By David Tulis
Richard Carmack of RMJ Tactical makes a series of tomahawks designed as a breaching tool for first responders, soldiers and firefighters, but often is in demand as a weapon. The founder of the five-person company at the Chattanooga business incubator makes tactical tomahawks such as the Shrike that weigh just under 2 pounds and cost anywhere from F$395 to F$550. The “life-saving tools” can cleave a Kevlar helmet, knock holes in a wall in an Afghan house in which troops are pinned down or break down a door.
Soldiers surrounded by crowds in Afghanistan know they cannot shoot people for being too close, but sometimes bear tomahawks, which impress members of that “blade culture” to step back and make room for the foreigners.
The tools are expensive, yes, but made so methodically that it takes months to get one.
“If you pay a high price, you actually enjoy things better,” says Mr. Carmack, the chief operations officer and CFO of the company. “Think of Starbucks. McDonald’s has study after study that their coffee is better in blind taste tests. But people enjoy Starbucks better because they pay more, and they expect more. They’ve actually done studies where they’ve wired brains and things and they will give somebody a F$5 cup of coffee, and give them the exact same cup of coffee and charge them a dollar. The brain actually enjoys that $5 cup of coffee significantly more, because they expect it to. *** A $5 aspirin will work better on your brain than a 10 cent one.”
He cites as his authority the book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions by Dan Ariely. (He’s a great reader, and urges entrepreneurs to absorb this book, E-Myth Revisted and Start with Why.)
Private orders for military fighter delivery get first priority, Mr. Carmack says. A mom ordering a tomahawk for a son in Afghanistan gets the next one made. “They always go to the top of the list.” If I were to order one, he says, I might have to wait six months.
Not peace, but the sword
Just as the tomahawks of Mr. Carmack’s company are designed to cleave, the theory of Christianity is designed toward a particular violence, one of division and distinction among men, for their benefit and God’s glory.
The Christian argument is that history is controlled by God, who separates people, tongues and nations. About 2,000 years ago God sent His son as a human being and as God in one person, to save sinners and redeem the world from the bondage of sin. Christ is at the apex of history. He governs the world, and according to His will and His revelation, imposes a powerful claim upon mankind soul by soul, city by city, kingdom by kingdom.
Antithesis is Christianity’s hallmark as a system of thought and life. Antithesis is, if you will, Christianity’s battle axe.
Christ’s parables are a perfect example of the simplicity of His dogma. Often these tales make the simple point that antithesis exists, and God is governor of it. The sheep are divided from the goats. The tares are burned, the wheat tucked into the garner. The rich merciless man is in hell, but Lazarus the beggar who wanted crumbs from his table is in the bosom of Abraham. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth,” Christ warns in Matthew chapter 10. “I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’” (verses 34 to 36).
Polysexuality in a prostrated church
Mr. Carmack remarks that the rarity of a product and its high price are part of what can make a commercial good compelling. I quote him to bring us to the subject of marriage, strongly in the news and under assault from without as its defenders in Christendom seem in a weakened state. Committed love in marriage differs from sexual license in that it takes time to reach, and is a lifelong commitment that comes at the highest price a man can pay, that of a vow unto death.
Christ does not come to unite men, but divide them. Still, Christianity has in many ways absorbed the polytheism of American culture, and is today feeling the weakness that comes over it after years of compromise over bedrock truths. Christianity, having compromised on the Virgin birth, the meaning of the six-day creation narrative in Genesis and the validity of God’s law, now feels a twinge of uncertainty as hostile secularist claimants press ever more into it heart. Polytheism is the disease, and polysexuality is the symptom.
A cultural sexual revolution has been in progress since 1960, yet ardent student volunteers at University of Tennessee feel a burden this week to sponsor Sex Week on the Knoxville campus. Feeling themselves revolutionaries and humanitarians, they “advocate for a comprehensive understanding of sex and sexuality and cultivate dialogue” in a “safe environment.” Events today include a lecture by Aida Manduley, “Concepts of Virginity,” and the after-dinner lecture, “How Many Licks Does It Take,” by self-styled sexologist Megan Andelloux, whose Tumblr links bring up pornographic content on your computer screen.
Chattanoogans with children at that university realize their offspring are encountering firsthand the bold claims of polytheism written out in the world of sexuality. No single truth is conceived to exist. The pleasure of the self-seeking individual is promoted as a means of self-expression and self-identification; everyone is assumed to have many questions, everyone is believed to be morally open to suggestion, and explorations will continue through Friday to a lecture, “Sex Positivity in our Sex-Negative Culture” (meaning, Christian culture), by Charlie Glickman.
“The reason these apostles [of synthesis] find professing Christians who are willing to consider that they have been a woman trapped in a man’s body, or that what they really need is the tenderness of another woman, or that sexual identities are a social construct, is that we ahve already abandoned the idea that God designed our bodies Himself, and He is the only authority on what goes where,” Douglas Wilson notes in an essay on polysexuality.
Synthesis vs. antithesis — a quick sampler
Here’s now these two concepts work out in three recent news stories.
➤ More than 700 volunteers spent Saturday cleaning up downtown Chattanooga. “It’s something you always notice when you drive by; you see the trash on the ground, so it’s nice to be a part of it and actually get it cleaned up,” Clean and Green volunteer Cody Edwards on the Life Kraze team tells TV3. Get this: No one protested the event or sought to defend the rights of litterers and their streetside residue as an expression of free will or personal identity. Litter is ugly, according to a universal claim; it must be collected, tied up in heavy-duty plastic bags, and tossed into a Dumpster. Antithesis.
➤ Robin Smith, a local political figure and Chattanooga Times Free Press columnist fleshes out a headline “Laws must be squared with moral truths” by defending an antithesis that is biblical and largely sound. ‡ “Today, redefining terms has become the tool of those who worship at the altar of secular relativism — the religious worldview that is absent of any absolutes or truths and is driven by cultural occurrences, justification of behavior and those who supposedly ‘intellectually evolve.’” Antithesis.
➤ Even in the once strongly biblically oriented South ministers of the gospel and ordinary Christians feel pressure “to keep their views in the closet” regarding homosexuality. Sixty-two percent of Tennesseans tell pollsters they oppose so-called gay marriage, a Middle Tennessee State University poll says. But the public consensus, stoked by Hollywood and the media, makes people unwilling to stand out as opposed to the reigning cry of toleration for homosexual buggery. Synthesis.
Shall axe handle rest propped against trunk?
David Fowler of Family Action Coalition of Tennessee proposes an antidote: “I think that the church would be reminded that one of the most-oft repeated statements in scripture is do not fear.”
Mrs. Smith is correct to note that the war is not so much over sexual acts as over definitions, over underlying meaning. Without an appeal to biblical authority and confidence in its author, how do Christians find enough pause to stop, turn around, and challenge the sexual mores of homosexuality and transgenderism? Polysexuality is a noxious fruit; the tree is rotten.
If Christendom dares take up a metaphorical tomahawk, like those of steel produced in Chattanooga, it can lay the blade at the root.
Sources: Joan Garrett, “‘Don’t say gay’ takes on a new meaning,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, April 7, 2013
Robin Smith, “Laws must be squared with moral truths,” Chattanooga Times Free Press,” April 8, 2013
Kimberly Barbour, “Several hundred volunteers clean downtown Chattanooga,” WRCB.com, TV3, April 7, 2013
Douglas Wilson, “Polytheism and Polysexuality,” Credenda/Agenda, the Shakespeare edition, Vol. 20, issue 3, Winter 2008