September 21, 2018

The Annual Internet Monk Family Series

By Chaplain Mike

Hey, I have an idea. Let’s make this a Labor Day tradition.

  • Since the Bible is our instruction book for family relationships, and since it spells out detailed instructions for every situation in life about how husbands ought to fulfill their roles as manly leaders, how wives ought to exemplify femininity and deference as they live submissive lives, and how children ought to obey cheerfully without murmuring or complaining,
  • Since the inerrant Scriptures set forth the clear pattern for how we ought to behave and what roles each of us ought to fulfill in living room, kitchen, bedroom, and garage,
  • Since the Word of God calls us on nearly every page to focus on the family and uphold the traditional values of the home in its nuclear family form,
  • Since the church and America itself is depending upon voices like ours to raise the flag and give sound Biblical teaching about family matters,
  • Since this is one of the watershed issues that shows who is a true Biblical Christian by the stands that are taken and the bumper stickers displayed,

Since we believe these truths to be self-evident…we also know without a doubt that God has called the white, male writers (who are in authority) here at Internet Monk, represented by Chaplain Mike, to give you clear, detailed, comprehensive, solid, Biblical instruction about how to create and maintain a Christian family.

* Exceptions:

  • If you’re from another country, you can disregard this post. We American know this is not about you. Most of you are socialists anyway and your country has likely already gone down the drain.
  • If you are single — wait a minute so I can don my look of pity — there. Don’t you feel better? Even though we don’t have much to say about your situation, you might want to hang around so that you can learn how to control our kids properly when we ask you to babysit.
  • Homosexual? Sorry, you don’t make it past page one of the Bible. You might as well leave now. We can talk when you tell me you want to change.

With those words of introduction, we present the annual Internet Monk Family Series on how to have an exemplary Christian family.

Live every day as a Christian as you relate to others in your family.

  • Live every day in the grace of Jesus Christ.
  • Love one another, show forbearance to one another, forgive one another.

Thank you. You’re dismissed.

Comments

  1. I really don’t know what to make of this post. Is it serious or satire?

  2. As a single (never married – Gasp!) mother, in a non American country (whose recent elections have yielded no winners), in a state openly based on socialist ideals (which is the first place in the world to give women the vote and legalise homosexuality) and a Christian, I am laughing … hard.

    Thanks.

  3. DreamingWings says:

    Best. Reply. To Pseudo-Religious Nonsense. Ever!

  4. LOL, Big time.

    Thanks for the laughter.

  5. I have another idea. Let’s not make this a Labour Day tradition. The sarcasm of the post is obvious and puerile. If you want a serious discussion, fine, but not by way of caricature. It’s just plain condescending.

    • I know CM meant this as humor, biting humor perhaps to make a point, but I also feel that it crossed the line from humor into just plain mocking.

    • John,

      Please take note that this is categorized as “Laugh or Else”.

      I’ve heard that one problem with Christians is that they don’t laugh at themselves. I think that we should.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “There can be no laughter in Islam.”
        — credited to Ayatollah Khomeini (another cleric who took himself WAY too seriously; Iran still has to live with the aftermath)

    • Caricature, sarcasm, satire…all valid literary tools and I think they are used quite well here.

      First my reaction was “Huh? Who took over Chaplain Mike?”

      Then “Waaaiiit a minute…”

      Next I was laughing.

      And then the real lesson, summed up in 2 lines.

      Well done.

      • “Caricature, sarcasm, satire…all valid literary tools and I think they are used quite well here.”

        Thank you – I get it. But on the contrary, these valid tools were used very poorly and with an uncharacteristically heavy and uncharitable hand. Sarcasm is one thing, mockery is another. Perhaps best to leave it to the OP to decide if he was successful in this particular venture.

        • Translation: “Well, I didn’t think it was funny!”

          I, on the other hand, thought it was terrific. And as Steve Brown would say, “So there.”

        • John, if you spell “labor” with a “u” (as in an earlier comment), you fall into this category and are therefore exempt from this form of humor:

          “â– If you’re from another country, you can disregard this post. We Americans know this is not about you. Most of you are socialists anyway and your country has likely already gone down the drain.”

    • First, I’m writing to make clear to everyone that this is not me! Guess I’ll have to start using my last initial or full name. Second, lighten up, dude. It’s humor, and not just humor, but humor with a pretty serious point if you read the last few lines carefully.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        First, I’m writing to make clear to everyone that this is not me! Guess I’ll have to start using my last initial or full name.

        Why do you think I went from “Ken” to “Headless Unicorn Guy”?

  6. Awesome. Totally made my morning (even if, as a single woman, I don’t exist)!

  7. BlueWarrior says:

    Is it judgmental to be judgmental of those who we believe are judgmental? If one of our brothers or sisters wrote an essay that was just as biting, sardonic and, yes, funny, but took the opposite viewpoint, would we deem it as enlightened? Just asking.

    • Enlightened? Maybe. Funny? Almost certainly. I think of the online caricaturist (the name escapes me) who drew a pic of IMonk as a Catholic friar leading a flock of sheep. Michael not only got a chuckle out of it, he posted a link here so all of us could check it out.

      We all have our weaknesses, our blind spots, our hobbyhorses — and learning to laugh at them can serve as a first step to rising above them.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I think of the online caricaturist (the name escapes me) who drew a pic of IMonk as a Catholic friar leading a flock of sheep.

        Actually, it wasn’t a flock of sheep, but of goats.

        The cartoonist did NOT like IMonk.

  8. Not sure Chaplain Mike meant it to be ‘enlightened’ – but in many of the churches where I live, this writing would not be funny – it’s exactly how things are. Mike used some pretty deep sarcasm, I admit. But for me (in my context), it reflects the truth. His last two lines, of course, are where I (we) need to be.

  9. Great positioning of the page break, Chaplain Mike. The impact of the last part hit me right between the eyes.

    And as far as sarcasm as a means of communicating the Christian method, let’s hope no one here reads Galatians. Boy, I bet Paul got a lot of comments on Galatians 5:12! Crude, bitter, unnecessarily frank . . . Tsk. What are Christians coming to.

  10. Perhaps a day will come when married, straight, white, male, conservative, believers will finally not have to either apologize for existing or, no longer take a beating from those who find their lifestyle reduced to satire…

  11. Speaking as a professional writer (i.e. someone who gets paid for it), this piece was darn near perfect. The punch line wouldn’t have made much sense or had the impact that it did without the masterful build-up. If you were offended by this piece, you probably should be. 🙂

    As a long time IM reader, my first though after reading this piece was that it was completely in the spirit of Michael Spencer; it’s exactly the kind of thing he would have written.

    Keep it up, Chaplain Mike?

    • That ? shoud be !

      • As an editorial comment from a non-professional writer (more like scribbler), let me say that the “?” was also a valid choice because it made the sentence into a request…

        As in, “Uh,.. please?”

        • The comma following “Uh” should have been the first of three periods and is not a valid punctuation choice. I can’t argue my way out of that paper bag.

  12. And the literary device Chaplain Mike used here is irony, not sarcasm. People frequently confuse the two.

  13. Brilliant. As K Bryan said, if you’re offended, you probably should be.

  14. What about us Christian women who are married to atheists? Just wondering about that whole submissive thing in our situation.

    By the time I become a Christian I was too old to learn to be submissive. Besides, Hubby was too accustomed to me thinking for myself. Take elections. He usually tells me to research the candidates and mark up his sample ballot.

    Oh no! Maybe I’m more submissive than I realized.

    Cookies, anyone?

    • Just let me hasten to tie on my apron and help you out there in the kitchen, Sarah, while the men sit back and talk about Serious Issues 🙂

      Though as a non-American, non-married female, perhaps I am being overly presumptuous? I should take advice from the Harry Enfield sketch – Women, Know Your Limits!:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjxY9rZwNGU

      • Hey, Martha, could ya bring me a Killian’s please? And make it soon, eh?

        • Martha, where’s me damn Killians?

          • There’s a pungent Irish expression I could use in reply to your request to bring you a beer, but I suppose I should instead just say that Killian’s is no longer sold in Ireland since 1956 (according to Wikipedia).

            You could have a Smithwicks. Or you could do what that pungent Irish expression states, which is “If you put your hand to your (backside*) till you get it, you’ll have an everlasting patch in your trousers.”

            🙂

            *bowdlerised from original phrasing, since I should try to reign in the coarseness and vulgarity on a religion site, after all

            😉

          • And so the Chaplain betrays his ignorance of Irish beers…

            OK Martha, I’ll get up off my [seat] and get my own. Smithwick’s is very good by the way, but I think I’m out.

      • Martha, yes, we’ll have a delightful time in the kitchen chatting about fluffy kittens.

        • Whilst letting our natural sweetness (as I demonstrated in my exchange with Chaplain Mike above) shine through, Sarah 😉

  15. I absolutely agree with K Bryan — I read this wondering who was channeling Michael. I’m still laughing at the irony of it all.

  16. Yes & amen!

  17. I’m a white, male, evangelical, American pastor; who is, because I have 4 kids, tempted to use the bible as the parenting answer-book on occasion. And I thought is was not only appropriate, but funny!

  18. Laughter, the best medicine. Even for ourselves.

    • Absolutely. Self-criticism and the ability to laugh at oneself are signs of a healthy mind. But sometimes it’s better to laugh than cry.

  19. Sarcasm is usually ironic language meant to mock, ridicule, and/or hurt.

    Irony is the use of words to express something different and often opposite from the literal meaning of those words.

    Or so I was taught a rather long while ago.

    • There’s debate on whether irony includes sarcasm or not. I’m on the side that says not. Eric Partridge, Usage and Abusage, Penguin, 1969. “Irony must not be confused with sarcasm, which is direct: sarcasm means precisely what it says, but in a sharp, caustic, … manner.”

      • Well there appears to be no difference in opinion then on sarcasm being caustic. Sarcasm need not not always use ironic language.

        Is it your thinking that this post is not intended to be caustic or that it is not intended to be ironic?

        Wondering not arguing.

        • I saw it as being ironic, but not caustic. But then again, I’m used to reading Harlan Ellison, so my threshold for what I consider to be caustic is pretty high. 🙂

          • The form as I see it is: “Since we hold certain listed premises therefore we conclude so and so.”

            It seems to me that the irony lies in the idea that those who hold the listed premises do not act as according to the stated conclusion but otherwise.

            But the conclusion is to “live every day as a Christian” which to me suggests that the “we” in question are not.

            Seems just a tad caustic.

      • So then, irony can be humor, but sarcasm is a form of verbal bullying?

        And satire? Is that a form of irony, or the other way around?

        • I guess I was taught that irony could be humorous and that satire might use various literary devices including sarcasm and irony to attack some issue.

          But sarcasm seems to me to be caustic, hurtful, scornful, contemptuous, etc.,.

  20. “Since the church and America itself is depending upon voices like ours to raise the flag and give sound Biblical teaching about family matters…”

    “Since we believe these truths to be self-evident…we also know without a doubt that God has called the white, male writers (who are in authority) here at Internet Monk, represented by Chaplain Mike, to give you clear, detailed, comprehensive, solid, Biblical instruction about how to create and maintain a Christian family.”

    I took me two readings. Anyone able to poke at themselves over the above issues is someone I can sit down and have a friendly chat with.

  21. Oh, I think I get it! I either heard or read a Pastor say once (long time ago in my evangelical days) that the curse of Eve which haunts all women (implying making them inferior) is “redeemed by the pain of labor.” So, he (yes a white male) figured, the more babies they had and more intense their labor was, the lessor the curse of Eve. Somewhat like mortification of the flesh exercise. So that’s what “Labor Day” celebrates . . . . right, Mike? (I will put a smiley here so my intent is clear-here it is :>)

    • Wonder what that pastor’s wife thought of that theory …

      … and whether he had to go to the ER after she expressed her view of it. 😉

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      So, he (yes a white male) figured, the more babies they had and more intense their labor was, the lessor the curse of Eve. Somewhat like mortification of the flesh exercise.

      It’s always easier when you’re Mortifying the OTHER guy’s Flesh.

  22. omg, this is soooo great! thanks, and great timing too:)

  23. *sigh*
    Post-evangelicalism: Just a way for some Pharisees to prove how much more pious than others they are.

    • I once went to a conference sponsored by the Association of Confessing Evangelicals at which the late James Boice (certainly no “post-evangelical”) spoke. I remember when the topic of the family came up, he commented with words to this effect: “Why are we spending so much time on this? Isn’t the Bible pretty clear? Love one another and get on with it.”

    • And your comment doesn’t attempt to do the exact same thing?

      • Uh, Michael. Yes. I think that’s the point.

        • Oh hey, I feel stupid now. I’m used to people on the internet who accuse others of being a Pharisee being self-righteous, angry, and far too simplistic to make a joke like that. Apologies, Cipher, for assuming you were one of those people.

          • Michael, I think we had a real mix-up here, a complication worthy of a “Father Knows Best” plot line.

            • Cipher criticized Chaplain Mike of post-ev pride and Pharisaism

            • Chaplain Mike responded that others who are not post-ev have made the same point

            • Michael responded to Cipher, accusing the pot of calling the kettle black

            • Chaplain Mike thought Michael’s comment was directed toward him, not Cipher, and made a stupid comment

            • Michael forgave Cipher.

            Truth is, Michael, you were right in your first comment. Does anybody understand any of this?

    • amazing what happens without eye contact, body language, and tone. You all had me corn-fused. We’ve all seen these things go a lot farther south a lot faster on other blogs, and usually without this kind of resolution.

  24. Here are some family-friendly verses to get started:

    Exodus 21:15: “”Anyone who attacks his father or his mother must be put to death.”

    Exodus 21:17: “Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.”

    Deut. 21:18-21:
    “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.”

    • There’s a great clip from “The West Wing” on youtube entitled “Bashing the Bible Bashers”. It has a much longer list of family-appropriate Mosaic laws. (Sorry guys; touching a dead pig skin is unclean. No more Friday night lights or church superbowl parties.)

      • The theology of West Wing? Next it will be the theology of MSNBC.

        • Sometimes the prophetic voice comes from the most unlikey places, such as a talking donkey, or Baalam himself. When we are so wrapped around our own self-defenses that we can’t be self-critical, let alone receive the criticisms of our enemies constructively, we are on a dangerous path. Our self-defenses become our tombs.

          • I fully agree that the “family” emphasis has overwhelmed the “Jesus” emphasis in many churches. Please, no more 4-6 week series on parenting, followed by 4-6 week series on marriage, etc….

            However, mentioning a show that used questionable hermeneutics does not help. But your point is correct, we need to take the plank out of our own eye.

            But is CM speaking as an evangelical, or a post-evangelical?

            Finally, on a very serious note: I really liked Father Knows Best. :^)

    • ox, I think you just gave CM some material for another series here. (difficult verses)

  25. I know this is satire…. yet it makes me sad.
    I’ve been chatting with american christians online for 8 years now and this attitude is widespread. It’s why I no longer consider the USA to be a free country and why I am so proud of being european and dutch.
    A good friend of mine from California stated to me that the USA is a strange mix of hyperindividualism and authoritarianism.
    As a dutchman I’m ruled by article one of the dutch constitution: “In the Netherlands all people are treated equally in equal cases besides exceptions ruled by law”. It protects all religions, sexual orientations and races.
    And as an evangelical christian (dutch variety NOT american thank God) I am quite content with it.

    • A good friend of mine from California stated to me that the USA is a strange mix of hyperindividualism and authoritarianism.

      “Strange” is being charitable. I’d say “schizophrenic”, given that the hyperindividualism and authoritarianism often exist side by side in the same person.

      • Bryan I might agree with you but then again…. I’m a stranger in a strange land.
        As a christian I am to love all my brothers and sisters worldwide. I don’t dislike the fact christianity is still much stronger in USA than in Europe.
        But…. I am in pain. For it’s not by power nor by force but by the spirit of the Lord of hosts (quote from memory). Somehow for us christians, success entails failure and failure can be a spiritual success.
        It’s not like some christian exit counselors could ‘heal’ this mentality for it’s obviously deeply embedded in american christendom.
        So I”m like I guess most non american christians who have interest in the USA: on the one hand we are fascinated by you guys on the other hand it reminds of us nazi Germany.

    • Hans,

      I have had on-line conversations with a Christian friend who lives in your country. My understanding is that your country has the distinction of being the first to sanction same-sex marriages. That makes me sad.

      You are content with that? The Dutch variety of evangelical must be very different than the American one.

      My friend is 28 and has attended a Pentecostal Church in the Netherlands her entire life. She has expressed a changing attitude about adherence to Biblical principles within the churches of your country. The tone of her chat room comments are depressing.

      I’m not being defensive about your comment about the U.S. We definitely have our problems.

      I think your problems are worse.

      • “My understanding is that your country has the distinction of being the first to sanction same-sex marriages. That makes me sad.

        You are content with that? The Dutch variety of evangelical must be very different than the American one.”

        Maybe Dutch Evangelicals realize that the State doesn’t define marriage. Granting equal rights has no bearing on marriage as a sacrament.

        • Since the Dutch State was the first to have such a “realization,” one must wonder what was wrong with every other country on the planet before then.

          • One could say the same thing about the first country to have the realization that slavery was wrong. See argumentum ad populum (http://goo.gl/mxW0).

          • Not much wrong with them, just slower at getting there than the Netherlands.

          • K Bryan,

            I agree that correcting the slavery problem was the right thing to do. Whatever country first did that first was allowing freedom.

            I see pro SSM laws as destructive; not corrective. Holland’s unique law is allowing bondage.

            This is one “family” issue where I have to draw a line, because I believe God’s Word is clear on the subject.

            I apologize to the rest of the Dutch people if it hasn’t approved the same law as Holland. It was Holland that takes the distinction we’re discussing.

      • Chris, we’re in danger of hijacking this converstion, and Chaplain Mike has his finger on the Red Button as we speak.

        I think that because of the culture difference Hans may not quite “get” our American form of dry humor, or irony. I had a guy from Switzerland working with me once who spoke English very well (has an American father) but couldn’t quite “get” our dry Maine humor. As Tim Sample, one of our Maine humorists, says to his audience: “It’s not that it ain’t funny; you just don’t GET it!”

        But, to further our earlier discussion about American Christians and authoritarian leadership, Hans has supported my concern with his statement, “on the one hand we are fascinated by you guys on the other hand it reminds of us nazi Germany.”

      • Chris,

        as another European who has lived in the US let me put some perspective on all that (and Hans could learn some things as well):

        European societies (because they are not all the same) and US societies (because they are not all the same either, there’s a vast difference between NYC and DFW, and even more if you go compare big cities and rural areas) all have problems, but they are not the same problems.

        European Christians and US Christians (of all stripes) have differing concerns and emphases, because of the way their cultures experienced different things throughout their history.

        Americans have a tradition of viewing America as a Christian country, and thus American Christians are very concerned to have the laws of the secular state line up with their Christian convictions. They have a hard time accepting that perhaps America is no longer a Christian country, and that things like Roe v. Wade will probably never be reversed, and SSM will probably become pretty standard, and churches may lose their tax exemption if they faithfully proclaim God’s word, etc., etc.

        European Christians have woken up a long time ago to the fact that while Europe also has a Christian past, it has only been nominally Christian for a long time, and that pretense is increasingly gone; they are more concerned with how to live faithful lives in that situation (which reflects the reality in the early church, btw) than with trying to turn society around (which is a pretty hopeless undertaking, and many of us don’t see where in the New Testament we are called to even attempt it).

        American Christians tend to get overly involved with trying to somehow restore a Christian society in their country (which I believe Jesus told us would not happen), and European Christians are often indifferent to the evil going on around them (i.e. abortion) because they have resigned themselves to living in a non-Christian society.

        On the other hand, American Christians are a bit unbalanced in the Christian values they try to restore to their society (I don’t see them getting as worked up about the treatment of “illegal” aliens (which is not a Biblical concept btw) or poverty in general as they do about SSM or abortion), and European Christians are often too tolerant of their non-Christian society and do not take their responsibilities as citizens seriously enough.

        To both American Christians and European Christians I would say that you should not judge the other (and particularly not individual Christians) until you have spent quite some time living in their situation.

        Both Hans’ comparison of the US with the Nazis and your reply that Germany is more like that are nonsense: any comparisons of almost any contemporary country with Nazi Germany or the Bolshevik gulags are altogether inappropriate and are an insult to those who suffered and died under those regimes. Even today’s China and North Korea do not warrant this comparison.

        Just a quick comment on your notion that Germany is more like Nazi Germany than the US:

        In my country, Austria, as well as in Germany, any expression of the ideas associated with the Nazi regime are prohibited by law, even if these laws are not always as strictly enforced as some others; but it is incomprehensible to Austrians and Germans how Americans, and American Christians, can be critical of our countries while it is perfectly legal to produce Nazi propaganda in the US. Most of the web sites which fuel the Neo-Nazi movement in our countries and elsewhere in Europe are hosted and funded in the US, beyond the reach of our laws.

        • Wolf Mark,

          I agree with a lot of what you write in the first part of your post. I feel for the European Christians and their plight.

          “American Christians tend to get overly involved with trying to somehow restore a Christian society in their country (which I believe Jesus told us would not happen)…”

          I have repeatedly stated, in something that I publish, that the problem with America (I can’t recall ever criticizing Europe) starts inside the churches. If those in our churches taught and followed simple Christian principles, many of our problems would evaporate. Obedience must start with God’s people. Until that happens, we are spinning our wheels. I know this is not the majority opinion among Christians in America. I know this because of information garnered from many professionally done studies.

          “European Christians are often indifferent to the evil going on around them (i.e. abortion) because they have resigned themselves to living in a non-Christian society.”

          Christians should never become indifferent to evil. I have spoken to some in Europe who are not indifferent to it. I certainly can relate to the resignation to the status quo that you speak of. I feel it in America in 2010.

          This is where we part ways:

          “Both Hans’ comparison of the US with the Nazis and your reply that Germany is more like that are nonsense.”

          I did think Hans’ statement was out of line. I was trying to and help him see that his statement was harsh.

          It’s the old “while you’re pointing your finger at me there are three of yours pointing back at you” argument.

          I do not think today’s Germany is Nazi Germany.

          Many Germans were not pleased, to put it mildly, with the German government’s involvement in Greece’s problems. They felt Greece’s problems stemmed from irresponsibility, and they may have had a point.

          The German citizen lost some of his sovereignty when the country joined the E.U.

          America has yet to join with Canada and Mexico to form a NAU. The U.S. has maintained more national sovereignty than any E.U. country. This is one reason I think Germany is more like, but NOT Nazi Germany.

          I could have “picked” any of the E.U. nations if I were to base my opinion on this one factor. It is a big factor. I chose to pick the land of my probable ancestry because of other things I have heard.

          I have heard that German laws have been implemented in the admirable attempt at squashing any thoughts of a fourth Reich.

          At the same time, an article in Spiegel International states:

          “In 2003, the federal government made a first attempt to seek a ban on the NPD, claiming its far-right ideology breached Germany’s constitution and strict anti-Nazi laws. The government argued the party should be outlawed because of its xenophobic views and espousal of Nazi ideology. Indeed, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, has described the NPD as a “racist, anti-Semitic, revisionist” political body. But the attempt failed. Judges at Germany’s highest court threw the case out, saying that some of the evidence against the NPD was inadmissible because it had been collected by informants for the German intelligence service, meaning the trial was irreversibly tainted.”

          Germany’s “strict” laws sound like America’s “strict” laws.

          There are neo-Nazi groups in America but they don’t win elections. The neo-Nazi NPD Party now has representatives in every county council in the eastern German state of Saxony.

          As I write this, I am looking at a picture of Udo Voigt, leader of the NPD, standing in front of a picture of Rudolph Hess. Hess is considered a martyr by the NPD.

          So much for “historians’ who say that the NPD cannot be classified as a neo-Nazi party.

          Did you hear about the raids across Germany this morning on alleged neo-Nazi locations?

          None of this, of course, puts today’s Germany even close to Nazi Germany.

          As a Christian who happens to be an American citizen, I am against the propagation of Nazi materials printed here. That is nonsense.

          May we go back to the topic of family?

        • Wolf Paul,

          I know nothing about modern Germany, and I’ll agree that comparison of the USA with Nazi Germany is unfair, both to the USA and to an understanding of the horrors of Nazism.

          But I’ll stand by the notion that Americans are much like Germans, and when provoked bad things may happen.

          I am especially concerned about two growing movements: hated against Muslims; and hatred against immigrants.

          The growing unemployment in the USA is fueling both movements, and this is nothing compared with the hyperinflation and unemployment in Germany in the 1920s and 30s. Politicians exploit whatever sentiments they can. If our economy does crash, I expect that we will blame foreigners still more, and I want Christians at least to be prepared, and not to succumb to hatred like so many did in Europe in those days.

          “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” — Matthew24.11-12

  26. i love that this was posted on a weekend where the lectionary text was Luke 14:25 and following…
    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

    focus on THAT!

  27. Christopher Lake says:

    I think the reason that some people didn’t get the satire here is that, 1. They have actually heard these claims about the Bible and the family in their own churches, and/or 2. They *believe* the aforementioned claims themselves.

    I just recently came out of an entire theological tradition (Reformed Baptist/Bible church Protestantism) in which the leaders taught things about the family (things that they understood to be Biblical) which are very similar to the satirical claims in this post.

    As a 37-year-old, physically disabled, single man who has struggled greatly in the working world (i.e. I’m unemployed and unable to drive a car– somewhat of a dilemma), when my church elders taught about “Biblical manhood” and “being the head of one’s family,” I often wondered how I was to apply those claims to my own life.

    Some of my questions at the time, were, as a Christian man with a disability, should I, indeed, be the sole, or at least, main provider, if I get married? Should I not even pursue a woman, until I find a full-time job? How do I find full-time work, if I can’t even drive to *get* back and forth to a job? Should I just forget about courtship and marriage, and resign myself to being single, even though I *don’t* have the gift of celibacy?

    These were, and are, very tough questions for me. Many church leaders seemed to have little problem telling me to stay single, until I was in a place to fit the “Reformed husband” prototype. I don’t mean to be harsh, but that was a bit too easy for them to say, as they were all married, able-bodied, and could go dig ditches, if they had to, to support their wives and children.

    I’m still single and still asking myself the above questions, in a country in which over 60% of people with disabilities (male and female, Christian and non-Christian) are unemployed. If any other group of people in the U.S. had that rate of unemployment, there would be rioting in the streets…

    • Hey everybody, read Christopher’s post again…and again…and again.

      Much needed perspective.

      • Read it twice before I saw your comment, Chaplain Mike.

        As the nightly news continues to bring us bleak economic news, I think more of us will be seeing Christopher’s perspective minus the disability.

        It might be this unplanned and unwanted economic “movement” that has the greatest impact on the church in the next decade.

        • +1 to this entire thread.

        • Replying here since the other one was too deep for more comments.,..

          WHAT THE FLYING FLIP??
          How on earth is modern Germany like Nazi Germany?

          • Donalbain,

            Please go back and read the entire “conversation.” I did not say that Germany is like Nazi Germany.

            Someone wrote that the U.S. reminded him of Nazi Germany. To be brief, I wrote that I thought, after you asked, that Germany more resembled Nazi Germany than the U.S. did.

            There is an enormous difference.

      • Would you be shocked to hear that I can actually sympathize with Christopher Lake’s perspective (despite not being disabled or single).

    • Your post is absolutely spot on Christopher. Far too many preachers, especially of the Reformed tradition (of which I belong) give out this uniform vision of manhood/womanhood that is really nothing more than a baptized cultural norm parading as a scriptural mandate. And that my friends is straight-out sin, and needs to be confronted as such.

    • Despite my constant rant about the evils of the alternate lifestyle, I can see your perspective and understand it. I am not your typical “family must be from a traditional Reformed perspective” guy.

  28. Our more serious friend better stay away from vast parts of Scripture. It’s so un-Christian!

  29. Charles Fines says:

    Chaplain, you have brought out the whole shebang of response excepting those who would outright condemn you to eternal hellfire. I am reminded of the evangelicals who get all worked up over an Onion article. Jesus is chuckling,

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “My purpose in life is to find those Christians with Holy Hand Grenades up their butts and pull the pins.”
      — some offbeat Canadian Christian whose name I keep forgetting

  30. I thought the series on New Calvinism set a record for number of comments, this piece may rival it before it is over! For complicated reasons, I have a complicated family life. I spent years reading the Bible from cover to cover, and never found an answer. I even took a Bible, underlining every verse I could find on family values. To summarize, I didn’t use hardly any ink. Now, I just laugh when someone tells me the Bible has all the answers to my complicated life.

    A Mormon friend tells me his religion is Christian because they teach family values, and I realize most of my “christian” friends agree with him.

  31. I’ve heard plenty of sermons, seminars, etc. built around the following points:

    # Since the inerrant Scriptures set forth the clear pattern for how we ought to behave and what roles each of us ought to fulfill in living room, kitchen, bedroom, and garage,

    # Since the Word of God calls us on nearly every page to focus on the family and uphold the traditional values of the home in its nuclear family form,

    I think that to people who are really immersed in the culture, they hear these things and don’t think twice about them. I know I didn’t. It wasn’t until I met my wife, who doesn’t come from the perfect evangelical family, that I realized how much these things can alienate people. She wanted to be involved in the church, but in many churches, there is still an underlying current that “you want make sure you marry into a good, Christian family” that it’s almost impossible to break through. Actually, I’d say even after serving on staff for several years, we were in many ways outsiders.

    It seems to me that once a pastor starts talking about things other than the gospel, he’s really just giving his opinion. And there are a lot of really bad opinions out there.

  32. This piece had me saying amen and chuckling. And I needed a good laugh tonight!

    That photograph is just begging for a caption contest.

  33. Okay, I’d be up for Chaplain Mike re-writing this and replacing the satire with direct rebuke of the intended targets, naming names…but the humor for those who laughed here at ths time is well enough. 😛

    Mike, maybe you can take Christopher Lake’s comment and make it into it’s own post?

    Christopher, I’m terribly sorry to hear of your experiences. I’ve encountered similar ones, and you are not alone in being tormented by such arrogant know-it-alls. (Sounds like we may have attended sister churches at some point) I’ve experienced the same type of “it’s easy for them to say” situations. I was divorced before becoming a Christian and had two groups simultaneously tell me quite extreme, mutually exclusive things about divorce and remarriage. Very painful stuff. Then it was all the tripe about being single, then about dating and “courtship,” then all the marriage roles, then about all the child rearing issues, now about my “biblical” role as provider when I’m unemployed.

    When you realize that neither you nor your kids fit all the neatly constucted little theological boxes along the way, it’s refreshing to know that you’re not the ones who are insane, but on the other hand, knowing that can drive you insane. It’s funny how each area of life has it’s own recommended book or two written by some celebrity author, and none of them seem to fit.

  34. Christopher Lake says:

    To all who responded to my comment, thanks so much for your words of kindness, empathy, etc. I should say that although I no longer subscribe to the neat, clean, ultra-tidy view of gender roles and responsibilities within marriage which were taught to me by my former pastors/elders, I also *do not* believe that all ideas about gender roles within marriage are mere matters of social construction. (I heard enough of that sort of thinking as an English major in a secular university!)

    I do believe that, generally speaking, man and woman, husband and wife, have distinct and yet, yes, complementary qualities which they tend to bring to marriage and the raising of children. However, I don’t think that the *implications* of gender roles in marriage can be so easily *deduced*, and especially not so easily *applied*, in an across-the-board way, as, say, Mark Driscoll does (so much for not naming names, hehe!).

    I’m not a theological liberal. If I were, I would never have returned to the Catholic Church (and not as a “cafeteria Catholic”). However, I also don’t buy into the “one-size-fits-all” gender role conservatism that I find in the thinking of many Protestant evangelicals (and some conservative Catholics!) about marriage. In other words, I catch it from all sides! 🙂

    • Christopher, when my sisters and I were very young my father became physically unable to work. He was also bipolar. My mother had worked before they married, but he could not accept the idea of her working when he could not. Because of her beliefs/upbringing she could not go against his wishes.

      So we moved into public housing and survived on his disability. None of this was easy for any of us, but my sisters and I certainly learned independence. We also learned to be grateful for the generosity of neighbors.

      If my father had walked away from us, as he was often tempted to do when very depressed, there is much I would not have learned from him. My mother gave so much of her time to help the elderly people in the housing project. We learned that no matter how little one has, one can still help others. So as difficult as life was, they both taught us plenty.

      Still, their gender-role identification made things much more difficult for our entire family.

      The most important gifts a man or woman can give to spouse and children are the things from within: love, kindness, encouragement, nurturing care, acceptance, forgiveness. Above all, an understanding of God’s grace. These things are higher and more important than gender roles.

      • Christopher Lake says:

        Thank you for this comment, Sarah. Seriously. I’m truly sorry for what you had to go through, but by God’s grace, you came through it with much wisdom. My mother was bipolar; she committed suicide when I was a child. Not having much of a Christian upbringing/grounding at all in those years, it took me a long time to even begin to know how to process her death.

        When I write of “gender roles,” I may be coming off as overly specific to some peoples’ ears. I’m really talking about something harder to describe in words, more ineffable…. a mother’s love is simply different, to a child, than a father’s love, and vice versa. Neither is “better” or more “important” than the other, but they are different and yet complementary. That is what I’m trying to get at, somewhat, here. The problem, for me, comes in, when Christian leaders so easily draw out certain *implications*, for marriage, from the differences between men and women.

        I completely agree with you that all of the gifts which you listed (love, kindness, encouragement, etc, and especially, an understanding of God’s grace) are more important for a husband and wife to share than (narrowly understood ideas of) “gender roles.” I hope and pray that I may find a wife, one day, with whom I can share such gifts. Thank you again for your comment, and God bless.

        • Chris – thanks for sharing your story. I’m mostly a lurker here but as a divorced single mom who has a chronic disabling condition and the misfortune of being an evangelical egalitarian by Biblical convictiion, I can relate. I’m not exactly Miss (Ms.? :-)) Popularity in the conservative ev. circles I inhabit. Suffice to say eligible Christian guys aren’t exactly lining up at my door :-). I’m in full rebellion against the sanctified cultural notion that we are what we do, and that proper Christian living consists of being a Productive Member of Society, fitting ourselves into neatly defined “Biblical” Roles (generally far more defined than the Bible describes), and checking a certain number of Approved Theological Boxes. As by both conviction and capacity I’m excluded from these criteria, I’m relieved and grateful that God seems to have much greater things in mind. I’m frustrated, occasionally hurt, by my less happy interactions with fellow believers, while conscious of and grateful for the blessings and connections I do have. Also saddened and have not a little fear and trembling about the situation. I’m very glad that God is bigger than any of our (mine included!) failings – and that he is merciful.

      • Very inspirational. Gold refined by fire. Love the last paragraph, Sarah.

  35. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Note you used the Father Knows Best cast photo for the lead.

    For those not familiar with Fifties Family Values sitcoms (the Scriptures of the doctrine that the Fifties was a Godly Golden Age), FKB was the best of them. Least amount of suspension-of-disbelief, most honest and realistic (at least as honest and realistic as TV sitcoms got back then). I heard that the series had an ulterior motive of illustrating an example of how a family handles problems, indirectly teaching child-rearing to new parents in the wake of WW2, where many wouldn’t have access to the experience and folk wisdom of older relatives now somewhere across the country.

  36. Comparison to Nazis: It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law! (http://goo.gl/oDl6)

    🙂