Just and the Justifier

A Christian Distinctive

Archive for the category “Sex and Marriage”

The Varied Enemies of Marriage

Perusing the news nowadays becomes a masochistic exercise as we face a quickening accumulation of human folly and travesty. It is little wonder that many prefer to stick their heads in sand to safeguard their very psychological equilibrium.
So while this nation heaves a wearied sigh of relief from an electoral rebuke of the more blatant forms of petty-minded nativist bigotries in Quebec, along comes a broadside against the Estate of Marriage and by extension civil society. But from the ‘Conservative’ Party of Canada!

52. (1) Subsection 4(2) of the Canada

Evidence Act is replaced by the following:

(2) No person is incompetent, or uncompellable, to testify for the prosecution by reason only that they are married to the accused.

It was always my expectation that the bit-by-bit weakening of the spousal immunity laws over the years would invariably lead to a total blanket overthrow of this legal protection from the creeping tyranny of statism. But it was not to be expected from the ‘Conservative’ Party of Canada in this Amendment to the Canada Evidence Act as part of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.

The whole point of spousal immunity is to provide one corner in this gotcha dog-eat-dog social jungle, where a person can be psychologically naked, open and vulnerable and without inhibition, that is intimated in the very metaphor of sex. Having at least one venue of protected confidentiality is a primary contributor of mental health. Having at least one person, one can trust, can act as check against one’s own folly and even criminality.

However, it is not only a matter of psychological well-being. This yet another intrusion into the bedrooms of the nation, enervates the cohesion, unity and strength of the nation’s marriages, and by extension families. It attacks trust, which is the fundamental foundation to all social relationships. Indeed, emotive and erotic passion, is, in large part, a function of such trust. Spouses must now be courageous enough to suffer judicial penalties to protect the sanctity of their marriages.

By extension, it further diminishes the distinction between all-consuming, fierce loyalties of committed and united lovers from the mindset behind atomistic hook-up sex culture. It undermines its very raison d’être for getting married.

It extends that late Roman Empire policy of pitting every man to spy on their neighbour and every man to distrust his neighbour into the very midst of erotic union. It brings to mind the state exploitation of the Hitler Youth, to report on their parents. It furnishes yet another statist assault on the private civic entities, which can provide checks against this encroaching totalitarian Leviathan.

Yes. I know that there exists this half-wit, self-righteous form of conservatism of the Vic Toews and Britain’s William Hague who pontificate that “the law-abiding citizen has nothing to be worried about”. However, this obtuse form of conservatism is ignorant of history. Even cursory perusal of Quebec politics should disabuse such a notion. It presumes the virtue of the judicio-political authorities. But why should anyone think that the propensity to folly and foible in humanity becomes transformed upon entrance into public service or that the governors will not use such overriding of immunities for less than noble ends?

The ‘Conservative’ Party of Canada has sought to radically reduce judicial discretion in sentencing because of radically widespread inconsistencies, which undermine the moral authority of justice. Does it now wish to sic these judges on married couples; giving judicial discretion as to what constitutes a valid and acceptable violation of marital confidentiality? Does the notion of rational consistency ever creep into their caucus meetings?

This type of policy emanates from the simple-mindedness of single-issue morons, who cannot balance in their mind, more than one consideration at a time.

First of all, it is the last vestiges of a very antiquated area of the law.

Peter Mackay, Justice Minister, April 7, 2014

What a curious and sophomoric argument from a ‘conservative’. The agedness or newness of a principle or attitude surely has little correlation to its virtue. Should we also abrogate democracy, rule of law, chain of command, principles of justice and due process and other concepts and practices that gave rise to Western civilization, because of their antiquarian pedigree?
Such “first of all” modernist arguments can only emanate from the arrogant stupidity of a pampered child of hardier ancestors who fought to extract such restraints on statist overreach. In what way exactly has human nature or the sociopolitical dynamics of societies changed over the last couple hundreds of years, to justify such a sophomoric sophistry?

♦     ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦

I, as committed Evangelical, cultural conservative, and small-r republican, social contract libertarian, find it difficult to comprehend any silence from the Conservative Party’s religious supporters. It is too important an issue to disregard and comply with. Any professed Christian, Jewish or Muslim adherent, who fails to remonstrate against this spousal immunity provision, is unfaithful to a primary concept of marriage within their own Holy Writ; namely of the one-flesh oneness of spouses, which this abrogation undermines.

I, as committed Evangelical, cultural conservative, and small-r republican, social contract libertarian, will defy this law, if called upon; in the name of a Christian, even universal (i.e. pagan Roman, Babylonian) understanding of the ingredients, necessary to marriage.

I cannot conceive how this abrogation represents any normalized and healthy form of conservatism? Conservatism has traditionally sought to strengthen the civil intermediaries between state and individual as a bulwark against statism; whereas Rousseauian liberalism reduces all civic intermediaries to become adjuncts and executors of the public will. And the 20th Century is full of examples of the atrocities of this latter mindset.

This provision is every bit statist sentiment as those of their liberal statist counterparts, which conservatives rail about. It is not conservative in any sense. Those, who have true conservative and/or theist sentiments, should at minimum, sit on their hands and let this monstrosity of a conservative party pass into the ash heap of history.

Betrayal of Men by the Evangelical Mind (Part 2)

In the first segment, I suggested that the man-up rants, being deployed by Neo-Calvinists, are not necessarily symptomatic of effeminization of the church; but are leftovers and corollaries from a conservative patriarchal perspective that sees men as leaders and women as flotsam; the latter, to be directed by the programming expertise of the male leader. I do not dispute that an effeminization of the church is occurring. However, if we misconstrue the diagnosis, our prescriptions will also be askew.

Recovering from a long sojourn in spiritual warfare and psychosis, familiar to both John Bunyan and Charles Spurgeon; I began recollecting the abusive behaviour of a wife during my period of weakness. I vented my pains and frustrations to a male Christian colleague, leader of our small group.

In similar manner, after the Golden Calf incident, Jehovah vented His anger about the Hebrews to Moses; even threatening to eradicate the nation and produce the promised seed of Abraham through Moses loins. Although His Will might be set on saving these incorrigible people (as a sociopolitical entity), it did not stop Him from confiding His justified feelings. This suggests that it is OK to confide one’s justified feelings, even against one’s spouse, to a confidential source in order to seek psychic validation and vindication, although one has no intention of pursuing the ramifications of such feelings. It clears the air and clarifies the mind before being able to determine how one ought to proceed in the face of such circumstances.

However, the small group leader set upon me for ragging about the wife, even in confidentiality. This is consistent with this conservative value that men ought only to be concerned about their own conduct in the marriage. If the husband leader is wise and virtuous, he will know the right buttons to push so that his woman will respond in positive fashion to his manipulative craftsmanship. The man initiates; the woman responds; in sex and everything else. It is daft! And it is largely unbiblical and unchristian.

I had heard this perennial nonsense from a spouse who excused her every vice and viciousness as being a response to some failing on my or some other person’s part. But it becomes highly incredible when the husband, following the example and admonitions of Christ, refused to rail against the wayward and vitriol railings of the spouse. For, failing to react to the railings in like manner, that same small group leader set upon me. I no longer have contact with the man or his ex-church.

Husbands are to initiate sex and wives respond. Husbands are to lead in setting the tone of the marriage and women will follow if that vision is good; at least in the subjective eyes of the wife. (That is the nub! The wife becomes final arbiter of the Good and therefore the de facto leader.) Husbands are to lead in reparations of marital breaches.

And indeed, this propensity has validity; especially if one isolates all the admonitions geared toward spouses from the admonitions given to general Christian humanity.

However, wives behaving in conditionally to the virtuous initiations of the husband bumps up against this piece of counsel.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.1

One can find similar admonitions to servants/employees (and there are many obtuse Evangelicals who differentiate admonitions to servants from those of employees) about acting as faithful stewards, despite the harshness and vileness of their employers. The general tone of the NT ethos of grace promotes conduct and attitude that transcends merely responding to the actions and attitudes of peers and adversaries.

That a husband should lead in promoting the general welfare of the marriage and spouse is not disputed. But it is the endemic tendency for Evangelical churchmen to blame the husband if the wife fails to respond in kind. If the wife is a natural shrew, the unstated tenor of this conservative mind in Evangelical circles, is that the husband must have made her so. That mindset simply betrays what the Scriptures say about human nature. It might be true that many, if not most people, will respond in kindness to kindness. But there are many who exploit the good will of others or whose mind is so corrupted that they misconstrue the virtue of the virtue of others’ conduct. Furthermore, Christians, whether husband or wife or whatever category of humanity, are to differ from general humanity by transcending knee-jerk reactions to the behaviour of others.

Scriptures speaks about rebellious and contentious women in equal measure as about abusive men. To his credit, Mark Driscoll will not draw back from re-iterating the many proverbs of Solomon concerning such women; despite the many modern Evangelical banshees2, who lop off in selective isolation these admonitions against nagging wives from the rest of his Driscoll’s sermon, which addressed the concerns of both sexes. However, the general emphasis of Mark Driscoll’s sermons and articles tends to be directed more towards male irresponsibility as in this video.

 

 In another sermon turned into Washington Post article3, Driscoll complains about the extended male adolescence, the whining evangellyfish without backbone; these unproductive males still living with their mamas. In a more recent and truly stupid article, Driscoll whines about the unwillingness of modern young males to marry and be responsible. 4 Under the present marital legal regime, such calls to man-up sends men into that, which is potentially hazardous to the material and psychological welfare of the male. A modern legal marriage is not a private contract between spouses alone. In the current sociopolitical environment, a husband marries a wife and the family court apparatus, manned by unjust feminist judges, who favor her. Even male feminists acknowledge the litany of evils that males face in this day5, even if they try to suggest that even more self-centered feminism would resolve it.

Driscollesque admonitions to enter an unjust and hostile legal regime is an invitation for masochistic martyrdom. Males are responding somewhat rationally to the circumstances on the ground. Covenantal marriage, in and of itself, is a virtue and benefit for both spouses. However, in the current sociopolitical climate, a conscientious male must ensure beyond shadow of doubt that the potential spouse will not take advantage of the inequitable family law system that currently reigns and holds the male hostage.

And this is a problem with Evangelical conservativism, which concentrates on private ethics but eschews and ignores public ethics that impinge on private behaviour. Conservative Evangelicals assume that the almighty male can privately overcome the legal impediments and imbalances, no matter how tilted the field of play. For Driscoll to preach marriage but not equally condemn these public impediments and call for sociopolitical reform, discredits the Christian gospel.

And there are other impediments for the young male. They include the imbalance of female to male primary and high school teachers.  And even male public teachers will be largely feminized in these secular liberal public schools. The best three teachers that I remember are all male. This is not a product of misogyny, (or mere misogyny). It is simply that males speak a similar dialect of language of thought. It is simply that males tend to learn more by more kinetic methods; the son who litters his father’s driveway with parts from a disassemble car in order to reassemble another.

In the unjust legal regime, where child support from fathers, even those who are not biological fathers, are scrupulously and relentlessly pursued, while mothers are permitted to play custody games and invent sexual and physical abuse charges with legal impunity; the young male with absentee father has no true solid psychic ground upon to land in order to soar. It is a psychological reality that feminists cannot grasp; at least until the empirical evidence becomes overwhelming after a couple of generations. But even then and there…

It is true that a large element of males do not contest for custody. But why is this?? Custody becomes a weapon, wielded by self-centered and spiteful shrews, to extort more money from their ex-spouses and ex-boyfriends.

It is true that young males are staying with ‘mama’ for longer periods of time. However, consider the economic times, in which we live. There has not only been a socioeconomic and legal war waged against the male through the organs of government, there has been war waged by the older generation against their children. The real minimum wage is 1/3 less than it was in the late 1970s. I could live in a one-bedroom Toronto apartment at the age of 17 and still save a little money. There is no calculable way for my youngest son to live in such splendour even fifty miles from a metropolitan center. Existing union members voted to protect their own wages while damning future employees to a second class wage scale. Indebtedness; through money printing (private indebtedness) and public deficit and debt incursion, which has been addictively continuing for decades; front loads an economy for the benefit of generations prior. Later generations must face an economic drag in the deleveraging and paying back the debt. That is, unless they likewise ‘pay it forward’ until it can no longer be paid forward. And in this dragged-down economy, the youth also faces the public debts of their parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Is it any wonder why the younger generation wants to climb off this boat?

Globalization has strengthened the natural economic power and leverage of management at the expense of labour. Job prospects and wage rates/incomes have become increasingly dismal, especially in job categories traditionally held by males because those jobs, more than the service-oriented jobs preferred by women is more subject to globalization.

And a maturing sclerotic corporatism impedes economic growth and opportunity. The small entrepreneurial startup is often less threatened by innovative competition than by business and legal maneuvers by larger corporations with deep pockets (i.e. Microsoft versus Netscape). This affects more the type of businesses started by males more than females.

Anecdotal evidence abounds of deliberate, if furtive, hiring practices against Caucasian heterosexual males. And males are less adept at navigating the socioeconomic climate of corporate and bureaucracies, whose political correctness is reflective of the quilting bee than the rough and tumble of the boxing match.

Young males are staying with ‘mama’ for longer periods of time? I wonder why.

If women are now complaining where all the men have gone, I remember complaining to my best friend in the late 1970s about how silly and self-centered, North American girls were. Some of my disparagement of the opposite sex in those days stemmed from an ignorant lack of appreciation of the radical differences in approach to life between the sexes. This was consistent with the prevailing winds of thought sweeping those times; whereby gender differences were thought to be a product of social constructions. And thus if women did not meet standards of a supposed innate commonality, it must be less because female proclivities naturally differed, but that the current batch of females were unworthy.

However, hypergamy was just as prevalent then as it is now. I observed in mildly bemused and contemptuous detachment as girls chased the so-called alpha-boys who would express contempt towards them in “locker room” discourse.

If I had the authority of an old Roman paterfamilias, I would probably send away for mail order brides from the developing world for the other two sons that I have. However, this is just as unfair a blanket condemnation of the other sex as that conducted by modern women and theologians. There will always be a remnant of tender-hearted but tough Christian women, in amongst the American Evangelical (and other) Princesses out there.

And thus, if men don’t man up in career, marriage and children; it is equally prudent to question whether there is anything out there worth manning up to!

This is not an excuse for young males to wallow in despair and self-pity. There remains a problem with the porn and gaming culture that predominates the young male culture. However, preaching man-up sermons, without empathetic regard to the general and larger circumstances that males face, invariably and justifiably invites scorn and detestation for such a message. For obtuse evangelical preachers, to thunder without empathetic recognition of an increasingly overwhelming tilting of the field against males, their pontifications will lack resonance in the hearts and minds of future generations of young lads.

Another Note

One of the observations, emanating from the above incident with the small group leader or the Evangelical church in general (and their men’s groups); is the myopia that impedes marriage, through this modern conservative atomistic (individualistic) perspective that pollutes Christianity. We, as men, are to seek how to be better men and let women seek how to better women. In other words, each is to weed their own side of the conjugal garden.

However, analyzing only one’s own side of the garden, prevents a totality of vision as to the social dynamics of the conjugal relationship. The weeds on one’s spouses’ side can spread onto the other. The Scriptures speaks of marriage as one entity (“one-flesh”); in which the issues on both sides of the garden are of common concern between spouses. There are natural responses to the behaviours of the other. The wife, who incessantly places herself on the self-righteous Moses seat, finds a husband that withdraws from intimate confiding of his dreams, fantasies, fears, anxieties and shortcomings with her.

The Puritans envisioned marriage, society and church as a whole and total organism; a commonwealth. The actions and attitudes of one component of the commonwealth of marriage or society etc could not be readily isolated in its consequences. However, current atomistic conservative evangelical mentality is prone to conceive marriage in its individual, isolated ‘roles’. And according to Tim Keller, marriage’s purpose is ultimately to improve our individual sanctification. The onus is misplaced and it hurts the ability to see the total picture and true purpose. The marriage is the thing.

It is true that each party of a conjugal union must ultimately and personally do in order to improve the overall relationship. But understanding the social dynamics enables us to understand why we behave in the way that we do, and against what we are contending.

 


NOTES

1.        1 Peter 3:1

2.        Darlene (Dee) Parsons, “Mark Driscoll is a Nagging Clanging Cymbal”, The Wartburg Watch 2013, May 1, 2013, accessed http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/05/01/mark-driscoll-is-a-nagging-clanging-cymbal/ as of June 1, 2013.

3.        Mark Driscoll, “The world is filled with boys who can shave”, Washington Post – On Faith, August 22, 2010, accessed http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/mark_driscoll/2010/08/the_world_is_filled_with_boys_who_can_shave.html on June 1, 2013.

4.        Mark Driscoll, “Why men need marriage”, Washington Post – Guest Voices, January 11, 2012, accessed http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/why-men-need-marriage/2012/01/11/gIQALubyqP_blog.html?wprss=guest-voices on June 1, 2013.

5.        Noah Berlatsky, “When Men Experience Sexism”, The Atlantic, May 29, 2013, accessed http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/05/when-men-experience-sexism/276355/ on June 1, 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

Betrayal of Men by the Evangelical Mind (Part 1)

Dipping into the man-o-sphere, of both secular and religious varieties, they argue that there is an evidential propensity for even the “New Calvinists” (Driscoll, Mohler, Kevin DeYoung) to place unbalanced blame for the current state of gender relations and of marriage and ‘extended male adolescence’ upon the [young] males themselves.Men, already suffering under a legal regime that is deliberately tilted against them, and recent an economic downturn that initially hit them more, will only respond with contempt toward the Gospel and Full Counsel of God because of these obtuse pontifications without empathetic understanding. Perhaps with  tinge of self-pity, it will feel like obtuse preachers blaming the ‘victim’.

The man-o-sphere is inclined to blame this male shaming on the effeminization of the Evangelical Church. This must seem terribly ironic to “New Calvinists”. Certainly, Mark Driscoll deems himself, the epitome of rugged American manliness. And “New Calvinists” have received more than a fair shake of castigation, often vitriolic, from feminists and Evangelical egalitarians, who exalt the things of WOMAN above the things of God. Stung by prior misstatements, some of these theologians have deliberately bent over backwards to appear fair-minded; thereby kowtowing to modern cultural sensitivities at the expense of spiritual fidelity.

However, the critique that such man-up rants emanate from compromises to endemic and insidious feminism is unfounded. They derive from a different source. They reflect symptomatic excesses and perversities of a conservative ‘patriarchal’ mindset, unjustified by Scriptures; of ‘males as leader, female as flotsam’ attitude. ‘If only the man knew how to wind the woman doll up properly, she would obey his every whim.’

Read more…

North America the Puritanical

It is hard to imagine that people can continue claiming, even with straight face, that North Americans are sexually repressed. However, this will ever be so. Such proponents will claim that society is ‘Puritanical’, even if every individual in society maintained pet goats for amorous adventures; because we continued to draw the line at fruits and vegetables.

However, one only need go back to the Sixties, still more a living social memory than history, to compare the radical empirical differences. That era of sexual revolution and ‘free love’ was still one of comparative restraint. It still conceived and pursued Eros as beautiful, transcendent and soulful.

Nowadays, Eros has denigrated into a different four-letter word; a vulgar banality; with the avant garde endeavouring to pursue the ugliest depravities and convince the world that they are beautiful. Sexual partners are gamed, merely to proudly add to one’s sexual resume. A curious thing that! Employers would hardly be impressed by a C.V., which listed 20 or more places of employment, many of which were jobs lasting but a day.

However, these assertions of sex repressed, might not be merely the ignorant fluff of historical illiterates or disingenuous sophists. Despite all the energetic endeavours to repress their own nagging misgivings about soulless mercenary sex, arguments for sexual restraint and psychic connectedness still resonate at some level of their consciousness.

Protagorean Arrogance

I often make reference to a stock phrase protagorean arrogance to describe feminist perspectives. The purpose is less to insult than to explain. The notion emanates from observation and excruciating personal experience; whereby one’s interlocutor is so locked up in their subjective mantras that no amount of valid reasoning or evidence can genuinely dislodge them from their pre-existing opinions, even one iota. However, the danger from such persons lurks in their tyrannical impulses, “sincerely exercised for the good of its victims” and “who torment us for our own good, [who] will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience”.1 New York Mayor and plutocrat “Big Gulp” Bloomberg comes to mind. They are the enemies of liberty of conscience, the progenitors of ideological and social tyranny, and the begetters of civil wars, from family relationships up to civil societies. For, it is not in differences of opinion that most civic conflagration arises; but when one or all factions seek to impose their worldview and ethic/ethos upon all others.

Protagorean derives from the Greek sophist Protagoras of Abdera (490 – 420 B.C.), who is made famous by his utterance “Man is the measure of all things”.  This radical relativistic notion, that objective reality and the Good is determined by our epistemological ability to ascertain it, was seen in its time as leading to moral/legal chaos and societal disintegration. The astute will also surmise that the ultimate sociopolitical end result of such thought will be civil governance by arbitrary coercion of pure power instead of through consent. The autocracies of Alexander’s and the Roman Empire are artifacts one and two for the prosecutor for such conclusions.

It should not be thought that feminists are the only culprits of this disposition.

In this narcissistic, subjectivist age, the adage has morphed into I am the measure of all things. In a discourse of a generation back, the interlocutor who disagreed with you might declare a Kierkegaardian sentiment that what is true for you is not [necessarily] true for me. Nowadays, that same disagreeing interlocutor will tend to subscribe to the view that since what you say isn’t convincing to them; it is not true for you neither. Consequently, instead of acknowledging liberty of conscience differences of opinion, these interlocutors must coerce others to their way of conduct or thought.

Same-sex proponents operate in this way. It is not sufficient that they live their relationships and call them and others to call it whatever they please. Behind the movement is this intention to isolate and marginalize their ideological and sociopolitical adversaries and coerce these others to publicly concur with their politically correct cant through threat of subtle legal and socioeconomic reprisals.

However, the more insidious kind of protagorean arrogance is that which emanates without deliberate intent to deceive. Same-sex advocates probably know that they are pushing the envelope against liberty of conscience to the extent that they can get away with, until they meet rock hard resistance and push back. The evil of protagorean arrogance is that in the unwitting unknowing, these Lilliputian zealots lack any boundaries in violating the rights of others. They will not likely stand down.

I bear witness of this tyrannical impulse. A fifty-something grandmother constantly questions and countermands her daughter’s instructions and discipline of the daughter’s daughter in the presence of the latter. It would often take the opprobrium and intervention of the wider family to arrest this busybody from publicly undercutting the authority of the daughter. However, when that opprobrium and intervention was less present, the grandmother would resort to her old tricks. The matriarch’s self-righteous certainty trumps the rightful authority of others to govern their own lives and those of their wards.

Having been herself a mother at one time, one would have thought that the grandmother would have innate appreciation of a parent’s desire and right to steward their own child. And there are times, when the situation is of such severe nature and clearly pre-defined to warrant intervention. If however, every minutiae of difference of opinion becomes a federal issue, it indicates that the protagorean arrogance borders on both the lawless and the tyrannical.

This psychosocial phenomenon is highlighted to explain an astonishing lack of psychological insight by modern women; feminists in particular. Some have convinced themselves that the differences between the sexes are mere social constructs (Second Wave Feminists). Men really ought to be thinking like women. And if males don’t; from the protagorean vantage point of such women, it must derive from an ethical deficiency rather than a gender-based proclivity to approach existence from a different vantage point. Alternatively, there are the Third Wave Gender Nationalists, who acknowledge that differences in gender proclivities exist, but that the attributes of their side are superior to that of the other.

Thus, like Hitler’s Youth, they must indoctrinate and ideologically emasculate boys to the superiority of feminine traits even before they become men. They deem themselves alone as being competent enough to define and arbitrate the nature of masculinity; which often amounts to little more than servicing women’s every need and fetish, just like in their romantic novels. Such will deign to denigrate the masculinity in masculinity. As evidenced in the Slut Walks, such believe that they should be free to trample on the sensitivities of others and to encumbrance all others. Others must rearrange their lives so to accommodate these sluts alone. For, they alone are right. The cosmos is neither geocentric nor heliocentric. Nay. The cosmos orbits around their itsy bitsy opinions and interests.

And the lack of psychological insight is blinding them from perceiving the encroaching and overwhelming social counter-reaction by new generations of young males. While the obtuse Hanna Rosin is declaring a triumphalist feminine victory in “The End of Men”; I see a different dynamic, bubbling up from the ground up and terrifying to the status of women in the generations to come.

The pertinent point is the obliviousness in these women’s lack of psychological insight; the arrogance in this unreasoning stupidity. It doesn’t seem to occur to such persons that the real Truth is somewhere out there, to which they themselves are not likely to have ownership, to which they like all others must strive. Or that their gender counterparts might be a necessary counterbalance to the excesses of their gender proclivities; as would be the case of female proclivities mitigating male excesses.

©Copyright John Hutchinson

NOTES

1C.S. Lewis, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment, The Twentieth Century: An Australian Quarterly Review, 3(3), 1949, p 5-12.

Sexual Liberty and the Sufficiency of Scriptures

According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue.1

The first indictment in Paul Washer’s sermon Ten Indictments Against the Modern Churchis the practical denial of the sufficiency of Scriptures.2 His purpose of the principle was to castigate “seeker-friendly” churches for using social science to rope outsiders into populating the pews. Even Denny Burk, who has deploys the Feinburg grid, has published articles to assert Scriptural sufficiency as a corollary of inerrancy (“We have an obligation to show our churches and indeed the world that God’s written Word is sufficient to address these issues”3)

Read more…

Sex-Selective Abortion

Pro-life advocates and anti-feminists must muse with certain schadenfreude at the irony and dilemma facing feminist women in regards to sex-selective abortion. God is in His heaven!

On no account can feminists support a motion to condemn or ban such abortions without backing down on principle. What other restrictions would then become rationally justified? They would be and appear inconsistent, selective and self-centered in the ‘quest for justice and rights’. However, many sisters must wonder about the love for the sisterhood by these zealots.

Long range; pro-choice feminists are promoting a decline of potential number of future sisters, just as stronger waves of masculinism and anti-feminism gather storm. Seeds of their own destruction?

 

Ruminations on Same-Sex Marriage

In 1986, after taking a few courses on computer programming and having created a payroll app on a Commodore 64, which cut ten to fifteen hours from my payroll job, I was given opportunity to work on a hopelessly buggy customized accounting application in some now obscure language. After a week or two of perusing the endless spaghetti code without any modularization into subroutines, I realized that the easiest and least costly way of fixing the thing was to throw it out (eventually) and start from scratch.

The nature of the arguments made against same-sex marriage is much like that. It is not that the position is wrong. It is that the basis of the opposition is rationally incoherent and unsound, and perhaps even unscriptural. Most of the reasonings derive, as best as I can determine, from Roman Republican morality and a Roman version of Stoicism.

The problem lies in the accumulation of theological claptrap and traditions of men that have obscured a solid and sound rational argument. To fix the mess first requires a dressing down of many of these theological innovations. However, one will then need to contend against opposition from the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and the informal magisteriums of the various Protestant/Evangelical sects. One must scathingly tear down the existing straw supports buttressing marriage in order to build a solid brick argument.

This is not to suggest that any degree of pristine and near-perfect reasonings will convince one’s interlocutors or adversaries. As the song says; “We hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest”1. As Christ demonstrated, perhaps our first query with those, who challenge the orthodox Biblical position, ought to deal with their heart motivations. The evidence is overwhelming in these last generations, that intellectual and ethical/legal arguments and empirical evidence are mere tools of self-interest, easily disposed of when they get in the way, by a population that doubts or does not care about the Truth or the Good. And in observing the quality of moral reasoning by those in my online Stanford University course on Justice, I am terrified for my children’s and grandchildren’s future.

However, in perusing the transcripts of the Proposition 9 trial; even though the liberal argument, advocated by the presiding judge Vaughn Walker (with little need of lawyers), was empty and superficial; the pro-Amendment argument was just too full of holes and easy to shoot down as well.

I visited a self-professed Evangelical’s take on the issue, and like the accounting package, I found attempting to debug his arguments would be so overwhelming, that is best to start from fundamentals and work up. This is a work in progress, perhaps deliverable next year. However, these considerations might help others in constructing a valid framework of argument.

If a universal natural law, as it pertains to human nature, exists; then violating that law will have natural consequences, independent of civic, ecclesiastical or divine penalties; independent of the ability to notice those consequences. (The Roman Empire was shocked when Rome was sacked in 410 A.D., although hindsight makes obvious this eventuality.)

The existence of this natural law is independent of the ability to subjectively appropriate it. (I repudiate the long-standing Christian nostrum, whose derivation is more Stoic than Biblical, that natural law (moral law) is innately known. We do have an unavoidable subjective faculty of judgment between good and evil. However, the Scriptural basis for this faculty to be loaded with content is unwarranted and leads to all kinds of inconsistencies and absurdities. The rational arguments and empirical historical and sociological evidence simply defies any correspondence to this theological innovation of moral nativism.

The incompetence or disingenuity of humanity may not even be able to subjectively appropriate a detrimental natural consequence.

Except for a few states in ancient Greece (i.e. Sparta), marriage was considered a private estate with minimal civic regulation until the high Middle Ages. The Roman paterfamilias was up in arms over Augustus’ attempt to interfere with the Estate with his Julian Laws, which fell largely to disuse. Marriage came increasingly under ecclesiastic governance until the Reformation and Enlightenment (16th-18th Centuries).

Calling it an institution, implying a primacy of its social and civic role and thereby justifying extensive and intrusive social and civic regulation, is contrary to Scriptures and reason; since marriage existed before both ecclesiastical and civic institutions. When Isaac ‘married’ Rebecca in his mother’s tent, we can be sure that the tent didn’t have sufficient room for a presiding rabbi and bureaucrat. The God of Scriptures called that marriage. And  unless the God of Scriptures is mutable after all, church and state are not required for true marriage.

The idea of procreation as the primary purpose of marriage largely derives from a functionalist and austere Roman Republican morality. The logic of marriage as vehicle for procreation is so full of inconsistencies and incoherence that non-Christians are correct to contemptuously scorn those ‘Christians’ who attempt to justify opposite-sex marriages on those grounds. We need to utterly and scathingly destroy any pretensions that procreation is the primary purpose of marriage.

I would suggest that marriage’s purpose is for the benefit of its spouses; which in its pristine state, is the best relationship between two conscious beings possibly conceived; and is a shadow copy of the Trinity’s interrelationship and that being sought between Christ and His Church.

Making the Estate of Marriage subservient to purposes beyond itself (family lineage, ecclesiastical concerns and pathologies, civil agendas) grievously interferes and  intrudes on the Estate and invariably weakens the marriage and the raison d’être to be married. History has demonstrates a proportionate correlation between external control and internal health of this relationship. 

Western history demonstrates, as shown in the Proposition 9 trial, that state definition and regulation has caused unceasing travesty and atrocity to the private super-friendship relationship.

Any singular definition and understanding, imposed by the civil authorities, are usually wrongheaded, and invariably provokes considerable civic agitation. The question becomes: are the questionable benefits worth the civic discord and contribution to potential conflagration.

The argument against same-sex marriage will be found in the radical differences in natural and endemic proclivities of each sex. This is an assertion well challenged today, even though the scientific and historical anecdotal evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea.

Secondly, the complementarianism that is bandied about by the CBMW, a complementarianism of roles is Biblically and rational insupportable. Rather, men and women represent a complementarianism of intrinsic natural proclivities. These proclivities are not rigid absolutes or immutable.

Each gender has a psychological insufficiency in itself that requires the complement of the other. Therefore, the opposite sex spouses need to discover, accept, embrace, mitigate against the excesses of the other and incorporate unto themselves that of the other in order to become the fullness of humanity (or Christ).

In that same-sex couples are not intimate with those qualities found in the other sex; they have less ability to detect, let alone incorporate those qualities into themselves. Indeed, historical and sociological record indicates a general disdain by homosexuals for the attributes of the other (i.e. ancient aristocratic Greeks, modern feminist lesbians). Same-sex coupling is prone to exaggerate the excesses of the same gender, rather than mitigating them.

The sociological record in Europe (i.e. liberal Scandinavia/Norway) demonstrates that same sex couplings are less stable. Divorce rates with gay males are 50% higher than opposite sex couplings. Lesbians are 167% higher. (These are state-wide statistics.) (Apparently, the Netherlands is showing the same outcomes). Instability for same-sex relationships are a common historical constant. The relational problems are endemic.

Same-sex relationships, at least amongst males for certain, invariably become polyamorous. Boredom is one constant complaint (i.e. Dan Savage). Polyamory has its own set of psychological deficiencies and grievous social consequences.

Even so, neither society nor the state should forbid same-sex relationships; nor give undue additional financial support to such couples (that which is above that given to opposite-sex) for reasons of liberty of conscience and civic peace. Nor should society or the state give legal and social sanction to same-sex relationships (or any marital relationships) for reasons of liberty of conscience and civic peace.

NOTES

  1. Simon and Garfunkel, The Boxer, 1968.

The Purpose of Sex (Excerpt)

Many proffer notions as to what constitutes the purpose of sex; what constitutes the divine telos of Eros. And in this, one must clarify the nature of Eros. In my youth, I recall with continentalist resentment, the European castigation of North Americans for reducing Eros to mere sexuality. Lamentably, they may have a point. A recent Atlantic Monthly article is reflective of a common American opinion (“eros, Greek word for passionate, sexual love”1). However, as Plato indicates in his “Symposium”; C.S. Lewis delineates in his “The Four Loves”; Nygren expounds in his “Eros and Agape”; and Shakespeare intimates in his sonnets; Eros extends well beyond its physical manifestation. It is desire and delight to be in the presence of and attached to the sublimely beautiful and excellent; however that is defined; but pristinely, at the level of mind, heart and character. From there, in the context of spousal lovers, Eros flows down to sexual passions. A decadent society is one that begins at a lower base of understanding and appreciation. It is a reason why I cannot be bothered going to Stratford (Ontario) for Shakespeare’s romantic romps. Read more…

A Mediating Interpretation of Man’s Rule over Woman in Genesis 3:16 (Part 2)

 It is common motif in Protestant/Evangelical circles to speak of sound doctrine as being a narrow path with possibilities of falling into either the right or left ditch. I prefer to consider the dynamics of planetary orbits as a more appropriate and informative metaphor. Planets or moons trek within a narrow range around a larger body. Should they veer too far off-course, they are threatened by gravitational collapse into the larger object on one hand; or spinning out of control into the void on the other. There is a healthy tension between centripetal and centrifugal forces.

Most (if not all) sound doctrines appear to require a similarly healthy balanced tension. The Sovereignty of God (a.k.a. Calvinism, or perhaps one might prefer Spurgeonism) navigates between the push and pull of Arminianism and HyperCalvinism. Beyond these landmarks, one is clearly in dangerous heretical territory. Similarly, a true Complementarianism is situated between the shoals of feminist egalitarianism and the shores of hierarchical male control.

History often demonstrates a sociopolitical implementation of Newton’s Third Law of Motion (“to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”). The virulence of modern feminism has provoked an equally ugly masculinism; the attitudes of each feeding off each other until the alienation and polarization reach extremes. (A similar dynamic is manifest in the culture wars.)

A similar dynamic occurred in my now moribund marriage; whereby a wife, who did not effectually respect the governance of her husband unless it agreed with her opinions, provoked the husband to insist on protecting his prerogative to govern, in a much more harsher and manipulative manner than would have been preferred; to protect the marriage and family from a variable lawlessness and chaos. This statement, which hardly can be proven to outsiders, is meant less as a public airing of dirty linen than explaining the parallel psychological dynamic behind such literature as the “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” or the Danvers Statement. Threatened by a new force in the social galaxy, it is not uncommon to see a pendular overreaction to the phenomenon. I believe that these CBMW documents overstate the Complementarian case. And I suspect, that just as in the larger society, these Christian men are taking a harder line as consequence of feminism.

While Hanna Rosin (“The End of Men”) and her ilk, might exalt and fantasize of a future of female supremacy…

What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences.1

… I have observed a different social dynamic; with subterranean masculinist forces amassing and starting to make their presence known. While the feminists and liberal egalitarians conduct their gender and genderless war through the organs of government and society, an increasing virulent and angry masculinism will respond, apart from the organs of government and society. My fear, for my four-year granddaughter with whom I am in love, is that her future will be actually worse off, in general and as a woman, than that of my grandmother’s.

While there may be an official societal push and formal genuflection toward gender equality; underneath the surface, males are negatively reacting against the tilted prejudices of an unequal and unjust legal regimen and the prevailing feminist perspective and hypocrisy, which denigrate their men’s natural and honourable proclivities. If men are becoming less ambitious, it is because, failing to be given their proper place as head of the family, they will understandably abdicate their responsibilities. If the marriage rate is declining, it is because males have wizened up to the injustices of family courts. Legal marriage is only for the men who are gullible or into masochism and self-flagellation. Men seek ways to avoid legal jurisdiction and intrusion into their erotic relationships.

History has been down this road before. The harsh masculinist hierarchy of the Roman Republic, established by Romulus, started to lose its luster as the males exploited their prerogative after the Second Punic War. The civic equality, conducive for social cohesion, peace and military strength, required a strict monogamy. Adultery and divorce were relatively infrequent. Although men were given that extra luxury of extra-marital liaisons; until slaves poured into the society after the Second Punic War, men had fewer opportunities.

The harshness toward woman and abuses by males in the Roman Republic after the Punic Wars, set off a corresponding reaction among Roman women. There was a pseudo-feminism, which liberalized and equalized legal rights to some measure. However, by the late 1st Century A.D., men were beginning to profusely lambaste the equally lascivious vices of their women (i.e. Seneca, Juvenal). And this budding equality was nixed, well before the triumph of Christianity in the 4th Century. The effete civility of the upper classes, which held to greater gender equality, languished under a less ‘civilized’, harder male who came to dominance in the middle of the 3rd Century.

The divine ordained impetus in men to rule would eventually win out if the world does not come to an end before that time. These are psychological elemental forces of nature, so to speak, that the secular liberal minded reject as social constructions. Their ignorance is their eventual loss. However, in the meantime, gender relations will continue to worsen.

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Rachel Held Evans might see the New Testament Scriptures as beholden to the cultural and ideological mores of their time; resurrecting the historical relativism of neoliberal theology within Evangelical circles; as she pursues her egalitarian agenda above the things of God. But I am totally persuaded that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God”2, regardless of the immediate intentions and purposes of the human authors. As a student of history, I have consistently observed consistently, the fulfillment “that You [God] might be justified in Your sayings, and might overcome when You are judged”3. And whenever those, who have purported to speak for God, fail to interpret Scriptures faithfully and scrupulously abide, historical travesty always eventually shows their folly.

As stated in the prior post:

There is no evidence that Christ Himself overthrew this existing hierarchy and chain of command. Acknowledging the universal realities of raw male physical superiority, the greater drive within males to control and command, the willingness for males to set aside their passions/emotions in quest for such control and command, the divisiveness of sin and the problem of a conflict-resolution or decision-making between a marital commonwealth of two; the New Testament merely ordained the best possible structural framework and ethos to operate within this universal objective reality.

There is hierarchy in heaven. The most obvious inequality will be between Creator and creature; God and humanity. As C.S. Lewis complains in his sorrow in “A Grief Observed” (also mentioned in the movie “Shadowlands”), a relationship of power between an infinite God and human being is so overwhelming, that we become like vivisected rats. A real satisfying relationship, based on those terms, is impossible. It would be that horrid hierarchal model, whereby humanity cowers in terror before the capricious mercy of a capricious God without real say. It may be a relationship model; certainly justified on the basis of objective realities of power and virtue. However, how satisfying to either party is it?

However, an egalitarian model, based on God giving equal power and authority to His creatures to that which He holds Himself, would be a formula for disorder, chaos and great evil. It would lend to the possibility that Satan rules. Or it might lead to a narrative like the overthrow of the Titans, as recounted in Greek mythology.

Having considered all the possibilities, the wisdom of the Christian God proposes the necessity of relationship with an asymmetry of power between His creatures and He (for cosmic security as one reason); but one in which the welfare of all parties are equally balanced. The power and authority of God is wrapped in principles, faithfully upheld, so that man has nothing to fear from a capricious and inscrutable God of arbitrary rule. The opinions of His children matter (i.e. Abraham arguing over the fate of Sodom, Moses after the Golden Calf incident) and are even permitted practicable expression; even if He reserves the right to overrule. That liberality is even useful for the teaching of His children, the principles of righteousness, justice and wisdom. Although Sovereignty of God operates in the background, the relationship operates on relational terms (trust, fidelity, honour, respect, love), and not on principles of power. 

This is, more or less, the model that is proposed between husband and wife; not merely because of its echo in the spiritual realm; but because it provides the best of all possibilities with regard to the best of relationships. The male head does not merely dictate the terms of the relationship, without genuine and meaningful input from the spouse, like Hellenist patriarchy of the worse elements of Roman paterfamilias. Besides, there is far less differentiation in power between spouses than between God and creature. The overall abilities, if both spouses are allowed free rein, differ in their emphasis but amount to equality of overall value. (And if that is not is the case, the mission criticality of the contributions of each spouse, makes the relative importance of each a moot point.) It is the protagorean arrogance of gender nationalism, the thinking that the attributes of one gender are superior to the other, that leads to disdain of the Other and to inequality.

Ancient Hellenism, in diminishing and denigrating the emotive, passionate and psychological, which they attributed to women, was greatly diminished by the considerable loss of female contribution. The governance of men is crippled when dependent on intellectual rationality alone; a leading reason why the Greeks, despite all their philosophical speculations on politics, could not retain enduring, relatively peaceful and orderly societies. Similarly, a marriage without input by both parties generally produces inferior ultimate outcomes to that in which the views of both are expressed, respected and even allowed to be genuinely incorporated in final decisions and conflict resolution. The exception only occurs when one or the other party or both are complete and genuine fools or excessively selfish, malevolent etc. The problem, with this proviso, is that one or the other party erroneously thinks that the other is that fool. (And ironically, it is often the actual fool that thinks the other is that fool.)

◊          ◊          ◊          ◊          ◊

The greater problem in marital relationships, in relationship to marital governance, is not with regard to the relative input of both or who has final say. The more profound deficiency is the extreme individualism, that atomism, which is a hallmark of Western culture. Each spouse tends to perceive governance and decision making as a negotiation between separate self-interests. However, governance within a Christian marriage is absolutely contrary to this mindset. The married couple is a voluntary “collective” or commonwealth. It is the interests of the whole, to which both share in its benefits, which ought to be the object of concern, and which dictates the weighing of matters in any decision. God really meant that husbands and wives are to die to their individual interests (marital baptism) and become equal elements of a virtual person, that one flesh, that unity. The personality of both spouses re-emerges; but as separate faces of this unity.

There is to be a general overall vision, purpose and set of ethical principles, to which both spouses are generally agreed, and to which all decisions are made within that context. The couple will differ as to how that vision and purpose can be achieved. But this variance differs from a difference in self-interested and conflicting purposes. Whereas, the individualistic self-interest model encourages an adversarial relationship, the commonwealth model ought to place both participants on the same side. And it is possible to allow one spouse or the other to get their full desires in any given situation; because it is perceived to contribute to the best well-being of the commonwealth as a whole.

The famous Ephesians passage speaks of this perspective. Whether husband or wife ascertain the reality; what affects the one, has residual effects on the other.

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.4

And although only the husband is mentioned with regard to this unity in this passage; the deductive logic of the passage, infers that that which helps or hinders the husband, will likewise help or hurt the wife. It is not uncommon for modern women to ignore their obligations to stand by and protect the husband, even though it serves their own enlightened self-interest. Like the viral clip by Mark Driscoll that is rankling the Evangelical egalitarians and the outside world, women consider it a moral duty to publicly rip into their husbands. Sad to say, I find Western women treat their men like in their romance novels; where the whole purpose of the heroine is to subdue the wild beast of a man to solely serve the purposes of the heroine’s needs and fantasies.

I recall the story, or at least the official story, about David Frum, as speech writer for George Bush Jr. I am not a particular fan of Frum. And I am no greater fan of Bush than I am of Obama. White House rules dictate that speech writers do not acknowledge their particular contributions to the President’s speeches. David Frum kept his bargain. His wife did not, boasting of her husband’s coin of phrase; obviously hoping to reflect in his glory. It became known that the ‘axis of empire’ phrase came from Frum’s hand. And Frum soon lost status and position in Washington. And his wife would have shared in that diminishment.

Decision-making, in order to prevent battle-of-wills, war-of-attrition deadlock and acrimony, sometimes requires an executive decision to be made by one party; the males in Christian ethics. However, the acknowledged irritation by women about getting the shorter end of the stick, so to speak, can be largely neutered if both have goodwill differences of opinion as to their common interests and both appreciate that the other differences of opinions are a product of goodwill. (Having an overall constitutional purpose in the marriage for context also helps.)

In American conservative circles, this might smack of socialism. However, the fundamental flaw of socialist collectives is that they coercive. One does not choose to be part of the collective community. However, in a Christian marriage, it is a voluntary commonwealth. And if both parties are on the same page, their marriage ought to be more successful in general to marriages in which the spouses are at cross-currents.

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The wife should respect the husband and defer ultimately to his authority. But FOOL is the man who doesn’t bend over backwards to accommodate the wife’s concerns and counsel. Theoretically, a good session of bouncing back ideas and arguments between spouses ought to produce a superior solution than that, which either party proposed in the first place.

There was an experience with my two oldest sons, when they playing soccer in their early teens. In their league, there was a team from Owen Sound, who would soundly thrash every other team by scores of 10-0 etc. I used to get irritated having to travel by car for 2 hours both ways to get to Owen Sound just so my kids could revel in this humiliation. (Their team was in 2nd or 3rd place, I believe. That was how superior Owen Sound was in ability.)

My son’s team gets to the semi-finals, only in order to meet this Owen Sound team. Our sons’ team is two men short. The coach couldn’t show up. So one of the parents, with whom I did not particularly like, takes over and establishes a defensive plan; a plan that I thought was pitch perfect, considering the circumstances. However, the boys had some other ideas. And the substitute coach listened to them and incorporated some of the ideas; even though they were probably inferior in and of themselves. However, the buy-in by the teammates helped to inspire them to put up an excellent execution of the altered plan. The team kept Owen Sound to a 0-0 draw (or 1-1, I cannot remember). They got thrashed the following day in the finals. But a moral victory was achieved, which far outweighed the trophies.

The husband should make ultimate and final decisions. But the executive decision making should be kept a to minimum. If one considers what it feels like to be a subordinate in a corporate or other realm and having to put up with following the orders of what one deems, often justifiably, as folly or inferior to one’s own ideas; one should retain that psychological insight in understanding the wife’s position.

And in truth, if a wife resolutely honours the office of the husband; unless the husband is a control freak and incapable of trust, she will oftentimes get to dominate most of the decisions. He has no need to assert his authority. He only cares to be able to do so when he feels the issue is critical. And having final authority doesn’t prevent the husband from delegating whole swaths of authority to the wife. Has not God done the same?

Let the husband rule. But let the husband rule lightly; proportionate to the relative merits of each spouse. And it is for this reason that I find the rigidity of ‘marital roles’, promoted by the Danvers statement and by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) so problematic. It is neither Scriptural nor wise. As Christ spoke in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30); he/she who can be trusted, can be trusted with much. The noble woman of Proverbs 31 was such a person.

© Copyright John Hutchinson

NOTES

 

1.        Hanna Rosin, “The End of Men”, Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2010, accessed http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/308135 on May 14, 2013.

2.        2 Timothy 3:16

3.        Romans 3:4

4.        Ephesians 5:28-30

 

 

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