Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

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Q&A: how not to throw out the biblical baby with the blue pill bathwater?

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13 minutes to read A Christian reader asks for advice in grappling with unplugging from blue pill conditioning without losing his faith. I suggest that the answers primarily lie in understanding the creation mandate, the fall, and God’s providence. These are key differentiators between the theology of biblical sexuality, and the ideology of red pill sexuality.

One correspondent has found the red pill to be rather like the scroll in Revelation 10:10. He writes a long and heartfelt email, which I shall not paste in full, but will quote from extensively:

I was raised in a very effeminate, blue pill manner, which has led to much frustration and deep depression over the years regarding women. I’m 26 and yet never been on a date, and that’s not for lack of trying. But I recently read The Rational Male [ Rollo Tomassi, The Rational Male (CreateSpace, 2013).] (twice) and I would say I’ve swallowed the red pill. I see that many of my problems are my own fault, due to my misunderstanding how women work…

And to avoid any confusion, I do not believe, like some red-pilled men do, that women are the problem with the world and are only worth using for my sexual lusts. There is a lot to steer clear of in the red-pill community.

While recognizing that Rollo is not the best moral guide for Christians (which he acknowledges, RM 284), I think he does a good job describing what is, and how men and women do in fact work. I count myself among the many men that Rollo has saved from potential suicide. But I am currently struggling with “the bitter taste of the red pill,” only I am trying to work through this as a Christian.

My problem is this: Swallowing the red pill seems so much like embracing a God-less, Darwinian, dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest worldview. I’m a Christian, but I am struggling significantly to hold onto my faith. Practically speaking, I often operate with a deistic / agnostic mindset.

I don’t want this to be the case. I don’t actually believe in evolution. But I do feel like I’m just another animal in the jungle looking to attract a mate. Life seems like nothing but an extended nature documentary on the Discovery Channel. And there is even a sense in which the Bible says just as much — “I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts” (Eccl. 3:18).

I’ll return to the substance of this worry in a moment, but I want to start by nipping bad exegesis in the bud. If you read Ecclesiastes 3:16ff, it’s clear that the way in which we are but beasts is with regard to our mortality. “For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return” (Eccl. 3:19–20).

We need to be careful not to overextend this analogy to other aspects of beastiness, because doing so—especially in the context of the red pill—will rapidly diverge from biblical reality.

This nihilistic atmosphere is best seen in the Sexual Marketplace, which I take to be a cold, brutal fact of life. Take for example your average college-age group at your average Church. Almost all of these young Christians are praying for a spouse. But it’s the good-looking young men and women who coincidently see their prayers “answered” first. The not-so-good-looking young men and women coincidently have their prayers go “unanswered.” They are then consoled by other Christians who tell them “God is teaching you to wait,” or “God wants you to learn contentment.” There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but they only prove the rule.

I’ll offer a more systematic response in a moment, but I want to break in here first to make a preliminary, foundational observation that I won’t return to—even though it does deserve further development:

The nature of the sexual marketplace today is very different than throughout most of human history. In most cultures and times, it is not a cold, brutal fact of life in some winners-and-losers sense. Focusing on the United States, even thirty years ago it was extraordinarily uncommon for anyone to remain unmarried. Somehow, everyone seemed to find a spouse; by the age of 30 over 85% of people had married, and by the age of 45 over 95% had. [See Percentage of U.S. women never married, by age, 1980 & 2015.] Although the numbers do wax and wane through US history, the times when they were especially low were the result of war. But today, in the space of one peacetime generation, these numbers have changed dramatically: at age 30, over 40% of people are still unmarried; by age 45, they’ve just managed to catch up with the 30-year-olds of 1980. That’s a huge shift, but the fact that it has shifted should illustrate that it’s not pairing off per se which is the issue. Something else is going on.

What is that thing? Most simply, I think it is the teardown of the household.

It is not the teardown of marriage, as you will generally hear Christians lament. That is too reductionistic. If it were merely marriage which was under attack, Christianity would offer a more effective bulwark—but lots of Christians value marriage, yet marriage rates in the assembly are down and divorce rates are up.

Neither is it the teardown of the patriarch, as many red pill pundits say. If that were so, then the mere reinstatement of patriarchy would solve the problem—but it typically produces cultism instead.

Rather, the effects we’re seeing today are the result of the household itself suddenly collapsing after over a century of having its key structural elements progressively weakened and removed. Tearing down the household obviously does involve tearing down marriage and the patriarch at the same time, but it’s a mistake to conflate the struts with the structure. When we do that, we miss the forest for the trees. For instance, I believe this teardown began much longer ago than most people realize: it started with the rejection of biblical republicanism in favor of flat democracy, rather than with what we’d today think of as egalitarianism or liberalism or feminism. Once social order began to be determined entirely at the individual level, with each person exercising equal, autonomous “micro-rule” through their personal vote, everything we’re seeing today inevitably followed.

As I said, this deserves further development, but that will have to wait for another time. Keep it in mind, though, as we continue…

My point is that it seems this coincidence has nothing to do with God answering some prayers for a spouse while teaching others to “wait” or to “learn to be content”. Instead, it seems it has entirely to do with high SMV and low SMV. Be high SMV and your prayers for a spouse are more likely to coincidently get answered. Be low SMV and your prayers will coincidently go unanswered for a while, if not for life. (See what I mean by a deistic mentality? I don’t like it at all, but I’m just trying to best describe my concerns at this point.)

The problem with this view is that it’s blind to God’s role in the setup for the believer’s prayers. Essentially, you are lacking a doctrine of providence. Is God not involved in the world until we ask him to step in? Do some people just accidentally get born with the DNA for hotness, while others don’t—and then it’s up to them to mitigate their unlucky roll in the SMV lottery by asking God to miraculously make them attractive to someone?

Surely this is an absurd view of the world. The dichotomy you suggest doesn’t exist; it’s not that either the law of nature and the rule of averages guide events, or God does. God created everyone with specific plans for their lives. So if he created some people to endure singleness, one obvious means that he would employ to bring about that singleness would be low SMV. And if he created others with the intention of quickly answering their prayers for marriage, one obvious means he would use to bring about that answer would be creating them with high SMV.

The problem with your objection is that while you recognize that God typically doesn’t answer prayer miraculously, you’re blind to the extent of his working through ordinary means. The fact that God doesn’t typically overturn the rules of the world when answering prayer is not a reason to think he is seldom present; it is a reason to think that he is always present, because he is working through those rules. They’re his rules, after all.

To take an analogy, if I’m unemployed and want to find a job, I should certainly pray for one. But although God can just drop one in my lap—I get a phone call the next day offering me a hundred grand a year to test video games—why should I expect that? Should I not rather expect that if I invest time in developing my skills and applying for jobs, God will honor that by opening an opportunity for me?

God’s working through ordinary means can certainly look indistinguishable from his not working at all. Hence it’s a “coincidence” when he rewards those who use those means to achieve the things they want. But for this view of the world to hold up, we have to assume his non-action to begin with: that things would have happened the same way regardless of whether we had prayed or not. Not only can we not possibly know that, and not only is this question-begging in favor of atheism, but we can have confidence that it is false because Jesus assures us so (e.g. Mt 6).

If I may, your response to the red pill on this point is quite dangerous because it exactly mimics the atheist mindset. I think you recognize this, which is why you are so troubled. Fundamentally, you don’t like how the sexual marketplace works, and you’re pissed that God organized things this way. The natural, fleshly response at this point, which I’ve seen countless times, is to then throw sand all over God’s existence or goodness—either way the effect is the same, ending in faithlessness. That’s basically what happened in Eden, and it’s basically what’s been happening ever since.

You can’t deal with this by distancing God from the situation or from yourself. The only way to deal with it as a Christian is to double down on God’s involvement and submit yourself to it. The situation you’re in is his own design to begin with, and he put you here to learn how to live as a man in the world he made. Just as he isn’t going to drop a job in a bum’s lap, since it would defeat the purpose of him developing the skills and endurance and character God wants, so he isn’t going to drop a woman in most men’s laps, for the same reason.

Basically, if I may borrow some ’tude from Jordan Peterson, stop blaming God for your problems and go tidy your room bucko. Women are aroused by a command presence, and attracted by virtue—so develop your command over your world and yourself, and start spending time in places where women can see it.

Here’s an extreme, concrete example. A few days ago I met a girl with a severe facial birth-defect (right side of jaw completely missing, deformed teeth, right ear completely missing). My heart breaks for this girl because I know that it does not matter how much she prays. It does not matter how much she reads her Bible or trusts God to provide a spouse. The cold, harsh, brutal reality is that this girl will likely never get married. She will stand by and watch her girlfriends get married while she is left out. Again, there are exceptions to this general rule, but they only prove the rule.

Right, so what this girl is praying for is something more akin to a miracle; even if she does everything in her power to increase her attractiveness to men, she may still need God to overturn the natural rules of attraction for her. There’s nothing wrong with that, but of course the expectations have to be adjusted accordingly—similar to someone born quadriplegic praying to be able-bodied. God can do that. But it’d be setting oneself up for disappointment to suppose that he will do it every time. Often the reason he creates someone disabled is not to answer prayers for healing, but to produce character (cf. Rom 5:3–5).

But this brings us to another thing you seem to be lacking an awareness of: the history of redemption! Obviously this is nonexistent in the red pill literature, which entirely presupposes evolutionary psychology; we’re just animals competing with other animals to pass on our genes before we perish, in a purposeless and uncaring world.

This is not reality, however. To take proper stock of the intersexual facts highlighted by the red pill, we need to be able to distinguish between the world that was, the world that is, and the world that will be. We need to be able to infer distinctions between God’s original very good design, and the ways in which it has been corrupted by sin—and what God is doing about it.

To take an example, hypergamy is surely a natural and good part of women’s design. I’ve seen plenty of Christians try to either make it neutral, or even a result of sin, but it seems self-evidently designed to seek the highest good available. However, hypergamy was created to work in a finely-tuned system where it was balanced by masculine command. Absent that command, and subjected to sin, the depravity of women’s nature leads them to “monkey-branch,” never being content or satisfied with their current lot, but always seeking better.

In the same way, men’s powerful and visually-stimulated libido is surely a natural and good part of their design. Once again, you’ll find plenty of Christians convinced that it’s a result of the fall, but it seems self-evidently designed to take delight in the beauty of God’s design (cf. Song of Solomon). However, it too was created to work in a state of righteousness, where man’s command over his own body was unimpaired by his rejection of God’s command over him. Absent the onetogetherness with God availed by inherent virtue, onetogetherness with a single woman tends to seem less desirable than the lusts of the flesh, and so men accumulate harems.

These are “cold, brutal” realities because the fall is a cold, brutal reality, and sin is a cold, brutal reality. But they are cold and brutal precisely because they are debasements of something that was originally very good.

More importantly, these are not cold, brutal realities that God has left us at the mercy of. He has given us his own son, in the likeness of man, to condemn sin in the flesh, and to redeem and restore that flesh through the indwelling of the Spirit, slavery to righteousness, and the awaited resurrection. Your complaint echoes Romans 7:24—“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”—except that you have forgotten the answer! “Thanks be to God through Jesus Anointed our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”

Even though our human natures are still under corruption, we serve the law of God, and more than that, we preach the gospel of God for the obedience of the nations, so that every knee should bow, and the knowledge of God would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

And for these reasons I find it very hard, almost impossible, to get down on my knees and pray for a spouse as I have for the past 8 years straight, day after day. I have a tough time believing that God is in the business of match-making. To be clear, it’s not that I think I personally will never get a spouse. I consider myself an average looking guy with average social skills and an average career. So I’m not hopeless. I will probably be able to get married at some point. My issue is that I have a tough time believing God is part of the process. Instead it’s up to me to improve my SMV or sign up for eHarmony.

I’m not being snarky, but I will speak straightforwardly: I have a tough time understanding the dichotomy, as if God never gave you your SMV in the first place, or ways to increase it, or saw eHarmony coming as a competitor to his role. Presumably you agree with the following scriptural statements:

  1. God orders all things together for the good of his children (Rom 8:28);
  2. God is in complete control of people’s hearts (Gen 39:21; Pr 21:1; Acts 7:9–10; Dan 1:9 etc).

But these basically function as premises leading to the inevitable conclusion that if you’re God’s son, he is involved in the process of match-making for you—if indeed marriage is what is best for your life. I trust you can follow the logic without me needing to lay it out syllogistically.

So I find myself in a strange position. Having recently read through much of Rollo Tomassi and Jordan Peterson, I have made significant improvements in my life. I have grown more in the past 6 months than in the last 10 years of my life, mostly thanks to agnostics, and often in spite of Christians. I have hit the gym and gotten in shape (in spite of Christians telling me not to be so concerned with getting in shape). I’ve started dressing better and received compliments from women. I’ve become much more social, making eye contact, staying out of my head. I’ve made big changes toward a better career. By all accounts I have increased my SMV and have an optimistic future.

But spiritually, I am completely empty and alienated from God. I have no foundation to stand on even as I improve myself. It is very disheartening since I truly believe I have sought to honor God throughout my life.

I don’t know you, so maybe this is unfair, but I think you need to seriously ask yourself why your faith in God seems to be so indistinguishable from your faith in a certain way of relating to women. It seems like you’ve turned feminism into a proxy for God, so that when one collapsed, the other followed. There’s a word for that, but it’s not a very nice word. Begins with g and ends in olatry.

Perhaps a kinder way of saying this is that in the process of unplugging, you missed a spot. You’re still expecting a woman to complete your life, rather than God. In one sense, that’s completely scriptural; it is not good for the man to be alone. But to take an analogy, you’re Adam after naming the animals, falling into despair and trying to scoop some dirt into the shape of a woman. Making a clay sculpture is no substitute for trusting God.

Anyway, in the words of the inestimable AD Robles, I hope this helps, and God bless.

 7 comments

7817

This correspondent is saying what at least one other Christian man has thought.

If it helps, holding on to God is all that got me through what he is experiencing. The Old Testament makes a lot more sense after reading some red pill stuff.

In fact, a lot of what evolutionary psychology describes makes sense if instead of ascribing the effects to evolution, you accept the fallen nature of man. C.S. Lewis talked about the Narnian animals reverting to mere animals after their rejection of Aslan, and that is an analogy that works pretty well with what we observe.

When he talks about the brutal nature of reality and the sexual marketplace, he is right to call it a nihilistic atmosphere. This can serve to draw a Christian closer to God though, as God is our only hope. Tolkien described the world in a letter as a shipwreck, and people as survivors in the aftermath.

It is difficult to learn that many church leaders taught romantic myths regarding the sexes instead of truth. In response, though, reading the Bible (Old and New Testaments, not just New) and praying on your own is more necessary, because God is the lifeline in this shipwreck, and we need to draw closer to God.

“Fundamentally, you don’t like how the sexual marketplace works, and you’re pissed that God organized things this way.”

I was in this man’s shoes. I had to repent of loving romance and a wife more than God. It was not easy even to realize where I had originally gone wrong, but God’s Word says to have no other gods before God. Things began to come together once I realized my sin and turned around. Also, knowing and accepting how truly broken this world is provides some solace, because God created the world and it was good, but what we see is not the pre fallen world.

“I have grown more in the past 6 months than in the last 10 years of my life, mostly thanks to agnostics, and often in spite of Christians.”

God can use anything to lead us to the truth, even fallen men, and that is beautiful. Reading the Bible for yourself and praying is more important than ever. So some Christians don’t see truth right in front of their faces? Fine, but that’s not a reason to distance yourself from God. Be faithful to God, Almighty God, the Creator who reveals Himself in the Bible. Just because some church people worship Woman rather than God does not mean you should.

If a church person reveals by their words or actions that they worship Woman more than God, what they say on the subject should probably not be followed, but that does not mean God has failed, but that a person has failed, which is ordinary.

Hang in there and hold on to God. He is faithful.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

7817, thanks for offering such a frank account of your experience. I assume many men are in similar shoes, so being able to share this kind of thing with them is very valuable.

One thing I didn’t discuss, but maybe should have (the post was getting pretty long) was the disillusionment that naturally comes with discovering that Christian teachers you trusted are clueless and destructive.

A lot of atheists have been born from that. Tragic, and understandable—but this really is one place where we must man up, face the hurt, work through it, and move on. Abandoning Christianity because Christians failed us makes emotional sense, but it makes no other kind of sense at all.

I very much liked your point about reading the Old Testament. It wasn’t until I really started studying the complete arc of Scripture that I really started to understand the gospel itself.

7817

Upon re-reading this essay, this tidbit caught me eye:

“Women are aroused by a command presence, and attracted by virtue—so develop your command over your world and yourself, and start spending time in places where women can see it.”

This is good advice, but women are not sexually attracted, aroused, by virtue any more than men are. The belief that they are has caused a lot of misunderstandings in the Christian community.

It is easy to see how this idea caught on, because who wouldn’t want to believe it? Women would like to because it means they are nice and pure in the sexual arena, and men would like to because they would like women to be nice and pure.

The problem is that ALL have sinned and fallen short of The glory of God. Women have also, since they are part of ALL. Their sexual nature has not been miraculously kept safe from the corruption of sin, unfortunately, any more than men’s has.

The idea that women are attracted to virtue has led to all sorts of wicked things. If they are, then a lack of attraction to the husband means the husband is not virtuous. If they are attracted to virtue, why are baseball players, murderers on death row, drug dealers, and rock bands so attractive to women?

This is not to pick on you Bnonn but the idea that women are attracted to virtue is the root of so much evil that it must be pointed out, and that’s why for the church, the only way through this crisis is to fully admit that women also have a sinful nature, and all the ramifications. As a Christian, that’s the only way I could reconcile my Christian beliefs with female behaviour that certain red pillers ascribe to evolutionary psychology.

And this is why red pillers talk about the church being infected with goddess worship, because this is very difficult for most to do. Few want to call out bad female behaviour, both because it feels terrible (picking on the weak) and makes guys that already want to be good (churchgoing) look like jerks.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

I should clarify, because you’re entirely correct about the damage of treating women as virtue-compasses.

Since I was speaking to someone who had read The Rational Male I didn’t feel a need to develop this in-depth; I was really putting my own paraphrased gloss on Rollo’s alpha seed, beta need concept. I don’t really truck with the use of alpha and beta because it is confusing, but fundamentally women are aroused by command presence and good genes—Donal Graeme’s PSALM model. Since my correspondent can’t change his genes and is already working out, I focused on command presence.

But arousal and attraction are not the same thing, and women are attracted to comfort; i.e., stable men who are willing to provide for them. This is the fundamental tension of the female psyche: they are made to value things that, in the natural man, are often contradictory. Command presence and good genes tends to go along with bad boys—hence the strange magnetism of death row inmates and The Smuggest Man in the World (George Clooney) to women. But comforting men tend to be more gentle, socially compliant and effeminate. Women need stable providership as much as they need sexy danger, and so the man they want is a paradox. Command presence and natural sexiness tends to result in arrogant, uncaring men who treat women like the disposable toys from a happy meal. Comforting men tend to be needy, and treat women as goddesses (ONEitis, in Rollo’s nomenclature). To be good husband material, a man needs elements of both without despising or over-indulging either.

My advice to my correspondent therefore boils down to this: learn to become a man who is neither hard nor soft. I have in the past talked about hardness as masculine virtue, but I think Tim Bayly is right to use the word firmness instead. Hardness can sometimes be helpful, but is often not virtuous, even if it is arousing. Softness is obviously no better. A Christian man must keep it between the ditches.

There is also plenty to be said about training women to find virtue attractive, and linking it to arousing qualities also. Thinking holistically, so that the connections become clear between command presence and faithfulness, for instance, or grit and kindness. A man who can protect and a man who can provide—a man who is dedicated to the creation mandate—requires all these things.

Danny

If I may, I’d like to point out a few things to your correspondent. According to the market value approach, at 26 you gaining ground. Before now you were competing with men older, and more established, and therefore, in higher demand. So be encouraged.

But the realities of SMV, or even Marriage Market Value, are what they are. They are cold and brutal, yes, but realities all the same. But I’d like to point out another factor that seems to be missing from the Christian manosphere.

I became a Christian in my early thirties. I had hoped that I would be married by age 25. By the time I was thirty, I had become cynical, and so joked saying that I hoped that I’d be married and divorced by now, since most of my friends who had gotten married earlier were doing just that. My father taught me to be as promiscuous as possible. He left my mother to chase after his own dreams of doing just that. What the didn’t teach me was to love a woman. It is, for this reason, I can be thankful, I guess, that I didn’t get married, for I had no understanding of love, other than loving myself. I would not have been able to hold a marriage together.

The cynicism in my life had reached a pentacle, and the futility of life and living for the flesh had prepared me to hear the gospel. I really did become a new creature. At the core of this new belief, and the foundation for it, was loving God, and I think this is key.

I began to look for a woman who loved God with all her heart, mind soul and strength. I knew that such love would be key to maintaining a marriage, and raising children. That a girl went to church did not convince me that they loved God. There had to be more. When a woman loves God it shows. Now, I’m not talking about Jesus as my boyfriend loving God. There’s lots of that, and it would be wise to reject it. No, I’m talking about loving God enough to submit to Him and His commands, even the command to submit to a husband.

In the earlier conversation, it was said that virtue does not arouse. I’m not sure about that. But I can tell you that for the woman who loves God, it is a deal breaker, as it should be. It only stands to reason that it would be. And that is a two-way street. You ought to prefer singleness over marrying a woman who does not love God with all her heart mind soul and strength. This love will help the both of you to overcome marriage trials by submitting to God’s commands. This love will make you want to know what God is saying in His Word, rather than read into it what us sinful Man wants it to say to suit our own desires. It’s what lubes the channels, as we slip into our rolls as man and woman, parents and children.

To make yourself more marketable to the woman you want to marry then, I’d say, learn to lead in holiness, teaching His word, and most of all, by learning to love God in every aspect of your life. Love God more than marriage, more than any woman, even after all the infatuation with the girl that finally gives you the time of day sets in. I think, personally, that I was more attractive to the women around me during my single years as a Christian because loving God was paramount. Not that I succeeded, or ever will for that matter, but it was evident I think. Loving God, and learning to fulfill the rolls that he has established for you, will set you apart. It will give you the command presence that women are looking for. But be warned, don’t love God in order to attract women. Don’t fool yourself in such a way as that.

This blog is one of the better blogs I’ve found. I hesitate to offer my wisdom here. My writing is elementary school grade compared to the gifts and talents given to Mr. Tennant. But you asked your questions at the right place I think. I’d also recommend that you seek out other men who are manly in their love for God, and spend time with them. The Godly man would be honored to adopt you as a son in the faith. It’s up to you to seek them out. The mentored seeks the mentoring, not the other way around. I feel your pain, and I pray for you the best.

No time to proofread, sorry for grammar mistakes and such.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Danny, I really appreciate you taking the time to share that. I agree with your observations about the importance of Godward devotion. Many red pill Christians have either been so locked into a secular mindset about women, or have simply been burned by professedly Christian women who were not themselves devoted to God, that they can’t even believe that faith can play a role in a woman’s moral calculus.

This is not my experience, however. It’s true that cheap faith is the norm, and in such situations the behavior of women is indistinguishable from the secular world. But all that tells us is the sorry state of the assembly today. While regeneration does not reverse human nature, it does redeem and steadily sanctify it. To deny the effect of the indwelling Spirit on women’s sexuality is really to deny that the gospel is the power of God.

Raj

So I just want to add a comment or two. I read a blog post the other day that was by a 27 year old single Christian woman who said that she had never been out on a date in her life. In addition, she lamented the fact that all around her, there were people who were getting married and she was not. (She did not state whether these people were Christians but their behaviors certainly were not (e.g. having children out of wedlock.)) However she groaned over the fact that their lives were moving forward, and hers was not.

I add that little story in addition to the above because Bnonn’s response could apply to her also. I also want to say that I think these sorts of things are part of the psychological makeup of many Christians in the West. You do not see these sorts of things in the East – India in particular. (They have a different set of problems.)

Let me explain this since this might be a culture shock worth having. It might make our problems seem a little less smaller.

When last I went to India some years ago, what I found was that within the Church, esp. in South India, many marriages were still arranged. You did not choose who you married. Your parents did. This means that whether you have a facial deformity or look like a hulk or had a winsome personality or were very seriously socially challenged, did not matter. This also meant that you may not even have met your future spouse until a day or two or in fact on the day of the wedding – And yes, I am talking about the Christian community – not Hindus or Muslims or Jains, etc. This also meant that you did not go around talking to people of the opposite sex unless it was in a really controlled situation where a lot of people, in particular, older family folks were present. Why? Well, if you got to know someone of the opposite sex really well, and decided that s/he was the one for you, then you would ruin your parents prospect of arranging the marriage and bring shame on them. And so not only do you not go talking around to the opp sex, society seems to have structures to enable that. If I may elaborate…

So you go to indigenous churches in South India, and what you see? You see the men sitting on one side of the church and the woman sitting in the other half. Its divided down the middle. And then you go to a Bible College or a seminary, you see the same thing in the class room or chapel. Ladies sit on one side, gents on the other.

At the Bible College that I taught at, what happened if a guy spoke to a girl or vice versa. Well, he or she better have a really, really, really good reason for that otherwise they would be thrown out.

All this is to point out that here in in the West we Christians groan and grieve over our singleness status and over how we have not had a date in months, and thus feel so unfulfilled(!) by God, yet in the East, you cannot even talk to the opp sex. There is no, “Oh. Will she fulfill me? Will she complete me?” talk. You just better put it to prayer and and ask to God send His best, you way, if He has a best set aside for you. You better also come to the realization real fast that it is only God who knows whats best for you and can meet your needs best. What happens if you are married to someone who seems like they cannot “complete” you? Well, you better understand that if God does not meet your needs though secondary means, then its going to be God Himself, who will be your sufficiency (1 Pet 5:10). You better understand that before marriage.

And this is not to say that arranged marriages are the way to go. No, there are all sorts of problems there also. Your parents – even if they are Christians – might have you be married to a drunk, who is very well to do and rolling in the rupees. It has happened. Or as happens all to often, caste become the major criterion. That one peg has to be there first of all. Then other things, including Christ follow. Fallen decisions are made here also and divorce may not be an option.

All this is simply to say, that perhaps we in the West could quite frankly stop blaming God for our undesired lots in life, take life a little bit more easily than to put so much effort and energy into our dating/non-dating woes, and go back to focusing on the simple things that the apostle said like singles having the benefit of being “… concerned about the Lord’s affairs…” ~ I Cor. 7:32. It is not easy, but contentedness is learned (Phil. 4:11).

In Him,
~ Raj

 


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