A Theology of Resistance for Florists

One of the things made apparent by the case of Baronelle Stutzman in Washington State is that we are to be allowed our convictions about same-sex mirage, but only if we can find a place to store them. You see all the storage bins have been nationalized and are now public property, and so all the contents have to conform the current policy of these United States, which holds, among other things, that the anus is now a sex organ. It follows from this that if you know it isn’t, having had biology in high school, then these aberrant and blasphemous thoughts of yours must never be expressed or even hinted at within a fifty foot radius of anyone who might be offended. What if you said something about this, and there were a drag queen nearby? Nothing worse than having a drag queen clutch at her pearls.

After you get to Heaven, you can take out these deep religious convictions and show them to God. So sorry. At that time, the public policy of these United States won’t care about any of this anymore because all these homo-regs of ours will at that time be found in a huge column of smoke ascending from Babylon the Great. But we don’t like to think about that too much, so for the time being you Christians had just better shut up.

So the Attorney General of Washington is going after Baronelle Stutzman in order to make an example of her. In the uproar that followed, everything broke down the way you might expect. The people who think that the gummint is just a gaggle of bullies with guns who hate freedom have one more reason for thinking so. And those people who think that the government, correct spelling please, is powered entirely by pure thoughts will continue to think that. Look at them fight for mutual acceptance!

But what about those Christians who ought to know better? The striking thing is that now that we have come to the pressure point, where taking a stand for Christ might actually cost you something, we are seeing a lot of theological ingenuity (of all kinds) being expended by Christians who don’t want to do the obvious thing that must be done. From the kid glove treatment that Tim Keller gives it, to the retreat and surrender option served up by Russell Moore, to the confused muddles of leftist anabaptism (never judge the world outside the church for things like same sex mirage; always judge the world for being chintzy with the EBT cards), to the retreat to commitment orchestrated by First Things, all done to flourishing bugles to make it seem like a cavalry charge, we see the same thing over and over again, which is refusal to engage.

The sophisticati among us almost never engage, which is why some pert Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader is closer to the kingdom than is some gender-sensitive lit prof at Wheaton College. Who is more likely to sign a petition to prevent pervs from being allowed to use the girls’ restroom? Ah.

Don’t ever do anything that might get you sympathetic treatment on Fox News. That would reveal you to be a rube and cornpone, and everybody knows that rubes and cornpones cannot be nuanced theologians. And, by the way, continuing with the point made in the previous paragraph, Fox News, with all its glaring faults and big busty blondes, is still closer to the kingdom than certain theologies that have the word kingdom in their tagline.

Ambrose Bierce, in his Devil’s Dictionary, described a certain kind of valor — the kind we have on tap among smart evangelicals — in this way.

“Why have you halted?” roared the commander of a division at Chickamauga, who had ordered a charge; “move forward, sir, at once.”

“General,” said the commander of the delinquent brigade, “I am persuaded that any further display of valor by my troops will bring them into collision with the enemy.”

This is why we see so many of the evangelical intelligentsia (sic) doing what intelligentsioids do best — which is to flake. In the meantime, even though it feels like the Alamo redux, the task of upholding the moral order of Scripture and Christendom falls to bakers, photographers, and arrangers of flowers. This is a true occasion for having mixed emotions — being deeply proud of our ordinary foot soldiers and profoundly ashamed of our leadership.

I wish I could do more, but here are just a few practical theological observations for the ordinary Christian, still at his beleaguered post, wondering why headquarters won’t respond to repeated pleas for air support. Ordinary Christians would be justified in feeling the same way that ordinary Ukrainians do when they pleaded for aid against the Russian invasion, and Obama sent them extra socks to help get them through the winter. Winter wasn’t the problem.

1. One of charges made against you is that you are just one more bigot, trying to resist the march of progress. A generation ago, white restaurants would not seat blacks, and here you are, supposedly playing the same role. But such bigotries back then were a sin, just like sodomy is today. When a Christian merchant today refuses to help celebrate iniquity, he is not a restaurant manager refusing to seat blacks; rather, he is a restaurant manager refusing to seat the Grand Kleegle Wizard of the KKK, just back from a cross burning and feeling a mite peckish. There is no generic sin called “refusal to seat.” Who? Why? These issues cannot be sorted out apart from a fixed standard of right and wrong, and we cannot have that apart from God’s revealed Word in Scripture.

2. The issue is not the sale of goods to sinners, but rather the celebration of sin with sinners. If you were a graphics design guy, and a homosexual came in and asked for an ad for his new restaurant, you should have no problem designing his ad for him. If he wanted you to design the ad for his new bathhouse, you would have a problem. You would have the same issues designing an ad for a heterosexual whorehouse. You do not want your expertise in making things look attractive and winsome to be used in making iniquity look attractive and winsome. The reason these particular professions have become the battleground is that homosexual activists are demanding, not our co-participation in the same economy, but rather our approval. They will not stop until they have that approval, and we should rather die than give it.

3. All societies have unquestioned axioms, certain beliefs held in common. As de Tocqueville put it, without such a common belief a society cannot exist, “for without ideas held in common there is no common action, and without common action there may still be men, but there is no social body” (p. 8). Our ruling elites are in the midst of trying to change a foundational American axiom of liberty to the alternative foundational secularist axiom of universal tolerance. It will do you no good to appeal to the former while they are busy trying to supplant it with the latter. They don’t feel bad denying such appeals; their goal is to deny such appeals. We need to resist them, which is not the same thing as appealing to them. Our appeal is to God.

In addition, the one thing that universal tolerance cannot abide is any denial of universal tolerance, which is why dissenters are put down with such ferocity. But this means the longer you stay on the field, the worse it is for them. So stay on the field, and pray for Baronelle Stutzman.

Why We Need More of Moore, and Also Less of Moore, More or Less

We live in a time of great cultural blessing, by which I mean that God is no longer permitting us to talk nonsense, at least not without that fact becoming manifest to all and sundry. Secular man is just standing there, shivering in his skivvies, listening to the imperious demands of Muslim clerics on the one hand, and the imperious demands of poofter pride on the other.

These conflicting demands are God’s way of using current events to run a reductio ad absurdum on us. Thus far, we are continuing to embrace all the absurdities, as we are able, in the hope that no one will notice.

When this kind of thing happens, it reveals all our hidden assumptions and secret commitments. This most recently happened to Russell Moore, who was trying to respond to the actions of Chief Justice Roy Moore. The feds are despotically trying force homo-mirage on a nation that does not want it, and Roy Moore instructed the judges in his state to disregard the illegal actions of the feds.

What happens when you ignore the woman's touch . . .

The kind of kitsch you get when you ignore the woman’s touch . . .

What Russell Moore did was say that judges should either comply with the federal requirement, or resign their office. Quoting from the article . . .

“Russell Moore, a national official charged with representing Southern Baptists’ beliefs with regard to culture and public policy, told Baptist Press any judge who ‘could not discharge the duties of his office required by law’ because of objections of conscience ‘would need to resign and protest it as a citizen.’

He said that there is a role for civil disobedience, but not for ‘judges and state Supreme Court justices … in their roles as agents of the state.'”

Before addressing the glaring problem here, we need to note the foundational moral compromise already present in this. He does not say that judges must resign, period. He says that judges must resign rather than protest in an official capacity, but not that they must resign rather than authorize a same-sex mirage. You may be okay with that. You must not be okay with defying the state. What this illustrates is that Russell Moore is a statist. He wants to stand for biblical principle, just so long as unbiblical people have given him permission to.

I said earlier that this kind of situation reveals hidden assumptions. What Roy Moore is doing, while many soi disant defenders of traditional values are pulling their skirts away from him, is an almost perfect example of the Protestant doctrine of the lesser magistrate. What we need is a thousand more men like Roy Moore.

You New Around Here?

We have some truly encouraging news from Alabama on the same sex mirage front, but before getting to a defense of all that, I would like to dispatch the developing meme that this is just the desegregation battle all over again.

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened. A federal judge struck down Alabama’s same sex mirage ban, and yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court denied Alabama’s request to have that action put on hold. The Supremes are due to hear arguments in a couple of months about same sex mirage nationwide. So after this latest outrage, at the urging of the chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, Roy Moore, the majority of Alabama counties are refusing to comply with this tyrannical order.

So, a generation ago, there was a showdown between Alabama and the Feds over segregated schools, when Alabama leaders defied federal orders to desegregate their schools. And the meme is that this is just “history repeating itself.”

But strip away all the additional complicating factors, which are always there, a generation ago Alabama was being pressured to quit doing the wrong thing. Now they are being pressured to quit doing the right thing. A generation ago, the Feds had the moral high ground. Now the Feds are actively campaigning for the normalization of sexual perversion, which is not, you might take care to note, the moral high ground.

Right? Wrong? These are odd words, stranger. You new around here?

Look. Racial bigotry is a sin. Sexual perversion is a sin. The fact that the respective players in these two battles were and are Alabama and the Federal Government is completely beside the point. Those who glibly point to that as though it settles everything are like those who think that a son who once participated in an intervention over his mother’s alcoholism has thereby earned the right, twenty years later, to pressure her into committing tax fraud. No, no. Let’s go over this carefully. Drunkenness is a sin. Fraud is a sin. They are both sins. Whoever is championing the sin is the sinner.

Now, that settled, we should make a point of applauding the heroic resistance being mounted against our tyrants, who, not content with being perverts themselves, want to promulgate their licentiousness with a club. Nine counties in Alabama have complied. The majority of counties, 46, have gone on strike, refusing to issue any marriage licenses at all. Twelve counties are refusing to issue licenses to same-sex parodies.

Madison, in Federalist 47, said this about tyranny:

“The accumulation of all powers, Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

The essence of tyranny is not found in goose-stepping soldiers, missile parades, or dictatorial mirror glasses. The essence of tyranny is found in consolidated and arbitrary power. That power has taken shape in our grasping and overweening federal government, and once tyranny has gotten to these levels, the only way to deal with it is by means of active resistance.

We should want to choose the point of resistance carefully, and this situation in Alabama seems almost ideal for it. All the issues of right and wrong should be immediately graspable by ordinary people. There should be defined lines of resistance. There should be lesser magistrates who are willing to uphold the law, resisting the subversion of law from above. And once we have those elements, there should be simple defiance, sweet defiance. Just say no. Try and make us.

So I would encourage Christians all over the country to support what is going on there, actively, openly, and energetically. Start by dismissing those who say that Roy Moore is a “firebrand.” Not at all. He is just a free man, and we don’t see many of them anymore. We are not sure what they are supposed to look like any more.

And as you mediate on these things, here is a little Orwell for you. “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Enlightening the Silly Women

The path of feminism has been a straight one, like the flight of an arrow. It has gone straight from women’s liberation to handcuffs by the bed. You’ve come a long way, baby.

Those whose ideas about individual sexual liberty are formed best while galloping with the herd are in for a real treat this Valentine’s Day. 50 Shades of Grey is due to be released to a breathless audience of sexual goobers. And that, incidentally, is no small feat — it is somewhat difficult for mouth breathers to be breathless like that.

Here on the right you may see that the Vermont Teddy Bear company has even gotten in on the action, manufacturing a gray little teddy bear with a sharp silk necktie and handcuffs. Nothing says “be my Valentine” like a little gray teddy bear with twisted desires. I was provoked by this image to go and watch the trailer for 50 Shades, which I did as my pastoral duty. The stupid, it burns.50 Shades Teddy

In that trailer, Anastasia Steele, a mousy little nobody, asks Christian Grey, a demented but steely-eyed business magnate, to “enlighten” her. What does that mean? I will tell you what it means! It means that some dim bulb winds up tied to a bed! Yay!

Yay? This is consensual, right? Well, says the secularist eroti-despot, whip in hand, “I can tell you that for now if it makes you feel any better. We just do the consensual rape fantasies now as a catechetical preparation for the real thing later.”

It is as though the makers of this movie hired a team of biblical scholars to give them an outline of their target demographic.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:1–7).

So if you see a long line at that theater, or if you read a news story about how much they raked in on their opening weekend, just let that biblical phrase tell you everything you need to know about our enlightened and egalitarian times — “silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.”

50 Shades of Prey

Since our liberated era is busy gearing up for the Valentine’s Day release (!) of 50 Shades, a celebration of misogyny by people who think they know better, I thought I should repost a couple of links. One is to my HuffPo piece on this whole travesty called 50 Shades of Prey. The other is called Cloacina, Goddess of Sewers, which provides something of a round-up of some of the sexual hysterics that this kind of thing is capable of producing.

The Politics of Sodomy II: Not Whether, But Which

Introduction:

In many respects, we are like a man who lives in a house that is increasingly cluttered and trashed. When the day finally arrives when it becomes obvious that he must do something, it is equally obvious at the same time, that he has no idea what to do, or where to start. He is overwhelmed at the magnitude of the problem. It is the same with us as we consider the politics of sodomy. We want to put things right. Where do we go to begin? Do we go back to the sixties? The New Deal? The War Between the States? The Enlightenment? And the answer is yes.

The Text:

“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad (Matt. 12:25-30).

Background:

Jesus is speaking in the first place about the kingdoms of God and Satan respectively. He had been accused of fighting Satan even though His accusers said He was really on Satan’s side. Jesus responds by saying that a house divided cannot stand, and so Satan would not be so foolish as to do that (vv.25-26). Jesus goes on to say if His power over Beelzebub was a demonic power, then what power was being used by His adversaries’ children (v. 27)? But if Jesus was empowered by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God really had come to them (v. 28). And, continuing the argument, if the kingdom of God has come, why should anyone be surprised that the strong man’s house was being pillaged? The strong man was bound, wasn’t he? And then Jesus says what we all need to hear—one who is not with Christ is against Christ. One who does not gather with Christ is attempting to scatter (v. 30).

Feminist Rape Constructs

Let us first review the facts.

Mount Holyoke College is an all-women’s college that recently began admitting male students who self-identify as female. And then, in a spasm of self-righteousness, there was a successful student-led effort to get a college performance of The Vagina Monologues cancelled because that play was insufficiently sensitive to those women who were vagina-less. We know that such creatures exist because we recently began admitting them to our college.

At American colleges, The Vagina Monologues is traditionally — ah, tradition! — performed on Valentine’s Day because, and this is important to note, American colleges generally don’t have a clue. But, and this is also important to note, if ever you think that this vapid cluelessness has disappeared down Alice’s rabbit hole forever, up it pops again later, right in your news feed, still chattering at us about gender constructs.

So then, speaking of gender constructs, let us pursue the will of the sexual revolution all the way out to the end. Unless it is endless, of course, but we can still make some pretty good time. I think. After a while you lose track because the outer darkness doesn’t keep their mile markers maintained very well. And the roads are really bad.

The Vagina Monologues — that sexist throwback to earlier misogynistic times — was performed the way it was by the thoughtless feminist minions in order “to raise awareness of gender-based violence.” But if we have now gotten to the place in our absurdist theater review where we are laboring to avoid offending all the women-without-vaginas out there, I don’t know why we shouldn’t follow this to the utter frozen limit. We need to recognize that some rapists self-identify as tender, sensitive, and thoughtful caregivers. What is more of a social construct than violence? We need to raise awareness of that, people.

Different Kinds of Flies

I recently wrote a piece on marriage and sexuality that included this:

“12. What is the most important word in the marriage vows?

In our time, because of the peculiar form our disobedience has taken, the most important word is obey. And it is the most important word whether or not it is included in the vows. Like a father who has abandoned his family, that word can dominate through its absence.”

Since this kind of thing is almost guaranteed to cause a Facebook Freakout, which it did, not to mention a series of comments from the peculiar kind of misery on parade at CREC Memes, I thought a few additional comments in order. Cream invariably rises, but I am afraid crecmeme is not in that category.

First, a reminder. The New Testament — not the Old, mind you — repeatedly reminds us of the duty of wifely submission and obedience. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well . . .” (1 Pet. 3:6). “The aged women likewise, that they . . . may teach the young women to be . . . obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:3-5). “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord” (Col. 3:18).

Confronted with such passages, one feminist technique is to get out the trusty eisegetical pliers and rearrange the verses into a shape more suitable to the 21st century, and more in line with human flourishing. But if there is not enough time for that, another trusty alternative is to utterly misconstrue what the people who still cite such passages actually have in mind.

Whenever I think of hierarchy in marriage, something like this is what comes to mind.

“Portia wished that for Bassanio’s sake, she might be trebled ‘twenty times herself.’ A thousand times more fair, then thousand times more rich,’ and protests that, as things are, ‘the full sum of her Is sum of nothing,’ ‘an unlesson’d girl.’ It is prettily said and sincerely said. But I should feel sorry for the common man, such as myself, who was led by this speech into the egregious mistake of walking into Belmost and behaving as though Portia really were an unlessoned girl. A man’s forehead reddens to think of it. She may speak thus to Bassanio: but we had better remember that we are dealing with a great lady” (Preface to Paradise Lost, p. 114).Sexist Ads 2

But what a certain kind of mentality asserts I am arguing for is something more like this. Of course that kind of throwback sexism is perfectly appalling, but we have to remember that this stuff was being used in ads back then because that is what all the Mad Men cool kids were coming up with, and a certain kinds of Christians were in fact attracted to it back then, mouths agape. The same kind of gullible Christians have the same kind of approach to worldliness now, mouths still agape, with the only difference being the kind of flies that buzz into them.

And there were of course objections to this statement. “In our time, because of the peculiar form our disobedience has taken, the most important word is obey.” Different folks were huffy about this, because the most important word is obviously cherish. Well, yes, it is for normal people, but we are talking about feminism. Remember that my point was that obey is the most important word “because of the peculiar form our disobedience has taken.” This is the current epicenter of our current rebellion against the Word of God. We hate obedience. This is the point where we are defying Him. This is the place where, if repentance is to occur, repentance must occur. People in rebellion against the glorious duty of obedience — men and women both — can have no idea what it means to cherish.

Meanwhile others might insist that the most important word in marriage is communication, but let us be frank. It is hard to communicate with people who only hear every third word you say.