Matt Walsh recently wrote an article titled: Dear Millennial Men, Don’t Be Afraid of Marriage and Fatherhood, another subtle hit piece designed to shame men into marrying up without regard to the inherent dangers of marrying in this day and age.
I can look at my life up until this point and separate it into two distinct halves: childhood and manhood. Childhood ended and manhood began precisely when I became a husband and then a father.
He attempts to qualify that statement by indicating that it’s not exactly ideal when one doesn’t finally become a man until he marries, and yet the rest of the article derides single men for being cowards, allowing their fear to dictate their lives, the unspoken assertion being that indeed, men really do not become TRUE men until they marry. The message is clear then: you’re only a REAL man when you take on the responsibilities of marriage and raising a family. He makes certain exceptions in an effort to be balanced, but it’s obvious that he believes the vast majority of Christian single men today abstain from marrying for purely selfish, adolescent reasons.
This is so at odds with what the Apostle Paul wrote about singlehood:
But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:32-34)
Paul wasn’t trying to be critical of those who were married, he was instead speaking to the realities that marriage and family can often consume one’s life so entirely that matters of Christianity become secondary. A man’s family comes first before he starts to think about the things of God. It’s interesting that Paul felt this was more of a stumbling block for Christians than that those who remained single would devolve into Peter Pan man-childs. It was Paul’s preference then that people would be more like him in regards to being single, so the distractions of familial responsibilities would not constantly sidetrack them. I believe it’s even possible to turn it into a form of idolatry too, because we all esteem family to be a noble calling, it’s so easy then for that to blind us from recognizing when it in essence becomes idol worship.
This doesn’t fit Matt Walsh’s narrative though, so he completely ignores it, instead focusing on encouraging (read: shaming) men into marrying so they can finally stop shirking their obligations to work, duty and sacrifice. It dovetails with the phenomena I continue to see in today’s churches, where men who have divorced multiple times are still treated with more respect than those who remain single. Divorce is somehow perceived as a lesser sin than a man who looks to avoid leaving behind a trail of ruined marriages and families to begin with. It’s stunning. It all stems from the stereotype that many people continue to perpetuate (whether they admit it or not), that just by virtue of marrying and having kids, this automatically validates them as being selfless, noble creatures willing to sacrifice their lives for The Greater Good, and hence morally superior to those who are single. And yet the Bible (thankfully) continues to dispute this notion. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, marriage or not. I’m glad I serve a God who makes “no respect of persons” then, and does not judge me based on what my marital status is.
Walsh also writes:
We’re men; we’re supposed to be the leaders. We’re supposed to take the reins, not just in our families, but in society as a whole. Sure, feminism has made many in our culture hostile to masculine, assertive men, but that doesn’t mean we should just surrender and take a back seat. In truth, even most of these deluded feminists still fiercely and quietly yearn for a man who will come into their lives and be that protector and leader. These roles are natural and ingrained, fundamentally desirable to almost everyone, and it’s up to us to reassert them. Nobody will do it for us.
What an incredibly dangerous thing to say. Women have free will as well, and to assume one merely needs to be a manly man and they will all fall into line is just horrible. I’ve known men who married hoping their leadership or devout beliefs would by default create a stable marriage and family, instead they wound up divorce-raped and destitute, accused of domestic abuse, relegated to being weekend fathers, and sometimes not even seeing their children again because their ex-wives turned the kids against them. There’s nothing admirable about recklessly endangering one’s self by marrying up whoever comes along and naively believing it will all fall into place just because your intentions are good.
Is it really smart to rush into a marriage with any woman just so Matt Walsh won’t have teh sadz? Wouldn’t it be prudent to marry WISELY instead? Walsh can’t seem to wrap his mind around the possibility that GOOD marital prospects are so rare now that I firmly believe we live in a time when we must draw on God’s divine assistance to help us find a good match. Rather than try to find a match on our own (which can often be wrong because we allow emotions to cloud our judgments, and because we’re only able to form conclusions based on what we can observe), it would seem more sensible to ask God to grant us supernatural wisdom and guidance to navigate this dangerous minefield, so we don’t end up marrying the wrong person and hence destroying our lives as a result.
It’s a shame that Walsh only wants to acknowledge the symptoms rather than the cause of the family breakdown today. Once upon a time we had only the responsibilities of marriage to worry about, but now it has been corrupted by our laws, courts, entertainment and even Christian leaders who continue to launch one-sided attacks on men as the cause all and be all of everything wrong with marriage today. Is it any wonder that so many men are “going Galt” now? Only the Lord Himself can help us navigate this insanity.
So why doesn’t Matt acknowledge the evil times we live in and encourage single men to seek the Lord in prayer instead, so if we’re meant to marry, we can do so wisely and with the peace of knowing we are operating within God’s divine will? Doesn’t one prove their selflessness by putting God ahead of everything else, including marriage? Because ultimately, Walsh is ignorant of the Bible, has demonstrated little concept of who God really is, and has allowed his judgment to be shaped by the culture he lives in.
For those looking for answers, I know this much: Only God knows why we make the decisions we do, why we abstain from marriage (or not), and whether the reasons are altruistic (or not), and only He can reveal what’s truly in our hearts. It only makes sense then to seek Him for all the answers, in all earnestness, to give us wisdom in all things, and more importantly the peace in knowing we are within His will, even when the world tells us we are wrong. He will not leave us rudderless, especially in an evil time where we need His direction now more than ever.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
I’ve often considered myself to be a stranger in a strange land. No matter where I turned, I remained a lone square figure trying to fit into the circle of life, particularly when it comes to trying to find fellow Christians who believe as I do, where we have enough of a common bond on which to build true fellowship.
But today’s churches are so completely given over to apostasy, tossed to and fro from every wind of doctrine, that there appears to be no respite left. You must believe a certain way and conform to a religious system, or else. Any attempt to reform and fix what’s broken results in you either being shown the door or being shunned. If a corrupt system that continues to “crucify Christ to an open shame” will not change, what is left for the remnant of believers to do?
I decided I had enough of Christians, and one occasion declared them to be idiots with a diminished mental capacity and an absolute inability to discern good from evil. I was angry and admitedly painting with a broad brush, but it was instructive to see how professing Christians reacted to my rant. Rather than express sorrow that I felt the way I did, they declared my frustration to be the result of wrongfully judging Christianity based on a handful of bad micro-experiences that I had with churches. You see, they are just so awesome and wonderful, and these incidences I experienced so incredibly rare that the problem MUST be on my end. It simply couldn’t be possible that we were in the midst of an epidemic that polluted the well of Christianity to such a toxic extent that it’s hardly recognizable today. Christians today continue to eat, wipe their mouths, and insist that they have done no wickedness.
Churches have become unclean systems of cliques, corruption and heresy. The Bible makes it clear that rather than continue to participate therein, we’re to come out from among them and be separate, “and touch not the unclean thing.”
Or in essence, the religious version of going “Galt.”
Because we live in a generation that refuses to listen to reason, refuses to change, refuses to look within and viciously attacks those who dare to shine a spotlight on their evil deeds, there seems to be little recourse other than to fade into the shadows. After all, why continue to dwell where you’re not wanted?
I wondered if there was a biblical precedence for this. Are true believers operating outside of God’s will by removing themselves so completely from the picture that few even know of their existence? That certainly seems to be the life I live now. I only experience peace and closeness to God when I stay away from other Christians, as much as I can, as often as I can, living as a contemporary hermit in a cave of my own making. And while the loneliness can be wearisome at times, there is safety and tranquility within these walls. But was living this kind of life a sin?
Then I remembered Elijah’s story, who at one point had become so exasperated with the futility of his ministry that he bluntly declared that he was the Only True Believer left. That is, until the Lord told him He had preserved over 7,000 people who equally did not bow down to Baal, evidently so deeply hidden in the shadows that Elijah was completely unaware of their existence.
It makes me wonder, as quick as I am to believe I am also the Only True Believer left, how many others like me are living in their own caves as well, and if the time we spend here will also be only for a season. It is telling that while God admonished Elijah for hiding out in the mountains, He also showed kindness, gave him hope and then clear direction on what to do next. As ideal as it might have been for Elijah to have never left to begin with, it was understandable to see even an anointed prophet like him become burdened by despair and so bewildered by what he experienced that he sought respite in the mountains away from everyone and everything. It was a process he had to go through, before his faith would finally be renewed and he could move forward confidently again. I saw his experience as an example that we may not always be where God wants us to be, but He will still meet us where we are. More importantly, it underscored the wisdom of waiting for clear direction so we’re not thrusting ourselves back out into the world flailing aimlessly.
So while I appreciate my cave of solititude and respite, I hope it will give me the space I need to draw closer to God, until the time comes when I receive clear direction myself, so I can become a more profitable servant for His kingdom.
I’m adding this post as a placeholder for those with sensitive skin who had the misfortune of purchasing ECOS Laundry Detergent or are thinking of trying this brand. I tend to have a reaction to fragrance-based detergents, but after a good experience with Seventh Generation’s scented detergents, I thought I would be in the clear as long as I used a product that was plant based and “natural,” so I gave ECOS a try as well, opting for the Magnolia and Lily version. I was also interested in Ecover Zero (a separate brand) but they’re not as ubiquitous as ECOS, so I wound going for the lather.
Biggest mistake of my life.
Prior to ECOS, I had never used liquid fabric softener before, and this detergent had it mixed in, so I thought, cool, getting two for the price of one. I didn’t worry because it was supposedly coconut rather than synthetic based, and I like coconuts (especially coconut pancakes).
But because I have allergic contact dermatitis, I didn’t make the connection right away that I was developing a severe reaction to ECOS, in fact thinking it was a reaction to petting a dog instead. When it continued I finally realized it was the laundry detergent, promptly ditched the bottle, and re-washed my clothes using a dye/fragrance free alternative.
And yet it still wasn’t enough. I continued to have rashes from my clothes for a period of three weeks, bewildered that even after several washes there still remained ECOS residue that was causing rashes on my skin to no end. I couldn’t understand it, because the last few times I broke out as a result of contact with fragrance-based detergent, the rashes usually went away in a couple of days after a single wash of my contaminated clothes.
This was THREE weeks now with no relief. Not even an oatmeal bath helped. I contacted ECOS to see if they could offer any suggestions on what else I could do to remove the remaining residue left from their detergent off my clothes, and they completely blew me off and my customer support inquiries.
I am now convinced they are a scam company allegedly peddling cancerous products developed from nuclear waste while funding terrorist operations on the side just for funsies. Allegedly. It has been allegedly alleged. Mostly by me. But still, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was all true.
According to one insightful review on Amazon, the following ingredients gave me some clues as to what could have caused such a severe reaction:
Directly from the bottle: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine (coconut-based surfactant), Sodium Coco-Sulfate (coconut based surfactant), Cocamidopropylamine Oxide (coconut-based surfactant,) PHENOXYETHANOL (PRESERVATIVE) METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (PRESERVATIVE), Equisetum Hiemale (Horsetail Plant) Extract
The first ingredient is Cocamidopropyl Betaine: EWG Skin deep database concern of 4 out of 10
“About COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE: Cocamidopropyl betaine is a synthetic surfactant; it has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis, reactions that could be due to the ingredient itself or to impurities present in it, such as 3-dimethylaminopropylamine.”
“Other HIGH concerns: Contamination concerns; Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology”
PHENOXYETHANOL (PRESERVATIVE) EWG Skin deep database concern of 4 out of 10
Other HIGH concerns: Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Occupational hazards; Other MODERATE concerns: Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive); Other LOW concerns: Data gaps
METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (PRESERVATIVE) EWG Skin deep database concern of 5 out of 10
About METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE: Methylisothiazolinone is a widely-used preservative; has been associated with allergic reactions. Lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic.
Other HIGH concerns: Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs); Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology, Neurotoxicity
I think in my case there were a combination of additional factors that exacerbated the reaction:
- I’ve been used to having soft water to wash my clothes, but after moving to a mountainous state I’ve been slowly learning how hard water can adversely impact so many things, including making it more difficult to remove excess residue from laundry detergents unless you soften it somehow.
- This was also the first time I’ve had to deal with a detergent with a liquid fabric softener component. Apparently the oils are far more difficult to remove completely and require a lot more than just a single wash cycle. When I finally wised up to the possibility that the ECOS residue was STILL embedded in my clothes even after several washes, I took a much more aggressive approach and started doing additional wash cycles using baking soda and vinegar. It took almost 10 cycles of this before my clothes finally became wearable again. If that hadn’t worked I would have had no choice but to declare most of my wardrobe ruined and forced to spend hundreds on new clothes and bed sheets.
I strongly recommend anyone with sensitive skin (and even those who don’t) avoid Earth Friendly Products like the dark plague, even their “free and clear” version. Their complete and utter disinterest in customer satisfaction and lack of customer support/assistance to those who have an adverse reaction to using their products is unacceptable and disgraceful.