancy, admit not even to a hearing. From every kind of intemperance stand aloof, giving yourself neither to gluttony nor licentiousness, rising superior to all covetousness and usury. Neither venture yourself at heathen assemblies for public spectacles, nor ever use amulets in sicknesses; shun also all the vulgarity of tavern-haunting. Fall not away either into the sect of the Samaritans, or into Judaism: for Jesus Christ henceforth has ransomed you. Stand aloof from all observance of Sabbaths , and from calling any indifferent meats common or unclean. But especially abhor all the assemblies of wicked heretics; and in every way make your own soul safe, by fastings, prayers, almsgivings, and reading the oracles of God; that having lived the rest of your life in the flesh in soberness and godly doctrine, you may enjoy the one salvation which flows from Baptism; and thus enrolled in the armies of heaven by God and the Father, may also be deemed worthy of the heavenly crowns, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(Source)

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Mirrored Appeal

In responding to the errors of the secular world, Christians, if they are not careful, can make errors of their own. The dominant message of the secular world right now, as far as men and women are concerned, is that they/we are the same- albeit with slightly different plumbing. Christians who have not fallen for this lie, or who have escaped it, rightly understand that rather than being interchangeable, men and women are complementary. We are made to “fit together.” A common approach to understanding this complementarity is use a mirror analogy- rather than being the same, men and women mirror each other and have opposing tendencies. For example, if men value X, and C is the opposite of X, then women value C.

Simple enough, yes? And in many instances it happens to be true. But not all. Sometimes, when men and women are different, we are really different. We need to be careful and not try and fit men and women into neat cookie cutter pieces, a tendency not solely restricted to most segments of the secular world.

Over at The Thinking Housewife, the authoress features a comment concerning “Why Women Seek “Bad Boys” – and Men Seek “Bad Girls.” Setting aside the notions expressed about “bad boys”, I want to examine this particular paragraph:

For the same reason sensitiveness and thoughtfulness in a woman reduce her sex appeal. These qualities make her appear weak, and… human. The godless individual resents nothing more than humanity. He cannot desire someone who reminds him constantly of his own mortality. A nonchalant demeanor (originating in vacuousness) is much more desirable to him.

The first sentence in that paragraph is, to use a scientific phrase, total bunk. A woman’s sex appeal is not reduced by “sensitiveness and thoughtfulness.” Even under the worst possible scenario, those character traits have zero affect on a woman’s perceived sex appeal. They just don’t. In this respect men are largely visual creatures. A woman’s sexual appeal is based on her physical characteristics, not her personality. Her personality may affect how a approaches and interacts with her, as well as her long term goals, but not her sex appeal.

Reading through the whole comment, I get the impression that the author has let his philosophical or theological pondering trample over empirical reality. He is trying to make reality fit how he thinks things are- at least, that is how he perceives it. But in truth he is trying to make reality fit how he thinks things should be. This is a tendency we all possess, to some degree or another. And it can be a dangerous one. Much of “Churchianity” is nothing more than a vast, wide-scale expression of the tendency to make reality fit how we think things should be.

All of which leads to the purpose of this post: as a reminder, if only to myself, not to let my own preferences blind me to reality. I know I’ve done it before, and will probably do so again. This was a chief failing, perhaps even the chief failing, of the Pharisees. They could not let go of their own preconceived notions of who the Messiah would be, and so could not see Him when He walked amongst them. Let us, like the Psalmist, pray for the Lord to open our eyes.

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A Truce… or Victory?

In my post This Isn’t Revenge, I explained that what we are witnessing now is merely the latest phase in a long running war between the sexes. Novaseeker suggested that it might be more accurate to characterize this struggle as a competition:

it’s an endless competition to see who can outdo the other in terms of getting their genetic/sexual imperative vindicated.

While I agree that there is certainly competition here, I think that it is mostly an argument over semantics, as both war and competition are forms of struggle. And what we are seeing is certainly a struggle. Moreover, it is not just a struggle between men and women but also among men and among women. Men compete with one another for the best women, and women compete with one another for the best men. Novaseeker’s comment, which I linked earlier, really goes into depth on this and I suggest that everyone read it for a thorough explanation of this. In a way this struggle is the “war of all against all” that Hobbes warned about centuries ago.

A number of points were raised about the central argument of my post, and I want to use this thread to address two which are related to one another: the notion of a truce and what might constitute “victory.”

Commenter The Shadow Knight left the following comment, which is working examining :

Yes, this is a war, but look at the effort expended to make sure that neither side will be interested in a truce. How many women are miserably working a terrible job when they want to be a mother? How many men are numbing the pain with drink, women, or games because they are not going to take the risk of ending up an ex husband? The enemy has to scream and threaten to get both sides to reluctantly oppose one another. Conflict is inevitable, but so is equilibrium.

TSK is correct that the present state of the conflict is the result of a concentrated effort to exacerbate the situation. However, removing that ‘incitement’ does not meat that both sides will be interested in a truce. If the incitement was removed, the conflict would still exist. That is the central premise of the first post. It might be more of a subtle conflict, with most of the “fighting” less visible, but the conflict will persist. Another thing to consider is that the incitement is a natural outgrowth of the conflict itself. Rather than being the cause, it is an effect. Our own preferences might drive some individuals to “stir up the pot” in order to benefit their own part of this struggle.

And besides, what kind of truce would be agreed upon? We had something of a truce before, and that didn’t last. When I mentioned a social order in which both sexes would “lose,” Stingray asked the following:

Given that men give up polygamy and women give up serial monogamy, I would think (traditional) marriage would fall into this category. What am I missing?

Stingray didn’t miss anything. Traditional marriage (not the modern day “traditional marriage” variety either) was a compromise, a truce of sorts. The thing is, neither side wants a compromise. Men and women want a system which supports their preferred sexual strategy. Equilibrium, at least, a static form of it, is not something that can last. In fact, it was TSK who pointed out that the destruction of Traditional Marrage “was a joint effort, because they both thought that they could get an advantage.” Both men and women will always want to push the boundaries.

Something more likely than a truce is a withdrawal or retreat of sorts. What I mean is that members of one “side” decide to stop fighting and just remove themselves from the conflict as much as they can. The MGTOW movement is an example of this in action. Rather than compete, they merely try and survive. Of course, they cannot fully escape, thanks to taxes and such. But in so far as they can, they try to not get involved in the conflict. This is something I think will become more prominent in the future, at least among men. It is also possible we might see women start to do this as well- they are likely to be affected by a drop in male desirability just as men have been affected by a drop in female desirability.

Any sort of truce, which would have to be founded on a compromise, couldn’t last unless it was enforced somehow. And that brings me to this comment by Cane Caldo:

These “base strategies” that are “hard-wired” have been revealed from the beginning as fundamentally untrue. They only feel true because the hard-wiring has been shot through with 1.21 gigawatts of sin. The receptors are fried, man.

Cane is correct that what I referred to as “base” or “natural” impulses of men and women are something Christians should understand to be the product of the Fall. I put “lose” in quotes in my first post because I wanted to indicate that what we think is a loss might not necessarily be so. After all, what we want is not necessarily what is good for us. Usually it isn’t. Sin blinds us, and directs our hearts (and other organs) in the wrong direction more often than not.

Once we understand this, we can finally see how victory is possible. You see, “victory” in the “war between the sexes” can come about only when we realize that this war is one which was stirred up by the Evil One. It is a war whose origins date back to the Fall, when the serpent pit man and woman against one another, and against God, for the first time (this was the first instance of someone playing “lets you and him fight”).  This war can be won by recognizing that it is a war we shouldn’t be fighting in the first place. “The only winning move is not to play.” Instead of men and women fighting one another, they we,  need to cooperate and fight against sin, which is the real enemy deserving of our attention.

This, I think, is where the real break between the secular and Christian “Red Pill” community is to be found. The secular PR community aims to equip men with the tools they need so they can get the best possible deal for themselves. In other words, to arm them with the best weapons possible to wage war against women, so they can score as many big victories as possible (however each individual man chooses to define victory). However, that strategy cannot bring the war to the end. It only seeks to give men the best odds possible and make them the temporary “winners.” The Christian RP community should recognize that this is not a winning strategy. Men who pursue this course are still puppets being controlled by the ruler of this world. Their “victories” are illusory. Keeping in line with the “red pill”, they are still in the Matrix, as they are still slaves to their sin- they only think that they have escaped.

When I spoke of the natural in my first post, it was because I wanted to emphasize the necessity of the supernatural to overcome our base or worldly nature. By ourselves we cannot hope to overcome our sinfulness. It is only through God’s Grace that we can achieve this. God has also provided us with the template of how a lasting “truce” between the sexes can be arranged, through the sacrament of marriage. There is no need to invent something new to get out us of the trench we find ourselves in. We have the tools, in fact we were given them a long time ago. We only need to remember that we have them, and to use them again as they were meant to be used. This will require that we set aside the notion that we know better than God. It will require humility, and patience, and lots of prayer. However, there is no other way. And it is certainly better than the alternative- an endless war that cannot be won.

One commenter asked in the previous post:

Am I supposed to take comfort in the fact that it is not revenge [driving this situation], but rather WAR?

If it is the war between the sexes, no, there is no comfort to be found. But the war against sin? That is another matter. It is a war in which ultimate victory has already been assured. We just need to win the individual holding actions in which we find ourselves. I cannot think of any better way to conclude this post than with this advice from St. Paul:

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 wiles of the devil. 12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; 16 above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench 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.

(Ephesians 6:10-17)

 

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Selected Sunday Scripture- #71

The first passage for today’s post comes from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians:

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written,

“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever.”

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13 Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

(2 Corinthians 9:6-15)

Reading through this, I was reminded of Dalrock’s point that Feminists are miserly with love. I don’t think this is limited to Feminists, however. I think we all must fight the tendency to be miserly with love. For myself, I know that I know that charity doesn’t come easily most of the time. There are some things I can be generous with, but at other times I struggle to give of myself. It is very easy to lose sight of the fact that everything we give up in charity in this life is repaid in the next. I need to constantly remind myself of this, and I realize that it is something I need God’s help in, because I haven’t the strength myself.

This brings me to the next selection, which is Psalm 146:

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
    who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

(Psalm 146)

Two things of note caught my attention while praying this Psalm recently. The first is found in verses 3 and 4. Trust is a delicate thing. One thing that has helped me in my faith is that I’ve always known I can trust God. He has always kept His faith with me, and I’ve never felt a sense of betrayal. All of the bad theology and false guidance I’ve received over the years I know to be the work of humans, not of God. I think this is an important thing for those of us to keep in mind who have been fed false theology for so long. We should know that in God alone can we trust, and that if anything, we should have expected to be let down (one way or another) by our fellow man.

Verses 7-9 also caught my attention, because they seem to describe Jesus to a T. Fed the hungry? Check. Set prisoners free? Check (think of those imprisoned in Sheol before His death).  Opened the eyes of the blind? Check. And so on and so forth. There are lots of little hints like this scattered throughout Scripture, and its quite fun to come across them when you aren’t expecting it. At least, so it seems to me.

Here is a little snippet from Deuteronomy I am curious about:

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.

(Deuteronomy 24:5)

My NAB translations says, instead of the man being happy, that the newlywed man would “bring joy to his wife” by staying there. I’m curious if any of my readers who are better in translations than I have any thoughts on which is the better translation. I’ve a few thoughts on this, and the translation matters.

Finally, I conclude with this small bit from the Gospel of Matthew:

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 unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

(Mathew 6:22-23)

This is an interesting saying by Jesus, and one that has never been easy for me to understand. I’m curious what interpretations exist for it, and when I get a chance I will see what some of the saints have said. After re-reading it, I think that what Jesus is saying is that the way we look at the world (the health of our eye) affects everything we do. A cynical outlook that distorts the nature of God’s Creation will reverberate throughout out body, and affect everything about us. In essence, our body and our actions will come to match our dark outlook on life. Perhaps some of my readers can offer their thoughts.

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Saturday Saints- #64

Today’s saint comes from the earlier days of the Church. Our saint is Juliana of Nicomedia:

Saint Juliana of Nicomedia is said to have suffered Christian martyrdom during the Diocletian persecution in 304. She was popular in the Middle Ages, especially in the Netherlands, as the patron saint of sickness.

More can be found out about her at her wiki, located here.

St. Juliana

 

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