Week 11 in the year of our Lord 2021

Intentional ways to improve your future

10 minutes to read

Truth is resisted, obstructed, lied about, persecuted, and then when all that damage is done, the opponents of the truth glibly declare that the truth must not be all that true—look at all the damage! —Doug Wilson, Rules For Reformers

Revealing conflict isn’t the same thing as creating conflict.

Many people are, internally, full of conflict towards God—but we look the other way instead of drawing it out and dealing with it.


Because of the mess it would make.

Worse yet, we resent those who do the job we refuse to do.

Look at all that mess!

Many people hate conflict, not because they love peace—but because they are too lazy to do the work required to resolve the conflict.

You can tell a man’s quality, and whether he loves God and neighbor, by whether he is willing to do the hard work of confronting sin.

In others, and in himself.

Most of the men we know in their mid to late 20s are trying to make something of themselves.

And we know a lot.

The stereotype of the unmotivated gamer, wasting away in his mom’s basement, or maybe in a nearly furniture-less apartment with three other losers, is detached from reality.

Does the demo exist? Sure. We know some men like that—although they’re actually in their late 30s.

But their prevalence seems greatly exaggerated.

This is just one of those #manup tropes that is quickly trotted out by Boomer pastors and discontented single women.

It’s easy to make scapegoats of a demographic no one can condone, no matter how small it is. Everyone always “knows of a guy.”

But it’s a fake problem.

Here’s a real one: guys who are addicted to porn, and completely clueless on how to get and lead a woman.

Those guys are everywhere. They’re a major audience for our book. The manuscript is very close to done.

The Spice Girls told men that “if you want my future, forget my past.”

A lot of little girls grew up with this attitude.

It’s terrible advice. Don’t take it.

The way to know how someone is going to act in the future is to look at how they have acted in the past.

Her past is predictor of her future. It isn’t a perfect predictor. But it is a predictor nonetheless.

Take note of it and proceed wisely.

Careful attention to God’s creation often reveals much about ourselves. Adam was fitted to the work he was made for: dressing and keeping the garden. In the process of doing this, he was to learn about himself; to gain wisdom in order to rule well.

One thing he would have soon learned is that branches need to be pruned to bear the best fruit.

And because God uses similar patterns throughout creation, this serves as an object lesson for ourselves.

It is wise at certain seasons to take stock and ask yourself where you can prune your own life.

What is the main fruit you are trying to cultivate at the moment? Should it be your main fruit? Does it give you joy and energy?

What activities could you prune in order to put more energy into bearing fruit? What are the things you’re doing out of habit or routine that you actually hate? How about things you do from a sense of duty, but without generating a return on investment? How about busy work? Can you prune any of these?

What activities can you replace these with, that will improve your ability to bear fruit? Consider the 20% of things that get 80% of the results, and focus on trying to get them closer to 80% of your efforts, while pruning back the existing 80% that only achieves 20%.

The need for shared experience is very powerful. You develop your masculnity by participating in the masculinity of other men. There is no manhood without fraternity.

This can be either very good…or very bad.

If we have been intentional about choosing our “in-group,” it can condition us to be much better men. Unfortunately, we are rarely so intentional—especially in our formative years, when we are most susceptible to such influence.

One significant way this works out that many men don’t think enough about is entertainment. Fraternity can be vicarious.

Western Christianity has been compromised by believers being lured into the shared experience of immoral entertainment. Participating in stories is fundamental to man; so when enemies of Christianity became culture-makers, we started to rationalize that we could still continue to participate in their stories—even though they glorified what God hated—by “spitting out the bones and swallowing the meat.”

We thought that because we knew about the bad stuff in what we were consuming, it somehow wouldn’t affect us.

We did not take seriously Paul’s exhortation that bad company corrupts good morals. So we were deceived in exactly the way he warned against. We abused the command to test everything and hold fast to what is good by treating it as a fine filter instead of as a course sieve. We fancied that we could strain out every good thing in every vile movie—rather than straining out the vile movies themselves. In pursuit of the gnat, we readily swallowed the camel.

This is how we got to the place of The Gospel Coalition giving Christians permission to enjoy the glorification of cross-dressing and torture-porn and actual porn by “discerning” the redemptive themes in Charlie’s Angels and Saw and Game of Thrones. This kind of discernment is rather like repeatedly devouring junk food and poison, and then wisely noting down that yes, it was really bad for you, but also the fries had a subtle seasoning that really brought out the flavor of the greasy patty, and the arsenic was not as bitter as you expected.

It is not real discernment. Real discernment is spotting which company will corrupt our good morals, and avoiding it preemptively.

Fathers, pay attention to what you and your house consume. Treat entertainment as you would food. Practice self-discipline. Discern what is junk and what is poison—and what is nutritious. Adjust accordingly.

Our County Before Country principle is gaining a wide audience. Here are a few thoughts on geographical/locational strategies:

In marketing speak, we are not early adopters—but we are the earliest of the early majority. So we don’t see things first, but I see them before most. All the semi-rural counties surrounding major Midwestern cities are 1) ripe for the taking and 2) will see major growth over the next decade.

Take Clermont County for example. Michael decided on it as his final destination a couple years ago. At the time, he based the decision of personal desires, and the above-stated theory. He didn’t have anything concrete to prove his theory; it was more of a hunch.

Well, just in the last couple of months, we have found out that:

  • Purina is putting in a 300+ factory in Batavia
  • American Trailer World is putting in a 240+ factory in Batavia
  • A Christian college is opening next year in New Richmond
  • They’re putting a multimillion dollar apartment complex on the edge of Eastgate
  • The village of Batavia is annexing a new massive Drees subdivision this year

It’s hard to ride a wave from the back. You’ve got to get in front it. That’s why County Before country has a bit of a rural touch to it. We do think the principle applies to urban contexts as well, but the upside/ROI is in the rural to semi-rural counties. Bnonn believes the same of NZ.

Also, entrepreneurs would be wise to quickly grab up as much “main street” commercial properties in the rural counties as they can. It’s low cost for the moment. But that will probably change as people migrate away from the socially unstable cities, and companies look for low tax/cost areas to operate out of.

The wave hasn’t crested yet…get on top of it.

New content this week: #

Michael talked with Les at Gospel Riot on:

  • Patriarchy, and is it always a good thing?
  • How should we think about and treat our wives and children?
  • What does the Bible really say about manhood?


Notable: #

If you have even the slightest inkling that standing up for your faith matters, you should watch Paint the Wall Black: The Story of Nini’s Deli with Bonus Features:


Some key takeaways:

  • Wokeness is a death cult feeding on the fear, misery and confusion of young people detached from a heritage to shape their identity, a present reality worth living for, a people they can be proud of being incorporated into, and a vision for the future they can work toward. That means wokeness is a prime target for strong evangelism by strong men with strong families and strong missions. The gospel consumes death cults, because the Lord Jesus swallowed up death.

  • Personal relationships mean nothing to the virulently woke. Regardless of what they know about your character, about what you really believe and how you really behave toward blacks, they will vilify and shun you if you fail to say the right words or dare to question anything about their religion. They are “foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Romans 1:31). They are much more serious about blasphemy against their false god than Christians are about blasphemy against the true One.

  • Fundamentally, wokeness, and most people’s responses to it, are driven by fear. It’s the path to the dark side. Fear → anger → hate.

  • Many of the leaders in the church who people most expected to stand firm were the ones who lost their nerve when the going got tough, and either stepped down or even left. These same leaders are the ones who were the most impossible to satisfy around covid precautions, and wanted to shut down worship on the say-so of the state. There is a mindset of fear and cowardice among Christians, especially those who make it into leadership.

  • This is connected to the feminization of the church, where leadership tends to be oriented toward women, so security and safety become lodestars. But it is not merely feminization, as if women are somehow responsible; it is also simple lack of faith. Shiphrah and Puah defied Pharaoh despite the far greater danger to their lives. Our churches are filled with soft, faithless, loveless men (cf. 1 John 4:18).

  • Don’t be complacent. It’s easy to be a hard, faithful, loving man from a distance, judging those who draw back (cf. Hebrews 10:48). But if you want the Lord to have delight in you, count the cost of actually being hard, faithful, and loving should he demand it of you as he demanded it of the men in this video. Make a plan. Know what you’ll do. Don’t be caught with your loins ungirded. Have a path toward the kind of testimony Juany has.

BK trips over its own feet virtue-signaling on International Women’s Day and ends up getting them both in its mouth:

A video on why the team translating the Legacy Standard Bible are recovering the name of God (Yahweh), rather than rendering it as LORD:


The LSB is also available now in Psalms, Proverbs and New Testament. Well worth a look:


Eric Conn has an extremely practical, encouraging, and convicting episode of the Hard Man Podcast out, on Why Overload is Destroying Men:


The Stories are Soul Food podcast is helpful if you’re thinking through what we said above about treating entertainment like food:


Talk again next week,

Bnonn & Michael

This email is archived, but you can receive new ones free every Saturday.

Subscribe to Notes on Manhood

You’ll get the newsletter every Saturday morning, Eastern time.


You’re now subscribed to Notes on Manhood. You will get the next newsletter in your mailbox on Saturday.

You can safely close this dialog and keep browsing now.