Archive for December, 2009

It happens, even in churches. Read Paul Coughlin’s commentary here.

Credo #69: No pretending

Posted: December 23, 2009 in Credo, For brothers

You are called betimes to speak with graciousness, and this can mean something like “smoothing things over.” And there are times when agreement is made to disagree in charity towards each other. There are times when you must boldly speak against an error. I am ‘jus saying: You are never called to pretend not to see something, which is a different thing. You may not “own” the matter. …But you are not called to pretend. Doing this sort of thing will let it take root in yourself, so beware.

Credo #70: Church history matters

Posted: December 23, 2009 in Credo, For brothers

Permit me to indulge myself in a private revelation: The first woman I “dated” after being biblically free to enter the dating pool again was someone who was fervently anti-Christmas. The particular little sect she belonged to had a hair in their collective ears over the pagan antecedents of the Christ’s Mass celebration; and thought this whole business of Christmas was therefore tainted and not be involved with. As you might suppose, romance didn’t get quite off the ground, though I was introduced to some of the finer aspects of Louisiana cuisine. She didn’t quite “get” my observations that days of the week like Thursday (Thor’s Day) and Saturday (Saturn’s Day) also had pagan antecedents.

…..All of this is neither here nor there but rather a fine intro to the idea that studying Church history is a valuable and valid way to add ballast to your life. It can send you for a loop as well. Finding out some of the things you will discover will challenge some of your beliefs and suppositions.

Why the Christmas connection? Only for a case in point that various and sundry through the history of the Body on earth have had different takes on things. In our early history here in the United States, it was once theologically fashionable to denounce Holiday observations, away back in the time of the Puritans in the Colonial Era. Here is some commentary on this that is worth your time to read.

I have found this resource in its print form (Christian History magazine) to be useful, and there are many fine books to be had as well. Be mindful that some of your fellow believers may have ideological axes to grind in their observations. I am sorry about that. But that doesn’t change my observation: Adding ballast to your soul in the form of educated observations will give you a calmer head on your shoulders, and a clearer view. Said lady’s church was one that was tending to drift into certain authoritarian behaviors which seem to chronically plague fellowships of a Charismatic bent built around a single individual or two. If she had known her history it might have spared her some grief. It can spare you grief as well.

Credo #71: Call no man father

Posted: December 16, 2009 in Credo, For brothers

I link here to this Roman Catholic source for insight into this teaching of Jesus; which at times stymies us if we attempt to make a rule instead of gain understanding. Why does it matter? There are some who want the privilege of reproving you as a father without loving you like one.

Check out this Wall Street Journal story about Family Law run amuck. Reconsider whether my proposition here is such an bad idea or not.

Anakin once again hits one out of the park.

I have to say that reading the website he links to at the end of the blog posting hit a bit close to home.  I was once  married to a narcissistic pastor’s daughter; and found myself nodding in agreement and remembrance.  This is the kind of relational advice that you might not get from your youth or singles pastor..   take the time to review it thoroughly.   Your future may depend on it.

In my email today is a  Christmas message from the “Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries,” which I acknowledge does many good things.     There were links and stories updating one on the status of their activities.

Of curious note, though, was a sidebar article containing a  link to this atrocious video, and to  this one as well.

I have replicated the essential appearance of the clickable link, which is not reproduced on their website, because it is worthy of note that this has passed through their editorial process.

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Don’t Return to the

Doghouse this Christmas!

Last year’s JC Penny’s funny video “Beware the Doghouse” carried a reminder to men about the gifts they buy their wives.   This year’s sequel “Return to the Doghouse” reminds us what we say and give our wives could send us back to where we don’t want to be.  “HERE.”

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There is an element to this commercial which plays on relational foibles which are readily observed and can be seen without a great deal of effort.    I acknowledge this.   So, before you tell me to “lighten up” I’d like you, if you can’t see it, to ponder both the implicit and explicit male-bashing in the piece.   Gender feminism ceases to be funny when it plays itself out in real-world relationships.   The kinds of attitudes gleefully portrayed  here pander to some of the worst aspects of  the tres’ chic male-bashing present in our culture. That a link like this comes from a Christian men’s ministry is not humorous at all.

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Edit: Having been chided about “fault-finding” today in another context I feel the need to explain why I have specifically named the ministry which sent out the email; something which was a conscious decision. I do this to document the reality of the influence of popular culture, sometimes in bad ways, upon the way people think in the church about relationships. It matters to the single Christian man to think about this in a brass-tacks vs. an academic manner.

Here is a link to a good post by Men’s Rights Activist Novaseeker, who as it happens is an Eastern Orthodox Christian.

Here’s some music to fire up on youtube to listen to while you read it.

Credo #72: The pay is the same

Posted: December 4, 2009 in Credo, For brothers

John Wimber, a figure who played a prominent role in the formation of the Vineyard Association of Churches, is credited with this phrase: ‘The pay is the same.” The idea is that a “lay” person walking before God in integrity and doing whatever he was called to do — say, working at the local lumber yard and looking after those things he should — has the same “pay” as a person who, say, was a Mega-minister who helped pastor a church of thousands – who was called into this position.

There are many believers who would think more highly of the person who walked in the latter position poorly than they would a person in the former position who walked with integrity.

Edit: Check out this essay at Breakpoint.

Here I offer my own novel take on the “Gay Marriage” controversy. I think conservative Christian commentators here in the States who have a bug in their ear about this are barking up the wrong tree.

I have a solution that I think is very practical and workable; though lawyers I have spoken to suggest there may be State’s Rights issues to slog through were it to be attempted at a Federal level.

Basically, they should stop worrying about what gay couples do in their bedrooms and also – gasp! about what “marriage” means in meta-societal terms and start being concerned about the fact that Marriage 2.0 is not the “marriage” they think they are defending.

Here’s my solution: At the state level, agitate for domestic partnership contracts between two people of any gender that are a) legally enforceable and b) have the same legal standing as marriage. People can write the terms of their contract as they see fit within broad legislatively defined parameters, which could include provisions for “no divorce except for x reasons.” Social conservatives get to have what they want — Marriage 1.0 – and social libertines get what they want — all the legal benefits of marriage. Let society sort out wether “marriage” and “domestic partnership” are seen in the same light and esteem. Let Christians show their light on a hill if they have light to show.

Now, I doubt that this would ever see the light of day, given political realities. My point is to make you think about Marriage 2.0 and what risks a man is taking upon himself in the modern male-hostile legal environment of Family Law as it stands today. I also tend to doubt that conventionally thinking Christians would see the wisdom inherent in this; since they are often trying to move “backwards” to some better day in the past rather than see to the heart of the problems in the Courts, and in the suppositions of some fellowships as to why marriages fail. Many Christian ladies might not think this “romantic,” but a few, I think, will be happy to demonstrate their good will by putting their interests on the block, so to speak.