Wednesday, March 18, 2009


And which world is the world that I belong to?

The world where you are never what you seem

The world where people forget and ignore you

Because you bear no resemblance to who you are?

Or the world of make believe and masks

Of painting one’s face simply to be seen

To create a face for them to recognize

So maybe they’ll see beyond your disguise

Which world do I belong to

The unseen or the mis-seen

The fake and the forced

Or simply the ignored

Is there any in between?

I am not of either persuasion

To neither world do I belong

Though the pull of each is strong

I am myself, myself alone

My outside will betray my inside

Though I remain unknown

I will not create a false face

To grant myself effortless visibility

I will be myself

Who I was made to be

Not a mere shadow of a thing

Or some fake mannequin

I am an image bearer of the eternal God unchanging

I am his child, his creation

What I once was is behind me

Who I am to be before me

I will press on

That I may be a vessel, forgotten

In the wonder of the image I bear

That I might be a light

Shining in the darkness

Then will I be truly seen

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hi again!

So, my apologies for having postponed posting for so long. School has been really busy, and my life outside of that hasn't been exactly sane. There have been so many thoughts rolling around in my head that I couldn't even sort them out enough to write them down. The more I think and learn, the more I am convinced that there is so much that I don't know and don't understand. Even things that I thought I was certain of, that I knew inside and out have been discovered to be other than they seemed. Yay for chaos. I catch myself wondering if I will ever reach a point where I feel like I can see, where I can rest. I'm not entirely sure that I want to, because quite honestly, as tiring as all this is, it is quite fun. I am learning so much. Still, it might be nice to reach a place where I can catch my breath and take the time to catalog all the things that I am learning.

This semester we are reading about learning and knowledge. When I found out that the title of the semester was "On Learning and Knowledge", I thought it would be something like how we learn. Hah. well, I guess we did think about that a bit, but so far most of the semester has been about whether it is possible to learn anything or to know anything. Talk about confusing and mind bending. Oy. So far, we've read Plato's Meno, Aristotle's Metaphysics (only Zeta, thank wasn't in English, it was halfway between English and Greek--Eek, as the translator called it), Augustine's On the Teacher, Aquinas's On the Teacher, Descartes's Meditation on First Philosophy, Blaise Pascal' s Pensees, Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, and Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Really interesting reading, but quite a bit of it. It really is amazing to watch how things changed over time. Plato started out saying that we never learn anything entirely new, but that everything that we "learn" is simply being remembered from our past lives, and Locke says that we are a blank slate when we are born (tabula rossa) and our only source of knowledge is sensory. Hume takes this even further to question our ability to really know much of anything because he can't figure out how we make the intuitive leap to cause and effect. Right now I'm reading Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, and I think he's trying to solve that problem, but I haven't gotten far enough to tell (in fact, I have to finish reading him today...and that, of course, is why I am posting. Isn't procrastinating useful).

It is insane trying to stay sane while reading so much that calls into question the very basics of human reasoning and human identity. I'm still pretty sure that I believe what I did, but I am a bit less sure why. Or else more sure why, because I've seen the madness of the other side and that is part of why I believe what I believe. One thing that I realized is that the existentialist worldview is something that had bugged me for a really long time, but because I didn't know enough about it I couldn't quite figure out what it was that was driving me nuts. Last year, a couple of my friends and I wrote a paper trying to address the need for chivalry in our culture. We all could see where we were trying to go, but unfortunately, we couldn't quite put our finger on it (which led to a rather frustrating time writing that paper). Now, with all the reading we are doing about the basis of existentialism, I am realizing that that is part of what we are trying to attack. We were trying to come up with an alternative to Sartre's Nausea (which is basically about what happens when you truly believe existential skepticism). I'm still not quite sure where that takes me next, but I am sure it will...

Anyway, given the amount of Kant I have to read before I sleep, I think I will end this long and rambling post here...

Or perhaps here....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Note to Self: Drink More Water or, How to Find Out if Your Friends Really Love You

So, guess what I did last night?

I got my requisite hours in the ER out of the way.
I was sitting in class and suddenly realized that if I didn't lie down, the world was going to become very, very dark. So I spent the last twenty minutes of class lying on the floor, and then proceeded to spend the next hour and a quarter lying on the floor. After lots of figuring, we finally left for the ER, where we proceeded to spend the next several hours. Except for the whole being really sick and getting stuck with needles, and being thoroughly questioned, and the indignity of a hospital gown, it was great fun!

No, seriously: my friends are amazing. they hung out with me as I lay on the floor, brought me food, water and information, transported me to the ER, and transformed what is normally a horrific experience into something kinda fun.

Lets do this again sometime....

...or not.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

So, I was browsing through some files on my computer and I came across a paper that one of my friends posted a while back on his blog and thought that it would be nice to re-post it. So without further ado, I give you:

Submit Woman!

(The Decline of Manhood in Contemporary Society)

By Jason Vawter

With the peak of the feminist movement in the late seventies and the growing trend toward homosexuality, there has been a major shift away from gender based roles in society. In many eyes, there is no longer a need for “manhood” as defined traditionally and/or biblically. Furthermore, this concept of manhood is seen by many (both male and female) to be a veritable “thorn in the flesh” of the general trend toward complete equality of the genders. The term “manhood,” however is oft misunderstood and prejudged. Many times it is only seen in the light of male dominance. For Christians, there is always difficulty in dealing with how the Bible addresses this issue of equality between the genders in conjunction with their differences and similarities. Does the Bible endorse gender roles, and must one sex be greater than the other? In this grand and oftentimes convoluted concern, biblical integration of both female equality and submissiveness can only be addressed with a correct understanding and a humble as well as generous display of manhood through appropriate servant leadership.

First of all, the term Manhood:

Merriam‑Webster’s Dictionary defines manhood as “qualities associated with men” or “the condition of being an adult male as distinguished from a child or female.” However for the purposes of this discussion, John Piper’s description will serve even better. He offers this definition, “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.”(35) He uses the term “mature masculinity” in line with Moore when quoted by Mohler, who explains that manhood, “is not simply a matter of being male and reaching a certain age. These are acts of nature; manhood is a sustained act of character.” (Barbarians) In this day and age, it is obvious that some people don’t see manhood as being defined in this way. Some women have even become lesbian separatist: so fed up with a male dominated society that they strive to rid their company of anything but. In cases of a more acute nature, when a lesbian couple gives birth by artificial insemination to a male, the consequences can be extreme. One lady “even feared that her lesbian partner would leave her,” and later “their friends largely left them” because their house “exuded maleness.” What type of maleness could incur so much hate and aversion? Jess Wells, the lesbian writer of Lesbians Raising Sons, tells of doing everything in her power medically (referring to sperm selection) to keep from having a boy. When she found out that she was going to have a boy, her only consolation was this thought:

“My son cannot take me away from the struggle for women’s rights, nor can he force me to take an interest in anything that I don’t deem interesting. He cannot be my oppressor because he is my child, and he cannot be a second chance to relive my life because he has his own life. He and I will explore each other’s cultures, sharing what we can and respecting what we can’t…Both of us, respecting each other’s sovereignty, can rejoice in our foreignness and celebrate our diversity.” (Mohler FIRST)

This woman plainly points out what kind of maleness she (and others like her) wants to avoid. In her mind males are oppressors and tyrants forcing women to do things against their will. That is without a doubt the definition of male dominance, but it is starkly opposed to the definition of manhood given by Piper.

Now to Equality and Submission:

According to Wells’ quote above, equality means mutual and complete personal sovereignty and submission is seen only in the actions of a servant or a slave. There are two verses that are central in biblical teaching on these issues. Galatians 3:28 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This very evidently speaks on equality; the surrounding context speaks on coheir-ship and the similarities of childlike obedience even to slavery itself. So even when the New Testament speaks on equality, it seems to do so in the context of servant-hood, not sovereignty. Likewise, the most quoted passage of scripture when it comes to the differing roles of a husband and wife, Ephesians 5:21-33, is preceded with an exhortation to all believers to submit to one another. Therefore, rather than submission being the degrading task of a slave or a yard-dog, the Apostle Paul elevated it to the high calling of the very children of God.

Equality never necessitates there be no differences in the people being equated. A musician can be equally good at music as a baseball player is at playing his sport. Their separate proficiency would be a very difficult thing to measure and compare and relatively pointless at that, but no one should argue that the musician is a better person than the baseball player (or vice versa). Similarly, Johnson points out:

“We excel at different gifts, and all the gifts are needed. Let us hope that, by recognizing the existence of gender differences, we can better understand each other and help to maximize each other’s potentials. Likewise, by accepting our God-given gifts, we can resist cultural pressures to become what we are not, to seek to master gifts we don’t possess.” (Piper 293)

Compare that to this quote from Mathews, a pro-feminist writer, on what he believes to be the anti-feminist reasoning’s:

Feminists had defiled women by attempting to force equality upon them whether wanted or not. Antifeminist women were saying in essence, “You have done men’s work. Fine, if you can do it. You have invaded men’s clubs, although it hardly seems worth the effort. And you have become, in effect men. Since you have already achieved what you want without ERA [Equal Rights Amendment], there must be some secret agenda that we women don’t know about. But we can guess. The only think left is to change the traditional norms of behavior so that you can become the model of what women out to do and be. You mean to make us like you, that is, like men. You have defiled us!” (166)

This seems to be a fair paraphrase of anti-feminist women’s reasoning except in one sense. The words “force equality” do not resonate with that line of thinking. One would be hard-pressed to find a woman, or any person for that matter, who doesn’t want to be considered equal in worth or value to the rest of humanity. This quote shows Mathews firmly believes that in order to be equal one must be devoid of difference. He is right that anti-feminist women don’t want to be forced into the same standards of performance as men, but wrong in thinking that these same women don’t see themselves as equals with their male counterparts. “Equal” does not have to mean “completely similar to.” Roles can still differ.

It is apparent that Wells could not in anyway endorse the combination of the two traits: equality and submission. To her the answer is either-or, but one must wonder, why does she see it this way? It seems that she and countless other women like her have seen a grand pattern of male dominance and a tragic lack of godly manhood.

Servant Leadership?

Men must be leaders. However, once again, a definition is needed. John Piper points out that leadership must be exorcised in many different ways. Here are a select few of his points on leadership that will assist this argument:

·1 Leadership never “demands to be served,” but to the contrary, takes the initiative to be the servant.

·2 Correct leadership does not “presume superiority,” but instead does it’s best to utilize the strengths of those it serves.

·3 A man should not feel compelled to be the sole initiator (leader); however, though the woman should have plenty of say in every issue (and should be allowed opportunities to lead), it would be a disservice to her to be forced to take initiative out of apathy and a lack of gumption on his part.

·4 As always, a good leader doesn’t tyrannically push and shove, but instead gently provides guidance and precedents to follow. (37-42)

Furthermore, a good leader offers solutions and choices but doesn’t impose them on those who chose to follow him. Piper closes his section on leadership with this point: “Mature masculinity recognizes that the call to leadership is a call to repentance and humility and risk-taking.” (41) Correct leadership is not easy because it is servant-hood. It is a service provided. Whether or not this opportunity to be served is taken up by the woman should continually be her choice. Male leadership that is forced upon a female is male dominance, not servant-hood.


In response to biblical evidence, Sanday considers even the Bible itself to be an example of patriarchal tyranny. She considers the early church leaders (whom she points out to have been all male) to have unfairly and systematically squelched the Gnostic tradition that was just as biblically sound as the traditions of orthodox Christians. She sites The Gospel of Phillip, The Dialogue of the Savior, The Apocryphon of John, and The Gospel of Mary as examples of Gnostic beliefs about the role of women in the church. She believes very adamantly that these books were excluded from the cannon mostly for their pro-feminine qualities. (227-231) The original canonization councils gave many other, more persuasive reasons for the books’ exclusion which they considered to be much more pressing. The pattern she speaks of in church leadership however is clearly that of male dominance and not that of servant leadership. Her problem isn’t with male servant-leadership, but with a perceived tyranny of the male gender within the church (and elsewhere). Lesbian separatists also speak of a patriarchal society dominated by male leadership that is completely against the advancement of women in any form (Mohler FIRST), but once again, this is male dominance, not servant leadership.

If there had been correct, servant leadership by responsible males, the issue of feminine equality wouldn’t be an issue. Females cry out for equality because the males they work with don’t have a correct understanding of servant leadership. Many men in America today often go to one of two extremes as pointed out by Mohler, they tend to be either “barbarians” or “wimps.” Barbarians have little consideration for the female gender. They “demonstrate a crudeness, profanity, and violence that treats women merely as objects for sexual pleasure. Barbarians show women no respect, and are completely lacking in the manly virtues of protection and respect for the well being of women.” (Barbarians) These seem to be the type of males that the feminists are mainly against (though they often find many other fault-full men), and rightly so. This attitude flies in the face of Christianity and any red-blooded female as well. However, the type of male that the feminists seem to approve of the most (or have the least objections towards), is one that stands for nothing. Mohler quotes Moore’s description of wimps: “whiny, incapable of making decisions, and in general of ‘acting like men.’” Why do feminist seem to like this type of male? Wimps constantly “look to women for emotional support, consider girlfriends to be conversational partners, and look to women for pity.” (Barbarians) In general this seems good—a fine improvement—but it is still lacking something. What happens when a woman looks to this man for emotional support? He can’t give it. He “is always looking for the easiest way out of a problem.” (Mohler Barbarians) So what is left?

The Gentleman:

A gentleman has to stand between these two types, firmly grounded in a correct understanding of “manhood.” He knows what true equality is. He understands that equals are almost never completely devoid of difference. He would never expect a woman to do a “man’s job,” but would be more than willing to give her that opportunity, if she wanted. In a personal relationship of any level (intimate or casual), the gentleman would do his best to lead the woman in a way that she would be comfortable following. As a servant leader, he must look out for her first and himself last. He would protect her interests, her safety, her purity, her emotional well-being, and most especially her relationship with God. He would do this at the cost of his own interests and desires. A true Christianly gentleman in a deeply committed, intimate relationship with a woman would sacrifice most anything but his own walk with God for her benefit. When a leader strives to be worthy of the task of leadership, his team is much more willing to support him and follow his lead. This is true in any leader/team relationship; how much more so in the most important and team of them all: a team that was instituted by God Himself.

But why Male Leadership?

A marriage, or any committed, two-person relationship for that matter, is undoubtedly a team of sorts with a leader and a follower. This is seen easily even in gay and lesbian relationships; though the two consider themselves fully equal, one generally leads and the other generally follows. This is easily seen in the existence of “butchish” women and effeminate men. In these gay situations, who leads? For lack of a better term, the more “manly” of the two. This has been the pattern from the beginning. Some believe that man’s “dominance” over women was Eve’s part of the curse, during the fall. Ortlund states that, “It follows, in this view, that a woman’s redemption in Christ releases her from the punishment of male headship.” So if “male headship” was part of the curse, then why did God make them “male and female”? (Gen. 1:27) He did not have to make the difference of gender; humans could have been asexual beings: both completely equal to one another and completely similar. But He did. In Ortlund’s essay, he points out the following:

·1 God created Adam first and gave Adam charge over the garden.

·2 When the fall happened, God went to Adam first.

·3 It was clearly Adam’s responsibility to take care of the garden and keep it in order.

·4 Adam, the first and only male, had the sole leadership role. (95-112)

However, Ortlund is also uses the pre- and post-fall episodes to carefully point out the inherent equality between male and female. He states this, “They [man and woman] are spiritually equal, which is quite sufficient a basis for mutual respect between the sexes. But the very fact that God created human beings in the dual modality of male and female cautions us against an unqualified equation of the two sexes,” (emphasis is mine, though he adds it later). (99) He goes to great pains to point this out, later stating, “There is no necessary relation between personal role and personal worth,” (emphasis his). (111)

As a wise friend pointed out, “Either way, in a team of two, one person is going to end up being more of a leader; why shouldn’t it be the one God intended all along?” Doesn’t this make since? But once again, it can never be correctly realized without a mutual understanding of the full equality of the genders. Both man and woman are completely equal, while at the same time completely different.


Without an understanding of what a true gentleman should embody, there can be no understanding or apprehension of the idea of submission. The Bible never instructs women to submit to “barbarians.” And submission means nothing unless both manhood and leadership are defined. It is only once these terms are grasped and their false ill-connotations rejected, that the biblical perspective can rightly fall into place and men can stand up and be the men that God has called them to be.

Works Cited

Holy Bible, New International Version. International Bible Society, 1984. Gospel Communications International. 23 Oct. 2005 .

Mathews, Donald G. Sex, Gender, and the Politics of ERA : a State and the Nation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Merriam‑Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam‑Webster, Incorporated, 2005. MERRIAM‑WEBSTER ONLINE. 23 Oct. 2005 .

Mohler, R. Albert. “Barbarians and Wimps: America’s Boy Problem” Commentary by R. Albert Mohler. 12 July 2004. 19 Oct. 2005 .

Mohler, R. Albert. “FIRST‑PERSON: Lesbians raising sons; got a problems with that?” BPNews 30 Dec. 2004. 20 Oct. 2005 .

Piper, John, and Wayne Grudem, eds. Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991.

Sanday, Peggy Reeves. Female Power and Male Dominance : on the Origins of Sexual Inequality. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Calling All Heroes *Spoiler Warning*

(btw, the spoilers are for the movie Hancock)

I just watched a movie tonight, and it really made me think. One of the over arching themes was the idea that if we don’t ‘fess us and do what we are made to do, we will be miserable. Failure is not an option, and incompetence in no excuse. If we are called to change the world for the better, it doesn’t matter if we are a superhero, or a business person, or a failing PR person. In this movie, one character is a PR guy who is trying desperately to change the world. He is failing miserably, but in general, he has a happy life. And then there is the superhero with all the power he could want, but he spends his life drunk, and instead of being adored by the city he (sorta) protects, he is hated and rejected by them. When these two very different lives collide, one of the things that the PR guy says to the superhero is that he will never be happy unless he does what he was made to do, save people. Slowly, with the help and encouragement of the PR guy and the adoration of the PR guy’s son, the superhero learns what it means to be a human being, to value others and show them respect, how to be valued and respected in return. Because of their compassion and care for him, he learns how to respect himself, to stop hating himself. Later in the film, he is mortally wounded and both he and the woman that he was made to protect and love are dying. If they move further apart, their powers will return, and they will recover. But he is wounded, damaged almost beyond recognition. Somehow, he finds the strength to do what he was made to do, and he drags himself to his feet and slowly totters to the window and jumps out, knowing that that distance just might saver her. He discovers as he is falling through the air that he still doesn’t have the power to fly and plummets to the ground. With great effort, he picks himself up and launches himself through the air, only to plummet to the ground yet again. Yet despite this repeated failure, he doesn’t give up, he doesn’t just stay there, he keeps going, and eventually saves both her and himself. The movie ends with both men changing the world, and both living happy and contented (although not easy) lives.

We live in a culture that tells men to be predators, tells them that is all that they are, that that is what they were made to be. “Men are pigs,” I hear it all the time. IT’S A LIE. Yeah, it isn’t easy to get out there and be what you were made to be, but it is a whole lot more satisfying than living the easy life of the exact opposite. Men are not pigs. They were made to be protectors, kings, heroes. True, when they are not what they are made to be they become predators, despotic dictators and brigands, but that is not what they are made to be. Please, stop believing the lie that all you are is a monster, that all you are is good for nothing, that all you are is worthless. It’s not true. You are the precious creation of God Almighty, who formed you for a purpose, who equipped you to fulfill your purpose. The world needs you to step up and be who you were made to be. We need men to lead our country, to fight for our country, to fight for our dignity, to fight for our very souls. We need boys to grow up, to chose to mature, to step out of the realm of videogames and into the real world, to start building their own character instead of their virtual characters. We need you.

And this goes for women too. Step up and be women, not whiny little girls and wannabe guys. We need to encourage the guys around us to be men of honor, courage and character. We need to give them something worth fighting for. We need to protect their backs instead of shooting them down, appreciate the effort it takes for them to be gentlemen instead of asserting our equality by not allowing them to be gentlemen. We need to respect them, and demonstrate our respect for them. We need to be women of character, courage, and honor. We need to be willing to do our part in changing the world.

In the end, what is comes down to is this: we were each made for a purpose. We desperately need to figure out what that is, and to do it. Otherwise, it will destroy our very souls.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bah! Humbug!

I hate endings. I know that if nothing ever ends, there can be no new beginnings, and we would miss so much, but be that as it may, I hate endings like the plague. Maybe it is just that I am so very tired from the last big push of the semester, but the end of this semester seems so much harder than last year. Saying goodbye to my friends is so much more heartrending than it was last year. I have the comfort of knowing that I will see them again, but...that won't be for a while, and in the meantime, my life gets turned upside down and shaken. A rather extremely unpleasant feeling if I do say so myself, and much more so now that I am no longer used to it. When I was younger, I got quite good at dealing with moving all the time, at learning to attach and unattach and reattach and unattach myself to people and places. I was very adept at making my home where ever I was, or where ever I happened to have left my stuff, or where ever the people I cared about were. But now, well, I'm out of practice. I've gotten used to being here, used to being with this set of people, used to caring deeply about these people. Ripping myself away hurts. A lot. And this is different. I'm not leaving people behind, I am being left behind. I know I'm coming back, but last year taught me that it will never be the same. It isn't like when I was a kid and we were simply yo-yo's going back and forth between homes and people often enough that whatever changes there were were gradual. No, when we come back in the fall, we won't be the same, and it will take us an entire semester, give or take a bit, to get to know each other again. The friendships we have now may be better, may be worse in the future, but they will never be just what they are now, and they will have to be rebuilt after this separation. Somehow, this ending leaves me feeling lost, and feeling that I lost something that I didn't know how much to treasure until it was gone. As each of my friends leave, they take a piece of my heart with them, and as I drive away tomorrow, I will leave a piece of my heart behind. Having pieces ripped out of one's heart and scattered far and wide is rather unpleasant. I hate endings, or at least...I hate this one.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

So, I am sorry for my longish absence from the
here has been rather lacking in time. I have an archery tournament in
two weeks, so almost all of my spare time has been going into practice
or recovering from practice. For some reason, after five hours
straight at the range I was exhausted. Oh yeah, and then there is that
little thing called school...and I do occasionally want to spend time
with not much time for posting...

Anyway, I would
really appreciate prayer the next couple of weeks. I have a lot of
practicing to get in, and I really do need to make sure that I don't
get behind on school, and I would like to actually get some sleep...
Also, my dog is pretty sick right really sick...