Showing posts from November, 2023

Wrestling With Manhood

  In the classic video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time , the hero Link starts his adventure as a boy, but partway through his journey, he finds the legendary Master Sword. When he goes to draw the blade from its pedestal, he finds himself transported forward in time by seven years, when he’s the man worthy of wielding such a weapon. I’d played this game as a child, and I think I always sort of assumed that’s how becoming an adult worked, that a day would come when I’d go to sleep a boy and wake up a man. But that never happened, and thus for all of my adult life, I’ve struggled to understand what it means for me to be a man. Growing up, there were a few key things I learned about manhood, things I was taught directly or indirectly—much of it through cultural osmosis. I was taught that men are competent, providers and protectors, and that they’re big and strong. (Of course, there are also adult males who used their competence and strength for selfish ends that harm others in

The Tragedy of Virtue

  If virtue is a good thing, how is it that the pursuit of it causes so much pain and suffering? “Virtues” are the things—qualities and behaviors—that a society or culture deem to be Good. Virtue is how we earn a good reputation, social acceptance, and the praise and accolades of others, but perhaps more significantly, it’s how we protect ourselves: it wards away the threat of becoming an outcast or pariah. Different cultures do have their own sets of things that are considered virtues, though there are a few commonalities: being beautiful or attractive, having a respected job, going to a prestigious school, coming from a well-regarded family or region, and being wealthy are all examples of common virtues. Of course, what things cause someone to be seen as beautiful or attractive will be culturally dependent, what jobs are highly regraded may vary, as do other reputational markers (e.g. family, prestigious schools, etc.), and many cultures have other things they consider virtues be

Sientir's View of the Bible

  I’ve been having a discussion with my pastor, and it’s prompted me to put into words how I view the Bible. So let’s start with an important question: How much authority would I say the Bible has? This is a trick question. The Bible, it turns out, is a book! Inanimate objects, such as books, cannot have authority, and to assign authority to the Bible is to anthropomorphize it: to treat it as a person. There are several serious dangers to this, not the least of which is turning the Bible into an idol. Remember, God is the one who has authority! This issue of authority is important, so I’m going to start with the dangers that can stem from it before delving into my views of the Bible more broadly. The most significant danger is, as already mentioned, turning the Bible into an idol. The Bible does not save us, Jesus does. The Bible does not speak, the Holy Spirit does. The other major danger is using the Bible to steal God’s authority for humans. This will require some explanation,