Archive for November, 2009

This is a penis being mutilated.

Ever had your penis inspected in church?

What is a penis doing in commentary about “tithing teaching?” It’s a pointed visual reminder that ritual genital mutilation — along with ritual sabbath observance — pre-dated the Law of Moses.

Singlextianman is aware of a pastor or two who would have him believe — based on their considerations of an account of Abraham’s actions towards Malchizedek (pre-dating the giving of the Law) — that this, along with a passage in Malachi, inexorably leads us to conclude that God has always commanded, under penalty of a curse for non-performance, ritual giving from His people.*

I remind you that what we find in the Old Testament is given for our benefit. The mandatory Sabbath Rest of the Old Testament is a pointer; an archeotype and shadow, of the rest we may enjoy. Circumcision likewise is a symbol and a pointer to the idea that it matters to the community, and to your life with God, what you do with your penis. The mutilation of the design takes away in a small measure from a man’s sexual pleasure, as the nerve endings in the tissue must become desensitized as the flesh adapts to its unnatural condition.

All this being said, we do not inspect men’s penises in church, do we? However, whole denominations have been formed because of disputation about what day of the week to gather in worship. And one can certainly be on the “wrong” side of the question of ritual giving in many fellowships.

…What you do with your money matters. It matters to your community, and it matters to your life with God. I have not fully commented on “tithing” as I lack certain insights that I am still seeking from diverse individuals, who get all testy when I am pressing them for coherent and consistent answers. However, I am comfortable with speaking to a certain narrow aspect of the discussion about “tithing” — and here it is:

In my dogmatic opinion, if you dogmatically think and teach that a non-ritual giver is of necessity “cursed” by God because he is not doing the ritual, you are making a dick of yourself and mutilating your understanding.

..Even if you do persist in thinking this, you have no biblical permission to act towards your brother as if he is cursed. Even if all he has done is ask you what you think about this, you may not do this without our common Father noticing your behaviour.

*In great irony, Malachi is addressing the priests who are under a curse, not the people.

British management theorist Cyril Parkinson is responsible for giving us “Parkinson’s Law“, a useful meme for recognizing the expansion of a bureaucracy to the limits imposed upon it by outside factors such as budgets. I offer that tidbit to you at no additional cost as a warm-up for this:

….It is worth reminding yourself every time you go into the building which houses the fellowship that the building is not the Body. Human nature being what it is, we must always be reminded of this. You have no biblical command — let alone biblical permission — to see an institution or a structure as something else than what it is — an institution or a structure.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t help with the building fund. I’m jus’ saying: Look out for institutional inertia. Watch for it in your own life.

Here we have Al Mohler saying that men must “earn” sex in marriage – though he tries very hard to explain that he is not saying what he is saying (HT to Anakin).

Here we have insightful commentary from Men’s News Daily about how life can be in the relational trenches of the real world.

I do not say that this latter commentary is the normal experience of all Christian marriages (though, the failure rate of Christian marriages ought to cause us to reflect on all the varied reasons why these are stressed to failure).

I do say, though, that some of our Ivory Tower thinkers are not engaged in the questions and issues that matter. It puts me in mind of those Vietnamese church leaders who, I have heard, were debating the five-year plan in the weeks leading up to the fall of Saigon.

Pastor: Porn is ubiquitous in society, isn’t it? Have you considered that gender feminism is, as well – including the minds of some believing sisters? There may be a reason why men are not lining up to marry the single Christian women in your fellowship. If you have read Dr. Mohler’s article and do not find anything that jumps out at you, please reconsider. You ought to think of the single Christian men in your fellowship who ernestly seek Him in some other fashion than Dr. Mohler’s default template of slander towards them.*

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*1/2/10 Edit: Slander is a very tough word to use. I acknowledge that there are ramifications to using the word. These are the words of Dr. Mohler that are the ones being rebutted:

By contrast, consider another man. This man lives alone, or at least in a context other than holy marriage…../../….This man need not be concerned with his physical appearance, his personal hygiene or his moral character in the eyes of a wife. Without this structure and accountability, he is free to take his sexual pleasure without regard for his unshaved face, his slothfulness, his halitosis, his body odor and his physical appearance.

Thumos in Action

Posted: November 23, 2009 in Commentary, Other people's writing

Paul Coughlin, as usual, hits one out of the park..

An Encore…

Posted: November 22, 2009 in Commentary, For brothers

I offer here a post from Single Christian Man Blog I, which is still, unfortunately, appropro:

Bass Awkwards, and the Sledgehammer

July 26, 2007 by singlechristianman

This morning while showering before my ‘blading work out (yes, it’s bass awkward, but a really hot shower loosens up the mind and muscles) I was struck by something that had been right in front of me.

I’ve commented more than I care to have about the folly of ideas like those in the faddish “Marriage Mandate” movement; and have also commented here and there in little bits about those on the other side* of the spectrum — those who have gone to such diligence as to hammer out a “biblical” framework for courtship, which at the end of the day boils down to the faulty assumption that I can’t or won’t keep my pants on. To thus prevent the wardrobe malfunction, someone may need to go through a church elder to date someone (I’ve actually done that) or may have some other kind of pressure of a formal or informal nature either not to date, to date only in pairs, or only men may approach women and not the other way around, blah blah blah whatever their idea of “biblical” is. I’ve even been told by an assistant pastor at a hip sort of Vineyard Church that they didn’t like to see men going to kinships and asking women out (though I speedily note that there wasn’t any “biblical” label slapped on that idea). Now, I’m all for effective pastoring, and I am aware that hormones being what they are that some people, particularly teens who are just discovering their freedom, may need structure and help while they are forming good understandings and good habits — but when you slap the “biblical” bumper sticker on an idea you are in effect saying “God says so, and this is universally applicable.” You might in fact only mean to say something like “this is good advice” — in which case the thought should be labeled as such.

Anyway, my moment of enlightenment: Both extremes essentially boil down to the idea that men are in need of control and management. It’s as simple as that.

And that, single christian man, is Bass Awkwards. You are purchased with the coin of His intervention in human history in the time of Pontious Pilate, as the Creed says — that was put in there to root Him in human history, like your failed relationship of last year is part of history — and you are a Son of Adam. As Aslan told the Prince about to assume his kingship, that is enough to raise the head of any beggar or lower the head of any king — and it applies to you. And you have been provided with such power as you need to walk your life, and I think, wisdom as well. If you aren’t getting it where you are, then leave. You aren’t sinning by seeking help in rooting yourself in Him. Find a place where you find help in this, and move on again if that is what seems to be exigent to your need to do this. If you feel His leading to put down roots, then do that; neither is sinning. If you are on the move, you are learning. If you are putting down roots at His command, remember that you are commanded to be joined to the Head, not to a Pahstah. And remember that no one has been scripturally empowered to put you down for your maleness.

What do the scriptures say about relating to women?….. “treat the younger women with holiness, as sisters in the Lord.” There in a nutshell is all you need to dwell on. Shame based teaching can only bear fruit after its own kind — more shame. Actually finding your strength in Him to walk in Holiness will bear other kinds of fruit. Good fruit. Maybe even the insight to recognize the love of your life and how to relate to her in all ways — that scope of “holiness” doesn’t go away when you’re married, it just accommodates an expanded range of fun things to do.

What prompted my musings? A favorable commentary on Debbie Maken’s book on the website of an author who is on the other side of the ideological spectrum; it can be found at Credenda. Since they articulate different viewpoints, it was a mystery to me how they found ideological comity. But then it hit me … they both start at the same Bass Awkwards assumption.

And men who give in to the feminizing of the church are the subject of my musing at the moment…..

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*they are “opposite” in the sense that while the one mandates marriage, the other throws up barriers to even good-faith attempts to socialize – date – on the way to the altar.

Pastor Frangipane offers us wise counsel. Some would have us run away from our circumstance – to bible school, religious activity, marriage, etc.. I do not say that you should not better your circumstance if you can – whatever it is that binds you; I only say that His grace is sufficient for you; acknowledging that I struggle with this as well.

The Manhattan Declaration

Posted: November 20, 2009 in Commentary

Be aware of it and contemplate its message.