Defeat is not due to losses but to the destruction of the soul of the leaders. —General George S. Patton
Faithful discipleship is at the core of resistance.
The foolish, weak, based, and despised things are leading a grace-powered revolt against the wise and strong things of this world. And we will win because “God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”
As John Macleod notes in Scottish Theology:
A people instructed, interested, and evangelised proved the anvil on which the hammers of royal absolutism and oppression rained their blows in vain.
Hence, pastors should be leading the resistance.
They should be fighters who can lead by example, be on the front lines in facing down the world, and able to bid their troops follow them. They should not be softening the Christian life or pretending that God does not require hard things of us. Consider the books of James and 1 Peter—how they call believers to see God’s perfecting purpose in trials and sufferings.
They don’t say, “There, there! Come & get a hug.”
They say, “This is what you signed up for. Lean in and grow.”
Or consider Nehemiah, the kind of man we need leading churches today:
Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the [men] and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:14)
This is not an empty exhortation. With the help of the Lord, Michael has planted a “sanctuary church” in Batavia, OH.
Sanctuary churches are a concept that arises from studying the early days of the European Reformation. For many reasons, the entire continent was in political and religious upheaval—but the chief factor that people were simply fed up with the corruption of the institutional church.
Like all corrupt institutions, it fought against internal reformation efforts. It expelled the reformers, and sought to squash the growing movement through political persecution.
This resulted in a great migration. The faithful were exiles and refugees, looking both for political and ecclesiastical shelter.
Many of these people found shelter in cities like Strasbourg, Zürich, and Geneva. These cities had become sanctuaries for Protestants largely through the pastoral leadership of men like Martin Bucer, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin, and so also became centers of reformational fire—for generations.
You can trace the spread of capitalism, democratic republics, and many of the key principles that gave birth to a free Christian society, from these sanctuary cities.
We are once again in need of such sanctuary cities.
We believe that they must begin by establishing sanctuary churches: churches that are aggressively committed to the central doctrines of the Scriptures, liberally-minded towards secondary matters, and willing to speak directly to the issues of our day. Churches that proactively equip and embolden believers to be godly agents of reformation in all sectors of society.
That is the vision and hope for East River.
Many families are moving cross country to be part of this vision. We don’t necessarily recommend that; sanctuary churches are needed everywhere. But if you want to learn more, check out the East River website:
(Btw, no church is a replacement for your own family worship. Your home is ministry HQ. This is true for both pastors and non-pastors.)
Here’s something we’ve noticed on the Christian dating scene:
It’s very hard to get women to commit, while by contrast, men are often overly-eager to commit.
(Yet we still hear boomer pastors talking about how male commitment is the issue…turn off the sitcoms, dude.)
Why is this, and how should you respond?
Well, in terms of female commitment, contra some dating coaches, a slow response isn’t always “ghosting.” It is often simply that girls get busy too. Don’t get offended. And it isn’t weak to follow up after some period of silence.
In fact, one reason women are slow to commit is often that they are overloaded. Think about how constantly bombarded all Western women are, with messaging about how they can have it all—and, worse, about how they should or even must have it all.
That’s a heavy load. Most high-quality women are at least somewhat resistant to such conditioning. But if you’re a lady reading this, remember that you can’t have it all—and, more importantly, you don’t have to. Stay out of that feministic rat race. It’ll wear you out and use you up. The ROI is terrible.
If you’re a guy in the dating market, another way of mitigating the commitment problem is simply to not “date” only one girl at a time.
Date a bunch.
And by “dating” here, we mean spending time one-on-one doing fun things in public places to see if there is a “next level” you can move to.
Guys try to force exclusivity too soon, and get offended when the desire isn’t reciprocal. But most relationships take time to develop. If you are “spinning plates” (hanging out with several different girls), it naturally keeps you from smothering a relationship, and shows that you have options.
Again, by “dating” we are not talking about hooking up, but hanging out. If the girl assumes you’re exclusive, you’ve probably moved on to the next level and should adjust accordingly.
From Tyrannus Hall: #
Here’s a reflection on extremism in our personal lives:
Some men are “brutes” who just want to “perform,” going as hard as they can. And when they’re not going hard, they sit around being lazy.
There’s no in-between.
It’s like golf: you might be able to hit very well at your max swing…but if you have to take anything off that swing, only the Lord knows where the golf ball will go.
The brute doesn’t want to diddle around at work, or take the time to learn all the “nonsensical” things. He just wants to focus on impressive tasks.
This can have the appearance of being hard-working—but in reality it is a lack of discipline and self-control, stemming from laziness and pride.
Any brute can muscle through a day of hard tasks, or smash a ball—it doesn’t make him special. He is like a flash of fire from cardboard; it flames bright, but goes out just as quickly. The brute looks like he is not lazy because of those momentary bright flashes…but really he lacks the true grit of doing the hard thing of instilling self-control.
A better man can control his work flow, master all the skills surrounding his work, and turn it up when he needs to. His work is not random spurts of fire, but a coal train with a skilled crew.
Don’t be a brute.
New content this week: #
Michael appears on 21 Studios’ channel to answer Was Jesus a Masculine Badass or Soft Hippie?
Here are some passages from a letter that General Patton wrote to his 21 year old son, George Jr., on D-Day:
All men are timid on entering any fight; whether it is the first fight or the last fight, all of us are timid. Cowards are those who let their timidity get the better of their manhood…
There are apparently two types of successful soldiers. Those who get on by being unobtrusive, and those who get on by being obtrusive. I am of the latter type and seem to be rare and unpopular: but it is my method. One has to choose a system and stick to it; people who are not themselves are nobody.
You cannot make war safely, but no dead general has ever been criticised, so you have that way out always.
The troops I have commanded have always been well dressed, been smart saluters, been prompt and bold in action because I have personally set the example in these qualities. The influence one man can have on thousands is a never-ending source of wonder to me. You are always on parade."
Raise your boys to be men. You can start by being a man yourself.
Talk again next week,
Bnonn & Michael