26 February 2013

Masculinity, Part Two (Are women the problem?)

Suzanne Venker, who evidently works for FoxNews, wrote and article recently which was titled, "The War on Men." I could relate to her premise. Among the things she wrote were these gems.
Women aren’t women anymore.
In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.
But what if the dearth of good men, and ongoing battle of the sexes, is – hold on to your seats – women’s fault?
It’s the women who lose. 
Absolutely. Now, I'm not blaming all deficiencies in gender relations on women. But, the discomfort men feel in dealing with women is often caused by the off-putting attitudes of women, many of whom don't realize how they've been affected by the "Sexual Revolution," and radical feminism.

Evidently, not all women have been accepting of Venker's viewpoints on the matter. In a follow-up piece titles "Let's Call a Truce in the War on Men," she indicates that she got quite a load of hate mail for the original essay. She wrote,
I was inundated with emails from women telling me I should be ashamed of myself for suggesting women have a role to play in the decline of marriage and battle of the sexes. One reader even told me to kill myself. No, really. Kill myself.
OK, let's not allow that discussion to derail us from our stated purpose regarding women though. Men need to be men. It would help if women were women, too. Among the many things God's Word has to say about the role of men with regard to women, we find this:  
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7).
"Weaker vessels"? Yes, that's God's term. It is not intended to be demeaning, but descriptive. Yes, I know that we've all run into (hopefully not literally) some women we would not want to match wits or physical attributes against. That doesn't change the fact that the role relationship between men and women needs to be one of tender care on the part of the men (see also Ephesians 5:22-33).

Bottom line: men need to stand up, stand firm, be Godly, Do yourself and your wife (or intended) a favor. Disabuse yourselves of the unGodly influences of radical feminism. Let the women be women, feminine, frilly, keepers of the home, etc. And YOU, man, be manly. It's OK. God calls us to it.

22 February 2013

More Blogs and Bloggers

Today, I'd like to point you to just two blogs. One is brand, spanking new and the other was recommended at this new one.

http://www.thebenaddiction.com/ is the new one. It officially launched on 4 February, but was already stocked with a goodly number of articles on topics such as Super Bowl ads, How to Love a Grumpy Spouse, and The Desolation of Women. He also has pieces on history, theology, and pastoral counseling.

The author and creator of thebenaddiction (names by his son, BTW), is Ben, a US Army Chaplain currently stationed in Alaska (he lives in Wasilla. Sound familiar?). His writing is down-to-earth, even though he favors thick theological tomes on his "Recommendations" page.

I love this new blog/website. It even looks good.

Now, I also want to mention www.revnev.com. This one is new to me. It was on the list of "Favorite Blogs" at thebenaddiction. I checked it out and spent some time there. I like it. The tagline says, "where faith and politics meet," and Eric Nevins does deal with both topics. But there is much more. He also has good thoughts on books and reading. Again, it also looks good. He gives a plug to his sister who created his clean, neat logo.

So, there you have it, today's blog update. What do you read? Willing to share? I dare you.

19 February 2013

Masculinity, Part One

Some time ago, I gave a talk in a European country on the topic of masculinity. I described what I see as the problem of radical feminism in the USA, particularly in the churches. During and after that talk several of the men told me that they have the same problem in their country. What’s the problem?

It’s true that men now have problems figuring out their role in society, in the family, and in the church. The obvious place to look for reasons for this problem is to the Women’s Movement, specifically Radical Feminism. Now this does not mean that our society didn’t need change in the area of gender equality. But the radicals of this movement so turned the world upside down that even innocent acts of kindness and courtesy were turned into offenses against women.

Thankfully, at least that extreme seems to have died away in most quarters, but the damage has been done. Men are unsure of themselves. They don’t want to be “Male Chauvinist Pigs;” they need to be sensitive men. There’s nothing wrong with sensitivity unless it wipes out such outstanding male tendencies as protectiveness and provision for their families. I submit that there are simply too many “House Husbands in America.” The major flaw with the most radical of the feminist attacks on men, and society in general, is that it leaves not only bewildered men in its wake, but confused, misled, ill-served women, as well. Consider this telling quote from Harvey Mansfield, a Distinguished Professor of Government at Harvard:

The feminist movement in America began with Betty Friedan's book, The Feminine Mystique (1963). That book is an attack on femininity, not on manliness. It blames men for foisting the feminine mystique on women, for getting them to believe that it is better to seem frail, dumb, and submissive. The implication is that in truth it is better to be strong, smart, and aggressive--like men. The feminists' first complaint against men was that they were Male Chauvinist Pigs. This did not mean that they were messy creatures, but that they were greedy pigs, hogging all the good things in life for themselves. In other words, it's better to be a man. Manly qualities that make one want to be a man are better than womanly qualities that might make one hold back. (From a transcript of a speech given in October, 1997.)

In other words, The Friedan brand of Feminism, rather than building women up, sells them short. But let’s move on to another aspect of this Role Confusion.

American society, as well as several other so-called “advanced societies,” is trying to make itself “gender-neutral.” (see this recent article on neutralizing language). To some people, myself included, this tendency is not neutralizing, but neutering, at great cost to civilization. Again, I quote Mansfield:

Today the very word "manliness" seems quaint and obsolete. We are in the process of making the English language gender neutral, and manliness, the quality of one gender, or rather, of one sex, seems to describe the essence of the enemy we are attacking, the evil we are eradicating. Recently I had a call from the Harvard alumni magazine asking me to comment on a former professor of mine now being honored. Responding too quickly, I said: "What impressed all of us about him was his manliness." There was a silence at the other end of the line, and finally the female voice said: "Could you think of another word?" (Ibid.)

Our frenzy and our fear of masculine domination has taken on such urgency that we even tinker with the words of the Bible to make them more gender neutral – at the cost of accuracy. This is tantamount to having a massive case of agoraphobia. We are so frightened of things that can happen to us when we go out that we miss the wondrous things that may just await us.

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Is there a non-radical feminine understanding of this issue?

15 February 2013


A while back I posted on "Blogs and Bloggers." I intend to do that again in the near future. Right now, however, I would like to share with you something that one of those featured bloggers has written about an important topic: heaven. Blogger and (more importantly, Pastor) Tim Challies wrote this.

The Essential: Heaven

Tim Challies

This is the 22nd installment in a series on theological terms. See previous posts on the terms theology, Trinity, creation, man, Fall, common grace, sin, righteousness, faith, pride, election, revelation, atonement, adoption, sanctification, incarnation, idolatry, the church, holiness, salvation, and judgment.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.’” (Revelation 21:3)

Perhaps the most essential thing the Bible teaches us about heaven is that heaven is where God is. This truth explains most (if not all) of the other things we learn about it.

Scripture teaches us that where God is, two things must be true:

1) Wherever God is, there is perfect happiness.

In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

2) Wherever God is, there is unending worship.

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. (Revelation 22:3)

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8)

Whatever else is true of heaven, this is what is most essential: Perfect happiness and unending worship in the company of — and on account of — the Triune God. This is the eternal destiny of all who love Jesus Christ.
To read the original and the comments, click here.

12 February 2013

Targeted for Extinction

Think Christians aren’t being targeted for extinction in the US? Think again. Universities are supposed to be places in which learning takes place. They are the institutions in which the free exchange of ideas, as well as the molding of lifelong associations are supposed to occur. In fact, the basic concept of academic freedom is a bedrock foundation of the modern university - on paper. But, we must wonder whether this is truly the case in the US.

Actually, universities around the country are making the answer clear. Students, faculty, and staff alike are free to express whatever ideas they like - as long as they are not supportive of Christianity.

Thin-skinned students and administrators at colleges and universities all over the nation express outrage at perceived sexist or racist comments. To state disagreement with policies regarding homosexuality is to invite scorn.
It has gotten so ridiculous that schools have begun to create “free speech zones” in which ones ideas could be expounded publicly. Isn’t that the basis of the entire higher education system? Here’s one brief report on this idea:
Welcome to the American college campus of the 21st Century. With a flair for Orwellian Newspeak, campus administrators at many schools, beginning in the 1980's and picking up steam in later years, created so-called Free Speech Zones. Lauded by school officials as places where students (and sometimes, but often not, non-students) can speak their minds, hold rallies and demonstrations, distribute literature and engage in unrestricted, robust, open discourse, these censorship-free zones sound like free speech heaven. The problem: students who step outside a marked 60-foot by 60-foot area — or as was the case until recently at Texas Tech University, a 20-foot wide gazebo that could hold about 40 people — to share those same views with students in other parts of the campus risk being silenced or punished. 
While courts have long recognized that schools have the authority to limit speech activities on their campuses so that classes and other normal school activities are not seriously disrupted, critics charge the trend toward campus speech zones has gone way too far. 
"What they have done is turn the First Amendment on its head," Harvey Silverglate, a former Harvard law professor who co-founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recently told CNN. (see the entire article here).

Reports of the latest outrage in the war against Christianity appeared at numerous (conservative, but not mainstream) media outlets just recently. It was the banning of the InterVarsity group at the University of Michigan. Their crime? They actually want the leaders of their Christian group to be Christians. This is an oft-repeated story at various universities and colleges in the past several decades.

Evidently, Christianity is an affront to the mindset of “educators.” Good. It should be. We are to stand up; stand firm; and show the world the truth. Paul wrote, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." (Philippians 2:14-16).

This is no new phenomenon. Nor is it likely to abate any time soon. Be aware. Stand firm.

08 February 2013

Worship, Part Two

In thinking about worship we need to be sure of a few things, like: Who is the object of the worship? and What is the purpose of said worship? I offer a few thoughts here.

· Worship is for worshipers. A worship service is NOT intended to be evangelistic. Certainly unbelievers are welcome and they should hear the Gospel, but worship is intended to be a family affair.

· Worship can be defined as “one’s heart expression of love, adoration, honor, and praise to the Living God with an acceptable attitude and an acknowledgment of His supremacy and Lordship.”

· Personally, I like the definition that Thomas Boston gives us: worship is “beholding, admiring, and praising Him.”

· “Worship” is NOT that period of singing endless ditties while we wait for the preacher to be ready for his boring sermon.

· Notice, please that none of these definitions say anything about “feeling good,” “getting something out of worship,” or anything else having to do with me. True worship is God-centered; not man-centered.

· According to Hebrew scholar Wilhelm Gesenius , the predominant Hebrew word for "worship" (shachah) means: "to bow oneself down, (Isaiah 51:23) ....to sink down, to be depressed....to prostrate oneself before any one out of honour....Those who used this mode of salutation fell on their knees and touched the ground with the forehead...." (Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, pp. 813-814).

·  The most often used Greek word for "worship" (proskuneo), like the Hebrew, was "used to designate the custom of prostrating oneself before a person and kissing his feet, the hem of his garment, the ground, etc.; the Persians did this in the presence of their deified king, and the Greeks before a divinity ... (fall down and) worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, do reverence to, welcome respectfully...." ( Greek-English lexicon, Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker )

· Our English word "worship" is derived from "the Saxon/Old English word 'weorthscipe' or 'weordhscipe', which means 'worthship' or worthiness.

IOW, worship is “motivated by an attitude that reveres, honors, or describes the worth of another person or object" (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1117-1118).

The focus is not on the worshiper but on the object of the worship, which properly is God Almighty – and none other.

The emphasis in true worship is on giving, not receiving. Those who complain that the hymns are old and funereal; the sermons are too long and boring; and there is altogether too much reading from the Bible, have missed the point of what worship is all about in the first place.

Worshiping is like tithing. We are expected to give the best, the first tenth, to the worship; not some tired, grumpy, got-out-of-bed-before-I wanted to attitude.

05 February 2013

Something Light - on bread

In looking over the schedule of items I've posted - and scheduled - for this space, I realized that most of my items are rather "heavy." So, something a little lighter is in order. So, here is a little culinary expertise as shared by Jostie.

01 February 2013

Election Aftermath - Czech Style

Well, the first Presidential election by popular vote in the Czech Republic is history. Miloš Zeman has been elected. But, it seems that the Czechs have learned well from their American allies. The finger pointing, accusations, and sour grapes have only just begun.

A quick scan of Czech and European newspapers indicates that all is not well after the election, which followed a raucous, down and dirty, American-style campaign. One paper put it this way:

It was “the candidate of the disatisfied voters” who won, writes the daily (Lidové noviny), describing “an atmosphere of disgust and fear of the future.” Miloš Zeman will have a difficult task, the newspaper adds: “To reunite a society split by a campaign full of heated emotions.” “The new president has been elected against the will of a large part of the intellectual, political and economic elite,” notes LN, adding that he must now prepare for an “uneasy coexistence” with Petr Necas' centre-right coalition which is behind the austerity policy.(Read the entire article here).
The following excerpts and summaries also indicate the mood of (at least) those who follow politics in this nation. 
Schwarzenberg's team responsible for his defeat

Not the public, but the team of Karel Schwarzenberg has failed and is to blame for his defeat in the second round of the presidential election, Martin Weiss writes in yesterday's issue of the daily Lidové noviny (LN). 
Wake up call

The presidential election shows Czechs are no more immune to populism or historical fear-mongering than their neighbors.
On 8 March, Miloš Zeman, a career politician and former member of the Communist Party, will become President of this nation. Time will tell what that means for the Czech Republic and for Europe. In the meantime, prayer for this nation (as well as for your own) is appropriate.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:7).