Mailvox: doctrinal grammar

JJ asks for clarification:

Are you saying that the idea of “servant leadership” should be thrown out entirely or that it’s simply a misapplied concept in the marital relationship? I’m in agreement with you that the church, in general, has acquiesced to the feminist culture and not stood by its guns in its teachings on marriage. On the other hand, if we are to follow Christ’s example and there is no such thing as servant leadership, how do we explain what He said in Luke 22:27 (“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”).

At this point, I’d say to throw it out entirely as poisonous and demonstrably destructive. My view is that one must apply the noun first – leadership – and then concern oneself with the fine points of the adjective second. In the absence of
the former, the latter is completely irrelevant.

A man who focuses on being a servant to his wife and pays no mind to being her leader is missing the point far more completely than the man who is a harsh and cruel leader. For, as is pointed out in the Old Testament, the man is destined to not only lead, but oppress. As a leader, a man will have a natural tendency to be a cruel one without the mitigating effects of Jesus Christ’s teachings on what kind of leader a man should aspire to be.

There is another option, of course. The man’s leadership role can be surrendered to an even harsher authority, a third party in the marriage that respects no limits and worships no god except itself.

A slug in reserve

PS takes exception to what he considers today’s cheap shot at Catholics:

Salve VOX,

I usually like your column and agree whole-heartedly with your analysis today, on the pandering to feminism. But, why the non-sequitur of picking on the Catholic Church. We Catholics are always such an easy target. Don’t you realize that transubstantiation has a very specific meaning for us, and has nothing to do with saints or pagans, unless, of course you consider Catholics to be pagans. I sincerely hope you don’t, and that you understand what saints really mean to us.

This always becomes the rant and rave I hear from evangelical friends, who accuse us Catholics of something which they simply don’t understand. The early Church did use pagan cultural symbols, “gods”, festivals etc, as a non-threatening and easilly understood metaphorical means to explain the Good News to essentially illiterate people. eg, St Patrick used the shamrock, but Patrick was a real person..

Didn’t Jesus use metaphor to help explain ? The Church wasn’t pandering to pagans any more than Jesus was. Remember, He was preaching to religious Jews; but the early church was preaching to people without a previous monotheistic background, and had to learn to grasp a whole foreign background with the concepts and truths of Christianity.

As PS probably knows, I don’t have any personal issues with the Catholic Church. However, I do not think you can reasonably excuse as metaphor a practice which, however proper the doctrineal theory, has resulted in praying TO, not for, dead people. I see that as precisely the same sort of cultural accomodation which the Protestant church has made with feminism, to its similar confusion and subsequent detriment.

Transubstantiation, small-t, is used correctly in the column, i.e., to change (one substance) into another; transmute, and the doctrine of the servant leader certainly changes the substance of the Biblical household doctrine. I merely chose to use that particular term as a semantical connection, not as a double-barrelled slam. So, while the reference to saints and pagan gods can be considered a shot – albeit hardly a cheap one – the proper use of a noun should not be considered as one, nor was it intended to be.

Christian or falsely conscious?

MJ reveals an insufficient feminist indoctrination… or perhaps it is that diabolical Patriarchy imposing a false consciousness on her:

I’m a 31 year old conservative Christian wife and mother. I attend an Independent Baptist Church whose leadership is about as politically incorrect as they come. I believe the pastor, if questioned would not argue against the Bible’s teaching on the proper role of a wife. Unfortunately, this important subject is not addressed. My personal opinion is that women are most to blame for poor marriages and divorces among Christian couples. (given the man is a normal guy and not some crazed misogynist) I believe this because most Christian men perform their duties as husbands that the Bible commands, but most Christian women do not. They don’t honor their husbands, they don’t obey, and they don’t maintain a household that creates a sanctuary for their husbands. The Bible is very clear about what a wife is expected to do and not do, and sadly too many Pastors and Churches (as you point out in your column) are not. There’s a phenomenal book, written for women, on this very subject. The title is Created To Be His Help Meet, and the author is Debi Pearl. If all Christian women would read this book and follow its advice, we’d live in a different world.

It is remarkable, the difference between what many pastors believe and what they are willing to say from the pulpit. This is particularly annoying when one considers how the wolves in sheep’s clothing are far bolder than the shepherds.

I may have to rethink the death penalty

Color me superficial, but with no dearth of evil under the sun, reading this upset me more than anything in months:

Vandals wrecked Europe’s most valuable collection of 60 Jaguar cars by crashing them in a game of dodgems. The cars, including some models dating back to the 1930s, were said to be worth more than £1million.

I don’t consider myself an aesthete, will only visit a museum if lured into one by a suffiently attractive member of the opposite sex and am deeply suspicious of anyone who sits deep in seeming reflection before a painting for more than five minutes, but this subhuman lack of respect for beauty infuriates me. I think I can find more sympathy for the hit man, whose motives I can at least understand, than for these uncivilized cretins.

I sold my Jaguar years ago, and while I don’t regret it the way I regret selling my MGB, I still retain great fondness for the family car. (The cruelest telephone call I have ever received was from Little Miss Dartmouth, who gently broke the news of a certain automotive merger some years ago to me by singing, sans introduction, “have you driven a Ford… lately?”)

If the British authorities ever catch these unspeakable vandals, I hope they’ll consider turning them over to my uncles for punishment. They are mechanically-skilled and automotively-minded engineers who literally fly the Jaguar flag for what they consider to be the most significant 24 hours of the year. I think they could be trusted to wreak proper justice on the barbarians.

Discuss amongst yourselves