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This October my friends and I created yet another Pigfest.  It was a short two hours attended by about two dozen debaters.  There were four new Pigfesters.  A few children showed up and were passed around and played with.  The weather was fine.  My living room was packed, and the kitchen hosted an autumn afternoon feast of snack food.

Topics:

Pain and difficulty are the best ways to learn. The term learning applies to any lesson you need to learn.  You can learn bad as well as good things through pain.  But you can learn bad things in other ways, too, so the method is neutral.  “Best” in the proposition implies good.  But do we really mean most effective?  Or are we talking about the most moral way, or the most compassionate way, to learn?  Difficulty makes a student a part of the experience.  It is what makes you feel immersed in the situation.  Jesus learned obedience through suffering.  Failure, a frequent side effect of difficulty, is a memorable teacher.  It’s personal.  Perhaps pain and difficulty are good ways to learn some things, but not all things.  Does it make a difference if the pain is voluntary or inflicted from the outside?  Does the student want to learn?  An example was given where hearing and understanding are sometimes more effective than fighting through difficulty.  Different personalities learn in different ways.  Will we, if we grant this proposition, discount people who didn’t go through as much?  Should we seek out pain and difficulty?  It is wise to learn from others’ mistakes, from their pain and difficulty.  To what extremes should we seek out pain and difficulty?  Should we pick a wife who is opposite of what we think would be “compatible”?  Look at who Jesus picked for His wife.  They who are forgiven most love the most.  But we are taught in the Bible to not intentionally choose the wrong thing.  People can make mistakes without wicked intent.  Lessons are ineffective if the student is unwilling.  Where did you learn your best lessons?  Learning the clutch on a manual car is difficult.

Use of medical drugs ought to be discouraged because they treat effects while hiding causes of pain and illness and issues and are equal to the sorcery spoken against in the Bible. Is there a difference between pain medications, antibiotics, and anti-depressants for the purpose of this resolution?  Pain meds ought to be discouraged as instant solutions, as the first response.  How do we find out what’s really wrong if we suppress all the symptoms?  Medications are the result of lots of study.  Pills also enable reckless lifestyles.  By substituting for immunity, they weaken the body’s natural immune system.  But should people be required to use natural functions to their potential, without aid, like the ability to walk across the state?  If we were to grant competition and survival of the fittest, we are unnaturally increasing the survival chances of those who are not genetically and biologically as fit as others.  Pain medications are compassionate.  Side effects of some drugs are worse than what they are treating.  Some medications thwart your body’s own recovery system and make you worse in the long run.  When we use medications, we are not dependent on God.  What about sorcery?  Is it possible that sorcery is associated with pharmacy because sorcerers borrowed some legitimate techniques from doctors?  Was the herb itself wrong, or the context?  What about mind-altering drugs like LSD?  Do they open you up to the occult?  If you know the cause, are pain medications ok?  Like in childbirth?  (Isn’t pain in childbirth part of the curse?  Is it wrong to try to get around it?)  Antibiotics actually treat causes.  Relieving pain and curing diseases is trying to be most like nature before the Fall.  Is there a difference, for this resolution, between natural medications and synthetic ones?  Back to witches.  Maybe the word was translated sorcery instead of doctor for a good reason.  Are mind-altering drugs always bad?  They are bad to the point that they put you outside of your own mind.

There are legitimate reasons for polygamy, benefits from its practice, and it is acceptable in God’s sight. According to the prophet in the Bible, David’s wives, aside from Bathsheba, were gifts from God.  In history, especially biblical history, we see problems associated with many wives, some of which are peculiarly the result of polygamy.  There are blessings also, such as the ability to have lots of kids; delegating responsibilities.  What about the concept of two becoming one?  Isn’t that how God created marriage?  Yet God never condemned polygamy.  The New Testament requirement for elders is that they be the husband of one woman.  If we as Christians are to submit to the government, here in the USA polygamy is wrong.  1 Corinthians 7 teaches that each should have their own wife or husband, and that they possess each other’s bodies.  It was not a sin under the Old Testament.  Does it have benefits to the women, or just to the men?  What is a reason to practice polygamy?  Marriage was often culturally the only means of provision and protection for women.  Polygamy extends this to women who would otherwise have been single.  Women in some cultures derive their worth from bearing children, and the only moral way to do that is in a marriage.  War decimates the male population, leaving an imbalance corrected by one man marrying more than one woman.  You can take care of a woman without marrying her.  Fathers can care for single women.  It is impossible for there to be that oneness that marriage is supposed to create between a man and his multiple wives.  Marriage is a picture of how God wants the relationship to be with His Church.

Lack of submission by Christian wives is a major reason for the degeneration of Church in the West. We are not talking about Feminism as the movement, but about the specific point of wives not submitting (to their husbands).  What is the evidence that wives are unsubmissive?  The pervasiveness of jokes about women submitting is a cultural recognition that something is not right.  Has Christianity degenerated?  Evidence of famous pastors falling into sin.  Lack of submission comes from lack of respect (of wives for husbands).  But there is also lack of leadership from men.  There has been a drastic stepping down of men in their homes BASED ON the disrespectful reaction of their wives.  The blame is not solely on either, but it is a cycle.  How can this phenomenon be blamed for the degradation of the Church?  What does it do to the Church?  Marriage is an example of how the Church should respond to Christ.  Disobedience to God’s command (in this case, for wives to submit) makes us ineffective Christians.  Disrespect is not a license for men to be sinful.  Unsubmissiveness discourages leadership.  Women are not edifying men.  Promise Keepers encourages groveling instead of strong leadership.  Manhood and Womanhood should be exercised in the context of real life instead of just demonstrating manliness off hunting or femininity at a scrapbooking retreat.  Is the issue not submitting, or usurping authority, taking on the leadership that belongs to men?  Look at Deborah.  She became the leader in the army, but it was specifically described as a shame to the men for being unwilling to take the lead themselves.  Wives not submitting has an effect on children, who are left confused about authority.  God is not our servant to be bossed around by us; we submit to Him, as the Church.  Noted that one of the first reactions in discussion was to compare or shift blame.  Such avoidance is sinful.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I called this edition Pigfest on the Roof, and nominally themed it off of Fiddler on the Roof, inviting people to bring a traditional side dish or dessert for the feast.  But we did not meet on the roof.  Instead, we crammed 21 adults and 7 children into my living room, kitchen, and hallway.  I thought about taking pictures this time, but I am simply not that organized!

In the 3 hours we met, the Pigfesters engaged in seven separate debates.  Everyone behaved very well, which made moderating rather easier.  The topics were interesting and well-engaged.

  1. Because the government is anti-God and immoral, it would be immoral to pay taxes. Jesus said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.  But what is Caesar’s?  To how much was Caesar entitled?  When the sitting executive’s face is not on our coin, as it was in Jesus’ day, is it still to be rendered to him?  Does our personal judgment determine the justice of a tax?  Is the income tax even legal?  Is it rather unconstitutional?  But the resolution was giving moral reasons for refusing to pay taxes, not legal ones.  Must Christians submit to immoral governments?  Is doing something morally wrong in the name of submission ok?  In the Bible, children were wiped out with their fathers for the sin of the father, but we see no mention of justification because they were just doing what their fathers instructed.  Do the layers of responsibility in the government protect us from culpability?  That is, by paying taxes, are we not simply enabling the government to make good choices?  That they make bad choices is a potential consequence of our trust.  But, we are in a democracy where we the people choose our government.  Some of our taxes do go to moral things, like roads.  It was suggested that we look at the federal budget and deduct from our income tax a corresponding percentage to that which the government spends on immoral activities, and to enclose a letter of explanation.  There is a doctrine of Lesser Magistrates, which discusses the conflict between obeying contradicting authorities or whether citizens are required to submit to authorities not established by the higher authority (in this case, the US Constitution).  Jesus paid his taxes (the story of the coin in the fish).
  2. Men have no biblical responsibilities towards their families. Paul had to have been married, so it is possible he abandoned his wife for the call of God.  (This was highly debated.)  If a man does not provide for his own family, he is worse than an infidel – the Bible.  A husband is to love his wife as himself, which often includes caring for her needs.  At this point, the contributor of the resolution conceded that the Bible did have some responsibilities listed for men towards their families, so the debate shifted to what they are:  What is the definition of men?  It includes fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers.  Brothers were commanded in the Mosaic Law to take their sister-in-laws as wife if they were barren widows (law of the kinsman-redeemer).  Lot is an example of a man whom we do not, in our culture, consider to have been a good father.  He offered his daughters to the lustful crowd – and what’s up with that?  But, was he a jerk, or was he righteous?  Scripture is often addressed to fathers, which seems to be significant.  Some of the sons of Jacob slaughtered a city to avenge their sister’s rape.  Is that a responsibility?  God is presented as a Father.  Are we not to imitate Him?  Does God have any obligations to His children?  Obligations (and by implication, responsibilities) have to do with consequences.  When God takes an action, he is responsible for the consequences, and thus obligated to abide those consequences…  Likewise, a man is obligated to deal with the child he has if his wife conceives.  God’s fatherhood is often demonstrated in punishment.  But He is also merciful.  Are fathers, therefore, required to imitate God’s grace as well as His chastising?  Whence comes the impulse to provide and protect?  If not from the Bible, and if not from the character of God, then where?
  3. America has gotten worse since the Women’s Liberation movement. Worse was described as moral deterioration: divorce, abortion, crime.  And the women’s liberation movement was specified as that movement that rose in the 60’s and focused on equal opportunity, women leaving the home for the workplace, and sexual liberation.  Perhaps it is not the actual liberating of women that caused the moral decline, but the attitude women took.  Are we talking about a cause of moral decline, or is the women’s liberation movement yet another symptom of a larger rebellion.  It was a rebellion against God.  “We hate men” was not the origin of the movement, but rather, World War II empowered women when men were unable to work the factories and women left the home to take up those responsibilities.  Or perhaps women’s lib. started with suffrage.  Are not all created equal, even male and female?  Does that not apply to roles?  The real wickedness of the feminist mindset is not, “We hate men,” but “We hate God.”  For they are rebelling against God’s created order.  Perhaps women, though, were not the instigators.  Maybe men abusing their authority, really oppressing them (for example, physical violence) caused women to assert themselves.  What does this subject matter today?  Abortion is going on today, and is horribly unjust to fathers.  They have no legal right to stay the murder of their own child.  A result of the women’s liberation movement is that men were not allowed to be men, and so have abdicated their roles.  But shouldn’t men have stood up against the women’s liberation movement and defended the God-given order?  Those who did were slandered.  Really, emasculation is a result of the Fall and the Curse, when God told Eve that her desire would be for her husband, it is the terminology of desiring to be “over” her husband, just like sin “got the better of” Cain.  Women today do appreciate their liberties, without wicked motives, and make good use of them (women doing missions without their families).  The Christian worldview has been proclaimed as the kindest to women.  Are we kind to women to fight for equality in the area of sexual promiscuity?  Should we not have fought for equality the other way, of neither men’s nor women’s promiscuity being acceptable?  Even though we may disagree with the movement, we can use the women’s liberties today for good: a woman who doesn’t believe women should have the vote can choose to submit her vote to her husband’s views.  The movement is continuing even today, but is evolving, and so is not necessarily from the same motives as the feminists had in the 60’s.
  4. Sharing is unnecessary and not biblically supported. Sharing is defined as co-ownership, especially as opposed to lending.  The distinction between (and comparative value of) giving and sharing was a theme throughout the debate.  Are we saying that taking turns is unnecessary?  When a child’s friend comes over to play, what is the host child to do?  Should he keep his toys to himself?  Or – perhaps he should truly give the toy, not expecting it back.  Sharing is looking out for other’s interests, putting others ahead of yourself.  [Ownership] rights are unbiblical.  We put so much emphasis on our rights, but God calls us to give up our rights.  Christians are told to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Is there a difference morally between offering to share with someone else, and requesting that someone else share with you?  Sharing may be unnecessary when giving is an option.  But to whom are we to give?  How much?  Sharing makes life better and more efficient.  Instead of buying a toy for each child in a family, they can share one toy.  Sometimes there is no money to buy for each individual what they need, but they can have what they need if they all share one.  How is hospitality done if not by sharing?  God owns everything anyway; none of this property is really ours.  God made us stewards, and we are to exercise wisdom and discernment in how best to use what He has entrusted to us.
  5. God withholds because we do not ask. If we are obedient to God, then we abide in God’s love, and God does what we ask.  When we walk with God, He gives us the desires of our hearts.  The Bible encourages us to entreat God – even to the point of nagging Him.  How does God’s sovereignty fit into the equation?  Is God really dependent on our actions?  God gives some good gifts without prayer (common grace: rain falls on just and unjust; and special grace to Christians, but without us asking).  When the Spirit intercedes for our weakness, what if our weakness is that we don’t ask for the right things?  Can He bridge that gap?  Generally that verse is not interpreted as praying for us when we are not praying, but interceding for us as we pray.  God changes His mind when people act or plead with Him.  Either God lies or He changes His mind, for he told Moses that He would destroy Israel, and then God didn’t.  If our children acted that way, we would punish them…  It seems best to act as though what we do and pray matters, regardless of what we believe about the sovereignty of God.  Daniel knew God’s prophecy that He would do something at a certain time, but Daniel still prayed for it to happen.  Is God’s plan allowed to be malleable?  If not for that, could we have this redemption story: God creates the world perfect, but man sins, so God gets to demonstrate His lovingkindness by sending His only Son to die for us.  Or did God plan it that way all along?  Isn’t consistency an attribute of God?  Maybe God must only be consistent within His character (for example, mercy).
  6. Ownership for the sake of hospitality is the best kind of stuff and the best kind of ownership. Best is defined as optimal, in the short term and/or in the long term.  People are not equivalent to “stuff.”  The other reason to have a lot of stuff is to be like a dragon, hoarding riches and laying on them because they bring pleasure to you individually.  Are families included in hospitality?  If you own something for the purpose of benefiting others who are in your family, is that still the best kind?  There is this trend toward larger and larger master bedrooms, which serves no hospitable purpose, but often detracts from available space for hospitality towards others.  Hospitality, though, is an attitude, and can be demonstrated without stuff.  Should we buy a lot of stuff to be hugely hospitable?  There is a difference between purchasing stuff for the sake of hospitality and making hospitable use of stuff bought for other reasons.  This resolution did not address the inherent value of the property in question (ought we to be hospitable with our Play Station?), but rather, with the motive in possessing it.  Hospitality enables relationships.  Maybe a better kind of ownership would be for God’s call: some people need their own space to refresh in order to do what God has called them to do.  If it is impossible to share without making yourself useless, hospitality might not be the most important thing.  We should be willing to give up property when God wants us to do something else.
  7. Intimate friendships with the same sex is just as important for men as for women. Intimacy was defined as vulnerability especially in the senses of accountability and sharing emotions.  Men see the world differently: things versus relationships.  Guys do have as intimate of relationships, but do not express them the same way as girls.  Spending the day hunting and sharing a one-sentence commentary on their job (men) can be as intimate as a three hour conversation (women).  But the argument of the resolution is that men need to express more – a lot of times, and not in a way that looks like women.  Take, for example, David and Jonathan, who had a much closer relationship than what is common to men in our culture.  Men are afraid to reveal themselves, especially for accountability.  There is also a difficulty in expressing masculine intimacy for fear of seeming “queer*.”  Are women really good examples of intimate friendships, or rather than holding each other accountable, aren’t we gossiping and discussing things that shouldn’t be said?  Many men experience closer friendships with other men before marriage, and miss those relationships afterwards, but have been unable or have neglected to keep them up.  Men have been influenced by the doctrine of individualism, so that they overvalue doing things on their own and not asking for help.  The hard world necessitates a shell especially for men, who are in the world more than women.  Men don’t have time for relationships.  World War II hurt the willingness of men to be open, because they did not want to talk about the horrors they had witnessed or even committed.  Were male relationships more prominent in the past or in other cultures?  *queer in the sense of homosexual

Each 15-minute segment seemed to go too fast and be over too soon.  The incredible value of Pigfests it that they do not allow you to really complete a topic, or all the aspects brought up in the debate.  So we keep thinking and talking (and writing!) for weeks to come.  I think it is interesting how there are often two themes weaving their way through the debate.  At some points there were up to four people with their hands up waiting to speak, so the different threads were carried on well.  For myself, I had prepared a resolution, but the things I wanted to bring up with it were touched on in so many of the other debates that I decided not to present mine for debate.

All in all I am quite pleased with how the night went.  God answered all of my prayers for the party.  As hostess and moderator and human being I felt more focused than I have at some Pigfests, and for that I also thank God.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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At the bottom of my Blogger website, I have a quote that I consider to be both great insight and fair warning.  Jane Austen wrote,

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid;

it jumps from admiration to love,

from love to matrimony, in a moment.”

That is to say, when a woman sees signs of admiration in a man, she imagines he is in love with his object of admiration and begins to plan what to wear to the wedding.  This is true, though rather conceited, even of ourselves.  To feel admired by a man suggests marriage to us.  I don’t know why.  And to confess the truth, we hear a woman admiring a man and think she is destined for him.  Or we do imagine ourselves in love when we have experienced only the slightest flutter of respect or attraction.

Girls are like that.  Jane Austen knew it.  I have not found many girls who could refute it. In Fiddler on the Roof the eldest daughter sings, “There’s more to life than [happiness in marriage]… Don’t ask me what!”  We’re a little obsessed, even when we are striving to focus on other things.  We see the world in matches, even our forks and spoons are paired off into couples or families.

And even though this is just how things are, life is not made simple by these unfounded convictions.  The rapidness of our imaginations does not only make it awkward for men to be around us (and more so when we act on these emotions or ideas without checking them against what we ought to do); it makes determining the actual sources of our emotions and regard rather difficult.  With these expectations come frequent disappointments.  Some people even teach that we ladies ought to quiet our hearts, to “guard them”

from feeling and hope and imagination.

I’m not talking about lust, but a way of sorting out and reacting to life.  Most men and women will marry, and the origins often are something like admiration, then love, then commitment to marriage.

So we have this option, to prevent our rapid imaginations.  We can go into a nunnery until the knight in shining armor rides by to select his bride.  Or we can treat the world as though we consider ourselves nuns (often complete with vows of silence).  I have, in the past, tended to be unwilling to do the work it takes to relate to men without assuming things about them that are not significant, or that are even untrue.  Part of this was for my own sake, as I said: life is much simpler when you do not let yourself interact with or admire others.

Another part is that we presume men take similar imaginative leaps, and that they are not to be trusted with any them.  And good little girls who are trying to be modest, well, we do not realize that men are not quite as rapid as we, and we assume that sparking admiration will make a man desperately in love…  It goes something like this:

If I smile at him, he’ll think I like him.  And if he thinks I like him, he will fall in love with me.  When he falls in love with me, he’ll want to marry me.  But I don’t want to marry him!  I barely know him!

So the good little girls don’t smile.  Never mind that if I smile at his compliment, courtesy, or joke he might think I was pleased – and I was, but I don’t want him to know.  In the words of the “faultless” Mr. Darcy, “Disguise of every sort is my abhorrence.

I know it is risky, but wouldn’t it be better to be honest?  I dare say that a woman can trust a man with a smile or a laugh.  We need to stop trying to control the situation.  What I have practiced, before I learned this, was rejecting people, not rejecting suitors.  When someone is being themselves and meets with no response, or no attentive audience, his identity is being torn down.  My heart has been my idol, so that I guarded it and exalted it at the expense of people.

What about this?  If I don’t smile at him, he’ll think his joke wasn’t funny, and he’ll try something else or give up relating to us entirely.  For a woman frustrated with the reluctance of men to marry, it is rather contradictory to be discouraging them from even interacting with us.

It is now my goal to be the woman of kindness and quietness that God has called me to be, to do the extra work it takes to contain the eager imaginations and assumptions that are my tendency as a female.  I will trust God with the consequences of being myself – in modesty and discretion and humility – but also with being myself as a sister, an emissary of God sent to build up (even nurture) those around me.  If I do fall in love, I will trust God.  If a man falls in love with me, I will trust my good Lord Jesus.  These situations are not impossible even when they are unwelcome.  And I would rather suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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They loved to fight, valiant horsemen with swords and horns and arrows.  But did they fight for her?  Sitting home, left behind to wait on a king who no longer thought of anyone or anything but darkness, watched by lustful eyes fueled in all his deceit by his selfishness – what good was it for strong men to fight if their homes crumbled in their absence?  Would this be her whole life, waiting for people to die, watching decay and singing of dirges?  How could a shieldmaiden ward off the subtly corrupting whispers that truly threatened her kingdom?  An enemy manifest, however terrible, is easier to defy than ghosts in the shadows.  And she yearned, for morning and for restoration and for love. 

A brother she had, whom she loved.  A king she had, like a father to her.  A people she had, who would follow her.  They that went with the puissant soldier on the paths of the dead went because they would not be parted from him.  She stood alone weeping as she watched him go, but he from whom she could not be parted was her uncle.  Where will wanted not, her way opened.  Disregarding formation, she rode close to him.  In the battle she learned that what she wanted more than death, more than glory, was to preserve the beloved lives of her friends.  Alone she stood, facing death, shielding self and kindred from his icy blows. 

And then she wasn’t alone.  Her little companion, brought out of sympathy, stood up and began a change in the woman.  Valiantly, for no other reason than that the desperate woman should not die alone, he reached up to stab at death.  Together they brought him down.  Together these two unlikely heroes suffered, both sleeping in the triage houses in the city.  More came, not for glory or to make whole again their human weapons.  The healers came to restore the broken, to call back the fevered wanderers. 

She woke in the middle of a journey.  No healer had she been; her hand ungentle, left to fight its own battles.  And here at last beside her, appointed also to stay at home, stood a man who could outmatch any of the revered men of valor she had known.  Yet he spoke not of the love of fighting, but of love for that he defended.  He did not love being a ruler, but loved that which he stewarded.  His own glory meant nothing, but he wanted to do what was wise and brave and therefore praiseworthy.  He would forfeit his life to keep an oath. 

Her reflection stood before her, cast in new light.  She also fought, stewarded, took pity, and offered her life.  Now she saw what it was for, and it went deeper than opposing the things she feared and hated.  As the days passed, the man grew to love her.  No more did she miss someone to stand for her, to speak for her, to plan for what pleased her.  He was there.  And her heart changed, or else at last she understood it: to be a shieldmaiden no more, but to be a healer and lover of all things that grow.  Turned from the dark battle and dirges to the life that had been crumbling, she found peace and love and bliss. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I was watching the very old Star Trek last night, just because it was on. Always the shows frustrate me, and I’m not even talking about plaster acting and cardboard sets. The worldview even the heroes in the series live by is so sad.

In this episode, Captain Kirk somehow got stranded on a planet being threatened by an asteroid, except that was a few months out, and he got amnesia and thought he was what the people called him, a god. Or at least he played along. He didn’t even tell the woman he met (there are always women wherever Kirk goes) that he had doubts about being a god. The two fell in love, I suppose is what they would call it, and actually got married (this is quite rare in Star Trek, but obviously dooms the mere guest star character to death). There was never another woman in his life, swore the amnesiac Captain. And the audience rolls their eyes. Are you kidding?

In a pre-wedding fight to win his bride, the hero of the Enterprise is cut and bleeds. His opponent recites a TV myth, that gods don’t bleed. Whose idea was that, anyway, and what was their agenda? Because the true God did bleed. He planned to be slain from the foundation of the world. And almost immediately after the sin that caused the bloodshed of God, the Creator prophesied that the Serpent would bruise the heel of the Seed of the Woman. All along man ought to have known that God would bleed.

Moving on, during the months of marriage on the alien planet, Kirk keeps saying in a dreamy voice, “I’m so happy.” And almost all of these confessions are followed by kisses of his bride. Really? Happiness consists of kisses and shallow romance? For there didn’t seem to be anything else to their relationship.

Love and marriage were much cheapened by the episode, in which the writers and director could find no other way to express affection than the physical and erotic. Happiness, too, was cheapened, but it proved short-lived, having no foundation. I’m sure that as originally aired, the very next episode showed a confident-as-ever Captain Kirk, zooming about the universe looking for more beautiful girls with whom to be temporarily happy in an imaginary life lasting minutes, days, or months. He always seems to have amnesia.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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The Andy Griffith Show is one of my least favorite classic television series.  There are two main reasons for this.  The first is that all of the adults and trusted authority figures are habitual liars.  They lie to make friends feel good, and they lie to protect themselves, and they lie to patronize children.  Sometimes the lie works out, and other times they get caught, but it is always “cute” and “funny.”  No one is ever shown considering the moral implications of lying.  This despite frequent references to God and church, as the quaint trappings of small town life demand. 

 

My second reason is that there are no marriages in the show.  The two main characters are in stagnate relationships with women who seem no more interested in permanent commitment and domesticity than they are.  The fashionable, fun loving gals must simply enjoy dating, and it is as casual and undirected a relationship as ever there was.  Aunt Bee is a spinster who helps her widowed nephew to raise his orphaned son.  No where is there a marriage really demonstrated for the audience or for the children.  I can recall only one married couple from the show, and that is the town drunk and his wife.  Great example. 

 

For such a long-running, highly-esteemed show, the lack of moral foundation is sad.  However, the themes, stereotypes, and worldview portrayed by Andy and his friends is representative of those seeds of corruption that blossomed in the decades to come, leaving us today with a society in which family and marriage are perverted if not meaningless, and in which the truth is grossly undervalued, unsought, and even betrayed.  Astounding percentages of students admit to lying.  A large minority of births are out of wedlock.  Divorce is rampant, as is unmarried cohabitation.  Do we want to promote this in our entertainment?  Are we so sunk in deception that we look back on the Andy Griffith era as a wholesome, family-values past? 

 

Is there any hope, any shining example of television today that portrays the truth and biblical values? 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I remember the time when I liked a red coat myself very well — and indeed, so I do still at my heart…” – Mrs. Bennet of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
 
Women have always had a thing for men in uniform, whether it was the shining armor that bespoke defense against dragons and pagan armies, or the clean, gloved dress blues of the United States Navy today. 
 
On the radio this week I heard an interview by Dennis Prager of Allison Armstrong.  This woman has a book and website about “understanding men,” and being a woman, she is obviously comparing them to females so that women, knowing themselves, may appreciate the men in their lives.  One thing she said about women is that what they need from a man is security.  While few professions are more dangerous and truly insecure than defense, I argue that a woman feels more secure when she is with a man in uniform. 
 
So it might seem strange that nearly every girl dreams of being a princess.  She wants to be beautiful and important, and to have that prince at her side who will dance her into the sweet sunset.  Nevertheless, a man is created to lead.  Prince, being part of the hierarchy in a system of monarchy, is the romantic personification of authority.  He has a kingdom at his fingertips.  His people look up to and respect him.  What woman would not want to be at the side of such a man?  For women crave that figure in their lives that gives them direction. 
 
In the old chivalric code, a knight seldom wed with the lady to whom he dedicated his conquests.  The woman might be of a social position out of reach, or she may demonstrate the good sense that so few women are able to carry out: not joining her life with that of a man whose every day is violent risk of life.  In other places I have addressed this romantic moral. 
 
So here is my principle of Knights and Princes.  When a girl or woman is rescued by a gallant man, be it from certain death, the humiliation of carrying something too heavy for her, or the common courtesy of having doors opened on her behalf, if that man is a stranger, or a brother, or a mere friend, he is a Knight, honored by all, a man who stands ready to serve and defend wherever the need is presented.  (Though less relevant to my thesis, I will here add that her father, should he so deliver the maiden, is doing is high and worthy job as Guardian, Defender of the Realm.)  And if he is husband or fiancé performing the deed, I name him Prince.  A true lady would never call a mere knight her prince, or think of him as such, lest she be claiming another princess’ Prince. 
 
Knights have arisen in my life this week, blessing me and coming to my aid: a neighbor of a friend relieving me from shoveling snow in 20-degree weather, a friend carrying a sign too heavy for me, a boy from church holding a door, and my brother working in my place voluntarily on this my birthday.  I hereby dub them Knights. 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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I am fascinated having read chapter 197 of Godcast.  In it Dan Betzer makes a point from silence (not the best foundation for doctrine, but making for an interesting story).  Where the Bible is silent, we see a point being made.  Michael Card writes that when John is silent on events of Jesus’ life that the other gospel-recorders included, we should pay special attention.  John was substituting something else, a living parable.  In John 8 as John records Jesus’ encounter with the convicted adulteress, it mentions Jesus silently stooping to the ground before requesting that those without sin cast the first stone against the sinful woman.  What impact in his silence! 

 

So this Assemblies of God pastor communicates the impact of the silence covering 33 years of Abraham’s life after Sarah’s death.  Though they had their rough patches, during Sarah’s life Abraham was the faith father, involved in all sorts of actions, journeys, acquisitions, encounters, prayers, promises, and fulfillments.  Immediately after her death Abraham sends the head of his household (not just any old servant) to great distances to find a wife for Isaac.  This was very important to Abraham.  Why?  Maybe because his wife was very important to him.  He wanted Isaac to be blessed by a woman whose worth was far above rubies. 

 

And after that, we have a paragraph recording the last fifth of Abraham’s long life.  He married again and had more children.  But as far as we know he was the spiritual giant during his marriage to Sarah.  I caution again putting too much credence in this narrative factor. 

 

Pastor Betzer titles this chapter “Do Women have a Place in Ministry?”  If you think about Sarah’s support of her husband as her place in ministry, or if you consider the impact that her presence had on her husband’s faith, you get a beautiful picture of what I believe is a woman’s place in ministry.  (Sarah is also held up as an example to other women, especially in the way she submitted to her own husband.  I believe that women have a more direct ministry to other women as “teachers of good things.” – Titus 2) 

 

I shouldn’t be surprised that the semi-charismatic denomination has produced a man who, rather than interpreting the significance of the Sarah factor in Abraham’s life in light of biblical directives to women to submit, nor to teach or have authority over men; takes this beautiful picture of helpers meet for their husbands and finishes with a praise of the female ‘ministers’ and ‘pastors’ who founded very large, spiritual and missions-minded churches.  These women, he says, have positively impacted him.  Though he often mentions his wife in other chapters, this author fails to mention here her help in his ministry, which would be a more honest and biblically sound application of the Sarah principle. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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This morning I woke feeling very lonely.  For the past several days the sense of loneliness has edged into my life from different directions.  I’m happy for my friends out of the country (or soon to be), energized for the moms with new responsibilities and challenges everyday, and interested in the things people are learning in schools and jobs and ministries around the country.  They’re just not home.  I ridicule the texting culture, for what it has done to social lives and the English language.  But the teenagers I know who text, have friends that will communicate with them at all hours.  My friends are so busy, and of my opinion about texting! 
 
There’s a different kind of loneliness, and more profound.  After all, in most circumstances, I can find people, and engage in conversation.  There’s blogging and reading blogs, usually a one-sided conversation either way.  Where I feel the impact of loneliness the most, though, is when I am surrounded by people and voices believing and advocating things with which I disagree.  Such was the case this morning. 
 
Last Friday I heard on the radio the eager rumors spreading that John McCain had selected the governor of Alaska to be his running mate.  I was excited, as I have said, to find out about Sarah Palin, to have the thrill of being the first to report facts I heard or read to the less initiated.  However, I had no intention of voting for McCain, even with this selection.  If I had agreed more with the policies of McCain, believed him to be truly pro-life and of good honest character, a man who rightly understood and upheld the Constitution, the pick of a wife and mother for Vice President would have rattled my willingness to vote for him. 
 
Since the announcement confirming her candidacy, the media has worked overtime to find information on this unknown political figure.  Naturally they choose the juiciest and most controversial items to publish first and loudest.  And I don’t want to be a part of attacking a candidate and holding them accountable for the mistakes of their family.  I do, however, wish to make a wise judgment on the capabilities of a candidate.  The way a person parents their children is an indicator of their leadership, and so facts about their level of success in raising moral and obedient children ought to be considered. 
 
Additionally, those who for years have been promoting the feminist agenda are scrambling so much for a word against Sarah Palin that they argue she ought not take such a big job as the vice presidency because she would necessarily be neglecting her five young children.  These people are using the position as an ad hominem.  I would make the case on principle, principles I have held and by which I have tried to live for years. 
 
I have a list of reasons why Sarah Palin should not be the Vice President.  Most of them have to do with being female.  Am I anti-woman?  Absolutely not.  I believe women are given a calling to be influencers and helpers rather than leaders, and that they are most effective and the people being led and influenced are better off when women fulfill that role and men are the leaders and representatives.  This is arguably the structure on which our federal representative government was founded.  That America has as of yet not wholly abandoned the model in their representative government has spoken to the preservation granted America’s morality and faith as a result of the conviction of its earliest pilgrims and statesmen.  The rest of the world has abandoned male leadership in the family and the state, simultaneously departing from a representative government and moving to a socialist mommy state system. 
 
Am I inconsistent?  No.  In the past week I have heard Palin supporters demand, “Would you tell a woman she can’t be CEO of a company because she has a family?”  Of course if I were doing the hiring, I would not hire a woman to neglect her family in order to give feminine leadership to a business.  But I have no CEO for which I am making decisions, and I do have a vote and a voice in this election.  I will not be responsible for putting Governor Palin in power, even though she is a good person. 
 
She is a good person, I believe.  Her whole life has been spent as a feminist, though, and she’s been so busy running after achievements that there has been no time to consider whether the towers of her life are built on the same worldview that she claims to believe.  McCain knew exactly what he was doing in nominating her.  If people ask me what I think of the choice, my one word answer is “Strategic.”  She is female to appeal to women, both “conservative” women and disenchanted former Hillary supporters.  At 44, her youth counters both Barak Obama’s appeal to students and twenty-somethings, and arguments that McCain is dangerously old for office.  Her experience as a governor outweighs any other executive experience offered in this campaign.  Governor Palin has a large family, and has been married (unlike McCain) to the same person her whole adult life.  By confession, she is pro-life.  Her policies as governor were fiscally responsible and pro-reform.  We all witnessed her speaking abilities Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention.  And lately the big campaign issue has been energy independence and costs, on which she has long held what recently became an astoundingly popular position. 
 
McCain, as I said, knew what he was doing.  He also knows that she is the complement to his less popular ideas.  She is, he believes, his ticket to getting conservatives to vote for him.  He is using her to manipulate us, the grass roots Republicans who have been feeling pretty abandoned in recent years.  Enjoy this campaign while it lasts; I say we’re liable to feel pretty abandoned again come February.  McCain will still be the president, proudly going his own way on his own wisdom which he has demonstrated is in opposition to some values that are very important to me.  If he was unacceptable as president before, he remains unacceptable.  Choosing Governor Palin was not a sign of a change of heart in the presidential candidate: pragmatic as ever, he was making a shrewd move to buy your vote. 
 
A great number of people have been dissatisfied with McCain as the only apparent representative of Judeo-Christian values this election cycle.  In that I did not feel lonely.  But I was surprised by an even greater number of people who put SIGNIFICANT differences aside in order to endorse, campaign for, and cheer John McCain.  All they want is to see a Republican in office rather than a democrat, rather than Barak Obama.  Acting out of fear and under manipulation, these true conservatives are willing to “Get drunk and vote for McCain,” as Ann Coulter says.  So much excitement at the Republican National Convention bodes well for the Republican ticket, and very badly for the greater of goods.  Why are people so pleased to be voting for the lesser of two evils?  Our country was founded with the opportunity to vote for the greater of many goods. 
 
So I feel lonely now, abandoned even by most of the formerly dissatisfied voters.  When I turn on talk radio, or read editorials from places like Townhall, they are filled without exception with promotions of Sarah Palin and defenses of her womanhood and parenthood.  These havens of logical thought and biblical values have begun to vehemently criticize and rile against the stand I have taken for femininity.  Though I found a handful of Christian blogs (Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham, Generation Cedar, Ladies Against Feminism) sharing my views, I still feel very lonely. 
 
Those of us who agree (same position, same reasons) on the issue of women in government, have begun resigning ourselves to being radical right-wing fundamentalists.  Funny, since these values are those that were mainstream Christian tenets as little as sixty years ago.  What has happened to cause the middle ground to shift so far away from us?  Have those changes been good or bad?  (The answer to the last question depends on your standard.  If you think the goal of society is to achieve equality between men and women, the past fifty years has been very productive in the short term.  However, reality and truth will ultimately win out.  We will reap what we sow, and no amount of aiming for or pretending to equality will actually produce it.  Those who usurp the created order will end up in worse situations, even by their own standards.) 
 
My radical right-wing fundamentalist case against and concerns for Sarah Palin as vice president are as follows:
 

  • Women are created to submit.  God made the world this way, and revealed it in His word.  Evidence bears this out as true and effective.  A world in which women are in charge (much like our own) has serious inter-generational issues resulting in psychological instability and even death.  Don’t believe me?  See the next point. 
  • Sarah Palin’s pro-life example is promoted as being something abnormal.  It is abnormal according to today’s statistics, but it ought not be abnormal.  Going through with a pregnancy is not heroic.  It is natural.  The fact that millions of babies die each year legally and for convenience is a sign of decay well associated with the break down in the family and the abandonment of nurturing and education of their own children by women. 
  • Women are emotional and social by nature.  God made us to sympathize and nurture, to meet needs like hunger and shelter.  The Proverbs 31 woman even extended her hand to the poor in these areas.  When women run governments (or even participate in elections), the emphasis of government is diverted from justice and defense to social causes that ought to belong to individuals, households, and churches.  I hope that the danger to a nation with less interest in justice and defense is evident to you all. 
  • Families need moms.  Todd Palin’s family needs Sarah.  They need her to nurture and guide them, to support Todd and unburden him with household affairs that he may fulfill his role as man, husband, and father.  As possible evidence of the effect of Sarah’s feminist choices so far, her seventeen year old daughter rebelled against her parents’ principles and became pregnant out of wedlock.  There is forgiveness for that, and the Palins are offering it.  There ought also to be support and direction, restoration of the young woman.  Who is offering that? 
  • Along the same lines, the Palin family has utterly sacrificed their privacy.  The youngest daughter, Piper, seems to be enjoying the life of a celebrity, waving like a little movie star and smiling shyly at cameras, all while trying to help with her baby brother.  Child stars have rough lives.  How healthy is it to expose the good and bad and neutral choices of all to the critical eye of the media and public?  Is blame for any hurt to be laid entirely on the public?  I don’t think so.  As I said before, the conduct of children is an indicator of the responsibility of a parent.  The Bible requires the children of deacons and elders to be obedient and under control.  Why is this except that the behavior of children is relevant to the leadership of the parent? 
  • As a member of “Feminists for Life,” Sarah Palin is promoting circular reasoning.  Feminism promotes abortion – yes, inherently.  When women are made to believe that work and public achievement is as valid a goal if not more so than being a wife and a mom, children are robbed of their high and exclusive place in the attention of women.  Once devalued, the slope is slippery in leading to abortion.  Also women who deny that God created them fundamentally to be wives and mothers will be much more tempted to use their sexuality in immoral ways.  Promoting abstinence and abstinence education as she does, Sarah Palin is being inconsistent with the values of feminism, which asserts choice above goodness. 
  • Sarah Palin, by being a mayor, a governor, and a vice presidential candidate, is promoting feminism, a fundamentally anti-God, counter-biblical philosophy, to an emerging generation of young women. 
  • Though she is forty four, Governor Palin just gave birth to a baby boy.  At such an age that was considered a high risk pregnancy, and the risks were produced in a handicapped child.  For these reasons, Todd and Sarah may already have plans to prevent future fertility.  Is this biblical?  Surely their decision will also be influenced by the difficulties of pregnancy while holding public office.  Is that fair? 
  • What if she does get pregnant, then, while vice president of the United States?  It isn’t as though she can appoint a regent, or take a maternity leave.  She already risked Trig during her last pregnancy by taking an airplane three days before her due date and returning home in labor during the flight.  No doubt there would be more obligations to fulfill than a voluntary speech, were she vice president. 
  • John McCain betrayed his first wife for Cindy (his wife of nearly thirty years now), a beautiful woman twenty years his junior.  Now he has voluntarily chosen a woman he named his “soul mate” to serve in intense team situations, who is beautiful and ten years younger than his wife, Cindy.  Granted, he’s in his seventies.  Isn’t this playing with fire? 
  • The vice president has some specific jobs granted by the Constitution, and most of Sarah Palin’s qualifications have little to do with the responsibilities enumerated there.  She would, if elected, be first in line to the presidency behind a man whose health and age give reason to believe in its frailty.  And a vice president is offered a position of counsel to the president.  How much he depends on her views will be entirely up to him.  What I’m saying is that all of Sarah Palin’s conservative values may be wasted on the vice presidency, should John McCain choose to ignore them. 
  • What is Todd Palin supposed to do?  There are many conflicts between his position as head of the household and her aspired-to role as second in command in the United States.  I think he would be expected to move to Washington, D.C., and take care of the kids and grandchild.  And certainly the couple discussed the possibilities before his wife accepted the nomination.  But I think that for him to defer to his wife as leader would be wrong, and for the kids to be given almost entirely to the care of the father and professionals would be unhealthy. 
  • Finally, just as I find it confusing and isolating that liberals wish to attack Palin on the same grounds that cause concern in me, the double appeal to evangelicals and Hillary feminists is suspicious.  Are our standards so low that we can agree with Hillary supporters on a candidate whose qualifications and expectations are deep and varied?  Can a stream give fresh and salt water? 
     

The loneliness I feel saddens me.  So much of our world is suffering.  First of all this is because our world needs the gospel.  Life comes from Jesus, who died as substitute for us, who have earned the wrath of God for our sins.  Repentance from sin is the solution to these problems.  There is also common grace given to those who function in the world as God designed.  They sow and reap, for God made the earth to yield harvest in that way.  They marry and bear children, for God created humans that way.  Yet our world suffers because we are too foolish even to acknowledge the way the world properly works.  In our mass rebellion against all things instituted by God, we have cut the floor out from under ourselves.  I see everywhere hurting people, people who have no imagination that there is anything better than the existence they have experienced.  I speak up today to direct people back to some of the principles by which God created society to work.  As always, I pray that my words will direct people to the wise God who loved us even while we rebelled against His ways and Himself.  How marvelous.  That is the only hope I have for our nation.  It is the hope I cling to for myself. 
 
To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I couldn’t have said it better myself: 

I’ve been reading GK Chesterton today.  This is only a sample.  Read the full essays. 

“There is only one way to preserve in the world that high levity and that more leisurely outlook which fulfils the old vision of universalism. That is, to permit the existence of a partly protected half of humanity; a half which the harassing industrial demand troubles indeed, but only troubles indirectly. In other words, there must be in every center of humanity one human being upon a larger plan; one who does not “give her best,” but gives her all.” – The Emancipation of Domesticity by G.K. Chesterton

Read Chapter IX of All I Survey: On Dependence and Independence.  “Thus, in the present case, we could at least settle down to discussing serious the Independence of Woman, if it were regarded by anybody as part of a real philosophy of the Independence of Man.  What we find, as in the case mentioned, is that one woman has made one claim to one curious and rather capricious form of independence.  She is independent of the breadwinner, but not of the bank or the employer – not to mention the moneylender.” 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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