27 Ways to Be a Modern Man (According to the NY Times)

The New York Times published an article detailing what they think makes a “modern” man.  Most of their “definitions” are benign, and some I even agree with (such as the bit about not cutting fat off your steak and eating the entire thing).  One in particular struck me…

25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.

Wow.  That isn’t just a philosophical bungle, it is flat out a denial of man’s role as the defender of his family, and of the physically weak.  Luke 22:36 expressly records Jesus Christ instructing his closest disciples to sell their cloak, their most prized personal possession and their identification of status in Jewish society, and purchase a sword.  With Christ there are always multiple interpretations of what He said, but one cannot ignore the very literal words spoken in order to read into a statement what you want to see.  Sell your clothes… buy a weapon.  Not a spear, or a bow… a sword.  The sword was the equivalent of the modern firearm.

Jesus Christ instructed his followers to arm themselves so that they could defend themselves and each other.  There are other deeper meanings as well, but let’s just stick with the literal words spoken because it seems that the New York Times just said that Jesus was wrong because according to them, a real manly man doesn’t need to have the ability to defend themselves or someone else.  Considering the source I shouldn’t be surprised.  Don’t mind that, if not for someone with a [gatling] gun, that joke of a paper would have been burned to the ground by a riotous mob back in the 19th century.

I argue that the NYT is flat wrong and here is why…

“The Gun Is Civilization” By Maj. L. Caudill, USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat – it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation… And that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)

Deepest Darkness

By now everyone in America is aware of the tragic events in Charleston the other day.  Since and in the coming days we as a nation have choices to make.  We will choose to judge, hate, fear, legislate, and either draw closer to or push away others.  We will either fall victim to the fear of similar events in our own communities.  Churchgoers will look over their shoulders more often and watch outsiders critically out of fear.

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41;10

We have already seen politicians trying to leverage the blood of these men and women for their own particular myopic view of what’s wrong with this country – namely what they think is the over-proliferation of guns despite the statistics that demonstrably have proven that more guns has not led to more crime, but rather the marked decrease in violent crime.

Others will grab on to the killer’s racial motives and say that this is an example of the extreme racism prevalent within society.  They will say that this is a more common problem and that this particular tragedy is just the latest example of it.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

These knee-jerk reactions don’t capture the problem though, and it is the problem we all have.  We live in a world of darkness, of hate, of violence, of evil, and sin.  But, the good news is for all of us, and that is that the brightest light is possible from the deepest darkness.  It is in fact not only possible, for God uses evil for ultimate good.

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Psalm 139:11-12

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

The righteous man perishes,
    and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
    while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
    he enters into peace

Isaiah 57:1-2

While it is tragic that people had to lose their lives, we should rest assured that they died at peace righteous and redeemed.  What an evil men wrought God will turn into something beautiful – and I suspect that it will begin today, with love, not hate, politics, or legislation, in Charleston.  From deepest darkness the light of Christ shines brightest.

Pray for those left behind, thank God for the grace that covers us all, and praise Jesus for reaching though time and gathering all sin to himself so that all men, women, and children of all ages and all nations are redeemed in the Father’s sight – even the man holding the gun the other night.

The Shadow of the Gun

Gun horror is not a productive emotion, but learned helplessness disguised as moral superiority. Rather than teaching children to hate killers, schools are instead teaching them to hate guns. And reducing murders to instruments rather than morals, children are left with no sense of right and wrong, only an instinctive horror of violence.

Read more at Sultan Knish’s blog.

Why We Have Guns

Why would politicians attempt to take away arms and surround themselves with armies of guards? To protect themselves against the crazy people, who have no fear for their lives and usually make it through, or to protect themselves against the sane people, who hope to keep their liberty and their lives? Image how much better our country would be if politicians still had to worry about getting shot, in addition to loosing elections, every time they consider a new flaming hoop for us to jump through; they might not make the hoop.”

Why We Have Guns.

 

 

Reason and Force

To my friends who believe that further curtailing my rights as a citizen of this nation and a free man under God, be careful.  What you wish for may be the complete undoing of your personal world view.  History is replete with examples of gun registration, weapons confiscation, bans, etc, etc, ad nauseum.  Each and every time, those public policies instituted under the guise of public safety, modernization, or to ensure a more secure society have backfired terribly.  I can march out example of example of the atrocities committed by governments, both dictatorial and democratically elected, after these policies are enacted.  So, as a student of history, you’ll have to excuse me from buying into the concept of increased restrictions on my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the defense of those rights via modern firearms as being foolish and outdated.  You see, I pay attention, as do many others like me.  History is our guide and we will not allow this country go down that well-worn path.  The survival of civilization as we know it depends on it.

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation…and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

For another viewpoint on this topic, go read George Yesthal’s article dealing with this situation.  I love these quotes of his.

Assault rifles are the weapons most likely to be successfully deployed in a militaristic engagement and there are many owned by private citizens in the U.S. today. Is it any wonder the government wants them Gone? But why? There are many of you that will quasi-patriotically defend the stance of your government and say, “Well, if people will use them against the government they must be traitors and criminals, so they must be taken away.” Anyone expressing such an attitude is completely missing the big picture and they are not asking the right question, which is, “What has our government got planned that they should be concerned about the prospect that we might use semi-auto rifles in defense against our government?” People not asking that question are being irresponsibly short-sighted.

When you advocate gun control, it is tantamount to advocating gun violence.

The crux of the pro-gun/anti-gun fervor that is being lost is this.  History teaches us that tyrants cannot rule if the people are equally armed to the government forces.  History also teaches us that when the people are forced or willingly surrender those arms, they no longer are citizens, but become subjects that must beg to keep their rights (which no longer are rights but rather bestowed privileges that can be taken away because, really, the subjects can no longer assert themselves other than shouting really loudly).  So, President Obama, Vice President Biden, Congressmen, Senators, Judge, Justice, Governors, Legislators, do you really think it wise to move against the very arms that ensure that the ardent patriots in this nation remain assured that they are the real political power still?  That they are citizens, not subjects?

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
 
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

You say that I need to give up my arms to live in a more civilized society.  I say that I know how well that worked out in the past and I flatly refuse for my safety and security and the safety and security of my children and yours.

Citizen, not a subject.

 

What More Can We Do?

I have tried to focus on persecution this week and hope to have sufficiently shined a spotlight on how the modern church is not immune from persecution, but rather that it has evolved and adapted to attack the church effectively, but not necessarily violently as is the most easily recognizable form of persecution.  I think this is an often neglected topic because of how depressing it can be to see fellow believers, fellow humans, suffering at the hands or words of other human beings who either believe in a different religion or none at all and choose to attack the faithful.

As a man who lives in the freedom and liberty of the United States, I have the opportunity to look out at the world and see these atrocities, and like Peter, am prone to think first of the “sword” rather than God when I hear of them.  Rather than trusting God and having faith that His will is being played out, I think of protecting those that cannot protect themselves.  While this is not Biblically wrong as we are called to offer ourselves as a shield of protection for those that are unable, my myopic view fails me often.  I, aside from prayer, cannot impact what happens in Nigeria, Iran, or Malaysia any more than they can directly impact the persecution that may befall believers here in the United States.

I want to bridge the gap from the spiritual to the practical now.  Prayer is the best weapon to combat persecution as we hope to turn our persecutors into believers themselves and may need to suffer in order to accomplish this goal.  That is great in theory, but from a day-to-day perspective, we need to heed other teachings of Christ as well.

Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Luke 22:36

And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

Luke 22:38

We are not called to sell our lives cheaply.  We might be a speck in terms of all things, but we are precious to God, which means we should consider ourselves as precious to Him.  This is where the concept of moral, lawful, and rightful self-defense originates.  Christ did not preach pacifism, nor militarism, but something contrary to both.

So back to the upper room, when Christ asked if there were swords present.  Christ, as God incarnate, knew there were swords there.  Now you could extend the story out to include the events at Gethsemane when one of the disciples used, presumably, one of those swords to sever the Priest’s servant’s ear so Christ could admonish them for it, but if you look at the context of the command, He is directing them to arm themselves if are not already armed.  By indicating that two swords were enough for their small group, you could also extend that out into modern thinking as not a force of arms (which would be the case if all were armed), but rather as a deterrent against force.

Now let’s take this scenario and fast-forward it to the modern day.  Your church is a ripe target for persecution in the form of a religiously-targeted attack.  When I wrote this, I cited statistics which show that religiously-targeted attackers are on the rise in the United States and violent crimes within churches as an whole are on the rise as well.  We need to be aware of this growing threat to our fellow believers and take deterrent measures, as I explained above.

Credit: Oleg Volk

What those measures are lie with you, your family, and your church.  Some may carry concealed as they are permitted, some may elect for pepper spray, some may reconsider where they attend church based on the neighborhood, some may ask their church to consider starting a security team or if there is already one in place.

Christ called the believers in His time on Earth His flock, implying sheep.  He is the Good Shepherd.  To steal a Toby Keith lyric, “when the wolf growls at the door” sometimes you need a sheepdog to scare the wolf away.

This mindset may be uniquely American, but by virtue of being an American and having the liberty to be that sheepdog for not only my family, but also my church, and the community at large, I can look out at the world and recognize the very real threats.  The very real persecutions just waiting to happen, but they will not happen needlessly or without cost.  We should not sell our lives cheaply for our faith.  The price for our lives is high, it is Christ’s blood.

Deterrence is the art of producing, in the mind of the enemy, the fear to attack.

Sterling Hayden

 

Threats

One of my favorite talk radio hosts has a phrase he often uses: liberals love democracy until the vote doesn’t go their way.  To add substance to this quote, in the aftermath of Tuesday’s debate, a number of tweets flooded Twitter calling for assassinations of Governor Romney or riots should he win the general election come November.

While I take these threats with a grain of salt, I refuse to walk through life with blinders on.  There will be violence in that event.  It may not visit my neighborhood, or even my county, but I would rather be prepared for such an eventuality and not need to rely on my preparations.  I love to wade into the cultural war going on between right and left, good and evil, capitalism and communism, etc… and I sense a palatable amount of vitriol on both sides over this upcoming election.  This country is being divided into two camps.

There is little middle ground between the two, so the culture of animosity has grown since roughly the halfway point of the Clinton presidency by my personal estimation to what you see today.  I don’t believe that the conservatives will riot as they are… you know… conservative.  That usually means that they are more restrained (this is a generality and there are sure to be some examples where it is not true).

At this point you probably wonder why this matters.  If the chance is fairly low in your estimation, why bother talking about it?  Because I love my wife and my kids and I would be negligent in my duties as a husband, father, and protector of my family if I didn’t constantly have a keen eye watching the borders of my personal kingdom.

Whoa whoa whoa… kingdom?

 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Genesis 1:26

Man was made in the image of God.  God is the King of all creation, therefore we are charged with being kings as well.  We are kings over all of creation by design.  We have more specifically been charged to protect our wives and children though.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Ephesians 5:25

One of the attributes of a good king is that they constantly are on guard against an invasion or an attack.  Those that submit to the king rely on the king to guard their lives and to protect them from all aggressors.  So you can say that I am being paranoid, or you can think hard about your role within your family.  You can be a loving father and husband, but failing at one of your principal duties to your wife and children in that they are protected by you.

The next question you might be asking about now is: how can one man protect his family from a riot?

You took seriously this instruction from Jesus right?

“But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

Luke 22:36

There is one other thing to consider though… even armed, against a riot, I don’t stand a chance alone, but if I ally myself with other similarly minded men… kings… then together we can defend our families.

Image Credit: Oleg Volk

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