The High Ground

I came to an epiphany recently, and I lay the blame at Cane Caldo’s feet. Three of his recent posts made something “CLICK” inside my head and I can’t let go of it. The three posts are the following:

Real Men Don’t Impede Her Desires

Her Buck Stops Here

A Caned Response to the Nashville StatementsA Caned Response to the Nashville Statements

Read all three (they aren’t that long) before continuing. The rest will make a lot more sense that way. Each one, in its own way, address the nature of men and women, and how we are to relate to each other. A (very) brief summary of them could be as follows:

  • Men are no longer able to tell women No in any meaningful way
  • Men can no longer enforce male spaces, and in fact none exist in any meaningful way
  • Men in Christian leadership positions (and in general) won’t teach the truth about women in marriage in any meaningful way

The bit in particular which was the “light bulb” moment for me was this:

Where is the article in which they deny that wives should be irreverent, rebellious, or usurpers? Where do they affirm that wives are to be sexually available to their husbands except for agreement of a limited time? What is more important to marriage than that the wife be submissive to her husband? These are serious and timely issues of marriage worthy of writing in these statements; more so than sodomy and transgenderism.

Cane is right, these are more serious issues. And I think I understand why. Perhaps he has already figured this out, or maybe I am going beyond the scope of his original idea. But everything makes sense to me now. You see, you cannot win on issues like “gay marriage” or “transgenderism” after yielding up the high ground in this battle.

Let me explain.

To begin with, high ground often has two different common meanings. The first is a “safe place”, out of the reach of danger. The second is a height which has strategic military value. It is the second meaning I intend. After all, we are in a war- a spiritual war. Now, the war has already been won, thankfully. However, the fighting has yet to stop. In some respects it is like the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. It was fought after the war officially ended. And while it didn’t change the outcome of the war, it was still meaningful to the men who fought in it. And so it is today- we are fighting a battle in a war the enemy has already lost. But he can still inflict casualties- take souls – and so he fights on. No surprise, really- he was a murderer from the beginning.

The strategic high ground in this battle was twofold- the nature of men and women, and the rights, roles and responsibilities of men and women in marriage. Those two things were places to make a last stand- a metaphorical hill to die on. Unfortunately, they were yielded to the enemy generations ago. And when they were, the battle was lost at that point.

Why are they necessary positions to hold? To begin with, they lay the foundations for any defense of everything to come after. Lets start with “transgenderism.”

The whole point of that particular “theory” is that there are no fixed genders. Male and female, man and woman, are social constructs. They exist because society says they exist. Take that away, and people revert to whatever they want.  On an intellectual level, a strong, vigorous defense of the nature of the masculine and the feminine will over course reveal this to be the rubbish it is. But as is the case with so many things in life, personal experiences which shape someone will trump intellectual argument.

For transgenderism to succeed, people need to grow up where man and woman don’t really mean much. And how do you get that? Simple- you create a society with the following:

  • No task or vocations or opportunities, and so on, which are the sole prerogative of men or women.
  • Men and women are interchangeable in the various roles and positions which people occupy in life.
  • You eliminate any spaces which are reserved for men or women.
  • You eliminate any activities which are reserved for men or women.

And on and on.

When this is the society you have- the society we have today- then men and women essentially become interchangeable- fungible even. If that is the case, then the concepts of “man” and “woman” will lose any sense of meaning in the minds of those exposed to it. And this is what everyone is exposed to these days, especially youth. It should come as no surprise that “transgenderism” is on the rise right now. They don’t see any real difference between men and women, save minor biological differences, and those can be changed by surgery. The truth is, “transgenderism” was an inevitable byproduct of this organization of society. It was just a matter of time.

Let’s look now “gay marriage” in the context of the rights, roles and responsibilities of men and women in marriage. In the past they were clearly defined. Now, no one dares to defend any real difference whatsoever. At least, a meaningful difference. What is the end result of this? Well, when men and women have the same rights, roles and responsibilities, they become… you guessed it, fungible. They can be swapped out without changing the fundamental makeup of the marriage unit. After all, husband and wife are both equal, right? And since they are equal, they both can do whatever needs doing, right? And are deserving of equal, well, everything, right? In that context husband and wife are no longer meaningful terms.

Instead husband and wife are replaced in the minds of people with “spouse 1” and “spouse 2” [Update: Reader Lost Patrol suggests Partner 1 and Partner 2 work better, and I agree. I’m going to update the rest of the post to fit that.] And of course if mother and father are also essentially the same- equal- then they are likewise fungible. And so you get “parent 1″ and parent 2.” Well, if spouse/parent replaces husband/father and wife/mother, you get some interesting outcomes. Because, after all, if marriage in the eyes of people is Partner1 + Partner 2, then does it really matter who happens to be Partner 1 and Partner 2? Of course not! It is all about two people who love each other who decide to becomes spouses.

And when you think about it, there isn’t really any reason to restrict it to just two spouses together. After all, love is the important part, right? As long as you have that, the nature and number of spouses doesn’t really matter. Dwell on where that line of thinking will take you.

I could continue at length, but I think I’ve made my point. Without a viable, effective and vocal defense of those two principles, nothing else can be defended. The battle will be lost- guaranteed. And it isn’t merely about logic. In fact, I believe that logic takes a distant backseat compared to the way that people’s common experiences affect their perception of the issues. Those experiences shape their views to a degree that rational argument never does.

If Christians want to have any, and mean any chance of turning this battle around, then those two strategic positions must be re-taken. There is no other recourse.

 

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48 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, Femininity, Marriage, Marriage Market Place, Masculinity, Men, Red Pill, Sin, The Church, Women

48 responses to “The High Ground

  1. A couple of years ago, I had written a post on Morally Contextualized Romance about why sacramental form matters and then latter “peak subjectivity,” both of which explore this same problem.

    Yes, “spouse 1” and “spouse 2” is what we have now. And no vocations are allowed to be thought of as sacred spaces for the sexes. But as you say, the corrections will be made over time, as reality rears its ugly head.

    And it will probably be very ugly indeed.

    The secular gamers who talk about a future where civilization crashes and all that is left is a tiny number of “alphas” hording everything and millions of thirsty “betas” left out in the cold comes to mind.

    If not something quite that dramatic and dystopic, something else I guess.

  2. Scott, I am sure those posts impacted my thinking in the past. This has been a slow process of gaining awareness; one that occasionally brings dividends. This post was the result of one of those windfalls.

    For me, the real important and striking lesson is that I know now not to worry or care much about the “leading” issues of the day. Not because they don’t matter, but because nothing can be done about them until the high ground is retaken.

  3. There is a sense in which the seamless garment theory is correct; we can’t give up on any aspect of the truth without giving up on other things. Some truths are more important or logically prior to others (the difference between the sexes is logically prior to a condemnation of homosexuality), but no truth is an island.

  4. I think you need to go back further, DG. It won’t matter if people take up these 2 principles when basic Christian principles are tossed aside. Why should people believe in the nature of marriage or gender spheres if they don’t uphold the foundations of the faith? Or choose to decide what is sacred based on their feelings and if they screwed up?

    The Helpful Reminder post sparked some connections and thinking for me, and I think it’s worth connecting to this post. America is a pagan country, and if we have pagans claiming to be Christian– and therefore cherry picking what they deem are the “best” qualities of Christianity, while tossing aside the rest (a very American quality, if you ask me), we can’t be surprised at the state of the country. See TimFinnegan’s comment.

  5. Maea:

    What basic Christian principles have been tossed aside? And who has tossed them aside? Is it your contention that men who frequent this blog have tossed basic Christian principles aside?

  6. deti, where have I said any of that?

  7. By “that” I mean the contention. I was speaking broadly, and thought I made my ideas clear.

  8. Lost Patrol

    DG

    I had a very similar experience bouncing between Cane’s blog and Scott’s on those subjects. I thought I pretty much had most of the picture with secular and church feminism from reading in the men’s sphere, and I could compare it easily to what I saw around me. But I find that I still have blind spots, my decades long acculturation process has been so effective.

    Can’t say I feel much better about my enhanced understanding of how far we’ve gone round the bend in the ways you’ve highlighted, but that’s war, as you say.

    Spouse 1 and 2. I see even this replaced more and more by “partner”. My partner this, my partner that. Handily covers all the bases no matter who, or what…

  9. Soon to be replaced by “one of my partners.”

  10. @ Tim

    True, ideas do not exist in a vacuum apart from one another. However, some are more important than others. And this isn’t about just ideas- it is about experience and frame of reference, too.

    @ Maea

    I agree with you on the importance of restoring Christian principles. Although I would argue that these two areas *are* Christian principles, or areas which the Faith covers. In fact, I would say that they are foundational, even.

    All the same, consider the fact that (to the best of my knowledge) even other pagan cultures haven’t gone as far down the rabbit hole as we have here in the West. The key difference in our cultures appears to be in those two areas.

    @ Deti

    Maeve was talking about society/culture at large. Not anything so limited as the ‘sphere. Or accusing anyone in it of doing that (although I would argue that many do, its a post for another day).

    @ Lost Patrol

    Yeah, Partner 1 and Partner 2 does fit better, given all that is going on. I will update the post accordingly.

  11. anonymous_ng

    @Donal All the same, consider the fact that (to the best of my knowledge) even other pagan cultures haven’t gone as far down the rabbit hole as we have here in the West. The key difference in our cultures appears to be in those two areas.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    We are all familiar with that line, and in many substantive ways, it serves as a cornerstone of our society, and it’s patently crap. There’s not a one of us that looks around in honesty and concludes that all men are created equal.

    Yes, I know that’s not exactly how it was meant.

    However, by twisting the meaning of that phrase, we’ve arrived at the place we are now, where man is fungible. Where the talented is of no more worth than the base.

    This is the downside of it. The upside is all the good that came about by seeing the Godly worth of man regardless of his station, or talent.

  12. Anonymous Reader

    Donal
    Yeah, Partner 1 and Partner 2 does fit better, given all that is going on. I will update the post accordingly.

    There are states that issue birth certificates for newborns listing “Parent 1” and “Parent 2”. This is not merely some custom of speaking, this is now embedded into the legal system. The world is changing faster than most of us truly appreciate or understand.

    Now, as to the main topic. I’ve a few words to offer, resulting from about 8 years of reading, thinking, observing and arguing.

    What you are referring to is a fundamental tenet of feminism; that men and women are exactly the same except women bear children. The interchangeable nature is a priori assumed as part of the larger Tabula Rasa belief. In the contest between nature and nurture, it’s nurture 100% and nature 0%. No one actually lives like that for very long, ironically. Even the feminists I knew years ago who tried to raise children “unisex” failed to even dent the inborn proclivities of boys and girls.

    The fact that both ongoing science and observable reality of the common sense variety contradict it is of no importance. The blank slate ought to be true, therefore if we all pretend it is so, it will be true – this is one of the unspoken premises of the age. It is also a source of cognitive dissonance, in which we pretend that girls are as strong as boys but give them modified physical goals to meet, thereby admitting they aren’t as strong. Lather, rinse and repeat across the social landscape.

    I have not read any of the postings linked. Nevertheless it is obvious that making men and women interchangeable must perforce erode any uniqueness, leading in time to the current mania for genital mutilation as a “cure” for what is clearly a mental health issue.

    The biological differences between men and women are more obvious every day; no link handy but the actual structure of the brain is deeply affected by estrogen or testosterone. We think differently, men and women, because our brains are different, physically different. As that reality seeps into more common knowledge, even to high school biology, the blank slate will get written on more and more.

    Churches have surrendered to Feminism one by one for generations. It’s not just since the 1970’s. It’s not just since the 1960’s. It was going on in the 1920’s. If you are active in a church, what should you do?

    Push back however you can where you can. Start in your own house, your own mind. If you are not actively resisting feminism, you are passively accepting it. Push back to your family. Push back to church committes. Resist, because what else is there to do?

  13. @Donal

    You see, you cannot win on issues like “gay marriage” or “transgenderism” after yielding up the high ground in this battle.

    Nailed it. In turn, I learned this from Dalrock.

    There are degrees, though. The Homosexual Movement back in the 90s and 00s should have been the moment when Christians said to themselves, “Wait a minute…what have we done with marriage and sex roles?” By then it was too late. The sodomite revolution was probably a point of no return; at least without real strife. That was a planned strategy perfectly executed by libertines. This tranny stuff is just more fallout.

  14. Novaseeker

    Yes.

    The problem that the churches have with resisting gay marriage and trans stuff is that they cooperated with much of the sexual revolution as it pertains to most of the population — i.e., straight people. So, the churches more or less tolerate rampant pre-marital sex (I mean, everyone knows most couples marrying have had sex with each other and likely with others as well and this doesn’t cause anyone to even bat an eyelash), abandonment of sex roles in marriage, adoption of the norms of “hedonic marriage” as compared with “role/duty marriage”, and so on.

    When you do this over the course of several decades, you lose the war because if you make straight marriage into a certified love relationship (which, as Dalrock brilliantly pointed out a few years ago, is actually morally justified by the presence of shared romantic love), you can’t deny that to gay people. Gay people fall in love, too, after all. When you have debunked sex roles in marriage, you can’t use that argument against SSM or trans, because you’ve already permitted straight people to abandon role-based marriage. When you turn a blind eye to the rampant sexual baccanal that is taking place in straight culture (and even straight Christian culture), you can’t criticize the baccanal that typifies gay relations. Basically all of these arguments were lost when the churches tolerated and went along with these behaviors among straights — because then the only reason for singling out gays and trans for doing the same or similar things was because they were not straight, and of course that argument won’y fly.

    The core issue is not SSM or trans. It’s what the church did, or didn’t do, in response to the straight sexual revolution. I am not sure that can be reversed at this point — the rot is too deep in most places. There is very little will or interest among clergy or laity to confront people on these issues because many don’t even see them as issues any longer. The sexual revolution has largely won the temporal battle at this point, I think. Pockets of resistance will persist, but I don’t foresee a largescale pushback against it — it’s too ingrained in the fabric of typical, mainstream straight life at this point to be changed, even among Christians.

  15. It is important to understand Novaseekers point here.

    If “love” is the only criterion that makes a marriage valid, the rest is quibbling over “irrational” details.

    There is no reason 3 women, 2 men, 4 transsexuals and a fish cannot be “married.” The love each other. Who are we to judge?

  16. So, the churches more or less tolerate rampant pre-marital sex (I mean, everyone knows most couples marrying have had sex with each other and likely with others as well and this doesn’t cause anyone to even bat an eyelash),

    You say “churches” but in reality, I think it’s “parents”. Churches are made up of families, after all.

    When my husband and I went to my father about our intentions to marry (we skipped the whole “asking her hand” thing because my father knew that circumstances made that moot), he siad to his ‘baby girl’: “You should skip all that and just go to the courthouse. I hoped for this to go differently, but since you already started a family, ain’t no way I’m going to pay for a wedding. Understand. This is not a statement of can’t I can pay for one, but I will not to do it. I expected more from you than this. There are few things more heartbreaking to a father than this.”

    In the end, my husband decided that we would pay for it because it was something he felt his family needed, a pivot from their recent trauma and grief. So we had our wedding, my daddy walked me down the aisle (in a suit from his closet because he was not pitching in, not even money for a rented tux), and that was that.

    All that to say, there was no exception made just because it was his baby girl. None. In the end family love smoothed things out but he didn’t abandon his principles.

    Fast forward 22 years: At my twins’ graduation, outside there was a beautiful blonde graduate with her family taking photos next to ours. At some point she deicded to take a picture in her grad hat and dress, without the graduation gown. When she took off the gown, she was wearing something VERY similar to this (I wish I was exaggerating):

    http://www.yandy.com/Low-Cut-Mini-Dress-with-Cinched-Ties-on-Sides.php

    Her father (father!) stood on one side of her, her mother on the other, and her sibling took the picture. It was all I could do to keep a straight face. My dad thought wearing pants to church was tantamount to dressing like I was going to a night club.

    My point? Every church I have ever been around and every Christian I have ever been aquainted with went to a church where fornication was considered a sin, and unambiguously so. Churches are not the problem here. At least not on that score.

    On the divorce problem? Yeah, churches are culpable. On the choreplay and hedonic vs. duty based marriage? Yes. But the real culprit here is laissez-faire Christian parents who fail to set a standard early on which prepares their children for Christian marriage.

    And Maea is right about the church dropping the ball on a lot of other things besides this (from materialism to embracing moral therapeutic deism) long before she got around to dropping the ball on marriage and relationships.

  17. Elspeth-

    I cannot imagine an American Christian father, outside maybe Cane Caldo himself treating a pregnant/not married daughter that way, so your experience may be unique. Every man I know, and probably even myself would buckle under the pressure to white knight in that situation–where “white knighting” is defined as “giving a woman a pass and not holding her accountable for a situation she caused herself.”

    The temptation in men to do that is something I cannot describe to a woman in its intensity. The reward is fleeting, but it feels really good. I am just being honest.

    You were a lucky girl, in that regard by the way. To have a father willing to tell you “no” when that’s exactly what you needed. What a blessing.

    But your point is valid, I think, for the most part. Families are not doing this right.

    Where you are a little off is this–church leaders absolutely will not stand behind a dad who behaves the way yours did when the rubber meets the road. They may preach against fornication and other illicit sexual expression, but it is a very abstract preaching. In real life situations, the girl will always get a pass.

    I suppose there may be some evolutionary purpose to the fact that men have developed the desire to save every crying woman they come across. I can’t figure out, for the life of me, what purpose it serves in the current cultural context though.

  18. On a side, related note. One of the main reasons my site exists is for men (especially married dads) to come and encourage each other not to do stuff like that.

  19. You were a lucky girl, in that regard by the way. To have a father willing to tell you “no” when that’s exactly what you needed. What a blessing.

    I agree. I know my father loved me -knew it even then- and I know he didn’t relish that moment at all. He was just a man of principle who didn’t believe that his love for someone should override what was right.

    My point, of course, is that this is the kind of thing that collapsed the church’s ability to hold the high ground on marriage. If a church teaches the truth on a thing (and they almost all do on issues of sexual sin) that can only go so far if it isn’t reinforced by parents of teens and young adults.

    How many parents have a change of heart on SSM when they fnd out they have a gay kid? A lot of them. So of course they ignore or capitulate when it comes to their children’s happiness, whatever that may mean from one child to the next.

  20. thedeti

    The temptation in men to do that [white knight] is something I cannot describe to a woman in its intensity. The reward is fleeting, but it feels really good. I am just being honest.

    Yeah. Men have a visceral, reflexive need to protect a woman who is either vulnerable or in distress. Resisting it causes a lot, A LOT, of discomfort and it really does make people look askance at you, as in “what is wrong with you? Can’t you see this woman needs help?”

  21. If a church teaches the truth on a thing (and they almost all do on issues of sexual sin) that can only go so far if it isn’t reinforced by parents of teens and young adults.

    Yes; and they have to be taken seriously in the small things as well as the big things or it’s never going to sink in, and it has to start young.

  22. Pingback: Salt and Light | Christianity and masculinity

  23. This is pretty much the “Salt and Light” that Jesus describes in Matt 5. Just wrote a follow up post on yours.

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/salt-and-light/

    Christians are too focused on “judging” those outside the Church and not mainly focused on fixing/judging any of the glaring problems within it.

    Those problems range to pretty much everything: Not adhering to Biblical roles and responsibilities, not calling out wives rebellion, feminizing men/husbands, divorce rates, romantic love > sex, and whatever else that we’ve discussed extensively throughout all of our collective blogs.

    If “Christian marriage” looks exactly like the world’s… there ain’t no Salt or Light.

  24. DS-

    Also an excellent point. When people starting talking about “marriage” or the way married people behave I really have to narrow the scope pretty quickly. I really don’t care how 99% of marriages function, because I am pretty sure they aren’t Christians. Sure, they go to church, sing the songs, whatever. But how many of them have even a cursory understanding of the sacrament, as the Apostles and the Fathers understood it.

    Half of the time I don’t, and I study it all the time.

  25. Where you are a little off is this–church leaders absolutely will not stand behind a dad who behaves the way yours did when the rubber meets the road.

    Christians are too focused on “judging” those outside the Church and not mainly focused on fixing/judging any of the glaring problems within it.

    I think what Scott and DS said points to the fact we can’t rely on church leaders to always stand firm. I’ve accepted the fact that we as laypeople have to be the ones supporting those who are willing to stand up and be firm, and then collectively demand (or protest) leadership. Nienstedt left his new post after parents protested and threatened to pull tuition funding from St. Philip’s, but it’s sad it had to get to that point for leadership to recognize the problem.

  26. Lost Patrol

    How many parents have a change of heart on SSM when they fnd out they have a gay kid? A lot of them. So of course they ignore or capitulate when it comes to their children’s happiness, whatever that may mean from one child to the next.

    Quite right. When the theoretical becomes personal reality everything changes for most people. Recently observed a church deacon and his wife (who is in charge of the women’s ministry at her church) that were confronted with a daughter, yep daughter, that wanted to marry a single mother in a church wedding ceremony. Their church did not host it, but the ceremony took place supported by the parents, who announced they were “choosing love over hate”.

    A lot of this is tied up in an issue that has been covered before. Many churches have elevated niceness to high virtue, and relegated not-nice to grievous sin. Makes it hard to take a stand.

  27. Novaseeker

    It’s a fair point that this has to do with parents to a large degree. I will say, on that point, that in the Catholic and Orthodox churches at least (which are the ones I am experienced with), the sexual teachings are “on the books”, but are almost never preached — like *at all*. So, it isn’t really being taught much by the Church itself, although anyone who cares to look at the official teachings will easily find it.

    I think that parents are behaving the way they do because their commitment to Christianity is weak and often culturally conditioned. I do not think this is new. I think in the past it was simply the case that typical bourgeois mores in the US lined up more closely (not perfectly) with traditional Christian mores, and so it was fairly easy to follow traditional Christian mores with a weak faith, because those more or less matched the bourgeois mores that most people were following anyway. There were always rebels in these earlier times as well, but most people in any scenario are not rebels.

    Today, bourgeois mores are fairly different from traditional Christian morals on things like sex and marriage, so we see most people, who have the same weak faith most people always did, following those bourgeois mores, like most people always did — the difference is that in doing so, they are diverging from traditional Christian morals on sex and marriage. In other words, people are doing more or less the same thing in terms of going with the flow of bourgeois mores that their social class practices around them — that isn’t new. What’s new is that those mores are much less closely aligned with traditional Christian morals than they were in the past. This brings into stark relief where people actually are in terms of faith — not very strong, not very committed, and more “suburban bourgeois with Christianity on top” than actually Christian.

    The Church was ill-equipped to deal with this, because it didn’t really deal with the situation when the bourgeois mores more closely aligned with traditional Christian morals either. When those began to diverge, yet the people still kept going to church, the churches didn’t enact discipline to deal with the situation, but simply let it pass — because it didn’t know, or had forgotten about, how to deal with a situation where its morals were no longer very close to bourgeois mores. That is where the churches fell down here — they tolerated this shift among their memberships to a huge degree such that it is now ingrained.

    The problem may “fix itself” by means of membership drain. the young are not particularly religiously affiliated, as we know, meaning that church membership as a kind of “bourgeois lifestyle accoutrement” is fading. That will result in a smaller, but more faithful church, I think, in the medium term.

  28. MK

    E, You say “churches” but in reality, I think it’s “parents”.

    Again, there are no “churches”. They all lack similar values on practical, critical beliefs, both on paper or in practice. In fact, the ability of modern folk to talk like this, to pretend self-described Christians share meaningful values, is strangely bizarre and part of the problem. Doctrine and belief matters, and when we think it doesn’t, the doors come off.

    N, the sexual teachings are “on the books”, but are almost never preached — like *at all*

    You are too generous. I’ve heard lots of sermons lately on all the key sexual issues: premarital sex, birth control. gay marriage. I’ve seen people walk out, too. But this preaching doesn’t change practice. Why? Because preaching without active, real community is a joke. Preaching isn’t enough and never has been. Families either walk the walk or don’t, and have nobody to blame but themselves.

    Scott: Every man I know…would buckle under the pressure to white knight in that situation [defined as “giving a woman a pass and not holding her accountable]”

    Sorry. I have no such qualms. My daughters are held accountable by me. And they know it, and have known it since day one. But I agree most American men think women can do no wrong. Makes. Me. Sick.

    Maea, I’ve accepted the fact that we as laypeople have to be the ones supporting those who are willing to stand up

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m tired of the constant complaint about religious leaders, church, families, preaching, law, society, gay marriage, whatever. There is ZERO reason people can’t live the traditional faith today. None. Times have never been easier or better for families to withdraw and do their own thing.

  29. Novaseeker

    I’ve seen people walk out, too. But this preaching doesn’t change practice. Why? Because preaching without active, real community is a joke. Preaching isn’t enough and never has been. Families either walk the walk or don’t, and have nobody to blame but themselves.

    Well, but it bears remembering that the overwhelming majority, as in 90%+, of the laity in the Catholic Church in North America rebelled against Humanae Vitae beginning in the 1960s. Basically, once that happened, the North American laity decided that it wouldn’t listen to the clergy any longer when it came to matters sexual. The abuse scandal reinforced that, such that the laity, at least most of it, really doesn’t think that the Church has much of a legitimate voice on sexual issues at all. Period. And that has a significant impact on their willingness to care about any of this stuff. There’s a reason a majority of Catholics in the US are pro-abortion and pro-SSM — they have been in rebellion for decades and continue to be. That *is* the community, outside of pockets of resistance.

    Times have never been easier or better for families to withdraw and do their own thing.

    And therein lies the problem. When it requires people to withdraw and do their own thing, only a tiny minority will do that. Again, as I said above, most of the church is always comprised of weak believers who are going with the flow. When the cultural flow is more aligned with the church’s morals, the majority who are going with the flow are also going to be close to the church’s morals. When the cultural flow isn’t aligned with the church’s morals, the majority who are going with the cultural flow aren’t going to be close to the church’s morals. So, yes, the faithful ones are going to have to withdraw from the culture in light of their faith and practice — but when that is basically required to do so, only a tiny minority will do it. Most people are not going to withdraw from the culture, especially when the percentage of people in their church, as is the case with Catholics, are *not* doing so.

  30. Elspeth

    Again, there are no “churches”. They all lack similar values on practical, critical beliefs, both on paper or in practice.

    Clearly, I live in a bubble. Excepting the “churches” that everyone knows are a joke (mainliners and SSM, Unitarians, etc), I don’t know any Christians -and we have a fairly diverse Christian social/educational circle- the critical beliefs are the same with regards to sexuality. All aspects of it.

    Not interested in the “Protestants aren’t really Christians” debate, if that’s what this is.

  31. anonymous_ng

    I figure that it boils down to that the church has no temporal power, and as a result, there are basically no temporal consequences to leaving the church, or ignoring the church’s teachings.

    We live in Corinth now, not Jersusalem. In Jerusalem, the Jews were a super-majority, and leaving aside God’s plan for redemption, Christ was cruxified because of the threat He posed to the Jewish establishment, and on Pilate’s part to appease the subject people.

    In Corinth, the Christians were a minority along side all the other minority religions etc, and if I can extrapolate, I expect that the rulers had a fairly simple philosophy for the residents “Pay your taxes, and don’t cause trouble, and we’ll get along just fine.”

    That’s the world we live in now.

    Did I just repeat what Nova said? Probably.

    If you care about religion, you can find a “Christian” church that will cater to whatever heresies you want to believe. Then, you can go to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that you’re a good person, going to Heaven, and not have to change a single thing about your life.

  32. This:

    I figure that it boils down to that the church has no temporal power, and as a result, there are basically no temporal consequences to leaving the church, or ignoring the church’s teachings

    and this:

    If you care about religion, you can find a “Christian” church that will cater to whatever heresies you want to believe. Then, you can go to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that you’re a good person, going to Heaven, and not have to change a single thing about your life.

    Are why I think you are more likely to find Orthodox Christians to be less concerned about “separation of church and state” issues because it is in our theology to understand that there is really no such thing. Church and state will always be in conflict because they compete for the same thing–the authority to tell us what is right and wrong.

    We tend to be more comfortable talking about alternative forms of governance (alternative to “rights” based forms).

  33. MK

    I don’t know any Christians -and we have a fairly diverse Christian social/educational circle- the critical beliefs are the same with regards to sexuality. All aspects of it.

    Give. Me. A. Break. Probably less than 5% of Christians today believe what traditional Christians have believed on sexual issues. Divorce and birth control at the top of the list; both have historically been considered a mortal sin (like, hell without repentance and confession) by all Christians. Probably less than 10% of the people on this very thread believe these absolutely critical beliefs (these aren’t my personal “critical” beliefs, they are factually required to have a working marriage and self-replacing family culture.

    Not interested in the “Protestants aren’t really Christians” debate, if that’s what this is.

    Where to you get this Prot/RC obsession?

  34. When I said it’s up to laypeople to stand up, I wasn’t talking about completely removing one’s self from the larger culture. I meant we’re supposed to support those who take a stand to uphold Christian truths and problems within the church. So yes, it is up to us to do what we can instead of constantly complaining about how bad things are.

    I see a practical problem with complete removal from society. Families cannot be their own island. The atomization of families led to these problems, and why people rebel. If they don’t have to answer to anyone else, what is there to ensure order and structure? It’s a lost cause.

  35. MK

    M: When I said it’s up to laypeople to stand up, I wasn’t talking about completely removing one’s self from the larger culture. I meant we’re supposed to support those who take a stand to uphold Christian truths and problems within the church.

    Never conflate “church” and “culture” today; American culture (TV, movies, lifestyle, sports, food) are simply not conducive to living historical Christianity in community. This is nothing new; Christians throughout history were and are mostly counter-cultural, starting with Acts.

    I see a practical problem with complete removal from society. Families cannot be their own island.

    Never had a problem here. Of course nobody is completely removing one’s self from the larger culture. Ridiculous idea; even Mennonites, Mormons, & Muslims are economically & community engaged. But their life, energy, and time is among their family & relatives first, friends, local community and church second. Myself, I’ve never understood this common complaint about isolation; I think it stems from small family size plus individualism, where then isolation is a problem. But larger family groups can’t help but engage the outside world; their problem is they simply don’t have enough hours in the day.

    To clarify my original point: there are no “cultural” or “church” problems except what we create ourselves. Divorce, premarital sex, family selfishness, public near-nudity? Just say no, avert the eyes, and don’t mingle with those who do. Ugly foods & obesity? Just say no to sloth, gluttony, and processed foods. Bad culture & media? Kill your TV & refuse to play. American individualism? Obey the historical Church and pity those who don’t. I see no problems, just solutions. It’s a golden era today for the recreation of culture from the ground up.

  36. I agree what you’ve suggested isn’t that hard. There’s still a problem, MK. Without agreement on what’s considered “the recreation of culture from the ground up,” along with the basic sexual issues (contraception and divorce), we’ll still have problems. There’s too much choice, and for all its problems people still want it.

  37. Without agreement on what’s considered “the recreation of culture from the ground up,” along with the basic sexual issues (contraception and divorce), …

    Most of the disagreement on these matters comes from “Christians” 1) not being motivated to read, and thus remaining ignorant of, what Scripture (often very clearly) says on the matter, or 2) reading the Scriptures and not liking what they read and thus rejecting it out of hand (usually because it clashes with the ways of the World, which they prefer over the Kingdom of Heaven).

  38. Anonymous Reader

    Elspeth
    “You should skip all that and just go to the courthouse

    Every church I have ever been around and every Christian I have ever been aquainted with went to a church where fornication was considered a sin, and unambiguously so.

    With words. It’s pretty easy to hear a sermon all about “sex outside of marriage is a sin”. Not always so easy to see that sermon.

    Remember the time somewhere like Dalrock’s blog I mentioned that I’d been to a shotgun wedding? BIg Baptist church with plenty of family from both sides attending. The bride was a pudgy girl but obviously pregnant. Pretty sure her parents paid for it. Very sure that the big Baptist church was willing to do the full ceremony. So yeah , parents. But.

    How many churches welcome never-married women with one or more children? How many churches treat them as ‘widows’? I can tell you from my social circle, work associates and men I confer with over the web, those numbers are not zero. If fornication is a sin, why do churches welcome women who obviously have practiced it and are still doing so with no conditions?

    So…yeah, it’s churches too. Or at least some.

    In the androsphere, we pay more attention to what people do than to what they say for a reason.

  39. In the mid 90s, there was a couple attending our Church of Christ, and it became known they were not married and living together. The elders confronted (the man) about it and they stopped coming.

    This is same elder board that several years later blamed me for everything that went wrong in my marriage, including being cheated on.

  40. stmichaelkozaki

    Maea: Without agreement on what’s considered “the recreation of culture from the ground up,” along with the basic sexual issues (contraception and divorce), we’ll still have problems. There’s too much choice, and for all its problems people still want it.

    Yep. Well said. I resemble that remark. Personally, I like the ability to navigate dating/marriage/family without pesky interference or busybody’s from the community or even extended family (I wouldn’t trust either). Works well for us. But I do agree it’s lethal to the broader community which seems to need more external guidance. A real tragedy of the commons situation.

    E: Every church and Christian I have ever been aquainted with went to a church where fornication was considered a sin

    Since the cultural boundaries between marriage and “not-marriage” (aka fornication/divorce/remarriage) are purposefully left undefined and are ever changing, your view makes no sense. Hell, I couldn’t even get confirmation on this thread what “fornication” even is. Kissing deeply? Hug? Coping a bit of a feel without a proposal? With one? Living together chastely before marriage? Sex with another after formal separation? What a valid “marriage” or “divorce” even is? Who’s in charge in relationship conflict (man, woman, community, pastor, church)? What happens when one partner honestly changes their mind mid-stream? Certainly you can see the ambiguity. This ain’t just me talking, look at the world around us. Personally, this works for me & mine but I also don’t deny it’s devastating to the community and culture (especially men). Nor do I pretend the rules of the game are clear circa 2017. They ain’t. Everyone must make their own rules, or borrow some, and hope for the best. We are no longer on people.

  41. They ain’t. Everyone must make their own rules, or borrow some, and hope for the best. We are no longer on people.

    Perpetuating the problem isn’t a solution to the problem. It’s clear this is an American feature, and it’s Christians’ fault. “Making it up as you go” isn’t working, and borrowing doesn’t work because what’s effective in one culture doesn’t yield the same in Western culture. In fact, I think a lot of people would balk at the ideas from other cultures, even if they do work. First and foremost, people are too devoted to secular Americanism, than they are Christian culture.

    MK, you said you’d rather “navigate dating/marriage/family without pesky interference or busybody’s from the community or even extended family,” but guess what? That is community and that is culture.

  42. stmichaelkozaki

    Maea, sure, I don’t deny it’s people with my individualistic way of life who made the Western way of life possible. My antidote? As I said above, I borrowed my culture (aka follow the Church) to provide the baseline, minimum unity required for a good life. Why not just look to outside authority whenever conflict or disagreement arises? Works great, and has for 2,000 years in the West, and it allows for maximum freedom, like a fence around a cliff. There is no problem for individualistic folk who are willing to accept, as St. Paul says, the obedience of faith.

  43. Pingback: This Week In Reaction (2017/09/17) - Social Matter

  44. Caspar Reyes

    Not shilling for Toad, but I am reminded of an old post of his (“The Bright Red Line” from 2013; had to look it up), with the same exact idea in nearly the same words:

    “…in the battle against feminism, [the headship authority of the husband over his wife] is the mountain on which men must be willing to take their stand.

  45. Caspar Reyes

    Not knowing how Toad is received here, I didn’t presume that that would be acceptable. Here it is:

    https://artisanaltoadshall.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/the-bright-red-line/

  46. I am no fan of his- but even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  47. stmichaelkozaki

    From Toad article: …to deny the authority of a husband over his wife is to deny the authority of Christ over His church. Nobody will deny that so they look for ways to limit it.

    Toad decries wives holding their own personal interpretation of Scripture regarding obedience to husbands…but then he does the exact same thing when denying Church the authority to interpret the Scriptures regarding marriage (aka sola Scripture). OK, whatever floats his boat. But I sure know where his wife would get the idea of disobedience (especially if she was the following type)! I expect my wife and children to be obedient ONLY because I am obedient. And so they are. Just like my pastor is obedient, my bishop is obedient, and my pope is obedient. To Christ.

    Of course to deny Church authority over marriage via “sola Scripture” necessarily ends the authority of Christ over His Church, as well as a husband’s authority, as religion and marriage merely becomes a “personal Jesus and me” thing with the bible becoming a method of personal justification. Church then becomes an “invisible” church; a bunch of individuals without obedience to anybody but their own egos. Needless to say, their marriages will be a wreck. One reaps what they sow. God is clever but never malicious. He always makes sure the punishment fits the crime.

    Happy All Saint’s Day everyone!

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