WHEN THE CALL TO SERVE STRAINS THE IDEAL OF MARRIAGE

Horace Vernet, Jeremiah on the ruins of Jerusalem (1844) (from here)
Horace Vernet, Jeremiah on the ruins of Jerusalem (1844) (from here)

When I wrote WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MASCULINE?, ColorStorm offered an objection.

Can I just then add CT that while all men are male, not all males are men.

Not quite sure though if the defining factor in manhood is determined by how a man treats a woman, as good as that idea is.

I think of the baptist, John, a man’s man, one not suited for life in the kings soft palace, but a man nonetheless, being sold out for a mission, and willing to defer to One greater, to borrow your words: ‘greater love hath no man than this,’ so it appears he did lay his life down for his friends, although not to put away sin, which of course He could not do. (he laid down his life by speaking the truth at all cost to himself) (continued here)

It is a curious thing. John The Baptist was the last prophet, but unlike the rest he did nothing that looked miraculous. He only announced the coming of the Messiah. In fact, he identified Him. Then, before any called himself a Christian, before the Day of Pentecost, John The Baptist died as Jesus’ herald. Mark 6:14-27 provides an account.

The Beheading of St John the Baptist, 1608 (Valletta Co-Cathedral, Malta) (from here)
The Beheading of St John the Baptist, 1608 (Valletta Co-Cathedral, Malta) (from here)

John spoke boldly. If John had been married, he would have found it more difficult to have spoken so boldly.

There is at least one place in the Bible that God tells a man not to take a wife.

Jeremiah 16:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 The word of the Lord also came to me, saying, “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.” For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them and their fathers who begot them in this land: “They shall die gruesome deaths; they shall not be lamented nor shall they be buried, but they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, and their corpses shall be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth.”

Knowing what was coming, then seeing it happen, the prophet Jeremiah cried over the suffering of his people. Can you imagine his pain if he had had to watch his own wife and children partake of Jerusalem’s fate?

Perhaps the oddest thing in the Bible is what God told the Prophet Hosea to do.

Hosea 1:2-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:

“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry
And children of harlotry,
For the land has committed great harlotry
By departing from the Lord.”

So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

Hosea did have a wife, and he did have children, but why did God direct Hosea marry Gomer? We don’t exactly know. What we do know is that God used Hosea’s devotion to his adulterous wife to illustrate God’s devotion to Israel — and to us. In spite of her sin and the way it hurt him, Hosea resolutely sought to bring his straying wife home.

The Prophet Hosea, by Duccio di Buoninsegna, in the Siena Cathedral (c. 1309-1311) (from here)
The Prophet Hosea, by Duccio di Buoninsegna, in the Siena Cathedral (c. 1309-1311) (from here)

So what defines the word “masculine”? Even when a man does not have a woman or when his woman behaves poorly what makes a man “masculine”? Perhaps it has to do with how a man treats a woman or anyone in need of his protection.

  • Because he cared, John the Baptist cried out the need for repentance. He cried out boldly, even though his boldness cost him his life.
  • Because he cared, Jeremiah cried out the need for repentance. He cared enough to speak out even though his own people punished and derided him. He cared enough weep even when Jerusalem would not repent.
  • Because he cared, Hosea married Gomer, and he raised a family with her. He cared enough to forgive and suffer the shame of bringing her back home when she strayed.

God is our Father. He is the head of our family, and He cares about us. He forgives us, and He keeps after us even when we disobediently sin.  Men who would be good men must strive to follow His example.

WHAT IS A BIGOT?

"All Is Vanity" by C. Allan Gilbert, evoking the invetiable decay of life and beauty toward death.
“All Is Vanity” by C. Allan Gilbert, evoking the inevitable decay of life and beauty toward death. (from here)

What inspired this post? As politely and sweetly as he could manage, a commenter called me a bigot (see here).

Am I a bigot? Yes. Everyone is a bigot. You. Your parents. Your brothers and sisters. Your friends and neighbors. Your countrymen. Everyone in the whole world. The only person who ever lived who was not a bigot was Jesus.

We all to some degree try to justify ourselves at the expense of someone else. If we can raise ourselves above another — if we can humble another — we think we must be better.  At least, that’s a very popular theory.

The Bible says we are each made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Even though we are puny, finite things, we should each be able see something divine — something we can love — in each other. But often we don’t.

Review human history. Read the newspapers. Consider the anger we sometime see simmering in each other. Remember the broken homes. Remember all the innocent children aborted, orphaned and forgotten, or just abandoned. Contemplate all the people who make you furious for no reason at all.

“I” am at the center of all “I” perceive. So it is we each tend to go through life thinking it must all be about us. Everything we do and all that is must be for our benefit. If we give something of ourselves to another then they owe us (whether they know it or not). That’s how the strong rationalize enslaving the weak. If the strong protect weak, then the weak must owe the strong something.  Thus, slavery began as a protection racket.

Yet I stray. What is a bigot? How is it we are all bigots? We each try to justify ourselves. I am a good person. I deserve good things. I deserve whatever good things other people have. I covet what others have that I don’t have.

We measure ourselves against each other, and we each want to be better than other people. We damn those who seem to have more. In the age of diversity, how is that done? We join in common cause with people who look like us, sound like us, dress like us, work like us, think like us,…., and sin like us. We organize with the people in our identity group, and we demand respect, our “rights” — and money.

Consider all the identity groups. There are trade associations demanding tariffs. There are unions demanding employer sanctions. There businesses too big to fail. There are racial, sexual, ethnic, and creedal groups demanding “affirmative action. There are groups preoccupied with sexual perversions demanding our affirmation. There are bureaucrats out to save the world demanding bigger salaries and greater powers.

Where does all this bigotry — this competition to make it all about ME lead?

James 4:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Pride Promotes Strife

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

How we can test ourselves? How we determine whether we are motivated bigotry? There is a simple way that works most of the time. If we are willing to debate the rightness of our cause without personally attacking our opponent, that is a good sign. That doesn’t mean you cannot point out something your opponent is doing wrong. For example, if your opponent is willing to twist the Constitution into a pretzel, that has to be noted because it is relevant. We are not suppose to do that. Unfortunately, because we are bigots, we don’t want to hear our sins called sins.

What is the best way to avoid bigotry? What is the best way to test ourselves? Instead of trying to justify ourselves, we must believe on Jesus; we must put our faith in God.  We obey His commands.

John 15:12 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

It is not our job or our right to make our neighbors behave as we think they should behave.  We have the right and the responsibility to protect each other from the brutes and bullies among us. However, so long as so-called brutes and bullies do not abuse our family, friends and neighbors; we have no right to use government power to attack those brutes and bullies. That sort of behavior that just makes us a brute, a bully, and a bigot.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MASCULINE?

Christ in Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890 (from here)
Christ in Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890 (from here)

In He’s Golden…, insanitybytes22 makes the following observation.

Nightwind wrote a post the other day, “Feature Friday”, about masculinity, what it is, what it isn’t. I have a hard time defining masculinity myself,  a somewhat amusing thing really, because I know it when I see it but how do you even describe it? I of course think immediately, confidence, protection, provision, safety. How blessed I am to equate men with safety, but those are very subjective perceptions of masculinity, how they relate to me personally.

‘ post is about her husband, and she uses him as an example of what it means to be the male head of a household, her family. In effect, defines masculinity by providing an excellent example.

Look up the term “masculine” in the dictionary. You will learn almost nothing. The definition of “masculine” may lead you to the term “manly”, but all that will tell you is that we expect men to be strong and brave. Since we also expect women to be strong and brave, that won’t tell you much.

So what does it mean to be masculine? 200 – 300 years ago America was hardly ideal, but men knew what it meant to be masculine, and women wanted a masculine man. They want a man with character who could be depended upon. A woman wanted a man who wanted to be the father her children. A woman wanted a man who would cherish and protect her and their children.

So why is that picture at the beginning of this post? Jesus never married. He never had a family, or did He? Are you a Christian? Then you are a member of that church that Jesus gave His life to save and protect.

When our military awards its most coveted medals, what are they for? They are for those soldiers who risk their lives for others.

John 15:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

If a man is willing to lay down his life for his friends, does that make him masculine? No. It is important, but a woman can lay down her life for her friends.

Ephesians 5:22-33 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Marriage Like Christ and the Church

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

What makes a man a man is how he treats a woman. If he chooses one woman, and he gives his heart to her, and she gives her heart to him, a boy can become a man. If that boy has the virtue required to love, to protect, and to nurture his lady and their children year after year until their children are grown and death ends his marriage, then perhaps our Lord will declare him a man. If that boy is a man, then his children’s, his lady’s and God’s opinions of his masculinity will be the only ones that truly matter to him.

LUNACY!

soldierIf this article, Pentagon issues sex change manual, allows extended time off for process, were just a joke it would be hysterically funny. As it is, this is an occasion for sadness and shame.

Here is how the article begins.

The U.S. military has a manual for everything, from how to dress to how to wage war.

Now the Pentagon has sent out a detailed written instruction to commanders on how a service member can change his or her sex in a step-by-step process that allows for extended time off.

The directive restricts personnel from living their “preferred gender” lifestyle, or “Real Life Experience,” on a military base among peers until the sex change transition is complete.

The Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy must set up a bureaucracy — dubbed the Service Central Coordination Cell — to guide commanders overseeing sex change transitions.

A service member’s commander plays a big role in shepherding the patient through the sex transition. This starts with approving government-funded medical treatment of genital reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy, and then recovery, and then the final phase of determining the member’s fitness to return to duty after he or she receives a new official “gender marker.” (continued here)

The Federal Government primary job is to defend our country. So what are our military forces suppose to worry about? Paying for soldiers to have sex change operations?

Remember this?

Obama and the Democrats have different priority than the one that they tell us to our faces.  Their first priority is to rule us. So they bankrupt our nation buying our votes, and they neglect our defenses. While they conquer us themselves, they tell our enemies to sit tight and wait.

Perhaps, when they have a lock on power — when we are properly enslaved — the Democrats will worry about defending their property. Meanwhile, they remained focused on the conquest that most interests them, the United States of America.