November 26, 2020

The Saturday Monks Brunch: December 16, 2017

It’s almost Christmas and perhaps you have started the feasting already. Well, for heaven’s sake, don’t stop now! Join us for our weekly Monks Brunch!


• • •


One of the big news stories of the week was when the FCC voted on Thursday to repeal Obama-era internet neutrality rules. A story in the NY Times lays out the arguments of both proponents and opponents of the decision.

This is what you should be scared of, according to the decision’s opponents:

  • Broadband providers could begin selling the internet in bundles, not unlike how cable television is sold today.
  • Consumers could suffer at the hands of those who can afford to pay more. Big internet and media companies, as well as affluent households could move in a “fast lane,” while everyone else would be in the “slow lane.”
  • Small businesses worry that industry giants could pay to get an edge too. Remote workers and freelancers fear having to pay much higher costs.

This is why, according to repeal’s proponents, the move will be better in the long run:

  • They argue that before the regulations were put into effect in 2015, service providers had not engaged in any of the practices the rules prohibit.
  • “Several internet providers have made public pledges in recent months that they will not block or throttle sites once the rules were repealed. The companies argue that Title II gives the F.C.C. too much control over their business, and that the regulations make it hard to expand their networks.”

A third group argues that a free and open internet is pretty much already a dying project, since a few giant American companies control most of the online infrastructure and there are only a handful of broadband companies that are seeking to become content companies as well.

What do you think?

• • •


I’m pretty hard on Reformed types around here, but that’s not to say that they haven’t had much positive impact on my life at various points along the road. Like Michael Spencer before me, people in the Reformed branches of the church proved to be among the guides that led me out of revivalistic and church growth style evangelicalism, challenging me to a more intellectually bracing faith with a measure of historical depth and a more creational perspective.

One of those guides for me was R.C. Sproul. Though I always felt his books were overly philosophical and theologically rather than biblically oriented, and not as pastorally sensitive as I like, he was a teacher that captured the attention and invigorated the mind. That this emphasis was front and center for him could be seen in the name of his radio broadcast, “Renewing the Mind.” Probably my favorite book of his and the one that had the most impact on me was The Holiness of God.

• • •


Dr. Mike Rosmann is an Iowa farmer and also a psychologist and an expert on the behavioral health of farmers. For 40 years, he has worked to understand why farmers take their lives at such alarming rates – currently, higher rates than any other occupation in the United States.

The Guardian reports these alarming facts:

Last year, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that people working in agriculture – including farmers, farm laborers, ranchers, fishers, and lumber harvesters – take their lives at a rate higher than any other occupation. The data suggested that the suicide rate for agricultural workers in 17 states was nearly five times higher compared with that in the general population.

After the study was released, Newsweek reported that the suicide death rate for farmers was more than double that of military veterans. This, however, could be an underestimate, as the data collected skipped several major agricultural states, including Iowa. Rosmann and other experts add that the farmer suicide rate might be higher, because an unknown number of farmers disguise their suicides as farm accidents.

The US farmer suicide crisis echoes a much larger farmer suicide crisis happening globally: an Australian farmer dies by suicide every four days; in the UK, one farmer a week takes his or her own life; in France, one farmer dies by suicide every two days; in India, more than 270,000 farmers have died by suicide since 1995.

I encourage you to read this fearsome and fascinating article, to pray about this public health crisis, and to give thanks for people like Dr. Mike Rossman, whose efforts to provide lasting means of help are documented in this piece.

• • •


In Bed – The Kiss. Toulouse-Lautrec

In the light of what Tom Krattenmaker calls the “sex panic” that is upon us these days, he says at RNS, “It’s Time for a Sexual Counterrevolution.” He writes:

Amid the current wreckage, is it time to declare the half-century-old sexual revolution a mistake? Do we need to go back to the more restrictive sex culture of old?

That would be neither feasible nor desirable. But it clearly is time for a sexual counterrevolution, to restore what was healthy and well-intended in the original revolution and excise the malignancies that have shown up lately in the personages of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and many others, not to mention the everyday workplace occurrences of men harassing the women they work with and supervise.

You can read some of his suggestions, but I’d like to have a conversation around the table about this. So, discuss: What would a healthy sexual counter-revolution look like?

• • •


Did you know that about 240 people a day go to the emergency room after falling off ladders, getting cut, or getting burned when trying to put up their holiday decorations?

On NPR’s All Things Considered, hosts Robert Siegel and Kelly McEvers interviewed one of the “victims” — extreme decorator Kurt Farmer. Here is an excerpt:

MCEVERS: It happened two years ago. He was putting some finishing touches on the extravaganza when he saw it – an off-kilter candy cane on the edge of his roof. He was in a rush to get to work, but he had to fix it. Kurt Farmer took one bad step and fell from his roof to the concrete below.

FARMER: I shattered my pelvis. Somehow I came down 15 feet and landed literally on my right leg – shattered that into 32 pieces and then collapsed and landed on my rotator cuff and shattered that.

SIEGEL: It took several surgeries and nine months of rehab to recover. The next Christmas, he was back at it with the lights and the inflatables.

MCEVERS: Farmer says he’s in pain every day. He has found ways to make decorating easier, though, like using a mechanical lift.

FARMER: I added another 10,000 lights on my tree this year because I could go so much higher. I had never been that high before because I was doing everything off a ladder.

SIEGEL: He’s also more careful, he says, and more deliberate when he puts up his decorations. One holiday in the hospital was enough.

FARMER: Take your time. And patience is always a virtue because it’s not worth what might happen to take the extra 30 seconds to do it the right way.

MCEVERS: Good advice from Kurt Farmer, extreme Christmas decorator of Alexandria, Va.

• • •


From NPR: Simon Bramhall, 53, has pleaded guilty to assault of two patients, for, yes, branding his initials onto their organs during surgery. He is going to be sentenced on Jan. 12.

The Associated Press reports that a prosecutor called the case “without legal precedent in criminal law.”

“Bramhall used an argon beam coagulator, which seals bleeding blood vessels with an electric beam, to mark his initials on the organs,” the AP writes.

The internal graffiti very likely did not cause any damage, The Guardian reports: “The marks left by argon are not thought to impair the organ’s function and usually disappear by themselves.”

But in one patient, Bramhall’s brand did not heal over. Another surgeon conducting a follow-up surgery discovered the letters S and B etched into the man’s organ. An investigation discovered that Bramhall had branded a female patient’s liver as well.

In case you were curious, there were other medical professionals present as Bramhall branded his name on those livers, the BBC reports. It was not an isolated incident, prosecutors said.

Bramhall’s misdeeds were uncovered in 2013. (In early 2014 they inspired a lighthearted post in Marketing Week on effective branding — get it, branding? — because the world is objectively terrible.)

As he tendered his resignation in 2014, Bramhall said — and we promise we are not making this up; this is what an actual, once well-regarded surgeon said after burning his initials into human livers — “It is a bit raw.”

“I have to move on.”

• • •


A man dressed as Santa Claus enjoys the snow during the Saint Nicholas Day at the Alpine ski resort of Verbier, Switzerland, December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RC1449D937B0


Men wearing horned, wooden masks and dressed as Krampus prepare to participate in the annual Krampus parade on Saint Nicholas Day on December 6, 2017, in Sankt Johann im Pongau, Austria.


A woman takes a picture of a family near trees decorated with Christmas lights at Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo, Brazil December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Nacho Doce – RC15DB1AD740


Over eight thousand members of the public take part in Glasgow’s annual Santa dash make their way up St Vincent Street on December 10, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


Linnea Hennersten, from Lidkoping in southwest Sweden plays the role of Lucia as she leads the procession during the Swedish Sankta Lucia Festival of Light service at York Minster church in York, England, on December 8, 2017.

• • •


One of my favorite albums I listen to year after year is Bruce Cockburn’s Christmas. Today, I invite you to enjoy his rollicking rendition of “Early On One Christmas Morn.”


  1. Adam Tauno Williams says

    “””excise the malignancies that have shown up ****lately**** in the personages of ….”””

    Huh? What? I guess, if “shown up” means “revealed”, then … no, it still doesn’t make much sense unless I believe in an age of general ‘sexual health’… which I really cannot do.

  2. Adam Tauno Williams says

    “””What would a healthy sexual counter-revolution look like?”””

    Pretty much what it looks like right now.

    And Christians should be happy – all the data suggests that sexual activity, and the number of partners people have, is **DOWN**. As is teen pregnancy and a host of related data points.

    There is no wave of crazy promiscuity. It does not exist.

    The affluent and powerful are more `liberal` than everyone else – I doubt that has ever not been true. It was certain true in biblical and Roman times. The wealthy have the resources to shield themselves from the consequences of risky behavior, in terms of both sexuality and everything else.

    • See above.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Expanded sexual opportunities is one of the greatest, if not the cardinal, reason why men, especially, seek wealth, power, and fame in the first place. So I am not surprised.

      • Expanded sexual opportunities = preying. There’s a difference.

        Let’s put to rest all talk and consideration of women and people in general as being property.

        • Burro [Mule] says


          Expanded sexual opportunities == More people are interested in you
          Expanded sexual opportunities != preying


    • Andrew Zook says

      This isn’t really an answer or response to your points Adam, but to keep my thoughts on “What would a healthy sexual counter-revolution look like?” in the thread.
      I’m not sure what a counter-revolution looks like, society wide. I think my wife and I are living it and that’s probably the best that I/we can do. I haven’t thought so much about solutions but about questions, which might lead to better ways?
      — why do these men (from Weinstein to Moore) feel they have to pressure/harangue women in order to procure sex? Is there not a woman out there who, if treated well/loved/respected, would not bind herself to the man? Why the seeming desperation…
      — do women share any responsibility in the cultural proclivity to view women as mere sex objects? (I leave it at that: being a man, I don’t think I can speak to this as well)
      — is the bigger problem maybe wealth and power (someone alludes to this below…ie rich have the means to escape the consequences of bad behavior)? Maybe that’s why I/others have found fulfilling fidelity, because we’re a lot poorer and have learned some contentment?

      • Andrew Zook says

        Oh, it looks like you, Adam addressed this “above” – “The wealthy have the resources to shield themselves from the consequences of risky behavior, in terms of both sexuality and everything else.”

      • Its not about sex. It’s not about fidelity. It’s not about love.
        It’s about power. The coercion is the whole point. “Look what I can make you do. And there is no one on earth who will stand with you against me.”

    • “””What would a healthy sexual counter-revolution look like?”””

      A nation where everyone is free to ask but everyone is free to say no.

  3. At this stage of our society, I think a strong case could be made for internet access being a utility – and should be treated accordingly.

  4. Susan Dumbrell says

    My fellow IMonkers,
    Take a moment before the coffee and hash browns and be with me as I give my two cents worth re this coming week.

    To me it is a second Holy Week. Only difference is we await our Messiah’s birth and not our Lord Jesus Crucified.
    Can we close our ears to the relentless carols, hundreds of Santa Claus helpers, tinsel, tawdry presents an wrapping of expensive and often unnecessary gifts. Maybe we are too used to the razzle dazzle.

    I am not a Scrooge however I hope we can all take time to put aside our political and/or religious differences this week and view the amazing gift offered from God of His own Son.

    Show love and compassion to those we meet. Doesn’t matter what if any their faith belief is. People quite often have none, however it is not our position to ram down their throats a ‘Christian’ message. We just need to show to others the Love our Lord Jesus showed to others, to our fellow men and women. By their deeds you shall know them.

    Monday week is the day to celebrate, kill the fattened calf, feast and be merry. The remembrance of our Saviour’s birth.
    A gift beyond price.
    In other words, cut the bickering this week and be at peace with each other, we can address the problems of the world in 2018.

    I will get off my soap box now. Have a Holy Week.


    The Royal Feast comes
    A babe born by a virgin
    Awake and watch now.

    With apologies to J S Bach, Phillip Nicilai and Catherine Winkworth.

    • senecagriggs says

      SUSAN said:
      “I am not a Scrooge however I hope we can all take time to put aside our political and/or religious differences this week.”

      Uh, no! smile

      P.S., my hospice friend, John Pederson, passed away 1 day after entering hospice. He is truly missed by all his school buds – He was 73.

      • Clay Crouch says

        I am sorry for the loss of your dear friend. May God grant you and all of his school buds peace and comfort.

      • My condolences, senecagriggs.

      • Senecagriggs, I am sorry for your loss. Many of us who are older find that this Season brings up so much love and sadness for those dear ones who have passed on.

        One thing about the Advent time: we await also the ‘second’ Coming . . . . when, through Our Lord, all Creation will be renewed

        Know this:
        Your friend has passed through his crisis and now rests in Our Lord’s care until you will see him again. I hope Our Lord comforts your heart. If you ask Him, He will help you through the pain of this loss, as He has helped so many of us who mourn.

    • 🙂

    • Love to Susan ….. so glad you comment here with us . . . . be blessed this season

      for you, a ‘St. Lucia’ celebration film that honors the dignity of the Season, I hope you like it:

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        My sympathy too.

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        I thank you for this beautiful gift of music.
        I will play it often during this week.

        I am sorry I was mouth down, a hard week with my husband, the Nursing Home wanted him admitted to Hospital. I knew his needs and insisted that good nursing care would be the best option.
        He was a lot better this morning, (Sunday).
        Last time in hospital he caught pneumonia. The kind that goes around hospitals!

        That having been said, I still see this week as a time of waiting.

        ‘O come O come Emmanuel’.


  5. Adam T. Williams, I think this topic will create a lot of thought as it is about a true “hot” button issue. Like the spin that only the wealthy, powerful and upper strata men indulge in using any means necessary to have sex. Go to any income level and social setting the same dynamic unfolds.
    I hope this is not “news” to a lot of people. Men by nature want to have sex with as many women that they find attractive as they can. Men at all levels will use their power, money, position , lie , cheat and commit crime to obtain sex with women. My base for believing that is ——history. The great inhibitor in modern history has been the concept of some type of morality enforced by social norms, law, force or religious beliefs. Remove those and you have what we have now and where we are headed. I am a child of the 1960’s and have seen the change. It was great for single guys in the 60’s on up as the standards for sex were set by the libido of 16 year old boys. When I was 23 and a woman would live with me for a year without marriage , I would be bragging to my buddies, now it is the norm. Now society is “alarmed” that men are preying on women when for years men have been preying on women and avoiding the consequences of their actions. How many “fatherless” homes are now in the USA, it is the norm not the abnormal situation. The whole culture puts intense pressure on young people to be sexually active , again great for 16 year old males. Matt , Harvey, Bill and all the rest of the rich and powerful acted like typical men with no moral restraint. As religion and morality lose its influence on society what is going to replace it? In the “old” days the FBI guy in the news now for other reasons was having an affair , in the old FBI this would be a career killer but now , who are we to judge? or enforce our morality on others.
    Our society has altered , changed and eroded the concept of a traditional , nuclear family that was created to raise children in the best environment. What is the replacement that will work now that as the Supreme Court ruled the reason for marriage is happiness and the pursuit thereof. It all ties into the sexual revolution that has benefitted men to behave like men with no constraints in our secular society.
    It is not like the good old days, when Esther was chosen to be queen for her managerial skills, her religious knowledge and her good cooking . Perhaps Matt thought he was working to be like Solomon with all his lady friends.

    • “Now society is “alarmed” that men are preying on women when for years men have been preying on women and avoiding the consequences of their actions”

      Better late than never…

      “a traditional, nuclear family that was created to raise children in the best environment.”

      It may be worth pointing out that the “nuclear family” is a very recent phenomenon, historically speaking – much wider extended family groupings are the norm.

      “the Supreme Court ruled the reason for marriage is happiness and the pursuit thereof”

      Is that any worse than the “traditional” models where marriage was a political/economic deal between families, where the opinions of the prospective bride and groom were often a minor consideration at best?

      “Esther was chosen to be queen for her managerial skills, her religious knowledge and her good cooking”

      Uh huh. That’s why she spent an entire year undergoing extreme makeover procedures before she was even introduced to the king (Esther 2).

      • Eeyore, Thanks for your thoughtful reply, you raise good points. My point about men “preying” on women for years was in regard to men not fulfilling their , to me, moral obligation to help financially and emotionally support and raise their children, which is very common place. In many circles In many circles men sire many children but not fathers. There are many nuances and layers to the sexual revolution , not just workplace and civil law issues. When the term my baby’s Daddy starts showing up in the language , you know we have had a sea level change. I agree with you on the better late than never but we need to go deeper than the discussion usually goes.
        Again, I agree with you the nuclear family is in the march of time a recent arrangement. It evolved upon many of the factors you noted as we moved to a more industrial economy. Wealth is no longer measured by number of wives and children but we live in the age we live. What will be the replacement for the nuclear family?
        Again , I agree with you that the “old” days the wants of the prospective couple was of minor import as the concern was maintaining society, tradition and religious well being not the couple being “happy”. That is why Fiddler on the Roof is so popular still, Queen Liz was Grandmother to almost every WW ! monarch on every side. Luckily she love Prince Albert before he was put in the can.
        Poor satire on my part. Hadassah won the Miss Persia contest 530 BC because of her great beauty. My opinion is Vashti was the one who stood up for women but the young beautiful Esther got chosen .
        I do appreciate your perspective .

    • Men by nature want to have sex with as many women that they find attractive as they can. Men at all levels will use their power, money, position , lie , cheat and commit crime to obtain sex with women. My base for believing that is ——history.

      The whole culture puts intense pressure on young people to be sexually active , again great for 16 year old males.

      If you are right about men (though I don’t believe you are), then it is nature that controls culture, not culture that shapes nature. In that case, our culture is not responsible for the sexual status quo of our society; rather, male sexual nature is responsible.

      I would argue that male dominance has always shaped sexual culture, and made women subject to male control and manipulation. And it’s a lot more complicated than men wanting to have sex with as many women as possible. Men have wanted to know which children are theirs, since they prefer their own children to those of others. To do this, men arranged societies in which the sexuality and reproduction of women was controlled and constrained within forms of marriage/domestic relationship and economic dynamics that kept their women at home, where they would be kept away from other men. Historically this meant that women were always dependent economically on males, which also meant that they were subject to male power in every way for the care of themselves, and their offspring.

      With the advent of social and political modernity, but even more importantly with the advent of effective forms of artificial contraception, particularly the contraceptive pill, women were freed to choose whether and when to have children. As a result they were able to escape the economic burdens that having offspring young (by mid teen years for most females throughout history) created, burdens which had always made it necessary for them to take economic shelter with the fathers of their children. Women throughout history typically became wives and mothers by the time their teenage years were over. Modernity, and modern contraception, changed this.

      This actually frees women from male sexuality, and male control. They can make lives for themselves apart from procreation. They are no longer slaves to the biological necessities of reproduction, and they no longer have to depend on males for their domestic happiness, or be subject to them in domestic misery. Sexual harassment has become an issue lately precisely because in the realm of business relationships, from which they were largely excluded until recently, women, and society, have developed an expectation that they have a right not to be subject to male sexual dominance. The very idea that harassment is a real thing only becomes possible to the degree that women have been freed to participate equally with men in the marketplace, completely outside any domestic relationships.

      • Throughout history, it was taken for granted that women should be subject to the dominance, sexual and otherwise, of men. Only since women have entered the workplace as equal participants with men has the idea that the dominance of men over women, in the form of sexual harassment, is not only wrong but illegal come into existence. It is exactly because women have been freed from their traditional social, sexual and domestic roles to participate more fully in economic life that we are not only able to see the injustice of sexual harassment in the modern workplace, but also the injustice of the socio-sexual arrangements of traditional societies, in which male sexual dominance was the accepted norm.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Contraception changes everything, except for the desire of men to know that their children are their own. You talk about men preferring their own children to the children of others like it was a flaw. No wonder you’re in love with the State

          • Burro (Mule) says

            PS participating more fully in economic life as a corporate serf is no great prize. Women are beginning to discover that.

            • True, but that’s hardly a consequence of the sexual revolution, now is it? 😉

              • Eeyore, the ripple effective of the sex revolution has touched about every facet of our society and culture. That is why it is not a sound bite answer topic. Women left to raise children on their own have increased economic burdens. Having a child , unmarried before 21 is almost a prediction to a life with government assistance or a series of entry level jobs . Choices get narrower.

                • Agreed, but as you say, that is more than just a question of promiscuity. There are family, economic, and social factors at play as well. Also, I’ve known some single dads in my time, and it wasn’t a bed of roses for them, either…

            • Burro , I agree. Most of us do “jobs” because we have to support ourselves. Any work in good and noble that one is productive but really it is called a job because if we really enjoyed it , no one would pay us and it would be a hobby. More married women are working today out of necessity not a great fulfilling desire to work along men at the supermarket deli. However , unfortunately and by design we are now in a two income needed society. Find something you love and do it the rest of your life etc. is a nice saying , just not realistic

              • The point is, if they are fee to participate equally in the marketplace, they have their own stuff, their own money, their own life, “a room of their own”, and do not have to be economically tethered to often abusive and/or negligent husbands for the rest of their lives. Freedom can be hard, but it is usually thought to be better than indentured servitude.

              • Hello John Barry,
                It IS possible to do what you love IF you are willing to go through what it takes to get there. For my own family, it has been a generational journey, right out of the ‘American dream’ playbook:

                my pepere and memere (grandparents) came from Quebec to Massachusetts when my father was five years old . . . . pepere built houses and did carpentry, memere scrubbed and washed and sewed for the nuns so the children could go to Catholic school (my father remembers her fingers bleeding sometimes).

                Then the children: the aunts all to work as maids and in factories, my father into the CCC’s and sending money home to help out, then into the Navy

                But the grandchildren and great grandchildren: for them, the miracle came through . . .
                doctors, a psychiatrist, lawyers (a Massachusetts ‘super lawyer’), an artist, teachers, military officers, etc, etc. etc.

                But the miracle was not ‘instant’, no . . . a lot of suffering, a lot of work sometimes at two or three jobs to save for university (my own father did this for years), and a slow building of accomplishment based on setting aside earned monies for investment in children’s education.

                I think this country still has the ‘promise’ but only for those with the humility to work three jobs at a time and for those who love them to scrub for others until their fingers sometimes bleed . . . . there is no ‘free’ my father once told me:
                we work, we save, we study, and slowly move towards the future we envision that allows us to live out that which was always in us . . . . a desire to teach, to heal, to advocate, to serve, to help at levels that require intense training and the adoption of professional ethics and a commitment to honor codes that once taken, are irrevocable.

                no free rides, no

                look around and notice the immigrant family where everyone works and works . . . . I bet soon one of the children will go to university . . . . its the old American dream, it is still there, for those willing to go for it, it is still there 🙂

          • What, no room for adoption? 😉

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              That violates the “MY DNA!” (AKA “MY Seed!”) requirement alluded to above.

              When a male lion takes over a pride, his first act is to KILL all the cubs. (“NOT MY DNA!”). Same with a male bear making moves on a she-bear with cubs. In both these species this triggers estrus (heat) in the females (“Ooooo! My Soulmate!”), allowing the new male to spread his seed as fast as possible. (And requiring the new male to fight off all other males trying the same thing.)

              As far as I know, humans don’t take this dynamic THAT far. (Most of the time; the exceptions make the news.) Ties in with the theme from ha-Torah to “Transcend the Animal”.

              • As far as I know, humans don’t take this dynamic THAT far.

                Have you read the Old Testament recently? God ordered the Israelites to do this. Allegedly.

                • Yes, according to some of those texts God did. It was called herem. This is why the Old Testament, and its depiction of God, is in certain places as unpalatable as blood sausage.

          • @Mule, I don’t think men wanting to know who their own children are, and preferring them, is a bad thing; I don’t see where what I said implies that in the least. I was making a point that contradicts john barry’s assertion that men are only interested in having sex with whatever attractive woman is at hand, and nothing else, and that the current sexual status quo of our society is just an acquiescence to that male inclination, whereas traditional societies and mores disciplined men’s desires in ways not of their devising. More than sex on the fly, men in traditional patriarchal societies have wanted to make sure that their offspring were actually their own, and to hand on whatever legacy they had to their biological children, specifically the male offspring. The current sexual status quo of our society is not the result of men getting their way, but of women having some measure of ability to prevent themselves from merely existing to fulfill male socio-sexual plans, desires and ambitions as structured by patriarchy.

          • No wonder you’re in love with the State.

            You’d prefer that I be in love with patriarchy?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            No wonder you’re in love with the State

            Like Orthodoxy has been through much of its history?

            First sucking up to the Emperors in Constantinople, then the Tsars, Putins, and Autocrats of all Russia?

            The Church bestowing Divine Right to Rule on the Tsar or Putin and in return getting all the perks of Court Favorite State Religion?

            • Yes, HUG, that has been the case. But do some more reading. Alongside those bad examples have been monks and laypeople – usually whole movements of people who kept their heads down because, well, what else could they do? – who yet in their own place and ways resisted all that (some to the point of torture and exile).


      • senecagriggs says

        My take: The current revelations of male sexual misconduct actually illustrates that “strong and independent women” are no match for sexual predators. Women’s best protection is good men.

        It appears to me, however, that “good men” as a source of protection is an unacceptable solution to the feminists.

        • So… where are the “good men”?

          • Eyeore, the Marines still have a very few “good” men.

            • I’ve met more than a few of them, and that is a matter of opinion.

            • Burro (Mule) says

              There are more than a few of them, even more than a few patriarchal types. Don’t worry, though. There will be fewer and fewer as the propaganda takes hold.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                And the solution to this is the Male Supremacy with a Christian coat of paint called “Complementarianism”, i.e. “ME MAN! RAWR! YOU WOMAN! YOU! SHUT! UP!” with “GOD SAITH!” tacked on for justification?

                Look at the stuff on various spiritual abuse watchblogs — Wartburg Watch, Spiritual Sounding Board, Homeschoolers Anonymous, Wondering Eagle. A lot of Christians have firewalled one-eighty in the opposite direction from secular culture, to the point of approaching madness.

                Communism begets Objectivism.

                • It could just as rightly be called Roy Moorism as Complementarianism.

                  • I think I posted a link in the FB group a while back of some comment section theologian laying out the biblical case that women was not created out of nature by God but rather woman was created out of man for man. Biblically, verse by verse, he laid out that women are not considered part of nature or God’s creation, but rather as sole property and a separate creation that 100% comes out of man and man alone.

                    • Trinitarian Islam.

                    • What an insult to God as femaleness is reflection of God’s image. This guy sounds like one of the guys from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood nonsense. He says that women are not made in the image of God to the same extent that men are. I can’t believe that people actually think this nonsense.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      CBMW = The PUA Manosphere with a Christianese coat of paint?

                      (More generically, have you noticed Christians jumping on the bandwagon, painting over the labels, and going “ME, TOO!” in a LOT of things?)

                • Complementarianism is the sinful male entitlement mentality (might makes right, don’t you know) candy coated in out-of-context Bible verses, so women are shoved aside and controlled and abused – all for the glory of God! Just as sane people rightly called bull on the argument that God allows slavery, so are people calling BS on comp-ism.

                  • And the really scary thing is… Those guys are willing to tinker with the orthodox formulation of the Trinity to bolster their claims of innate hierarchy (Google “eternal subordination of the Son” for the gory details). 🙁

                    • Eeyore, I’m not sure about the solidness of fundamentalist/evangelical belief IN the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to start with.

                      Our Lord seems to be increasingly placed as a ‘lesser’ . . . . I once heard a relative in North Carolina say ‘Jesus is not God, He’s the ‘Son of God’

                      The hold of some evangelical fundamentalists on ‘Who Christ Is’ seems murky at best. And I think that led to first the removal of Our Lord as the ‘lens’ through which all Scripture should be interpreted (2K BF&M), and then the ESS heresy of the neo-Cals who were pushing male superiority and stooped so low as to belittle Our Lord in the process

                      It is a hard thing to see. I’m glad there was push-back to ESS. Finally. But they sure took their time, trying to see which way the wind was blowing . . . . not exactly strong faith there, no. Political? I hope not. (sigh)

              • Clay Crouch says

                I know must be hard to do, but you should stay away from those christian/alt right sites. They will mess with your mind and not in a good way.

        • Women’s best protection against sexual predators is not “good men”, but good laws, and a culture that volubly and consistently exposes and disciplines men (and women) who sexually prey on others.

          • Burro (Mule) says

            Don’t deceive yourself, Robert. That state will need good cops to enforce its will.

            Other than that, let women protect themselves. They are equal, right?

            • Okay. Yes, by all means, since we are armed to the teeth anyway, if I had a daughter I would buy her plenty of firepower, and pay for martial arts lessons too. Uma Thurman’s character The Bride in Kill Bill would make a fine role model for any young women, in that regard.

              • And at the end of it all, she recognizes the price she has paid, even in pursuit of the good of getting her daughter to safety. The movie and Thurman as an actress are very artistic in showing that without having to say it.


                • Yes, of course, Dana. I was just being cheeky with Mule.

                  While we’re crediting Uma for the moral note struck at the film’s end, let’s also give props to Quentin Tarantino, its writer and director, whose films are often accused of moral nihilism, in some cases, such as this, unjustly.

                  Have you ever met Uma’s father, Robert Thurman, one of the foremost American scholars of Tibetan Buddhism, and himself a practitioner of that religion?


                  • I know Tarantino is a film genius, I just can’t stand to watch the wretched ways people treat one another in his films, aside from the physical violence.

                    I think I read something along those lines about R. Thurman.


                    • Truth is, I don’t watch many films anymore. I find even the best of it too depressing, and they tend to increase my unhappiness.

      • Robert F. Many good points and I agree with you on much. The only thought I take issue is that culture has always influenced men’s natural inclination. Take up until the 1960’s if a woman got pregnant than the norm was for the man to do the right thing and marry her, that was a great birth control method. This is such an overarching issue we can dwell on this forever. Good input here that I like to ponder.

        • The creepiness of the traditional power imbalance in this matter can be understood by remembering thirty-something Roy Moore, a lawyer and politician with power and prestige, trolling around malls in the 1970s and 80s to make contacts with underpaid teenage sales clerks. At one time, his interest in vastly younger girls, who had little to no power or social standing, would’ve been considered totally acceptable, and families would’ve participated in making arrangements to wed their young daughters to much older men who had power and prestige (Moore himself asserted that he never “dated” one of these girls without their parent’s permission!). The shock that such an idea gives to our contemporary sensibilities reveals just how creepy the traditional patriarchal sexual dispensation actually was. Of course, no woman would’ve been tolerated who courted much younger men in the way that Moore did teenage girls; that’s just one more piece of evidence about where the power lay in such an arrangement, if you didn’t know already. Men always controlled the game in traditional societies; in modernity, and especially since the 1960s and the advent of effective of contraceptive pills, we lost some of that control.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I recently acquired several books by Herbert Asbury, companion volumes to his Gangs of New York:
            * Gem of the Prairie about Chicago,
            * The French Quarter about New Orleans, and
            * The Barbary Coast about San Francisco.
            In all of these, throughout the 19th Century and into the 20th:

            Forced prostitution was rampant, including “procurers” who specialized in providing the sex slaves for the industry in what’s now called “human trafficking”. Including “specialties” like same-sex, pedo, or bestiality. New York, Chi-town, Nawlins, San Fran — every city had its red-light district, from respectable upper-class to dives and cribs. New Orleans even had tourist guidebooks and Chicago “sporting gazettes” (tabloid gossip rags, with recommends and ads).

            Roy Moore was only doing what outwardly-respectable “sports” of that time did; just he was cruising malls instead of the red-light district for his specialty. And a lot of those “sports” stayed respectable; especially the wealthy and their bought-and-paid-for politicians..

        • john,

          I have known some of those shotgun marriage couples. Anecdotally in my experience, at least half of the marriages have ended in divorce, either sooner or later.

          Once I was watching a Book TV presentation by an author who studied some aspects of sociology during the Civil War. He said that, according to marriage and birth records, something like 30-40% of of the women were pregnant at the time of the ceremony. Most of these were not teenagers.

          Lack of birth control may have slowed down sexual encounters, but it sure didn’t stop them.


          • I know that people say that birth control has led to a decline in morality, etc., but I’d like to point out to those people that birth control has been great for married couples. There’s nothing wrong with married people having fun without having to worry about making lots and lots of babies.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Unless you think sex was NOT supposed to be “fun”, just filling your Quiver with heirs and spares.

              “Our Duty to The Party.”

        • Out of societal pressure and force. Broken unhappy depressive marriages are better than no marriages, it would seem.

          • Certainly Paul would not agree with them on that (I Cor 7)…

          • That Other Jean says

            Since women had very few means of support apart from husbands, yes. Unhappy marriages kept wives fed and clothed, at least. Women, apart from their lack of income, could not leave incompatible, or even violent spouses, without losing both their children, who automatically went to their fathers, and their reputations—right up through the beginning of the 20th century. There is still a considerable difference in the balance of power in the workplace, and sometimes at home, between men and women—but for today’s women, it is far better than it was.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Like Truman’s decision to nuke Japan or the Lost Cause mythos after the Civil War, it may have just been the least bad of a bunch of bad alternatives.

    • John Barry, your sense of humor is growing on me. LOL

      You’ve been hanging around Headless too much!

      Where would we be without a sense of humor in these dark times? I can’t imagine it.

  6. I used to have quite a bit of respect for the Sprouls back in the day. Then they went all in on the Y2K panic (they devoted an entire issue of their monthly ministry booklet to it) and never admitted the mistake when Y2K fizzled.

    • Yeah, back in the late 90’s I used to listen to Sproul and other Christian radio, and they were all preaching Y2K panic. You would think they didn’t have faith in Christ….

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        20-30 years before that, they’d be preaching Inevitable Global Thermonuclear Armageddon, adding complementary Rapture boarding passes to their fire insurance pitches for the Altar Call. (Remember when Henry Kissinger and/or the King of Spain was PROVEN from SCRIPTURE to be The Antichrist? I do.)

    • Read up on his son! Oh my gosh! I don’t think the fruit fell far from the tree.

  7. In the US farmers (persons engaged in actual crop/livestock production) constitute >2% of the population. Except for Amish and some Mennonites, the majority of farmers carry such a debt load that will not be paid off in their lifetime. During the last 30 years, the average age of U.S. farmers has grown by nearly eight years, from 50.5 years to 58.3 years. Our lives have been oriented around PRODUCING, and, when disaster, depression, divorce, or cancer strikes we take it strikes us to our core. Ag production is not a “job”, rather it’s a way of life which demands that everything else take back seat.

    It can also be very lonely…

    • Looking for the “edit” button…

    • Tom aka, good insight into those who are farmers. I am no expert but that is why most of the younger people who can sell the “family” farm as it is so risky and demanding not because of the inheritance tax and other oft cited reasons. It is hard, challenging work and America has been blessed with great farm communities. When I travel the mid west I love the landscape and the people of the area , as they really produce something of great worth . thanks for your post

      • A close friend has family members who still farm in N. Dakota. He says that corporate farming has driven the small family farmer into a corner. If you don’t have enough acreage or want to diversify your crop, you can’t make any money, so you either sell to a conglomerate or go into incredible debt to get enough land. But with the acreage comes a monopoly by corporations, esp Monsanto, when you go to buy your seed and the fertilizer, weed control and pest control developed to work together.

        One reason farmers are going organic is to try to break free from the corporate chokehold. Some are able to, some not.


        • Dana, structural changes in the pork industry finally forced us out of business in late 2007. Also, by that time the “Ethanol Mandate” was consuming about 40% of the corn crop so we could run it through our cars. In a year’s time feed cost doubled and no one wanted to pay anything for our product (early weaned pigs).

          There will always be “food” on the grocery shelf. The only issue is who will produce it — a decreasing fraction of our population…

    • Andrew Zook says

      The Amish and Menn. are debt laden too… but probably have lower expectations regarding the “good” life… in other words, they expect hardship (that I know I wouldn’t have the backbone for).

      • The Amish participate in modern finance? I didn’t know that. I assumed it would be just as off limits as diesel tractors.

        • If they’re like orthodox Muslims, they have community associations of wealthy coreligionists that lend money out to people who need it, for a flat fee to be paid over time, rather than borrowing from a bank that charges interest rates.

        • Diesel tractors are fine so long as they aren’t driven; used as stationary power sources. Gasoline tractors are anathema.

          The Amish are more uniform in their life-style than are the Mennonites who have a much wider expression as to technology. Which makes sense seeing as how the Amish are a sub-group of the Mennonites.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            My writing partner (an Anabaptist) described the relationships this way:
            * Mennonites are one step beyond Anabaptist.
            * Old Order Mennonites are one step beyond Mennonites.
            * Amish are one step beyond Old Order Mennonites.
            * And Old Order Amish are one step beyond Amish.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      The agriculture crisis is seven times more urgent than our sexual shenanigans. I wish I didn’t know so little about it.

  8. Richard Hershberger says

    “Several internet providers have made public pledges in recent months that they will not block or throttle sites once the rules were repealed.”

    This is simply adorable, to the extent that professed faith in these pledges is sincere. ISPs fight hard for the right to do this thing that will bring them additional revenue, while piously assuring us that they would never dream of doing such a thing. How long before we get explanations that while of course those pledges were totally honest, business conditions have changed since then and so the pledges no long apply. We got families to feed, don’t you know?

    In related news. my town is currently installing municipal broadband. I eagerly await it. The interesting thing is that I live in a solidly Republican county. This is not a project of big government hippies. It was sold as a way to attract businesses. Small government types warn us about trusting government to provide such a service. You know what? My town also provides water and sewer, trash pickup, and snow removal. I have never had the slightest problem with any of these.

    • Richard Hershberger, Usually if it is a viable, economic worthy endeavor private enterprise will step in and fill the need, usually in a more efficient manner. The other services you cited are not “money” makers except for perhaps trash removal but in most cases must be done for the public good. Many a community has not fared well providing high speed broadband and failed but some have had success. I am not disagreeing with you and when the broadband is in operation for several years we will have our answer. I guess it does come down to who in the economic sense is taking the “risk” that the taxpayer backed broadband will be a commercial success. If it draws enough new revenue to the city it may be great, if not it will live off public funds. Good luck.

      • “Usually if it is a viable, economic worthy endeavor private enterprise will step in and fill the need, usually in a more efficient manner”

        I compared internet access to a utility above deliberately. Some things in modern life – electricity, water, roads – are goods that people *must* have access to in order to simply function. And more and more, access to the internet – including email, electronic banking, e-records, ad infinitum ad nauseam – is approaching that level of necessity. At some point, questions of profit and efficiency must take a backseat to the greater social good.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says


        • >goods that people *must* have access to in order to simply function…

          So let’s start nationalizing the oil and gas industry and food production.
          We’ll get the Venezualans to supervise.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            That would be a really great argument if oil and gas and food production were natural monopolies.

            • Richard,
              This response was simply a counter to Eeyore’s statement that the basis for utility regulation is related to the amount of reliance we have for a particular good or service. With that measuring stick, there are far greater goods that we rely on than the internet – gas and food being two of them. The need to declare a private good or service a public utility must reside in a higher calling than simply our perceived need. Your natural monopoly contention is a much stronger argument.

              However, this does bring to mind what our telecommunications/internet world would look like now if the AT&T monopoly that existed in the early ’80’s had been turned into a publicly regulated utility instead of being broken apart. Had we taken a regulated utility route due the “natural monopoly” what was AT&T, what would that have done to the communication technology and internet explosion that we enjoy today?

              I’m more inclined to allow for the free flow of natural market forces when it comes to this particular discussion. And should the free flow bend toward a monopoly that is why we have anti-trust proceedings. AT&T was a very relevant model for this. Allow our creative market to work. If the anti-trust lawyers do their job, the power grab will be closely monitored.

              • “. With that measuring stick, there are far greater goods that we rely on than the internet – gas and food being two of them.”

                You need a job to buy food and gas. Try finding a non-minimum wage job nowadays *without using the internet in any way*. I dare you. I triple-dog dare you…

          • I am intimately familiar with Venezuela’s woes. But if you think a cartel of private corporations can’t do the same damage via control of a commodity, you’re fooling yourself.

        • Eeyore,

          your observation “At some point, questions of profit and efficiency must take a backseat to the greater social good” is spot on.

          In an attempt to save money and deliver water more efficiently, the City of Stockton, California privatized its water service a few years ago. It was a complete disaster, with no accountability. Public utilities are public for good reasons.


      • Richard Hershberger says

        yabbut… Broadband is a natural monopoly, for the same reason water is. Once the initial infrastructure is in place, duplicating this infrastructure makes no economic sense, even if the duplicate would be better than the older. Natural monopolies left to themselves are disasters for the consumer. They have to either be heavily regulated or the government needs to take over. Imagine your water service provider sold you poor quality water at high price and you couldn’t do anything about it. The god of economic worth doesn’t help anyone here except that first adopter, who will suddenly drop the price if there is any threat of genuine competition, then raise the price once the threat has passed, and who will bribe officials to head of any requirements of better service or price.

        Having the government run it has its own issues, but government–particularly local government–has incentives to provide adequate service. This is the old principle that a mayor can lose his job if the city can’t clear snow from the streets. These incentives are imperfect, but better than the monopoly’s. Hence the need for regulation. The ISPs have succeeded in their endeavors at regulatory capture, so that is off the table, at least for now.

        So what is left? The US already has terrible and overpriced broadband compared with the rest of the developed world. US ISPs simply have no reason to change this. So someone else, with different incentives, has to come in. Yes, some cities have implemented municipal broadband poorly. This, like literally every other human activity, can be done well or it can be done poorly. This is not an argument against doing it. It is an argument for doing it right, building on the experience of those who have succeeded before.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        An additional note on “viable, economic worthy endeavor.” Businesses are not incentived to perform any profitable activity. The incentive is to perform the most profitable activity. Providing high quality broadband at a reasonable cost with good customer service can be profitable, but providing low quality broadband at an outrageous price with poor customer service is more profitable. Corporations do not exist for the public good.

        • Richard Hershberger, you are absolutely right , corporations exist to make money and it works to fuel a economy that produces benefits to the general society. Not ideal but effective, Even the Chinese Communist who killed million trying communism are now a form of capitalist with strict limits on freedom.

          • And whose drive for profit (for the State) is ruining the Chinese environment.

            Profit motive with no other restraints is a recipe for disaster.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              And “Who Cares? It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway” is all too often the Christian(TM) response.

  9. Richard Hershberger says

    Sexual revolution: There is a lot of misdirection there. The sexual revolution was about consenting adults being given permission to consent outside of marriage. Between the pill and modern antibiotics, the most serious biological risks were removed. Social risks followed. The sexual revolution had nothing to do with men in positions of power abusing that power to have sex. That had been going on all along. The casting couch was not invented in 1960. There were a lot of bumps in the road, but the sexual revolution did not result in unrestrained hedonism. The kids are all right. They still have sexual mores. They aren’t the sexual mores of our forefathers, but the kids don’t fall into spontaneous orgies.

    • And if you think our forefathers didn’t have spontaneous orgies… prepare yourself for a shock.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        Some had orgies, but the social class lines were different. Neither the rich nor the poor followed middle class morality. The sexual revolution affected the “respectable” middle class, which is why it was so shocking.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      “””The kids are all right. They still have sexual mores. “””


      • I agree.

        I went to a party with an adult-themed White Elephant game. The majority of attendees were in long term couples, many of them married – (most of them married if you consider some were decades long partnerships from before gay marriage was legal). Ages ranged from the early 20’s to late 50’s. I’ll note for demographic purposes there was only one straight person there, but I doubt hetero people are naturally less moral or thoughtful.

        There was a very specific attention paid to comfort levels. The host asked if the person who’d brought me had prepared me, and specifically warned me that one guest had a very raunchy mouth. Jokes that I’m sure would inflame the ears of my parents were certainly made, but only ever targeted at people who clearly enjoyed that form of humor, and not in cases where the welcome would be less sure. They also never insinuated cheating – a joke might be very sexually frank, but at the same time assumed that sexual frankness within the target’s relationship.

        At one point, a gentleman in his late 50’s or early 60’s drank too much and was not fully in control of himself. I watched a group of people come around him, give him comforting hugs and back rubs, while another stood unobtrustively behind him so he wouldn’t fall. There was someone at the party who it was known he is rather attracted to, and it was quietly arranged that a large, comforting group NOT including that person warmly escort him out the door and helped his partner get him in the car safely. This avoided anything untoward happening that the gentleman would regret in the morning.

        Everything from fairly basic date stuff to over the top impractical gag gifts to practical sex toys were part of the exchange, and they were talked about without shame and with good natured laughs. Some couples participated together as a unit, and for each gift even people who didn’t received, they were obviously deciding how it would benefit their partnership, but not in a way that aired anything they’d want kept private.

        In the end, all of those things went home to be used or not, and no sudden orgies broke out. On the way out, someone made sure I had a place to celebrate Christmas, and made sure I knew I’d be welcome to join their family if my plans fell through. For all the raunchy humor, consideration was obviously highly prized.

        None of these people would hold themselves up as moral exemplars. To the contrary, there were jokes about how dirty minded or not innocent they were. To them, exercising self control and consideration was just how you treated other people. They didn’t have written mores from on high, but they had a clear unspoken codes of social mores that they lived.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says


        One of the interesting statistics I like to quote to befuddled people is that by the 1880’s, something like half of ALL children born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire were born out of wedlock. And anyone thinking the sexual revolution was this massive earth shattering event hasn’t studied La Belle Epoch.

        Therefore a “sexual counter-revolution ” is somewhat nonsensical. What is needed (or needed more, because it is happening), is an awareness of the world and one’s known position in it, and one’s relation to other people. Awareness and sensitivity are one of the biggest weapons against belligerence- whether it be sexual, militaristic, environmental, economic etc etc. As a “solution”, patriarchy go to tell.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Yep,. The “sexual revolution” was just “normal” beginning to return to a particular socioeconomic catehory.

        • I recall reading in the first volume of Manchester’s bio of Churchill that upper class women bore on average about 3 children, whereas the emerging middle class of the time bore in excess of 7-8. The upper class women were NOT LESS sexually active than the middle class, rather much more so given their propensity to “weekend-er” sleep-overs in the country estates. They also had access to the “French purse”…

    • Between the pill and modern antibiotics, the most serious biological risks were removed.

      Minor nit. Viruses have some what “exploded”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Sexual revolution: There is a lot of misdirection there. The sexual revolution was about consenting adults being given permission to consent outside of marriage.

      But anything like that has a way of snowballing.

      “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” plus Entropy equals “But How Were We To Know?”

  10. Adam Tauno Williams says

    An interesting side note to the Farmer Suicide story is that rural suicide attempts have a much higher success rate; this was found in a recent study. The number if attempts is comparable, but rural people are more likely to succeed.

    • I wonder if that’s simply a matter of isolation – fewer suicide help lines, slower medical/police response times, etc.

      • I would think it’s a combination of isolation and more access to more lethal means.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          As I recall the study did not conclude on a “why”. There really was not one variable that stood out; as often happens with real-world data. Buy all the above you mentioned were mentioned – likely operating in concert.

        • In a way overly simplified analysis rural people are more likely to understand what it takes to die vs. urban people.

  11. From my experience with young people, sexuality has taken on many forms, forming ‘tribes’ just like most of religion and society. I have seen these kinds of tribes
    – Replace sexual impulses with video game virtual reality environment
    – A small tribe of traditional ‘one night stands’, in my working world I don’t see much of this but I assume it still exists
    – Tribe of experimenting, especially with bi-sexuality

    Most young people outside those 3 tribes practice sexuality based on mid to long term relationships, but not necessarily marriage

  12. I just realized you made it through Saturday brunch without mentioning Alabama, Roy Moore, and the Senate election. It was like an earth shattering kaboom around these parts.

    • Allen , great funny point but only because he lost , wait til 2020 , it will be on again .

      • Yes. But right now what a gift at Christmas of hope that the people of Alabama have given to the nation: a repudiation of such a man as Moore . . . .

        I’m so thankful. I am so sorry I had assumed the people of Alabama not to be capable of such strength. I was wrong. They are now witnesses to the nation that evil cannot cloak itself in religion and in ‘the right political party’.

        There is a limit to how much of evil and civilized people will allow into their world, because they must be able to look themselves in the mirror in the morning, and they must be able to look into the eyes of their children who look to them for guidance in this strange world.

        Maybe it’s just a brief ‘reprieve’ from the Trumpism hell-to-come, but I’ll take it as blessing for now that Alabamians said ‘no’ to a Roy Moore and all that he stands for. And I am grateful. And more hopeful than I can say for our survival in the midst of a horror that attacks the vulnerable and the innocent and the suffering among us. I love this quote which even now has new meaning for me:

        “Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons . . . It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
        (Vaclav Havel)

    • I do think it was a temporary aboration due to the specifics of Roy Moore, but it clearly shows that a political alignment between moderates and black evangelicals can defeat the extremes of white evangelical fundamentalism, even in a state where white evangelical fundamentalists have more power than any other state.

      • Black evangelicals have suffered greatly in Alabama in the past. They know the price of having the Roy Moore’s in power.

  13. The Reformed have a fierce way of looking at things, kinda scary to a country free will Baptist raised like me. Their god is too high up and too far away for me. And folks who can live comfortably with the idea that the vast majority of the human race (billions actually) have been condemned to eternal torture forever just for the crime of being born and that this is some way signals the glory of god…well…that’s frightening. And even if it’s true, don’t be so happy about it.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Of course they’re happy about it.
      They KNOW they’re The Elect, God’s Speshul Pets, Predestined before the foundation of the world!

      Take a look over at Wartburg Watch sometime — they’re doing a watchblog on the X-Treme Calvinists (more Calvinist than Calvin) that are popping up all over today, taking over churches in stealth coups, becoming their own Calvins over their own Little Genevas.

      The “Young, Restless, and REALLY TRULY Reformed!” — seventy-eighty years ago, they would have been Young Restless Red Guard, all on fire for Communism instead of Calvinism.

      • Those are just the ones who mouth off. For every one one them, there’s one like me – who questioned our election and lived in quiet despair. William Cowper is our patron saint.

    • One thing you gotta give credit to Calvinism for – it pretty neatly solves the Problem of Evil…. everyone but God is evil.

  14. vulnerable
    science based

    The Trump administration has just banned these word from being used by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

    When an oppressive government wants certain problematic realities, including medical ones, to disappear from sight, it may prohibit language about them from appearing in official documents. The next step is to make the problematic realities themselves disappear, by making the people they involve disappear.

    Can anybody say Big Brother?

    Are analogies with Nazi Germany really overdrawn at this point?

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      I am not sure about Nazi Germany, but it certainly shows totalitarian tendencies. And the desire to “manufacture” evidence. This looks more like the workings of the Apartheid state, under which I grew up. Not so much about race, but about the attempted control off all thought and information.

      • Okay, I’ll hold back from the Nazi analogies for now. Totalitarian is an adequate descriptor.

        It’s really outrageous, and indefensible. The CDC now has to operate with a defined by the Trump administration politically correct, alternative vocabulary. What next? One is afraid to ask.

        • Robert F. Is it possible that the CDC bureaucrats in charge of the budget request did this on their own trying to get the budget though Congress, maybe , maybe not. Is it possible that some Never Trumpers in the CDC are trying to discredit the Trump administration? Why did this news drop on the national news late before the weekend. Who knows anymore but the narrative, that may be absolutely correct or absolutely misstated is out there for more Trump bashing. We will see as events unfold, If it is true it is incredible stupid and wrong . Thanks for holding back on the Nazi analogies but Clay Crouch did not, check it out below.

          • Yes, we shall see. I’m waiting to see.

            And the only reason I did not use the word Nazi is that my friend Klasie, whose judgment I place great stock in, gently suggested that just perhaps the word is not quite appropriate, yet. Notice that he readily employed the word totalitarian instead.

            We shall see. We are waiting to see, Klasie and myself and many, many others.

          • john barry,
            After more information has surfaced, it looks like you may be right. CDC officials may have decided to not use the cited list of words in their budgetary requests, because they felt those words would prejudice the conservative overseers against granting the funds. The head of the CDC is insisting that the words have not been banned, nor will there be any holding back from using them in research literature. It looks like a false alarm. I for one have to retract any suggestion I made of Nazi-like or totalitarian practices in this matter. I jumped the gun.

      • Never mind the Nazi analogies, what about George Carlin? Notice that there are 7 deadly words here?

        Carlin’s spoof was against the FCC, not the CDC, but it’s the same old.

        “Yes sir, folks, these are the words, the seven deadly words that will warp your mind, curve your spine, and keep the allies from winning the war!”

        And one of them (according to George Carlin) doesn’t even belong on the list!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And all the Evangelicals go “AAAAAAAAAAA-MENNNNNNNN!”

      • Unicorn Guy , and all the liberal Christians go Trump is a Nazi, Amen

        • Fortunately, he’s not as competent as they were.

          • Eeyore, what Nazi doctrine is Trump following that he is incompetent at? What programs or policies dies Trump have that is specifically like the Nazi government of A. Hitler. Do you think if Trump were President in 1941 we would be an ally of Nazi Germany? thanks for your reply

            • More general competence than anything. Political apointments are a mess, legislation is all but stalled, the staff is in chaos, and diplomacy is in tatters. He just doesn’t know how to run a government – and why should he? He really didn’t even run the businesses under his name…

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                All he did was transfer Trump Tower Corporate Culture — The Great One at the center doing everything himself while dewy-eyed courtiers give Him Praise and Adoration — to the White House and entire Executive Branch.

                Not only conflicting/incompatible corporate cultures, but the sheer difference in scale.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Are analogies with Nazi Germany really overdrawn at this point?


      • Clay Crouch, Yes they can be and using the term Nazi for every offense in the Trump administration or anyone cheapens and lessens the impact of the evil, terrorist, holocaust and WW 2 mass murderers. Do you think Trump is advocating Lebensraum, , trying to pass Nuremburg Laws, , remilitarize Germany for world conquest and commit genocide to sub human races only promoting the Aryan race, if you do than Trump is a Nazi. You can call someone a fascist , a communist , a socialist, a liar in short a lot of things. but Nazi was National Socialist German Workers Party. in Germany , founded in 1919, it died with Hitler in 1945 except in historical perspective for the dark chapter in history that has been so honestly reported and documented. It is like when certain people call law enforcement officers in the USA “jackbooted thugs” a reference to who? Call Trump a dictator , call him a racist, call him a madman or whatever but to go to the Nazi word is just an plea to invoking emotional response to a very evil political system. It is like the fringe on the right went into calling Obama a Muslim instead of citing facts, policy and rational reasons to oppose President Obama politically.

        • Comparing the acts of a group or individual to the acts of the Nazis is not the same as calling them Nazis.

          • Robert F. so the people who wrongly and stupidly labeled President Obama a Muslim because he struck Islam terrorist, enemy combatant and war on terror out of official government language should have said he was taking actions like a Muslim would, to split the hair. How about the terrorist incident at the army base n Texas being classified as workplace violence instead of terrorism by a radical Muslim ? I did not call someone a pervert, I said they just act like one, am I following this correctly , thanks for your reply

            • I don’t know what people should or shouldn’t have said or done concerning the various incidents and issues you mention, I only know that saying someone has done something Nazi-like is not the same as saying they are Nazis. Forbidding the use of certain non-objectionable words and language by government departments in order to hide the existence of problematic social realities is something the Nazis would’ve done. They banned and burned books for the same reason.

    • I heard about the Trump word ban on telly and I thought:

      I wonder how Fox News is going to spin THIS disaster? I do fear for the ‘vulnerable’ in our country as I believe they are going soon to be targeted severely . . . . Why? Because they are helpless against the greedy and the powerful.

      If the Center for Disease Control and Prevention cannot advocate for the vulnerable, why does it still exist?

      What inhumane monster dreamed this stunt up? Someone did. But who? I want NAMES. We who have family who are definitely ‘vulnerable’ deserve to know who is targeting our children.

      • It’s not just the CDC. Several departments of Health and Human Services were given the same directive by the Trump administration. Even worse.

        • God have mercy. Christ have mercy.

          so much suffering and now this targeting . . . so evil I cannot comprehend it

          • Trump and Co. are also succeeding in their public deligitimizing of Robert Mueller and his investigation. It doesn’t matter that there is no basis for their attacks, and that those attacks are completely political rather than legal. Mueller has no powerful allies in Congress, and so he is operating on his on, and is being increasingly isolated. Whether Mueller is fired or not, he is being systematically destroyed by Trump and his media and political cronies in the court of public opinion. I predict that the investigation will be completely derailed and neutralized in the next few months; Trump’s and Co’s perfidies will go unpunished. There seem to be no limits to what the president can get away with, as long as he has no potent opposition in Congress. The Democrats are powerless to resist, and the Republicans as a group have become collaborators with the POTUS, either by their silence in the face of his lies and outrages, or by their support of and participation in them. If the power balance in Congress does not change in the midterm elections, we as a country are in deep trouble.

            • I know this Republican sitting right here is voting Democrat in the next election. I’m tired of watching my party fall off the cliff and land smack dab in the Loony Land. Or, it’s always been there and the “family values” veneer has worn off.

              • I’m an independent. In the past I’ve voted Republican, I’ve voted Democratic, and I’ve voted third party. But next year it’s Democratic all the way, not because I agree with all the Democratic political positions, not because I don’t believe they are capable of crass and cynical and even criminal political manipulations, but because the Congress needs to have a political counterbalance against the growing autocratic power of this POTUS, and his extremist movement, if any semblance of our democratic republic is to survive.

            • I don’t think they can touch Robert Mueller’s integrity. People are not stupid . . . they realize that the closer Mueller gets to the truth, the more Trumpites will attack him and their attacks are EVIDENCE that they fear Mueller because they know what he will find . . . they know.

              Here is why they can’t touch Mueller’s integrity:
              “Second Lieutenant Mueller fearlessly moved from one position to another,” the citation reads, according to Graff. “With complete disregard for his own safety, he then skillfully supervised the evacuation of casualties from the hazardous area and, on one occasion, personally led a fire team across the fire-swept area terrain to recover a mortally wounded Marine who had fallen in a position forward on the friendly lines.
              That same devotion to duty would serve Mueller just four months later in April 1969, when, as a second lieutenant, he led his platoon to rescue American troops pinned down under heavy fire from the Vietcong. Despite taking an AK-47 round through the thigh, Mueller held his position until the troops had safely retreated. The firefight earned him a Navy Commendation Medal and his Purple Heart; a month later, he was back on patrol in the jungles of Vietnam (“I thought I’d at least get to go to a hospital ship,” he reportedly quipped of his injuries.)”

              So this man is corrupt? I don’t think so. He’s an American hero. And what sits in the White House now? A man who got five deferrals for ridiculous reasons . . . a self-centered buffoon who is led around by Putin and would have had us abandon NATO to please Putin . . . my goodness, American people aren’t fools . . . they know who is honorable and patriotic, and it is NOT the one who would sell out to our nation’s hostile enemy, Russia.

              I’m trusting the American people to see through Trump.
              Robert Mueller is an honorable man whose service to this nation is unquestioned.
              Trump has some ‘splainin to do. And the time will come when Mueller shares his findings with the whole country, and yes, with appropriate back-up.

              • I don’t doubt Mueller’s bravery or integrity; from what I’ve seen, he’s the real deal. God bless him.

                But I don’t share your confidence in the ability of the American people to throw off the lies of this president and his enablers. God help us.

                This may be one of those crucifixion moments, played out on the national level, when courage and integrity are put on the cross by the demonic powers of the world. We Christians should not be surprised by them, but we always are, even when we are not culpable ourselves, which, in this case, many of us are.

                But I thank God for men and women like Mueller, who are willing to live, and die, in the service of what is right. May we all be such.

  15. seneca griggs says

    A few years ago, me ‘n a buddy are riding our road bikes along a bike/walking trail somewhat out in the country. We ride past a lady walking being closely followed [ 3 to 5 ft ] by a guy also on a road bike. He is so close behind her I’m initially thinking he must be her husband but then I wasn’t sure. So I tell my buddy, “stop for a minute, I want to check on something.” We stop and at the point, the other guy peels off from following the lady and heads on down the trail.
    It turns out he wasn’t her husband, he was a stranger and she was quite frightened.

    A couple thoughts that ran thru my mind when initially passing the lady was: Should I interfere? For all I knew the guy closely following her was a husband or at least a friend. If I check on her is she going to get mad and yell at me. I don’t know her, she’s not my responsibility maybe I should just continue on along. But then I was raised by a Godly mother who believed men had a responsibility to protect women. So I stopped.

    Now I didn’t do anything brave; I just made an observation that things might not be quite right and thought it wouldn’t hurt to check. But you do see situations where possibly you should make yourself available DESPITE feminist’ insistence that the state is all they really need for protect because the reality is; in this situation the “state” would have taken probably 15 minutes to arrive to protect this lady whereas I and my friend were right there.

    Women need good men; good men have got to be encouraged to act on lady’s behalf despite the feminists – who would actually like your help in reality if not in theory.

    • You mean to tell me that you honestly believe that an average feminist would not accept a man’s help in a dangerous situation, but would rather wait for the police? Come on! Feminism is not about relying only a the state; in fact, feminism in most of its iterations stresses the importance of community and interdependence in a way that patriarchal cowboy culture never can.

      • senecagriggs says

        No, they WOULD yell for help from the nearest masculine presence but turn around and rail against the thought that women need the protection of men.

        • Your view of things is hard to distinguish from a caricature.

        • Hello Senecagriggs,

          I tell you about my brother and my niece, a true story:

          my niece is a very beautiful and accomplished young woman . . . . a few years back, she was at a gathering hosted by my brother to raise funds for the local hospital and there she played a piano sonata for the guests that was well-received . . . . she was dressed in a formal evening gown with diamond clips in her blonde hair, looking for all the world like a beautiful angel . . .

          after her performance, a man came over to my brother and said ‘hopefully your daughter will soon find a good husband to take care of her’ and my brother looked at him kindly and called my niece over to introduce her to this older gentlemen . . . my brother used her military title in the introduction: ‘may I present my daughter, Lieutenant Commander ______, just returned from duty in Afghanistan?’

          Well, the older gentleman was a bit humbled I think. My niece’s service has taken her into Iraq and Afghanistan and she has seen that for which she has written ‘there are no words’ . . . but her soul and spirit are strong and survived the sadness, and we know that it is in the heart of a person that there is the strength that matters most . . . . this lovely woman is strong, having ‘taken care’ of many wounded and having witnessed the loss of too many young warriors brought in for surgery. She remains strong still. But not ‘hardened’, no. She is married now, and through the Navy she is studying to become a nurse practitioner, like her older sister and her mother . . . . and she will do it, God willing.

          I don’t know who cares for whom in an operating room where the last person a young man sees before his life ebbs from him is someone like my niece . . . . a woman who wrote home: ‘there are no words’ ???

          She was ‘present’ to those dying wounded. Their loss seared her deeply. She carries that wound without complaint and it has not weakened her, no.

          Physical strength is not the strength that matters most: the strength of the heart and the spirit carry the greatest weight in this world, Senecagriggs, and my niece possesses both in abundance.

      • Robert,
        Maybe it’s a matter of semantics, but anytime we attach an “ism” to a word we need to realize the super-charged power it takes on. From Websters, “ism” is defined as “denotes an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief.” So we take relatively neutral words like capital, commune, complementary or feminine and turn them into capitalism, communism, complementarianism and feminism. Amazing how three little letters moves us from the benign to fireworks.

        The addition of “ism” changes everything. So while we may wish for an “ism” to stress the importance of community and interdependence as you stated, more often than not we seem to end up with an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief. Sad.

      • This went into moderation, still there why??
        Let’s try it again –

        Maybe it’s a matter of semantics, but anytime we attach an “ism” to a word we need to realize the super-charged power it takes on. From Websters, “ism” is defined as “denotes an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief.” So we take relatively neutral words like capital, commune, complementary or feminine and turn them into capitalism, communism, complementarianism and feminism. Amazing how three little letters moves us from the benign to fireworks.
        The addition of “ism” changes everything. So while we may wish for an “ism” to stress the importance of community and interdependence as you stated, more often than not we seem to end up with an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief. Sad.

        • flatrocker,

          1)Uh, it was seneca griggs who first used the dreaded f-word today, not me or anybody else, and he did indeed intend it as an insult, so maybe you should talk to him about the semantics of the matter.

          2) Which word would you prefer in its place?

    • You know what, Seneca? You are absolutely right. We women need to be able to find and depend on good men, and we are obviously terrible at it since we keep getting ourselves raped and murdered by trusting the wrong ones. So you’ll help me out here, right? We really only need to answer one question: how can a woman know, quickly and beyond the shadow of a doubt, that she is dealing with a good man who is worthy of her trust?

      Now since God decided not to make human beings psychic, we are limited to observable behavior and characteristics to make this determination. So I suppose we should start with the obvious assumption: men who are Christians are good. Christian men are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, so they should be the best and most trustworthy men of all. Except . . . there are all those Catholic priests that molested children for years. And then those other priests covered it all up. And then there are the Protestant youth pastors who molest the teens they’re in charge of or murder their own families, and the Christian senatorial candidates who abuse little girls and the ordinary lay Christian men who cheat on their wives and leave them for younger women, and even the men on this very forum who argue that women shouldn’t be allowed to have civil rights. Hmmmmm. Looks like being a Christian is no guarantee that a man is good.

      So let’s try another one: men who treat women like princesses are good. If they compliment you and open the door for you and buy you nice presents (when appropriate, of course), they must be good because men who are dangerous call women nasty names and aren’t polite to them and openly deny them job opportunities and all that sort of thing. Except . . . lots of men who are the worst sorts of abusers are REALLY good at acting nice until it’s too late and then they get possessive and maybe start hitting their wives and girlfriends and children and if the women try to leave they stalk them and threaten them and sometimes murder them. Well, drat. I guess that one doesn’t work every time either.

      Let’s try another one. Men you have spent time with and are close to, like your family and friends, are good men who you should trust. Oh, wait. Nine out of ten rapes are committed by someone the victim knows and half of all female homicide victims in the US are killed by their intimate partners. And that isn’t even touching on child abuse by parents. Sheesh, you can’t even trust men who are your blood relatives!

      I’m out of ideas. Any suggestions?

      • Exactly. Women can’t even trust men who are blood relatives. That’s why they need to be able to have a “room of their own”, with their own lives quite distinct from those of the men in them, with their own jobs and resources. The ability to escape intolerable domestic situations is contingent on not being tethered forever to a man, or a network of men (for instance, the village or church elders), for economic survival.

      • Nice, very nice, rebuttal!

        I keep coming back to Isaiah 2:22: “Stop trusting in man. He has only a breath in his nose. Why should he be honored?”

      • That’s the problem with the patriarchal system – You’re locked in. Unless you’re the gender doing the locking, then it’s all jake.

      • senecagriggs says

        “Any suggestion?”

        Plenty actually.

        But I’ll start with just one: If you have a son or sons, encourage them to be defenders of the weaker sex in their lives.

        If they see a female who might benefit from their help, don’t hesitate to ask if they can be helpful.

        • In the unlikely case that you didn’t know it, calling women “the weaker sex” is insulting.

        • Clay Crouch says

          You really didn’t answer her question, did you.

        • Why not train them to defend *anyone* in need of help, regardless of gender?

        • –> “…encourage them to be defenders of the weaker sex in their lives.”

          How about “…defenders of the weaker ANYTHING in their lives”,,,?

        • So I can know I have a good man when I’ve given birth to and trained him myself? And I can’t find a good man unless I have children and am lucky enough to wind up with a son and not a daughter? What a spectacularly unhelpful suggestion. If I can’t know when a man is worth trusting and you agree that women are justified in being wary of men (as you did below), then congratulations, you have just made the case for feminism. Thanks!

      • I don’t think ‘feminism’ is a celebration of lack of trust in men so much as it is a celebration of the strength and courage of women as persons in their own right who are deserving of respect and above all, of dignity.

        For those who wish to sow distrust among people, I would say to you that you are going to end up mired in your own negativity . . . . .

        I consider myself someone who honors the dignity of all people regardless of gender and sure, sometimes a person cannot be trusted, but it is not a function of gender, no . . . . . it is a part of our wounded human nature that we ALL are heirs to and for some of us, the wound goes too deep and lashing out in pain towards others becomes a way of life:

        such people sow hatred, discouragement, division, and seek to bully and injure others . . . . but at heart, they themselves are the most wounded of all, unable to step away from their own negativity even in their interactions with others . . . more destructive to themselves in the end as they expose their pain in how they wish to undermine and belittle others openly . . .

        I don’t think ‘men’ as a group are to be singled out any more than ‘women’ when we consider the dignity of persons. I’m tired of the labels and the negativity . . . . . it grows old after a while.

        I’m into celebrating what is good about the strengths of people who are productive and positive in our world. It’s time to celebrate what works . . . . . to light candles against the darkness.

        It’s time.

    • I’ve seen this talk many times throughout history: men must protect women. The result has been that the men, acting through male entitlement mentality, have “protected” the women by pushing them aside and shutting them out. We must protect the women by denying them an education. We must protect the women by denying them inheritance rights. We must protect the women by denying them positions in leadership. We must protect the women by denying them the right to vote, serve on juries, credit in their own name, by legally and culturally requiring them to obey their husbands, and on and on and on. And in all this, the women were not protected, not until they, the 51% of the human race, fought back for their rightful place alongside men. Now, if you want to talk protection, a woman’s real protection comes from financial power. And of course, and sane woman, feminist or not, will accept a man’s help just as long as he doesn’t try to harm her (yes, we women have good reason to be wary.)

      BTW, I love men. Yes indeedy.

    • I had my daughter in karate classes as soon as she was old enough. It paid off and yes there is a story there. I think people need to take responsibility for raising children to be knowledgeable about self-defense. It’s a part of today’s world that this has become necessary. I can’t imagine any young woman in today’s world not knowing the basics of self-defense and I think it ought to be a mandatory part of any high-school physical education, yes.

      Lovely the days of chivalry, and goodness knows it would be wonderful if today we might not need to arm our children with self-defense education and training;
      but we live in strange times. . . . . . even our President is recorded as saying certain things about how he would treat beautiful women and HE WAS STILL ELECTED, which shows you that our ‘standards’ are down when people say ‘oh that was just locker room talk’ . . . . . no big deal? Hence, karate classes are now de rigueur for daughters, along with the ballet lessons and the cheer-leading practices. . . . . we parents have a duty to our children to prepare them to live in the real world. It’s tough out there, folks. “Semper Paratus!”

  16. I have deep and complicated thoughts about The Last Jedi. I won’t go into them here due to spoilers and how new it is, but I grew up as a 90s Star Wars fan, was still fairly young for the Prequels so bought into the hype even if it felt “off”, and now watching the Sequels as a full adult, it’s interesting and I’m conflicted but I also see how what I’m thinking and experiencing can apply to many areas of my life when it comes to transitioning from childhood to maturity.

    One thought tho: I think The Last Jedi rivals Attack of the Clones for worst lightsaber effects. Return of the Jedi remains the standard.

    • I love Rogue One and thought that it fit in well with the overall story. I enjoyed The Last Jedi, but I have my doubts about where the story is heading. To me, the ending of a good story must circle back to the very beginning so that all parts are related. So, if you get my drift, I don’t want some random person from somewhere being the one who saves the universe. Random person needs to be, ahem, related.

  17. (I know this is long; guess I’m rebounding after being out of town and away from computer for a few days.)

    Uh, except for Susan (and maybe Sottovoce?) I’m the only female on the board today. I feel like the conversation on sexual ethics is swirling around me and any other female who might be reading. I know there are no bad intentions involved; it’s just very interesting to me. Also interesting is the polarization, and somehow the idea that if a woman doesn’t identify with one or the other of the poles, something’s wrong with her somehow: either she’s not “free” or she’s a pitiable wreck because she has children out of wedlock and/or doesn’t subscribe to patriarchy. Friends, all of it is crazy-making for women. God bless Andrew Z for refraining from speaking (although of course one can and must speak to those things that are HUMAN with regard to both men and women).

    I am in a faith tradition that bypasses all of that, and at the same time I actually grew up in those “sexual revolution” years. I have some observations.

    1) The point of our existence is not hedonism, nor avoidance of pain. Unrestrained pleasure drains a human being of life; I have watched this happen more than once.

    2) Men are physically stronger and women need physical protection for the protracted time it takes to bear and raise children. From the beginning, we have needed one another, and not simply for the survival of the species. Like everything else in this life, the ideal has been damaged due to the line running through each person’s heart, and also the aggregation of darkness that works in groups of people. As Sottovoce wrote, this – and so much more – is about Power, because we are under the delusion that Power (of whatever kind seems expedient to us in any given moment) ensures our ultimate survival.

    3) An Orthodox voice I heard recently (forget who and where but will never forget what) pointed out that Woman was the crown of God’s creation. This person wasn’t attempting to make females feel better. The picture of woman being taken “out of man” reinforces the reality that we need each other, and neither is better than the other. I believe Man is to be honored because he was the first-created human . I believe Woman is to be honored because she is the pinnacle of created life. I believe this happened – however many years it took to get to the point where God brought forth human beings – simultaneously. There’s space for males and females to both bow to God and to each other, as CS Lewis wrote: “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” For most adults through the years, that “neighbor” on a daily basis has been our spouse. (Of course this does not exclude other family members or people outside our families.) There is honor given both ways. Both the man and the woman are crowned in the Orthodox wedding ceremony, not just the man. There is much more written in the Eph 5 passage to the husband than there is to the wife, and all of it was completely new and completely off the radar screen wrt how husbands were supposed to behave in the 1st century Greco-Roman world.

    4) Relatedly, Mary the Mother of God was the crown of humanity, what we had to offer God on our behalf as the Person in whom God’s ultimate plan for union with humanity could be sparked. She was not who she was because she was married, or just because she was capable of bearing a child. I used to think the all the ideas I heard from Orthodox people about not being able to understand male and female relationships and sexuality in general if you don’t love and honor the Theotokos were just weird. Now I get it.

    5) Related to 3 and 4: The purpose of gendered humanity is not, Not, NOT to be some sort of picture of the “male and female aspects of God” related to our ideas of “the image of God.” (God the Father and God the Holy Spirit have no gender. We call the Father “Father” for other reasons.) However, it IS meant to be a picture of the Incarnation: that which was “masculine” in ancient thought, with all its connotations of the Divine/”heavenly” and Immaterial, being united with “feminine” with all its connotations of human/earthly and Material. You can’t have Union without both Sameness (otherwise there can’t be union) and Difference (otherwise, what’s the point of union?). It wasn’t about which is “better” than which. Platonists couldn’t go there, ’cause Material/feminine was indeed an insurmountable problem for them. Christians could go there. Except for intersex people, our gendered bodies as either male or female are a given, and we have to deal with that given-ness and what it means. Sometimes that’s really difficult, for a myriad of reasons.

    This is another reason why a full understanding of the Incarnation is so important, not only with regard to who God is, but also with regard to what humanity is, and what being a Human Person means. This is why Marriage between one man and one woman in which both honor the other is an Icon, both of the union of Christ and the Church and of the union of Divinity and Humanity in the Incarnation. An icon makes visible a reality that is beyond our ability to describe with words. That’s why (please hold the brickbats), although there can be a legal civil contract between two people of the same sex – and I believe that all civil rights and respect should be afforded them as human beings, and that they can and certainly do show sacrificial love to one another – it cannot be understood as marriage. It’s not simply about the ability to reproduce; it’s that you can’t have union between same and same. There is no iconicity.

    6) We have centuries of deep, mutually fulfilling non-sexual relationships between people of the same sex: it’s called Friendship. In our vast confusion about humanity and sexuality, in which for various reasons we have been convinced especially from Victorian days onward that Ultimate Happiness is to be found in sexual union with one’s “soulmate” – the One and Only Person (for some Christians, that God has Selected for ME!) – we have sidelined and denigrated friendship, just as we have sidelined and denigrated celibacy. We are not human beings because we are able to have orgasms. Everyone is lonely at times, even in healthy, respectful relationships. We can and definitely should love and help one another in every way possible. And, no one human being or group of human beings can make us whole – only the Holy Trinity can, who of course often work through willing human beings. Paradox, again.

    7) Re hierarchy: I am so blessed to be in a parish where there are generally healthy relationships between people. I am especially in awe of the people in our parish (among them our Rector) who sacrifice time, money and their own personal space and goods to take care of some of the poor in our community; at least half of them are younger than I. I am glad I can bow down to them once a year on Forgiveness Sunday without it looking weird, because that’s how I feel about them all the time. They deserve honor. I love and honor our priests and their wives for who they are as people who have given their lives to serve God and their parish. The men wearing robes honor the people of the parish in relating to us without a shred of superciliousness or entitlement; it’s not about who has power. Our Bishop and Archbishop are the same. I know many non-Orthodox, Christians and not, men among them (!) who deserve more honor than I do. We all deserve honor and respect as human beings. That we are not all the same, especially in holiness, is simply reality, as is the hidden holiness of so many. All the more reason to respect everyone.


  18. grey clouds threaten snow
    but don’t deliver just yet
    unhurried by time

  19. Michael Bell says

    Not Bruce!!!

  20. senecagriggs says
    • Well, who doesn’t want to be thought attractive? The point is, is that (and homemaking) ALL that women should aspire to?

      • The point is, is that (and homemaking) ALL that women should aspire to?

        Well of course because that’s literally what they were Created to do and what God told them to do. Anything else is Sin.

  21. 1) So your telling me that the only good reason to support the repeal of net neutrality is that some big companies pinky swore not to take advantage of the new rules? Then why have hey spent over $80 million in the last year lobbying to repeal?
    2) To blame Weinstein etc.on the sexual revolution is absurd. What we need is not some kind of movement, but for dudes to keep it in their pants. Unfortunately, sexual habits, much like money habits, are more “caught” than “taught”.