Some years back I linked to some “concepts” of masculinity on this site. First off, I do not apologize for upholding the traditional values of masculinity. If this offends, you, please feel free to stop reading here.
One of the concepts that I referenced was the idea of the “Brut Man”. For the uninitiated, Brut is an inexpensive brand of cologne/aftershave that has been on the market for generations. Nigh on a decade ago, I ran across a description of what it meant to be a Brut man on the brand’s website:
A man who defines his own style.
He is a man who believes in equality and being true to yourself. He is not driven by what others think of him. His determination and self-worth is motivated by staying true to himself and who he is. He accepts responsibilities for his actions, is comfortable with his decisions, and isn’t concerned about what other people think.
He is a man who sees possibilities and makes them happen. Who is always respectful of the opposite sex. Who understands the code of the gentleman and who is at ease with and courteous to people even though they’re different from himself.
He loves to win but realizes it’s not always about winning—sometimes it’s about the thrill of the hunt.
He has been the hundredth caller.
He is charitable and is always looking to give a hand to the downtrodden.
He is a leader of the young and always wants to makes things better for them.
He prefers things shaken, not stirred. But he will stir for others if that’s what they like.
He always learns from his mistakes, though he rarely makes them.
He has conviction, but is never convicted.
He hates false promises and always does what he says he is going to do.
He respects the opinions of others, but always makes up his own mind.
Don’t mistake his passion for anger, as there are very few things that truly upset him. He is the essence of man.
The first thing that came to mind was the question “Has the Brut man been cancelled?”. Surely not??? I suppose they could have just moved on to a new marketing campaign with a new version of the website. Let’s consider what the current website looks like.
When we visit https://www.brutworld.com, we are presented with a very plain site. Atop scrolling images is the slogan The Legacy Continues. The images themself are the following:
Negan on a cruiser-style motorcycle wearing a dew rag and wallet chain
A dad discussing the finer points of basketball with his child
A dude turning the lug nut on a classic car with a box wrench
A hipster lumberjack looking at what appears to be a leaf in the woods with his child
My goal here isn’t to nit-pick the changes to the site. I think Brut has navigated the current minefield quite skillfully with the new campaign. Naturally, Negan would not have Lucille in hand while out on his hog. The basketball and outdoor scenes are highly plausible.
The image that I take umbrage with is the guy working on the car. I have turned a few wrenches over the years, but never have I ever trusted the security of a lug nut to a box wrench. I’m guessing by the diminutive stature of the car that it is a MG or other British roadster. Maybe hand tight is good enough? Given he’s got this beautiful specimen up on a lift and it appears to be undergoing a full frame-off restoration, I can’t imagine the wheels would have been tightened to anything less that the torque specifications of the manufacturer. Maybe he is that good? He is a Brut Man afterall…
So what has happened to the Brut Man? My best guess is nothing. He’s still doing his thing like he has since 1964. He’s not wasting his money on the latest trendy scents, to be certain. He’s not concerned with the things going on in the world that he has no control over. He’s too busy enjoying the life he has and taking care of his own. He’s minding his own business and living up to those values that don’t have to be listed on a website for him to know what they are. They are ingrained in his life.
Often on my commute I listen to audio books. I bounce between books on history and religion, but occasionally I’ll listen to fiction. The fiction book I am currently listening to is Star Wars: Aftermath. I’m not here to write a book review, but to notice one passing reference that 99.999% of the world will pay no attention to: Captain Blevins. His only reference in the story is when a character named Sinjir Rath Velus recounts seeing Blevins dead on the moon of Endor during the battle that took place there in The Return of the Jedi. According to Velus, Blevins was a “bully and a braggart who had truly believed in the Empire’s ideals”.
While that may be sad for Blevinses who pulled for the Rebel Alliance, over the years, I’ve come to realize that the Empire were the good guys, but the victors get to write the history books. Captain Blevins died an unsung hero of the Empire’s effort to maintain order against the rising chaos. But I digress…
So where did author Chuck Wendig get the inspiration for Captain Blevins? I don’t know for certain, but my guess is Bret Blevins, a comic book artist, story board artist, and fine art painter. According to Wookiepedia, Mr. Blevins has done art for some Star Wars comics. In fact, Mr. Blevins has drawn quite a few recognizable comic characters in his career. He has some excellent examples of his art posted to his website.
We may never know if Bret Blevins is the namesake of the ill-fated Captain Blevins, but we can be certain that if there are Blevinses in a galaxy far away, then the name lives on.
Several years back I set up Bleddyn Heritage with the best of intentions of creating a site dedicated to all things related to the surname Bleddyn, with all its derivative spellings. Well… Several years later, I’ve really not done a whole lot with the site, so I’ve migrated the meagre few posts I created there to this site. As I put them here, I kept their original date stamps so they appear here chronologically of when I wrote them in the first place.
While I still plan to maintain that domain name for a future, yet-to-be-identified purpose, It won’t have any content that isn’t on this site as well. For the time being, I am going to redirect that domain to point here. If you’re interested in what was on that site, here are the articles I migrated over:
I have been blessed on occasion to have opportunity to present a lesson from GOD’s word to the local congregation of Christians with whom I’ve worshipped for the past couple years. I’ll be the first to admit, that my public speaking skills are woefully inadequate given the levity of the subject matter. I can’t imagine any topic that I could speak or write on where I am as concerned about presenting truth as I am when I am speaking on a topic from the Bible. My crutch every time I’ve gotten up to speak has been a visual presentation. It helps the congregation to keep track of what I’m speaking about, and it helps me to stay on topic. As time permits, I’d like to convert those slide presentations and the scripts I used to speak into posts here on my site. I hope you find them as beneficial for you as they have been for me.
(NB: I believe I am within my rights under fair use laws in the United States to use the images presented below as derivative works, except as where otherwise noted. If that is not the case, please let me know and I will remove them.)
One topic that I’ve spoken on, and surely countless myriads of others over the history of the church comes from Ephesians chapter 6; the whole (or full) armor of GOD. The particular Sunday that I presented this lesson was around Memorial Day, and I led off with this slide:
To many, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer. It’s a weekend for grilling out and spending time with family. For others it has a different meaning.
What many people don’t think about is that the day Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who have died to protect the freedoms that we enjoy so much in this country. There are two verses that come to mind to remind me of this sacrifice. The first is John 15:13: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. The next is Romans 5:7: For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Throughout the history of the United States, men and women have done just that. They have died so that we might be free. As great a sacrifice as that was, none of them were perfect, and none of them died so that we could be redeemed from our sin. Jesus did, and he was the only one who could.
We have examples of warfare throughout the Bible. We read of Abraham going into battle in Genesis. We know that David was a warrior king. In the New Testament we read of soldiers, like Cornelius, who were Christians. As Christians, we are all called to be soldiers of Christ, but we fight a spiritual war against our enemy Satan and his demonic followers.
Like soldiers here on earth, we have to be prepared for battle. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul instructs us to put on the whole armor of God. Read with me in chapter 6 verses 12 and 13.
We see here the general reason why we need armor. Let’s look at a few more good reasons.
First, Peter tells us in his first letter that Satan is as a roaring lion, walking about to see who he can might devour. We get a glimpse of this in the book of Job when Satan was before God in the throne room of Heaven. God asked the devil where he had come from, and the devil responded that he’d be going to and fro on the earth and walking up and down it. Satan was a restless soul, looking to cause trouble. And we know from the accounts of the Gospels that there were others on the Earth with him, as we just read in Ephesians chapter 6. There are principalities, and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world. We cannot face such enemies alone. We need the strength of God that comes from the armor he has provided us. Let’s take a closer look at what that armor is.
First, we must gird our loins in Truth. Ephesians 6:14 tells us: Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth… This is the first step in preparing to arm ourselves. So what does girding our loins mean? That’s not a phrase that makes a lot of sense to us today. Let’s take a look at what girding one’s loins refers to.
We have to remember that in the first century in the Middle East and most parts of the Roman Empire, men didn’t wear pants. They wore long tunics. You can imagine how this would have gotten in the way. This is the reason Roman Legionnaires wore short, kilt-like skirts. The illustration shows how someone would roll up their tunic so that it wouldn’t be in the way. With the tunic tied in place, the first step in preparing for battle was complete.
In spiritual warfare, the truth is like that tunic. It has to be always with us whether we are working or fighting. Where the tunic provided basic protection from the elements, the truth is our spiritual base layer. It has to be in place for the rest of the armor of God to go on top of. The truth, God’s word is our foundation.
On top of that base layer of truth, we must layer righteousness. While the truth is essential, just knowing God’s word isn’t enough. Unbelievers can know the truth. We read in Mark 1:24 of an unclean spirit saying to Jesus: “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God”. We also read in James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble”. If we read on to the next verse in that passage, James make the point of why righteousness must be layered on top of truth: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”. We can’t just know the truth, we have to have action. Righteousness comes through action. In Romans 4:3 we are told “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness”. This believe had action. In Genesis chapter 17, God commanded that Abraham and the men of his house and their descendants be circumcised. Abraham obeyed. In Genesis chapter 22, God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, and Abraham obeyed, but God saw his faith and provided a sacrifice in Isaac’s place. We know this is a foreshadowing of God sacrificing His own Son, which shows us God doesn’t ask us to do anything He wasn’t willing to do. Our God leads by example, as does His Son.
For us to follow Christ’s lead, we have to have the right footwear to endure the long march. Think about a time in your life when you were walking in an ill-fitting, uncomfortable pair of shoes. Bad shoes make everything harder. The shoes we are told to wear are designed to make the march ahead possible.
After we’ve gird out loins, put on our breastplate, and laced up our shoes getting ready to march, we have to take up our shield. Our spiritual shield is a shield of faith. With a strong faith, we are told by Paul that we can quench the fiery darts of the wicked. Our shield of faith gives us courage. We hold it in front of us to deflect the attack of our enemy. The Romans had a tactic called a shield wall where the legionnaires would overlap their shields to provide a near-inpenatrable defense. Like the Legionnaires, we are stronger as Christians when we are supporting each other.
The last essential piece of armor is the helmet. The head is where reason and observation dictate action. A blow to the head impacts our ability to engage in action, and a hard enough blow kills us. We can take a lot of other damage to other areas of our bodies, but our heads are a weak point. Salvation is protection for the life to come. And when we put on salvation, we are called to action.
Finally, in this inventory of items for spiritual warfare, we must take up the sword of the Spirit. Paul tells us this is the Word of God. The Bible is our offensive weapon. If we choose any other text, we’ve chosen wrong. No other book is up to the task of fighting against Satan and his followers.
In this spiritual war, we are guaranteed victory, but not necessarily in this life. In the spirit of Memorial Day, I’d like for us to consider several other soldiers of Christ who fought the good fight, but paid with their lives. As you can see from this list, they did not live out peaceful years and die of old age. Like the service members we honor this weekend in America who died in combat, our brethren listed here died in spiritual combat. They await their reward on the day of Judgement. We may not be called to be martyrs, but we might fight the good fight.
As Christians, we are enlisted in the army of God. If you’re not a Christian, you are not a part of this army. In fact, you are fighting for the enemy. Fortunately, you can make this right. Cross the battle line and get on the winning side.
[N.B. I originally posted this article on the Society of Southern Gentlemen blog. I don’t plan to maintain that site, so I am merging all the posts there onto this site, but keeping the original timestamps.]
That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 (ASV)
We’re often told how irrelevant the Bible is in modern times, and while I hold the Bible to be truth, I think there are threads that run through it that are common to all mankind. The Founding Fathers referred to those threads as Natural Law. I hold firmly to the fact that there is an Intelligent Designer of the Universe, who is known imperfectly by various names throughout the history of humanity, such as EL, Brahma, Ahura Mazda, the Great Architect of the Universe, and so forth. I’m not advocating that all faiths lead to Heaven, just that there are hints of truth in some of their early teachings. I’m off on a tangent, but I say all this to lead into an interesting article published in the MIT Technology Review.The text begins thus:
Back in 1995, Kurt Vonnegut gave a lecture in which he described his theory about the shapes of stories. In the process, he plotted several examples on a blackboard. “There is no reason why the simple shapes of stories can’t be fed into computers,” he said. “They are beautiful shapes.” The video is available on YouTube.
Vonnegut was representing in graphical form an idea that writers have explored for centuries—that stories follow emotional arcs, that these arcs can have different shapes, and that some shapes are better suited to storytelling than others.
Vonnegut mapped out several arcs in his lecture. These include the simple arc encapsulating “man falls into hole, man gets out of hole” and the more complex one of “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.”
Vonnegut is not alone in attempting to categorize stories into types, although he was probably the first to do it in graphical form. Aristotle was at it over 2,000 years before him, and many others have followed in his footsteps.
However, there is little agreement on the number of different emotional arcs that arise in stories or their shape. Estimates vary from three basic patterns to more than 30. But there is little in the way of scientific evidence to favor one number over another.
Today, that changes thanks to the work of Andrew Reagan at the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont in Burlington and a few pals. These guys have used sentiment analysis to map the emotional arcs of over 1,700 stories and then used data-mining techniques to reveal the most common arcs. “We find a set of six core trajectories which form the building blocks of complex narratives,” they say.
As many of us who’ve watched movies in the last couple decades can attest, this seems like a pretty reasonable statement. We can recognize this. It is formulaic.
Also, there are examples of lost technology that is more advanced than anything that we had up until the past 100 years. A perfect and recent example of this is the Antikythera Mechanism:
More than a hundred years ago an extraordinary mechanism was found by sponge divers at the bottom of the sea near the island of Antikythera. It astonished the whole international community of experts on the ancient world. Was it an astrolabe? Was it an orrery or an astronomical clock? Or something else?
For decades, scientific investigation failed to yield much light and relied more on imagination than the facts. However research over the last half century has begun to reveal its secrets. The machine dates from around the end of the 2nd century B.C. and is the most sophisticated mechanism known from the ancient world. Nothing as complex is known for the next thousand years. The Antikythera Mechanism is now understood to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena and operates as a complex mechanical “computer” which tracks the cycles of the Solar System.
To give an idea of how complex this machine was, take a look at this video:
My point is this: it has taken us quantum leaps in scientific advances to recognize we’re not as much smarter than our ancestors than we believe we are. For those of us who allow ourselves a modicum of humility (which I am often accused of not having), we understand from Ecclesiastes (written thousands of years ago) that there is “nothing new under the sun”. No, Solomon didn’t have a rocket ship to Mars, our ancestors were as intelligent as we are, they just didn’t have the sum of technology to build upon that we do… or did they, and we just haven’t found record of it yet?
[Edited December 23, 2020 to correct inaccuracies in the blazons.]
A couple years ago I posted the William Blethyn pedigree roll with the promise of transcribing it. I’m a little behind schedule in following through with that, but I would like to make an attempt to blazon the arms attributed to him.
Arms: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Gules, three chevronnels argent (Corenny hir Lydanwyn), 2nd, Azure, a chevron between three cocks combed, armed, and wattled gules (Meuric ap Tewdric), 3rd, Or, three lions passant guardant gules armed and langued azure, a crescent dexter chief for difference gules.
Crest: Upon a wreath of gules and argent, on a mound a Paschal Lamb proper, holding between its fore hooves a long cross argent from which flies a banner of the Cross of St. George.”
If you follow any of the major blogs in the “Manosphere“, you might have noticed recently a bit of back and forth over the concept of Chivalry in the modern world. I’ll stay neutral on that discussion, but I want to take a moment to comment on the ten commandments of Chivalry:
Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and shalt observe all its directions.
Claiming no creed nor doctrine outside that practiced by the first century Christians, I believe in the Gospel and the epistles, with their “primitive” form of Christianity that can be seen from the examples as recorded in the books that have been passed to us as the New Testament. I strive to “speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent“.
Thou shalt defend the Church.
The church to which I belong claims no central authority other than Christ, thus the simple naming convention of claiming to be His church in a particular locale. Since my faith is spiritual, my battle is likewise, though I may face adversaries on the physical plane. This doesn’t mean that one sits idly by to allow others to slander the Christian faith, but it also doesn’t necessitate physical violence against the offender. Paul details our weapons as :
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)
These are the weapons with which I defend Christ’s church.
Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
I must be understanding of others’ shortcomings, as I hope they will be of mine.
Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
This one is not very difficult for me. I have served in my Nation’s military and I uphold the principles of its Constitution. No matter where I may find myself in life, I will always love my homeland, where the Lord has blessed me so richly.
Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
Looking back to verse 12 above, I see that my enemy is Satan. I must stand firm against him and those who serve him.
Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
I see no call to a physical holy war in the teaching of Christ, though I find many examples of it in the conquest of Caanan in the Torah. YHWH commanded His people to commit violence against a people He had proscribed for their sins, and when the Israelites carried this out as commanded, they were blessed. When they showed mercy upon those to whom no mercy had been commanded, they were punished. Bearing in mind the historical context of the Crusades, I know where this command was directed, but there are may “infidels” that a Christian faces today. Given the spiritual nature of Christianity, this means, to me, engaging in intellectual warfare against doctrines contrary to those I hold as matters of faith. Following the physical example from the Old Testament, I cannot show mercy to a doctrine that is not of the Lord.
Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
This one is simple to understand, yet so difficult sometimes to follow. We live in a time of low expectations, where one’s word often doesn’t mean a whole lot, and pages and pages of contracts have to be spelled out to do what a spoken word or handshake used to seal.
Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
This is one that I, and I suppose many in the western world struggle with. It is very easy to pass this responsibility off to the “government” since we are taxed to pay for social programs. The scriptures are clear that each of us has some responsibility to care for the less fortunate.
Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
In our world of moral relativism, this one might be the most maligned. No good deed goes unpunished. One must reject this abomination. A Parable of Christ makes this clear: 24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)
This is what the ten commandments of chivalry mean to me. It’s not holding doors for ladies, though if a lady is to be found, that would be in line with the type of kindness that a chivalrous gentleman would do. Bear in mind that a female is not always a lady, nor is a male always a gentleman. Those designations are earned and should not be flouted about willy-nilly based on some egalitarian claptrap that passes for civility nowadays. Chivalry is an honor code to be followed by those who act honorably, and extended to those worthy of honor.