Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Not "Hate The Sin, Love The Sinner"

It's not "hate the sin, love the sinner". It's "repent and be baptized".

I recommend to you this excellent article by Brian McClain on how the church ought to respond to to unrepentant sinners, specifically, in the case of this article, homosexuals.
We are doing homosexuals a serious disservice by keeping them from the church’s proper liturgy. What they need is to be invited into a church where they will be loved, but will be expected to meet the demands of discipleship (baptism and obedience). What they are getting, instead, are churches issuing prophetic warnings against their lifestyle without any hope of healing, or churches compromising in order to pacify them.
It is through worship that the church changes the world. Worship is how the army of the Lord of hosts marches forward. And its battle cry is definitely not "hate the sin, love the sinner".

Repent and be baptized.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Entire AAA Team Tricks Jeff Francoeur Into Believing Teammate Is Deaf. For A Month.

This, as embarrassing as it might be for Jeff Francoeur (who took it pretty well), reminds me of all that's best about being part of a team.

Awesome.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Men Without Balls: The Difference Between Elves & Spacers


The Caves of Steel trilogy, or the Robot series, by Isaac Asimov was one of my favorite works as a child. In fact, thanks to my mother, Isaac Asimov was one of my favorite authors as a child; I say that even though I hated Foundation. I loved Galactic Empire, and the Black Widower stories, and The Gods Themselves. I believe my introduction to him was my mother's copy of The Stars, Like Dust, a title which caught me with its beauty and punctuation at age nine.

I will tell you the three things that impressed me most about the Robot series, in which a human and android detective combine to solve murders while awesomely revealing and expounding to the reader sci-fi tropes of far-reaching societal consequence. (bam!) The first was the dark, warm, and hardly understood feels evoked by the romantic tension between Lije Bailey and Gladia in The Naked Sun, the second was the exploration of Earth public restroom etiquette in Caves of Steel (men never ever ever spoke to each other), and the third was the deleterious effect of the incredibly long lives of the Spacers on them individually and on their society.

Spacers, who were descended from the best Earth had to offer, and had departed purged of all disease, ruled every part of the galaxy they had explored. And they did not permit the short-lived and disease-ridden Earth-dwellers to leave their planet and pollute the cosmos. They lived for 300 or more years, feared death, lacked initiative, moved slowly, and craved safety.

Recall that the largest literary loom that loomed in my childhood was The Lord of the Rings. In that tapestry, the immortal elves were doomed to leave the world to men. They were the first children, and lived forever, but knew that the second children, doomed to die, had a fate beyond death that brought them closer to the Creator (although that is only explicitly stated in The Silmarillion, which I read years later). There is undoubtedly a bittersweetness to the elves' immortality, but that never robbed them of this: they blessed their world. The elves were crafters and gardeners and musicians and smiths and architects and poets. They made beauty appear everywhere they went.

I loved Lije Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw so much as a kid. I'm telling you, I read his adventures over and over again. But I knew, even as a child, what the difference between the worlds of Asimov and Tolkien were. There was no God in Asimov, and there was in Tolkien.

"If you were to die now," says Hans Fastolfe the Spacer to Lije Baley the Earther, "you would lose perhaps forty years of your life, probably less. If I were to die, I would lose a hundred fifty years, probably more." Spacers fear death, and the murder in their midst is too terrifying for them to contemplate.

Meanwhile, from the Wars of Beleriand to the dawning of the Age of Men, the elves, a noble race but not without their moral failings, not only continue to make beautiful things, but continue to lay down their lives for their world and for Men.

What's the difference between elves and Spacers? I'll tell you.

Elves know where they go when they die. They go to be in the light of Il├║vatar, who is a Christ-figure. In fact, they don't have to die to go there; they can sail there if they wish, though Men may not. The ones who stay love Creation, and will die for it, knowing what their blessed fate is.

C. S. Lewis feared that without the God of Christ we would become "men without chests". I believe we have become such men. But there is another organ missing. We don't live to 350 and own 10,000 robots, but we do live to 90 and own 3 robots. That apparently is enough.

We are the men without balls.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Stop Blaming Women For Your Lust


“I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?"
Job 31:1

When I was a sophomore in college I hung out one night with some Campus Crusade guys at the unofficial Crusade house. That is to say, where four or five "leadership" guys lived a few blocks north of campus. We watched a game, and when it was over, as we talked, the TV stayed on and went into news. At one point, while we were all only vaguely looking at the TV, the camera flashed to a reporter speaking to a generously endowed woman in a bikini top. We were in mixed company. All the males in the room (except me, because I hadn't gotten the C.C. memo), acting in culturally inculcated concert, yelled "Oh!" very loudly, like the kind of "Oh!" you yell when someone gets dunked on, but with a despairing tinge. Maybe the "Oh!" when you see someone on TV get hit by a car. They all simultaneously turned their heads to the side and ostentatiously covered their eyes. I can't remember if any of them said "Is it over yet?", but I imagine someone must have. And lo, I thought to myself, What a bunch of douchebags. I didn't hang out with them again.

There had been immodesty there that night. Sure, there was immodesty on the TV, but even before I'd had a chance to register it, the room had exploded in a spasm of immodesty. I was a nineteen-year-old male. I had plenty of sexual struggles, as many who knew me then would be able to attest, if you were immodest enough to ask. But I don't think I would have had any trouble with a chick in a bikini on TV. And I don't mean that I
could have watched and been fine; I mean that I wouldn't have watched and been fine. Instead the attention of all the women (and me) in the room was drawn to the bikini, and to the overwheening modesty of these virtuous young men surrounding us.

For the record, I've never lusted after that particular pair, but that's got to be the only set of bikini breasts I can still vividly remember from that time. And I lived in Florida, so that's saying something. Thanks, C.C. guys.

Reactions like that make it clear. We blame women for our struggles with sexual sin. Drawing attention like that sent the message: "Look what she's doing to me! I am pure, but she tries to make me unclean!"

It's time for Christian men to stop having immodest reactions to immodesty. Yes, female immodesty is a real thing, the Bible makes that clear. And women have responsibilities when it comes to modesty. But I believe it does you no good to think overmuch on that. After all...

1. Your purity is your responsibility. 

Does that mean you can do it on your own? No, but by the grace of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, we are talking about your house, your responsibility. Why am I emphasizing this? Because too many men blame women for their struggles with lust, even to the point of anger.

Many men who blame others for their lust have an unreasonable idea of what modesty is, because their lust is overmastering them. The smallest details can set them off. Make no mistake, sexual lust is entwined with anger and violence. If you are struggling, you are not going to be reasonable about women and their carriage.

"If you are struggling, you are not going to be reasonable"
A note passed from one student to another at Mormon BYU.
If you'd like to see what she was wearing, click here.
But let us imagine that the women you think are dressing sluttily are indeed dressing sluttily. I will be the first to admit that we live in a slutty age. Now let us imagine that you are building a house, yea, verily, a spiritual house of thy soul, wherein the Lord himself will dwell.

Now, your Lord has already condescended to live in your house. But you know you should present your very best work, as a child might to his father. So you work hard and plan out all the details. And then on your big work day all those women God put around you don't show up to help you build the house. And they said they would! They're supposed to be modest and they're not so now I can't build my house!

That's silly. It's your house; it's your body that's a temple. You build, by God's help. Leave it at that.

In Matthew 18, Jesus curses those by whom temptation comes. And immediately afterwards tells us that if our own eye cause us to sin, we should tear it out. Your purity is your responsibility, just as your eye is your own. Let the other woes work themselves out. "Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.1

2. You should be married already/you should be working on your marriage.

Yes, I understand that this part of the post will not be relevant to all the seventeen-year-olds who read my blog. Sorry about that.

For everyone else, you have better things to do than think about how other women are dressing. You should be married already. Or you should be working on your marriage. There is more than enough there to occupy your full attention.

The other day I heard a Christian man angrily ranting about how immodestly women on dating websites presented themselves. You can imagine the picture he painted: come-hither looks, posteriors and pouted lips, etc. The worst of all were those who displayed crosses 'twixt their breasts! How did our friend find himself in the dire predicament of having to visit dating websites? Well, he'd missed out on a couple of opportunities to marry, and now here he was, older, with few options.

The next paragraph has the potential to be the most controversial in this post, and I welcome any feedback you have for me, be it sweet or sour.

Most men should not get very far into adulthood before marrying. And that's not just in avoidance of sin. Wives makes us better. We don't delay in starting our careers (usually). We shouldn't delay in finding a helpmeet suitable to us. If you are a Christian old enough to classify as "bachelor" and not just "single", and you want to be married, you are the problem. You are the reason you're not married. I say this knowing godly men who married late. If it wasn't a problem of sin, it was an error of judgment. I said it once before, but it bears repeating: if it wasn't a problem of sin, it was an error of judgment. Women want to marry. I have great sympathy for spinsters; they keep running into bachelors, and bachelors don't have their acts together.

All of this to say, marriage and wives are a great help to men in every arena, and especially sexually. In fact, they are our sexual fulfillment. Dilly-dallying is unacceptable, especially if you're complaining about how all the immodesty around you is bringing you down. Stand up, man, and gird your loins with armor of wife!

Once you're married, of course, you find that your wife can't magically keep you pure, although the atmosphere is certainly more conducive. I'll keep this bit short, since I went long on my anti-bachelor bit. Quick check: you got angry at your wife today; did you look at porn yesterday?

There are serious problems with lust that can require direct address and massive interventions; that is clearly understood. Putting those aside, and moving into the realm of daily struggles, married men ought to concern themselves less with the negative efforts of combating lust, and more to the positive work of tending to one's wife. Yes, there are sexual struggles in marriage, but whenever lust rears its head, husbands ought to think "tend to thy wife!"

And a quick return to responsibility: it is neither the dating profile's, nor the check-out girl's, nor your girlfriend's, nor your wife's fault you are struggling with lust. It is yours.

3. Your anger is unbecoming, you slut.

Look, dude. You're a man-whore. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.2"

She can't see your raging sexual sin, but you can see hers. Perhaps you're both virgins, but you both struggle with sexual sin. So she dresses immodestly while you fap in your basement. You are an adulterer, sir. Your anger is unbecoming. Those of us who know you well think it's ridiculous.

You blame her for your lust. People blame when they're angry. Think I'm getting all new age on you? If you look up the origin of "blaspheme" in the dictionary, it will say "Middle English blasfemen, from Late Latin blasphemare — more at blame." Blame comes from blaspheme, and the roots of the word blaspheme mean "injuring talk". We blame when we're angry. It would be embarrassing if we had to refer to the work of that devil Freud and talk about anger transference, wouldn't it? Do we think immodest women embarrass Christ and his Church? How well we play into anti-Christian narratives when we blame women for our own sin. Therefore be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, give no opportunity to the devil.

When it comes to your lust you are the one to blame. Proverbs alone gave you all you needed to avoid the pitfalls. But you failed, of course. So don't turn on your sister. Turn to Jesus.

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Name This Cocktail

Mes amis, I have created a cocktail. Now I need your help naming it. I'm posting a how-to video on my channel this Friday, but I'd like to do that with the drink's name firmly decided. I've already gotten some good suggestions on the YouTubes, but would love to have the blog-Facebook side of Giant readers represented as well.

It uses preserved lemons, which are both sweet and salty, with just a touch of bitter. The ingredients are vodka, crushed ice, sugar, soda water, and the preserved lemons, which are well-muddled. You can even make a dirty one of these by adding a bit of the brine. It's super refreshing, but pretty salty, which is fun.

Name ideas? Lay 'em on me.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Brief Post Against Yawping

Accept this offering of a few broken-up lines from Song of Myself.

"I CELEBRATE myself; And what I assume you shall assume;
For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you. 
I loafe and invite my Soul...

The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it is odorless;
It is for my mouth forever—I am in love with it...


The smoke of my own breath...
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs...

I and this mystery, here we stand.
  
Clear and sweet is my Soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my Soul."

Walt Whitman

______________________________________________________________

I am not the sort of person who yawps, and I would never ever ever sound a barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. Yes, I am tamed. I am translatable.

And so, for that matter, was our wonderfully hirsute Mr. Whitman, who along with the Transcendentalists he emulated, grew up in a garden but insisted on being seen as wild.

He was a man to whom all theories, myths, gods, bibles, accounts, and genealogies were true, "without exception". He was sure that no age, civilization, or morality was better than another, but was still willing to make moral and aesthetic judgments against those he disliked (he called spiritualism a "poor, cheap, crude humbug", which of course, it is).

People who do that are bitches. If someone you know behaves like that, you call him passive aggressive. Or Californian.

When Walt Whitman was yawping, or singing the body electric, or expressing whatever bold and barbaric ejaculation he chose, he was doing so in the Unitarian northeast. His yawps might have caused some newspaper controversy, but that is no controversy at all. Which he would have known, having been a reporter. Writing the stuff he did (which o heart! seems so bold) in Brooklyn and New Jersey, just south of and just after the Transcendentalists, is like Allen Ginsberg writing in New York many years later. So brave! Yes, as brave as any fashionable yawper could be, regardless of anti-sodomy or anti-yawping laws. Both were busy saying the right things while surrounded by the right people.

Here's a rule of thumb that I use in deciding whether a maker is worth any time. I pass it on to you now, to use in your reading and your writing: if a man spends all his time talking about how awesome he is, and not about how awesome the world is, his work is some slippy shit, and will bring you down.

And isn't that the current ethos? I celebrate myself and sing myself. But when all your world is you, then yawping from all the roofs of the world is utterly unimpressive. I dare to rewrite a line, and by this act ask you to forsake Whitman and his friends forever. Wouldn't you rather read a volume of poems that began with the line "I sing the world electric"?

If you hear Whitman, or Ginsberg, or Lana del Rey, or one of your beautiful young friends sounding a barbaric yawp from the roofs of your world, for God's sake, throw a shoe at him.

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