Warmed to Life

 As a leaf uncurled,
a tiny tendril unfurled
warmed from ‘neath frozen tundra gray;
as from sleep she softly wakens
knowing him only
she is gently taken by
the touch of his heart, his mind, his voice.

Etchings sparse on muted linens
swirled to yellows, pinks, and greens
fusing then to luminous orange, bright and lyrical, fresh, serene.
So ’merges she from her chamber softly,
livened to lilt, to warm, to charm.

There once lying
so quietly waiting,
loveliness that was hers to own,
so quiescent, once O’ so stolid, it may be said so much like stone;
there she lay forever sleeping
so untouched, unfelt, unknown.

There now lying
warmed and wakened
knowing truths heretofore unknown
this gift of Ophir
the gift now breathing
to live, to move, and to have being.

The womanly wakens to life by the masculine
This exquisite elixir of the heart touched only by the manly.
She can come to life in no other way,
for we know that the woman was born out of the man.

 



 

 References


Genesis 2:23
And Adam said,
This [is] now bone of my bones,
and flesh of my flesh:
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.

I Corinthians 11:12
For as the woman [is] of the man,

Proverbs 30:18
There be three [things which] are too wonderful for me,
yea, four which I know not:
The way of an eagle in the air;
the way of a serpent upon a rock;
the way of a ship in the midst of the sea;
and the way of a man with a maid.

 

God is not Enough?

polar-bear-dogs-1Hunting, panting, searing, consuming,
the lingering silence echoes into a dark and endless eternity.
A ravenous velociraptor is Loneliness.
Rage has slain his thousands,
but Loneliness her ten thousands.

Often a young woman will confide in an older, usually married woman that she feels a desire for a companion. Life is a struggle alone. The conversation may then go something like this, “Well my dear, I once knew a missionary lady who was very content to give Bible studies and work for the Lord. She seemed very happy. The Lord was enough for her.” (1) With that statement, the conversation usually ends. Having been the recipient of such advice, I must that say I left feeling guilty and quite ashamed for feeling lonely. I wondered if perhaps this condemnation might be justified. Maybe I am just not spiritual enough, or not praying enough, or something is just not enough. There must be something wrong with me. This counsel certainly cannot be refuted or even challenged without severe disturbances to the psyche. Surely, God is enough, isn’t He?

To answer that question let us go back the Garden of Eden. Here we will find an introduction to the human condition of loneliness and God’s response. In Genesis, we see Adam created in the image of God and given a command to name all the animals. We read, “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:19,20.

Prior to this statement in Genesis 2:18 we find, “And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone". Hey, wait a minute, wasn’t God there? Right there in these verses we see God communing face to face with Adam. Wasn’t that enough? Why didn’t God say, “Adam, Adam, you can just talk to Me. That’s all you need.” But He did not. Instead, God Himself declares, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Though God was there, the man would be ‘alone’.

The sequence of verses in Genesis 2:18-20 led me to understand that God actually created a scenario, which would cause Adam to feel his need. God anticipated Adam’s loneliness and made plans to meet that need. However, in God’s design, Adam would need to feel loneliness before he was given his companion. His loneliness was not a sin.

In the book ‘Conflict and Courage’, we find a daily devotional reading, which elaborates on these thoughts. It is entitled “Someone to Share.”

“After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion, but among them "there was not found an help meet for him." Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved. {CC 14.2}

 

God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided "an help meet for him"--a helper corresponding to him--one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it" (Ephesians 5:29). "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one" (Genesis 2:24).

There are several interesting statements worth repeating. “Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship” and “ There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.” {CC 14.2}

So even angels could not have met Adam's need. God Himself did not meet the need in a direct way. Why? Adam needed ‘one of the same nature’ to love. We have indeed been made in God’s image, but we are not of the same nature. To supply Adam’s need to love and be loved ‘by one of the same nature’, God created a woman.

This point also begs the question, “Have women just totally lost their way?” This kind of viewpoint is not what we see in our progressive feminist culture. If the very reason woman was created was to be the companion of a man, would not she feel lost without this? And so it is true for many. Research acquiesces that many liberated and successful women find career alone unfulfilling and long for family. (2) This is not sinful or shameful – it is natural.

The older we get, the more we hear people talk about their aches and pains. For instance, our friends may complain that they have a sore back. Their knees feel fine but their back hurts. Human beings are capable of strange and conflicting emotions. We can truly love and trust God, commune with Him deeply and work for Him fervently - our knees feel fine. But our back still hurts, we feel loneliness and struggle. It is not a sin to hurt; it is not sinful to feel loneliness; it is part of the human condition. God designed it so.

But what about Paul? Did not he say we should all be like him? “For I would that all men were even as I myself.” Yet, he seems to go on to speak of singleness as a gift. “But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” I Corinthians 7:7  He also speaks of a man “that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity.” I Corinthians 7:37 These verses taken together seem to indicate that some will not feel a need for marriage by virtue of a gift of God. However, if one has not been given this gift, “let them marry, they have not sinned.” I Corinthians 7:9,28

So let us go back to our missionary lady. We would think her unbalanced if she said, “I don’t need to eat or sleep, I have the Lord.”  But for the needs of her heart some want to believe that she does not need companionship because she gives Bible studies. If she were lonely at times, needed one of the same nature to love, and used her Bible students as personal confidants, we would find this unethical and rightly so. Could it be that she needs someone even though she is a faithful missionary?

So, is God enough?
Of course He is.

However, He has chosen to supply all our needs according to the laws He Himself placed within our being. He gives food, water, sunshine, and fresh air for physical health. He gives love, family, and fellowship for our emotional and mental health, and just as importantly, it serves as a type of the deep love that exists in the Godhead. (3)

Often we are dismissive of loneliness as though it were merely a trivial inconvenience. "Oh, she's just lonely", observers may comment. But this denies a fundamental principal of life. The deepest need of any living creature is for connection, oneness, belonging.  We have been created in the image of God and we know that God is love. Love is the essence of His being or should I say Their being.  Love implies oneness with others.  The drive for human connection, oneness and belonging is deeper than the drive of hunger.  Though everything else may be supplied, without this connection there is great loss.  Data from maternal deprivation studies, the scandalous old world communist orphanages and even earlier experiments by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (1194-1250) reveal the need for human connection. (4,5,6)  

This longing for connection extends even into the animal world. The heartwarming photo inserted in this blog has an interesting story behind it. Pictures of the polar bear and the sled dog originally published in National Geographic in 1994 went viral several years later.  The sled dog was tethered and should have been devoured by the ravenous bear, but instead they play and cuddle. The story is told by Robert Krulwich in his science blog.  (7)

This couldn't be.

 

A 1,200 pound male polar bear (especially when it's autumn and he hasn't eaten for four months) doesn't make play-dates with an animal from another species. He doesn't arrive every afternoon to cuddle, nuzzle, hug and roll around with a dog. Brian Ladoon claimed it was happening, but Norbert Rosing thought Brian was smoking something. He wanted to see for himself.

 

Rosing was (and is) a famous nature photographer, who for a time specialized in polar bears. Back in 1991, Brian Ladoon owned a bunch of huskies and kept them loosely chained behind his house in Churchill, Manitoba. In the fall, hundreds of polar bears arrived in and around Churchill to wait for ice to form on nearby Hudson Bay. When it got cold enough, they'd walk, sometimes right through town, jump on the ice and sail out, looking for seals and fish to eat. On an autumn afternoon, Rosing settled down at Brian's house and waited for the bear he thought would never come.

 

But it came. Exactly as Brian had promised.

Solitary confinement is a universally applied form of torture.  It was the crushing weight of guilt and loneliness that wrung from our Savior the cry, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (8)  Those that see themselves as lonely have a 30%-45% increased risk of dying. (9,10)

Loneliness can make you do some very stupid things.
It should not to be underestimated.
It is a fearsome predator.
Loneliness along with its companion, Boredom, has ruined untold thousands.

We are entering into the last days of earth’s history and perhaps the ‘present distress’ or the ‘shortness of time’ necessitates sacrifices which one will be called to make. ‘Some with wives will be as though they had none’. (11) This we know will come, but the circumstance will bring in its train much suffering.

How precious the promise that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for those that love Him”. (12) Someday all tears will be wiped away. Nevertheless, while here in this often dark and lonely world, we still have need of the sympathizing ear, the compassionate heart, the tender touch of warm and gentle hands.

My plea is simply for empathy rather than condemnation.

When we make loneliness sinful or shameful, we push the broken one to an asceticism, which even God Himself does not require. (13)

 

References:

(1) As an aside, I seem to hear this counsel applied more often to women than to men.  It seems that most people are willing to concede that men need to be married, but women can survive well enough alone. More sympathy appears to be given to single men than single women. Could be wrong though.  Let me know what you think.

(2) See 'The 7 Myths of Working Mothers' by Suzanne Venker, 'The Feminist Mistake' by Mary Kassian, and 'Home Alone America' by Mary Eberstadt

(3) Eternal Mystery - What was the Purpose of Gender? - https://asimplefemininity.com/?p=272

(4) Maternal deprivation - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maternal_deprivation

(5) Romanian orphans subjected to deprivation must now deal with dysfunction -https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/romanian-orphans-subjected-to-deprivation-must-now-deal-with-disfunction/2014/01/30/a9dbea6c-5d13-11e3-be07-006c776266ed_story.html

(6) Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor -  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_II,_Holy_Roman_Emperor

In the language deprivation experiment young infants were raised without human interaction in an attempt to determine if there was a natural language that they might demonstrate once their voices matured. It is claimed he was seeking to discover what language would have been imparted unto Adam and Eve by God. In his Chronicles Salimbene wrote that Frederick bade "foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language (which had been the first), or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments."

(7) Polar Bear Flip-Flop: People Hated, Then Loved These Photos. What Changed?- http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2014/03/01/283993033/polar-bear-flip-flop-people-hated-then-loved-these-photos-what-changed

(8) Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34

(9) Research: Loneliness increases risk of death - http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/17/health/loneliness-risk-death/

(10)Why You Should Treat Loneliness as a Chronic Illness - http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/loneliness-can-really-hurt-you/

(11) I Corinthians 7:26, 29

(12) I Corinthians 2:9

(13)  Buddha practiced severe asceticism before his enlightenment and recommended a non-ascetic middle way thereafter.[1] In Christianity, Francis of Assisi and his followers practiced extreme acts of asceticism.[2]

as·cet·i·cism
əˈsedəˌsizəm/

noun
noun: asceticism
1. severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.
2. exceedingly strict or severe in religious exercises or self-mortification

Women’s Ordination – Our New Forbidden Fruit

imagesIN0LKUPIWhen Eve sinned, a seismic shift occurred in her soul though she was yet unaware. The quiet departure of the Holy Spirt from her heart devastated her conscience, but the emptiness was not felt as yet. She hastened to Adam luring him to partake of the forbidden fruit. He followed her. A  fundamental transformation then occurred in the human family. The genetics of men and women were forever altered after Adam sinned. The robe of light was lost and they knew that they were naked – devoid of the Spirit of God. The only legacy they could now leave to their prodigy would be that nakedness. Eve could now only bequeath to her daughters a legacy of succumbing to the same temptations that caused her own fall. Thereafter the tendency for women to yield to the longing for independence to forge new paths would cause her daughters to wander from God’s roles for them. Women would tend to be seduced into spiritualism and occultism as an attempt to become like god. Women would be disposed towards sensuality to entice men to submit to their desires.

Sin had upset their union and ever after there would be this yearning for oneness, but to it unnaturally coupled a struggle for dominion. She would desire him, she would long for him because his affections had been estranged from her as we discern from the Genesis narrative. I can only imagine the searing tears she must have shed as she heard him say of her, “the woman whom Thou gavest to be with me”. Where was the tender poetic endearment “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh? “ She was now ‘yours’ not ‘mine’. Sin had marred the sacred oneness. However, merged with her longings would be strivings for supremacy. She would continue to essay for that feminine dominance that had lead Adam to follow her into sin. Control over Adam tasted good, it was an exquisite elixir, and she would always want more.

As had Eve when she offered Adam the fruit, so women would attempt possession of dominion by the subtle wiles within her power - stealth, sensuality, and manipulation. However, her attempts to usurp dominion would not work. As God had spoken, He would rule. Her efforts to take over would result in chaos, the disintegration of the family and further spiritual declination. Think of Rebekah’s control over Jacob in order to subvert Isaac’s intention to bequeath the birthright to Esau. She got her way, but never saw her beloved son again.  Think of Abraham and Sarah, and her misguided plans resulting in the birth of Ishmael. We are still reaping the baleful effects of her usurpation. Only the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can save women from reentering the same dark path toward the trees of the knowledge of good and evil with which we are presently surrounded.

We have been told a startling fact about the female nature. In ‘Fragments of Old Testament History’, we read the unnerving statement, “Satan chooses women, for he can use them more successfully than he can men”.-(1) A humbling appraisal for all women to contemplate in light of the assertions made by some that women are superior to men.  It may be that women succumb to Satan’s ploys more readily because hers is a more emotional and relational mind. Perhaps the dialogue with the Serpent at the forbidden tree opened Eve’s mind to the occult and imprinted that ‘openness’ or susceptibility in the female gender. I just do not know for sure.

However, we do know that statistically women are far more likely to use spirit mediums than men are. The American Federation of Certified Psychics and Mediums report these interesting statistics (2-6):

Percentage of men who admit to have contacted a psychic: 39%
Percentage of women who admit to have contacted a psychic: 69%
Approx. number of women in the United States who have spent more than $1000 for psychic reading in 2011-2012: 575,000
Approx. number of men in the United States who have spent more than $1000 for psychic reading in 2011-2012: 95,000
Approx. number of women in the United States who have spent more than $5000 for psychic reading in 2011-2012: 375,000
Approx. number of men in the United States who have spent more than $5000 for psychic reading in 2011-2012: 5,000
Approx. number of women in the United States who have spent more than $10,000 for psychic reading in 2011-2012: 275,000
Approx. number of men in the United States who have spent more than $10,000 for psychic reading in 2011-2012: 300

If the trend they report is accurate, women are far more likely to invest large sums of money to receive help from psychics.

As discussed before, the Edenic power struggle was replayed in the lives of Sarah and Abraham, Rebekah and Isaac, as well as Jezebel and Ahab. Today the debate in our churches over Women’s Ordination is but a repetition of that struggle for female dominance. It does not however stand alone. We see also the emergence of an intriguing trilogy - women’s ordination, homosexual rights and the emergent church. It is no coincidence that these three rise together. Like smoke swirling from the same bottomless pit, this ‘three-fold union’ compasses a broader invasion into our religion and darkens our horizon.

Where does this stuff come from? Culture, but not just any culture…the trilogy rises out of a feminized culture. These thee phenomena are a result of the feminization of the culture and subsequent feminization of the church.

Wikipedia defines feminization: (7)

“In sociology, feminization is the shift in gender roles and sex roles in a society, group, or organization towards a focus upon the feminine. This is the opposite of a cultural focus upon masculinity.
Strong male icons in American culture like Ward Cleaver and John Wayne have been replaced in recent years by strong female icons and weak male icons like Homer Simpson.


It can also mean the incorporation of women into a group or a profession that was once dominated only by men.


Potential examples of feminization in society can include: The feminization of education – Majority female teachers, a female majority of students in higher education and a curriculum which is better suited to the learning process of women.[2]

On the other hand, the scriptures describe a patriarchal culture. A society is either a patriarchy or matriarchy; it cannot both or neither.  Egalitarianism is a deceptive myth of our modern age honed into prominence by the women’s movement. Nevertheless, God declared in Genesis that dominance had been given to the masculine gender. So it is and ever will be while we live in this world.

Satan is attempting to remove the patriarchy and replace it with his own governmental form. He himself attempted an upheaval in heaven to remove the Divine patriarchy of the Godhead, and he would like to inspire us to do the same. When women seek to replace men and become the heads of the church the image of Christ and His church is turned upside-down. According to Ephesians 5:22-32 women represent the church and men represent Christ, therefore the symbol of male headship must be regarded as sacred, for it reflects the divine reality.

Satan seeks to subvert the authority of Christ in the church using women as important vassals. We have paragons in our midst, which have epitomized the feminine, the ultimate purpose of which is the replacement of the masculine by the feminine. At first glance, it would not appear that the Catholic Church is a feminized church because of the preponderance of a male priesthood, but on closer inspection, we note that the religion is dominated by the mother worship of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary actually supersedes the position of Christ. The New Age Church and Buddhism are feminized religions, which offer among their panoply of idols the worship feminine deities. Shall we allow the swirling smoke of paganism and ecstatic experience to engulf us as well?

Eden repeats itself throughout the ages in our cultures, our churches and in our hearts. Women’s ordination is our new forbidden fruit, promising unity but portending only deeper apostasy.

Will we eat of that forbidden fruit again?

 

References:
1) Satan's Use of Women.--"And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat" (1 Kings 21:23-24). To the guilty king the prophet delivered a message of fearful import.  {10MR 76.1}

"Thus Satan used an unconsecrated woman to sway the heart of the king, and through the king to cause all Israel to sin. It is a terrible thing to be an instrument in the hands of Satan. Satan chooses women, for he can use them more successfully than he can men."--Ms. 29, 1911, p. 13. ("Fragments of Old Testament History," November 17, 1911.)

2) American Federation of Certified Psychics and Mediums
www.americanfederationofcertifiedpsychicsandmediums.org/

3) http://americanassociationofpsychics.com/

4) http://www.americanfederationofcertifiedpsychicsandmediums.org/statistics.htm

5) The American Federation of Certified Psychics and Mediums Official Handbook
https://books.google.com/books?id=FQTiAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=number+of+female+vs+male+mediums&source=bl&ots=5lVbKwK_we&sig=O0TIbt6-MRsByBaFaSfLokcGmXM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rrqGVbvrGIbhoAT14biACQ&ved=0CFkQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=number%20of%20female%20vs%20male%20mediums&f=false

6) All Women Are Psychics Paperback – January 1, 1988 by Diane Stein

7) Feminization (sociology)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminization_(sociology)

Going My Own Way

6274188038_355e16ac9f_mThere is a growing movement among American men to flee any lasting connection with women.  Casual sexual contact is encouraged, but only carefully and as needed.  These men have decided to completely disengage themselves from all formal, legal, long term relationships with women.  They call themselves MGTOWs – Men Going Their Own Way.  They have been so badly burned by Western feminism that they have banded together to try to warn naïve, younger males from ever marrying.

MGTOWs maintain careers and fundraise to create safe places which bar aggressive intrusion of women into their conversations.  MGTOWs continue to earn money, work, pursue careers and enjoy hobbies but only for themselves.  Some have been forced by divorce courts to pay alimony but are barred from ever seeing their own children. They warn younger men to fear trying to create families. "Women will only use you for financial support and you will never have the chance to be a father to your child’.  They declare that long-term connection with westernized women is too dangerous – both financially and emotionally.   Perhaps a few are sad that this is the case, but they will not take the chance to be bankrupted financially or emotionally ravaged again.  Western women just cannot be trusted.
 
Here’s the mission statement from the MGTOW website (1)

 

M.G.T.O.W – Men Going Their Own Way is a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else. It is the manifestation of one word: “No”. Ejecting silly preconceptions and cultural definitions of what a “man” is. Looking to no one else for social cues. Refusing to bow, serve and kneel for the opportunity to be treated like a disposable utility. And, living according to his own best interests in a world which would rather he didn’t.

 

 sov·er·eign·ty    ˈsäv(ə)rən(t)ē/   Noun. Meaning: Supreme power or authority. Autonomy, independence, selfgovernment, self-rule, self-determination, freedom. Self-governing

 

In Japan there are factions of men who are even farther removed from traditional masculinity.  They are called “herbivores” and are a relatively recent phenomenon of the 21st century. (2-7)  As usual there exists a continuum of personal characteristics, but at the extreme the Japanese herbivore males are passive, not interested in women, sex or making money.  They are not homosexuals.  Herbivores immerse themselves in their own eclectic hobbies such as fashion, sewing, video games, personal grooming or eating dessert.

 


  “ Yasuhito Sekine is considered a poster boy for Japan’s herbivore men. He runs an online dessert appreciation group for men. The group of 1,000 members debate things such as the virtues of different brands of strawberry shortcake.” (2, 3)  

 

  . . .dessert appreciation . . .for . . . strawberry shortcake . . . ? 

Herbivores eschew high-powered careers reasoning, “Why work yourself into an early grave to give all your money to an angry woman.”  The Japanese women on the other hand are called, “carnivores” because they have become such aggressive sexual predators upon men.   
 
Japan has declining marriage rates, declining birth rates, and a declining economy some of which has actually helped to create the emergence of the herbivore culture among their young adult males.  Herbivores represent only about 20-30% of Japanese men, but about 60%-75% of men in the 20 to 30 something age group. (7, 8)  Japanese politicians are struggling to alleviate this problem because if carried to a logical conclusion it would only worsen their societal, political, military and economic woes. (8)
 
The Japanese response to the social enigma appears more extreme than that of the West.  But I have heard it predicted that the herbivore culture will come to the West as well.   Perhaps the American metrosexual is will become the new Western herbivore. (9)
 
Such is the effect of the ‘women’s liberation movement’ …..so called. 
 
Feminism opened the door to the redefining of roles. Cultural responses vary, but in the end the result is the same - separation.  We live in an age that feels it can recreate humanity, but we really, really cannot.  Much the same as a tornado bursting through a slumbering village feminism has left an aftermath of chaos, loneliness, and emptiness.  Men and women are going their own separate ways - independent, isolated, and self-absorbed.  But wasn’t that one of the goals of second wave feminism?  Remember Linda Gordon’s statement about the “destruction of the nuclear family”?  (10) Well here we are.
 
It need not have been this way.

We must restore the whole counsel of scripture as the guide for our lives.  God's laws compass all that He has created. The words spoken from Sinai are not the only expression of His will for humanity.  Every part of creation is governed by divine order.   Every word of God is creative and brings into existence systems that are an expression of His will.  These arrangements are laws which speak without words.  For instance, when the Lord created the world He designed the law of gravity.  It is immutable.  If we were to leap off a bridge to defy it, we have only ignored it to our peril.  No human devising can dismiss it.  We may only recognize, cooperate and if wise appreciate it.
 
We may also observe from the manner of creation His laws regulating relationships between men and women.
Need God speak these laws verbatim? 
No, He has spoken through His actions.

Think of it this way. We have a tradition during the Christmas holidays when attending a performance of the Messiah. Everyone knows that when the Hallelujah Chorus is presented we stand. Why?  Well, as tradition has it when the Hallelujah Chorus was first presented King George II, attending the London premiere of “Messiah’’ in March of 1743 was so inspired that he stood to his feet in honor of the music, the composer and the Lord. (11)  Court attendants of the king then stood to their feet.  No one sits while the King is standing. When the commoners saw the King and his court standing they stood to their feet as well.  There were no formal degrees, proclamations or brochures handed out that night instructing the audience to stand.  There was no need.  The King had spoken by his actions.  He did not need to repeat himself.  
 
Need the King of the Universe speak before we pay attention to Him?  Should we not watch His every movement and bring ourselves into harmony with Him?  His actions are laws no less than His words.
 
God’s laws are all that He has said, all that He has done, all that He has created.  
The laws governing our being are as immutable as the Ten Commandments.  
 
The Lord brought into being man and woman, gave them marriage and procreation to fill the earth.  Man was to be her protector and she was to be his supporter - a help “ meet for him” as we read in Genesis 2:18. (12)  Masculinity was created first and with a stronger physical nature.  Eve was given a softer physical nature.  May we learn from our physical natures certain characteristics of our inner natures?  Will our modern minds allow us to admit that women were designed to be soft and men to be strong?   That the softness and ‘strongness’ of their natures extends beyond the physical but reaches to the emotions, the mind, the heart?  That there is really nothing wrong with this, but it is in fact God‘s design for humanity?   
 
But accepting this means we must let go of our own ideas. 
My journey out of feminism has taught me that we can’t be everything alone. 
Men and women really do need each other. 
Alone and apart they can only represent a part of God’s image.
 
One may feel, “This is too old fashioned and just not true.  Men and women are more complex than that.  Women are also strong.  We should be free to explore ways of relating and not be hedged in by restrictions. Lots of relationships work that are not traditional.”
 
Complex we are for sure, but distinct none the less.  May I suggest that the restrictions of the traditional gender roles most natural to men and women are designed by God for our deepest pleasure and long-lasting fulfillment?  Our sinful natures feel very comfortable functioning outside the perimeter of God’s laws.  But the hedges of God’s laws are only meant to protect us from our innate tendency towards chaos. 
 
Human devising may create nontraditional families which seem to work well for some people.  But what happens when those principles are set in place for generations?  Look at the MGTOWs.  They are an example of feminist entitlement backfiring.  Instead of capitulating to women’s demands for more control MGTOWs are just leaving women to fend for themselves.  The natural male-female dynamic designed in Genesis is still functioning, despite the rhetoric of feminism for ‘equality, empowerment, entitlement and supremacy’. (This can of worms will be explored in a future blog.)  How much suffering do we need to see before we take a step back?  What are we doing?
 
Here’s a thought to consider - our roles are written in our genes. 
One may respond, “Gender roles are a matter of choice not genetics”.
But is that so? "Can a man bear a child?”  
“Of course not.” 
 
We readily admit that this idea is preposterous because it is a physical impossibility.  May I suggest that the physical impossibility is not the full extent of the gender distinction?  Women are not only designed for child bearing, but designed for child nurturing.  The emotional, relational heart so natural to women is needed to care for the newborn.  She is more than an incubator for the embryo; she is mother to the child. 
 
On the other hand, is the mother all that is needed?   Are men only sperm donors and unnecessary for the home?  Some folks think so.  But we say no, no indeed.   Men are in fact the center of the home. Though this concept is all but lost on the millennial mind it is nonetheless true.  Men are the ‘bands’ that give form to the family.  This is the literal meaning of ‘husband’ which may be translated “the band of the house”.   Husband is the band that holds the house together, so without the band the house will fall apart.   Without men the home will at best struggle for secure foundation.  (By the way, feminism proposes that the government take the place of the husband – and the mother as well.)
 
Gender distinctions compass the full gamut of our natures – mental, emotional, and spiritual as well as the obvious physical distinctions, and all these distinctions are anchored in our DNA.  What are some of those distinctions?  Masculinity is strong, logical, law oriented, focused and courageous.  Femininity is soft, delicate, emotional, relational, diffuse, intuitive, luxuriant, sensitive, and tender.  These gifts when blended in marriage form a beautiful reflection of the image of God in humanity.  
 
An interesting study came to light in December 2013 about the brain wiring of men and women.  (13)

 

Scientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains.

 

Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men's brains apparently wired more for perception and co-ordinated actions, and women's for social skills and memory.

 

It's quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are," Ruben Gur, a co-author on the study, said in a statement.

 

Our brains are “complementary”…Hmmm.  Sounds like the minds of men and women were designed to work together.  Have we stumbled upon just a bit of evidence that we were created to be one ….perhaps?
 
Inspiration offers an even more difficult thought to surround.
The woman was made for the man. (14)
She was created for him.
Women were created to help men.
Hard to swallow?
Yet it is scripture.
 
Genetics are the foundation for our gender roles in this world.  Just as the man who jumps off the bridge to prove he can fly usually perishes, so we can only ignore our God-given roles to our own peril.  Our roles are really written into our genes.
 
We live in the ’perilous’ times spoken of in scripture when the love of many would wax cold.  (15) The image of God is gradually being effaced from humanity.   A dark aftermath of satanic war upon all of nature has brought us to the brink of annihilation.  Some environmentalists such as Jacque Cousteau believed that at the pace we’re going we can only last a few more decades, perhaps another century.  (16, 17)

We are really in a war. 
 
Would that our churches were a refuge for the wandering MGTOWs, isolated herbivores, and desperate carnivores.  Would that they could find restoration in our midst and be healed.   We can only hope and pray that these war-weary, battle scarred souls might somehow be led to the knowledge of God’s beautiful plan for humanity.
 
O that our homes were different from those in the world!
 
Only the Lord our God is able to make it so.

References

 1) http://www.mgtow.com/about/ 
 2) https://sexyscience1.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/japans-carnivore-women-and-herbivore-men/ 
 3) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120696816 
 4) http://www.avoiceformen.com/sexual-politics/m-g-t-o-w/a-real-study-of-japanese-herbivore-men/ 
 5) https://awalkinjapan.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/carnivorous-women-herbivorous-men/ 
 6) http://www.avoiceformen.com/relationships/in-his-own-words-reflections-at-the-end-of-an-abusive-marriage/ 
 7) http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2009/06/the_herbivores_dilemma.html  
 8) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/22/japans-sexual-apathy-is-endangering-the-global-economy/  
 9) Metrosexual is a portmanteau, derived from metropolitan and heterosexual, coined in 1994 describing a man (especially one living in an urban, post-industrial, capitalist culture) who is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance, typically spending a significant amount of time and money on shopping as part of this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrosexual  
 10) No Longer in Sheep’s Garb.  https://asimplefemininity.com/?p=189  
 11)  “Theories abound, the most common being that King George II, attending the London premiere of “Messiah’’ in March of 1743, was so moved by the “Hallelujah’’ that he stood up - and if the king stands, everybody stands.” http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2009/12/19/taking_a_stand_for_messiah/  
 12) Genesis 2:18  “And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”   
 13) http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/02/men-women-brains-wired-differently  
 14) 1 Corn 11:9  “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”    
 15) 2 Tim 3:1-5  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;      Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  
 16) "The road to the future leads us smack into the wall," Cousteau wrote. We simply ricochet off the alternatives that destiny offers: a demographic explosion that triggers social chaos and spreads death, nuclear delirium and the quasi-annihilation of the species. Our survival is no more than a question of 25, 50 or perhaps 100 years.”
 http://www.deseretnews.com/article/569841/Cousteaus-memoirs-offer-doomsday-warning.html?pg=all  
 17) http://phys.org/news/2010-06-humans-extinct-years-eminent-scientist.html

 

Wild, Wild West

wild wild westIn times past there were places in our country where the rule of law was unknown. Waste, howling wildernesses encroached on the edges of civility. In those days a crooked glance, a lost card game, jealousy or shamed honor might land you in an unmarked grave. No rules. No law. Only the wild, untamed whims of men prevailed.  Most dared not enter uninvited places like Robber’s Cave, Oklahoma or Hole-in-the-Wall Pass, Wyoming but at the peril of their lives.

Here’s a bit more background ,

“The Old West, often referred to as the Wild West, encompasses the period after the Civil War ,the rest of the 1800's, and the early part of the 20th century. During this time, thousands of pioneers pushed their way westward in search of land, better lives, gold and silver, and sometimes, to escape the law. Geographically, the "Old West" generally applies to those states west of the Mississippi River. " (1)

 

 "There is much legend surrounding American History of the Wild West when it comes to American outlaws and lawmen. The odd thing is that on occasion, the two were interchangeable and a lawman might have been a bandit previously in another state." (2)

 

"American vigilantism originally arose as a frontier response to the threat and reality of crime.  The first settlers who moved to the Deep South and the Old West were not protected by a criminal justice system. There were no law enforcement agencies, no regularly scheduled court sessions, no nearby jails or prisons, and vast open spaces to which offenders could escape from their victims. In the absence of any legal system, correctional facilities, or institutional   mechanisms for redress of grievances, victims and their allies felt compelled periodically to track down and round up outlaws and "take the law into their own hands". (3)

It is interesting to note that the outlaw of one territory might be considered the lawmen of another. The terms were often interchangeable in these wild lands where men would take the law into their own hands in the absence of trustworthy legal system.

Have the tales of the Wild West been relegated to dusty old storybooks? The historical account above suggests that most of these fringes of society disappeared from our culture by the early part of the 20th century. In fact some have been transformed into quaint quiet tourist attractions! Robber’s Cave, Oklahoma is now a beautiful park and camp ground. Crawling around in the caves and on the rocks one can only imagine what happened there in days gone by.

However, human nature being what it is I would not say the Wild West has entirely disappeared. It very likely has just changed its form and adapted to modern culture. Fallen human nature will always take the law into its own hands – this is surely the nature of sin. This I would expect from those who make no claims to know God. The gangs of the inner cities, the drug cartels, the Mafia all make their own rules and enforce them as their laws judge.

But what I find disturbing is the encroachment of these methods among those who claim God as their Sovereign and His Word as their law. The Wild West appears to be rearing its head again wearing flowing religious garments rather than rough cowboy boots. I personally am acquainted with individual church members, segments of congregations and even pastors who have been “transferred” from church structure. In order to maintain some anonymity and privacy I must be vague, but there are details that would make your hair stand on end and even raise your ire I would hope.

But I know you need something, so here are episodes that had similar features though separated by time, place and culture. In these instances all church members were invited to an important business meeting. Upon arrival each was met at the door and assigned to a certain side of the room. The “goats” on the “left” were told that all their memberships were all being transferred to another church administrative structure. No reasons were given at the time, neither was there any appeal. They had been accused, tried and “executed” all without knowing why.

After personally speaking with many of the individuals in these stories I have been struck by a recurring theme. One thing these episodes have in common is the request by the “offensive party” to know what they were being accused of. It is astounding and an intolerable injustice that these individuals were not allowed to know their offense even after diligent and prolonged request. This represents not only an egregious violation of Biblical principle; it is illegal and violates the most basic rights guaranteed by our Constitution.   These incidents happened in the 21st century, in our own country, in our church – but in a situation which may feel like one has indeed been catapulted back into the times of the Wild, Wild West.

On a more troubling level we are all aware that several Unions of the Seventh Day Adventist church have voted to ordain women without regard to gender.   (4, 5)

So far they are,

Mid-America Union – March 8, 2012

North German Union – April 23, 2012

Columbia Union Conference – July 29, 2012

Pacific Union Conference - August 19, 2012

Danish Union – May 12, 2013

Netherlands Union – May 30, 2013

 These movements represent a direct violation of world church policy by church leadership. Some who have voted for these policies would no doubt regard their action as civil disobedience, or perhaps religious vigilantism or modern antinomianism.   Civil disobedience would regard its action to violate church law as morally right because it sees itself as adhering to a “higher law” so judged by personal conviction and as such it refuses to yield obedience to a law deemed to violate higher law. Vigilantism might regard itself as endowed with a self-proclaimed authority to do what is necessary for the moment in order to maintain unity. Antinomianism could see itself as unbound by laws which do not reveal its concept of grace.

One must stand before God Himself and answer for his actions himself alone. So I cannot judge the motives of those who voted. Some who hold views which support Women’s Ordination are men for whom I have the deepest respect. I have no doubt that many are motivated by noble intentions.

But I am drawn to a question Jesus asked a young man one day. We read in Luke 10: 26 the penetrating inquiry, “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” How we respond to Jesus’ question may be the most important issue we need to address as we prepare for the 2015 General Conference session in San Antonio.

We are familiar with the words of the law regarding ordination, but are quite divergent when asked, “How readest thou?”   We are reading the same texts but coming to vastly different conclusions. In fact we are coming to completely opposite conclusions.

How can that be? Well, we are simply reading the law with different assumptions - we are using different hermeneutics.   A hermeneutic is simply the method we use to interpret the words of the Bible.

Traditionally Seventh Day Adventists have adopted a method which promotes a plain reading of scripture. Simply stated our old method teaches us, “The text means what it says”. This has been termed the Historical-Grammatical method.

However, during the past several years of study on the topic of Women’s Ordination (WO) by the North American Division Theology of Ordination Study Committee (NAD TOSC) and the General Conference Theology of Ordination Study Committee (GC TOSC) an alternative hermeneutic has been proposed.   It is called the Principle-Based-Historical Cultural method (PBHC). This hermeneutic, among other things, promotes the use of what is called, “trajectory”.   (6-11)

Here are a few quotations from the NAD TOSC report from November 2013.

     "A plain and literal reading strategy would be suf­ficient to understand most of the Bible. Yet the com­mittee believes that there are occasions when we should employ principle-based reading because the passage calls for an understanding of the historical and contextual settings." p25

     "One question will be considered by an honest reader of the Bible: Which approach or reading strategy does more justice to the meaning of the text? This question is especially important when considering difficult passages or issues, and is fun­damental to the proper interpretation of Scripture." p25

     "What hermeneutical approach should we gener­ally take in our reading of scriptural texts? How should the biblical text be applied in the contempo­rary world? What hermeneutics should be devel­oped to distinguish that which is merely cultural from that which is timeless? ….These questions must be answered to interpret the Bible as a unified whole. One persuasive way to do that is to adopt a “redemptive movement hermeneutic, which can be applied to many issues that emerge when reading difficult passages. …. This approach looks for the redemptive spirit (or “trajectory”) in the text to discern what still applies today." p27

(Emphasis with italics is mine. I would encourage you to read the entire section on hermeneutics in the NAD TOSC report and to listen to the video presentations sited in the Reference section at the end of this blog.)

The purpose of this new hermeneutical method was to take the plain reading of certain difficult passages of scripture and use “trajectory” to propose, or imagine, or surmise what God would have really meant for us to understand if the Bible writer had had a clearer knowledge of the real character of God and His ultimate purpose for humanity. The reader surmises that since the plain reading of the passage ‘obviously’ could not harmonize with the real character of God, the true intent must be ascertained by some other means than taking the words at face value. One must try to separate what was ‘merely cultural’ from what was ‘timeless’.   In other words, the person reading the text interjects into scripture what should have been written. The reader decides what the scripture should have meant.

I find this a very dangerous manner of interpreting scripture. The most obvious problem is the sinfulness of human nature to imagine what the God of the Universe ‘really’ meant to say. Whose mind is sufficient imagine God’s true intent? Even if this were possible, who would judge the validity of one manmade trajectory over another? Whose mind could judge the mind of another man when we try to imagine God’s word as it should have been written? Will we need scholars to interpret ‘difficult’ passages for us? Will they have to send consensus papers to the world church to inform them of the meanings of ‘difficult’ passages of scripture? Who decides what is ‘difficult’? What would be the criteria for a passage to be termed ‘difficult’? What about the elderly man in a traditional culture who reads his Bible at night by lamplight or the young girl in China who opens the Word of God in her home church? Will they just be left out of the loop? This is quagmire of unfantomable proportions.

In Judges 17:6 it was reported, “In those days [there was] no king in Israel, [but] every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes.”  In the early history of our country we had a similar situation in the Wild, Wild West.   I thought those days were over, but all this furor makes me wonder, “Is it back?” If our westernized church is again becoming like a reborn Wild, Wild West, it need not be.

We have here a comforting promise, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.” John 7:17  We have also this insightful observation, “The Bible, with its precious gems of truth, was not written for the scholar alone. On the contrary, it was designed for the common people. The poor man needs it as much as the rich man, the unlearned as much as the learned. It is a great mistake for ministers to give people the impression that they can not understand the teachings of the Word of God, and should be content with the interpretation given by those whose business it is to proclaim the Word of God. Ministers who thus educate the people are themselves in error. To him who loves the truth, the Word of God is as a light shining in a dark place, pointing out the path so plainly that the wayfaring man, tho a fool, need not err therein. {ST, July 11, 1906 par. 1}

The Bible was designed to be read by the common man and anyone who is willing to do His will, can understand doctrine. The plain reading of scripture is God’s intent.

***************************************************

Reference

1) http://www.legendsofamerica.com/oldwest.html

2) http://www.thewildwest.org/cowboys/wildwestoutlawsandlawme

3) http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Vigilantism.aspx

 4) The Mid-America Union Votes to Support the Ordination of Women

http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3850

5) Ordination of women-Seventh Day Adventists

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordination_of_women#Seventh-day_Adventist

 6) NAD Theology of Ordination Study Committee Report - November 2013 (please note that this is an NAD TOSC report, not a GC TOSC report)

http://static1.squarespace.com/static/50d0ebebe4b0ceb6af5fdd33/t/5282a08be4b0b6e93a788    acc/1384292491583/nad-ordination-2013.pdf

 7) New WO Hermeneutic examined, pt 1 & pt2

http://ordinationtruth.com/category/principle-based-historical-cultural-method/page/2/

 8) NAD’s new PBHC hermeneutic: a closer look

http://ordinationtruth.com/category/principle-based-historical-cultural-method/page/2/

9) NAD’S trajectory hermeneutic examined

http://ordinationtruth.com/category/principle-based-historical-cultural-method/

 10) Theology of Ordination Study Committee completes work (UPDATED) http://ordinationtruth.com/2014/06/05/theology-of-ordination-study-committee-completes-work/

11) Biblical Hermeneutics: Blest be the tie that binds us - March 15, 2014 Jay Gallimore http://advindicate.com/articles/2014/3/15/biblical-hermeneutics-blest-be-the-tie-that-binds-us