Matt Walsh wins the internet. Again. This is one of the best things ever to grace the interwebs: Your husband doesn’t have to earn your respect. You can read a million posts about men needing to be better husbands and fathers from all sorts of vantage points ranging from patriarchy to neo-feminist egalitarianism. Switch it around and talk about women being better moms and wives? Yeah that is not so popular.
I’ve discussed at length how men should treat women. I’ve written about the lessons I plan to teach my son; lessons about how he should love, honor, respect, serve, and protect the women in his life. Indeed, men need to respect women, and we, as men, are far from perfect in that regard.
Those posts — the ones where I call on us men to improve the way we treat women — tend to be very popular. They’re popular when I write them or when anyone writes them. Proclaim that women, mothers, and wives should be respected, and a chorus will shout ‘amen.’ Every day on Facebook brings us another viral post excoriating men and supporting women. I’ve written a few of them myself.
But I’ve noticed that the corollary – a message about the respect women must give men, a message challenging wives and encouraging husbands – isn’t quite so palatable for many people. Disrespect for men has become standard practice. That scene I witnessed was sad but unremarkable; we’ve all watched that kind of thing play out a thousand times over. Men are disrespected by their wives – they’re disrespected publicly, they’re disrespected privately, they’re disrespected and then told that they have no right to be upset about it because they aren’t worthy of respect in the first place.
I cannot tell you how many times I have overheard conversations among female co-workers in an office setting where they were complaining about their husbands. As Matt also points out our poplar entertainment media is full of depictions of husbands as clueless oafs, barely tolerated by their long-suffering wives and mocked by their world wise kids. This constant barrage in TV shows and commercials goes a long way toward explaining why relationships in America often seem like the woman is barely tolerating her partner as a burden to bear. This doesn't absolve men of their responsibility but it does in some measure explain it.
One of the most common misunderstandings when it comes Biblical relationship in marriage is that wifely submission and husbandly love is conditional. In other words wives only have to submit to their husbands when he deserves and husbands only have to love their wives when they deserve it. (The other misunderstanding that is exploited by many neo-feminist writers is that submission is a function of power, which it certainly is not.). My call to love my wife and respect her as the weaker vessel is not contingent on her submission to me. Likewise her calling to respect and submit to me is also not contingent on me loving her. We need to recover the Biblical harmony and rhythm of marriage because following the lead of the world is killing the family witness.
Here is a good post on the notion of "just war" and the positive assumption it gets in the church, Questioning the Just War Assumption. Written by Derek Vreeland this post, it hits a lot of the most common foundations that provide the framework for "just war" theory. As his brief post shows, these are pretty flimsy arguments.
Al Mohler weighs in on the swiftly changing religious liberty landscape where acceptance is turning quickly in coercion, Caesar, Coercion, and the Christian Conscience: A Dangerous Confusion
Photographers, makers of artistic wedding cakes, and florists are now told that they must participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies, and this is a direct violation of their religiously-based conviction that they should lend no active support of a same-sex wedding. Based upon their biblical convictions, they do not believe that a same-sex wedding can be legitimate in any Christian perspective and that their active participation can only be read as a forced endorsement of what they believe to be fundamentally wrong and sinful. They remember the words of the Apostle Paul when he indicted both those who commit sin and those “who give approval to those who practice them.” [Romans 1:32]
This is not at all unexpected but the speed of the change is breathtaking. Homosexuals do not need our photography skills or wedding cakes. They need to hear of the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that can reconcile and change even those engaged in the most egregious sins.
Tim Challies continues his series on heretics, The False Teachers. The last two deal with Pelagius and Mohammad. This is a good intro for anyone with a limited knowledge of church and religious history because there are really no new heresies under the sun, just recycled ancient ones.
A great essay from Dave Black makes the list, A Fowl Lesson.
When Luther reformed the content of the Gospel, he left the outer forms of the church essentially untouched. I believe it is time for new wineskins, for a reformation of structure. This is as much a theological issue as was the return to justification by faith during the Reformation. Only now the issue is not soteriological but ecclesiological.
As God changes the church, one area He is developing is the concept of Body Life – the notion of believers ministering to other believers in the power and love of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament church was a mass of small groups (house churches) where elders were no more than a part of the whole and where the whole spiritual organism flourished by the individual “ministers” (the believers themselves) finding their proper role and place in the church. The key was mutual sharing, fellowship, and participation – believers functioning as “priests” instead of the heavy professionalism we find today. They realized that God entrusted His Body not into the hands of an administrative bureaucracy but into the hands of believers who took the “one anothers” of Scripture seriously.
Modern Christianity has fled from the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. There is very little “one-anothering” taking place in many of our congregations. Just as we have cars full of single people, so the church is marked by organized artificial performances in which the majority of believers are mere passive observers.
Great stuff. As I often say the Reformation reclaimed the Gospel but left the form of the church merely modified rather than renewed. That failure on the part of the magisterial Reformers is the pressing need of the day even still and the cause of many errors in the church.
I like this fun series from The Libertarian Republic, Why Christians Make Great Libertarians. Ian Huyett compares the Israelite demand for a human king to rule them to the statism of modern America.
This equation of statism with idolatry is alive and well in modern Christendom. In particular, Christians in the United States have – since before Bush left office – been moving away from federal advocacy and towards political decentralization. Whenever someone suggests that Christians cannot be a viable force for liberty, I know that person has been long out of touch with America’s Christian culture. The believers I speak with increasingly feel put upon by the earthly state and simply wish to be allowed to live as they see fit in their own communities.
I have been moving in the direction of liberty over "conservatism" since what passes for modern American conservatism is just statism dressed up in a uniform.
I hope these links keep the intellectual fires burning while you wait out this seemingly endless winter!