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7 Takes about Men and Trees and Paint

7 Takes about Men and Trees and Paint May 28, 2021

Oh look! It’s Friday. Isn’t that something.

One

Our street is still being torn up by very friendly people. They come and dig big trenches and then fill them up with dirt. And yesterday–though I don’t blame them as I’m sure they are only following dictates from on high–they chopped down one of the trees opposite my house. Well, not exactly chopped. They whacked at it with one of the huge machines they use for digging, sort of bashing the limbs off one by one, and then finally going at it with a chainsaw. I trust there is a reason for this activity. I can’t imagine that they woke up that morning and said, “We hate this particular tree.” It must have been interfering with something necessary to the comfort of the whole street. Some thoughtful person had come along the day before and spray painted a large X on it in white. I thought nothing of it at the time. No ominous background soundtrack alerted me of doom. I just went on with my life imagining that the trees on the street were as permanent as the pavement. Had I known what was coming I would not have been able to do anything anyway. And what’s more important? That beautiful tree? Or all the electricity and water that runs so nicely into all our houses? Probably how each of us answers that question would cause actual war in the streets if we really started talking about it. Better not.

Two

I stayed up late to listen to Trollope’s The Prime Minister (late as in 10:30 pm which is whole hours after when I should be asleep). I had to finish it. It was so stressful, right up until the last five minutes. If I’d been reading it, I’d have had to skip to the end. It’s such an interesting book. It feels to me that in the Barchester books, Trollope is so good at Types of people. All the characters are pretty good copies of people I already know. I can recognize them anywhere. In the Palliser books, there are still some Types, but the characters are all wretchedly human. And they do human things. And they make human mistakes. And they think human thoughts.

Three

The shocking thing about The Prime Minister is that the whole plot drives forward on the question of obedience in marriage. The Duchess of Omnium doesn’t obey The Duke on an essential political matter. Her foil, Emily Lopez, having not obeyed her father in her choice of husband, embraces an almost ruinous obedience to her disastrous husband. At so many points she could reasonably not obey him, and, indeed, as she begins to learn how really wicked he is, she does keep to her conscience. The contrast between the two women is so fascinating. I don’t think the book can really be understood without some generally favorable idea of Christian Marriage, especially one that includes the idea of obedience.

Four

The Theopolis Institute has done an interesting series on the “Manosphere,” which seems to be a sort of internet phenomenon. It’s one of their Conversations (I think that’s what they’ve called them) in which different people write about the subject and disagree with each other. All the pieces are most interesting.

What with all those articles, and The Prime Minister, I think one of the strange things about modern life is that no man, even very conservative ones, can really dare to tell their wives anything. A woman wouldn’t obey her husband because there wouldn’t be anything to obey. They, of course, “serve” each other, and negotiate the details of life in all their complications. It seems to me that many Christian wives and husbands live tandem parallel lives. For a man not to be “tyrannical”, he must not really say anything to his wife about anything, except to offer to wash the dishes.

I’m not really sure how I feel about this, but I think it is most interesting to ponder.

Five

Not to exactly change the subject, but this was a good article. Especially this bit:

This is not a question unique for Christians who believe in a literal hell. This is something we all must struggle with. The difference is that believers have a powerful source for living lives of sustainable sacrifice. Our God entered into our suffering, sacrificed himself, conquered suffering and death, and now indwells us. He gives us depths of compassion and love for the suffering we wouldn’t naturally have. And he is utterly sovereign, meaning we can trust him with the weight of the suffering we are unable to alleviate. I am thus empowered and freed to respond to human suffering and to take my kids out to eat after church. These things are not opposed to each other.

I very much appreciate the pushback on the idea that the rejoicing Christian who also believes in literal hell is literally the problem. Surely the mountain of wickedness and evil in the world should make people as hungry for a satisfying answer about the wickedness of humanity as they are for lunch after church.

Six

And finally, I am wondering to myself what color to paint my new bathroom–and the office, which is a bright green apple that must go because I’ve had enough of it.

The floor (not pictured, obviously) is a nice grayish color, as is the big vanity cabinet, so whatever happens it needs to be “neutral.” But then, red is my neutral, so I feel quite unsure about what to do.

Seven

And on that note, have a lovely day! or something like that. I will be doing lots of things–All of Them.

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