“The Universe is a Simulation”

This statement has been an intellectual/philosophical pursuit for many. Descartes entertained those thoughts, complete with the question of, “do even I exist?” He concluded with “I think, therefore I am.”

Descartes had said that, truly, who knows if anything around him exists according to his understanding? Could it all be an elaborate deception of some evil genius? Well, his surroundings might be. But at the very least, an “evil genius” running the simulation could not “simulate”–or falsely make him think–that he thinks.

In summary, Descartes was convinced that he exists, even if the existence/reality of anything else cannot ever be ascertained for certain.

Descartes is just one example of many who have gone down this pathway of thinking (solipsism). But I think there is something absolutely huge to be gained as a mental exercise in our walk with Christ–at least, it does to me. Please allow me to explain.

Let’s say, for a moment, that NOTHING around you actually exists. It’s just a simulation. Now of course, if it’s a simulation, there must be someone running it. And as Christians, we acknowledge the creator of the universe, so in this exercise, God is the creator of the simulator. We can acknowledge two things, then: like Descartes, we can be certain of our own existence (our consciousness), and we can be certain of God’s existence as the one who runs the simulator built specifically around you, the individual.

(please note, as per the mental exercise, I am speaking as if “you” are the only consciousness)

Since it’s a simulation, nothing else actually exists. It’s all meaningless–all the sights and structures, people, places and things are not at all real. Nothing that happens to them actually matters. The only thing that matters–as these are the only things certain to exist–are your consciousness and the consciousness of the one running the simulation. At some point the simulation ends, and you meet the creator of the simulator who has been studying you for evaluation. The one who runs the simulation, of course, also cares nothing about what happens around you so much as the way you respond to everything around you.

When you realize that nothing else exists, you don’t care what happens to it, or even yourself in terms of your current form of existence in it. You do realize, however, that you have a game to play within it, as it were. The rules are set SPECIFICALLY for you in the simulation. You don’t care about what happens in the simulation per se–since everything in it will disappear in the end–but you care immensely that you respond accordingly to everything that the designer has thrown at you.

Here’s the point: it’s so easy to get distressed about outward results, and the world is very good at trying to get us to stress about outward results. Jesus told us that hating our neighbor is the same as murdering him (Matthew 5:22); whether the person hated actually dies or not, the one who hates is guilty of the sin of murder. On the other hand, Jesus did a perfect job of loving those around him and yet even he did not turn up results in the people around him (Matthew 11:20-23); and consider how many came after him and apparently won more souls than even Jesus did when he walked the Earth–now of course that’s mistaken sentiment, but hopefully therein the point is made: we are not judged before God based on the reactions of our environment, for anything, ever. Many people think and speak in terms of outward results directly indicating one’s character: whether he/she marries the right person (or manages to get married, period) and whether his/her marriage is good, the condition of one’s living and financial situation, one’s popularity, one’s success at working in the elements, and so on. Lazarus the beggar–a decidedly “unsuccessful” person who died from his poverty–was raised up to heaven. (Luke 16:19-31) When Jesus met fishermen in Luke 5:5-8, they spent all day long trying to catch fish and failed, and at a certain point Jesus told them simply to do the exact thing they did all day, only from the other side of the boat, and then they achieved success in catching an abundance of fish; there was no lack of effort either way, and of course there was no reason why the fishermen should have thought that casting the net on the other side of the boat would make a difference, except by faith in the word from Jesus, but a whole host of different results occurred nonetheless.

Why do some people judge others and themselves based on the conditions of the simulation versus the heart? Of course, “man looks on the outside, while God looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) We have NO hope but to ascertain another person by outside indicators. When someone (say) dies by being hit by a car, we look at outward evidence to see if it was intentional murder, a legitimate accident, or even if the victim was deliberately committing suicide–the heart makes the difference as to the judgment of the person, not the outward result. We can never truly know another’s heart–that is just our limitation; from our point of view, it’s like a simulation.

The upshot to this is that we’re all on equal footing in that sense: God created my simulation for me, and your simulation for you. No two people’s simulation are exactly alike, but each is fine-tuned for the person. One person’s trials may look entirely different from another, and yet we are told “no temptation has befallen you except that which is common to man.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Our simulation is unique, and yet our tests, inasmuch as they test us individually, are completely fair, as a period of evaluation.

One sure-fire way of failing the simulation, however, is to evaluate ourselves by the condition of the simulated environment–when we realize that God has total control of the simulation, it should be obvious how foolish this is, just as we are told not to love the simulation (1 John 2:15), and as everything we store up in the simulation will be gone (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Judging by material success goes against countless Scriptures, and so is boasting about riches (Psalm 49), yet sloth is condemned (2 Thessalonians 3:10). What if you teach Scripture truthfully and actually win souls, yet you’re a hypocrite? (Matthew 7:22-23). What if you do a perfectly fine job fulfilling your duties in a marriage, yet the other never responds positively (1 Corinthians 7:16)?

Well, what do the results matter for the time being, for better OR for worse? It’s just a simulation! What counts is the way we respond to everything in it, and to the way God speaks to us within it.

Perhaps this was a long-winded way of going about something obvious–let me know. But it’s one way I think of things to combat the angst of the conditions of the world and the “results” I obtain while in it, versus thinking ONLY in terms of what I do within it while the one who has written my situations for me evaluates me.

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God’s Commands to Husbands for Marriage

This is not a marriage blog at all. It’s geared at being protective of men, but that includes exposing the threats made against men on the spiritual level, and the modern teachings of marriage are very important to address to that end.

Now, people who focus on marriage will zero-in on the commands to wives and husbands–understandable, to an extent. But whenever we zero-in on a passage or theological subject, it is very, very important not to lose sight of the entire rest of Scripture so as to cause a specific passage to say something that it doesn’t actually say.

I have no doubt that this is happening when husbands are preached at for their duties in marriage. I contend that the command for husbands is ultimately only reminders of what is commonly taught to all believers, with respect to the fact that a man is indeed an authority. I will boldly say that anyone who wants to be contentious with me about this will utterly fail to do so with God’s word rather than the words of man. By all means, let’s declare the Scripture boldly, with a focus on man’s command:

Ephesians 5:25-33
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Let’s dissect this to the fullest:

“Husbands love your wives . . .”

We are all commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves (words of Jesus): Matthew 22:39: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

We are all commanded to love one another as Christ loved us, and all to the same degree.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Again, a sentiment about what love is, among many, not limited to men, but includes women as well.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)

Once again, not a gender-exclusive command, given to the church straight from Jesus: to love one another as Christ loved the church. It’s a command given to absolutely everyone, male and female. Any arguments about a “husband exclusive” sort of love should really end with this point, as Jesus’ command is not at all unidirectional. Everyone is to be Christlike to everyone else, with all the self-sacrifice therein, period.

Ephesians 5:2: And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

It is heresy to teach that only husbands are commanded to love with a Christlike, self-sacrificing love.

“He takes care of it and feeds it.”

From the Proverbs 31 “wife of noble character”:

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:20

With regards to widows’ lists:

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children,has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. 1 Timothy 5:9-10

Widows were expected to have a history of being providers to others. Why should her husband be excluded as a recipient if he is the one hard-pressed to make a living for whatever reason? Plus, “the two are one flesh” (Mark 10:8) principle itself is totally bidirectional, and is equally applicable to women as much as men. As some might agree, men are (at least physically) more able to work in such a way that yields a paycheck, but what’s in a paycheck when we are more fundamentally all–male and female alike–commanded to work per our ability? Unfortunately–as encouraging as it is that many women today are taking to the submissive wife role–I find that the discussion rapidly develops into a license for women to be held to an altogether lower standard.

The one-directional command to husbands that remains is the washing of the word, which does indeed testify to a husband’s role as a spiritual provider for his wife–arguably. I do contend that the reference to Christ washing his bride with his word does suggest a spiritual leadership in the household, and that other Scriptures can very much confirm that point for husbands and fathers.

So once again, Scripture’s commands to husbands are primarily reminders to do what everyone is commanded to do. In addition to everything else, consider:

Titus 2:3-5

The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

So where is the follow-up command that (say) older men should teach younger men to be godly husbands and fathers, just as women need to be taught by older women to love and obey their husbands? Why isn’t it there? There is no biblical basis for a man being mentored for what is treated like some special, biblical gender role as husbands–none. But only the modern woman’s “back-at-you” attitude wants to see heat put on men.

My conclusion is reinforced yet again: Ephesians’ commands to husbands are almost entirely reminders of what believers do in general, and little more. There is therefore no need for husbands to be particularly mentored for some overly special “biblical gender role,” because – apart from the occasional mention – it just does not entail much special attention beyond everything the Bible generally teaches believers about how to be imitators of Christ. Most of husbands’ service to their wives is fulfilled by way of his autonomous spirit toward Christ, such that a woman has a good cause in her husband to help, follow, and support.

Now with that out of the way, why would a reminder to be generally Christlike to wives be necessary at all? I will explain within the remainder of this post.

Notice the fact that husbands’ commands tend to come AFTER the commands given to wives; as wives are commanded to submit many times, that distinctly implies a husband’s authority (as other Scriptures support, male and authority go hand-in-hand: 1 Corinthians 11, Genesis 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:12-14).

My contention is that there are major consequences with how these Scriptures have been used to distort their original meaning. God gave Adam a “suitable helper” (Genesis 2:18) for what? To be as deadweight, to be so much work to maintain that his life suddenly becomes about nothing but maintaining his “suitable helper”?

Quite frankly, what sort of “suitable helper” is that? No thanks! If I’m dedicated to a task, and am given a helper, I expect that the helper will primarily enhance the work and purposes I was originally tasked to do–not REPLACE the meaning of my existence with maintaining my helper. However, the reminder of Scripture to love our wives is a good reminder to us to say, let’s not forget that our primary task on the Earth–male or female–is “love your neighbor as yourself” and loving our suitable helper is decidedly encompassed in that task.

The most important and fulfilling quality a man can give his wife is a good cause to be a part of serving as his coworker. How has a husband served his wife best, then, if she became his entire purpose? Doesn’t she want to be part of something greater than herself, just as a man should be interested in becoming a part of something greater than himself? If not, such a woman has a major heart issue. Christ died for his bride out of love, but does that mean that his bride is the only purpose of God’s existence? This is a HUGE trap for the thinking of man in general! No, we were made for Christ’s purposes as his bride, and God does not tolerate inverting the order, an attitude in man that God exists for man’s sake rather than vice-versa! Likewise, a teaching that frames a husband’s purpose in life being her wife is equally intolerable; “man was not made for woman, but woman for man.” (1 Corinthians 11:9) Women are NOT the reason and purpose of men’s strength, just as man is not the reason and purpose of God’s strength, though it is a major expression of God to minister and impart Himself fully to His bride.

Christ is indeed our authority. The world has many authorities, and very few of them are as loving as Christ. The command of Scripture to husbands acknowledges that he is indeed an authority over his wife as Christ is above the church, and the distinction is, in terms of a model for authority, model Christ, not worldly authorities who often don’t care anything for their subordinates.

Moreover, we have an unfortunately lax attitude on how demanding Christ is as our authority, I believe. We like to portray him as a “softie” to us, where he is not. Currently, as men’s rights must exist, men have become so unprotected themselves that falling victim to the “suitable helper” has indeed completely defeated the purpose of marriage (if he’s beaten down so much by his wife, how can he serve her, himself, or anyone else?). The Proverbs 31 woman is scarily busy; and she causes him “good, not harm, all the days of his life.” A man is indeed called to pursue righteousness equally, but in terms of how he invests himself for the sake of his marriage, his greatest gift to his wife is a goal-oriented spirit that goes beyond making his wife his entire purpose, as that’s what a woman of God finds genuinely attractive. For that reason, as 1 Peter 3 tells us, a godly wife, through her submission, actually provides for men an example of how to be submissive to God, since they are commanded to “submit as unto the Lord.” Yes, a lot of women in the post-feminist world are looking for a way to say “up yours” to men after reading that and abusing the commands given to husbands, which is not their job for obvious reasons. And, some women are cowards who are looking for a “Superman” who makes the journey effortless as they are more of a prize to sit and be polished–while they hide behind the notion that a woman is held to lower standards on account of the fact that she’s a woman (how does this align with Christ’s command for us to be imitators of him? Where has he spoken of standards for us being lower because we are merely the bride of Christ rather than Christ himself?).

Some men are criticized for not wanting to “man up,” but weakness comes from the fact that our abilities are indeed limited as well–no gender has a license to be fragile while the other is demanded to be invincible, and neither gender is exclusive to being protective of himself or herself as if one is more innately valuable than the other. The current-day conditions for how poorly protected men are (while protecting women is quite the to-do, even as women harm men) mutually reflect the idiocy of teachings of marriage.

“Where have all the good men gone?” They’re hurting, because they are so poorly protected by those who want to see results from men without helping.

To be gracious in love, I urge men to be self-defensive, and not allow themselves to be dehumanized, which does not best serve a woman, himself, or anyone else–protect yourself, and then I decidedly concur, “love your wife as you love yourself.” You will be most able to do so when you are successful in loving yourself.

On Men’s Sexual Purity: an Empowering Approach

I have been contemplating ideas for this subject for quite some time, and I expect that I will frequently edit this post. So much is written about it in the frenzy of combating a problem in Christianity that–despite all the words thrown at it–I feel is not really understood. I believe I can offer something that, from what I’ve seen in Christianity addressing the matter, you may not have seen. The distinguishing aspects of my approach, in my view:

*Weaving Scripture through all of my thoughts. By all means, examine the context.
*The reasons for why the truth is obstructed and perhaps even withheld from men that is capable of setting them free, even within Christian culture.

Some men and women are simply unrepentant sinners with no interest in pursuing righteousness. But I am speaking regarding what can be so commonly seen: addictions, being overpowered, and, for all the vigor and passion and urgency in Christianity for men to stay sexually pure, a real problem achieving success through intense frustration; men who WANT to be blameless before God.

Allow me to digress for a moment to set the stage for what I’m going to say. When I graduated High School I was obese. My eating habits were terrible and I was just not into exercise. Was I guilty of gluttony? Maybe, but I’m not sure to be honest–many things have changed for the better since then. (Just to say, I don’t remember ceremoniously repenting of gluttony) I took on body-building as a hobby soon afterward, which, like any athletic pursuit of course, requires some discipline of dieting. Today I watch cookies, cake, ice cream, and all sorts of other junk food go right past me while others indulge at get-togethers constantly. I almost never touch any such item of junk food anymore. Is it difficult? Not really, usually, because, for the most part, my attitude toward eating is almost entirely oriented for health and so the sight and smell of food that cannot serve that end just doesn’t get associated with something I ought to eat. Sure I remember what cookies, cake, ice cream and other junk food tastes like–and some research on sugar shows that sugar is more addictive than cocaine! Once in a very rare while I might have a taste of something. Likewise, I never even think of taking up smoking because I’m aware of the horrific negative effects the habit has on health.

As I look up information regarding a bodybuilding, I come across other amateur to professional bodybuilders for their knowledge. Some of these men make references to the goal of bodybuilding for “getting laid.” And it hits me: these men are highly disciplined people in many areas of their lives such that they can be successful at bodybuilding and fitness–an area that most people today spectacularly neglect. When they know something is bad for them, they invoke their discipline to avoid it.

What I’m saying to you is that I believe men are not being told or truly convinced, on the deepest level, of why sexual immorality is bad for them. Yes, we have the fire and brimstone stuff; yes, if you’re married, sexual immorality makes the wife upset and wrecks marriage. People in Christianity are screaming in intense anger over an action oftentimes confined between two people, or one person who’s sin is entirely inside his head. But truly: why? Really, digging clear to the very, very essence of the issue, of why is it bad for YOU?

Let’s talk about this subject in love. Let’s talk about sexual purity and how it empowers us as men. And at that, regardless of marriage, because God calls us to sexual purity regardless of marriage. What is my motivation?

    “It’s objectifying women!”

I’m glad we have sympathy for prostitutes and porn stars and promiscuous women, really. But as far as the messages of love that Scripture imparts to men regarding sexual purity, we have a very different message.

Proverbs 6:26: “For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress stalks and snares [as with a hook] the precious life [of a man].

Of course, a porn model/star is an extension of prostitution as she is motivated by money, not love for anyone for whom she performs. Indeed, Proverbs 6:26 speaks not of any man victimizing a woman with sexual immorality, but rather, how the man is the victim of objectification by her, albeit with consent.

Say what?

This is repeated by Paul as to the reason why we are to avoid sexual immorality:

1 Corinthians 6:15:
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!

It sure sounds like Paul wants us men to wrap our minds around the notion not to objectify the prostitute or women in general, doesn’t it? Nope. Once again, it speaks of YOUR victimhood, that YOU are defiled and reduced to an object. We need to avoid sexual immorality because of how it threatens to degrade US if we use a prostitute–that is the message of Scripture.

Men’s bodies are also to be revered, just as a woman’s, kept pure, respected and dignified. Women are indeed beautiful, but so, men, are you–the beautiful woman should not be so intimidating (indeed, sometimes, the way women models are portrayed, they intimidate other women too–yet femininity is anything but intimidating).

On so many levels, we live in a culture that worships and pedestalizes women. But when we consult our Bibles, what is the reason given for why the sight of a woman is appealing?

Genesis 2:21-23

21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made (fashioned, formed) into a woman, and He brought her and presented her to the man. 23 Then Adam said,

“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

This is later referenced in 1 Corinthians 11:7-9

he is the image and [reflected] glory of God; but the woman is [the expression of] man’s glory. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man.

She is not some goddess, not high up on a pedestal. Her image is nothing high and mighty such that she should be intimidating to a man. She is beautiful because of the way she reflects the glory of man – something has gone terribly wrong, on so many levels, in this day in age of female pedestalization, and that men (and sometimes women) are intimidated by the image of a woman.

I want men to be able to think of the prostitute or porn star, no matter what she looks like, as an insult to the dignity of the customer: the prostitute sees YOU as the object, the loaf of bread, the meal ticket, and have no agreeableness to this objectification.

Do we struggle to comprehend this, as men? Why?

I’m going to follow-up on this statement very shortly, but my contention for this whole discussion is that men are so accustomed to being performance objects to begin with that these passages fall flat to men as a motivator. Where we can see women afforded the notions of their innate value, the sheer importance of their protection, men are esteemed for their performance (if they’re even esteemed for that). The idea of being reduced to a piece of bread–objectified, rather than loved for our innate value–fails as a motivator because in other contexts we’re already reduced to pieces of bread, socially and (tragically) in marriages. We are way too saturated in the culture that has us, as men, trying to earn our value.

Conveniently enough, the way sexual purity–with regards to men–is handled, without the loving manner of Scripture, we may very well have yet another example of how men are viewed as performance objects. Else, where are the messages ensuring us not to allow ourselves to be objectified by the prostitute in congruence with Scripture? Why, instead, is the whole discussion framed almost entirely in terms of its effects on women?

Where is the talk of our own sacredness, the necessity of us being loved and respected, and the need for our protection? Speaking of protection, that leads me to:

“And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters.”(Ecclesiastes 7:26)

This is a rather personal comment from Solomon, right? “I find,” he says–his personal reaction. To approach the discussion this way, I concur.

Who is such a woman? A prostitute, a porn star, a wayward wife, a “friend with benefits,” a “casual sex” partner. We should understand that all of these are examples of sexual immorality, but why are they “more bitter than death”? And what does it mean that she is a “snare” and a “trap”?

It means she lures you with something that bears the appearance of something good. Like cheese in a mousetrap, she is reminiscent, to a man, of something that is actually very, very good, and one of the greatest blessings God gave man on the Earth, and that’s a woman’s love. The betrayal in that trap is horrific.

So as we uproot lust–the deception that looks like something good but is not–what idea do we put in its place? The real thing: a woman’s love. Paul asserted that, due to the prevalence of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife (1 Corinthians 7:2)–the real thing, to help avert the danger of falling prey to the counterfeit. But if getting a spouse isn’t immediately possible (as it may not be for a huge variety of reasons, especially in today’s world), let’s just ask ourselves honestly, do we really have an understanding of what a woman’s love really is? Or have we lost the concept so badly that we don’t even know what it has to do with sexual relations anymore?

Let’s explore some potential thoughts:

*”I’m not deserving of a woman’s love”

*It’s a challenge to earn the “pretty girl”

*The “pretty girl” is beyond my worth or accomplishments

*Getting the girl(s) is part of my man card.

Which is all garbage.

Proverbs 31:2 What, my [a]son? What, son of my womb? What [shall I advise you], son of my vows and dedication to God? 3 Give not your strength to [loose] women, nor your ways to those who and that which ruin and destroy kings.

WOW! Listen to the sheer LOVE in this admonition to men!!!! Winning over women – “earning” and spending our strength – is a temptation, but a total waste of our strength!

(Dear brothers, here is yet another Scripture on sexual purity to us that is protective and empowering! Isn’t in amazing how much God’s word loves us, put so powerfully into perspective compared to a culture that has next to no regard for our well-being as men?)

If you’re married, your wife is to love you and vice-versa. Whether you “deserve” her love has nothing to do with whether or not you are due love from her any more than vice-versa. It’s not something you need to “earn.”

All throughout history wives have been effectively bartered to men like “prizes.” Just look at the story of Jacob who had to work 14 years for the woman he really wanted. But to be sure, Jacob’s story definitely testifies that a woman a man wants will surely get a man to work, and cause someone else (oftentimes the woman herself: manipulation that a man should “earn” her in some way) to use that fact to harness a man’s productivity! In this godless interaction, she is used like an object or a trophy, and a common corresponding attitude on the woman’s end is to be a trophy–the “trophy” woman (and by this I mean in terms of her efforts to find a man) spends a great deal more effort on her appearance, along with making sure she knows how a man ought to preserve her as a precious trophy and sitting on a pedestal than her femininity, her virtue, and her capacities to serve a man as his “suitable helper.” In the case of Jacob, that was 14 years of his adventure that a “life partner” (Malachi 2:14) missed out on experiencing with him, and the same goes for a cowardly woman who demands a completed journey from her suitors. All of this extends large-scale, as women being treated like prizes for a man to obtain, the prettiest girl, or many women as notches on the belt of an accomplished man. The female form appears in media in the form of being associated as a prize–to make men feel compelled to move (and thus harness their productivity). Men and women both are party to this ugly scene. It’s the interaction that resulted in the stereotypical insensitive brute of masculinity and dainty airhead of femininity–both dehumanized.

And yet, God’s will for husband and wife is not that a woman’s love is a “prize” based on performance. Just look at Eve–did Adam have to hunt her down or work for her? Did Boaz have to struggle to find Ruth? What about Isaac and Rebekah? People usually married very young in history, and arranged marriages are more the norm overall. Are Godly wives just prizes who sit at home and look beautiful like a possession that sits on a shelf, or does she work with you, struggle with you through all the mess of the daily grind like the woman of Proverbs 31?

Yes, we are attracted to outward appearance for marriage, because of aspects of appearance that make us think of feminine love (i.e. her feminine appearance). A woman is quite literally predisposed to being “softer,” which is easily symbolic of feminine personality traits.

But not necessarily! For example: “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” (Proverbs 11:22) As lovely as a gold ring may be, well, hopefully we get the point–a woman (or man’s) body IS an object in that it can only be a delivery system for feminine (or masculine) love. A body on its own cannot love, nor can one belonging to the prostitute with false motives but cooperates, for money’s sake, to offer an illusion.

But your wife: “a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” (Proverbs 5:19) All of those things work BECAUSE they are working together: her female body, her femininity, and her willing, devoted love to you. Yes, someone can “fall in love” with someone other than his/her spouse, but that person cannot offer that kind of love to anyone other than his/her spouse.

And yet again, this can be a trap if we make a false association; as she is a woman, she is capable of feminine love expressed through her body and the feminine predisposition. Unconsciously, we might think, the more feminine/beautiful her body appears, the more feminine she must be. But that doesn’t mean that she has either femininity or love, and may even be that “snare and a trap.” Here is the point: don’t unconsciously superimpose “love” or “femininity” on an appearance. It’s exactly the same phenomenon as building an idol, which is an object but you imagine it to be more than what it really is as you behold it. To look at a woman lustfully is to superimpose your notions of love upon an object–yes, a male or female body IS an object, but a lustful look injects a power into an object in one’s own vain imagination.

I mean, demystify it: you see an image of a woman’s body (whatever way she may be dressed), I don’t advocate an attitude of fear of “oh no, I’m helpless before this image.” Some people worship stone or wooden statues, thinking they’re more than they are, while others say, “whatever, wooden statue.” Maybe it even looks interesting. Likewise, I advocate a retraining of saying, “a woman’s body, whatever.” It doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all. “Beauty is fleeting, and charm is deceptive.” The “pretty girl” has been cruelly dangled in front of men as a trophy, verifying his virile quality–and you don’t need that!

I DO think men and women both notice a “pretty woman,” just like men and women both can appreciate a man’s appearance without any traces of lust involved. Likewise, that’s a fine alternative. We need to face the fact that anything beyond that is our imagination, not some mystical power inherent to an image.

But I am saying, the image itself has no power: the visual association is within you and it’s in your power to change that (difficult as it may be, especially with the world being doom and gloom about it). When I was a kid, cookies, ice cream, McDonald’s burger and fries and soda–the sights, smells, and even tastes of these things–meant one thing. They mean something completely different today, now that I apply knowledge for what such things do to my health.

Married or single, it is important to understand femininity–feminists will criminalize you for it, while other women love to be appreciated for the beautiful creation they are which originated as a response to Adam’s needs. I will post more on feminine beauty to follow up on this because it is so vitally important to the subject versus the vain, trophy femininity. But briefly, a feminine woman is accommodating, adaptable, and responsive to people; she never challenges a man in any “sharpen the antlers” fashion or bosses him, makes a concentrated effort in making others comfortable around her; wherever she goes, she creates a peaceful sanctuary with her quiet and gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:4). She knows disrespect is a huge and damaging offense and avoids conveying the appearance of it. She is discrete, not abrasive, not loud, not forcible or aggressive but graceful. The subtle damages that women cause men on a daily basis in today’s world is sinful and the harm is apparent, and yet the same women who cause the damage will complain without compassion for emasculated men. A godly feminine woman will always be merciful and compassionate with others’ faults, and will be eager to inspire the best of what is in them. A feminine woman is absolutely submissive to her husband “as unto the Lord,” reminiscent of the manner in which Christ’s bride–the church–is absolutely submissive to him, and ministers to him as an example to her husband as well as an amplifier to him. She never competes with a man; she is not contentious (Proverbs 25:24, Proverbs 27:15, Proverbs 21:9, Proverbs 19:13)

As most anyone can tell, genuine femininity is very rare, especially in the modern West.  And then there is Proverbs 31, containing a description of a woman who makes herself so busy and productive even I find it downright scary. She is busy, productive, generous to others (“She extends her arms to the needy”), and courageous (“she laughs at the times to come”).

Though it’s common for women to complain about the phenomenon about being treated like prizes (under-appreciated for what they actually produce), it is so common for women to exploit this attitude of culture: get a man to “earn” her in some fashion. They seek the powers of sitting on the pedestal in such a non-human elevation, from which she can take from men and judge them, be preserved and protected, but not held accountable for her the manner of her contribution herself; they seek such a super-human elevation, without the self-degradation that comes with the same selfishness and proud heart. This is to women’s detriment and disempowerment as well, that there is such a lack of accountability, as well as a hateful sentiment toward men that men are not nearly so much worth protecting (fixing this in our hearts is KEY to understanding the need to preserving our dignity and self-respect and instrumental in achieving sexual purity, among other things). And, I’m a little hard-pressed to find too many examples of women who have a generous attitude towards men in general. The reality is that many women seek all the advantages of the “trophy” role, minimizing their need to give back to a man or men in general while they contemplate their endless demands for a man and for men collectively. It never ceases to astonish me as to women’s sheer capacities to complain on their own behalf as if men need to be performing better for them (in some form or capacity) and then how seldom it occurs to them to contribute anything to men even in a commonplace “love your neighbor as yourself” love that Christ commanded; even amidst the complaints of female objectification, the attitude prevails that they (women) are mostly to be their precious selves while men perform and fix everything; meanwhile, even collectively as well as in marriages, men contribute a great deal to the well-being and protection of women. A precious rarity is a woman with a selfless, generous, defensive, loving attitude towards men–thank God, they do exist. And let’s remember, Proverbs 31 was written by a woman to her son, obviously for his protection, as is so much in the Bible yet so little of a protective spirit for men can be found in the world or Christianity.

To drive the point home, consider a person (nevermind gender for a moment) who says they want to be appreciated as others, but does not want to be held equally accountable as others? This is an enormous subject deeply ingrained in our culture, but to touch on an illustrative point, consider the well-known inequality of sentencing for crimes for female criminals versus men (try researching the sentences for female pedophiles for a great example). Yes, this is pertinent to the subject, because we’re talking about depedestalizing women so as no longer to feel intimidated. We need things put in proper perspective and this is entailed in recognizing women as people, no more, no less, and the “no more” is almost always the missing piece of the discussion. As most people talk about curing men’s sexual problem, they say “see women as people” but don’t see the problem with proceeding to pedestalize women above men, and put men down without a protective sentiment toward men–otherwise we would be hearing Proverbs 6:26 preached which is a message that empowers men!

Understanding this is important for seeking purity, because we need an understanding of how we should not be treated in the project of comprehending a woman’s love–what it is and what it isn’t. Even Proverbs 7:11 describes the manner of the wayward wife: “She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house.” Look at any women’s ministry, and it will be covered with writing telling a woman to be protective of herself and how she ought not be treated by a man, and of course, how she should be treated, and then notice how unbelievably rare it is for men to be done the same courtesy; with the protection of men being such a non-priority in Christianity in general, and examples of Godly femininity being so scarce for men (or women) as models for understanding, we have a huge problem.

Now think about someone who hates you–male or female: would you want him to touch you? Would you want to have dinner with him? Would you want so much as to be in the same room with him? When you wrap your mind around that concept being the “woman who is a snare and a trap,” it should be obvious how empowering celibacy really is. But in the male-objectifying, female-pedestalizing culture, we feel privileged just to get any attention from anything female at all, like the spectacular trophy that verifies our quality and worth. We actually need love, period–the same kind that is so commonly offered to women, offered apart from performance.

If you are married, your wife’s appearance should be beautiful to you because she loves YOU and you especially, wholly devoted and holding nothing back, and no other woman can replace that. The use of a prostitute is to superimpose your imagination of love on a woman who has none, a woman who is actually so loveless to you that you SHOULD consider her (the prostitute) an object in such a way that she has nothing to offer you personally. (Proverbs 6:26)

It is crucial to take all of this mistreatment and exploitation away and discard for the comprehension of a woman’s love (regardless of whether or not it’s actually in your life). For one thing, identifying the sub-Christian attitude of the majority of voices coming from “Christian” women far beneath the concept of “love your neighbor as yourself,” at least with regards to men, as well as a sort of love expressed through femininity.

So the woman who is a snare and a trap–the prostitute, the wayward wife, the porn star–avoid her. You are loved by God, with your body esteemed as the temple of the Holy Spirit, and you ought to be interpreting her deception as a major offense to you, because she does not love you and she defiles your body. You are the victim of falling into a “snare and a trap” in which your beautiful body is abused, and granted, this usually doesn’t mean she grabbed and forced you, but she is a vicious predator in her own way. Just as Proverbs phrases it, “The wayward wife preys on your very life.” That predatory nature takes lighter forms when the “trophy” femininity approach can be seen in women who DO try to be the prize of a husband, who is merely provided for but not interested in sharing an equal risk, work, and struggle with a man as a life-partner and reduce him to an ATM. Again, what does Proverbs 6:26 say? “The prostitute reduces you to a piece of bread,” and sometimes, sadly, wives can do that too in conjunction with the culture.

This is what we, as men, need to understand: see yourself as a victim, because if you fell into the “snare and a trap,” that’s exactly what you are. Yes, really. De-pedestalize women as prizes or as measures of your worth in any way, so as not to be intimidated by women. “Love” is not earned–a prize is earned, and a woman is not a prize, and you don’t have to perform before you are completely lovable, to be loved by God, by the family of God, and your wife in the marriage relationship if you’re married.

If we see a woman as a prize, we objectify her and ourselves; we treat ourselves like appliances and machines whose value and lovableness is based on what we produce, and we treat her like she has no humanity so as to offer something as precious as her choice to love and join with a man as a true life partner, just as busy in so doing as the man.

Moreover, if we’re single and having thoughts about a relationship with a woman, the “pursuit” can be a to-do, I’ll grant. But what’s most important for a man is that he has his own goal, his own mission, not expecting a woman to BE his destination, but hopeful that God’s “suitable helper” to Adam will help him REACH his destination. I’ll repeat it yet again, the pitfall is not to think of a woman like a prize whose beauty reflects your performance and perfection. She makes a choice to love you and struggle with you through the down-and-dirty daily grind of life and her choice to love you is the real gift.

Brothers, please see that I have merely woven all that I have said through the explicit and implicit sound teachings of Scripture. And Scripture works. All corners of Christianity are freaked out about a “porn problem” and failing to understand that the forces acting on the problem are much more complicated and culturally induced. In general, they fail to protect men (and seldom demonstrate an effort), and sometimes contribute to a collective mindset that reduces a man to a piece of bread like the prostitute. Now I would advise you to think of sexual immorality as something that doesn’t exist (porn, prostitutes, affairs), not unlike the way a non-smoker just doesn’t consider the existence of cigarettes when he goes to a store that may or may not carry them. But the fact is, men are pushed in that direction for reasons beyond the culture’s desired results (porn addictions, affairs, etc.)–and as usual, we, as men, need to think of ourselves as more than just results, but human beings who need love and should be loved, worth struggling with in love like anyone else.

Use Scripture to reorient yourself, and you will reach the point where you simply no longer have a motivation for sexual immorality (whether you’re single or not) for understanding fully how it is counterfeit and futile, and a betrayal. In our modern world, in which men are barely protected and are under so much attack by feminism and gynocentrism, understanding what a woman’s love actually is and isn’t plays a vital role. A woman’s love takes a form that is rejected in today’s world–we can live without it like many men have been celibate. Unusual a recommendation this may be, I believe following men’s rights will help you and I strongly recommend reading such resources. Why? Because it’s almost the one place that pulls no punches when it comes to protecting men from women, prioritizing the protection of men for once in a culture that is blatantly terrible at it, where almost everywhere else the reverse is the only to-do. In your interactions with women, your perceptions of the way women treat or mistreat you, you will help develop an understanding of how you ought to be treated despite the modern world practically glorifying any spectacle of a woman hurting a man. That harm takes many forms of disrespect, bossiness, insensitivity, pervasive sentiments that you, your life and your feelings matter less, or that you are less beautiful or less sacred or less innately valuable or less worth protecting. Finally, then, you’ll be able to protect yourself spiritually from the “woman who is a snare and a trap” who means you harm (consciously or not), no longer feeling intimidated as if a man is merely lucky that anything female gives him any kind of attention whatsoever, like if our default state is to be beaten down and a woman’s approval is our trophy and proof of our worthiness as men or as human; you’ll no longer be intimidated by the woman who presents herself like a trophy who is “too good for you” until you prove yourself. I don’t care if a man is over 35 years old, unemployed, living in his parents’ basement, obese and with acne all over his face: he is too beautiful to soil on any prostitute in God’s sight.

What’s more, at this point of knowledge, you might decide to go the route of singlehood anyway if marriage seems like too much of a fuss for you, now that you know that you don’t “need” a relationship with a woman for the wrong reasons. Most importantly, you’ll achieve a self-respect on every level that cannot be put down by a woman. It may seem counter-intuitive, but to a Godly woman, that’s actually attractive, because it’s the stronger man who loves his wife and also does not compromise his mission–in which she is a suitable helper in every sense–rather than a man who seeks out women’s affirmation AS his mission. This is why sexual purity is empowering: that freedom and independence, and full devotion to God.

As far as the women’s end, some are confused as to their roles as well, as they are locked in this system too, unfortunately. As opposed to the worship of women, we can develop a deep appreciation for them, eschewing putting them on pedestals. A woman’s submissive nature can be a model for ANY man as to the way we submit to Christ as His bride, dutiful, busy, significant. Women, like men (married or not), have powerful functions in the Body of Christ should they so choose, with plenty to offer apart from sitting and being their precious selves, preparing to be a prize for which a man works and becomes objectified and dehumanized. Quite the contrary, a Godly woman is a bold worker prepared for a tough, risky journey just as Christ’s bride does for Him. The other end of this ugly mess, on the woman’s end, is to help them feel that sense of significance that they have for which the righteous woman cries out. As men, we can develop discernment with all of this, which helps women, and gets interactions healthy again, because finally:

1 Timothy 5:1-2
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

We can, men and women, look at each other as people, neither gender put on a pedestal in front of the other, demystified to one another, and both appreciated for all the good they really have to offer as family. That is the solution for the church as a whole. We are to learn that most male/female interactions are brotherhood/sisterhood and not in any way related to romance/marriage/sex. Again, this is a concept which I’m hard-pressed to find taught anywhere–we’re more overrun with “treat the opposite sex like an accident waiting to happen” which is a profoundly destructive message to the Body of Christ and training genuine sexual purity (a band-aid on an epidemic as it may be).

Marriage is an option. Restoring healthy interactions between believers is not, and the schism and dreadful systems we have in place exploit us all, where we should have restored love and function in the Body of Christ. Then, we will indeed better understand the humanity in each other and serve one another’s needs as the Body is meant.

In summary, regarding sexual purity:

1 Corinthians 6: 15-20
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[a] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[b]

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Sexuality’s capability is to join us in flesh with someone else. If we unite with something/someone that defiles us, we have hurt our bodies, and we have no right to hurt ourselves because we belong to God. Don’t unite with a prostitute who doesn’t love you, but instead meditate on being united with God who loves you intensely and cares for your flesh and its respect and dignity.

With sexual purity, everyone wins: FIRSTLY, your body is pure, kept dignified, respected, and honored. SECONDLY, since your body belongs to God, you honor God by staying sexually pure. THIRDLY, if you are married, your body also belongs to your spouse and you sin against him/her by defiling it and giving yourself to someone else when you are rightly your spouse’s for joining in flesh, and FOURTHLY, lastly, many sexual sins involve successfully tempting the other person to sin with you.

My Story, “Finding My Own Way” (an appeal to MGTOWs)

MGTOW is often called the “red pill.” The red pill–A reference to “The Matrix” of course–jolts us away from an addictive illusion, to a shocking truth, but ultimately to a real freedom.

The addictive illusion? That we need women’s approval like we need our kidneys, and we are just means to women’s end without equal innate value, that it is of lesser importance when women hurt men in various ways than vice-versa (an attitude well-reinforced by real data about women receiving FAR lighter sentences for crimes than men, the lack of DV shelters for men, etc.). Since we cannot possibly live without women, the price of a woman is ratcheted up infinitely and crosses far over the line into costing parts of a man’s very soul. I’m going to make the occasional comment about this, as I think is USUALLY understood about MGTOWs (and if not, for the most part, you’re horribly mistaken): MGTOWs are NOT against relationships with women or even marriage. What they DO understand is an embedded psychological slavery inflicted upon men that men are fulfilled by paying any painful price, compromising their very being clear to self-emasculation, dehumanization, and soul-selling, to get married and/or have a relationship. (I see a relationship with a woman as a potential life partner, and someone who accompanies a man boldly and shares all of his risks and adventures as he goes his own way, and such women do indeed exist)

And the culture is not protecting us. It’s actually promoting the system because it appears to make men move productively. Men are subject to objectification for their productivity (again, the reason why the “red pill” allusion is so apt) and a large part of it says that only women have innate value, but to us their happiness from us is a prize to us indicative of our worthiness as human beings–motivation to perform. Of course, feminism inverted what it perceives the dreaded “patriarchy” of being in that regard, and in all practicality, they succeeded, especially since traditionalists (who are not so different) don’t fight back on men’s behalf, but prove mainly to be part of the machine that convinces men that their value has to be redeemed by their performance.

The MRM, of course, confronts a multitude of practical issues reflecting a cultural disinterest in protecting men–blatantly–to the point that the exploitation of men is self-defeating, because men can only be so productive in the face of such spectacular apathy and neglect.

So what’s the individual man to do? Leave the hopeless system. It’s only the practical thing to do, because it’s a system that casts blame and shame–not real, actual help–when men underperform in their sight, and it cannot be satisfied. It’s a chicken and egg problem, because men are like any humans who need provision before they can be expected to perform. Men can thrive and perform in a system in which their interests are looked after and men are allowed their freedoms and independence.

Taking a few HUGE steps back, I look at this as a Christian. The anti-male culture was something that snuck up on me frequently that I didn’t want to believe existed, but far too many times it took me by surprise (with so few others acknowledging its existence) until I decided to face it, daily, on my own terms. To some, it would seem like a “fixation” to men in the manosphere, MGTOWs, and the MRM, which is indeed unfortunate, because I’d just as soon live out the childhood fairy tales of rescuing a princess, taking down a foe, raising a family–alternatively, today’s women could be encouraged to join the fight and reboot the system, but rare is the woman who wants to confront the need to face the culture. But when so few are looking after a problem that is a threat to you, unfortunately, that forces the need for you to be somewhat “fixated” on the potential threat.

Let’s just say a straw broke the camel’s back for me a few years ago regarding the injustices against men–a very big straw, but not one suffered by me directly. After a lifetime of being infused with notions of the sheer preciousness of women and how terrible it is for them to be done harm, I saw continuously–and in one final jolting, enormous fashion–that men are considered acceptable to hate and not considered worth protecting, defending, or giving justice in the face of harm. This was around the year 2004 when some bombshell news knocked me right down and I realized the cultural misandry was an inescapable reality that I could not ignore, as much as I might want to think that it’s “all in my head,” yet this was before the MRM, MGTOW, and the manosphere grew into what it is today, and for all the people in my life who had their sense of righteousness, this issue didn’t come up–thank God for the MRM today, which makes things so much easier. I had nowhere–nowhere and no one–to go, but to Christ.

The world isn’t fair. The MRM details a long list of injustices and clearly they are far from the only ones that exist. Women suffer injustices too. All people of all eras suffer injustices. The world’s collective sense of justice is fickle, unreliable, undependable. The one who pins his heart on the fickle world will be betrayed and brokenhearted very quickly, and ultimately, that goes for anyone. And every era has its wars and challenges, and today’s unique battle becomes tomorrow’s cliche, or storytelling trope–the legends of battles fought yesterday were once new and surprising situations for the people who actually faced them. Today’s battle is that which is detailed in the MRM, without a strong precedent, and without popularity. That’s what makes it a struggle, although struggles are nothing new.

That’s what following Christ is all about, in any era–standing up against and being conquerors of the world, a journey found in the heart; a willingness to follow a cause that may not be so visibly seen but is steadfast and true. It’s about a “narrow path,” not being swayed by the fickle and unjust world. It’s about becoming a greater “you” who lives in a harmony with that greater standard that is steadfast and exists apart from the flow of culture. That is the meaning of the word “holy,” or “set apart.”

What is a true Christian man, in essence, if not a true “MGTOW”? But one thing I harp on a lot in my writing is that there is a big inner hurdle in traditionalist culture that led to this mess, keeps the mess going, and opens the door to feminist exploitation (still ending up on men’s doorsteps to fix women’s problems after calling men “oppressors”)–a machismo in men that stubbornly and proudly refuses to admit its vulnerabilities and neediness. That’s ultimately what MGTOW is about, yet doesn’t state such in such an honest and humble fashion: we as men have frailties and unmet needs. We can’t take the hatred. This is a lack of love. And it’s a lack of love on behalf of the world that lacks the love to give; the world needs a supplier of love too. We are goaded into this pride by a world that will (often) further say “man up,” don’t complain, don’t whine, be a man. MGTOW is about escaping this futile system completely.

But escaping to where?

The bitterness of MGTOWs and the manosphere is obvious. It’s there for good reason, with untreated wounds and unmet needs. But if we fail to abandon machismo, we will struggle to treat the festering wounds that lead to bitterness, and make the problems we ourselves complain about much worse–since, if we have no unmet needs and vulnerabilities, what’s to complain about?

Men are to be strong and providers. Very well, but we need a provider too. None of us are Superman. So where do we go?

I turn to God. I grew closer and closer to the Lord in my vulnerabilities. The Bible is full of stories of people brought low–humbled–to be confronted with their need and dependency on God. And this was definitely the case for me. It’s not a need that “only people in trouble” have, but people who “feel” in trouble are merely exposed to the fact that they are not invincible, and neither is anything in the world–it’s not only those who actually see the need to take the red pill who actually need it, but everyone does. And yet we cry out for justice. We have needs beyond food and shelter. We can seek out those needs, but we cannot produce the cure.

I want to boldly suggest to MGTOWs to seriously consider the path of Christ. You are already bold to defy the better part of the world; you are already sold that the better part of the world is an unreliable and unjust place; you are already bold to fight it and escape for your lives, body, mind, and soul; you are already bold enough to say that there is a better way than what the world offers, with all of the heartbreak that it imparts, and seek it out with hopefulness and not hopelessness; many of us may be hurt, but we are not giving up as if waiting to decay.

We are “going our own way,” but what is the point if we are “going” without a destination? Clearly there is something we want that many of us do not yet have. We are “going,” because we are searching for something outside of us, led by something WITHIN us, rather than pushed around by the direction of the culture. Cleaning out the noise of the culture is the first step, such that we can confront ourselves honestly for our own needs to “go our own way” to get met, but where is the destination?

I was a MGTOW LONG before I ever heard of such a movement. I went my own way, detached from fickle world, in order to find something I desperately needed that the world would not offer. But I went out needing to find something. I found Christ. I was raised in the church, which I do not count a total waste by any means, but it was not enough. I had to connect with Christ as my very own purpose and make Him a part of me. Cultural misandry (such that the mainstream still ignores it for what it really is) made me painfully aware of my need to go my own way and find the destination that was Christ, who showed me the truth. Keeping with the “red pill” allusion, it’s not only the people who actually take the red pill who need it–everyone does. But some of us confronted our need for it.

I hope I have shown that I resonate with MGTOWs profoundly and that feels like an understatement, since, once again, I believe I was truly a MGTOW before I ever got wind of such a movement or phenomenon. That’s why I’m asking the rest of you to hear me out on this: when I “took the red pill” and sought out, I found Christ who met those previously unmet needs and gave me my real unshaking foundation. I’ve had harsh trials since then, but the sheer impact of that “red pill” shocker and the antidote that came with it have made my genuine connection to God unwavering.

What happens after that? After I am provided by God with what I could not otherwise receive, I have more to give. The “red pill” is the realization that the world can’t provide what we need, and the real alternative is Christ. After that, I learn to look back mercifully on that same world (albeit with difficulty). Think of The Matrix again, recalling the scene where Morpheus leads Neo in the program with the woman in the red dress; the people of the Matrix are “the very minds of the people we are trying to save.” They have the same problem we did, but do not realize it; they’re dependent on the system, even while taxed and tormented by it, just like we were. They “fight to protect it.” Once I find Christ, I know they have the same need: take the red pill, face the shocker, awaken from the phony reality, and grasp something real and unshaking.

If you take me for a fool that my conclusion to MGTOW is finding Christ, then I hope you can at least bear with me, because I think my story ought to be recognizable.

Thank you for reading. I pray that when you find your own ways, you get to the destination that has what the rest of the world did not–could not–offer you.

God Allows Us to Serve Him because He Loves Us

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:10)

This is on my mind lately. I write stuff like this to myself as much as anything because I need to teach myself primarily, but want to share anything I have with whomever can benefit.

Just to say, maybe this obvious to others, but personally, I found a need to remind myself of this.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He directs your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Sometimes we hit a fork in the road. We need to make moral decisions. Some of these are questionable, such as Paul’s discussion in 1 Corinthians where brothers in Christ contemplate whether or not to eat foods sacrificed to idols. Check it out (1 Corinthians 8, 1 Corinthians 10:27-31), but the short of it is, whether you take one path or the other on a moral matter, your choice is dedicated to the Lord and that’s what counts; either way, your choices, moment-to-moment, are made with the intent of serving the Lord.

We can’t do it on our own. We need the power of Christ and His indwelling Spirit. God gains nothing from us in the sense that He needs something from us. We need Him to direct our paths, trusting Him to do so, anxiety-free. I have to remind myself: don’t entertain guilt. What I’m talking about are some moments when you can see “pros” and “cons” one way or the other. That is to say, you’re not sure which decision is pleasing to the Lord. That’s not saying that any choice you make is okay (such as a blatant disobedience of the Bible). It means, we make a decision–as there is no avoiding making a decision–and dedicate it to God at all times. If we are flawed in so doing, we put our trust in His love to correct us, no anxiety involved. What matters in the meantime is that we dedicate our decisions to the Lord, acknowledging that He is our entire purpose.

I think about how much love there is in God allowing us to serve Him. We are unprofitable servants to Him; He has to hold us by the hand on everything that we do. After we acted like trash to Him, He suffered to restore us to Himself.

If I have a “favorite verse” in the Bible, it’s Romans 5:6-8:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die, but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I include these three verses together because of all that it implies in the full picture shown here. Firstly, there is such a thing as a righteous person versus a wicked person in this context (Luke 15:7 is another passage stating the difference between a sinner needing to repent and a righteous person). We were sinners and too weak to find righteousness apart from God’s Holy Spirit; not only are we guilty of the sins of our past, but we are powerless to become greater than we were apart from the power of the Holy Spirit afforded to us by Christ’s sacrifice. (Again this is noted in Luke 15, in which the Shepherd has to go and find the lost sheep).

We have to be completely dependent on Him and accept His love and total provision; that’s what He has commanded us to do.

Why does God do this for us? Because He’s a creator. It’s what He does. 😉 God is love (1 John 4:8), and love creates.

How wonderful it is to know that we’re part of something so amazing, vessels designated for honor in God’s Kingdom (Romans 9:21, 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Psalm 139:16), each having a significant story which God wrote for us.

“MGTOW” and Common Sense

For a Christian man, seeking Godly masculinity in a post-feminist world is a complicated affair.
 

Well, it is and it isn’t. The simplistic and liberating way to look at all things in this life is to obey God and keep His commandments, and imitate a solid number of Godly examples of men all throughout Scripture. I’ve written a lot about this already.

But then comes the matter of interacting with today’s society, law, and culture. With some glimpses of the conflicting schools of thought regarding some desperate attempts to reach for traditional masculinity and femininity versus feminism’s efforts to destroy them both, I fear a feedback loop, because flaws in the former led to the latter. Some of what I am about to illustrate, I hope, will clarify this statement. But the short of it is, the fact that men are perceived as stronger is, effectively, what makes them weaker.

How so? Well, a man is strong, and therefore he doesn’t need protecting. And when people are many times over more interested in protecting women from men than vice-versa, then that’s the irony at work: I am effectively dwarfed and defenseless before the sheer power of women, because of the fact that I’m expected to be stronger.

I don’t make promises in this regard, but you could say I’m a “MGTOW” because I err on the side of singlehood for this reason. Am I saying “all” women are dangerous to men? No. Not at all. I think many women today probably make wonderful wives while they pursue Christ wholeheartedly, albeit with their fair share of human error just like a man.

The following is a story about a man who was caught on camera defending himself from a woman who started attacking him with a stiletto: link

On the one hand, I was happy to see that his plea of self-defense was accepted and he was acquitted of charges of assault against the woman who attacked him. On the other hand, many people recognize the man by his jacket and he is subject to antagonizing. He was a very tall man who struck a woman who first attacked him. And many people simply won’t have it; a man is just not to hit a woman for any reason.

Why not? Well, because men are too strong to be allowed to hit women. And effectively, then, women become the most staggeringly dangerous adversary a man can possibly face, not DESPITE the fact that she’s seen as weaker, but BECAUSE of it. Feminists will scream “girl power” at the spectacle of a strong and (to them) imposing man being defeated in any and all capacities by the allegedly underdog and oppressed sex, and that is a beautiful thing to them. And then, traditionalists likewise don’t really offer an alternative, because likewise they see the man as stronger, and not needing protecting–since who needs to protect a big, strong man?–nor allowing him to protect himself.

As MGTOWs are very smart to figure out, traditionalists and feminists have a lot more in common than they like to admit. In both cases, the stronger men are, the weaker men are, effectively.

I repeat something to women, whom I love dearly, to hear me out, please: please see the difference between accusing ALL women of being monsters to men, and the accusation that men are truly in far too much danger simply to say, “ah forget the modern world, I’ll just be an old-school man’s man and settle down with a family.” We have a fight on our hands we didn’t ask for, and many of you (women) did not ask for the modern world either. We cannot pretend that it doesn’t exist. The other side of the coin of traditional masculinity/femininity is that women seeking traditional femininity don’t see protecting men as a “feminine” thing to do.

To that I would say, look at the Proverbs 31 woman: She opens her arms to the poor

    and extends her hands to the needy. (Proverbs 31:20)

 
Yes, women can rescue men. In fact, that is crucial for breaking today’s vicious feedback loop of traditionalism and feminism causing men to become weaker and weaker. How would women feel if:

*No Domestic Violence shelters existed for women?
*Women were deprived (effectively) from a basic human right to self-defense against men?
*You could scarcely find any writing advising you what sorts of men to seek and what sorts of men to avoid for marriage?
*You saw that men initiated 70% of divorces and women were subsequently destroyed by family court left and right?
*If you felt demands on you to be women of good character and to treat men well without any regard for the injuries you face emotionally and culturally as women?
*No spirit of gentleness and compassion, and respect for your situations, but only demands for your roles as women?
*A man could accuse you of a crime and he would be automatically believed unless blatant evidence (like a video recording) proved him wrong? And then, you were twice as likely to get convicted, and then destined for a sentence two to three times as harsh?

Would this cause you to think an extra ten times before going anywhere near any man? I’d think it would. If our culture were that resistant to protecting you, but only liked to put demands on you, that is an abusive lack of love. Would that be the same as accusing every last man of being a direct danger to women? Of course not. But I don’t see anyone pulling any punches when it comes to protecting women. And men need to learn to do the same, with women’s support. And this needs not to be mistaken–by anyone–of hating women as a gender.

On men’s side, we must abandon machismo. The manosphere is an explosion of anger to the blatant, untreated injuries of men in an otherwise total absence of a discussion regarding so many of those real situations.

Rather than gather in rage and anger over the hurts, why can’t men gather in the trenches with a mutually protective spirit all over again, with gentleness and compassion toward one another? Why not–rather than anger–we provide a safe place for one another to be honest about our pain and seek healing? I don’t mean to be misleading, because those avenues DO occur in the manosphere, but the remaining anger is a matter of machismo; we still fear the loss of our masculinity, like the realities of our vulnerabilities makes us unmanly. We don’t want to admit our hurting and disadvantaged state, which tends to be met with more contempt still in the mainstream culture of feminism/traditionalism which continuously demands that men be strong, productive, and less needy. However, if we fail to abandon machismo and embrace the realities of our vulnerabilities, we contribute the same poison into the world that caused our problems in the first place.

I want to focus on the positives in that regard: MANY good things are happening in the wake of men’s rights issues being exposed. Many women are demonstrating a genuine, unselfish sense of justice for men’s sake and supporting them in circles that are protective of men. More admirable still, many women are turning the other cheek to men who (inexcusably, in my opinion) demonstrate a retaliatory anger toward women in general when men’s indignation ought to be steadfastly aimed at an oppressive culture, not an oppressive gender; many women are showing understanding and patience for some of the awful, misguided bitterness of many men. Such women are absolutely crucial for the healing of the culture. A page called “Women Against Feminism” on Facebook caught the attention of Time magazine with a mere twenty-five thousand likes–many of those being men–as women who (in many cases) spoke out against feminism as a man-hating entity. The effect of women toward restoring the culture is huge and vital.

As I seek masculinity, personally, my reference is the Bible. Again, take King David, who was a King, a musician, and a ferocious warrior all at the same time, and did not have a single problem pouring out his deepest vulnerabilities to God. THAT is how we break the feedback loop that has caused men to be seen as too strong to need protection, too strong to admit to the reality that a woman can indeed harm a man. We need to reconcile what our current culture has had a total impasse at reconciling to break the cycle: acknowledging that vulnerability does not conflict with masculine strength. Quite the contrary, a lack of ability to acknowledge vulnerabilities is the worst enemy of our strength.

Modern traditionalists who oppose the ideals of post-feminist mainstream–if they really want to reach their destination–must understand the true nature of the dimensions of masculinity and femininity; it is just as important, on each side, to realize the ways men and women are alike as they are different. Read Proverbs 31: women must be strong too and be rescuers of others; read the story of Ruth and Boaz: yes, women can be pro-active pursuers (in a sense) too. On the other side of the coin, men can express vulnerabilities like any Godly man portrayed in Scripture, as such is crucial for their (or anyone’s) strength.

In the midst of the confusion of the world, speaking for myself, I find Scripture as my guide and standard through the tosses and turns of the culture.

Forgiveness

Many sentiments can be found out in Christian writing with regards to the subject of forgiveness; some of them are quite fine, and (hopefully) Scripture needs no introduction on the matter.

I feel the need, however–a huge need–to speak on matters distinctly missing on the subject of forgiveness due to the lack of sincerity of Christian culture.

I’ve shared my weaknesses, hurts and grievances to other believers. There’s a huge, huge difference between the interactions you’ll get when speaking about such personal matters with close friends who are truly (at least somewhat) in your life and then those who are playing their Christian charades. My experience with the latter is, they love–just love–to jump on top of you and give a wishy-washy, high-handed, canned, and possibly brow-beating lecture on how you need to forgive the person; not a speck of interest in the matter at hand that actually needs forgiving, let’s get back to the Sunday morning charades in the spectacle of singing and sitting uninterrupted by anything actually going on in the Body of Christ–which is meant to thoroughly take care of itself as the body does, and function and move like the body does.

Someone who actually cares about you, however, shows compassion. Your hurt is their hurt. They bear with you. When you’re with such a person, you know that you matter; and consequently, you know that it matters when you are hurt. You know that a sin committed against you is a big deal.

Now, which one of those is Christ? Does he command us to forgive? Of course, but he’s also the friend who loves you, as he made you and died for you. He cares about sins against you because a precious life was done harm, and sin–including the sin committed against you–is the reason why he’s coming back ready to burn the world in judgment.

Consider when we ask God for forgiveness. We are commanded to confess our sins (1 John 1:9); when we ask for forgiveness, we embrace the knowledge of the sheer harm that our sin has done. Otherwise, what is it that we are asking God to forgive?

In the exact same way, there is an important step of forgiveness that is missing in virtually every discussion of forgiveness I’ve ever encountered: a full appreciation for the debt–against YOU–that you need to forgive. When someone is not afforded any notion of justice for the harm done to him, that proclaims that he is worthless, that harm done to him doesn’t matter. How, then, will such a person forgive if no one is really in his debt but he’s simply made to be abused and sinned against?

Jesus’ golden rule was, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) So furthermore, If you’ve internalized this idea (even unconsciously) that you’re intended just to be kicked around and that nothing is wrong with the sin against you, what will stop you from passing that on to other people as well? The core matter is that we understand injustice itself, whether it’s against us or others, which is all ultimately sin against God’s law.

I’m saying, justice precedes mercy. You cannot skip that step. The Old Testament to the New Testament was a long process of God showing us our SHEER sin by way of judgment that results from the law. It’s a big, BIG deal–Paul discusses this in Romans. It is NOT a step you can skip, to preach the covenant of mercy without the judgment that needs to be forgiven. The entirety of the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament (“Testament” meaning covenant) entails a rigorous exploration of the sin and harm that mankind has done, and THEN–not before, but after–are we introduced to the way of mercy.

ALL of this plays out in our process of forgiving others. And it’s a step that Christianity tends to be eager to skip in its fondness of charades. Harm is done against you, and that harm really–REALLY–matters. Once we’ve established that, Jesus commands us to rebuke the wrongdoer.

I repeat: Jesus commands us to rebuke the wrongdoer if at all possible.

Matthew 18:15

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

Notice the second half of this passage, because it is very important. It speaks to the relationship status to the person. IF–and right now, I wish the word “if” had about ten more letters so I could embolden it across the page, but I’ll say it again, IF–he listens to you, the relationship is restored

Here’s the word “if” again, out of the mouth of Christ, for repentance being a prerequisite for forgiveness for a sin against you:

Luke 17:2-3

 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

If he never listens?

Matthew 18:17

And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

The relationship is totally broken (recall verse 15: if he repents, you have “gained your brother” and the relationship is restored). Are we commanded to hate the unrepentant person? Not at all. We still love with tolerance and patience, desiring the good of the person (who, if guilty of sin, will need to repent for his own sake). But the relationship status is broken. We are not to play games, pretending that “everything is okay, we’re still brothers,” because we’re not. We have to be clear that the sin is intolerable, even as we maintain love for the person himself.

(Furthermore, sometimes some sins have a tough road to repentance in full due to incomplete understanding and we are commanded to bear with each other in love in this learning process, just as God shows us compassion as we develop and learn ourselves, Romans 2:4)

We are NEVER commanded to be bitter or hateful. The forgiveness of the heart (Mark 11:25) means saying that we know we are owed a debt and accepting that we’ll never get back what we are duly owed for injustice and be at peace with it. Respond, rather, in love. We have our rich Father in Heaven who has unlimited love for us, easily compensating for every injustice committed against us with those riches–we can take the hit, hard as it may feel. 😉

Those are, of course, the same means by which God is able to forgive us–He absorbed the damage. It’s not “hard” for God to endure the sin, but it did have to be repaid to Himself by the blood of His Son.

But I want to speak to today’s culture, which glosses over the matter of justice in the matter of forgiveness. And why do they do it? I suspect the answer can be hinted at with the apparent–and virtually ubiquitous–ignoring of Scriptures for how to deal with injustices between believers.

In Jesus’ words above, I skipped a verse knowingly. Let’s get it right this time:

Matthew 18:15-17

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

Sins committed against YOU are a big, BIG deal!

They’re supposed to be a big deal to the entire church. It’s not the church’s job just to jump on you with a forgiveness lecture. It’s the church’s job to get its hands dirty, get involved, and get to the bottom of the problem. Somehow I feel it’s important to repeat, the church is full of “works in progress” and sometimes repentance can be a little difficult due to a struggle with wisdom, again, just as God bears with us as we make a serious effort to repent to the fullest before Him while He patiently teaches us.

How much do today’s “churches” drop the ball in this regard? Try quoting the following command from Scripture on the subject of grievances between believers to your local “pastor” and see if he looks at you like you’re from another planet:

1 Corinthians 6:4-5

So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

Can it be that no one among us is wise enough to settle disputes between brothers, and all anyone knows how to do is brow-beat about forgiveness so we can go on happily as if nothing happened?

I’m not counting on the church to shape up anytime soon, but if we’re interested in matters of our own hearts, my summary and conclusion about forgiveness is, let’s make sure we take the steps of fully understanding the seriousness of wrong done to US when we are sinned against, the reality of the debt, and how much we matter and the damage matters. Meditate on this. Once that is established, oh yes, let us forgive joyously because our Father makes it all up to us.

Healing for a Broken Heart

Psalm 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Truly, I could post a real good chunk of the book of Psalms here, but I want to talk about the nature of our hurts and broken hearts in a certain light; the things that make us scared, sad, lonely, frustrated, and such.

The Lord is in the business of healing sinners, both physically and spiritually. Our hurts and struggles have meaning. When Jesus healed the blind man:

John 9:2-3

And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

It’s so important to realize that Jesus’ miracles were called “signs.” The fleshly healing is not the end goal, but a sign of the completion of the Kingdom of Heaven–indeed, good things in which to place our faith! (John 10:38)

And what’s so great about the fact that we used to be sinners? Well, as it happens, God loves to lead us toward repentance and redemption:

Luke 15:7

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Philippians 4:12

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

I believe that to be brought low and to abound encompasses not only material needs, but anything that the world offers. We can lose loved ones, by circumstances or by betrayals. It can also mean our health, our physical and even mental strength. Losing things can very much break our hearts–if we do not know Paul’s secret to be content in all of those circumstances.

I don’t mean to “beat up” on the hurting with this comment, as I have to teach this to myself constantly–quite the contrary, all of our hurts have meaning to connect us to God for His greater purposes.

Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

I am saying that dependency on worldly satisfaction, on some level is the only thing that can make us vulnerable. It is the weakness of our flesh. The reality is that all we need is Christ, who is eternal. Everything we have in terms of worldly status–relationships and things–WILL perish sooner or later. When we’re confronted with this and not accustomed to the idea, we are vulnerable and we can suffer broken hearts. Thankfully we have a compassionate God who binds our hearts, whereupon we have the opportunity to learn the secret.

Here is the secret: Every genuinely good thing that we lay our senses upon can only be a rough glimpse of God’s completion and eternal perfection. I believe it is good to receive from the Lord with Thanksgiving–all the good things we have–as a trust that we put in our ultimate Provider. The Lord gives and takes away, so that our trust is put in Him, not the people, places and things that He puts in our lives. But when the Lord does bless us, I believe that affords us the opportunity to hold onto that glimpse of God’s goodness when our faith is tested: Even when the Lord’s blessings feel rather out of sight, we can remember the blessings of the past to remember the unchanging goodness of God.

Psalms 77:11

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

Through the good times and the bad, let’s give glory to the unchanging God and hold fast to the way He has portrayed Himself to us. Let’s remember the days we were brokenhearted as reminders of our absolute and total dependency on God. Let’s pray for miracles in our daily lives and in our world according to His will–as these are wonderful glimpses into God’s uncorrupted glory.

1 Corinthians 13:12

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

There is nothing in the world worth chasing after more than God who has made every good thing. Praise the Lord for His perfection, and His plan to redeem all things.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I know that everything I have on my plate today- be it “good” or “bad”-is part of God’s great story for my life. Praise the Lord.

Disassociating True Christianity with Christian Culture

Look at all the Christianity in the world–allegedly billions of Christians when counted as those who associate themselves with a Christian institution and those who claim to believe in Christianity. Stick your ear out in the world, and people who speak of their religion with a seriousness and earnestness will speak to the problems of genuineness in the group-think and individuals who are not “true” Christians.

And then we have denominations galore. Most Christians are not simply “Christian” in their self-labeling, but fit into a subcategory under the umbrella of those who profess Christianity. The label of Christian is incredibly problematic this day in age, and when people say “preach the gospel,” what does that even mean in a time when virtually everyone has some knowledge of the doctrine of Christianity?

Quite the ball of rubber-bands.

With regards to denominations, many might quote this passage to describe the problem of denominationalism:

1 Corinthians 1:12
What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

This is partly accurate–partly. In my earlier post on masculinity and femininity, I discussed the problem of rebellion when feelings (femininity) attempt to subordinate truth (masculinity) rather than the reverse, of masculinity dominating femininity, as submission to a masculine God and truth who/that dominates the feminine church. Hence, many who bemoan the problems of division in the Body of Christ over doctrine will try to “solve” this issue by proposing a sort of tolerance of disagreement; that is, rather than being insistent on truth, we ought to prioritize peace, which is a paradoxical proposal because it is a statement of truth that attempts to subordinate feelings that divide the group with a “truth” of tolerance. Well, what do you do when people disagree with your “truth” of “tolerance,” then? We can see the problem of this paradox everywhere, where effectively those who preach “tolerance” turn out to be the most intolerant.

Well, then, what is going on such that we can find a solution? First of all, what’s the problem anyway? The problem is that error occurs on both the masculine and feminine front; first and foremost, much doctrine out there IS wrong–hence all the conflict over doctrine–and that’s not okay, as only truth will truly unite God’s people, just as only one God can unite all the church. The other problem is that the feminine objective, of preaching truth for others’ well-being, can get forgotten. That is to say, when we preach the truth to someone, our objective ought to be for that person’s good, right? The latter issue is not as straightforward to diagnose as some might like–one might protest, “you didn’t say that in a ‘Christ-like’ tone!” even if the statement is correct. To some of those objections, do you not remember the forcefulness in Christ’s tones? The urgency and insistence? And, the fact that some people took offense at him despite his good intentions for their well-being? When we speak the truth, we must be remember ourselves to do so in love, and also not be swayed by an accusation of an unloving “intolerance”–for that matter, sometimes when people’s message is wrong that does not necessarily mean their intentions toward others is malicious.

But what I find more apparent is a laziness on the part of the individual regarding the faith. What I mean is, there is a dependency on being members of a group-think: I’m a “Conservative” or “Liberal” or “Catholic” or “Lutheran” or “Pentecostal” and so on. The world is full of disagreements, and the lazy way out is forming associations: “do you follow Apollos? Great! So do I! We must therefore agree on everything!” And no more discussion need follow, because it’s a lazy way of assuming a like-mindedness. The other side of that coin is that those who do not follow Apollos make assumptions about everyone who says they follow Apollos. In both respects, honest discussion and communication is inhibited because of preconceived notions about the other’s beliefs and understanding. When you observe the overwhelming majority of Christian denominations–despite allegedly profound differences among them–what does it all boil down to in practice? Everybody sits in front of a pastor and lets the pastor do the talking, the dictator of your beliefs regarding Scriptures that are equal access to everyone. The ritual is the same in most cases. And how do more denominations form? Well, someone starts disagreeing with the guy on the pulpit with regards to his congruence with Scripture (so the story goes), they break away, establish another denomination, rinse and repeat.

Some of this can be expected, to be sure, just as leadership is a vital aspect of community. As I grew older, after studying my Bible for myself, I wondered where the church existed in which people were truly putting Scripture’s template for church ahead of this human ritual in which there is little thought or participation among its members. Incredibly, a church that actually fits the New Testament template–in my own experience–is impossible to find. A church should consist of individuals who study the Word for themselves and take their own personal journeys to find God.

Most important of all, though, let’s not forget what was going on in Jesus’ time:

Matthew 9:36
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

This situation warrants a lot of discussion for understanding what goes on in today’s world–everything about this verse. At this time, people had access to the Scriptures–a wealth of understanding available freely to them all the way through what is categorized as the “Old Testament” in our Bibles. They were led astray by false teachers; however, Jesus’ rebukes to those false teachers continuously used the Old Testament Scriptures to debunk their lies, exposing contradictions in the doctrine of the Pharisees in quite a scholarly fashion, knowing those Scriptures to which everyone had access. Why could not others do likewise before Jesus came around to help? Somehow, these people were harassed and helpless despite having all the tools available to stand up with the Scriptures. Like today’s pastors, Jesus did not ask people for much participation–“the church” organization with concepts like “the Body of Christ” did not get introduced until the epistles, as far as teaching is concerned. Of course, Israel’s religious traditions, rooted in old Scriptures, did, but the point being, Jesus pretty much did all the work–much like today; the pastor is expected to do all the real thinking and participation in “the church” in many, if not most, gatherings. While later apostles truly established communities in which people participated in ways discussed in some detail, today’s churches suggest that we are like the crowds in Jesus’ time: harassed and helpless, needing a shepherd who (in most cases) manages not to organize the Body of Christ like the later apostles did, according to the New Testament template. Most individuals can’t do much with regards to participation in the Body of Christ like in the early church, which is pretty much discussed as a theory more than practiced. In the Body of Christ, everyone is simultaneously unique yet a part of a larger operation. Most congregations today are both overly individualistic, not invested in a community, and collectivist in the form that identity in your typical “church service” with the “sit and listen to a pastor” participation hardly analogous to the movement of a Body.

My conclusion and solution isn’t really that simple, but here are some steps that I feel, on an individual level, can cause one to be part of a solution (fully admitting here, I am teaching these things to myself!):
(1) Study and know the Scriptures, be an individual with beliefs, not lazy and leaning on a group-think–with regards to group-think, be aware that part of the problem with a group think is that it can be a melting pot for contradictions, so be on guard and have a Scriptural answer for every belief you hold and/or accept. Allow the Scriptures to test and examine every one of your beliefs.
(2) Impart what you believe to others with a well-meaning intent.
(3) Discover what sort of “body part” you are, believe in your give-and-take role for interacting with community.

I want to touch on point #3 briefly because the matter pertains somewhat to the subject. In my self-diagnosis, my personality is extremely dominant, meaning that I don’t depend on leadership for initiative and energy–when I need to be a responder and a subordinate, it’s a highly deliberated choice more than the natural connection of a more submissive personality. The main reason I want to touch on this, however, is to address the fact that more submissive personalities (especially women, as I’ve mentioned previously) are likely to depend on leadership more than some. This day in age, people often like to suppose that a leader takes responsibility for the actions of his followers, and that is not true. Scripture repeatedly mentions false prophets, who are leadership personalities fully accountable for leading people astray, but those led astray are still accountable for their choice to follow the false prophet. The point being, for those in subordinate positions, theirs may be more socially-oriented thinking, but we all still respond to upper management as it were.

Also, I’m a huge fan of the MBTI, and what it suggests with members of the Body serving each others’ weaknesses with their strength, and becoming a strong unit.

Where today’s church culture gets treated more like a consumer item that compliments our usual daily grinds, we can start making the church something real by, individually, scrutinizing our beliefs with Scripture.

2 Corinthians 10:5
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

What Does Scripture Say about the “Oppression of Women”?

“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” –Gen 3:16

One popular modern theology interprets this as a prophecy of the “gender wars”: essentially, Eve will “desire” to control her husband, while Adam would rule over her, which is to say that Adam would be the (most often) successful one.

This modern-crowd-pleasing proposition refers later to Ephesians 5:22-23 to assert (essentially) that a husband who loves his wife as Christ loved the church does not “rule” over his wife according to the curse (which, according to the claim, is really more of a prophesying of a sinful interaction). For anyone who fears scriptures as a whole, this is profoundly insane.

First and foremost, if someone who “loves” us couldn’t possibly be the same one who “rules over us,” how is it that Christ loves us?

Luke 19:27
“But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.”

These words were spoken by Christ, who does indeed rule over us–and will have slaughtered anyone who opposes his rule–and also loved us enough to sacrifice his flesh for us. To claim that one who loves someone else enough to die for them will not possibly rule over us because “to rule over” is an “unloving” thing to do is calling Christ unloving. Eager acceptance of the newly-popular Genesis 3:16 theology might indicate modern attitudes toward Christ as well.

What is the primary confession of our faith? Is it not “Jesus is Lord“? And the word “Lord,” by definition, being he who rules over us? To claim that to rule is by nature in conflict with loving, then one must claim that either Jesus is not actually our Lord and Master–our ruler–or that Jesus is unloving.
 

Secondly, the agenda in the theology is clear enough: to justify the feminist claims regarding the “oppression of women” that allegedly occurred throughout human history along with some acknowledgement of feminism fundamentally opposing virtually everything said about women in scripture–and all principles associated with them, of course. If God prophesied this (allegedly) profoundly “sinful” phenomenon, He offered absolutely no follow-up as to its solution nor did He hint at the more ideal alternative. And this is the same God who rebuked Israel for a multitude of various offenses to Him, even issues as trivial as tithing (Malachi 3) which Christ calls a “gnat” of an issue relative to others which are “camels” (Matt 23:24). Furthermore, it is quite notable that 1 Peter 5:3 advises elders not to “lord it over” the flock without calling attention to a gender issue, as the potential of elders “lording it over” younger is acknowledged but even still, nothing in scripture to acknowledge any danger of husbands sinfully “lording it over” their wives. The Bible also directly confronts the issue of racism (Exodus 23:9). Personally, I would grant that this could arguably be implied to a certain extent (not to “lord it over” anyone, including wives), but absolutely not to the extent that we could possibly infer that women were particularly oppressed throughout history in such a way that offended God, without Him ever raising even an implied objection to it, let alone a direct one. Then again, Sarah, wife of Abraham, was commended for calling Abraham “Lord” in the New Testament.

Thirdly, therefore, in what context does someone call someone else “Lord” or “Master”? Aren’t these the titles of a ruler by one who is ruled? 1 Peter 3:5 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. Genesis 3:16 reads, once again: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” The same God who commends Sarah (in the New Testament, as worth noting to some who would erroneously claim that this might make a difference) for calling her husband “lord” and obeying him also does not desire for her husband to “rule over her”?

Fourthly, there is 1 Timothy 2:12-14, in which Paul states that a woman ought not usurp authority over a man in part because Eve was deceived (and “in the transgression”), not Adam. Did Paul reach this conclusion completely on his own, or is his conclusion remarkably in alignment with God’s reaction to Eve’s sin (Gen 3:16) which declared the gender who would be the one carrying authority?
 
Fifthly, as somewhat aforementioned, oftentimes “that was in the Old Testament” is a general-purpose answer for unwanted aspects of culture. Aside from the previously stated points involving New Testament references to the Old, the proposition that God’s “curse” to Eve regarding being ruled by Adam ought to be considered revoked would also make it the only one of God’s curses to cease its application; since we’re under the New Covenant, does that also mean that women no longer experience labor pains as severely, and no one has to work from the ground, and no one returns to dust any longer in addition to God’s (alleged) prophecy to Eve being revoked? Why should only one particular aspect of God’s curse to Adam and Eve be rescinded by the New Covenant while the others remain firmly in place?
 

In short, this is another blatantly intellectually-dishonest but crowd-pleasing theology that carries implications of attitudes not only about marriage, but also about Christ Himself as the loving ruler that he is. Do we not know how to reconcile God’s dictatorship with one who also loves us? What could cause anyone who fears God’s word to accept such an interpretation?

The reality of God’s command, for reasons previously stated, is indeed the bane of feminists’ existence: it is indeed a command to Eve to align her desires for Adam’s rule as a punishment for being more easily deceived. This is why Sarah was commended for obeying her husband and calling him “lord” (1 Peter 3:5), and one of the two reasons why Paul would not permit a woman to usurp authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:12-14). This takes nothing away from Adam’s ability to love Eve any more than Jesus’ rule over mankind takes away from how much he loves us, though the fact frustrates (fundamentally feminist) efforts to put an accusation in God’s mouth against men as a group and embellish Ephesians 5:22-23 to encompass any human definitions of “loving” or “unloving.”

Test yourself to see if Scripture is truly your final authority of the truth: there is no biblical account of the “oppression of women” inasmuch as society committed an evil all throughout the course of human history in God’s sight. Clearly, men sin against women, just as women sin against men, men sin against men, and women sin against women.