She chose something other than riding a bike

I read an opinion piece on the Fox News site called “How I stopped being busy…and got a real life”. My motives for reading that sort of article are simple. Think rubbernecking a big accident on the interstate. Westerners love repackaged platitudes.

But you already knew that.

It was a single sentence in the piece that grabbed my attention because of how it illustrates more of what my last post was about.

The writer waxes about how she stripped busy making from her schedule and chose to focus more on her family and friends. Mostly boiler plate stuff, until half way through she wrote this:

The more I chose my heart, and not what mattered to the rest of the world, the more I chose what mattered to me.

Is that not exactly backwards of what has really been defining the woman’s schedule? Is it not the heart that creates martyr complex and myriad other reasons women give for being a moms taxi driver, and PTA, and band booster, and this and that committee? She admits as much earlier in the article:

We say yes to committees and other commitments

[  ] because we mistakenly believe it will bring us acceptance or prestige. Busyness has become a badge of honor.

No new information here. Nothing deeply insightful. Just more words mixed together in an article with empathy evocation as prime directive rather than paying attention to what the words mean.

What would you rather do, or ride a bike? Today I feel like a nut.

A clever friend of mine in elementary school found that nonsensical  question amusing. He would say it with tones and inflections as if it were an incantation. Meanwhile, it was just a question with something intentionally left out.

I was reminded of it while reading my Family Life devotional this morning.. There was a link to one of their helpful marriage articles called……

Hey, wait a minute Empath, did you just say you were reading your FL devotional?

Nah, you must have misheard me, you know better.

Anyway, the article is called  10 Ideas: Helping your marriage last a lifetime. Idea number nine is the one that reminded me of my elementary school chum the wordsmith.

9. Be objective and take the emotion out of problem solving. “If I say something to you that’s disrespectful to you and I don’t really know it, you need to trust my heart.” (Mona Sproull)

Do you see the similarities between my buddies gibberish and Mona’s in number 9?

Words mean things. Specific things. Here, however, we have a set of words strung together, the heading conveying its point clearly and the tag line more than negating it, allowing the reader (almost exclusively overwrought women) to be an antique sideboard and a fresh pomegranate at the same time.

This buries the Mounds/Almond Joy nut dichotomy for all time.

Vacuous help, aka “support”

At some point we’ve likely all decried the emptiness of well intended phrases meant to comfort someone when they are experiencing a difficult time. “I’ll be prayin’ for ya”, someone says. And we thank them dutifully.

I don’t wish to rehash that dynamic. Rather, because of something that happened this past week I had some new thoughts about empathy that reveal how insidious a pastime empathy really is.

Recall a couple of months ago a colleague of mine died of a rare illness, from stricken to dead in five weeks. And I was knocked off my feet. During the three weeks of hospice I liaised between the family and my employer and did some other practical things that I thought were helpful to the wife of my colleague. An understandable couple of months passed before receiving her thank you note this week. It humbled and blessed me and magnified my own sense of being undeserving.

Over the next couple of days I got to re-experience the grief at full strength.

This nagged at me. I prayed about it… a lot. I tend to feel inadequate and ill equipped in crisis like that one.

I was reminded, providentially, of another time some fifteen or twenty years ago when the death of the mother of some kids that attended the little Christian school my kids attended crashed into our lives. There was some practical thing I could do but was not sure if it would be helpful. But I offered the dad that I would pick up his dirty laundry weekly and clean it all in the dry cleaner we owned, then return it to his home. I did so for several months until the man convinced me it was OK to stop.

Some years passed and we ran into that man and his boys at a church we visited. We had one of my wife’s sisters with us.  The man came across the room and hugged me aggressively, not some little should thing or a quick slap on the back hug, but a squeezing rocking affair. I was then left as flummoxed as I was this week with the note. More, I will not forget that my sister in law remarked something about how I “helped people”.

Believe me folks. I am not your neighborhood altruist. Not even close.

I occurred to me when I reread the note’s reference to the “hands and feet of Jesus”, not that I was being that and good on me, rather what occurred to me was that an instance of deploying hands and feet is worth more than the sum of global empathy throughout all history and until the end of time.

Empathy has a reward feedback loop for those addicted to it. It also has hand and feet avoidance mechanisms, including its own subtle vocabulary. The above example of telling someone they will be prayed for, the expression “I’m there for you” and its expanded more honest version, “I’m there for you if you want to talk” .

Nothing excites the empathy addict more than being the conversational support for someone else. The empathy addict, during a dry spell, will even generate things for which she needs support.

The empathy addict that is nearing an addiction crisis will even start to let empathy affect other parts of their lives. They will volunteer as a helper then be unable to do (hands and feet) the work as needed, begging off due to some empathy generating reference to an issue someone in the family or circle of friends is having. After all, the addict is the essential support structure for that suffering person and that takes priority over hands and feet stuff like volunteering.

This juxtaposition of empathy wallowing and actually doing physical things to help is not meant to suggest that being a listener is not a hands a feet action. It is meant to point out the exploitation of the fact that listening is doing in order to make listening a source for empathogasms.

Finally, this has nothing whatsoever to do with me and the small references to self in the examples. I’m not being falsely modest. I really am not an altruist. It blesses me that twice in 15 years I stood out as such, but doing so means I have to scale the cliffs of my nature which is just not so inclined.

They let one slip through

Again the email is full of programs for spouses to learn how to pray together. All of the major marriage ministries are in lock step about the benefits of couples praying together daily. I always feel trepidation when I write on this topic. I struggle with the wisdom of taking a position that could be construed as anti-prayer at worst or ambivalent about prayer at best.  I always ask myself if this is one of those topics I’d be better of stewing on in private.

Then I think…..Nah.  Say what you need to say.

Family Life is about to launch their “30 Day Oneness Challenge”. Couples who sign up will receive devotional materials by email daily and guidance for that days couple prayers. The assertion is that when a man or woman reveal to each other what they would reveal to God in prayer they have a view into the heart of the other spouse that had not been afforded them until they began praying together.

I get the point. I see the value in what they are saying. It cannot be a bad thing to know what is brewing in the heart of your one flesh partner can it? How much deeper must that take the emotional intimacy? Well…

If you read the letters that follow this article you will notice patterns. The wives are the ones who prominently claim an increase in sexual desire and frequency. The wives universally gush that they now know their husbands better than they ever did before….you know, when they were in a near constant state of disquiet because the one place he could go be by himself was in his head.

Something new occurred to me. The men gush too. This time something new occurred to me. They make vague remarks that celebrate the effect that a couple of decades of praying together has had on their marriage. The men’s comments are decidedly macro  in nature. The benefit, though not specifically described, could be seen as having been fortunate enough to not be divorced after 20 or 30 years. Sure. Amen to that bro.

My over arching issue has always been that these recommendations that couples pray together, and the overt favorable proclamations by the women are bereft of any tempering language, raising  caution that along with the knowing of whats troubling your spouse must come a wellspring of grace and the ability to utterly wall off what is learned from other marital discourse. These disciplines are well beyond the ability of the majority of women. A taste of what he is thinking or feeling creates an addiction. The analogy can be extended even to tolerance where these prayers do not satisfy her if they lack sufficiently grave confessions of weakness from him. Plus….she needs to know that it is not OK to tell her BFF even though she will frame it as “please pray for Jim, he is struggling with XYZ”.

The most surprising thing though was the final letter written by a man with no mention of the wife in the signature line. I’m surprised FL saw fit to print this letter. The man is pragmatic when he says

I am not sure that we would say praying together has brought us more intimacy.

This is the only man to specifically speak to the effect prayer has had on intimacy. He differs with the wives in the other letters. Wives seem to be cozy in the fact that their sexual frequency preference is by definition the preference of their husband, so when the wife increases her frequency it must be worthy of hubby holding a parade.

The most blunt comment is in the last paragraph.

Is praying with your spouse a magic bullet that will keep you from getting divorced? Probably not since all of us are just a couple of steps away from making selfish choices.

Now that is gonna drive tons of traffic to the site and get couples registering for the 30 day challenge in droves. They need that guy to write more stuff for them.



DTM3 and Some Tight Cold Game

Yesterday was house cleaning day. It was raining. Now that my wife is degreed, licensed, and credentialed she is finally employed as a neuro-critical-care nurse. This changes the domestic routine a bit.

I was putting the Swiffer to the floor in the bathroom adjacent to my nine year old’s bedroom when I spied a wrinkly note sticking out of the book she is presently reading (Number three or four in the  “Land of Stories” series). I thought only dads read books in the bathroom.

I pulled the note out, smoothed it as best I could, read it, photographed it (see below), and decided to ask her about it. The handwriting is not significantly different from hers if she were to have written it in haste. Its tough to read so I decode it just below the image.

20150823_053701The note says:

I am going to ask you two simple questions, then I’m done trying to ask you stuff and depending on what you say will determine if I talk to you.

  1. Do you like me?    Yes     No

  2. Do you want to be my girlfriend

I was puzzled that she would write this to a girl. I was not yet bothered because I could envision a context that would explain it, but I did want to understand it. So my wife and I asked her.

It turned out that she is the recipient. The author is a male class mate and grade level cohort since 1st grade. We have known of his crush since 2nd grade. Our daughter talks about him often. He is one of her inner circle of friends.  This year they are together both in the classes unique to the gifted program, and they are in the same regular daily classroom.

He has some Steve Urkel traits (The innate nerdiness is present with my daughter as well). He is African American. He wears glasses that may be a bit over sized. His smile bedazzles and his cheerfulness bursts forth. He is a room brightener.

He has a very serious name. I will not use the real one. Rather I will try and create a fictitious one that conveys the same ascot wearing Ivy league imagery that his real name calls to mind. Something like Darvius Terrence Mavis the 3rd (I’ve deemed him DTM3 for short)…which must be cited completely in long form when he refers to himself.

This young man is running some tight game on my girl. He makes it clear in his note that he has a couple of questions that could lead to them being an item, or to him casually nexting her. I like the way this young man rolls. No time to fool with fickle…you want Darvius Terrence Mavis the 3rd at your side or does DTM3 determine that you can’t make a decision? You seem to like having DTM3 in the friend zone. Know this… DTM3 doesn’t do orbiting. He either burns up in the atmosphere or he makes a safe landing but he is heading in….he is not going to hang out at a fixed distance and revolve around a girl.  He says, “Answer these questions or you become invisible to me”.

DTM3, she is my girl but I’m paying tribute to you and the tight game you are running here. Now don’t go and ruin it by not following through. I’m intercepting your communications my friend. I’m watching.

Wish I’d have had cold words like DTM3 when I was nine.

Adult swim should mean men only: Why men must lead.

Some personal anecdotes and the settled conclusions I reached.

Last weekend my nine year old wanted to go to a pool. Any pool. We left pool ownership when we left Texas so now this means we attend the neighborhood pool or we go to our YMCA. I prefer the YMCA because it is massive and doesn’t have my neighbors there.

Soon after we arrived the lifeguards announced an adult swim. Four lifeguards, one male. As the time for kids to re-enter the water neared children were agitating in groups beside the pool. There is a yellow line approximately four feet from the edge, behind which I suppose the letter of the rule says the kids need to cool their heels as the minutes become seconds and they can hit the water again.

On the side where the young man was lifeguard the kids were eager, standing either side of the the yellow line but not being overly physical mostly they were calm. The kids were talking to one another, speaking to parents seated nearby, just passing time. On the sides where the lifeguards were female the kids were unruly, taunting the lifeguards and shuffling unbalanced around the pool decking, stepping over the yellow line and back .

I figured out why the next time the cycle repeated. The female lifeguards would immediately start admonishing the kids, all throughout the adult swim time, to “stay behind the yellow line”. The female guards did this non-stop, even when the kids were simply walking from one place to another. Zero tolerance yellow line enforcement.

This week we made our annual trip to Florida’s panhandle. Hastily conceived after we missed our Antigua trip, we brought nine people including BFs and GFs of the older kids. Plus, due to what appears to be the best economy since 2007 we had to split our stay between two condos, moving mid week. Pain in the rear.

During the scramble to relocate, more than once I was perched on a stairway landing waiting to go down or walking a narrow walkway where I’d encounter other people. I noticed that, unsurprisingly, children do not see a man burdened with bags hanging off him and make way. They even move into the open spaces that exist and block the way. Most men/dads see whats happening in advance, spatially extrapolate and adjust so that I could pass seamlessly.  Women mostly reacted when I got right up to the point where I could move no further, and even then only when I made a strained face while standing and dripping sweat. This is why men should lead.

The worst was when I stood on a landing waiting to go down the steps. A woman, alone….maybe around 40….was coming up the steps wearing one of those large floppy sun hats. She never once raised her eyes. She looked directly at the steps as she walked up. This to the extent that when she reached the landing she STILL didn’t look up and I had to quickly back away until I pressed my back against the wall lest she walk right into me. This is why men should lead.

When she heard the things hanging from my back strike the wall she looked up and said, “Oh sorry, didn’t see you there”.  As I walked down the steps I couldn’t help but say, “that’s because you were not watching where you were going”. [***see below for hastily hypothesized theory tangentially related to the topic]

These things exasperate me. I approach women in the grocery as they study the shelf before them. I come from exactly 90 degrees relative to their straight line of sight.  I stop and wait. If I ask for passage they react as if it is simply astounding that I managed to slither up near them unbeknownst. If I wait for them to finish the better ones will apologize while the rest will move on about their business never even realizing that I was there, that I had waited, and some, once moving, see me as the obstacle as they politely ask that I may give them passage. This is why men should lead.

According to Wikipedia for both eyes the combined visual field is 130-135° vertical and 200-220° horizontal.

The bold horizontal range suggests that if there is visual symmetry,  the woman ought to see me safely inside her range, which would extend 10 to 20 degrees beyond my position at 90 degrees.

NAWALT is worth of stating with regard to this line of inquiry. More, the problem grows worse by day. Though far fewer, there are significant numbers of men suffering this malaise as well.

Finally, peaceful days at the beach. I didn’t learn anything new but I experienced this last bit in context with the other things written here.

For over 20 years my family has plodded to the Florida panhandle for summer vacation. I expect we will continue. Crowds have long since passed critical mass and this year was unreal. When we sought accommodation (due to late booking) many companies said they were sold out from Panama City , FL to the west side of Gulf Shores AL. Yep. I concur.

When my three older kids were little I looked like this guy when I had to carry all the stuff to the beachBurdenManHow nice it has been that they need less, they carry what they need, and they carry the heavy stuff like coolers.

But something still wasn’t right. realization burst like sunrise when I saw the same dynamic being played out up and down the beach. Women seem the most content when they are seated and able to offer suggestions to the men as to what the men need to play with their little children, how far from the waters edge they take the children, how often they put the child under the umbrella, how frequently they put on and take off shirts and or add sun block, how much water and juice and hummus the kids can have, how many times the man needs to re-secure the umbrella and shake the towels, how frequently he needs to carry the two or three empty cans they have generated all the way to the trash receptacles that they would pass by as they exit…on and on.

The women are most content when the men are fluttering over the kids. But worse, its not simply that she assigns some things and he agrees. Nope. From the outside it would appear that the women are watching the men for any sign of contentment amidst the chore. So the woman must optimize, she must speak improvement suggestions into the activity, she must, metaphorically speaking, have a white board hanging on the man with a list growing and being marked off, but with open items never numbering less than six. This is why men should lead.

When I see this image I think, ok, posed but cute. If this scene was happening in front of the mom at the beach she would likely be bursting with the urge to optimize, to improve, to adjust, because to do those things generates desired feelings.  manonbeach There are rarely places where men families gather and men are left with consequential contiguous amounts of time to simply relax. Its as if men who work day by day and take the family on vacation once a year need to find a way to take their own vacation, separately, maybe with male friends. Or if he has older sons like I do, take trips with just the boys. If there is a female introduced into the space it will do what I call… stress the hours by nagging the minutes. This is why men should lead.

I recalled family gatherings over the past 26 years. My wife’s family is massive and my kids had well over 30 cousin cohorts. I cannot recall a single event where men were not being bounced from one chore to another as women seemingly brainstormed more and more things to make sure no two men found themselves chatting or laughing.

“Honey, can you make sure the car is locked”. “Would you go look in on baby sleeping, teen so and so is in there and I went in five minutes ago but Id like you to check on the baby”. “I think Betty needs help over there, look she is trying to rearrange those dinner rolls”

This is why men should lead. But we double down. (socons again)

I was thinking during some eyes closed smell the salt air time, what the heck is this all about. Before us the ocean, tackled by men on wooden boats now traversed by man made boats and flying craft. Behind us gigantic buildings housing the oiled masses of tourists and every kind of service and recreation one can imagine. the overwhelming majority of these things invented and built by men. Everything we used to get to the vacation, used during the vacation, and will use to get back home, all made by men. All safe because of men. Yet men need to be micromanaged as dads with little kids to the point where it looks like a resort for chubby women where man servants tend to kids and wives and arrive back home with some form of narrative about how wonderful their vacation was.

Probably a socon thing.

All of this called to mind images Ive seen from muslim countries where women tend to kids and males create male spaces where ever and whenever the hell they want. The idea of hanging out at the beach with only men lacks appeal, I grant you. But the idea of socializing with men for long stretches of time, where conversation flows linear and is easy to follow, to enter into and to exit, to be funny or grave, to understand and to be understood, and to not encounter a wit of subtext or passive aggressive voice or inflection.

Imagine the planning for a trip if men did it and it only involved men. Activities would not solely be planned because of the feelings they evoke when imagined. Unintended consequences would be considered as future thinking would be the norm, so instead of “lets go do X at 00:00 o’clock on Tuesday” there would be the ordering of the big items so as to avoid problems that comprehensive planning can reveal. Even men who embark with no plan can somehow manage to string together days of activity and remarkably still have meals, bath, stay safe, etc. This is why men should lead.

The problem isn’t about vacations. That’s my vehicle for conveying the points. The problem is profound and worsening in the U.S. Males for the most part are left with accepting the roles as defined above, or worse, finding very unhealthy outlets for male energies, ranging from sex to drugs to sports obsessions etc. the reason is there are afforded few opportunities for men to do otherwise. Male gatherings at church are contrived to distract men from the unhealthy things when they ought to be contrived to allow men to down pressure from the stuff Ive described above. But to do that would be to acknowledge that men have external stress that may even originate in the person of their spouse who has never been told that she has natural tendencies that torture her husband. Not gonna happen.  (socons again)

The present choices that inform our dichotomy can be described as, Women and children rule vs. sharia law. There are other choices but these are the two with least resistance.

This is why men should lead.

***Its a side theory but I see the population centers that have and are growing in fly over America as psychologically unprepared for the inconveniences of overcrowding. On the coasts cities have dealt with tight population density as the norm. Residential cities  have critical mass of true urban dwellers as to cultivate the instincts needed to manage so many people doing so many things.

Midwestern cities are a mixed bag. The contrived cities, like Greenville, SC, (Remember the old Sci Fi movie Westworld where Yul Brenner went ape shit as an android cowboy and started killing the guests, Greenville is like that… where restless southern hipsters wanted to create an admixture of culinary-delight-and-art-house metro area with some high rise flats. Just watch out for the murderous android baristas) These cities feature mostly suburban populations that want to go get services in a crowded inner ring. but the people are blissfully unaware of their surroundings and utterly lacking in anticipatory micro planning, realizing in advance the consequences of small actions that build into huge inconveniences. In Manhattan, we may say rudeness defines the transaction, but dang-it the transaction is once and done and if you don’t watch your six you’ll be plowed under. The one causing the delay is considered the rude one, not the one trying to get their tasks completed. The mounting pressure in the ill prepared cities like I live in, all across middle America The mounting pressure in the ill prepared cities like I live in,

Summer’s other other requiem

In mid 2004 I got untethered, separated from my marriage and living in an apartment, spending the standard divorced dad times with my kids while the lawyers accrued tens of thousands of dollars in fees that never advanced the case towards any sort of tangible end point. It was a new low up to that point.

During that time I added a dear friend, one I’d credit with dragging me into the light of living again. Living according to new circumstances to be sure. By the simple coincidence of proximity and an after noon carrying a tennis racquet from my car to my apartment the blessing of a life long new friendship came to be.

My friend works in management in the hospitality industry. He lives as a global citizen, transferring every couple of years to new properties all around the globe. This precluded our being able to see one another in person for more than ten years.

In April we spoke. He was in Houston, not living there but for another reason. That was full circle nonetheless as that’s where we had become friends.

On one assignment had lived and worked in a Central American country in the ten years that had passed. He married there and had a child. He was subsequently stationed variously around the Caribbean culminating in his present assignment.

He told me he was in Houston because his wife had leukemia.Treatment had failed on the island. Treatment in Florida had also failed. and they’d been taken in by M.D. Anderson in Houston for a last ditch effort where they would attempt to crush the disease and transplant fresh bone marrow. Having never met his wife or child, and passing nearly 11 years since he and I had seen one another I made my way to Houston to be with him during a tense time for her back in May.

I met the the precious little five year old girl. And my friend’s mother. They are Brazilian and she was there to support him. I met his mother-in-law who was obviously there to be beside her daughter as she struggled through her treatment. And I met his wife. Fortunately I can manage very well in Spanish and I suspect I had some providential boost in ability as well, so I was able to really get to know her over the few days I was there. If I could post the pictures of the three of us, he, his wife and I, faces pressed together for triple selfies all of us in masks and gowns and the wife’s eyes bright and clear with a smile the mask couldn’t cover…if you could see those you would see what joy looks like when tragedy tries to plaster over it and then tragedy is made to crumble and fall away.

Its not about me, but I left there filled with perspective that was there as I watched my friend Beav pass away and as the other, smaller things happened these past weeks.

Last Monday my friend, who is 40, had to preside over the disconnect and subsequent death of his 36 year old wife. I could not make it in time to stand with him for that. So, he was alone.

His daughter was not there when it happened and from what I understand its best that way. But he had to return home and tell his girl that mommy died. I won’t belabor that. But something else happened. On the same day, in the same ICU, a three year old girl who was also from a South American country died just hours after my friend’s wife. he and his extended family had become friends with the little girl’s family as their paths crossed in the hospital over and again these past months. When the little girl died the parents called my friend to tell him that his wife had given them great comfort by saying she’d look after the little girl.

When he returned home and told his daughter that mommy had died, her reaction was delayed, and profound. Two days later his daughter come to him saying her mommy had told her things would all be ok and to be a good girl.

I’ve no interest in exploring those last bits (The other little girl’s death, the notion that my friend’s wife could care for the dead little girl, and finally the daughter’s alleged communication with her mom) in any depth whatsoever. I am not asserting anything, I am ambivalent about those lines of inquiry. But I found the story compelling and uplifting.

Faithful Attraction: See how it’s condemned.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
(Isa 5:20)

Imagine an adult male virgin of undisclosed age standing in a mall, people watching. He watches young men walk by in their skinny jeans and their hair filled with gel. He watches the young women in their revealing clothing, with body piercings, tattoos, and unnaturally colored hair. He watches the divorced women, the single mothers and the married but flirty women. He watches the female virgins his own age………wait what? Why would he even DESIRE to do that?

Given that this man is attractive himself, being attracted to ANY of those people he sees at the mall is welcome, in fact celebrated. But the moment he crosses over and actually desires the type of person who has the greatest ability to provide both offspring AND the stable home that would afford the best opportunity for success to those offspring and this man is castigated and shamed. In one stroke he becomes a “slut-shamer”, a homophobe, insecure in his masculinity, not sufficiently forgiving or pious and a pervert. This man is the worst form of evil known to society and the “church”.

When God said: “Be fruitful and multiply” He was giving a command and tipping His hand in our design. We were made to be attracted to fruitfulness and biological multiplication. It is good, so it shouldn’t come as a shock when the enemy comes slithering through the grass and rejoins: “Hath God REALLY said?”.  The attraction that is faithful to God’s command is the one that CANNOT be acceptable.

After heeding the voice of the enemy, people as quickly as they can to support the hypergamous alpha seeking strategies of their daughters and sisters. Need to dress like a slut? Here let me help. Need to have access to a room or a car (and a wink and a nod) for your promiscuous forays? Happy to provide. Need birth control? Let’s get an appointment set up. Couldn’t land the alpha stud by getting pregnant? How about abortion/WIC/welfare/child support? Attracted to your girlfriend? Wow, that’s quite a relief. Whatever it is that we do we cannot challenge you to either be holy OR make good decisions with your reproductive health. (Remember men need to “butt-out” but make good with their taxes and wallets). And if you don’t go along at any stage you are a misogynistic woman-hater (for failing to back their preferred mating strategy).

This isn’t just the world, it’s the so called “church”, where we call evil good and good evil. Faithfulness to God’s word and design is to be shunned above all else.

The woe is coming because the whoa was forgotten.

Illusory Commeraderie: Infinite groups limited to one member apiece.

A peevish man who can self identify as such may be able to tamp down the tendency to follow every unproductive rabbit trail about which his nature whispers to him, “go down there and find a skirmish”. Framing things with peeve disclaimers is not sufficient. The unfettered peeve chaser is boring.

To chase peeves dilutes real topical input. I hope this post isn’t just giving over to peevishness.

It had been awhile since a topic on a big blog like Dalrock’s brought out my irritation at the low fruit picking done by poseurs, cyber-intellectuals, actual learned men and low thinking reactionaries alike, who glom on to every opportunity to point out the failures of social conservatives. They do it with repetitive illustrations that are not particularly clever. “Socons are throwing men to the family court lions”……like that.

After open minded exposure to truths found around the sphere one needn’t be overly clever to criticize social conservatives (and the implied first cousins…evangelical Christians) . Given all the men reading those words, why can’t most see the dervish glee that permeates the comments of the self-anointed chief intellects of the manosphere when they jet into opportunities to take not-particularly-clever potshots at socons,  like sharks and barracudas with their illusory grins rushing into chummed water where they end up tearing one another apart.

I asked in Dalrock’s comments for an ideological label that can be hanged on the subset of commenters who are most prolific and predictable when the socon chum bucket is poured over the side. They refer to the existence of other like minded enlightened so I presumed the existence of an ideological cohort and without prejudice asked for a descriptor.

I was not trying to prove some silly notion that those who take up socon schadenfreude are the socon’s archenemy……..liberals. If someone thought that they are wrong. By miles.

The two people I saw responses from did, intentionally or accidentally, nod in the direction my question was intended. They referred to subsets of the Christian faithful. The obvious issue with that is that those most predictably peppering the boxes with ever less clever anecdotes about socons and referring to who is and isn’t receptive to discourse on the  topics where socons have gone off the reservation, those commenters are not likely going to be a part of the subsets of Christians to which those responses referred. Therefore they have to be labeled with ideological terms, not religious terms.

The peevish part of the problem is therefore that those who are first and loudest to jump into discussions about how socons/evangelicals are complicit in the fall of men are those who have always slithered away from categorization. If some label gets close to applicable they will slightly alter some already tediously nuanced position so that what they know cannot be known widely enough to ever have sufficient adherents that it be a nameable cohort.

For countless centuries people have done the same with religion. Still do. Today we see the religious analog to those who won’t claim an ideology in the common declaration of “I’m very spiritual”. Keep ’em guessing. Don’t let anyone figure it out. To be figured out is to reduce ones uniqueness. Keep the group membership where it is. Just one. The one who gets it, surrounded by a small group on sycophants who do not get it. Sycophants as chum.

It is pride, not ideology or spirituality that drives this phenomenon. It is why I asked in the manner I did, “By what shall they be known?”.

If this is merely a peeve it is the most discouraging one on my encyclopedic list. I don’t have a ready response held in abeyance for each potential answer. I’m not waiting to pounce with a sub-peeve. Either there will be no response or there will be a response.

The words don’t add up to nuthin

There are infinite iterations of nonsense. Take all the words in all the languages and place a “!” (Factorial sign) after the list and you have shown a representation of every possible combination of words into phrases. (Not really, but close enough to the mathematical exercise for calculating possible combinations of numbers that it can illustrate my point)

Over the past ten years Ive read countless biblical derivations all of which served to get people where they wanted to go in their interpretations. No where is this more prevalent than in the way preachers and evangelical feminists choke out statements about submission.

They are settled on wrong marriage narratives that use flawed exegesis. Now, what about the folksy sounding wisdom nuggets that preachers use as paraphrase for bible teaching? All major bible themes need these American cliches to better communicate Christian truths. Right? “Its not religion its a relationship”… that.

I came across a new one today from Jimmy Evans in his Marriage Builder Weekly email. he is talking about power and dominance in marriage. He fakes a very high risky high potential reward pass into hellish defense:

Research indicates that the healthiest home environments are where males lead the household

The play was a ruse. He meant to throw the ball straight out of bounds and stop the clock buying his team to muster something better for the next play. The white board that the play was written on what smudged. It really looked like this with the smudged words replaced:

Research indicates that the healthiest home environments are where males lead the household—he initiates the well-being of the home

Can anyone tell me what that even means?

Well being :   the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy

Can that be initiated? Does it even matter? Or is it not just more gobbledegook that allows a man to speak on headship and hot have his head handed to him by his angry wife?

I’m initiating abruptly ending this post.