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.
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.