Where there are many words...

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise. - Proverbs 10:19

Dad was fond of saying criticism is the manure Christians grow best in. As you can imagine, I get a fair bit of it and do my best not simply to pass it off. I meet with the Clearnote Pastors College men each Tuesday for two hours of discussion surrounding a text of Scripture. From time to time, criticism comes up and one thing I try to remember to say is that, while we should not treat them with much respect, we should always read anonymous letters. Often they're anonymous because of a deep root of bitterness in the author, but not always. And usually such letters say things I need to hear and take to heart. (On the other hand, anonymous letters of thanks and praise are always, always perfectly true. These are to be sincerely believed, meditated on, and placed under our pillow at night where we might nuzzle them with our cheek during the wee hours of the morning.)

You won't be surprised that my initial response to criticism is often to be defensive and argue with my critic. Over the years this has declined, as I trust my dear Mary Lee would testify. She's always been my first and best critic, particularly since my dear Mother died. And when the defensiveness is there at first, usually it doesn't take very long for me to see whatever truth is in the criticism, at which time I go back and thank the critic telling him his words were true and helpful. And if my defensiveness was sinful, I ask his forgiveness.

In the past three weeks, I've received three criticisms of the blog and those criticisms highlight another aspect to responding to critics that's quite important...

It's one thing to have a Shimei hurling abuse at you1 and quite another to have your wife, daughter or son, brother, a wise older Christian, a dear and longtime friend, or fellow pastors and elders rebuke you. David listened carefully to Abigail.2

As their intimate knowledge of you and your love and respect for them goes higher, you should pay closer and closer attention to your critic's rebukes and corrections. Again, you should listen most closely and take to heart most carefully the criticisms of your wife and mother, assuming your mother is a Christian and your wife is a godly helpmate (rather than a godless hurtmate). This to say each of the three criticisms I've received have been from a man or woman whom I respect, so I've carried them in my mind and heart since receiving them.

The first criticism had to do with my post on the Duck Dynasty flap. A godly woman told me privately she found Phil Robertson's comments concerning which body parts are to be preferred in sexual intercourse revolting. My dear sister in Christ said Mr. Robertson objectified women with his observation and that his words were demeaning to women. I responded that I didn't see it that way.

t's one of the insidious aspects of our citified world that death and rot and manure and intercourse aren't daily visions from the kitchen window overlooking the barnyard. So we've become dainty in our discussions of sodomy. It's all about identity politics and identity politics never ever mention body parts. It's my conviction that Christians need to be faithful to confess not simply what God's book of special revelation, the Bible, reveals, but also what God's book of nature reveals. And this is what men close to the soil and barnyard do, thank God. They can't get body parts out of their minds as they read the Bible and they can't get the Bible out of their minds as they consider body parts. Then they confess their faith.

So no, I didn't agree with my highly esteemed sister that Phil Robertson was relegating women or his wife to being nothing more than body parts. Rather, I'm convinced he was making a critically important point that only an uneducated man still remembers. God made specific body parts for lovemaking and it's quite beautiful and satisfying when a man and his wife use the parts God designed for making love. And I think that is speaking respectfully of women and our wives. I suspect Phil Robertson's wife understood what he was saying and took a certain private joy in it. But yes, I may be wrong and I leave that judgment to you, dear readers.

The second criticism had to do with a discussion of illegal immigration under the blog post The joy of work....

One commenter spoke of the lawlessness of those who cross our borders illegally, but he did so without a hint of Scripture's constant command3 that the people of God are to treat the sojourner in our midst with compassion because we were once slaves and sojourners ourselves.

Another brother pointed out that I had not responded to this comment as he'd hoped, either rebuking the commenter for what seemed to be heartlessness or myself speaking up in behalf of the widow and orphan and sojourner in our midst.

I think his criticism is valid and here want to make it clear that, although I believe our nation's immigration laws should be enforced and those who break them punished for breaking the law, I yet believe and am committed to showing compassion for the poor in our midst, many of whom are illegal aliens.

I'd like to say much more about this, but time limits me, so let me leave it with the simple statement that Reformed churches should join other Christians in being at the head of the lists fighting for compassionate immigration laws and the welfare of those living in our midst who live in terror of being arrested for not crossing the border according to the laws of the wealthiest nation on earth across human history. I will view it as a spiritual victory when Clearnote Church, Bloomington has as many poor Hispanics lacking a green card and working as busboys and sheet rockers in our congregation as rich Chinese grad students who keep Indiana University afloat with their tuition payments. I apologize for not defending these sojourners in the comments immediately, as I ought.

And God bless you if you think I've turned into an anarchist by arguing for Christian charity in behalf of Hispanics.

The third criticism had to do with my more recent post on the Reformed world's celebrity culture. Titled Establish the work of our hands..., one of our most supportive and faithful readers who lives across the pond wrote this loving rebuke:

Hello Tim,

I just wanted to write concerning your most recent post, 'Establish the work of our hands'. 

I can't help thinking that the post comes across with contempt and disdain for the rest of our reformed brothers out there. Is this wise and good? I would hate for you to give occasion to people to reject your writings for any other reason than the despised truths you give voice to. 

I'm sure you already know this, but one discipline I personally find is helping keep my heart in a good frame is to pray for those I am inclined to despise. I don't have the privilege of being in a church where the bulk of the congregation welcomes the doctrine of election, let alone Christian manhood and womanhood. Eyebrows would probably be raised if a person included that tweet you reference in a prayer. Should we not pray and fight for these people that they may 'be filled with the knowledge of His will'? 

Here are some words from Jonathan Edwards that I recently came across (and neither he nor I are against strong and forceful words):

He may reprove his neighbor; but if he does, it will be with politeness and without bitterness, which still shows the design to be only to exasperate.It may be with strength of reason and argument and serious expostulation, but without angry reflections or contemptuous language. He may show a dislike of what is done, but it will not be with an appearance of high resentment; but as a man would reprove another that has fallen into sin against God, rather than against him; as lamenting his calamity more than resenting his injury, and as seeking his good rather than his hurt; more to deliver him from the calamity into which he has fallen than to be even with him for the injury he has brought on him.

Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, ed. Kyle Strobel (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 98.

I hope you don't mind me being a friend to you...

(Signed)

Given the time difference, we weren't able to talk by Skype or phone, so before retiring for the night I wrote this response:

Dear (Brother),

Thank you for your e-mail rebuke. Very pleased to have you as a friend, as you put it.

After reading your e-mail, I went back and read the post once more. Hadn't read it for several weeks so I needed a refresher. As you know, I'm not opposed to changing things after I post them and realize their tone or wording is sinful or needlessly obtuse. Sometimes I even remove them from the blog and apologize as I did with one post a month or two ago.

So what would I remove or edit in this post, given your criticism?

I'm not sure. What I wanted was to lampoon the sycophantic nature of the Reformed world today. I wasn't doing so because I was angry or jealous or mean-spirited, as best I can tell. This is not so much a doctrinal issue as a matter of fashion, fads, and celebrities and the question is how does one expose and shame celebrities other than to make fun of them for cultivating the fawning attention of groupies for their inanities?

I know (these men I've written about) personally. (I think all) handled the (plaigarism fracas) poorly, but why get serious about it when everyone else already is taking these men and their crud too, too seriously.

What I want to do is shame those who spend their lives keeping up with Reformed celebrity gossip and consuming Reformed celebrity conference products and books. It's all shameful and I don't know how to shame what is shameful in a way that won't offend postmodern sensibilities and leave me vulnerable to accusations of bitterness, jealously, intemperance, and a sinful lack of Christian charity.

Why don't you edit it the way you think I should have written it and send me the copy so I can see if you can pull it off without employing ridicule and sarcasm...

With love in our Lord,
Gratefully yours,

Likely I'm wrong in this response, but honestly, I simply do not know how to get men to stop patronizing the celebrity circuit that is the corruption of the Reformed church of our time. I take it on here on Baylyblog by making serious points and using Scripture citations often enough, yet the beat goes on. Is ridicule wrong? 

I don't know. But I constantly remember and repeat to others Dad's warning oft-repeated his last few years of life concerning the Evangelical celebrity world he knew so well: "Everyone's out to build his own kingdom." I've spent a lot of time at meetings and conferences with these men and most of them need to shut up, go home, and tend their own garden. The Reformed church would be better off without their unbelievable pride, loud mouths, and profit-mongering. God ordained the Church served by pastors and elders who tend their own sheep.

And yes, I'm using a blog to say this, just as Dad used a magazine to say it before me.

So, what do you think, dear readers? Shoot away and make sure you save your best bullets for me.

With love,

  • 1. 2Samuel 16:5 ff.
  • 2. 1Samuel 25:23 ff.
  • 3. Leviticus 25:35; Ezekiel 22:29; Malachi 3:5; etc.
Tim Bayly

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

Comments

As the heartless commenter who should have been soundly rebuked I think that I do not concur. This whole discussion sounds like one by people who have advanced degrees and good incomes and it lacks compassion for the poor among us. Mass immigration from Mexico is a tool used by significant elements of corporate America to drive down wages for people without advanced degrees, who work with their hands in physical labor. That is one reason the Chamber of Commerce is so aggressively pushing amnesty for the lawless immigrant.

I do not wish for anyone to treat even the criminal immigrant with cruelty or disregard. I do wish them to be treated as our very generous immigration laws require. We have many relatively poor lawful immigrants and they are in a radically different position than those who are here unlawfully. It is they who have a full and absolute claim to the status of sojourner whereas the willful and lawless immigrant is in a position more akin to that of the Philistines who would enter Israel without the consent of the government. Real compassion does not disregard the effect of the lawless immigrant on our poor and laboring classes, who are abandoned by most of our more literate classes.

John Alexander, the former president of IVCF when I was in college, wrote a little booklet entitled, "Criticism, Giving It and Taking It." He made a number of points and I try to remember the first: In even the most off-target criticism, there is (almost) always some truth we need to hear. And in even the most on-target criticism, there is (almost) always a little bit of error.

I really struggle with the proper corporate response to illegal immigration. I know plenty of Christians who are frustrated with the issue, but I don't know of any Christian saying let's be cruel to illegals. Dr. Ray Dillard, my OT professor at WTS said in one of his classes (although I don't know if the quote is original to him) "For every difficult, intricate, complex, perplexing problem there is a simple, elegant, obvious, clear, direct, wrong answer."

Compassion, well who can be against that? However, what form should that compassion take? Hebrews 12 puts a sharp point on God's strong discipline being compassionate.

The sheetrockers to which Tim refers; when I am on a job site and see a box truck roll up and a dozen (what I assume to be illegals) jump out, I see a dozen jobs which might have gone to the felon fresh out of prison. Is he a second hand citizen to the illegal alien? Have you worked with the felon? He has a not just a few ordinary obstacles in his way. Is this compassionate?

I see a dozen jobs forfeited to a young urban man out of high school trying (as Tim did) to do those things, though tough and hard, which will teach him the character to succeed in his next step in life. The call of the thug life, of seemingly easy money, in the inner city is strong and loud. Is this compassion?

Is it compassionate to take by force from my livelihood by which I am trying to take care of my own household and redistribute it to the illegal alien so corporate greed be satisfied? My felon friend is not eligible for these redistributed funds.

Perhaps I will be classified as heartless as well, but I don't see the answers to these issues as simple as we'd like them to be.

>>I don't see the answers to these issues as simple as we'd like them to be.

Dear Jeff,

I'm not sure anyone expects the solution to be simple. That said, there are certain commands of God we must obey. Thus there must be some indication of compassion motivating us in some way to honor God's commands concerning the sojourner in our midst. Where there's no mention of this command ubiquitous across Scripture, and its application to us today, it's not safe to assume the command is carried in a man's heart.

Too, Christian care and concern for the aliens in our gates is not inimical to the wellbeing of U.S. citizens who are convicted felons, Amish, blacks, or high school dropouts.

Love,

Of course if one is a sojourner one is passing through, not staying for the rest of one's life. It is safe to say that lawlessness is not compatible with obedience to the Biblical command to have compassion on the sojourner.

What does compassion look like? As fathers haven't we at times shown our compassion to our children by extending mercy rather than judgment? Then haven't we shown our compassion with tears by judgment rather than mercy?

Here is a theoretical question for you. Clearly you teach that the man is the head of the home. Would you preach that the man who illegally brought his family across the border honor the God-ordained authority of the state and either turn themselves in or return to their native land? My intent is not to be antagonist, or play gotcha. Just a genuine curiosity.

Additionally Pastor Bayly indicates he wants illegal aliens to be part of his church but if he were to respect the proper role of the magistrate he would be required to notify the ICE personnel so that the law may do its work. That seems problematic.

Gentlemen,

Before these comments get further off topic allow me to interject and make a few points.

1) I am the brother who confronted Pastor Bayly about his handling of David Gray's comments in the post titled "The Joy of Work," although I would hardly consider it to be a confrontation.

2) The issue that I brought up had little to do with David's views on immigration and more to do with what I saw as his hatred of those he was addressing.

The issue was with the following comments that David made on December 28th at 2:56pm.

"It would also be good if we didn't have a country which protects the degreed (and provides them with inexpensive nannies and gardeners) while destroying the value of low-skill labor by importing vast numbers of illiterate Mexican peasants to drive down wages."

My response: "Why do they have to be illiterate David?"

David: "It isn't a requirement but rather a tendency. But if they were highly educated they'd be less useful for the purpose at hand."

Mexico has a 93.4% literacy rate.

I have many things I could say, but I will stick to one main point. Under no circumstances is the word “illiterate” applicable to illegal immigrants.

Is this a trifle that I’m bringing up? No, not at all.

The brunt of racism directed towards Mexicans and Latinos is that they are stupid. As a man of mixed Portuguese and African descent, I know this because most midwestern people think I’m Mexican. The last name "Costa" doesn't help. I have received far many more Latino racist comments than African ones. I have been called a “dirty Mexican” and I have been told to run for the border.

And whether you want to admit it or not, you most likely just assume that you’re smarter than a large majority of Latinos you interact with. For some foolish reason, the stereotypical Mexican/Latino man is a moron. Therefore, to make a comment that feeds into this mentality is the most hateful thing you could say about him.

David, I’ll be honest. After re-reading your comments for a third time, I have to admit that I agreed with much of what you said... especially when it comes to obeying the law of the land. I even thought that some of the people who responded to you missed your point.

However, when I first read through your comments I saw it through the lens of a man who hates Mexicans. That may not have been your intention, but since it was your first comment in that thread on the subject of immigration, you only have yourself to blame. You didn’t get off on the right foot. Because of that, everything else came off as lacking compassion.

I have much more I could say, but I'll stop there for now.

>Mexico has a 93.4% literacy rate.

Not in English, which is why they are useful to the Chamber of Commerce. If they were fluent in English they would be less vulnerable to being used by business to drive down wages. And they would immediately have a greater upward mobility which would spread out their impact throughout society. Mexicans are not at all stupid.

I don't hate Mexicans. Most Mexicans don't come here illegally. Most stay home. Many come lawfully. I would like them to either stay in their own country or come here lawfully, under our very generous immigration laws.

What I don't see in Pastor Bayly's comments is compassion for American low skilled workers. If we want people to have stay at home moms and embrace children we need hard working men to be able to provide for those wives and children. Uncontrolled immigration undermines their ability to do that.

I don't know that anyone else here has but per Pastor Bayly's comments above I HAVE worked as a bus boy and a dishwasher. I've worked bar rush in a fast food restaurant at 2 AM getting out around 3AM and then going home to shower because your whole body feels like it is covered with a film of grease. We have Americans who are willing to do those jobs and it is a crying shame to undermine them by letting the Chamber of Commerce drive down the meager wages such jobs provide by flooding the low end of the labor market.

It is ironic in this discussion about compassion that nobody seems all that worried about the actual American working poor, which the Scriptures are quite clear should be a concern. Some may be concerned but when it isn't expressed, as Pastor Bayly observed, it makes it easy to draw conclusions, even if they aren't warranted. It wouldn't be fair to say you only have yourselves to blame because as a man I have a responsibility to draw reasoned conclusions, even if my last name is Gray.

BTW, thank you for coming out and speaking for yourself. I think you were wrong to jump to the conclusion you did but dealing with it directly is the honorable way to proceed. I appreciate that.

You're welcome David... I have a few things to say in response to your comments here.

Forgive me for trying to interpret your original intentions, but I find it hard to believe that when you called illegal immigrants "illiterate," you were talking about English literacy.

Regardless of your intentions, I find it even harder to believe that people could have read your comment and thought to themselves "David Gray is talking about English literacy here."

I may be a simple minded man, but when I see the word "illiterate," I interpret it simply as "can't read," and I think most other people would interpret it the same way. If you meant anything else, you should have been clearer.

Also, you said that I was wrong to jump to the conclusion I jumped to. Let me ask you, what was my conclusion?

I'm asking this because you might have misinterpreted my conclusion in the nineteen minutes you afforded yourself to read and respond to my comment.

Given the brief amount of time you actually gave yourself to process and respond to what I wrote, I'll just tell you that my conclusion wasn't "David Gray hates Mexicans."

I specifically said that I read your comments through the lens of a man who hates Mexicans upon my first reading of those comments. But please note, I read your comments three times. By the time I read through them the third time, that wasn't my conclusion at all. I should have been clearer than that.

My conclusion is simply that you made a racist comment. I have little reason to believe otherwise. No matter how truthful your subsequent words were, everything else you said after that was difficult to read because of your initial racist comment. And in regards to that race (or ethnicity in this case), your comment was the one of the most offensive comments possible.

>My conclusion is simply that you made a racist comment.

Your conclusion is incorrect.

> I have little reason to believe otherwise

Ultimately that is not my problem. It is your problem. If you impugn me I will not be called to account for a violation of the 9th Commandment. If I hate based on race I will be called to account, not because race is involved, but because hate is involved.

>I specifically said that I read your comments through the lens of a man who hates Mexicans upon my first reading of those comments.

And that, my friend, was jumping to a conclusion. Yes, you moved away from it, sort of. Now I'm not a man who hates Mexicans, just a man who makes racist comments. Yet you assume that a charge of illiteracy, even if made generally as opposed to within the context of American society and culture, means to assume stupidity. I am quite confident I had many ancestors if I go back far enough who could not read or write. I would not assume from that they were stupid. Most people who are illiterate in the world are illiterate not because they are stupid but because they have not been taught.

The point which I made both then and now is that the portion of the Mexican population we are getting in immigration is not going to be competing for mid to upper end jobs. They are going to be swelling the labor market for those at the low end of the economic spectrum and depressing wages. Why the shallow concern for "someone said something that made me feel offended" and not a more Biblical concern for our own working poor?

>And in regards to that race (or ethnicity in this case), your comment was the one of the most offensive comments possible.

You would seem to lack imagination.

Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said this:

One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true.

Was Paul being racist? Was the Holy Spirit racist? Frankly if someone was talking about a group of which I was a member I'd much rather have them say we'd never been taught to read (either English or at all) than say we were all liars, lazy or evil.

A labor union is a group of men who band together to bargain collectively for higher wages, better benefits, etc. So far, fine. But labor unions go wrong when they act as if the job belongs to the employee and try to make sure that if their member doesn't get the job, nobody does. The job belongs to the employer, not the employee (Matthew 20:13-15).

David (Gray), you have been making two points. The first is that we should not ignore the law regarding illegal immigrants. I agree: lawlessness is not right. Good laws should be enforced, and bad laws should be repealed, not ignored.

I think we should let them all come in. Thank God for a country men want to come in to. Let's change the law.

But I don't think this would actually solve anything for you. Even if all the current immigrants were legal, you would still have what I think is your main issue: your contention that immigrants are stealing jobs that rightly belong to non-immigrant Americans. I think that the illegal immigrant issue is a red herring.

Love,

Daniel,

Presumably if you would wish to permit all Mexicans to come into this country who desire it you would do the same for others as well. How many Chinese would desire to come to the United States? How many from India? At least we wouldn't have to worry about too many from decadent Europe, they've nearly stopped having children. Do you think our society, government and culture could absorb 200 million? 300 million? How would we absorb a doubling or more of the population? Your proposal has at least intellectual consistency. And it would be a lawful process at least. But what kind of country would you leave your children?

>>> the effect of the lawless immigrant on our poor and laboring classes

If I lack skills and more skilled people beat me out in applying for a job, I have not somehow been wronged.

How is it that these less skilled immigrants can beat out non-immigrant Americans? David, I hear you saying that they make it difficult or impossible for the working poor to support their families. But how do the immigrants support their families, then? Are they willing to have a lower standard of living and the American workers by right must have a higher standard of living?

Love,

Daniel,

If you read the rest of what I've written you would note that you've oversimplified. The effect of large scale low skill immigration is to drive down wages. It is simple supply and demand. The greater the supply of low skill labor the cheaper wages will be.

When a low skill labor is here illegally they will work for less than legal labor. Once amnesty comes they will not because the employer loses their hold over them. Now I'm not keen on the welfare state but a welfare state with open borders is truly madness. What you propose would first require the repeal of the welfare state. When that is done your proposal would make a bit more sense. I'd still oppose it but it would be less of a suicide pact.

And yes, the government of the United States, our magistrate, has responsibilities towards its own citizens that it does not have towards foreigners.

Dear Brothers,

The claim that care for the sojourner in our midst is not possible without becoming a lawbreaker or encouraging lawbreaking is wrong.

The claim that charity towards the sojourner in our midst necessarily means a lack of charity towards the man who works with his hands to support his wife and children is also wrong.

As for arguments about who's worked what jobs and gotten how dirty, I yield the field, but not from fear of losing.

Con mi amor,

Dear David,

I've been following your argument and I agree that our immigration situation needs reform and enforcement. But setting that aside, the point you keep bringing up is that the infusion of illegal immigrants has driven the wages of legal citizens down, preventing them from being able to earn a living wage. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I've taken away from your discourse.

I've done manual labor my whole working life and I've worked with several illegals before. When I started working I was at the bottom, and as you propose, I was probably paid less than I might have been paid if there weren't illegals working with me. But that's not the point. I was young and I had to start somewhere. The point is that within 18 months of working at that company, I was in charge of the illegals. And that's the reality of the workplace environment. The cream always rises. I don't say that to boast, but to point out that a legal citizen with a drivers license, the ability to read and write and a decent work ethic will surpass the illegal in terms of wages in no time. These are just the facts of life. Every boss I've ever had as well as the business owners in my church would pay through the teeth for a hardworking man who is willing to learn. The problem is that they can't find any of those kind of men. And what's more, the illegals that I've worked with fit that description much more that the low skill Americans that I worked with.

I'll admit that there are plenty of businesses that are simply in the market for the cheapest labor possible, and to that end, they hired illegals to work for them. In that situation, I'd tell the citizen not to work for that company. Not because illegals work there but because that business owner is running his business very foolishly and a man interested in providing for his family, should look for employment where the owner has integrity. That man's business will grow and be stable. Which is to say, the problem really isn't the illegals looking to support their own families (which is what most all of them are doing), but the shyster employers that are willing to pay cash and keep it all under the table.

So your argument amounts to protecting the low skill citizens and work to ensure that they won't ever have to belly up to the fact that they are LOW SKILL. The positions they fill don't exist to provide a living wage. They exist to make the higher skilled workers more efficient. If an American citizen can't overcome the temporary difficulties of entry level wages while he learns and moves up, the problem isn't the illegals.

For the man who has lost his job and can't find work in his field, I'm sympathetic. He may be forced into taking a low skill job because the realities of life necessitate it. But the fact remains, a low skill position is a low skill position. No matter who's fulfilling that spot.

In other words, the problem isn't illegals, the problem is that American men are the lazy, lying and evil ones. Oh, and unwilling to work.

Love,

Pastor Bayly.

I love and respect you.

I agree with your statements.

I disagree with your application.

Dave

So your argument amounts to protecting the low skill citizens and work to ensure that they won't ever have to belly up to the fact that they are LOW SKILL.

I appreciate where you are trying to go with this and I think you make some good points that apply to some people. However there are people who, if they are conscientious and disciplined, will only ever be low skilled worker. Everyone cannot be a professional. Everyone cannot be a computer programmer. Etc. Those of our fellow citizens who are making the most of what God gives them and remain low skill labor are not unworthy of our concern.

Well said, Pastor Abu-Sara!

>>Those of our fellow citizens who are making the most of what God gives them and remain low skill labor are not unworthy of our concern.

Agreed.

With love and respect,

>>> Those of our fellow citizens who are making the most of what God gives them and remain low skill labor are not unworthy of our concern.

Now we're talking!

David Gray,

I have said what I wanted to say about the issue and if I gave a third comment it would be overkill. I stand by my conclusion. You reject it. Okay. Fortunately for both of us, there isn't a racism jury out there who can decide between the matter for us. I don't think Paul's statement about the Cretans is remotely close to your statement about immigrants. Again though, my comments have been made and I'm finished with that aspect of our discussion.

>Why the shallow concern for "someone said something that made me feel offended" and not a more Biblical concern for our own working poor?

You said something like this in both of your responses to me... Why not both? Like I have said before, I agree with much of what you said. Can I have concern about what I see as a hateful comment about the poor from another country and also have a concern for the poor in my midst? Those are not mutually exclusive. Such a statement on your behalf is irrelevant to the initial point I made. In all of my comments, I have not taken any kind of stand for the work status of the immigrants who come to this country illegally.

I'm probably finished here, but I'll surely read your response. Stay warm.

Respectfully,

Dear David,

I agree, but we can't take the minority and base our rationale on them. Furthermore, most of the workers in low skill jobs are not unable to move up. And if they are in that position, the majority of them aren't in competition with illegals for that job.

It's still hard to face the facts of low skilled workers who are stuck there, but generally speaking, there are three categories of people in low skilled positions: the men I described in my previous comment, the handicapped and those who have in one way or another, ended up there because of their or someone else's sins or misfortune (EG. divorce, death of a provider, addictions, etc).

The single mom who works at Walmart and can't make ends meet is an awful situation that needs to be addressed, but she's not the one in competition with the illegal for a position on the tree trimming crew and neither are the handicapped. It's the first category of men that are in competition with illegals. And that group of men has an infinite advantage over the illegal. I know exceptions exist, but they prove rule rather than establish it.

I recently told a someone that there is no difference between a man who can't work and a man who won't work. In other words, unrealized potential is the same as no potential in the work world.

Everyone cannot be a professional.

There are plenty of men, myself included, who have begun in the low skill crowd and have worked their way up out of that group without ever entering a professional field. I didn't go to college out of high school and I began as a grunt on a tree trimming crew. Within 4 years of taking that job I was making well over 40k/yr with only more opportunities ahead of me. For a 22yr old with no debt from college, that's great money; certainly a living wage. And there's no doubt in my mind that I could have made much more if I had stayed there and continued to take on more responsibility.

As this discussion goes on, let's not confuse the unfortunate low skill worker who is not completing with illegals with the willfully unskilled work who is.

Love,

peep.

I want to point-out that the illegal immigrant, mo'often-than-not, is someone escaping conditions, possibly mortally dangerous or without opportunity to survive without perhaps becoming a murderer, drug dealer...many a cartel member is apparently someone whose family was taken and then told, "you do our work or they die." Also, the "lawless" rhetoric has got to stop, it bespeaks deep imbibement of a false doctrine:

The Greek alike with the Hebrew distinguished nomos from phusis, or custom from nature--which are also the criteria for determining "the legal" from "the lawful"; the immigration matter is a legal one--one of custom and official policy, not of law unless the custom and policy are set to accord with or uphold the law: our founders knew this distinction and decried that any law violating an inalienable right of man (the language and concepts eschewed by our Supreme Court to impose distinctions between types of rights so they can deny you and I a right to work at all--even despite the re-embodiment of all that in the 14th amendment) is a "law" which can--and shall (they commanded it)--be violated "with impugnity": it's a seizure on the being itself, and an unlawful one.

The United States Constitution has never been amended, either, to shut-up the immigration gates: it is a pro-immigration (regulated, not restricted) document for a nation born in need of as many who could influx as possible bringing new labor, skills, etc.: there's good reason France gave us lady liberty for the New York Harbor in recognition of this. The immigration scheme, in fact, that we have is perhaps not altogether lawless, but it not legal under the Constitution but under fabricated legislation up-made with which we put by the Supreme Court itself needing to justify sudden hatred of the poor immigrant, inferior because of race and lesser evolutionary development of other races: at the time those races distinguished were English, Irish, French, Italian, German, etc...it was the era of social Darwinism and mass coerced sterilization and lobotomies by a lawless band of unbelievers in government--and their supporters. So I hate to hear Christians parroting that rhetoric: it is fake doctrine. The immigrants sometimes even know all that, if not from the historical record then from the same natural rights philosophy of the founders: what right hath powers to order me not to do what is necessary, so long as honest, to maintain my life and family? Why should I care if it should suppress another's wages if my skills are good enough? Do men in a society of overwrought prices and luxury have a right to wages?

They do not but we up put with officials who have converted every homeowner into a homezoner: if you take-in that immigrant out of Christian charity your and aid-an-abetting criminal and also violating the zoning regs and ordinances: how dare you question "authority"! But it's not authority, it's raw power under abuse. If the authorities said straight-up, "we're forbidding entry due to the dominance of progressive hegemony throughout the world and its corrupting pollution" or "the uneducated masses easily manipulated through political rhetoric and calls to violence are a threat that therefore cannot be permitted to enter unchecked"--and tooked steps for those actual purposes--they would be legitimately exercising power, it would be lawful; they do not though--either it's "can't have more of them Mexicans" or "dang it, they're suppressing wages!"

If we want our natural rights respected we must also call for the same of those immigrants and demand nomos only where lawful--such as in the cases above. Period: even if it means a nomos-act of invading to kill and destroy the corrupt evils that plague those other lands and cause men who love those lands and people but not this one or those of it to prefer leaving and "doing empire" long enough to do so, or perhaps sending colonists (despite being hated) as a violent band wielding a lawful sword in judgement--which is divine--"though shalt not suppress another for your gain; that shalt not tolerate drug lords; that shalt not tolerate roaming gangs; thou shalt not accept bribes..."

Of course, we have enough of that here. I'm convinced, for instance, that for "conservatives" so-called to really make a dent they...have to start volunteering to give those "thugs" (and their many illegitimate children) a real education (not to mention surrogate daddies--it's just necessary, period). If their communities lack not only the cohesion but the internal love and resources then it MUST come from without. Similarly, if we want to undo la raza and the intellectual-esque but mis-educated progressive cults that employ feelings of bitterness and emotional manipulation of feelings of victimhood then we have to offer a better way--it's called "impire" or rule through ideas--and it's legitimate when it's for the truth. (And indeed we can also admit to sins such as creating Bannana Republics, however we can then also offend by legitimately pointing-out "a nation has the right to intervene in another should it renege on its commitments or intervene in the contracts of foreign persons when those are not, really, exploitative.)

And should that fail then a government really can rule by sword, but it must also fulfill the command to call people out of sin and idolatries, out of unjustified hatred toward the wrong people and out of pride of race or ethnicity...in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek and we are to testify to that.

--

p.s. a real problem of cultural problems and the bad fruits of Mariolatry and other "Catholic" (/syncretism) issues are worthy to consider--even First Things had a Catholic bishop giving warning "at all costs maintain your Anglo-Protestant culture--given the fruits of 'Latin' culture south of the border! And just look at other Catholic-dominant countries' conditions." (one might except Poland, I think.) But that's another discussion.

What do these three things have in common: push toward higher minimum wages, unionization of the workplace, and the idea of illegals pushing down wages? I think that they are all ways that we abdicate personal responsibility to better ourselves. I did the union route at my last employer, but I had qualms with it even as I benefited from it. That was one of my main motivators to get out, and now I make more than minimum wage, I don't have competition from the illegal, and I give none of my money to unions. In other words, my advice to any man is to better yourself by not focusing on things that drag down your wage, but on things that will make you immune from them.

America's support for illegals is all politics. Democrats see them as future wards of the state and voters for Democrats. But the real story is the people who get their power (and money) from being advocates for them, from Obama on down. There is a lot of power to be had when fighting for any minority, and if it wasn't the Mexican illegal, it would be something else (like women, or sodomites, or "the children").

>What do these three things have in common: push toward higher minimum wages, unionization of the workplace, and the idea of illegals pushing down wages?

One of those things is not like the other. Even a basic conception of supply and demand makes clear the consequence of a substantial increase in the number of low skill workers.

So no, I didn't agree with my highly esteemed sister that Phil Robertson was relegating women or his wife to being nothing more than body parts. Rather, I'm convinced he was making a critically important point that only an uneducated man still remembers. God made specific body parts for lovemaking...

The Apostle Paul's words rankle in the same way:

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman... --Romans 1:27

"The natural use of the woman."

If a woman claims that she is just fine with men speaking about "the natural use of the woman" and it's merely the naming of the parts that she objects to, I'll call shenanigans.

We must understand that it's not just Mr. Robertson we react against, it's also the Word of God.

Love,

David,

I think that I made it clear that while all of these impact wages, a man shouldn't focus or rely on minimum wage, or unions, or lowering illegal immigration to improve his lot in life. With the last one it is very tempting to say "I would be paid more if there were fewer illegals" rather than "Despite illegals in the workplace, I am going to move ahead to where this doesn't impact me." For example, your goal would be to start your own roofing company with superior service instead of working in a workplace where wages are supressed (and if you want to know tips on superior service, just ask).

My wages aren't depressed by illegals. But I have a real concern for a society which is actively undermining the ability of low skill workers to provide for their family. I'm not concerned because it directly alters my income, I'm concerned because I care about my country and my fellow citizens.

David, I share your concern. It is all politics. If they voted GOP, there would be motes at the border.

Dear David,

There is something very simple that you are refusing to acknowledge: low skill jobs aren't meant to provide a living wage, whether the worker is legal or not. A cook at McDonalds, a cashier at Walmart or a man mowing lawns just isn't going to be able to support a family on that salary.

There's a practical reason behind 3 or 4 families all living in one house. Right?

No.

Not all low skill jobs should be expected to provide a living wage. You're right that some of the examples you gave are entry level positions. Of course driving down those wages artificially is still not a good thing. But there are many relatively low skill jobs that traditionally have provided a living wage. Being a janitor for example. When the Chamber of Commerce gets its way and legalizes millions and millions of illegals you don't think it will impact wages there?

>>If they voted GOP, there would be motes at the border.

And beams in their eyes.

Love,

David Gray, this from Leviticus 25:47 & 48

"Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the stranger’s family, after he is sold he may be redeemed again."

Peace.

Yes, but until they become licensed and literate they aren't going to be getting any other jobs than they have currently. If they do become licensed and literate, then they can begin to move up out of the low skill positions. In which case I think they will surpass the unmotivated Americans.

It seems that only Mr. Gray is trying to advance a serious discussion on the matter. Most of the rest are ad hominem attacks. Motes and beams? I would expect better from you Mr. Bayly. While the sojourner of the Old Testament and today bear some similarities there are significant differences, which Mr. Gray is trying to discuss. But the best response which seems to be generated is that he is being mean.

Hey Jeff, it was a joke. Read Denver Todd's comment. "Motes at the border." Should have been "moats." Normally, I simply go in and correct such misspellings, but because Denver Todd is one of our longest-term and wisest commenters, and I like him a lot, I decided to poke him in the eye.

You guys should see the stuff Denver Todd writes off this forum. A treasure.

BTW, the list of those I'd poke publicly would definitely include Father Bill and Sister Kamilla. It's a special kinda love.

I did not misspell mote. I meant it as spelled. Mote is a noun, meaning nubbin. I am sure that if you go the border you will find a nubbin. I'm vindicated! I once wrote a note to a reporter who penned an article about the tv show The Real World Denver. I misspelled camaraderie. I spelled it comraderie and the reporter sic'ed me. Well, I never have been sic'ed before and I was having none of it so I wrote to the reporter and told him that I found that comraderie was a valid alternative spelling and he deleted the sic retroactively. My honor thus restored, I have been writing ever since.

Since we are talking a bit about work, and riffing on the (de)value of an education that we have discussed elsewhere on this blog but which Mr. Mormon would heartily declare does not apply to his 12 children, I found this article at Slate http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/01/do_what_you_... in which the author at this liberal site talks up a very Baylyblog attitude about work. You gotta read it to find what's in it.

I wish there was an open thread on this site, a catch-all for disconnected posts. I would write about taking my father to a church last Sunday where we sang to videos (I swear the people in that band were having a much better time than me), and the pastor asked us how surrendered we were (after singing I Surrender All to a video), and a lady of unknown surrender was texting in a pew further up front. My father didn't feel well so we left at the beginning of the sermon. I trust that what little of the gospel my father heard--if any at all--will touch his soul.

In terms of giving offense, apologizing, taking criticism….if there's one thing I've noticed, it's easy to say "well, the feminists/ liberals/ insert group here are angry and riled up, which is proof that what I've said hits the mark." There's some truth to this, but there's also the possibility that you've got people riled up because you're being a jerk and oversimplifying. For example, in the recent post about Vladimir Putin's comments, there are great points, but I found myself getting annoyed because, as a band director and musician, few things make me more irritated than the idea that there are instruments that men don't play or that women don't play. Until 1991, everybody in the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the world's best orchestras, was a man. The flutists, the harpist--everybody. I've known some very manly flute players, even unashamedly started a few playing flute. I harp (see what I did there) on this example to point out that while it's perfectly valid for you to make this generalization, it's also perfectly valid for me to get annoyed by it, and it would be a mistake to interpret my criticism as just some guy getting his politically correct side riled up.

>>as a band director and musician, few things make me more irritated than the idea that there are instruments that men don't play or that women don't play.

Dear Roger,

Earlier, I wrote a long response, but I think I'm simply going to say, I wish I hadn't irritated you. 

Love,

 

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