Nothing to See Here
6 days ago
The word gentleman originally meant something recognizable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone "a gentleman" you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not "a gentleman" you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A. But then came people who said--so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully--"Ah, but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behavior? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?" They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man "a gentleman" in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is a "gentleman" becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker's attitude to that object. (A "nice" meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) A gentleman, once it has been spiritualized and refined out of its old coarse, objective sense, means hardly more than a man whom the speaker likes. As a result, gentleman is now a useless word. We had lots of terms of approval already, so it was not needed for that use; on the other hand if anyone (say, in a historical work) wants to use it in its old sense, he cannot do so without explanations. It has been spoiled for that purpose. [C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, 1973), pp. 10-11] [emphasis mine]Yes, C. S. Lewis said that. It's not much of a leap to take a page from the good professor and level a similar charge against realmannspracht (that term I have coined for any talk or discussion about "real men" and the such like). I submit that the words "man," "manhood," etc. have suffered pretty much the same fate as the word "gentleman." These terms are often employed in an imprecise, highly subjective manner. They have become essentially meaningless. While the term "woman" remains sacrosanct in what it conveys to the modern ear, the term "man" has been reduced to a fashion statement, covering everything from Axe body spray to Browning Buckmark decals on pickup trucks. Bastardization of our language is the price we pay to further the stupidity of gynocentrism and misandry.
In far too many modern relationships, the only glue holding them together is the physical. There is little or no mental connection made between the man and the woman. There is little or no emotional connection made. Finally, there is little or no spiritual connection made. In order for a relationship to last-REALLY LAST-it has to have all four elements present; there have to be mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical bindings holding it together. Only then will a relationship have what it takes to last. When there's only one binding (especially when it's the physical, as is usually the case in modern relationships) holding it together, the relationship simply doesn't have the strength to withstand any serious stress.A show like Jersey Shore confirms what MM is saying. The show is sickening and sad, and yet it points to the existence of God. How so? Well, when I read MM's reaction, I notice that he mentions the "spiritual" component. Human beings can't get away from this. Jersey Shore illustrates what happens when God is not present in people's lives. The young people of that show are following verses 20 to 32 of Romans, chapter 1 to the script; and they most likely don't even know it.
There has been a lot of talk about LTR Game but frankly I think it is overrated. The bottom line is that people are more materialistic, self-centered, into instant gratification, etc. than ever before. Young men may learn about seduction the way young women learn about dressing to the nines. But, today, the youth of either sex have extremely poor relationship skills that doom any chance of monogamy. That's why cohabitation is on the rise and marriage is in decline.Why do I bring up what I wrote? Not to criticize "Game." That's not my point. If a man wants to practice "consergame," there nothing is wrong with that, per se. I suppose it works for some people. Moreover, I am not pinning the blame entirely on women, although I believe society is arguably more lenient about their peccadilloes than those of their male counterparts. What I'm saying is that a lot of people are missing the big picture--the spiritual aspect of relationships, as God intended. When it comes to heterosexual relationships, hookups represent the bottom of the food chain. It's diving for rotting leftovers in a dixie dumpster. A God-honoring marriage is what men and women must pursue if they are thinking about intimate relationships. I do not apologize for saying that.
Relationships are just another form of recreation, a hobby, a drug, an appliance, what have you. When people get bored or dissatisfied, they just trade in their partner for a new one. The values of integrity, loyalty, industriousness, sacrifice, compromise, humility, patience, longsuffering, and selflessness that are needed for marriage are nonexistent among a huge swath of young people. That's why LTR Game is a nice theory, but in practice, it has no remedial effect in stemming the mass decay.
When people mention LTR Game, I sometimes think what they are really saying is: "I hope to get a hottie to love me forever" or "I hope to get married one day after I have all my fun." They don't realize that sleeping around is a strong predictor for relationship failures down the road.
The people of today are wanting the quick fix. And I'm afraid they see "Game" as the solution. But secret to relationship success is not "Game" per se. It's a nice component. I certainly am not against men and women making themselves sexier in the eyes of each other (within the bounds of reason, morality, and good taste). But, like I said, "Game" is not the fix.
This is the 300-pound gorilla in the room. This is what some "Game" advocates are failing to address. Relationship success in the past depended not so much on "Game" as it did on character. Today, a lot of people have an insufficient amount of character. They break their promises and think only of themselves.
In terms of male-female relationships, society especially encourages women to be completely devoid of any sense of responsibility for how their relationships turn out. The whole woman=good, man=bad paradigm has resulted in a whole generation of self-absorbed harridans that have no business getting within 100 feet of a bridal shop. So the question needs to be asked by men interested in LTRs and marriage: Why practice "Game" to attract the attention of a female demographic that is pretty sorry in the first place? And if you are a man from one of the more recent Media Saturated Generations, then you may need to consider if you are all that mature and selfless yourself. [quote edited for typos and layout]
"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Cor. 10:12-13, NIV)Later.
As men, we should never, ever, buy in to the idea that we are disposable or of lesser value than women. Disposable? If all men went on strike for 48 hours in North America, we would soon see just how silly it is to view men as the disposable sex.In closing, if we are going to dispose of something, let's dispose of the mentality that makes men out be a bunch of bulls and steers paraded before female auctioneers at a cattle show. This kind of thinking is detrimental to men, period. As men, we can do better than this. And when it comes to a Christian context for all of this, don't try to argue with me on that (1 Cor. 11:3, 7, 8-9). Both sexes have equal value before God (Gal. 3:28)!
Game is the sum total of the attitudes and behaviors that women find attractive in men. Practice and perfect game and women will be attracted to you. - Ferdinand BardamuSounds good enough, but then one gets into arguments about who has "Game" and who doesn't, what's necessarily a part of "Game" and what isn't, etc. The one yapping in your face about you not having "Game" may be less attractive to many women than you are. When one thinks about it, there are a lot of miserable guys who have "Game" by the above definition. After all, they got married. They must have some relationship value for a woman to want to be with them.
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."Of course, I believe non-biological "markers of manhood" in and of themselves are problematic. A man is a man by virtue of the fact that he is created in the image of God. We don't have the right to destroy that image either through deed or word. I want people to think about what Genesis 9:9 says:
"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man."Some only look at this passage as their go-to text for capital punishment and don't really think about the premise behind it--there is something sacred about humanity. If you don't believe that someone who is male is really a man, why don't you kill him? That's where such thinking leads. It starts with a thought and ends in the act (1 John 3:15).
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."But if a male is not really a man, then I guess the above statement doesn't really apply. In short, realmannspracht is inconsistent with Christianity and with the concepts of liberty and freedom that have made Western Civilization great. In the past, there were all sorts of classes of men who were deemed as being of less worth than others. Christianity transformed the world by challenging such nonsense. Over time, the vestiges of the nonsense has lingered in various forms such as murderous statism and racial prejudice, for example. But the sacredness of man's humanity has refused to be denied. Today, the lingering challenges to the sacredness of man's humanity take such forms as legal misandry, woman-firsterism, and status-based conceptions of manhood (physical strength, money, success with women, etc.). I defy the nonsense. I am not a utopian. I am a follower of Christ--not of Nietzsche, Darwin, or Oriental warlords. There are a lot of people who claim they care about men's issues. But the reality of the situation is clear: You can't claim to care for men if you deny them the right to be exactly that---men.
I am not trying to minimize the heavy sacrifices parents make. They need our acknowledgment and support in that matter. What I am questioning is whether or not they have a right to use their sacrifices to cast aspersions on single people who don't want the hardships of the married life. Because if we are going to open that can of worms, then I can work a similar angle on exceptional people who sacrificed a lot more than most married Christians in order to cast aspersions on married people.I stand by what I said. Marriage is not a call to ministry. It's a gift (Prov. 19:14) and it comes with responsibilities.
What I am saying is let's not throw stones in glass houses. This fracas got started because some marriage mandate folks decided that casual singleness was unspiritual and that people need to get married to be on a higher spiritual plane. The marriage mandators also seem to indicate that men who are single for casual reasons are deficient in their manhood. At least that's how I take their statements. And I say in response that marriage should be entered into voluntarily and not out of some weird sense of religious duty, per se. I find so scriptural support for the latter sentiment.
When Paul gave the Corinthians a reason for not marrying, it wasn't "some of you are gifted for exceptional service." It was, "I want you to be free from concern" (1 Cor. 7:32). It's a very basic, mundane reason for not getting married. No talk of a high-falutin' irrevocable calling. No talk of being marked for marriage or for singleness. Just some practical pastoral advice that was non-binding (1 Cor. 7:27-28).
To any Christian man who has turned from using pornography ...I don't know if they'll publish my post, but I was thinking at lunch yesterday: It's hypocritical for me to come down hard on Christian women who slept around in younger years if I, as a man, was doing the same thing or championing men who do it. If a woman has a problem with me not being a virgin and/or using porn, that's her right.
Don't count on forgiveness or trust from Christian women. If it is such a problem for them, they are better off not wasting their time or your time. They should find a man who hasn't struggled with pornography.
Men, work on being happy with your life. Your freedom from pornography is proof that you don't need women (because if you are practicing self-control over that, then you are practicing self-control, period). You'll be much happier by yourself than with someone who is going to hang your past over your head anyway.
It is impossible, then, that 'being a man' should mean precisely 'not being a man', if 'man' not only signifies something about one subject but also has one significance. … And it will not be possible to be and not to be the same thing, except in virtue of an ambiguity, just as if one whom we call 'man', and others were to call 'not-man'; but the point in question is not this, whether the same thing can at the same time be and not be a man in name, but whether it can be in fact. (Metaphysics 4.4, W.D. Ross (trans.), GBWW 8, 525–526).You see, language is a powerful tool, and there those who want to abuse it to create falsehoods in the minds of others. I have to hand it to the feminists in particular for their acumen in twisting language to create imposed realities for social discourse. We most assuredly need to exercise due diligence to cut through the demagoguery, rhetorical legerdemain, and sloppy and imprecise thinking of others.
In a biblical perspective, manhood is defined in these roles and responsibilities ["the role of father/protector/provider"]. A man is defined in terms of who he is and what he does in obedience to God. A society that rejects or sidelines these roles and responsibilities -- that does not honor fatherhood and hold it out as expectation -- will sow seeds of disastrous confusion. The damage to our language is among the least of our problems.So, Mohler wants to define men in sociological terms.** It's akin to something one of my readers said: "'Manhood' is a qualitative judgement." Ironically, this same reader of mine compared the ideas of another reader to something a "liberal feminist" would come up with. Why do I say "ironically"? Read on.
While the Bible clearly honors men who forfeit the blessings of wife and children for the sake of the Gospel (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-28), the history of the Christian church indicates that these represent a minority. The normative expectation is that a young man will mature to take on the role of "father/protector/provider" that Peters correctly sees as "not considered as necessary or desirable as it once was" within the secular culture. Those men who are faithfully living out these responsibilities are not likely to be too concerned about finding true masculinity. They are living it.
Goodman's writing is crisp and concise, but she runs right over some basic issues that are hard to miss. The first is the assumption that "sexual realignment surgery" can actually change a person's sex. The other (and obvious fact) is that Thomas Beatie is still functioning as a woman, even to the extent of retaining her reproductive capacity.So, a man is a man and woman is a woman, eh? But wait, there is this quote ...
In other words, she had her physical characteristics changed -- at least some visible markers of gender -- so that she would appear as a man rather than as a woman. But -- and this is crucial -- the baby did not emerge from a man's womb. There is no such thing. The baby, we might summarize, was not fooled.
Well, it is one inescapable question. After all, Boylan resists "binary" categories, yet when it comes to gender she offers only two options -- male and female. She changed her own legal gender from one to the other, but there remain only two designations. She is as "binary" as the rest of us. We cannot make sense of any conversation without using terms like he/she, man/woman, male/female, father/mother, son/daughter, and his/her's. We live in a stubbornly binary world.How strange that the last two paragraphs sound a lot like something I wrote recently about realmannspracht! It's just too bad that Mohler and others socons are so incredibly inconsistent on this matter.
Armed with this realization, we face a clear choice: We will see this binary understanding of gender as a gift from God revealed throughout creation, or we will see it as a socially-constructed reality that we can (and should) deconstruct. Are we bound to these categories by a Creator? Or did we do this to ourselves?
The Christian worldview is clear at this point. The Bible presents gender as part of the goodness of creation. God reveals his glory in every aspect of creation, and this is abundantly true with respect to the two sexes. God glorifies himself in creating humanity in his own image, both male and female. To deny or confuse this distinction is to deny God the glory that is his due. And, that which brings God's greatest glory will also bring us greatest joy.
Manhood is the birthright of every adult, male human being, whether we respect that man or not. Biblical manhood is rooted in a relationship with God. This relationship is effected through the atoning work of Christ, not through performing duties and rituals (Eph. 2:8). Biblical manhood is a male state of being, which manifests itself in good works as God gives ability and opportunity to a man.By the way, this quote answers the baseless charge that I have never defined "biblical manhood" on this blog.
Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. (NASB)If marriage is not making you happy, then it's because you live in a fallen world, not because your marriage is functioning according to God's perfect plan. In the Garden of Eden, God did not say, "It's not good for the man to be alone. He is having too much fun. I'll give him a life of tedious responsibilities instead. I will a create someone suitable for not helping him." God made marriage to be a good thing, not a punishment.