A special thanks to Blue Shepard for allowing me to publish his weekly e-newsletter here on Vigilant Wolf. The Blue Shepard is a friend and past guest of Ever Vigilant podcast (episode 43). I personally look forward to his weekly thoughts on Christianity, Manhood, and Brotherhood and I believe you will feel the same.
A man also that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon their head. - Leviticus 20:27
In a recent round table podcast hosted by Steven Menking of On The Objective (you can listen here) I was privileged to discuss domestic conflict resolution and preparedness contingencies with some fine fellows (Their information can be found in the description of the YouTube video linked above). However, in this letter let us consider the proposal of initiating necessary conflicts within our own domiciles and relations. This is not meant to be a contradiction to my statements in the podcast in any sense. It is, however, meant to be a reflection of the proverbial other side of the coin. Sometimes you really do need to man up and set things in order.
Of the vast array of examples, I chose Gideon. The story is simple enough. Although the terminology may not be relatable, the theme is highly familiar. God dealt with Gideon to set his family in order.
Please be mindful that I am not prompting anyone to launch a vendetta at their upcoming family feasts based on a mere thirst for debate. However, please also be mindful that these festivals are rife with prime opportunities for appropriate lessons. A word fitly spoken and God's timing are key.
One thing that is certainly lacking in American culture, particularly in the Old South, is openness about religious issues. In fact, in some parts of the South it is an egregious violation of cultural taboos to bring up religion in anything but a one-on-one private setting. "People here know better than to start topics like that at the dinner table," says a man from the Ozarks. "Religion and politics ain't something polite folk speak freely of," Says a mountain man from West Virginia. People often become irate at any notion which deviates from their own, and civil discussion is unthinkable. This must change.
Somewhere along the lines of commercialization and cultural polity Christian men have fallen prey to a pervasive bewitchment of socioreligious dynamism concerning family matters. Just as we have discussed at length in matters of marriage and daily life, men have succumbed to the path of least resistance in being humble and obedient servants to their persistent wives and mothers. Just as our mothers have taught us that good little boys don't scrap in the dirt to defend their sister's honor, our wives often constrain us to be passive (sometimes passive aggressive), dispassionate, and even dishonorable. What tenured man among you has not had his justified indignation dammed by a wall of feminine emotion under the banner of preserving an illusion of peace on the premise of appearances? In other words, there were times when you really ought to have said or done something but you let a woman's will back you down.
Inasmuch as you have been born a man, you, like Gideon, have been called to arms. You have been ordered by your Lord to embrace possession in the most ultimate of senses as the captain of your own household. When I use the phrase embrace possession, I mean that no one else can be blamed for what has been placed under your care. Not only are you responsible for what goes on under your roof, but for the stand you take on issues presented to you. Your sissy wall sticker of Joshua 24:15 will not cut it. When you stand before God's judgment, you can not excuse your utter failure of leadership by saying, "But I kept the family together," or "I did what I had to do to stay peaceable".
I hear of men using, "My family is my first ministry," as a cop out when they are not performing any ministry at all, for their family or otherwise. It is by successfully mastering this ministry that a man can become an effective minister elsewhere, but it is by an earnest endeavor of Godly manhood that we are capable of effectively ministering to our own homes. Inasmuch as we were first created in God's image and therefore must recognize his presence in our own existence before we can come to a right knowledge of him, we must apprehend the primal essence of our own manhood before we can hope to be effective ministers to anyone. Otherwise we will simply be lost in the myriad of sexually confused religion nerds who call themselves ministers and are leading masses into effeminate heresy, with uninspired feel-good speeches for their ministry of word and Starbucks in the lobby for their holy water.
In the podcast above, I referenced St. John Chrysostom's iteration of the Biblical model of the family, as a micro church.In Chrysostom's model the husband serves the family as bishop (this is the proper way to lay down your life for your wife as Christ did for the church). He is responsible for administering Godliness in his household, and accordingly accountable for what is allowed within this Holy Place. Just as the Holy Spirit venerates Christ within our own hearts, we, as leaders of Godly homes, must sanctify our households and endeavor to preserve their holiness.
This process of Chrismation applies to the intimacy of our interpersonal relationships as well. As is demonstrated in Ephesians chapter 5 by the Apostle: It is the husband who is commanded to sanctify the wife, and through her holiness he is glorified: for "he that loveth his wife loveth himself". Next door in chapter 6 allusion is given to the bilateral nature of our relationships with our children. It is only by our pure and righteous guidance that our children may fulfill the commandments given to them: to obey their parents in the Lord and to honor their fathers and mothers. How will they obey when they have not been properly instructed? and how will they show honor to parents whom are not themselves honorable? And by what means can they determine whether their parents to be honorable except by the word and examples of Godliness?
Little did King Saul know that when he visited the hag and she divined the prophecy that it would foretell the death of his beloved son, Jonathan. Little do so many men know the implications of their actions or inaction. Saul's inaction in this case was allowing the witch to continue her horrid existence. If Saul were the ruler he ought to have been, he would have stoned that witch. Many of us are just like him: instead of skeletons in our closets, we have witches, very much alive and well, that we allow to continue to enchant and lead astray our families, communities and societies out from under our noses and through our very hands. Stop waiting for God to send unrequested fire from heaven to purge you against your will, and take the initiative to drag these crones out in the streets and stone them.
Let this letter be a prelude to the next: Evangelism By Fire: Burning Baal's Prophets
The Blue Shepard
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