The ‘Out of Sync’ Debate, Log 5-4-2017

“My job is to make clear to everyone just what the secret plan is, the purpose that’s been hidden from the very beginning of the world in God who created all things. This is it: that God’s wisdom, in all its rich variety, was to be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places – through the church.” The Apostle Paul, Ephesian 3: 9 & 10

~~~

Often, I will engage atheists, the LGBT, SJWs and others on Twitter. I seek to debate them from a Kingdom perspective. I will inject myself into a conversation where I see a bashing of God and Christians with throwaway statements and a misuse of Scripture to promote, say, socialized health care.

It is easy for atheists, the LGBT, SJWs – anyone – to make such statements on Twitter. There is the cover of anonymity and a copy and paste groupthink mentality. Invariably, the ‘conversation’ ends with the atheist or LGBT-er or other being dismissive, derogatory and using ad hominin.  In the socialized health care debate, misappropriated Jesus quotes are used for shaming by SJWs.

As I debate, I find that atheists believe that “science” is all-you-need truth, trumping anything one might have to offer.  They readily assume that science is superior over ‘subjective’ Christianity, which holds dogmatic beliefs. In practice, though, the atheist asserts his belief system, his values, as being dogmatic and backed by a nebulous theory of scientific evidence.

The other day, I engaged Heisenberg @Atheist_in_nc. He made a reply to someone denigrating Christians. He asserted that mind and body can be “out of sync” per evolving scientific evidence, evidence which he doesn’t provide. Science had nothing to do with his original antagonistic reply. Here are our two Twitter profiles:

Our Twitter Profiles:

Heisenberg @Atheist_in_nc

“Spent 27 years as an adult pentecostal. Soul winner. Prayer warrior. Bible college graduate. Was born again through the gospel of reality.”

 

Cindy wity @WityCindy

“A follower of The Way and a Milton Friedman Libertarian in the midst of the demolition derby called Illinois. Always pithy, never picayune. Pro-human & Debate”

 

Here is the (complete>) Twitter feed and more evidence of the fact-value split in our world. I “cut” to the pre-op chase:

~~~

Debating helps me define what I think about issues. I often find that I need to research more. And, I learn from each encounter, especially about how other’s think and how they view the world. Post-modernists eschew the overarching domain of right and wrong – Christianity, for the domain of particularity – personal values couched in scientism.

It is not easy to debate in 140 characters. So, such encounters help me tweak my words to have more meaning in less space. Another reason to take a stance on issues: to stand out for the Kingdom of God in the rubble created by the post-modernist destruction of institutions. Sadly, I don’t get much collegial help from other Christians in these debates. I don’t know if the intellectual Christians have opted-off Twitter to write books and blog posts but Twitter appears to be a battle front in need of push back. Kingdom Christians must engage the culture where the people are and not from their Bible towers and fortresses. How else will Epicurean and Deist people know that Jesus is alive and actively engaged with mankind and that his Kingdom has been inaugurated on earth?

 

Here is another (complete>) Twitter feed, about socialized health care as pushed by James Martin SJ. James has been characterized as the Bill Nye of Catholicism by other Catholics:

Here’s James Martin, SJ, being ‘inclusive’:

To be researched:

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

 

“His first solo album, 1987’s “Faith,” sold more 20 million copies, and he enjoyed several hit singles including the raunchy “I Want Your Sex,” which was helped immeasurably by a provocative video that received wide air play on MTV.

The song was controversial not only because of its explicit nature, but also because it was seen as encouraging casual sex and promiscuity at a time when the AIDS epidemic was deepening. Michael and his management tried to tamp down this point of view by having the singer write “Explore Monogamy” on the leg and back of a model in the video.”

“”I wanted to be loved,” said Michael of his start in the music field. “It was an ego satisfaction thing” said Michael of his start in the music field.””

-above quotes from http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2016/12/26/former-wham-singer-george-michael-dead-at-53.html

~~~

Have you noticed that when someone dies, the reality of their life can’t be buried with them?

Reading the above article about the life and recent death of singer George Michael brought back a distinct memory…

 

In 2003 I went with a friend to an LGBT community support group meeting. My friend Sherry asked me to come along. Sherry was transitioning from male to female.  We had known each other for a long time before her transition.

The support group meeting was held on a Sunday afternoon in a community center of a northwestern suburb of Chicago. Sherry had heard about it from another friend. When Sherry mentioned the meeting to me I became curious about a side of life I hadn’t known about, a side of life that was constantly promoted as “gay and proud” in Chicago. In mentioning concern of my uneasiness about attending, Sherry was quick to point out Atticus’ advice to Scout:

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”– Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

 

As a friend, I said “yes” to her request.

After attending church that Sunday morning and then eating lunch at home I went outside to wait for Sherry. The beautiful September day prompted second thoughts about going with her to a meeting. But soon Sherry came by and I decided to do my due diligence as a friend. Without saying so, I believe she was looking for another reference point.

 

Sherry drove us north where, after several times of stopping to ask for directions, we made it to the community center. We were the first ones there and still not sure if we were in the right place. There were no signs posted about the meeting.

After a short while someone came in the front door. I could tell that this was someone attending the meeting, so I asked about the room. Tracy led us to a meeting room and turned on the lights. We introduced ourselves to Tracy.

Tracy introduced herself as the president of the local chapter (not to be named). Tracy wore a thin floral dress over a boney masculine frame. Tracy’s legs were not shaved. We noticed this as she went around the room putting chairs in order around a long wide table. Soon others appeared and they took a seat at the table.

Tracy sat at the head of the table and to her right, as we learned, was Katherine, the group’s secretary. Surrounding Sherry and I were fifteen people, all “female” in appearance – the majority being cross dressers based on a quick look at the number of beards. Actually, I wasn’t sure who was transitioning and who was cross dressing and who was gay. I would find who was doing what after we were introduced to the group and the meeting got under way.

After Katherine read the minutes from the last meeting there was motion to approve them and it was seconded. New business was next.

New business included the day and time of the next meeting and the day and time and whereabouts of the next social. The members were all a twitter. After several minutes their conversations turned from making out in cars at the local forest preserve to “making sure to use condoms” – a community service message, said president Tracy.

Next up:  the topic of today’s meeting.

Because we were using a community building paid for with tax dollars, so Tracy told us, the support group must provide topics on informational health and welfare subjects and report back to the government on a regular basis. (That recollection is a paraphrase from memory of what Tracy said that day.) In other words, as I understood it, the government allowed them to meet there but they must be reminded to be good citizens.

Tracy introduced the speaker for the day’s topic – Randall M. (not his real name). How open-ended the topic and the speaker of this day were was something I would soon find out. As he stood before us the topic was generally described by Randall as “AIDS and protection.” At this point I thought this topic might be of value to everyone in the room.  Me being present with this group and hearing about this topic with them, in a vicarious way I felt that I had “climbed into their skin” as HIV AIDS is no respecter of persons.

Randall talked about his quasi-subject – “AIDS and protection” – autobiographically:  His father left his mother at the age of two; His mother raised him alone; as a young man he worked as a pipefitter; he left work behind and traveled to San Francisco; he became involved sexually with other men; he became addicted to alcohol, pain killers, amphetamines and cocaine; he returned to his mother’s house in Chicago and entered a clinic for his drug addiction; he spent a lot of time in the “Boy’s Town” area of Chicago; he frequented spas and bath houses; he returned to drugs and to multiple sex partners; at one point he was diagnosed with HIV AIDS; he began to take expensive medications to slow the effects of AIDS; he took more illegal drugs and stole to maintain his AIDS medication and his drug habit; he continued to have sex with other men in Chicago’s bath houses. After a hour of relating these things Randall reached the end of his talk.

I looked around me and saw blank faces at the table. Maybe the beards hid their expressions from view. None of us at the table had heard a word of caution or of protection or about taking care of oneself or of redemption. Someone then asked Randall if he knew that he was transmitting AIDS to someone else by having oral and anal sex with them. His reply was criminal and meant to absolve him of any personal responsibility:

“They know what they are doing. They know why they are there.” The breathing in the room stopped with a gasp.

I leaned over to the Tracy and said “Someone in this group needs to report this guy.” Tracy nodded and then asked for more questions.  But the room remained dead silent.  Looking back, I should have spoken up more. But I remember being in such shock and feeling unclean and feeling like a reptile had crawled up inside my skin. I wanted to run to a baptismal fount to have all of the vileness purged from me.

With no further question or comments from the members of the LGBT support group, Tracy called the meeting to a close. Tracy invited everyone to stay and chat with cheese and crackers and lemonade offered on the buffet table. I ended the meeting by leaving with Sherry and not looking back. I had climbed into their skin and they had climbed under mine and it felt inhuman.

~~~

This is a true story and one aspect of the LGBT community that you will never see depicted on Ellen or All That Jazz or “reality TV.” Instead, related to homosexuality, you will see and hear the words “equal rights” and “love” and sometimes, “I Want Your Sex.”

 

Now, there’s no telling what one will find scrawled on bathroom stalls. And, there’s no telling what one will find sprawled in bathroom stalls. But did you really think that you would find love here among the fetid? Amazing.

 

“I said celebrate the love of the one you’re with

 

As this life gets colder

And the devil inside

Tells you to give up.”

 

“Amazing” Songwriters: GEORGE MICHAEL, JONATHAN SIMON DOUGLAS

The World, the Flesh and the Disneyland

 

The world, the flesh and the devil…

They came for Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and New York.  They’re coming for you, too.

The world, the flesh …

Georgia strong-armed, squeezed: “The Walt Disney Company is threatening to stop filming in Georgia if the state’s governor signs a bill that would protect a pastor’s right not to perform gay marriage ceremonies. The bill would also “protect property owners which are religious organizations against infringement of religious freedom.”

Disney owns Marvel, which has shot major films at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta. Such a boycott would be a significant loss for the state. The NFL is also threatening to bypass Atlanta as a Super Bowl destination if the religious freedom bill is passed. What does this news mean for those of us who support biblical marriage?””

Capitulation for the love of money:  [Governor] “Deal, a Republican who was re-elected in 2014, has indicated he will review the bill in April and told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution he had a tough decision to make.

In addition to generous tax credits that draw [movie] productions to the state, the city of Atlanta hopes to land a Super Bowl in the near future after its new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons is due to open in 2017. A hope that an NFL spokesperson cautioned late last week could be burst if local laws do not meet league polices that “emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”

The Muscle: “It sounds like a “Who’s Who” of corporate America:  Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, UPS, Time/Warner, Twitter, the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Hawks, the National Football League, AIG, Google, Disney, Marvel Entertainment, Dell, Dow Chemical, Hilton, Intel, Intercontinental Hotels, Live Nation Entertainment, Marriott, MailChimp, Paypal, Salesforce, AMC, Square, Turner, Unilever, Virgin, Yelp, Home Depot, and Apple.

All fighting against the religious freedom of natural marriage advocates.

Four hundred companies threatened the state of Georgia with “taking our business elsewhere” if Gov. Deal signed the bill into law.

And they got what they economically coerced the governor to do.  Gov. Deal, after saying he was in no way bowing to pressure, vetoed the legislation, which sought to protect pastors and church organizations from discrimination over beliefs about natural marriage.” …

Attorney Jane Robbins, Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project, commented on the economic threats to Georgia.  “Good people are trying to live their lives according to their faith.  Are we really going to subordinate religious freedom to the love of money?”

Pastor Garland Hunt of the Fellowship of International Churches told LifeSiteNews, “There is no plausible reason for the governor to not have enthusiastically signed Georgia’s Religious Freedom Act.”

Macon’s Berean Baptist Church pastor Joe Bowker told LifeSiteNews of the legislation, “in no way is it discriminatory,” because “disagreement is not discrimination.”

Robbins characterized America’s corporations as assisting bigotry.  “Anti-religious bigots, emboldened by corporate America and the political left, are now waging all-out war on religious freedom. This crass attempt to bully people of faith is un-American.”

 

Stand fast. Don’t capitulate.

“I Won’t Back Down”

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down…

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

But I’ll stand my ground

And I won’t back down

I Won’t Back Down lyrics by Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne
 

Big biz wins, Georgians lose re: HB 757

Nathan Deal’s Craven Capitulation on Georgia’s Religious Liberty Bill

Christians Must Unite Now Against LGBT Bullies and Their Allies

No, Gays and ‘Transgenders’ Are Not Being Bullied. They Are The Bullies.

Pride and Prejudice?  Why is it OK for a person to have the conviction that they are homosexual or that they are another gender?  (There is no such rationale for such belief drawn from nature and science or even from the atheist’s social Darwinism? (Psychiatry and Psychology are NOT scientific fields.) When…

It is not OK for a Christian to hold the conviction that such LGBT convictions are irrational, not natural, not supported in evolution and hard science and, most importantly, do not conform to what has been known about God eons before the Long March of Cultural Marxism ever began?

Justice is no longer blind.  Now, under the purview of justice, a protected class of people has been created out of a tiny minority’s convictions about its sexuality.  Their convictions are now given a legal weight that morality would never counter balance in the scales of justice.  Your religious convictions have been waylaid to clear the way for the Pride Parade.

Equal protection under the law?  Why are there “anti-discrimination” laws to protect LGBT convictions acted out and not religious freedom laws to protect Christian convictions acted out? I dare someone to answer that question. And please don’t tell me that the Ruling Class social engineers said so. Please don’t tell me it is a “right” for LGBT’ers to discriminate against religious convictions and not against their own convictions.

Hypocrisy abounds: the NBA, NFL and the CEOs of major corporations proudly quote the law as prohibiting discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation. But, these Pharisees do not want to include your religious convictions in their hubristic narrative.  Karl Marx would be proud of their denigration of religion, placing it beneath sexuality and society’s coddled greed. And the Evil One applauds them.

baal worship

… and the devil:

New York, London: “NEXT month [April], the Temple of Baal will come to Times Square. Reproductions of the 50-foot arch that formed the temple’s entrance are to be installed in New York and in London, a tribute to the 2,000-year-old structure that the Islamic State destroyed last year in the Syrian town of Palmyra.

Today’s Baal worshipers

Added:

Slouching towards Gomorrah:

Media: Gay Cartoon Characters Needed to Fight Bigotry of Parents

 

Gender In, Gender Out?

From the perspective of having worked with a para-church group that has ministered to free people from the cycle of homosexuality, I would like to address a concern of mine…

Recently I saw a huge sign outside a mega-church that offered a “Biblical” approach to gender. The wording was directed at teenagers. Though seemingly innocuous this is a type of inferred legalism.

When a Church or seminar group puts the word “Biblical” in front of its messaging it is clearly inferring that this is the domain of Christians, that this is what a Christian in this subset must do or be.  GIGO-300x249

But desired male and female “characteristics” or conformism should never be taught as gilded pages of Scripture lifted out and fashioned into tablets of “Biblical” mandates. One may say that these approaches are just “guidelines” but the word “Biblical” in front of something conveys the idea of de facto Sola Scriptura truth.

As mentioned, in the past I have been around and served in a para-church ministry based on what was termed “gender symbolism issues” (a cautious reference to Carl Jung). The speaker’s main thrust was to employ an admixture of psychology terms, quotes of the Inklings and of Scripture with the application of soul-healing prayer. It all sounded good to me at the time.

Within this context seminar leaders and counselors urged attendees to pray and ask God for the “True Masculine” and the “True Feminine.” But, these prayers, of course, will not be answered because there is no such thing. The best a man or woman can ever become is being Spirit-filled. It was out this time that I came to realize how insidious this kind of psycho-spirituality was.

It is not hard to understand the Christian Church trying to stabilize the culture surrounding it. But, in this case, it is doing so by adding unnecessary “traditions” onto the message of the Gospel. By placing added strictures and burdens regarding the masculine and the feminine, the Christian Church removes itself from the Gospel and becomes, in a sense, the fashion police.

Recall the early Christian Churches of Jerusalem and Galatia which demanded that new Christians follow the strict tradition “soaked” Law along with the teachings of Jesus? Today’s church in similar manner, as I see it, is seeking to propagate men and women of the “Biblically” masculine or feminine tradition. It would appear that the Christian church is in the process of “canonizing” romantic notions of what they consider to be masculine and feminine qualities.

As a former student of Moody Bible Institute and over the course of a lifetime having read through the Bible several times I have yet to find any description of “Biblical” manhood or womanhood.

What is written are what characteristics a man likes about a woman (see Song of Solomon and Proverbs 31) and what characteristics a woman likes about a man (see Song of Solomon). None of these “characteristics” – physical and pragmatic – carry the moral weight of the Ten Commandments. These “characteristics” should never be used to propagate more sons and daughters of the “Biblically” masculine and feminine.

I believe that the Church with regard to its “genderfication” of males and females has become a stumbling block for the weak.

There are those in the church who are perfectly comfortable conveying the macho role that men play in on TV. And there are some in the church who base gender roles on the corn-fed lyrics of country music. There are women’s conferences about “Biblical” womanhood based on Proverbs 31. And there are many more instances of role play.

I have no problem with role play. Role play is a given in relationships. But I have a problem with a rite of conventionality outside of conforming to the image of Christ. This statement may be too much for some people in the church, I understand.

Yet, the weak, the searching, may easily stumble when such stereotyping is placed askance to their faith.

One could say that Proverbs 31 was written by patrician authors who imagined the qualities of an ideal woman to be in relationship with or for King Solomon’s court. Proverbs 31 definitely speaks of a pragmatic woman and not of a physical woman, as does Song of Solomon. (Platonic men would later consider woman’s physical beauty a type of entrapment and something to avoid.)

But in this day and age Christian men also enact Proverbs 31, do they not? Should we delineate gender based on Proverbs 31? My answer is “No.”

Why create extra yokes called the “Biblical Masculine and Feminine” to be placed on people’s necks? Isn’t a “Biblical” manhood and womanhood referenced only at the conjunction of men and women? And, isn’t marriage of man and wife the nexus that is the positive anti-thesis to same-sex anomalies.

Now it is common knowledge that people do not like ambiguity. We demand black and white. We demand inerrancy. And, we demand “Biblically masculine and feminine” males and females. Our minds are wired to alert us to any differences to a norm. When a perceived threat to a norm occurs we seek to reconcile things as quickly as possible.

Any ambiguity comes off as a potential threat to our understanding of how life should be. As related to gender we tend to overemphasize male and female “roles” in order to reduce our anxiety over ambiguity. Here it is, I believe, that some of the fear of non-conformity has grown out the Christian Fundamentalist movement that was raised up in the early twentieth century against the threat of Liberal theologian’s textual infractions. The Conservative Christian world sought to tighten its reins on what is and isn’t “Biblical.” And in so doing it is also now putting a noose around each gender.

Yet, there is no gender typecasting or stereotyping in Scripture, only sacrosanct relationships established and reinforced. And, more importantly, the message of the Gospel offers everyone freedom from fear. This includes freedom from the fear of the ambiguous and the unknown, whether the fear is of material nature or of the fear of gender “status.”

We should not live with the fear of the not being able to follow the letter of the Law and especially as conjoined with the added impedance of “Biblical” gender.

The current falderal about “Biblical” manhood and womanhood are gooey sentimental and romantic notions mandated under the banner of the “Biblically” acceptable. Let’s not go there. Let’s not make the freedom and fun of romantic role play into religious rule pretense. Let’s be free to be men and women without the yoke of the man-made gender laws placed on our necks. And then, perhaps, homosexuals will then feel free to come home and find new hope under the roof of Christ-like relationships.

In my estimation the best how-to books to lead a Spirit-filled life are the Bible and My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Forget the OTC self-help books and seminars on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. You would be wasting your time and money. Worse, you would most likely seek to adapt to someone else’s notion of what it is to be a man or a woman. Run from this nonsense. GIGO.

~~~

"Jewish Wedding" by Jozef Israels (Dutch, 1824-1911)

“Jewish Wedding” by Jozef Israels (Dutch, 1824-1911)

The closest we come to “Biblical” manhood and “Biblical” womanhood in the Bible, as I read it, is within the Apostle Paul’s circular letter to the churches at and around Ephesus (Ephesians chapter 5). It is there that he instructs Christians as to how men and women should relate to each other and he does so with equanimity and, more importantly, in the context Christ and His Bride, the Church.

Paul’s circular letter should be read in the context of Ephesus being the protectorate of the Temple of Artemis aka Diana. “There was no other Greco-Roman metropolis in the Empire whose ‘body, soul and spirit’ could so belong to a particular deity as did Ephesus to her patron goddess Artemis.” (Oster 1990:1728) Many in the Greco-Roman world came to Ephesus take part in the seductive sexuality of Diana’s worship, worship which included prostitution. Adored as life givers women were given inordinate prominence. As such, they were placed above men.

Sadly, so many sermons and books and seminars parse out “wives submit to your husbands” and “husbands love your wives”.  As I see it, Paul wrote to these churches – churches situated in the context of the worship of the female deity Diana, and specifically this passage to promote a Kingdom view of women as opposed to the Artemis view. In the Spirit’s way, Paul let it be known that women were not to be placed on a pedestal as an idol or to be used– not as a Madonna or as a whore.

Paul writes to the Ephesian church outlining a Kingdom of God view of relationships. Husbands are to love their wives and not submit to prostitutes.  Wives are to submit to their husbands and not to those who would put them on a pedestal to worship or in a bed as a prostitute. Paul advances the true characteristics of Kingdom of God people: concomitant respect and love of husband and wife.

More than any pretense of “Biblical” gender teaching, the Scriptures order our relationships as it orders our loves: Love God with all your heart, mind, body and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.

Husbands who love their wives love their closest neighbor and are in fact submitting to the Lord within her.

Wives who submit to their husbands submit to their closest neighbor and do so out of love for the Lord within him.

This gamboling of submission and love resembles, I imagine, the relationships of the Trinity and Their dancing embrace.

Indulge me:

~~~~

Related:

Here’s what culture says:  27 Ways to Be a Modern Man

Added:

Scans prove there’s no such thing as a ‘male’ or ‘female’ brain

SCOTUS Goes Dumpster Diving and Comes Up with Tossed “Dignity”

“As a dog returns to his vomit so a fool returns to his folly.” Proverbs 26:11

Theater of the absurd: This week the majority of the SCOTUS ruled twice in activist ad hoc fashion-once in favor of Obamacare subsidies by misappropriating the word “State” and the other ruling using a misappropriation of the word “dignity” to rule in favor of homosexuality.

Here is a brief summary of a dissenting Judge’s opinion “Clarence Thomas invokes comparison to slavery in raging gay-marriage dissent”:

Justice Clarence Thomas

Justice Clarence Thomas

“Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday wrote a fiery dissent in response to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.

In it, he took issue with the concepts of “liberty” and “dignity.” He argued that the petitioners in this case were not deprived of their liberty, as they have been allowed to travel and settle freely without government intervention.

This is why, Thomas wrote, the majority led by Justice Anthony Kennedy focused its opinion on the petitioners’ “dignity.” (emphasis added)

But Thomas wrote that there is no “dignity” clause in the US Constitution — and that, even if there was, the government could not bestow it upon a person or take it away.

To make his point, he invoked the examples of slavery and internment camps. From his dissent:

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Thomas went on to write that one’s liberty and dignity should be shielded from the government — not provided by it….

 

Today’s decision… will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society,” Thomas wrote in conclusion.

~~~

Here is my scathing dissent posted as a reply comment to one of the majority assent opinions posted on another blog:

“The right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition, but rights come not from ancient sources alone. They rise, too, from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.” (majority opinion)

Who is better informed-the academically inbred ad hoc elitists or the millennia of millions of people who have IDENTIFIED with traditions subject to God and not to the wiles and wills of tyrannical humanism? This improvised decision is solely based on the loudest noise in the room.

We the people were given a sacred trust and it has been despoiled by the folly of morally penurious populist popes.

Atheism has now become America’s state religion. Pay homage to the gods of humanism, say these popes.”

~~~

And another comment under the same post:

“This decision debases marriage to a level where even animals wouldn’t dare go. And, like I said, it also endorses atheism by its ignorance and/or rejection of any Authority other than man.

~~~

As I read Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent against using the cornucopia word “dignity” as a rule of law adjunct I was reminded of the opening of Martha Nussbaum’s essay “Danger to Human Dignity: The Revival of Disgust and Shame in the Law”: “”The law, most of us would agree, should be society’s protection against prejudice.” Wow! Now law enforcement and judges must not only protect us from crime, they must also read minds!  A certain amount of prejudice-wisdom and discernment-is necessary to protect oneself from that which is repulsive, reprehensible, disgusting and yes, foolish-don’t you think?

Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in Law, Philosophy, and Divinity, most likely believes that prejudice is itself a crime. She is a devoted advocate of non-shaming to the degree that she would likely regard the shame Adam and Eve felt after they had sinned as beneath their ”human dignity and the equal worth of persons”.

Surrounded by the ubiquitous Epicurean pick and choose morality mindset I would guess that Nussbaum would very much like to completely erase sin and its concurrent and inherent shame (the gods are too harsh!) from public view. She would rather privatize shame as she would rather privatize religion-into nihilism.

As with most liberals with “Unconstrained Vision” (see Thomas Sowell’s book “A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles”) the institutions such as the criminal justice system or simply concerted public opinion are the problem. Under such curious thinking the individual personifying a predator or a thief or a homosexual or ‘other’, is just a ‘victim’ of institutionalized prejudice. In essence, the individual is not to be held publicly accountable for their behavior. The institutions of justice and of marriage must be changed to fit the deviation with “dignity”.

Adam & Eve & Shame Exposé

Adam & Eve & Shame Exposé

Nussbaum worries people will be stigmatized by the ‘penalties’ of shame. She believes that the law should protect people from insults to their dignity. According to her thinking doing away with sin (“Did God really say that?”) and shame would magically disappear. Hence, homosexuality is now given a pass by a SCOTUS ruling under a declaration of (someone’s tossed) “Dignity”-a dumpster diving decision to be sure.

Today mens rea (a guilty mind) is openly presumed before actus reus, or “guilty act” ergo a Baltimore DA and an abetting media and race industry presumes prejudice and subsumes the “guilty act” to the ignominy of Black lynch mob justice.

~~~

Under the category of Justices who say one thing to be appointed a SCOTUS Justice and then say another after being appointed comes a post titled “Elena Kagan 2009: “There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.””

Here is my comment to that post about the Janus-faced Kagan:

Man was endowed by his creator with inalienable rights-life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Most of the focus these days is on “rights” and not on the Creator of those rights…

 “[But] as Pierre Manent pointed out in his 1993 essay “Christianity and democracy,” the history of modern philosophy, from Machiavelli to Nietzsche, appears as oriented to and animated by the elaboration of the concept of the will.” In its most radical forms, the “unbridled affirmation of the human will” is joined to the “unlimited polemic against Christianity.” The philosophical architects of modernity such as Bacon and Descartes identified the task of philosophy with nothing less audacious than making human beings “the masters and possessors of nature.” In Leviathan (1651), Thomas Hobbes explicitly denied that there are any superintending principles of justice above human will: “Justice and propriety begin with the constitution of [the] commonwealth.” From “The Limits of “Anthropocentric Humanism”” in the Chapter “The Totalitarian Subversion of Modernity” in the book “The Conservative Foundations of a Liberal Order” by Daniel J. Mahoney- a must read for any SCOTUS justice before tomorrow.

To put it differently, Epicureans have been telling us all along that God is out there somewhere minding his own business and we must make our own justice as we see fit.

Anthropocentric humanism seeks to deify man. Anthropocentric humanism mates Adam and Adam in a way nature and its creator would never conceive of.

~~~~

You were born with dignity. What you do with your dignity is based on the choices you make. And, tell me, how, under the name of “dignity” is an aborted child’s dignity saved by these same liberal do-gooders?

The SCOTUS ruling, in effect, says that you can choose homosexual relationships so as to not be deprived of any dignity! Imagine that! The SCOTUS ruling, in effect, says that you must genuflect to homosexual relationships so as to give them dignity!

Move over Greece and Rome, the West is the next civilization to be destroyed from within as promoted by Karma Khameleons President Obama and Elena Kagan and a host of other academic-robed miscreants.

As a growing number of fools return to their vomit our nation’s moral health is becoming more and more dyspeptic. Lady Liberty will soon be HIV positive because SCOTUS dumpster dived.

Added 6-27-2015-Dumpster Diving Brings Up a Rainbow of “Dignity”:

Rainbow hate aka Dumpster Diving Dignity

Rainbow hate aka Dumpster Diving Dignity

Something to think about:

60%the percentage of young Americans living with HIV today who are unaware they’re infected.

36 million – the number of people who have died of AIDS since 1981

Only 1.6% of Adults in the UK Identify as Gay, Lesbian or Bi-Sexual According to Government Report

New figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that only 1.6% of adults in the UK identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. The figures, which were collected by the ONS for its Sexual Identity Project, show that 1.2% of people identify as gay or lesbian whilst 0.5% identify as bisexual.

 

“The evil deny the suffering of their guilt – the painful awareness of their sin, inadequacy and imperfection – by casting their pain onto others through projection and scapegoating. They themselves may not suffer, but those around them do. They cause suffering. The evil create for those under their dominion a miniature sick society.” Dr. M. Scott Peck, “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil” (emphasis added)

 

Sexual Orientation as a Conditioned Response to Childhood Sexual Abuse : A Rarely Discussed Factor in the Scientific Literature

~~~

homosexual-Camille Paglia

homosexual-Camille Paglia

~~~

Added 6-29-2015:

From a National Review article, “The Supreme Court has Legalized Same-Sex Marriage, Now What?”:

“This transformation is itself the “beginning” of something much larger and more dangerous than same-sex, monogamish “marriages.” Yes, polygamy is just around the corner. And Obergefell’s evident determination to, somehow, use the law to equalize the self-esteem (“dignity”) of adults and children in all sorts of irregular groupings is at least Orwellian.

But this is not the half of it. As it has been so far described, one might imagine that there is a dyad involved, one consisting of the “state” on one hand, and these diverse family-ish groupings — and that the rest of us just go about our business. Not so. The revolutionary mindset that the Court has perhaps half-witlessly embraced means to eliminate all felt “stigma,” any trace of social “humiliation,” just so that everyone’s “identity” is equally valued.

Doing all that requires a lot more than just a fair shake down at the courthouse. It requires getting all of our minds right. And so we should expect today’s decision to inaugurate the greatest crisis of religious liberty in American history. I am certain that it will.” — Gerard V. Bradley is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.

~~~

Duh!

D’oh!

~~~

Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn To Live as Exiles in Our Own Country

By Rod Dreher, senior editor and blogger at The American Conservative

“It is now clear that for this Court, extremism in the pursuit of the Sexual Revolution’s goals is no vice. True, the majority opinion nodded and smiled in the direction of the First Amendment, in an attempt to calm the fears of those worried about religious liberty. But when a Supreme Court majority is willing to invent rights out of nothing, it is impossible to have faith that the First Amendment will offer any but the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.

Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito explicitly warned religious traditionalists that this decision leaves them vulnerable. Alito warns that Obergefell “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,and will be used to oppress the faithful “by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.” (see above tweet as evidence)

The warning to conservatives from the four dissenters could hardly be clearer or stronger. So where does that leave us?”

LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives. The Supreme Court has now, in constitutional doctrine, said that homosexuality is equivalent to race. The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions. The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society.” (emphasis added)

Added 7-1-2015:

LGBT activists: Marriage was never the ‘end game’

“Doubly Dead and Uprooted”

tree limb

The title of this post comes from the following scripture passage, written by Judah.

 Judah identifies himself first as a slave of the Lord Jesus and then as the brother of James, the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Judah is the half-brother of the Lord Jesus.

 Judah tells us that he earnestly wanted to write about God’s salvation realized but he turns quickly to the false teaching among his “beloved ones.” These false teachings sprung up in the early days of the church and even while the apostles, the eye witnesses, were still alive.

 Beware: false teaching is happening everywhere around us, even more so since the first century AD.

 In those days Gnostic teaching of the antinomian type was creeping into the church teaching. The Gnostic “false teachers” viewed the material as evil and the spiritual as good. Thus they cultivated their ‘spiritual’ lives and let the flesh to do whatever it desired to do. In effect, they gave license for all kinds of fleshy lawlessness including acceptance of the sexual perversion of homosexuality as normative within the church of the Lord Jesus.

 Gnosticism exists today in all its lawless or antinomian forms within many our churches: Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Evangelical.

 Here is Judah’s letter:

The Letter of Judah

 Contend for the faith

 Judah, slave of Jesus the Messiah, brother of James, to those who are called, the people whom God loves and whom Jesus, the Messiah, keeps safe! May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

 Beloved, I was doing my best to write to you about the rescue in which we share, but I found it necessary to write to you to urge you to struggle hard for the faith which was once and for all given to God’s people. Some people have sneaked in among you, it seems, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation ~ ungodly people, who are transforming God’s grace into licentiousness, and denying the one and only master, our Lord Jesus the Messiah.

 False Teachers

I do want to remind you, even though you know it all well, that when the Lord once and for all delivered his people out of Egypt, he subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. In the same way, when some of the angels did not keep to their rightful place of authority, but abandoned their own home, he kept them under conditions of darkness and in eternal chains to await the judgment of the great day. In similar fashion, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities round about, which had lived in gross immorality and lusted after unnatural flesh, are set before us as a pattern, undergoing the punishment of endless fire.

 However, these people are behaving in the same way! They are dreaming their way into defiling their flesh, rejecting authority, and cursing the glorious ones. Even Michael the archangel, when disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not presume to lay a charge against him of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.” These people, however curse anything they don’t know. They are like dumb animals; there are some things they understand instinctively ~ but it is these very things that destroy them. A curse on them! They go off in the way of Cain; they give themselves over for money into Balaam’s deceitful ways; they are destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. These are the ones who pollute your love-feasts; they share your table without fear while simply looking after their own needs. They are waterless clouds blown along by the winds. They are the fruitless autumn trees, doubly dead and uprooted. They are stormy waves out at sea, splashing up their own shameful ways. They are wandering stars, and the deepest everlasting darkness has been kept for them in particular.

 Enoch, the seventh in line from Adam, prophesied about these people. “Look!” he said. “The Lord comes with ten thousand of his holy ones, to perform judgment against all, and to charge every human being with all the ungodly ways in which they have done ungodly things, and with every harsh word which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are always grumbling and complaining, chasing off after their own desires. From their mouths come arrogant words, buttering people up for the sake of gain.

Rescued by God’s Power

But you, my beloved ones, remember the words that were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. In the last time,” they said to you, “there will be scornful people who follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who cause divisions. They are living on the merely human level; they do not have the spirit. But you, beloved ones, build yourselves up in your most holy fait. Pray in the holy spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of god, as you wait for our Lord Jesus the Messiah to show you mercy which leads to the life of the age to come.

 With some people who are wavering, you must show mercy. Some you must rescue, snatching them from the fire. To others you must show mercy, but with fear, hating even the clothes that have been defiled by the flesh.

 Now to the one who is able to keep you standing upright, and to present you before his glory, undefiled and joyful ~to the one and only God, our savior through Jesus the Messiah our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all ages, and now, and to all the ages to come. Amen. (emphasis mine)

 

 “Doubly Dead and Uprooted” aptly describes the moral relativism, the lawlessness, of our day. People are uprooted from absolute truth and are just dead tree limbs, blown about by the winds and whims of our “values” culture.

 I have written about our culture’s ‘uprooting’ in previous posts.

America’s ‘Devalued’ Moral Currency

 

Tear Down That Anthropocentricity

 

 Many churches now teach a ‘feel-good gospel’ that is ‘inclusive’ …but also damning.

 With the church failing in its mission to make disciples, America is now rebuilding itself on a foundation of sand, of lawlessness, much like Europe has already done. We will soon be washed away. The torrents will come.

 My “beloved ones’: Reading Judah’s letter you can’t help notice that as someone who grew up with Jesus Judah understood his half-brother Jesus from his orthodox Jewish perspective to be the anticipated Messiah.

 Finally and most important of all, Judah mentions Jesus the “Messiah” over and over again within this short missive. The Kingdom of God on earth began in those days and continues to the present! Judah urged his brothers and sisters in the faith, including us, “to contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.”

 

 

(Tree limb picture from Aerophant.com)

Good Company – “He Chooses You”

“Will to do His will”

“Bridges Get Walked On”

“He chooses you.”

Grab some Starbucks and enjoy this incredible Interview with Rosaria Butterfield; January 11, 2013

 

The Collect For the Second Sunday of Lent (and my prayer):

 O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy:  Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your way, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God for ever and ever. Amen

What’s “Biblical” About It?

Whenever I see the word “Biblical” in front of a title or a statement I pause as anyone should who cares about what the Bible really does or does not say.

Recently this word caught my eye:  a local Evangelical church, a church of great size, advertised a Biblical Masculinity and Femininity Conference.  I thought this rather odd since the Bible does not tell men how to behave as men or women how to behave as women.  Stereotyping?  Why?

Regarding male and female behavior I’ve come to the conclusion that masculinity and femininity are social contrivances or social regulators which help us navigate our relationships.  Again, the Bible does not tell men how to behave like a man or a woman how to behave like a woman.  The Bible does tell us in very simple general statements how we as men and women are to relate to the opposite sex and to each other.  The Bible also provides us with examples of what men find attractive in a woman (e.g., the Shulammite woman of The Song of Solomon & the industrious woman in Proverbs 31) and what women find attractive in men (the Ruth/Boaz story). Masculine or feminine qualities, if there are such things, are worked out between each man and woman in the give and take of relationship. They certainly are not the rubber stamping of contrived gender roles promoted by such “Let’s-Get-This~Nailed-Down” Conferences.

Without a whole lot of fanfare the Bible commands men to love their wives and women to respect their husbands. Beyond this the Bible only gives us some storied examples of men and women in action. Masculinity and femininity if Biblically revealed at all is the plain and simple romantic dance of the male and female psyches within the narrative of relationship.  As mentioned above we can see this dance in the lives of the Bible’s men and women.  Another example:  the love story of Jacob and Rachel.

So, the impetus of this post is to hopefully negate the misinformation doled out by those who feel the need to conform everyone to certain gender defined roles and who also seek to make others abide by the same gender templates, templates created extra-Biblically and more decidedly culturally derived. Hopefully, I can set the record straight.  You decide.

First-things:  raised in a Baptist/Evangelical church I understand that the word “Biblical” connotes a God-given standard that you are expected to honor, to follow and to conform to. Over the years, though, I have had to disentangle my understanding of what the Bible really says from the “Biblical” fishing nets tossed out by commercializing fishers-of-men who believe they have captured what the Bible says and then can sell it back to you in the market place of ideas as truth.

Let’s look at one of their “marketable Biblical items”.  A common passage of Scripture used to define Biblical Womanhood is Proverbs 31.

In this passage the writer Lemuel or Anonymous describes the attributes he likes in a woman.  Proverbs 31 is the writer’s description of what he thinks is noble character for a woman.  Now, if women want to aspire to these same traits they may find similar recognition. The word “Biblical”, though, as in “Proverbs 31 is an example of Biblical Womanhood” often implies a kind of warrant of a personal guarantee of outcome (if a, then b follows). If you do these same things then you are Biblically feminine.  But is that true?

The industrious “woman” in Proverbs 31 works to fulfill the needs of her family as do men.  But, as you know, men and women do different things to maintain the household and will often overlap in the household duties required.  Does the example of this woman’s qualities and behavior mean Biblical femininity? If you as a woman do not do all the things listed in Proverbs 31 are you less feminine? Or, if a man did the same things is he being feminine? Or worse, are you being less Biblical if you are not matching up to these same traits?  I hope you can see where this type of “Biblical womanhood” typecasting leads.

In the Song of Solomon, a lyric poem in dialogue form, King Solomon describes marked physical attributes of the woman he loves. Is what he describing Biblical femininity? Or, is what he describing what he likes about the woman he loves, the Shulammite?

Now most Christian scholars, most trusted Christian scholars, would tell you that the biblical canon is closed ~ there is no further written revelation from God. Yet, we are told that there is Biblical Masculinity and Biblical Femininity – a continuum of a more codified and concise version of the Bible which informs us as to how a twenty-first century man or woman behaves. To me, though, this extra-biblical and apocryphal “decoded” addition of Scripture’s text sounds a lot more like a Pharisee’s laundry list of dos and don’ts than the Bible’s simple and direct statements:  “Husband love your wives. Wives see to it that you respect your husbands.”

The church conference I am referring to was directed at the youth – junior and senior high school kids.  I have no doubt that the parents are concerned about what the LGBT community is doing to pervert gender relationship “norms” in the local public schools.  To be sure the LGBT community is misguided and has no concern whatsoever about seeking the Kingdom of God.  I, like these parents, am concerned about the LGBT lies and the nonsense being promulgated in our schools as normative and, in effect, morally OK. At the same time I do not want the church to overreact to the same degree by narrowly defining gender into masculine and feminine stereotypes, supplying false “Biblical” alternatives to the LGBT community’s errors. The church, like the members of the LGBT community, wants to take control of the “masculine” and “feminine” in order to achieve codification of certain behavior in our society

Homosexuals take what God has pronounced “Good” – males and females created for intimate relationship with each other ~ and pervert that relationship into an evil substitute.  I do not call it evil.  Scripture calls it evil. And, it is no secret that the LGBT community despises the Christian community for wanting to maintain what God created.  Homosexuality, the flagstone of the LGBT community, is the ego’s defiance of God. Hence, defiance, anger and “Pride” exist wherever the LGBT community is. For most people, though, gender confusion does not exist apart from the false narratives promoted by the LGBT community. Gender dysphoria, does exist in some individuals and is not homosexuality.

The searching for where you fit in as male or female comes and goes naturally during youth.  Confusion usually comes from culture or misguided parents.  Beyond this Scripture has nothing to say about maleness or femaleness even though people create sermons and seminars about it.  Scripture records history as it happened.

During the child’s gender adapting process we as parents need to know what the LGBT community is saying about gender’s relationships ~ relationships to themselves and to others – and then be able to discount any of LGBT’s false notions along with false “Biblical” ones. A child will eventually define him or herself by their sexed body and will respond according to what those around them are telling them about their gender.

The parents who are very concerned about the LGBT community’s activism should be careful to not define masculine and feminine as having “Biblical” attributes.  Masculine and feminine are culturally defined ‘romantic notions’ of male and female attributes. The Bible has only a few things to say specifically about a man’s or woman’s ‘behavior’ and, starting in Genesis, it is in the context of relationships.

“In the beginning…” God saw that it was not good for man to be alone so God created woman and human relationship began.  It was obvious from the start that male and female bodies looked different ~ diverse.  Within that relationship God let men and women work out their masculine and feminine qualities. God did not prescribe what masculinity and femininity meant before or after the fall.  God only mentioned pragmatic matters:  what men and women will do as a result of their Garden disobedience and what relationships they should absolutely have no part in.

As a result of Adam and Eve’s fall God said that men would work hard to make a living from the earth and that women will labor hard to give birth to a child.  And later, in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, God provided some practical laws or boundaries regarding men and women and their physical relationships.  These Levitical issues in particular dealt with the exchange of bodily fluids (do not commit incest or homosexuality or bestiality, avoid sex during a woman’s menstrual flow, etc.).  In the New Testament the Apostle Paul, in a strongly worded letter to the members of the church in Corinth, told them to “Flee from sexual immorality.  All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body…your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…”  What defiles (and confuses) your personhood and the context for working out “masculinity” or “femininity” are the sinful relationships which the Holy Spirit will have no part in..

Now can one boy be more masculine than another?  No.  (Now, you may think that a boy who hangs around with his mother is more feminine than a boy who hangs around with his father.  In reality, each boy is sharing things they enjoy in common with the respective parent. Should it be demanded of the boy to act more like his father? Your anxiety might demand it but Scripture doesn’t. The answer, I believe, is “No.”) I have little doubt that shaming a child into submitting to a certain gender stereotype can be part of the personality pathology of homosexuality.

A boy is more masculine than a girl, of course. Just as in the Garden of Eden before Eve came along, masculine and feminine were meaningless terms (The conference gods may strike me down, now.) They were meaningless until Eve stood in contrast to Eve as a separate gender.    Masculinity and femininity basically are the features in the opposite sex that we are attracted to.  This sounds rather unspiritual, too down to earth, but is what God had intended – the simple elemental attraction of opposites.

Parents certainly are desirous to shoehorn their kids into society’s norms and into their own ideation of gender.  They do so because they do not want their child to be an outcast of society.  They want their child to be accepted.  In doing so they may restrict a child to a certain prescribed behavior and manner of presentation.  This need to conform their child to a certain delineation of a gender role may lead to post traumatic stress disorder in the child. (See this recent article:  Gender nonconformity linked to child abuse:  Uncomfortable adults often compel strict role presentation)

I realize that backing off on gender stereotyping may sound more like fuzzy math, more like the probability nature of quantum physics and not at all like rock-solid classical Newtonian physics that people more readily grasp but the facts proves otherwise.  An example would be my parents.

My parents had been married for 64 years (My father died recently). To my knowledge there has never been any talk between my mother and father about who was the masculine and who was the feminine counterpart.  They simply followed Christ and let gender find its way within in the context of their relationship to each other and to Christ.  They attended no seminars about “Biblical Masculinity or Biblical Femininity.”

Healthy males and females are drawn to the other gender.  You are attracted to gender-derived differences, to those features that are reciprocal (the roller-skates-and-key principle, if you will).

Now regarding binary gender, the analogy may apply:  men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  As two distinct sexes we relate to each other differently, the differences being derived from basic biology (physical sexed body and hormones) and cultural adaptations. Beyond this, there are no such things as the True Masculine or the True Feminine.

In fact, when we elevate certain aspects or attributes of men or women that we perceive to be quality masculine or feminine specimens to the position of the “True Masculine” or the True Feminine” we make idols of man~made aspirations (and, perhaps, of Freudian psychology).  The church mentioned above, as shown by the conference ad, wanted to package masculinity and femininity and resell certain accepted features of it as “Biblical”.  They would even super~size the issue with book sales, heated sermons and biopic posts giving us what they see as the jot and tittle of masculine and feminine as viewed through their myopic lens of socially normative “Biblical truth.”

Concerning this topic, the book Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf was of special interest to me, especially the chapter titled Gender Identity. The primary focus of the chapter as I read it was to rightly describe the basis of gender identity and to show how the ideas about masculinity and femininity, described in “essence” forms, are often used to exclude rather than to embrace the other.

In this chapter Miroslav Volf says regarding his argument about gender identity:  “I have claimed that (1) the content of gender identity is rooted in the sexed body and negotiated in the social exchange between men and women within a given cultural context, and that (2) the portrayals of God in no way provide models of what it means to be male or female. I suggested, instead, that the relations between the Trinitarian persons serve as a model for how the content of “masculinity” and “femininity” ought to be negotiated in the social process.” (emphasis mine)

He further states neutrally:

“The content of gender identity is left unspecified; anything seems to go.”

Also:

“Biblical “woman” and “manhood” ~ if there are such things at all, given the diversity of male and female characters and roles that we encounter in the Bible – are not divinely sanctioned models but culturally situated examples.” (emphasis mine)

And:

“If neither models of God nor the explicit statements of the Bible about femininity and masculinity are normative for the content of gender identities, what is?  Does anything really go?  My proposal is that we locate the normativity in the formal features of identity and the character of relations of divine person. Instead of setting up ideals of femininity and masculinity, we should root each in the sexed body and let the social construction of gender play itself out guided by the vision of the identity of and relations between divine persons. What is normative is not some ‘essence” of femininity and masculinity, but the procedures, modeled on the life of the triune God, through which women and men in specific cultural settings should negotiate.” (emphasis mine)

Further thoughts from the chapter:

  •  Father figure imagery has become sacrosanct in Christian circles.
  •  Psychology attempts to use the father figure imagery to decipher…
  •  Freud: we create god as a need for a father figure or oedipal complex
  •  Man’s projection of a father figure into the heavens due to an oedipal complex

If you as a man or you as a woman want to be all that you can be (to borrow an advertising phrase from the Army) then be in relationship with Christ.  Period. Don’t fashion your life around the drivel described as “Biblical” masculinity and femininity.  Put on Christ and walk in the Spirit instead. (I realize that many people want self-help books, tweets and conferences to tell them what to think.  Forget these things. Put on Christ and get walking.)

Now, you can always parse or stretch Scripture to make it mean what you want to say regarding masculine and feminine attributes.  Instead, it would be better to not focus on these things, on whether you or someone else is more or less masculine or feminine. The Evil One will always stir up comparisons.  Just look at the media and you can, hopefully, see that the Evil One’s world view is one of comparing yourself to celebs, to physical attributes, to images of macho men and sexy babes, to myriads of false idols. Walk in the Spirit and you will not fill up the flesh with its pretense of the masculine or feminine.

And by far the best antidote to the confused and de-humanizing misogyny and misandria issues that the LGBT community brings with it is the solid mutually beneficial relationship of a man and a woman.  The spectrums, the God designed “diversity,” of masculine and feminine can be fully explored within a committed marriage relationship. In such a relationship there should be no threat to your perceived masculinity or femininity.  These ‘things’ just are.  And as such, the two will become one with no thought or time given to someone’s canonized version of “Biblical Masculinity or Femininity.”

From N.T. Wright’s commentary on the book of Romans, Paul For Everyone, Chapter 4:18-25 Abraham’s Faith – and Ours:

“This is how it (faith) works.  Humans ignored God, the creator (1:20, 25); Abraham believed in God as creator and life-giver (4:17).  Humans knew about God’s power, and trusted him to use it (4:21). Human beings did not give God the glory he was due (1:21); Abraham gave God the glory (4:20). Human beings dishonored their own bodies by worshiping beings that were not divine (1:24); Abraham, through worshipping  the God who gives new life, found that his own body regained its power even though he was long past the age of fathering children.

The result in each case is telling. Humans dishonor their bodies by females and males turning away from one another into same-sex relationships (1:26-27); Abraham and Sarah, through their trust in God’s promises, are given power to conceive a child (4:19).  Deep within the heart of God’s covenant promise lies the fulfillment of the basic command which goes with the creation of male and female in God’s image:  be fruitful and multiply.  As Romans 4 comes towards its end, we realize that Paul is saying that Paul is saying, on a large-scale, that the ancient Jewish dream has been fulfilled.  God called Abraham to undo the sin of the human race, and this is how it happened. God is the God of new hope, of new fruitfulness, because he is the God of new starts, of fresh creation.”

Now for some context:  Do you think that those Kingdom Venturers imprisoned for Christ around the world are concerned about “Biblical Masculinity or Femininity?”

So God Gave Them Up

 valentin_paul_writing1800x1337

As you begin reading Paul’s letter to the house churches in Rome you clearly see Paul’s heart for the church and for the Kingdom of God now in place in this most cosmopolitan of cities:

 “This letter comes to all in Rome who love God, all who are called to be his holy people. Grace and peace to you from God our father, and King Jesus, the Lord.”

 Paul’s letter is tactful, spirited, full of information and pastoral.  He is excited and “not ashamed about the gospel” even though many outside the church are not eager to receive Good News of the Kingdom of God. Paul knew that Rome was the dominion of the “rulers of this age.”

 Paul clearly understood that by calling Jesus “King Jesus, the Lord,” that he was promoting another ruler above the Emperor.  This was seditious and dangerous for Paul.  But Paul knew the power of the Gospel.  Paul knew what God’s Good News had done in his own life and in the lives of others. He knew the cost of God’s mercy.

 Prior to Paul’s letter, Rome had gone through sweeping changes.  Pagan Rome didn’t much care for Jews and their purifying religious rituals.  They also didn’t very much care for the new “religion” in town, Christianity, which some of the Jews embraced.  Emperor Claudius had the Jews expelled from Rome.  The Jewish Christians left behind Gentile house churches. Some believe that these churches in Rome began with Gentile believers who were converted during Pentecost, while they were in Jerusalem.

 After Claudius died in AD 54 Nero became Emperor.  Under a new Emperor the Jews and with them the Jewish believers returned to Rome. It is then that Paul writes his letter, circa AD 58, describing the sweeping changes brought about by the Kingdom of God on earth.  He writes about God’s justification of all those who believe that God would keep His Covenant promise. That promise was completely fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

 Paul was deeply concerned for Christ’s church at Rome.  His “masterpiece” letter hopes to resolve conflicts between Gentile believers and Jews now returning to Rome. And, more importantly, he writes to give the church an overarching vision of God’s Covenant plan to save the world from itself.

 As you read Romans you sense that the church and the world system at that time are not so different from that of our world and our own times. 

 At the beginning of the letter Paul writes that he was under obligation to barbarians as well as to Greeks, that he was  obliged to the uncultured and the cultured. He was obliged to speak the Gospel to the wise and to the foolish.   These kinds of people are with us today, are they not?

 Paul begins God’s creation salvation story with the problem:  man’s brokenness and man’s unwillingness to turn from his sin.  To make the point, within the first paragraphs of his letter the phrase “So God gave them up” occurs three times:

 “So God gave them up to uncleaness in the desires of their hearts, with the result that they dishonored their bodies among themselves.  They swapped God’s truth for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed for ever, Amen.

So God gave them up to shameful desires.  Even the women, you see swapped natural sexual practice for unnatural; and men, too, abandoned natural sexual relations with women, and were inflamed with their lust for one another.  Men performed shameless acts with men, and received in themselves the appropriate repayment for their mistaken ways.

Moreover, just as they did not see fit to hold on to knowledge of God, God gave them up to an unfit mind, so that they would behave inappropriately.”

 Keep in mind that Paul knew the Jewish canon.  He knew about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah – God’s righteous anger poured out on the sexual perversion within those cities. Those cities had been warned.  Paul was again warning the new Christians in pagan Rome about God’s Righteousness and Justice and man’s hardheartedness. Is not homosexuality worshipping the creature rather than the Creator? But Paul was revealing a way out ~ a path made straight by the One Jew who fulfilled all of God’s desires for His rebellious people ~ Jesus.

 And lest we read Paul’s words and become smug and judge others keep in mind Paul’s words in his letter to the Corinthians:  “Some of you were once like that.”

 “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people–none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God

Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Cor 6:9-11)

 I don’t have to tell you that in our time the main stream media pours out filth and degeneration into our homes.  Our lives are constantly bombarded with TV programs, movies and advertisements that use sex or by political party advocates who call homosexuality a “right.”  Yet, a “right” does confer righteousness to the owner, only license and worse, in the case of homosexuality, licentiousness.

 The perversion and antinomianism now seems even more pervasive in our age than in Paul’s because of the ever-present media.  What can Christians do to heed Paul’s words today in our pagan world? It begins with worship.  So God will give them up – the people of this age – who follow in the footsteps of the pagan Romans but for us who believe we can give up to God what Paul writes later in Romans:

 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.”

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Here is some helpful info if you choose to walk away from those chains:

http://www.narth.com/

NARTH 2012 Press Conference & Reparative Therapy

http://voices-of-change.org/

Homosexuality’s True Colors

Don’t believe the soft sell propaganda you see on TV about homosexuality.  Homosexuality is all about protecting the individual’s narcissism. Homosexuals do not care about anyone but themselves. But don’t take my word for this.  Watch the video.  What you’ll see is indicative of the homosexual community at large and it’s not much different from the skin heads who also spew hate and those who bully others.