When Meta-Gaming Breaks Play

Meta-gaming is a term that refers to when gamers try to think outside of the “box” of the game narrative…and just focus on winning.

You might not think this is such a bad thing, but it really is…because it infects more than just games.

World of WarcraftWhen Meta-Gaming Breaks Play — Kimia Wood

It’s easiest to see in a computer role-playing game (CRPG) like World of Warcraft.

Once upon a time, WoW gave your character “talent points” for leveling up, and you applied these points to a complicated tree that eventually led to other abilities or perks. (Other CRPGs frequently used this system also, such as Diablo 2.)

With so many branches to choose from – and different end goals that you had to work hard to achieve – you could truly make your character unique.

I personally poured all my talent points into making my mage’s cast time faster.

Other players? They crunched numbers and created Reddit pages dictating the exact specifications you “needed” to “really be an X, Y or Z.”

Are you a Warrior? You need this build order. Are you a Hunter? You must put your talents into these things. The algorithms are such that only this configuration will give you a “proper” character of your chosen class.

No matter if you just wanted to make your cast time faster, and wouldn’t be caught dead in a player vs. player (PvP) scenario (unless you’re doing the Children’s Week achievement…and the reason you avoid it is you usually end up dead! Ugh).

The Reddit types are no longer playing. They are gaming.

Instead of helping Varian and the Alliance defeat the undead, they’re now trying to max out their gear.

They’re not interested in breathing life into their avatar by giving them a totally unique build of talents and quirks. They want to know what will give them the maximum edge in combat, and then they’re playing to win.

No wonder Blizzard Entertainment simplified the talent system to where you choose one of three new spells or abilities every level (instead of funneling points toward different branching tree systems).

Dungeons and Dragons

When Meta-Gaming Breaks Play — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Wikipedia

Relaunching our campaign and delving into the world of AD&D has given us a chance to examine this gaming system.

My dad especially has found there’s a lot of tips to help Game Masters (or Dungeon Masters for some) prevent players from “meta-gaming.”

This is why players aren’t allowed to trade or give items to each other (imagine two siblings teaming up and sharing all their loot…how unfair would that be?). Same reason players are discouraged from running two characters at once (of course I will let Myself borrow my Magic Sword of Dragon-Smiting!).

You might be wondering, “What’s wrong with people being friendly and wanting to share?”

Meta-gaming!

See, each character in D&D has “stats” – like strength, dexterity, charisma (how convincing you are to people), constitution (how well you recover from illnesses), etc.

Meta-gaming knows what these stats are, and tries to work them to its advantage.

It tells the strongest character to try opening the door, the prettiest character to get information out of the innkeeper, and the smartest character to read the cryptic writing on the scroll. It gives the magic sword to the guy who needs it most (not the guy who found it, for example), and tries to distribute other items, potions, etc. according to stat needs.

Of course, with all these actions you have to roll the dice to see if you succeed…and a good GM can either give you a helping hand, or totally mess with your plans.

BECAUSE THE POINT IS NOT WINNING.

I mean, obviously we want to win. But the point of the game is not to play with pencil in one hand and calculator in the other, figuring out the exact probability of each fight and moving into just the right place to maximize profit. (Which is exactly what the brother and I do playing Battle for Wesnoth, by the way…:} .)

The point of the game is to play.

You are this character. What might they do? Sure, your character sheet says you have great charisma…but how good is your acting when you talk with the GM (who plays all the non-player characters)?

Yeah, the sheet says this character is the strongest…but his player has portrayed him as a gentle giant, unsure of himself, so it doesn’t make sense for him to rush into the fray.

Besides, the guy with lower strength got a really good roll, and opened the door with no problem.

I said earlier that meta-gamers think outside the box…but actually, they’re confined by the numbers and the probabilities, and don’t have the creative freedom to try a true “outside the box” solution. (Like “let’s pull on the door together – or use this broken sword as a lever” or “his character is ugly as sin but the player is great at improv – let him talk us out of this”…)

Where am I going with this?When Meta-Gaming Breaks Play — Kimia Wood

So meta-gaming can make a game less fun (unless lots of math or internet searches is how you like to spend your game time), but is it really worth a whole post?

Is it really so bad? Can’t I let some players do them, and let me do me?

Theology

It doesn’t just apply to games, see. Though that’s where it shows up most visibly…

Jesus had a lot of harsh things to say to the Pharisees – a brand of “hyper-observant” Jews who took the Law of Moses and the Old Testament super seriously and were doing their best to follow what God said.

Or were they?

What was that Jesus said to them?

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Matt. 23: 23)

And He got more explicit:

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. And he said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’

But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do. (Mark 7: 8-13)

See, they weren’t focused on playing. They were into gaming.

God said, “Here’s My game. Here are My rules. Now let’s play.”

But the Pharisees said, “I crunched the numbers, and this is how I need to play to win the encounter.” (I.e. their goal was “eternal life,” not actually “living with God wherever He is.” – see John 5:39-46)

And God said, “That’s actually not the point, and no, you don’t win.”

Go with the Game Master

It’s so easy to fall into the meta-gaming trap. We think if we put tracts in every bathroom we visit, then we don’t have to witness to our neighbor next door.

Or that because we went and visited lonely people in the nursing home, we can sass off to our mom at home.

We’ll say, “The man is not doing his job; but the job needs to get done. So we’ll have this woman do it” – even though that’s exactly what God said not to do!

We see that parents are not taking care of their kids…so we decide we’ll do it for them, instead of helping the parents fulfill their God-ordained duty to raise/teach their own kids!

WHO DID GOD GIVE THOSE KIDS TO AGAIN?

I know you couldn’t get an 18 on the parents’ character sheet if you added all the numbers together (18 is the max stat), but that doesn’t mean you can mess with the encounter.

The GM says it’s their role to do this. /end rant

This “pragmatism” is a “need to achieve.”

When you meta-game, you are essentially saying:

  • “We can’t trust the GM to arrange things in our favor. We have to become slaves of the numbers to make the system work.”
  • “The actual children aren’t important, only the test scores/high scores/level achievements we get. We’re not here to walk beside our children and trust God to bless us…we’re here to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get the output we want – e.g. the good grades, good jobs, good social skills we’re sure we’ll get if we use the Magic Wand of Academic Readiness.”
  • “I saw on a Reddit page that soup kitchens help reduce crime. I’m not sure how, so let’s not bother to establish strong, stable relationships with the hurting people we meet – or heaven forbid share Jesus with them! – but focus on running as many people through our lunch line as possible. Because Jesus said, ‘Go thou and get high attendance numbers,’ right?”

What does the “Game Master” really say?

He says that checking off the prayer, Bible reading, soup kitchen, and “smiling” boxes doesn’t win the game for you! This is not about getting the “proper” gear for your class.

This is about immersing yourself in the game, and playing with all your heart.

Cry when a side character dies. Don’t sweat that your stats aren’t high enough. Solve the puzzles in new, creative ways. If you “break the fourth wall” too much, it won’t be there anymore…and you won’t even be in the story anymore.

Trust the Guy-in-charge-of-the-game. If you play His way, you will win. The Referee is on your side, see 😉

‘Cause it’s not about winning. It’s about playing the game with your “Dad.”


When Meta-Gaming Breaks Play — Kimia WoodKimia Wood was raised by an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, gaming, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier! You’ll also receive periodic updates on her latest reading and writing projects.


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

Notre Dame vs. Notre Pere – Every Cathedral Will Burn

Notre Dame vs. Notre Pere – Every Cathedral Will Burn — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Yahoo news

This week came the shocking news: the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris burned.

We don’t have a television, so it was even more surreal for me to happen upon a public TV and sees shots of the iconic cathedral wreathed in flames.

While now it seems only the roof and spire were destroyed, it’s something that can’t be undone. 850 years of history and more, gone. Some suggest that France does not even have large enough trees to repair the damage.

The whole thing was even more poignant to me since I just watched a video essay about The Hunchback of Notre Dame and how Disney’s version (and the other film adaptations) differed from Victor Hugo’s original vision…which was basically to focus on the cathedral itself, how architecture was used to convey values, and how the written word was rendering that practice obsolete (video link here – language cautions).

Why bother talking about this? Well, it got me thinking – as many things do…

Buildings Decay

If you’ve read the books of Kings and Chronicles, you’ll recall that the Temple of God that Solomon built in Jerusalem kept needing to be repaired (and the kings Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah all raised money for that purpose). (See 2 Chron. 24; 2 Kings 17-20; 2 Chron. 29-30; 2 Kings 22-23; and 2 Chron. 34.) Continue reading

Karpman Triangle or Christian Allegory?

I recently read a post talking about “Karpman’s drama triangle” – a theory that story characters arrange themselves into Hero, Victim, or Villain roles – and how this had a negative effect on stories and society. (It’s under Point 8.)

The post writer suggested making sure all characters had “agency” – or meaningful choice – within the story. This is important, as far as it goes…personal responsibility for actions is very important.

However, when I first heard her explain “Karpman’s drama triangle”, I said to myself, “Isn’t that exactly what we see in the Bible? Don’t stories follow this pattern so often because we’re resonating with the eternal story of creation?”

The Triangle of History

This triangle, as I understood it, talked about how someone would require rescuing, so someone else would rise to rescue him.

This is what we see in the Bible.Karpman Triangle or Christian Allegory? — Kimia Wood

We are in trouble. Deep trouble. Classic damsel-in-distress type stuff.

We (humanity) were born into a perfect world…but then the Villain struck! Yep – us, again.

(I didn’t say “Satan”, because that gives him too much cred. The world didn’t break because Satan disobeyed God…the whole universe broke because Adam disobeyed God! Thanks, Great-Granddad…)

So here we are (each individual human being), playing the Villain role (taking up arms against God and hurting things wherever we go) and the Victim role (hurting ourselves at every turn, and totally helpless to fix ourselves).

There’s nothing we can do to change this state of affairs. Nada. Trust me, humans have been trying for thousands upon thousands of years. We can’t patch up our relationship with God, and we can’t free ourselves from our own evil desires…just like addiction.

The whole human race is addicted to badness.

Enter: the Hero! Jesus. Son of God. Totally awesome, Lawful Good, and kick-butt (can I say that?!).

He humbled Himself, went through the famous “Dark Night of the Soul“, all that classic Hero stuff…literally died. Was dead for three days.

Then? Happily ever after! Jesus kicked death in the face and came alive again!

With the “dragon” slain, the “prince” “rode up on his horse” and asked the “damsel” if she would marry him!

So…will you say “I do”?

It’s not just the overarching story of salvation, either.

God cares about individual widows, too. Check out Deuteronomy 14 (yes Deuteronomy):

God is telling Israel about tithing – giving a tenth of your grain, your fruit, your wine, your produce to God so you remember that He gave you everything.

Then God tells them, every three years pile the tithe food in the middle of the city and let the widows, orphans, and foreigners (with no land inheritance, family network, etc.) eat their fill from it (Deut. 14:28-29).

See? Yes, God cares about rescuing his Church (Bride)…but He also cares about the “helpless” widows and orphans – the “victims” of unavoidable tragedy who don’t have the resources to help themselves.

He cares, and that’s why He commands His people to act as “heroes” in His name, extending aid to those worse off than ourselves.

Want an example from the New Testament? How about James 1:27? James’ theme is that talking the talk is worthless unless you walk the walk. (You say you believe in God? Super. The demons believe the same thing – and have the sense to be afraid of Him! Js. 2:19.)

That’s why James points out that God wants us to act out the faith we say we have by: being a “hero” to the “helpless”…the weak, tired, and alone. The “victims” of this sin-scorched world. (The “villain” being: ourselves again.)

Back to the Psychologists

Karpman wasn’t talking about God, though. He was a psychologist, trying to explain human relationships and human behavior through “Science!”.

And he’s right about one thing. When human beings try to mimic the role of God (Hero), we mess even that up.

Karpman and his friends called it things like “encouraging dependency”, “ignoring their own problems by focusing on helping others”, “taking advantage of the rescuer”, “perpetuating the victim’s feelings of helplessness”, and other things.

All of which is trying to turn something organic (a relationship) into something algorithmic (turning human interactions into a series of equations – which they’re not).

I think the Bible says it all much more succinctly:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food…she took some and ate, and gave to her husband, and he ate. And the eyes of both were opened, and they saw that they were naked. (Gen. 3: 6-7)

There is none righteous – no, not one! No one understands…no one seeks for God! (Rom. 3: 10-11)

For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by His grace which is ours in Christ Jesus! (see Rom. 3: 21-24)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth… (Rev. 21: 1)

Back to the Story Authors

Karpman Triange or Christian Allegory? — Kimia Wood

I think I’ve figured out why I get all swoony over the Master Chief and Zavala. Because they are quintessential heroes – the definitive “good guys” – and in that way they mimic my own dear King Jesus.

So, I will proudly write stories about heroes rescuing…people who need rescuing. But I agree with the original poster that “character agency” is also very important.

After all, we got ourselves in this mess. No sneaky Devil forced us off the cliff of our own desires! We raced there all on our own, because we wanted what we couldn’t possibly have: to be God.

It also makes sense that Character Agency is important because God gave it to us! When a story denies characters agency, or denies them the reality of making bad choices or choices that matter, the story falls flat…because we instinctively know it doesn’t line up with our real experiences.

God doesn’t let us write the story, though. He is the Author of this interactive, choose-your-own-adventure we call “life”! We participate, but only within the bounds that He allows (Job 1:12, 2:6).

And this is where the sovereignty of God (fancy, church-word for “God’s the boss-man”) and free-will (not-so-fancy church-word for “we get a choice”) come together and hug and all the theologians go, “But I thought you two weren’t speaking to each other!”

Yes – God is totally in charge. AND – yes, each individual human being gets a choice in how their life will go.

How does that work? God hasn’t explained in detail…probably because our brains would explode if we tried to understand.

Just trust God that it works.

And keep trying to write stories and show how FULLY AWESOME He is…because that’s what it’s all about, m’kay?


Karpman Triangle or Christian Allegory? — Kimia WoodKimia Wood currently lives somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure Soldier, plus periodic updates on her latest reading and writing exploits!

Why We Need the Patriarchy

Nowadays, the patriarchy gets talked-down, stomped-down, and generally oppressed wherever you go.

But that’s not the picture we see in the Bible.

Me? I think I’m pro-patriarchy. But before you start screaming about The Handmaid’s Tale and grabbing your pitchforks, listen to what I mean by that and why I think it’s important.

And then, maybe we can take a look at God’s word and see what He says about whether Men should be in charge of the world!

First—A Look at the Problem

The patriarchy gets lots of hate now-a-days.

Dr. Albert Mohler interviewed Helen Smith for the podcast Thinking in Public, and their discussion really stuck with me because they were talking about all the ways the culture attacks men.

Why aren’t men going to college or getting married as much? Because the costs outweigh the benefits.When a couple gets divorced, odds are high the mother will get custody of the kids, and the husband will be stuck paying alimony and child support.

What about college? All through school, boys have been told to sit quietly, walk quietly, stop rough-housing, speak sensitively, empathize with others’ emotions… And all kinds of other things that girls do more naturally. Not only are classrooms geared more towards women’s learning styles, but guys have to worry about sexual assault charges (where the woman’s story will probably get more weight).

When they try to figure out what it means to be a Real Man by playing video games or sports, we complain about the video games and regulate the sports to make them “safer”.

No wonder guys wouldn’t want to go through that in college, too.

People will talk about getting women into management, into politics, into the halls of fame. But if you try to talk about the men already there…uh oh.

Fight or flight

Because Gordon Freeman is awesome (though not as awesome as the Master Chief).

Men are wired to be the protectors, the providers, the kings and priests. When they see a dangerous situation, they say, “Do I vanquish this? Or is discretion the better part of valor?”

They look around, and see Girl Power confronting them. But a gentleman can’t hit a girl, can he? So what’s he to do?

He retreats to the Man Cave, channels his manliness into pretending he’s Gordon Freeman, and the world grows a little poorer than it could be.

Men are wired to soak up punishment, and not gripe. They’re built (and trained) to “suck it up, buttercup” and keep on slogging. So no wonder they don’t fight back.

Or rather, the ones who do fight back do it wrongly.

Obvious disclaimer:

This is not to say that women are horrible people, or should be second-class citizens, or are doing a bad job in the world. This is to say that the substitute teacher is not the teacher, and the teacher is not the parent. The principal is not the parent, and the senator, president, and police officer are not the parent.

We Need Men To Protect

Pastor Voddie Baucaham calls husbands the “prophet, priest, protector, and provider” of their families. It didn’t originate with him, though, as Dennis Rainey of Family Life Today and George Whitfield (famous preacher of the Great Awakening) echo the same thought.

Probably because they’re all getting the idea from the Bible.

God doesn’t pull punches in His word: the world we live in is seriously messed up. We are lost and broken, like the cursed princess trapped in her tower, dreading the step of the monster as he approaches to eat her…

That’s why we need the Prince to ride up with his armor and sword, and shed His own blood to kill the monster and make us His bride!

What, did I lose you? Did you really think whoever wrote the first fairy-tale was being original?

Women are meant to be treasured.

Some will get their noses all bent because the princess is “passive” or “subjugated” or some buzzword like that. They fail to realize that Cinderella’s strength was her strength of character, not her ability to kick butt. She was the treasure to be rescued and treated with the reverence she deserved…and it was the prince’s role to do just that.

Just take a look at the Bible: God tells guys to “love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). Love like that is hard. It’s draining. It’s sacrificial.

You’ll notice God never orders women to pour their lives out in service to their husband and children (unless you count how all Christians are supposed to live in service to all others, especially fellow Christians). That’s because it comes easy to us giving gals. (What doesn‘t come easy is to submit, respect, keep our big mouths shut, and listen quietly to someone else. Probably why God took the trouble to tell us that.)

But God doesn’t leave the guys off the hook, and that’s because it’s super important for Men to use their strength to serve, guard, and protect — which is why God gave them that strength in the first place.

Men are meant to be mighty rescuers.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

Image from ArtStation.com

And let’s face it…men are stronger than women. People are trying to deny this now-a-days, but it’s a basic, verifiable, scientifically-bound fact: Men and women are different.

We’re different biologically, and one of the ways we see that is the physical strength of men. Check out this article from WORLD Magazine (May 2016) that lays out the physical degradation women’s bodies take in combat roles vs. men’s bodies. A lady’s bones, muscles, and joints weren’t engineered to take the punishment a guy’s were!

It doesn’t just apply to the military, either. Feminists will complain about the lack of women in management positions, higher learning, or scientific disciplines. But what about the low percentage of women in mining, carpentry, A/C repair, and factory work? There are women there, but in much lower numbers…because their bodies aren’t physically designed to operate in the same way, with the same endurance.

Live Strong says the same: yes, women can pump iron and an individual woman can be stronger than some individual men. But on average, status quo, a woman only has two-thirds of the muscle mass of a man.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

This is a computer game. Kick-butt female death knights are not real.

Live Science says the same thing:

The fastest woman in the world, Florence Griffith Joyner, ran the 100-meter dash in just 10.49 seconds in 1988, and that record remains unbroken. Yet her fastest time wouldn’t have even qualified her for the men’s 2016 Olympic competition, which requires competitors to finish the 100-meter sprint in 10.16 seconds or less.

To all my gaming peeps out there: her stats are lower than his. Feature of the rule-system.

How does this apply to patriarchy?

With great power comes great responsibility. Guys do hard things ’cause it’s what guys do.

There’s a reason we send our young men off to war. Because someone has to defend this thing we call “liberty”, and men are the ones built to sit-down-shut-up, to “Sir, yes, sir!”, to charge into the teeth of death and kick butt and get ‘er done.

If a 300-pound corporate A/C unit is about to tip off the edge of the roof, a guy grabs it and hauls it back. Sure, he might ache all over the next day, but he’s going to get ‘er done.

If a girl tries that, nine times out of ten she’s going over the edge with it…or ripping her arm off. Muscle density and ligament attachments. Not anything you’re going to “fix” with work-outs.

Yes, girls are important!

I myself am a girl, and was birthed from a verifiable girl. But there are plenty of people out there telling girls they’re important, so I don’t need to add my voice to the clamor.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

Take that, Degenerate Creature of Darkness!!

Guys are also important. Deathly important. Vitally important.

They’re important because sometimes you just gotta punch Evil right in the teeth, and guys are much better at it than gals.

We Need Men To Lead

I love love love the WORLD article that says, “Men, in general, drive a culture; women, in general, stabilize it.” (So, thanks Janie B. Cheaney; you’re the best!)

What does this mean? It means that while men go out and shape the world, invent things, create political systems, and write philosophies, women stand behind them, keep the garden going, and nod meaningfully while their husband talks about this amazing new idea he’s got.

I can see your hackles rising already. “What about Marie Curie, who discovered radium (with her husband)? What about all the amazing women in the world who –?”

We talked about this. There are lots of people praising all the women out there who have done amazing things, like rule Crusader-era Palestine (research Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem).

But think for a moment why we feel the need to hunt down and trumpet examples of publicly-accomplished women? (I was going to say “remarkable”, but you don’t have to invent something to be worthy.) We hold up people like Harriet Tubman and Agatha Christie because they succeeded in areas where we’re used to seeing men.

But what about all the stuff men have done?

Invent cars, and the assembly line? (both made mainstream by Henry Ford, who also pioneered paying workers more than double that of his competitors in order to keep the best men)

Invent iPhones? (Steve Jobs, who – with the help of Steve Wozniak – also built Apple)

Write literature? (two names: William Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien)

Fight terrorism? (picture Winston Churchill leading the free world, facing down Adolf Hitler)

Protect women? (How about when Moses was running away from a murder charge in his homeland; he stopped at an oasis, and saw some shepherds “oppressing” some sisters so the girls couldn’t water their flocks; so Moses chased off the mean shepherds and drew water for the girls’ sheep. Ex. 2: 16-17)

Build a spaceship and fly into space?

Yeah. Men did all of that.

In the words of Mrs. Cheaney’s article, “women tend to be less careerist, more risk-averse, less violent, and more relational than men.” We need that. We need people who will skip work because the daughter has a tummy ache, who will strike a compromise between two opposing combatants, and who will think to put seat belts in cars so we can all drive around a little safer! (I really have no idea who thought of that.)

But we need guys who will say, “Let’s walk on the railing!” And when they fall off, they don’t need someone to run up and baby-talk them and give them a band-aid.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

If it were easy everyone would do it!!

Real men suck it up. Real men forge on. Yep – real men don’t cry in front of their friends; they climb back up on that rail.

I recently stumbled across this article from Motherly, talking about all the things we do for our kids that we think will keep them safer, but really probably cause them more problems. Specifically “Avoiding Risky Play”.

I remember laying out behind our garage by the alley, after the streetlight had come on, playing in the snow (and probably eating it). I survived.

Boys are more likely to try crazy stuff. When they donk their heads, it’s called “natural consequences.” But donking their heads as kids teaches them what can and cannot be done, and when they turn into Men they say things like:

“I think I’ll write a computer operating system and start my own company in my garage.”

Or, “The king of England really has no right to tax us without representation. Methinks I’ll write up a new governmental system and see if my friends want to join me.”

Then they put their feet where their mouths are, apply a little hustle, and do it.

That’s the patriarchy. See it, live it, love it.

What does God say about it?

He tells Man to “have dominion over” all the animals, birds, swimming things, etc. (Gen. 1:28).

When our first parents disobeyed God for the first time, God asked the Man, “What’s going on?” (because the Man – Adam – is “the man”) (Gen. 3:9-12). Adam, instead of owning up and wearing the pants, clutched his fig-leaf loincloth and said, “Nah, it was the woman’s fault — totally!” #fail

Again and again in the Bible, men do what their wives want, because they’d rather abdicate and capitulate than show some spine, put their foot down, and deal with the whining and nit-picking.

That’s why God pairs Eph. 5:22 (“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord”) with Eph. 5:25 (“Husbands, love your wives…”). It takes us both doing our part.

God takes a broken world and shows His goodness.

Maybe you’re fuming right now, because you’ve had some bad leaders. Maybe the men in your life haven’t done their job right.

No surprise there — they’re not God!

We are called to be like God, though. All of us. Together.

When we do what He calls us to do (you, me, individually – not worried about what someone else should be doing) then God can bless us in a special way. Sometimes He blesses us even when we’re fighting Him, but walking through life His way opens up a special kind of beauty.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia WoodJust because his wife is headstrong, pugnacious, and take-charge doesn’t get a man off the hook for leading her – gently, lovingly, but firmly.

Just because her husband is abusive, stupid, or lazy isn’t an excuse for a woman to take over running the family. OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: If he’s actually harmful/toxic to you, get your pastor and law enforcement involved. But “he never does his dishes” is not an excuse for you to gratify yourself and abuse your own God-given role. (Yes, that’s a serious example our pastor gave — happy ending: the couple counseled their way through, and stayed together.)

It’s so easy to say, “But, God, things aren’t happening the way they should! I need to ____.”

What would happen if we tried things God’s way?

We Need Men To Be Dads

God reveals Himself as a three-person entity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And He does that for a reason.

As important as mothers are (again, that’s a dead horse I don’t need to beat) dads are crucial. And our own society is seeing the consequences of discounting, marginalizing, and rejecting their role.

When kids don’t have their dad in their lives, it creates a vacuum, and many of them fill that vacuum with harmful things. According to All Pro Dad, “[S]eventy-one percent (71%) of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes”, and “71% of pregnant teens have no dad present in their life” (per the Department of Health and Human Services).

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

My dad continued the tradition he learned from his father.

The Heritage Foundation points to studies that have found fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of high school, and twice as likely to be obese (among other things).

How about this article about the number of juvenile murder suspects who don’t have fathers? To a suggestion that juvenile criminals need “intensive mentoring”, the author astutely asks, “[W]here will such men come from in cities where large numbers of males refuse to mentor or monitor their own children?”

True, a “stable” single-parent-home seems to be superior to a home with a rotating cast of live-in boyfriends/girlfriends. But even though a child who lost a parent to death is better off than a child who lost the parent to divorce, he or she is still at a disadvantage compared to the child in a biological mother-father home.

That’s because something’s still broken. Death, divorce, and out-of-wedlock families are not the original plan…therefore we instinctively crave something more, something better. However “well” those children turn out (even if they beat the odds and “succeed”), they’re missing out. It’s not fair.

God is the perfect father.

I could say, God is the only perfect father. He is a steady rock in a wave-tossed world. He corrects bad behavior to train His children to become better. When we cry, He comforts. And when He gives good gifts, He’s teaching us gratitude (as well as just giving presents, because who doesn’t like to give presents to their kid?).

When men act the way they’re supposed to, they’re imitating God. Whether he knows it or not – whether he believes in Him or not – when a man uses his authority to protect, nurture, and grow those in his charge…he’s being like God!

And God blesses the things that honor Him.

Dads matter. Patriarchy matters.

Our boys need their dads teaching them how to, “Sir, yes, sir!” to police officers, so they won’t get shot. They need to be taught “No, you don’t touch a girl that way unless she’s your wife!” so that they don’t get shot.

A little girl needs a dad to show her how Real Men act toward women, and to know that if anybody messes with her, Daddy will go make that person extinct.

There are bad men out there; absolutely. But strapping on a 9mm only does so much to protect you. We also need good men, Real Men, to lock up the bad guys when they deserve it…or even punch them in the face if they need that. We need Real Men to say, “Gentlemen don’t act that way, and I’m in charge, so we’re going to do it the gentlemanly way.”

We need Real Men who don’t compromise, who will look terrorists in the face and say, “Not in my town.”

Who will look their boss in the face and say, “Embezzling is wrong, and I can’t look the other way for you.”

Who have the spiritual, emotional, and physical clout to punch Evil in the face when it needs it.

Learning to walk with crutches after a leg amputation is a victory, but it’s also a defeat. You’re only doing it because something is missing…something important that you’ll never get back.

A society that refuses to let its men lead is missing its shoulders…and legs…and head.

We need the patriarchy.

What would happen if we really, honestly tried doing things God’s way? Are you brave enough to find out?

Image of Gordon Freeman is from vsbattles.wikia.com.

Image of Jim Raynor with a revolver is from games.softpedia.com.

The boy-with-water-gun picture is from Pixabay.


Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia WoodKimia Wood was raised by an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives with her family somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic novella Soldier (where the guys are totes patriarchal) plus occasional updates about her latest reading and writing adventures!

“Purple Fish” by Mark O. Wilson

 TL;DR: If you need another kick in your Jesus-sharing pants, or if you’d like to read some examples of evangelism from the “more Pentecostal” side of the church-spectrum, it’s worth a look.

As the third book on evangelism I’ve read this year, Purple Fish seemed to depend more on pithy quotes from other writers than the previous books. The outline for the book was also less clear than what I’d read previously.

Fisherman’s Guide to Sharing the TRUTH

The title comes from the idea of hunting for purple shell-fish — the ingredient used in the ancient world for purple dye, an expensive commodity for emperors and senators.

Pastor Wilson urges us to view lost people as “purple fish” — just like Jesus came all the way to earth to hunt after his treasured children, we should go “fishing for men” with the same passion. Continue reading

How to Detect a False Teacher

How to Detect a False Teacher — Kimia WoodThe Bible calls false teachers “wolves.” Unlike a shepherd – who feeds and protects the flock – these saboteurs creep in and tear apart the flock – spiritually, physically, and corporately. (See Jude 3-4…and the rest of Jude, too.)

Thanks to some recent sermons at our church, here’s a quick list of red flags to spot these duplicitous leaders. Continue reading

“Good News for a Change” by Matt Mikalatos

"Good News for a Change" by Matt Mikalatos — Kimia Wood Who doesn’t like good news? That’s the premise of Mr. Mikalatos’ new book, which is all about improving our conversations so that when we tell people about Jesus, it actually sounds like good news to them!

This book was challenging, encouraging, and convicting all in one, and I hope to use its principles in all my interactions, not just those times where I’m talking about God. Continue reading

“Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes” by John Kramp

How to Understand Spiritually Lost People and Give Them Directions to God

"Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes" by John Kramp — Kimia Wood — lost The past year or two have been a period of growth for me. Specifically, God has been prodding me to be more gospel-oriented. While I’ve heard passages such as the “great commission” all my life, it wasn’t until a year-and-a-half ago I realized it could be directed at me. And then, every time I opened the Bible, there it was, staring me in the face: “Share Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Go to those who don’t know Him yet and let them know!”

The trick, as in so much of life, is balance. Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes is all about knocking off the pushy, plastic, tract-dependent type of evangelism and changing our thinking to looking at people as “lost”.

The author calls his new mindset “lostology” (the study of lost-ness and seeking the lost), and uses examples from his own life and the Bible to help us get away from the seminary courses and toward actually reaching out to people around us. Continue reading

“God’s Not Dead 2”

 It’s a rare sequel that can match, let alone surpass, its predecessor. As controversial as God’s Not Dead was – an unabashedly Christian movie with steps and missteps – I think the sequel is an improvement.

The story: when popular public school teacher Grace gets a question in her history class about Jesus, she well-meaningly answers it in the historical context, quoting from the historical texts that establish Jesus’s actions and teachings.

Shortly after, she finds herself being sued by the ACLU for “preaching” to her students and trying to spread her Christian faith, with a non-believing young lawyer to advise her. Continue reading

“Conception Control” by Phillip Kayser, PhD

What is the Biblical basis for forming a family? Does the Bible provide principles for a Christian couple’s sex life and the conceiving of children? Conception Control: Avoiding Antinomianism and Legalism seeks to answer these and other questions from a Biblical perspective.

While its medical detail isn’t suitable for everyone, and while I didn’t agree with all of the Scriptural applications, it was an interesting, thought-provoking read. Continue reading