Friday, September 29, 2017

Proverbs 22:6 and Adoption, part 1 of 2

A while ago, I published at What is Truth? parts a study on Proverbs 22:6 and related texts on child-rearing, demonstrating exegetically that godly parents who train up their children in the way they should go, the way of moral righteousness, have God's promise that their children will be converted and live for God.  (See the complete study Children of Obedient Parents Turning out for God--Certainty or Mere Possibility in Proverbs 22:6?)  I wanted to examine whether or not these promises were still applicable for adopted children.  Most people I asked about it, who seemed to derive their position from Scripture, stated that they were, but I also had the suggestions that: 1.) generational curses upon the third and fourth generation of those who hate God (cf. Exodus 20:5); 2.) a type of "spiritual DNA" that left the children of certain groups of people more depraved than others, or 3.)  human experience that adopted children did not turn out for God like other children did showed that Proverbs 22:6 and related texts were not true for adopted children.

I would be interested in your exegetical thoughts on the analysis below (part one today, part two next Friday, Lord willing), comments on the reasons given above for why Proverbs 22:6 and other related texts are allegedly not true for adopted children, and any experience or comments in applying Biblical principles to adopted children of your own or in your congregation.  It might be good to read the first part of the study I linked to above before examining this second portion.  Also, if Greek and Hebrew words are garbled in this blog post, please see the PDF file of this study here).

Do Proverbs 22:6 and the other related texts apply to adopted children raised for God, or only to children raised by parents who conceived them?  Scripture does not limit the promise of Proverbs 22:6 or other related texts to children raised by parents who conceived them—adopted children are included in the promise of Proverbs 22:6.
            First, the immediate context of the passages in Proverbs supports the inclusion of adopted children in the promise.  Proverbs 22:6 simply commands:  “Train up a child,”[1] with no limitation only to children that one has personally conceived; the text simply refers to “a child.”  As adopted children equally have the morally right “way [they] should go,” so they likewise have the promise that when they are old they will not depart from that righteous way.  Similarly, Proverbs 23:13-14 does not promise that only one’s biologically conceived child will be saved from hell if he receives proper corporal punishment, but that any such “child” will be saved from damnation.  Likewise, Proverbs 22:15 clearly refers to all children.  Proverbs 22:15a does not limit foolishness to the heart of biologically conceived children—adopted children also have foolishness in their hearts—and Proverbs 22:15b specifies for adopted children also that the rod of correction will drive their foolishness far from them.  The immediate context of Biblical promises concerning childrearing demonstrates that adopted children are included.
            Second, the word “child” (na‘ar)[2] in Proverbs 22:6 is frequently employed in Scripture for a person who is not conceived by those whose “child” he is.  The word is used for servants in Abraham’s household who have no biological relationship to the patriarch (Genesis 14:24; 18:7) and for “young men” who were servants in Abraham’s household and who are contrasted with “Isaac his son” (Genesis 22:3).[3]  The word is also used both for the servants of Abraham and for Isaac in the same verse (Genesis 22:5), used specifically for Isaac (Genesis 22:12), and used specifically for young male servants (Genesis 22:19).  Many verses employ the word na‘ar for biological children.[4] Many others employ it for servants in a household with no biological relationship to the household head,[5] and the word is employed even for young men in the very broadly defined “household” of members of the military underneath a military commander.[6]  Many passages mix the biological and non-biological uses of na‘ar together in close proximity[7] because na‘ar in Proverbs 22:6, and many other texts, does not contrast children in a household based on their biological relationship (or lack thereof) to the household head but specifies youth in contrast to age.
            Thus, na‘ar frequently emphasizes youth and contrasts the child or children from newly born infants[8] on up to yet unmarried young men[9] with elders or the old.[10]  Other Hebrew words sharing the n‘r root likewise emphasize youth.[11]  Na‘ar is used in general for the “young” in contrast to the “old” where the “young” are not limited to children of their older biological parents (Genesis 19:4).[12]  The word is used of the youth of the Messiah (Isaiah 7:16; 8:4), who was biologically from His mother Mary but adopted by His human father Joseph.  (No text containing the word ever contrasts a na‘ar as a biological child with an adopted child who is allegedly not a na‘ar.)  In many texts, youth is clearly emphasized by the word na‘ar.[13]  Indeed, in many passages of Scripture na‘ar is employed to contrast the young with the old, at times in comprehensive terms that necessarily include youth not biologically related to the head of their household.[14]  Na‘ar contrasts the “young” with the “old” as comprehensive and inclusive terms for every single person in the nation of Israel (Exodus 10:9).  The word is used for a “little child” or for “little children” who do not know how to go out or come in,[15] for a child who is unable to speak (Jeremiah 1:6-7), for a child who can barely count or write (Isaiah 10:19), and for a child who is being taught how to walk (Hosea 11:1-3).  A number of verses speak of children who are “young and tender.”[16]  The na‘ar is parallel to the “infant” and contrasted with the “ancient” (Isaiah 3:4-5).  It is parallel to “young men”[17] and is the opposite of “old”[18] and “old men” (Psalm 148:12).  A sixteen-year old is one who is “yet young [na‘ar]” (2 Chronicles 34:3).  An emphasis upon having few years or being young in age is extremely common.[19]  When David fought Goliath the Israelite was a “youth” (na‘ar) while Goliath was “a man of war from his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33).[20]  The phrase [ha]na‘ar na‘ar, the repetition of the word na‘ar twice in succession, is rendered “the child was young” (1 Samuel 1:24).[21]  Thus:
Na‘ar always stands in contrast to zāqēn [old]; in many passages, it has become part of a stock phrase as an antonym to zāqēn . . . Gen. 19:4; Josh. 6:21; Est. 3:13 . . . Ex. 10:9; Isa. 20:4; Lam. 2:21 . . . Jer. 51:22; Ps. 148:12[.] These phrases are typical examples of merism, a figure that expresses a totality by emphasizing its opposite extremes: “young and old” . . .  = “one and all.” . . . These observations show that naʿar clearly refers to youth. . . .  [F]or the rabbis both naʿar and the abstract neʿurôṯ are precise terms for youth, with the particular connotation of vigor and strength.[22]
The point in Proverbs 22:6 is plainly this regular Biblical contrast between the “child” or “youth” and the aged or “old”; the na‘ar, the “child/youth,” who is properly “trained up” will, even when “old,” continue in that right way.  The question of whether a particular child is raised by adopted or biological parents is irrelevant to the text.
            A king like Solomon or his son Rehoboam would have had many young servants in his royal household that required proper “training up” that they might become righteous servants of Jehovah in Israel’s theocracy.  Were Proverbs 22:6 and the other Biblical texts in Proverbs restricted to biological children, then Proverbs—and essentially all the rest of Scripture—contains no instruction about how to raise servants or other non-biological youth present in the household of the addressee of Proverbs, along with vast numbers of other households over the centuries of Israel’s theocracy.  Such a situation is highly unlikely.
            Furthermore, a child that God brings into the world, despite that conception taking place through sin such as fornication, is still a na‘ar to whom the promise of Proverbs 22:6 applies.  A child produced in Abraham’s household through the union of Abraham with a woman other than Sarah is still a na‘ar (Genesis 21:12, 17-20);[23] no difference in vocabulary exists between a child born out of such a sinful conception and the twins born to Isaac and his legitimate wife (Genesis 25:27).  Furthermore, na‘ar is used for one of a different nationality from the head of the household—Joseph, the Hebrew, was a “servant” (na‘ar) of Potiphar, the Egyptian (Genesis 41:12).  Furthermore, na‘ar can refer to biological children of parents of different nationalities (Genesis 48:16).  Godly parents who obey Proverbs 22:6 need not fear that God’s promise will fail if they adopt a child born out of immorality, nor if they adopt a child of a different ethnicity or national origin.  If they train him up properly, he will be saved and follow in the paths of righteousness even into his old age.
            Indeed, were an ungodly familial heritage a basis for rejecting adoption or a nullification of Proverbs 22:6, Jehovah would not have led Moses to command[24] Israel to bring into their households tens of thousands of young Midianite girls[25] “for conversion, and eventually even to marry them”[26] when they came of age.  The Pentateuchal command only makes sense because those young children would in great numbers follow the path of righteousness in Israelite households as they were trained up in God’s way, despite their most debauched heathen heritage.  Many of these adopted children of pagans would have become the wives of the generation in Israel that, under the blessing of God, entered Canaan by faith and took possession of the promised land under the smiles of heaven.
            Furthermore, the godly prophet Samuel was essentially adopted into Eli the priest’s family (1 Samuel 1-2).  The Lord would not have answered Hannah’s prayer and blessed her vow, and the inspired book of 1 Samuel would not present Hannah’s prayer in a positive light, if Eli’s essentially adopting Samuel and raising him from a very young age was contrary to God’s mind as expressed in Proverbs 22:6.  The godly Elkanah and Hannah are in no sense presented as a negative example. 

(See part two of this study next Friday.)

[1]           חֲנֹ֣ךְ לַ֭נַּעַר
[2]           rAoÅn. Scripture also, of course, frequently employs ben (NE;b) to refer to a son or a child.  Numbers of passages employ rAoÅn and NE;b of the same persons (2 Samuel 13:32; 2 Kings 9:1, 4; Job 1:18-19; Hosea 11:1).
[3]           wóønV;b q∞DjVxˆy t™Ea◊w w$ø;tIa ‹wy∂rDo◊n y§EnVv_tRa jå;qˆ¥yÅw w$ørOmSj_tRa ‹vObSjÅ¥y`Aw r®q#O;bA;b M%Dh∂rVbAa M°E;kVvÅ¥yÅw
[4]           Genesis 34:19; 37:2; 43:8; 44:22, 30-32, 33-34; 1 Samuel 1:22, 24, 25, 27, 2:11; 4:21; 16:11; 2 Samuel 12:16; 13:32; 14:21; 18:5, 12, 29, 32; 1 Kings 14:3, 17; 2 Kings 4:29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 38; Job 1:19; 24:5; 29:5.
[5]           Numbers 22:22; Judges 7:10-11; 9:54; 19:3, 9, 11, 13, 19; Ruth 2:5, 6, 9, 15, 21; 1 Samuel 2:13, 15; 9:3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 22, 27; 10:14; 14:1, 6; 16:18; 20:21, 35-41; 21:2, 4, 5; 25:5, 8, 9, 12, 14, 19, 25, 27; 26:22; 2 Samuel 9:9; 13:17, 28, 29, 34; 16:1, 2; 18:15; 19:17; 1 Kings 11:28; 18:43; 19:3; 2 Kings 4:12, 19, 22, 24, 25; 5:20, 23; 6:15, 17; 8:4; 19:6; Isaiah 37:6; Job 1:15, 16, 17; Esther 2:2; 6:3, 5; Nehemiah 4:16, 22, 23; 5:10, 15, 16; 6:5, 13:19.
[6]           2 Samuel 1:15; 2:14, 21; 4:12; 20:11; 1 Kings 20:14, 15, 17, 19.
[7]           E. g., 2 Samuel 18:5-15; 2 Kings 4:12-38; Job 1:15-19.
[8]           2 Samuel 12:16.
[9]           2 Samuel 1:5-6; 1 Kings 20:19-20 (note that here rAoÅn and vyIa possess the same referent).
[10]          Job 29:5-8.
[11]          E. g, h∂rSoÅn, “young girl” (Genesis 24:14, 16, 28, 55, 57, 61; 34:3, 12; Exodus 2:5; Deuteronomy 22:15-16, 19-21, 23-29; Judges 19:3-6, 8-9; 21:12; Ruth 2:5-6, 8, 22-23; 3:2; 4:12; 1 Samuel 9:11; 25:42; 1 Kings 1:2-4; 2 Kings 5:2, 4; Esther 2:2-4, 7-9, 12-13; 4:4, 16; Job 40:29; Proverbs 9:3; 27:27; 31:15; Amos 2:7); Myîr…wo◊n, “youth, early life” (Genesis 8:21; 46:34; Leviticus 22:13; Numbers 30:4, 17; 1 Samuel 12:2; 17:33; 2 Samuel 19:8; 1 Kings 18:12; Job 13:26; 31:18; Psalms 25:7; 71:5, 17; 103:5; 127:4; 129:1-2; 144:12; Proverbs 2:17; 5:18; Isaiah 47:12, 15; 54:6; Jeremiah 2:2; 3:4, 24-25; 22:21; 31:19; 48:11; Lamentations 3:27; Ezekiel 4:14; 16:22, 43, 60; 23:3, 8, 19, 21; Hosea 2:17; Joel 1:8; Zechariah 13:5; Malachi 2:14-15); rAoOn, “youth” (Job 33:25; 36:14; Psalm 88:16; Proverbs 29:21); twørUo◊n, “youth” (Jeremiah 32:30).
[12]          Natural man-wife relationships were not exactly the norm among the sodomites in Sodom and Gomorrah.
[13]          Psalm 119:9; Ecclesiastes 10:16; Isaiah 13:18; 65:20.
[14]          Exodus 24:1, 5; Deuteronomy 28:50; Joshua 6:21; 2 Samuel 1:5; 2 Samuel 1:6, 13, 15; 17:18; 2 Kings 5:22; Job 29:5, 8; Lamentations 2:21; 5:13; Zechariah 2:4; 11:16.
[15]          NOf∂q rAoAn / Myˆ…nAfVq MyîrDo◊n, 1 Kings 3:7; 11:17, 28; 2 Kings 2:23; 5:14; Isaiah 11:6.
[16]          1 Chronicles 22:5; 29:1; 2 Chronicles 13:7.
[17]          Isaiah 40:30; Lamentations 5:13.  Indeed, just as these texts parallel the rAoÅn and the r…wj;Db, so does 2 Samuel 1:1-5 parallel rAoÅn and vyIa.  The rAoÅn can refer to a youth from infancy to his general manhood, but not to one who is aged or elderly.  rAoÅn also either always or almost always refers in the Old Testament to a youth who has not yet married.
[18]          Esther 3:13; Job 29:8; Lamentations 2:21; Psalm 37:25; Isaiah 20:4; Jeremiah 51:20.
[19]          E. g., Exodus 33:11; Joshua 6:23; Judges 8:14, 20; 13:5, 7-8, 12; 24; 17:7, 11-12; 18:3, 15; 1 Samuel 1:22, 24, 25, 27; 2:11, 17-18, 21, 26; 3:1, 8; 4:21; 17:33, 42, 55, 58; 20:35-41; 30:13, 17; 1 Chronicles 12:28; 22:5; 29:5; 2 Chronicles 13:7; 34:3.
[20]          Saul tells David:  :wyá∂rUo◊…nIm h™DmDjVlIm vy¶Ia a…wöh◊w hD;t$Aa rAo∞An.  The abstract plural Myîr…wo◊n is employed for Goliath.
[21]          :rAo`Dn rAo™A…nAh.
[22]          H. F. Fuhs, “rAoÅn,” ed. G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry, trans. David E. Green, Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 480.
[23]          Note that “God was with the lad” (Genesis 21:20), although the manner in which he was conceived was sinful and contrary to God’s plan for lifelong monogamous marriage.
[24]          …wäySjAh in Numbers 31:18 is a command—it would have been sinful for Israel to slay these girls instead of sparing their lives and bringing them into their households.
[25]          Numbers 31:17-54.  The adult Midianite women had committed adultery with Israel and were worthy of death, even as the male Israelites who had sinned with these women had already been put to death (cf. Exodus 32:27); furthermore, the male children would perpetuate the wicked Midianite nation and, in their disgustingly sexually perverse culture, could well be filled with venereal diseases through the sodomy common in the pagan cultures surrounding Israel.  The young virgin girls could be trained up in the way of righteousness, turn out to live for God, and be incorporated into the covenant people through marriage when they manifested their conversion in a righteous life and reached the appropriate age.  Were a righteous life not what one would expect based upon proper training of children even from the most perverse family backgrounds, the Pentateuch could hardly record a judgment on Israel for taking as wives the pagan and licentious Midianite women and not long afterwards a command to incorporate young Midianite girls by the ten thousand into Israelite families with the possibility of future marriage into the holy covenant people when they came of age.
            The situation in Deuteronomy 21:10-14, where an adult pagan woman is brought into an Israelite household, is not truly parallel, for it is: a.) Not commanded (as the adoption in Numbers 31:18 is a direct Divine command), but clearly only permissive; b.) Recorded for the protection of the woman; c.) Assumed to very frequently turn out badly (21:14).
[26]          Rashi, cited in Michael Carasik, Numbers, The Commentators’ Bible. Accordance electronic ed. (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2011), paragraph 4055.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Women Can't Find Good Men

On September 23, 2017 The Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper, Canada's number one, published an article by Margaret Wente, one of their columnists, entitled, Why are good men so hard to find?  It seems that women do want men, do want husbands.  I would have thought that, but I was surprised that a woman has admitted it in such a public way.  In the first paragraph, she confesses:
All the women want serious relationships that lead to marriage, but many of the men they meet do not.
The next striking sentence a few paragraphs later reads:
(L)arge numbers of young women admit their private lives are a sad mess.
What got my attention here, besides the title, is a woman conceding this problem.  She traces the problem in this paragraph:
In a nutshell, over the past few decades, the traditional relationship exchange has broken down. It used to be that men and women each had something the other really needed. Men needed access to sex. Women needed access to resources. Men couldn't get steady access to sex unless they had resources to offer, so they worked hard for them. The partnership between men and women was a grand bargain that (usually) left both sides better off.
Traditional relationship exchange (laughing out loud).  Wente doesn't use the words "traditional marriage," but I find her analysis of the problem pretty good.  Don't get me wrong, she doesn't get it.  She doesn't understand it.  She doesn't have the solution.  I really felt sorry for her.  It's sad.  However, if you are looking at just the symptoms of the problem, sort of like looking at a runny nose, cough, and sore throat, she gets it.  Her diagnosis is stunning.

Women want men, but men don't want women, because they only want women for sex, and they don't need them for sex any more.  There is some truth in this, although Wente misses the real root of the problem, the actual problem, and, therefore, the solution.  Women can decry the symptoms, hate what they mean, but they can't admit the actual explanation and fix for it.

She relies on a new book, Cheap Sex by American sociologist Mark Regnerus, who gives three reasons sex got cheap, so that men don't need women as far as this traditional relationship exchange.  One, "the pill."  Two, the "onset of mass-produced high quality pornography," and, three, "online dating sites."

Like I said, Wente misses it. She totally misses it, but you can also understand why I think what she writes is fascinating.  For all that women have wanted and tried to do about it, they are hurting more than ever, because now, more than ever, despite the very bad shape of men, men dominate the mating market, as Regnerus refers to it.  Wente writes:
When women complain that marriageable men (sober, steady good providers) are harder to find than ever, they may well be right. The marriage rate is falling steadily, especially among the lower middle class, while long-term stable marriage is increasingly a privilege reserved for the better off.
"Marriageable men" are "sober, steady good providers."  This is the closest she gets to the root of the problem. Men do have the role of the provider, but with the aid and encouragement of women, they have abdicated that role.  Men don't have a role any more in our culture.  If you don't start with God's design, then there is no authoritative reason for a male role.  The women who expect it and call it marriageable are borrowing from a Christian worldview, whether they like it or not.

The last major paragraph of the article reads:
It may take a village to raise a child. But it takes a village to raise a husband, too. And modern society has largely abdicated from the job. "Good husband material doesn't occur naturally, but is instead the product (in part) of socialization, development, and social control," Mr. Regnerus writes. "[I]n the domain of sex and relationships men will act as nobly as women collectively demand."
Tell-tale, she borrows from Hillary Clinton's "it takes a village" mantra.  If a woman wants failure, she can rely on Hillary's point of view on this.  Besides her own relationship with her own husband, nothing is more revealing than Hillary's top assistant Human Abedin and husband Anthony Weiner.  Nevertheless, Regnerus and Wente get it right that good husbands must be raised.  Men who believe in a biblical male role train their boys to be biblical men.

The village has forsaken the boys because it has forsaken God and the Bible.  God and the Bible establish the male role with the truth that men work, take responsibility, marry, protect, provide, and love.  Can boys even be told that in our society?  I don't think so.

Sadly, even churches today are unwilling to raise men.  The boys in churches often look like what Wente describes.  They lack confidence that only comes from faith in and fellowship with God.  Because of that, they don't have the strength to lead.

I said that the boys don't grow to be men because they don't have the strength to lead.  Women don't want male leadership, even if they saw it.  They want sobriety and support, until they want fun, frivolity, and their own careers.  In other words, women want everything they want, but they don't want what the actual male role is in their lives.  If they had it, they would buck at it, and then pull the feminist card.  Wente ought to admit this too.

What Many Professional Athletes Really Think and Other Observations

I'm going to come with something else tomorrow, but now that I've gone down this path, I'm going to stay there until at least tomorrow morning.  I've got several jointed disjointed observations.  They are jointed, because they are all connected, but not in any kind of syllogistic way.  If I want to see that connection, I'll have to try harder here, so this won't be in order.

LeBron James was asked at his media day about Kyrie Irving leaving.  I watched his few minute speech and something LeBron said again and again.  I wondered if any of the media would take note of it today.  I've noticed in the history of racial relations in the master/slave relationship, the master or the superior, calls a man, "boy."  LeBron called Kyrie Irving "kid" or "the kid" again and again and again.  This is the equivalent and even sounded like, "boy."  "You come here, boy."  Does Kyrie Irving like being called, "kid," by LeBron James?  I don't think so.  I think it's the greatest insult someone could receive.  Maybe Kyrie won't say anything in public, but LeBron said it so, so many times, and so close together.  It was no accident.

It wasn't all.  LeBron was completely condescending toward Irving.  LeBron was taking credit for Irving, as if all the imparting went one way alone.  LeBron gave the kid this and that and more of this and that.  All LeBron giving to the kid.  And he called him kid 5-10 times.  LeBron helped "the kid" as good as he could be -- the kid, the kid, the kid, the kid.  Completely insulting.  Remember this when you consider his thoughts about whatever subject.

In the same press conference, someone asked LeBron about Ohio voters, who voted in a strong majority for Trump.  He said:
Well, I mean, that's a great question. At the end of the day, like I said, I don't think a lot of people was educated.
This is a priceless statement from him, the grammatical error in the same sentence. "I don't think a lot of people was educated."  LeBron is a smart basketball player, but he himself isn't educated.  He is a super athlete and skilled player.  As far as his view of the world, he isn't a well read, educated person.

Not to be missed as well, LeBron is saying that the people of Ohio are not educated.  There are other ways of saying that.  Kyrie is a kid.  The people of Ohio isn't educated.  Uh-huh.  What's the media say about that?  They aren't pouncing on this, because LeBron is a useful tool for them, like I talked about in the first article, or what Lenin called, a useful idiot.  A pawn, so to speak.  They treat him with great respect, but he's just a pawn to them, as seen in their lack of push-back.  They are using him to further and blow into greater proportions their own bias.

As this week has progressed, I've noticed a talking point against any criticism of the kneeling, the protesting, is the division it causes.  Stephen Curry says he's not going to the White House.  Trump says, OK then, you're not invited.  Many, including LeBron, but many more, have called Trump divisive. Anyone who disagrees is the one causing division.  Trump can only capitulate.  That's his only option.  If he does, that's unity.  If he doesn't, he's causing division.

If you have everyone standing for the national anthem, you have unity.  The people dissenting are the dividers.  Even the NFL has reversed this.  Now the one who criticizes the dissent is the divider.  There is definitely division, and even if it is a good kind of division, it's caused by the players kneeling.  When you have a whole stadium standing, the ones kneeling are dividing.  This is Division 101.

Coach Greg Popovich has insulted the President as much as someone could, and in the NBA, that's as easy as anything.  Watch how that every time Popovich bad mouths the President, the media calls him an Air Force Academy graduate, as if Popovich is now representing the United States Air Force Academy.  Smacking Trump panders to Popovich's team and any free agent out there.

Popovich has a female assistant, a lesbian, who has married same sex.  Criticizing this would be division.  Protesting this would be division.  Kneeling against the police, that's unity.  We should show unity with the protestors, even if we don't agree, is the position of unity, according to the genius of curmudgeon Greg Popovich.  No, we don't agree, and we are divided, it's true.

Everyone knows causing division is bad.  We're e pluribus unum, not e pluribus divisus.  Anytime the left protests, that's unity.  Anytime the right protests, that's division.  The connotation of our society is that division is bad.  It's not.  Any protest is division.  The majority of people in the United States want the players to stand for the national anthem.  A poll was just taken and it is 60 to 31 and 9 with no comment.  The 31 are the dissenters.  It's a bigger number than I even think.  I think the 31 believe it's hurting Trump.  More than 60 percent of Americans would stand at the anthem.  However, that's the way it works.  Even on the Supreme Court, you have the majority, and then you have the dissent.  The smaller number are the dividers.

It's the same in theology.  You have an established truth.  Then you have someone who corrupts it.  That's a faction or a heresy.  It's division.  When the truth goes into the minority number, it's still the truth.  However, division is a departure from the present situation.  It might be a good division.  People, however, in their simple mindedness, maybe because they wasn't educated, see the word division, and are now programmed to think it's bad.

Even if Trump is divisive, that doesn't mean it's bad, but we know that he isn't dividing.  He's trying to keep those standing strong, and now those kneeling are attempting to stay strong by opposing Trump.  Maybe they'll become the majority.  I don't think so.  I think they've reached the apex of their strength and it's downhill from here.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What's the Protest: NFL and NBA Athletes

When Martin Luther protested, he nailed 95 theses to the door of a Wittenberg church building.  He was very specific about his problems with Roman Catholicism. The Protestant Reformation came out of that protest.  Many people know the very beginning of the Declaration of Independence, a very small portion of the declaration, but very few, I would guess, could name one of the twenty seven grievances the colonies had with the British monarchy, written down by Thomas Jefferson.  Zoom forward to the monumental early 21st century protest of NBA and NFL game players.

Society regressed to where the opinion of people playing games became important.  The characters of the Roman circus became prominent before the downfall of Rome.  The combination of the internet and people's hunger for entertainment overinflates the role of actors and games and players, like the performers of the Roman coliseum.  This does not bode well for a culture, that people care what Lebron says about anything important.  What he says, however, brings web clicks, which sells advertising.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I have for awhile heard Stephen Curry hold forth on whatever the media asks him.  I have found Curry to be very, very good at saying nothing -- genius level flurries of snow.  Even I must admit that he is a master at saying nothing about a great many different topics.  As NBA camp opened this week for this new season, he of the champion Golden State Warriors was asked about whether he would attend an invitation to the White House, and he enunciated his carefully thought-out reasons for not accepting something he had not yet been given.  What would he do? He chose to insult the president, still relying on some of his well tuned skill at saying nothing, so that it was difficult to comprehend the denigration:
That we don’t stand for basically what our president has done, the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it.  And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to. It’s not just the act of not going there. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion. . . . You can talk about all the athletes that have said things and done things – from Kaepernick to what happened with Michael Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that has led to change. We’re all trying to do what we can using our platforms, using our opportunities to shed light on that, so that’s kind of where I stand on it. I don’t think us not going to the White House is going to miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that. . . . We have an opportunity to send a statement that hopefully encourages unity, encourages us to appreciate what it means to be American, and stand for something. So whatever your opinion is on either side, that’s what we wanna take advantage of this opportunity.
Curry, the now long time face of the Warriors still, even with Kevin Durant having joined him, would not say, "No comment."  He took his stand.  He nailed his abstractions to the proverbial backboard to a leftist media's delight.

I need some help trying to support what Curry said.  What is this 'message he wants to push into motion'?  What does he want to 'shed light on'?  In what way is anyone 'turning a blind eye to something'?  His lack of clarity produces a perfect opportunity for deniability.  You could tap into what he might have been saying if you were savvy enough, keeping up with what's politically correct.  You could read between his lines if you followed the media's talking points, what Trump calls "fake news."  However, it adds up to saying about nothing, zero -- a whole lot of verbiage, nothing of substance at all, which is what I find typical of protesting today.  You can't figure out what is bothering people that might motivate you to join them in their fight against oppression or injustice, or whatever it is.  I'd be glad to join Curry and the Warriors in their fight, but they are going to have to talk more plain to do that.

If the slightest intelligent person could engage Curry in a minimal amount of debate, he could tear through what Curry said in seconds.  The media doesn't hold game players accountable for their incoherent pronouncements.  They trade responsibility for availability, like when Kaepernick wore his Castro fanboy shirt in Miami when the 49ers played the Dolphins.  Rather than expect them to mount some sensible defense, they would rather take their few statements, play off their celebrity for the attention they receive, and blow them into larger proportions.

The image that comes to my mind for Kaepernick is the one of him kneeling with an afro the size of a beach ball, the one now that you'll see on people's t-shirts similar to the iconic deco art of Che Guevera, its immensity a great feat of engineering over which to pull a football helmet.  He could grow it even bigger if he wanted, but its size is suitable for making his point.  It says all over him -- I'm black -- his emphasis his race, his ethnicity.   Even though MLK yearned for a society that judged not by the color of the skin, Kaepernick delights in one that judges by the circumference of his afro.

I know the hair was part of the protest with Kaepernick, part of the messaging, but I still don't get the point, except to make note of his race.  He wants to end something.  What?  With his attitude, racism is bound to accelerate.  Some people are glad to be an American, the anthem represents their joy, and they know that no one has to live in this country if he wants to move somewhere else.  Because Kaepernick is free, he doesn't have to stay -- he can go find a better country -- but he chooses to stay where something is so, so wrong that he can't stand for the national anthem.

From what I had seen, Trump had never said anything bad about Stephen Curry, never attacked him, never hindered him from working or traveling (I see pictures of Curry all over the world every year) or from receiving what Forbes reports is 80 million dollars this year including his endorsements.  Trump still doesn't threaten any of that for him, despite what he and all these players have said. They wouldn't enjoy this same freedom in China or Cuba. In the current NBA climate, disrespecting Trump is about the easiest thing that Curry could do.  Coaches who criticize Trump can only help themselves in their locker rooms.  Their statements pander to their target audience.  Saying something nice about Trump would bring far more grief and opposition for Curry.  Anyone above a lobotomy knows that.

So Curry, the leader of his franchise, maligns President Trump in public.  He's not going to the White House.  Trump does bad things, says bad things, doesn't say enough good things.  Trump says, no invitation, and now Curry speaks his victimization:

I don't know why he feels the need to target certain individuals rather than others.  I have an idea of why, but, it's just kind of beneath, I think, a leader of a country to go that route. It's not what leaders do. 

Curry pulls the victim card.  He whines about being targeted and then he insinuates a sinister motive, allowing again for deniability.  Speak up.  Take your stand.  Produce your evidence. Curry says he doesn't want to go. Shouldn't he be happy that Trump pulled the invitation?  Why can't Trump reply to your criticism?  Leaders can't do that?  If Curry is a leader, as he purports to be, and he takes a stand against another individual, Trump, targeting him first, why would he not expect some opposition from the person he attacks?  When you take a stand, shouldn't you expect some opposition?  How hard was it, really, to hear that Trump wasn't inviting you to the White House after all?  Curry again doesn't make any sense at all and the media doesn't require it.  The people just want their bread and circuses.

For this "stand for something" (his words), Curry receives only 100% verbal support from NBA players and over 90% support from the media and Hollywood.  Fox News will give tiny pushback to that, this giving single digit opposition.  Those who choose not to support him will be attacked by multitudes with as much foul language as possible and their lives threatened.  They are the ones actually taking a stand.  In my understanding of a stand, Curry's isn't a stand.  It's moving right along with the current of present society, swimming downstream.  Curry is lockstep with popular culture.  It's not a stand at all to say what he says.  The worst persecution Curry actually receives comes from other players who are jealous of his popularity and his pigmentation.

Curry says he's a Christian and points to the sky, apparently to God, when he makes a basket.  He writes an innocuous verse on his shoe.  That's his stand for God that results in zero suffering.  How does Curry manifest a holy life though, the life of biblical obedience? How does he stand on the Bible?  Could he come out against fornication among NBA players, repudiated again and again?  That would be a stand.  Curry makes public shows of the causes he supports that aren't a stand at all.  Who isn't against malaria killing people in Africa?  Curry has had the opportunity to speak out against same-sex marriage and has capitulated.  I've never heard him say a strong, biblical statement for the truth of the Bible ever here in the Bay Area, and he has been asked many times.  Where he finally takes a "stand" is against Trump in a San Francisco Bay Area that voted against Trump about 9 to 1.  Curry stays silent on subjects where he might suffer the most for a Christian testimony.

Nevertheless, I really want to know what Curry and even Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players  are protesting, who kneel during our national anthem.  How are they suffering?  What's wrong?  What in particular is being done to them that they feel helpless to stop?  While the average salaries of NBA and NFL players has risen, the median income of Americans plummeted during the Obama presidency, lower when he left office than when he came in.  They were silent.  Since Trump entered, median income has risen 2%, that is, it has risen faster in the first six months of his presidency than all of Obama's combined.  While rich professional players got richer, the average citizen under Obama got poorer.  Black Americans suffered the most.  Poverty is also the greatest measure of lifespan, and the average lifespan of Americans decreased under Obama for the first time in American history.  If these players are going to have me join their protest and support them, they are going to have to do a better job of persuading me with facts and with truth as to what is so much worse under Trump, that would merit this kind of reaction from them.

How have the protests of professional athletes helped the lives of average Americans?  When things were getting worse for everyone else during the last eight years and so much better for themselves, what did they have to say about that?

Since I've lived in California, always under a Democrat majority, our church property has been robbed or vandalized over thirty times.  We're a church and church school.  I've been told by our sheriffs that they can't do anything to stop it.  They won't do anything, because they can't.  They can arrive after the crime to take a report -- that's the best they can do with far more serious crimes, like murder, taking their attention.  We've caught criminals ourselves three different occasions since I've been here, and nothing has ever been done to any of them.   At the worst, the criminals were inconvenienced by us for catching them in the act.  That's all.  We've never received any remuneration for anything that anyone has ever done to us or taken from us.  I know for a fact that many democrats in public office here would be happy if the violence against us would shut us down forever.

I already know that if someone came on our school campus to start shooting, that my only, I repeat, only recourse is to absorb the bullets to give the students a few extra moments to run and get away.  The state won't protect us or let us protect ourselves.  We ourselves can't have guns.  We and you know that criminals know this too.

The same government that won't protect us is also a threat to our belief and practice.  My daughter attends a state college, where the professors attack the Bible and Christianity.  They do it with freedom. They do it with gusto.  There is an intimidation on the campus not to say anything for the Bible and Jesus Christ.  These people are paid for out of taxpayer money, but students are threatened not to speak up against what they say.  This is all happening and I can go much further in describing it.  I wish Stephen Curry would say something about that.  Instead, he protests the position most difficult, while taking the one easiest and most politically correct.

As far as being an actual solution to the most serious problems of our society, I'm sure that as a whole professional athletes contribute more to the problem than the solution, more symbolism than substance.  Lenin referred to those Communism had successfully manipulated as "useful idiots."  That sums up the commentary and talk of most professional athletes and their coaches.