May 17, 2008

Go to My Newer Blog


I haven't been here in a while. If you want to read my newer stuff, then go to ...

January 6, 2008

A Detour of Sorts (For My Readers)

Well, this blog is approximately six months shy of being two years old. I have been blessed with the input of fans and critics alike, who have made this blog an interesting venture since its start in June 2006. At the beginning of this year, I am taking a detour of sorts. It's a move I have contemplated from quite some time (perhaps since the inception of this blog). I am branching out. How so? Well, when I started writing about the challenge some religious pundits were making against the biblical liberties of single people (viz., the marriage mandate movement), my concern was how such a challenge impacted religious men. Yet for some time, I have felt that my subject matter cannot be confined to just controversies over decisions about marriage. Not only are men shamed into marriage, they are shamed in dating practices, shamed into economic expectations, shamed for their sexual preferences in women, shamed for this--shamed for that. The shaming needs to stop.

I am glad to see an emerging generation of men who are standing up to the old tired nonsense of male-bashing and gynocentrism. They are making their voices heard, but you won't hear them through the sounding brass and clanging cymbals of legacy media. No, they are on Blogger, YouTube, MySpace, the internet forums, the chat rooms, the places where the establishment can't drown out the voice of dissent. I believe it is these men who have their thumb on the pulse of what contemporary manhood means, not the spin doctors who have hijacked our airwaves and our chain bookstores.

On that note, I am showcasing the alternate blog to Scripturally Single --- Biblical Manhood (that's I have had that blog registered for some time, but I am now polishing off the dust, putting in the gas and oil, and cranking the motor. It's time to mow the lawn. My objective to discuss biblical manhood will especially be in the context of defending men from the anti-male garbage that is being thrown at them from certain religious pundits. Why? Because the battle for manhood is not a left-right issue. It's a matter of liberty vs. totalitarianism. Men who stand up for men may not only find themselves at odds with feminists and the cultural left, but also with neo-traditionalists and right-wing cultural reactionaries. I endeavor to take no side except the side of truth in that regard. More importantly, I am also doing what I am doing because I am extremely distressed the way my religion (Christianity) is being co-opted for certain agendas of a questionable nature. So, when some religious figure tells me that "real men" do x-y-z, I will be raising the question as to whether that person's demand is biblical or if it is just cultural.

That's a bit of what's in store at my other blog. I don't know how much more I will be posting at this blog. I will probably continue to write about marriage and singleness, but do so on the Biblical Manhood blog. I'll just have to see how things go. I may post on both blogs or jump back here, but for right now, my guess is that my future writings will solely be at the new blog. Like I indicated, it's been in the works for some time, and I think the concept "Scripturally Single" is a little too narrow for where I've already been leaning. I intend to keep my old posts here available, but if you see this place go dormant then you know where I am.

Thank you for reading.

December 30, 2007

Look What I Found This Evening!

I find it mildly interesting that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood published this, considering that Albert Mohler (a defender of Debbie Maken) is a member of the organization (right along with other noteworthies such as C.J. Mahaney, J. Ligon Duncan, Joshua Harris, and John Piper). The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, perhaps.

The Marriage Mandate crowd might flip if they see this.

December 29, 2007

You still alive, Anakin?

In a not too recent comment on a post, Triton asked, "You still alive, Anakin?"

The answer is Yes, but I am preoccupied right now. I haven't given up on Scripturally Single and I may have some posts in the new year. Until then ...

Happy Holidays, Everyone.

October 8, 2007

Anti-Male Sexism With a Halo

Boundless writer Candice Waters has recently penned an article on women undergoing cosmetic surgery. One comment she made has caught my eye:
Don't just blame opportunistic surgeons or idealized cultural standards. Much of the problem lies with men, and the women who try to please them. It's all about expectations.
Time out. I am getting sick and tired of hearing about how shallow men supposedly are. I doubt Candice has really thought about the ramifications of what she has said. Who, after all, fits into that category of people whom she has singled out (i.e., men)? What is she saying? That her father, her husband, any brothers she has, etc. are all shallow cads that only think of one thing? Oh no, of course not. Not those men. She was thinking of other men. Which men? She doesn't say. She just attacks men as a group and no one bats an eye. If a man did the same against women, he would be labeled a misogynist.

But perhaps there is a trend among men to be unrealistic about how women should look. So I ask: Does Candice have some sort of research that shows that men, for the most part, expect their wives to look like porn queens, or does she like to take unproven, feministic assertions about men as gospel truth? As Cristina Nehrig noted not too long ago in The Atlantic Magazine:
That women's interest in their appearance lies largely in wanting to please men is a myth, and one that should be retired without further ceremony. In the same way that women decorate a dorm or a dining room, they decorate themselves.
The context of the quote, by the way, was in reference to a young woman getting breast implants. And let us not forget a survey that was done a little while back in the UK, which reported that when it comes to looking good, women feel more pressure from other women than men.

Anyway, where are the articles on how shallow women can be in their choice of men? I've seen plenty of articles at Boundless excoriating men for their standards of female beauty, but nothing on how women objectify men as success objects. This glaring lack of even-handedness is not just a problem with Boundless, but is also a problem with other "Christian" media outlets dealing with gender issues. Bottom line? Religious men most certainly face an uphill battle dealing with anti-male sexism in their faith communities.

October 6, 2007

Added a Blog

Okay, Captain Singleness has been writing on a lot of stuff up my alley - singleness/marriage, masculinity, misandry, religious gynocentrism (viz., estrogelicalism), etc. so I have added his blog to my bar.

September 29, 2007

Men Should Read This One

For the guys:

Thanks to Single Christian Man, I found a real gem by the writer Paul Coughlin (Although I am not entirely sold on his "No More Christian Nice Guy" message. I think men should worry more about pleasing God then pleasing the pundits in one camp or another.). Anyway, you can read it by clicking here. There is a war against us, gentlemen. Whether it is feminism, estrogelicalism, or mossback Marlboro-Man authoritarianism, it amounts to the same thing: hostility towards men. If churches would stand up against the nonsense that faces us, articles like the one I linked to would not have to be written.

September 14, 2007

Et Tu, Josh Harris?

By way of Captain Singleness (the good captain), I came across this whopper by Josh Harris. Wonders never cease to amaze. So, Josh has decided to blame men for the way things are between the sexes today, eh? This revelation has inspired me to fish up one of the picture generators on the Internet and come up with this ...

September 11, 2007

What. A. Joke.

Why are boys so unmotivated? Whatever it is, don't be blaming feminism, mister! It's must ... er ... uhm ... the water they're drinking .. yeah, that's the ticket!

Read more here.

The status quo just continues to grab at straws.

September 1, 2007

A Response to Thabiti Anyabwile

I wanted to take an opportunity to address Thabiti Anyabwile, who wrote the following in a comment for a previous post of mine:
Pretty spiritual girl, marriage is not merely a "civil institution." It's a creation ordinance. It preceeds every civil organization/government in human history. It's established by God's governance at the beginning of creation. This is why marriage in some form is universal. Which is also why marriage and childrearing are normally associated with adulthood. Gen. 2:24 doesn't explicity state marriage is a marker of adulthood, true. However, the entire creation account establishes marriage and childrearing as typically central to adulthood.
Thabiti goes on to state:
The misleading thing about this conversation is that it focuses squarely on two sentences in an article which majors on most everything except singleness and marriage.
Have I taken something Thabiti said out of context? Let's see what he says ...

One way of honoring our parents as adults is to jettison unbiblical notions of "adulthood" itself. This conversation thread is a helpful discussion about that very process--tossing things that may not be biblical but worldly. One worldly view of adulthood is perpetual adolesence--to be differentiated from long-time or lifelong singleness. One is immaturity, the other arises for a range of reasons. What the sentences in question reject is the former (perpetual or extended adolesence) which generally (though not always) makes claims to adulthood based upon age, living arrangement, salaried independence, etc but leaves off other markers of adult maturity.

One indication that marriage is a marker of "mature adulthood" (by which I don't mean single adults are immature or not adult, but that a person is taken on the fuller responsibilities typically assigned to adulthood) is the pressure to marry that almost all singles face from family and friends. Surely that's a wearisome experience, and many folks who intend to help and encourage end up doing precisely the opposite.

But what is being expressed by this pressure to marry? It's an expression of the normative expectation of marriage in adulthood. It's an expression of the creation ordinance still resounding in the ears of fallen men. Single adulthood is the exception, not the rule, and for a significant number of single folks it's an unwanted, sometimes painful exception.

Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Let's not forget that marriage, by God's design, is a mystery that glorifies Him by picturing Christ's love for the church (Eph. 5). Could it be that the near universal practice of marriage and the near-universal desire for marriage is nothing but the yearning of man to glorify God by picturing Christ's love for the church in this creation ordinance?

I think so. And I think that's partly why marriage and adulthood belong together as a general rule.
I am going to have to disagree with Thabiti. There is no necessary connection between marriage and adulthood. There are plenty of people who are married and yet are caught up in perpetual adolescence. The high rates of divorces, spousal abuse (by both women and men), adultery, lousy parenting, families in debt, and similar maladies that exist among married people are a testimony to this fact. Actually, I'd say that we need to get rid of this idea that marriage makes one an adult--it is a pernicious and destructive myth that creates a false sense of security for some very immature--but married--people. A successful marriage is an indication of maturity, but people have to be mature first if they are going to have a successful marriage, don't they?

What is an indication of adulthood? Simple. Apart from biological maturity, it is simply one's character. Nothing more. It's basically how you handle life's situations when they are thrown at you (whether it be living on your own, living with your parents, having a job, being unemployed, being married, being single, being parents, or being child free).

I fail to see how Thabiti's concept of the "normative expectation" of marriage substantively differs from that of the Marriage Mandate movement. The idea that "God expects most people to marry" is a central tenant of the marriage mandate philosophy. No, most people do not have to marry. I deny any necessity placed on the act of marriage for most people. The statement that "God expects most people to marry" is a statement of presumption and conjecture. There is nothing in the Scripture to indicate that God has marriage in mind for most people today. The matter falls under God's permissive will--what he allows people to do. Since marriage and singleness, per se, are equally valid choices as far the Scriptures are concerned, God can work to his glory through man's exercise of free will in this matter. Maybe most people will choose to marry, but an increasing number of people are not doing so. Specifically, in a crass, anti-male, anti-family, dehumanizing, materialistic society, we should not be surprised when a large number of men decide that marriage offers them little if anything positive. I believe only the future will reveal what will come to pass.

August 30, 2007


In the previous post, I had left the impression that some on the Boundless site were making the same misapplication of Hosea as Debbie Maken. Ted Slater has taken me to task on my statement. It seems my memory was not correct and so I issue a retraction here. I probably had these posts in mind, and they make different applications of Hosea (although I still think they are out of context - Hosea's actions are actually an object lesson for the Israelites--like Ezekiel lying on his side, Ezekiel not mourning the death of his wife, etc.):



August 29, 2007


Thanks to my readers from pointing out this comment Debbie Maken added to her latest post at her blog:
Just an FYI, my husband and I both changed each other for the better. He was quite the metrosexual, well read, well schooled, geo-politically inclined businessman when I met him, and some of his bourgeois tendencies rubbed off on me. It was I who changed on the social adeptness front, and I am so glad everytime we go to the Naples Ritz Carlton for weekend trips and take all of our many luxury vacations. And yes, if I could recommend to women elsewhere to follow my path and land a wonderful Indian Christian like my husband, I would gladly do it. Because guess what, my husband because of Indianness (which you think is synonymous with socially awkward behaviour), is actually brilliant enough to make money in very creative ways, so that I can be a stay at home mom in one of the most expensive zip codes in the country. (Figured out yet why jobs are floating away to India???; there are some major clues in here for you-- grow up, quit blaming others, get a real education with real earning potential, have a vision for success that is outside of the box of what either the church sells you (in its excuse of mediocrity for false piety) or what Wall Street/government sells you, get married and have children, so that the population increases and so does trade). Just remember, there is going to be another name for the socially awkward boy-- "boss."

Marriage and achieving it isn't supposed to be a fairy tale. (Yet another faulty assumption, you intellectual buffoon). It is a serious venture for those who have the maturity and internal fortitude to weather its storm and labor to make the "sweet honey of life." My road may not be the one traveled by many in the West, but it is one that actually achieves marriage to an "equally yoked" partner. I tried your serendipitous fairy tale route, and it got me redneck wannabes, poor men justifying their professions with spirituality, men with legitimate degress that didn't want to succeed in real careers but flirt with serial temporary employment, men with serious debt and money mismangement issues, men who were well below the par. So, anon, men have changed greatly in the last forty years. But I am sure that the Feminists and their inroads into churches made them all such unaccountable, unanchored, socially boring, late blooming bachelors.
Weekend trips at the Naples Ritz Carlton?!!! Take note, my friends--I quote from the ESV (put out by Debbie Maken's publisher):
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world." (1 John 2:15-16) [emphasis mine]
It is astounding and sad. We have seen the fruit of the marriage mandate movement and it is truly disturbing. I have serious concerns about Mrs. Maken's spiritual condition and pray that she will get in a right relationship with God before it is too late. Albert Mohler, Boundless (and Focus on the Family), Crossway Books (and Good News Publishers), Tim Challies, Alex Chediak, and others who have endorsed Mrs. Maken need to rethink their position and reflect on how their endorsement may have a negative impact on their witness as Bible believers.


By the way, in the main post, Mrs. Maken mentions something about Hosea and Gomer, implying that men need to redeem women from their plight. I wonder if the marriage mandate movement would allow for men to (a) not take a wife because the culture is doomed (see Jeremiah) or (b) refuse to morn the passing of their wives if they should die (see Ezekiel). Anyway, for more on this point, see Puritan Calvinist's response to Mrs. Maken.

August 24, 2007

Response ... or Repetition?

Well, Debbie Maken finally gave her long-awaited response to Farmer Tom. The catch is that she covers no new ground in argumentation, but simply rehashes some talking points from her book and/or points I have already addressed in my review of her. To wit, she alleges:

1. Sexually irresponsible men is one of the main problems--if not the problem.
2. Women have no choice but to work because of men, and besides, men prefer it that way.
3. We should praise women for their accomplishments in traditionally male fields of endeavor, and such shouldn't intimidate men from pursuing women.
4. Divorce and feminism is not a problem that should keep men from pursuing marriage.
5. If women divorce men, there is usually an understandable reason for it.
6. When women go astray, we must hold men accountable for failing to provide leadership.

For the newer readers of my blog, I suggest that you read part 5 of my critique of Debbie Maken's book (if you have not already done so). It addresses the above assertions made by Mrs. Maken.

EDIT: Triton has fisked Maken's reply. Check it out.

August 21, 2007

The Positions on Marriage vs. Singleness

Below are the positions on marriage and singleness I have seen among Bible believers. I list them in order to show where I stand on the issues. The statements I placed in quotes for each position are not actual statements made by individuals, but they are meant to illustrate how each position could be expressed:

1. The Gift-of-Singleness Position

"You must remain single until you get some clear signal from God that you can marry. You might have to demonstrate in some self-sacrificing way that you are not too enthralled with matrimony before God allows you to enjoy it. You have no choice in the matter."

2. Conditional Celibacy Position

"You must remain single up until the point you fail to be chaste. Then you can marry. You have no choice in the matter."

[I have been accused of taking this position more than once because I believe 1 Cor. 7:9 was addressed to people already caught up in the sin of fornication. However, I do not believe that one has to show a failure to be chaste before they can marry. I merely believe 1 Cor 7:9 teaches that marriage is better than being caught up in sexual immorality.]

3. Marriage Mandate Position

"If you do not have the gift of a low or absent sex drive, then you must marry. You have no choice in the matter."

4. My position (the one I think is Biblical)

"If you have never been married or are scripturally loosed from a previous spouse you may marry. If you don't want to marry, that's fine as well. God basically gives you a choice in the matter" (1 Cor 7:27-28, 36-37).

August 17, 2007

Steve Watters' Misrepresentation

Over at the Boundless Line, Steve Watters wrote:

In a recent comment, "Justin" wrote, "If I don't want to get married until I'm 40, then that is between me and God. Not me and the congregation."

I think by this statement it's fair to say Justin's concept of marriage fits into a category researcher Paul Amato describes as "individualistic" ...

We believe at Boundless that God created marriage to be larger than us as individuals, larger than any one couple and larger than any children that couple has. That "institutional" view puts us at odds with the individualistic zeitgeist.

I wonder if those who are primarily motivated by an individualistic view of marriage realize how much that drive is at odds with sentiments like "marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church" or "for better or worse, for rich or poor, etc." Those ideas end up being like the terms and conditions we so quickly accept without reading as we download software or sign up for a new online service -- things that we know are probably important, but ultimately have little influence on our daily lives.

Let me get this straight: Because Justin affirms that the choice to marry at a later age is between him and God, and doesn't involve the congregation, he is taking a view that puts him at odds with sentiments like "marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church" or "for better or worse, for rich or poor, etc." I'm sorry, but Steve has clearly misrepresented the position of a poster and burned a useless straw man in the process. Justin's position is quite biblical inasmuch as there is no divine law setting timetables for marriage. In the light of such, some people should heed the Bible's admonition to not be "meddler" in people's affairs or unfair judge of their religious brethren (1 Peter 4:15; Romans 14:4).

August 14, 2007

Shrinking Churches and Single People

The Boundless Line blog has a post on the supposed relationship between single people and shrinking churches. Among other things, the post noted:
Dr. Wilcox explains that even while family formation is central to the life of a church, many churches are instead trying to fill empty pews by compromising Biblical positions on family.
I tried to respond with the following comment:
If churches are shrinking, is it really the problem of unmarried people, or is it the problem of complacent congregants and church-leaders who couldn't look beyond their comfort zones and heed the message of Luke 4:15-24? The last time I checked the wording of the Great Commission, it didn't say anything about having babies.
However, the website rejected my comments and informed me that I am not allowed to post.

August 9, 2007


At, Thabiti Anyabwile writes:
But biblically, it seems that mature adulthood is defined by marriage and parenthood. In other words, the Bible reserves adult status for those who leave mother and father and cleave to a spouse (Gen. 2:24). Until that time, young men and women are generally under the authority and protection of their parents — which brings us to another recommendation.
So the Apostle Paul had to live at home until he got married??!!!!

*Yours truly shakes his head and sighs*

August 4, 2007

In Case You Missed It (Another Marriage Mandate Brouhaha)

In case you missed it, there was post on about the "gift of Singleness." Here is a relevant quote from Ted Slater, the author of the piece:
God wants people married. I'm not a "marriage mandate" advocate by any means, but I do see how God expects people to marry. He's commanded it in Scripture (Genesis 1:27-28) and affirms it by putting into the vast majority of us the passionate desire to "know" (in a sexual sense) another person intimately. [emphasis original]
In the comments, Chizadek asked Ted the same question that came to my mind:
Ted, what's your understanding of the marriage mandate position? You say that those who burn with passion should marry, so I'm not sure what distinction you are making [about not being a "marriage mandate" advocate--A.N.]
Unfortunately, we have yet to get answer to that question.

In the comments that ensued, one fellow ("David") had the temerity to suggest that some at his church have found that marriage isn't all that it is cracked up to be and that the single life isn't so bad. The marriage mandate proponents predictably excoriated this poster for simply stating the obvious. Ted Slater went so far as to declare:
David -- thank you for writing.

I'm pretty distressed about your comment, frankly, that your pastor and the men in your church would have such a low view of marriage, and falsely ascribe that low view of marriage to Paul.

Paul, a single man, *highly* esteemed marriage. God has given us a gift in marriage, not a curse. I'm sorry so many around you feel it's a curse.

Consider leaving that church, if you are able to. Seriously. It sounds like a nightmare of heresy.
A nightmare of heresy? So those who don't find marriage to be "all that and a bag of chips" are now to be ranked with the Gnostics and Arians? Oh my.

But all was not lost. Wombatty and Adam (aka "Puritan Calvinist") stepped in to counter some of the faulty thinking. I, myself, was fortunate to have one comment published. I said this:


A few observations:

1. Genesis 1:27-28 is not a command for us today. Those who say otherwise must account for the following: (i) Similiar language in pronouncing blessings which contradicts any notion of imperative language (Gen. 1:21-22; Gen. 24:60); (ii) the context, which shows it was given to Adam and Eve ("and God said to THEM"); (iii) the connection with filling the earth and having dominion over it (which the Bible declares is a done deal: Gen. 9:19; Psalms 8:4-8); (iv) and as one person mentioned here, the fact that our Lord and Savior said some could "CHOOSE" to be "eunuchs" (Matt. 19:12).

2. 1 Cor. 7:9 - "if they cannot" is a misleading translation. The passage is better translated - "if they will not contain." Gordon Fee in his scholarly commentary on 1 Corinthians (which Debbie Maken cites, by the way) has the following to say:

"For many later Christians this has been the troubling verse. Paul is seen to be arguing in v. 8 for all singles to stay that way, then as making allowance for marriage for those who cannot remain continent, for it is better to be married than to be consumed with sexual passion. But it is doubtful whether Paul's point is quite so stark. In the first place, Paul does not say (as the NIV), 'if they cannot control themselves.' Rather he says, 'if they do not, or are not practicing continence (or exercising self-control).' The implication is that some of these people are doing the same as some of the married in vv. 1-7, practicing 'sexual immorality,' that is, probably also going to prostitutes. The antidote for such sin is to get married instead.

"With an explanatory 'for' Paul appends a reason: 'It is better to marry (or to be married) than to burn.' This final word is the difficult one. The usage is clearly metaphorical, but it could refer either to burning with desire or burning in judgment (cf. 3:15). Since both of these can be supported from Jewish sources, that evidence is not decisive. The question must finally be decided contextually, and by Paul's usage in 2 Cor. 11:29, which is almost certainly a metaphor for inner passion. Even though the larger context, including the warning in 6:9-10, could be argued to support the judgment metaphor, such an idea is missing from the immediate context altogether. It seems more likely, therefore, that Paul intended that those who are committing sexual sins should rather marry than be consumed by the passions of their sins.

"In this case, then, Paul is not so much offering marriage as the remedy for the sexual desire of 'enflamed youth,' which is the most common way of viewing the text, but as the proper alternative for those who are already consumed by that desire and are sinning." (Fee, 288-289)

I will also add that the Sexual Desire interpretation doesn't work for the simple fact the Paul speaks of the "burn" NEGATIVELY. Equating it with sexual desire means married people would have to stop wanting sex once they got married. Not a tenable position, to say the least.

3. Marriage mandate proponents often quote passages about marriage and children being a blessing and call into question whether or not others respect God's wisdom in that regard. However, this ignores Paul's statement that not all things that are lawful are expedient (1 Cor. 6:12). 1 Cor. 7:27-28 furnishes us with an approved apostolic example of turning down something that is a blessing in principal because of practical considerations ... and leaving that choice to the people involved. It's a principle that blows a hole a mile wide into any thinking that automatically translates God's "gifts" into a matter of duty.

I will also note that I do not see marriage mandate proponents chastising those who go on diets for refusing God's bountiful blessings of food and drink. Why? Aren't food and drink to be received with thanksgiving? But 1 Tim. 4:3 is only quoted against those who don't want to marry. Sheer inconsistency.

4. Marriage in principal may indeed be ordained of God, but so is the Church. Some marriage mandate proponents would have us condemn any admission that one's marriage is unhappy or that one wishes they were single. Any criticism of marriage in today's society is considered verboten. But a thing as it exists in this fallen world is not always the same as its ideal. Really, shall we time warp back to Luther's day and tell him that his criticism of the Catholic Church was wrong because he was insulting the bride of Christ? Marriage is indeed instituted by God, but the current configuration as it is seen in our Western society isn't.

[What answer did I get from the marriage mandate proponents? They kept on posting as if I had never even responded. Predictable, but sad.]

July 27, 2007

Shamelessly Borrowing

And now I shall shamelessly borrow links from my readers to some recommended readings:

1. Take a look at this article by "singlechristianman" (who is on my blog roll, by the way).

2. ... And this one, which was mentioned by "HG" in the readers' comments. It links back to If any men here share in the same concerns I have, I suggest that you look at the forum on that site. I think you'll find a sympathetic place to discuss what is so utterly wrong with the way our religious communities (and the larger culture) have been treating men. There is even a discussion on Debbie Maken that might interest you (click here).

Let me know what you think.

July 11, 2007

Lack of Male Leadership Made Me Do It (And Other Good Excuses)

Well, I was going to put off writing about a certain post at certain lady's blog, but the itch is itching and I gotta' scratch. You guys have already been talking about it here in various comments. I have already dealt with one additional comment the lady in question has made on her post. Even so, the drama continues to unfold at her blog. Drop a few oversized pillows before the flat-screen, break out the popcorn, nachos and bean dip. The show has more explosions, twisted metal, and flying bricks than one of those disaster documentaries on the Weather Channel. I really can't add much to the melee at this moment. Triton, an occasional reader of my blog, has his own eyewitness account of what's happening, so I direct your attention to him.

I will touch upon two comments left at the certain lady's blog. First, read this:
I also think it would help if we realized that Mrs. Maken is laying the responsibility for feminism in the broad sense at the feet of men in general. That's not the same as claiming that individual women bear no guilt for their sins in this area, nor that any individual man is responsible for the whole homogenosexist mess in which our culture finds itself. But by saying that men should step up to the plate and turn this ship around (to mix my metaphors), it appears to me that Mrs. Maken is honoring the God-ordained role of male leadership.
And now read this ...
I have a theory regarding this handful of Christian men and why they have such difficulty in attracting women. I think the Christian women they interact with very quickly discover that the fruit these men display is disturbing. Their disrespect of women – which even borders on misogyny at times – soon puts Christian women off them and so they are repeatedly rejected. Of course, given the nonsense teaching in the church regarding singleness and marriage, these men are never challenged as to why they haven’t found a wife, so they are not questioned about their attitude to women, or receive any accountability or pastoral care that would help them address their problems.
Hmmm, that's a peculiar statement. Really, I think it's pretty misogynistic to imply that conservative women are too stupid and gullible to think for themselves and speak out against injustice. What other conclusion can we draw from claiming women are somehow unable to stand up to feminism without "male leadership"? Let me get this straight: Some Christian ladies want to be the "Esther" and "Deborah" when it comes to shaming men into marriage, but sit idly by the sidelines while feminism rolls over men? I ain't buying it. The old saw about feminism being caused by the lack of male leadership is not new. Certain conservative women have flung this lame turkey around more than enough times. Consider this article by Devvy Kidd, but also consider this incisive response to her. The fact of the matter is that men are beginning to exercise "male leadership" by calling misandrists out on their nonsense, whether these misandrists be feminist ... or otherwise.

July 7, 2007

When Religious Leaders Sound Like Government Bureaucrats

Well, I wanted add a bit more to my recent discussion regarding Michael Lawrence's take on male attraction to women. Yes, I may be beating a dead horse, but I suppose I am like Columbo with my false exits and the need to make just one more point. I recently made the following comment on a post at
I'm going to have to dissent in part here. What Michael Lawrence, Suzanne, and others need to remember is that while looks aren't everything--or even the main thing--they are SOMETHING. Yes, if the choice is between the spiritual girl who looks like a 6 and the worldly supermodel who looks like a 9, then go for the 6 girl. Yes, as a relationship deepens, one's attraction to another person deepens. However--I am disturbed by what seems to be the message that guys have the ability--yea, the obligation--to turn their Physical Attraction Switch on or off as religious leaders dictate. There seems to be these politically correct idea that men cannot make ANY assessments about the looks of Christian women. It's unscientific and unscriptural. I have more to say about Michael Lawrence's articles at my own blog.
Well, staff writer Ted Slater took notice and fired back:

Anakin Niceguy -- I'm not sure what you're "dissenting" about.

Michael Lawrence seems to agree with your points. He writes, among other things, "There's nothing wrong with having physical and personality traits on your list of what makes a woman attractive. In fact, you need to be physically and personally attracted to the woman you marry." He continues, "No one in his right mind ever marries a woman he doesn't find beautiful."

Surely you don't dissent from that position.

You know that you don't *have* to disagree with Boundless articles. Instead of seeing this blog as an opportunity to practice contentiousness, sometimes consider just agreeing with something, and then contributing some additional insights.

I tried to respond to Ted, but my response did not show up on Boundless. To be fair to Ted and the staff, I honestly don't know whether the omission of my response was an accident or not. Nonetheless, the point I wish to make is this: I do not think I am in fundamental agreement with Michael Lawrence. Sure, Michael Lawrence acknowledges that a man should be physically attracted to the woman he marries. However, Michael Lawrence seems to reserve the right to decide what a man should find physically attractive. Note what he has said:
After all, none of us can escape our culture and constant barrage of media images that reinforce our worldly desires. On the other hand, as I've said before it's important you're physically and emotionally attracted to the woman you marry. So here at the beginning of summer, when both men and women are displaying more of what our culture says attraction is all about, I want to offer four steps to recalibrate your sense of beauty.
You see, it seems like Michael and Ted are conceding something when, in fact, there is not much of a concession. Why should a man's sense of beauty be "recalibrated"? Instead of being straightforward and demanding that men ignore physical attractiveness, what we have here is an Orwellian reinterpretation of physical beauty.

Are we really to believe that spirituality trumps all other considerations of external appearances and expediency? I wonder if Michael Lawrence and the other leaders at Capitol Hill Baptist Church would allow a young boy with body piercings, green hair, ripped clothing, and a deadpan look on his face to give their Sunday morning sermon. Would they want their daughters to date and marry this young man, given the way he looks? What thoughts do you suppose religious leaders might have about the spiritual maturity of this guy? Oh, but don't judge by appearances! Do you want some Elmer's glue with that beam in your eye, gents? The fact of the matter is that many men are not even making judgments about the spiritual maturity of plain-looking women. Yet, we are led to believe these men are sinning just because they acknowledge that the realities of the marriage bed demand a modicum of sexual appeal.

Since when do religious leaders get to decide what men find physically attractive? This question leads to me to the major point I made in my unpublished response to Ted Slater: Religious pundits are increasingly formulating doctrine on the basis of what some squeaky-wheel contingency finds a nuisance. Too many discontented single women in the church? No problem. Accuse men of the sin of "delaying marriage." Too many overweight women passed up for skinnier women? No problem. Accuse men of the sin of not cultivating God's idea of what they should find physically attractive. No sound Biblical exegesis is needed for this way of doing theology--just misapplied proof-texts, question begging, and guilt tripping.

I wonder how many Evangelicals today are that much different from the legalistic Pharisees and Judaizers of Jesus' and Paul's time? I see a fundamental failure of the part of many Evangelical writers to distinguish between that which is truly sinful (a breaking of divine law that separates us from God) and that which is merely stupid or unwise. It may be stupid or unwise for a man to have standards for beauty that are so high that he excludes many godly women who could be compatible with him. But is it sinful? Where in the Bible does it say that a man must be willing to date or pursue marriage with a certain class of women? I had a Christian woman turn me down one time for what I thought were some silly reasons, but you don't see me condemning the poor girl to hell for it.

The Bible most assuredly makes a distinction between what is unwise and what is sinful. The Apostle Paul counseled the unmarried Corinthians that it would be wise for them to remain unmarried, but he explicitly stated that they did not sin if they did not take his advice (1 Cor. 7:27-28). We do a lot of stupid and shortsighted things in our lives, but such things do not necessarily separate us from God or jeopardize our spiritual walk with him. Some religious leaders apparently fail to understand this. They remind me of government bureaucrats who want to regulate what we eat, what we choose to do with the seat belts in our car, etc. Essentially, it's the trampling of our liberties in the name of our "best interests." First delayed marriage gets called sinful, then it will be the sin of eating too many sweets--soon, we will probably see articles on men failing to put the toilet seat down for their wives. Where does the lunacy end? Bottom line: the Bible does not condone this type of judging (James 4:11-12).

July 3, 2007

Watch as Debbie Maken Shoots Herself in the Foot

1. First there is this decisively humiliating piece by Puritan Calvinist, wherein he exposes Debbie Maken's claim to the mantle of Reformed tradition as an ahistorical sham.

2. Now Debbie Maken says this:
I have no sympathy for those pushing churches to cater to the unregenerate man as a way of drawing him in. The fact that a beer guzzling, Nascar watching, porn-viewing, minimum-wage earning loser thinks that church is not for him; well, he is right.
I thank one of my posters for bringing this to my attention. Wonders never cease. Notice, dear readers, what Debbie Maken has done. She has mentioned earning a minimum-wage and watching NASCAR in the same breath as ... what? Yep, drinking alcohol and viewing pornography. I think Maken's remark reveals more about her social prejudices with regards to men than it does her standards of purity. How can one improve on this? We have been privy to a brief glimpse behind the mask of the Marriage Mandate Movement.

In my best James Earl Jones voice: "Mrs. Maken's feelings have betrayed her. Now her failure is complete. If nothing else turns Christian men to the Bachelor Side, then perhaps she will."

July 1, 2007

Cinderella Theology (Addendum) write Suzanne Hadley has just wrote something about Michael Lawrence's theory on physical attraction (a matter I addressed in a previous post). From the comments in my previous post, I fear that some may misunderstand my views on physical attraction, so let me boil it down as best I can:

Physical attraction isn't everything--it's not even the main thing--but it's something. Yes, if the choice is between a spiritual girl who looks like a 5 and a worldly girl who looks like a 9, then I would go for the girl who is a 5. However, in real life, the choice is not so simple. There are plenty of worldly girls who are controlling, mean-spirited ... and are plain looking. There are some girls who are spiritually-minded, have great personalities ... and are drop-dead gorgeous. It doesn't take a rocket-scientist to figure out who is going to get asked out for dates. We would like to believe that there are plenty of super-spiritual women out there that make up in piety what they lack in body shape. But I don't think they are any more common than the bombshells. I go into churches and I see that the both the average-looking and stunning women have pretty much the same degree of religious devotion. Go figure. Sure, good looks are not an indicator of spirituality, but neither are average to below-average looks. The same goes for men.

I agree that getting to know someone will affect how you view their attractiveness. I don't think men should write off women just because they aren't fashion model material. However, there has to be at least some degree of physical attractiveness present (at least the outset of the relationship). If a woman looks unfeminine or looks like she doesn't care about her health, she shouldn't expect that men will date her just because she's active teaching bible classes to the 5 year olds. Simply put, I reject the politically correct idea that men can just turn on or turn off the Physical Attraction Switch as religious leaders dictate. I have shown it to be unscriptural and unscientific.

One more thing: I wonder if some religious leaders are confused about what men are saying. When a man says, "I'm not just attracted to her," it could mean that he has some unrealistic standards about how a woman should look. Yet, it can also be the case that when a man meets a woman, he finds nothing significant about her personally that inspires him to pursue her at that given time in his life. This could be the case even though the man might fall head over heels for a more average-looking woman down the road. I think woman fail to realize that men are not some monolithic class of simple-minded creatures that can be easily enticed (or shamed) into pursuing women with a few pat techniques. One of my readers told me that attraction is subjective, and indeed, that's why I take issue with folks like Michael Lawrence, Suzanne Hadley, and others who seem to want to lay down one-size-fits-all, hard-and-fast, extrabiblical rules for what physically attracts us. That old duck won't hunt.

June 29, 2007

Cinderella Theology (via Michael Lawrence)

I do not have anything personal against the writer Michael Lawrence, but I wonder how he can constantly come up with the most ridiculous and far-flung assertions about what God wants from men. This is the same guy that asserts that Adam took initiative and defined the relationship with Eve by stating his intentions (uh ... yeah ... whatever). Michael's new hobby is assert that Christian men need to redefine what they find physically attractive in women according to God's standards (see part 1 and part 2 of his latest diatribe). My thoughts on this ...

1. Michael quotes from the feminist Naomi Wolfe to make his case that men's ideas of beauty are culturally determined. Noami Wolfe, like many feminists, is going to downplay any biological or innate distinctions between men and women. Before Michael lectures men about accepting worldly ideas on beauty, maybe he should chastise himself for taking a page on gender relations from a woman who adheres to an extremely worldly and diabolical philosophy that is anti-male. And maybe Christian men need to be asking themselves just why religious pundits are cozying up to the feminists in the first place. Whose side are these religious pundits really on?

2. Arguing that beauty is "culturally-determined" is also unscientific. While we disagree with some researchers' speculations about evolution, what they have to say about innate responses among the sexes cannot be so easily dismissed. Religious pundits are hypocritical when they claim God hardwires men and women to be different in the matter of sex roles and yet ignore that same hardwiring when they want to go on an crusade against male sexuality. And no, don't blame it on "the Fall." That's too easy an explanation, a case of Argumentum ad Ignorantiam that crops up too many times in theological discussions. If we want to blame men's weight preferences in women on our "sinful nature," do we get to do the same with womens' height preferences in men?

3. Michael has a difficult time separating physical beauty from spiritual beauty. Here's a real zinger from him:
I also think that the standard of God's beauty should affect your sense of physical attraction as well. Have you ever witnessed a beautiful girl (by the world's standards) get drunk or commit a lewd act? It's not pretty. On the other hand, Peter speaks of the unfading visible beauty of women whose character is gentle and quiet (1 Peter 3:3-5). Paul speaks of Christ making his bride, the church, visibly beautiful as he makes her holy (Ephesians 5:25-27). Do you have eyes to see the physical beauty that God is creating in the Christian women around you as He conforms them to the image of Christ? Rather than fixating on finding a replica of some plastic image you've seen in a movie or magazine, open your eyes to the beautiful images of God all around you. [emphasis mine]
Note Michael's question: "Do you have eyes to see the physical beauty that God is creating in the Christian women around you as He conforms them to the image of Christ?" Hmmm. Let me get this straight: God is creating physical beauty in Christian women??? I must have missed something here because the Bible tells us the "outward man is decaying" (2 Cor. 4:16)--but Michael now wants us to believe that godliness is doing something for Christian women in the physical sense that the Atkin's diet could never do. Maybe Micheal needs look up the word physical.

4. Maybe Michael thinks that religiosity has the same affect on a man as drinking too many beers: it makes the homely girls look more attractive. But religiosity don't lessen sexual inhibitions the way alcohol does; if anything, it does the opposite. I suspect that if the church makes Christian men guilty about looking at extremely attractive women, less attractive women will most certainly be put in the "spiritual sisters in Christ"/platonic-church-buddies category.

5. Did Michael ever think about Isaiah 53:2? It tells us that Jesus Christ was not a handsome man. None of this politically correct "beauty in the eye beholder" nonsense. It admits that in his earthly form, he didn't measure up in the looks category. I suppose many Israelite women would have turned him down for a date. But that's okay. Our Saviour didn't come on this earth to please women, but to do his Father's will. I say this to make this point: If the Bible admits that Jesus the man was unattractive in spite of his spiritual perfection, then there is no reason to expect Christian men to lie to themselves about Christian women. Many religious women are physically unattractive--and will remain so no matter how charitable assessment we would like to make of their persons.

6. Did Michael ever consider the Song of Songs? I don't see much talk there about the woman's ability to memorize scriptures or how great she is with small children. The terms of attractiveness are measured in body parts. Michael wants us to conform to the Bible's standard of physical attractiveness, and yet when we look at the closest thing to such an idea, it contrasts with Michael's politically correct criteria of every Christian lady being a princess.

7. Michael, like so many others, needs to distinguish between sexual response and sexual desire. I have written about this before. A man can have a sexual response: Eyes immediately notice a young woman. But that is not desire. My eyes may initially be drawn to a lush chocolate cake in a store window, but it doesn't mean I am going to stare all day long at it or buy it. Now sexual response doesn't need desire, but sexual desire needs sexual response. You can't expect someone to go crazy over a piece of cold liver with the same enthusiasm as a piece of chocolate cake. Likewise, we cannot condemn a man for being shallow simply because he doesn't find Christian single women attractive (just as we cannot condemn a man for desiring another man's wife simply because he noticed her beauty). Also, even with married men, they may love and desire their wives, but time takes it toll on their libido (lower levels of testosterone, health issues, etc.). In short, Christianity makes men holy, not visually impaired.

8. Michael is begging the question by portraying cultural standards of beauty as being sinful. I don't see many white Evangelicals insisting on more interracial marriages. Maybe there are some. That is fine, but I suspect most people are going to allow cultural conditioning to shape their choice of mates regardless of the politically correct bombast coming from the church pulpits. Yes, men need to give the main emphasis to spiritual qualities and personality in a prospective mate. Yes, they need to look at the total person and not just automatically assume they are entitled to a blond bombshell. However, when the choice is between two women of comparable spirituality, we can easily guess who is going to get asked out--the prettier one. And if a woman is homely looking, she may not be asked out at all.

9. Single men owe women nothing in terms of finding them attractive. As I recently stated at the Boundless Line blog:
A leftist social-gospel would push for an equality of material goods. The social gospel of the Marriage Mandate Movement is that men are supposed to find all spiritual woman equally attractive in terms of looks. Nonsense. Looks or money--some people have it and some people don't. You are no more entitled to the attention of the opposite sex than you are in having the same income as rich people. Marriage, like the suburban lifestyle, is not necessary to live a joyful Christian life. Period.
I'll go one further and say this: As a man, I am not entitled to a supermodel wife, but I am not entitled to an average looking or ugly looking wife, either. I am not entitled to women at all. I am not entitled to the wealth or health that I have either. I am entitled to go to hell, but God in his mercy sent his only Son to save me. I think the same rule applies to what women think they are entitled to.

10. There is too much writing about the shallowness of men, even to the point of attacking male sexuality, while ignoring the shallowness of women. People need to take note of this last point. Christian men are waking up to the gynocentrist (woman-centered) messages coming from our so-called "conservative" "Christian" leaders about marriage, family, relationships, and sex. For too long, the spin doctors have been playing to the distaff pew-warmers and tickling their ears with the message they want to hear, and not with the truth. Specifically, Michael Lawrence and others in the Marriage Mandate Movement are pushing a "Cinderella Theology." Christian women are led to believe that despite their personal choices, flaws, shortcomings, sins, etc., they are entitled to be treated like an Esther, Rachel, or Rebekah and the men are obligated to pursue them and jump through hoops for them. Needless to say, it's time for men to stand up against this nonsense.

June 23, 2007

Buzz Bomb #1

Buzz bomb:

If women agree with Debbie Maken that marriage is a Biblical imperative for most everyone, then on what basis can they use "parity" or "having standards" as an excuse to turn down suitors they don't like and delay marriage? Where is the Scripture that gives women this right?

June 19, 2007

Scott Peterson, Eh?

So, let me get this straight: If a man doesn't consent to get married, have babies right way, and work himself into a early grave by taking two or more jobs, then he is no better than Scott Peterson, a convicted murderer. So many hints, so many suggestions, so much painting with the broad brush strokes, so much tiresome guilt-by-association from the pundits in the Marriage Mandate Movement.

June 12, 2007

A Forum to Discuss These Matters

Some time ago, one or more of my readers suggested that I start a forum to discuss many of the things I cover on my blog. Well, I haven't started a forum, but I know of a forum where some men are discussing the impact that feminism, misguided chivalry, etc. are having on religious men and churches. It should be a great place to discuss the Marriage Mandate Movement and other things that adversely affect men.

It's called Egghead's University and the address is here:

You will have to register (it's free) to see all of the topics discussed.

June 9, 2007

Corporate Theologies

Ok. Two good pieces worth taking a gander at.

1. This one comes way of my readers here: Micheal Spencer's piece on legalism. Thanks for the tip-off, guys.

2. The second one is on corporate theologies (a five-part series). I've always liked this one (thought I don't necessarily agree with the author's permissive view on a few issues).

Both pertain to what I've been talking about here.

May 31, 2007

Alex Chediak's Graph (What's Wrong With This Picture?)

Alex Chediak, a relatively moderate voice in the Marriage Mandate Movement, has come up with a graph to categorize singles. In the Gifted Single category, he includes those who "don't burn" and use their time for ministry. If you are not in this category and are not planning to marry, then you are immature according to Alex. There are several problems with Alex's graph ...

1. Alex trips over himself in putting unscripturally divorced people in the Gifted Single category. I highly doubt unscripturally divorced people have some gift of asexuality. Their inability to marry throws a monkey-wrench into the notion that most everybody needs to be married in order to stay chaste. I hate to have to be the one to explain a pitting of 1 Cor. 7:11 against 1 Cor. 7:9.

2. I take it from Alex's mention of those "struggling with lust" that he feels 1. Cor 7:9 refers to sexual desire. If that be the case, then I'd like to see him propose that people get married once they hit puberty. As it is, I have addressed this mistaken view of 1 Cor. 7:9 in part 3 of my review of Debbie Maken's book.

3. Alex dredges up the hackneyed canard of the selfish, immature, single. I've already dealt with this one, too, in part 10 of my critique of Mrs. Maken's book. I daresay if single people need to give up their recreation and toys for ministry in order to be spiritual, then so do married people and their children. God is not a respecter of persons. I have a parable for those of Alex's persuasion:

There once was a man who went and bought an expensive sports car that took premium gas. He spent his money on carnuba wax, detailing gear, etc. He spent his time washing and vacuuming. He was always afraid of the upholstery getting stained or ripped. The car stayed in the garage and was taken out only on special occasions. His car insurance went through the roof. So did his anxiety level.

One day his went over to his younger brother's house and noticed a banged-up '94 Mazda subcompact with peeling paint. He chided his younger brother for parking the car out on the driveway for everyone to see: "You are cheap, man! Get a real job and drive a decent car like me. How can you even stand to have the neighbors look at that eyesore."

His brother replied: "You need to chill, bro. You like to spend your money and time on expensive cars. I like to spend my money and time on other things."

The older brother retorted: "You need to grow up and apply yourself."

But the younger one said, "No, you to need to grow up and mind your own business, hoss. Nobody forced you to buy the car you did. You wanted the expensive things and you chose to pay for them. That's your choice, not mine."

What's application of this parable? The older brother is akin to the marriage mandate crowd. So many people want the pretty spouse, the big house, the nice cars, and the smart children. They paid the price and sold themselves for a piece of the dream (second jobs, bills, mortgages, etc.). So are they entitled to a pat on the back and trophy because they had to give up some things? Sorry, but married people have their reward. I am sick and tired of the entitlement mentality that some married people have in this regard. They apparently don't like the idea that the single people are more carefree than them. Too bad. The Apostle Paul said to single people, "I want you to be without care" (1. Cor 7:32); the marriage mandators say the opposite. If single people have to give up being carefree, do married people have to give up sex? The family outings? The suburban fashion show? Whatever train you get on, pay the fare and stop whining.

4. Alex talks about the "Needy and Desperate Single" who blames God and others. He also mentions the Perfectionist Single. I suppose that it never occurred to him that he, Debbie Maken, and others only serve to foster the neediness, desperation, and perfectionism among singles. What else can we expect from messages that tell us that we are hardwired to get married the way we are hardwired to eat? What else can we expect from those who treat men as if they were on a "job interview"?

5. Finally, check out this statement Alex uses to describe "mature," "marriage inclined" singles: "Is Gods [sic] 'will' for them to be married but He may be keeping them from marriage temporarily or permanently to accomplish his secret will." It's God will that they get married, but he may keep them from this thing he willed in order to accomplish his secret will??? Er, ok. I rest my case, dear readers.

April 30, 2007

A Biblical Critique of Debbie Maken's Book "Getting Serious about Getting Married" (part 16)

PART XVI: Conclusion

In the closing comments of Getting Serious about Getting Married, Debbie Maken notes: "If you have read this far, I assume your reaction will either be 'hate it' or 'love it.' No one walks away from my material lukewarm" (p. 189). Mrs. Maken is most certainly correct in that observation. Let me be candid and say that I hate her book. I may sound abrupt in stating that, but I am simply making an honest confession with no personal animosity towards Mrs. Maken herself. What diplomatic or conciliatory response can I give in my review of a work that takes a view of singleness, marriage, and manhood which is both misguided and disturbing? When a bull is turned loose in a china shop, someone is going to call the animal control professionals. I have therefore taken upon myself the burden of providing a much-needed corrective to Mrs. Maken's damaging message.

What's the Deal (Qui Bono)?

In the course of writing my review of Mrs. Maken's book, I came across an article in Christianity Today entitled "What Married Women Want." I found the following statements in the article to be noteworthy:
"My theory is that women are looking for, in general, husbands who provide them with emotional and financial support, and support to make the choices that they think are important for them and for their children. Women who have husbands who are good breadwinners have the freedom to decide what they want to do, whether that's to stay home with their kids, whether that's to work part time, or whether that's to pursue work that might be more meaningful but not particularly remunerative. Having a husband who is a good breadwinner gives a woman more options. It's not necessarily all about traditional roles, per se. It's about having the financial security as a wife and maybe mother to act in ways that you think are best for you and for your family ...

"I think we're going to see a continued growth of more egalitarian marriages in a large subset of the population. But we're going to also continue to see what I call a neo-traditional model of family life. What I mean by neo-traditional is that it's progressive in a sense that men, particularly religious men, are investing more and more—especially in the emotional arena—in their wives and children. But it's traditional in that there's still some kind of effort to, in a sense, mark off who is the primary breadwinner and who is the primary nurturer. That may mean that both the husband and wife are working in the outside labor force, but there's still some effort to give the lead for breadwinning to the husband and the lead for nurturing to the wife. This kind of neo-traditional family model is here to stay. I think that prediction is somewhat at odds with what many of my colleagues in the academy would predict."
(Stan Guthrie [interview with Brad Wilcox], "What Married Women Want," November 13, 2006, Accessed from
We see from this article that women want to expand their "options" whereas the only thing that seems to be expanded for men is the expectations placed upon them. This article claims that some women still want to be the "primary nurturer" in the household. What does such a statement mean? Is it referring to domestic chores? Our technologies have made these chores easier, and women still often complain that men don't do their share of the housework. Are these women referring to spending more time with their children? Don't most loving fathers want more time with their children, too? Moreover, can women in one breath bemoan men making more money than them, but in another breath express a preference for a husband who earns the main income for his family? What happens to the paycheck that men bring home anyway? I ask these questions, but as you might guess, they are not addressed by the article.

Debbie Maken's book seems to have something in common with the piece I quoted, namely, a particular viewpoint. I previously noted that in Chapter 12 of Getting Serious about Getting Married, Mrs. Maken draws a comparison between male suitors and prospective employees in a job interview. Such a comparison reveals something, I believe, about Mrs. Maken's mindset and the mindset of many other women. Throughout the book, an emphasis is placed on the idea of men measuring up to the expectations of women. It's nothing new. Whether it be Debbie Maken, the article in Christianity Today, or some other discussion about relationships, our feminized culture at large has the same outlook: The worth of men is reckoned in terms of what they can or cannot do for the "fairer sex."

In contrast, there is a verse in the Bible that I wish to bring to the attention of my readers: "For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man" (1 Cor. 11:8-9, NKJV). Your eyes may be tempted to skip past some of the elements of that passage, but notice what it says: "nor was man created for the woman." In light of this statement, it seems to me that Mrs. Maken and many others are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Contrary to the popular notions that many have, men are not put on this earth to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of women. The question is not, as many would have it, what use women have for men. It is very much the opposite.

The sobering truth is that women were created to help men. This is not to say that women are useless apart from men, for I clearly affirm the inherent worth of all women, married or single. It is also not to say that men have a right to ignore the needs and concerns of the women in their lives. It is to say, however, that if a single man does not desire female companionship, then he should not have to apologize for his refusal to marry.

Marriage is Not Necessarily Desirable

I can hear my critics citing verses like "marriage should be honored by all" (Heb. 13:4) and "whoever finds a wife finds a good thing" (Prov. 18:22). They miss the point when they do so. I am not against marriage. Marriage is indeed ordained by God. Having said that, I remind my readers that even though the Bible says some positive things about marriage in principle, it does not guarantee a happy marriage for everyone (Prov. 12:4b; Prov. 25:24). Otherwise, we would not hear of the numerous heartbreaks experienced by godly people who have chosen to marry. If something is neither commanded nor forbidden by God, then the rule of expediency applies. Sometimes marriage is not expedient (1 Cor. 6:12; 1 Cor. 7:28). In other words, it does no good to discourse at length about the nutritional benefits of oranges when the orchards have been sprayed with DDT.

If marriage is a slam-dunk conclusion, then why the strident, overbearing, paternalism that is too often found in the camp of the Marriage Mandate Movement? It smacks of desperation. There is an increasing number of men who are not taking the bait, and the status quo can no longer afford to ignore this fact. For many men, there is nothing compelling about an arrangement that seems to primarily benefit everybody and anybody except the fellow who was goaded into it.

Those pundits who extol marriage over singleness should remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say." When people talk of "settling down," I see stressed-out and harried couples. When people talk of marriage "broadening one's horizons," I see people scaling back their hopes and dreams as the obligations of marriage crowd into their lives. When people talk about "marital bliss," I see couples who appear indifferent to each others company. When people talk about marriage bringing "growth," "selflessness," and "maturity," I see families embroiled in the most petty, puerile, and malicious squabbles. When people talk about a man "needing a helper," I see men who are belittled and taken advantage of by their wives. When people talk about "honoring marriage," and getting serious about "commitment," I see divorces left and right. We cannot pretend that these developments are anomalies. Otherwise, I wouldn't be writing this book and we wouldn't scratching our heads about why younger generations are hesitant to get married.

Is the Young Man Safe?

What does marriage have to offer to men these days? Men are finding many of the expectations placed upon them to be suspect. Trying to pawn off such expectations as "Biblical Manhood" is ludicrous when men can see that the Scriptures have been misused in that respect. If all things were equal, the normal desire that men have for women would be a sufficient reason for matrimony, but all things are not equal. Men live in a world much different from the one in which Adam lived or even the one in which their grandparents lived. The mainstream media can no longer marginalize the voices of men on gender issues. Men have access to other venues of information, and therefore they are beginning to realize that they have more choices in life. Like it or not, family is just one choice among many for men. Men don't have to marry. They don't even have to date. Their happiness and worth does not depend upon women. Consequently, an increasing number of principled men are saying "No" to tying the knot, and some are even engaged in what can be called a "marriage strike" (Wendy McElroy, "The Marriage Strike," August, 12, 2003, Accessed from The steep social costs of pursuing marriage make many men rightfully hesitant. For these men, the promise of intimacy and belonging in a close-knit community is often overshadowed by the ugly specter of possible exploitation.

Even if a man finds a godly woman to marry, he is still vulnerable in a way that single men are not. He is one paycheck away from having his family live in poverty. He lives day to day at the mercy of the the public school teacher, the social worker, the police, the family judge, and the politician, who may or may not have any respect for his position as a husband and/or father. If he decides to form a family, he becomes obliged to outsiders to ensure the survival of his household. He depends on society to act in good faith. The problem is that society does not always do so.

Whenever ordinary people get involved in get-rich-quick schemes or make rash decisions with their money, we rightfully question how responsible they have been in the stewardship of what God has given to them. We apply the sound principle of prudence and erring on the side of caution in so many aspects of life, yet we fling these principles right out the window when we admonish young men to marry. Men are asked to throw caution to the wind (though no one will admit this) and expend an increasing amount of their time, livelihood, and emotional well-being to chase the rabbits of romance for the uncertain promise of love. This is nonsensical. Too many people fail to appreciate that there is a limit to what we can expect of men in terms of sacrifice and risk-taking in order to obtain intimacy and commitment from women. In a society that has become hostile to men, that limit has most certainly been exceeded.

Where I live, many people are familiar with the destructive power of tornadoes. Recently, somebody told me a story of some people that were asked to take shelter inside a building when a tornado warning was issued. Some individuals, however, did not want to stay in the building because they had made previous plans to leave town. The foolishness of these individuals caused me to reflect on the attitude of so many towards marriage these days. Like the careless individuals who thought they could take their chances in bad weather, some would have men take their chances in a climate of misandry.

When Sugar and Spice Isn't That Nice

Men have not been in a habit of asking themselves what they want from a relationship. They have not always been encouraged to articulate their feelings about this matter; instead, they have been mostly trained to put the needs of others before themselves. Whether out of some notion of "chivalry" or a need to address the "past wrongs" of a "patriarchal culture," men have found themselves deferring to women in defining what a male-female relationship should look like. But the noble inclinations of men to be selfless and respectful of women are not always appropriate. Justice, decency, and propriety demand a limit to what women can rightfully ask of men. In fact, Christian men do a disservice to godly women when they declare all women to be worthy of the same treatment. The honor we give to good women has no meaning unless we can boldly expose the deeds of those women who are dishonorable. We need more men like Elijah to stand up against the Jezebels of our day and against the spineless Ahabs that do their bidding (even those in our churches).

Often, people say that men and women alike are at fault for the way they have treated each other. However, for the last three decades or so, we have tended to lay down the law for only one gender. Now, I think it is time for women to undertake the unconformable task of facing up to their own shortcomings and peccadilloes.

Women said men were the oppressors and that men operated from a default position of privilege. In response, men gave women opportunities that for generations many men never had. Men supported initiatives that granted preferential treatment to women, all to "remedy past inequities". Men modified their behaviors. What did women do? They slandered men as lechers, aggressors, stupid brutes, or obsolete beasts of burden. Men were shouted down when they tried to raise their concerns about the charges made against them. In other cases, men were told to "be a man" in order to hush any protestations they might make against the callousness of others. While women gained an increasing amount of influence in society as a whole, they still held on to the perks and privileges of traditional sex roles. They were given options that men were not. In personal relationships, women gained a considerable degree of power. Men silently retreated. Now some have the temerity to demand that men come back to the table even though the others seated there have acted in bad faith.

Can a woman have a realistic attitude about men and relationships when academia, government, popular culture, and religious pundits routinely validate her choices and offer little or no criticism of her behavior toward men? By way of analogy, can a child have a healthy attitude about life when its parents dote on it excessively? To ask these questions is to answer them. Those who constantly defer to contemporary women stand on shaky ground. There is a consequence for the way women treat men. I suppose most men won't tell today's women that they are undesirable. Perhaps men just won't desire women enough to commit their lives to them. Debbie Maken may excoriate men for their withdrawal from society, but as I believe one man said, men get so used to disapproval over time that even approval doesn't matter.

The Loving Thing to Do?

I suspect some will counter that a man should lay aside whatever misgivings he might have about today's women, marriage, or about society's anti-male inclinations. They might say that men should "should just let go of their bitterness and fear" and "act out of love." Indeed, what would be the loving thing to do? Let us turn the question back on those who put it to men. Why don't the pundits become more loving and try to understand the problems men face instead of engaging in the kind of rhetoric that I find in Debbie Maken's book?

As it is, the word "love" may be used indiscriminately by our culture, but the Biblical notion of love does not necessary imply the willingness to marry. Otherwise, shall we accuse women of being "unloving" when they reject the advances of men? What kind of benevolence can men expect from women in this manner? I have read somewhere of a prostitute who feel she serves a good cause by helping lonely, undesirable men who cannot find affection elsewhere. I suspect my audience would reject her mindset, so why assume that men are obligated to offer something similar to women? Biblical love focuses on the physical needs and spiritual needs of people. It is not about saving women from the single life or saving institutions from certain demographic realities.

What about the notion of "tough love"? When a father punishes his child, does it mean that he has stopped being loving? When God repeatedly punished the Israelites for their rebellion, did he act in a way that was contrary to his loving nature? The last time I checked, Eph. 5:11 still said: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." Love doesn't mean enabling people in their wicked and destructive proclivities. In Debbie Maken's book, she notes that self-interest is not necessary selfishness. If that is the case, then religious men have a right to put biblical self-interest over enabling the selfishness of others. The loving thing that men can do is expose the misandry that has sadly crept into our churches. The loving thing that men can do is not compromise on their principles, even if it brings hardship on those who have failed to repent.

Who must repent? Besides many women, our churches and society as whole must repent. These agents have the broken the covenants they had with men. For each broken covenant, there is a respective curse. Our churches broke their covenant by failing to be places that encourage and edify men. They failed to be a spiritual family for not only married men, but single men as well. They became respecters of persons with regard to marital status and other matters. They haven't been too concerned about the loneliness and isolation of single men. The singleness of men seems to have now only become a "concern" in how it affects women and the bottom line of church treasuries. Churches have belittled men for the temptations that affect them in particular, but have offered no real solutions to the problems men face in seeking out positive alternatives. Churches most certainly have had little or nothing to say about how women mistreat men. The curse upon these churches is that men have left them in droves. These churches will suffer for lack of male leadership--and may even die.

Our society has broken its covenant with men by failing to protect the institution of marriage; by passing laws that undermine the position of men as husbands and fathers; by reducing men to an expendable commodity for the economic gain of others; and by marginalizing men at every turn in the public and private spheres of life. The curse upon society is that many men no longer obligate themselves to do anything beyond the bare minimum of what is required of them as citizens. They do not form families. They do not pursue excellence in workplaces that don't care about their input or welfare. They do not volunteer in communities that view them as a liability. Society will suffer as a result. Why should men care about a system that doesn't care about them? People who ignore this matter and yet pontificate all day long about men "refusing to take responsibility" are merely rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

Some Closing Thoughts For My Critics

It would not surprise me in the least if, after reading what I have written, some accuse me of being unmerciful, unloving, unchristian, bitter, angry, anti-social, misogynistic, or having some emotional hang-ups. These baseless charges have been hurled at many good men that have gone before me. Even if these charges were true, my arguments demand an answer. I could have the most ungodly of motives in writing what I write and still what I say would have to be objectively weighed on the scales of truth. Simply put, cheap personal attacks accomplish nothing.

Debbie Maken and others indicate that the system is broken. True, but if we are going to fix it, then what I am saying needs to be considered. There are essentially two types of eligible men not getting married: those who don't want to marry and those who face obstacles in getting married. For the first group, we must prove that marriage can benefit them if we want to see them wedded. I have already made the case that they don't have a duty to marry, so the proverbial carrot will have to be used instead of the stick. Can we truly say there are benefits for men to marry these days? When some try to point out the benefits for men, they usually window-dress the responsibilities and the hardships of marriage as "opportunities for character building" or some other disingenuous psychobabble. Others, in an attempt to list some palpable benefits, confuse correlation with causality (e.g., they say married men are richer, healthier, and happier than single men without researching why this is the case). We have to do better than this, or at least people need to rethink their approach to marriage so that it truly does having some meaningful to offer to men.

For both groups of unmarried men, we must address the pitfalls and obstacles of getting married in the current cultural climate. If the perils of marriage dwarf the benefits of marriage, then we cannot expect men to embrace the institution. The issues that I touched upon in this review, and of which Debbie Maken and others seem to be so dismissive, are not going away anytime soon. We need to tackle the thorny issues of dwindling economic opportunities for men, the bitter fruit of feminism, women with unrealistic expectations, etc. Thinking men can redeem culture one marriage at a time is like thinking that if we plant enough roses in the desert sand, the soil will eventually become favorable to the flowers.

Women, in particular, have some things they need to do. They need to be more attuned to the challenges men face--and be more supportive of men. They need to stop taking their cues from feminists and even from supposedly "conservative" women who have an entitlement mindset. Women who want to get married should offer men praise (not blame), understanding (not accusations), and genuine interest (not cynical timetables). Women need to put Debbie Maken's book down on the table and instead listen to those good women who have a constructive understanding of how the sexes should relate to each other. Good women need to stand up for the honor of men who stand up for fairness in the face of hateful women and spineless men. We do not need to mention that men have mistreated women. Of course men have their responsibilities; that proverbial horse has been beaten to death. Rather, we need to encourage women to look in the mirror--to turn away from the dark path of gynocentrism and misandry that our worldly culture sets before them. We need to encourage women to turn to a better model of womanhood--not one pushed by sycophantic religious pundits, but one approved by God.

Let me also state that before pundits talk about "getting serious about getting married" they need to get serious about restoring marriage. How can they aim their cross-hairs at single men when there are so many loveless and joyless marriages in our society? Sermons are better lived than told. It's time for the apologists for marriage to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, in particular, have nothing of which to boast; the younger generations can look at their marriages and see one disaster after another. It's time for those who would lead the way to "put up or shut up."

To a great extent, what I have written is descriptive, not prescriptive. I do not really demand a course of action as much as I lay forth some options on the table with their respective rewards and consequences. Cultural reactionaries can ignore what I have said, circle the wagons, and catechize the "true believers" in their midst, but they will gain no ground with those sitting on the proverbial fence. Will people prayerfully consider what I have written and test my convictions in the light of God's revealed word? Or will people summarily reject my thoughts without a fair hearing? As the Bible says, "He who has ears, let him hear."

April 19, 2007

A Biblical Critique of Debbie Maken's Book "Getting Serious about Getting Married" (part 15)

PART XV: Chapter 14 - "Inspiring Men to Biblical Manhood" (The Final Solution)

In Chapter 14 of Getting Serious about Getting Married, Mrs. Maken proposes some suggestions that supposedly will inspire Christian men to heed the call of marriage. Yet instead of giving one a reason to find hope in a largely anti-male and anti-family society, Chapter 14 sadly mimics Chapter 4 in its harangue against single men. With that in mind, I will now slog through some of Mrs. Maken's shortsighted observations about those of my gender.

Real Leadership or Romance Novel Leadership?

Near the beginning of Chapter 14, Debbie Maken declares, "God made men to be leaders--to pursue marriage and to seek a wife to ease their loneliness" (p. 180). Statements like this one have caused me to reflect on the subtext of this and other calls by religious pundits for men to "lead." What do so many people (especially women) mean by "leadership"? I fear that there is a disconnect between the leadership to which God calls men and the "leadership" that many women want from men. One could say that the former is best termed as "real leadership" and the latter as "romance novel leadership." What separates the two? The first can be seen through the prism of clear scriptural teachings from the New Testament. The second only through a kaleidoscope of misapplied scriptures, cultural biases, gynocentrism, and emotionalism.

So many Christian women are more than eager to compare the husband's role to the role that Christ assumes with regard to the Church. They do so in ways that go well beyond what passages like Eph. 5:25-33 imply and thus well beyond what is appropriate for any human being to expect from another. Since these Christian women profess a typological view of marriage that points to the Christian's relationship to God, it reveals something about their spirituality. Let me suggest that many Christian women want a watered-down form of "leadership" wherein all the privileges accrue to the woman and all the responsibilities accrue to the man. The mindset of these women, in turn, suggests a view of God wherein he is an unassuming deity that dispenses favors and offers protection while asking for little if any sacrifice at all.

With regard to male leadership in the home, I wonder how many contemporary Christian women are willing to accept the idea that in matters of expediency, their judgments are subordinate to a man's? Can one talk of "equal partnership" and men having "leadership" in the same breath? When we look at 1 Tim. 3:4-5, we see that husbands not only lead, they rule their household. If men are supposed rule their household, aren't women supposed to obey (1 Pet. 3:1-6)? A Christian woman is blessed to be married to man who is considerate about her feelings. Yet even in the best circumstances, there will be some disagreements that can only be settled by deferring to one party in a dispute. Will women honor their husbands or maintain a grudge and grow bitter towards them? I have some real concerns about young Christian women raised in the wake of feminism and their ability to truly understand what "biblical leadership" on the part of a husband entails. We are skating on thin ice when we equate "biblical leadership" when how much money a man makes, asking women out on dates, and other cultural norms, while forgetting or downplaying clear Biblical teachings that may in fact be uncomfortable for some women to accept.

Another matter to consider is whether or not Christian women really want to revert back to the notions that previous generations had about male leadership. If so, would they go back to the station appointed to them by cultures of a bygone age? Would they give up their legal and social rights? Would they retreat from the spheres of influence over which men once held exclusive sway? Would they accept the charge that berating male suitors about their singleness is unladylike? Would they accept the legal right of men to chastise insubordinate and wayward women? I suspect most Christian women would take exception to such treatment. Yet do some still demand that we revive the attitude previous generations had towards single men? Sorry, but this inconsistent thinking doesn't wash.

So many Christian women do not want the kind of leadership that gives a man palpable authority and that demands sacrifice and obedience from a woman. What they want is a kind of "leadership" where men are called upon to the do the heavy-lifting of adult responsibilities while women get to play Martha Stewart. This is why men need to be very discerning when women start talking about men needing to "lead." A man has to separate between genuine, godly women who understand what a husband's role is and those women taken captive by self-contradictory, neo-traditionalist ideas of manhood. I say all of this to make this point: Women need to get off the fence and be consistent. If they want men to lead then they must give up some of the advances they have enjoyed as a result of feminism and modernity. Otherwise, they need to realize that responsibilities come with the perks and privileges of contemporary adulthood. This would imply shouldering some of the burdens that men have had to bear for generations. If they refuse to do this, then they judge themselves to be self-serving and not marriage material. It is simple as that.

Let me also note that real male leadership knows when to draw the line in the sand. It means having the courage to say "No" to women if need be. I believe men who balk at Debbie Maken's shaming tactics qualify as "real men" in this regard. Are we to believe that religious men of days gone by would sit passively while women acted like a bunch of scolds, berating men? I don't.

Going to Restaurants and Grilling the Prize Catch

With regard to Debbie Maken's views of male leadership, let us consider how Mrs. Maken and some of her friends have treated men:
"I would often tell men I dated that because they were over thirty and still unmarried, they lacked biblical leadership that requires securing a wife. They should have to explain why they are still single. Here's what's surprising: Asking these kinds of questions and demanding this kind of accountability doesn't make them run. Sure, some of them will. But when a man of thirty-five who hadn't dated for the past ten years asked my thirty-two-year-old friend for a date, she confronted him about it. 'For every guy like you, there has been some woman dying on the vine like me. What excuse do you have for not pursuing a wife sooner?' This man did not run out of the restaurant but actually confessed that indeed he should have sought marriage!

"Single at the age of thirty-four, my friend Anna desperately wanted to be married. Her boss asked if she'd be interested in dating 'a very godly forty-five-year-old' lawyer. Her response? 'If this man is so godly, why isn't he married by now?' She explained that she wasn't about to 'reward a slothful forty-five-year-old man with someone eleven years his junior,' but that she could recommend some woman who was well over forty, had lost the beauty of her youth, and would have trouble conceiving. She explained that this was the kind of candidate for this man since his inaction in finding a wife had caused this outcome for some other woman.

"While her response may seem harsh, it's fair. There was a time, not too long ago, when women refused to go out with a man who had the reputation of being a cad. We need to start thinking in terms of godly accountability, not open-ended mercy."
(p. 185)
Perhaps men will not run out of a restaurant if they are subjected to the kind of inquisition that Debbie Maken extols. I suppose many men are simply conditioned to sit like inanimate chunks of rock, stoically acquiescing to whatever verbal abuse women heap on them. If the genders were reversed and a man was behaving the way Debbie Maken's friends have behaved, he would be probably have a glass of water thrown in his face. A lot of woman simply have no idea how rude and insensitive they can be.

As it is, I am left wondering what Debbie Maken thinks women can achieve by giving men the third-degree. In my estimation, warding off older single men in the way Mrs. Maken proposes amounts to little more than a Pyrrhic victory. Women over the age of thirty can ill afford to harbor suspicious attitudes towards their male contemporaries. What are these women thinking? Do they think that if they eliminate older single men as "cads" there will still be some men left over? Which men? Younger single men ? Wouldn't chasing them be taking husbands away from younger single women? Mrs. Maken's attitude is basically a classic example of what the economist Thomas Sowell would call "stage one thinking," a mindset that fails the acknowledge the consequences of what it proposes.

In addition, noticeably absent from Debbie Maken's equation is any accountability for older single women. Let us rephrase Debbie Maken's words by reversing the genders and circumstances: "I would often tell women I date that because they were over thirty and still unmarried, they lack biblical submissiveness, a quiet spirit, genuine spirituality, and inward beauty that attracts and secures a husband. They should have to explain why they are still single." It sounds harsh, doesn't it? And yet, ironically, it is true about many women in this culture. Do we really believe that pushy, catty, status-seeking, materialist, crypto-feminist women with fading looks, ticking biological clocks, and a bad attitude about men are going to attract suitors left and right just because they get a little religion? Clearly, not all women fit this bill, but too many do. Mrs. Maken, of course, fails to acknowledge this fact. For her to do so would certainly not go over well with her readership of single women who are hopelessly stuck in the mode of faultfinding. Rather, it is easier to conduct a witch hunt against older bachelors, conveniently forgetting the barriers that society and women raise against those men who aspire to marry young.

Shut Up, Buddy, and Sire My Babies

What is ironic about Mrs. Maken's attitude that even though she is fond of demanding accountability from men and limiting the access they have to women, she still says:
"Ultimately there are no sound reasons or legitimate excuses why men--especially Christian men--are not getting married. Whatever the excuse du jour--lousy parents, divorced parents, protracted educational requirements, the high cost of living, fear of failure, misunderstanding the opposite sex--every excuse to put off marriage is a decision to stay single. Without accountability, nothing will change." (p. 181)
Really? This statements is unfortunate. I imagine some women will come away from it, emboldened with the following attitude: "I am not going to worry my pretty little head about the things that menfolk have to go through. They have a job to perform for us ladies and that's that." Yet when a woman shows a cavalier disregard for the problems that men face in this society, it says something about her as a prospective mate. If a woman refuses to show compassion or consideration for men before she marries, how will she act after she is married? Can such a woman truly be a source of emotional support and inspiration? Can she truly be a helpmate? Can she truly say that she knows how to compromise and be submissive when she makes up her mind in advance not to listen to what men are saying? Is stubborn pride a delightful attribute in women, let alone anyone else?

Ironically, with regard to female attributes, Mrs. Maken thinks she has a clue about what kind of women are desirable to men. She states:
"If we want men to reach their full biblical potential, we should strive for the same. I think most men are searching for women who are smart, intelligent, good conversationalists, intriguing, educated, able to speak their minds, and yes, beautiful. Women should aspire to be these things so that men's desire to pursue is kindled." (pp. 187-188)
The catch is that this is Mrs. Maken's understanding of what men look for in a wife. As admirable as the qualities Mrs. Maken mentions are, they are really not the primary attributes for an ideal wife. Many men want women who are feminine, submissive, complementary (spelled with an "e"), and complimentary (spelled with an "i"). They want women who are honest, nurturing, responsible, kind, merciful, patient, encouraging, conciliatory, and agreeable. They want women who are affectionate, playful, and fond of having sex with their husbands. I have said it before, and will say it again: Just because a man is serious about marriage doesn't mean he is serious about marrying a given woman. There are many "beautiful," "educated," women who are able to "speak their minds" and yet are total duds when it comes to the opposite sex. Shaming and blaming men will not get Debbie Maken's fans any closer to wearing bridal gowns if they don't have the qualities men find desirable, as opposed to just having the qualities Mrs. Maken finds desirable.

Wacky Precepts from the Past

In Chapter 14, Mrs. Maken quotes a couple of luminaries from the distant past in support of her tirades against single men. The quotes cited are really quite fanciful, if not downright nasty. For instance, Mrs. Maken notes, "Remember what John Calvin said? The man who chooses to stay single (without a specific call from God) is guilty of 'stealing' a husband from a wife" (p. 181). With all due respect to my readers in the Reformed camp, I don't think the ipse dixits of John Calvin are so sacrosanct that they cannot be scrutinized or even discarded. The notion of a single man "stealing a husband from a wife" is illogical and patently stupid. It is a gross case of begging the question. Which woman did the single man steal from? What right could the woman in question claim to the man in question? If she rejects him, is he still guilty of theft? If he choses to marry someone else, is he still guilty of theft? If there are more women than men, which women were stolen from and which women received ill-gotten gain? Theft implies taking something that was already the property of another person. If a man's life is already the property of a given woman, then why must he seek her out and impress her if he already belongs to her? I'm sorry, but John Calvin's beard must have had a mishap with a kitchen utensil the day he dreamt up his indictment against single men.

Yet as bad as John Calvin's statement is about single men, it is cannot a hold a candle to the following stinker floated by Mrs. Maken:
"Erasmus said it well in his famous essay In Praise of Marriage: '[W]hat is more hateful than a man who, as though born for himself alone, lives for himself, looks out for himself, is sparing or lavish for himself, loves no one and is loved by no one? Indeed, should not such a monster be thought fit to be driven away from the general fellowship of mankind.' In other words, he saw those who willfully choose singleness as useless drones and fruitless burdens on this earth who have no sense of obligation to follow the familial patterns of their parents or to sacrifice for another." (p. 182)
I ask in response "what is more hateful" than for a person to falsely accuse those who choose to be single of being unconcerned about others and to label these single people as being "useless drones" and "fruitless burdens." This kind of talk is reminiscent of the things Nazis used to say about Jews. Jesus Christ said that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34, NKJV). I do not see anything pure or holy in the statement above above but only carnal disdain for those who dare to live differently. Really, Mrs. Maken doesn't earn any brownie points with me by dredging up the ignorant ideas of misguided religious figures who have long passed away from this earthly life. Some sentiments are best left buried with those who engendered them.

The Final Solution

Overall, if there is any statement in Chapter 14 that reveals Debbie Maken's designs, it is this quote:
"Women, our biggest challenge in holding men accountable and inspiring them to biblical manhood is that they often don't know any better. They don't understand that this issue goes beyond personal choice to being held accountable by God for failing to pursue his will for their lives. We have no choice but to educate men. I think it would certainly be better if it came from ministers, church leaders, parents, or other male friends, but many of them are not particularly aware of the problem either." (p. 182)
I advise Mrs. Maken and any woman that agrees with her to give up the idea of educating us men. Otherwise, they will be defeated. We will drive them back like the Amalekites and Canaanites did the Israelites who rejected God at Kadesh. Why should I believe that God is with Mrs. Maken's female fans on this matter? If anything, the posturing of these women will merely signal to a self-respecting man that these women should be avoided since they are not marriage material. Mrs. Maken says, "There is no shortage of men; one woman's gain is not usually another woman's loss" (p. 183). I think there will indeed be a shortage of men if women insist on treating men in a disrespectful manner. And no, the male collaborators of these women will fare no better if they should choose to go up against their fellow brothers. After all, it's pretty hilarious for a guy to lecture others on manhood when he obviously allows his identity to be defined by women and doesn't do any thinking for himself. Such a man certainly doesn't bring to mind the qualities of self-confidence and intestinal fortitude that one thinks of when considering manhood.

Anyway, the rest of Chapter 14 is essentially a rehash of matters I have already covered in previous installments of my critique: Mrs. Maken's misuse of Biblical characters; her pointless complaints about the private nature of modern marriages; her alarmist notions about the negative economic and social impact of people choosing to be single; her misguided beliefs about the benefits of enlisting courtship agencies and limiting access men have to women; and her dim view towards male-female friendships. In closing, I should point out an unusual statement by Mrs. Maken at the end of Chapter 14. She says, "We must be honest and admit that men don't hold all the blame for the way things are" (p. 188). I am somewhat surprised that Mrs. Maken would say this, and I must give credit to Mrs. Maken for her concession. However, given the overall tenor of her book, it's really too little, too late.