Monthly Archives: July 2016

Selected Sunday Scriptures- #113

Today’s post is something of a spiritual successor to my post “Never Enough.” We begin with Jesus talking about the Baptist and Forerunner John:

24 When the messengers of John had gone, he began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written,

‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
who shall prepare thy way before thee.’

28 I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” 29 (When they heard this all the people and the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John; 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

31 “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to one another,

‘We piped to you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of man has come eating and drinking; and you say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

(Luke 7:24-35)

There is no pleasing or satisfying someone with their heart in the wrong place. You can do no right in their eyes. They will find something wrong with what you have done- no matter that their conclusion might be inconsistent with something they said at some earlier time.

One personal example:

Some time ago I was asked once by someone why I wasn’t interested in a particular young woman. I explained to the questioner that, unfortunately, the woman in question was quite unattractive. Far below the level where I would be able to feel any passion towards her (to put it politely). The person told me that I was being shallow by focusing on the woman’s looks. I needed to pay attention to her character- that should drive my decision.

Fast forward a little bit. Same person asks why I had rejected a different woman. I explained that this particular woman was severely lacking in character (former carousel rider). She was not marriage material, certainly for me and I would argue that at the time not for anyone (she needed to seriously reflect and change her life). The person then objected by point out: “But she is so beautiful…”

The disconnect was obvious, but the person here didn’t see it. Why? Because that person’s heart was in the wrong place. I could do not right- largely because I spoke up for myself and had my own views on what constitutes a good woman (and thus good wife).

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in expressing his opinion.

(Proverbs 18:2)

These words of St. Paul seem appropriate:

Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“At the acceptable time I have listened to you,
and helped you on the day of salvation.”

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

11 Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 In return—I speak as to children—widen your hearts also.

(2 Corinthians 6:1-13)

What holds many back the most is not a lack of understanding, but of desire. The Corinthians were constantly admonished by the early Church because they were told the Truth, but did not desire it. They did not, as St. Paul advised, widen their hearts. This is unfortunate, but at the same time, it is not the fault of those who preach the Word. It falls on them- they are restricted by their own affections, by their own defects. Pity them, pray for them, but don’t blame yourself for them.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Selected Sunday Scriptures

Saturday Saints- #114

Our letter for the day is “G”, and thus we have as our saint Pope Gelasius I:

Pope Gelasius I (died 19 November 496) was Pope from 1 March 492 to his death in 496. He was probably the third and last Bishop of Rome of North African origin in the Catholic Church. Gelasius was a prolific writer whose style placed him on the cusp between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Gelasius had been closely employed by his predecessor Felix III, especially in drafting papal documents. His ministry was characterized by a call for strict orthodoxy, a more assertive push for papal authority, and increasing tension between the churches in the West and the East.

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

pope-st-gelasius-i

3 Comments

Filed under Saturday Saints

Pulling The Plug #2: Slow And Steady

My series on helping people “unplug” continues. Part 1 can be found here.

Today I want to talk about pacing. What I have noticed about myself is that I, at first, had a tendency to drop too much truth on folks at once. This was a mistake. Some things to keep in mind about helping people unplug:

  • The truth isn’t necessarily easy to understand- some concepts are rather complicated.
  • The truth isn’t necessarily easy to accept- getting someone to reevaluate their whole world-view is easier said than done.
  • There is a lot to process, and the more you throw at someone, the harder it is to process.

All of this leads to the simple conclusion that you should take the slow and steady approach when helping someone. Resist the urge to give them everything at once. Instead of bombarding them (which rarely works), pick one or two areas to focus on. Then keep at them, introducing them to more and more concepts over time. Eventually they will really grasp something. Once you have that, move on.

Something to keep in mind is that when you help folks really grasp certain ideas, they can use that new mental framework to learn more on their own. One idea leads to the next. But this only works when they really understand that first concept.

I know there is a lot of demand for a comprehensive approach to the Red Pill, especially for Christians. A comprehensive “guide” would be a huge boon, certainly. But not for new folks. Rather, it is most useful to those who are trying to guide others, as a resource to fall back on. Throwing a book at someone, when that book will challenge  some really deeply held beliefs, is rarely a successful method of educating someone, or convincing them.

Take it easy when teaching. Slow and steady worked for the tortoise, and it can work for you too.

8 Comments

Filed under Red Pill

Selected Sunday Scriptures- #112

Today’s post begins with this passage from the gospel of Luke:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
    and serve only him.’”

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    to protect you,’

11 and

‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

(Luke 4:1-13)

While re-reading this passage again, I was struck by the particular avenues of attack that the Evil One used. He offers Jesus different things- just as he “offers” us certain “gifts” in exchange for turning our backs on God.

He first starts by focusing on base, material concerns- our appetites, in this case quite literally with Jesus’ hunger. Jesus, being both fully man and fully God, experienced hunger just as we do. And that ache would have been pretty intense after 40 days. But at the same time Jesus knows that there is more to our life than just satisfying material needs. St. Paul touches on this in his letter to the Philippians:

17 Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

(Philippians 3:17-19)

The second attack that the Adversary makes is by offering all earthly authority to Jesus. This is an attack via pride and greed. Again, as a man, Jesus experienced the same sense of ego and desire that we all experience. But He rejected those desires, for they ultimately lead to naught but ruin. What good is there to gain the world, but lose one’s soul? Such a trade is that of a fool:

16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

(Luke 12:16-21)

Finally, the devil makes a much more curious kind of attack. It is harder to explain- the devil is seemingly trying to pervert the protection and help that we know God gives us by making us squander that help, or use it in appropriately. In particular, by putting God to the test. It seems to me that putting God to the test is particularly sinful because it is an act of rebellion- we no longer act to serve God, but instead try and make him serve use. Almost like a child trying to order a parent around, as it were. I am curious as to how my readers see this particular test. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

7 Comments

Filed under Selected Sunday Scriptures

Pulling The Plug #1: Sounding Off

This post is the first in my series on how help “unplug” Churchians, as well as Christians who are simply misguided. I am going to try and keep these posts narrowly focused, in order to save myself some time as well as get the most out of ideas developed therein.

For today’s post I start with the beginning-

How do you start to “unplug” someone? How do you convince them to “put on the glasses?”

I think the best foundation is to determine where they stand. Get them to sound off on what truths they already recognize, and what lies they hold dear. Of course, it shouldn’t be an interrogation, or a real demand that they list every single thing they believe which is connected to the ideas discussed in the ‘sphere. Rather, try and figure it out over several conversations. Ask about related subjects, or RP subjects, and carefully get a feel for what someone believes.

The reason I suggest this is because you need to know where someone is already good, where they are really bad, and where they need improvement, but perhaps are already moving in the right direction. Once you know where they stand, you can begin in earnest.

I recommend beginning your “active unplugging” by reaffirming with them the truth that they already accept. Focus on it at first. Emphasize how you both agree on this matter. Get them to involve themselves in discussions on it, so that they feel invested in the topic. Once invested, it will be harder for them to reject the implications those truths point towards.

Also, getting someone to agree with themselves is usually not terribly difficult (shocking, right?). But in all seriousness, this makes it a good and easy way to start. You can start to get a feel for both your own knowledge, as well as what techniques work best to convince someone. Once you have built a rapport with someone, then you can move to the next step with a greater likelihood of success.

9 Comments

Filed under Blue Pill, Christianity, Churchianity, Red Pill, The Church

Pulling The Plug

[Alternate title: Putting on the Glasses]

In my post Never Enough reader/commenter Coastal suggested that I write a post “helping Churchians’s ‘unplug’ would be great, along with examining how swallowing the ‘pill’ tends to change your relationships with others in a church setting.” It is quite a good idea, and one that I intend to pursue.

However, that is a lot to cover. More than would reasonably fit in a single post. And it would be difficult to have the comments flow together. So I am going to start a new series about how to help men accept the “Red Pill” or unplug or put the glasses on. [Use whatever analogy suits your preference.] At the same time I  will have a side post (or series), which focused on how unplugging affects Church relationships.

I hope to have the first post up soon.

7 Comments

Filed under Blue Pill, Christianity, Churchianity, Red Pill, The Church

Never Enough

I was in a conversation recently at church in which the discussion turned towards Christians who held (what those present) considered to be pretty obviously heretical beliefs. Several of the men present (it was an all male conversation) expressed a belief that ignorance was the biggest problem. They felt that if people were better educated it would got a long way towards solving the problem.

I disagreed. In my opinion it isn’t a lack of received truth on most people’s part. The problem is found in the heart, not the mind. No amount of proof will work for them. Case in point:

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

(Luke 16:19-31)

You can tell people the truth, you can show them the truth, but if they don’t want to accept it, and its implications, they will simply reject it, and choose a more preferable interpretation. That is not to say that ignorance is good- it isn’t. We are called to tell the Truth, even if we know people will reject it. Sometimes error really is a product of ignorance- that was my case for much of my life.

The key is not to be disheartened when people do reject the Truth (in whatever form and case it may be).

Naturally enough, this also applies to the “Red Pill.” Of course, the Red Pill isn’t really “truth” per se. Rather, it is merely an exposure to the fact that one has been living a lie. (NSR has a good write-up on that here.) But all the same- plenty of folks will choose the lie, even after they have been told (and shown) it to be a lie. For them, there is never enough evidence to support your argument (whatever it may be). All you can do is carry on.

14 The mind of a fool is like a broken jar;
    it can hold no knowledge.

(Sirach 21:14)

10 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, God, Moral Agency, The Church