tag:www.lumpypot.com,2013:/posts Lumpy Pot 2022-10-03T21:01:38Z Clay tag:www.lumpypot.com,2013:Post/1883095 2022-10-03T17:00:15Z 2022-10-03T21:01:38Z Marriage marketing addendum: a father's involvement in the marriage of his daughter

With one exception, my post Marriage marketing for Christians was ungendered, because I think the principles there apply to both sexes.

This was the exceptional paragraph:

If you're a man looking for a woman to marry, you or your broker contacting her father is the most biblically correct first step, though depending on her family situation that may not be possible or appropriate.

This is based on my reading/remembering of two passages:

Exodus 22:16-17:

If a man entices a virgin who isn’t pledged to be married, and lies with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.

If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

i.e. if you get a girl to have sex with you and you're discovered, you have to marry her... except her father can still veto the marriage.

Numbers 30:3-5:

Also, when a woman vows a vow to Yahweh and binds herself by a pledge, being in her father’s house, in her youth, and her father hears her vow and her pledge with which she has bound her soul, and her father says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge with which she has bound her soul shall stand.

But if her father forbids her in the day that he hears, none of her vows or of her pledges with which she has bound her soul, shall stand. Yahweh will forgive her, because her father has forbidden her.

i.e. in general, a father gets the opportunity to veto his daughter's vows when he hears about them.

This implies responsibility for/authority over a daughter becoming legally bound to a man in marriage.

But what if he's an idiot?

Famously, you don't have to prove competence to become a father. Not every man will be a good legal representative of his daughters, but it's still his role by default.

The father's default role notwithstanding, that Numbers passage has some qualifiers – this command is for a woman still in her father's household, specifically one who is young. I don't think you're required to go through the dad to marry a woman living on her own, though depending on her relationship with her father she might still appreciate having him in the loop or using him as a first-contact method.

Her dad may just not even be interested in getting involved. If he gives you a blank look and a shrug when you ask to talk to his daughter about exploring marriage, you probably don't need to make a big deal about asking his blessing him not to veto your marriage vows.

But if she's living in her father's household, you should probably be involving her father. At the very least, she probably appreciates the chance to let her dad deliver a "uh, no"/"eh, maybe" message instead of having to tell you directly.

tag:www.lumpypot.com,2013:Post/1880987 2022-09-26T17:00:05Z 2022-10-03T21:00:07Z Marriage marketing for Christians

One of my favorite posts about finding a mate is "People are worried about marriage market liquidity":

There are two ways you can go about it – either “over the counter” (finding a partner by yourself) or “exchange traded” (said exchange could be anything from newspaper classifieds to Tinder to Shaadi.com). Brokers are frequently used in the OTC market – either parents or friends (who set you up) or priests.

The general rule of markets is that the more bespoke (or “weird” or “unusual”) an instrument is, the better the likelihood of finding a match in the OTC markets than on exchanges. The reason is simple – for an exchange to exist, the commodity being traded needs to be a commodity.

I love this framing, it's such a useful starting point for Christians to talk about getting married.

As of this writing in the early 2020s, a Bible-believing Christian seems to be searching for a mate in a fairly illiquid market. You can't just go to the quarterly John Calvin Appreciation Conference and browse around for the hottest eligible attendees that you think you could woo. Serious Sola Scriptura subscribers are rare enough that just finding yourself in a room with a potential mate might happen less than once a year, depending on your community.

We are selling a bespoke product, and we need to alter our strategies appropriately.

Side bar: don't waste time finding buyers for your product

Or: "will the market clear before I'm 40?"

Your product is not fungible, a Christian who takes God's law seriously is an oddity in our marriage market.

The popular path-of-least-resistance dating is not a good strategy for you. You can't waste a year or two of hanging out, becoming friends, deciding you like each other, and then start up with the "so hey, uh, how do you feel about trying for 4+ kids and homeschooling them all the way?"

You have a bunch of things that make you a poor marriage prospect (and more importantly, downright inappropriate yoke partner) to most people in America. Ideally you need to get all those "no thanks" answers as quickly as possible so you don't e.g. start dating at 22 and then find yourself at 35 years old having only pursued relationships with 5 women at 3 years each.

You probably shouldn't be running up to people and saying "so-hey-are-you-postmillennial-or-open-to-the-idea?-no?-okay-thanks-bye" and then running off, but you should probably be closer to that end of the spectrum than the multi-year tentative relationship side.

Finding a broker

So, I'll be honest, this part of the story is a bit bleak.

I think American Christians have really dropped the ball on matchmaking over the years, so you'll probably have to do some legwork.

Depending on the strength of your presbytery or church network, you might be able to ask your elders if they know of any good prospects in other churches. You could ask if there are any elders in those churches who they think could act as reasonable brokers.

Unfortunately even among elders in the church there's a risk of someone who gets more excited about the emotional romance of matchmaking than high-quality spousal lead generation, so you might have to use your judgment to try to route around some of them.

Once you have someone willing to act as some sort of broker in another community, you can give them your pitch – what you are, your current mission, your non-negotiables, whatever makes you unsuitable for the broader marriage market and whatever distinctives you have that might be interesting to someone in your niche market.

If they have any good leads, you can move on to making contact.

Making first contact

There's a good chance that this hypothetical elder (or elder figure) giving you hot leads on eligible parishioners isn't actually working from a list of singles who told them "hey, I'm on the market, make sure you mention me to anyone who seems like a good match."

You're probably getting the names of people who they know are on the market to various degrees, but haven't thought too much about the possibility of getting cold-called by suitors.

If there's someone who sounds like they're worth talking to about whether or not you might be a good pair, you should seriously consider using a broker to make first contact. The matchmaker who referred you might be a good choice.

Depending on your relationship with your parents, you can even consider the classic "ask your parents to talk to their parents about whether or not they're interested in marriage now" tactic.

If you're a man looking for a woman to marry, you or your broker contacting her father is the most biblically correct first step, though depending on her family situation that may not be possible or appropriate.

Looking for potential spouses through intermediaries sounds pretty odd in a lot of American subcultures today, so you may worry about seeming weird, but you have the advantage that it also makes you a Person Who Is Serious About Finding A Spouse, which is a positive trait in our illiquid market.

The marriage marketing funnel

Don't waste time during this stage. You don't want to waste 6 months as conversation partners if you have completely incompatible plans for the rest of your life. Not only is it an awful marketing strategy, it's unfair to them and wastes their time.

Whatever pace you move at, I would recommend having a list of serious questions that need to be talked about, and be working through them regularly. *Preparing for Marriage* isn't super deep but is a fine place to get a few ideas.

One of your goals should be "before proposing, there shouldn't be any unpleasant or disruptive secrets about me left to discover."

I recommend marrying

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.

Seriously, it's great. Cuddling, talking, working, sex, it's good to have a partner. Marriage is hard and stuff, but in my experience it's preferable to being single by a significant margin.

Addendum: a few things that might make you illiquid

These could be framed as either "things that make you weird in broader culture" or "things that you're looking for that are hard to find."

  • Believes Bible is the word of God
  • Believes that God's laws apply today
  • Plans to go all-in on marriage, no option for divorce even if you hate your spouse some day
  • Wants to train children to worship God in such a way that they will train their own children to do the same
  • Close enough theologically that you can worship and study together
  • Willing to go along with you on your mission, maybe one of:
    • Raising descendants to pass on Christianity
    • Ministering to a nation or group of people
    • Serving some local church body or organization

Your list may vary, it might be worth writing down.

tag:www.lumpypot.com,2013:Post/1879641 2022-09-19T17:00:00Z 2022-09-19T17:00:04Z Confessing the sins of the land

Land acknowledgments have become a thing in recent years:

Speakers list the people who were harmed on the land in the distant past. The Native Governance Center recommends "don’t sugarcoat the past. Use terms like genocide, ethnic cleansing, stolen land, and forced removal to reflect actions taken by colonizers."

The implication is that the people on the land owe some kind of sin debt just by nature of being on the land in the future.

Which, when you say it like that, starts to sound pretty biblical.

The Confessional County

Ray Simmons argues for the existence of land curses in The Confessional County:

...we know land curses still apply today because Adam's curse is still here, because curses have always been levied on disobedient nations (not just Israel), because the Great Commission carries God's ethics to the world, and because Jesus specifically declared that houses and cities can be cursed in the new covenant.

- (page 23)

He argues that there are biblical land curses that apply to the United States:

  1. Land curses due to killing the innocent
  2. Land curses due to sexual immorality
  3. Land curses due to sabbath-breaking
  4. Land curses due to idolatry

He goes on to argue that the biblical solution is societal confession, where a county/city/nation comes together and collectively confesses the sins of the land and renews their covenant with God.

How are they different?

When a humanist confesses the sin of the land, there is no endgame. There is no forgiveness. There is only endless confessing to demonstrate your morality to the satisfaction of the audience.

When a society confesses sins to God, there can be forgiveness, the start of a better relationship.

If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, in their trespass which they trespassed against me; and also that because they walked contrary to me,

I also walked contrary to them, and brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled, and they then accept the punishment of their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham; and I will remember the land.

- Leviticus 26:40-42

There is a God, he is concerned with the historic sins of nations, and we must direct our confessions to him.

tag:www.lumpypot.com,2013:Post/1819439 2022-04-25T15:00:02Z 2022-04-25T15:00:02Z How should Christians internalize the evil perpetrated by their side?

When folks of a tribe do something reprehensible and violent, the rest of the tribe has two paths of least resistance:

  1. argue that the action was actually good and moral ("the enemy is so dangerous, these actions were actually warranted!")
  2. argue that the action was actually taken or fomented by some other group ("the enemy is so evil, they orchestrated the whole thing!")

You can see both responses exemplified in the reactions to violence accompanying the George Floyd protests in 2020, and the reactions to January 6 2021 storming of the US Capitol.

During the George Floyd protests

The blue tribe response to protest-related violence was primarily that the actions were good and moral – one personal friend on Facebook exemplified this when he said that he would happily let his house be burned to the ground if it would further civil rights in the US.

In short: unchecked police violence is so evil, that the violence is warranted in search of a greater net good.

There were murmurs about protests turning violent due to instigations by the Proud Boys or neo-nazis or off-duty police officers, but these never became the primary narrative as far as I could tell.

During the storming of the US Capitol

In contrast, the red tribe response to the storming of the US Capitol has been to frame it as the work of antifa/the deep state/other enemy conspirators.

Even those denouncing the violence seem to have difficulty doing so without making some allusion to conspirators from the other side.


One thing that seems constant to all mob action is the firm belief that, no matter how bad the actions taken by your team were, the other team is far worse.

The Biblical response

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

— John 15:19

Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

— James 1:27

Christians are not meant to side with worldly tribes. We should be consistent in recognizing evil no matter who it is perpetrated by.

The red and blue tribes are of the world. Keep yourself unstained!

tag:www.lumpypot.com,2013:Post/1817191 2022-04-20T17:00:00Z 2022-09-26T12:09:24Z How to read things on the internet

Imagine Bob, a blogger-cum-journalist who primarily writes stories about how bad Japanese cars are. Ostensibly his site says that he writes about "thinking critically about the automotive industry" or "honest car talk" or something, but all his best stuff is about how bad Japanese cars are compared to the rest of the world.

He writes most positively about US-manufactured cars and is neutral towards European manufacturers.

Any time there is a news story about a Toyota or Honda malfunctioning or being unreliable, he writes about it. He makes much hay out of any story where the details are unclear or aren't fully known yet. If clarifying details arise later, he never updates his old posts.

He spent years writing about unintended acceleration issues in Toyota Camrys in the mid-2000s. Whenever any negative detail popped up, no matter what the source, he would be there with another somber post.

In retrospect, only about 10% of those posts were actually meaningfully accurate, but it doesn't matter – the fact that the unintended accelerations were eventually shown to be caused by defects has been used to shield himself from accusations of being a conspiracy theorist ever since.

When he started out, he mostly implied that Japanese cars sucked due to manufacturer incompetence, but after so many years cataloging malfunctions he feels he has no choice but to assume malicious intent. By the end of the decade, most of his posts about Camrys were more rants than journalism – in his eyes, anyone buying a Toyota was a dupe who deserved the fiery death they had coming.

You could call Bob a "Toyota detractor". He has great motivation to say negative things about Japanese auto makers (that's what his readers expect), and no motivation to say anything positive.

Should you read Bob's posts?

No. If you're an outsider hoping for a holistic perspective on what car to buy, you won't get it from Bob. He will recommend a few Ford or Chevy vehicles that might be worth looking into, but you will never get an intellectually honest comparison of the cars on the market today.

Even if you're an industry expert commanding a broad view of the benefits and downsides of various vehicles, Bob's posts aren't worth reading. His regular readers never hold him accountable when he shares bad information, and it's not worth your time to try to sort out the truth from the fanfic.

The other side

Imagine Alice, a writer working at a Toyota dealership. She's worked there for over ten years. A few years ago she started blogging about her experiences and has built up a sizable following.

She writes on her own time and isn't paid by Toyota, but she almost never says anything negative about the company. She wrote very little about the unintended acceleration issues, though she was quick to let her readers know about the weather mat recall when the NHTSA investigation determined that the cause was weather mats getting stuck under the gas pedal.

You could call Alice a "Toyota booster."

Should you read Alice's posts?

Probably not. Even though she's less likely to be lying than Bob, if there are any serious issues that make Toyota look bad relative to other car manufacturers, she is unlikely to share them.

Even though everything she writes is factual, she meticulously leaves out any context that would give readers the ability to use those facts to make an educated comparison between Toyotas and other cars.

Alice's posts don't give you any appreciable advantage when it comes to making your next car purchase.

So who should you read?

If you filter all the detractors and boosters out of your feed, and learn to close the browser tab as soon as you realize you're reading one of them, you're ahead of the game.

There is good analysis to be found, but don't stress out about finding it. If you're diligent in avoiding bad sources, but you have some friends who care about the full truth and distrust anyone taking a "side" for or against Toyota, you may eventually get to read about what actually happened to those Toyota Camrys. Oftentimes the most truthful answer is "well, it's complicated."

tag:www.lumpypot.com,2013:Post/1817190 2022-04-11T17:00:00Z 2022-04-11T17:00:07Z Biblical incrementalism

If you start talking about applying the Bible in pro-life circles, some folks will start accusing you of being impractical. "We're not going to just snap our fingers and suddenly live in a biblical society that obeys all of God's commands. We need to take small steps in the right direction!" These folks sometimes call themselves incrementalists.

What are we incrementing towards?

Most folks in the pro-life community seem to misunderstand God's commands. They have a strong sense that God hates murder (correct), and that their mission is to decrease the amount of murder in the world (broadly incorrect), and that God wants them to change the nation's legislation to reduce murders per capita (very incorrect).

God's commands to decrease murders are personal, given directly to every individual. "You shall not murder." You, personally, are expected to reduce your murders per capita to zero.

God's commands to his people about other people's murders are a bit different. "He who strikes any man mortally shall surely be put to death."

We are not commanded to reduce national murders to zero, we are commanded to put murderers to death.

What biblical incrementalism is not

  • legislation that makes it more difficult to kill your baby
  • punishing murder, but calling it something other than murder
  • punishing an accomplice (e.g. a doctor) but not the other guilty parties
  • any new legislation that treats abortion like some new special case rather than murder

None of these things move us closer to what God has commanded.

What is biblical incrementalism?

We must take steps in the direction of obeying God. Here are biblical steps we could take:

I am only interested in incrementing towards what God commands us in the Bible.

tag:www.lumpypot.com,2013:Post/1614430 2020-11-09T17:22:04Z 2020-11-09T17:22:04Z The Flywheel of Anger

Why do some people always seem angry about a few specific topics? Because they're constantly rewarded for dwelling on how awful those things are.

Be angry, and don’t sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.
— Ephesians 4:26

If you want to be appreciated, share a mean story

Anger is popular and it spreads easily. As studied by academics and condensed by CGP Grey, people love to spread stories about how angry the other team makes them even more than they spread useful information or funny stories.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, share an angry image macro and half your acquaintances roar with approval.

Sharing outrage-inducing stories provides the sharer positive feedback in the form of positive interactions from people who agree, giving them a satisfying us-versus-the-bad-guys feeling.

It's not the high that kills you

CGP Grey's metaphor of stories as viruses mutating into a maximally-shareable version of themselves explains most of the links you see shared in your feed every day, but doesn't dwell as much on what happens inside the brains of the people reading the angry stories.

The outrage you can feel when you read a story doesn't exist in a vacuum – it is emotional energy manifested in anger at Something. When you read multiple stories in a row about how bad Something is, it's not just a few hits in a row of a well-targeted high, it is building up a momentum of anger that sticks around longer than any of the details of the story or joke.

That anger momentum primes you to read future stories about the evils of Something. Once you're properly aghast at the evils of Something, it takes less and less of a shocking story for you to get that same level outrage about Something.

Flywheels as a metaphor

Flywheels are sweet machines that store energy. Get them going and it doesn't take much energy to keep them spinning – take your foot off the pedal and they spin for longer than you'd expect.

(My grandparents had an old spinning wheel in their house and I loved to pump away at it.)

Who is everyone angry at?

Folks who achieve even a small amount of fame discover they've attracted persistent haters.

It is downright common for non-crazy people to hate a full-on "public figure":

  • Obama
  • Trump
  • Elon Musk
  • Bill Gates
  • Mark Zuckerberg

Vaguely-defined groups are easy to hate:

  • The ultra-wealthy
  • The medical establishment
  • Capitalists
  • Academia

Abstract conspiracy-theory-level concepts that don't exist in any meaningful sense:

  • The Patriarchy
  • Cultural Marxists

And of course, the Red and Blue tribes, the ultimate outgroups, which often focus their energy on a particular set of flywheels selected from the lists above.

But I'm not angry

If you go looking for it, meditate a lot, and get really introspective about it... it's still way easier to notice the flywheels of anger in other people than yourself.

I don't even think most people with actively spinning anger flywheels would describe their emotion as "anger" or "hate". If you find yourself reading lots of articles about Cultural Marxists, you don't think of it as feeling anger towards an outgroup, it feels like educating yourself on cultural changes. When your friends talk about the oppression of The Patriarchy, you think of it as describing a system that causes visible harm.

By default, people only notice it when they see what other people are saying about their group, and recognize it as almost entirely fabricated.

It's almost entirely lies made up through a series of many blog posts, opinion pieces, questionable news stories, and funny memes.

The dangers

Exposing yourself to angry discourse has downsides.

Exposure to disinformation is the obvious one. I won't say too much on this now except to note that most of the popular sources of news or discourse online write their stories to cater to one set of flywheels or another.

Even if you don't maintain a set of frantically-spinning anger flywheels, it's easy to only consume content full of half-truths and missing context intended to be read credulously by readers who appreciate a quick hit of outrage to feed their flywheel.

More importantly, God doesn't expect us to be motivated by anger. We are supposed to leave the wrath to him.

Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.”
— Romans 12:19

Even if sharing articles and memes about how outrage-worthy Something is was effective as vengeance, it would be ungodly.

cast all your worries on him, because he cares for you.
— 1 Peter 5:7