A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boundless Politicking

I try to shy away from writing about politics on this blog because I choose to focus primarily on men's issues. However, I couldn't hold my peace this evening. Boundless has been recently spewing out a slew of articles exhorting people to be "single-issue" voters. I believe that's code for "You must vote for John McCain." However, the idea that we can selectively pick which issues are important to God, or "vote for the lesser of two evils" is something not supported by the Scriptures (James 2:10; Rom. 3:8). I had an exchange with Alex Chediak about this matter, but he doesn't seem to appreciate where I am coming from. Let me tell you what my beef is with the Religious Right:

1. If a teenager got pregnant and had to face some difficult choices, they would tell her to trust God.

2. If a single man had difficulty with sexual temptation and yet could not find a godly woman that would want to date him, they would tell him to trust God.

3. If someone comes up to members of the Religious Right and tells them to stop picking the "lesser of two evils" and vote on principle, suddenly they get all pragmatic and run around like a bunch of Chicken Littles, clucking about how "that other guy will win if we don't do something!" Umm, what was that part about trusting, again?

As it is, some Evangelicals are really not "pro-life" because they supported this man who is a flaming liberal on social issues. Why did they support him? Because he supports the War.

I have one question to ask: Why is God beholden to the Religious Right to give them another Republican president? Because the president says he is "pro-life"? You know, I read my Bible, and I think the Israelites thought they were safe because they had the temple, etc. A few prophets told them they were not safe. God got to a point where he did not accept the worship of Israelites. God did not save the Israelites from the Chaldeans because the Chaldeans were "heathens" and the Israelites were "God's people." Chew on that.

I don't believe those of the Religious Right trust in God. They may trust their religious leaders with the multi-million dollar ministries. They may trust the halls of power and wealth. They may trust in the State and big Daddy government. They may trust in the Flag. They may trust in the military and American Empire. They may trust Neocons to tell the truth about Iraq, though the stories and excuses seem to change from one month to another. They may trust the Department of Homeland Security to only spy on the right people. They may trust the CIA to only torture Muslims they don't like. They may trust in Bailouts and reverse socialism for their pension plans. They may trust in worthless fiat money of the Republicrat economists and think Prov. 20:10 is not applicable to the situation. They may trust in a mercantile economy where the government and wealthy collude for self-serving purposes. They may trust in Red State Fascism. They may hate the Democrats more than they love liberty and justice. They may trust the Republican Party to make good on its promises to achieve victory for the "pro-life" cause .... one day. But trust in God? I'm not seeing it.

The idea that Republicans are the party of life is a ridiculous lie. If you don't believe me, click here and smell the coffee. The Republican Party has been become the party of greed, kleptocracy, lies, tyranny, and death. They are no different from the Democrats in that regard. I will only vote for a Republican when he doesn't act like the rest of them (e.g. Ron Paul). I am probably going to vote for a third-party candidate come Election Day. If there was no one decent on the roster, I would not vote at all.

I am tempted to believe that the Religious Right has it coming to them ... just like the Israelites. I hope God has mercy on them.

[Edit: I forgot to add something. Christians voting for either major party remind me of two groups of people. The people from one group sit immobilized in a polished car without several important pieces of machinery; they frantically move the steering wheel left and right in the hopes that will cause them to inch forward. The people in the other group strap car engines to their backs and stagger around shrieking, "We have the most important part of the car! We have the most important part of the car!" None of the people in these two groups realize the futility of their choices.]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christian Men vs. Anti-Sex Estrogelicalism

I interrupt my normal schedule of postings to bring you this special 2 cents worth. Today I saw a new article at Boundless entitled "When Pigs Fly." It addresses the problem culture has in seeing male sexuality as something coarse and barbaric (hence, the saying "Men are pigs."). The author, Mike Ensley, frames the issue this way:
Folks you'd label as "religious" aren't as glib about the issue, but we still have a hard time acknowledging anything redeemable about male sexuality. Browsing the "men's issues" section of the Christian bookstore, a guy's going to find plenty of input on how to not do all the horrible things that men are often compelled to do.
And what, pray tell, is the result of people freaking out about male sexuality? This ...
But after 10 years being involved with sexual ministry, I've met hundreds of men afflicted with shame over their sexuality, and just as many women living under a deep fear of it.
Yep. Other people have said as much. And the Evangelical Establishment still wonders why so many men these days are not asking Christian ladies out for dates.

Hang on, it gets worse. According to the article, when the author tried to convey a positive message about male sexuality in a class recently, one man expressed dismay. "This is terrible," the man said, "I have two teenage daughters, and I know what boys want to do to them — and I'm not going to let that happen!" When Ensley asked how a woman can give herself unreservedly to a man if she believes the man's desires are disturbing, the irate father responded, "That's exactly what I'm going to tell them [his daughters] men are like." I have to admit that my Disgusted-At-Human-Stupidity Meter went into the red when I saw that statement. It only goes to show that some of the worst enemies of men are other men, even so-called "Christian men."

The demented father described by Ensley represents an extreme instance of religious misandry, but it does make one wonder about the more subtle messages propagated by our religious communities about male sexuality. I have met a lot of women who have grown up in Christian homes that have struck me as being emotionally distant and not really able to show affection or friendliness to men. Indeed, I have had the misfortune of dating a couple of women that fit this bill. Now I think I know what the problem is. They're might be sick in the head. The people who raised them might be even sicker. I'll never know, but it does cause me alarm.

Anyway, I have to give credit to Mr. Ensley for trying to counter the negativity expressed in our churches against male sexuality. His article, however, falls short for me. For instance, he writes, "There are a lot of good reasons men are put together the way we are. I think the best and most important one is women." No. Sorry, pal. I am getting sick and tired of writers who justify the existence of men on the basis of their utility to women. Cut the feminized, hand-wringing appeals for sympathy from your female readers. If they can't deal with the celebration of male horniness in Prov. 5:18-19, then they need to find another religion.

Ensley continues: "Consider that the man is visually oriented, sexually driven and emotionally more simplistic than the female and that that is good for her." Emotionally more simplistic than the female? How about emotionally more stable? Let me suggest that much of the "complexity" one sees in the emotions of some women these days is nothing more than neuroses. The reason these women are such basket cases is because society tells them they can have it all, but reality keeps interfering with their delusions of grandeur.

I'm afraid that Ensley just plays into the old myth that men are inferior beings with simple desires and thoughts. Sorry, again, pal, but it may surprise some people that men are relational, too. Case in point, it has been recently reported in the news that men don't cheat just for the sex. I read this story from another source that additionally noted some people got mad at this revelation because it seemed to be an excuse for the men. How strange that being relationship-starved has traditionally been a perfect excuse for cheating women all these years. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, it's the all too typical shame-n-blame game for men.

Anyway, Ensley writes ...
So is it such a bad thing that a guy is visually stimulated? Seems to me that God had the visual very much in mind when He first sculpted the female form ...

I'd wager God wasn't just thinking about art when He made Eve's body, but when He made her soul, too. Advertising execs are obviously onto the truth that there's something in every woman that longs incessantly to feel beautiful. A woman's soul was made to be sought after and adored, not just her body. Not just her body — meaning it's still true for her body, even while it's more true for her heart.
A woman's body and soul were made to be sought after and adored? Isn't that a nice way of saying that a woman was made to be a self-absorbed, attention queen? Okay, maybe that was too harsh, so sit down and hold the sides of your chairs, folks, because I am going to say something truly novel and shocking: Women are not the center of the universe. Did it ever occur to Ensley and the other "relationship experts" that men like to be admired and appreciated, too? As it is, I have nothing against cherishing women, but I believe they were created to be helpmeets, not idols.

Here's another juicy one from Ensley ...

Guys just need help transcending the physical (not omitting it in an attempt to feel righteous). That's why women are wired so differently; we help each other.

Transcend the physical, eh? If a man transcends beyond what's in a woman's underwear, does she transcend beyond what's in his back pocket?

But wait, Ensley also says ...
I think we all get — to some degree — that a woman inspires a man to venture into deeper realms of relationship.
Did he say deeper realms? Considering what has often befallen men who have dared to open up about their feelings, it doesn't surprise me that some gents have been inspired to either stay in the shallow end of the pool or just stay out of the water altogether.

Bottom line: I'm not impressed. I don't need a simpering, half-hearted apology for my sexuality. Stop damning it with faint praise. I am especially not impressed when I consider that Boundless, who published Ensley's article, has been ground zero for a lot of material that strikes me as being unduly critical of male sexuality. I think it is time to throw the tray of spaghetti against the wall and tell the cooks to stop feeding us "that slop."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Spaghetti Riots, Mandatory Fun, and Proles

When it comes to men and relationships, I thought it good to explore something I've observed about human nature. I am certain there is a technical term for it that has escaped my notice, but at any rate, the best way I can illustrate it is by giving a few examples.

Do you love spaghetti? I do. If I didn't, I wouldn't have ordered a plate full of it at the Olive Garden last Sunday after church. I like it the old fashioned way--with a thick sauce and meatballs, preferably with a Greek salad on the side. How could anyone have a revulsion at the sight of spaghetti? Well, a group of men had such a strong revulsion to it, they started a riot in Alcatraz back in the 1950s. What brought them to that point?

What about quail? I never ate it, but the Israelites complained about wanting meat so God gave a lot of quail to them. In Psalms 105:40, this provision is remembered: "They asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven" (NASB). What a blessing from God, right? However, this is what God promised the Israelites before he served up the quail:
"You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, 'Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” (Num. 11:19-20, NASB)
How could something inherently good from God become "loathsome"? Are you puzzled by this? Should you be?

I've heard that the military has something called "mandatory fun." What is it? I believe it consists of planned recreational activities or social outings. I'm certain there is, at the very least, an informal expectation that service members will participate--if they know what is good for their careers. Of course, "mandatory fun" may not always be fun.

Then there is the matter of booze and porn. My religious convictions dictate that I don't indulge in either. But a lot of men do. What if I told you there was an agency that was giving away free booze and porn. Do you think a lot of men would go for it? What if I told you that I described the government as it is portrayed in George Orwell's novel 1984? Yep, keep the proles pacified.

In every instance I described, something that might be ostensibly desirable to a lot of people becomes very undesirable or an insult to one's dignity in a different circumstance. What is the application that I wish to make? What about men and women? What about the complaint that "men won't commit"? The spin doctors keep clucking. Reasons are given, but perhaps there is something that is being overlooked.

Let me submit to you that religious men have their own version of "mandatory fun." It's called the Christian Marriage. As a man of faith, it may seem counterintuitive for me to say that--if not heretical. Marriage is ordained by God. It stands as a blessing, not a curse. Our religious leaders talk about "the joys of the one-flesh relationship." They wax eloquent about the beauty of sexual relations within the context of marriage. They insist that men have much to gain by seeking out a wife. They remind us of Prov. 18:22 and the maxim that "two are better than one." They quote the praises of matrimony penned by Tertullian, Luther, and others. No argument with the goodness of human love, but people are missing the point.

For some men, all the talk about the kind of love a godly woman can give them does not connect with their day-to-day reality. It does not inspire them. It only annoys and angers them. If women cannot understand this, then they need to reflect on their own experiences. What if a husband only showed affection and concern to his wife when he wanted sex? How would most women see his sexual advances after a while? Wasn't there a religious book that exclaimed that "sex begins in the kitchen"?

I think the problem is that society has forgotten that men are human beings. Like women, we have a complex psychological makeup. You can tell some men how great marriage is. Yes, you can even point to some personal examples of happy marriages. So what? In the end, you'd probably drive away the very people you are attempting to reach with such talk. Why? Because some men know deep down inside that they are really not free.

Men are dehumanized slaves in a societal structure that doesn't care about them. They have become the "disposable sex" in the Age of Postfeminism. In our churches, a man is treated like a boorish creature with base desires, or forced to sit castrated without any real dreams and hopes. In his workplace, he is treated like a machine with no human needs--always regarded as being replaceable by some upgrade. In his family, he is treated pretty much the same way. He is regarded by his spouse as a retirement plan, a necessary evil, a nuisance, "that guy" who is the father of her children, a household pet to be replaced if his company becomes too unbearable.

Women will talk about how they want a "real man." The problem is that they often don't allow men to be just that--real. I say "real" as opposed to some plastic ideal from a romance novel. Even with Christian women, a man may find that his religious sisters espouse some grandiose view of "biblical manhood" or "male leadership" that really has nothing do with what God expects of his children. The vision of manhood entertained by many women is nothing but a burdensome pile of expectations that denies a man the right to grow, to have personality quirks, to be uncertain, to make mistakes, to show weakness, to show vulnerability, to show brokenness--in short, to be human. Men already have to put on the mask Monday through Friday at their workplaces, Saturday when they go out to public gatherings, and on Sunday at the big, posh, lukewarm institutional churches. Why do we kid ourselves in thinking they want to wear the mask for anyone waiting at home?

Let me get to the point. If you are woman and if you are beautiful, intelligent, personable, affectionate, caring, spiritual, and "just the kind of person for so-and-so", it still may not matter. For an increasing number of men, you may not be taken as a promise of a better life for them, but as a reminder of their oppression. Yes, it's irrational, but then so is rejecting the sexual advances of your husband, per se. It's all a matter of the surrounding context when considering how an experience will be viewed by someone.

I haven't sworn off women, but I understand why some men are doing so. I don't write them off as crazy. I've never read the book Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, but I think I now know why I might agree with most of what the book says and yet a feel a subdued urge to hurl the book across the room. Like I said, it's all a matter of the surrounding context. If we want men to engage the traditional marks of a fulfilled life--marriage and family, then we need to deal with the surrounding issues that are causing them to turn their backs on these promises of blessing. Sermons about the joys of home and hearth may be factually correct, but they don't cut it anymore.

[Edit: The human trait I described in this piece may be a reflection of God's own nature (Isaiah 1:10-15; Amos 5:21-24). Perhaps some religious leaders need to take away the "noise" of their praises to marriage.]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Marriage Essential for Whom, Vox?

By way of Vox Day, I found this article about the joys of being militantly single -- from a man's point of view. Indeed, a rare find, considering that the MSM is so slanted toward the perspective of women. I think it is telling that the conversation about men shunning marriage has moved beyond the chatter of blogs and forums run by anonymous, cranky, internet bachelors. It's an eye opening development and it makes me wonder how the Establishment will continue to respond to this emerging social trend.

Vox Day's response to the article is interesting. He maintains, like me, that if you are not a religious man, there is no point in getting married. But he goes on to say the following:
If, however, one possesses moral restrictions on one's behavior due to one's religious faith or philosophical principles, or believes in the importance of continuing human society, then marriage is essential ... Marital faithfulness is not equivalent to female dominance of the marital relationship; if that's the case, it's a diseased marriage of the very sort that the writer is rightly determined to avoid. A happy marriage is one that caters to the needs of both parties, which usually means adhering more or less to the traditional model.
A few observations about Vox's statement ...

1. Why is marriage essential because I have "moral restrictions" due to my "religious faith"? What are we talking about here? (1) Don't have sex until you're married, or (2) If you have a sex drive, you must get married. The Bible affirms the first statement, not the second. There is nothing in the Scriptures that says a Christian man has to get married, not even if he is a typical, red-blooded male (as this author considers himself to be).

2. What about continuing human society? Which society do we have in mind? I daresay any society that makes being happily married a goal that is largely unattainable for men or engages in other forms of misandry is a society that has decided that it doesn't want to be continued. It has committed suicide. Asking men to continue something that exploits them is like asking African Americans to continue using public transportation in a Southern city that practices segregation (think Montgomery Bus Boycott).

3. Vox talks about a happy marriage that is not about "female dominance" but "caters to the needs of both parties." So which kind of marriages does our society promote more often that not? I don't condone gambling, but I'll ask by way of analogy: Should a man play in a casino that has a bad reputation of being heavily titled in favor of the house? That's the million dollar question.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Book Announcement

This is an announcement that the book Rethinking "Getting Serious about Getting Married" : A Biblical Response to Debbie Maken's Book and to the Assault on Unmarried Men by Religious Leaders is now available at Lulu.com.

For those of you who don't know what the fuss is about, here is an excerpt from the preface of the book:
What you have before you is a critical review of Debbie Maken's book, Getting Serious about Getting Married. Why this review and why the big deal? Simple. Many changes that have taken place over the last several decades have impacted the way men relate to women and have impacted any prospects men have of being happily married. As a man, I am concerned about the fallout of these changes and what they mean for men of today and men of tomorrow. It is true that Mrs. Maken's book is primarily directed towards a female audience, but unfortunately most of her ire is aimed at men. I believe that she has become the poster girl for those voices in our churches who want to tar and feather men for the difficulty women now face in getting married. The circulation and popularity of her book merely reinforces my suspicion that the gynocentrism and misandry of the larger culture has found its way even among Evangelicals. I fear that if enough people buy into Mrs. Maken's message, the religious prejudice now directed at single men will only intensify. That is why I refuse to be silent.
The book is more than a critique of Mrs. Maken's work, however. It is also an answer to the anti-male treatment that religious men have been experiencing at the hands of religious pundits.

As some of you may recall, a critique of Debbie Maken's book was posted at the Scripturally Single blog in sixteen installments about two years ago. The original intent to make the critique available in book format has finally, if not belatedly, been realized. The book will retail at Lulu.com for about seven to eight dollars, but downloads are available for free. The price you pay for the book is essentially for some glossy thing that you can cuddle up to with your overpriced latte. The author is not making much, if anything. He will probably get less than a dollar a book when it hits Amazon.com and probably nothing if ordered from Lulu, or vice versa. The basic intent in making it available through the big distributors is to let a wider audience know how some people stand on the issues.

Take care.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Taking A Tiki Torch to the Culture War Facade

Hawaiian Libertarian takes a tiki torch to the whole political squabble about marriage, in which the Republicrats attempt to make more of a distinction amongst themselves than there really is. It's a must read, because it exposes the whole "marriage debate" as a distraction from focusing on the real problem--the government.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

PC Throws the Gauntlet Down on Al Mohler

If you haven't noticed already, Puritan Calvinist has penned an open letter to Albert Mohler. Yeah, yeah, it was published last month but I still love it. It's simply devastating to Mr. Mohler's cultural gospel of marriage and babies. The Marriage Mandate Movement is once again exposed for what it is. What I find especially telling is PC's observation that many conservative Bible scholars do not agree one whit with the exegesis of the Marriage Mandate crowd.

I'm probably going to add a link to PC's article in my Biblical Manhood Library page when I get a chance.

(It will be interesting to see whether or not Mohler responds to PC. I'm not holding my breath, though.)