In the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, Agur son of Jakeh, described in Proverbs 30 as simply “the oracle,” says there are three or four things that really blow his mind.
"Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a virgin."
Indeed, eagles, serpents, ships, and men who go a-courting are, all alike, marvelous to behold. But in watching The Joe Rogan Experience #1895 – Matt Walsh, it seems there are a few things that are too wonderful for Rogan too, and a few more that he just doesn’t understand.
For instance, Rogan says relationships in our society are in a bad condition, not because of gay marriage, but because of high divorce rates and failed marriages. But Rogan doesn’t see how gay marriage harms heterosexual married couples. And to that I would say that in so far as society will get more of what it affirms and celebrates, we will get fewer marriages to the extent cultural support for marriage decreases.
But Rogan doesn’t see why a gay or lesbian couple shouldn’t be allowed to adopt. And his blind spot is pretty clearly the relational and developmental malnourishment – spiritually, mentally, and emotionally – which Walsh is speaking to when he says a father and mother each make valuable and irreplaceable contributions in the rearing of children. But Rogan doesn’t pick up on the point, and why is that?
Rogan also doesn’t understand why the point and purpose of marriage should be procreation. Instead, he recognizes that we are devaluing the marriages of couples who do not have children if we say the point of marriage is to have children. But why, if he sees that, does he miss Walsh’s point about heterosexual marriage?
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If there is a correlation here in these dynamics, it works in both directions. But if this does not work in one direction, it does not work in the other.
I think anyone who holds to Rogan’s combination of positions is stubbornly wishcasting. What else can we conclude when someone insists on the correlation being causation so long as we get what we want and avoid what we don’t want? What other explanation makes sense when someone denies the causal link only when it is inconvenient to our desires?
Rogan returns again and again to the question of “But what if they want this?” And I would just like to point out the question he does not ask. As he is so acutely preoccupied with what we want, who is asking what God wants, or what the Lord will bless?
Thankfully, Walsh’s parents told him and his siblings they would have their back when they attended public school growing up. If they got in trouble with teachers or administrators for doing what was right, or telling what was true, they would not be in trouble when they got home. This, I think, is what we ought to credit our knowing Walsh’s name to – that his parents were more concerned with goodness and truth than they were with their children going along to get along.
Such might not be the way of an eagle in the sky, or a serpent on a rock, or a ship on the high seas. But that is part and parcel of the way of a man with a virgin in the best sense, when both he and she alike are virtuous. It is also the way of a worldview and approach to culture building that is fertile rather than sterile.
Speaking of fertility, what’s up with women on birth control being more attracted to men with less masculine features? Is this a part of the puzzle we’ve given too little attention to? I think it could be, insofar as such is a factor in mate selection. So also, have we stopped to ponder that subsequent generations of male offspring in the U.S., since 1960 when the FDA approved “the pill,” hail from either decreasingly masculine fathers or else decreasingly faithful mothers?
If we haven’t, permit me to suggest that there may be ways in which birth control, perennially advertised as women’s empowerment, has contributed to the overall feminization of American society by affecting who has children with whom, and under what circumstances, over the course of three generations and counting now.
“What’s that to you?” Joe Rogan might quip. And to that I’d reply that prevailing trends in demographics and the composition of our culture affect us all, especially where more than just our own private business and attendant choices are concerned.
I say also that a strong culture in which men are manly, and women are womanly, and where both alike are celebrated and affirmed accordingly by their surrounding community, is self-evidently preferable to a weak culture in which everyone is androgenized. This is for one simple reason: that a strong culture has a higher chance of enduring prosperity and security. Weakness, meanwhile, always invites predation, from opportunists both within a nation and outside of it.
This, then, needs to be recognized as the more legitimate definition of “toxic masculinity,” that a kind of manliness is preferred by unmanly men which will not make their insecure selves feel jealous, threatened, or less-than.
The rejoinder, therefore, to the question of how those who are outside the winner’s circle will feel, if we honor some men and women more than others on the basis of their masculinity or femininity, especially for making good and wise life choices, is that we should rather ask how we will all feel when exceptionality on God’s terms has been fully banished to the hinterlands.
Put another way, how will both the strong and weak alike feel when the American nation as a whole completely implodes, collapsing under the weight of its own envy and mediocrity?
How are we all going to feel when no one can be exceptional in ways which please the Lord, so long as some contingent might raise a point of order that their precious feelings have been hurt thereby?
I certainly will not answer with “too wonderful.” That’s rather too awful a scenario. But then so is our perceptivity, when we hide from the truth on the macro, by asking what the individual wants, then refuse to venture into talking about truth in the micro of the individual relationships between causes and their effects, which invariably add up and accumulate to make what we call culture.
In other words, it is a symptom of our folly that we change the subject to what society wants when the individual is insisting on godliness, but then change the subject to what the individual wants when we say godliness, or the lack thereof, is also a characteristics of peoples, and not just persons, or that ideas have consequences.
I’m not saying we should outlaw birth control so women will marry and stay faithful to manlier men, and have children gotten by them. But I am saying that this looks to me like yet another practical proof that there is more blessing than we typically recognize at the outset to believing God, and living life on His terms. And conversely, there is more cursing than we will happily admit when we individually and corporately reject His ways.
It would be wise, therefore, to think more holistically about these things as we all make the beds we are going to lie in.
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