Who would want to be a single parent?

There are lots of single parents today, many more per capita than in recent decades. I assume that the vast majority of them did not choose to become single parents. Some are victims of tragedy, of adultery or desertion. Some are the victims of their own stupidity. (Where did you think children come from?) Yet there are a few cases who seem to have chosen single parent-hood of their own volition. That can’t be good for anyone, though it might possibly be a lesser evil than some other things.

There are times when one of my wife’s other vocations takes her away from her husband and children for a few days. One of those times seems to hit annually right around Lent, which provides ample opportunity for reflection. God has blessed my family with something much better than manna from heaven: a wife and a mom. We can get by during these days without her, but only because she planned out every hour of her absence. But for that, I’d have to forego my own public vocation with vacation time. That’s really hard to do during Lent.

When we’re all home, things have their natural ebb and flow. She switches between homeschooling and telecommuting; I switch between pastoral duties and household maintenance. We each handle the aspects of parenting that fit into our particular part of the ebb and flow. When one of us is not here, that delicate dance is completely interrupted, even while other duties continue. Only then can we fully appreciate the divinely-designed two-parent home. (To be fully clear, the male-father-and-female-mother home.)

I do some things well, by God’s grace. My wife does other things well, with some overlap. I feel sorry for the children who are denied the benefit of mother-father “diversity.” A little “daddy time” or “mommy time” is good, but some children don’t get anything else.

A Surprising MSM Adjustment

Would you agree that the point of view in this particular report represents a tiny slice of media reporting on this topic? As you watch, notice which claims or opinions are backed up with genuine facts, and which are not. In our postmodern day, there are some who think that facts and truth are human inventions, but I mean accurate descriptions of actual events. Which claims are supported?

It should also be said that carrying a weapon of any kind (and most of us use many things that could be construed as weapons in a certain context) requires a certain responsibility. On one hand, we must realize that “The World Is Very Evil,” as the hymn says. That means we may well be called upon by our circumstances to defend the life, property, or well-being of one another. On the other hand, we must realize that the act of such defense is likely to result in injury or even death of human beings. The purpose of defensive action is to prevent such injury or death, but “the world is very evil.” While the ideal is that nobody should ever be injured or killed, it is better for our neighbors if the ones who mean harm are the ones injured, rather than those who are willing to live peacefully. This is the reasoning reflected in the Second Amendment and encoded into the laws of many states.

From a spiritual perspective, God does not necessarily condone self defense, but He does require us to defend our neighbor. Our laws, on the other hand, generally recognize a right to self defense, as well as the defense of our neighbor.

In this way (and more) we can apply the principles we obtain from the Kingdom of the Right as we live in the Kingdom of the Left, but there is much more to say. Feel free to do so.

Common Sense

Does this describe the current state of American politics? (I don’t necessarily limit “current” to the present federal executive administration.)

Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent. Selected from the rest of mankind, their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

From Common Sense

Overdue Response on the Church Militant

I was completely MIA during February on the Plucked Chicken. Please accept my apologies. Blogging must give way to other priorities. Five or maybe even ten other priorities, depending upon the way they’re counted.

Back in November, a comment was posted to which I have meant to respond ever since. Time passes quickly, but since I own the Plucked Chicken, I will bend space and time here and recall the original post to which Mary responded.

Let me begin by thanking Mary for the comment, and apologizing for my lateness (measured in the normal space-time continuum) of responding.

Firstly, perhaps I’ve heard the phrase before, but please define and give a little background for the phrase “the kingdom of the left.”

It’s defined more or less in the first paragraph as “the framework of secular and worldly laws and rulers that encompass life on earth.” “Our government” is a hopefully-acceptable shorthand for that, assuming we share the same government. There’s a fairly recent CPH book called The Anonymous God which contains a number of essays that touch on this topic. Veith’s God at Work defines the “two kingdom” doctrine. The gist is that God rules all things, both sacred (church) and secular (world). One He rules through the Gospel, and the other through the Law — particularly that law written upon the heart of man. They are the kingdoms of the “right” and of the “left,” respectively.

You also make some assumptions in the first sentence of the fourth paragraph that I’m not sure I agree with. And you then carry those assumptions into the rest of the paragraph to explain yourself. You say, “When we study the Ten Commandments, they teach us that the Kingdom of the Left — our government — exists as a gift from God, having certain responsibilities that represent His blessings upon us when they are fulfilled.” When I study the Ten Commandments, it is as a guide, rule and mirror for my own life. I think it’s in the worldly philosophers of perhaps the 17th and 18th centuries where we find the commandments used the way you are trying to use them.

I’m not very familiar with those philosophers. Do you mean people like Adam Smith? I’ve been meaning to read some of their work to see what I think about it.

Maybe I’m being too grammatically nit-picky here, but you say, firstly, that the commandments teach us that our government exists as a gift from God. Ok, I agree that government is a gift from God, but where do the commandments say this. I guess I can stretch my imagination to see that when the fourth commandment tells us that things will be well with us if we honor our fathers and mothers that maybe, perhaps, some could infer that therefor those parents (and therefor all authority) are a gift from God. I think Romans 13:1-4 says it better, especially the line, “for he is God’s minister to you for good.”

The implications I’m drawing from the Commandments — particularly the fourth — are fleshed out more in the Large Catechism than in the Small Catechism. Romans 13 contains a reflection of these implications, especially in the teaching that the government is “God’s minister.” In these observations, my intention is to applying the implications of the Commandments as a guide or a rule, more than as a mirror.

As the latter nine commandments are comprehended in the first commandment, the last six are similarly comprehended in the fourth. Since the fourth also shows God’s establishment of earthly authority (a.k.a. His kingdom of the Left), we can see how the last six commandments relate to the way He would have earthly government exercise that authority.

Further you also are saying, I think, that the commandments say that the government has certain responsibilities toward it’s citizenry and that God will work through the governments fulfillment of these responsibilities in order to bless people. Again, of course, everything works out best when God’s Law is followed, but can we say that the commandments are teaching us about governmental responsibilities? I think this is kind of turning them on edge or inside out or something.

It’s applying some of their implications as the divine intent for government, which is admittedly only a small aspect of their scope. In fact, I mainly mean the Second Table, because the First Table relates more to the Kingdom of the Right. For a broad application of what God commands, the Catechism (Large and Small) expresses the direct force.

I’m sorry, perhaps it is the late hour, but I really don’t understand your point about the Fifth Commandment. I get the first clause. I think I get the second, but again, I don’t think that commandment is primarily aimed at government.

You’re right. I don’t think its primary aim is government, either. Like the rest, it’s mainly about our individual responsibility toward God. Yet I think it has a secondary aim, and maybe more than that. It’s easy to grasp the words of these commandments, but God keeps teaching through them more and more as we consider their practice.

There are places in the Bible that more clearly give the responsibility to protect life to governments, are there not?

Probably. For some reason, though, I like to use the Catechism as a starting point for launching into these exercises.

And the final clause of that sentence totally looses me. Is the antecedent to the pronoun it and its, the government?


And what is the greater responsibility in the fourth commandment of which you write?

Its greater responsibility is to preserve the order necessary for citizens to “enjoy long life.” That means if a particular citizen like Timothy McVeigh, decides to take the lives of his fellow citizens, the fourth commandment implies that the government can take his life in their defense.

Again, in the same paragraph, the Sixth Commandment is not addressed to government, but to individuals and tells us how we are to live our individual lives. Not how the government should make its laws. Yes, it would be nice if there were laws to support Biblical marital choices, but I really don’t think that the commandments address government. You’re phraseology on that one is somewhat more to my taste, however. I’d still rather it read, “The Sixth Commandment reveals that God wants lifelong marriage, obviously between one man and one woman.” And leave the government part out. Not that I disagree about the beneficence of Biblical civic laws,. I just don’t think the commandments address that.

I wouldn’t classify this as a civil law, because that would go too far. I think my point in this post was that God gives the government certain responsibilities for defending the order of civil society, and the cues for that ordering are built into the various commandments.

And so on with your discussion of the other commandments. Yes, I’ve had this discussion with you before, I think. I am perhaps ready to be convinced, but it just isn’t there for me yet. This really seems to me like dependence upon worldly philosophy to try to support a certain kind of government.

I wouldn’t make this argument with those who reject biblical authority in the public square, because to them it would be a weak argument. They need to become Christians, first. However, I think with other Christians we may confidently assert that God actually prefers not certain types of government, but that certain responsibilities be carried by government, in whatever for it may take. I prefer not to think of it as philosophy, but a rational application of what God has revealed, particularly as contained in the Small Catechism.

And don’t get me wrong. I in no wise mean to disparage the gifts God has given us through our system of government and constitution and property and capitalism and democracy and freedom and etc. But I’m not comfortable using the Ten Commandments this way. It’s a bit too much “implication” and “inference” and “seeming” for me.

You’re probably right that some other Bible passages would address these things more directly. I’d welcome further comments from you or anyone else suggesting which ones to use.

I have heard this same thing discussed slightly differently. Perhaps even at the Plucked Chicken? I think it is in the context of individual civic rights, which as you know is another of my “issues.” I think it goes like this. The commandments can show us God’s ideals with regard to human interaction and therefor, civil society. For instance, if we are not to kill, then, therefor, another must be able to assume a right to live. Again if we ought not steal, then those from whom we are not to steal must have a right to their property. Further,if we are not to commit adultery, this then, protects the right of married people to have a God pleasing marriage. And so on. I think I am finally comfortable with the use of the word “rights” in this sense. (But I’m still not convinced that this is how the founders used the term, however.)

Exactly. And good point about the Founders. They were not necessarily the sharpest of theologians, nor even Christians.

Sorry this got so long. You’ve been writing such “deep” things lately, my poor overly full “mom-brain” can’t keep up.

Thanks for trying. I write infrequently, so I try to make the most of it when I do.

And good grief, what’s with this crazy word verification thing. I had to keep going back to see which “captcha” I was on.

Have you noticed the new system using ReCaptcha? I think it’s neat.