Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When Husbands Revere Christ...

C. S. Lewis suggested aptly in his Four Loves that a Christan husband is wearing two crowns. His reverence for Christ means that, like Christ, he gives himself up for her. He wears a crown of thorns. The other crown is in that which touches both their erotic and mundane affairs. It is a paper crown.

The crown of thorns is found in the array of service that a man offers to his family. It is his actual husbandry, (as in farming) of his fief and (like all farmers) he will work like a dog to maintain the physical health and defense of all he surveys. Most wives fail to object to this crown being worn by husbands. It is the paper crown that chafes.

Obviously there are those sorts of harridans who marry some schmuck and tyrannize his days. There are also those who think that marriage is fifty-fifty which only works in agreement and can't work otherwise. Of course these women have an odd notion that somehow the disagreement should have a default setting (to resolve the fifty-fifty problem) which makes a gentleman grant the female her way. So in this "equitable" marriage they either agree or the woman is in charge. Biblical, it is not. "Hell on Wheels" is what it is called by professionals. What about the "Biblical" family who hasn't wandered off into Emergent-church land, voted for Obama, recycled, or worn a helmet while bike riding? They ofttimes go to a Bible preaching church, and know that submission to husbands is the Bible way. And yet...and yet... some of those homes are shopping for the wheels to which they will strap their living hell.

These Christian, conservative couples err when they see submission in marriage as something that touches on the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS. That is right, I said this is a mistake. It is a widely held opinion that a wife needs to accept the dictates of her husband regarding Ideas: theology, politics, philosophy. The problem is, Ideas ought not be assented to in obedience without agreement. An Idea becomes a mere Position held like the patriotism of a mercenary. Ideas cannot function as truth claims based on the non-epistemic demand of some theology martinet with a rod up his butt. If he can’t convince the woman who loves him of the truth of his ideas, then I suspect he has a lousy defense for them. He should encourage her to resist his arguments lest he be deceived by her easy acquiescence and proceed to humiliate himself in public. Her loving demand for better proofs is a humbling protection of egotistical man.

This is where a knowledge of the paper crown comes in. These higher things have their own crowns. The husband, as husband alone, is not given that crown of epistemic certainty. God bless you both if the husband can also wear those crowns effectively in a family. But to do so he must appeal to the epistemic realms (not his husbandry); the revelation of God, the law of Reason, and the evidence of Reality. The wife, for her submission to BIG ideas, must look only to those authorities.

So a wife, when she looks at her husband, sees only a lord over the mundanities. She has another lord for her morality and her philosophy. See to it that she submits to each in the correct area. Too often, a wife with some docility never questions the family theology or philosophy. She considers herself a submissive wife thereby, even though she feels a certain freedom to adjust or outright disregard the “little” things her husband asks her to do. This woman is, in fact, the least submissive of them all. Her larger thoughts should have submitted to God, Reason, and Reality. She instead, just defaulted to whatever her husband’s opinions were. And where she was supposed to submit, frying him some eggs when he asked, she did not. I am convinced that men would rather be married to someone who joyfully performed every mundane task requested, but disagreed on theology. Many women who disregard their husbands in the small are also disregarding real authority in the larger thought realm.

Husbandry has a natural and God-given crown, that of service.

Luke 22
24 A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.

In reverencing Christ the kind of submission a husband offers will be different then what his wife offers. The Ephesians passage lets us know that the husband’s reverence is that to membership. A wife's is that to headship. You husbands submit yourselves to caring for the needs of your body (like Christ did for His) and give yourself up (like Christ did for you).

Take, as evidence for where you are, the reaction you have had thus far. If the topic was about the other sex than that to which you belong, was your heart and thought going “I hope he/she is listening!” Are you ready to govern this government the correct way, or not?

Or, you might not think you have this problem, but for some reason the topic annoys you anyway. If it comes up in a discussion, do you find that you make lists of where it would NOT apply and you wouldn’t have to submit yourself to each other? Wouldn’t it be better to find the way to have joy in the submission, and make your lists center on your positive opportunities?

When we say that the wife is to submit out of reverence, we mean that her reverence for Christ makes her conscious of her head rather than her membership. She IS a member but sees and reveres the Head. Her husband IS the head but sees and reveres the member. The husband images Christ out of his religious reverence and the wife images the church out of her religious reverence. In claiming Christianity your marriage will be always be the "lazy man's guide to enlightenment" regarding your claim. You haven't worn the crown of Christ, O husband, but that of a tyrant, demanding service not serving. You overstepped. Some of you (most of you actually, in this age of geldings) have accepted the post of eunuch within the be-pillowed harem where your wife, not you, holds sway. What a bit of Gawd-Help-Us! And you wives! Define what it is you are doing toward your husband and declare with me that this is what you wish Everyman to know and desire the church to be in reverence to Christ. Wouldn't it be great if the Church acted like.. um... you don't? If that is too big a thought just ask your children to apply your standards of submission and attitude to any command or request you make of them. Do you desire admiration, joy and immediacy from the little blighters? "Do unto others as you would be done by", saith the Lord.

Is the rhetoric piled on too thick? I apologize. Simply put to husbands, Christ is not a bastard nor is He a eunuch so take responsibility for how you represent Him. Simply put to wives, are you acting like the Elect Lady for whom Christ died and delivered from sin and fear? What has your marriage said about the Christian faith. If you reverence Christ, this will matter.

Feminists and patriarchal martinets are declaring a different religion.

Titus 2
4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Who's In Charge Here?

This is the worst part of modern Christian marriage. It is the hardest to bring up and speak of, even in Christian circumstances. The men cringe, suspecting that their easily annoyed, unthinking wife will let them know, shortly after this message is completed, how she, the Great She, does not agree with Evan or the Apostle Paul. And if you ever hope to have sex again, you might want to think twice before you choose to obey Jesus before her.

Merely approaching this subject is the governing of governments, and it is a topic for the big boys and the big girls. This is not a topic for wusses (who are willing to almost cut “it” off for the privilege of only occasionally using “it”), nor is this the topic for women who think marriage is a clique in Junior High, to the top of which they rise by manipulation, rejection and favors.

How do “we” approach the question in marriage of who obeys whom? Should we jump right in on the “wives be subject” verses? No, we gotta clear something up first.

At the beginning of the “dark passage” in Ephesians there is a verse to which the feminists cling and over which the conservatives skip.

I’m conservative, and I want to look at that passage. I want it to be THE passage by which we find ourselves governing the governments of marriage with tranquil happiness. So there! I don't think that St. Paul inadvertantly let slip an idea which trumped everything he was about to say regarding wives submitting. It is an idea of "how" he wants you to agree with what he is about to say regarding wives submitting. If you don't agree with what he is about to say, you don't have what it says in this verse.

Ephesians 5
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Are you religious? If so, then you claim to revere. Something or someone is the object of your reverence. It has crossed my mind that the Christian unwillingness to be what the Apostle ordered later in the chapter (both men and women) was due to the impossibility of adopting such goodness and order without settling the religion question first.

Are you having trouble guiding your wife in holiness and love? Are you having trouble obeying your husband, let alone even wrapping your mind around just saying the phrase “obeying your husband”?

I suggest that your religion is wrong. Somehow you got into a place where you don’t reverence Christ, but you have a nice picture of the “church” reverencing Christ, and you go to church. Aren’t you nice.

Until you adjust to the idea of having a god, your governance of the marriage is going be some combination of the occasional marriage seminar, a Christian self-help book and all the the worldliness you can still allow.

How have you missed it? It could be that He has simply become the character called “God” in the narrative myth which tells a story about things you don’t find that important. Or you may be an emotionally disturbed woman who dearly clings to a “fuzzy warmth” with devotion and piety but it is there to serve you rather than vice versa. And there is the deeper walk club, which can manage to not love their wives or obey their husbands, even though they have a Tolkien fan level of interest in the “correct”schematic definition of the Whole Counsel of God. It could be something else, but it seems, from the passage we are stressing, that my and your reverence for Christ is the backbone, the inertia of wonderfully accepting the following instructions with joy. If you don’t joyfully follow, you can’t point to a reverence to Christ that isn’t somehow distant from Him.

Hebrews 10
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Pretty, My Precious

This last weekend The Amazing Missus and I drove to the Town of Hip and there forgathered with the one female descendant of Clan MacEvan.

And the bark was in bloom.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Complete Faith

I watched an attempt to gain more "heart" faith out of a congregation this last weekend. The assumption the pastor was making was a natural one, if flawed by the spirit of the age. The assent to a certain propositional truth is considered "head" faith and we have all witnessed both individuals and churches die in the swamp of "head" faith correctness. The spirit of the age suggests, with all of it postmodern subjectivism and its merely animal grasp of decision making, that for the heart to be engaged, the emotions regarding the truth claim need be engaged. "I believe in the Bible" becomes "YES! I KNOW (slight sob) That Jesus wrote the VERY words of LIFE! Glory!" (the latter preferably shouted). This is the St Valentines approach to the heart. In our society we consider the heart the seat of the emotions. In the Scriptures there is the sense of the center of a thing is its heart.

"Head" faith becomes "heart" faith when the truth claim made replaces the preexisting truth claims by which your life was run. In other words you look out your eyes with TRUTH A being held like Gravity is held in your next step. You don't think about it nor gauge its effectiveness. Your "head" faith must do more work than mere catechizing. It must discover and delete the earlier operating system.

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.

If in your heart you are still Lord, (or your mother, or your church, or the Age, or your habits) don't try to replace absence of "heart" with a more stringent "head" faith. But more to our topic, don't try to solve "heart" absence by exuberant sermons or worship-fully played background strummings by the soul patch wearing worship team leader. This sort of faux-heart faith is having a few beers too many and being convinced by your church that you are SOOOOOO in love with Jesus that for a couple of days you will forget you are really married to someone else.

Some will say that I (as usual) am stressing the head aspect. They would be correct. It isn't that we think too much about the Faith but that we think too little. We only ask that superficial assent be made as far as statements of the orthodox faith. There are inside us "head" conclusions we persist affirming. There are outright, contrary to the Scriptures, pure American, family-valued other "faiths" that you really have in your "heart". Like gravity, you can't imagine them not being true. They have to go if you want Jesus to be Lord in your heart.

What the Church recommends: 1) Assent to Truth A and for the deeper walk, 2) get really emotional about it.
What I recommend: 1) Convinced of A, root out all of its competition for your guiding thoughts. 2) Feel good about it.

Emotion answers what is. Do not depend on it to cause what should be.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pay Attention

Marriages are funny on TV. Nothing like a stupid wife (like on I Love Lucy) for a laugh. Nothing like a stupid husband (on every other show) for even more laughs. We laugh because it is someone else. When it is in our relationship we want to cry.

I have seen marriages break up for this cause. I have seen wives outstrip their husbands in their interest in deeper things. Those husbands counted on the universally acknowledged fact that there is something manly about not knowing stuff.

I Samuel 25
3 Now the name of the man was Nabal [ed. the name means “fool”], and the name of his wife Ab'igail. The woman was of good understanding and beautiful, but the man was churlish and ill-behaved; he was a Calebite.

I have seen husbands living with the hell of the unteachable wife. Not that the woman is not bright. In some cases she is really smart, just uninterested in knowing or understanding. She uses her smarts to build what matters just to her.

Proverbs 11
22 Like a gold ring in a swine's snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion.

What would I recommend? A couple that mutually considers what they each retain from life’s observation will 1) find each other more interesting and 2) sidestep folly (since it lurks in ignorance) and 3) make gains in their standing in the broader community when their knowledge come to benefit others. As an extra, 4) the couple becomes better friends.

Each of these shore up a marriage. When you are not interesting to each other, when folly makes you both look stupid with some regularity, and when 20 years leaves you with no reputation worth remarking on, the word "tranquil" is replaced by the word "dull". Those closest to you, your spouse and your children, will think you dull first. Dull parents do not inspire the children to adopt the methods or beliefs of those parents. Dull Spouses may find that their partners will walk away because they have found another person, someone with a pulse. Or they may just want to get away from the room you are in before you revisit that limited inventory of ideas, or stories, or questions that you have used for years as your talking points.

If you seek to be tranquil and want it to be obviously not dull, realize that what you retain as knowledge in life will have at least four qualities.
1] the quality of the thing known.
2] the quality of that thing's known effect.
3] the quality of 1 and 2 relationship, in other words, why known and why efficacious.
4] the quality of increase.

Proverbs 4:7
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.

Friday, April 09, 2010

For Philip and Patrick with abjectness and downcastness of visage

When an incorrect rationale seems to move you it is, many times, the illusion your passions provide to make you seem thoughtful. My father always said there is a difference between a reason and an excuse. Passions, if they move you, need an excuse. You know they do. It is evidence that we all understand that there is a correctness about the human animal that is moved by reason and principle. Why else would we provide faux reasons after the fact?