Drastic Hits in Life

I am now one of the older men who was surprised by divorce out of the blue.  A marriage of almost 3 decades has been ended because my wife continued her decision to be unhappy and withdraw from the marriage to its logical conclusion.  Friends and family helped out, but it was built on the decision in her own heart a long time ago, possibly before we got married.

I had read stories about men hit with this, but I did not expect it to happen to me.  I am still walking through things, as the divorce is not final, but I am finding a few things I expect to be writing more about in the near future.  It is a tough time, but I follow a God who is able to help us through tough times.

Some points I have directly experienced.  This post is tied to the Christian church, but the principles apply to much of modern western society.

  • A woman can make up almost any claim and be believed.  This is especially true if she has been unhappy(and told others about that unhappiness for a longer time.  They will quickly assume that the husband is the guilty party who was really causing the problems and making the marriage unbearable.
  • The church does not challenge significantly wives who chose to nuke their marriages, even long term ones.  Some may tell her that “divorce is not an option” and encourage counseling, but they will normally assume she was just pushed to this point by an abusive husband who really needs to fix his life.  Any response by the husband will be considered temporary and to only have the goal of getting his wife back.  No genuine change can happen, in their eyes, without counseling.  This usually involves an outside party telling the husband how wrong he was and how he needs to better meet his wife’s needs.
  • The church provides almost no support for husbands in this situation.  It is almost impossible to build connections when something like this hits.  Men are not singles again until the divorce is final, so they are completely hung out to dry and provided no support beyond the perfunctory “how are you doing?” greetings at church services.

The latter is almost the worse part.  Singles groups generally encourage singles to “seek reconciliation” as if some of us hadn’t done all we could in that area already.  See my prior post about how hard it is for men to connect with others in the church and this situation becomes quite challenging.  I have heard of some divorce counseling classes and options, but what good does it do to spend time figuring out what the man did wrong in the marriage if the wife will not be involved in any way?

I am fortunate that I have had a deep relationship with God for many years, so it will weather this outright attack on many fronts, but I would guess that many are not so blessed.  It has strained my relationship with some church leaders since they are completely oblivious to their actions in these areas and can’t really relate to leaving people hanging out on their own.

I would strongly encourage any readers not in the middle of this situation to think about what they can do to help in this situation, especially if it hits a man in their church or circle of friends.  Churches are mostly geared to pour the support on for the wife, especially if she is soon to be a single mother, but few will do much of anything for the man.  Consider getting together with him.  Even going out to eat can be a blessing.  Let him talk as needed, but don’t needlessly draw any discussion into complaining about the situation.  We all need to vent at times, but we must always seek to go through tough times, not get stuck in them, even if in our own mind.  Having several friends to lean on can help a man not be so alone as he walks through this serious betrayal.

Hopefully I can make a post later on things I believe would have helped me.  That could then expand on this and help others facing the hell that is the murder of a long term marriage.

I would encourage everyone to also be at least a bit skeptical of claims of abuse.  Help people get to safety, but don’t immediately assume every last detail of what is claimed is accurate, especially if the complaining partner quickly sets up a situation, possibly at the expense of the former partner, where they can once again enjoy the “benefits” of being single and living their lives only for themselves.

Any Christian who divorces for any reason except adultery (and possibly even then) is definitely not following the will of their Lord.  Stop enabling such rebellion if you have done so!  Those who sin in this way will likely still do it, but it should not be with the help of anyone in their church!

 

Exalting Women and Cutting Men Down

Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day

Imagine almost any Mother’s Day service you have been at.  Most likely it had lots of good things to say about mothers, even those who messed their own lives up through their own actions.

Contrast this with a typical Father’s Day message.  I have never heard one that simply praised fathers for what they do.  Those that might say good things about fathers always had a disclaimer about the bad fathers.  Some services are even to the point of proclaiming that single mothers are now good fathers, a complete twist of the idea.

Go to Bed Tired?

One recent service I attended played a short clip by a speaker who proclaimed that fathers needed to go to bed tired.  They were not allowed rest, but had to come home after work, take care of both the children and their wife and then basically collapse into bed so they could repeat the process the following day.  They were not allowed any fun time for themselves, because they had more important obligations to everyone else!

This may seem like a humorous start to some, but it is really insulting at its core.  It is especially insulting to those who work very hard, possibly doing a second job, to allow wives to stay at home full time, with or without children.  This reduces the father to a mere slave that must work to make sure his master and her children have all they need.  (The latter part is not bad, but the slave part is reprehensible.)

Guilty Because Husband?

Another example I heard recently had a guest speaker starting his message by telling husbands to turn to their wives and say they were sorry.  This seemed to be enjoyed by most present, but was also deeply insulting since it assumed the husband had something to apologize for, just because he was a husband.

Can you imagine a speaker telling a wife to do that?  Many women would likely immediately walk out and the pastor would hear no end of complaints in the following week.  Yet men rarely react at all, as if it was an appropriate thing to say.  Those who stay are used to being insulted.  Those who will not put up with that don’t come or never come back once they start to notice the regular insults.

The Better Half (or 2/3rds)?

How many times do those in a church introduce the wife of someone as “the better half” of that man?  This is an insult to both the husband and the wife.  She could have gotten a much better husband if she really is so much better than her husband.  This says she was stupid and settled for less than she should have.  Many men boast with statements about the latter, but it is really stupid since it can easily stir resentment for a wife whose mind is still being renewed and is constantly fed the idea she is a princess and should always have the best.  No real man, even the top of the heap, can ever meet that mental expectation.  This makes feeding it a really bad thing to do.

Let’s look at the opposite side of the phrase.  How often is a man introduced as the “better half” of a wife?  I do not recall ever hearing that, especially in recent times.  The phrase should be just as common in this case if it really is as harmless as some assert.

An even worse variant I have heard was that someone’s wife was the man’s better 2/3rds.  That insulted the man even more, during an introduction that was supposed to be showing the man had merit and was worth hearing.  Such talk may have been appropriate when everyone knew it was not completely true, but we are long past the 50-100 years ago, if it was even appropriate then.

Come On, Can’t You get Over It?

I probably would not take all this that seriously if these examples were just outliers and didn’t demonstrate something deeper.  I see the same attitude woven into much of modern Christianity and that is why each is an issue.  Men are denigrated while women are exalted.  This leads to perversions of what is Written in many cases, but it is also one of the factors that are leading many men to abandon both churches and marriage.  Why bother with either if those who supposedly believe strongly in both have no qualms about insulting you?  Few men want to actively be insulted repeatedly.  Even boot camp ends after a few weeks.  Church lectures in these areas go on and on.

Prove It Right or Wrong – Take This Test

I would ask anyone reading this to actively pay attention to what is said about over the next few weeks.  Pay special attention to church services and TV and radio preachers.  Do they ever exalt husbands or men in general?  Cut them down?  Do they ever exalt wives or women in general?  Cut them down?

Note that I am not talking about worldly things, but only those in whatever church you may be connected with or preachers you listen to or watch.  Note what is really said on these issues.

Keep a journal if you can.  Writing things down will keep your memory from being foggy and hiding any truths.

My bet is that what you see will be quite surprising as you look back on it.  I could be wrong, but finding the insults and praises only go in the opposite directions may open your eyes if that is what you see.

 

 

Finding a Core Group of Male Friends

A Tough Struggle

One of the hardest areas I have struggled with in my own life is finding a core group of male friends to develop tight relationships with.  I have never been successful in my attempt to truly find a long-lasting connection to other men.

My own background (being raised by a single mother for my teen years, being quite a bit of a loner, etc.) plays a role, but both modern society and churches provide little help in this area either.

Limited Activities

This is especially true for those of us who have been active in the faith since before adulthood.  I became a Christian sometime in my teen years, so many of the worldly methods of connecting with men were out.  I did not attend bars nor the activities that may connect some men together.

Even the acceptable activities were not appealing to me.  Sports teams may get some of these connections, though even they can fall short today.  It didn’t matter for me however, since group adult sports has little appeal to me.  I do not engage in watching many team sports either.

Women have also invaded almost any formerly male area.  While that may or may not be a good thing for women, it completely removes the ability for the male bonding that should be so much a part of a successful male life.  Having a woman in such a group completely throws off the dynamic, because the woman is present if nothing else.

The Church is not Helping

None of the churches I have attended over the years have done anything to help this.  Men may get together to listen to a teaching or even to eat a meal together, but even those activities usually have men leaving independently and having no further interaction as men, at least not until the next men’s event.

This does not help make bonds.  Add poor teaching to this and you get a mess.  One men’s group I went to years ago had the speaker (a man) talking how we all needed to develop our feminine sides better to be more godly.  I saw this as the utter tripe it was and did not go out of my way to go to those events after that point.

Fellowshipping is not Really Making Bonds Either

Even church fellowship meetings are often a time to perhaps eat together, but then sit around and have someone else tell us specific Biblical truths we should know.  Most have no time for real discussion and that means they will never develop the bonds such discussion and wrestling with living according to the Scriptures can generate.

Note that I am not talking about a debate club here, I am talking more about a group, especially a group of men, getting together and really trying to wrestle with things to figure out exactly how it should apply to their lives.

The Low Point of Men’s Meetings

I did attend what is called a men’s Bible study recently, but it was just a group of men sitting in auditorium style seats listening to a short recorded talk by a well known speaker.  We each had a sheet with blanks we were supposed to fill out as the speaker talked about the topic.  The group reviewed these at the end, but no discussion of the principles or hard areas that touched on the topic were mentioned, let alone struggled with together.

The group had a prayer list, and sends out notices, as many small fellowships do, but that is quite impersonal and still does not develop connections during the study time.  Some men discussed things in the parking lot, but that was informal and was not a way to get a new man into the group.

Starting a Group

I would even consider starting such a group myself, but I have no idea how to connect to the right people.  I expect some of the truths I would bring forth would not be comfortable to leadership of churches, making it very hard to make connections there.  I have no desire to start my own church or spin off group, but I do want a solid group of male friends who have each others’ backs.  This seems to be an impossible goal at the present.

I can understand why this is true in the world, but it is very tragic in a church.  When will many realize that services are not enough?  True fellowshipping happens outside the services, not sitting and listening to an amateur or professional band and one or more speakers?  This may be a fun time for some, but it does not produce strong interpersonal connections, especially among men.

Easier for Women?

Women can get together much more easily, especially since they fit and even enjoy the casual conversation mode, in many cases at least, but even they have many of the same challenges.  Few activities really make them connect with each other.  My wife has no one she would and could call in the middle of the night for help, in spite of being a faithful attendee in many churches over the years.

This problem may not be limited to men, but I would still argue that getting that connection right is the place to start.  The wives of such a group of men could easily form their own group of mutual support, but they have a more challenging time when their husbands are not connected.

Any Solution?

I am not certain exactly what can be done here.  Too many church leaders do not really even see the problem and therefore are not doing anything to solve it.  They often want to try the old methods of a men’s group being the overall solution, when few of those really develop tight bonds outside of a small group.  Those that do develop bonds will likely only meet the needs of those already in the group though a rare outsider may be able to become part of the core group.  Most newcomers to such a group will remain outside and never connect.  This is merely a human trait in one sense and not the direct fault of the group, but it must be recognized as a basic fact.

Even Jesus only had 3 close disciples, with those 3 being part of a broader core group of 12.  He did not try to connect with many, just a few.  Churches will only succeed when they find repeatable ways to do this, something current methods do not achieve.

I also suspect many would be reasonably suspicious of a man who wanted to come into the church and develop such a group, as it could easily lead to that same group leaving the church.  But pastors and other leaders must take such risks if they want to truly build disciples among men, including those in their congregations.

This is both a necessary part of fulfilling the Great Commission to make disciples, not just converts.  It is also something that will take major mindset shifts to accomplish.

The Church is Losing Men

Rollo Tomassi has a really good post about how many Christian churches have become very feminized today and how that is driving many men away.

Losing My Religion

It contains many rough truths and the lead image could offend some and the lead image may be NSFW, so follow the link at your own risk.  (It is a picture of a bare chested woman on the cross.)

I recommend reading through it and considering how much it is on target in your experience.  Consider the implications if you are a leader in a church and your church is mostly attended by females.  You may be causing your own problems!

Discussing masculinity with some will instantly produce statements decrying toxic masculinity:

Church culture is now openly hostile towards any expression of conventional masculinity that doesn’t directly benefit women and actively conditions men to be serviceable, gender-loathing Betas. The feminist narrative of “toxic masculinity” has entirely replaced any semblance of what traditional masculinity or manhood once was to the church. Any hint of a masculinity not entirely beholden to a now feminine-primary purpose is not only feared, but shamed with feminine-interpreted aspersions of faith.

A quote from a reply on another good blog discusses a speaker popular with some who likes to blame men for all the problems:

SeventiesJason from Dalrock’s blog:

And then we have “Christian marriage” divorce rates which are only a few paltry percentage points lower than the secular world……..men like Chandler will blame “men” for not leading, not being ‘holy’ enough, not bold n’ biblical enough, not going to bed exhausted every night….and a pile of other excuses for why she “had no choice” but to end the marriage.

Many churches are actively farming beta men who service the feminine imperative:

For over five generations now, the modern church has become a Beta farm existing only to produce the same masculinity-confused men that the secular world has perfected today. In our idealism I think too many (even well-meaning Red Pill) men believe that the church is some insulation against the worst of the Feminine Imperative when it is in fact an institution that produces the same men we hope to free from the Matrix.

A closing comment is really worth considering:

This is one reason Men like Dalrock are vilified by Christian women who understand he’s wise to what’s transpiring in the church – the Feminine Imperative has taken the Lord’s name in vain by presuming to promote its agenda and socially engineer generations of men to support it by claiming it’s God’s will.

Please read the entire post as it is worth pondering all he says.

We are encouraging the wrong things in our churches today and it will lead us into ruin!

Dalrock’s excellent blog is also worth reading.  He really digs into the stats of what is going on in these areas.  Many object who can’t handle the truth, but I have personally yet to see a major error in his statistics.  Any small errors are quickly corrected when he becomes aware of them.

I expect to write more on this in the future as I have experienced many of the same things in my own journey.  The modern church has little to offer a true man who seeks God’s will in his own life and is much more likely to neuter him than to raise him up.  That is a serious tragedy that needs to be addressed.

Hopefully I can be even partially as useful as these men in helping people focus on the Biblical foundations in these areas.

 

A Prophecy vs. A Prophetic Word

Many people in the church confuse a prophecy 1 and a prophetic word.  These are two different things.

Prophecy

[1Co 14:3 KJV] 3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Note that prophecy always builds the hearer up, according to this.

Anyone who is giving is claiming to give a prophecy that does not build people up is lying.  Most are just expressing their own frustrations or convictions, but they are definitely not prophesying per what is written here.

A Prophetic Word

[Act 21:10-11 KJV] 10 And as we tarried [there] many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver [him] into the hands of the Gentiles.

This was not edifying at all, though it correctly foretold what was to come.  It gave Paul a chance to change his direction, but Paul’s own bullheadedness made him decided to push on and face the consequences in spite of this warning.

False Encouragement

A false word of encouragement can lead people to step out or continue in a futile activity longer than they should due to a false sense of being right.  That is more dangerous than many realize.

One specific instance really reinforces this point.  Many were prophesying in Jeremiah’s day that God was going to deliver Jerusalem from Nebuchadnezzar’s hand.  This caused them to refuse to follow God’s plan of captivity and cost many more people their lives, all of which could be avoided.

False Condemnation

This does not mean that all negative words are correct either.  Some words of judgment can be just as misleading.  Many come in churches where condemning the members is an ongoing sport.  Constantly telling people they are wrong has little value and we should condemn and flee from such teaching.

A true strong word will lead to repentance or rejection.  The former may take some effort to walk out, but will ultimately remove the need for any more harsh words on the topic.  Rejecting Godly correction through a prophetic word will ultimately cause God to write Icahbod over the door of the church and leave the church to its own ends.

[Rev 2:5 KJV] 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Continually ignoring God’s message will harden both an individual’s and church’s heart toward the topic and can lead to serious imbalances.  God may still work with the church in other areas or they may be left to operate purely in human power and ability.  The church will fall far short of what it could achieve either way.

In Our Hands

Our response to either type of message is in our hands.  No one should be able to manipulate your actions based on either type of word, but neither should we just ignore them.

Avoiding error here can be challenging, but the best way to do so is to stay firm to line everything up with what is said in God’s Word.  Align with Biblical principles if a direct word is not completely applicable.

Search the Scriptures!

[Act 17:10-12 KJV] 10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

We must always stay like the Bereans and search the Scriptures to confirm or deny things we here that are not clearly connected to the Scripture we already know!  Things that are not directly connected should fit the flow of what is written as well as what God has been working in our lives.

Do you do apply this kind of examination to words you receive or just hear?

Footnotes

1. Note that this post is speaking about a prophecy as a word given by someone operating under the gift of prophecy as spoken of in the Scriptures.  It is not addressing verses that predict future events, mainly things in the End Times, that people often get overly consumed with.  That topic deserves its own post.

Taking the Scriptures Seriously

I have found a great many people who claim to follow the Scriptures find ways to explain away the parts they do not like.  This can happen in a variety of different areas of Christian belief and doctrine.

People are loath to believe things in the Scriptures that conflict with their views.  I can see this as normal for those who rely more on tradition than Sola Scriptura, but it is really bad for those who do hold that the Scriptures are foremost.  This leads to some great Scriptural gymnastics in many cases.

This can be compounded by what is accepted as good and proper in the society people operate in.  Many Scriptural things seem downright offensive to modern sensibilities.

Some intentional twist the Scriptures.  Others do so ignorantly, trying to reconcile things and ultimately giving ground to the enemies of the Scriptures in the name of not offending or even reaching out to those trying to tear it all down.

Such compromise is ultimately futile and counterproductive.  Compromising faithfulness to key Biblical doctrines undermines God’s work on this Earth!

It is also a form of making new traditions to override what is written!

[Mat 15:6 KJV] 6 And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

These traditions are very dangerous and need to be addressed.  Believe what you will, but quick pretending to hold the Scriptures foremost if you really do not do so!

I will be addressing at least a few of these in the near future, though each of them will likely require far more than a single post to clarify and bring forth.  The case needs to be made, so I will be one who steps forth and makes it.

Must We Always Forgive?

I am going to write up some more on this in the future, but here are some thoughts to ponder as you seek to follow our Lord.

Questioning whether we always must forgive does not mean anyone should anger or bitterness.  That is completely stupid and goes against other Scriptures.  Several things do demonstrate that the “forgive all” may not be exactly what is commonly taught and that is what we must ponder.

– Jesus spoke harshly to some in His earthly ministry, such as when He cleansed the Temple.

– Jesus also chastised firmly several of the churches in the letters in Revelation.

– Paul noted some bad consequences toward specific individuals, indicating they were not forgiven the way we teach today.

Another thing to consider is why Jesus would tell us to take our issues against a brother to them, then to a small group and then to the church if we must always forgive.  We would not have aught in the first place if we walked in forgiveness.

The “pray that they are blessed” teaching is quite in error.  We can and should pray that they repent, are visited by the Lord, etc.  But praying they prosper goes against commands to not pray that for those who come to our door with a false message/Gospel.  It may be relevant in very specific situations, but I will not pray that God blesses and prospers an abortionist, for example.  I will pray they turn from their wickedness, but that is a very different thing.

It bears more thought, but many of our modern problems are because Christians have rolled over, compromising the Gospel in many ways, in the name of forgiveness.  Some are stuck in bitterness, but few of those will come to any teaching about forgiveness anyway and teaching those already aiming at forgiveness can mislead the otherwise correctly focused.

We are called to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  Let us always strive to rightly divide the Word of Truth!