Taming the pastor...

Victimhood is the first refuge of the scoundrel. (Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford)

Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. (Deuteronomy 30:6)

Under another post, one commenter quotes Doug Wilson, "A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts." and asks, "Do you not see the issue with (Doug Wilson's) choice of words?"

To which I respond, yes, I see how it's possible to put the worst construction possible on Doug's words. It's understandable many would do so but we don't stop writing because of the danger... This is the paralysis that keeps sermons and classes and pastoral counseling from being helpful today. Communication that goes somewhere and rebukes something and teaches the truth is always at risk of being misunderstood, which is why most professors no longer profess and most teachers no longer teach and most preachers no longer preach. In our narcissistic and sentimental age, being nice is all that matters, but niceness is innocuous and boring, both of which are antithetical to true Gospel preaching.

In other words had Doug made his point as you and others wish, he wouldn't have made his point at all. And certainly not to the audience he had chosen.

Our effeminate age is intolerant of danger, but the husband and father are the real adventurers. So how are we to call men to marriage and fatherhood without romanticizing the danger? Which is to say without naming the risk of love and procreation? Are you next going to bowdlerize Tennyson by making him speak some kind of tripe like "Better to have loved and tied than never to have loved at all?"

This is the failure Joe Sobran warned against as "the modern morbid habit of sacrificing the normal on the altar of the abnormal." It is normal for men to consider love dangerous and to mourn the loss of love as a mortal wound that can only barely be sustained. It is normal for women to consider love anything but tame and safe. Look at the pictures on the covers of all those romance novels the next time you walk through Barnes and Noble. The write path back to normalcy and health in matters of love and birth and death passes through risk and danger and conquest. It passes through calls to men to take the risk of unrequited love, of being married to a rebel or shrew, of having children who are seduced by our patricidal culture and turn around and kill us.

Men tempted by same-sex intimacy usually lack the ability to face the glorious risk of woman, so they settle for tame same rather than dangerous other.

Can we not call such gelded men back to the risk and fear and adventure of wooing and wedding and bedding the glorious other, ishah God made from and for ish?

But while we're on the subject of our culture of victimhood shutting down pastoral exhortation and truth, one other thing. Near the beginning of his City of God, Augustine gives an extended warning to women who had been raped, calling them to examine themselves to see if they had enjoyed the wickedness, and exhorting them to repent if they had. When I first read the section a number of years ago, I was strengthened for my pastoral work because I saw a man of God who understood that victims don't cease to be moral agents because of their victimhood, and that to treat and seek to cure their souls is dangerous. It can lead to being accused of insensitivity, of blaming the victim, of adding insult to injury, and so on.

But of course, the infinitely greater danger is facing God after living as a pastor off the proceeds of serial sinecures. How does a man face God after a lifetime scratching itching ears and thereby cultivating blindness to the straying or lost sheep He sent His Only Begotten Son to save? After a career of proclaiming one's principled opposition to any use of the rod and staff? Of watching the sheep oppress and head-butt each other? Of allowing every vicious predator to carry off any lamb he wants?

All this to say that Doug Wilson is a faithful shepherd and this is the reason sinecure men whose flocks are scattered and dying find these words of Doug's concerning the sexual perversions of our time so terribly offensive. This is the reason these words go so terribly against the grain of women and their compliant husbands, fathers, brothers, elders, and pastors who have no doubt that brashness is a virtue whereas modesty and feminine deference are vices; and who are absolutely certain that it's better to forsake femininity entirely than to take the risk of being harmed by any man.

Men and women who abuse other men and women or boys and girls should be disciplined by husbands, fathers, brothers, elders, and pastors who live by faith and turn them in to the civil magistrate. Men and women or boys and girls who have been abused by men and women should be comforted by brothers in Christ who mourn with those who mourn, who comfort others with the comfort with which they themselves have been comforted.

But no mistake about it: the path back to peaceful family life is the precise sort of sentences and words Pastor Doug Wilson has been filling his blog and books with for many years, now. Some will scoff at his zeal while others will accuse him of having no respect for their city's gods. Women, priests, and sinecurists will start a riot in the town square and occasionally one of those who love him will have to sneak him away under cover of darkness.

If reconnaissance by artillery is still a valid strategy of war, Doug has found the enemy.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

This is a very helpful post. God bless you, and thank you Pastor Bayly.

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