There are women who don’t demand control.
I’ve gotten more than one response to my post on the Bitch Goddess. The post was aimed at the Satanic corruption of womanhood, not womanhood itself. The Lord made woman from the same flesh as man and you can’t have one without the other. And there are most certainly things women should run for their men, because men can be quite incompetent at some tasks.
Even the best of men are distracted by their own callings from God, but it doesn’t excuse anything approaching the Western masculine misogyny. That was part of my point: Western culture has created an image of men built on the effects of the Curse of the Fall. Traditional Western manhood is evil, indeed.
The biblical model is hardly quite what Israel made of it, either. Jesus condemned the Talmudic position that made women mere chattel. As noted often on this blog, the Law of Moses was not universal; it was for those people, that place, that time. Those people came out of a bad context for women. Thus, the Law of Moses elevated women substantially over neighboring cultures. Jesus took it even farther and gave them unprecedented authority within the marriage covenant.
So the thing we seek in the balance between man and woman has no absolute definition. Biblical Law is a moral relationship, not a bunch of principles. Within each social context in human history, there is always a distance between where the folks are versus where they ought to be. Right now, we have a serious problem with Western feminism, but the primary issue is that it is Western.
Not every pagan deity is inherently evil; it’s a question of whether the mythology and worship threatens shalom. Under the Covenant of Moses there was no room for any pagan religion. However, that wasn’t the issue with pagan neighbors within their own societies. The Hebrew experience with Canaanite Astarte worship included temple prostitutes, and there is no way to put a good spin on that. The Canaanite intrusion into the Hebrew society was the problem. Sex outside the marriage covenant is evil, period.
But for all the problems Israel had with such things, there were also male homosexual temple prostitutes (“dogs”) who were considered even worse. But perhaps the most pernicious outsider pagan influence on Hebrew culture came from the various cults of Baal. The array of images of Baal constituted a horrible influence on Hebrew manhood. What made it so difficult was that the idolatry of Baal included a lot of ritual that was also found in the worship of Jehovah. That’s because both drew from the same broad cultural background and protocols for dealing with important and powerful men.
However, the Canaanites were uniquely perverse and morally filthy and God condemned all the Canaanites to death for a very good reason. That Israel failed to carry out this command is part of why they ultimately failed as a nation. They corrupted the witness of God’s truth, so He had to send His Son to die on the Cross to get that message across. You’ll notice that only Israel was expected to obey Moses. And plenty of allies were known to worship other deities without sparking any kind of conflict. They agreed on the terms to honor each other’s commitment to their own gods.
Once again: You will find elements of divine truth in a lot of places outside proper worship of Jehovah. The local Canaanites were pushy about their perverse cults, doing their best to suck Israel into it. The primary temptation of Baal worship was the familiarity of ritual and some of the symbolism. Baal worship was loaded with parables, as was that of Astarte. All otherworldly truth is transmitted properly via parables. Nothing you can state factually can cover the Spirit Realm. Any scholarly awareness of pagan religions and mythology, particularly those arising from the Ancient Near East, requires you understand the vast amount of common background they all share with the Old Testament.
All truth is God’s truth. But if you then settle on some pagan religion for that reason, and it causes you to distort or desert Jehovah, I have little sympathy for your choice. There has only ever been one God and Creator of all things. His only Son, Jesus Christ, was His ultimate revelation. Everything else is just a bad understanding of His revelation. In Christ there is no room for pagan idolatry. At the same time, I won’t harass you for pursuing some other religion.
Yes, we have made progress, in both good and evil in our civilizations since the Fall. Moses doesn’t fit our world, but his writing does point us back to the Father of all things. Jesus also ministered and taught within a historical context, seriously tightening the soft parts of Moses, and we can see how the rest of the New Testament built on that foundation.
We can also see how some parts of those New Testament letters arise from a specific context, so that the precise teaching may be difficult to match with our lives today. I don’t pretend that what I believe and practice based on my best understanding of that teaching is appropriate for everyone. There is no universal religion possible to meet all human need. That’s what the Tower of Babel was all about; we are supposed to be divided into thousands of little tribes and associate between tribes only as our human existence makes it possible within the context. Otherwise, we should all have varying customs, rituals and even varying theology. Following Christ can take on a lot of human variation.
I know what I’m called to do, and make no apology for that. Feel free to join or not, or to stay and then move on as you feel led. You are not me and I am not you. Take what you can use and serve God as you know Him. Meanwhile, I’m going to call it as I see it, and you should do the same. If we can agree enough, let’s fellowship. If not, let’s stay out of each other’s way. Nobody knows the whole story except our Creator. The best we can hope for is a solid sense of assurance about our own individual calling and mission, a sense of peace with God that you are accountable to Him first.
The mission here is to develop an approach to religion, not a religion in itself. My religion insists that you need to come up with your own religion. There should be enough room in our Radix Fidem covenant that we can share a lot of faith-driven activity and chatter without rubbing each other raw. This blog is just one virtual parish within a much larger space, so you need not confine yourself to my weirdness to belong to Radix Fidem. Everyone’s welcome to this parish, but it means you’ll have to tolerate me. If that’s too much, go and build your own ministry and make your appeal to the wider community at the forum. That forum isn’t supposed to be just the Kiln of the Soul parish, but the wider Radix Fidem community.
If you join us in dumping Western Civilization, as our covenant openly requires, then I don’t see how you can cling to American style feminism and the resulting political agenda. I also don’t see how you can support the American masculine backlash. There are elements in feminist doctrine that we frankly agree with, as we do with their antagonists, but I take particular exception to the feminist demand for what amounts to compulsory socialism/communism in economics and social policy. Against this I am willing myself to take up arms and fight, but I’m just about as likely to pull the trigger on necons, for that matter. What hinders me is not a question of whether I can get away with it, or whether I could join with others of the same resolve. It’s a question of whether my convictions demand it in any given context. Right now: No way. Unless God provides a path that my convictions recognize, I’m letting it all pass by me.
But in this climate, I trust precious few women I encounter in this world. It’s not that they can’t move from a bad place to a better understanding, but that God has laid down standards for me in how I operate. I’m friendly to everyone; I am a self-deprecating clown among my fellow humans. Still, I seldom give strangers any actual information about me. My experience has told me that I’m a very long way from most people culturally, and it takes time and interaction before I can discern how I should relate to them, women in particular. Too many really bad things have come into my life from being careless around women. It’s not so much that they are evil, but the Devil is too deeply involved in America and has spoiled things. I treat very few American women as part of my faith family.
So, for example, I am very stand-offish with women who expose too much flesh. I stay away from public pools and such. The same goes with any form of immodesty, such as form-hugging clothing. I’ll talk to most kids in my path because I know how (having been a public school teacher), but I don’t seek their company unless they express a strong desire to be near me. The key issue is people who feel drawn to me; I try to discern why. Anything like flirtation or adulation is a real put-off for me. While physical proximity may not be within my control, I’m often reserved until the Lord says it’s show time.
As things get more crazy and tribulation deepens, the polarity between people I’m called to serve and those who are a problem will become more pronounced, while fewer and fewer will be simply part of the context.