Two Wine Theory, Q and A

grapes colour Two Wine Theory, part I

Previously I wrote about the history of the two wine theory (see link above).

I don’t discuss this issue terribly often because my fellowship is teetotalling.  I don’t like to offend unnecessarily, nor do I want to be ‘marked’ as a drunkard and a winebibber, although I’d be in good company.
But when I do, somebody will usually ask me why I care. Am I a closet lush? Am I seeking permission for licence? Aren’t I worried about causing another to stumble? Am I trying to encourage people to get drunk? And, even if I’m right, just because it might be true that moderate wine drinking is not condemned in the Bible, don’t I agree that it’s not wise for everybody?
Why do I care?  Let me count the ways.  Facts matter to me. Sound, accurate, logically consistent reasoning matters to me. Lies always matter to me. Not teaching as doctrine the precepts of men really matters to me, and the idea that the Bible condemns all wine drinking is definitely a precept of men, not a God-given doctrine. That’s why.

If you live pretty much within the bubble of the two wine theory churches, you don’t realize that many of your arguments are circular (Jesus couldn’t have turned water into real wine because then he would have been participating in social drinking is not a convincing argument that it’s a sin to have a glass of wine with dinner- it’s a logical fallacy, you’re using your unproven starting proposition to prove your conclusion).    You don’t realize that your idea about how unbelievers look at this issue is not very accurate.

“But it damages your witness as a Christian.”

That might have been true, and I’m not sure it was, during Prohibition, but that’s a cultural argument, not a biblical one.  There are sound reasons to respect cultural arguments.  The problem with this one, though, is that the culture has moved on.  The only people it hurts your reputation with is your fellow Christians in tee-totaler churches, and there is something really, really wrong with that.

The logical fallacies, historical inaccuracies, and sheer foolishness people use to condemn all alcohol consumption, however small (rather than condemning drunkenness, which the Bible clearly does condemn) do more damage.  You also don’t know the harm you are doing to your message by propagating certain theories and ideas that make it clear you don’t know what you’re talking about (one sip could make you drunk, one sip could give an unborn child fetal alcohol syndrome).   I have no qualms about being a fool for Christ, but I do have qualms about being a fool for a precept of human invention.

There are a lot of people who recognize bad scholarship when they hear it, and *that* is a serious stumbling block. They see a man-made doctrine being taught as though it were one of the ten commandments and then have to wonder, if you are so blinded by human tradition in this area, where else are your teachings suspect?

Aren’t you worried about being a stumbling block?

I’m not immune to this argument.  It does concern me.  I don’t think I’m all that influential, but no,  I don’t want somebody using my post as an excuse for drunkenness.  The Bible condemns drunkenness in no uncertain terms.  It also condemns allowing things to have  mastery over you.  However, I suspect that anybody using the debunking of the two wine theory as an excuse to be an addicted sot was somebody looking for such an excuse with such eagerness that one could be created out of nothing.  So I don’t really believe that telling the truth about the history of the two wine theory is a stumbling block.  I don’t really believe that telling the truth about the biblical view of wine (moderation, acceptable, a blessing, even) is going to drive somebody to drink any more than telling people that eating a piece of pie in moderation is acceptable is going to create gluttons.

If somebody thinks it is a sin to drink, they should not drink, but I do not see biblical justification for imposing that standard on others.

There’s more than one way to make yourself a hindrance to others.  See above.  I know we drive others to hiding something they believe is no sin at all because they fear the judgment of their brethren.  That’s a spiritually unhealthy climate.

The arguments against moderate wine sipping are embarrassing, too. I don’t mean embarrassing in the sense of being ashamed of the gospel, I mean being palpably so false that they make the speaker utterly ridiculous and discredit him. I once heard an otherwise highly respectable minister argue publicly that one shouldn’t have wine in communion to save babies. Because, he said, many communion takers might be pregnant and not know it, and even that scant mouthful taken while pregnant could cause fetal alcohol syndrome- this is palpable nonsense and such an argument does real harm to the church.

I guess some people just love alcohol more than God (Yes, I have really heard this in a context where all that was being discussed was that it was acceptable to have an occasional glass of wine)

I consider that judging people’s hearts, something you do not know.  Perhaps it’s not because they love alcohol more than God and not because they wouldn’t give up alcohol if they believed that’s what God wants, but because they easily see that this teaching is speaking where the Bible does not speak, and it gives them cause to wonder just where else this same type of error is occurring.

You never know how much is too much for you, so it’s better not to start at all.

I think God disagreed, given the approval with which He refers to wine in the Bible (see below).  The question about ‘how much is too much’ can be asked about a lot of things, and for most of them, it can only be answered by the person involved. How much do I eat before it’s gluttony, or can you not overeat at all, yet still be a glutton (yes, IMO)- how much money can you make before you’re being greedy, or avaricious? How much morphine can a badly wounded man take before he crosses over into addiction, and who has the right to make that determination for somebody else? The amount for me won’t be the same as it is for you.

How can you say the Bible speaks approvingly of wine?  It clearly condemns it- see Proverbs 23“Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?

Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart utter perverse things.
You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast.
“They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I must have another drink.”


I see the words ‘tarry long’ and I know that God is not speaking here of a glass of wine with dinner, of moderate use of alcohol.  

These verses are a unit, a word picture, not a checklist of don’t do this, this, or this. And if merely drinking a glass is the sin he is condemning, there’s not much point in also condemning tarrying long over the cup.This passage is written to people who used wine in their feasts, by God’s command.

 

Highly respected, sincere, godly people believe the two wine theory and teach that all wine drinking is a sin.  Are you saying they are wrong?

Are you saying they cannot be wrong about anything?

I also have heard sincere, much beloved, respected preachers preach on the two wine theory and insist that even one glass of wine with dinner is wrong. Some of my favorite preachers in the world believe in the two wine theory. But no matter how beloved and well respected they are or how much I regard them otherwise, the fact that I love and respect them does not blind me to the fact that believing in the long debunked two wine theory is poor scholarship and it does not blind me to the knowledge that the two theory is based on faulty premises. They may not have been the poor scholars, they may have relied on the work of poor scholars. It happens. And people filter what they read through their own preconceptions and assumptions- we all do that. A teaching is accurate or flawed on its own merits, not on the character of the men who present it.

Honest belief does not in itself make the teaching true, and I believe it is a harmful teaching that has elevated the teaching of men over sound biblically based study, caused unnecessary divisions, encouraged brethren to judge one another unscripturally, and driven people away. (driven them away over a man-made doctrine- if it was biblical, driving them away wouldn’t matter, but since I do not believe it is, it’s a grievous thing)

Why are you scrambling so hard to convince yourself and others that it’s okay to drink?

I wonder why people scramble so hard to hold to something so obviously untrue. When the same person over time argues that alcohol is a sin because of the two wines theory, and then they are forced by facts to give up the two wines theory, so they instead argue that it’s wrong because it’s bad for your health, and then they are forced to accept that the science just does not support that at all, in fact the opposite is true, so then they maintain the same ban they always have, but now it’s a different reason (addiction, for example)- along with Bible verses quoted out of context (sometimes half a verse, whether the full verse says the opposite of what they are claiming for it)- when this happens, I know that facts and truth are not what matters to that person- they picked a position and will hold on to it no matter what the facts are. I understand that, I really do. I just don’t think it’s a good place to be.

The fact that historically, grape juice was introduced to communion in the 19th century by a Methodist who went on to run a multimillion dollar company based on his newly discovered process is quite fascinating to me, as well as very enlightening. I believe he was sincere.  I also know he had a financial stake in getting churches to switch over.

In ancient times, they diluted their wine, so drinking a glass of wine undiluted is not the same thing.

Maybe the Greeks and Romans diluted their wines because they drank more than a single glass at a meal. We know that even diluted, they still drank enough to get drunk. Maybe the Greeks and Romans aren’t a great standard anyway. Today’s wines (I just looked this up) can be anywhere from 5% to 15% alcohol content, and the lower figure *IS* equivalent to a glass of diluted Roman wine.

“Wines can range anywhere from 5% to 15%. It all depends on the amount of sugar that has been fermented into alcohol. You use yeast (specifically wine making yeast) to convert sugar to alcohol. BUT don’t think by adding a lot of sugar that you can increase the alcohol content. There is only so much sugar that yeast can convert to alcohol before it expires. Typically wines made from fresh fruits will have a lower alcohol content than a wine made from crushed grapes.” Wine coolers s are also lower, and beers can be even lower. “Dating back to at least 121 BC, the Romans made a wine called Falernian that had an alcohol content up to 15% to 16%”  (see here and here)

But I don’t really agree with using external historical sources to create an extrabiblical standard anyway, so I don’t agree that it’s biblically inconsistent to drink a glass of wine without diluting it.

What about addictions?

And what about addictions? They’re bad. All things are lawful, God says, but not all are profitable. Don’t let things run your life. Don’t give up your self control. I’ve given up my self control to a box of ding-dongs (hey, I was pregnant- see me make excuses?) in a way that was just as harmful and yes, even sinful, as succumbing to drunkenness (I’ve done that too, as a teenager).

We could make many of these same points about sugar and chocolate. Sugar as most of us know it was unknown to the ancients. The amount of white, refined sugar (and flour) we eat as a nation is really appalling. I’m quite sure it affects our judgment at times, causes all of us to buy things we shouldn’t, to be gluttons, damages our health- but you wouldn’t know it to look at the dessert tables at our potlucks.

In teetotaling circles, any time alcohol is brought up, even if it is acknowledged that it is indeed authorized in the Bible, we automatically have a discussion about whether it’s wise or not and talk about all the ways we should limit it- but we tend (I’m talking generally) not to acknowledge this at all about sugar. There is no medicinal use for white sugar (well, it fixes hiccups, but so do other things)- but we indulge in it, rely on it, crave it, and are indeed very addicted to it.

Why do you want to be okay with drinking alcohol?

I want to be okay with whatever God is okay with, and I do not want to create barriers He didn’t and make rules that He didn’t, and I have seen zero evidence that He is not ‘okay'; with somebody having an occasional glass of wine.

 

similar issues to drinking-

I do not like tattoos, personally, but I do believe they are a matter of liberty, and I would object just the same to somebody insisting that they are sinful. I would defend a Christian who got a tattoo, although it could
easily be said it ‘harms’ their influence- it does, in some circles. But it doesn’t in other circles. I would not assume somebody was getting a tattoo for sinful reasons or that somebody defending tattoos had some illicit reason for it. It would not be a test of fellowship for me because that would be me imposing my extra-biblical standards on somebody else.

I don’t like public schools at all. I think they are wrong in all sorts of ways. But I wouldn’t fellowship at a church that denied fellowship to those who put their kids in public school, and I would defend somebody sending their kids to school as a matter of Christian liberty, even though I honestly do not believe that is the wisest thing to do, because that is not a line that the Bible has clearly drawn.

I know people who feel the same way about medically prescribed morphine for pain management as they do about liquor- it’s wrong, a Christian shouldn’t do it, why risk it, you don’t know if you might be the sort of person to become addicted, and while that is an acceptable stance for them, I think it’s seriously problematic, and even harmful, if they impose it on somebody else.

This question is just like asking, “To those of you who are okay with or want to be okay with eating meat, why do you want to be okay with eating meat?” Well, because the Bible doesn’t say it’s a sin to eat meat.  It’s not about the booze- it’s about the teaching, which I believe to be unsound.

But the Bible does condemn drinking: “Isaiah pronounces ‘woe’ to men who drink wine and intoxicating drink (stronger alcoholic drinks) in 5:22.”

Context: “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!”  “…Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!”

This is not moderate drinking.  This is drinking to get drunk, this is letting alcohol master you, something clearly condemned elsewhere.

Well, but alcohol is different because it alters your state of mind.

Well, it can, if you overconsume.  But the same is true of sugar, sleep deprivation, caffeine, and, frankly, sex (and you don’t even have to abuse it for it to alter your state of mind).

 

 

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Bible verses on the blessing of wine

wine which makes man's heart glad common roomThere are many, many passages that condemn the abuse of alcohol, that condemn drunkenness.  That these things are wrong, there is no debate.

If it violates your conscience, by all means, do not drink alcohol.

If you have a weakness that means you are susceptible to letting alcohol master you, please, abstain (and eliminate sugar from your diet as well, the additions are related).

There also passages that treat wine as a blessing from God.  Here are some of them:

Deut. 14:26 “Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.”

Melchizadek served wine to Abram.

Psalm 104:14,15: He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart.

Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine… Gen. 27:28

And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Deut. 7:13

Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Judges: 09:13

EXODUS 29:40
And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.

LEVITICUS 23:13
And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.

NUMBERS 6:20
And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.

NUMBERS 15:7
And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the Lord.
New International: and a third of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Offer it as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

NUMBERS 18:12
All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee.

DEUTERONOMY 11:14
That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

DEUTERONOMY 33:28
Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.

JUDGES 9:13
And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

1 SAMUEL 16:20
And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul.
New International: So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.

1 SAMUEL 25:18
Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.

2 KINGS 18:32
Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The Lord will deliver us.

NEHEMIAH 10:37
And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.

PSALMS 4:7
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.

ECCLESIASTES 9:7
Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works

Watered down wine is a curse: ISAIAH 1:22
Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water…

ISAIAH 25:6
And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.

ISAIAH 55:1
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

JEREMIAH 31:12
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

HOSEA 2:9
King James: Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.

JOEL 2:19
King James: Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen

JOEL 003:018
King James: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim

AMOS 9:13
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.

AMOS 9:14  And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

ZEPHANIAH 1:13
Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. (this is just one of many passages where loss of wine is a curse and a punishment)

ZECHARIAH 9:17
For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids

This one interests me because one of the things those of the two wine theory like to say is that new wine was always unfermented, but when the Pentecost preachers were accused of being drunk:

ACTS 2:13
Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

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1913 advice to the girl needing employment

Ladies Home Journal, Feb. 1913

The Girl Who Works: Some Intimate Little Talks About Her Personal Problems By Martha Keeler

IN THE confusion of city sights and noises the figure of the postman, toiling through slushy February streets, stands out as distinctly as the clear note of his whistle rises above other sounds. This representative of Uncle Sam has, for me, a definite appeal as the medium between you and myself. Every letter in my mail constitutes a real interest, not only for the day on which I read it like some enjoyable short story, but rather in the manner of a compelling serial which is to be continued in our next. I am always wondering whether I shall hear today from Miss This or Mrs. That, who has written me before and awakened sympathy with her problem,  hope for her success. We grown ups much resemble children who always want to know how it turns out.

But instead of believing that things themselves turn out in any pleasing pattern, I pin my faith to the girl who, under divine guidance, works things out herself. In my opinion no problem is ever given us which we cannot solve. When a stone wall stands before us in which there is no opening,  we must learn to climb.

EACH of us may learn from others struggles. And sometimes perhaps in the deeper knowledge and fuller sympathy which come from sharing another’s experience, we shall cease to call our own life a struggle, shall, at all events, be shamed into silence, laying aside the jargon of complaint if we cannot yet put on the calm manner of content. To dwell upon the thought of how much more creditably we would acquit ourselves if we had another’s burden instead of the one we carry not only prevents our getting on, but it also positively sets us back, for there is no standing still. In the first place we can never tell what we ourselves would do in other conditions than the ones now facing us. But it is reasonably safe for one who knows us to predict that whatever our difficulties, our manner of meeting them would be the same. Courage is an attitude of mind. It does not depend to any great extent on circumstances.

courage attitude of mind common room

SINCE the opening of this department,  several surprises have come to me; for one thing, it amazes me to find how many dissatisfied young girls are frittering away time and energy in the longing to be somebody’s private secretary. “Private Secretary!” The words shine forth to youthful vision like the pot of gold which, so the old story,  said was waiting for us at the rainbow’s end.

Dismissing rainbows for the present let us recognize the fact that positions of trust are few enough at best, and that they usually grow out of some other work in which the employee has shown marked ability, trustworthiness, and peculiar fitness for the manifold responsibilities of secretaryship .The only formula I know of for securing a better position than one has is to deserve promotion. By faithfulness and efficiency in your present work fit yourself for greater things and they will come to you- or you will successfully go after them if you are alert and vigilant. But be assured that no employer will intrust vast interests to a stranger, least of all to a young girl.

AND certain of my correspondents aspire to the position of companion to a semi invalid. This seems to me a strange ambition for any normal young woman to indulge in. The keen interest of a nurse in a very serious case, her zest in studying symptoms that betoken the presence of some rare disease is understandable. But why should an able bodied young woman who has no interest in medicine, no purpose to take up nursing as a profession, choose to earn her living as companion to a semi-invalid? The wish to do so betrays not only scant knowledge of conditions as they really are, but also a mistaken notion of what is desirable. We never know people until we live with them, nor do they know us. When in close quarters, most of us- even at our best- are none too easy to get on with. But when we have nothing more admirable to think of than our own aches and pains,when we are in the state of semi invalidism which is looked upon by many as furnishing excuse for disregarding the rules of ordinary intercourse, I, for one, pity those whose bread and butter, not to mention peace of mind, depend upon their pleasing us.  A means of livelihood whose main requirement is the flattering of semi sickroom fancies is, to say the least, unwholesome.

Another kind of work, no matter how difficult, which makes certain definite demands and in turn allows some measure of privacy,  some opportunity to grow by breathing in, literally and figuratively, deep drafts of unpolluted air would be the wiser choice. There are many young girls whom duty keeps in attendance on the sick,  and there are instances where the relation between employer and companion is ideal. I myself know one such case, though I must confess that neither woman is a semiinvalid. Furthermore the position of companion under any circumstance calls for more adaptability and tact, to say nothing of mere knowledge, than most young girls possess.

never know people until we live with them common room

LETTERS have also come to me from those whose problem of self support is rendered more difficult by physical handicaps. One girl writes that she is deaf and at the same time very nearsighted, that she could easily get work if her eyes were better; even as they are, she says, she is successful in obtaining work, the difficulty being to keep it. She was a proofreader, she tells me, in the last place where she was employed, and the foreman, who was very patient with her, said she did good work. In fact, because of accuracy and in spite of slowness, she was preferred to other girls who, with perfect sight, passed errors she detected. But her eyes and back ached so much she had to leave. Without employment, in a large city where she must pay for room and board, she asked me what to do. First of all, I told her she should have medical advice concerning the trouble with her eyes, and the chances of improvement under the best conditions possible to her. I urged her to seek the wise counsel so many doctors freely give as to what may be expected from the best use of means at our command.

BUT even a layman knows that gainful occupations which require neither good hearing nor close attention with the eyes are not overplentiful. Also that city life is not advisable in cases like the one I cite. Those who are afflicted in any way above their fellows should seize on every possible advantage, should seek some community where competition is less keen than in the crowded centers of population. Therefore I advised this girl to leave the city. If she were living permanently in healthful surroundings in the country the eye trouble might be remedied, at any rate, she would stand better chance not only of finding work, but also of being able to continue it. Even to those in health, country air is beneficial, and, regarding this girl as one of my own whose problem appeals so deeply to my sympathy, I hoped that change of residence would bring such improvement in general condition that eyestrain would be relieved and she could do proofreading for at least a portion of the day. Of making many books there is no end, ditto newspapers. Consequently, proofreaders are needed everywhere, and accurate, painstaking ones are ever in demand.

MOST of us know some small city or country town where we have friends who would gladly aid us in finding employment whereby we could earn a livelihood. Even failing friends, the same qualities which are potent to secure work elsewhere meet more prompt response in regions remote from the great cities. Fortunately, this young woman has a kind stepfather who is able to give her a small allowance which helps toward her expenses. I reminded her that money goes further in the country. And among other assets there to be found, are, I believe, greater measure of companionship for the present and more friendliness to count on for the years to come. For a girl whose hearing is impaired, whose sight is poor, to live alone unknown in a great city is unwholesome and unwise. The country offers healthful surroundings and the relaxations of a simple social life, which in themselves make for strength and sanity. It is true that while deafness is mercifully, comparatively rare, many persons suffer from eyestrain. Each of us must bend to her own burden. But sometimes we may ease, if not diminish it, by shifting to some less crowded section where we can move more freely; then, taking a full breath, we start again with courage, and with opportunity to look out upon fair fields.

NOTE: If there are any problems that seem too much for you to solve, write to Mrs Keeler and she will do her best to help you. If you will inciose a stamped addressed envelope she will answer you by mail. Address Mrs Martha Keeler in care of THE Lady’s Home JOURNAL, Independence Square, Philadelphia

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Skyping Grandbabies

Skyping the grandchildren- I love modern technology.  It’s fun, but the grandchildren get bored quickly of just chatting.  My husband tells them Ralph stories- an invention of his own.  Ralph is a teen tiny itsy bitsy little fish with pink spots and a ginormous purple nose (or something- I always get the colours wrong).   An auntie on the other side of the other set of grandchildren reads books to her nieces and nephew via skype.  I was willing to try that, but for some reason the video on my laptop wasn’t working so we had to skype via phone, which makes for a smaller field of vision.

Today I retold them this paper cutting story (I didn’t completely follow the story as written, but I did cut the paper along the lines described).  I was in a hurry and just grabbed the first thing I found, and it didn’t impress me that much, but the Ladybug asked for a second telling, and then they wanted to see the baby bird again.  It may have helped that a wiggly finger poking out of the beak from the back made a wiggly worm, I don’t know.

Fingerplays would also work.

But I’ll be looking for more, because as silly and simple as this was, it does seem to have been a hit.

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Free Kindle Reads: Architecture and Romance

The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed.

The one at Gutenberg has the illustrations. The introduction is a narrative, but the rest of the book is in catechism form, such as:

CHAPTER II.

OF THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF ARCHES.

Q. Do the distinctions of the different styles, as they differ from each other, depend at all upon the form of the arch?

A. To a certain extent the form of the arch may be considered as a criterion of style; too[23] much dependence, however, must not be placed on this rule, inasmuch as there are many exceptions.

Q. How are arches divided generally, as to form?

A. Into the triangular-headed or straight-lined pointed arch, the round-headed arch, and the curved-pointed arch; and the latter are again subdivided.

Q. How is the triangular-headed or straight-lined pointed arch formed, and when did it prevail?

A. It may be described as formed by the two upper sides of a triangle, more or less obtuse or acute. It is generally considered as one of the characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon style, where it is often to be met with of plain and rude construction. But instances of this form of arch, though they are not frequent, are to be met with in the Norman and subsequent styles. Arches, however, of this description, of late date, may be generally known by some moulding or other feature peculiar to the style in which it is used.

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The Poetry of Architecture
by John Ruskin

Also at Gutenberg

From the intro: 1. The Science of Architecture, followed out to its full extent, is one of the noblest of those which have reference only to the creations of human minds. It is not merely a science of the rule and compass, it does not consist only in the observation of just rule, or of fair proportion: it is, or ought to be, a science of feeling more than of rule, a ministry to the mind, more than to the eye. If we consider how much less the beauty and majesty of a building depend upon its pleasing certain prejudices of the eye, than upon its rousing certain trains of meditation in the mind, it will show in a moment how many intricate questions of feeling are involved in the raising of an edifice; it will convince us of the truth of a proposition, which might at first have appeared startling, that no man can be an architect, who is not a metaphysician.

2. To the illustration of the department of this noble science which may be designated the Poetry of Architecture, this and some future articles will be dedicated. It is this peculiarity of the art which constitutes its nationality; and it will be found as interesting as it is useful, to trace in the distinctive characters of the architecture of nations, not only its adaptation to the situation and climate in which it has arisen, but its strong similarity to, and connection with, the prevailing turn of mind by which the nation who first employed it is distinguished.

3. I consider the task I have imposed upon myself the more necessary, because this department of the science, perhaps regarded by some who have no ideas beyond stone and mortar as chimerical, and by others who think nothing necessary but truth and proportion as useless, is at a miser[Pg 2]ably low ebb in England. And what is the consequence? We have Corinthian columns placed beside pilasters of no order at all, surmounted by monstrosified pepper-boxes, Gothic in form and Grecian in detail, in a building nominally and peculiarly “National”; we have Swiss cottages, falsely and calumniously so entitled, dropped in the brick-fields round the metropolis; and we have staring square-windowed, flat-roofed gentlemen’s seats, of the lath and plaster, mock-magnificent, Regent’s Park description, rising on the woody promontories of Derwentwater.

4. How deeply is it to be regretted, how much is it to be wondered at, that, in a country whose school of painting, though degraded by its system of meretricious coloring, and disgraced by hosts of would-be imitators of inimitable individuals, is yet raised by the distinguished talent of those individuals to a place of well-deserved honor; and the studios of whose sculptors are filled with designs of the most pure simplicity, and most perfect animation; the school of architecture should be so miserably debased!

From chapter 1 (on English cottages):
THE LOWLAND COTTAGE—ENGLAND AND FRANCE.

10. Of all embellishments by which the efforts of man can enhance the beauty of natural scenery, those are the most effective which can give animation to the scene, while the spirit which they bestow is in unison with its general character. It is generally desirable to indicate the presence of animated existence in a scene of natural beauty; but only of such existence as shall be imbued with the spirit, and shall partake of the essence, of the beauty, which, without it, would be dead. If our object, therefore, is to embellish a scene the character of which is peaceful and unpretending, we must not erect a building fit for the abode of wealth or pride. However beautiful or imposing in itself, such an object immediately indicates the presence of a kind of existence unsuited to the scenery which it inhabits; and of a mind which, when it sought retirement, was unacquainted with its own ruling feelings, and which consequently excites no sympathy in ours: but, if we erect a dwelling which may appear adapted to the wants, and sufficient for the comfort, of a gentle heart and lowly mind, we have instantly attained our[Pg 8] object: we have bestowed animation, but we have not disturbed repose.

11. It is for this reason that the cottage is one of the embellishments of natural scenery which deserve attentive consideration. It is beautiful always, and everywhere. Whether looking out of the woody dingle with its eye-like window, and sending up the motion of azure smoke between the silver trunks of aged trees; or grouped among the bright cornfields of the fruitful plain; or forming gray clusters along the slope of the mountain side, the cottage always gives the idea of a thing to be beloved: a quiet life-giving voice, that is as peaceful as silence itself.

From the chapter on Italian cottages(this made me laugh):
Lastly, Dilapidation. We have just used the term “graceful negligence”: whether it be graceful, or not, is a matter of taste; but the uncomfortable and ruinous disorder and dilapidation of the Italian cottage is one of observation. The splendor of the climate requires nothing more than shade from the sun, and occasionally shelter from a violent storm: the outer arcade affords them both; it becomes the nightly lounge and daily dormitory of its inhabitant, and the interior is abandoned to filth and decay. Indolence watches the tooth of Time with careless eye and nerveless hand. Religion, or its abuse, reduces every individual of the population to utter inactivity three days out of the seven; and the habits formed in the three regulate the four. Abject poverty takes away the power, while brutish sloth weakens the will; and the filthy habits of the Italian prevent him from suffering from the state to which he is reduced. The shattered roofs, the dark, confused, ragged windows, the obscure chambers, the tattered and dirty draperies, altogether present a picture which, seen too near, is sometimes revolting to the eye, always melancholy to the mind. Yet even this many would not wish to be otherwise. The prosperity of nations, as of individuals, is cold and hard-hearted, and forgetful. The dead die, indeed, trampled down by the crowd of the living; the place[Pg 24] thereof shall know them no more, for that place is not in the hearts of the survivors for whose interests they have made way. But adversity and ruin point to the sepulcher, and it is not trodden on; to the chronicle, and it doth not decay. Who would substitute the rush of a new nation, the struggle of an awakening power, for the dreamy sleep of Italy’s desolation, for her sweet silence of melancholy thought, her twilight time of everlasting memories?

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The Ten Books on Architecture
by Vitruvius

At Gutenberg:

PREFACE

1. While your divine intelligence and will, Imperator Caesar, were engaged in acquiring the right to command the world, and while your fellow citizens, when all their enemies had been laid low by your invincible valour, were glorying in your triumph and victory,—while all foreign nations were in subjection awaiting your beck and call, and the Roman people and senate, released from their alarm, were beginning to be guided by your most noble conceptions and policies, I hardly dared, in view of your serious employments, to publish my writings and long considered ideas on architecture, for fear of subjecting myself to your displeasure by an unseasonable interruption.

2. But when I saw that you were giving your attention not only to the welfare of society in general and to the establishment of public order, but also to the providing of public buildings intended for utilitarian purposes, so that not only should the State have been enriched with provinces by your means, but that the greatness of its power might likewise be attended with distinguished authority in its public buildings, I thought that I ought to take the first opportunity to lay before you my writings on this theme. For in the first place it was this subject which made me known to your father, to whom I was devoted on account of his great qualities. After the council of heaven gave him a place in the dwellings of immortal life and transferred your father’s power to your hands, my devotion continuing unchanged as I remembered him inclined me to support you. And so with Marcus Aurelius, Publius Minidius, and Gnaeus Cornelius, I was ready to supply and repair ballistae, scorpiones, and other artillery, and I have received rewards for good service with them. After your first bestowal of these upon me, you continued to renew them on the recommendation of your sister.[4]

3. Owing to this favour I need have no fear of want to the end of my life, and being thus laid under obligation I began to write this work for you, because I saw that you have built and are now building extensively, and that in future also you will take care that our public and private buildings shall be worthy to go down to posterity by the side of your other splendid achievements. I have drawn up definite rules to enable you, by observing them, to have personal knowledge of the quality both of existing buildings and of those which are yet to be constructed. For in the following books I have disclosed all the principles of the art.[5]

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The Princess Passes

Oh, this is a charming and fun little read. It’s utterly predictable, a romance written in the 20s when motor cars were new, and so much of the beginning of the story includes much wide-eyed amazement over them.
Although it rather bogs down in the middle and the main character is unbelievably dense, the writing is jolly, lightly amusing, and occasionally has gems such as this one: “This was a lesson not to form hasty opinions; but being a normal man, I shall no doubt continue to do so until the day of my death.”

Others by the same authors: Lord Loveland Discovers America

The Castle Of The Shadows

Set in Silver

It’s a husband wife team, and their theeme of choice seems to have been a combination travelogue/romance.

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Essays and Choices: for my last high-school student

writing with quill vintageI wrote about why my 13 year old had to read Francis Bacon’s essays here.

He’s not 13 anymore.

He’s still not a fan of the essay, either.

Of course, it’s not all his fault.  In this space between the last sentence and the next there is much unsaid, and deep, dark, pool of tears.

So let’s just pretend this is the month after that post linked above, and this is what we’re doing next.

We’re reading more essays.

Feynman’s What is Science

James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son

Sophronia Scott’s essay on the art of the personal essay.

John Jeremiah Sullivan, on Michael Jackson

Joan Didion, on water and on keeping a notebook

Ben Franklin’s The Whistle.

G. K. Chesterton, Fairy Tales, Tom Jones, and The Red Angel (from this collection)

John Taylor Gatto on spending too much money on public education.

Henry Frederick Cope: Levels of Living, essays on Every Day Ideals (The Bread of Life; Unvarying Values)- on further thought, these are the weakest of this group, and will probably end up on the cutting room floor.

 

Also Of use when considering essays, as well as the essays listed in the upper years (especially 9-12) of AO.

Had I worlds and time enough, he wouldn’t be reading one or two essays by each of the above, he’d be reading at least a dozen by each of them.

The thing is, for me this list of essays is somewhat personal.  While I’d put the Whistle, something by James Baldwin, and  Feynman’s science on everybody’s must read list at some point, there are other essays, just as important, that I might have put on another scholar’s list at a different time. Indeed, it is entirely possible that by the time we get to ‘On Water’ I will have different reasons and goals, see different needs, and will substitute another essay.

There are a million excellent essays everybody should read but nobody does read them all.  Choices have to be made.  As my five year old grandson glumly said when confronted with that necessity in some other area of life, “I hate choices.”  Far too often, in fact, I don’t make choices, which is why we are where we are, or at least, it’s one reason why we are here, and not there.

There are two ways of not making choices, I’ve found.  Neither of them can I recommend.  One is the obvious route of just closing my eyes, covering my ears and pulling the blankets over my head, so no choices are made and nothing gets done.  The other is the approach of fear- I’m afraid of missing something, I’m afraid of missing out, I’m afraid his life will be less than it could have been and should have been if I don’t get all of this done and done now and as much as possible.  In homeschooling it’s the  frantic stuffing of everything in the sausage casing of ‘education,’ until it bursts- and sometimes your relationship with the people you are doing this to also explodes because, to switch metaphors, forcing students to drink from fire hydrants is less effective than giving them a steady trickle of water over time.

I’ve done both.  As I said, I can’t recommend either.

So in the matter of essays, how does one make choices?  I can only answer for me. First, get a fire hydrant.

Second, hit yourself in the head with a hammer and remind yourself that no, no, no.  Fire hydrants are for putting out fires, I want to spark some.

It must be well written.  It doesn’t matter what the content is if it isn’t well written.  It just doesn’t.  After a quarter of a century home educating, being a crotchety soul to begin with, and having discussed this at length in various other places (and the blog) for most of those 25 years, I am just not in the mood to discuss this as though it were debatable. It’s not.   Maybe another day I’ll be less grumpy about it and more willing to discuss it.  To be fair to myself it’s not just grumpiness, I’m also a little brain fogged at the moment, and I’m bored with myself.  So I take it as axiomatic, it must be well written.

It must say something worthwhile or say what it has to say in a special way.  By this it means as I read it I think “I never thought of that,” or “that’s a perfect description, I felt exactly the same.”  It may be an essay about something perfectly commonplace, a pen, a bit of roast pork, I don’t care, but it must say it well and connect to the reader while at the same time open up a fresh way of looking or thinking about something.  Is this somewhat subjective?  Probably.

It must be something that at some level, in some corner, I think it will elicit some interest from my scholar.

My goals- I’d like him to find some essay writers or topics he connects to.  I’d like him to learn to recognize and appreciate good literature, and if he already does, I want him to have more of that nourishment in his intellectual diet.  I want to introduce him to some ideas or experiences he may not otherwise grapple with.

Do I want him to become an excellent essay writer himself?  Only if that’s what he discovers in himself is a skill he desires to develop.  I’d like him to become competent enough that he can write comfortably for college courses, even if he chooses against college.  I don’t want his writing level to make that choice for him against his own inclinations.

 

Whatever essays he’s reading these days, I have him do some variation of the same exercise:

Read it.  Read it again, highlighting key sentences OR summarize each paragraph in your own words.   Then, depending on where he is and the essay, either write a summary of the essay, or rewrite it in your own words (more of the first, just a little of the second).  This can take a week or two.

When we’ve done a few of these and I think he’s gotten in down and is ready for more writing, we’ll probably move on to Traditional English Sentence Style.

 

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The Coward Dies a Thousand Deaths…

Our taxes the last two years have been extremely complicated for reasons I won’t go into here because, well, that would be complicated.

We actually had to file really, really delayed taxes- so delayed, that we just filed our taxes for 2013 and now are scrambling trying to get stuff together for 2014. So yeah, basically two years of tax paperwork stuffed into a couple months because, complicated.  Besides the unavoidable complications,  also toss in a big bag of idiocy on our parts and loads of disorganization, seasoned throughout with crazy.  It’s been….. well.  It’s been… taxes.

We got our refund for 2013 last week.  Yes, I know this means we made an interest free loan to the government by letting them keep our money for two years.

But today I received a letter from the Department of the Treasure, IRS.  Gulp.

I felt sick.  My mouth dried up instantly- felt like the sahara desert.  I hyperventilated over an open bottle of lavender oil.  I practiced deep breathing and some grounding exercises.  I thought about where we’d live when we lost the house, and what I’d have to do with all my books, and how the last of the woods in which my family has played for generations would go to the government while they were in my care and what a horrible, awful person I was to mess things up like this.   I thought about moving to Thailand (escape, escape).

Ten seconds later I did what I should have done immediately.  I opened the envelope.  It says,

“We can’t honor requests for direct deposit of refunds for prior year returns. As a result, you should receive a refund check in the mail in 3-4 weeks.”

The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave man only one. I have known this proverb for years and have frequently seen evidence of its truth.

Now I know this is also true of those who open their mail immediately.

 

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Ph.D. Mom’s Home Experiements on Cleaners

She’s been doing all kinds of home experiments testing house hold cleaners, hand-sanitizers, natural cleaners, essential oils, and more.

She tested Thieves essential oil and other cleaners, and then asked for more petri dishes for Valentine’s day.  Don’t you love that?

Grape juice or red wine may well keep you from getting the stomach flu (and so might some other things she discusses as well).

 

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Two Wine Theory

grapes from sun-maid raisin trade paperA few large denominations in the US are tee-totallers.  This often puzzles others, who read that Jesus turned water into wine in the New Testament story of the Wedding at Cana and thus, not illogically, conclude that Jesus was not offended by wine-drinking.  This is what the world of Christendom at large believed, up until the temperance movement created and propulgated the Two Wine theory.  The idea is that there are two different kinds of wine in the Bible, one for wine that is what most of us understand by wine, and one for what is essentially grape juice, or unfermented ‘wine.’

There is an interesting history behind the Two Wine theory.

In the mid 1800s an American temperance movement organization offered a prize of one hundred sovereigns “for the best Essay on the Benefits of Total Abstinence from All Intoxicating Drinks.” Two articles, called Bachus and Anti-bachus, won the prize. Bacchus was written by Ralph Barnes Grindrod, and Anti-Bacchus was written by Rev. B. Parsons.  They were the original proponents of the 2 wine theory.

In the 1920s William Patton wrote a book called Bible Wines, which was largely based on those two essays.  It gained huge popularity with the teetotalling churches, and countless articles, sermons, essays, Bible classes, even workbooks have been produced from Patton’s work or derivatives of it. His book is still in print.

What Patton and his disciples either did not know or did not care about is that in 1841, Dr. John MacLean, Professor of Ancient Languages at the College of New Jersey published a devastating criticism of those two essays.  His article was published in two parts by The Princeton Review, Volumes 13 and 14
Bacchus and Anti-Bacchus, Part 1
Part II

He demonstrated that authors of both the temperance essays  had misquoted ancient writers, taken things out of context, poorly understand the science of wine-making, and just plain gotten it wrong on almost all counts.

Patton presents quotes that Parsons and Grindrod took from authors such as Pliny, Columella, Aristotle, and others who lived contemporarily with the Apostles or earlier. McLean shows that some of these quotes were taken out of context, and that these ancient authors actually provide ample proof that the Two Wine Theory is false.

One example is the claim that grape juice was frequently boiled into a syrup, in order to prevent fermentation. The truth (as shown by McLean from documents written during or before the time of Christ) is that the must was boiled into a syrup prior to fermentation in order to improve, not prevent, fermentation. It had the effect of producing a concentrated wine (similar to our concentrated orange juice) that was both extremely sweet and extremely alcoholic. This is the wine we read about that was “always diluted with water” (i.e., reconstituted).

[it was still alcoholic when diluted, just not as powerfully so as the concentrate]

Another example is the claim that Pliny describes a process for preventing fermentation by allowing the must to settle. McLean shows that Parsons mistranslated the word “deferbuit” and that it really referred to the cessation of fermentation (i.e., not “when it has settled” but “when it has ceased to ferment”).

McLean also shows that during the first century, and well before, the words we associate with wine and strong drink were not used unmodified to refer to unfermented beverages. Any time an unfermented beverage was mentioned, it was always by some other term. He also shows from ancient documents that there was no concept of “two wines”, but only one that was always fermented. ”

Maclean, according to his own explanation, was motivated by his zeal for accurately understanding the Bible. From his article:
“But when they invade the sanctuary of God, and teach for doctrine the commandments of men; when they wrest the scriptures, and make them speak a language at variance with the truth when they assume positions opposed to the precepts of Christ, and to the peace of his church; when, in reference to wine, which the Saviour made the symbol of his shed blood, in the most sacred rite of his holy religion, they assert that it is a thing condemned of God and injurious to men, and use the language of the Judaizing teachers in the ancient church, “touch not, taste not, handle not,”* when Christ has commanded all his disciples to drink of it in remembrance of him, we cannot consent to let such sentiments pass with¬out somewhat of the rebuke which they so richly deserve. “

His work had fallen into obscurity when in the midst of the 1920s era Prohibition fervor in America, William Patton relied heavily on the previously debunked Bacchus and AntiBachus articles and revived the false 2 wine theory in his book Bible Wines or the Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients, which is still being published and misleading people today. I do not know if he was ignorant of the fact that those two articles had been debunked, or if he was dishonest. At any rate, his ideas influenced the religious world, including authors of commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and other materials, and so this false information was disseminated throughout American denominations, and often from here, elsewhere.

One interesting thing to me is that when I have shared this background information with people who still believe in the two-wine theory, they always  hasten to assure me that they reached their two-wine theory conclusion entirely independently, studying out the issue for themselves without relying on any outside study, just the Bible.  The reason they believe that wine in the Bible is mostly nonalcoholic is entirely uninfluenced by Patton or the Temperance Movement.  This is, frankly, impossible. They sincerely believe in the independence of their research.  They may well be ignorant of America’s temperance movement and have never heard of Patton or the articles he relied on, and so they think this proves that their conclusions were clear of such outside influences.

However,  if we are able to have a civil conversation about what they believe and why, I always learn this is not accurate. They will make an extra-biblical historical claim (which is not correct, and the error will be the same as Patton’s), explain the process of fermentation in a way that is both scientifically false and also clearly traceable to the errors in the Temperance essays, or they define a word in a way that could only have come from one of the links in the two wine theory arguments started in the Bachus and Anti-Bachus essays and widely spread by William Patton.  Again, these are honest errors, but the influence is clear to those who have read both Patton and McClean.

But, it is not even necessary to search archives of nineteenth century literature to expose the false statements in Patton’s book. All you have to do is use your favorite internet search engine and look for things like “anaerobic fermentation” or look up “fermentation” in an encyclopedia. For example, Patton says that one method of preventing fermentation was to bury containers of grape juice in order to exclude air. He says excluding air will prevent fermentation. That’s demonstrably false. Vinous fermentation is an anaerobic process that works better when air is excluded. In addition, excluding the air prevents acetous fermentation, which is what turns wine into vinegar. Another benefit to burying a container of must, is that it would stay nicely in the middle of the 50-75 degree range necessary for optimum vinous fermentation (which Patton says would be impossible in Palestine two thousand years ago). Patton also says that adding sulfur to the must was for the purpose of preventing fermentation. However, sulfur was (and sometimes still is) added to prevent the acetous fermentation of wine into vinegar. The purpose is to ensure that the finished product will be an alcoholic beverage.”

Another interesting point for those who, like me, find these historical details fascinating- Welch’s Grape Juice was first introduced to the public as non-alcoholic wine, and was marketed specifically to churches as a replacement for communion wines.

welch's grape juice

From “Principles of marketing; a textbook for colleges and schools of business administration” published in 1921

All churches, including those groups who are now known for their staunch opposition to all alcohol use,  used real wine in communion because there really wasn’t a readily available alternative until Dr. Welch, a staunch Methodist and strong supporter of the temperance movement, patented his process for pasteurizing grape juice and marketed it to churches. Some of the grape juice only for communion groups didn’t even make the switch until Prohibition.

From the 1925 The Story of a Pantry Shelf: An Outline History of Grocery Specialities: “Thus the Methodist Church in the little village of Vineland was the first church to use unfermented wine for communion. It was called “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine.” The home kitchen continued for several years to be the only factory.”

 

Welch's grape juice ad 1921

 

To be continued.

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Marriage: A Need to Meld Separate Visions

ideal wife

And vice versa, of course.

“The basic practical problem of a marriage now seems to me to be this: two fine healthy young people wake up one morning and find themselves alone together in the soul of their marriage, realizing that they really don’t know each other at all. What has happened is that each partner has come into the marriage with his own vision of what a marriage ought to be.”

These ideas of what our spouse ought to be and will be like are most often based on movies we’ve watched, novels we read, songs we hear, our own parents, and some wishful thinking that we often didn’t even know we were using to create a romance in our head.

The author goes on to say,

“Any similarity between the husband’s vision of an ideal wife and the wife’s vision of an ideal wife is a rare and beautiful coincidence.”

Each partner has some vision of the roles for themselves and the other in the marriage, so we have:

“two creators, two gods, in the soul of one marriage, each vying, each insisting on the validity of his own created image of what a husband and wife, what a marriage ought to be. So the invisible battle lines are drawn across the soul of a marriage and the siege begins. This is is not to say that there is not a great deal of happiness… But in its soul there is at best a peaceful co-existence between two wills, a sort of stalemate with little pockets of resentment and hurt.”

Keith Miller, The Taste of New Wine

Published in 1969

The whole book isn’t about marriage, but the marriage stuff is really good. on really changing your life and putting Christ first in a truly meaningful way

He says he thought he was really quite a great guy before he got married, and so did most other people. He was very nice and he could always be counted on to help others out. But after he got married he discovered the uncomfortable truth that all his niceness was really about his colossal ego, which nobody, including himself, even knew he had. But his wife noticed. The spouse is often the first to know these things.

The very next section of the chapter he talks about how he started trying to improve, to be a better husband and after a while he realized that there, too, he was still doing the things *he* wanted to do to show his wife his new and improved self- he was still being an egotist.

We all are, to one degree or another.

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