Category Archives: God

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope all my American readers have a Happy Thanksgiving.

I give thee thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing thy praise;
I bow down toward thy holy temple
    and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness;
for thou hast exalted above everything
    thy name and thy word.
On the day I called, thou didst answer me,
    my strength of soul thou didst increase.

All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord,
    for they have heard the words of thy mouth;
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
    but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    thou dost preserve my life;
thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies,
    and thy right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    thy steadfast love, O Lord, endures for ever.
    Do not forsake the work of thy hands.

(Psalm 138)

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord is God!
    It is he that made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him, bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures for ever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

(Psalm 100)

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Prayer, Anger And Peace

In my recent Tradition Thursday post, reader Pedat Ebediyah left this comment:

This is hard.

If we plant truth in our hearts, but see evil men sowing their wares, how can we NOT be angry?

In this wicked generation, when we peruse the landscape, how can we not feel some kinda angst in the face of what we see?

Can I pray and STILL be pissed off?

Elspeth then replied with this comment:

I was thinking the same thing when I read that part. I have prayed and asked God to help me NOT be angry about a thing anymore. Is it better when angry not to pray at all? And what about the command to:

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Eph 4:26-27

Emotions, anger especially, are a dangerous thing. They are often but not always one and the same as feelings. Whether separate or not, they are dangerous because they are associated with our Body. Thus, they are tied to the material plane and the effects of sin. Emotions, if we let them control us, take us away from God.

This is why Jesus told us to let go of our anger. If we go to bed angry then that anger will fester within us, and like a rot it will grow. Over time it will consume us. The same goes for any emotion.

It may be shocking to hear for some, but our faith is one that should eschew emotionalism. Emotions cloud the reason, and thereby allow the Evil One to slip past our defenses. They are a weakness, not a strength. Sure some of them can feel good, such as happiness, but again that and any emotion can be deceptive. Plenty of evil works evoked happiness in their makers.

Instead we should be experiencing/demonstrating the fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity. These are things not of this world, but of the spiritual world. Thus, they are both safer and more fulfilling.

Now, to the specific questions:

Can I pray and STILL be pissed off?

If you are praying earnestly, then your anger should abate. You should not aim to be angry after praying. If you are, then your soul is not stilled, and your prayers ineffectual. I recommend praying aloud this part of Psalm 37:

Fret not yourself because of the wicked,
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass,
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your vindication as the light,
    and your right as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off;
    but those who wait for the Lord shall possess the land.

(Psalm 37:1-9)

As for this question:

Is it better when angry not to pray at all?

The answer is no. Quite the opposite, in fact. You should pray when you are angry. You should also pray when sad, or afraid, or experiencing any emotion. We cannot overcome the weaknesses of our flesh on our own. Only God can do this- if we allow him, for He never forces his healing/mercy/love on us. Prayer is an important component of this. You should pray to your Father in Heaven that He give you peace; that you might no longer be troubled.

The Psalms are an excellent source of such prayers. Another that I might recommend would be Psalm 62:

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly moved.

How long will you set upon a man
    to shatter him, all of you,
    like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his eminence.
    They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
    but inwardly they curse. Selah

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah

Men of low estate are but a breath,
    men of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
    they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no confidence in extortion,
    set no vain hopes on robbery;
    if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

11 Once God has spoken;
    twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God;
12     and that to thee, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For thou dost requite a man
    according to his work.

(Psalm 62)

Finally, remember these words of our Savior:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

(John 14:27)

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Filed under God, Sin, State of Nature

Starting With The Right Question

I want to begin this post with a little bit of scripture:

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

(Luke 10:25-37)

Here we have the classic parable of the good Samaritan. I’m sure most of my readers are quite familiar with it. My purpose in mentioning this parable is to examine the lawyer.

You see, the lawyer asks two questions. The first one is good, and I think, honest. The second question is an entirely different matter, however.

When the lawyer asked Jesus “who is my neighbor?”, what do we think his purpose was?

Was the lawyer trying to ensure that he lived out God’s law to the fullest? Did he ask the question ensure he didn’t miss anyone?

Of course not. Scripture tells us that he was looking to justify himself. The lawyer wasn’t asking Jesus that question in order to get what I suppose you could call an “expansive” answer. Rather, the lawyer was trying to use whatever criteria that Jesus mentioned in order to limit those whom he would treat as a neighbor. He didn’t want lots of neighbors, he wanted as few of them as possible. Hence the question.

His goal was to restrict the amount of love he had to show his fellow man. In other words, the lawyer wanted to be miserly with love. And he was counting on Jesus to help him out with this (boy was he in for a surprise).

In short, the lawyer’s heart wasn’t in the right place from the very beginning. And so his question was wrong from the very beginning. A better question, rather than “And who is my neighbor?”, would have been “How can I live out the law to the fullest?” Such a question comes from a heart that is aligned to God.

Whenever we ask a question which concerns living out our faith, we always need to ask it when our heart is in the right place. If God is not first and foremost there- if serving and loving him totally is not our aim and purpose- then our endeavor is corrupt from the start. Whatever comes of it will invariably be twisted in some way.

I mention all of this because Deep Strength has a couple of recent posts concerning submission in marriage: The problems with intelligent submission being the first, and Wifely submission is easy being the second. Both of these posts draw as their origin a simple enough question: “When should I obey my husband?”

It is my belief that this particular question, just like the question of the lawyer, comes from the wrong place in the heart (perhaps intentionally, perhaps unintentionally) . Its purpose is not “How can I live out the law to the fullest?” Rather, the purpose is to limit obedience, to limit that which must be rendered to another. Much in the same way that the lawyer wanted to limit how much love he had to render to his fellow man.

A better question, one arising from a heart aligned with God, would be more along these lines: “Which action now available to me would be most pleasing to God?” Otherwise stated, “What action would be most loving?”

 

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Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, God, Marriage, Moral Agency, Sin, Temptation, Women

Thoughts On Love In Marriage

[My post Background on the Nature of Man will be helpful to understanding this post.]

I have had a long-standing theory about how love works within marriage, although I am not sure that I have ever devoted a post to it on this blog. I doubt it is a new or novel theory, in fact I would be surprised if it was. All the same, I think it is finally worth getting down.

My theory is simple: the best marriages are those which encompass all three major types of love- Eros, Philos and Agapos. When all three are present in marriage- when both husband and wife  express all three towards their spouse, I believe that a marriage is at its healthiest.

To me, this makes sense because the relationship would then extend to all aspects of our being. Eros is connected to our Body. Philos to our Soul. And Agapos is the love of our Spirit. When all three are present, the fullness of our nature is in play.

At the same time, when one of these loves is not present, it is a sign of serious trouble in a marriage.

No Eros? Well then, that means no passion from one of the spouses (or both). [The phrase “I love you but I’m not in love with you” is a sign of a marriage where Eros is gone.] That can mean denial of sex, and the frustration inherent in it. An absence of Eros also leads to greater temptation and danger of leading to all kinds of immorality.

Philos not present? Well, that means there is no friendship and amity in the marriage (or at least from one side of it). Both spouses will likely quarrel, and if not, it will only be because the other is trying to preserve harmony. There will be a lot of hot and cold in this marriage- it will move from moments of great passion to indifference or even enmity.

Agapos missing? Well, for one, that means that the marriage is no longer Christian. Without the self-sacrificing nature of Agapos the marriage will not be able to endure all the trials and tribulations of the world. At least, not unless society gives the spouses no choice on the matter. But in our present age? Without Agapos it will fall apart, sooner or later.

Of all three loves, Agapos is the most important. Only it can withstand everything the world has to throw at a married couple. But just because a couple stays together doesn’t mean the marriage is as healthy as it could or should be. All three loves should be present for a marriage to be as strong as God intended it.

At least, that is how I see it. I invite my readers to offer their own thoughts.

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Filed under Attraction, Blue Pill, Christianity, God, Marriage, Red Pill, State of Nature, Temptation

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)

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

The Problem Before Us And The Problem Ahead Of Us

Today’s post features two related but different subjects. Both relate to the Church, but one is focused on the present and the second on the future. The latter gets most of my attention today.

No Place for Men

Rollo, of the Rational Male, left quite a comment recently in Dalrock’s latest post. It is too long to post in its entirety here, so I will instead post just the beginning:

I think it’s high time men acknowledge that modern Christian culture simply does not have men’s best interests as part of its doctrine anymore. Christianity in particular is for women.

Church culture is openly hostile towards any expression of conventional masculinity that doesn’t directly benefit women and actively conditions men to be serviceable gender-loathing Betas.

I recently read a study that our current generation is the least religious in history and I think as far as men are concerned much of that disdain for religion is attributable to church culture’s constant and open ridicule and debasement of men’s endeavors or anything characteristically masculine.

That’s not an indictment of faith, but rather a fairly measured observation of the way feminine-primary church culture has shaped that faith. In the future, any man with a marginal capacity for critical thought will avoid the church and religion for the obvious misandry it espouses; the only religious men you will find will be those raised into a life of religiously motivated Beta servitude.

While Rollo and I disagree about a lot, I agree with him that most churches are hostile to men. Even further, I agree that women have, to a large degree, captured  most churches and re-purposed them to serve women. Most understand this, to one degree or another, and this is partially responsible for the disdain that most men hold for Christianity.

At the same time, I disagree with Rollo that “any man with a marginal capacity for critical thought will avoid the church and religion.” While most churches are like that, not all are. I happen to attend a Church that is anything but anti-male. Masculinity is not only accepted, but celebrated. Women serve the Church, not the other way around.

Mine is not the only Church like that, either. As a Catholic, I can say that most Traditional Latin Mass Churches and Eastern Catholic churches will be a very different experience from what Rollo describes here. The same can be sound for most Eastern Orthodox Churches. The reason why is such churches are, by their nature, counter-cultural. They are deliberately set apart, and this has helped preserve them, to a degree. If a man is looking to sate his thirst for righteousness, I would encourage him to look there.

But in the meantime, I definitely think that most Protestant Churches will be a hostile environment for men. Nor do I see that changing anytime soon. Mainstream, i.e., liberal Catholic parishes might not have that hostility, at least not yet, but they are getting there. Further, they are already geared up towards serving women.  So avoid them guys. Really, just stay away. As Jesus said, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

The New Catacombs

This brings me to my next subject, the future.

I will be honest with you, I think the near future is going to be very dismal indeed for devout Christians. Persecution is coming. The Church is going to contract greatly as people flee it for the comforts of the secular world. In fact, I suspect that the worst persecutors of the True Faith will be our “fellow Christians”, who will use their zeal to bring us down as proof that they aren’t like us.

Now, the Church has survived persecution before. More than survived, it has flourished there. So I don’t really fear it, both in an abstract sense and in a visceral literal sense of what I might experience.

All the same, I am worried. You see, it is more than just persecution that threatens the Church. It is also a dangerous rot within. This rot has many forms, but what concerns me most is the danger to marriage and the family. Those two, which are really just one and the same, are under attack by the general culture. And that attack has been largely successful, even within the Church.

I have seen for myself, and have heard it from plenty of others (through this blog and off-line) the damage that has resulted. Very few young Christians take marriage seriously. Many express little desire to marry. This is especially prominent, from what I have seen, among Christian women. And this isn’t merely limited to “mainstream” churches, but even more traditional ones too.

The Church had to adapt to survive before. For many Christians, that meant huddling in the Catacombs. Well, that option isn’t really available to us this time. Hiding from the secular world won’t help us when we bring their ideals with us. Before the Church had to adapt to a society that wanted to crush it. Now it has to adapt to deal with a society that has struck at its foundation- the family.

How does the Church manage when many of its youth don’t want to, or can’t marry? For the confessional faiths, Catholics and Orthodox, where will the next generation of clergy come from? Conversion might bring new people in, but rarely are they young couples with a growing family. No, what conversion might do is slow the Church’s shrinking. But until this marriage crisis is resolved, I don’t see it stopping, much less growing again.

I was talking with a priest recently, and he remarked that what the Church needs to turn it around is more good men to marry a good woman and raise a large family of devout and orthodox Christian children. He mentioned that men need to take charge of their families and demonstrate how the faith is meant to be lived out. I agreed with him on this. But then I asked how can we expect things to turn around if good men *can’t* marry good women. I pointed out how few women were actually interested in marrying. He acknowledged this, and really didn’t have an answer for me.

And that really is the crux of it- there is no answer for this. Not now, anyways. We are off the map now, in uncharted territory. The Church needs to find that answer, and soon.

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Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, Civilization, God, Marriage, Temptation, The Church

Tuesday Tips- #1

Today begins a new guest series by reader and commenter Michael Kozaki. It will take place on a semi-regular basis on Tuesdays, and will provide a place for him to state and argue for a counter-cultural Truth. The first in his series covers a subject I’ve addressed recently:

Life Is Suffering

…we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles…

 
I was able to vote before I really understood that life is suffering. What can I say? I was the product of my culture.

 
Few Christians embrace suffering nowadays. A thumbs-up, therapeutic Jesus is in vogue. No historic follower of Jesus would have recognized this guy. For good reason. The “therapeutic” or “feminized” Jesus is not the Jesus of the Scriptures nor of the Church. He’s a pagan god, forged in man’s image.

 
Donal is currently writing about suffering. I don’t intend to steal his thunder by going into detail. But there is simply no other way to start a series on countercultural living than to acknowledge that the desperate, futile, sniveling attempt to avoid suffering is the root of nearly every problem with the modern lifestyle.

 
This quest to sidestep suffering is nonstop. It has pulled Jesus off the crucifix. It sidesteps fasting. It mocks the confession of sins (yet spends thousands on shrinks and medication). It winks at abortion. It celebrates birth control (while paying thousands for fertility treatments and importing cheap labor). It ignores gluttony (and spends lavishly on diets). It consents to divorce. If you think about it, every one of these cultural trends have a singular reason: to avoid suffering. At any price. And it never works. We merely trade pain today for pain tomorrow.

 
My favorite example: Christians traditionally displayed their God in all His crucified agony and glory, front and center, in their churches. Moderns hate the real Jesus. Why? They hate suffering. They are ashamed and repulsed by Jesus’ supreme act of passionate love.

 
If you hide from suffering you can never be truly happy. Why? Because love – and salvation – demands suffering. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Our whole earthly life is a story of suffering that ends in the ultimate earthly catastrophe: physical death. We can either accept this and embrace our cross, or give God the finger and refuse to become who we were born to be.

 
Avoidance of suffering is why so many people’s lives and relationships degrade over time. But in the end (if not long before the end) we will suffer no matter how hard we try to hide. So why not embrace suffering? And live a life worthy of it?

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Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, God, Moral Agency, Red Pill, State of Nature, The Church