Rebuke! Rebuke! Rebuke

From Bruce:

Oh yeah and I forgot.
*hug*
thanks for the comment, brother in Christ whom I love.

Now.
WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?! DON’T YOU DARE EVER, EVER EVEN CONSIDER ME when you are considering the calling of your master. I’ have half a mind to walk over to your apartment and 360 you on general principle! You know my inner name. If I were used by God to walk alongside you as you gained strength, maturity, relationships, then that is in keeping with who I am. But catalytic identity cannot claim for its own. And I would not claim for my own, even my most prized things, in opposition or competition to Christ!

REBUKE!
REBUKE!
REBUKE!

Are you going to betray my friendship by even for a moment considering your relationship to me over your relationship to my Master? By that I mean are you going to forge me in your heart into an instrument against my Lord? A stumbling block?! If years of rants, theological wrangling, throwing Greek at your brain, and generally trying to encourage your love of God’s Word mean anything, don’t betray them by saying something like this ever again.

How dare you do this to me?!

PS. I’ll be in town Saturday as usual. So you can be smacked as you so richly deserve.

You’re welcome.

But this comment has in it some things I think have needed addressing, and so with your forgiveness, I shall respond to it as a way to address them.

In Lutheranism, we have a few doctrines.

One is the doctrine of vocation.  Roughly speaking, it defines our calling as serving the Lord through the roles we occupy.  That is, at present my calling is to serve God as a husband of my wife, a friend of my friends, and a servant of Walmart Stores Inc (among other things).

The other is our various teachings regarding revelation.  To put it quite bluntly:  We believe that Jesus Christ is the person who speaks for God these days.  We believe that in the garden of Gethsemane he promised the apostles that they would accurately remember his words and relay his teachings.  Therefore, we hold those books which contain the teachings of the apostles to be inspired scripture, according to the teachings of the apostles.

Therefore we do not hold other things to be inspired scriptures, including coincidence, emotion, or even my good buddy logic.

From this, then, vocation:  the various household codes in the New Testament make clear that our calling from God is to serve God by discharging well the duties implied by our existing relationships.  This is found in the scriptures.

However, we do not find in the scriptures the idea of a mystical call beyond this.  It may be that God pulls us, through thought, deed, emotion, and event, toward the place he wants us.  But it is not written, we cannot say it, and it is arrogant and foolish to make decisions based on it.

Taking on additional relationships (and therefore duties) is a matter of Christian freedom!  If an unmarried man chooses to get married, he has added to the calling of his Master a call to be a good husband.  He was free not to do so.  There was no demand upon him to accept this calling unless that demand can be found in the Scriptures rightly interpreted!

So, too, if I choose to become a pastor, and my church then sends me off to seminary, it will ipso facto become God’s call on my life.

But until that point, whether or not it is God’s desire, it is not God’s call.  And if I say it is, based on my desires or emotions or coincidences, then even if it is God’s desire that I become a pastor, nevertheless by presuming to speak for Him where He has not spoken and by claiming or speculating His will where he has not revealed it, I become a false prophet and a heretic, for I am claiming that I am the voice of God!

So, despite the confluence of my emotions and my church’s potential generosity, which years ago I would have seen as a message from God, I am not at present called to be a pastor.

Should I accept my church’s offer, at that time I shall be called to become a pastor.

In both cases, yeah or nay, I am called to be a friend to my friends.  Therefore, it is good, meet, and right that I consider my friendships when thinking over whether or not I should move forward on this.  It is good, meet, and right, in other words, that I place priority on the calling I do have over and against the calling I do not have.  It is in no way deserving of rebuke.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Rocking the Collar III

Time after time, in my various wanderings ’round the internet, I have come across rants, open wounds, unmet needs.

This country’s churches have a ridiculous attitude about forgiveness.

This country’s churches have a ridiculous classification system for sins, wherein some are simply too icky to forgive or to fight in any meaningful way.

This country’s churches demean men and exalt women in craven submission to the spirit of the age.

This country’s churches replace the security and comfort of solid truth with an insecure, but exciting reliance on emotional experiences.

I am a confessional Lutheran, in part, because the broad organized churches that submit to the confessions (such as the WELS and the LCMS) do not commit these mistakes.  But on the individual level, very few pastors I have met do not at least give these errors a respectful nod, and I have yet to encounter a church body that does not embrace most if not all of these errors.

If you’re not part of the solution…

Humans are broken and evil, and the flavor of the brokenness and evil will be colored by the sins of the age.  To a degree, this situation is unavoidable, short of expatriating to a country where an almost opposite culture reigns supreme — and there, I would find other problems, just as problematic, just as pervasive.

In short, a Chinese Christian cannot help being Chinese, and an American Christian cannot help being American.  Only by the Grace of God may the errors endemic to a particular culture, like more general errors endemic to humanity as a whole, be overcome.

Nevertheless, the fact that the problem is inevitable does no imply that the problem cannot or should not be fought.

Gnosticism was a particularly Hellenistic error of a Hellenistic age.  Irenaeus is remembered for standing up against it.  And while fragments of the errors of the Gnostics have been recycled throughout history into other heresies and heterodoxies, that particular sect has been smashed to pieces.

So… we deny God’s Spirit (given to us in his Word) in order that we might call the stirrings of our hearts, coincidences, and (perhaps) the schemes of demons ‘the Holy Spirit.’

This must be opposed.

We divorce reconciliation from forgiveness, and thus unknowingly divorce the Hope of Heaven from the forgiveness bought on the cross.

This must be opposed.

As the Gnostics held that men were spiritual and therefore pure, and women were carnal and therefore corrupt, so we now hold that women are emotional and therefore pure, and men are carnal and therefore corrupt.

This must be opposed.

As a pastor, I could take quite a bit more of a stand than as a blogger read by two people.

As a game maker, taking a stand is a matter of arguable merit.  It is intrinsically good, but it may not be the best allocation of resources.

As a pastor, taking a stand would be precisely my job.

And I want to do it.

When Dalrock’s blog on Christian Marriage posts another link to Focus on the Family’s Mark Driscoll going on about how “Wives, submit to your husbands” really means “Husbands, submit to your wives,” and Dalrock wonders whether there are any pastors left on the face of the earth who actually take the Bible at its word, I could say “Yeah.  Here’s my blog.  Here’s the church where I teach what’s on my blog.”

When some ex-gay ministry or another wonders whether there are any churches in the country that neither hate on, nor excuse homosexuality, I would be able to say “Yeah.  Here’s my blog.  Here’s the church where I teach what’s on my blog.”

Ahh, hubris.  Just give me a license to dress in black with a silver crucifix, and I shall solve the world’s problems!

 

But seriously.  I know I can’t do it.  And I also know I can’t stop myself from trying to do it.  If it is a good thing, if it is in accordance with the Scriptures to take these stands (and others… oh, yes!  Many others), should I not take up this avenue of doing what I shall do anyway?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

Collar Rocking II

Half of the two people who read this blog already know what the last post was about, and the other half is clever enough to prise it from between the lines of my half-asleep rambling.

But to be clear:

Sunday, my new Pastor, who is played by Vin Diesel in the movie adaptation of my life, announced that three weeks hence, a recruitment officer of some sort would be showing up and having a talk about careers in church work.  Seems the LCMS needs pastors and other various peoples.

I have, from time to time, toyed with the idea of a theological or philosophical degree.  I really would like to have one.  I just don’t know what I’d do with it.  The best use for the education I want is to become a pastor.  But I’ve always been leery about becoming a pastor.

Leery, but intrigued.  I didn’t go to Oak Hills for no reason.

So, I resolved to attend said meeting out of sheer curiosity.  And, having made that resolution, I promptly forgot about it.

‘Till after Bible Study, when one of the men of the church pulled me aside, told me that I should attend that meeting and really, really think hard about maybe becoming a pastor.  He also told me that my church would find a way to pay for it, should I head out for Seminary.

I haven’t been able to sleep since then, really.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  ‘Round, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, etc…

You know I’m passionate about a lot of bits of theology that get swept under the rug these days.  I didn’t join up with the synod I joined due to their lack of will to back someone up if his doctrine is sound.

I was there for Rev Diesel’s ordination.  There was nothing objectionable in the ceremony.  It was doctrinally sound as a mountain of fused anvils.  The few little points of difference I have with the LCMS official stance were not on the list of things sworn to.  It was just the Bible, the Creeds, and Concordia.

To have a way to reach out to the Body of Christ and inject a couple of fitful bursts of logic into the stream of emotionalism (don’t cross the streams!)  How many times have I asked for that?  And now that it is on the table, how can I not look with suspicion towards the Heavens, and wonder if God is not double-dog-daring me to put my money where my mouth is?  Or my mouth where his church is.

I Could Rock the Collar

Or not.  No I couldn’t.

But should I?  That’s the question, isn’t it?

I’m not a socialite.  I’m not an extrovert, nor do I hold extroversion to be superior to introversion.  A pastor is a largely social role, no?  Undershepherd of the flock is a silly title if you don’t spend any time with the sheep.  It is a silly title if you don’t spend most of your time with the sheep.

Well, most of your time tending the sheep.

I looked at the class list.  I looked at the class list for the preceding Bachelor’s program I’d have to take too.  Most of those classes looked delicious.  The sort of thing where the papers would be a joy to write, the study something I would normally feel guilty spending time on.  Back at Oak Hills, I really dug the theology classes.  Christian Faith I.  Old and New Testament overviews.  Those were good stuff.  It was the intro to writing nonsense that my AA should have covered (and did cover at BSU), and the ‘ministry’ classes that were all about people wallowing in emotionalism, and the ministry requirement that always got to me.

Ah, the ministry requirement.  There’s the rub.  Making a career out of one of my least-loved elements of Oak Hills.  But Pastoral Ministry is a little different than making fliers advertising a revivalist orgy of mildly Christianized Bandai theme songs, or trying to reign in native kids who don’t want to be their, but their parents don’t want them at home either.  And hey, those kids need people who give a damn reigning them in, no doubt about it!

Less than 10% of the Concordia St. Paul Theology Major courses look like pathetic attempts to be overly relevant.  (You know how to be relevant in today’s world?  Easy: stop trying to offer them what they already have.  Be different.  Be true.)  And even in those courses, you find scary truth words like ‘doctrine’ in the description.

None of these are the kicker.  The kicker is, I went to Oak Hills because I love the faith.  I love digging deeper, devouring the deep truths that form the pulse.

At Oak Hills, only about a third of the teachers and a percent of the students seemed to give a damn.  The rockstar hero of my class flunked out of theology three times and passed youth ministry on the first go.  I flunked out of youth ministry and aced theology in my sleep.

Now, years later, Rev Fisk’s expositions of Lutheran Doctrine, paired with my own inquiries (and years after I signed on to the Small Catechism) have ignited the old spark again.  Burden after burden of my life has been torn away.  The doctrine of Vocation melted the intense pressure I’ve felt to missionary-ize since I can remember.  Ironic, then, that I am leaning towards a vocation that would make that primarily my responsibility.  But I digress.  The doctrine of Baptism vaporized my doubt and despair.  Every pain, tended.  Every burden, lightened.  I  can’t understand how I used to live with the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I am so much smaller than Atlas; Jesus is so much bigger.

I want to know more.  And I can learn more, on my own, in stolen moments.

Or I can learn more as my objective, for my vocation.

I want, I want, me, me, me…  If I were to go this path, it would be an extra load of responsibility before God.  I would be held doubly to account.  I have thrown off one yoke!  Am I strong enough to bear another?  The correct answer is no-one is.  But perhaps I am less ready than others.

To be a pro-Bible nerd… I spend as much time, if not more, composing and writing rants exhortations as I do writing stories or games.  I could do it on a schedule.  And I can take confessions without batting an eye, and forgive with an inhuman equanimity born of my broken brain.  But can I enact discipline?  Can I excommunicate?  Can I visit the shut-ins?  Meet with those who are sick and in prison?  Online, I may be brash and decisive, but in person I’ve the spine of an egg of Silly-Putty.  This is no time or place for spineless shepherds!  There are wolves without and within.

Meh.  There’s not much more I can do until I can talk to Pastor or to the recruitment guy in a couple of weeks.  But this won’t leave my poor, addled brain alone.

Why Do You Concede and Then Keep Fighting?

The angry buzzing of the bees over this whole gay marriage nonsense makes me shake my head in sadness.

You’re fighting the wrong fight, peoples.

What is the current definition of what marriage is, according to the conservative, Church-going elites?

It is Disney marriage with an arbitrary rule.  The core of marriage is that two people in love with each other ratify their emotional attachment with a big, expensive ceremony.

The core of marriage is ‘love’, love here being defined as hormonally inspired obsession.  Last year’s debate between conservatives and liberals was “is it okay to have sex before you ratify your love,” with the conservatives saying “no; sex is for marriage,” and the liberals saying “sure, it’s just a ceremony.”  The libs won the argument, and now kids who really mean it when they call themselves Christian are sleeping with their girlfriends and moving in before marriage.

The arbitrary rule is that conservatives think it’s bad for people to become obsessed with people of the same sex.*

The problem is the conservatives had already accepted that marriage was about ‘love’.  They didn’t lose the culture war.  They conceded, handed over all their weapons, and then continued fighting.

Now, the gov is strong-arming gay marriage on the population, and the conservatives are all ticked off, but that same concession, that same lack of weapons, still applies.

As long as marriage is about ‘love,’ gay marriage is just as legit as straight marriage.  In fact, as long as marriage is the ratification of ‘love’, there is no logical reason why an individual might not marry anyone or anything he can fall in love with, including people of the same sex, multiple people, children, animals, Pokémon cards and the Eiffel Tower (warning, that link is about someone marrying the Eiffel Tower, so if you can’t handle it, don’t follow).

What does the Bible say marriage is?

It says:

1) Man’s purpose is to multiply and conquer the earth (Genesis 1).

2) He needs a helper suitable to accomplish this purpose (Gen 2).

3) The two become a single organism (Gen 2), a relationship Jesus strongly implies remains effective even if they think they’ve dissolved it (Matthew 19).

4) In any case, it is not to be broken (Mat 19 again).

5) This unity is the same unity Christ has with the church (Eph 5, and part of why I believe the bread and wine are Christ’s body and blood: these things apparently work through repeated physical acts).

6) People contending with lusts should seek marriage, and people who are married should tend to each-others’ lusts, in order to avoid temptation (1 Corinthians 7).

So:  Biblical marriage is not the ratification of ‘love’, but a Voltron-esque fusing of a man and a woman into a single organism so that the man might pursue his given objective of conquering his corner of the world and producing children, and that this whole relationship is an echo of Christ and the church fusing into a single organism so that Christ might pursue his objective of conquering the world and producing children.

‘Love’ as we think of it in the modern world is only tangentially mentioned:  people who struggle with ‘love’ ought to seek marriage out so that they have a legitimate avenue in which to pursue their passions, just as people who struggle with a need to blow things up ought to seek out a job in a demolition company so that their destructive tendencies might have a constructive channel.  But ‘love’ is not the purpose of marriage.  The purpose of marriage is to fill the earth and subdue it.  First, to reproduce, and then, to achieve mastery over some corner of creation in the name (originally) of Adam and (now) of Christ.

Now, this definition excludes, by definition, gay marriage, which is non-reproductive, as well as marriage to pre-adolescents, to horses, and to French architecture.  The definition puts a soft limit on incest, as the closer you push the relationship between the two partners the less effective their reproduction will be.  It rules out marriages between Christians and non-Christians because the couple by definition would not be unified in their effort to subdue or achieve mastery.  It does not rule out polygamy, which I personally find distasteful; but I cannot find a single good argument that polygamy is wrong.

But look at your instinctive reaction to that definition!  Did you not cringe?  I did.  Did you not feel it impoverished for its lack of romance?  Did you not think it very misogynistic and oppressive?  Isn’t there some part of you — even if it’s a part that you’ve rejected — that is angry at me for saying what I’ve said?

That is why the fight against gay marriage is doomed.  Not because the Supreme Court has decided to play king, but because we as a nation have accepted and internalized a wrong definition of marriage.  Because according to that definition, there is no actual logical argument against gay marriage, and they only thing we can say in response to their main argument for, “But Bob and Henry are in loooove!” is “Eww.”

And they rightly view our rebuttal with contempt.

The place to start is not railing against the tyrants.  The place to start is by making babies and indoctrinating them with the doctrine of God and not Disney.  Gay marriage is a sign of cultural collapse — a sign, not a cause — and the medicine is not to oppose the symptom, but rather to convince as many people as possible to start planting good seeds for the next civilization’s culture.

This civilization, quite frankly, is done.

But that does not mean we are defeated, for we can see farther into the future than our enemies.  Even to eternity.

*Which it is, but that’s a symptom, not the disease.

Lutheran Catholic

A long while ago, I was very distressed about the divisions in the church.

Except I actually wasn’t.  Divisions in the church distress me no more than Pepsi machines not dispensing Vanilla Coke (on the other hand, Coke machines not dispensing Vanilla Coke is very sad indeed).

Humans are flawed.  Humans are unique.  Their flaws, therefore, tend to spread out in a wide variety of patterns.  Short of direct brainwashing from God, denominations are inevitable.  This has never disturbed me.

But it does disturb people I care about, and I, in a quest for affirmation that I didn’t actually need (but thought I needed), was forced into a position of actual emotional distress by the fact that distinctive differences between doctrine are a necessary result of living in a fallen world, and these differences cannot be resolved or worked around unless we are willing to acknowledge they exist and give them names, and the fact that the family I was worshiping believes that letting little things like doctrine get in the way of unity is the ultimate evil.

Which is a doctrine that gets in the way of unity.  Honestly, if we really believe that unity is more important than doctrine, we should all just go Roman Catholic.  They can draw a fairly straight line, historically, from Peter to the latest Pope.  Any non-Roman is non-Roman either because he believes that while the historical line is straight, the doctrinal line diverges, or else because Christianity is in no way actually meaningful to the person.

No?  Not going back to Rome?  Then you obviously either believe there is at least one doctrine worth standing your ground over, or else that sect supersedes creed in some way (i.e. brand loyalty).

Anyway, the tension in my post was not a genuine tension, but an excellent example of self-deceit.  I am not even slightly uncomfortable with the disagreement that exists within the church.  My true discomfort was that my open-eyed devotion to the quest for truth would be seen by the Family as offensive, and I did not want to offend them.

But it is definitely true that I dislike being called Lutheran.  I don’t like the implication that I follow Luther, when really I am trying to follow Christ to the best of my ability.  I draw my doctrine from the Scriptures, not from the Book of Concord.  But then I turn to Concordia and discover that it’s already printed there.

I don’t even think Luther’s Small Catechism is a superlative summary of the faith.  I think in many ways it’s dated, making statements that were clear in its time, but which have been rendered ambiguous by the proliferation of the modern and post-modern salesman/entrepreneur brands of Christianity.  I think it could certainly have been done better, and it absolutely was not inspired by God.  But I lack the skill to do better myself, and I find that if I take the text as the author intended (rather than as a modern American would first see it), I cannot much disagree with it, so I continue to use the Small Catechism.

While the Lutheran’s I’ve run into have often seemed quite happy with the label, I’ve always found it’s chafed.

Then, I learned that the official position of the Lutheran church is it does chafe.

We wanted to be called Roman Catholic.  The Pope kicked us out.

Then we wanted to be called Evangelical, as our distinguishing doctrine was salvation by the work of Christ alone and not ourselves — truly good news for anyone who has tried to do something good and honestly examined the results.

But other Reformation splinters were also calling themselves Evangelical, even though they had entirely different beliefs.

We tried Reformed.  Same problem.

But if you said “Lutheran,” everyone knew what you meant.  It was an insult — “you follow Luther, not Christ”, but it was a clear identifier, and you need clear identifiers to have meaningful conversations about something.  So eventually, we went with it.

This bit of history helps, for me, because it makes ‘Lutheran’ a category on the same level as ‘Thomist’.  A Thomist is a Roman Catholic who accepts most (but not necessarily all) of St. Thomas Aquinas’s theological explanations.  A Lutheran is a Roman Catholic who accepts most (but not necessarily all) of Martin Luther’s theological explanations.  And sure, Rome has disowned us.  And sure, much of modern Lutheranism, steeped as it is in salesmanship and liberalism, would not go back if Rome, er, reformed; but a true Lutheran (that is, one for whom the name ‘Lutheran’ is a reference to Luther, and not a reference to the local ELCA church) is a Roman Catholic without a Pope.  A Roman Catholic who would gladly follow the Pope, if only the Pope went back to the role of Head Bishop instead of allowing his flock to trust in Him rather than Jesus.

Of course, it’s not that easy.  Doctrinal distinctions have only multiplied, and I very much doubt the church will be unified until Christ Himself comes back to do it by hand.

Nor will I be very surprised, when that happens, to learn my beliefs on several fronts are inaccurate.

But I now understand that Lutheran is not shorthand for ‘follower of the church of Luther’, but ‘Luther’s fellow Roman Catholic who cannot stand for the abuses within the church.’  Or, for short, Lutheran Catholic.

It’s a small distinction, and one I don’t recommend using in conversation, as it will only serve to confuse the issue for anyone who hasn’t followed this train of thought (which is almost everyone), but it is a mental shorthand for a great deal of weight off my chest.  My faith did not start in Germany.  I am simply a Catholic whose understanding of a bunch of Greek letters and biographies lines up in large measure with the understanding of a German Augustinian monk.

Must sleep.  Can’t sleep. Must process.

Base premise: ancient world based on Honor/Shame explicit.  Modern world:  still based on Honor/Shame, but mechanism is hidden, occluded, considered alien.

Samurai Face World:  Honor is gained by playing your role well.  “Know your place.”  Hindu beggars crippling themselves to be better beggars is a sort of self-parody of this.  In general, though, slaves should be good at being slaves, masters at being masters, and so forth.

Modern World:  Read on some dating advice blog ages ago (with ties to the Pick-Up movement) that step one for introverts is learning social interaction, and step one in that is picking some public activity (like buying a shirt) and treating it like a role:  you are the movie extra known in the script as “Shirt-Shopper #1”.  Concept: play your role well, and you cease to be creepy (remember:  the site was giving dating advice).

Side note:  Vehemently reject the ends pickup artists pursue.  Gained respect for their concepts after watching 17 Again.  Movie mocks pick-up by having the heroe’s side-kick strike out when he attempts ‘peacocking’:  dressing and acting garishly to attract the interest of a hot girl.

I laughed too.  “Ha, ha, what a dope.  Women don’t fall for that.”  A year or so later, I reflected that my first girlfriend was an 8, easily the cutest girl in the choir, whereas I, physically, am about a 5, but I got her to fall head over heels for me by wearing a cloak and swooping up and down hills.  Joke is on the writers.  Peacocking works at least some of the time.

Thinking over my life, I could have probably had a hot girl on my arm 90% of the time.  I actively passed over several opportunities because I judged them not conducive to my future goals (or my religious beliefs, more often).  Peacocking works almost every time, at least for me.  OTOH, I didn’t know I was Peacocking — there was a level of authenticity born from the fact that it wasn’t actually an act.

End of side note.

Main point:  Honor is accrued by assuming an accepted role within your range of available roles, and playing that role well.

This becomes the foundation of one’s authority in human matters.

“Nerd-in-a-corner” is an accepted role for tech-types and accrues honor in accordance.  That is, my word has weight among nerds; particularly those who crave tutelage in the skills I possess.  A message board moderator will come to me for animation advice; a Pixar dude will not.

For a person of the world, this will suffice.  I am not of this world.

I have, or ought to have, a role within a church body.  Which, in turn, requires playing a “church-goer” or “church-member” role.

Part of my Monday schedule was to be devoted to spiritual pursuits.  A ‘tithe’ of time and creative effort.  A YouTube catechism or some such.  Let each give according to his gifts.  If he teaches, let him teach.  & c.

Part of the issue is this concept of renewal:  studies in efficiency and productivity show that a person who does not devote time to spiritual pursuits is less productive than a person who does (even if the religion is false.  Calling Axiom.)  In theory, I would be a better writer/coder/whateverer for spending time working for a transcendent cause.

I would call it the classic mistake of monasticism, but that would be unfair to the monks who, at the very least, ministered to one-another.

God will bless my spiritual gifts or he will not.  If he does, will it not be within his designated matrix?  So let me lay aside thoughts of an animation series; if that is where God wants me to go, then I shall find myself there by following his road.

Thus, if I am to be the person God intends me to be, I must be rooted in a church.  Thus, I must wear the hat of the church-goer or church-member, and so far as my morals permit (and they will probably permit far), play the role to the hilt.  I will then accrue Honor in accordance to my performance, and from there, my contribution will flourish or not.

Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in the favor of God and men.  Far be it from me to attempt otherwise.  (He also retreated into the wilderness from time to time.  But for now, let us focus on what we are neglecting rather than what we are overdoing).

This, in turn, leads to several other conclusions.

  1. I need to attend a church within my effective range, so that I can be available for socialization opportunities outside of regular church-attendance hours.
  2. I need to develop some social skills outside of the set useful for my professional aspirations.
  3. To the hilt.

Ad capulum.

I think I can sleep now.