Why the blind spot matters.

And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

–Gen 3:17

Commenter Robert very politely disagreed* with my previous post on Pastor Tim Bayly:

I do not know much about this guy, but I’ve clicked on a few links from this post. Links that are supposed to be the evidence against this guy that he is sometimes not excellent…like what can wives do for unemotionally available guys. I won’t quote but in the two paragraphs it says she should submit to him, be sweet to him, pray for him and make sure she and their children honor him. Remind me again why this guy is having a post written about him and this is the evidence against him?

We all have blindspots. This guy, myself and Dalrock also. I think you are looking for a fight, or at least undercutting a brother, in this case Dalrock from someone who is friendly to our cause and is inline with God’s Word.

Novaseeker replied*:

I doubt you will find too many even here who disagree with the idea that there are many men who are also failing in their husbandly responsibilities. We all know cases of that, we are also not blind to them, either.

The jarring thing, however, is that the churches almost uniformly focus on these (and boy, do they) but almost never address what is happening on the other side of the sexual aisle. This is the overwhelming trend in the churches, and it is so ever-present that it can be hard even to notice it precisely because it is the default setting. There are many reasons for this, and Dalrock has discussed most of them on this blog at length. But the reason why he focuses as he does is because this is simply underfocused on the churches, and this blog is a kind of corrective to that overwhelmingly common tendency.

Novaseeker is right, but there is more that I would add.  The problem isn’t merely that men’s sins are obsessed over while women’s sins are ignored.  This would be bad enough, as it would only permit men the opportunity to repent while depriving women of the same.  The much larger problem is that the mis characterization of feminist rebellion prevents both men and women from acknowledging what is really happening, and therefore prevents the opportunity of repentance for both sexes.

The general pattern of men’s and women’s sins goes back to Genesis, where Eve was easily primed to believe that something great was being unfairly withheld from her, and Adam chose to take the easy path and go along with her instead of putting his foot down.

This pattern is exactly what we see played out today.  Women are filled with a spirit of resentment and rebellion (feminism), and men don’t address the issue because calling out women on their sins is extremely difficult and feels terrible.  Instead, we find a way to call out another man, because that is easy and feels heroic.  This pattern is so common we don’t even notice it, but perhaps the most ridiculous example is the complementarian response to women demanding to serve in combat.  Instead of pointing out that women are rebelling and engaging in a form of cross-dressing, complementarians pretend that what is really happening is cowardly men are forcing innocent women into combat.  As absurd as the claim is, it is widely popular because it avoids what is unpleasant and difficult, and elects instead to do what is easy and feels good.  Note that both sexes are sinning in this dynamic;  women are rebelling, and cowardly men are doing whatever it takes to avoid what would be the loving response.

Understanding this is critical if we hope to stop making the same mistake over and over again.  For men, the problem is not that we are calling out their sins, but we are carefully avoiding calling out the sin enabling the recurring pattern.

For another example, this time I’ll share a post written by someone other than Pastor Bayly.  This is a guest post by Pastor David Wegener on Bayly’s blog, and like Bayly’s writing, most of it is outstanding.  The post is titled PCA debate over woman deacons: It’s about rebellion–not exegesis… and includes gems like:

Does anyone really think this issue is about what Scripture actually says? Would that it were true. Why is it that men all over the PCA are bringing up this topic at this particular moment in history? Might it have something to do with the air we breathe every day?

And:

Our pastors preach through books like Ephesians and Colossians and sweat bullets as they approach Ephesians 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18. And if they do preach on the topic, they talk mostly about what submission does not mean. So the final result is, “wives, be nice to your husbands.”

Afterwards, when they greet the congregation, their mouth shows the same expression as a dog cowed into submission by the pack’s alpha dog. The non-verbal communication is obvious.

I highly reccomend reading the whole post.  I’ve only included a few snippets for brevity, but the post is brilliant until Pastor Wegener gets to his diagnosis of the root of the rebellion:

But the roots of this rebellion are not in exegesis, and so we must not fight this battle only on that level. The roots lie in our sin. We don’t love our wives and sometimes they become a seething cauldron of bitterness. We love pornography or commit adultery and so we refuse to call our wives to submit (in any area of their lives). Guilt over our compromised state eviscerates our authority. Fathers sexually molest their daughters and bring rebellion into the church for generations to come. Fathers hold their darling on their lap and tell her how she can become president someday. Mothers push their daughters to get the education she’ll need so that she can earn a good living after her husband divorces her and leaves her with three children. Single women, whose fathers and mothers have failed to teach feminine deference, whine about lacking a voice in the church.

Notice that every time a woman sins in the quote above, a man made her do it.  Wives rebel because their husbands don’t love them.  Women rebel in church because their fathers sexually molested them.  Mothers push their daughters to be career women because her future husband will abandon her and her children.  Also note that it is true that men can sin in all of the ways Wegener blames for feminist rebellion.  Yet this technical truth is used to sell the lie that women aren’t capable of sinning all on their own.  Pastor Wegener rightly points out that we need to understand the roots of the rebellion if we are to address the problem, but then goes on to obscure those very roots.

This is something much worse than obsessing over men’s sins and minimizing or denying women’s sins.  It is refusing to address the prevailing sins of men and women.

*These are only small excerpts. See the comment thread for the full exchange.

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Posted in Pastor Tim Bayly, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye | 184 Comments

The one obstacle she can’t remove.

Shana Lebowitz at Business Insider writes that the problem with marriage is that it is so terribly permanent:

…I was left worriedly wondering: Is it possible that a couple can start out perfectly compatible, and then become less so over time?

Here’s the answer he gave: “Even if we achieve compatibility in the marriage, there’s no guarantee that that compatibility will remain strong over time.”

Yikes.

It turns out the danger is worst for carousel riders looking to marry at the last minute:

That’s especially true, Finkel added, if those two years are when you’re “in your late 20s, and you’re building a career, and you’re still hanging out some with your college friends, and you have some new friends.

This caused Lebowitz to recall an article she wrote in July, where she discovered that the problem with marriage was that divorce was seen as failure:

Finkel’s unsettling observations reminded me of something Susan Pease Gadoua, co-author of “The New I Do,” told me in July: It’s helpful to know you have an “out” of your marriage. That is, if one or both people grow out of the relationship, it might be upsetting, but it won’t be shameful to leave.

As Lebowitz’ explained in her July article, the idea of lifetime marriage is unhealthy (emphasis original):

When I spoke with Pease Gadoua in June, I asked her if it was useful to keep the possibility of divorce in the back of your mind.

She told me: “When people see divorce as never an option, it can create some unhealthy dynamics.”

This lead to a breakthrough idea.  What would revolutionize marriage, and make it really thrive as an institution, is easy divorce:

The implication for marriage is, if you accept that you might grow out of your relationship — or your partner might — you’re freeing yourself to be in the marriage because you want to, and not because you have to.

What is so telling about this is that easy divorce has been the law of the land for over four decades, and the church has even gotten with the program and stands by ready to rationalize divorce morally as well.  Feminists have gotten everything they could possibly want from our formal institutions.  And yet Lebowitz is troubled enough to write repeated articles on the topic because she understands a fundamental truth.  Other women will judge her as a failure if she marries and can’t stay married.  The exception here would be if she divorced, traded up, and stuck the landing.  But sticking the landing is a long shot.  If a woman could expect to do better than her first husband, she wouldn’t have settled for marrying the first husband in the first place.  Even worse, for round two she will not only be older with a history of divorce, but she will likely be a single mother.

So the fear remains, leaving Lebowitz with no other option but to try in vain to change the reality more stubborn than the law and the church.  While her readers may well like the idea of not being judged themselves, what she won’t be able to do is change the judgments her readers make about other women.

Posted in Aging Feminists, Business Insider, Divorce, Marriage, Shana Lebowitz, Status of marriage | 106 Comments

Sometimes excellent.

Commenter Neguy wrote:

I spent some time browsing through Tim Bayly’s archives about Redeemer. Some of his very earliest posts have some blue pill thinking embedded, but he quickly becomes radically based. This guy is very rare. See:

http://baylyblog.com/blog/2013/11/mondays-bill-bill-mounce-wont-allow-his-wife-call-him-lord

His discussions about some of the contortions Redeemer went through to promote women into leadership were very illuminating, and disappointing to read about.

Sadly, he would appear to be on the losing side of a battle within the PCA.

Neguy is right that much of what Pastor Bayly writes is quite good, and the article he points to is an excellent find.  In it Bayly eviscerates the Complementarian movement:

‘Complementarian’ is the new word invented by a small group of scholars who were trading the presidency of the Evangelical Theological Society among themselves a couple decades ago. These men intended their neologism to provide them a place to stand somewhere between Scripture’s patriarchy (literally “father-rule”) and Evangelicalism’s feminism.

Caught, then, between their niche market and that nasty word ‘patriarchy’ which set off catcalls from fellow scholars, these men created a label for themselves that would allow them to avoid looking old and passé as they defended a few of the last vestiges of historic father-rule where it mattered most to them: in the Christian church where most of them wanted their preachers to remain men, and in the Christian home where all of them were intent on holding on to what Tim Keller calls the “tie-breaking authority” of the husband.

You get the idea: God’s Creation Order of Adam first, then Eve, was embarrassing to have to explain to their fellow scholars, so they adopted this equivocation that made it look like they, themselves, were not ignorant or chauvinist; a euphemism that allowed them to distance themselves from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Paul, and Peter—and of course their own fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, none of whom could help being sexist since they lived prior to our own evolved and progressive era.

Complementarians sold our godly fathers down the river:

Bayly is in a position to know this, as he had an inside view.  He doesn’t mention it in the post, but Bayly was an early Executive Director of the CBMW, the very group that coined the term complementarian.  As Mary Kassian explains, the word was chosen to avoid the concepts of hierarchy, patriarchy, and tradition:

I’ve read several posts on the internet lately from people who misunderstand and/or misrepresent the complementarian view. I was at the meeting, 25 years ago, where the word “complementarian” was chosen. So I think I have a good grasp on the word’s definition.

In our name-the-concept meeting, someone mentioned the word “traditionalism” since our position is what Christians have traditionally believed. But that was quickly nixed. The word “traditionalism” smacks of “tradition.” Complementarians believe that the Bible’s principles supersede tradition. They can be applied in every time and culture. June Cleaver is a traditional, American, cultural TV stereotype. She is NOT the complementarian ideal. Period. (And exclamation mark!) Culture has changed…

Feminist theorists maintain that male-female role differences create an over-under hierarchy in which men, who are like the privileged, elite, French landowners (bourgeois) of the 18th century, keep women—who are like the lower, underprivileged class of workers (proletariat)—subservient. Complementarians do not believe that men, as a group, are ranked higher than women. Men are not superior to women–women are not the “second sex.” Though men have a responsibility to exercise headship in their homes, and in the church family, Christ revolutionized the definition of what that means. Authority is not the right to rule—it’s the responsibility to serve. We rejected the term “hierarchicalism” because people associate it with an inherent, self-proclaimed right to rule.

Getting back to Bayly’s post, he describes how complementarians tie Scripture up in knots under the guise of a husband’s responsibility of “leadership”:

Ah yes, “a failure to lead.” Dr. Mounce is quite pleased to place his readers on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, we could allow the Apostle Peter’s exhortation concerning Sarah to speak to the the heart of our own wives, leading them to call their own husbands “Lord” or “sir,” but then Dr. Mounce shows us his other hand holding a high trump card: any Christian man today who allows his wife to obey the Apostle Peter’s commendation of Sarah would be “failing to lead.”

Yikes! We don’t want to do that, do we? Fail to lead? What real man fails to lead?

And what is an academic if he’s not a leader?

No, if one thing’s certain, it’s that we must—we absolutely must—lead.

Poor Abraham: he failed to lead. Poor Apostle Peter: he too failed to lead. Poor church fathers across history: all of them failed to lead.

Not Dr. William Mounce, though; no siree! He will lead his wife to yield to her husband’s superior understanding of semantic range such that she never ever gives in to the temptation to sign her submission to her husband, verbally, out there in public where it might be in danger of being viewed as a public confession of Christian faith.

Clearly Bayly “gets it” at one level, and I have no question I can learn much from him.  His fight against some forms of feminism in the PCA is also heroic.  But at the same time, he obviously has a huge and very common blind spot.  As nearly everyone else does, he sees the very open feminist rebellion of generations of Christian and non-Christian women and declares that something mysterious has happened to men.

In the introduction to Daddy Tried: Overcoming the Failures of Fatherhood, Bayly frames the problems of fatherhood as men abandoning their families.  While there certainly are some men who are doing this, the much larger social and legal trend is women kicking fathers out of the family, and the remaining fathers living under the ever present threat that the same will happen to them.  This is something feminists are very open about, as the goal is to put wives in control*.  To twist this around into men abandoning their families is sickening, and a refusal to deal with reality.

Barnabus opens its multi part series on Bayly’s book with:

For millions more, the father may be there in body but is checked out emotionally. Arguably, the institution of the family, and specifically fatherhood, has never been in such a mess. Absentee fathers, angry fathers, abusive fathers, apathetic fathers, addicted fathers are just a few of the categorical labels applied to a role intended by God to be a position of honor, a source of provision, a place of protection, and a voice of guidance and justice within both the family unit and society at large.

There appears to be a sentence missing from the original post, one stating that millions of fathers have physically abandoned their families.  But this would have been a segue into what is the larger focus of the book, men who are emotionally unavailable.  As the quotes I shared above prove, sometimes Bayly can spot new age hokum.  But on this point he clearly can not.  Emotionally unavailable men is straight from the Book of Oprah, and his focus here makes his answer on what wives can do to help suddenly make sense:

Q: What can wives do to help their husbands better fulfill their role as fathers?…

Explain to your husband that you wonder if he loves you because real love between a man and his wife is as emotionally intimate as it is physically intimate. Ask your husband to go with you to meet with the pastor; tell him that there are some things you’d like the pastor’s help explaining to him. Don’t baby him. Ask questions that are open-ended. Study him. Learn his fears.

This teaching is firmly rooted in the 1970s worldview**, and it is tied up with a host of similar fallacies, including the idea that women are naturally inclined towards commitment and sexually and romantically attracted to virtue.  If a man’s wife doesn’t feel the tingle, or doesn’t feel loved, this is taken as proof that the husband is committing the sin of emotional unavailability. Other pastors have taken this same nonsense so far as to claim God speaks to sinful men through their wives frigid vaginas.

There is however a silver lining, as the same sexual revolution that birthed the new age idea of the sin of emotional unavailability also set the stage for a small group of men to exploit the new post-marriage sexual marketplace.  As a result, younger generations are slowly learning the falseness of the Book of Oprah model of men and women.  However, the change is slow, and it is a great tragedy that for the time being at least young men and women are far more likely to learn the truth about these new-age ideas from pickup artists like Heartiste than they are to learn it from Christian leaders.

Related:  Don’t blame Heartiste for the equation of Alpha with virtue.

*Modern Christian’s have enthusiastically adopted this new tool of wife rule with the model of the wakeup call.

**Some might argue that the worldview started in the 1960s.  Others would point out that the 1980s solidified this thinking.  Both points are true.  However, my own sense is that the 70s are when this form of thinking became mainstream.  Either way, proponents of the host of related new age thinking will most commonly invoke the 1950s as a sort of shorthand for the prior unenlightened age, which feminism, the sexual revolution, child support, and no fault divorce “rescued” us from.

Posted in Complementarian, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Disrespecting Respectability, Fatherhood, Mary Kassian, Pastor Tim Bayly, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye | 118 Comments

Cleansing the palate.

As a matter of mercy, I thought I would include some manly videos this Friday after the sickening fruitiness of Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church worship video.

First up is a compilation of knife and sword tests from the reality show “Forged in Fire”.

In my opinion Doug Marcaida steals the show, and the next three videos feature him.  In this first Marcaida video he explains the philosophy of Kali martial arts on weapons.  His language is unashamedly masculine, and at the 2:20 mark he describes the fun of training with his brothers.

 

Next, Marcaida (a knife fighter) teams up with Instructor Zero (a gun fighter) to develop strategies for a gunfighter attacked by a knife.  You can also see in a separate video Marcaida referring to Zero as his brother.

In this final video Marcaida demonstrates the Karambit.  This is truly brutal business:

Posted in Guns, Knives, Manliness | 37 Comments

Playing ballerina.

By way of Pastor Tim Bayly in Redeemer’s effeminate worship… is the following fruity dance at Pastor Tim Keller’s church (click on the blue button to watch it at Vimeo):

Lest you think that Pastor Bayly and I are exaggerating, be sure to let it play long enough to get to the part where one of the men caries the other man as he would a ballerina.

Posted in Manliness, Pastor Tim Bayly, Tim and Kathy Keller, You can't make this stuff up | 91 Comments