Thursday, August 28, 2014

Godzilla on Patriarchy


Well HSLDA just threw a bunch of people, myself included, under the bus of public opinion.

Smooth move, Batman.

Before I start, I want to say something about the term "patriarchy," which is... a rather loaded word.  I insist on using the term because I'm tired of letting the world confiscate, misconstrue, chew up and spit out terms that represent well, sometimes explicitly, the teachings of Scripture- patriarchy and dominion among the rest.

Now, in response to HSLDA.  I genuinely appreciate their statement that they will continue to represent folks like me who disagree with them.  I do not so genuinely appreciate the unilateral slash-and-burn treatment given to the patriarchal heretics, especially since I would apparently be one of them.

Which isn't to say that I would adhere to HSLDA's representation of what patriarchy stands for.  In this article, the author topples arguments like skyscrapers in a Godzilla movie, and I'm happy to help Godzilla out by kicking down a few bricks, because I never liked the skyscrapers anyway.  But HSLDA not only destroys the skyscrapers- it blames all the wrong architects for their existence.

Just a few things that stood out from the article: "Treating children well and treating women well is intrinsically the right thing to do."

Remind me again what the battle cry of patriarchy, "Women and children first!", was talking about?  'Cuz I kinda forgot.

Here's another really good one: "Patriarchial teaching: Higher education is not important for women."

This is not only a gross (i.e. either ill-informed or intentionally dishonest) misinterpretation of the passage they cited, but it's also vigorously not true.  No advocate of patriarchy that I know would ever advocate, or has ever advocated, "keeping girls dumb." The validity of the college model for higher education is indeed questioned by many in my circles... and not just for girls.

This: "In sum, patriarchy teaches that women in general should be subject to men in general."

Is rather humorous, because that summary actually doesn't sum up the previous points listed (the ones that actually had citations, however misinterpreted they were); it makes a huge leap and a new claim which is indeed contrary to Scripture... and to patriarchy, which is about patriarchal headship- that would be fathers and husbands, men placed in a relational leadership role by Scripture, not unilateral male headship, AKA "hey random lady, make me a sandwich!"

There is also an element of gender roles that is a more general teaching of "patriarchy" (and of Scripture)- for instance, in the civil sphere, we would advocate gender distinctions in positions of leadership (Is. 3:12).  We also aren't a fan of putting women on the front lines.

This is all, I would assume, similar to the traditional complimentarianism that the author himself adheres to.

This: "Women are not to be the de facto slaves of men. Women are created with dignity equal to that of men. Women have direct and unmediated access to God."

...

...

...

Seriously?

That's a straw man par excellence, a powerful, vigorous, bold refutation of an argument no one ever made.

Like, ever.  Well, OK, I think Islam teaches something like that.

This: "Daughters should not be taught that their only and ultimate purpose in life is to be the “helpmeet” of a man."

I am glad that he said this.  In every critique, we would be wise to search out the seed of truth, however big or small, that we could learn from.  This is something I myself have had to wrestle through in the past, and we in "the patriarchy movement" need to be careful to distinguish between a very true Scriptural proposition- that woman was created for man, and that she was "created to be his help-meet" (Gen. 2:18)- with a false and dangerous application thereof- that the only purpose in a woman's life (or a man's life, for that matter) is marriage.  We treasure marriage, and so we should, but we mustn't idolize it.

This: "We have a really easy way to know God’s universal commands. They are written in the Bible."

I'm pretty sure we all agree.  Condemnations of extra-Scriptural legalism need to be had, but it might be good to stick to specific legalisms instead of taking a carpet-bomb approach to a large subculture of American Christianity.

This: "When it is claimed, for example, that God never wants any daughter to leave home until she is married, the patriarchy movement goes too far."

Again, good for us to hear; the Botkin sisters have done a great job addressing concerns like this in a few of their recent talks, one of which is entitled "It's Not About Staying at Home."

Yet critiques like these could perhaps be postulated better thusly:

"Hey, sometimes it seems like y'all are teaching this.  Are you sure about that?  Because I don't see that in the Bible."

As opposed to:

"Hey, y'all obviously all believe this as an inherent part of your system, so I brought my flamethrower."

This: "It is from their stories that I have learned that these men’s teachings are being applied in ways that are clearly unwise..."

Hold the phone.  Sounds like the problem is with the applier, not the teaching.  I seem to recall some of Martin Luther's teachings being applied rather, um, erroneously, yet struggle to justify a Burn Luther's Bones Facebook campaign.

This: "The personal failure of Doug Phillips in the area of marriage and his mistreatment of a young woman bears directly on the legitimacy of his teaching."

BURN THE PSALMS.  Because David gots issues, y'all.

(And before you build the straw-man that I am comparing the teachings of Doug Phillips with the Divinely-inspired writings of David- I'm not.)

Yes, "you will know them by their fruits."  Mr. Phillips' downfall is a worthy catalyst for a season of close examination, and indeed is reason for his stepping down from a leadership position (which he did).  But I don't follow Doug Phillips.  I follow Jesus Christ.  My family follows Jesus Christ.  My church follows Jesus Christ.  We were greatly blessed by the ministry of Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.  But insofar as we followed what they taught, we did so because what they taught was Biblical.  Even if they were the blind hog that stumbled across the acre of corn, the blindness of the hog doesn't change the sweetness of the corn.

This: "Teachers who claim that they speak for God on matters of personal opinion should be suspect."

Is always true, of course.

This: "Treating one’s wife with love and respect is the best antidote to patriarchy that I know of."

Is, by implication, an enormously slanderous and blatantly false representation of the teachings of patriarchy.

This: "But if officials believe that the homeschooling movement promotes teachers and ideas that inherently treat women as second-class citizens or result in physical or sexual abuse of children, then we can expect that homeschooling freedom will be negatively impacted."

If officials come to the conclusion that the homeschooling movement promotes these things, I fear that it will be largely because of articles like this.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Courtship, Round II

So my recent post about courtship generated some discussion, debate, and a response from the person I responded to about his brother-in-bloggery's response to- OK, I'll stop.


First of all, I praise God that said response was written graciously and in kindness. I'm also actually e-mailing with Mr. Ohlman personally, and I hope that our blog exchange, by being a public one, will be edifying those who watch it from the outside, and will represent Christ well by remaining cool-headed, gracious, and downright fun.  :-D

I shall first define two terms that I will use a lot:

"Courtship" - young man approaches father, discusses possibility of pursuing daughter, father eventually says yes or no, then young man courts daughter who also eventually says yes or no.  (I'm grossly and glibly oversimplifying and generalizing here.)

"Betrothal" - father approaches father, notes rather candidly that Junior and Junia are of similar age and bent, and they discuss the possibility of contributing an extra child to one another's households.  (Note that we are talking about arranged marriage, but NOT about forced marriage, which no one is advocating.)

Two different approaches which play out a lot of the same principles.

Now, to Mr. Ohlman's article.
Master Hudelson assumes that courtship is a Godly and wonderful method of finding a spouse.
This is true, at least for the purposes of my article, though you have to be careful with terms like "courtship."  I'm more concerned with the Biblical principles we're playing out than with the practical applications, which will differ wildly from case to case.  There are plenty of courtships that are neither Godly nor wonderful, and plenty of non-courtships that are both.
He points out, and agrees with, Jeff’s analysis that in courtship many men are turned down in the process.
Truer a word ne'er was spoken.
Given his assumptions that courtship is a Godly system (see #1), he then concludes that all of these rejections and delayed marriages are reflections of God’s will.
Now it's getting interesting.  I have a feeling we need to define "God's Will" here, or else we're both going to end up finishing the debate, raising our flags in triumph only to realize we're on two different battlefields.  "Hey, what's that flag over there?!?  Hand me them binoculars!"

But we'll return to this later; I'm going to skip down to some of the bigger issues here.  Mr. Ohlman provides a list of Scriptural passages (for which I am very grateful! HUZZAH for bringing Scripture into this discussion!) and then the principles that he derives from them.  I have no quarrel with any of the principles; all of the didactic passages given lend themselves explicitly to Mr. Ohlman's interpretation.

The principles given in the verses were, in summation:

- not good for man to be alone; woman is created as his helpmeet
- marriage provides relief from sexual temptation
- man is called to enjoy sexuality within the context of marriage
- marriage provides for Godly descendants

All of this is as Biblical as the Pope is Catholic.  (Or maybe just as Biblical as the Pope isn't.)

But then comes this paragraph:
We then examine courtship in light of these examples and commands and we see that the multiple rejections of marriage, the delay of marriage, and the denial of marriage is something that, at least on its face, stands in direct opposition to everything that God teaches about the importance of marriage, and yet many avid courtship advocates claim it to be “God’s will”.
We've made a leap here.  Mr. Ohlman has, in the above paragraph, added an element of time which was notably absent from any of the cited passages.  Marriage is good, for the reasons listed and many more.  (Paul also had a lot to say about the benefits of singleness, but let's save that one for later.) Yet I see no "Best By" date stamped by Scripture across the foreheads of the young men and virgin daughters of Israel.

Now, we come to the marvelous logical circumlocutions of mine which led to the title of Mr. Ohlman's response.

Courtship leads to either rejection or marriage.  Rejection or marriage clarifies God's Will for a young man's life.  That which clarifies God's Will is a Good Thing.  Therefore, Courtship is a Good Thing.

I don't think this is technically circular reasoning; rather, Mr. Ohlman is calling attention to a premise in my argument which, he says, I need to prove.  His whole point is that rejection of a Godly suitor is not a good thing.  Thus the premise of my argument- that these rejections are helpful to young men- is false, and my argument collapses like a Jenga tower.

Only problem is that I suspect we have here a case of pots and kettles. Mr. Ohlman, in saying that I need to prove that these rejections are A Good Thing, also assumes that the rejections are not a good thing; that they are not a valid way of discerning God's Will.  Yet that is one of the points that I would ask him to prove.

I have no desire to simply throw the logical ball back into his court, however, and engage in a hearty round of "you started it!" I believe the burden of proof is his, because the accusation is also his.  Mr. Wilson and I agree that rejections are a feature, not a bug, of the courtship model; we see those rejections as playing out Scriptural principles like a father's protective authority (Numbers 30).  If Mr. Ohlman wishes to overthrow our Jenga tower, he is obliged to do the removing of the sticks.

Mr. Ohlman makes an excellent point about "God's Will."
A quick theological point. Everything that happens is ‘God’s will’ in one sense. A drug crazed maniac drives his car through a mall and kills sixteen people… that was God’s will. God certainly could have stopped it, and God will certainly use the incident for good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28). 
But that isn’t the kind of  ‘God’s will’ that we are looking for in the courtship process. We are looking for the kind of will that indicates that we are acting in obedience to God.
Very well said.  I couldn't agree more.  Here is where our problem arises:
If courtship is, as we advocate, an unBiblical system that unjustly and sinfully rejects, denies, and prevents thousands of Godly marriages: marriages that would have, if they had been allowed, reflected the nature of Christ and the church and Glorified God… then the results aren’t ‘God’s Will’ in the sense required.
Does this not assume, then, that God could not be working His Will through the rejections and denials?  Mr. Ohlman's view of Courtship as some sort of Marriage-Be-Gone is not one I share; to say that Courtship prevents Godly marriages is to make a few large assumptions.  First, that Courtship does not often result in Godly marriages (which it does), and Second, that Courtship thwarts God's Will instead of guiding us into it, presumably because it sometimes- indeed, often!- results in non-marriages.  Said non-marriage is Very Bad because of the Best By date.  Don't want spoiled milk in the fridge of singleness!

I am still unconvinced that "rejection" is A Bad Thing in itself, or a bad way to discern God's Will, and would like to be convinced from Scripture that it is.  Personally, I find rejections quite helpful.

I also find myself wondering- how does betrothal address any of these perceived problems differently?  Does betrothal guarantee young marriage (if we assume that young marriage is, inherently, a good thing)?  Does it guarantee that there will be no rejections, no delays?  I don't at this point see how it does.

The previous article- the one I first responded to- objected to Mr. Wilson rejecting suitors for his daughters.  Again, I don't see how this is any different in effect from betrothal, where fathers would still be discussing and, presumably, sifting through prospective in-laws.
Courtship is not Scriptural, and we can demonstrate that. Scripture does teach a path to marriage; a path that does not boast in, but shrinks in horror from, the idea of thousands of Godly young men going to Godly fathers for the hands of their Godly daughters and being sent away rejected, frustrated, celibate, and childless.
First off, as a young man who has been through this process, I guess I technically am "rejected," and I'm certainly celibate and childless.  Yet life moves on, and I am happy to be single for as long as God wants me to be single, and to labor for His Kingdom within the household of my father until my Heavenly Father decides to bless me with a household of my own.

This is an underlying assumption in Mr. Ohlman's article which truly bothers me: that, for anyone who is not called to a lifetime of singleness, singleness is a less-than state, a holding pattern, a time in which fruit rots instead of ripens and one's effectiveness for the Kingdom of God is suspended indefinitely.

I'm a huge fan of youthful marriage.  Love it and hope for it myself. Marriage is A Good Thing.  But it isn't The Good Thing.  The goal is to walk in obedience to God and labor for His Kingdom, both before and after the wedding day.

I would very much like to see the Scriptural demonstration of why Courtship is not Scriptural.  My contention is not that the Betrothal approach that Mr. Ohlman advocates is unBiblical.  I see both Scriptural precedent for the model and Scriptural principle in the application.  So I am not opposed to Betrothal in the least.

What I am opposed to is the proclamation that Courtship "unjustly and sinfully" deals with the spouse-finding process, when as far as I can tell Courtship also plays out the Biblical principles in question very well.

Long story less long, I think finding a spouse is a messy, sloppy, happy, sticky process that can happen a zillion different ways, and that we should be more concerned with applying Biblical principles to the process than with worrying about exact formulas and titles.  Is the headship and protective role of the father over his daughter recognized?  Are the parents honored in the process?  Do the young people have accountability?  Does the process allow them to discover whether they are equally yoked?  And so on.

I see Biblical precedent for a Betrothal approach.  I do not see any Biblical commands for a Betrothal approach.  Therefore, to condemn a system advocated by believers desiring to play out God's Word in the spouse-finding process as malum-in-se when Scripture never does such a thing is to tread dangerous ground.  I would much rather stand on the principles that Scripture says should be than on the things that Scripture shows can be; to contend that one system better plays out the commands and the precedents than the other does is very different than saying that a system advocated by many and for Scriptural reasons
should be rejected by all God-fearing believers and should be damned to Hell as the false doctrine that it is.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Epitaph

Many things it could be wished to etch upon the memory
That sleeps behind coruscant eyes of upward-looking babes-
To leave glinting as embers behind life's flaming ephemerae-
To weave into the trail left by the drop among the waves.

A thousand things he would want said by fellow players on his page,
Fellow fleeting droplets in the wave that bound him to his destiny,
Who shared with him a moment upon God's eternal story-stage,
Until, their moment past, they left a faint but changeless memory.

But now, just now, around him swirls caressing, kindly summer winds,
An ember-sun leaps auburn off the evening ground to whence it came,
It burned him yesterday, you know- that little, happy pain just lends
Another note that sings into a story writ to praise The Name

Of its great Author, Jesus Christ, Who makes it all to shimmer bright,
The notes of life- sad, gleeful- dance together to His symphony;
Overwhelming beauty, glory-weight enough to crush the night,
To call to life His children and to write His foes their elegy-

A thousand tons of water shatter, broken, now a million shards
Of sparkling life and looming death that fall back to the ceaseless flow
Of ocean, hissing down the sand, and there resume the ceaseless march,
But not for him- his march will end; the tide of history will grow;

Triumphant, it will fill the earth, 'til all the nations bow the knee,
'Til mountains melt and cedars fall invisible beneath its swell,
For all the world will tremble, all the world will soon rejoice to see
The Glory of the Monarch Whose great story it was made to tell.

And telling, now, of course it is!  His mind returned to simpler things,
Sticky honey on his fingers, the sound of laughter carried clear
And long by wind, echoed by the waves, gulls with their percussive wings
A song, to which great counterpoint he was sent, with note, and ear.

So maybe, if his years were melted into lines of epitaph,
The thousand wondrous things he'd love for those few words to say-
Here, at least, and for right now, he can see his final paragraph,
The words he yearns to see upon the stone that marks his going away-

Here lies a man who would give thanks for blessing and for chastening rod;
Who always found the treasures every little thing would fain disguise;
Who fought to see the glory in each word of life hand-writ by God;
A man who read His story with a child's wide and wondering eyes.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Courtship: a response to a response to a response to a critique

Seriously. 


So, first, for context (you don't have to read all of these for my post to make sense, but do know that my post did not appear ex nihilo):




And now, for my response to a response to a response to a critique; namely, some thoughts on Mr. Woodward's concerns with the courtship model as advocated by Mr. Wilson.

-------

I'm a young man who has been graciously "turned down" three times by fathers who I really respect.  I'm a big fan of young marriage; I would love to have a wife, and continue to pray for one, and I'm very much looking forward to finding the woman that God has for me.

So, on first impression, it might seem that everything Mr. Woodward wrote is "on my side," and I should be very happy to see it stated publicly.  But that is not the case.  If Umstattd's article was a bowl of frosted flakes sprinkled with mushrooms, this article simply splashed a straw man into the milky mixture.

Mr. Woodward comments that, in the case of Mr. Wilson rejecting 14 of 16 suitors for his daughters, "That’s a failure rate of nearly 88%!"

Mr. Umstattd, in his article, rightly pointed out that the goal of courtship is marriage- at least if that is understood, in response to the idea of "casual dating," to mean that courtship is a marriage-focused get-to-know-you process.  Courtship isn't just chaperoned hanging out so that we can update our Facebook status; we're actively seeking to know whether God wants Boy and Girl to become Man and Wife.

So courtship is marriage-focused... but I would contend that the goal of courtship isn't marriage, if I may perform a little pirouette on my use of the term "goal" (bear with me).

One of the things I love about the courtship process is that the success or failure of a courtship is not and cannot be judged by whether or not it results in marriage.  A successful courtship is one which results in all parties concerned being able to move forward in singleness or in matrimony confident that they are doing so in the Will of God, and without having succumbed to a bunch of preventable temptations.  That's the goal of courtship.

I would say that, in the case of Mr. Wilson and his two daughters, both now wed to The One that God had for each of them, the success rate of their courtship would be 100%- and not just for the girls, nor for the happy husbands, but also for the rejected young men, who were blessed by God with clear direction coming in the form of a gracious "no" from the young lady's father.

To say that it's a matter of fatherly pride or a snobbish and highfalutin' family- does this not assume a great deal about the father and family of the daughter, to the point of being slanderous of them and planting seeds of bitterness in the hearts of the rejected young men?  Does it not also make the young man out as a helpless victim?

Encouraging fathers and daughters to not be over-picky and to have Biblical standards is a good thing, but laying the blame entirely on their shoulders and never stopping to tell the young men in the equation to man up, learn from the rejection, strive to improve and grow, press on, seek first the Kingdom, and praise God for giving clear direction- no wonder so many rejections happen!  We're making a bunch of rejectable young men!

"It's not my fault... it's those mean fathers... they just don't realize what an AMAZING HUSBAND I WOULD BEEEEE!!!!!  WAAAAAA!!!!"

"Oh yeah, he's totally the one for my daughter."

I don't mean to mock my wife-seeking brothers in Christ (remember, I'm in this boat too, y'all), but to say that it is just as much our job to be Godly, responsible men as it is the job of the fathers we talk to to shepherd the hearts of their daughters.  If we begrudge them for doing their duty, however imperfectly they do it, that's shame to our account.

For that matter, the young man has just as much right to conclude that the marriage isn't right and to move on!  The young man is no more under the magnifying glass of the father than the father, daughter, and their family are under the magnifying glass of the young man!

Thus, the boast of the courtshipper is not that courtship leads to rejecting a bunch of suitors.  The boast of the courtshipper is that courtship leads to rejecting the suitors that need to be rejected.

But the larger question is- what system of spouse-hunting is the one advocated by Scripture?  Courtship, ambiguous and imperfect though it be, represents the best model I have seen so far for playing out Scriptural principles like those found in Numbers 30.

And until the courtship approach is shown as unscriptural, all anecdotal evidence against courtship is really just anecdotal evidence for the fact that sin is a real bummer.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Childlike Faith



Luke 1:20+34 record responses from two people to surprising angelic news- Zacharias is told that his wife will bear a son, and Mary is told that she will bear a son.  The responses are less similar than the news.

Zacharias and Mary both asked for clarification. It would seem that Mary asked from a heart of faith; Zacharias obviously asked from a heart of doubt.

So it's OK to ask God about things we don't understand; it's OK to ask the Bible questions when we don't "get it." But we may never ask these questions from a doubtful heart that does not assume on faith the truth of God's Word.

The failure in our understanding is ours; we are not the judge to whom evidence must be presented, but the child to whom wonders must be explained.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Life in Pictures



Went to a funeral today.  Scripture says that it is good to go to the house of mourning; how much better when the house of mourning is also one of rejoicing and the tears and pain of loss and separation are endured in the context of the happy taunt, "O death, where is thy sting?"

Funerals and weddings are, I think, two of the most inspiring events to attend, largely because they so often feature a survey of the life of the person or persons they are focused on.

Seeing a life and legacy distilled into a ten-minute slideshow reveals so much about who that person is or was.  Hearing family testify to his influence; observing multiple generations of people assembling together to honor him, none of whom would be alive today if it hadn't been for his life; seeing the fingerprints of his legacy in the tears and the smiles of those who loved him, and whom he loved- it gives one cause to consider exactly what legacy he is leaving; how well he is investing the time which will so soon be gone; what things will really matter when the symphony of his own life is arranged into a ten-minute epilogue.

What pictures will sum up my life once it is over?

Will they be pictures of me being all awesome and amazing and alone?  Advancing the kingdom of me?  Seizing all the wrong opportunities and missing the right ones?

Or will they be pictures of me enjoying the dirt and sweat and sticky honey of real life, wondering like a child- and preferably with a child- at sunsets and at the One who paints them, smiling and loving and laughing and delighting in little things and little people (and big people) and epic plot twists in the story of a life too short not to relish the bitter moments as well as the sweet?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trust

"Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?" - Proverb 20:6
Friendship clearly entails trust; the closer the friendship, the deeper the trust.  Our trust, however, must be framed in the context of a Biblical worldview.  This is what makes accountability just as crucial in any Christian relationship, because a Biblical worldview informs us that, contrary to what we'd like to think, our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked.

As people grow closer to one another in friendship, the bond of trust also naturally strengthens.  Yet too often the amount of accountability in the relationship decreases with the same elegant equivalence as the heavy side of a see-saw.

It might seem that this is how it should be; doesn't trust enable relaxation?

Today I read another excellent blog post by Doug Wilson.  In one of the comments, a heartbreaking testimony is given by a woman who, years ago, was shamefully treated by her youth minister; this abuse didn't happen in the context of some unfathomable situation, but rather in the context of a situation which most of us probably never would have thought twice about.  He was just giving her a ride home.

Stories like this are all too common.

Is the answer to turn the old adage into a life motto- "Trust no one"?  Should we have an inner circle of friends that consists of Me, Myself, and I, and maybe my spouse on a good day?  Should the thought of a man at church shaking our daughter's hand send us scurrying for our shotgun?

Of course not.  It is good for Christians to grow in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace; we should indeed be able to trust one another (to whatever extent that trust has been earned).

Truth of the matter is, if I were to leave behind a widowed wife or father-and-brotherless sisters, there's no one on this earth that I would trust to care for them more than the families that attend my church.  I would trust them with my life, my family, my possessions.  That's what Christian friendship should lead to.

But that trust cannot be defined in such a way as to ignore the truth and inherent warning of Jeremiah 17:9.  I love and trust these people as my family in Christ.  But I know that their heart is deceitful and desperately wicked... and I know mine is too.

If our friendships are truly Christ-centered, truly open, truly free and honest, then there should be no shame in holding one another to boundaries.  We must not hide from the truth of our own sin nature.

If I ask a young lady to sit in the back seat and let my sister ride next to me up front- if a man from church says to my mom "hey, could we carbon-copy your husband on these e-mails?"- if a parent asks to sit in on their child's piano lessons- if a couple won't leave their children overnight at a friend's house for a sleepover (where did the idea that that was normal come from anyway?!?)- these are things that should not be a cause for awkwardness; they should be a cause for more trust.  I trust you because I can see that we both don't trust either of us left to ourselves; we both know that it is only by the Grace of Christ that we can continue to walk in holiness; we both desire to flee temptation. 

If we are truly hungry for holiness, then we should be happy when we find comrades who won't let us check out the other side of the menu.

It's not a matter of "eew, you might be a creep, no, my daughter can't ride with you alone for 8 hours to visit her aunt."  It's a matter of "but by the grace of God, we all would be creeps, so let's do our level best to help each other walk in the light and flee temptation."

It's not a matter of "I think you're a wolf in sheep's clothing" (although if you see a fang or a long gray tail, that wouldn't be an inappropriate observation); it's a matter of "we all have the heart of a wolf clothed in the robes of the Lamb, and until that wolf is slain in Glory this sheep will wrestle with the hunger pangs of a carnivore."

There is no benefit to be found by leaving the eyesight of the Shepherd or His flock; there is nothing to be gained outside of the confines of His pastures.

If anyone is afraid of boundaries, or uncomfortable with accountability, or maybe just thinks they are unnecessary- indeed, if anyone does not desire the transparent honesty of some form of protective standards- then that should be reading danger symbols on the Trust-o-meter.

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." - 1 Corinthians 10:12