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.

IF WE ARE ALL BIGOTS, WHAT KIND OF GOVERNMENT SHOULD WE HAVE?

The_covetous_and_avaricious_VillainHere is another post on bigotry for Tony (last comment here) and other big government Democrats.

What I want everyone to do is consider how he responded to a comment of mine. First he quoted me and then he responded.

“Consider yourself. You can easily and enthusiastically attack your own countrymen as the most horrible bigots. Why? It appears to be just because they do not belong to a particular political party (i.e., they don’t belong to the party of your choice).”

I thought we were over this. We are ALL bigots. It’s facing our bigotries that I was talking about. Pointing out that Trump’s appeal is to our worst bigotries is only dishonest if it is not true and I knew it were not true. I pointed to several Trumpisms that are blatantly bigoted. They are I fact the definition of bigotry. I can find you many more if you like. Tell me how what’s obvious is not true? (from here)

Think about the fact Tony said we are ALL bigots. As Democrat, Tony cannot deny that being a bigot is awful thing. If you read his comments, bigotry is in fact his biggest charge against Donald Trump. Is Trump a bigot? Sure he is. I just think Hillary Clinton is a worst bigot and that she belongs in jail. Just consider two examples.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton is an unsavory character. What about Trump? Is he is as wildly bigoted as Tony claims? I don’t think so. I have been to his web site. I don’t like everything I see, but I don’t see much evidence of blatant bigotry. However, since we are all bigoted, I guess Trump bigoted too.

Why the accusations of bigotry against Trump? Well, Trump is campaigning to be our president. So he has to talk a lot, and the partisan news media is bigoted too. Therefore, many in the news media would love Trump to suffer the death of a thousand sound bites reported out of context.

Here is a press conference that Trump gave yesterday.

Journalists like those to be found NPR picked up one remark 13 minutes and 15 seconds into the press conference.

Since the press conference was quite interesting, it is worth listening to the whole thing, but don’t count on the news media to tell you that.

So what about the title of this post? What kind of government should we have? Well, given our tendency to make and believe outrageous accusations and nasty things about each other, we need a limited government. If we are ALL bigoted, who can we trust to run the government? No one. Therefore, we should not have anymore government than absolutely necessary.

What is among the worst abuses of government power? That is the power our government exercises to redistribute other people’s wealth.  The abuse of such power begins in covetousness. That’s a sin.

Exodus 20:17 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

When we desire what rightfully belongs to another, we justify our taking with hatred.

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.

OF COURSE IT WAS PLAGIARISM — NOT!

Mike Myers as Dr. Evil (from here)
Mike Myers as Dr. Evil (from here)

It is more important to stand for something than it is stand against something. When we vote, we should try to vote for someone whose views on the purpose government are similar to our own. The problem is that what lots of politicians say is not what they do. So when we check out the candidates we have to worry about how much damage we think they will do. Therefore, we often have to vote for the lesser of evils.

Unfortunately, when we try vote for the lesser of evils, that does not much complicate the campaign strategy of the more evil candidates.  They and their supporters just respond by trying to convince us the other guy is even worst, or, supposedly even more despicable, dumb.

Hence, my last post, YOU CAN PLAGIARIZE TRITE EXPRESSIONS? REALLY? derided the accusations that Melania Trump had plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. Ironically, we had two commenters in the last post, novascout (here and here) and Tony (here) try to persuade us that “of course it was plagiarism”. Google now reports 1,730 results for that phrase, “of course it was plagiarism”.

Supposedly, the Trump’s have conceded the accuracy of the charge of plagiarism by identifying the culprit (see Trump campaign tries to move on from plagiarism controversy). However, the headline says what is going on. The Trump campaign regards the accusation as a distraction.

Why put the silliness to rest? Let’s look at this two ways. First, consider what the Democrats want to argue about.  Here are are the priceless lines “stolen” from Michelle Obama’s speech. Note that none of the lines in Melania Trump’s speech are actually identical to those in Michelle Obama’s (see Melania Trump Copied from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Convention Speech (Snopes.com)). Note also that what is in bold below was supposedly stolen.

  • Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflect to this day on me and for my love of family and America. – Here Melania Trump talks about herself. Michelle Obama referred to her daughters. Seems like a strategic difference, but maybe Melania gave birth to herself.
  • From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect. – Does Michelle Obama have the original copyright on: you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, you do what you say, and that you treat people with respect. Platitudes can be copyrighted?
  • They thought and showed me values and morals in their daily life. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. – Two words in that sentence constitute plagiarism?
  • Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them. – In America we use to grow up with our elders constantly telling us that the only only limits to our achievements were our dreams and our willingness to work. Now we are offended when a legal immigrant tells us that? Because of plagiarism? Plagiarism of who? Michelle Obama? Consider the irony.

As I said, I don’t get it. What is there in any of the supposedly plagiarized portion of Melania Trump’s speech that she should have credited to Michelle Obama? If this is how Democrats want to portray Donald Trump as evil, I think it is about as funny as Dr. Evil.

So what does Trump want to move onto? That is, what are the Democrats trying to distract us from? Consider.

What we should be doing is looking at what the people who are running for political office have done? What is it that they have done that qualifies them to run for high office, to spend our money and exercise power over us, our families, our friends and our countrymen.

What does they news media want to talk about? Well, it has more to do with theater and entertainment than substance.

Soon the conventions will be over. Are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the most unpopular presidential candidates ever? Maybe. Is our country in a mess? Yes. Is the mess getting worse? Yes. Are we going to start looking into the records of the people we vote for? God help help if we don’t.