Swords to Plowshares, referring to Isaiah: Helskinki

Gomer, the daughter of Dibliam, or a living hell of a marriage.

One of the theories of the sexual living hell our society has men and women in is that we train our women not to be wives, but to be Gomer. To sleep around (more unpaid than paid), to be fickle, to be faithless. Those of us who have daughters and grand daughters, do not want this.

Swords to Plowshares, referring to Isaiah: Helsinki

Swords to Plowshares, referring to Isaiah: Helskinki

We want the young women we love to be happy, and to be wives. Not living by putting their body on the rack or around a stripper’s pole. And writing as bluntly as this will make the feminist’s teeth grind. For they teach that all choices are valid, (if made without a Y chromosome in your body)

But I have a warning to women. No man wants to be Hosea/ None of us want to be divorced, shunned, belittled, abandoned. When we marry, we give our lives, our fortunes and our honour into the hands of our wives: in these days of divorce-at-will any wife can destroy their husband legally, and with the full force of he law behind them.

Perhaps the law makes women similar to Gomer, and men like Hosea, but that is not how it should be.

Most of us are not prophets: most of us are not saints, most of us would rather live in peace. The laws that entrench a low grade war between men and women intrude into our lives, into the raising of our children, and even into our marital bed. The social justice warriors want us to turn our plowshares into swords, and destroy the peace that should be between a husband and wife, the security of our children, and move our desire, our lust, from its Godly and chaste channel into solo vice or worse.

So we will worship one thing, and that is the state. The very idolatry that Hosea was commanded to oppose.

The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”

She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”

When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.”

(Hosea 1-2:1 ESV)

An aside about Gomer. This process would have been painful for her: she may have been prostituted out, but no woman wants to have her child named bastard, nor not of my tribe. But consider this: yesterday I was teaching about anxiety disorders, and one of the issues one has to consider is that the rate of such disorders is around twice that of men among women in our society.

Whatever the sexual revolution and feminism has wrought, it has not made women calm and happy. Instead, my observation is that they are alone, fearful, and exhausted.

For we have forgotten that young women have to be guided, have to be taught: the much of the codes around housework, wifery and ladyhood were about obedience to God, and learning how to love God and one’s husband and children (it is not instinctive: like discerning the decent man from the fraud, it has to be learned)led to confidence.

I quoited SD a couple of days ago, but she writes wisely to her daughters here.


I’ve learned a new derogatory term for how I live my life: patriocentricity
(father/husband worship). It is spoken of by women who have exceptions for how they submit to their husbands. In this case, in order to not be patriocentric, a wife’s husband must be in submission to a greater authority (of course this is overseen and judged by who else – the wife!). That is beyond my pay grade, so to speak. Your father is quite capable of reading the Bible. You’ll find in reading the Bible that it is prudent to seek wisdom. In seeking wisdom, you will listen to the words of others. You will check those words with the Bible and if they are biblically sound, you will accept them as learning. I am confident your father does this. But it has nothing to do with my submission to him. Also, do not be confused, I do not worship your father. I obey God. Jesus told us in John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commandments.” It is very simple. I love Jesus. And I, as a wife, have very specific commands from God:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. – Ephesians 5:22-24

How awesome is it that God provided for us, as wives, a special message? He considered us, He loves us, and because of that, He told us how we can obey Him. He didn’t make it confusing or hard to follow. In fact, to avoid confusion a very important word was used: everything.

Now, you will know when you have fully embraced this command. You will know when you have stopped rebelling against that very important word. You will know when you have an unshakable resolve to obey God despite any and all of the words you get labeled by those who are still in rebellion.

You will be calm.

Gomer, like the woman at the Samaritan well, are examples to us: not to imitate, but to warn, and to allow God’s mercy to come through. For many of us have erred in our relationships, we have caused damage to others, and we live with the scars on our souls, and with shame for the scars we see on others by our actions.

But there is an out, and it is not the family courts, with their cycle of violence and their intrusive social workers and police force. It is instard seen in the last past of our text today.

God wants us back with him: in right relationships. He is a god of mercy, of restoration: not atomization and hate.

And the Social Justice Warriors have one shared quality, that of hate. Do not be them, Do not follow their teachings. And do not use their tactics: do not be like them.

Comment at Empath’s (on Divorce)

My comment on a post at Empath’s (thanks Elspeth, for linking to this)

When I was almost divorced, when I thought I was to be divorced, when I lived alone with my small dog in an apartment with my family back min our large house on acreage against a lake front, huge pool and just paradise for kids…..I sometimes fell asleep on the floor beside the computer desk. I’d spend time reading alternately family law and Christian opinions.

So I’d sit there until I was so tired I’d lay to the side, on the floor, and wake there at 3AM, start another day. I realized, deeply, profoundly, then exactly why God could easily hate divorce. He must hate divorce. because He hates human cruelty like child abuse and murder and torture and the like. And there I lay like a victim chained in a basement I knew right then that there were men like me all over the country that did not want to be cast out from their families and were clenched in the rigor of excruciating pain…pain so bad one doesn’t scream so much as exhale loudly and moan loudly like an animal that’s been brought down by a pride of lions, alive as it is eaten.

That is where my first principle comes from. And I’ve been off it for awhile.

One of the things I had written 11 years ago during those sleepless nights was a letter to a pastor. It was hypothetical. In it I asked, “How would you react if I asked you to drive me to the motel where I’d meet my mistress, so that my car needn’t sit there at risk of being seen?” I pointed out that he would find it absurd. But, then he’d go organize food delivery and child rides for the women who were tossing good men.

Imagine, leaving me personally out of the imagining, a man wallowing in pain for weeks on end, expected by day to be the worker, the father, the man, and by night barely able to hold his head up. he watches from a distance as people line up to take the sting out of the divorce the wife filed. the church goes all mealy mouthed on it. Even all but his most core friends are afraid to render an honest opinion. And the wife sits in the pews on Sundays and holds her head high. The whispers in the hall are “what did he do?”. After all, the wife is righteously lathered up about those textbooks with chapters about two mommies. She volunteers at the divorce recovery group….and those kids….they are so lucky to have a mom praying for them and seeing that God in his mercy will see them through the divorce.

This is disgusting. Sickening. An abomination. Its why I write this little blog. It forms my prayers.

I commented… as another man who has been through this, and thought it was worthwhile reposting. But go and read Empath’s post in its entirety, and the position statement from John Piper’s church. In its entirety. For both are valuable.

___________

The issue of living post divorce for us guys is difficult because most of the women are quite happy to be righteous and judge — even when we know that they are shacked up with the metaphorical pool boy or rockdrummer.

Piper’s statement on divorce and remarriage is about as balanced as you can get on the Protestant side. To quote

The remarriage of the aggrieving, divorced spouse may be viewed as severing the former marriage so that the unmarried spouse whose behavior did not biblically justify being divorced, may be free to remarry a believer (Matthew 19:9), if he or she has confessed all known sin in the divorce, and has made significant progress in overcoming any destructive behaviors and attitudes.

Recognizing the honest and devout differences of conviction in the church, those of us with more limiting standards for remarriage consent at this point not to make them normative for the whole body. Others of us, who regard this fourth statement as fully Biblical, respect those among us with a more limiting interpretation and do not require or expect them to act in any way against their consciences in attending, supporting or performing enactments of marriage they regard as contrary to Scripture.

All of us urge every member who contemplates remarriage to struggle in prayer and study with all the relevant Scriptures, with the sole aim of glorifying God through full obedience to his word. Consider fairly the arguments against remarriage and those for it.

This takes years: It may never be completely done.

What would be interesting to see is how the church handles it when some divorced woman sues the church demanding remarriage within it and against these principles. I think Piper would stand firm on this. But many do not.

One point of hope: the parent who is decent is the one who ends up in a relationship with their adult children, parental alienation or not. The one who does the remedial parenting post divorce and gets the kids semi intact to adulthood. The one who does the least damage.

And those of you without a divorce should note the words of Judgy Bitch: your wife has a loaded gun pointing at your head and she can pull it at any time. You have to pray that she does not, You have to pray that she chooses to remember her vows in the difficult times.

Love is offensive. (Patti Smith on the side)

It is going to be difficult to write about the text today. We had a tragedy locally over the summer and it’s just been written up in the Herald.  A man, separated form his wife and children, murdered the children and then suicided. The Herald has all the court documents online, and one really cannot comment on the details: there are a series of enquiries ongoing locally.

But the endgame of isolation and despair can be destruction. Yesterday I wrote something about love that applies here. Love may be painful, and times incredibly painful, but it heals. Hatred and isolation destroy.

1 John 4:7-21

7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

When the scripture tells us that “let us…” it implies there is a choice. We can choose to turn to each other and forgive, we can pray for those who hurt us, we can do good. We can consider the other’s best interests. This will be uncomfortable: for love is offensive. Part of loving is confrontation.

And confrontation: telling, for instance, that one needs to hand in there for your kids, or that you may end up being single for years because your children need some remedial parenting and you are the one who has to do it… can be offensive. Let alone telling someone that their habits are destructive.

People who will hear correction gain wisdom. However, all too often they blame others. The fault lies with their spouse, or the medication (here the Herald has an example) or the sisterhood, or the patriarchy, or racism.

This is wrong. The only faults we can reform are our own. We cannot change another. We can pray for this: indeed we should pray for our enemies, and those who were in our lives but have chosen to leave.

For before us are two paths: the one that leads to a grave and tragedy, and the one that leads to life and salvation. That path, the path of love is painful. I’m going to repeat what I wrote yesterday…

Love is a hard master: harder that the law, for the law can be completed. Love never is. It never gives up. Love drives us to perfection: and our new command is to love, putting the needs of our brothers and sisters first and serving them.

And if the world does not consider you weird, you are not obeying this command. If this does not hurt, you are doing it wrong.

Our example here is Christ, who would correct, using a whip at times as he overturned the money changers in the temple. Who would gently ask the one question that would make a conscience quicken. And who suffered a painful and disgusting death for us all.

Love is not only painful, if will offend the feelings of those around you, for you will not be like them. Love offends: and that very uncomfortable-ness acts like a test, for those who reject love, who nurture their hatred and their hobby horses, diminish and do not grow, joining the many who may be breathing, but lack any life, any joy.

_______________

I should add that I am not talking here about clinical depression. The rate of this, at least in New Zealand, is far too high; the English-speaking nations have rates of depression and anxiety that are much higher than more traditional and organized societies ranging from Germany to Nigeria.

Depression is manageable, using a combination of talking therapy (which is now available over the internet: Crufad, who run the site linked to, estimate the effect size for internet therapy compared with usual care (no talking therapy is around 1.0, which is very big: most medications have and effect size of around 0.4 in psychiatry, and medications have a place.

I am talking here instead about the choices we all make. Our choices today have consequences: what we do here matters. And the law we are under is harder than the Torah: for we cannot hide behind any regulation, but have Christ himself as our example, our measure. And by that metric we will fail, and fail repeatedly.

NO matter. Today, choose to be offensive. Choose to love..

 

UPDATE.

I’ve been asked about the prevalence of depression. From the most rigourous international survey.

Table 2

Prevalence (%) of DSM-IV/CIDI major depressive episodes in the 18 countries participating in the WMH surveys a
Screen positive, mean ± SE Lifetime prevalence, mean ± SE Lifetime/

Screen positive, ± mean ± SE

12-month prevalence, mean ± SE 12-month/

Screen positive, mean ± SE

12-month/

lifetime, mean ± SE

Age of onset, median (IQR)b

I. High-income

Belgium 49.4 ± 2.5 14.1 ± 1.0 28.5 ± 1.9 5.0 ± 0.5 10.0 ± 1.0 35.2(2.8 29.4 (20.9 to 41.3)

France 65.0 ± 1.7 21.0 ± 1.1 32.3 ± 1.4 5.9 ± 0.6 9.0 ± 0.9 27.9(2.6 28.4 (19.3 to 38.9)

Germany 43.1 ± 1.4 9.9 ± 0.6 23.0 ± 1.3 3.0 ± 0.3 6.9 ± 0.6 30.1 ± 2.1 27.6 (18.6 to 39.6)

Israel 45.1 ± 0.8 10.2 ± 0.5 22.6 ± 1.0 6.1 ± 0.4 13.5 ± 0.8 59.6 ± 2.3 25.5 (18.1 to 38.5)

Italy 44.9 ± 1.7 9.9 ± 0.5 22.1 ± 1.0 3.0 ± 0.2 6.7 ± 0.5 30.2 ± 1.9 27.7 (19.1 to 39.1)

Japan 29.9 ± 0.8 6.6 ± 0.5 22.2 ± 1.4 2.2 ± 0.4 7.4 ± 1.2 33.3 ± 4.2 30.1 (20.8 to 45.3)

Netherlands 53.2 ± 1.6 17.9 ± 1.0 33.6 ± 1.8 4.9 ± 0.5 9.2 ± 1.0 27.3 ± 2.6 27.2 (19.3 to 39.5)

New Zealand 61.9 ± 0.6 17.8 ± 0.4 28.7 ± 0.6 6.6 ± 0.3 10.6 ± 0.5 37.0 ± 1.5 24.2 (16.1 to 34.5)c

Spain 37.7 ± 1.0 10.6 ± 0.5 28.2 ± 1.2 4.0 ± 0.3 10.6 ± 0.8 37.5 ± 1.9 30.0 (19.7 to 44.3)

United States 62.0 ± 0.9 19.2 ± 0.5 30.9 ± 0.7 8.3 ± 0.3 13.3 ± 0.5 43.1 ± 1.2 22.7 (15.1 to 34.6)

Total 52.3 ± 0.4 14.6 ± 0.2 28.1 ± 0.3 5.5 ± 0.1 10.6 ± 0.2 37.7 ± 0.7 25.7 (17.3 to 37.2)

II. Low- to middle-income

Sao Pâulo, Brazil 66.0 ± 1.0 18.4 ± 0.8 27.9 ± 1.1 10.4 ± 0.6 15.8 ± 0.8 56.7 ± 1.5 24.3 (17.2 to 35.8)

Colombia 58.6 ± 1.1 13.3 ± 0.6 22.6 ± 1.0 6.2 ± 0.4 10.6 ± 0.7 46.7 ± 2.6 23.5 (15.6 to 33.6)

Pondicherry, India 25.0 ± 0.9 9.0 ± 0.5 35.9 ± 1.5 4.5 ± 0.4 18.0 ± 1.4 50.0 ± 3.0 31.9 (24.5 to 42.7)

Lebanon 57.7 ± 1.8 10.9 ± 0.9 18.9 ± 1.3 5.5 ± 0.7 9.5 ± 1.2 50.0 ± 3.7 23.8 (17.5 to 32.8)

Mexico 40.6 ± 1.1 8.0 ± 0.5 19.6 ± 1.2 4.0 ± 0.3 9.8 ± 0.8 50.0 ± 2.7 23.5 (16.7 to 34.0)

Shenzen, China 54.6 ± 0.9 6.5 ± 0.4 12.0 ± 0.7 3.8 ± 0.3 6.9 ± 0.5 58.0 ± 2.6 18.8 (14.9 to 23.4)

South Africa 56.1 ± 1.3 9.8 ± 0.7 17.4 ± 1.2 4.9 ± 0.4 8.6 ± 0.8 49.6 ± 2.7 22.3 (15.8 to 33.8)

Ukraine 82.4 ± 1.1 14.6 ± 0.7 17.7 ± 0.8 8.4 ± 0.6 10.2 ± 0.7 57.8 ± 2.2 27.8 (18.7 to 39.6)

Total 54.1 ± 0.4 11.1 ± 0.2 19.8 ± 0.4 5.9 ± 0.2 10.5 ± 0.3 53.3 ± 0.9 24.0 (17.0 to 34.8)

aAssessed in part I sample. Prevalence for the pooled samples (developed and developing) include respondents ages 18+. Prevalence for individual countries are assessed for the total sample in the country.

bIQR, interquartile range.

Bromet et al. BMC Medicine 2011 9:90   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-90

Open Data

The (Laodecean) Reformed.

I have always considered this applies to my church. The Reformed have toe or three flaws: we tend to intellectualize; we tend to distrust emotions, and we manage to acquire wealth. One of the signs people consider to see if you are of the elect — incorrectly, as the passage indicates — is that you are prosperous, have a good reputation: ignoring the need to see if you have managed your wife well and if the kids are sane.

Fervency and emotional involvement within the church are not optional. We are not following Buddha, disavowing and denying all desire. We are of Christ. Our desires should be for his kingdom.

Revelation 3:14-22

14“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation:

15“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

You cannot blame this on the reformers. Calvin was a shy man, careful in his judgment, but passionate in his beliefs, And he was the tame one: consider Farel or Zwingli. Or, for that matter, Mennon — the Anabaptists were radical, passionately so, and the opponent Luther could be intemperate (if you want to put it politely). But they were men.

They did not speak or write thinking of political correctness or trying to avoid offending others. At times they were very offensive. The priests and theologians who defended the Catholic church — and in the next generation spearheaded the Counter-reformation — were just as blunt. You can accuse the men of those generations of many things, but cynical lukewarmness — was not one of them.

However, in these decaying times, you can see preachers treading oh so carefully, so they do not offend those sitting in the pews. As if we are but children, needing myths of the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and Unicorns.

As if we cannot handle hard sayings. Our Lord did not and does not have that flaw. As a church, we are weak and cowardly. We have become unattractive. But we are not the owners of the church: christ is, and Christ has a habit of correcting his church, using discipline whenever needed. I would not say that he has caused us to feel the pain and shame of an epidemic of divorce and the subversion of the committees within the institution by the Marxist shock troops of feminism and homosexualism, but he has allowed it, for he is angry with us, and if we continue on this path we will be spat out, to become just another historical aberration, one with the Cathars, the Shakers or a living fossil like the Quakers and Amish.

In this season of Advent, we are supposed to be examining ourselves, despite the sales, the parties, and the shopping. We need to avoid the leaven of the Pharisees, understand that salvation does not come from scholarship but from Christ, and develop a bit of hatred of evil, disgust with cynicism, and fervor for righteousness. For Church history, along with the history of Israel, gives us clear warnings, and in this passage Jesus is speaking plain.
 

Disgust and Contempt.

I’ve been thinking about what drives disgust, and how it reflects on respect and may lead to contempt. In doing this, I tend pull out the cognitive therapy toolkit — where an event is related to thoughts and those thoughts give the emotion. But, firstly, let’s check on definitions.

Disgust (noun): a feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive
Respect (noun): [mass noun] a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements; a person’s polite greetings; [informal] used to express the speaker’s approval of someone or something; due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.
Contempt [mass noun]: the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration:

The first thing I note, and this is where I may have been in error yesterday, is that all these are considered by the orthographers as words describing feelings.

However, the orthographers have not considered what are meta-feelings. Respect is an attitude or meta-feeling engendered by a feeling of deep admiration, or (a feeling) elicited from their achievements or abilities. On the other side, Contempt is a meta-feeling that the person is not worth it. I would add that contempt leads to considering a person is as disgusting as that noxious growth in an unblocked sewer: contempt drove the idea of untermenschen.

This classification of some of humanity as simply not worth our consideration of their feelings, wishes and wants is simply wrong.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28, NASB

The moral equality of all believers has been a foundational belief. Consider these commentators on Galatians.

Thomas Aquinas (I have redacted the Latin and give the English translation)
He elucidates this teaching when he says, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. As if to say: Truly have I said, that as many of you as have been baptized in Christ Jesus have put on Christ, because there is nothing in man that would exclude anyone from the sacrament of the faith of Christ and of baptism. And he mentions three differences among men to show that no one is excluded from faith in Christ by any of them: the first difference concerns one’s rite. Hence he says: There is neither Jew nor Greek. As if to say: Since you have been baptized in Christ, the rite from which you came to Christ, whether it was the Jewish or the Greek, is no ground for saying that anyone occupies a less honorable place in the faith: “Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. For there is one God that justifieth circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith” (Rom 3:29). Again: “There is no distinction of the Jew and Greek; for the same is Lord over all” (Rom 10:12).

But this seems to militate against what is said in Romans (3:1): ‘What advantage then hath the Jew? Much every way.” I answer that Jews and Greeks can be considered in two ways. First, according to the state in which they were before faith. In this way, the Jew was greater because of the benefits he derived from the Law. In another way, according to the state of grace; and in this way, the Jew is not greater. And this is the sense in which it is taken here.

The second difference is with respect to estate, when he says: there is neither bond nor free, i.e., neither slavery nor freedom, neither high estate nor low makes a difference so far as receiving the effect of baptism is concerned: “The small and great are there, and the servant is free from his master” (Job 3:19); “There is no respect of persons with God” (Rom 2:11).

The third difference concerns the condition of the nature: there is neither male nor female, for sex makes no difference as far as sharing in the effect of baptism is concerned.

The underlying reason for this explanation is set forth when he says, For you are all one in Christ Jesus. As if to say: Truly, none of these things makes a difference in Christ, because all of you, i.e., believers, are one in Christ Jesus, because through baptism you have all been made members of Christ and you form one body, even though you are distinct individuals: “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another” (Rom 12:5); “One body, one Spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling” (Eph 4:4). Now where there is unity, difference has no place. Indeed it was for this unity that Christ prayed: “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee” (Jn 17:21).

John Calvin.
The meaning is, that there is no distinction of persons here, and therefore it is of no consequence to what nation or condition any one may belong: nor is circumcision any more regarded than sex or civil rank. And why? Because Christ makes them all one. Whatever may have been their former differences, Christ alone is able to unite them all. Ye are one: the distinction is now removed. The apostle’s object is to shew that the grace of adoption, and the hope of salvation, do not depend on the law, but are contained in Christ alone, who therefore is all. Greek is here put, as usual, for Gentile, and one department for the whole class.

Now, in our society, there is a sense that feelings are justification enough. Or, contrawise, that the facts on the ground are a justification for them — he who holds, has.

Both are wrong.

On the first, our feelings vary. From day-to-day, hour to hour. A covenant or vow that depends on feelings is going to break. Because we are human: was have to deal with the biochemical and cognitive limitations of our bodies and brains. Because there is such a science as psychopharmacology — and the illicit part of that science includes modifying our emotions and cognitive state with various substances from alcohol to methamphetamine.

And because the immediate and visceral emotions have to be surfed. We will feel disgust, hate, lust, greed, hunger, despair, joy and exaltation. But these should not drive our decisions. We should choose to love God — with our mind, our will or volition, our emotions, and our innermost being (or our heart our soul, our strength and our mind).

The emotions are human, and to deny them is to deny our humanity.

On the second, we are human. We have more akin with the most vile member our species than we do with either the angels or the apes. We are all capable of great good and great evil. And to consider some people as beneath that because of their sex or skin colour is beneath us. Particularly if we claim to be of Christ, for our baptism makes us all one: equally moral agents, equally accountable, equally damned by our actions, equally saved by the great mercy of God.

We cannot see any member of the human species as not deserving respect and consideration.

But in our society we have forgotten that. We allow our emotions make decisions for us: in particular contempt and disgust: this person does not excite us, does not make us feel romantic; is boring — let them go. Now, the old doctors of the church would have counseled a man or woman who feels that about their wife or husband to consider what is good and admirable about that person, and gain respect, for their contempt is worse than hatred.

They would have also counseled them to become more attractive: Edith Schaeffer in her wonderful autobiography “The Tapestry” talks about being asked by her husband (that great reformed theologian Francis Schaeffer) to have a very blunt talk with a wife about what to wear to bed to rekindle the fires of lust when that couple were trying to rescue their marriage.

Today we send them to the divorce lawyers.

And the contempt of one gender for the unfaithfulness and hateful behaviour the other gender has done… increases. For every woman who considers that their husband has abandoned them there is a man who wonders why his wife up and left, leaving him with an alimony bill he struggles to pay every month.

The idea, particularly among feminists, that the gender differentiation of male and female is a class struggle and men (“the patriarchy”) are to be despised and feared is thus wrong. It is as wrong as the Marxist ideology of class struggle, or the Nationalist (Fascist) idea of the struggle of the Volk to remain over the foreigners. Within the Church we should be one: we should be of the race of Christ, the colour of Christ: we should bleed Christ.

For if we do this, we show the world how much we love each other, and proclaim the gospel: words will be far less needed.

Isreali Divorce and Trayvon.

A week ago I made the nurses at work giggle. For we had babies on the ward — the mothers were depressed, and they saw a man who looks like a cross between an orc and a gorilla tenderly holding an infant.

Going a little clucky. Most of the time that part of me is hidden: kept at home. where it is not useful when raising teenagers. I recall the shock I had when I saw my Dad with my firstborn — he was gentle and there was a joy on his face. I was too young to see that when I was a child, and it’s precious now.

SSM points out that childrearing is something that takes us out of ourselves. Men as well as women, though she is writing for women (and the haters did come visiting).

Christians who actually follow the Bible believe that most women’s primary concern will be serving their husbands and caring for their children. We understand that a woman who voluntarily chooses not to have children is generally going against her God-given nature and calling, unless she is part of that small group of women whom God chooses to fulfill other purposes. We understand that voluntary childlessness without a God-given calling to it will warp a woman’s personality, causing her to become unhealthily self-focused.

Which brings me to the third rail in this passage. My Catholic friends, and SSM, say that one should never remarry if divorced: to do so is adultery. The Divines who wrote the Westminster Confession (in the 1660s) said divorce was permissible for adultery and abandonment. And I sat over coffee with a woman who was abandoned (or abandoned) when she moved to NZ — and has lived alone for a decade. Her quiet dignity tore my heart.

I disliked divorce before I had one. I now hate it. Tearing apart which was one flesh hurts and scars one.

Mark 10:1-16

1He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.

2Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7’For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

13People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

I’m going to be careful here. I am divorced: my kids could read this.

Firstly, we need to be careful about liberalizing the law. The [presbyterian divines argued in the Westminster confession against letting legal precedent build a greater and greater list of reasons for divorce. This is happening in Israel, where the very law Jesus said was put there because our hearts were hardened is seen as far too oppressive, and the free delivery of divorces (which liberals see as a human right) is limited.

Under the court’s interpretation of Jewish religious law, a husband’s, or wife’s, consent is necessary to end a marriage. As has been the case for centuries, a Jewish divorce is not final in Israel until men deliver handwritten divorce decrees into the cupped hands of the women, who then must hold the paper aloft. A rabbi tears the document, called a get, into pieces, which are then filed for record-keeping.

The rabbis can order a reluctant spouse, usually a man, to grant the divorce, and Israel’s parliament is considering a bill to expand the court’s power to apply pressure. But if a spouse refuses to undertake the religious rite, the court says, it doesn’t have the power to dissolve the marriage.

Rabbis have upheld the need for consent even in cases where a man has abused his wife, disappeared, lied about his sexuality or molested their children.

Exploiting what amounts to veto power over a divorce, some men demand financial payoffs from the court. Others pressure wives to pay them, give up their homes, forgo child support or waive custody rights.

Women’s rights advocates are pushing Israel’s coalition government, the first in decades that does not include ultra-Orthodox parties, to pass reforms. A report in April by the Israeli religious rights group Hiddush ranked Israel alongside Iran and Saudi Arabia in terms of marriage freedom.

If you believe Spengler (David Goldman) and he usually has his facts right, this ancient and unfree law has borne fruit. Israeli women, Jewish and Arab, have more children on average than their liberal sisters in the West, and more than some Arab countries. The law is holy and righteous. It is deeply unfashionable, and it is now deemed oppression by those who set the agenda to even acknowledge this.

Secondly, divorce is not good for children. In children, we are literally one flesh. Children need their fathers around, and children need their mothers around. The roles are different. And without that micro-structure in a family, there are far too many feral young men and women, and a civil society does not flourish. St Velvet is referring to Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman when she wrote this comment.

It’s the same position my husband takes. He was raised by wolves I mean feminists and still managed to not be a thug so he doesn’t lament the loss of the young man. He made his choices. Period. My point is in no way meant to romanticize an individual who made deadly calculations in judgement, which both men in this situation did, rightly or wrongly.
It frankly is my own selfish pout about the substantial material loss suffered at the death of a society anchored by men. I’m less safe, and my children are less safe, and my husband is less safe because he has us. It’s insane how broken that is.

Without a basic sense of safety, we do not know how to trust. Our parents. Or God. We have hindered the little ones on the way to Jesus, and we will be held accountable for this.

My final point is that I am sick of the romanticization of the tragedy that a woman who has left another cannot remarry, or ends up alone. As if it is a big tragedy. The Jewish law, with its demand for consent, acts as a brake on frivorce: the treatment of vows as an inconvenience.

If you are a bastard of a man, you treat other men and women as your playthings, you only look to your selfish pleasures, you know, deep down, you will either need to amass enough money to pay nurses to look after you in your dotage or die before that time. And if that happens, no one will mourn you.

Men know that. Men have always know that.

But the same social consequences apply to women. If you are a bitch, demeaning and castrating your man, Your children will see that. And when they can, they will run: to be raised by wolves if necessary, because that is a less bad option. Particularly if you have gone through men like you go through ballpoint pens, treating them as nothing more than romantic objects, and never keeping your word.

You. will. be. left. alone. just. like. the. men. are.

And on that road lies despair. Don’t go there. For we know as much that our society is broken by the broken elders alone as we do by the feral thugs on the street. Perhaps, as a society, we should push back at those who would make the atomization of the family a moral duty.

Reversion to the mean (divorce rates, NZ).

The most important thing to consider here is that the Family Proceedings Act was completely rewritten in 1980 (it has been amended since multiple times) but the core reasons for dissolution of a marriage in the eyes of the law have not changed.

Section 39.Grounds for dissolution

(1) An application for an order dissolving a marriage or civil union may be made only on the ground that the marriage or civil union has broken down irreconcilably.

(2) The ground for the order is established in law if, and only if, the court is satisfied that the parties to the marriage or civil union are living apart, and have been living apart for the period of 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the application for an order dissolving the marriage or civil union; and no proof of any other matter shall be required to establish the ground.

(3) A separation order or a separation agreement (whether made by deed or other writing or orally) in full force for the period of 2 years immediately preceding the filing of an application for an order dissolving a marriage or civil union may be adduced as evidence of living apart for the required period.

It is interesting to note that the divorce rate increased briefly after the act came into power and then reverted to the mean. At the end of this period, the rate is very similar to what it was in 1976.

Screenshot from 2013-03-15 18:09:54

No fault divorce — where the grounds are but a breakdown in the marriage (which is a bit circular) led to a rapid increase in the number of divorces. Once that period was over, things have been somewhat more stable. However, the median length of marriages has increased, and the median age of divorce is increased.

Screenshot - 150313 - 18:31:15

Screenshot from 2013-03-15 18:21:59

The consequences of this, at least in NZ, is that Dalrock’s description of the narrative does not quite work in NZ.

Kiwi women do:

  1. get their qualifications (the feministh marriage badge)
  2. The female NZ readers of Marie Claire from NZ say they have had multiple partners. (the carousel)
  3. But most women, in their 20s, try to find a man whom they then live with for a period of two years to decades.
  4. Around the time they start wanting a baby — generally in their late 20s — they marry. Or they may marry after the children are born. Or never marry.
  5. Those who do marry are now older, and those marriages last longer.

 

Because, unlike the US, there is no “starter marriage”. That is done informally. The consequence is that the median age for divorce for women now is around 40 — and remarriage in the mid to late 40s. The idea that you will find a hunky handyman is less prevelant: most divorced women prefer cats.

Or living in sin. I am aware (and this is not recorded) that a number of women who were married the first time choose to cohabit. Cohabitation becomes, legally, in effect marriage if you live with a person for two years.

A marriage now is a luxury good, costing a lot of money. Or it is a quiet rite practised by the religious. The rates may have reverted to the mean, but this is because our secular society has abandoned marriage.

Linkage… (avoid folly, folks)

Vanessa argues that school hours should be short. She’s right.
We always have had an aristocracy, and they always get away with crimes that others are convicted for. Anonymous is annoyed by this, and is going to take down the US prosecution services if they don’t stop being unjust.
In the meantime, the democrat fascist party is trying to ban almost every gun. (even when their supporters cannot get their facts right) This has annoyed Emperor Mish and his Rotties. Given a battle between the Rotties and the Feds, my money is on the Rotties.

SSM notes that the wimmenz are trying to combine American Heritage Girls with Boy Scouts. SHe’s worried about this: my suggestion is let the Dads get the boys to do something girls hate. Like play capture the flag, or bullrush with tackle rules. Or take the boys somewhere cold, wet and miserable, preferably by hiking. SSM also notes that technology has made keeping a house less than fulltime, but that is no reason for women to invade boyspace or manspace.

While we are thinking about the ongoing conflict between men and women, Ethical suggests that Swedish men are deliberately importing Eastern European and Asian women because the Swedish women no longer want to be wives. However, Bill Price, who is of one of those Scandinavian tribes, argues.

But still, as I’ve heard from some Scandinavians, and seen for myself up at the cabin in the mountains, when you put the Nordic people back in their natural, traditional environment, things have a way of going back to normal very quickly.

Some light relief.

On the right, we have a few problems, as GWW points out

Myself, on the other hand, well, I don’t have 100 years of political activism and media representation of my position to fall back on, nor 50 years of the institutionalization of my viewpoints within schools from Kindergarten to university. So this response is going to be too long for one video. Because, you know, unlike feminists, I don’t have the luxury of simply making a bald statement, and then moving on to the next one, without providing rational and empirical support for it. Without actually presenting an argument behind it. See, you can get away with saying, “X is X,” without saying, “…because A, B, C.” I can’t get away with that because my viewpoint isn’t the one that’s been swallowed hook, line and sinker by most of society.

There are some rays of hope. Micheal Coren is one, and Katy Shadie has written wisely and well about why the Canucks to right wing news better than the Septics.

Wapiti points out that most work outside the home is dull and boring
m and he cannot see the reason why women choose this. There is one reason I am aware of — that work is mandated by their professional body in the name of continuing professional education or maintaing currency. Alcest would question if this status is worth it — and she has a point.

I’m aware that women are not men. But wise women appreciate their spouses. Consider this from Vanessa, and go read the entire thing.

You see, my husband didn’t notice my beauty this morning, but he also took no mind of my sloppy — no, revolting – appearance last week. Bed-ridden with the flu. Feverish and nauseous, drenched in sweat, and alternating coughing up phlegm and vomiting up chamomile tea. He took no notice of how disgusting I was, and simply checked my temperature, helped me change out of my newest, sweatiest nightshirt, and brought me a fresh cup of tea and some ibuprofen before heading off to work. He didn’t look twice at me when he kissed me good-bye, the same way he does every morning.

This used to drive me absolutely bonkers. I married quite young and am prone to vanity, and there are few things so tiresome as a pretty, young wife. Doesn’t he appreciate me? Doesn’t he feel jealous? Doesn’t he notice how attractive I am, like other men do? Not usually, no. He takes me for granted, and always has.

This is not because he doesn’t love me deeply, but simply because I am such a large and steady part of his life that he doesn’t have to contemplate me very often. How often, after all, are we truly grateful for the air we breath, or the fact that water runs out of the tap when we turn the knob, or that our car starts when we turn the key, or that our arms are still attached to our bodies when we wake up in the morning? Sometimes we take pains to be grateful for these things, but mostly they are simply there. The most important things in our lives are the very things we take for granted — the very things we’d miss most if they disappeared. But they are so ubiquitous that we’d have time for little else if we spent all day appreciating them.

My husband takes me for granted because I’m part of his life. I’m part of his future. When he talks about where he wants to live and what he wants to do in ten years, he takes it for granted that I’m to be included in his plans. He is not secretly plotting to trade me in for a new wife when my health fades or my breasts lose their perpetual battle against gravity. He’s not looking for a new woman, just as he’s not looking for a new arm.

But sometimes… sometimes, when I least expect it… when I least crave it… he surprises me. When he came home from work and I opened the door and waited for him to kiss me, as he always does, he stood there for a moment and just looked at me. “I forget sometimes. I forget how pretty you are.” Then he smiled and came into the house. As he always does.

Ladies, if you have a man like this, and a relationship like this, treasure it. Nurture it. Because if you do not, and hold your husband in contempt… or leave… you may not be able to get it back. It will be gone. I do not generally quote Athol, but this observation of his contrasts with Vanessas — because Vanessa is aware that what she takes for granted is precious, and these women did not do that.

So let’s be clear here – ALL of the husbands were very much trying to save the marriage. I’m talking 5 for 5 husbands have endlessly emailed me or been on the forum, actively trying to save the marriage and fix things with their wife. But despite best efforts, each one have been dumped and left.

But…

I am 5 for 5 for having those husbands get hit on by other women as soon as the wife is out of the picture. As in attractive other women. As in younger attractive women. As in… “Athol, I don’t understand why I was trying to save things with X anymore. I know I’m going to miss her, but being completely honest, I don’t think I want her back anymore.”

I’ve had so many emails and messages in the last month to the effect of, “My SBTX wife is 44, my new gf is 32.” The overall feeling husbands have about their wives is one of amused sorrow. They are more sorry for her that she’s f@cked her own life and happiness up than anything else.

Part of wisdom is paying attention. I’d suggest to anyone who is going through a divorce to not hook up… to avoid relationships, and that a period of singleness, sorting your own life out, is wise. (I’d say the same thing to women, if they will hear it). You do not want to repeat the same mistakes with a new model. And, if you have care for your kids you need to put all that on hold until they heal.

Finally, A twisted song from the only Sufi I have any time for. He is writing about the actions of a fool, a delinquent. Enjoy the song, but don’t follow the example within the lyrics.

Plagiarism central.

In which we quote freely. This is a blog, not a research paper, and I have no pretensions on creativity.

Let’s start with Bike Bubba.

The one bright thing I can think of from teaching students from the IRS Manual of Style is that a quorum of want-to-be writers of romance novels might bring the delights of the Instructions for Schedule B to that genre and kill it off in the same way Don Quixote killed off the genre of the tales of knights-errant.

That said, if people at the Department of “Education” can’t figure out that this is a colossally bad idea, I’d suggest that they’re not exactly adding much to the process, and our nation can safely cut well over $68 billion from the federal budget (plus “mandatory” spending in the same department) without any harm being done.

But please, don’t read it. Just pick up something by Mr. Clemens, or Shakespeare, or Homer, or Tolstoy, or Goethe instead. It’s the rebuke Arne Duncan, architect of a sixth grade reading level among Chicago Public graduates (and 40% don’t graduate at all–guess how Obama gets elected!), desperately needs.

I am always amazed that I am asked — if I go anywhere near the USA — if I was  am member of the German National Socialism and Workers Party (NSDAP) between 1933 and 1949. I was born in 1960: my Dad was too young to joint the NSDAP — he would have not, if the war had continued he would have fought for King and Empire — and he was born in 1933. Any Nazis are in their 90s now. Their time, praise God, has gone. We have other evils now.

This US department of education is stupid. Which is unsurprising: the society it springs from is quietly going bankrupt… due to bad choices. Grerp wrote this a while ago. It is incredibly sad, depressing, and accurate.

Two of my old classmates are currently getting divorced.  Amy* lost primary custody of her children in her divorce as her ex was a stay-at-home father [I have to say, this sounds off to me; how is this even possible?  Her kids are school-age.].  She gets them a few hours one weekday night and every other weekend.  She spaced on a critical job requirement and lost her teaching job; in this economy, it’s almost outside the realm of the possible that she will find another.  I don’t know her financial details, but the divorce had to be costly, and she has a mortgage.  She does have a new boyfriend.  A year from now she will be either living with him or with her parents and declaring bankruptcy, if she hasn’t already.  The math supports no other conclusion.

Michelle’s* husband came home one day and told her, “I don’t love you anymore, and I think I want a divorce.”  He’s never given her – or anyone else – a reason for why he wants this, he just does.  Together, they were just barely holding their heads above water.  They had a mortgage on a house that – like many, many houses in Michigan – is now underwater. Make that a mortgage and a second mortgage.  They each had some credit card debt.  She got downsized at work right before their second baby was born, and now only works a few hours a week.  After the lawyers get paid, they will be so far below water that the surface light will not be visible.  She has moved their two children into her parents’ house, and he’s looking for a roommate.

Michelle has two coworkers, sisters whom I also knew once upon a time.  The first is divorced, the second is getting divorced.  Her husband is bipolar and self-medicates with booze.  She has a couple of kids and was living with her parents, but now has moved in with her sister.  Her employment outlook is shaky; it looks like she’s going to lose her job.

All of these women came from the exact same family background as I did: intact families with middle class incomes and college educations.  All of them grew up in safe neighborhoods, went to good schools, attended church.  And all of them are now toast financially.  Not just for now, for at least a decade into the future, probably decades.  Not because their jobs were outsourced or because they bet too much on derivatives or had a major medical event.  Because of divorce.  It is so depressing.  And their kids won’t even have the stability – financially, psychologically, or even possibly physically – that they had.

I’ve said many times that I am divorced — and that has made me hate divorce even more than I did before it. The advertisements lie. You will be too poor and too tired to date: your risk of dissolving yourself into addictions or killing yourself goes up, and your kids will suffer. The names are asterisked because they are false.

Continuing on this theme, there are ways out of this. One is to get the government out of our lives. This will not be a disaster: in fact it could be good for us. Vanessa wrote something I had to drag out of the wayback machine on this.

The fact of the matter, is that the men’s actions are already relatively free of consequence, which is why many men think birth control and abortion are just fine and dandy. Back in the day, if a man created a child out of wedlock he would be pressured (at gunpoint, if needs be — hence the term “shotgun wedding”) to marry the woman and “man up” to his responsibilities. If he did not do so, he’d be completely ostracized. If he still didn’t marry her, then the woman would be ostracized. This discouraged both men and women from extramarital sex. This social policy, while it seems draconian today, made it clear: a father is essential and required and there is no substitute for him. Anyone so callous as to deprive a helpless child of a father deserves nothing but scorn.

Nowadays, we say, “Send a check for $250 once a month and we’ll call it quits.” And if he doesn’t have the money, we throw him in jail at taxpayer’s expense (essentially re-creating the debtor’s prison). Since the Mancession began, our local newspaper has had a parade of men listed as “Wanted for non-support.” How does that serve his children? By offering up a fee as a substitute to fatherhood, we have declared fathers as irrelevant. That is why so many women today think there is nothing wrong with single motherhood. That is why they say, “I don’t need a man. I have my own money.” We have made fathers worth 250 dollars a month (or whatever sum he is paying).

Those men who are “manning up” today are doing so out of a sense of personal responsibility, not out of fear of the state. There are plenty of ways of accounting yourself poor so that you don’t have to cough up the dough. But even those that want to be involved in their children’s lives (and not just reduced to a check) are regularly impeded by the very mothers that plead weakness and poverty. They are turned away at the door (or married fathers are no-fault divorced) and told, “We don’t need you. Just send the check.” In reality, the money is less important to the children than the presence of the father.

Let that be a lesson to us all of the evil impact of unintended consequences.

I am not saying that these children and their mothers should sleep out on the street. Hardly. But that is what private charity is for. Government largess, unlike charity, fuels a sense of personal entitlement and therefore feeds the vice, rather than reducing it. The Catholic Church has always been generous, even to those who were suffering from their own stupidity or to those outside of the law (such as illegal immigrants today). It should continue to do so, and the government should get out of the way.

You see, the modern system of divorce is bad, bad, bad. Yes, it appears civilized. But it damages women economically by making them dependent on the state (as Grerp shows) and then makes them dependent on the state — which they think of as an entitlement. I’ll admit that most of the world is not as punitive to men as the USA — you cannot have your professional license removed or sent to jail in NZ if you don’t pay child support, but the Inland Revenue (IRS for you Americans) runs the system and they are very good at getting money.  The system is unjust, as Dalrock notes.

Men don’t start a family to become half of a broken home, whether this is the half which pays child support or the half which gets the children.  Men want to lead an intact family and work together with their wife to give their children the best.  While taking a man’s children and then forcing him to pay for the honor is adding insult to injury, winning sole custody and having to pay others to do much of the parenting isn’t a great option either.  Even though no doubt most men would greatly prefer the latter over the former, we shouldn’t overlook the great injustice committed by a wife who blows up her family without serious cause regardless of who wins custody.

To this I have no simple or easy solutions, only painful ones.   I think that a sustainable system looks remarkably like what Vanessa called Catholic libertarianism and I would call republicanism. (Rescued from the wayback machine. I;m going to add some glosses).

[Vanessa began her list with]Well, I’ve been doing more and more reading on the topic and I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what Catholic libertarianism would entail, in the concrete:

  • The federal government would be reduced drastically, with some agencies (such as the Department of Education) eliminated completely and others devolved to the states. [Not an issue in NZ: we have no federal government. In Australia, Canberra needs to shrink and the EU system has to go}

  • Reform of Congress. [MMP can go away, please. 20 seats, 3 top polling candidates, single transferable vote. Like Ireland. That would mean 60 members for NZ’s four million. And force Parliament to meet less].

  • Abolish the draft and any other compulsory government service.

  • Abolition of hate crime legislation.

  • Repeal of all existing and prohibition of all future executive orders, which are presidential legislation and therefore clearly unconstitutional.[NZ does not have a constitution. Require all things that the Queen will assent to have passed Parliament. Including honours and commissions]

  • Repeal all minimum-wage statues, price-fixes, and welfare laws. Charity is a Christian duty and should be a matter for private citizens, not government. Spending other people’s money is not charity, it is extortion.

  • Close the IRS and end federal income tax. [Not possible in NZ as we don’t have a federal system. But a flat (poll) tax and proof of taxpaying status before access to the ballot box or civil court would work quite nicely]

    • Instead, the budget of the federal government should be covered by the individual states, proportional to their population.
    • Forbid the federal government from running a deficit.
    • State governments should get rid of progressive taxes (which are inherently unfair and lower civic participation) and instead have a flat tax of some sort.
  • Health care would be devolved completely to the states. [Devolved to the individual. Who can then buy care packages — from his union, his guild, or on the open market. In NZ unions have run health care systems, and they can again.]

    • I mean completely: that includes Medicare, Medicaid, etc. The only exception would be military hospitals, which are in the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense.
    • At the state level, catastrophic health care should be universal, as it is today, but it should be reorganized to be more efficient and cost-effective. Each state would be free to design its own system, whether government-run or privately-run with government subsidies for those unable to obtain their own coverage.
  • All vices (damage to oneself or one’s property) would be made legal and all crimes (damage to another or their property) illegal.Civil marriage (and everything similar) would be abolished.

    • Vices such as prostitution, alcohol and drug use, homosexuality, etc. would still be immoral, but they would no longer land you in court. Vices are not crimes, nor should they be categorized as such. Crimes breach another person’s right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, which is why they should be punished by the state, who is charged with protecting those rights. Abortion and euthanasia would be categorized as felonies and banned completely. Both involve the purposeful damage (murder) of another, and are therefore clearly crimes.
    • I know it burns Catholics to make such a concession, but we must remember that liberty also includes the right to sin, hurt yourself, screw up your life, or waste your existence. Free will. It is the Church’s duty (along with the like-minded out there) to speak out against vice and offer help to such people that find themselves trapped in it, rather than viewing those practicing vice as criminals who must be punished. We Catholics must also not forget that the practice of our own religion was once outlawed in other countries, and that it was precisely this respect of liberty that brought our ancestors here.
    • Rather than being criminal offenses, vices would be regulated by local governments to protect other citizens (especially children) from their undue influence. In other words, to protect others’ right to their pursuit of happiness. This could be limiting prostitution to brothels outside of the city limits, prohibiting “driving while intoxicated”, outlawing public intoxication as a nuisance, or allowing smoking (of any kind) only in specially designated venues.
  • Education would become a market. Government (state) funds would be attached to children through a voucher system, instead of going to specific schools. Public schools would still exist but would only stay open as long as they could convince parents to send their children there.

When Vanessa wrote this, in January three years ago, it all sounded theoretical. But I fear it will not be soon. The US is as functionally bankrupt as the EU as is Greece and Spain. Everything is interconnected.  The system that Vanessa describes is quite similar to how things were before the welfare state (which was invented as a system to deal with war wounded in the period of total war envisioned by the Prussians and Nipponese).

We cannot afford to have a social welfare system. We can afford to have fair law courts, private contract, and charity. That combination of private virtue and British Civil Law made Singapore and Hong Kong. It made the USA. It made the Empire. It will work again. But I fear there will be much pain. For hubris has consumed the state, and the current disconnection between the elite in Wellington, Canberra, London, Ottawa and Washington and the rest of the Anglosphere is a symptom of an impending fall.

A failure led Israel from Egypt.

I’m going to deviate from the text to discuss something around the current situation, particularly around an error among women within the church.

There is a meme that if you threaten divorce or even divorce your husband — taking him to the cleaners, you are doing God’s work. You are making him righteous and will win him back (but better).

Wrong. Firstly, remarriage is not acceptable as the only justification for it is to say that the erring spouse has broken all covenant, and, as an oath breaker, must me seen as dead. Secondly, you are literally putting your husband’s life and soul in peril — divorce doubles his risk of suicide. (it does not double the wifes, instead the risk of her drinking goes up).

Anyway, let’s look at the texts. Now, Moses by now is not a prince of Egypt. He is one of those shepherds. He lives with his father in law, and the implication is that (at least one) of his wifes basically stayed away from him: she did not go to Israel with him. Moses used to be successful. He is now around eighty, and is not at all successful by the standards of Egypt — where shepherds were seen as some kind of untouchables.

Exodus 3:1-5

1Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

Hebrews 11:23-31

23By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

We need to consider that God does not look at our success or lack of it the way the world does. The writer of Hebrews states that Moses gave up his position in the Royal but pagan Egyptian dynasty to identify with slaves, for he knew they were the people of promise.  He gave up success, and lived as an exile from his people for four decades. During that time, he would have been not seen as a leader.

But we do not see things this way. Instead, we have fallen into the error of preaching prosperity and personal comfort and happiness as if it is the gospel. We forget that you can live wisely and shrewdly and still be a failure. And we forget that at times the people of God need to flee the Babylon of that generation.

If two people live together in holy matrimony there will continue to be conflict. The wife will worry and the husband will think too practically at times. Communication will at times be difficult. Simply because we are human. At the risk of confronting two of the more stupid writers on this issue. conflict and difficulties are inevitable, and to over spiritual-ise this (and imply that a woman should live like a romance novel heroine) is unrealistic: no man, no matter how confident and dominant, can continually act like that.

Bitterness comes out of disappointed expectations. But you do not know the timing of God nor the purpose for which you are here. You only know the task before you.

God chooses the failures and slaves of this world to confront the powers and tell truth to the rulers. And at times he take failures and makes them lead a people from bondage.

For God makes things happen. Not us.