My Sacrifice

It’s a sin
Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin

–Chris Lowe, Neil Tennant, “It’s a Sin”

Even though Jesus turned water into wine, don’t drink.  Don’t smoke, either.  Don’t gamble on that football game you’re watching, watch it with the wrong people, get too happy if your team wins or bummed if your team loses.

Don’t swear, get angry, or make people uncomfortable.  Adhere to your beliefs, but don’t fight back against others who denigrate them.  Remember, “turn the other cheek!”  That goes for your boss, your noisy neighbor, lefties who call you homophobic, and that bastard who cut you off on the way to work this morning.

On Saturday nights, go to some boring party somewhere and play Pictionary with a bunch of dweebs who almost sometimes seem more or less happy, and don’t notice when all the women you find attractive leave promptly at nine to go meet their boyfriends who give you swirleys in the bathroom.  It shouldn’t bother you that all the pretty girls go for the guys who epitomize the opposite of all this.  And they’re actually having even less fun than you are, they’re just better at hiding it.  They make fun of you all the time because they’re jealous.  After all, they’re going to Hell.  Well, at least the guys are. 

The women aren’t going to Hell as long as after their second child they repent and deign to marry you.  Sure, she won’t look as good and maybe she’ll see you as little more than a security blanket, but it’s the inside that counts.  Don’t be superficial.  If sometimes she doesn’t seem particularly beautiful on the inside, either, don’t be judgmental.  Remember, as “dad” to her and Todd’s children,you’re responsible for how they turn out.   Just remember you can’t tell them what to do because they’re not really yours.  If you’re nice enough to her, maybe she’ll give you a couple of chances to create one of your own.  “Hubba! Hubba!”

If you’re not that patient, there’s always that frumpy redhead with skin issues who you can court today.  As long as you respect her decision to consider her other options.  If she feels turned off pressured by your offer to marry her (“What?!  I’m only twenty!”), remember what a princess she truly is!  While you’re waiting for her to decide, you can always hold hands.  If you’re engaged.

Play your cards right, and you can be just like that really nice guy who’s married to that really nice (when she’s not angry) woman who reminds you of Paula Deen.  He seems to like it when she makes all of his decisions for him and makes fun of his tie.  Play your cards wrong and end up like that other guy that nobody in church talks to any more because he looked at porn instead of his beautiful wife (on the inside) who looks just like Rosie O’Donnell.

Of course, it was a sin for her to divorce him, but it was really his fault.  You see, he was the head of the household and therefore responsible for her feeling, even though he should never, ever, have told her what to do.

For music, no AC/DC or Stone Temple Pilots.  Instead, listen to music performed by people who wanted to be in groups like AC/DC and Stone Temple Pilots but weren’t good enough.  Any movies with sex or violence are out, but you have plenty of movies starring actors who were rejected by their high school drama clubs to choose from.  There are lots of radio plays about how important it is not to steal, too.

You’re got to learn that it’s not about you, you selfish bastard.  The selfish part of you thinks it’s about authority, about getting what you want out of life, but it’s really about sacrifice.  Remember, our Lord sacrificed Himself for us even though He had authority, too.  Spend your weekends pretending you’re having fun, your marriage pretending you’re having sex, your career pretending your enjoying yourself, make money for the collective pool of your family over which you have no control, pay taxes to help sinners do stuff you were never able to do yourself find abhorrent, and wave your head from side to side like a dope in church to prove to everybody else how happy you are.

And that little black skirt that just walked by, don’t even think about it!

Trust us.  This will all work out perfectly for you once you’re dead.

Where do I sign up?

Obviously, the above isn’t exactly pure Christianity, although some of the restrictions I mentioned are important.  Regardless, whether or not you find my description to be pure parody or disturbingly accurate, that’s more or less how most people perceive the Church today.

I don’t advocate softening our message in the slightest or attempting to modernize.  Quite to the contrary, my religious upbringing didn’t place enough emphasis on the rules, I suffered because of it, and I believe that correct codes of conduct are essential in every respect.

Nevertheless, partly because of the feminization of the Church, and partly because even some of the less churchian factions don’t understand human nature particularly well, we’re losing.  We need men, strong men, and this is not the way to either recruit or keep them.

After all, if you’re a man, why the hell would you subject yourself to something like that, an endless list of rules of no tangible benefit you’ll never see in human form?  The afterlife is beyond important, but why should anyone believe somebody’s predictions regarding the next life when they seem so backwards in this one?

I’m aware that some of you may object to some of what I have to say here, and that’s fine.  I’m no theologian.  However, even if I’m wrong on some of the particulars, overall I think I’m right.

If you think I’m not, then come up with something better.

The Patriarch

Except perhaps for Moses, nobody in the Old Testament had a closer relationship to God than Abraham.  God calls, “Abraham”, and “Abraham” replies “Behold, here I am” time after time.  Abraham was tested repeatedly, and he came through like few others ever have.  The final test he passed was one of the greatest turning points in human history, and it exemplifies the ideal of Christian sacrifice like few other episodes, ever.  Abraham was willing to surrender his dreams, his son, his mission to the Lord.  It was all about Him.

However, it didn’t start out that way.  At first, it was about Abram.  Genesis 12:1-3: [emphasis mine]

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Does God give him a command?  Yes.  However, at this beginning stage, God gave Abram the assurance that by doing what He asks, it’s going to benefit Abram.  Furthermore, this wasn’t the promise of eternal life, it was the fulfillment of perfectly human, earthly desires:  a legacy, masses of offspring (about as biological as you can get), and protection from danger.  Benefits delayed?  Perhaps, but benefits tangible, stuff that any man would want.

Abram doesn’t even follow the command properly.  Genesis 12:1, 4: [emphasis mine]

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house…

[…]

So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him

Yet Abra[ha]m gradually learns to do as he’s told, and God stays with him.  After some fits, starts, and failures, his faith facilitates the greatest pre-Christ moment in human history.  He was truly willing to lose his life to save it, but not until he was first convinced that there was actually something to this stuff.

Sacrifice

Along with “selfish” and “selfless”, “sacrifice” is another one of those words I’m not particularly comfortable with.  All too often, it suggests giving something up for the sake of, well, giving something up.  You’re supposed to do that because you should, you’re not supposed to do that because you shouldn’t, and whether or not it benefits you is irrelevant.  Do it for the Greater Good.

Conservative Christians usually understand why such a system is disastrous economically, but that seems to be exactly how they want to run their churches.  It makes perfect sense to them how confiscatory tax rates discourage entrepreneurs from starting new businesses, but they can’t seem to fathom why families based on socialistic mutual submission would stop men from starting new families.  Driscoll’s pleas to “man-up” are going to fall on the same deaf ears as Obama’s insistence that the rich “pay their fair share”.

Economically, they get it, but in personal matters, they dismiss out of hand the perfectly reasonable question of What’s in it for me?

Sorry guys, but self-interest is a human constant, and it’s not going away.  People are not going to sacrifice their financial well-being or desires for the sake of some concept, however wonderful that concept may be.  Unless, of course, there’s something in it for them.

However, through better understanding the concept of Self, Christianity can not only appeal to natural human self-interest, it can make life in the here and now incredibly fulfilling.  Indeed, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it,” not “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall lose it, too.”

Your Self’s Mission

Somewhat like how God approached Abram, modern Christianity asks us to take certain things on faith, and this is perfectly appropriate.  Unlike how God approached Abram however, modern Christianity seems to want us to accept that if we do what we’re told that our lives are going to suck.  No sex, no parties (except Saturday night Pictionary with the dorks), a life of submission to everybody else’s desires.  Play nice and get rewarded after you die.

Undoubtedly, this has a stronger appeal for females, for females have stronger submissive tendencies, but if you’re going to get a man to submit, you’d better give him a damn good reason why.  God gave Abram a good reason and worked with him for years before it bore fruit.  Eventually, Abraham got to the point where he was willing to throw it all away (sacrifice his son) for His sake, but this was only after he learned how much He cared for him.

I’m not saying that Christian restrictions aren’t important; they are.  However, at first glance, especially for a man of action, they seem to be undue constraints.  Thou shall not feels restrictive to a man who wants to create, to fight, to do.

So we’ve got to portray such restrictions differently.  Christianity restricts your manhood like the rifling in the barrel restricts the bullet; it gives it greater focus and makes it more deadly.

But how many non-believers understand that?  How many Christians understand that?

If we just focus on all the foods we can’t eat, how much our muscles are going to ache, and how much time we’re going to spend in the gym, on all we’re sacrificing, none of us would ever get in shape.  Are you sacrificing lunch at Panera every day or are you getting your finances in order?  Are you sacrificing all of your evenings after you’re done with your homework, or are you keeping alive the dream of mastering the guitar?

Like a child being raised by a competent father, he gradually learns that as annoying as they seem at the time, his father’s rules make him better off, that the restrictions actually set him free.

Christian discipline isn’t saying no to your desires, it’s figuring out what they really are and learning how to make them come to life.  They free your mind from distractions, they enable you to get rid of the emotional baggage so that when you strike it rich you can actually enjoy your wealth, it’s keeping your relationship with your friends and family healthy so that they’re a source of support.

Some rules are easier to explain than others, some are easy and some are hard, but all of them are there for a reason.  When we metaphorically castrate our boys and tell our men that their wives should be their mission, we make this all but impossible to comprehend.  If this philosophy were actually supposed to improve my life, then why is following it making me so miserable?  If Christ is going to help me be a better man, then why do so many of the “men” who follow him seem gay?

I find this especially frustrating because I finally understand that Christ is about me learning how to be who I was born to be here, and I see the Church telling me that it’s all about the Afterlife instead.  I’m not saying that Heaven isn’t important, but if you want somebody to believe you have the key to life Elsewhere, you’d better show them you’ve got a clue about it here.

I’ve had glimpses of it myself, but nothing is more fulfilling, more inspiring, than knowing you’re doing it, you’re leading the life you’re supposed to lead.  It’s Rocky calling for Adrian, oblivious to the crowds.  It’s the soldier straining to hold back his tears of gratitude for being given the opportunity to save his buddies’ lives.  It’s the singer wailing away with everything he’s got, losing his voice, not giving a damn, exhausted, alive.

It’s more fulfilling than anything, and it’s what you get when you do what you’re told.  Nothing is more appealing to men than their sense of mission, and nothing relates more directly to Christian doctrine as its intended.

So we’re telling them they’re supposed to just suppress all of their desires instead, to please Him.

Yes, it’s all about Him.  However, He is all about us.  If the time ever comes, I’ll gladly give my life for Him.  Nevertheless, He’s shown me some things along the way,  He’s shown me that there’s more to Me than my hormones and tendons, he’s given me moments I can’t even describe.

That’s gratitude, not guilt, and it’s why I believe.  It’s time we show other men that God makes their lives, He doesn’t hold us back.

 

This entry was posted in Alpha, Feminism, Game, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to My Sacrifice

  1. Sis says:

    Right before Joshua was near Jericho and about to attack an angel appeared to him with a sword drawn and Joshua asked him “are you for us or for our enemies?” and the angel said “neither, but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”

    Someone pointed out to me that we have to ask ourselves not is God on our side, but are we on God’s side? Once Joshua realized the difference, he fell face down in reverence and said “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

  2. MargeryM says:

    Loved this post, Martel! Thanks for it.

  3. Christianity restricts your manhood like the rifling in the barrel restricts the bullet; it gives it greater focus and makes it more deadly.

    …Like a child being raised by a competent father, he gradually learns that as annoying as they seem at the time, his father’s rules make him better off, that the restrictions actually set him free.

    I’ve had several recent discussions where I mentioned the concept “structure provides freedom,” but I believe this is the best illustration of how it works that I’ve run across yet.

    Are you sacrificing all of your evenings after you’re done with your homework, or are you keeping alive the dream of mastering the guitar?

    Funny you mention that, I just dug mine out and put new strings on it today.

    Conservative Christians usually understand why such a system is disastrous economically, but that seems to be exactly how they want to run their churches. It makes perfect sense to them how confiscatory tax rates discourage entrepreneurs from starting new businesses, but they can’t seem to fathom why families based on socialistic mutual submission would stop men from starting new families. Driscoll’s pleas to “man-up” are going to fall on the same deaf ears as Obama’s insistence that the rich “pay their fair share”.

    It’s amazing how so many people who hate coercive, top down economic control are so enraptured with that same kind of control in other areas. I suppose maybe it’s because the numbers are cleaner and easier to track when it comes to money.

    For music, no AC/DC or Stone Temple Pilots. Instead, listen to music performed by people who wanted to be in groups like AC/DC and Stone Temple Pilots but weren’t good enough.

    Wow, dude, that’s setting the bar low even for the Guinness Limbo Champ. On a side note, I’ve long maintained that AC/DC’s bass player has the easiest job in the world. And I do like some STP songs.

    Just be glad I avoided the obvious Creed jokes.

    • earl says:

      “I’ve had several recent discussions where I mentioned the concept “structure provides freedom,” but I believe this is the best illustration of how it works that I’ve run across yet.”

      The Rosary is another example for a structured prayer. You do the same thing over and over…but if you keep at it…the prayer can give you amazing insight on all sorts of things.

      For one…just because you do the same thing over and over again…doesn’t mean something different isn’t happening.

    • Martel says:

      Thanks for the comments. You have no idea how much I wished I didn’t have to steal a Creed title.

  4. donalgraeme says:

    If one seriously examines scripture, you see that there is a constant pairing of reward/power with responsibility throughout. At least, that seems to be the case for men. I do not think that to be an accident, for the Lord understands us better than we ourselves.

  5. theshadowedknight says:

    That first part is why I never step foot inside a church. I do not care to be insulted and maligned and I can pray anywhere. How do they not realize that if you kick men in the balls enough, they will leave or have them destroyed? Then they wonder why the faithful are so weak, and why the heathens are so strong.

    Donal, of course He does. He created us, and he sees our hearts. The Bible reflects those truths.

    The Shadowed Knight

  6. earl says:

    Great post.

    Funny…I was listening to some “Sex Type Thing” by STP while throwing jabs at a punching bag. Seemed appropriate.

  7. Peregrine John says:

    Lots of good stuff in here, and in the comments. Just wanted to point out that, regarding movies, a great many Christians have serious issues with the slightest amount of sex but none with the most overwhelming violence. Once watched Braveheart at some friends’ apartment. Bloody fool stood between the screen and the rest of us during the brief, partial (and very dimly lit) nudity but didn’t mind close-ups of dismemberment. Oh, I know his excuses for such behavior, and the puritan/Calvinist neuroses that spawned it. My complete impatience with such idiocy dates from that moment. A seminal moment in my waking up.

    • Martel says:

      True. Once I had a housemate who was an incredibly strict Christian: no drinking, sex, Bible study 3 times a week, averted his eyes during nude scenes, etc. And very self-righteous.

      Once I came home and he and is male orbiter friend were watching some show on disasters or something. They were showing an actual massive building fire in Brazil, people running back and forth in panic, others jumping out of windows, genuine actual human anguish.

      The bastards were laughing their asses off like it was some sort of comedy, making snide remarks about the jumpers, having a blast. I was disgusted.

      At the time I was breaking all the rules, but it hit me that as much as I was sinning, I’ve never had it in me to find joy in the suffering of others, but they did.

      According to some, if a meteor hit our living room at that moment, I would have gone to Hell and they would have gone to Heaven, but I’m not so sure.

      • donalgraeme says:

        According to some, if a meteor hit our living room at that moment, I would have gone to Hell and they would have gone to Heaven, but I’m not so sure.

        I wouldn’t bet on them gaining entry on the Day of Judgment, that is for certain. I can think of few things more opposed to the teachings of Jesus that enjoying the suffering of others (which makes a lot of humor ethically grey, how much suffering is enough to qualify as true suffering rather than inconvenience or annoyance?).

      • Martel says:

        I theorize that the border would whether or not the anguish of another becomes apparent, or whether it can become apparent. I don’t think that laughing at the Three Stooges (or even some pretty dark humor) is particularly bad, but there’s a difference between the suffering of a character and real people. Also, like you say, there’s a difference between being inconvenienced and getting truly hurt. I’m not about being particularly “sensitive” to the emotional needs of others, but if you’re laughing at somebody in fear for their life in a fire, there’s something wrong. I can have a pretty warped sense of humor sometimes, but when somebody else’s pain becomes real to me, the laughter stops.

    • earl says:

      Too much sexual repression is often the first step towards violent behavior.

      • Martel says:

        Especially when you’re also athletically repressed, taught to lose every fight (physical or otherwise), subservient to every woman you encounter…

  8. I loved this post, I took a lot from it. thank you.

    “except Saturday night Pictionary with the dorks” – and this part made me laugh out loud.

  9. “Any movies with sex or violence are out, but you have plenty of movies starring actors who were rejected by their high school drama clubs to choose from. ”

    This part caught my eye, I struggle with movies, I love comedies and anything with Seth Rogen especially, nothing too bad but definitely some things that wouldn’t be deemed acceptable by Church standards, but I know that.

    It seems all too often people are examining themselves by Churchian standards but not really examining their hearts.

    • Martel says:

      Don’t “struggle with movies” unless you find that they’re distracting from your faith. Be HONEST with yourself, listen to the Still Small Voice, and if you find they’re leading you off the path, stop watching them. If not, don’t worry about it.

      Besides, how are we going to relate to non-Christians if we have NO common cultural ground with them. When I make my points, I refer to movies all the time because they’re a great way to relate to people.

      I see the flaws in today’s culture, but those of us who are strong enough to experience parts of it (“in” but not of the world”) need to. In the meantime, until Christians produce movies and music that non-Christians want to watch, we’ll lose the culture war.

      This does NOT mean giving up our standards. How many incredible action movies with deep messages could come out of the OT? A movie on Josiah would be incredibly relevant to today’s world. Jonah. Daniel. Hezekiah. The rise of David to the throne, the division of Israel after Solomon’s death. The list is literally endless, and they’d all have loads of action and human drama that the masses could easily relate to.

      Lefties have movies that conservatives want to watch, and that’s why we’re floating left. Secularists have movies that Christians want to watch, and that’s why we’re becoming more secular. Instead of bitching about it or trying to censor what they do, how about we do something BETTER ourselves.

      And getting some decent actors for Christian movies would be a good start. I’ve seen better acting in tiny Chicago theater companies than in most religious films. You don’t need a big budget to convince a starving actor to take a role in your movie.

      • donalgraeme says:

        Here, here. When it comes to impacting the culture, Christians are simply pathetic these days. We really need step up our game in this area.

  10. Ton says:

    Best thing you’ve written Martel.

    Being perfectly ok with a dismemberment and prudish over the smallest amount of female nudity…..does that ever sound like my family. And we’re heavily Scottish being hillbillies and all

    • I think the problem is that enduring the culture of film and theatre is more than most can endure. I know I wasn’t able to. It leads to either art made by inexperienced artists or people who call themselves Christian, but wouldn’t be called that by one of us here.

      I started to think of two I’d met, and then found that they were Churchians upon reflection. I just hadn’t thought about them or been around them recently enough to realize it sooner.

  11. Hannah says:

    “Yo Adrian!” 🙂 hehe…My husband introduced me to the Rocky movies before we were married, every time saying that maybe next time I could choose a ‘romantic girly’ flick to watch together! Yeah that never happened, and never will and he doesn’t even pretend otherwise now 🙂
    We pretty much only have one rule about what we’ll watch/listen to/read – that it’s what my husband is happy with. So for this household it means no horror and no homosexuality.
    Heat is probably the all-time favourite here, and Breaking Bad the best show.
    My husband has Texas Hold’em evenings with our boys using chocolate chips (get it?!) (they’re only 5 and 6 :))
    And isn’t it just a little strange that worldwide people get all unitedly ‘up in arms’ about smokers and drinkers because they’re ruining their health and others around them… so never mind free-will and free-country for them, let’s tax and ban them…. they’re toxic!
    Flip the focus onto the obese because THEY ruin their health and others around them too…
    Let’s tax and ban them… they’re toxic!
    Yeah that’s never going to happen…. could be a good skit though…

    Loved this post Martel… really great work. It reminds me of a healthier version of Renton from Trainspotting 🙂
    (that’s a compliment just in case it doesn’t come across as such!)

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