Category Archives: Masculinity
I was re-reading this old post of mine, and thinking about Carl Trueman’s quote from Rosaria Butterfield’s autobiography:
What good Christians don’t realize is that sexual sin is not recreational sin gone overboard. Sexual sin is predatory. It won’t be ‘healed’ by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. But healing, to the sexual sinner, is death: nothing more and nothing less.
which Trueman used to back up his contention that the problem of porn is deeper than sexual sin, which strikes me as absurd. (See my previous post.)
Anyway, I wondered how Butterfield could arrive at this notion that sexual sin warps one’s sexuality so much that it may need to be annihilated and then reconstructed by God, if He pleases.
Well, as I mentioned in one of the comments (read through them to find the link to the wiki about her), Butterfield was a practising lesbian. By God’s grace, she was removed from that lifestyle, and is now a married mother, the wife of a Reformed pastor.
Which is wonderful; I praise God for that. She has been most greatly blessed.
But I believe that Butterfield errs in thinking that because it was necessary in her case for God to annihilate her homosexuality, in order to then grant her heterosexuality (as certainly seems to be the case), that all who struggle with sexual sin can expect, if they repent and turn away from their sexual sin, to experience something God doing similar with their own sexuality.
Because, after all, for those of us who aren’t homosexual in orientation, our sexuality, however sin-stained, is at least pointing in the right direction, if you will, in terms of opposite-sex attraction. Obviously that was not the case for her, so a more radical transformation, a complete deconstruction and then radical reconstruction, was necessary for her to have a normal, healthy, God-honouring sexuality.
Therefore she is wrong to assume the general from the specific and personal anecdotal; to take her personal experience, and see what God had to do with her, as normative for all Christians. I’m not by any means trying to minimize the radical lifestyle changes that those of us who have gone astray in such matters may need to undergo; the radical change of spirit, of mindset, of lifestyle, in order to be in compliance with God’s revealed will for us, to live our lives in God-honouring ways in the sexual sphere as in all others.
But at least those of us who are straight don’t need to be turned in our orientation.
We are blessed to have it a bit easier than she did.
Her advice, therefore, on that point, is misguided and not especially helpful to straight Christians.
She’s wrong. That’s all.
And Trueman remains wrong in citing her perspective to back up his own misguided views about male sexuality.
The Law of God, or the Ten Commandments, have two separate commandments that deal with sexual sin; one is primarily about the actions (though also including thoughts) – ‘Do not commit adultery’, while the other is about the desire behind the actions (and thoughts) – “Do not covet”.
And Paul encourages, for those not inclined to lifelong celibacy, marriage, to avoid fornication; see 1 Corinthians 7.
Ideally, if both spouses are striving to satisfy each other’s desires and needs, neither of them will covet anyone else’s spouse (or someone not married), and therefore won’t fall into the breaking of the other commandment, either, in that regard. (Of course, we may still have to deal with stray thoughts / memories, etc., and can’t expect that we can or will obey perfectly, but Paul surely would tell us it’s still better for us to go through that than falling into fornication itself; hence why he recommends it.)
Surely the same applies to pornography; pornography is surely akin to a virtual form of fornication, since lust is equally involved, and lust can be in the heart and mind even if not committed in the body; Christ warned us, after all, that if we so much as think about adultery that we have committed it in our hearts, in God’s eye.
And so, if Paul advises marriage with regular sexual intercourse to avoid fornication, as we read in 1 Corinthians 7, surely marriage with regular sexual intercourse helps one avoid the sexual sin of pornography. So Trueman was wrong to criticize the other pastor for positing marriage as a solution to the man’s pornography problem, as outlined in the previous post. Marriage is the best solution to avoiding sexual sin, which is why God’s Holy Word recommends it, to that very end. QED.
Of course, she could, if she’d stop being a slut, but that’s impossible for millennial progs.
the “Never Trump” brigade is staffed largely by women. I contend therein that the rise of Donald Trump and the reassertion of patriarchy it expresses is seen (quite rightly) by Megyn Kelly, Sarah Rumpf, Amanda Carpenter, Michelle Fields, Dana Loesch, S.E. Cupp, Ana Navarro, et al., as a threat to their current pundit supremacy. And then Kat Timpf announced to the world from her perch at Fox News that Trump’s August 15 press conference would have precipitated a flood of hot tears, but she was compelled to control herself because “I have too much eye makeup on to start crying right now.” I am not, as the kids like to say, making this up.
Some Christians let the ideal be the enemy of the practical, in things political; others of us are more pragmatic.
Life and culture in traditionally Orthodox countries, is “traditional”; but not necessarily in exactly the way you might expect.
I am an Orthodox Christian, and grew up in the Metropolia (predecessor to the OCA). My wife is native of the Republic of Georgia.
As you might expect, Georgia is a very traditional culture. Alternate sexuality is not only not endorsed, it is unthinkable. They very words for “gay” in both Russian and Georgian (both of which correspond to their respective name for the light blue color,;why I can’t say) are viscerally distasteful in a way the English speakers cannot imagine. When representatives of her EU tried to import a “gay rights” march to Tbilisi, there were riots led by clergy members. Some saw this as an attempt to embarrass the Georgian Patriarchate. While Georgians are absolutely committed to the West, (i.e membership in the EU and NATO,) they are determined at the same time to protect traditional values.
That being said, “traditional” values are not entirely consonant with Christian values. While women are expected to maintain purity until marriage, men are assumed to be promiscuous. Adulterous men are “just being men”. Former president Saakashvili traveled around the country with beautiful women, not his wife, and actively cultivated the persona of a ‘ladies man’ as a way to demonstrated his manliness. Subsequent leaders, at least have been more circumspect. Even 20 years ago, marriage by kidnapping / rape was tolerated, and not unusual. If a boy kidnapped a girl and kept her incognito overnight, the assumption was that she was spoiled goods and un-marriageable. Thus, she was often just stuck with him. Sometimes this was a cover for an elopement without parental consent; but sometimes it was an actual rape. Thankfully, the younger generation does not tolerate such things; but it was common up until maybe 20 years ago. My wife’s aunt was the victim of such an event many years ago, by an Ossetian man. She endured decades of abuse, abandonment and then had to care for him as he slowly died from prostate cancer and heart disease. After that, she had 2 good years with her grandchildren, before she too died from a stroke. Fortunately, her 3 children somehow turned out to be the kindest and loveliest people. So; “tradition” is not always what you might expect or approve of.
You should also note, that there is not one “Orthodox ” country that has outlawed abortion on demand. A couple years ago, his Holiness, Ilya II, suggested that he Parliament might undertake such a project. As I recall, only three of the usually loquacious MP’s were willing to go on record. All three sheepishly answered that “that is probably not a good idea at this time” or some such. no-one however, took up the measure or even recommended it. Usually, the government falls all over itself to pay lip service to the church, especially to Patriarch Ilya.
Furthermore, you need to be aware that in other countries much of the human infrastructure we count on here does not exist. In Georgia the state health care system is a rudimentary relic of the Soviet Era – vaccinations pre-natal care, and not much more. Government physicians earn the equivalent of about $50 a month. Private physicians are a cash and carry business. Since I work in oncology, there is not a month go by when we don’t get an urgent plea to explain a situation with directions on how to get adequate care, There are some well trained oncologists in Georgia, trained in Germany; but care is very much a hit an miss affair.
Public safety is also rudimentary. Car accidents are a major cause of death. Despite the rugged mountainous terrain, Georgian roads have no guardrails; just a series of low posts that won’t stop anything larger that a toy wagon. Until a few years ago, there was no requirement to wear seat belts. Smoking and drinking are epidemic and there is no public campaign to limit either. One could go on….
I could live with such imperfections. I’m not Eastern Orthodox, and have no interest in learning Georgian, nor moving there myself, but my point is this: if someone said I could choose between a more traditional society, which would look like the Republic of Georgia, versus what we have here in the West now (and even worse, where things are surely headed in the West in the years ahead), I’d happily pick the lesser evil of a decidedly hyper-macho, patriarchal, outwardly Christian society where mountain passes have no guardrails and people are drunken chainsmokers, than one where Christians are persecuted, and far greater immorality and wickedness are the order of the day. (As for abortion, unfortunate that they’re not better in that regard, but I can’t imagine they’re worse than here; I’m sure they’re actually better overall in terms of the rate, and social and cultural stigmas against it likely prevail more than here, and so taking everything else into consideration, such a society still looks much better than the West of today and to come.)
And similarly, while I don’t think Putin’s Russia is perfect, it’s a far cry better in all the ways that matter, in terms of the cultural war, than where we are here in the West.
We’ll never have perfection in this world. Perhaps we oughta consider up with which imperfections we could put.
I remember reading a few years ago a minister’s account of counseling a man with a pornography problem. The advice amounted to ‘Get married and have sex with your wife.’ The advice may have been ironic; but if not, it is surely dangerous. The use of pornography is not simply a result of overactive glands than need some relief; it is a form of sin which is complex in origin and manifestation. Simply finding an outlet for legitimate physical relief of sexual urges does not begin to address the deeper problems. To quote Butterfield (p. 83): “What good Christians don’t realize is that sexual sin is not recreational sin gone overboard. Sexual sin is predatory. It won’t be ‘healed’ by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. But healing, to the sexual sinner, is death: nothing more and nothing less.” That has profound pastoral implications, one of which is not seeing marriage as the cure for sexual incontinence.
Men turn to pornography as a sexual release outlet precisely because they’re not otherwise getting the sexual release they desire. It’s a sinful choice, but it’s certainly understandable. Paul, inspired, told us in Scripture that ‘It is better to marry than to burn’ (and in that chapter encouraged spouses to meet each others’ sexual needs, to not defraud each other); what does Pastor Trueman know that Paul didn’t? How is marriage not a solution?
(It reminds me of how Alcoholics Anonymous argues that alcoholism isn’t caused by excessive, uncontrolled drinking of alcoholic beverages, but stems from various moral failings, and that ‘liquor is but a symptom’ of the ‘real’ issue, a ‘spiritual disease’; from this, they argue that merely being ‘dry’ doesn’t solve such.
Which is bullshit. While people may turn to excess drinking in response to various stresses in their lives, etc., which may still remain even if they quit their drinking, the fact is, quitting drinking will return to them a greater degree of control over their lives, and then they can start to tackle various other problems in their lives. And the problem with alcoholism is drinking too much; not what led to that, which is a separate matter.)
Seems to me that some folks want to make hills into mountains. No doubt it helps pastors and ‘Christian counsellors’ sell books / counselling sessions, theological conferences, etc. (Oops; how uncharitable of me…)
One reason ostensibly pro-life Republican presidents haven’t been able to do anything about abortion
(In addition to the fact that the party establishment is solidly pro-abortion, that is.)
As Ronald Reagan prepared to deliver the 1987 State of the Union address, his wife, Nancy, reportedly told his advisers, “I don’t give a damn about the pro-lifers,” and demanded that any mention of abortion be removed from the speech. Nancy, who rarely intervened in political matters, got her way, and the speech focused on international affairs, education, and ongoing congressional wrangling over the budget process.
President Reagan, of course, was a vocal abortion opponent; indeed, he was probably the most pro-life president the United States has ever had. But Nancy supported abortion. Although she mostly kept mum in public while first lady, she has since said on several occasions that while she is personally pro-life, “I believe in a woman’s choice.” She has also been an outspoken proponent of embryonic stem cell research.
It would be refreshing to have a Republican presidential nominee—and a president—whose spouse holds deeply pro-life views. Both George H.W. Bush’s wife, Barbara, and George W. Bush’s wife, Laura, support abortion, although they mostly kept their views to themselves during their husbands’ presidencies.
One exception occurred when President George H.W. Bush ran for reelection in 1992. That year, Republicans had written a very strong pro-life platform that Barbara Bush undercut, telling the media she thought the issue had no place in the platform.
She said abortion was “a personal thing” and that “the personal things should be left out of, in my opinion, platforms and conventions.” Barbara’s comments came at a bad time for her husband, who was having trouble retaining conservative support then.
Laura Bush stayed silent about abortion during her husband’s presidency. But many suspected she disagreed with her husband’s pro-life views. This was later confirmed in her memoir, “Spoken From the Heart,” in which she wrote, “While cherishing life, I have always believed that abortion is a private decision, and there, no one can walk in anyone else’s shoes.”
And so, hen-pecked, ostensibly ‘pro-life’ presidents have followed their wives’ lead, and done nothing substantive to end abortion while in office, just lip-service, nothing more, really…
The same is true of various Republican candidates in recent years:
Similarly, in 2008, Cindy McCain told Katie Couric that while she is pro-life she supports exceptions for rape and incest and didn’t believe Roe v Wade should be overturned.
1996 GOP nominee Bob Dole’s wife, Elizabeth, was known as a pro-life senator. But she supported federal funding of abortion in certain cases and said abortion should not be a litmus test for judicial appointments.
Then there’s the last prospective Republican first lady, Ann Romney. Alhough pro-life, she seemed uncomfortable talking about the dignity of human life. There were also questions about her having donated $150 to Planned Parenthood in 1994, back when Mitt himself supported abortion.
Now, the author of the piece, Gary Bauer (former presidential candidate, well-known so-con and Zionist lobbyist), is excited because the wives of Rubio and Cruz are pro-lifers. I guess that is indeed a pleasant change. But knowing how pro-choice the party establishment is, and how Republicans have done squat to change things when they’ve had both the presidency and the House, I doubt that will matter much, assuming that either Rubio or Cruz even win the nomination.
Anyway, getting back to the presidents whose wives disagreed fundamentally with them on the issue, does anyone honestly believe that any contemporary American president whose wife is pro-abortion is going to be able to stand up to her and enact measures she would disagree with? None these days have the balls to do so.