Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Escape Plan

I.

I have read with interest Deep Strength’s latest posts on submission and marriage. In chronological order we have:

Intelligent submission is not required

Submission is a test of faith

Women’s sin nature in marriage and contentment

Unfortunately, time restraints kept me from responding in detail until now. Since DS has written several follow-ups to the first post, some of what I was going to say is now dated. Some now ideas developed, however, and so I will try and flesh out this post as best as I can.

I should note that I don’t agree with all that DS has to say- sometimes for theological reasons and sometimes practical reasons. But those disagreements can be worked out in other posts (and in some cases already have)

II.

To begin with, I want to explore the notion of “intelligent submission.” As some alluded to in DS’s post, such a term is highly disingenuous. Not because there is anything wrong with either word. The problem is when they are combined together. The addition of “intelligent” is meant to apply a condition to submission- in other words, to limit its application.

Frankly, whenever anyone proposes limiting any expression of faith, be it submission, or charity, or compassion, etc., massive red flags need to be raised. Has anyone among my readers heard of “Intelligent Compassion” before? I can’t say that I have. And if I did, you better believe I would be looking for the con. I rather suspect I would not be alone in this.

Intelligence, or better put, Wisdom, is a trait that all Christian women should posses, or strive to build. Married women are no exception to this:

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

(Proverbs 31:26)

However, when people start talking about “Intelligent Submission” they aren’t referring to a woman exercising wisdom and submitting to her husband at the same time. No, they are saying a woman should intelligently decide when and where and how to submit to her husband. The gap between those two notions is as vast as that between Lazarus and the Rich Man. No bridging that gap.

All of this drives to my main point: beware of those who try and applies conditions to how they live out their faith. For most, if not all, their intentions are not benign. What they are trying to do is limit how much work they actually have to put into their faith. An example from our Lord:

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die.’ But you say, ‘If any one tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God,[a] he need not honor his father.’[b] So, for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word[c] of God.

[Footnote b: By dedicating his property to God, i.e., to the temple, a man could avoid having to help his parents, without actually giving up what he had. The scribes held such a vow to be valid without necessarily approving it.]

(Matthew 15:1-6)

They want to have their cake and it eat it- to appear righteous, without having to live a righteous life. Which leads to the next part.

III.

This idea of appearing righteous without having to actually be righteous is what Deep Strength covers in his most recent post:

That’s ultimately what it comes down to: women want to let their husband lead instead of following his lead. I had thought that twisted rebellion like the complementarians espouse was the main sin nature of women. However, I believe I am now wrong about that. Covert rebellion which is “I let my husband lead” is probably the main sin nature of women because it’s under the guise of righteousness (e.g. the husband is leading) but it gives her all of the power (e.g authority) in the relationship.

This is the true essence of virtue signalling. Grabbing power while maintaining the moral high ground. It’s not enough to grab power. It must be done with the moral high ground.

In other words, a woman must look good while rebelling or sinning. As Looking Glass likes to call it: Vanity. Vanity rebellion. Women’s sin nature in marriage is Vanity Rebellion.

DS is very close here. He is spot on about the specific behavior that women are exhibiting here. Although I think the name “Vanity Rebellion” is a bit clunky, I can’t think of a better name myself, so VR it is.

This VR phenomenon is quite prevalent in Christian circles, and is something I think we can probably call endemic to human nature. Nor is it necessarily limited to women, although I think women are more prone to it.

As DS points out, can also see this virtue signalling when it comes to divorce- women always try to have the moral high ground when they initiate a divorce. It is never because the woman is just tired of marriage. That might be part of it, but there is always some major failing on the man’s part.

At the same time, however, I think that this specific behavior is just a particular manifestation of a much broad behavior that women are prone to engage in. I call it “The Escape Plan.”

It is as simple as it sounds- always have an escape plan in place in case something goes wrong. Whatever the situation is, always have an out for it. You can find this behavior everywhere:

Don’t like what your husband is telling you to do? Claim it wouldn’t be intelligent to submit to him, and that is what God expects of wives.

Don’t like being married to your husband? Divorce him and claim it is his fault, that the moral blame lies on him because he failed as a husband and God wants you to be free.

Don’t need an abortion but want to be free to get one if need be, and at the same time appear righteous? Say that you are personally against abortion but don’t feel the state should intervene in women’s lives/bodies.

Rollo’s Plan B is an example of this. Keep a “Plan B” man around… just in case.

Heck, you see this in domestic violence cases all the time. The woman calls the police, but then tells them she doesn’t want the man arrested. Why? Lots of reason, but a major one is she wants them there to cool the situation down, at least at first. But then she can decide whether to keep the relationship or not. If she decided to keep it, she says she doesn’t want to press charges. If she decides to ditch her man, say she wants charges. You can also see this with women who will stick with a man, but then tell their friends or family they are “in fear of their lives.” This gives them a great out- they can stay if they want, but once they want out they can call the police and point out they warned people in the past. [This is nothing, mind you. Having friends who are cops can provide all kinds of stories- but this isn’t the place for that. ]

Again, the goal is setting up a situation where the woman can bail at any time if she wants to. It is all having options.

This explains Vanity Rebellion- women want to appear to be a good, righteous woman. But they also worry about what the cost of that could be if they actually lived up to everything. So they gain power… just in case.

Now, men do this too. But women, who are more naturally covert than men as owing to their nature, are far and away more prone to this. So prone to it I would argue that it is a standard procedure for women- they will default to it unless they actively resist. For men I think it is much more likely to be an active choice, and thus less common.

IV.

And that wraps up my commentary for today. To recap:

  • People who add conditional modifiers to expression of faith, such as submission, are almost always (and should be presumed to be) acting in bad faith.
  • Vanity Rebellion is just one example of a larger phenomenon, The Escape Plan- whereby a woman tries to get some perceived good but at the same time leaves an option available to her to bail or escape if the cost should prove too high.

My readers are of course free to disagree and/or add their own thoughts.

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In The Dark

My Orthodox readers might find the following article interesting:

The Orthodox Church Stays In The Dark Ages

Of course, other readers could (and dare I say, should) find it interesting too. Now, the arcana of Orthodox policies and politics isn’t my primary interest in that article. Instead, it was the focus on The Dark Ages.

You see, there is definitely some darkness going on in that piece. Only, the lack of light is found in the writer’s head. His Western education clearly shows (at least to me), as he is clearly unaware of the actual nature of the Dark Ages. If he was historically literate, or at least had the brains to read Wikipedia, he would have known that the Dark Ages was a period in Western European history. It was the Western Church which went through the “Dark Age” period.

The Eastern Church, on the other hand, had a rather different experience. Why so? Simple- the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for a thousand years longer than in the West. The Light of the East didn’t dim like that of the West when Rome fell. Instead the Eastern Church flourished and prospered. At least, it did until Islam showed up and conquered vast areas of formerly Christian lands.

The writer is letting his contempt for Tradition, and the haughtiness of a liberal mindset,  show here. He has a point to make, and he won’t let facts or history get in the way of it. Arguing the merits of why the Orthodox Churches are standing up for what they believe in is pointless with one such as him. The irony is that so called “Progressives” like him (although he may deny that is what he is) are the new barbarians- they are the ones trying to tear down the pillars of civilization all around them. Sadly, for the most part they succeeded. I hope for the world’s sake that they continue to fail where the Eastern Church is concerned.

 

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Masculine Monday- #11

*Men Only*

I disagree with the PUA wing of the ‘sphere in a number of ways, nearly all of them significant. One area I want to touch on with this post is the way that most PUAs give women power over their lives. They will deny this, of course. Many will point out that they advocate taking women off the pedestal- if not smashing that pedestal outright. But pedestalizing women and giving them power over you is not the same thing.

This power transfer comes about when a man makes his notch count a metric to use in determining how much he “succeeds in life.” When a man does this, he gives women the ability to determine his level of success. It is women who hold the key to the treasure vault, as it were. He is reliant on them to become a success. This gives women power over you.

That a man can become astute at convincing women (or certain types of women, anyways) to sleep with him doesn’t change this. Sure they might be poor stewards of that power (nothing new, really). But they have that power all the same.

I would argue that an essential component of masculinity involves not being reliant on women to “succeed in life.” Boys are the ones who rely on women (mothers specifically) to tell them how great they are. Being a man means not needing a woman to tell you (whether in words or actions) just how great of a man you really are.

What, my son? What, son of my womb?
    What, son of my vows?
Give not your strength to women,
    your ways to those who destroy kings.

(Proverbs 31:2-3)

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Saturday Saints- #112

Fascinatingly enough, this series has also been quiet for a while. We resume where we left off, with the letter E. This gives us the saint of the day, Emmelia of Caesaea:

Emmelia of Caesarea (Cappadocia, Central Anatolia, Turkey) was born in the fourth century, a period in time when Christianity was becoming more widespread, posing a challenge to the Roman government and its Pagan rule. She was the wife of Basil the Elder and bore nine or ten children, including Basil of Caesarea (born circa 330), Macrina the Younger, Peter of Sebaste, Gregory of Nyssa, and Naucratius.

Emmelia—also known as Emilia or Emily—is venerated as a saint in both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church and is said to have died in 375. However, she is not the only woman in her family to be venerated as a saint. Both her mother-in-law, Macrina the Elder, as well as her daughters, Macrina the Younger and Theosebia are recognized as saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Emmelia spent much of her later years living with her eldest daughter, Macrina the Younger. Macrina the Younger had a profound impact on her mother. With her husband no longer around, Emmelia and her daughter lived a life dedicated to Christianity, surrounded by servants that they treated as equals, at Macrina the Younger’s insistence. Their ascetic way of life attracted a following of women which created a convent like atmosphere, where one was considered rich if she lived a pure and devout Christian life and disregarded the materialistic lure of earthly pleasures and possessions.

(Source)

Half of this pious woman’s children became saints, with several of them highly influential in the development of the faith. Here I suspect we find a woman whose reward in heaven will be great indeed- for she valued treasures of a spiritual nature, not a worldly one.

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

(Matthew 6:19-21)

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Tradition Thursday- #55

I haven’t had a post in this series for quite some time. Now is as good a time as any to fix that. The subjects of teaching and scripture have been on my mind as of late, and so this homily by St. John Chrysostom seems appropriate:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God. And whatsoever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Having exhorted them to be thankful, he shows also the way, that, of which I have lately discoursed to you. And what does he say? Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; or rather not this way alone, but another also. For I indeed said that we ought to reckon up those who have suffered things more terrible, and those who have undergone sufferings more grievous than ours, and to give thanks that such have not fallen to our lot; but what does he say? Let the word of Christ dwell in you; that is, the teaching, the doctrines, the exhortation, wherein He says, that the present life is nothing, nor yet its good things. If we know this, we shall yield to no hardships whatever. Matthew 6:25, etc./span> Let it dwell in you, he says, richly, not simply dwell, but with great abundance. Hearken ye, as many as are worldly, and have the charge of wife and children; how to you too he commits especially the reading of the Scriptures and that not to be done lightly, nor in any sort of way, but with much earnestness. For as the rich in money can bear fine and damages, so he that is rich in the doctrines of philosophy will bear not poverty only, but all calamities also easily, yea, more easily than that one. For as for him, by discharging the fine, the man who is rich must needs be impoverished, and found wanting, and if he should often suffer in that way, will no longer be able to bear it, but in this case it is not so; for we do not even expend our wholesome thoughts when it is necessary for us to bear anything we would not choose, but they abide with us continually. And mark the wisdom of this blessed man. He said not, Let the word of Christ be in you, simply, but what? dwell in you, and richly.

In all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another. In all, says he. Virtue he calls wisdom, and lowliness of mind is wisdom, and almsgiving, and other such like things, are wisdom; just as the contraries are folly, for cruelty too comes of folly. Whence in many places it calls the whole of sin folly. The fool, says one, has said in his heart, There is no God Psalm 14:1; and again, My wounds stink and are corrupt from the face of my foolishness. Psalm 38:5, Septuagint For what is more foolish, tell me, than one who indeed wraps himself about in his own garments, but regards not his brethren that are naked; who feeds dogs, and cares not that the image of God is famishing; who is merely persuaded that human things are nought, and yet clings to them as if immortal. As then nothing is more foolish than such an one, so is nothing wiser than one that achieves virtue. For mark; how wise he is, says one. He imparts of his substance, he is pitiful, he is loving to men, he has well considered that he bears a common nature with them; he has well considered the use of wealth, that it is worthy of no estimation; that one ought to be sparing of bodies that are of kin to one, rather than of wealth. He that is a despiser of glory is wholly wise, for he knows human affairs; the knowledge of things divine and human, is philosophy. So then he knows what things are divine, and what are human, and from the one he keeps himself, on the other he bestows his pains. And he knows how to give thanks also to God in all things, he considers the present life as nothing; therefore he is neither delighted with prosperity, nor grieved with the opposite condition.

Tarry not, I entreat, for another to teach you; you have the oracles of God. No man teaches you as they; for he indeed oft grudges much for vainglory’s sake and envy. Hearken, I entreat you, all you that are careful for this life, and procure books that will be medicines for the soul. If you will not any other, yet get you at least the New Testament, the Apostolic Epistles, the Acts, the Gospels, for your constant teachers. If grief befall you, dive into them as into a chest of medicines; take thence comfort of your trouble, be it loss, or death, or bereavement of relations; or rather dive not into them merely, but take them wholly to you; keep them in your mind.

This is the cause of all evils, the not knowing the Scriptures. We go into battle without arms, and how ought we to come off safe? Well contented should we be if we can be safe with them, let alone without them. Throw not the whole upon us! Sheep you are, still not without reason, but rational; Paul commits much to you also. They that are under instruction, are not for ever learning; for then they are not taught. If you are for ever learning, you will never learn. Do not so come as meaning to be always learning; (for so you will never know;) but so as to finish learning, and to teach others. In the arts do not all persons continue for set times, in the sciences, and in a word, in all the arts? Thus we all fix definitely a certain known time; but if you are ever learning, it is a certain proof that you have learned nothing.

This reproach God spoke against the Jews. Borne from the belly, and instructed even to old age. Isaiah 46:3-4, Septuagint If you had not always been expecting this, all things would not have gone backward in this way. Had it been so, that some had finished learning, and others were about to have finished, our work would have been forward; you would both have given place to others, and would have helped us as well. Tell me, were some to go to a grammarian and continue always learning their letters, would they not give their teacher much trouble? How long shall I have to discourse to you concerning life? In the Apostles’ times it was not thus, but they continually leaped from place to place, appointing those who first learned to be the teachers of any others that were under instruction. Thus they were enabled to circle the world, through not being bound to one place. How much instruction, do you think, do your brethren in the country stand in need of, [they] and their teachers? But you hold me riveted fast here. For, before the head is set right, it is superfluous to proceed to the rest of the body. You throw everything upon us. You alone ought to learn from us, and your wives from you, your children from you; but you leave all to us. Therefore our toil is excessive.

Teaching, he says, and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Mark also the considerateness of Paul. Seeing that reading is toilsome, and its irksomeness great, he led them not to histories, but to psalms, that you might at once delight your soul with singing, and gently beguile your labors. Hymns, he says, and spiritual songs. But now your children will utter songs and dances of Satan, like cooks, and caterers, and musicians; no one knows any psalm, but it seems a thing to be ashamed of even, and a mockery, and a joke. There is the treasury house of all these evils. For whatsoever soil the plant stands in, such is the fruit it bears; if in a sandy and salty soil, of like nature is its fruit; if in a sweet and rich one, it is again similar. So the matter of instruction is a sort of fountain. Teach him to sing those psalms which are so full of the love of wisdom; as at once concerning chastity, or rather, before all, of not companying with the wicked, immediately with the very beginning of the book; (for therefore also it was that the prophet began on this wise, Blessed is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly; Psalm 1:1, and again, I have not sat in the council of vanity; Psalm 26:4, Septuagint, and again, in his sight a wicked doer is contemned, but he honors those that fear the Lord, Psalm 15:4, Septuagint of companying with the good, (and these subjects you will find there in abundance,) of restraining the belly, of restraining the hand, of refraining from excess, of not overreaching; that money is nothing, nor glory, and other things such like.

When in these you have led him on from childhood, little by little you will lead him forward even to the higher things. The Psalms contain all things, but the Hymns again have nothing human. When he has been instructed out of the Psalms, he will then know hymns also, as a diviner thing. For the Powers above chant hymns, not psalms. For a hymn, says one, is not comely in the mouth of a sinner Sirach 15:9; and again, My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they sit together with me Psalm 101:6-7, Septuagint; and again, he that works haughtiness has not dwelt in the midst of my house; and again, He that walks in a blameless way, he ministered unto me. Psalm 101:6, Septuagint

So that you should safely guard them from intermixing themselves, not only with friends, but even with servants. For the harm done to the free is incalculable, when we place over them corrupt slaves. For if when enjoying all the benefit of a father’s affection and wisdom, they can with difficulty be preserved safe throughout; when we hand them over to the unscrupulousness of servants, they use them like enemies, thinking that they will prove milder masters to them, when they have made them perfect fools, and weak, and worthy of no respect.

More then than all other things together, let us attend seriously to this. I have loved, says he, those that love your law. Psalm 119:165, not exact This man then let us too emulate, and such let us love. And that the young may further be taught chastity, let them hear the Prophet, saying, My loins are filled with illusions Psalm 38:7, Septuagint; and again let them hear him saying, You will utterly destroy every one that goes a whoring from You. Psalm 73:27, Septuagint And, that one ought to restrain the belly, let them hear again, And slew, he says, the more part of them while the meat was yet in their mouths. Psalm 78:30, Septuagint And that they ought to be above bribes, If riches become abundant, set [not] your heart upon them Psalm 62:10; and that they ought to keep glory in subjection, Nor shall his glory descend together after him. Psalm 49:17 And not to envy the wicked, Be not envious against them that work unrighteousness. Psalm 37:1 And to count power as nothing, I saw the ungodly in exceeding high place, and lifting himself up as the cedars of Libanus, and I passed by, and lo! He was not. Psalm 37:35 And to count these present things as nothing, They counted the people happy, that are in such a case; happy are the people, whose helper is the Lord their God. Psalm 144:15, Septuagint That we do not sin without notice, but that there is a retribution, for, he says, You shall render to every man according to his works. Psalm 62:12, Septuagint But why does he not so requite them day by day? God is a judge, he says, righteous, and strong, and longsuffering. Psalm 7:11 That lowliness of mind is good, Lord, he says, my heart is not lifted up Psalm 131:1: that pride is evil, Therefore, he said, pride took hold on them wholly Psalm 73:6, Septuagint; and again, The Lord resists the proud; and again, Their injustice shall come out as of fatness. That almsgiving is good, He has dispersed, he has given to the needy, his righteousness endures for ever. Proverbs 3:34 And that to pity is praiseworthy, He is a good man that pities, and lends. Psalm 73:7, Septuagint And you will find there many more doctrines than these, full of true philosophy; such as, that one ought not to speak evil, Him that privily slanders his neighbor, him did I chase from me. Psalm 112:9

What is the hymn of those above? The Faithful know. What say the cherubim above? What say the Angels? Glory to God in the highest. Psalm 112:5 Therefore after the psalmody come the hymns, as a thing of more perfection. With psalms, he says, with hymns, with spiritual songs, with grace singing in your hearts to God. Psalm 101:5, Septuagint He means either this, that God because of grace has given us these things; or, with the songs in grace; or, admonishing and teaching one another in grace; or, that they had these gifts in grace; or, it is an epexegesis and he means, from the grace of the Spirit. Singing in your hearts to God. Not simply with the mouth, he means, but with heedfulness. For this is to sing to God, but that to the air, for the voice is scattered without result. Not for display, he means. And even if you be in the market-place, you can collect yourself, and sing unto God, no one hearing you. For Moses also in this way prayed, and was heard, for He says, Why do you cry unto Me? Exodus 14:15 albeit he said nothing, but cried in thought— wherefore also God alone heard him— with a contrite heart. For it is not forbidden one even when walking to pray in his heart, and to dwell above.

Ver. 17. And whatsoever you do, he says, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

For if we thus do, there will be nothing polluted, nothing unclean, wherever Christ is called on. If you eat, if you drink, if you marry, if you travel, do all in the Name of God, that is, calling Him to aid you: in everything first praying to Him, so take hold of your business. Would you speak somewhat? Set this in front. For this cause we also place in front of our epistles the Name of the Lord. Wheresoever the Name of God is, all is auspicious. For if the names of Consuls make writings sure, much more does the Name of Christ. Or he means this; after God say ye and do everything, do not introduce the Angels besides. Do you eat? Give thanks to God both before and afterwards. Do you sleep? Give thanks to God both before and afterwards. Launchest thou into the forum? Do the same— nothing worldly, nothing of this life. Do all in the Name of the Lord, and all shall be prospered to you. Whereonsoever the Name is placed, there all things are auspicious. If it casts out devils, if it drives away diseases, much more does it render business easy.

And what is to do in word or in deed? Either requesting or performing anything whatever. Hear how in the Name of God Abraham sent his servant; David in the Name of God slew Goliath. Marvelous is His Name and great. Again, Jacob sending his sons says, My God give you favor in the sight of the man. Genesis 43:14 For he that does this has for his ally, God, without whom he dared do nothing. As honored then by being called upon, He will in turn honor by making their business easy. Invoke the Son, give thanks to the Father. For when the Son is invoked, the Father is invoked, and when He is thanked, the Son has been thanked.

These things let us learn, not as far as words only, but to fulfill them also by works. Nothing is equal to this Name, marvelous is it everywhere. Your Name, he says, is ointment poured forth. Canticles 1:3 He that has uttered it is straightway filled with fragrance. No man, it is said, can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:3 So great things does this Name Work. If you have said, In the Name of Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, with faith, you have accomplished everything. See, how great things you have done! You have created a man, and wrought all the rest (that comes) of Baptism! So, when used in commanding diseases, terrible is The Name. Therefore the devil introduced those of the Angels, envying us the honor. Such incantations are for the demons. Even if it be Angel, even if it be Archangel, even if it be Cherubim, allow it not; for neither will these Powers accept such addresses, but will even toss them away from them, when they have beheld their Master dishonored. I have honored you, He says, and have said, Call upon Me; and do you dishonor Him? If you chant this incantation with faith, you will drive away both diseases and demons, and even if you have failed to drive away the disease, this is not from lack of power, but because it is expedient it should be so. According to Your greatness, he says, so also is Your praise. Psalm 48:10 By this Name has the world been converted, the tyranny dissolved, the devil trampled on, the heavens opened. We have been regenerated by this Name. This if we have, we beam forth; This makes both martyrs and confessors; This let us hold fast as a great gift, that we may live in glory, and be well-pleasing to God, and be counted worthy of the good things promised to them that love Him, through the grace and lovingkindness, etc.

(Source)

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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #110

I had something planned for this post over the week, but unfortunately forgot what it was over the weekend. A poor sign on my part- I shouldn’t let the things of the world interfere with my spiritual life. So in order to jump start this post I opened my Bible at random, and this passage was there:

43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation.”

(Matthew 12:43-45)

What the faithful need to remember is that it is not enough that we empty our lives of evil thoughts and evil deeds. While that is a good start, it is just that- a start. It provides us an opening we must take advantage of. For as our Lord and Savior explains, when we empty out the evil of our life, we create a void. If we do not fill that void with what it good, then most assuredly the devil and his agents will seek to re-fill it with what is evil. Complacency cannot be part of our faith. If we are not moving forward on the path, then we are of necessity walking away from it.

This brings to mind some of what St. James said about faith and works:

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

(James 2: 14-26)

If we become complacent in our faith, and do not demonstrate good works, then our faith will end up dying. In a way it can be compared to leaving the emptiness unfilled after clearing out an evil spirit. Our faith can remove that evil, but only good works can fill that void with actual good. There is no neutral ground here- we either produce good works, or we don’t:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

(John 15:1-11)

Here are some words of St. John Chrysostom on this particular passage:

Then He adds, and says, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. What wills He to imply by the comparison? That the man who gives no heed to His words can have no life, and that the miracles about to take place, would be wrought by the power of Christ. “My Father is the Husbandman. How then? Does the Son need a power working within? Away with the thought! This example does not signify this. Observe with what exactness He goes through the comparison. He says not that the root enjoys the care of the Husbandman, but, the branches. And the foot is brought in in this place for no other purpose, but that they may learn that they can work nothing without His power, and that they ought to be united with Him by faith as the branch with the vine.

Every branch in Me that bears not fruit the Father takes away.

Here He alludes to the manner of life, showing that without works it is not possible to be in Him.

And every branch that bears fruit, He purges it.

That is, causes it to enjoy great care. Yet the root requires care rather than the branches, in being dug about, and cleared, yet about this He says nothing here, but all about the branches. Showing that He is sufficient to Himself, and that the disciples need much help from the Husbandman, although they be very excellent. Wherefore He says, that which bears fruit, He purges it. The one branch, because it is fruitless, cannot even remain in the Vine, but for the other, because it bears fruit, He renders it more fruitful. This, some one might assert, was said with relation also to the persecutions then coming upon them. For the purges it, is prunes, which makes the branch bear better. Whence it is shown, that persecutions rather make men stronger.

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Filed under Selected Sunday Scriptures

Think Of The Children

Reader and occasional commenter A Visitor recently alerted me to this post over at Vox Day’s blog: N Matters, a lot.  The key point of the post is this graph:

wolfinger-sex-partners-divorce-figure-1-1

The study, and graph, reaffirm similar findings in the past about how a woman’s N (her sexual partner count) affects the odds of divorce. Studies and charts like this have been discussed before, both on this blog and plenty of others, so I won’t go into depth on it. I do like this one part from Vox’s post, though:

The interesting thing about this study is the way that it shows how the second-greatest risk is marrying a woman with only 2 partners; the researcher’s theory is that this might be the result of over-emphasized comparisons; the woman has just enough experience to realize that there is something else out there, but not enough to realize that most of it isn’t an improvement.

While not sold on it, it is a pretty solid theory. But I digress.

The reason for this post, and the reason for this post’s title, is to emphasis the importance of visual cues. This chart is a powerful visual aid to explain to others the perils of marrying non-virgin women. It is bright, simple to understand and gets the point across without the reader needing to have any skill with statistics.

So for the time being, I will probably use this graph as my primary visual explanation for why I insist on marrying a woman with an N of 0. Setting aside all other concerns (of which I have plenty), the divorce angle cannot be ignored.

Most especially, I cannot ignore the impact divorce might have on any children that arise from the marriage before hand. If I am stupid and marry poorly, knowing that I should do better, than that is on me now. I will deserve it. But my kids don’t deserve to be put through the wringer. They deserve to have a stable and loving home- not one that is ripped apart. In addition, I would never want them exposed to a myriad of “boyfriends” and “step-dads” that their mother (whom I should have never married) will bring into her, and their, life.

Men, there are many ways to respond to someone who tries to shame you into marrying a non-virgin. But few will have quite the punch as pointing out that it greatly increases the chances of divorce, and the impact that will have on your children. Flip their shaming right back at them, and ask them why they want to make it more likely that your children will be put through the horrors of divorce. Ask them how they could be so callous. And remind them to think of the children.

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Filed under Alpha Widow, Blue Pill, Marriage, Marriage Market Place, Pair Bonding, Red Pill, Sex, Sin, Women