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Christian Marriage, the Real “Antidote to Chaos”

“According to the Word of God, your spouse is clad in the most beautiful jewels put on by God… This is why you hear God himself say to you: ‘You shall be your wife’s husband. And you, wife, should stand by this husband of yours.’ This is how God has ordained it” (35). — Martin Luther

Did the 16th century church reformer Martin Luther believe that there was a “War of the Sexes”?

One can certainly make that case. He writes:

There are many pagan books which treat of nothing but the depravity of womankind and the unhappiness of the estate of marriage, such that some have thought that even if Wisdom itself were a woman one should not marry. A Roman official was once supposed to encourage young men to take wives (because the country was in need of a large population on account of its incessant wars). Among other things he said to them, “My dear young men, if we could only live without women we would be spared a great deal of annoyance; but since we cannot do without them, take to yourselves wives,” etc. … So they concluded that woman is a necessary evil, and that no household can be without such an evil. These are the words of blind heathen, who are ignorant of the fact that man and woman are God’s creation. … I imagine that if women were to write books they would say exactly the same thing about men. What they have failed to set down in writing, however, they express with their grumbling and complaining whenever they get together. (AE 45:36-37, in WIMR? 99)

So what did Luther recommend to counter such a state of affairs? Why, Christian marriage of course.

Do we ultimately need 12 rules? Or Everything Marriage Means?

Even then though, Luther’s picture of marriage wasn’t terribly romantic and rosy, but highly realistic and rather jarring.

Here are just some samples of things that he said:

  • “…when two people, a man and a woman, live together in an unholy way, it looks just like the married life… You cannot distinguish between how they are living and the married life based on reason” (19).
  • “… those who think about marriage but are not married, think that it is a life of lustful desires and good times” (23).
  • “…there will be a loss of desire for your spouse. You will feel that you’ve had enough of him or her; that you do not want to remain [sexually] united with your spouse for long…the devil cannot stand that spouses remain on friendly terms and united with each another” (25).
  • “…no one experiences alienation from another faster than a husband and wife! A single word spoken flippantly or jokingly can cause it to happen… people say about spouses that get along: It is a special grace and rarely turns out so well” (27, 28).
  • “If you are not married, you think that once you are, there will always be laughter and good times. You cannot imagine ever saying a word that might hurt your spouse” (30).
  • “…if you follow your thoughts and the lures of the devil… ‘If I only had that other woman or that other man! He or she is so friendly and so nice!’ In such a way, evil desires will indeed strike, just as the poets write that love rages and raves wildly” (34).
  • “our flesh is dangerously curious. By nature we are gluttons. We quickly grow tired of whatever God gives us…” (38).

By this point, you might be wondering “What good is marriage if it militates against what we desire and brings such misery? What in the world does Luther think marriage has to offer!?” And “where did you get this interesting information anyways?”

I’m glad you asked…

In 1536 two of Martin Luther’s sermons on marriage appeared in German in a small book, and the quotes above are from the first sermon, on Hebrews 13. Even though these sermons were later printed in several German editions of Martin Luther’s works, they, surprisingly, were only recently translated into English in 2013. My pastor helped get them published, and, when asked, gave me permission to publish the final part of the sermon on Ephesians 5:22-33. This is the passage that Matthew Cochran says is “probably the most hated Bible passage in America.”[i]

That’s right, the answer to “What in the world does Luther think marriage has to offer?” is the meaning of “probably the most hated Bible passage in America.” [ii]

If you want to read on you will see Luther explain how given God’s original intention for mankind, marriage is not only a great gift in this world but ultimately serves to point us towards what is ultimate for humanity: our status as creatures beloved by their Holy Creator, and made One with Him by His work on our behalf.

“…the most-desired skill of married life is this: To learn to think of marriage according to the honor given it by God….[it has] been created, ordained and established by God. In fact, we should consider this institution to be God’s gift to mankind.” – p. 13, Martin Luther

Here is the extended quotation from Luther, which in the book is chapter 17, “The Christian’s Spiritual Marriage Shapes Marriage”:

We see how nowadays and always Christians are seduced by many a sectarian group. We also see how up to this time the entire world was totally filled with institutes of spiritual fornication and adultery under the papacy.

Christ’s bride had been corrupted to the point of be­ing unrecognizable. Now Christ has once again begun to cleanse her by his Word.

See, this is what it means for Christendom to be obedient and subject to Christ in all things: So that it might closely stand by him alone and follow only his Word. And not follow those who wish to teach and lead it differently.

Accordingly also in the institution of marriage, the wife should not only love the husband but also obey him and submit to him so as to let herself be governed and bow before him. In short, she is to stand by him and follow him, not looking only to the husband’s authority, as her head, but also place before herself this example.

And, as Mary Daly put it, “If God is male, then the male is God”?

The example of the Christian’s spiritual marriage to Christ should remind her to think like this: “My husband is an image of the true, high head Christ. For the sake of the latter I will honor the former and do what pleases him.”

In the same way also, the husband should love his wife wholeheartedly for the sake of the great love which he sees here in Christ who has given himself for us. The husband should also think: “Neither I nor anyone else has ever done something like this. I will therefore do as much as I can according to the example. I will behave toward my wife in a loving manner as toward my own flesh in order to care for her, feed her, and provide for her.

I will not act bitterly or strangely toward her but, al­though she might be with frailties and faults, bear with her in a reasonable and patient manner or make her better by friendly admonitions and rebukes.”

Many women want distorted kinds of headship. Needs?

Where this happens, it would then no longer be a worldly and human or reasonable marriage but a Christian, divine marriage about which the Pagans know nothing. For they do not see the precious adornment and great honor of the marriage, namely, that it is a picture of the great spiritual marriage of Christ.

Therefore, as I said, it behooves us as Christians to honor and glorify this institution much more because we are the ones who know the great adornment and glory which are attached to it.

Do not be surprised when the world, as it wallows in fornication and adultery, and also the false, mad saints, consider marriage to be insignificant.

“I am certain that the fact that I sit and live here with my spouse is pleasing to God…the ability always to view a marriage as God’s doing is a desirable skill which few master…” — Martin Luther, p. 22, What is Marriage Really?

Yet we should justly consider marriage to be the greatest of all institutions of human life. For no other such institu­tion has been utilized by God for such an exalted image.

We know that those who despise marriage, especially when they wish to be called Christians, not only create shame before the world but also bring dishonor and shame upon the exalted holy marriage between Christ and Chris­tendom. They show in sufficient clarity that they think very little of the latter because they despise the former, humble as it is.

“All other institutions exist and are sustained by marriage.” — Martin Luther, p. 11, What is Marriage Really?

Let this be enough for this time on this text of St. Paul where he admonishes the Christians to consider this and to look at their marriage not only according to its external forms, as the world and carnal hearts do. But Christians are to contemplate in marriage something that is larger and greater, namely, the beautiful comforting image of Christ and Christendom.

Christians are to do this so that they might keep this institution of marriage as something precious and honor­able—not only because God has ordained and commanded it thus, but also to honor the great spiritual marriage, so as to demonstrate that they would like to be found in the latter. For we are not to let such glory and comfort be taken out of our sight and hearts, or cast it into a corner, as did the monks and the nuns, who applied marriage only to themselves.

They established their false, self-made spirituality in­stead, pretending that they alone were the brides of Christ, to despise and diminish the institution of marriage. Con­trariwise, St. Paul does the opposite preaching such a great example to those united in marriage.

“I must not be ashamed to learn about marriage daily” (13). — Martin Luther (picture of Christ with His Bride, the Church)

FIN

 

Notes:

 

[i] If you took the time to look at this endnote, you can actually get the whole book for free here. You now know about the secret link. Use it wisely.

[ii] This also comes to mind: “…this Word of God is necessary for the sake of conscience. The conscience should not suffer because you fully participate in marriage. For God has created and ordained marriage, and is well pleased by it” (23).

 

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Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

A Critique of the LC-MS document, “Women and Military Service: A Lutheran Perspective”

+++

Should women serve in combat roles in the military?

In our country, a definitive answer was given not even 3 years ago. Around that time, Chronicles magazine article editor Aaron Wolf wrote:

“December 3 [2015 was] the day Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declared an end to the restriction on women in combat.  According to the secretary, every branch of the Armed Forces must lift all restrictions on what women are allowed to do.  He gave them 30 days to comply.

Ash Carter is a Harvard-trained physicist, former advisor to Goldman Sachs, and professor who never wore his country’s uniform, so it makes perfect sense that he would be the man to build ‘America’s force of the future,’ a job that amounts to taking the stone tablets of natural law and smashing them into a million pieces.

We must now drink the bitter water…” (bold mine)

Aaron Wolf. On natural law here.

This question was brought up at the 2004, 2007, and 2010 Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod conventions[i] and in both the 2013 and 2016 conventions resolutions were adopted which tasked the Synod’s CTCR (Commission of Theology and Church Relations) to study and produce a report on the topic. Finally, in 2018, a document was released, and I want to lead with statements from it that I really appreciated:

  • “By the means of Mary’s embodiment as a woman, and our Lord Jesus’ embodiment as a man, the whole of humanity, both male and female, plays a role in nothing less than the salvation of the world. If God Himself gives such dignity to man and woman, then each of us, whether male or female, is also called to live within his or her individual, sexual personhood, uniquely, yet toward God’s own eternal purposes within the tapestry He has woven” (21).
  • A footnote notifies us about “a strong and compelling argument against the conscription of women rooted primarily in convictions regarding the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception, see Andrew A. Sicree, “A Miscall to Arms: Why Selective Service for Women is Immoral,” Touchstone (September/October 2017), 55–58.”
  • A footnote notifies us about: “a 1998 resolution by the Southern Baptist Convention opposing women in combat cites Eph. 5:23–24 as a key passage in demonstrating ‘the divinely assigned role and responsibilities of self-sacrificial male headship of the family’ [emphasis added] and explicitly connects this to ‘the moral justification for combat service by men rather than women.'” (See sbc.net/resolutions/1089.)” (10).
  • “As 2016 Res. 5-11A rightly observes, reason and natural law recognize physical, hormonal and emotional distinctions between men and women. On average, males have greater physical strength than females, particularly upper body strength. Additionally, due to differing hormonal concentrations, males typically have higher aggression levels, and females have greater tendencies toward nurturing, supporting others and developing or building relationships. Furthermore, some men may have protective attitudes toward women that could cause unit and mission risk if women are involved in combat units. Studies have shown that all-male combat units perform significantly better than integrated combat units. They also reveal that women have significantly higher attrition rates due to injuries in combat-related situations… While the death of any soldier is deeply tragic, and while both fathers and mothers play a crucial role in the family, reason and natural law recognize the likelihood (even certainty) that the loss of significant numbers of women in combat would negatively affect the morale not only of soldiers and the military but of society as a whole. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the witness of world cultures, both ancient and modern, is almost unanimous in maintaining a prohibition against women serving in combat” (13).

Getting into the heart of why the document finally made its appearance now — after so many years of discussion — here is a paragraph that I think gets to that, namely, the threat of women being drafted[ii]:

“Free a man to fight?” Or, open a door to woman in combat?

This document has been prepared by the CTCR in response to these 2013 and 2016 resolutions of the Synod. The moral question of whether a society or a government should conscript women or employ them in combat is an important one. In view of the American social, political and legal context — especially in view of very recent decisions opening all combat roles to women and recent legislative discussions regarding the possibility of requiring Selective Service registration for women as well as men — the primary focus of the present study is on the moral deliberation of women who are serving in or contemplating service in the military, or who could potentially face registration for or conscription by a military draft. (4)

As to the wider question of whether women should voluntarily serve in combat roles, the document says that this is a matter of the individual Christian women’s conscience. In the document’s third part, addressing practical matters, it states:

Those women who are not conscience-bound against women serving in combat and who desire to serve in a combat specialty within the armed forces should evaluate their motives and physical qualifications for desiring to serve in this vocation. Some questions may include:

  • Can I faithfully and conscientiously bear witness to my faith in Christ and my unqualified commitment to “live under him in his kingdom” (Luther’s Small Catechism, Explanation of the Second Article) in and through the left-hand kingdom vocation of military service?
  • Is this service or vocation sought out of love for God and my neighbor and not simply or primarily for self-interest or career advancement?
  • Am I physically, mentally and emotionally qualified for this specific service?
  • Am I prepared for the greater potential for sexual assault and/or harassment that exists for women in military service?
  • Can I, in good conscience, willingly participate in training that prepares me to take human life?
  • How might such service affect others whose consciences are troubled by this issue?
  • Do I have other vocations that would be affected by such service, particularly as a wife and mother?

Pastors should be prepared to provide counsel to their parishioners as well as to others who come to them regarding God’s Word and matters of conscience” (19).

Christian Woman Can Be Soldiers?

Going along with this, one reads the following:

“A Christian woman (married or not) may come to the conscience-bound conviction that what Scripture (together with reason and natural law) says about the order of creation, while completely valid and true, is not decisive on the issue of women in combat. Reasons for arriving at this conclusion might include the fact that scriptural discussions of this issue are primarily concerned with the role of women in marriage and the family and with order in church, and that Scripture does not make explicit every implication or application of the order of creation for life in the civil estate (including service in the military)” (16).

“A Christian woman (married or not)” – why does this not just say “a Christian”? The reason, as the following paragraphs make clear, is because the person’s conscience who matters here is the one whose potential military service is under discussion.

And as Lance Brown pointed out in his own raucous article on this topic, published on my own blog yesterday, this does leave one scratching one’s head about the place of male headship in a marriage…. The document does talk about the conscience of a woman who is a wife or mother being bound “against her service in the military,” a potential reason being, for example, her husband’s disapproval (16). That said, I think it is safe to say that the document itself would not think to attempt to bind her conscience without such an obstinant husband in view! Or, especially, to seek to create so many more obstinant husbands…[iii]

Well Christians, it’s a Democracy: which individual “Bound Conscience” is the Trump card?

And that might make Pastor David Wollenberg, for one, happy. In the May 2003 Lutheran Witness, Wollenberg spoke of the reasonableness of women in combat, stating that, in part, for the Christian, “[t]he service of women in combat is a civil matter, and discussions pro and con properly belong to the civil and political realm!” and saying that “this is not an issue either of church polity or theology.”[iv] In his same article, Wollenberg stated that: “let’s also recognize and give thanks for the fact that ours is not an immoral or unfeeling government. The United States military respects individual rights even as it encourages human excellence and advancement.”

Perhaps this was wrong of me, but I could not help to think here about something else the CTCR document had spoken of, which was that those who argue for women in combat point out what they often consider the following violation of individual rights:

“As combat duty is usually regarded as necessary for promotion to senior officer positions, denying female personnel this experience ensures that very few will ever reach the highest reaches of the military and so further entrenches sexism. Women have to be given the same opportunities as men in the army; in order to have the same opportunities, they have to be exposed to the same risks. (3)

Even if one agrees wholeheartedly that military service should not be sought out “simply or primarily for self-interest or career advancement,” as the CTCR document says[v], we still cannot be unaware of the fact that as with all areas of life, advancement up “hierarchies of competence” will always be a reality that we cannot avoid thinking about or living in light of. We can perhaps casually dismiss Warren Farrel’s argument about how “the pressure on men to succeed is actually a discrimination against men,” (that’s not very manly of you Warren!) but to be sure, now women can – in many a situation at least – find themselves increasingly valued primarily for what they are able to accomplish, push through, sell, and destroy in the dog-eat-dog world.[vi]

In that same issue of the Lutheran Witness where Wollenberg’s article appeared, Dr. Leroy E. Vogel, a retired U.S. Navy chaplain and professor emeritus at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, also presented an alternative view. He wrote the following:

“At the very least, before a woman embarks upon a role as military combatant, she should consider this: If God is indifferent to the woman-warrior concept and a woman chooses to serve in a non-combatant role, God is not offended. If, however, God is not indifferent to the woman warrior concept, and a woman seeks service as a combatant, does she not become a victim of her own will and disobedient to that of God?

The stakes appear to merit the expenditure of our church’s finest and most diligent theological efforts.”

“The story of Deborah presents a condemnation of male cowardice in the face of God’s command; it does not provide a glorification or endorsement of woman as warrior.” — Pastor Leroy E. Vogel

As Vogel pointed out even then, “ignoring the Biblical account of creation, radical feminism identifies sexual differentiation and roles as social constructs, and, if society has created the distinctions, society can abolish them.” One can tell from the questions that he asked in his article, that he wasn’t having any of this:

“Is not part of woman’s “glory” to be found in her God-given role as life-giver and nurturer—not as life destroyer? Is man’s role not to protect and nourish her in that glorious role? Does not the abandonment of the arrangement established in Eden fly in the face of God’s design for His creation?”

While acknowledging that there does not exist a definitive “proof text”[vii] (wait! I thought we weren’t supposed to be obsessed with proof-texts!), Vogel says “Scripture and the tradition of the Church assign to man the role of defender, protector, warrior. To woman is given the role of life-giver, nurturer, sustainer.”

Come on now women — do something really great why don’t you?

Going too far? Well, if one doesn’t want to be an unsophisticated and barbaric asserter, like moi, you can always take refuge in practical arguments that continue to hold up (even if they are always ignored nowadays). My guess, however, is that most of us won’t even do that much, but rather allow ourselves to be lulled to sleep, comforted in the fact that “the United States is not the only country moving to include women in combat roles. Other countries include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway and Poland” (footnote, p. 18).

On the other hand, maybe — given the entire history of the world up until seven seconds ago — the Apostle Paul should be our guide instead:

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:4).

Presumably everyone’s favorite misogynist, hard at work hating on women again.

To close, when the CTCR says:

“…it is also possible to understand how Christians, including members of the LCMS, can in good conscience support and defend ‘the informed consciences of women who have carefully considered their station in life and Holy Scripture on this issue who wish to voluntarily serve in our nation’s military’ (2016 Res. 5-11A), even when this may include serving in positions of combat” (14).

I can only say:

No. It’s not understandable. Not at all. Its deeply confused and wrong.

In fact, as they rightly point out elsewhere:

“[some] cultural and societal changes…. have been decidedly negative from a Christian perspective, contributing to a continual blurring of the lines between any meaningful, created, God-given distinction between the sexes and chilling the possibility of discussing, expressing and affirming the God-given distinction between men and women in ways that are heard and received positively and constructively” (7).

Of course, “chilling the possibility of discussing… in ways that are heard and received positively and constructively” may well be what some people say about this article. Nevertheless, we need to be painfully honest with ourselves. This CTCR document, like so many other things the LC-MS has been producing these days, just needs to go away.

Far away.

On the other hand, come quickly Lord Jesus!

FIN

 

Images:

Aaron Wolf: https://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/blogs/aaron-wolf/ ; Pastor Leroy E. Vogel: https://www.csl.edu/emeritus-faculty/vogel-leroy-e/

Notes:

[i] “Overtures directed specifically to this issue were formally submitted to the Synod in convention in 2004, 2007 and 2010, but no resolutions on this matter were adopted by the assembly.” (p. 3)

[ii] As the CTCT document logically points out: “Third, now that the ban on women serving in combat has been lifted, there is no evident legal rationale for exempting women from conscription into military service should registration for Selective Service be required at some point in the future” (7).

[iii] My guess: it is only a matter of time before we hear about how it is inappropriate that a person other than the woman herself object to her being conscripted…

[iv] Speaking of Ephesians 5, the CTCR also talks about how this has nothing to do with political realities: “Under the principle of mutual service, however, hierarchy within marriage is viewed not as a political relationship of the ruler over the ruled but as an arrangement whereby the welfare of the other may be served. The Christian husband will therefore understand that the position of headship has been entrusted to him for the exercise of sacrificial love toward his wife …” (11)

[v] Also, it quotes Chaplain Jonathan Shaw, a colonel in the U.S. Army: “The Christian undertakes such service not for the sake of wielding power or seeking revenge, but ‘for the good of your neighbor and for the maintenance of the safety and peace of others’” (6).

[vi] Or, as one Facebook commentator put it to me “Send the women to the meat grinder; and when their swollen rotting corpses and unrexognizeable faces populate the earth in the next world war, we can all rejoice, knowing that women are expendible, just like men, and that the relative value of men to women on the dating scene back home has not changed.”

[vii] Nevertheless, he writes the following:

“While some may view it as a shaky premise upon which to hang the will of God, there is a curious Hebrew interpretation of Deut. 22:5 that is rendered in the New International Version: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing … for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.”

A prohibition against cross-dressing? Or is there more? The construct of import is the compound noun keli-geber, translated above as “men’s clothing.” In Hebrew, keli denotes “equipment,” specifically a soldier’s equipment. Further, the Hebrew noun geber denotes “mighty man” or “hunter” or “warrior.” Thus, a legitimate translation of the phrase uses language of a decidedly military flavor: “No woman shall put on the gear of a warrior.”

The church fathers understood it so, as did John Calvin and Martin Luther. Luther knew Hebrew and comments on the verse as follows: “A woman shall not bear the weapons of a man … it is improper….Through this law [God] reproaches any nation in which this custom is observed.” Why? Because God created male and female with specific and complementary characteristics. It is in their relationship with one another that the two constitute the full expression of humanity.

The CTCR simply introduces more questions with its own choice of words: “In fact, the Old Testament directives in this regard extend beyond military garments and include every kind of domestic clothing as well as use of other utensils (Ex. 22:6 [stacked grain]; Lev. 11:32 [garment, skin or sack]; Lev.13:49 [garment or skin])” (12). I think the portion of that statement I italicized above is just begging to be unpacked a little bit.

The CTCR also notes that “in the historical books of the Old Testament, male armies abound, and there is never any suggestion of women serving as combatants (Gen. 14:14–15; Num. 31:3, 21, 49; Deut. 20:5–8; Judges 7:7; 1 Sam. 23:8–37; 2 Chron. 17:10–19). Even heathen armies did not include women (1 Sam. 4:9–10). The idea of women serving in combat was used as an object of ridicule (Nah. 3:13; Is. 19:16; Jer. 51:30). Women and children were specifically excluded from combat (Deut. 3:19–20; Deut. 20:13–14; Josh. 1:14–15)” (12).

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Lutheran Women In Combat — We Must Not Allow An Equality Gap!

Guest post by Lance Brown

PLEASE NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with the 1964 film ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ you should check it out

When they go down into the mine, everyone would still be alive. There would be no shocking memories, and the prevailing emotion will be one of nostalgia for those left behind, combined with a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead!

The LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations has released a new report titled ‘Women and Military Service: A Lutheran Perspective’. Apparently it was approved on Veterans Day of 2017. How nice.

This post isn’t about transgenderism. But it probably should be.

Let’s get something out of the way up front. It is both disgraceful and foolish for men to call upon women to do their nation’s fighting. Opposing women in front line combat roles is a no-brainer. Regardless of whether said women have been conscripted or chose to serve. No reference to Christianity or the Bible is required. Biology and human reason are enough. Do Christians have additional reasons for being opposed to such nonsense? Yes. But again, this should be clear to anyone. And, I repeat, it has nothing to do with whether or not they volunteered. These are simply not roles women should be placed in by sane authorities. Husbands should not accept this for their wives. Fathers should not accept this for their daughters. For it to even be up for debate is a sign of how depraved this nation has become.

You wanna know what I think?

That being said, the CTCR does a good job of explaining why sending women into combat is not consistent with a Christian worldview. In that regard, the report is worth reading. Especially the section labeled “Male-Female Distinctions within the Order of Creation” beginning on page 7. However, in trying to serve more than one master, this report becomes a muddled mess.

The CTCR document (following the lead of resolution 5–11A from the 2016 synodical convention) is fundamentally flawed. It doesn’t oppose women in combat. It merely opposes linking freedom to responsibility. It insists women not be drafted. That they not be required to serve. While at the same time affirming that women must be allowed to serve if they choose. Including in combat positions. And it uses Lutheran teaching regarding the bound conscience to subtly advance a kind of postmodernism wherein every woman (though perhaps not every man) can have her own truth:

“The CTCR here affirms its support of the Synod’s position that “due to deep and widespread concern among many members of the LCMS — rooted in biblical convictions, historic understandings of natural law, and reason-based common sense — about the negative impact of the conscription of women on individual consciences, marriages, families, and society as a whole, the LCMS in convention strongly oppose any legal action that forces the compulsory service of women in the military, also called the conscription of women, by mandatory participation in Selective Service registration, a draft, or by any other mechanism” (2016 Res. 5–11A).”

“We must add, however, that for other reasons discussed above — for example, the distinction between the two kingdoms, the inherent complexities of biblical interpretation, and the absence of specific and explicit biblical mandates regarding the service of women in the military — it is also possible to understand how Christians, including members of the LCMS, can in good conscience support and defend “the informed consciences of women who have carefully considered their station in life and Holy Scripture on this issue who wish to voluntarily serve in our nation’s military” (2016 Res. 5–11A), even when this may include serving in positions of combat.”

“A Christian woman (married or not) may come to the conscience-bound conviction that what Scripture (together with reason and natural law) says about the order of creation, while completely valid and true, is not decisive on the issue of women in combat.”

This is the LCMS saying that it firmly opposes female responsibility. Women must have all the choices, all the freedoms, all the rights, all the privileges, all the opportunities. But, definitely not the responsibilities. This is the Christian position? This is the Lutheran position? This is a recipe for disaster. The disaster we see when we look at the current state of the family and all the tragedies which flow from that evil spring. Either women can volunteer to serve in combat positions and should therefore also be eligible to be drafted into those positions OR combat roles should not be open to women. Christians should be opposed to the madness of sexual egalitarianism. But to increase women’s freedom without also increasing their responsibility is so much worse. And that’s what we get. Because equality has always been a lie.

Open your eyes to the truth.

There has been a pattern repeated time and time again over the last century or so. Feminism demands more rights, more freedom, more choices, more power, more authority. Always more. Traditionalism responds by grumbling. Giving people time to be upset, to vent, to wax nostalgic about the good ol’ days. And then traditionalism completely caves. The demands of feminism are agreed to. But on one condition. Traditionalism bravely chooses one hill to die on. Traditionalism insists that women must not be given increased responsibility/accountability to go with their increased freedom/autonomy. Similarly, as the authority previously granted men is eroded, traditionalism caves. Notice in the excerpt above that it’s the conscience of the married woman and not her husband which must be respected. Is that what headship looks like?

Meanwhile, both sides agree to continue holding men to a higher standard of accountability and the constant calls from traditionalism for men to ‘man up’ and take responsibility only grow more desperate. Equality has always been a lie.

The CTCR report makes sure to genuflect and pay homage to this lie:

as everyone is aware, cultural and societal views on the relationship between men and women and on women’s role in society at-large have changed dramatically in recent decades, and they continue to change. Some of these changes have been positive, resulting in more opportunities for God-pleasing and beneficial service of women in a variety of vocations, greater respect for women and their God-given gifts and abilities, and societal concerns about and protection for women who encounter derogatory attitudes and abusive behavior.”

I’m reminded of an excellent observation from the book ‘LadyLike’ by Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle. The ladies observe that men go along with feminist nonsense:

for the same reason they yield to any idea of female origin: to end the badgering, or more charitably, to make the women they love happy. Badgers, though, are hardy folk, and mistreatment is the charge that never runs out. So men keep trying to care by pretending to agree with things… It’s this kind of insanity, dreamed up by insatiable women and enabled by lazy men, that will eventually have us all back in grubby fish-hovels.”

Honey Badger Don’t Care

Before we go any further, let’s stop for a moment and acknowledge that no one is getting drafted. We have an all-volunteer military. The trend is toward privatization and increased use of contractors. And as anyone who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces this century can tell you, when it’s time to be deployed, women who want to find a way out can easily make that happen. And many do. The timing of pregnancies among servicewomen is something military personnel can’t help but notice. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. We want young ladies to prioritize motherhood. But we do not need mommies in the military:

From US Navy Has A Pregnancy Problem, And It’s Getting Worse’ by Richard Pollock:

Overall, women unexpectedly leave their stations on Navy ships as much as 50% more frequently to return to land duty, according to documents obtained from the Navy.”

“The evacuation of pregnant women is costly for the Navy. Jude Eden, a nationally known author about women in the military who served in 2004 as a Marine deployed to Iraq said a single transfer can cost the Navy up to $30,000 for each woman trained for a specific task, then evacuated from an active duty ship and sent to land.”

A pregnancy takes you out of action for about two years. And there’s no replacement,” said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a nonpartisan public policy organization. “So everybody else has to work all that harder,” adding that on small ships and on submarines, “you really have a potential crew disaster.””

The military has been tight lipped over the years about these numbers. They don’t like to publicize them,” Eden told TheDCNF. The Navy has been dogged for years by lingering claims that some women get pregnant simply to avoid deployment. “We all know that happens. Women do it to avoid deployment,” Eden told TheDCNF. “There do seem to be coincidences,” said Donnelly. “There is a lot of anecdotal evidence.””

The Navy officially considered pregnancy incompatible with military service and women who became pregnant were automatically discharged, according to The Alliance for National Defense. However, with the introduction of the all-volunteer military, the Navy provided many lucrative incentives to men and women — including free housing, medical care, recreation and educational opportunities. But women got additional benefits, including free prenatal care, daycare, counseling, and special education for toddlers and children with disabilities or for other “special needs.” “Since benefits offered to recruits who are women are so very generous, it almost becomes an incentive,” said Donnelly. “One feminist advocate many years ago referred to the military as a ‘Mecca for single moms.’””

Either pregnancy should result in discharge or women of childbearing age should be excluded from service in the first place. The military should not be a way for women to marry Uncle Sam.

Once more, and this time with feeling, equality has always been a lie.

G-Forces are Great for Morning Sickness

The CTCR document also states:

“At a time in which asymmetrical warfare is the norm, the lines between “combat” and “noncombat” (zones, personnel, missions, scenarios, etc.) become blurred, often beyond recognition or meaningful distinction. Someone serving in what is technically a combat support unit or role can quickly and unexpectedly find himself or herself in the middle of a kinetic threat and have to face immediate life-or-death decisions about whether and/or how to engage the enemy in combat (whether defensively or offensively or both).”

Now if on this basis the CTCR concluded that all military positions have effectively become combat positions and therefore objected to women serving in the military at all, there might be reason to take them seriously. But as already noted, they support women voluntarily serving in any role they wish.

Furthermore, the difference between combat and noncombat is still quite significant. The reality of asymmetric warfare and terrorism means that even a civilian “can quickly and unexpectedly find himself or herself in the middle of a kinetic threat and have to face immediate life-or-death decisions”. However, women owning firearms, taking self-defense classes, and participating in active-shooter training at the office is not the same thing as joining the Marines. Similarly, we can still distinguish between combat and noncombat roles in the military. That is, if we want to. We can still distinguish between roles that are appropriate for women and roles that are not. If we want to. The CTCR document itself makes this clear when discussing how pastors should support women in the church if they are to be drafted:

“In the event that women are required to register for the draft, pastors will need to be ready to assist those women who are conscience bound against serving in combat or being conscripted into military service to apply as a conscientious objector.”

“Two types of service, determined by the individual’s specific beliefs, are available to conscientious objectors in the event that the draft is again implemented. The person who is opposed to any form of military service may be assigned to alternative service (conservation corps, caring for the very young or very old, education or health care). The person whose beliefs allow for service in the military but in a noncombatant capacity will serve in a branch of the armed forces but will not be assigned training or duties that include using weapons. The length of such service will normally be 24 months.”

So it is obviously possible to serve in a noncombat role. If the LCMS believes it is appropriate for women to choose to serve in these noncombat roles, then they should be eligible to be drafted into them. And again, if it isn’t, then the LCMS should be saying it is no longer appropriate for women to serve in the military at all. If the LCMS is going to take a position on these matters, then it should stand for something other than giving women autonomy devoid of responsibility.

Precious Bodily Fluids

I must note The Heritage Foundation recently informed us that 71 percent of young Americans between 17 and 24 couldn’t join the military even if they wanted to. To quote one news report, “Rising obesity numbers, drug use, criminal backgrounds and other problems mean most people at prime military recruiting age are ineligible to serve.” So while I support the idea of pastors helping their female parishioners in the unlikely event that women are ever drafted, a better use of their time and energy here in the real world might be to help more young men become the kind of fit, healthy, law-abiding citizens who are prepared to serve. Which means they’ll be prepared to do lots of other things as well. And by help young men, I don’t mean continuing to insist on more freedom, more benefits, more programs, more attention, more money, and more double standards for unaccountable females while demanding male responsibility sans male authority. I mean actually help.

This report is an attempt to have it both ways. Taken as a whole ‘Women and Military Service: A Lutheran Perspective’ is, at best, a pointless document. At worst, it bows to the goddess of equality and her never-ending sexual revolution. Lutherans should reject this false deity and recognize that her promise of equality is a seductive lie. The people of our increasingly re-paganized civilization (including many who call themselves Christians) worship this idol. They mutilate their bodies, sacrifice their children, and pervert every human institution in service to their sick religion. The goddess of equality will bring destruction. Her army marches on relentlessly. Now is not the time for appeasement. Now is not the time for a Lutheran perspective. Just one truth among many for us all to choose from. Now is the time for Lutheran (read: Christian) proclamation of the truth.

Enough from me. Go read some Scripture. Start with Jeremiah 6.

Yee-Haw!

FIN

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

“Among the Thorns” — a Poem by Keith Horrigan

By Keith Horrigan

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Within the spirit of love
we move and we breath,
but in these worldly pursuits
it’s hard to perceive.
The good and the bad
are all interweaved,
and our values misplaced
are the webs that we weave.

So with hardening of heart,
inflaming our pride,
the allure of our defects,
arise and collide,
and as these subtle temptations
attack and divide,
all these passions of want
fail to subside.

But when the good is at hand
and our pain is relieved,
in the gift of this good
we are often deceived.
Because we walk in the flesh
and are often naive,
to the grace of this good
we constantly cleave.

But when acknowledging wrong
is often denied,
our arrogant scheming
opposes our guide,
and as long as these yearnings
our Spirit derides,
these battles within
will forever abide.

So when the good of this world
has taken its leave,
in this one simple truth
we will choose to believe;
When the good is not found
and cannot be retrieved
In the arms of the bad
we will seek our reprieve.

But if submission to love
is often applied,
and this tyranny of want
is often decried,
although its hunger’s enraged
when often deprived,
in the discipline of love
the ego’s defied.

For far greater than good
is the bad we receive,
in the suffering we’ve known
and the pain that we grieve.
For outweighing the good
all these troubles achieve,
a far greater glory
than mind can conceive.

And if in obedience to love
the ego resides
and the fruits of its promise
we take as our bride,
the roots of our craving
will all be untied,
and the gift of love’s grace
will God’s mercy provide.

FIN

 

Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/5510369808

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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An Anonymous Comment on my “When Homes are Heartless” Post and More

Given I Peter 3:7, what might this book mean? Could it be worth reading at all?

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I posted my short piece Addendum to the LCMS’s When Homes are Heartless: Another Problem from Another Angle on a few Lutheran Facebook groups I am on, and it’s gotten some attention, to say the least.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a good thing, although at the same time I really wish that people would pay as much attention to the recent two-part series I just launched and that I worked very hard on as well, which makes a more fulsome argument and gets to some of the deeper, and more uncomfortable, issues involved with male-female relationships and beyond.

It is called: “Sex and America’s Political Conscience: Seared, Hardened, and “Woke” All at the Same Time”

Back to this hot post: most of the comments I’ve gotten of the post have been critical in one way or another.

My basic response to the persons who think that my comments on this document are out of line (especially after they found out that in my life and I have known of no instance of physical violence among those I personally know — its like the people who say you can’t comment on abortion unless you are a woman or have even had one, I guess) is this:

I acknowledge necessary and responsible self-defense by divorce, period. I said as much in [my original] post. My concern is to *raise awareness* that the facts on the ground say that wives already–and even regularly–kill their marriages in situations where self-defense is not truly justifiable. And that this is, to say the least, a widespread problem.

This is fully in line with the topic matter of When Homes are Heartless, because as the document points out, divorce is violence. And I would urge everyone who says that the common knowledge about men and domestic violence could not be subjective at all to consider watching this short talk from Cassie Jaye, before re-engaging in the discussion (but do what you like, y’all):

 

I did receive a comment in support of the post from one commentator who appears to use a pseudonym. I also got something from another person who read my blog, sent me a response, and wishes to remain anonymous.

As with the previous post, I’m protecting this person’s identity, and so I’ve changed some insignificant details and we’ll keep this person gender-neutral as well, calling this person Pat II (remember Pat I as well, and pkease ponder again the significance of his/her story).

This is not what Pat II looks like.

If more folks would like to comment anonymously, send me your replies at nrinneatgmaildotcom. I might publish replies I get as well in the future, with your permission.

Here’s Pat II’s post, which converges with some of what Cassie Jaye says.

I would rather not comment on this issue publicly.

The fact is, domestic violence is a two way street, and I have known more female abusers than male.

And not just emotional abuse but physical. I have also help quite a few women who were living in domestic abuse shelters and none of them were in there for being abused. They were using it as a homeless shelter. And in order to do so they had to falsely accuse a man and obtain a restraining order against them just on their word (because the system is slanted).

And in reading some of the article, “When Homes are Heartless: an LCMS Perspective on Domestic Violence,” I see it is slanted too.

For instance; “One cannot ignore the overwhelming tendency of violence in male-female relations involving men as the perpetrators (Creator’s Tapestry [2009]).” And “When violence and its threats occur in a marriage, one party to the marriage actually creates a circumstance in which the other cannot remain without endangering herself, and quite often, her children.” Especially in the last paragraph, “one party” is used unbiasedly and in the next sentence, “endangering herself, and quite often, her children” clearly a manipulative agenda based paragraph.

It has been my personal experience and in the rooms of recovery for 30+ years that domestic violence is 50/50. Men have a greater capacity to harm because of their physical strength and the system ignoring them when they claim violence, and prosecuting them more times than not based on he said she said evidence.

Marriage is a two way street as well and I have never met a person who will not blame the other to some extent but usually to the greater extent for a failed marriage. And I would be hard pressed to find any woman who does not claim to be a victim in this culture of blame and lack of personal responsibility. And I can not say that about men.

To a large degree men claim victimhood as well but I could find many who take full responsibility.

I really have no time for these agenda-based article or books where men are demonized and women are perfect virtuous saints. But because I try to help many of these people see their own personal responsibility if I voiced this publicly they would not even consider my words if the thought I had a biased opinion. Which it is very clear to me that I do.

And yet I don’t believe I am judging according to a sexist agenda but rather the way of thinking that leads people into abuse and keeps them coming back. And that way of thinking is the way of blame and lack of personal responsibility, lack of respect for others that only proves their own lack of self-respect, and a complete misunderstanding and manipulation of the meaning of love, which is at its core and is best expressed in Corinthians 13.

Imagine this – the system of American justice, slanted in just this way? (well, I know some lawyers, and let me tell you….)

Another person brought the following harrowing tale from Stillwater, Oklahoma to my attention.

No thank you.

I’ll just give you a taste of the story – now 7 days old — as told by my wife’s favorite paper, the Daily Mail. The title “’Mom, you just shot him’: Shocking video shows acquitted bail officer shooting her client dead in front of her teen son,” says it all, but hear is some more:

  • Chasity Carey, 42, was acquitted on Friday of first-degree murder in the August 2017 shooting death of Brandon Williams in Oklahoma
  • Williams, 38, was a suspect in a burglary and marijuana possession case
  • Payne County District Attorney’s Office on Monday released video from Carey’s office recorded by her 19-year-old son showing the shooting
  • It shows Carey grabbing a gun from her desk drawer and shooting Williams in the back as he attempts to flee through her office window
  • During her trial, Carey claimed she shot her client in self-defense after he tried to grab her gun

I encourage you to learn more about this case and to watch the video below:

 

Well, thank God for cameras, and thank God for the You Tube commentariat:

Just ask yourself how in the world that something like this could ever happen in the American justice system, and then ask yourself if you think it might have anything at all to do with issues of gender in our country.

As one “men’s rights activist” put it, drawing a comparison with this event and the way many a divorce play out in America, there is “getting away with murder” and there is also, analogously, “getting away with divorce”.

I think I need to agree with one of my commentators: violence is not necessarily divorce even if divorce is violence.

FIN

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Sex and America’s Political Conscience: Seared, Hardened, and “Woke” All at the Same Time (part II of II)

I can feel your love teaching me how
Your love is teaching me how
How to kneel
Kneel! – U2, Vertigo

So, per the last post in this series, there are all kinds of amazing connections with sex and Christianity. It makes sense of course because it was God’s idea.

And, as we know, sexual desire and sexuality can also be highly disconcerting subjects. We might, for example, be certain that we should join Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek in appearing to casually dismiss the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson for suggesting that “’radical feminists’ don’t speak out about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia because of ‘their unconscious wish for brutal male domination.’”

Right?

Then again, on the other hand, there are phenomena like Fifty Shades of Grey, which, to say the least, well…

Chart from 2014. Note there were around 125.9 million adult women in the U.S. that year. Do the math.

And here, even if one rightly condemns this novel as the obscene — and presumably female-friendly! — pornography that it is, these questions cannot be avoided: should a man lead in relationships? (paging Suzanne Venker...)

Sexist. Why not try to reverse this?

Relatedly, is it somehow wrong for a man to aggressively pursue sexual relations with a woman?

Is that necessarily abuse or predation of the weak?

Totally sensible, right?: “A time when women can both enjoy rape fantasies and expect never to be raped or pursued without their consent would truly be the best of times. It’s not too much to ask for.” —  Batya Ungar-Sargon

Does it not depend?

On the man? On the nature of the “aggression”?[i] On what, specifically, he is pursuing? On the situation (um, marriage, anyone?)?[ii]

Need better advice: At least in a Christian culture that respects women and consent, women generally can be the “gatekeepers”. Can say “no ring, no action.”

Christians, more than anyone (Ezekiel 16? Song of Solomon?), should know that the secular world is not all wrong about love. Even how it, on the basis of the passion and vigor that can be found in what the Greeks called eros, understandably calls into question simple political ideas of what it means for human beings to be free (forms of political freedom) and what it means for them to obey (forms of political slavery).

And even as we confess that the Left was right to insist that the personal is the political we also know there is more… much more. Especially when it comes to the spiritual realities that things like sex – marriage’s core expression – point us towards.

So of course passion must be channeled by, must be surrounded by, the love which is described in I Corinthians 13. The fireplace for the fire. And this is the true love that, the Apostle reminds us, is born of the Gospel of Jesus’ forgiveness and life — and willingly and gladly submits to the Most High God.

Can we all admit how badly we need this love here – expressed in God’s Holy Law? In this law that must not only seen as universally “preferable” but as universally binding? As expressing the furious justice and mercy of the living God?

Know this: for the secularist, saying that is high blasphemy.

“[Alfred Kinsey (pictured)] even spoke as if the introduction of Bible-based sexual morality were the watershed in human history, a sort of ‘fall’ from which we must be redeemed” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 133)

Of course, in #MeToo we finally have some convergence of concerns on the political right and the left. Finally, because so much focus is being directed towards victims, even the most liberal persons are concerned about sex! Perhaps now is a good time to listen to Joy Pullmann when she points out — no doubt to Batya Ungar-Sargon’s libido’s dismay — that “…[i]f mere consent is the standard, one woman’s rape could turn out to be another woman’s post-encounter regret for kink she consented to at the time, or thought she consented to until she experienced it.”

Joy Pullmann

Pullmann does not relent either, pushing the implications of Ungar-Sargon’s thinking to the necessary conclusions:

Abuse victims very frequently assent to their abuse, whether it’s psychological, physical, or sexual. This mindscrew is in fact part of the abuse. Being able to know and affirm this truth requires establishing non-arbitrary standards for behavior outside of the parties engaging in it. It requires dissenting when morally confused people like [Batya] Ungar-Sargon insist the only arbiter of what is good for women and society is each individual in isolation. It requires deciding what the boundaries should be for the common and individual good and then, yes, enforcing them, both legally and socially. That requires clarity about what, over time, has proven to encourage and hinder human flourishing, not ignorant, short-sighted, experience-shriven, and feelings-driven decisions made in the moment.

You don’t need to be a biblical prophet to recognize that Pullmann helps us see the truth: even if Christianity made a world of free consent imaginable, laws demanding consent alone will never cut it (note that some might argue that many incidents of colonialism were largely consensual to, something that reeks of far too much self-interest to be taken seriously). Legislation which encourages, exalts, and protects “natural goods” like marriage and family — and fatherhood! (and if you wanted to destroy the faith…) — must be pursued.

Come, let us exploit and be exploited: “[Bad dad] Freud…. had nothing but contempt for people who kept sex within the covenant bond of marriage: ‘Only the weaklings have acquiesced in such a gross invasion of their sexual freedom’” (quoted in Pearcey, 131).

Speaking of abuse, what about the abuse of one’s self? Strawn, whose paper on conscience in Martin Luther we looked at in part I, asks concerning homosexual activity:

The Enlightenment ideals of “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” popularly are repeated within American culture in view of homosexual activity with the sentiment: “They can do what they want as long as they don’t hurt anyone else.” But what about harm to themselves? Have we no responsibility there?

“All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” — the Apostle Paul

Once again, one doesn’t need to be a biblical prophet to see this. At the very least, there is no difficulty finding impartial studies which suggest that homosexual activity is much more likely to accompany a panoply of other harmful behaviors. In any case, for good measure we should ask this: are we so sure that such behavior is only harmful to the ones directly involved in it? Certainly, some situations involving those engaging in homosexual behavior will give most anyone pause:

The daughter of famed science fiction author Marion Zimmer Bradley has written an autobiographical account revealing the horrors of growing up in a home raised by LGBT parents who repeatedly sexually abused her and her brothers….

The trauma suffered by Moira and Patrick was so great that both of them chose a new last name, “Greyland,” to repudiate their parents’ last names. The abuse was not only sexual, but also physical and psychological, and was so savage that both siblings continue to suffer from powerful symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.[iii]

Greyland’s conclusion about this is about as un-politically correct – though not theologically incorrect — as one can get…

“[W]hy do materialists choose sex as their religion? Because in materialism, the core of human identity is in the biological, the natural, the instinctual – especially the sexual instincts” (Pearcey, 134).

“I have heard all the customary protestations. ‘Your parents were evil because they were evil, not because they were gay,’ but I disagree,” writes Moira Greyland in her new book, The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon.

“The underlying problem is a philosophical one that is based on beliefs that are not only common to gay culture but to popular culture. And this is the central belief: All Sex is Always Right No Matter What,” she wrote….

Greyland says she has spoken to many others who were raised by LGBT parents and their stories are very similar to her own.

“Every single child of gay parents with whom I spoke had certain things in common,” she writes in The Last Closet. “Those with only same-sex parents in the home ached for their missing parent and longed for a real father, and nearly all of us had been sexualized far too young.”

Nothing to see here. Move along…

But, oh, nevermind (we wouldn’t want to be politically incorrect, “insensitive” and worse, would we?)

Sexual liberty must reign — because it is essentially, in practice, false religious liberty.

Luther: “…it is a rule that whoever has started to neglect faith and conscience soon becomes a heretic and is forced to be zealous.”

What has happened here? How have we become so blind? Why must we now, as secularists increasingly insist, abandon our convictions or be kept from helping children? Why do so many remain convinced that they are actually helping? Why do so many conservatives who give in to the pressure remain convinced that they are helping?

Gerber’s popular new baby Lucas aside, don’t you silly Christians know, per Nietzsche, that aborting 90% of these is the compassionate thing to do?

Well, sin of course. And yet note the distinct, clever form it has taken in our place and context. Here, the very tolerance that Jesus’ love makes possible has now been turned against the Bible itself. Despite the biblical prohibitions to the contrary, more progressive Christians often support, for example, women’s ordination to the pastoral ministry. If you resist this, this is the basic “nice” answer you might get: “You simply do not understand what I am saying; but if you try, someday you will, and you will then embrace my position.”

That sounds really civil and all, but here is the bigger picture – with its persistent undercurrent – just in case you missed it:

  • Then, if you “get it” on women’s ordination but are not the acceptance of homosexual behavior, you are an intolerant bigot, full of irrational animus
  • Then, if you are for the acceptance of homosexual behavior but not gay adoption you are an intolerant bigot, full of irrational animus….
  • Then, if you are for gay adoption but not….

See how it works?

Luther: “In His small flock He has poor and weak consciences that are easily hurt and are not easily comforted. He is a King of the strong and the weak alike; He hates the proud and declares war on the strong.”

God bless the simple natural families that seek to love one another and make their way in the world before Him!

Martin Luther majored in providing comfort to weak consciences – burdened “by the memory of former sins, actual sins, evil events, and the fear of future punishment” — through the Gospel of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

That said, Luther also vigorously upheld the importance of God’s law consistently forming the conscience of man — in the home of the Christian and beyond. Man needs both law and gospel. Before we can be comforted, we need to be confronted with the truth.

That includes the confronting the truth about America and confronting America with the truth.

Hope for compatibility? Well, which one first?

Not so long ago, a student of mine, speaking about a “seeker sensitive” megachurch he had attended, stated the following: “churches play an extremely valuable role in helping people feel the same freedom about their choices with religion that they are accustomed to feeling in other areas of life.”

Because capitalism has been so fantastically successful — with companies able to market directly to youth — the adolescent values ascendant in the 50s and 60s are quite dominant… — Heather MacDonald.

This made me think about something I had said in my 36 points explaining why I was now calling myself a “Liberal Christian Nationalist”. Point #20 said:

The hope that all persons would be able to freely express themselves and become the selves and nations they wish to be is true, pure and lovely (Philippians 4:8) – even as it is a hope that simply cannot reasonably be fulfilled in all situations.

Because of Classical Liberalism’s Bad Conscience?

Is this a lovely ideal that, in the end, is simply untenable in the world? That kicks against the goads of political realities? Because, we either cannot – or if we can we will not – be the people God created us to be? We who mock and blaspheme against God?

Contra David French, steamroll away Christian, unapologetically being formed and forming consciences by the word and grace of God. Converting and cowing your own and other’s flesh not with physical force, but with the Spirit of Truth.

Is that all the church militant does?: “Intersectionality steamrolls right over the lukewarm, leaving them converted or cowed. The answer, of course, isn’t to steamroll back — after all, our faith is supposed to be full of grace — but rather to respond with calm conviction” – David French

That’s right. We’ve been innocent as doves.

It’s time to be as wise as serpents….

Whatever you do, don’t despair – even if America fails – but lift up you heads….

Look to the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

FIN

 

Notes:

[i] So as not to be misunderstood: When love is awakened, as the Song of Solomon speaks of, a strength and vigor which stops at something (that is, rejection of the advances) is, to the world’s eyes, indistinguishable from one that stops at nothing.

[ii] To build on the above, is it, in general, wrong for a women to be attracted to a powerful man who, seemingly undeterred by rejection, gives every outward impression that he will strike while the iron is hot, so to speak?

[iii] More from the whole article, which is worth reading in full:

“Alarmingly, Greyland reveals that her parents’ sympathetic views of pedophilia and pederasty had been a public fact for decades, one known particularly among science fiction and fantasy fans who attended fan conferences. Science fiction fans documented Breen’s molestation of at least ten children by 1963, which had only resulted in his temporary exclusion from the largest science fiction fan convention, Worldcon, and was never reported to the police. Breen continued to attend conferences for many years afterward, baiting children he targeted with abuse with various science education gadgets that would attract their attention.

Greyland writes that Breen was an open member of the “North American Man-Boy Love Association,” and he saw his pederastic proclivities as a natural consequence of his homosexuality. He and Zimmer Bradley jointly published a journal on pederasty and pedophilia, The International Journal of Greek Love, in 1965 and 1966, and Zimmer wrote an article for it treating lesbian pedophilia in a positive manner.”

Images:

U2 on Vertigo Tour, CC 2.5 Generic, by Wikipedia brown ; 50 Shades stats pic licensed for use to me by https://www.statista.com/ ; Joy Pullian from http://thefederalist.com/author/joy-pullmann/ ; Figure skaters: http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Yannick+Kocon/ISU+World+Figure+Skating+Championships+Day/AuAnZUEynCJ ; Freud, Kinsey, Down’s syndrome boy (CC BY-SA 3.0) all CC from Wikipedia. Christian flag from Pixabay (free use).

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Addendum to the LCMS’s When Homes are Heartless: Another Problem from Another Angle

A battery of false accusations against our Father, circa 1995.

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I recently came across and read the document, When Homes are Heartless: an LC-MS Perspective on Domestic Abuse (download it here).

It’s a harrowing thing to read — and while certainly challenging when considered along with the church’s historic teaching on Confession and Absolution — an important document to consider and prayerfully wrestle with.

In it, you will read, e.g.:

  • “One cannot ignore the overwhelming tendency of violence in male-female relations involving men as the perpetrators (Creator’s Tapestry [2009]).”
  • “[Because of things like abuse, marriage’s] permanent purpose — that it is intended to last for good — is also spoiled.”

Cain and Abel, the first example of domestic abuse, and “the first family suffers permanent damage”

 

  • “Conflict within the home is predicted when the Lord declares that childbirth will be marred with pain, that the relationship of husband and wife will potentially involve struggles over ‘rule’…”
  • “Families, despite their imperfections, are the settings in which countless children are protected and nurtured and guided to adulthood.”
  • “The CTCR recognizes that Scriptures do not specifically define the character of abandonment or desertion (Divorce and Remarriage: An Exegetical Study [1987]), noting that this may include not only total departure from the marriage by an unbelieving spouse, but other actions as well that create an enduring separation for the couple” (see I Cor. 7:15 where it talks about separation and I Cor. 7: 3-5).
  • “When violence and its threats occur in a marriage, one party to the marriage actually creates a circumstance in which the other cannot remain without endangering herself, and quite often, her children.”
  • “[P]articularly in cases of domestic violence, individual Christians should seek the protection of police and courts — God’s appointed servants for our good as well as His servants in the restraint of wrongdoing (Rom. 13:3-4).”

Again, give this important document a read.

At the same time, as I read it, I thought about another way that homes are heartless – and which is far less known and talked about.

How do we prevent unhappy men and women from divorcing their spouses?

I was saddened to hear the news this past week of Donald Trump Jr. and his wife splitting up. Actually, to be more precise, Donald Trump Jr.’s wife is leaving him. We don’t know the reasons for this divorce, but I have known persons close to me — very good persons who are now, thanks be to God, happily married — who were left by their spouses, and presumably for no other reason than dissatisfaction and the pursuit of happiness.

As this “When Homes are Heartless” document says:

“Hard-hearted sin leads many to refuse to uphold the promises of marriage. They put away the spouse God has given to them and destroy the unity He created. Jesus calls divorce a form of adultery, which He identifies as profoundly destructive to marriage (Matt. 19:8-9).”

I also think about some of questions that came up as I read the document as well. At one point, for example, we read the following:

“it is important to recognize that sometimes domestic violence or abuse is more verbal and emotional than it is explicitly physical. That does not mean that every example of an angry outburst or a cross word constitutes ‘abuse,’ but it is necessary to emphasize that obedience to God’s laws and expectations is never merely a matter of external conduct. Just as sin flows from the heart (Matt. 15:19), so do genuine obedience and good works. The husband who has abused his wife cannot claim that he is innocent of destroying his marriage since he ‘never caused permanent physical harm’ and, besides that, was a ‘good provider’ or ‘never cheated.’”

I found this passage a bit difficult — and even disturbing — for a few reasons. Why?

First, all of this is said in the context of a part of the document that is dealing with understandable reasons that persons might have for getting a divorce. What kind of evidence might be required to render these kinds of decisions? It seems to me that the dangers for subjectivity here are immense.

Second, I thought about how I often deserve hard words from the Lord, and there are certainly times God deals with His people with words that many might perceive to be abusive. One only need to read the Bible for a while to realize that God accuses us with stinging words, labels and names (even though I tell my kids not to do this with others, I have told them they should call me “fat” — and variations thereof — ever since I discovered I could not fit into a pair of pants the other day).

Third, I tried to imagine a husband divorcing his wife for this reason. What would we think of a man who used this as his rationale to put away his wife?

Fourth, is it just me or does it seem like we are getting very, very far away from the Apostle Paul’s admonition to “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses” (I Tim. 5:19)?

C.F.W. Walther: “a true Christian manifests himself as a person who fears to commit a single sin….” Especially when it comes to your reputation, you nasty patriarch?

Finally, another disturbing element of the document was this: in it – albeit in very understandable circumstances – one is certainly able to get the impression that continued falls into sin after one says they are sorry are a sure indication that repentance has not been genuine.

But no good Christian would take advantage of all of this stuff above, would they? Right?

Let me share a bit about a conversation that I had with someone online about marriage and divorce that continues to haunt me.

I knew a person who claimed Christ and who was always able to give the correct theological answers. This person is very sharp and incredibly isightful, and often would point out things in the biblical text to me that I had missed.

This person, who I will call “Pat,” (and I’m changing a few insignificant details as well) had had two previous “committed” relationships, one of them being a marriage and the other being a 12 year live-in relationship. Pat told me that love is forever and that s/he would die for their previous partners and still loves them as friends. In both cases Pat left this spouse/partner because if both of them were going to be happy this, I was told, was the necessary step.

It was explained to me that Pat chose his/her partners even though Pat knew that they were only about a 75% match. Going into the relationship, Pat saw the 25% as important stuff that both partners would work on together. The problem, however, was that his/her partners did not want to work on that 25% of stuff.

Pat doesn’t look like this classic character.

Pat realized that the problem was choosing persons who were close to him/her and were “safe choices.” It was hard for Pat to really take risks, appropriately demanding what s/he wanted before the relationship would get serious. It was explained to me that the key was a lack of maturity.

Now that Pat has more maturity, things are looking up. The risk was taken – putting one’s self out there – and now a 90% match was attained, with that difference making all the difference. The arguing and bickering and ignoring was no more. Now, the happy couple was working on the remaining 10% together.

The lesson learned was that we can’t expect everyone to have good committed relationships the first time — especially when people grew up in bad homes. Therefore, instead of teaching the traditional way of marriage with its “till death do we part,” we need to teach them not to settle for the things that won’t work just for the sake of love.

Whatever I tried to say to try and to get Pat to doubt these view and to reconsider, I could not do it. I tried my best – and prayerfully – to be unfailing kind, a listener, keep Pat on the line, etc.

Now, is this a good way for any Christian to look at things? Whether they are a man or a woman?

This is a little different, to say the least, from what I heard from mother. When I was little, I knew nothing of divorce. One day, to my horror, I realized it was a thing. So, one day, when my mom and dad fight like they never have before, I, very young, ask “Are you and dad getting a divorce?”. My mom, very serious, looks me in the eye and says “Nathan, your father and I will never get a divorce. There is no plan B.”

Not my mom’s philosophy, thanks be to God.

Now, I don’t think it matters one whit whether Pat is a man or a woman. That said, however, there are some things that I and others have noticed:

I may not have time to defend the idea of why marriage is a good thing for men, who, either burned or seeing others burned, want nothing to do with it (see here). At the same time, I do think something should be done. What does this all mean? Are there answers to these questions? Should not solutions to these issues be pursued vigorously by some?

45 million copies sold in the United States alone by *2014*? I’m sure half of those where by men, right?

How do we prevent unhappy men and women from divorcing their spouses? I wonder if the more pressing question that we must deal with here is this:

How do we protect unhappy women from the idea that divorcing one’s husband is a good idea?

FIN

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

 
 
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