The intersection of Christianity and Churchianity is r(w)ife with problems

Some recent posts delve, again, into churchianity. This time it is as chronicled in the book Mere Churchianity. Society of Phineas has a good review of the book here.

We rightly denigrate churchianity as is deserving of a faux version of the single most important truth that exists. Churchianity, it can be said, has precluded the actual salvation of multitudes especially in the U.S. Churchianity is a religion without a relationship. I dislike that expression because the expression itself has become a part of the very thing I’m using it to condemn. It is there, at the point of intersection of authentic Christianity and churchianity that another great danger resides.

Churchianity affords itself many manifestations. Churchians can be utterly ignorant of scripture yet subscribe to the particularly refined task list of a given churchian church and appear to be overtly pious. Conversely, churchians can be encyclopedic regarding scripture, also having the appearance of piety, because scriptural literacy is a tenet of their particular churchianity. But here I am more interested in how churchianity has impacted the values that should be inherent to Christianity, specifically as it relates to men, women, sex, marriage, and divorce. At the intersection of Christianity and churchianity there is a mushroom cloud of hypocrisy. It is so big, so roiling, that only blinders created by the father of lies can prevent seeing the sociological post apocalyptic wasteland sweeping outward from the point of impact.

Provoked by an example, I commented on this in the comments section of the last post.

My in laws are sincere followers of Christ. I have zero doubt of their authenticity. To the highest degree one person can know the spiritual condition of another, I rate them 10 on a 1-10 scale of authenticity. Recall my mention of an extended family member who, at 30, jettisoned her husband and immediately married a 19 year old boy. Her and her husband had met in bible college, maintained sexual purity, married young, both had been home schooled and raised grounded in Christian values. Appearances suggest that they were (and are) sincere in their faith as well. But there was one problem. She is stunningly beautiful, and he ain’t. BIG margin. So, she married a young great looking stud and sent her crushed ex back to his state of origin, likely to wallow in his own mucus for months.

My in laws, visiting now for week two, brought up the new happy couple yesterday. They gushed that the boy works at a retail store and the girl manages a department at a store at the mall and they are doing just marvelous. After a week of holding my tongue,  and all things that would provoke my tongue, I could not not help but ask, “anyone know what happened to Mr. Ex?” The answer, dismissively, “not really I suppose he went back to XXXXX.” FIL added, “I didn’t really like him anyway”.

To be honest, neither did I. But it was a generational thing, not a testament to the young man’s character. “That’s so unfortunate, I hope he is OK”, I added, “he got a bad deal in that situation”.

“How so?”, they asked…and here I was finally shocked. I was not just shocked because of what happened to Ex, but because of the rush of memories built over 25 years that all started fitting into little randomly shaped boxes perfectly.

Let’s juxtapose.

Over the course of the previous week a few things had been said. Seemingly innocent things but dots to connect.

On Tuesday when I had a business dinner, my MIL asked, “will there be women there?”. No other comment. I asked, “why do you ask?” That was that. They hint at the immorality of a man having to take a business trip. They miss the irony contained in the fact that mine is one of the only households in the whole group that have sufficient resources for even the basics of life.

Watching the movie God’s Not Dead, when a woman buys a bottle of wine to take home for dinner with her fiance, they both agreed, “he must be an alcoholic”.

And throughout the week there were the expected references to hahmaseksyuls and pornography .

I could go on. But the point is evident. The nature of the things they find objectionable fit one of two criteria. They are church-safe things to oppose, like gay marriage, or they are the things women like to keep in the forefront of moral discourse, like male infidelity, male workaholism, pornography, men not “being nice” to their wives or meeting the emotional needs. Like that. But it still gets worse.

I still blame my generation for the ground swell of support for liberal marriage and divorce policies in the public domain, and the practice of family destruction in the private domain. However, something was happening before then, especially in southern conservative churches. They had the veneer of being patriarchal. Men, after all could divorce more easily than women therefore is it not only natural that men would take advantage of that power?

Not really. Churchianity was still in its primordial muck pool. The pool was for years not coed and it was the equivalent of a puddle. It was girls only, but they had no way to grow the pool beyond the women already in it. So, they set about usurping male influence in daily life by carrot and stick. Suddenly these little pools were popping up in every back yard and men, women, and children were splashing around in them…because it seemed to make the women happy. Once the men got in the pool, the gals had’em where they wanted them. The men let it all slip away for the desire to make momma happy. And the men ended up miserable and old like I witness with my guests. My FIL barely speaks, when he does his wife contradicts him, corrects him, interrupts him, talks incessantly, and rejects his innocent 80 year old affections like a Liberian health worker would reject a kiss from an Ebola patient.

So, he takes naps. he goes to bed at night by 7PM, and emerges at 8AM. he naps 2-3 hours several times a day. And the females present think he is tired. Oh, he is tired alright but even he could not explain why he does what he does because such is the insidiousness of the deception at the intersection of churchianity and Christianity.

There, each of the four corners is occupied by an edifice built by bricks kilned of female primacy. Female primacy in scripture understanding, in what is right and what is wrong for men to do and not do, and of an utter inability to even process the concept of female sin and responsibility for same.

I’m not usually willing to lay out the dirty linens like this but I have no other way to illustrate that there are churchian Christians. I won’t claim that I am not somehow tainted by this, as much as I may like to think I sit over it and judge it. This kind of deception is of a nature and complexity that one of the only things that can so deceive is a willful clever manipulative woman. Even my young colleague, today, was quick to respond, after I’d vented a bit, “that guy has clearly allowed that to blossom over decades of marriage”.

How nice it is that there are bright shoots of understanding in the generations that came of age in this century. They may have to work tirelessly through all this to reach half a block’s distance from the intersection, but I see them moving into places with addresses that are uniquely Christian, leaving those on the churchian route, and those at the intersection there to die off, some dying well, some ending up gnashing.

Its obvious and credits me with no special insight that this, to me, is just a very large forbidden apple that women are still salivating over. And because she wants it, men are willing to slice and peel it, make a cobbler or pie, cover it with chocolate, whatever she wants. Because in doing so he may be bestowed the biggest of kindnesses. A moment with the woman he loves where she, for a fleeting second, is sated.

Men Looking at Other Women?!

I have discovered the Counseling Men Blog: Advice for Men, and the Women Who Love Them! The topic I am focusing on from their site is “Looking at Other Women”.

Before I go into this: I have to confess to feeling completely tired just looking at the title, anticipating what it is about, and discovering that I was completely right. Take a look for yourselves. The usual Christianese formulae are there—in a Q&A, husband admits that though he loves his wife, he can’t stop looking at other women.

When younger I was just another guy who looks at other women, even when with my wife. I meant no harm, but it upset my wife and hurt her. My reaction was to stop looking at other women and avoid dealing with women. I have no interest to meet any one else or look at any one else. I am totally satisfied with my wife.
Like other men looking at other women, I get incidents that happen without control, a glance, that I hate and am not comfortable with and especially if the other woman notices me looking. I do not look again, but just this uncontrolled look makes me awkward and I panic, mostly out of fear of hurting my wife and risk of losing her.
When with my wife, my wife reports that I become a different person and not notice her. I notice that I feel awkward and I am not comfortable when out. I feel as if I have to keep my guard up all the time and if I relax I will fall!
(bold above is on the site)

So that is the fellow’s dilemma as presented. I have to say that I’m a bit puzzled—what exactly is meant by this stuff? What does ‘looking at other women’ mean? Is it a glance? A full on ogle? A Loony Tunes stare with eyes bugging out and train whistles going off and a loud whistle? We don’t know.

What are incidents that happen without control? Is he becoming painfully aroused, is he unable to keep from snapping upskirt shots? Again, we don’t know.

And how exactly is he hurting his wife? How does he become a different person? What does that even mean?

Anyway the author of the article goes on to explain something of why men look at other women.

Why do men look at other women? Most of us first developed the habit of looking at women when we were teenagers. It happens naturally and then we encourage it because of how good it makes us feel. Each time we see a sexually attractive woman our brain rewards us with a chemical high. It’s a minor high compared to other drugs, but it’s still enjoyable and addicting.

This natural reward system is the beginning reason why men look at other women. With the almost constant barrage of attractive women we’re exposed to in our media crazed world, many of us men have developed a regular “habit” of looking at other women. This habit can become so ingrained that our looking becomes like a natural reflex and one that we can feel we have no control over.

Unfortunately, our media exposure has only made this a more and more difficult battle for men. Advertisements by Carl’s Jr., Victoria Secret, car and beer makers all use scantily clad women, in sexually provocative poses to sell their products (are we buying the car, the girl, or does the girl come with the car?) contribute to why men look at other women.

When we get married or in a committed relationship we need to stop being a man who looks at other women. If we don’t, this “habit” can cause us a lot of problems, just as you’ve described.

Before I continue, I must say that while sure, one would expect that there is a need to demonstrate devotion to one’s committed relationship, that again there is this odd phrase: looking at other women. I’m still not sure what this means exactly here. Does he mean notices? Ogles? We still don’t know.

Anyway, here’s some advice he gave on how to control this, barring being so obviously addicted that you need counseling.

1. Recognize that it is a habit that you’ve built, not an uncontrollable reflex.
2. Begin to look for ways you continue to build that habit — such as movies, TV shows, magazines, football games, or internet porn and stop feeding it to your brain (read My Husband Looks At Porn to learn more).
3. Accept and get comfortable with the fact that it is natural to notice attractive women. The goal here is not to eliminate noticing, but rather how often you look and for how long.
Well wait a minute—let’s suppose we accept these three pieces of advice are reasonable. What exactly does ‘how often you look’ mean, and how long is too long?

And in fact, what is the actual goal here? What is this trying to achieve?

I read a bit of the comments section but there was only so much that I could take. A common theme was agreeing with the article which suggests that overwhelming amounts of sexual materials in the media are one of the causes of men being obsessed with sex. Which is interesting—why then are subjects like lust, adultery, falling in love, so common in the writings of the ancients? Were things more moral in the bronze and iron age or something? Doesn’t seem like it if you read the Bible or any ancient history. But one poster said that she felt human beings could be like penguins and mate for life. Um…no, actually they can’t. Human beings just aren’t wired that way. Human beings are naturally opportunistic, it’s one of the reasons why we are a successful species. Faithfulness for human beings is a moral choice, not a natural inclination. And here’s something to consider: one of the first things we are attracted to about anything is appearance. Other things tend to follow after that first impression. That doesn’t magically go away because of a ceremony and signing a piece of paper.

The issue I have with this sort of thing is not that it is trying to encourage moral behaviour—it’s rather that there is no real yardstick for moral behaviour in it; it merely feeds into women’s fears, worries about their looks and self esteem, without offering any real practical advice.

I’m sure that sites like this have the best of intentions, I really do. They see a crisis and want to respond to it. So I am NOT condemning this website in particular—I think that it reflects a generally faulty line of thought in our society, which I think this ignores a real factor in divorce: women generally feel a strong inclination towards letting their morals be guided by their emotions.  You will notice that women who are enjoying being married will often be amused or even arrogant in the face of their man giving a glance to another woman, the “sway your hips if you want honey, he’s going home with ME” attitude I’m sure we’ve all seen. But for the woman who is unhappy about her marriage anyway, everything the guy does will become a suspicious clue as to why she’s unhappy, no matter what it is. Like the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the start of WWI—if conflict and condemnation are wanted, women who want out will find a way that allows them to feel like the wronged party.

Worth it?

Men and women civilize one another. Lacking the civilizing effect, what happens? Women lack

 

Divorce punishes men. It punishes them for making women unhappy. Men who go to work, do some chores, are not abusive or addicted, but fail to calm the storm of her ever changing emotions are tossed from the lives of their children.

 

marriageggMan-CryingWhat happens next? When men are rejected and peel away the civilization that they created…..for the love of a woman and their children?

Men, uncivilized.

Men lacking

 

Feminism. Evangelical feminism. Worth it?

Not my fault, I was pushed

I have been able to resist the siren call of bashing the church of GFOFHAVVAGM . I had to add AGM, anti-genetically-modified. Maybe the church is growing because it’s name is growing. Like Captain Dan strapped to the mast, Ive wrestled my internal wry sarcastic beast of low tolerance for fads and let it all slide.

The beast was nearly released when I read about the President’s meddling in the usually free of controversy twice per decade release of government dietary guidelines. The new tzar is a synergistic companion to the naked emperor.

Tagtow is the first executive director of CNPP to have neither a Ph.D. nor a career background with extensive experience in food science and public health.

Well versed in Alinsky that one is.

Tagtow’s ideas center less on sound dietary science and more on “sustainable agriculture,” a niche cause of the bourgeois left that has no practical implications for the broader public.

To wit:

Instead of analyzing the relative benefits of grains, meats and vegetables, the committee has discussed the carbon footprint of farmers’ markets, federal bans on sugary drinks, urban agriculture, climate change and the sustainability of the plant-based diet.

Now we need to move away from a grain agriculture based food industry. Gluten Free Farming? Anyone???? I am gonna need veneers. I’ve been gnashing for a decade or who, but when I learned about this it stopped being particulate bits of enamel ground off my teeth. Chunks are starting to go missing.

While dialing up some cosmetic dentistry I saw this article which links to this study. Made me collect the bits of tooth surrounding my chair and give super glue one more try. It also ultimately did release my inner Kracken.

From the article:

By raising doubts over the scientific consensus on pesticides, hormones, and GMOs, organic food marketers deliberately played on people’s fears in order to expand the industry. One company, Organic Valley, even goes so far as to distribute activity books and promotional materials to schoolchildren that tout the alleged health benefits of organic food, indoctrinating a new generation of consumers. Parents are urged to lobby schools to serve organic-only meals.

The study quotes a question:

            In January 2014 Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah Nassauer
            asked “What will make people pay $3 more for frozen pizza that
            says “organic” when they been eating non-organic pizza for
            years?”
A bit later they offer a response:
            In 2014 the organic food industry has grown globally to more than
            $63 billion and is part of an even larger green industry market
            (SustainableBusiness.com, 2013). In one of its “Lifestyles of Health
            and Sustainability” (LOHAS) reports, the Natural Marketing
            Institute (NMI, 2010) reports that the natural living marketplace
            is valued at $290 billion in the United States alone.

I have a question. At what point does revenue reach a level that deserves the moniker “Big Corporate”? $290 billion must not be enough to provoke scrutiny of the companies that comprise the industry. There have to be some big companies in there somewhere.

A quick look at the 2012 Annual Report for Whole Foods shows sales of nearly $12 billion with a gross profit exceeding $4 billion, and an ROIC of 12%. The report shows the rate of expansion, stores added, square footage added, and an outlook for same in coming years. I shared the anecdote about sitting with a group of execs from my employer, for our annual cloistered “Christmas with the BOD” dinner and the sobre mesa that occurred during. The crew were uniformly agitated that construction for the new, closer Whole Foods was being delayed because some group deigned oppose it based on the fact that it would destroy a large swath of green belt urban property. My wife and I were alone in our awareness of the irony.

I predict there is another more palpable irony coming just around the corner. In fact its already started but has yet to reach the critical mass that creates a trend or fad. Whole Foods is or will be soooooo yesterday because they WILL be branded big-corporate. The points made in the article will become fodder for organic feeders to eschew the chain, using what is really indictment of their religion to indict its first national church. They will become to the church of GFOFHAVVAGM what the Church of England would be to a Southern Baptist.

I’ll close with a weak effort to tie this in topically. The strident defense of the church of GFOFHAVVAGM and its requisite evangelizing and behavioral choices is actually not something unfamiliar to us in the sphere, tactic wise. A reading of any newly arrived woman to one of these blogs and her objections to the facts that form the foundation of conversion to clear sight on gender matters is no different that what one encounters when they discuss GFOFHAVVAGMism. There, I tried.

 

What’s wrong with number 4?

Shaunti Feldhahn again. This is the women who recently discovered that, YEAH!, the divorce rate is a little lower than we thought. She posits that getting the word out would stop many more divorces because divorces are happening when folks are demoralized by the number of divorces they are told have been happening. Kinda like encouraging smoking because you had a 4 pack a day uncle that lived to 100.

The research for her newest book, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, found some spouse specific marriage rules of thumb she condenses for men and for women. Her website describes it like this:

Shaunti spent three years interviewing and surveying 1,000 couples to uncover the most important habits of the most happily married couples – what are they doing differently, that they may not even realize is making them so happy, that others can replicate?
I have not read the book. But today I was linked to a Family Life article about it where they paraphrase the lists of common actions men and women can take to create happy marriages.
Men
  • Take her by the hand.
  • Leave her a voice mail message, text message, or email to tell her you love her and are thinking about her.
  • Put your arm around her, or your hand on her knee when you’re sitting next to her (especially when you’re in public).
  • Sincerely tell her she’s beautiful.
  • Pull yourself out of a funk.

Women

  • Notice his effort and sincerely thanks [sic] him for it.
  • Say, “You did a great job at __________.”
  • Mention in front of others something he did well.
  • Show him that you desire him sexually, and he pleases you sexually.
  • Make it clear to him that he makes you happy.

These lists thingies are too clever by half. My mother in law, for example, overtly, sometimes physically, shirks my FILs efforts at innocent sweet affection. It is troubling to watch. Whenever he is strident about it and they are stuck seated together on a sofa, she stiffly and awkwardly if he uses his hand to touch her anywhere on her body. I’ve seen this enough elsewhere, though not a majority, to lead me to conclude that it doesn’t belong on a list unless it has qualifiers. As is, it is stated as universal advice.

The notes and cards and letters idea is ubiquitous, and in my opinion, banal. The sentiment, and various modes of expressing it, OK. Telling her she is beautiful is solid advice. It is a mine field of disingenuous potential however. If your wife grows slovenly and obese, and you tow the line that it is her inner beauty blah blah etc., you are an enabler, not a husband complimenting his wife. Finally, if a man is in a funk, of course he should pull himself out of it. I have, in the past,  resembled that remark so to speak. It is crucial though that if his funk is from her endless toxic nagging and such, the cause be exposed as well. A man needn’t be endlessly put upon to pull out of a funk of his wife’s creation. My anecdotal experience is that most men go into a funk over provision or work related things, or relational wife related things. Within that set, it skews to the wife related things.

They offer better advice to the women. They address respect and sex, thus nailing it. Then the writer has to add a qualifier that reduces the value of the comprehensive list. He writes:

Oh, if you’re thinking that #4 is the most important thing on a guy’s list, think again. It’s #5. Almost 90 percent of men said knowing that they make their wife highly happy is what makes them highly happy.

There is something right about this and something wrong about this. It is correct that men genuinely want their wives to be happy. In fact this could use more emphasis because its not clear that women actually subscribe to this. If women truly understood the drive men have to see their wives happy they would perhaps back off on trying to micromanage and control things in order to create their own happy space.

Apologizing for men’s sex drive is never right, but very common.

It’s interesting how the claim that it isn’t the most important thing is derived. Above the quote form the book’s author’s website says she interviewed 1000 couples as research for this book. If they were interviewed together, as couples, that goes a long way towards explaining the bias that would lead to the claim that devalues the sexual aspect for men, removing it from the number one spot. Simple. Husbands will not answer the relevant questions about sex honestly if the wife is present. Period.

Recall that Willard Harley surveyed over 40,000 couples for his book His Needs Her Needs. He then compiled lists of the top needs by gender. Sex was number one for men. Number one by a lot. I sat through the two week seminar offered at my church in the mid 1990’s. There I encountered the explanation for men not being honest if questioned in front of their wives. As we went need by need, one per session, when we reached the need for sex, several of the wives went apoplectic. One went so far as to say that it was not even a legitimate thing to have listed in the context of needs. The discussion of sex took several sessions with primarily the wife of the seminar giving couple fielding the objections lest the poor fellow end up castrated. I could offer countless examples that affirm the reasons for the bias. In typical fashion, the author from FL was very concerned that the women reading may get” the wrong idea”. Especially from a male writer. Pastors do likewise, both fearing the women and simultaneously chasing The lift that the women will give back.

If Feldhahn likewise disclaims the primacy of sex as a male need, then she is as wrong on that as she is on her take down of the divorce rate. I once had her in the good-hand category. She is out.

The antidote that is also a vaccine

Dalrock has been on Matt Walsh’s six for several posts. Matt lacks anyone to “have his six” aside from a fickle gaggle of gigglers who get boosted up with righteous indignation when he writes things they can hammer men with. Most recently Dalrock unpacks the innate hypocrisy on 50SOG and the Christian women who rationalize their way through the pages.

As I was thinking about the whole porn-is-evil-and-adultry thing, I thought about a guy I know whose wife kicked him out and divorced him for porn on his PC. A few months later she was pregnant by some random guy. Didn’t marry him, but at least had the baby. As far as I can tell she would still maintain that she was the moral actor in that sequence. This 50SOG thing is a lighter fictional take on that real world happening.

I was also thinking about some wisdom I saw in a cell phone ad. When the dad is leaving on a trip and climbing in the cab, the kids tell him they put videos on his phone for him to watch so he wasn’t too home sick. The wife says “I put a vid on there to , but (whisper) don’t watch it on the plane dear”.

How many men can imagine that scene? Oh sure, stuff like that isn’t as rare as a skull from Olduvai gorge, but its neither present in many marriages in the pews. Not that it need be r rated vids to achieve the effect, most marriages lack even a wink in this direction. I remember seeing that ad and wondering how many women silently were offended, some even speaking out indignant about how horrible that must be that that poor woman must pander to her man’s base drives that way.

The wife’s character in that ad was in possession of a rare form of medicine. It is a compound that is both a vaccine and an antidote, capable of preventing things from happening, and equally capable of boosting the man’s immune system to set right anything that ever may have happened and kill it off.

Rather, women rant that porn is adultery, then they use that to rationalize following their heart off to EPL land. Even things like the example I mentioned above fail to illustrate reality sufficiently to get women to catch a snap, as they rally to support that poor woman wronged by porn and by a husband that perhaps was worn down by consistent frigidity and rebellion.

They talk about that sort of thing in the neighborhood ladies book clubs. And they miss the forest for the terrariums they have painstakingly constructed.

A “Present Shock”…linking follow-your-heart and divorce

The pastor in the linked file used themes from the book “Present Shock”, which, if you’ve not read and are inclined to such things, its an interesting one.

That we (humans, people, society) are not subject to an overarching narrative is indisputable. Any narrative, let alone the epic one found in the 66 books of the bible, or its ( important…for us) themes on the meaning of life, the reason we exist, so forth.

From this opener the sermon goes into some interesting points about the ministry of God the Father before sin entered the world and how He instructed human(s) to live…that we needed that instruction even before we sinned, not because of sin, but because we are humans. Then, regarding sexuality and relationships the speaker made bold proclamations. He comes as close as a diminishing asymptote to linking some things that could shed some light on divorce in the church. Close enough, for those who can hear it. Light years away for the rest.

“To follow one’s heart is an utter disaster”, he states. He repeats that in several forms and contexts. Later, he states something about 50% of Christian marriages ending in divorce. He gets there, to divorce,  through a minefield discussion of sexuality and sexual sin.

That there are minutes and topics separating the admonishment to not follow one’s heart, or feelings, and the statement that so many Christians divorce. It was a kind of mental coitus interruptus for Christian men’s issue thinkers. The coitus analogy holds to the end, because I was both a little frustrated and a lot glad he got as close as he did..

Its simply a good sermon. My favorite of those Ive posted from this pastor.

Matriarchal Utopia? Or Rodent Gommorah?

In 1968 Garret Hardin published “The Tragedy of the Commons” in the journal, “Science”. In it he explored the concept that publicly shared resources could be overrun by users who being pressed by short term self-interest could destroy a resource that they should rather preserve by cooperation through the motivation of long term self-interest. Usually this is where Malthusian discussions of overpopulation kick in, I don’t intend to go there. Instead, I am thinking about another overpopulation experiment that essentially has a tragedy of the commons worked into it: John Calhoun’s Mouse Utopia and the concept of the “behavioral sink“. The concepts that flow from Calhoun’s work naturally work with Hardin’s ideas and are frequently discussed together with current events like urban population, crime and violence (which I think has merit). However, I think that the REAL tragedy was overlooked.

The overpopulation in Calhoun’s Utopia’s served as a stressor, primarily to rodent breeding, and rearing behavior. However, unlike Calhoun or any of his Malthusian Zero Population Growth proponents I’m not looking at the overpopulation except as a generic stressor upon society (that may be replaced with many others). By divorcing the particulars of the stressor from the outcome I think that we can learn a whole lot more about what other stressors may be accomplishing. Rather than looking at the stressor we look at the results of the stress. For example, in the mice, the destructive “behavioral sink” was caused by an excess of social and spacial pressures on the territorial behavior of the sexually reproductive males. Essentially pressure built to the point where they were unable to defend their territory, their breeding opportunities based on that space and the young rearing activities of their mates. The females responded to this stress by attacking their pups, driving them out of the nests and refusing to build or maintain nests suitable for the rearing of young. This ultimately resulted in the extirpation of the colony. No breeding, no rearing, and no going back. Sound familiar?

If I were applying Calhoun to humans, I would not be focusing on population as the chief stressor. We aren’t seeing waves of “dropouts” going on violent raping and killings sprees even after they have washed out socially and suffered what Calhoun described as “the first death” (think prison as the locus of our behavioral sinks). Instead the pressures on successful child rearing in the West take on a subtler form. The anti-family predations of culture which incite child destroying behavior. The universal destruction of male space, male “privileges” and male ownership. I don’t believe it all is an accident.

Examine Calhoun’s Mouse Utopia #25. What were described in the experiment as “dropouts” broke psychologically. They started congregating in the central space and lashing out with random violence, cannibalism and what is described as hyper and/or pansexualism. A mousy little Sodom and Gomorrah. Eventually these “miscreants” began impinging upon the behaviors of sexually productive mice causing THEM to dropout. Quickly the fabric of the mouse society devolved into a death spiral, breaking into several groups with the mosh-pit mice and the socially withdrawn mice. Socially withdrawn females and even a group of males who focused on nothing but eating, drinking and grooming which Calhoun dubbed “the beautiful ones”, little mousy MGTOWS.

After reading years of Dalrock, and many others, I’m becoming convinced that Western societies have essentially been driven to this tipping point. The “commons” are the ability for men to provision and lead their families. The “space” to have positive authority in the lives of their children. The moral suasion of the priest and head of their wife and children. Even to the point of having meaningful contact. The ability to shield them from the destructive forces of the depraved “first deather’s” (feminists, family courts, secular culture, higher education and on and on). The servant husband and father is on the brink of extinction and that his sacrifices are largely unwanted and despised. The incentives to male investment and feminism outside and inside the “church” is opposed to rewarding men for anything, most of all masculinity without which there is no protected space for family. I’ve been contemplating an inventory of these stressors, anything that causes disruption to the two parent (father/mother) and extended family, it might make a good series of posts.

For some reason “thinking about the little mosh-pit mice”, Robert Plant seems strangely appropriate:

On waves of love my heart is breaking
And stranger still my self control I can’t rely on anymore
New tides surprise – my world it’s changing
Within this frame an ocean swells – behind this smile I know it well

Beneath a lover’s moon I’m waiting
I am the pilot of the storm – adrift in pleasure I may drown
I built this ship – it is my making
And furthermore my self control I can’t rely on anymore
I know why – I know why
Crazy on a ship of fools
Crazy on a ship of fools
Turn this boat around – back to my loving ground

Who claims that no man is an island
While I land up in jeopardy – more distant from you by degrees
I walk this shore in isolation
And at my feet eternity draws ever sweeter plans for me
I know why – I know why
Crazy on a ship of fools
Crazy on a ship of fools
Turn this boat around – back to my loving ground
Oh no, oh no – ship of fools –

(tip to Johnnycomelately on Dalrock for reminding me of Calhoun).

The Christian solution to healthy conflict resolution

You know what it says because you’ve read it before. It deserves to be parsed in conjunction with the topics spawned by Elspeth’s claim that men should just ignore the wife’s expressions of discontentment because she’ll get over it. That led to some back and forth about conversational dynamics in marriage, especially focused on what has aptly been termed, emotional terrorism.

Greg Smalley of FotF has something to say about turning that maelstrom of emotion into a calm spring day in a daisy field. He explains how fighting can save your marriage.

Healthy conflict can be a doorway to deeper intimacy. It can facilitate communication, understanding, trust and respect if we choose to manage our differences and disagreements in nourishing ways. I hope you’ll realize that healthy conflict is a way to discover your spouse’s most important feelings and needs. [emphasis mine]

This puts FotF at odds with Elspeth. She says ignore them [feelings], they say mine them for treasure. It wouldn’t be a Christian argument advice piece if it didn’t also include:

do what Jesus himself recommended: “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). The key to moving from unhealthy conflict to healthy conflict is to first get the log out of your own eye so that instead of simply reacting, you can thoughtfully respond to your spouse in a productive, Christ-like way.

These pat formulaic solutions work perfectly in a fictionalized account where the argument is about a binary decision, where its go vs no-go, yes vs no, up vs down, spend vs don’t spend. These fictional dialogs omit the real problem though. Whether it is a binary argument, or , the more likely stealth emotional attack out of nowhere, fictional dialogs are too simplistic which is sadly congruent with most forms of Christian fiction. Remember the faux situations one ministry leader said he placed before his children to teach them how to react? Same flavor.

While still pat, the four steps he lists for having productive conflict are not terrible. In the last two he recommends that each person, while alone, name their feelings then ask for divine guidance as to their validity.

Name what you are feeling (I feel . . . unloved, disrespected, worthless, controlled, unimportant, etc.) and notice how it calms you. Do this during your timeout.

 

Pray. Ask God to reveal what is true about your feelings and what is true about your spouse.

 

I’ve never seen it suggested that anyone really self examine. Rather, advice normally runs along the lines of validating every feeling. This is so out of phase that I cannot help but think he doesn’t really mean it as stated. The emphasized part of the first quote, above, suggests Smalley doesn’t really mean filter feelings. That, or, with deeper examination or under fire from a woman questioning him, he would help her rationalize her way around having to self examine and identify the absurdity of some of her feelings. More importantly, what do you do when the argument is 100% about her feelings and not in any way clearly reconcilable ? The arguments I’ve been describing have nothing to do with any actual decision. They are about women’s innate insecurity and fear coupled with her feelings of moral superiority and the drive she has to manage and change her husband. Like my acquaintance the Dr. of Theology and Psychology said, her wedding day was when her project, fixing her man, was made legit.

Feelings aside, what about some ground rules that focus the discourse? Maybe limiting the talk to the topic, directly, and afford them the right to claim the irrelevance of remarks born of emotion rather than just scoring emotional direct hits would be good advice. Don’t forget that for the past half century when women are asked to pray for guidance, they hear from The Personal Jesus, who is largely a product of their feelings.

The majority of conflicts in marriage are not about binary things. When they are, they can be reconciled by one of three ways…his preference, her preference, or compromise. Discussing those in the context of primacy of feelings is a waste of time. Framing those issues using Matthew 7:5 is fallacious. It doesn’t apply. All that does it allow her to find a way to fault a man in a disagreement about what color to paint a room or something. There is no fault in play. Until this advice creates one.

I’ve shared how during counseling (with a man) a decade ago I refused to participate in the predictable “get you two to communicate” prattle until two binary issues were settled. I didn’t want to go down the prattle path regardless, but I would if I could, for my own sanity, have a reasoned discussion of these handful of binary issues and agreed to accept the counselors rendered solution.

At that point in my marriage we were at max escalation and those couple of things were a daily source of major conflict. So we did it. Very simply and clearly he took my side, meaning he endorsed my opinion of what should happen. He listened to my concise description of the facts. Then he listened to hers. When she finished, not only did he say that my position was the most reasonable, but that buried within her diatribe was a sense of blame, toward me, for every flawed aspect of our relation ship. He asked her, “Mrs. Empath, are you even aware that you circled every issue through all sorts of winding dialog that subtly but clearly laid the problems you two have at your husbands feet.?”

Though we did end up continuing with the guy for quite some time, at that evenings conclusion she fired off, “we will not be headed back to that guy”. Thankfully he was a man who had no tolerance for emotional terrorism. He saw it for what it is. He rebuked it.

Neither that counselor guy nor the psychologist mentioned have a platform from which to share their wisdom. Smalley, FotF, Family Life, etc. they have the platform. And it buttresses the fact that the process of working through problems is more important than the solution, more important than the issue regardless what it is, even more important than the truth. Because the process is where she gets to bring out her toys (feelings) and play.

 

 

 

She’s in control, not Major Tom

I poached this link from Elspeth’s blog because it dovetails with my previous post. It is another source text for saying that women are the more controlling sex in marriage. I say another because there was already a most unlikely source that made the same observation.

Christian women and men especially do not want to imagine this as true. So, when the women at CF would cite the Gottman studies that highlighted, famously, the predictors of divorce, and those behavioral predictors were easily foist on men. They loved them some Gottman over there. But buried in Gottman’s research was the plainly stated observation that women were more prone to being controlling than men. One must actually read the literature to find it, not the titles of the studies and the media ready snippets. Those informed the women.

The linked article starts to reveal something important.

Convention has it that women are the gentler sex.

But when it comes to relationships they are more likely than men to be controlling and aggressive, a study claims.

They’d have been ahead to stop there. But we cannot have such things simply placed under the light of day for scrutiny. So, they dilute it.

Study leader Dr Elizabeth Bates said: ‘The stereotypical popular view is still one of dominant control by men. That does occur but research over the last ten to 15 years has highlighted the fact that women are controlling and aggressive in relationships too.’

Oh, ok, men do it too. Whew, for a minute there I thought there was some news here. I thought….I actually thought that someone was releasing data that could be used as cover for holding women accountable for something. Anything. Doc Elizabeth though states it quote differently than the opener. She says, and fails to challenge, that men are the stereotypical perpetrators of domination but that the study, gasp, says that women do it too.

The reason I parsed the article is not my normal MO, though I plied that by showing the spin. The reason was to show how it buttresses the claims I make about the behavior I’ve been describing as being absolutely typical. It is statistically the majority. It is in the woman’s nature. This is more than a simple statement of the collated study results. It is revelatory of why there is so much buy in to the present male dominant narrative. That too is a form of control, just on a macro basis. It is also succor for the men who experience this behavior to an extent far beyond my examples and those of some of the men who comment here and elsewhere about same. Finally, it contradicts the notion that the problem is that of men being permissive of it, meaning that men have within us the ability to change it.

We can choose our path. We can do so despite this. We get to respond rightly, or not. We needn’t BE controlled. But we may have to tolerate her attempts to do so. We can ignore them, we can allow ourselves to be controlled, or we can wrestle and fight over it. Most men respond essentially the right way as evidenced by the fact we are not the ones divorcing in droves.

Meanwhile, imagine the injustice, she terrorizes him for a couple of decades, then jettisons him because he deigned react.