WHERE WAS EVERYBODY?

Here is the last of my posts on the special election we had yesterday for the Prince William County’s Clerk of the Court. Our choice was between these two people.

Who won? Well, our “objective” local newspapers reported it this way.

Prince William County has long been friendly territory for Republicans when it comes to off-year special elections. Not this time.

Democrat Jacqueline Smith beat long odds and big money today when she emerged victorious in the special contest for Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk, a low-profile, eight-year post that rarely gets much attention amid other races in Virginia’s off-off-year local elections.

Smith’s opponent, Republican Del. Jackson Miller, was widely favored to win today’s election both because he had the name recognition of elected office and a lot more cash. (continued here)

After eight years of rule by the likes of President Barack Obama, we should know what we are going to get from anyone calls themselves a Democrat. Yet we are still electing Democrats.  What is sad of about this election is how few people cared. With 13,905 votes, Smith got almost 54 percent of the vote.

Jacqueline C. Smith 13,905 53.93%
Jackson Hunter Miller 11,871 46.04%
Write In 9 0.03%

(from here)

What is sad is only 25,785 people showed up to vote. There are 270,703 people registered to vote in Prince William County (from here). Even if we just consider the 256,468 listed as active, that means only 10.05 percent of us showed up to vote.

Much is being made of the special election in Georgia (see Ossoff falls just short in Georgia special election as GOP gets wakeup call), but what that election shows is the importance of runoff elections. What the election of Democrat Liberal Jacqueline Smith illustrates is the importance of paying attention and showing up.

What were the stakes in special election we had yesterday for the Prince William County’s Clerk of the Court? What do Democrat Liberals have a reputation for? Don’t we know that what the law says does not much matter to Democrat Liberals? Doesn’t that mean that every time we elect a Democrat Liberal we risk electing an official who will abuse his political office? Don’t we know Democrat Liberals will twist the law to mean whatever he or she wants it to mean?

Are you a Republican, maybe even a Conservative Republican? Then please start looking ahead.

6/13/2017: June Primaries – Governor, Lt. Governor, House of Delegates, and Local offices

11/7/2017: General Election

(from here)

Can we count upon a biased news media to inform us? No, but we can check occasionally to see what is on our ballot (see => http://www.elections.virginia.gov/voter-outreach/whats-ballot.html). We can also occasionally visit the Prince William County Republican Committee‘s web site (here) and see what’s happening.

We can look into the records of the candidates and our elected officials. Here in Virginia our governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general are all Democrat Liberals. Have the actions of these men honored the rule of law or have these men blatantly twisted the law to get what the want?

What should motivate us?

  • Those parts of government which touch us most often and most deeply are state and local government. State and local government are also those parts of government which we can most easily control. We can actually talk to state and local politicians. We can also most easily organize with neighbors either to help them get elected or to defeat them. If we want public officials who will protect our rights instead of trying to enslave us to their wishes, we must participate in state and local elections.
  • Our constitutional republic depends upon an informed, active, and honorable citizenry. When we throw up our hands and quit — give up — we allow people who just care about benefits them to seize control. We allow the selfish and self-righteous to enslave our family, friends, and neighbors.

We never forget why constitutional republics are so rare. Such a government requires a people who honor the rule of law.  Such a government requires a moral people who respects each others God-given rights.

We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other. — John Adams, 1798, Address to the militia of Massachusetts (from here)

So think again. Did you forget to vote yesterday? Odds are good you will regret it.  Somehow, some way the Office of the Clerk of the Court touches all our lives, and we could have elected someone who would just done the job properly. As it is we elected yet another Democrat Liberal. Therefore, repent. Participate in the next election. For the sake of your family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen, please become an informed and active citizen.

WHO? ME? I AM NEVER TEMPTED! I HAVE TOTAL SELF CONTROL. NOT!

The Proposition (1872), William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) (from here)

In my last post, THIS WAS PREDICTED AND ENTIRELY PREDICABLE, we considered the wisdom of putting young men and women together in combat units. We noted the inevitable result.

Why do some people refuse to see the problem? Check out Wikipedia’s article on the subject, Seduction. The word “sin” is not in it. Neither is the word “ethics”. Christianity is mentioned, but that is with respect to seduction as a motif in literature.

Apparently, Seduction is a highfalutin academic article written in an ivory tower. Here is a relevant sample.

Seduction, seen negatively, involves temptation and enticement, often sexual in nature, to lead someone astray into a behavioural choice they would not have made if they were not in a state of sexual arousal. Seen positively, seduction is a synonym for the act of charming someone — male or female — by an appeal to the senses, often with the goal of reducing unfounded fears and leading to their “sexual emancipation”. Some sides in contemporary academic debate state that the morality of seduction depends on the long-term impacts on the individuals concerned, rather than the act itself, and may not necessarily carry the negative connotations expressed in dictionary definitions. (from here)

“Sexual emancipation”? Seducing someone is doing them a big favor, right? Well, that is the attitude some people have.

So what happened when Vice President Mike Pence made it publicly known that he will not eat alone with any woman except his wife. Well, those renowned for their tolerance denounced and ridiculed the man. Of course, Pence was being intolerant. Here are some examples.

What is the problem with Pence’s critics? It seems they don’t have the wisdom to accept things they cannot change. Instead, so that they can live as they choose, they insist the rest of us adopt their preferred moral standards no what it costs.

  • Don’t female officers want to advance in rank? Therefore, ALL women must be subject to a military draft.
  • Don’t female business people want to wine and dine with the boys so they too can do business deals that way?  Therefore, any man who doesn’t want to worry his lady is a sexist pig (Go figure that one out.).

Is it not foolish to regard sex as just a marvelous recreational pleasure without long-term consequences? Don’t we risk thinking of others as objects that exist for our pleasure? Isn’t the only person who is not subject to temptation the one who has already given in?

So what about those of us who regard our bodies as temples, places where we want the Holy Spirit to live? If we choose to unnecessarily subject ourselves to temptation, sooner or later we will give in. Sooner or later we will grieve the Spirit. Therefore, we should thank Pence for setting a good example for the rest of us.

We should also pray for the wisdom to withstand our critics.

Serenity Prayer

– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

Update: It occurred to me after I published this post that some might think I blamed women for this problem. No. I think that men are equally to blame. Men have a responsibility for protecting their sons and daughters from temptation, but we have not done that. Yet by the time our children are becoming subject to sexual temptation, we certainly ought to be able to understand our own weaknesses and be able to anticipate their weaknesses. Yet instead of rejecting conventional wisdom and accepting a bit of ridicule, we have succumbed to the temptation to say nothing.

THIS WAS PREDICTED AND ENTIRELY PREDICABLE

Do you care about our military? Do you care about our nation’s ability to defend itself? Then read this.

A record 16 out of 100 Navy women are reassigned from ships to shore duty due to pregnancy, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

That number is up 2 percent from 2015, representing hundreds more who have to cut their deployments short, taxing both their unit’s manpower, military budgets and combat readiness. Further, such increases cast a shadow over the lofty gender integration goals set by former President Barack Obama.

Overall, women unexpectedly leave their stations on Navy ships as much as 50% more frequently to return to land duty, according to documents obtained from the Navy. The statistics were compiled by the Navy Personnel Command at the request of TheDCNF, covering the period from January 2015 to September 2016. (continued here)

Men and women are different. Each sex is equal before the law, and the Bible says God loves both men and women. Nevertheless, men and women have different roles. Men do some things better than women, and women do some things better than men.  A man cannot get pregnant. A woman has no business trying to be a soldier. Can women perform the functions of a soldier? In theory? Yes. In practice? No. Pregnant soldiers don’t make good soldiers.

Think about this little doozy of a navy regulation: 6701 – Maternity Uniforms. It includes this guidance.

6701.  GENERAL (MATERNITY UNIFORMS)

1.  WEAR.  Certified maternity uniforms are mandatory for all pregnant women in the Navy when a uniform is prescribed, and regular uniforms no longer fit.  Personnel are expected to wear regular uniforms upon return from convalescent leave, however, commanding officers may approve the wear of maternity uniforms up to six months from the date of delivery based on medical officer diagnosis/recommendation.

Are we going to send pregnant women into combat? Of course not! Then what is the point of pretending it makes any sense to put women in combat units?

Think I am biased? Fine. Check out what some women think of the idea of women in the military. Click on the following:

SEARCHING THE BIBLE FOR WISDOM

The garden of Eden with the fall of man
(from here)

What Got This Post Started?

Your Biblical Belief is 42 years old … by Jamie Carter illustrates why I consider debating the Bible worthwhile. This is actually a form of Christian fellowship. The subject is God, and we share our understanding of Him.

In her post, comments on Susan Foh‘s 1975 article, WHAT IS THE WOMAN’S DESIRE? What is that about? Well, consider how  ends her (guessing since I am not certain of ‘s gender) post.

Before Foh pioneered this meaning for the word desire in 1975; the main school of thought was that ‘desire’ referred to a woman’s sexual desire for her husband; though Calvin thought that it meant that a woman will desire what her husband desires and will have no desires for herself. Some thought that women will be plagued with desire itself bordering on a disease. What wasn’t up for debate was that whatever it meant, men had to rule over women as a result of desire.

So if you believe that a man is the head of his family, that the curse on women was to be in rebellion against her husband’s headship because her desire was to be contrary to his headship and the man would rule over his wife, your Biblical belief is somewhat older than I am. Ain’t that something? (from here)

Apparently, thinks that what complementarians believe about the Biblical basis for the relationship between men and women is of relatively recent origin, and that the recent origin Biblical basis for Complementarianism undermines the argument.

What is Complementarianism? It is the counterpart to Egalitarianism.

Summarized by “The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood,” complementarianism is the viewpoint that God restricts women from serving in church leadership roles and instead calls women to serve in equally important, but complementary roles. Summarized by “Christians for Biblical Equality,” egalitarianism is the viewpoint that there are no biblical gender-based restrictions on ministry in the church. With both positions claiming to be biblically based, it is crucially important to fully examine what exactly the Bible does say on the issue of complementarianism vs. egalitarianism. (continued here)

What Is This Post About?

After I first read ‘s post, I found myself digging into what Susan Foh had written and the debates she had engendered, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that while gender issues are quite important to  they were not the subject of her post.  Her issue is how complementarians arrived at their version of Biblical truth. Hence, I am not going to try to resolve the debate between complementarians and egalitarians. The subject here is how we search for Biblical wisdom.

Consider something Isaac Newton said.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. — Isaac Newton (from here)

We build understanding by building upon the wisdom of the people who went before us. That is, what we know depends upon what the generations before us taught us, especially our parents and grandparents. That includes our understanding of the Bible.

People have studied and debated (sometimes quite unpleasantly) the meaning of the Bible since God started inspiring men to write it. If we look up the history of universities, we soon find that medieval monks started them in Christian cathedrals. Of course, theology was the big focus. In fact, if we go back further and look up the Church Fathers, most of what they did was study, debate, and preach scripture.

Most of us think for ourselves. Even when we are trying to obey God, most of us think for ourselves. That independent spirit both causes problems and helps us in seeking God.  When Eve bit into the apple and Adam followed her example (Genesis 3), instead of obeying God, both sought to be like God. That did not please God. When we study the Bible diligently and try to understand it so we can understand, love, obey, and seek God; we please Him.

What Is The Debate Over Genesis 3:16 About?

So what about the difficulty of interpreting Genesis 3:16? Consider some different translations.

Here the word “desire” is used. That is more common.

Genesis 3:16 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

Here the word “control” is used. Some adopted that translation after 1975.

Genesis 3:16 New English Translation (NET Bible)

16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your labor pains;
with pain you will give birth to children.
You will want to control your husband,
but he will dominate you.”

Another version of the Bible, one developed by Catholics, provides a relatively unique translation.

Genesis 3:16 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

16 To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

Here, from Bible Hub, is a listing of various translations of Genesis 3:16. If you are particularly interested in this verse, I also suggest reading the commentaries on Genesis 3:16 at Bible Hub. Of course, those commentaries predate Susan Foh‘s 1975 article, WHAT IS THE WOMAN’S DESIRE?

What Causes Our Disagreements About The Bible?

So why do the various translations differ, sometimes significantly.  Well, the Bible is only the Word of God in the original language. Once we start putting the Bible in our language we have to put up with translation errors and the biases of the translators. This is no secret. It is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church was reluctant to have the Bible translated and to let the people read it for themselves. The Bible Translation That Rocked the World, for example, discusses the challenges that Martin Luther encountered when he translated the Bible into German.

What does a word represent?  When we think of a word, we generate a concept in our mind.  When we speak a word to someone else we compel whoever is listening to generate the concept they associate with that word in their mind. Therefore, when we translate words from one language to another, finding the best match between the words in the source language and the target language involves finding the word or phrase that correctly portrays the desired concept in the mind of the reader.

Unfortunately, even if the translator well understands both the source and target languages, sometimes there isn’t a good word match. Sometimes, in the case of a language that has not been spoken for a long time, scholars have to work quite diligently to understand what concepts the words in the source language were meant to generate in the minds of the people who spoke that language.  So it is we get translations that are mostly the same, but some differ significantly.

What Is The Word In Question?

What is the word in question? It is the Hebrew word teshuqah. Google produces about 3200 hits (click on teshuqah). So that word has generated much commentary.

Most of the translations of teshuqah use the noun form of the word “desire”.  Let’s look at the origin of the word, “desire”.

desire

v. early 13c., from Old French desirrer (12c.) “wish, desire, long for,” from Latin desiderare “long for, wish for; demand, expect,” original sense perhaps “await what the stars will bring,” from the phrase de sidere “from the stars,” from sidus (genitive sideris) “heavenly body, star, constellation” (but see consider ). Related: Desired ; desiring.

n. c.1300, from Old French desir, from desirer (see desire (v.)); sense of “lust” is first recorded mid-14c.

Curiously, the word “desire” was first associated with the stars. Sexual lust is an element of desire, but “having” is the primary emphasis of the word, and that something is from the stars.  What we desire we want. What we desire is something we long to have in our possession and under our control.

Is desire the wrong word? Maybe not. “Covet” is a synonym for “desire”, and covetousness is a sin. What we desire — what we put at the forefront of our life — rules us.

What Is The End Of This Discussion?

I tend to enjoy John Wesley’s concise commentary. What did he have to say about Genesis 3:16?

Verse 16
[16] Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

We have here the sentence past upon the woman; she is condemned to a state of sorrow and a state of subjection: proper punishments of a sin in which she had gratified her pleasure and her pride. (1.) She is here put into a state of sorrow; one particular of which only is instanced in, that in bringing forth children, but it includes all those impressions of grief and fear which the mind of that tender sex is most apt to receive, and all the common calamities which they are liable to. It is God that multiplies our sorrows, I will do it: God, as a righteous Judge, doth it, which ought to silence us under all our sorrows; as many as they are we have deserved them all, and more: nay, God as a tender Father doth it for our necessary correction, that we may be humbled for sin, and weaned from it. (2.) She is here put into a state of subjection: the whole sex, which by creation was equal with man, is for sin made inferior. (from here)

Wesley saw Genesis 3:16 as being about punishment, and for thousands of years the social standing of women has been lower than that of men. Among the Jews, women were generally treated better, and with the advent of Christianity, the social standing of women began to slowly rise. However, that verse was about sin and punishment. Because they had sinned — because they would continue to sin — Adam, Eve, and their progeny would suffer from sin.

Other verses in the Bible call upon men to love their wives as they love themselves. Other verses call upon women to love their husbands and submit to the love of their husbands. What all those verses mean, not just one, Christians and non-Christians study and debate.

Can I resolve this debate? Of course not, but I can suggest that each of us needs to ask God what He wants us to do and do it. Whether God made us a man or a woman, He did not do so to curse us. Our own sins do that, and that is what most people get out of Genesis 3. What Genesis 3 tells us to do is to love and obey our Creator. That Adam, Eve, and we have too often failed to do.

What about punishment God inflicted upon Adam, Eve, and all of humanity? Just as God punishes us, don’t we punish our children to teach them to behave? In spite of the fact we punish our children, is not most of the punishment they receive — we receive — self-inflicted? When we sin, don’t we suffer from our sins? If a 120 pound woman totally desires 180 lb man, who is going to be controlled? Oddly, because the man wants to rule over the woman, it doesn’t always work out the way one might expect.

And so it is that for the sake of a tempting piece of fruit, Adam and Eve gave up paradise and their selfless love for each other.

Additional References