Saturday, December 31, 2011

All Commandments Are Equal But Some Are More Equal Than Others

“All Animals are Equal but Some Animals are More Equal than Others.” – A very famous line from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Certain parts of the patriarchy movement are very interesting to me and by turns, quite hilarious. You see, I just finished A Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. It’s basically Jacobs’ journal as he spent one year trying to follow every single rule in the Bible. It’s a thought-provoking read and I really enjoyed the insights into fundamentalism that Jacobs took away from his project. One of the biggest insights: even fundamentalists pick and choose which rules to follow from the Bible. Different groups get hung up on different rules, found in both the Old and New Testaments, and then they expect everyone to follow them. Fundamentalists also take the Bible literally in some places and figuratively in others―this seemingly hinges on how well a verse fits into their preconceived theory. I find it amusing (and sad) that patriarchy people are so hung up on the Numbers 30 vow passage that they believe binds daughters to serve their fathers until marriage. (Of course, I’ve never heard of a Jewish scholar ever coming up with that interpretation of Numbers 30 but who’s keeping track?) Yet, they don’t make their daughters or wives follow the monthly female impurity laws. As Jacobs points out, no one individual law in the Torah is specified to be more important than any of the others. (Except maybe the Ten Commandments… but still, they’re all given equal weight.) Isn’t the monthly impurity law as important as the (pseudo) command to stay at home and not go to college? For that matter, why do patriarchy followers wear clothes with mixed fibers? Or cut the hair on the sides of their heads? Do they always stand in the presence of the elderly? (Lev 19) If a man isn’t supposed to wear women’s clothing, (Deut 22) why can men in the patriarchy movement wear kilts? They are *cough* skirts *cough* and are worn by women as well as men. Of course, the women of the movement are (generally) not allowed to wear pants... hypocritical much? Moving to the New Testament, why doesn’t the patriarchy crowd steal the Shakers thunder and encourage celibacy instead of all these courtship ideas? After all, Jesus and Paul encourage believers not to marry (Matthew 19, 1 Cor 7) and courtship isn’t even in the Bible! It seems that the men leading the patriarchy movement have carefully chosen which rules they want to follow and ignored others that don’t fit into their theory. Who knows? Maybe Doug Phillips will suddenly advocate following the mixed fiber law and then sell special non-mixed fiber costumes? It could happen. :-D
Seriously, taking the Bible too literally is dangerous. In doing so, one misses the spirit of the whole. As A.J Jacobs wrote, “Here’s the amazing thing: those who overliteralize the words of God are mocked in the Bible itself,” (290). Jacobs then discusses Nicodemus’ literal understanding of Jesus’ telling him to be born again. “Nicodemus is like a sitcom dunderhead here…. He can’t see that Jesus’ words were figurative and poetic,” (291). Far too often, we focus on the wrong part of scripture. We take verses out of context, overliteralize them, or simply fail to grasp the true meaning in and behind the words. I think we all have a little bit of fundamentalism inside us and we have to fight it. Instead of just forgiving and letting go, we keep track of the 490 times we have to forgive. We lash out at our neighbors in “righteous judgment” instead of turning the other cheek. When the time does come to judge, our leaders especially, we are too scared or in awe of man to stand up for truth. We tell women and minorities to be silent and forget that Jesus talked to and loves the poor, the outcast, the hated, and the sinner. We fight about whether or not women should wear head coverings instead of caring about what’s going on in their hearts. In the 1850’s, we preached that slavery was biblical from the pulpit but ignored the fact that it just wasn’t right. We buy what we want instead of what we need in order to give away the difference. We truly do not know what we have done. Within the patriarchy movement, it all goes back to the same idea of picking and choosing which rules to follow from the Bible. In the patriarchy movement especially, some commandments are more equal than others―particularly the ones limiting women and children. By doing this, those in the movement are totally missing the spirit of the Gospel. You cannot approach the Bible with your own system and pull out verses that support your theory while ignoring contradictory passages and the spirit of the whole. However, that’s exactly what the patriarchy movement does. It’s a top-down, male dominated system and I find it amazing that free, redeemed people would want to shackle themselves to such a movement.


Ingrid

Monday, December 19, 2011

Locked in a Tower




So, a stay at home daughter picked on Tangled. I’m not surprised. It is, however, a little disappointing. The review by Amanda Reins is aptly titled Mangled because that’s exactly what it does to a beautiful film. I highly doubt that Disney knew that they were giving Rapunzel some of the traits of a stay at home daughter. Believe it or not ladies, the real world does not revolve around Vision Forum, the Botkins, or Ladies Against Feminism. To again take a quote from It’s a Wonderful Life, “You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well, it doesn't, Mr. Potter. In the...in the whole vast configuration of things, I'd say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider.” You might want to read "Mangled" before reading this...otherwise, my response might not make sense. :-)


First, the beginning of the film showing Rapunzel’s skills is a pretty accurate depiction of homemaking and I found it very sweet. She seems to enjoy what she does with her time but realizes that there’s way more to life than baking, ballet, and chess all alone. Is there something wrong with that?
One of the worst parts of this review is where it brushes aside the facts that Rapunzel is kidnapped, locked in a tower, and emotionally abused! “Of course, we could overlook this because, after all, Mother Gothel is really just a wicked captor bent on using Rapunzel for her own ends. But, the fact is that Rapunzel’s actions are carried out in the understanding that this is her mother and it’s really not until the last few minutes of the film that she finds out otherwise. Theirs is the relationship which is modeled throughout the film as mother/daughter.” (For some reason, whenever I read that I feeling like yelling, “Mother Gothel locked Rapunzel in a freaking tower!!!!” Anyone else feel that way? :-D) What was Rapunzel supposed to do? Never seek help? Stay for fear of disobeying her mother figure? There is no one in the tower to mediate for her! Mother Gothel is emotionally and verbally abusive! In fact, it’s clear that Gothel only sees Rapunzel for her hair. She objectifies Rapunzel’s hair and ignores the fact that Rapunzel is a living human being with hopes and dreams of her own. In a line from “Mother Knows Best” Gothel sings, “to keep you safe and sound dear” while cradling Rapunzel’s hair. Creepy, yes? The advice often given in abusive relationships is “get out and get help” and that is exactly what Rapunzel does. “If we’re prepared to say that Mother Gothel’s sins are inexcusable, we must be prepared to say the same of Rapunzel’s.” What “sin” has Rapunzel supposedly committed? Rebellion due to leaving home? I guess this “sin” is too great to be excused for any reason in the eyes of a stay-at-home daughter.
I think the paragraph about the tiara symbolizing purity is reading too deeply into the scenes. It’s a tiara; Flynn stole it, and wants it back. It could be valid that a girl watching could parrot Rapunzel’s response to Flynn about something different but I doubt that this would be the movie anyone would think of regarding ways to lose purity. Sometimes, stay at home daughters react to things that normal people would never notice and this makes me think that they are focusing on their own perfection and purity just a little too much. Be it in life, a film, or a novel, it almost seems like they’re waiting for someone else to make a mistake so they can pick on it. They are so sensitive to any idea of impurity that they are far more imaginative and dark than I would ever think of being.


Of Flynn and Rapunzel’s relationship, Reins writes, “Their relationship is one of mutual, self-serving interest.” Yes it is... at first. Then it becomes something much more special―full of mutual respect and sacrifice. “He’s a helpless, sensitive, emotional male- an accessory to the capable, brilliant, amazing Rapunzel.” Apparently, sensitivity and emotion in men are considered qualities of helplessness by Miss Reins. (That’s pretty sad. I hope, if I'm so blessed, that my husband is sensitive and emotional when he needs to be someday.) I honestly don’t see Flynn as an accessory to Rapunzel. To me, he’s an important character; without whom, Rapunzel would never have been able to succeed in her adventure or even start at all. In a way, each saves the other. Flynn saves Rapunzel from mother Gothel, twice in fact, and even sacrifices himself for her freedom while Rapunzel saves Flynn's life and also inspires him to leave his life of crime and think about what really matters. Throughout the film, Rapunzel accepts Flynn for who he is and helps him to overcome his past. Of course a stay-at-home daughter would not like him because he’s not the perfect prince type. They like to forget that people are flawed and that everyone carries emotional baggage. “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?” Proverbs 20:9. See: Seeking Perfection.
The saddest part of this review is the end: “In the end, Rapunzel is finally reunited with the king and queen and as the film closes, we discover some final lessons- that good governments reward sin and indulgent parents are real parents. Flynn is embraced, his thievery ignored, and welcomed, as Rapunzel’s new husband, a prince in their kingdom.” Heaven forbid we forgive anyone! Forgiveness and mercy are traits which must not be acceptable or familiar to Miss Reins. Jesus ate and talked with sinners because He had mercy and He always makes it clear that they leave their life of sin behind when they believe in His name. Rapunzel’s parents accept Flynn by showing him mercy and obviously, Flynn leaves his life of sin behind. This is a beautiful story of redemption because it shows the power and healing effect of Christ’s love and mercy.
Again, I am not surprised that a stay at home daughter did not like this film. I knew it was coming. Why? Because Tangled is too close to their own lives. It comes too close and it scares them. And because they can’t like it or don’t understand it, they decide to pick it apart. Badly done, Miss Reins, badly done.


Ingrid

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Dad's Goals for Me

Written when I was eleven for me and my sister:

1. That she will grow up to be healthy and happy.
2. That she will grow up to live the life of a true Christian.
3. That she will grow up to make the world a better place to live by making decisions that make a positive difference in people’s lives.
4. That she will work hard for the causes she believes in.
5. That she will treat others the way she would like to be treated, with dignity and respect, and be accountable for decisions that she makes.

Still trying to live up to them. :-)

Ingrid

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just Kiss Her Already

"Why don’t you kiss her instead of talking her to death?" — Nosy neighbor to George Bailey, It’s A Wonderful Life.


Recently, I was watching re-runs of the show 19 Kids and Counting which features the large Duggar family. What struck me the most were the episodes about their oldest son Joshua and his fiancée/then wife Anna. They tell their story and why they are saving their first kiss, but then they are allowed to hold hands.... Actually, I mean caress each other's hands. If anyone else saw this they know what I mean. When they were together, Josh and Anna's hands hardly ever parted-- they stroked each other's fingers and wrapped their hands around each other's hands. It was disgusting. It was like they were putting all of their sexual tension into their handholding. I just wanted to push their heads together and make them kiss just so they could stop their horrible caressing.

Several years ago, I was a member of "The Rebelution" forums (which I could devote several posts to in itself). I remember a thread titled "Virgin Lips," in which 200 + girls were all saving their first kiss for their wedding day. Talk about peer pressure! The girls were adamant that it was wrong to kiss before you were married (Hmm… I wonder who they heard that from? Maybe Josh Harris?) and they were all discussing how "romantic it is to save your first kiss" and "it is so pure." I think that many people (Vision Forum and Botkinites included) over-think the issue of kissing! In fact, at the most recent Botkin wedding, after the “conference” was over the bride and groom got to **gasp** share their first… EMBRACE! How horrible is that!?! They seem to assume that if one kisses than they will have more impure thoughts and feelings, and that you shouldn't have any feelings whatsoever until you are married-- and if then. I recently talked to a professional counselor who talks to couples and also single women before they marry and do you know what she said? She said that many Christian couples have issues with intimacy when they first get married, because they are scared or feel guilty about having sex. In fact, many don't really know what to do or what they should feel. For some, it takes many counseling sessions to get the couples to the point that they feel comfortable with intimacy. Hmm... I wonder why!? It seems that there is too much peer pressure on not kissing and so much of a focus on "staying pure" that some couples can't enjoy intimacy. On a different note: I often wonder why there are so many books published for Christians regarding intimacy? It seems kind of strange, like we need a how-to guide.... You sure don't see as many books in non-Christian circles for this subject! I just wish that Christians were not so legalistic about stuff that is not in the Bible... nowhere in the Bible is there any verse saying that you can't kiss before you are married. Not one. I'm tired of Christians making up rules for things that should just come naturally-- like kissing. If a couple really wants to wait for their wedding day to kiss, it should be their own decision, not made for them by family, friends, and books that bully and guilt them into waiting. It's almost like there is an unspoken rule: If you kiss before you are married, you have sinned and you are not really a virgin.

I am not saving my first kiss for my wedding day. I want my first kiss to be in private-- away from relatives and cameras. I do not need it recorded on film for future generations either. (Oh... and engagement should be private too! Not in front of the whole family.) And, for the record, just because a couple kisses does not mean they are going to go sleep together afterwards. As my sister Ingrid pointed out, "Having never been kissed, I cannot draw from personal experience but I can say that kissing seems to be highly over-rated. So over-rated that Christians are encouraging each other to wait until the wedding day to share their first kiss in front of 10-500 people. It must be wonderful if it requires such an audience!..." Oh, and for the record George Bailey kisses Mary before they get married!! :)

~~Grace

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Falling off Again

“The world is like a drunken peasant. If you lift him into the saddle on one side, he will fall off again on the other side. One can't help him, no matter how one tries. He wants to be the devil's.” - Martin Luther.1


I’m choosing to stay at home and joyfully serve my father as God as called me to do. The world tells me that I can go to college and have it all: a career and a family but I know this is a lie. The world hates us for being keepers at home but I know that I am glorifying God.”
“Courtship is the best road to marriage. Through courtship, one does not experience the grief of giving one’s heart away through many casual dating relationships. I’m glad that I will avoid the pitfalls and immorality of the world...”
I read a lot of blogs written by proponents of the patriarchy and stay at home daughters movements. Most of them are written by young women and they’re all the same… or at least, it often feels that way. I actually wrote the two entries above; they refer to a couple of the most discussed topics on these blogs. Do you see the common theme in the entries above? That’s right; they go from one extreme to another.
In the first, the writer assumes that college for women equals balancing career and family. So in one sentence, we’ve moved from simple studying in college to being a career woman putting her children in daycare in order to be in the workforce. Believe it or not, many women actually go to college, marry, and then chose to stay home with their children. That’s what my mother did and that’s what I plan to do if God blesses me with marriage and children. Patriarchy people seem to think that college equals going far from home, partying, and becoming a feminist and a career woman. It doesn’t have to be any of those things. I, as well as many of my friends, live at home and commute to school; we don’t party and our faith is strong. In the same vein, I often see the idea that “the world hates us for being keepers at home” and I always wonder, “Does it really?” From what I see, homemaking is in vogue right now. I meet women everywhere who stay at home with their kids. Many women love babies and cooking and aprons and interior design… they just don’t obsess about these things. I honestly don’t understand where proponents of patriarchy are getting the idea that the world hates homemakers. Still, such comments are a good marketing scheme for selling more copies of Passionate Housewives and So Much More to “encourage” stay at home daughters and housewives in their desperate battle against the world. *rolls eyes*
As for the courtship paragraph, this recurrent jumping from a discussion of courtship to casual dating drives me nuts! So many patriarchy people decide that since the culture casually dates and hooks up, we should all practice courtship and betrothal. In courtship proponent’s minds, there is no middle ground! The examples of dating that they give are always about casual dating. Casual dating is NOT what my parents and many of my friend’s parents did! They had lots of friends, dated very few people, met the right person, dated them (as in going out to eat, hanging out with family, etc.), and then got married young. That’s what most of the young adults in my church do as well. I like to call it purposeful dating. It doesn’t have the pressure of courtship (i.e. on the first “meeting” you’re talking about getting married!) and it allows young people to be friends and then pair off if something develops.
Extremes don’t just belong to proponents of patriarchy… I also see extreme behaviour in people who have left the patriarchy movement. It is easy for them to declare that they don’t want kids or that they will send their kids to public school, or even believe that the government has a right to oversee homeschooling and/or parenting. They see abuse in everything because they have been abused and thus, jump to an extreme. It’s really sad. Unfortunately, it only encourages proponents of patriarchy to continue in their extreme behavior and convinces them that all who are outside of the movement are against them/hate them/etc. I find myself jumping to extremes sometimes too…. I read blog entries about how controlling the men in this movement are and it scares me to the point of praying, “I’m never getting married! What if I end up with some control freak who only cares about himself and beats our kids!!” Then after a moment, that still small voice says, “But, Ingrid, don’t you trust me? There are many kind, caring young men who would be just as offended by these men as you are.” And then I remember how many nice young men I know and I realize that I’m going to an extreme. It’s that pervasive. I always go back to that quote of Luther’s, “The world is like a drunken peasant. If you lift him into the saddle on one side, he will fall off again on the other side. One can't help him, no matter how one tries. He wants to be the devil's.” Just because we have escaped from falling into patriarchy doesn’t mean we should fall off the other side of the proverbial horse. It’s actually letting the patriarchy people win because we’re reacting to the point of being exactly what they thought we’d be if we “rebelled.” So be on your guard and try to be balanced.
Living your life by bounding from one extreme to another isn’t what we were created to do. For the most part, people jump to extremes because they are afraid. Afraid of pain, afraid of losing their faith or God’s (or their family’s) favor, or even afraid of being trapped within a legalistic lifestyle. We’re not to live our lives in fear or as a reaction to someone else’s bad behaviour. We need to trust God and realise that He is in control and He gave us “a spirit of power and love and self-control.”2


“Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise—why destroy yourself? Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.”
– Ecclesiastes 7: 16-18.

Ingrid


1. Table Talk #630 (probably recorded around 1533), which can be found in volume 54, page 111 of the Luther-Werke, Luther's works. http://ask.metafilter.com/118341/Help-me-track-down-a-quote-from-Martin-Luther
2. 2 Timothy 1:7.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Psychological Paradox

As I was writing my last post, I noticed a very striking paradox within the Quiverfull/Militant Fecundity movement. It is so strange to me that these movements promote “independence training” such as blanket training, early weaning, and detachment of the mother/baby relationship while promoting “dependence training” in almost every other area of a child’s life. Confused? Here’s a quick definition of both kinds of training:
Independence Training is, "Child-rearing practices that foster independence, self-reliance, and personal achievement."
This is most practiced in western societies which contain a focus on individuality.
Dependence Training is, "Child-rearing practices that foster compliance in the performance of assigned tasks and dependence on the domestic group, rather than reliance on oneself."
This is common in Eastern societies and more traditional societies which focus on the group rather than the individual.
Think about that for a minute. For most proponents of the Patriocentricity movement, Quiverfull and Militant Fecundity are considered wonderful pro-family practices. Quiverfull/Militant Fecundity families are seemingly close and promote a focus on the family rather than the individual. Daughters are encouraged (if not required) to remain at home until marriage and to serve their father. Likewise, sons are expected to take over the family business and honor their father. In some cases, it is expected that the children will continue to carry out their father’s 200-year “vision” and not pursue their own goals at all. It is not uncommon for Patriocentric families to have 25-30 year old dependant daughters still living at home. Again, it is family over individual. I think we can agree that the children of this movement are trained to be dependent on their parents for almost everything including courtship and life work. However, as I discussed in my last post, Quiverfull/Militant Fecundity parents are surprisingly detached from their babies. Blanket training, early weaning, separate beds/rooms, etc. are all ways in which these parents train their little ones to be self-sufficient and independent. This form of “baby-training” actually follows American culture and isn’t Biblical but they still do it. I would think that they would want to create loving, secure environments for their children from day one. If you’re going to teach your child to be dependant, prove to them when they are little that they can trust you. When you purposely wean your baby early in order to conceive again and pass them off to a sibling, you’re showing that you care more about your fertility than the child you currently have. It’s not loving, it’s selfish. You’re putting your wants above the needs of your child. And later in life, your children are supposed to trust you with the choice of their mate? Psychologically, you’re sending very mixed signals to your children if you flip-flop from independence to dependence training. At least most secular parents who promote independence training for babies stick with the same focus on independence as their children grow into adulthood. In my mind, this insincere flip-flopping is one of the things that make Militant Fecundity and Quiverfull so toxic and dangerous. And I’m just going to say it: this is very hypocritical. It is clear to me that the primary goal of most of these parents is control. Control no matter the cost. And that’s what makes it abusive.

Ingrid

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Desire to Control

It is difficult for me to read about women in the Quiverfull/Militant Fecundity movement. Aside from the not being allowed to vote, go to college, or get a job; there’s also the fact that some of the women have a baby nearly every year. It might seem strange to be writing this article when I’m not married but believe me; I have a good grasp of anatomy and have done my research. (I’ve also posted links at the bottom to other resources.) One young Quiverfull/Militant Fecundity mother has given birth to four children in four and a half years, at risk to her health due to requiring an emergency c-section for baby #3 and a life flight trip to the hospital for a D&C after baby #4. Quite frankly, this is not normal or natural! Don’t get me wrong, I love children and I want to have as many as God wants to give me…. (The Quiverfull/Militant Fecundity crowd has an annoying way of taking something good and making it an ugly, idolatrous route to "perfection".) However, when the time comes, I want to have children naturally. “Wait, stop!” You say, “Quiverfull is natural! They’re not using birth control!! It is God’s design!” Uh, no, it is not God’s design for a woman to give birth every year or to be pregnant again within 6 months of her last pregnancy. Women’s bodies are simply not designed to have children this quickly. When I see that a woman has four children in four years, I don’t see God’s design for family; I see a desire to control. It is known that many Quiverfull proponents are not exactly proponents of attachment parenting. I highly doubt that many Quiverfull women co-sleep, exercise, eat correctly, or do anything to maintain a healthy body. I also doubt that they continue to nurse for an extended period of time. It saddens me to write this but most of the women in the movement look as if they never lose their baby weight―a fairly telling sign that they aren’t nursing correctly. My guess is that early weaning and blanket training is the norm for most Quiverfull mothers. In fact, an old friend of my mother’s is a proponent of attachment parenting and is in with the Vision Forum crowd; she was very sad to find that many women in the Vision Forum crowd are fairly hands-off with their babies. Purposely weaning your child, making them sleep in a crib, and blanket training them is a way of controlling how many children you have. It is birth control… in reverse. It’s not in line with biblical custom either if you want to think along the lines of their culture. Hebrew children were not weaned until they were at least two; most commentaries on the first book of Samuel agree that Samuel was at least three by the time Hannah brought him to Eli. Again, women’s bodies are not designed to give birth every year; it is unhealthy and risky for both mother and child. God is good and He knows that having a child every year is not good for a woman’s body or for the wellbeing of her other children. He has designed a healthy, simple way of controlling fertility. “How food-foraging peoples regulate population size relates to two things: how much body fat they accumulate and how they care for their children. Ovulation requires a certain minimum of body fat, and in traditional foraging societies, this is not achieved until early adulthood. Once a child is born, its mother nurses it several times each hour, even at night, and this continues for a period of four or five years. The constant stimulation of the mother’s nipple suppresses the level of hormones that promote ovulation, making conception less likely, especially if work keeps the mother physically active, and she does not have a large store of body fat to draw on for energy. Continuing to nurse for several years, women give birth only at widely spaced intervals.” (1) When a woman breastfeeds on demand, her fertility declines. If she carries her baby with her in a sling, sleeps beside her baby and nurses him or her at night, doesn’t use a pacifier, or even continues to nurse a toddler or young child, her fertility will decline sharply. (2) “It has long been observed in cultures where breastfeeding is common that nursing a child has a prophylactic affect against conceiving. In fact, this phenomenon has been so consistent and observable that it has been named: lactational amenorrhea, the absence or suppression of a woman's menses (or menstrual flow) due to breastfeeding…. Studies show that this method provides more than 98% protection against pregnancy during the first six months after birth. Many women find that breastfeeding is effective as a prophylactic against getting pregnant well beyond this six month period. Sound incredible? There is actually a perfectly logical, or, more to the point, physiological explanation for this phenomenon. Here's how it works. As a baby nurses at its mother's breast, the sucking action stimulates nerve endings in the areola, which send messages to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls metabolism. This in turn signals the pituitary gland to release two hormones (oxytocin and prolactin) which work together to produce and release the mother's milk. However, in addition to contributing to milk production, prolactin has another effect: high levels of prolactin in a woman's body helps to suppress ovulation.” (3) We in the U.S. are pretty culture bound (4) when it comes to babies, as this quote from the Anthropology textbook will tell you: “As a case in point, consider the fact that infants in the United States typically sleep apart from their parents. To most North Americans, this may seem normal, but cross-cultural research shows that co-sleeping, of mother and baby in particular, is the rule. Only in the past 200 years, generally in Western industrial societies, has it been considered proper for parents to sleep apart from their infants…. Recent studies have shown that separation of mother and infant in Western societies has important biological and cultural consequences. For one thing, it increases the length of the child’s crying bouts. Some mother’s incorrectly interpret the cause as a deficiency in breast milk and switch to less healthy bottle formulas; and in extreme cases, the crying may provoke physical abuse. But the benefits of co-sleeping go beyond significant reduction in crying: infants also nurse more often and three times as long per feeding; they receive more stimulation (important for brain development); and they are apparently less susceptible to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS or “crib death”). There are benefits to the mother as well: frequent nursing prevents early ovulation after childbirth, and she gets at least as much sleep as mothers who sleep without their infants.” (5) And this is in a secular textbook!! :-D Perhaps one truly unfortunate aspect of young women not going to college is the fact that they are less likely to be exposed to sociology and psychology classes which contain a lot of useful information about marriage and family. I never thought I would learn so much about childrearing as I have in my Psychology and Sociology survey classes. Did you know that people of other cultures consider cribs to be “cages”? One missionary to New Guinea who visited my church explained that the people there wanted to know why she put her baby in a “cage”. Take a moment to study all the other cultures that practice co-sleeping including Korea, China, and Thailand, and allow your eyes to be opened to how the rest of the world functions. And for the “you’ll roll on your child!” crowd, here’s information on sleep cycles from a psychology textbook, “Even when you are deeply asleep, your brain somehow processes the meaning of certain stimuli. You move around on your bed, but you manage not to fall out of it. If you sleep with your babies, you will not roll over and suffocate them (assuming you are not intoxicated). The occasional roar of passing vehicles may leave deep sleep undisturbed, but the cry from a baby’s nursery quickly interrupts it. So does the sound of your name―a stimulus our selective attention responds is ever alert for. EEG recordings confirm that the brain’s auditory cortex responds to sound stimuli even during sleep.” (6) Yes, I am a proponent of the family bed. (Read some articles by Dr. Sears and you will be as well.) I believe that babies and children are entitled to as much love and cuddling as they want and I believe they should be allowed to nurse as long as they want to nurse. I believe that blanket training and letting a child “cry it out” is neglectful and even abusive. Now, I know not all Quiverfull proponents wean early or blanket train but I ask you, can you name one? My Mom’s friend in the Quiverfull/Vision Forum crowd who was a proponent of attachment parenting did not speak up! She was and still is too intimidated to say anything! If there are those who understand natural child spacing or attachment parenting in the Quiverful/Militant Fecundity movement, they need to speak up! Can you imagine how wonderful it would be for mothers and babies across this country if Michelle Dugger was a proponent of attachment parenting? A perfectly good opportunity lost! Militant Fecundity (I hate that term!) really is a good name for this type of child raising/training because it is much more akin to a military campaign than normal living. It is also just as toxic as a war zone to mother, child, and family. Quiverfull and Militant Fecundity are NOT pro-family nor are they Biblical; those who believe that these movements are beneficial are sorely mistaken.


Ingrid

Addendum
November 5, 2014,

I’ve gotten so many comments on this post that I feel a few explanations are necessary. So, I’m taking a minute here to address a few things that have confused several readers…

1: I’m not advocating NFP here. I’m explaining how patriarchy claims to be “natural” and “God’s design” but really is not at all. I truly believe that God designed women’s bodies to self-regulate and space out pregnancies. However, we live in a fallen world and sometimes things just don’t work how God planned due to genetics, disease, and etc. So, while NFP can be a good option, I don’t think it’s for everyone. 

2: I think some forms of birth control are a perfectly fine option and plan to use some sort of control when I get married. The reason? I don’t want to spend 10-15 years of my life able to become pregnant at any point. There are many personal reasons for this but one of them is simply practical: I have seasonal allergies and I take medications for them. I get migraines sometimes and take ibuprofen. I wouldn’t want to worry about unknowingly becoming pregnant and having medications affect the baby. Because I care about stuff like that and I think it matters.

3: Let me make something clear. In this article, I’m taking about parents within the patriarchy movement… not parents in general. There’s a big difference. I don’t care if you have one child or ten or how closely spaced they might or might not be–unless you’re having all of them because some system made up by random people told you that you should. You should have children because you want to have them and love having them–not because some guy somewhere decreed that you needed to have kids. But please, space your kids out as much as possible, for your own sanity, there’s usually no need to have them all at once. ;)

4. Seriously, I don’t care about your baby weight. Like really. Please stop telling me about your baby weight. Life happens. I believe in being healthy and keeping a healthy weight, even during pregnancy. I do firmly believe that pregnancy is not an excuse to eat whatever and whenever you want. That is a recipe for disaster. It’s actually one of the times when you should be most health conscious. And any doctor you ask will back me up on that. Just please, I beg you, no more comments about your baby weight. That gets awkward for me and for you and it just ends badly. So please no more. :D 

Works Cited


1. Haviland, William, et al. Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge. Belmont, CA: Thomas Wadsworth, 2008. Print. Page 9.

2. Now please, don’t start giving me the, “Well my sister/friend/cousin tried the nursing thing to limit her fertility and it didn’t work. She ended up with another baby 11 months later!” I’ve heard that many times before and all I want to say is: “But did she co-sleep? Did she use a pacifier instead of nursing? What about slings?” All of the mothers I know who nursed on demand, co-slept with their babies, didn’t use pacifiers, nursed more than one child, and etc. had child spacing of 2-3 years. It is always possible that one spacing might be closer than another just as another could be longer.
3. Overton, Larry G. Breastfeeding and the Bible.
4. Culture Bound - “Theories about the world and reality based on the assumptions and values of one’s own culture.” As defined in Cultural Anthropology.

5. Haviland, William, et al. Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge. Belmont, CA: Thomas Wadsworth, 2008. Print. Page 9.

6. Myers, David G. Exploring Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers, 2005. Print. Page 210.

Resources


1. Family friend with 10 children (who is not Quiverfull influenced!) Proponent of the family bed and natural child spacing via extended breastfeeding. http://www.themotherscompanion dot org/index.php

2. I <3 Dr. Sears! http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/co-sleeping-yes-no-sometimes

3. Has a great article right now about not letting your baby cry it out and co-sleeping. http://parentingfreedom.com/

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Story

Pride and Prejudice, 2005
I’ve been writing this story since before I started this blog and now I think I can finally post it. It’s been alluded to in many posts, especially my earlier ones. For a long time, I held back in telling this story because of own pain and not knowing for sure what was going to happen. I also wanted to protect my friend Jason’s privacy. Just reading it over again still hurts a little.

“A book by the name of Emotional Purity came out several years back; I purchased and read it, at about the age of fourteen. My ideals were being shaped at that age, for I also bought at the same time, Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliott. And, I had in my possession, I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy meets Girl by Joshua Harris, and The Dating Trap by Martha Rupert. At first read, Emotional Purity seemed to have its philosophy straight and I agreed with much of what it said. Then when I was sixteen, I began to reexamine my foolproof system and the books that had influenced my thinking. No book was safe from my sharp critique and I found many flaws in the teaching they presented; in Emotional Purity especially.” Part 1, Let It Be = Love3

Now, what I didn’t explain in Let it Be = Love3 was the reason why I began rethinking my trust in the formulas prescribed by I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Emotional Purity, and various speakers in the homeschool realm. At the time, it was all still too fresh and too painful. Here’s the story…
When I was fifteen, I began e-mailing a good guy friend of mine who lived in another state. Let’s call him Jason. He and I had many similar interests and ideals, we were both homeschooled, and both of our parents thought that courtship was the way to handle relationships. Jason and I were friends and had been all our lives but there was always a little something special between us and that began to blossom over the next 10 or so months. We e-mailed everyday and we saw each other several times that year during family visits and our friendship grew deeper and deeper. I knew I was in love with him and knew that he likely felt the same way about me―some feelings can be exchanged with looks and words are not necessary. Then, all at once, the day after Christmas, he wrote and told me that he thought we should stop e-mailing. He said it didn’t line up with the Josh Harris books and the Little Bear Wheeler tapes (i.e. Dating is No Game tape set) he’d been listening to and thinking over. We were still technically “friends” and so applying these ideas to a “friendship” didn’t really work or make sense. I was completely confused. I asked him to call me and he did… but only after his mom called my mom and made it clear that the correspondence was over. No discussion, no chance for hope. It was over. Talk about feeling like Mr. Bingley!





Pride and Prejudice, 1995
When I was able to talk to Jason, we stayed on the phone for a really long time and he sounded so sad. He mentioned Emotional Purity and the Little Bear tapes but didn’t really have a coherent argument. Then, it was over. I cried myself to sleep for several nights afterwards and spent the next few months trying to figure out what had gone wrong. At first, I blamed myself. I blamed my parents. But then, I realized who (and what) was to blame. Upon closer examination and from what I know now of Jason and his family, his parents must have decided that I wasn’t right for their son. Or they thought he was “feeling” too much because love is a deadly sin. (*rolls eyes*) So they made him stop e-mailing me…likely by making him confused and guilty about it.

"Do you deny it, Mr. Darcy? That you separated a young couple who loved each other, exposing your friend to the censure of the world for caprice and my sister to its derision for disappointed hopes, and involving them both in misery of the acutest kind?" - Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley), Pride and Prejudice, 2005



As the years went on and Jason and I saw each other again from time to time… he grew more and more distant from me. I don’t even know him now. The person that he has become is not the young man I loved. But that’s another story entirely.

It was after this experience that I realized that the books and formulas weren’t working and didn’t work. In fact, they could even be used as ammunition to ruin friendships or allow parents to manipulate relationships. Even Josh Harris is aware of this possibility and mentioned it in Boy Meets Girl. I wanted to burn my books but ended up putting them in a box in the basement.

“Writers of these type of books need to be blatantly honest...it's okay to "flower-up" a novel but writers shouldn't flower-up real life...and they need to state over and over that this is just one story and that everyone's story will be different. I'm tired of the authors never saying that. Why? Because I'm concerned that young people (or their parents) take these stories and believe that their (or their children's) future will or should look like that...and that belief, I know from experience, can cause a lot of pain. Sometimes, people who are married forget how much singles hang on every word in these books and stories...they need to remember what it felt like to be 14 and impressionable.” - Re: Let it Be = Love3

Something that has bothered me since the whole thing went down is the fact that instead of being concerned that our relationship lined up with the Bible and the words of Jesus, Jason was only concerned about how our relationship related to I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Emotional Purity, and the thoughts of Little Bear Wheeler. When we allow books, speakers, music, or anyone other than Jesus Christ to be our guidance for life, we have strayed from the truth. The next time you want advice, don’t pick up a book or listen to a tape… read the Bible and pray.

The ideals of the courtship movement were indeed to blame for what happened to me and by the summer, I knew I didn’t want anyone else to be as misled as I had been. So I started this blog. Without those ridiculous theories, Jason and I would likely have dated or at least talked about dating instead of dancing around the subject and acting like nothing was happening because it was a “sin” to fall in love at 15. Perhaps he would have broken up with me and then at least I would have known the boundaries and rules I had to follow. As it was, after it broke off, I wasn’t sure if we were still friends or… what? Courtship’s ideals can create a very unnatural strain and lack of openness between young people themselves and in their interaction with their parents. For some reason, in a courtship mindset, parents seem shocked to discover that their teenager actually has romantic feelings for a guy/girl and forget that crushes and young love are common. This stuff is all normal! The shutting off of emotions only causes confusion, guilt, anger, and pain and it’s not right to expect perfection from another human being.

Another thing…don’t be afraid to suffer. I never sought out these trials but I learned to accept them when they came. God will allow you to be tested at some point and He may choose to do it with a relationship. Sure, if I'd followed all the principles of those books I'd be a safe, happy, girl, (well maybe) who has never had her heart broken.

But I wouldn’t have learned anything either.

Now, I'm a strong, content, young woman who had her heart broken and has found that it's been glued back together with no more than a little scar. I'm happy for my sufferings, because God used them to teach me more than any safe times ever could have. I took a risk—got hurt—but ended up with wonderful blessings.

And I'd never trade those wonderful years of friendship with Jason for all the so-called "safety" that emotional purity brings. Love can be painful but it is also fun and beautiful in its time.

Why post this?

I want to help parents not to make the mistake Jason’s parents made and I want to help young people in the same situation. This is my way of saying, you're not alone. God's with you and there are others with similar heartaches or who have had them. You're not the only one.

This word to parents, don't ever take matters of the heart into your hands. Give them to God. Don’t lock your child into a box of perfection. Look for the good in people. Pray and pray some more. This is why I wrote Seeking Perfection. Don't ever put your child or the person of their choice through what Jason and I went through. In most cases, if you've taught your children correctly, they will not disappoint you. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." —Proverbs 22:6. Trust God.

This word to young people, if you love someone…don't be afraid to show it. I'm not talking about infatuation. I'm talking about love and if you're ever in love, you’ll know what I mean. Don't take anything for granted, that's one of the things that God has taught me through this. You've got to live, laugh, and love while you can…because tomorrow everything could be gone forever.

And now, it honestly doesn’t matter. I’ve moved on and I’m interested in another guy. God is bigger than all of these things that have happened to me and He has sustained me through all of them. I’m glad he saw fit to test me and show me that I am to trust in Him alone―not live by self-help books and formulas. It doesn’t matter that Jason and I don’t speak now or that his parents turned him against me. In the light of eternity, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter when people attack me or accuse me of things I didn’t say or do…. Life is too short. I still pray for Jason and his family. I hope that they will find peace and freedom as they walk with Christ.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13.




Ingrid

Monday, May 9, 2011

Interesting...

I found Katie Botkin's blog awhile ago; it is an interesting read. She's Anna Sofia and Elizabeth's cousin and doesn't agree with their outlook on college or daughter hood. (Katie has a master's degree and taught at the University of Idaho for a time...definitely not actions condoned by the Botkin sisters.) The blog is a bittersweet read... I can only imagine how I would feel if my cousins were in such a legalistic lifestyle.

Here's Katie's post about her cousins:
http://missthewind.blogspot.com/2007/11/on-daughters-college-and-nouveau.html

And about women and the church:
http://missthewind.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-which-i-react-to-20-years-of.html

Ingrid

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some Numbers For your Edification

Currently on Facebook

8,638 people like Vision Forum.

There are over 1.5 million homeschoolers in this country.

Even with another 1000 or so not on Facebook, not even 10% of the homeschool population likes Vision Forum.

*normal people rejoice now*

Isn’t that the most encouraging thing you’ve heard in a long time? :-)

Random note: Most of the recent questions and posts on the VF Facebook wall are written by women. I thought men were supposed to be leading this? Hmmmm…. *weird*

Also, on Facebook,

The Visionary Daughters – So Much More group has only 232 members.

The two So Much More pages only have 32 likes between them.

The National Center for Family Integrated Churches is only liked by 1,477 people.

I think this shows what I’ve been thinking for a long time, to quote George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, “You sit around here and spin your little web and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well it doesn't, Mr. Potter. In the whole vast configuration of things I'd say you're nothing but a scurvy little spider." Amen.

:-D

Ingrid

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anne the Queen






This article by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin is from 2009 and I remember seeing it then and thinking I should respond to it…. Then I forgot about it. However, I found it again recently and decided that I should correct the errors found in it. I am often annoyed with how badly history is portrayed, researched, and documented in patriarchal circles. See: Of Daughters of Destiny and Watered Down History My favourite history professor would either laugh or cry if I gave her the Botkin’s article. I’m a student of history and Tudor England my favourite area of concentration. I’m aghast at the lack of historical knowledge and research shown by the Botkin sisters in their discussion of Anne Boleyn. (And of course, there’s the all too common dig about Disney…. :-( *sigh* Oh well) Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about Jeanne D’Albret, to comment on the treatment of her and I don’t have time yet to dig deeper. Maybe this summer.... By the way, don't just take my word for all this stuff on Anne Boleyn...look her up in several different biographies and see what you think. :-)

First, the Botkin girls' article quotes no sources, except John Foxe (and who knows what book of his they are referring to because they don’t say), and this seriously wounds its credibility. Any historical article must have sources! If you don’t cite your sources, it is considered plagiarism. Secondly, the facts are just plain stretched or missing.


“During her years of education in France, through exposure to men such as Jacques LeFevre and Guillaume Farel, Anne’s love for the pure gospel was fanned into flame, and she returned to England an ardent reformer during a time when England was violently persecuting its Protestants.”


Even the year of Anne Boleyn’s birth is still a matter of debate among historians and we don’t know when Anne went to France (and/or the Netherlands) or when she returned to England. One of my best sources: The Life of Anne Boleyn by Phillip W. Sergeant devotes almost a whole chapter to discussing the different ideas and dates assigned to Anne’s time in France. We only know that she was there at some point in her childhood. It would have been hard to return and be an ardent reformer if she was only 12 or 13! And historians aren’t even sure where in France Anne was or what she did while there and it is pure fancy to say that she was exposed to reformers because we simply do not know.


“Upon being crowned queen, Anne used her position to promote and defend reformers such as William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Matthew Parker, and Miles Coverdale, to encourage the translation and dissemination of Scripture into English, and to make England a refuge for persecuted Protestants from around Europe. The martyrologist John Foxe called Anne “a special comforter and aider of all the professors of Christ’s gospel… What a zealous defender she was of Christ’s gospel all the world doth know, and her acts do and will declare to the world’s end.”


Ehh… sorry… we don’t know if she did that either. While she did authorize an English translation of the Bible before she fell from favour1 and gave to the poor, we don’t really know very much beyond these few facts. Anne was a protestant and could have been saved by grace through faith. I like to think that she was but we honestly don’t know. Almost none of her writings exist anymore. John Foxe describes her as a martyr but that’s really best left to one’s own conclusions. Most historians agree that Anne died because her husband wanted to marry someone else―not directly due to her faith.


“Brought down by a conspiracy of her papist enemies, who called her “the principle cause of the spread of Lutheranism in this country,” Anne was beheaded on false charges of adultery, incest, witchcraft, and “high treason against the King’s person.”

Again, no sources are cited, even for direct quotes. (I looked up the first quote and it is credited to the Spanish Ambassador who obviously hated Anne for supplanting the Spanish Catherine of Aragon.) Again, Anne was arrested because her husband wanted to marry someone else and decided to fabricate charges of adultery. I’m not sure what papist enemies they are speaking of, for sure Anne did have enemies, but evidence is scarce in showing that they were solely responsible for her death. Henry VIII was said to be “the most dangerous and cruel man in the world”2 and Anne’s death was entirely his doing.


“- From the last letter Anne wrote to her husband Henry VIII, while imprisoned in the Tower. This letter was recently found among the personal papers of Thomas Cromwell, likely to have never reached Henry.”

This letter, quoted in the article, is regarded by many historians to be a fraud. And it wasn’t found recently either; Sergeant knew of it when he wrote Anne’s biography in 1924 and he says in a postscript, “It may be noted that I have made no reference, in the account of Anne Boleyn’s last days, to her alleged letter to Henry VIII from the Tower. All evidence for its authenticity is lacking, neither the handwriting nor the style being Anne’s.”3


Anne Boleyn is a fascinating figure in history but her record is not as pure as Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin would like to make it. Yes, Anne was a reformer but she did not accomplish much on her own. God did use her in extraordinary ways but I’m not so sure she sought these opportunities out. Yes, Henry VIII broke with Rome to marry her and then he tolerated protestant views but he never truly embraced them. Anne mistreated Mary, her stepdaughter, and caused the annulment between Henry and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Also, Anne was likely sleeping with Henry before they were married because Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) was born only six months after their wedding. Also, this article mentions nothing of Anne’s scheming father who used his daughters to climb the social ladder. Even Anne’s own headstrong personality and defiant voice have been silenced. In any case, Anne Boleyn is not someone I would expect the Botkin girls to like very much. Maybe it’s good that they can see past her faults but I wish they wouldn’t try so hard to make her good. The Botkin girls greatly stretched the truth in this article and completely made Anne Boleyn into a martyr of the reformation. It’s a great example of hagiography or “treating its subject with undue reverence.”4 It would be nice to see more historical method in this work and a quest for accuracy and balanced portrayals of historic figures. I can only hope the Botkin’s other historical endeavours are accurate but somehow I doubt that they are. :-/ (That’s kind of scary when you think that they sell history CD's and etc.) I know from experience… I can catch myself trying to make historical figures “good” and it's a silly thing to do. When you start twisting history to suit your own ideas, it can be difficult to stop.


Ingrid



Works Cited
1. Sergeant, Phillip W. The Life of Anne Boleyn. Hutchinson & Co., London. 1924. Print. Page 262.
2. Weir, Allison. The Six Wives of Henry VIII Grove Press, 1991. Print. Page 283
3. Sergeant. Page 309.
4. Encarta English Dictionary.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Creed


video


I believe in God the Father Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth


And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son our Lord


He was conceived by the Holy Spirit


Born of the virgin Mary


Suffered under Pontius Pilate


He was crucified and dead and buried


And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am


I did not make it no it is making me


It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man


I believe that He who suffered was crucified buried and dead


He descended into hell and on the third day rose again


He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God's mighty right hand


I believe that He's returning To judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men


And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am


I did not make it no it is making me


It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man


I believe it


I believe it


I believe it


I believe in God the Father Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth


And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son our Lord


I believe in the Holy Spirit One Holy Church


The communion of Saints


The forgiveness of sin


I believe in the resurrection


I believe in a life that never ends


And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am


I did not make it no it is making me I did not make it no it is making me


I said I did not make it no it is making me


It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man


I believe it I believe


I believe it I believe it


I believe it I believe it


Rich Mullins

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cease and Desist

To whoever left several hateful, confusing comments on older posts in the last 24 hours: this behavior constitutes harassment and Cyberstalking.

“Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass. The definition of "harassment" must meet the criterion that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.” Wikipedia.

Don’t have time to deal with bizarre behavior now, leaving on vacation.

Ingrid

Friday, January 28, 2011

Losing Your Life

Maybe I’m idealistic but I keep hoping that the Botkin girls will eventually realise that their way of life is dysfunctional. So occasionally, I read their blog. Unfortunately, it never fails to sadden me and the article written by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth on marriage has to be one of the saddest and most disappointing articles I’ve ever read. Why Am I not Married? In this article and the defence of it, Is it my fault that I'm not married? the Botkin girls seem to suggest that marriage is in the future of every girl when it may not be at all! Lifelong singleness is given only a passing reference before it is suggested that marriage is the chief end and goal of life. Instead of pointing young women to Jesus as the fulfilment of every hope and the answer to every need, the Botkin girls suggest that 1: the problem lies with the young women and 2: still seem to suggest that marriage is the ultimate glory of life.* It is not. Marriage is very important but it may not be God’s plan for your life at all. “The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19:10-12. I wrestled with that verse a few years ago because I couldn’t understand why some people could be bound to a life of singleness. It seemed cruel of God to doom some to being single...or so I thought. Mostly I was just afraid that I was going to be single. The meaning of Jesus’ words did not come clear to me for a long time but I finally realized that he honestly meant it when he said: “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.... The one who can accept this should accept it.” If you are meant to be single, you will be able to accept this and though it will hurt sometimes, you will be content. If that is what God has for you, it is not a curse. You have no “right” to marriage. God will place you in the path that He has chosen for you regardless of your own ideas. ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Remember, Jesus wasn’t married either. God knows exactly what you need and He will be with you every step of the way. Married or not, you are to focus on Jesus and find your identity in Him; not in your relationships or home or family or accomplishments. Sadly, the Botkin girls are misleading young women and telling them that they only need to perfect themselves rather than look to Jesus Christ and trust him completely with their lives. While it's actually okay to prepare and become a girl that someone will want to marry; that is not your chief end and goal in life. Your goal is serving Christ and living for Him and loving Him so much that you are willing to say "yes, Lord," if a young man never shows up. It’s not that what the Botkin girls say that is terribly wrong... it’s what they don’t say. Once you've left Jesus out of the mix and stopped focusing on him it’s not Christianity, it's Humanism. Worshipping your skills, father, mother, husband, or future husband is not going to bring you peace and eternal joy. Setting up a human being in God's place only sets that person up for failure and you will eventually be disappointed. It's regrettable that the Botkin sisters take a teachable moment, while discussing a real and painful issue that many girls face, and instead of giving true hope, only encourage these young women to try to perfect themselves and continue to further the idea that marriage is a right that all are entitled to receive.

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10: 37-40.

Ingrid


* Of course, many would say that in the Botkin view of things, acknowledging that some women may never marry is detrimental to their worldview and their business. I mean, who would buy the Botkin books and tapes on how to prepare for marriage if they thought they were going to be single? For that matter, who would want to remain in their father’s household preparing for a marriage that may never come? The Botkin girls have to assume that all girls will marry because if they don’t, what is the point of everything the Botkin’s teach and sell? Since their teachings are so wrapped up in one area of life, they seem helpless to answer questions alternatives or other areas of life. I wonder how they handle these words of Jesus: “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14: 25-27) Very likely, they just avoid them since they don’t fit into their own worldview.