Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Up-To-The-Hilt Advocates for Peace: Masculinity and Peace-Making

My acquaintance Proto posted this quote from Spurgeon
We are up to the hilt advocates for peace, and we earnestly war against war.  I wish that Christian men would insist more and more on the unrighteousness of war, believing that Christianity means no sword, no cannon, no bloodshed, and that, if a nation is driven to fight in its own defence, Christianity stands by to weep and to intervene as soon as possible, and not to join in the cruel shouts which celebrate an enemy’s slaughter. . . . Today, then, my brethren, I beg you to join with me in seeking renewal.
 The Church, in its many forms and places, is sick with the mutation that I call the Heresy of Bridal Mysticism. As I've defined it before, this is the confusion of the metaphor of Bride of Christ from the Church, a corporate gestalt of the saints existing beyond and before them, to the individual Human soul. This has taken many forms, but it results in a treatment of spirituality, religious practice, prayer and worship as a sort of passivity. This becomes equated with a false sense of the feminine (the feminine is just as active as the male, but it's a difference of forming-filling, not active-passive). This false piety disturbs many men, driving some away or leaving others in an awkward position.

However, I find many who agree there is a problem have turned towards violence and militarism as pathways. Armed service becomes highly praised. Violent sports and pseudo-bloodsport (e.g. UFC) are encouraged. Romantic images of the knight and the crusader reappear. I've seen even one delusional fellow argue that what the Church needs is a crusade-mentality against ISIS, and that it is the duty of all Christian men, as men, to stand up for their women and kinfolk and kill the threatening infidel.

I feel like I'm speaking gibberish when I try to communicate that working for peace is a masculine position. Being a soldier of Christ, engaged in a war against powers and principalities, is what Christians are called to. But we are tempted by worldly forms, and this serious call has many times been subverted. Bloodlust is the primary desire of This Age. This is a deep sin that is always put before us, particularly as the most visible enemies of Christ will put His servants to death. It is hard to turn away from the ways and weapons of This Age.

Sadly, Spurgeon's voice is all too infrequent. But it is encouraging because it reveals that, for a man, masculinity is not contrary to peace-making. In fact, it's the vision of Christ for the men of His Church, no matter what the sophists and worldlings say. We are to fight for peace against the whims and dictates of Babylon. It might be natural for men to be aggressive (I don't know), but not in the ways This Age teaches us to be.

St. Paul was celibate, drank no wine after his Nazirite oath, and spent his life in repentance for his murders and murderous words. He stands in distinct contrast to the brawling, drunk, womanizer that is popularized in machismo images that American men desire to be, even if it's quiet. This kind of masculinity leads to many joining gangs, the police, or the army (these are only different by degrees), or thirst after images of machismo through consuming pop-culture. Certainly, if we are to believe this idea of the masculine, we would crucify Christ if He were to walk in our midst.

Reflect on these thoughts, and don't get suckered for a false dilemma. I'll leave you with another quote from Spurgeon. He's reflecting on Britain's wars in China and the Opium trade. If we replace the nation and the resource in the 21st century American Regime, it's easy to reflect on the parallels:

I am always hearing Christian men blessing God for that which I cannot but reckon as a curse...Whenever England goes to war, we stand behind the warrior and shout, "It will open a way for the Gospel", I cannot understand that. I cannot make out how the devil is to make a way for Christ. And what is war but an incarnate fiend...? How, then, shall we rouse the devilry of human nature, cry "Havoc! and slip the dogs of war", and then declare it is to make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God? A HIGHWAY KNEE-DEEP IN GORE. Do you believe it? You cannot. God does overrule evil for good; but I have never seen yet...the rare fruit which is said to grow upon this vine of Gomorrah. Let any other nation go to war, and it is all well and good for the English to send missionaries to the poor inhabitants of the ravaged countries. In such a case our nation did not make the war, they did not create the devastation, and they may preach; but for an English cannon to make way in Canton for an English missionary, is a lie too glaring for me to receive it for a moment. I cannot comprehend the Christianity which talks thus of murder and robbery. If other nations chose to fight, and if God uses them to open the door, I will bless him; but I must still weep for the slain, and exclaim against the murderers. I blush for my country when I see it committing crimes in China. For what is the opium traffic but an enormous crime? Then war arises out of it, and the Gospel is furthered by it. Can you see that?... It seems to me that if I saw an Englishman preaching in the streets and I were a Chinaman, I should say to him, "What have you got there, eh?" "I am sent to preach the Gospel to you." "The Gospel! what, is it anything like opium? Does it intoxicate, and blast, and curse, and kill?"

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