Scott clued me onto this. It is important. Part of glorifying God with your body is doing the things it was designed to do.
Yesterday, I was parking the car when I heard a truck groaning up our steep drive. It was the wood delivery: two days earlier than we planned. I parked my car on the street so he could get back down the hill, and Robyn took her car down there too. Then we had five cubic meters of wood dumped on the drive.
So last night we stacked wood, and this morning the shoulder, which has given me pain, is a little better. Because I only spent part of the day hunched over a laptop and revising papers. However, this is not considered a spiritual discipline, and it should be.
But it was a conversation I had shortly thereafter, with a different pastor who didn’t last very long in the small town he was serving, that has lodged in my mind. He confided that he had a hard time connecting with the people of the rural community, and had a particular disdain for country music, lifted trucks and the sea of blaze orange covered hunters that showed up every fall. It wasn’t just that those weren’t his interests, it was that he actively disdained them. Something more than tastes and preferences was in play.
“I just think hunting is so gross and stupid,” he said. “Why can’t you just buy your food at the grocery store like everyone else? I’ll never do it. It’s almost as dumb as country music.”
You could hear the revulsion and effeminate range in his voice. He’d rather be in his office, vaping and listening to esoteric music, meditating on obscure and grandiose theology, than standing on the fence line straightening barbwire with one of his people. Soft men despise those who are hard.
How is it that our seminaries and churches in much of Christendom are somehow attracting and training effeminate pastors? Why is this happening at such an alarmingly high rate? Why are our Christian institutions so skilled at turning out theologically precise men with softness as their crowning virtue?
They speak softly, play softly, and avoid hardness at all costs. They don’t initiate in leadership, take responsibility, or confront hard cases of church discipline. Little wonder our people are effeminate when so many of our shepherds lack the stones to model biblical masculinity.
Those who preen and obsess over their appearance like women, who know more about pastel dress shirts and overpriced macchiatos than a hard day of physical labor, and pit bookishness against a pair of Carhartt overalls, as though learning and labor were mutually exclusive. Why has the limp-wristed, poetry-writing therapist in a sweater vest replaced the flesh-and-blood shepherding ranch hand upon which Christ actually modeled our ministry? And why can’t we even talk about these things in the church without being called bigoted or insensitive?
And how is it that those pastors then come to despise men like myself—the blue collared, splintered in the hand, bleary eyed from the graveyard shift, slightly overweight and farm strong, men who know what it is to give and take a life? Little wonder real men are repulsed by what they find in the church. Little wonder we attract hard women and repel biblically feminine softness.
Eric, Hard men world softness
When I was a young man I read this as a call to chastity and fidelity. It still is. In my profession, one has to be gentle, and you are not allowed to say to people that they are screwing their lives up by the numbers. However, the number of people in the sex trade (which is legal in NZ) who end up seeing one of my colleagues is disproportionate, for they know that what they do has a cost.
To their souls. Though they may not believe in the soul, the soul believes in them.
It is why the players, like Freddy Mercury or Roosh, become dissatisfied. They have sexed so much that they can no longer bond, and no one who wants to love will go near them.
But now, when I see young men and women not even talking because of the risk/reward equation, instead living completely in their games and loving their waifu, I wonder about the last phrase. We are to glorify God with our bodies.
12“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.” 17But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
What is wrong is tolerating degeneration, or worse, letting the degenerates judge us. To pretend that being righteous is to be racist or sexist. The convergence has new sins, that ensure that you are bound for destruction. Their rules are false, and the best thingto do is mock them.
Which is why Godfrey Elfwick’s reappearance is useful.
The narrative tells us to indulge our desires: to be gluttonous (because you cannot fat shame) or lecherous (because to damn degeneration is homophobic or transphobic) and to love the stranger, lest we are racist. This is wrong.
It is better to eat well, be a healthy weight, be fit, Provide for your family, care for the land, and love your children and nation. Let your nation be true, holy and blessed by God.
And to see the Antipodes as a warning: like London, we have forgotten God and fallen into softness and delusion.
Do not be this. Do not be like this.