Thursday, October 1, 2009

To Snip or Not to Snip?

This article drew an unprecedented response at a prominent Christian blog recently. So it's worthwhile discussing.
A Christian attempting to resurrect an obsolete boundary stone.  For somewhat different  reasons.
I hope to address an article from this same blog- that drew a somewhat lesser response, next month. Probably more worthwhile though.

Now, the writer of this article was a woman advocating the circumcision of all men- for health reasons. It appeared to be written from a standpoint of considerable bitterness- from contracting some sexually transmitted disease in her unholy days. When she followed the path of feminism (and had her tubes snipped). But of course she's not bitter or a feminist now (or so says her husband trying to defend her in the comments section).
And it's not that she "hates men"- she just thinks they're icky.
And it's not that she is snipping at male headship- she would just like part of his dickey snipped off.

She is wicked funny too. Thinks that most men do not know how to clean their foreskin. It has her "stupefied". So... stupid men should have their foreskin snipped. And loose men should be loosed of it. And she repeats- her "own sons" fall somewhere in that semantic range...
Let's be frank here men- is it really that tricky? Or could we possibly forget it?
Let me be frank with you women here then--- it's incredibly hard to forget your dickey. It's not all that tricky to clean. And need I tell you that cleaning it is actually enjoyable?

Need I tell the subtlety challenged- when your mother told you to "wash behind your ears"- do you think she was thinking exclusively of your ears? Ever heard the song- Do Your Ears Hang Low? Can you think of anything else hanging low?

But let's not address her funny rationale.
Let's address a serious humanitarian rationale- Hastings historical rationale for circumcision.
Then God's super-serious non-humanitarian mandate.
First, Hastings:

  1. That circumcision may have been incorporated for hygienic/health reasons (Steinmetz). I would agree with Hastings that this is "highly improbable". That this is an anachronism. Even us moderns have a hard time supporting the deposing of the foreskin- with far more extensive hygiene surveys. Just as tonsils and appendix are not considered the disposable appendages that they once were.
  2. That Muslims seem to think the foreskin is an impediment to offspring. That "only in man is an impediment like the foreskin found, and wonder how it is possible for reproduction to occur among uncircumcised Christians". As I understand it- almost all mammals have a foreskin. And Koala's seem to require it for reproduction. Seems Muslims were paying far too much attention to the platypus :)
  3. That such personal surgery makes more obvious the perilous nature of sex. Pretty obvious without such surgery one would think.
  4. That this was a test of stoicism. That real men wouldn't even peep when their penis got snipped. Really?
  5. That this was a mark of tribal pride. Hastings claims it was only a hidden source of pride for Hebrews.
  6. That this was a sacrifice to the goddess of fertility. As Hastings would chide, "only in America".
  7. That such penis reduction would appear more modest and less intimidating to women. Yet other islanders in this region would wear gourds and snail shells and leather hoodies- that would be much less modest. How regional is that?
  8. That it was a fashion statement initiated by the higher classes. But the highest chief was exempt from such a fashion statement. Exempt from the cult of cool.
  9. That it was done by some tribes to desensitize the penis for extended enjoyment for the female. Those tribes also wore glans piercings to promote female pleasure. This survey would indicate that this initiative achieved the unintended result.
  10. That they would be re-united with the foreskin of their former life in the afterlife. Not worthy of comment.
  11. That snipping was a punishment worse than death for those conquered in war. Another one too stupid to comment on.
  12. That snipping was an initiation into puberty. However, this was usually done long before puberty.
  13. That it was a pretext for radical circumcision/emasculation. So that the tribal chief could be chief sire as well.
Hastings also mentions as an aside that circumcision may have been done to discourage "onanism" (that misnomer for "masturbation" discussed in a previous post). Yet surveys tend to indicate the opposite.

Now, God's mandate:

Snipping was a sign (Gen. 17:11)- to show that Abraham and his hoping household would be 'set apart'.
Set apart as His chosen people.
Set apart for first-class dining.
Set apart for special revelation.

Later He revealed a larger hope to Gentiles.
As He said he would reveal- Psalm 2:8, Isaiah 46:6, Amos 9:12.
Revealed a larger dietary menu- Acts 10:15.
Revealed Himself as the diet for His Jews and Gentiles- John 6:54.

The new church recognized the new dinner guests- Acts 15.
The new church recognized the new sign of the Holy Spirit- Jeremiah 31:33.
And would not superimpose the old sign on top of a new sign.
Knowing that it would obscure the greater and clearer sign.

Shall us moderns obscure the greater and clearer sign?
Grant our heads the false security of being snipped?
Allow the deceiver the final comment of, "Snipe!"
When we never really were In His Grip?- 1 John 2:19

So...should we have our heads snipped over some negligible health concern?
Or be caused to wonder and anguish over a Holy Spirit concern?

Hoping in a snipping that is not seen,