Two posts, one title.
I like sex. I want sex. However, I haven't seen too many examples of really content and happy marriages. I know most married people say they like being married and they wouldn't change anything if they had it to do over, but I also see more discontent in their lives than I'm willing to live with. Therefor, I have chosen not to seek marriage. I am not against marriage. I would probably go with the program if God put a woman in my life I found that kind of wonderful. I just do not have the desire to jump into a lifestyle that will steal my contentedness, even as a Christian who has vowed to live a celibate life until marriage. How serious am I about that? Its been about 20 years.
Wow! Do I ever want sex!!
After my marriage broke up, I thought I did want the married life again. I was just going to be a lot wiser about my choice and I was going to work on being the kind of guy that lady would want. Here's a word to the wise for you young people, "If you find a suitable mate but think you can either do better or you're not done sowing those wild oats, drop folly and snatch up that fruit cause later the field is harvested and all that remains is the gleanings. Knowuttamean?" This one has great looks and a rotten attitude, that one has a great attitude, but I just can't imagine... You know. Another looks great, has a great attitude but is still wallowing in her folly and has no interest in self discipline. Still another meets all the requirements I'm looking for, but apparently I don't fit hers and she is bound and determined to mold me into whatever vision she has in her head. And its weird when a pack of manipulators are trying to match you up with their pick and set you up for a blindside. Then you find yourself in a conversation with a woman who just assumes all men will if she invites him, "Look, you're a beautiful woman but I'm just not that kind'a man!" So I won't and now she's insulted cause I wouldn't and that must mean something is wrong with one of us and she frankly states it has to be me cuz she's not promiscuous or anything. Such is this fool's dilemma. I don't have a vision for a better life married with sex than what I have as a single without.
I made the point in A Fool's Folly, that everyone on earth is a fool due to the fact that all sin is self destruction and therefor foolish and still, everybody sins. Since everyone is a fool, wisdom is a matter of perspective. If a guy has been fighting to defeat his own folly for 10 years, the guy that just started 1 or 2 years ago thinks 10's a genius, but the guy that started fighting his folly as a child and has stayed consistent through the next 20 years of his life looks at 10 and still sees plenty of folly though they are the same physical age. And God, huhhuh, God looks at us all marveling at our self destructive natures. More amazing still, those who have not committed themselves to defeating their own folly look at the wise man and percieve a great fool, though the wise logically lays out the evidence for his conclusion. Revealed wisdom makes no sense to the fool.
The scriptures note that every child has folly locked up in his heart and he is in need of discipline to guide him and drive out folly. Prov 22:15 Further, our founding fathers noted virtue is a necessity to keep a free society, with the first congress going so far as issuing a congressional recommendation to the several states to encourage the sources of morality. Robert Winthrop, Speaker of the U. S. House stated, "Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet."
"Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness . . . it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof." Continental Congress, 1778
Folly isn't cured at any stage in life or by any accomplishment. In other words you never graduate out of susceptibility to folly. It is a disease, an inherited fallibility, a genetic fault. Fortunately, folly is treatable, though not curable. We do not have to allow folly to run it's course to our destruction. The treatment is consistent application of pure and unadulterated discipline. Taking from the founder quote above describing the difference between internal and external personal discipline, we can look to the Bible and discern the different ways the term discipline is applied when referring to fools as opposed to wise. The Proverbs describe a wise man as seeking wisdom and disciplines without being driven to it, even loving it; while the fool rejects discipline and hates you for just reminding him he needs to control himself for his own well being, then opposes external discipline (required to protect the community) to the point of warring against society. Prov 9:8 Study, do what you know is right, work hard, do your best, speak honestly, care for others, do what needs to be done. Everyone knows this stuff, but we fail in the practice by surrendering to laziness, appetites and temptations that harm us. Without those two weaknesses, there wouldn't be the sins in relationships known as contention.
Here we get to the common fool's dilemma. His will is set against his appetites. He wants to do good and be respected and appreciated, but he'd rather not have to do the work required for those accolades. He'd rather be fit and strong but he doesn't want to limit his caloric intake. He didn't intend to become an alcoholic, he just knows all the good times and social success in his life are associated with drinking. (not true but a fool's self deception) So, we are faced with choices all the time which affect our long term happiness vs. our short term fun. Another way to say it is, "Intellectual vs. feelings based choices."
Most of our rut-like behavior is due entirely to the patterns of thought we create. These self destructive behaviors are the result of long established patterns we know as habits. Everyone who has ever tried to change their behavior knows how hard it is to break a bad habit. Now, if you knew where the goal line was, it would be a tad bit easier to gauge your success at defeating habits. Studies have been done to evaluate just how long it takes to establish a new pattern of behavior. Believe it or not, it takes just 30 days. Can you imagine going all the way to day 21 or 29 only to give up and drop back to zero just because you didn't know how close you were to getting over the hump? Now if you tackle everything you consider a 'bad habit' in one giant haul, that might prove just as overwhelming as not knowing where the goal post is. Besides, there is greater accomplishment by going through them one issue at a time. Change that one thing and do it consistently for 30 days and then it is set as an automatic choice just like the bad habit was. Now you can choose the next thing. I would recommend starting with the biggest issue first. If you can beat that one, then you know you can beat all the rest of them. Don't think of this as a temporary way of life until you've perfected your life. This discipline should be exercised for the rest of your life. As surely as you begin this discipline, new stuff will be revealed to you that also needs 'fixing.' (especially as a Christian who studies the endlessly deep scriptures) So, doing the pattern change needs to become part of the new you, a 'good habit' and a strong 'self' discipline.
Apart from the little we know of 'doing good,' none of this stuff is automatic knowledge. Again, that Bible quote describing the folly being locked in a child's heart requires an external discipline to drive out the folly and inculcate 'self' discipline. If you never had that initial disciplinarian in your life, you can't even imagine putting yourself through this work. You have no vision for the goal or sense of how much you must sacrifice to achieve it. Now, consider our culture and all the failures of parents to pass on the virtues they acquired from their parents on top of the failures of their parents receiving from their forebears. Folly building upon folly until the culture forgets it's roots, forgets why virtue is valued, forgets how virtue is passed along from generation to generation. Our culture has graduated to feelings based choices in our national policy. In the secular view, our culture has vastly improved over past times. We are more knowledgeable and less evil than those ignorant and racists and slavers and savages. According to the observation I just cited, if our forebears can now be judged ignorant, drunkard, racist, slaver, savages; what does that make us? We haven't investigated the facts of history if we believe we are better than our forebears, especially our founding fathers' virtues because they are so well recorded. But that is our cultural belief. If not for the intervention of the Holy Spirit and the injection of virtue and morals in our culture from time to time through what Christians call 'outpourings,' (through which large portions of the culture throw off the bonds of folly and begin to apply the precepts spelled out in the Bible) we would be living in a stone age.
The Bible states that a father's sin will be passed down through the generations, up to 4 times. God intervenes for individual families without being called to it by prayer because He set the limit and He is faithful to keep His promises. I am a product of that intervention. I was blessed with an appetite for knowledge and a desire to defeat the folly in my life. I was guided to seek wisdom, I was broken by the consequences of my poor choices until I could receive correction, God set prayer warriors around me to pray for my recovery. But I went all the way beyond 30 years of age before I was healed of my accursed world view. Though every information source I knew agreed with the public narrative we get from the evening news and Hollywood and state historians' text books and schools, I began to see all of them proved worthless. Only my acceptance of Biblical principals would have any effect on my skewed world view. Once those sank in, I sought other scholars because I began to discern the inaccuracy in the information I'd acquired over the years. The search led me to produce a means of determining good sources of information based on respect by those former information sources though opposed by those former sources. These scholars earned their respect on the authenticity of their work. These scholars were forced to prove their conclusions because they oppose the popular narrative. The former information sources only have respect because they agree with each other and form the majority. They are a majority because our culture has lost the value of virtue. Those folks don't want truth, but prefer 'facts' that support their ideology. Their ideology will not condemn their folly. Their power is the appetites of our flesh and the national will to be deceived with acceptance in folly as right, good, and true.
Such an authority on history knows nothing of consequential knowledge.
When discerning observers argue for the values of the founding fathers, the vocal folly crowd populating our institutions of higher learning point out the minutiae of the fathers' faults to discredit their sacrifice and wisdom. Anything to erode arguments for discipline and self reliance or requirements to sacrifice personally for the good of the whole. The selfishness and absolute stark terror their imaginary security could be yanked from them precludes any consideration their choices will consume all security for the entire nation. The national debt will collapse the economy and subject the country to an external ruler like Islam or China. And on the subject of Islam, they refuse even to allow the discerning to do the necessary work to defend them from this global threat. They prefer we act like a pup in the presence of an aggressor, drop to the ground and lift a leg to expose our most vulnerable parts. In their minds, that will guarantee peace.
A job is NOT an entitlement. Neither is homeownership or food or clothing or transportation. These are impossible demands. This type of message was all over the Occupy Wall Street protests. This is an indicator of the level of ignorant and entitlement sentiments in our culture.
Here we are in a culture of folly, and the self disciplined and discerning vocal minority are witnessing it's fall. We hold out hope for the culture to push back folly even if only temporarily. As I watch the conservative party debate their primaries, I am dismayed. Apart from our choices being under qualified to articulate or even recognize the original intent of the constitution, they aren't great candidates to face the general election against a big, unrestricted government, 'entitlement' incumbent. Both front runners have engaged and continue to espouse big government program answers to the problems created by big govenment programs. Neither candidate can demonstrate a turning point in their world views that indicate any depth of understanding of the need for a drastic restructuring of the current responsibility this government assumes for itself. Again directly opposing the limitations spelled out by the founders in the document that defines our United States government. For a government which respects liberty, we need a bunch who will represent and encourage the virtues of self discipline and self reliance in the constituency just like the original congress and president did. For a virtuous bunch to represent us, we need a self disciplined and self reliant culture who choose candidates who respect liberty. Without an outside disciplinarian, we are caught in a degenerating catch 22 loop.
I had great hope for the TEA party grass roots movement. They sounded like the answer to prayer. They espoused the values of the constitution, they believe in the power of prayer (most of them) and they were ready and willing to speak back at the media, the politicians and anyone else the truth as the media and politicians advocated bald faced lies. We had a great success in planting a bunch of TEA party candidates in congress in the mid-term election. We seemed to be on our way down the road to righteousness. Now we have a general election and somehow all the TEA voices I hear on the talk shows sound like the Republicans indistinguishable from the Democrats for a BIG GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENT politician. (I'm sorry I yelled, its just so stinking frustrating.) Those voices are cashing out my credibility in the national discourse for a 'better than them' candidate. I AM THE TEA PARTY, and I DON"T APPROVE!!!
Just like families, nations degrade. Unlike families, God never limited nations' degeneration without it's people humbling themselves before God and praying for it. The country has lost it's way. It has misplaced it's faith and chose to trust in the government provision for security both personal and national. Whether people have been bought by a government check or convinced they are exempt from the sacrifices required to preserve liberty, for more than 100 years, we've chosen representatives who ask less and less of us and promise more and more to us with disregard for it's original design and purpose. As for the entitlement folly, all of history reveals where that road goes. It looks like the fall of Rome or the killing fields of Polpot, the Gulags of the U.S.S.R. or the ovens of Nazi Germany. If you want real change and real hope, then replace your faith in government back to God. Pray for the nation and look for your part in restoring the virtues that created and built it into the freeest location on earth to live by your own choices. Pray the people seek answers to explain how they were so deceived with respect to dealing with the global threat of Islam and the false hope of government care which results in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and a Welfare office whose results literally destroy subcultures. Pray the government returns to the practices of inculcating it's constituency with the knowledge and virtues which prevent cultural dependancy.