Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Treatise: Third Wave Feminism's Irresponsibility Double-Standard

What follows are some excerpts of comments I made regarding sexism on a university post – since the things I said on there are examples of core beliefs I have, you can learn some things about me by reading them.

Here's the main idea. Third Wave Feminism wants women to be free to make their own decisions (great!) -- which normally might mean that they would be responsible for their own actions, correct? No, not according to the third wave feminist, who simultaneously will demand that a woman be utterly blameless--not responsible on any level whatsoever--for the consequences of her actions, or even her choice to perform those actions, irrespective of consequence! Here is a long analysis from me on this contradiction, followed by a response to a post by an angry 3WFeminist afterwards. The immediate context is a discussion about rape and 'victim-blaming.'
This post tackles sensitive subjects and uses frank vocabulary.


“It’s worth considering that there are a number of us who are not personally invested in the sense that we know people who are deeply affected by depraved sexual behavior, nor are we people who perpetrate such behavior. I am neither a woman at risk for sexual assault nor am I the sort of guy who would ever consider violating a woman in the ways that have been described here (and don't take that to mean that there are ways I would violate a woman--the English language isn't clear enough to avoid this vagueness). So as a conclusion, for me to consider this issue, it is certainly an academic exercise. It is entirely intellectual, seeing as for me to understand another person's perspective I cannot sympathize, but must empathize, trying to imagine what it's like to be in their position and doing all sorts of mental analysis to consider their statements, and my position, from multiple different angles to ensure that it all makes sense, both to me and to them. Don't take my lack of personal involvement to mean that I don't care. But take it to mean that I can't intimately emotionally understand your exact feelings as it relates to this topic.”

“[someone I’m commenting sarcastically in response to had made the claim quoted]: "The Vagina Monologues is about ending violence against women..".. By offering, as one of the monologues, a tale where a woman was sexually abused as a child, and then when 13 (later edits change it to 16, because that makes it okay I guess) had lesbian sexual relationships with an older woman, and used to promote the idea "if it was rape, it was good rape," until popular pressure caused that to be edited out as well? Because perversion like this is thrown in whenever an event is held to ostensibly help women, I can not, neither have I been, nor do I suspect I ever will be, able to in good conscience recommend attendance to any woman I happen to interact with. It's junk. And besides being junk, it's freaky weird abusive filth, like 50 Shades of Grey where the woman is beaten by a 'lover' who was abused as a child, and Twilight, where a teenage girl is stalked by a boyfriend who breaks her car to prevent her from meeting her friends.”

“I'm disturbed that several individuals on this thread have indicated that their primary, or singular, outrage is because the said twitter page includes posts that concern homosexuality (either as the motivation for posting, or the object which is posted about). The absence of a comparable outrage over the posts that are not derogatory re: homosexuals, or casting homosexuals in a bad light, implies that the posters(on this forum) do not see the other negative posts as being as bad as the ones they are showing outrage over. Or if they are not as bad, at least the omission indicates that the poster does not think it matters as much, for a different reason. This concerns me more than the crude comments in the first place. The crude comments reveal a lack of basic decency, but the selective outrage reveals a lack of concern for other people.”

“Is accusing someone of being gay for not seeking heterosexual sex necessarily anti-gay or is it actually anti-straight? More to the point, is it more insulting to gays or to straight people who choose abstinence? Being the latter, this is far more of an insult to straight people who hold to a moral standard of sexuality more strict than that of "most people," than it is an insult to someone who is homosexual. It implies that there is no legitimate reason to not want to have sex with someone except if you're gay. It objectifies men, declaring that so long as there's an attractive female in front of you, you're expected to want to have sex with her, and expected to actually follow through if given the opportunity. It's way more insensitive toward straight guys than gay guys.”

“It's been this way since middle school/high school. It never bothered me to be called "gay" or "faggot" because I either didn't fit the stereotypical sexual or physically aggressive behavior that some other guys expressed. What concerned me was the assumption that because you didn't highly prioritize 'getting laid' or because you didn't respond to jerks by threatening them physically, that this made you effeminate. It really doesn't. Not by necessity. What it can mean instead is simple: it means you're restrained. You're like a Vulcan. The Vulcans of Star Trek never show emotions--but it's not because they don't have emotions. Instead, they're a historically very emotionally impulsive and aggressive race, who learned over time to suppress displaying those emotions. It's like that with guys. I have the same basic desires, turn-ons, temptations etc as other guys. I've just learned to be restrained, and to rule my emotions, rather than letting my emotions rule over me. And I'll hazard a guess that this is the case for most other guys that have self-control, as well.”


“Second question for discussion: Yoga pants/leggings/underarmor/etc -- Tacky or acceptable attire? The person quoted in the video wants to excuse their ill behavior by saying "tight fitting clothing made me stare at butts," but the fact remains that since there are such people out there, dressing in a certain way does invite their negative reactions, no matter how unjustified. I think you can wear whatever you want, but you can't wear whatever you want and expect to be respected, if you're not respecting yourself by the clothes--rather, lack thereof--that you wear. Think about what the abovementioned fabrics do -- they fit tight to the skin, such that if you wear them without anything on top, you're essentially walking around in pantyhose. No one can see the color of your skin but that's the ONLY thing they can't see. Whoever dresses this way is essentially walking around naked.  I ask you -- is it appropriate to walk around naked in front of other people? Ignore the question of how other people react. That is a separate issue to whether you should be (un)dressed a certain way. Let's deal with the "it's comfortable" response. I retort, it's comfortable to go naked when it's warm outside. Is that what you'll be seeking to justify next? Just because something is comfortable does not make it acceptable to wear in front of other people. I'm a first-wave feminist. I believe women should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. What I don't agree with is second-wave feminism (that asserts that women should be treated unequally in the eyes of the law) and third-wave feminism (that asserts that women should be allowed to objectify themselves--and men--sexually, but that it's somehow wrong when men do it). I think that what is today called "feminism" is far from what the pro-women feminism of yesteryear was. What passes for feminism these days is a rush by women to degrade themselves so that there will be nothing left for men to degrade, as if this removes their "power over women." Naturally, irresponsible men love this and encourage it. "Sexual equality" is a ruse; it is not empowering to engage in sex without considering the consequences. It's not empowering to dress in ways that tempt males to contemplate your body sexually. It's what encourages the behavior that offends you so much. Can't you see that the whole movement of feminism is creating a culture where boys are taught that they have no responsibility to respect women's bodies, and they'll even be punished if they try to? What do you think happens as a result? Boys grow up taking what they can get from girls, knowing that they are free from responsibility, because feminism has, in its attempt to force a vision of equality, placed all responsibility on women, while simultaneously encouraging them to be utterly irresponsible. It's chaos. It's what results in the ludicrous scenario where girls try to dress as revealingly as possible but get upset when their attire provokes lustful thoughts and words from the boys around them. If you want to talk about a sexual double standard, this is it. You can't disrespect yourself and expect others to respect you. Note what I'm not saying: I'm not saying it's acceptable for people to disrespect you if you disrespect yourself. What I'm saying is that by not respecting yourself, you make it easier for disrespectful young men to be disrespectful of you as well. They can get away with it because you've undermined yourself and have no moral high ground on which to stand on to assert that their behavior is wrong. You are right that they are wrong--but people don't listen to hypocrites. 
Read carefully and you won't misunderstand what I'm saying here. Hopefully what I've written will make a few people inclined to respond with their thoughts.”

Someone responded, and I replied with this: “Briefly, my statements about the different waves of feminism are obviously my interpretations as they were relevant to the current topic of self-respect, and are by no means meant to be exhaustive definitions.  I tried to head off any misunderstanding of my words, but I think I'll have to try to explain myself again. Your quote in question is this one: 

"Telling a woman that it's her fault that men objectify her or harass her or whatever because of what she's wearing is a manifestation of victim blaming."

This is not what I was doing. Here's the relevant quote I made, and then I'll unpack it:  "You can't disrespect yourself and expect others to respect you. Note what I'm not saying: I'm not saying it's acceptable for people to disrespect you if you disrespect yourself. What I'm saying is that by not respecting yourself, you make it easier for disrespectful young men to be disrespectful of you as well. They can get away with it because you've undermined yourself and have no moral high ground on which to stand on to assert that their behavior is wrong. You are right that they are wrong--but people don't listen to hypocrites. " Here I specify that the woman is not responsible for the actions or thoughts of any man toward her.
Do I need to repeat that?

The woman is not responsible for the actions or thoughts of any man toward her.

It can therefore not be victim blaming. Because by definition, I am not blaming the woman for the behavior of the man.
What did I say, though? I said that the woman carries responsibility for herself (contrary to what 3WF promotes, as I mentioned earlier in that comment). She has responsibility for how she dresses and where she chooses to go. If you disagree, then you will find nothing wrong with a woman parading naked around a max-security all-male prison, and surely you will expect nothing to happen to her, and if it does, then she should not have been expected to know better, and none of it is a result of her actions. If, on the other hand, you find that this is clearly an unacceptable conclusion, then you must also acknowledge for the existence of caveats regarding your implied assertion that the woman is not responsible. And hence, I think you ought to agree that women have a responsibility to think about and make responsible decisions regarding what to wear and where to go.
You must interpret this in light of what I've already told you, i.e. that the woman is not responsible for the actions of the men around her. Otherwise you are not being charitable in entertaining my reasoning.


So if men's actions toward her are not her fault, what do I mean by saying that the woman bears responsibility for herself? I simply mean that any intelligent woman knows that despite the fact that men should not behave a certain way, there are men who do behave that way, and to ignore this fact of reality is not doing anything to promote female equality. To ignore it would be stupid, and it puts women at risk and in danger. If you dive headfirst into a pool and break your neck, it is not your "fault" that the water was shallow. But you made the wrong decision in failing to recognize that it was shallow and alter your behavior to protect yourself. I'm not comparing men's decisions with laws of nature, as if men don't have a choice. The comparison is of the fact of the existence of men who will make these decisions to the fact of the existence of the shallow water in the pool. You can't deny that these men are out there. Wishful thinking about how they SHOULD behave does nothing to change the reality. Acting according to what you think SHOULD be the case rather than acting according to what you know to be true reality is moronic. I hope this is more clear. Women don't bear the responsibility for men's lustful thoughts. They do bear responsibility for knowingly tempting those thoughts. Tempting a man who is in control of himself will not result in an incident. Tempting a man who gives in to temptation because he lacks self control will. And every woman should be aware that the second type of man is 'out there,' and should be wise enough to not provoke them unnecessarily. Being attractive is not something you can help. Being a woman is not something you can help. Wearing clothes that reveal your figure, to an extent, is not something you can help. Wearing skin-tight articles of clothing that show everyone exactly what you look like naked is something that you are eminently in control over, and have a responsibility to consider carefully before deciding to do.


‘I think focus needs to be shifted from women and what they're wearing to the men who think that women are inherently theirs to look at and objectify/deem "respectable" or not/etc.’

What I would like to propose is that the culture of 3WF has created these men. The solution to their existence, then, is not 3WF. It is the rejection of 3WF and a return to SENSIBLE agendas for the elevation of women's welfare that will produce the desired results. The sad problem is that 3WF's goals are inconsistent with the methods by which its followers seek to bring about those goals.  The focus should not be on the men who objectify women, nor the women who are objectified, but on the culture perpetuated by a movement that itself objectifies women and bizarrely believes that men ought somehow to remain unaffected by this.”

“For the sake of definitions, When I say the woman is not responsible for men's actions toward her, I use "responsible" to mean "at fault for." When I say the woman is responsible for how she dresses, I use "responsible" to mean "morally obligated to make correct choices in governing oneself." Hopefully this helps avoid any equivocation over the meaning of the word in this discussion.”


Please also see a related blog post made earlier in 2013 about "Feminism, Male Privilege, and Rape Culture," in which I tie the solution (of the ills that 3WF rails against and perpetuates) into the Gospel.

~ Rak Chazak 

The Canadian Rudyard Kipling

 A few lines toward the end of this song were introduced to me in a little book of quotes about nature, and it was identified as coming from an inscription on a rock somewhere on the mountain at the northern start of the Appalachian Trail, Mount Katahdin in Maine. I eventually came to discover in a night of googling that it came from a prolific "verse" writer, who was referred to as a Canadian Rudyard Kipling, with good reason. There's similarity both in their style, length and content, not to mention their influence on their branch of literature. As I read the poem below, I felt as if it could easily be a declaration of my own approach to the outdoors. Without further ado, here is

A Rolling Stone
There's sunshine in the heart of me,
My blood sings in the breeze;
The mountains are a part of me,
I'm fellow to the trees.
My golden youth I'm squandering,
Sun-libertine am I;
A-wandering, a-wandering,
Until the day I die.

I was once, I declare, a Stone-Age man,
And I roomed in the cool of a cave;
I have known, I will swear, in a new life-span,
The fret and the sweat of a slave:
For far over all that folks hold worth,
There lives and there leaps in me
A love of the lowly things of earth,
And a passion to be free.

To pitch my tent with no prosy plan,
To range and to change at will;
To mock at the mastership of man,
To seek Adventure's thrill.
Carefree to be, as a bird that sings;
To go my own sweet way;
To reck not at all what may befall,
But to live and to love each day.

To make my body a temple pure
Wherein I dwell serene;
To care for the things that shall endure,
The simple, sweet and clean.
To oust out envy and hate and rage,
To breathe with no alarm;
For Nature shall be my anchorage,
And none shall do me harm.

To shun all lures that debauch the soul,
The orgied rites of the rich;
To eat my crust as a rover must
With the rough-neck down in the ditch.
To trudge by his side whate'er betide;
To share his fire at night;
To call him friend to the long trail-end,
And to read his heart aright.

To scorn all strife, and to view all life
With the curious eyes of a child;
From the plangent sea to the prairie,
From the slum to the heart of the Wild.
From the red-rimmed star to the speck of sand,
From the vast to the greatly small;
For I know that the whole for good is planned,
And I want to see it all.

To see it all, the wide world-way,
From the fig-leaf belt to the Pole;
With never a one to say me nay,
And none to cramp my soul.
In belly-pinch I will pay the price,
But God! let me be free;
For once I know in the long ago,
They made a slave of me.

In a flannel shirt from earth's clean dirt,
Here, pal, is my calloused hand!
Oh, I love each day as a rover may,
Nor seek to understand.
To enjoy is good enough for me;
The gipsy of God am I;
Then here's a hail to each flaring dawn!
And here's a cheer to the night that's gone!
And may I go a-roaming on
Until the day I die!

Then every star shall sing to me
Its song of liberty;
And every morn shall bring to me
Its mandate to be free.
In every throbbing vein of me
I'll feel the vast Earth-call;
O body, heart and brain of me
Praise Him who made it all! 

~ Robert William Service

~ Rak Chazak

Why Arguing that Homosexuality is Bad Because of Its Societal Results is a Bad Argument

Why Theft is good for Society, by Ray Comfort (c. 2013, reproduced from his facebook)

Think of the many police officers that have a steady job because of thieves. If there were no thieves—no purse-snatchers, pick-pockets, bank robbers, burglars, cyber-crime, identity theft, Ponzi schemes, insider-trading, bribery, money laundering, credit card theft, muggings, fraud, white collar crime, etc., millions of law officers around the world would be out of a job. So would many judges, lawyers, prison officers, and those who build prisons and the architects that design the holding facilities for the millions of thieves.

Plus there’s the massive catering industry that supplies these millions with daily food, the prison uniform makers, the cleaners, the doctors and psychiatrists who attend to their every need. It is because of thieves that there are locksmiths, safe-makers, alarm systems, insurance agents, car alarms, and the huge security industry with their many security guards, crime reporters and the massive news media who daily feed off reporting theft. Even though theft is clearly bad for any society, there could be an argument put forward by some that it is beneficial.

So it may not be wise, if I wanted to speak against theft, to say that theft is bad for society. Instead, as a Christian, I would simply say that theft is morally wrong because God says it’s wrong. Case closed. This is what God’s Word says about the subject:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Similarly, I would be unwise to say that homosexuality is bad for society. This is because if it can be shown that homosexuals make good pilots, good movie producers, doctors, dentists, and good parents, they win the argument. Case closed. It wouldn’t make sense to use the same line of reasoning regarding abortion. The killing of the unborn employs a multitude of doctors and nurses, who would adamantly argue that their industry certainly benefits society by not bringing unwanted children into the world. Rather, we speak against abortion because the Bible tells us that murder is morally wrong no matter how much money it returns, or who benefits by it.

But the real tragedy is that the dispute about the detrimental effects of homosexuality makes the cross of Jesus Christ irrelevant. If homosexuality isn’t seen to be a sin, then homosexuals won’t see their need of a Savior. On top of that, the argument makes Christians seem like a hate-group, because they don’t want homosexuals to have equal rights. If we say that homosexuality is wrong, we should do so because we want homosexuals to enter the kingdom of God. We care about them as people and where they spend eternity. We should also care about fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners.

Each of these groups is in terrible danger, and they are not aware of it because they are not hearing the truth in love from the Church. But if we don’t warn them, (as prominent atheist, Penn Jillette, once said) we are truly being hateful. And if we are hated for the truth, our consolation is that we are not giving an opinion. We are simply stating what the Scriptures say, and therefore anyone who disagrees has a disagreement with the Word of God, and not with the Church. We stand behind the biggest coat-tails in the universe.

all creative credit to Mr. Comfort. Link below, if I find it when I do a cursory Google search:

~ Rak Chazak

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Topical Bible Study: Elihu

Bright Ideas Need Polish to Make Them Shine

                Elihu is the seventh character in the book of Job to have a speaking role. He speaks after Job’s friends have had their alternating tit-for-tat with Job, and he speaks in one long polemic. Without any transition of response or recognition that he had spoken, God turns immediately to Job and Elihu is neither heard from nor spoken of again in the rest of the book. Elihu was probably not perfectly accurate in what he believed was happening to Job, but unlike Job’s three friends, he does not seem to become guilty of attributing things falsely to God, because God only describes Job’s three friends as having spoken falsely of Him, and tells Job to make an offering for them only, not Elihu. This is conspicuous and intriguing to me. What was special about Elihu? I am especially interested in him, because of how much he strikes me as a kindred spirit.
                He’s a:
-young man
-who is very opinionated
-who is not afraid to challenge his elders or the opinion of earthly authority figures
-who has a burning zeal for the Lord that makes him unable to keep quiet when he sees an urgent need for someone to be corrected and God to be glorified by his speaking the truth about Him

Here’s how the introduction to Elihu’s address reads:

So Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said:
“I am young in years, and you are very old;
Therefore I was afraid,
And dared not declare my opinion to you.
I said, ‘Age should speak,
And multitude of years should teach wisdom.’
But there is a spirit in man,
And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.
Great men are not always wise,
Nor do the aged always understand justice.

Haha! Tell me if that isn’t a life verse! How often have I thought that, since I was 14.
He continues:
17b I too will declare my opinion.
18 For I am full of words;
The spirit within me compels me.
19 Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent;
It is ready to burst like new wineskins.
20 I will speak, that I may find relief;
I must open my lips and answer.
21 Let me not, I pray, show partiality to anyone;
Nor let me flatter any man.
22 For I do not know how to flatter,
Else my Maker would soon take me away.

                Without going into the whole scope of Elihu’s ((diatribe)) against Job, let me give my layman’s analysis. Elihu’s speech is characteristically different from Job’s three friends in one key aspect: he doesn’t claim that God is punishing Job for any specific sin. Elihu contrariwise claims that God is just in doing what He wants with Job because Job is a sinner, and that Job in claiming to be guiltless is wrong. Elihu seems to think that Job has committed sin that no one else may necessarily know about, and that any one of these are just cause for God to punish Job. But where Elihu did not make the same misstep as Job’s friends was that he did not claim that Job’s present calamity was the direct consequence of any sin of Job’s—we readers know that the cause of the calamity was Satan (nevertheless under restraint by God)—only that any calamity God could possibly wish on Job was justifiable by the fact that Job was not a perfect man.

                God’s response seems to bear this out. Job is described as a righteous man by God, the ultimate author of the book. But we know from elsewhere in the Bible that being righteous does not mean being sinless (see a previous Topical Bible Study), and can suggest that because Elihu was not criticized in the final write-up, it appears that he at least did not say anything that God thought necessary to counter, whether or not he was actually totally accurate, which he probably wasn’t. After all, he seemed to agree with the other men that Job was not as righteous as he thought he was—but God’s treatment of Job implies that Job was indeed more righteous in His eyes than the other four men anticipated.

Intermission, to post quotes buttressing my above statements:

Job 32:1-3 So these men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him.

Job 33:8-9 But you have said in my hearing—I heard the very words—“I am pure, I have done no wrong; I am clean and free from sin. Yet God has found fault with me; He considers me His enemy.”

Job 33:13-14,16b-18 Why do you complain to Him that He responds to no one’s words? For God does speak—now one way, now another—…to terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.

Job 33:27-30 And they will go to others and say, ‘I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved. God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’ God does all these things to a person—twice, even three times—to turn them back from the pit, that the light of life may shine on them.

[Elihu above proposes that God uses calamity as a way to wake people up and show them that they depend on Him, so that they will be drawn to Him and be saved. This is indeed one way in which God uses physical evils like what Job experienced—to bring people closer to Him or to teach them something important]

Job 34:31-33a Suppose someone says to God, “I am guilty but will offend no more. Teach me what I cannot see: if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.” Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent?

Job 42:7 After the Lord had said these things to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” (repeated in verse 8c)

emphases mine.

                What shall we say then of Elihu? He may not have been totally right in his evaluation of Job, but he was keenly insightful in a few important ways, and if his contribution was not allowed for whatever reason, we’d be worse off for it. An encouraging interpretation of this book shows that there is real value in letting young people speak—to speak in the presence of, and in challenge to, elders. Simultaneously it does imply that the young should wait their turn and seek an opportune moment for when to say their piece. If Elihu’s approach is a model, it would suggest that prefacing a criticism of one’s elders with some clarifying words can help you be better heard and avoid giving the wrong impression. Elihu himself foreshadowed the words of Jesus in Luke 13:1-5 that bad things don’t always happen to people as punishment, sometimes it’s random, or at least for reasons God has that you don’t understand. He also foreshadowed the discussion by Paul in Romans 9 that God as the creator has the prerogative to do what he wants with His creation—who are you, oh man, to question the Almighty? He was, one could say, “wise beyond his years.” 2,000 years or more, even. ;)

                What I learn from Elihu is that it’s not wrong to feel anxious to correct one’s elders or authority figures when you think they are in error. You may very well have something valuable to contribute and keeping it to yourself could sell everyone short. HOWEVER, I also learn—or affirm, in my case—the value of timing and of being sensitive to the right moment at which to speak, as well as the benefit of taking time to preface your hard statements so that your youthful directness will be less likely to offend people to the point of not wanting to listen. I learn that while you may very well be closer to truth than those you are speaking to, you ought to be cognizant of the fact that there are things in God’s reality that evade your understanding, and so you should be wary of concluding that your theological views constitute the final word on an issue. You are young, after all, and will only become wiser the longer you keep thinking about these things, as long as glorifying God is your main object. These are the lessons I learn from the example of Elihu.

                Elihu as a Biblical plot device demonstrates a nascent understanding of things like the sin nature, God’s sovereignty, the preeminent importance of God’s glory above any other thing, and a challenge to the “karma” view of good and evil happening like a formula to those who do good and evil, thousands of years before the canonization of the Bible and its much more highly developed theological treatises on those subjects. It shows that Christian beliefs about God are not recent arrivals on the world stage, but that God’s truth has been understood, sometimes more thoroughly and sometimes less so, throughout human history, from the very beginning to the present day.

Encouragement and caution. This is the message I retain from reading and meditating on the words of a young man “full of words,” like myself.

~ Rak Chazak

Monday, February 17, 2014

Journal Entry: Job and the Bible

Friday, January 11, 2013 Journal Entry on Job

                To my understanding, the reason God eventually rebukes Job toward the end of the book is because Job demanded to hear God’s explanation for why He did/allowed these things to happen to him. The summary of God’s answer is basically that no, he didn’t deserve to know the answer – God is not accountable to any man. He doesn’t have to tell us anything. It might be an unsatisfying answer for us when we’re in a state of confusion as was Job, but it’s not an unfair answer. It’s true, God is not obligated to do anything for us that He hasn’t already promised us. And the only way we can know if He’s promised us something is if it’s in His word. That’s why I found this interesting:

Job 31:35-37
Oh, that the Almighty would answer me,
That my Prosecutor had written a book!
36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder,
And bind it on me like a crown;
37 I would declare to Him the number of my steps;
Like a prince I would approach Him.

                There’s some dramatic irony in this. Allow me to combine two verses to make my point. In the New Testament, we find out that “In Christ we are free to boldly approach the throne of God, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 4:16). See how this is foreshadowed in verse 37b? And this passage jumped out at me because of v. 35b, which is further dramatic irony: Job lived at a time when no other books of the Bible had been written (although there may have been source material present, but who knows if Job would have had access to it?), shortly after Babel. Job had no Bible to tell him about God. He would have had, perhaps, the preaching of Noah and Shem and so forth, who likely were alive at the time, but his knowledge of God a la progressive revelation would not have been as complete as the canon of Scripture is today, with 66 books and 700,000+ words of theological wisdom. In other words, Job’s faith was a lot more ‘basic’ than ours, in that a lot of his religiosity, assuming there was no direct revelation given to him, would have had to have been developed through his own personal philosophy.

                I believe it’s possible to come to the right conclusions about who God is and how we should behave given just nature and conscience, and very careful and thorough theological philosophizing. But few take the time, and if we do, have the wrong assumptions or make errors in our reasoning. The fact that Job describes, in verse 1 of the same chapter, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” a self-realization of his sin that very nearly describes Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 2,000 years later, that reveals that sin lies not in just doing the wrong thing, but in thinking the wrong thing (Jesus revealed—or emphasized, shall I say, in light of this?—that sin was a condition of the heart, and that evil actions are the result of evil desires), is a hugely impressive thing to me. I’m not glorifying myself, here, but I recognize a parallel in what I concluded when I first read the expansion of “thou shalt not commit adultery,” in the Pentateuch, in the back pews of the First Baptist Church of [redacted] when I was in middle school. I concluded that adultery meant “sex with anyone who’s not your wife,” and from that basis, concluded that sex with one’s girlfriend is also wrong, as is homosexuality and all other sorts. I also realized that oral sex was still sex, despite no over-the-top-obvious passage in the Bible specifying that. It was kinda self-evident. But why should it be? My theory is this—saved or not, I believe the Holy Spirit illuminated the passages to me. I think that the reason Job had so many accurate ideas about God and sin was because (no surprise there)—he really was saved, and that the Holy Spirit was influencing his mind so that he would naturally come to the right conclusion, absent a direct revelation from God. See, God takes care of His children. He gives them what they need.

                Also note how emphatically Job expresses that he would cherish such a revelation from God. We should reflect on his experience by not taking our access to God’s written Word for granted, and “carry it on our shoulders, and bind it like a crown to our heads.” Let the Bible always be with us, and personal study of the Scriptures always be before us. We have a tremendous gift and not one to esteem lightly. Have you rejoiced recently over the answers God’s given you? We have a lot to be thankful for: we can know God! It’s amazing and it makes me far less willing to put my Bible down. When you love someone, you don’t want to be away from them—you want to be as near to them as possible. That is what meditating on God’s Word can does for us. Let Job’s strong yearning for the Bible you have be a motivation to you to cherish it and read it so you can “boldly approach the throne of God.”  

~ Rak Chazak

John MacArthur on Slavery

I've been going through my typed Journal from last year and found some tidbits worth sharing on the blog. Today and tomorrow, I'll be doing a posting-blitz to get all of the content up quickly. The blog has had little new content in a while. Some of these posts will be insightful thoughts from others that have influenced me. For example:


John MacArthur on slavery:

“Although slavery is not uniformly condemned in either the Old or New Testaments, the sincere application of New Testament truths has repeatedly led to the elimination of its abusive tendencies. Where Christ’s love is lived in the power of His Spirit, unjust barriers and relationships are inevitably broken down. As the Roman empire disintegrated and eventually collapsed, the brutal, abused system of slavery collapsed with it—due in great measure to the influence of Christianity. ... New Testament teaching does not focus on reforming and re structuring human systems, which are never the root cause of human problems. The issue is always the heart of man—which when wicked will corrupt the best of systems and when righteous will improve the worst. If men’s sinful hearts are not changed, they will find ways to oppress others regardless of whether or not there is actual slavery.”

Further (very in-depth) reading: 

~ Rak Chazak

The Four Doctors: A Parable of Evangelical Churches

I mentioned the parable of the Four Doctors in a previous post. Here is Todd Friel introducing the parable and then demonstrating the ways in which the four different approaches to evangelism play out when actually introduced to normal people at a bus stop.

The immediate context of the film clip is a parodical parallel of a video made by Rob Bell, a model of one of the Four Doctors. Can you figure out which one?

~ Rak Chazak

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

General Disinterest in Valentine's Day

A lot of criticism about this holiday can be generated and focus on a long list of different aspects. But I'm going to stick to my theme of criticism for the "Christmas" holiday and others like it, where the expectation is that people ought to give gifts to each other, and where the gifts are always implicitly material in nature, and criticize the very underlying premise of Valentine's Day.

"Giving items to one another is a thing that can be done year round, and is more joyous when done spontaneously, not as a requirement. When a special occasion comes around that offers reflection on the past and the future, I think memories are the important thing to create."

Here's the problem with the expectation of getting a gift. If you don't do something, it causes resentment. This is wrong. It's not what generosity and gifts is about! A person getting a gift is grateful and pleased with the giver. But if they're expecting to be given something, then the gift is no longer a gift, it's a payment--a debt owed to the person getting the "gift." This is why a person would get angry if they don't get a gift--they're experiencing the same emotion as they would if the giver was in their debt, and defaulted on their loan--if they made a late payment.

This is not what holidays should be about, or foster!

This is why I am so strongly against the idea that a specific day of the year should be set aside to give gifts to your family, or to be especially romantic with your significant other. Do we not love them on all the days of the year? Can we not be romantic all the time; is it really so much effort to be a generous lover? On some level, this concept applies to birthdays also. I'm a much bigger fan of using special dates as opportunities for reflection, or of making memories by doing something together (which can still be a sort of gift, I realize--there's nothing wrong with that), and of giving gifts spontaneously throughout the year, catching your loved ones by surprise and making them grateful, instead of resentful that you didn't give them what they expected, when they were expecting it.

A person who gets material objects of desire on certain days each year develops an expectant desire for them, and experiences bitterness when they don't get them. But if on your children's birthdays each year, you take them on an exciting adventure to a park or nature preserve they haven't been before, to explore God's creation and spend time together, even if this counts as a gift, think, what will they look forward to on those special days in years to come? Spending time with family and grasping the bigger picture of what makes another year of life so special: the fact that we are stewards of God's creation and He has blessed us with the double gifts of getting to enjoy His world, as well as being saved through His mercy via the Cross, for the enjoyment of a more perfect world for eternity to come. It makes a huge difference!

I refuse to participate in Valentine's Day. This is an easy thing to say for a guy who's never had occasion to spend money on a sweetheart, but having the time to think about it has led me to realize that it's not such an auspicious time of year after all. Romance is something you create on your own, and if you need help, you may be in trouble. And those who depend on cultural expectations to get things they desire may have their priorities wrong--desiring the 'gifts' more than the gift-giver. When you think about it, V Day and how you approach it is a perfect parallel to how you approach God and the Gospel. Do you desire Him, or do you just want a sugar daddy God who will give you things? It's very closely connected, on a spiritual level.

I therefore choose to not participate in expected gift exchanges or purchases of teddy bears, chocolate or flowers on Valentine's Day, because of what it symbolically demonstrates about the Gospel.

This is a preferential decision I've made, based on dogma I hold to. I wouldn't dogmatically require others to follow along with my preference. I plan to talk about this in an upcoming post.

After reading this, are you more or less inclined to participate in the cultural expectations surrounding February 14th?

~ Rak Chazak

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Anatomy Lesson: Major TMI Warning

This is the warning symbol for explicit details that may bother some people. Turn away now unless your curiosity is stronger than your stomach.

I learned something new about sexual anatomy that changes a few things. The content of this post will touch on a body part connected to people's expectations of intercourse, particularly when it concerns virginity.

Now that I've given enough advance warning, let's delve into it. When you get past the typical High School level Sex Ed, chances are you find out some further details on your own, and in this investigation might learn that 'penis' and 'vagina' are a bit simplistic, there's more going on down there. You might learn about something called the hymen, which the prevailing popular wisdom tends to say is skin that stretches across the walls of the vagina and is broken during first intercourse, resulting in the ubiquitous bleeding that is popularly associated with a woman 'losing her virginity.' I recall that in middle school, the 'vulgar tongue' referred to it as "popping the cherry." Different sources would give you different facts regarding how much blood was expected.

What I found in almost every instance of its description, be it in books, online articles or in casual (very casual) conversation, was that the hymen is supposedly a taut membrane of skin that completely occupies the space somewhere in the vagina, and rips off the vaginal wall, or at least rips straight through the middle, when it is penetrated, either by a penis or a tampon. It never grows back. 
This is wrong. Apparently there is a wide misconception about it, but this is anecdotal and I suppose my own experience isn't extensive enough to make this declaration objectively. Nevertheless, because of this misconception, it appears that the "popular wisdom," again, in terms of advice given to males who are having intercourse with a virgin, is to be quick, making sure to break through fast so that the pain doesn't drag out. Much like the notion that ripping off a bandaid quickly hurts less than pulling it off slowly.
Terrible advice, it turns out. In reality, the hymen is not a "single use tissue," but does in fact grow back. That's because it, like the labia majorae/minorae, is not something that just gets in the way and makes female anatomy confusing, it's a functional anatomical feature that, to my best understanding, helps keep the vagina sanitary by limiting dirt and debris or infectious agents from getting inside.
I wanted an image of filters arranged in a row. The concept is that a little less gets through each step.
And how does this happen? That's because it isn't completely closed off. You may encounter descriptions that say that it has holes in it. Whatever does this mean? Now it makes sense to me. Because it isn't a taut membrane but a sort of valve, and not an obstacle to tampons, fingers, penises etc, it has the ability to open and close depending on the frequency of sexual activity. Think of it more like one of those circular gates, like a lens cover on some cameras, [edit: a SHUTTER] and which you can see in the opening scene to James Bond movies:
It can open and close. And it does open, and stay that way with sustained intercourse over some time. So the prevailing opinion that guys should thrust real quick because it has to hurt, so get it over with, is misguided and hurts women. The reality is that it's better to go slowly. It doesn't have to be painful. And over a little time it will get to a point where it won't be an obstacle anymore. Patience is romantic, guys. 

I understand the idea of waiting doesn't make much sense if the cultural expectation is that you might only be having sex with a girl one time. But then, the whole idea of having sex with someone and being sexually intimate without being emotionally and intellectually intimate, and having a commitment that creates a basis for the physical ecstasy to be much more enjoyable and satisfying, doesn't make much sense, either.

This concludes the anatomy lesson. Let's hope it helps at least one couple, somewhere.

~ Rak Chazak

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Text Epiphany: Recent Thought On Prayer

I have a habit of writing stuff in texts to my friends that turn out to be pretty profound on second reading.

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .”
"It is interesting to remark how large a portion of Sacred Writ is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord;” and just as we are about to close the volume, the “Amen” of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob—there a Daniel who prayedthree times a day—and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elias; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises. What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in his Word, he intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If he has said much about prayer, it is because he knows we have much need of it. So deep are our necessities, that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Dost thou want nothing? Then, I fear thou dost not know thy poverty. Hast thou no mercy to ask of God? Then, may the Lord’s mercy show thee thy misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face, and live in thy Father’s love."
~ C H Spurgeon
And mine:
I have a personal belief now, after many long nights of prayer, that there is no mystical way in which prayer benefits the Christian in spiritual growth. But I think I can finally understand how Spurgeon could make such a big deal out of it. Since God doesn't audibly talk back to us, the nature of a prayer conversation will begin with thankfulness and supplication, and progress to drawing on memorized Scripture passages (i.e. "meditating on the word") to "talk it out" with God, explaining your reasoning process and in that process coming to discoveries that refine your conduct of speech: you realize that how you were asking could have been wrong/fully motivated, so you alter your requests and acknowledge that He knows best and maybe you oughtn't get what you ask for. You "happenstance" come across new or more profound Theological truths than you had in mind before, simply by thinking about the truths you know. This lets you grow in spiritual wisdom. I think the strength of an active prayer life is an active thought life.

~ Rak Chazak

Spontaneous Thoughts From the Ham Versus Nye Showdown Throwdown

In Ken's intro, he noted the subliminal contrast of 'scientists' vs 'creationists,' as if they are mutually exclusive. This is a branding effort by secularists to try to exclude creationist views from consideration by definition, but the words are misleading.

In Bill Nye's intro: ... well at least Nye bit the bait, so Ken will get to drive home his point and not be distracted from it. 

"innovation" -- oh now he's making that argument again. ignoring Ken's point that creationism isn't exclusive to 'science'

Ken's longer presentation: 

how do you, Nye, account for laws of nature and logic

difference between what you observe and what you interpret about the past. coconino-burgess boundary as an example

Nye, can you name tech that could only be developed with belief in molecules-to-man evolution?

Ken uses a classical Scientific Method approach, with the idea of disproving hypotheses

main points
'after their kind' --
the word "evolution" has been hijacked too, via 'baitand-switch' to mean both small changes and common descent from a primordial lifeform. You're "baited" with the first example, and then "switched" to the second use of the term, which is a different phenomenon altogether

killer jugular--evolution is teaching religion (naturalism) in schools
jugular 2: evolution justified racism in biology textbooks

connects belief to show it's Biblically supported and that Genesis is "foundational to all Christian doctrine"

the battle is really about authority, is it man or God? truth...---> morals

included Gospel


he assumed the limestone had to be formed aftr the Flood. He'f failing to understand the catastrophe angle

Bill Nye claimed that a layer of snow and ice had to form in Ant/Arctic ice cores at the rate of one per year. My idea: just 170 day night cycles of windblown snow. The idea is that the oxygen isotope ratios are different in each layer. Surely they can be different from day to day, why not?

evolutionists use the "fossils rarely form" excuse to justify lack of transitional forms, even! (land bridge) Nye had asked where the fossils were of the animals that migrated to Australia from the middle east.

he's not getting the "kind" thing.... he's equivocating with species again

lake Missoula and sex are arguments for Creation...he doesn't seem to get that.

and many arguments from incredulity

distant starlight tripe


horizon problem.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Live-Blogging the Ken Ham v Bill Nye Debate

Live-blogging is something people with more widely read blogs do, I think, but I figure it would be a reasonable restart to posting, after almost a month's absence, to simply talk about what's going on at that very moment. Calling it 'live blogging' is just a fun joke for me. 

I'm watching the debate live at Sitting at Chick-Fil-A, after work, how very fitting :)

One of my next posts will contain a summary of my thoughts while watching, and might potentially resemble notes more so than a fully prepared entry.

~ Rak Chazak