Friday, December 7, 2012

Learning to Fly


As I type, my sister’s boyfriend has just texted me that he’s picking up her engagement ring at the jewelry store. He’s going to propose in two days and I get to help set up the scene for the proposal. It’s been pretty obvious to everyone for the past few months that they’re serious and perfect for one another. Our group of friends is pretty happy for them―though some more than others. Early in their relationship, one of my girl friends asked me, “And how are you doing?” To be honest, I was caught a little off-guard… and yet, I knew what she was asking. “I’m absolutely fine… I’ve been praying for them to get together for a long time.” I smiled and said, “I’m so happy for her.”

Now, four days later, they are engaged and busily planning their wedding. At church this past weekend, more young women came up and congratulated me and asked things like, “So how does it feel to have your sister engaged?” “How are you feeling?” and “What do you think?” and on and on. I smiled and said I’m happy to finally have an older brother and talked excitedly about my getting to be maid of honor. And the whole time, in the back of my mind, I was wondering: why should my sister’s relationship have any effect on me? I mean, really, why should I care or “feel” anything beyond happiness?

Yet, I know what and why they’re asking. There’s a disease that lurks in church groups and conservative family circles, you’ve probably seen or heard something connected to it. Usually, it affects young women and sometimes even their mothers. It also affects married couples, particularly grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but in a different way. It’s the belief that singleness, especially for young women, is almost a sin or at least, not the proper state of being. Young women must be married, or engaged, as soon as possible or else they are defective, bound an old maid, and/or doing something wrong.

Addressing young women first, I see a huge problem with jealousy and covetousness when it comes to marriage. For many young women, marriage is so important that when someone else gets engaged, they can hardly see straight. They wonder things like: “What’s wrong with me?” “Why am I not married?” “She’s younger than me!” “I deserve it more than she does!” “Doesn’t God love me?” “Why won’t God answer my prayers for a husband?” and “What does she have that I don’t have?”I have friends that are very open about their desire to get married (a very good thing!) but when someone else starts dating or gets engaged, they turn green. People don’t usually believe me when I say this but I love weddings. I love throwing bridal showers, helping with details, being a bridesmaid, and just going to weddings. Unfortunately, I think I’m in a minority. Some girls I know actually avoid weddings because of their inability to face their jealousy. Books such as Boy Meets Girl don’t really help in this because they make this jealousy seem normal. I remember reading about young women who couldn’t stand going to weddings or cried through them because they were so jealous of the bride. “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4) This is incredibly sad and we as a church and as young women should be ashamed that we’ve let marriage become an idol. I think it’s shocking that people think I would or should be sad or jealous because my sister is engaged. And then can’t comprehend that I’m not. People probably thought it was weird when I made a point of watching everyone’s reactions to the happy news and probably enjoyed them as much as my sister and her fiancé. And they might even think that my joy is an act. How have we reached this point? How can it be normal to ask the sister of the bride how she “feels” about it all? Should we not assume that the bride’s family and friends would be thrilled? And seriously people, shouldn’t I be overjoyed to have a room to myself at this time next year? :-D I have my own life! I don’t need to covet my sister’s!


Also, I think I should point out that guys are not objects. One of my friends is very petite, I think she’s around 5’ tall, and she’s married to a guy that is about 6’2”. When she got engaged, other (taller) young women kept saying to her, “Why didn’t you leave the tall guy for us?!” This lack of tact astounded her and she just kept replying, “Because I fell in love with him!” Now, some of the women could have been joking but my friend knew that a few of them really were irritated and jealous because she “got” a tall guy. This is a perfect example of young women viewing guys as objects.  I’ve had several friends marry in the last year and a few of them were younger than me. Yet, I was totally happy for them. One of the reasons for this was that I don’t want to marry their guy. It sounds kind of strange to say it like that but it’s true. I don’t see their fiancés or husbands as objects—they’re also my friends—and so I don’t envy their marrying someone else. If you’re jealous because your friend is getting married, ask yourself this: “Do I want to marry him?” Probably not. (But if you have a crush on that guy, you should deal with it accordingly.) If you’re jealous for no reason other than “She’s getting married and I’m not” you may very well be viewing guys as objects or means to an end. As Kevin says in 27 Dresses, “I think you want a wedding―not a marriage―a wedding.”

Addressing young women… do you see a husband as a way out? Is marriage saving you from something? Do you see marriage as an escape from problems or from things that God has called you to do? Your problems don’t go away just because you get married and God’s call on your life doesn’t change either. Only Jesus Christ can save you and so you should never expect perfection from a fallible human being. A mortal man will never be able to save you, nor should you feel the need for him to do so. And seriously, never ever, settle for a guy just because you want to be married. That’s a very foolish thing to do.

Oh, and I’ve finally pondered this out as well: there’s no rhyme or reason as to why some young women seem to lead charmed lives and get married right out of high school or college. I believe that this happens because it is God’s plan for them and obviously, He knows that they’ll grow more by being in a relationship than being out of one. Of my friends that are married or engaged, none of them are more godly, special, or perfect than me and my single friends. Marriage isn’t some special gift that God only gives to his chosen, extraordinary children. That just isn’t how He works. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11) So stop comparing yourself to married women and thinking, “What does she have that I don’t?”

Lastly, at some point, most unmarried young women start whining, “Where are all the good guys?” and “Why is no one getting married?” I hate to break this to you but there are good guys and people are getting married but it’s just not your turn. Don’t worry, it probably will be sometime but not until God decides the time is right. So chill and stop whining.

Now, I’m focusing on a more mainstream position as I and my girlfriends are all college educated and able to support ourselves. However, this is a tricky situation for Stay at Home Daughters and those involved in the Patriarchy movement. What do you do if you’re thirty, have no education, and are still at home with your parents? Beyond breaking free and seeking education, I honestly don’t know. Ultimately, I think jealousy over engagements and marriages is magnified two times over within the Patriarchy movement. If all of these young women have been brought up to think that their only role is that of wife and mother and then find that they aren’t getting married, there is definitely going to be some depression and hopelessness abounding. In this situation, young women tend to blame themselves (See the Botkin’s article and my response) or other people and then start finding other things on which to focus. Usually, photography, gourmet cooking, blogging, babysitting, costuming, or a home business; none of these things are wrong—they’re all very good things. Yet, I wish SAHDs would start questioning the system and their ideology instead of running around trying to fill up their hearts with accomplishments.

And as for the upcoming Kevin Swanson fundamentalist documentary… there are no words. Mostly because it makes me laugh too hard to say anything about it. :-D I did find it amusing that the site contains this gem of a quote “Many are still at home, living a life of prolonged adolescence, with no hopes of marriage in sight.” Umm… can anyone else say SAHDs? The irony! You wanted the girls to stay at home with almost no education, few marriage prospects, and now you want them to leave? Don’t you see that you’re creating the problem? Especially by selling them things to inspire and glorify this lifestyle. *rolls eyes* And now, you’re selling them things to fix the problem? How coincidental! And don't forget: "the answers can be found in God's word." (Yes, duh. If the filmmakers really believed that, they wouldn't be trying to make or sell this film at all.)
This unwillingness to accept singleness not only affects young women, it also affects members of their families. My extended family drives me nuts because they’ve been asking me since I was 16 when I am going to get married. Incredibly annoying and completely stupid because I’m not the one making the first move. What’s wrong with society? Why are we pressuring young women so much? Traditionally, it’s the guy that makes the first move and honestly, things haven’t changed very much. Relationships, I know this to be true, go better when the guy is the one doing the work and asking you out. So stop bothering me about it.

Of course, does my family ask my brother? No. Not once. On the whole, young men do not face this pressure as early or as intensely as young women. I see this in my own family where my sister and I were subjected to constant interrogation and pronouncements about our love lives as soon as we were in high school and yet, my brother and my guy cousins have yet to be asked even once about their love lives. Start asking guys why they aren’t being more proactive about getting married if you’re so concerned! However, I think most guys are being intentional and just aren’t talking about it. Never mind, just give them a break; we’re all in the same boat.

Plus, why are we in such a hurry for young women (and men) to get married? I’m to the point now where I’m ready to say, “Dude! Are you kidding? I’m in my early twenties! I’m still figuring out who I am, let alone trying to figure out someone else!” Don’t get me wrong, Marriage is a great thing! I want to get married and I am lonely sometimes, but I am truly, honestly, content in being single until God brings someone into my life. I’ve finally reached that point where I’m okay with being single and furthermore, I know that my God is big enough to bring the right guy at the right time and I don’t need to freak out about it.

2

Musician Rebecca St. James didn’t get married until the age of 34 last year (see photo above) and for many years, she was an example of a vibrant single life. I very much appreciate her honesty as she said in a 2011 interview, “I just struggled with loneliness and even feeling a bit embarrassed, you know, being in my 30s and not married. I think our culture caters to people who are married. It's just much more socially accepted to be married in your 30s." Especially in evangelical circles and in the Church? "Yes, exactly. Now, I've honestly found it easier living in LA because there are so many career people, especially women, in their thirties - single women who are focusing on careers. I think it's harder in the South and in middle America to be single. I didn't feel as much pressure in LA and I think that was God providing for me in a way. I have a lot of single friends, and it's not like they've all gotten married and I'm not. I thank God for that!” 1

It seems to me that the evangelical circles and churches haven’t been reading their Bibles. As I’ve written before, Jesus was single and so was Paul and probably many members of the early church. If marriage is the ultimate goal of life and most important role for all, why didn’t Paul tell everyone to get married as soon as possible? In fact, he said the opposite, “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” (1 Cor. 7:7-8) Yes, marriage is used as an illustration of Christ and the church but that doesn’t make marriage any more holy or right than any other state of being. Consider the use of sowing and reaping as an examples of the discipleship process. Does this use render farming more spiritual than other forms of employment? Of course not! Jesus uses multiple actions and parts of life to illustrate his points but that doesn’t make these actions spiritual in themselves. It is the concept being expressed that is spiritual.

Finally, think on this, Jesus said to the disciples, “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.” (Matt. 19:12) And He said, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30) If marriage were the most important part of life, I think Jesus would have made it clear. Yet, 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 14:26-27)

We as a church have failed single people. We’ve asked prying, hurtful questions, we’ve treated them like half a person, we act like we don’t want their input, we treat them like they’re defective, outside of God’s will, or doing something wrong. We’ve made marriage and family an idol. In loving and promoting a good thing, we’ve ignored the greater thing. Jesus said that we must deny ourselves and follow Him but do we really believe that? Sometimes following Him does require a time (or even a lifetime) of singleness. Singleness should not surprise us. It is a normal, healthy lifestyle, and completely biblical (by the correct definition of the word). Unfortunately, the truths of surrender and taking up your cross don’t sell books, documentaries, and guest speakers as well as fear, blame, and formulas for success are able to do. And so the cycle of useless advice continues.

I know it’s really hard sometimes. I know what it’s like to be the one single girl when everyone else is getting married. There are times when I’d really like to be married or even dating but there comes a point when you have to die to yourself and your dreams. The point where you realize that God is in control and that you have to trust Him. Where you can finally say, “Okay God. You know I want to get married but I know that it’s up to you. Nothing I do can change your plans for me. If I am to marry, I know that you know already know who my husband/wife will be. But if not, I will be happy anyway. If I am to be single, I know that you have big plans for me and I will follow you no matter what happens to me.” It’s hard. It’s really hard to pray that and mean it but it is worth it. You have to know that you can’t do anything apart from Him and if you try to run things, you’ll only end up stressing yourself out and making yourself miserable. Since I have come to accept my singleness, I have been so peaceful and content. I have bad days now and then, but for the most part, I just keep busy and focus on God. I still have my dreams but I’m open to God changing them and changing me in the process. I know I don’t need to stress out and try to control things or envy other women because my time will come if it is meant to be. Rebecca St. James said, “…I have struggled with loneliness. I've questioned, 'God, do you have somebody for me? Have I written the song about nobody - in my case, anyway? Maybe it was just a song for other people to sing?' I've wondered, Is it even God's plan? Deep down I believed he did have someone for me, but in my weak moments, I questioned that. A few years ago I felt like God called me to take my hands off that dream to get married and to entrust that dream entirely to God to the point of saying, 'If it's your will for me to be single, then I trust that you have a very good reason.' That was a grieving time. That was hard and I had to come back to that place quite often - to find the balance between still hoping that there is somebody, to where you kind of die emotionally, going, 'Woe is me'. That's where the balance comes in, and it's very challenging."1

Finally, just because you’ve accepted your singleness, doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to meet someone and get married. That happens sometimes, but then again, it doesn’t. Though people try to act like it is another magic way to find someone, acceptance isn’t a magical way to show God you’re ready and then He will provide someone. I know young women who never accepted their singleness and still got married just as I’ve seen women accept it and still be without a guy. I like to think of it this way: Singleness is like having two people on a plane; one is afraid of flying and the other is not. Both will get to their destination at the same time but one of them will have spent the entire flight sweating, worrying, making themselves ill, clinging to the seat, and refusing to look out of the window. The other will have loved take-off, watched a movie, helped a tired mother with a crying child, taken pictures of the sunset, chatted with the person next to them, taken a nap, and planned for their destination. Which person do you want to be?

Ingrid



1.  http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/music/Rebecca_St_James_The_wait_is_over_marriage_and_album_release_change_things/43362/p1/
2. http://www.magnoliapair(DOT)com/2011/05/rebecca-jacob-san-diego-california

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Day in the Life of a College Student


The View from my Desk

As it happens to be on my mind, I have noticed that those in the patriarchy movement have a tendency to misunderstand or devalue college and the academic experience. According to Jennie Chancey, Doug Phillips, Voddie Bauchum, and other leaders in the movement, college is a terrible experience that will strip one (or one’s child) of all values, morals, and intelligence. In their minds, if you go to college, you will lose your soul. (Even though all of those named attended college.) Many Stay at Home Daughters fervently believe this rhetoric and some even write fervently about the evils of college without even setting foot inside of one. When I was influenced by the patriarchy movement and still in Jr. High, I didn’t understand college either. I thought it was this vague place that your parents make you attend and you have to travel long distances to get there so that you can study some kind of very difficult subject. This is a pretty fragmented and immature view of the college experience; it sounds bleak and it doesn’t reflect reality. In all honesty, I think Stay at Home Daughters probably have the same vague ideas about college that I did when I was younger and, they have been kept in the dark about college into their adult years. They don’t understand it and thus, think of it as a dark, scary place. Well, I am going to dismiss these ideas by presenting a picture of my life as a Senior in college. While I don’t think everyone needs to go to college or to spend a lot of money doing so, I chose to attend college to gain expertise in my field, prepare for graduate school, and to learn about life and other people. Plus, if I want to homeschool my own children someday, I think it’s a good idea to have a degree. (Disclaimer: I do go to a small, affordable, more conservative school—they do exist! I’m also careful about which professors I take classes from and try to know what I’m getting into—even if they are more left leaning or difficult, it’s not that bad if you know ahead of time.)


Early Morning: I get up, get ready, stop to talk to my younger brother (who is still lying in bed at 8:30 in the morning), glance at the headlines in the newspaper, and hug my mom. I am out the door before 9am and commute to my school. It’s a historic school full of tradition and the liberal arts. If you don’t understand liberal arts, think of it as a solid core of subjects that every student should know: art, literature, science, history, mathematics, philosophy, and language. There is a strong focus on reading, understanding, and interpretation; in other words, critical thinking (not endless memorization) is the most important thing.

Mid-Morning: I arrive at school and hike upstairs to my office on the top floor of an 1800’s building. Depending on the day of the week and differing Mon/Weds/Fri and Tues/Thurs schedules, I will either work for several hours or I will stick my lunch in the fridge and go to my first class. If it is a morning classes day, I walk to my classroom and chat lightly with my classmates about events on campus, current events, and homework until the professor arrives. Almost all of the professors at my school have Ph. D’s (meaning they spent 8+ years learning about their chosen field) and they know their information and love their jobs. On this sort of day, a rousing lecture in U.S. History is the first order of business. Though I have already taken enough History classes to meet requirements, I still take at least one class per semester with this professor because he’s so much fun and his lectures are so interesting. After this, I head to a literature class where I study anything from British poets to Native American literature. My professor for this class is a woman and she loves her work and her students. Though we look at very different ideological viewpoints, she is very good at helping us to understand them without losing our own. After morning classes, I go back to my office and start working. Unlike the dire situation of a woman working under a man presented by those in the patriarchy movement, my boss is one of the female professors and she is so easy to work under. My job consists of answering the phone, taking care of the 10 professors in my department, working on secretarial projects, taking care of mailings, and doing homework in the absence of other work. The professors are so nice and the atmosphere is very professional and lively—I absolutely love my job.

Afternoon: On alternate days, I either go to a History class with my favorite professor or to a Political Science class with another professor. If I go to the former, I get to listen to a young, dynamic, female professor who has shaped my writing immensely and is somewhat of a role model for me. We may not see eye to eye on everything but she has had an immense impact on my academic career. If the latter, I get to go to class and hear about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and how my professor read all of them over the weekend or we talk about how to fix the federal debt problem. It’s pretty fun actually, especially since my professor is politically conservative and I agree with him most of the time. :-) After this, I will work for an hour or so and am usually the last person in the office. My last school experience of the day is watching one of the Philosophy professors and one of the English professors walk out of the building hand in hand. They’ve been married for 30+ years and have offices down the hall from one another.

Late Afternoon: I’m done with classes and work and I head home. When I arrive, my mom and I have tea and watch something BBC/Jane Austen/Art Film/Costume Drama related and then I do homework. Some nights, I go hang out with my friends, work on service projects, or to see my grandparents or cousins.

So that’s what my life and the college experience is like—my parents didn’t force me to go, I’m not far from home, and I love gaining knowledge from experts. While I loved being homeschooled in high school, I don’t think college at home can replicate this experience. At some point in life, you have to put yourself in social situations with people of different views. Even though my school is conservative, I do have liberal professors with viewpoints that differ greatly from mine. However, they are very secure people that do not feel the need to impose their beliefs on others and are willing to entertain lively discussions. I have chosen to live at home and I am happy with this choice because I get the best of both worlds. And I still love Jesus. Oddly enough, the different pressures I have encountered in the world have only strengthened my faith. If only Patriarchy followers and Stay at Home Daughters realized that the stories they have heard about college are dramatized and almost completely untrue. They have absolutely no idea what they’re missing.

Ingrid

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Grace's Story


If you have been following Semper Eadem for any period of time, then you probably know Ingrid’s story. If you haven’t read it, please read it here.

I’m Ingrid’s sister Grace. I’ve contributed from time to time. I work full-time as a registered nurse, so I don’t always have time to contribute. However, I would like to share my story- since I (borrowing a term from Ingrid) was also “burned” by the I Kissed Dating Goodbye Movement. When I was about 15, I remember reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye, its sequel Boy Meets Girl, and other courtship-type books. I also followed Young Ladies Christian Fellowship (YLCF) and their Courtship stories religiously. I was SO in love with those books and the courtship stories and the examples that they included. I distinctly remember reading Emotional Purity and it telling me to think of all the guys I knew as someone else’s husband. Also, from the books and articles, I learned that I shouldn’t: talk to guys too much or give them attention (it might give them the wrong idea!), dress “immodestly”, and that I must save my first kiss for marriage. I was really sucked into this for several years and all the while I became more proud (because I was a “good girl” and I wasn’t like those “other girls”!). I became quieter and scared of talking to guys. The thoughts in my head when I was around any and all guys were “What does he think of me?” “What if he wants to ask me out?” and “What if he is the one?” I was literally obsessed with these thoughts. But through it all, I always thought that Prince Charming would magically come along, talk to me, like me, talk to my dad and then we would court, fall in love, and get married with our first kiss at the alter. Yeah right…. That is a fantasy world.


I remember that I graduated high school and immediately started college classes for my RN degree. That took a whole 2 years, in which time I was more exposed to the real world and all the time I was still really quiet- because what would a guy think if I talked to him?  He might think that I liked him and that I was flirting, which would make him and me loose pieces of our hearts that we could never recover.


Fast forward to recently: I’ve been out of school and a nurse for three years. I’ve been realizing that I really have trouble talking to guys. It’s really difficult and I don’t know why. I never had any problems as a child or young adult. No wait… Now I remember. I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye and all the other trash and it changed how I think about guys. Men went from friends to “there might be something more and if I talk to them they might get the wrong idea.” Oh dear- how on earth do I get over that?  I have to completely change my thinking—namely that guys are humans, they are friends, and that they are not going to assume that I am interested in them just because I talk to them.

So lately, I’ve been talking to my mom, Ingrid, and girlfriends about guys. I’m 23. I’m single. I’ve never had anyone interested in me (that I know of). I’ve finally come to the realization that I Kissed Dating Goodbye and the other garbage really poisoned my thinking where guys are concerned. So, one of the first things that I did was I started praying more—for opportunities to talk to guys and help my communication.  I started teasing and talking to men at work. I joined eHarmony to help improve my communication skills. I didn’t expect to really meet anyone, and I didn’t. But that’s perfectly okay, because it sure did help my communication skills and help me narrow down my priorities. I did communicate with several guys and it helped me realize that not every guy who expresses interest is the right man for you. It also proved that you don’t hurt your heart by communicating with a guy. I’ve also started communicating more with my guy friends. There is one guy who I have liked for many years and I find it so hard to communicate with him, because of the thinking planted in me from I Kissed Dating Goodbye and other titles. I struggle with questions like “Will he think I’m too pushy? Too forward? Too flirty?” My mom says “no” and I think she is right. I struggle with my self-image. I have to continually remind myself that just because I talk to a guy, it doesn’t mean that I’m sinning as I have a fun time talking and laughing with him.

The rest of the story? I decided to communicate more with him and seek him out more when we are out with friends. And it’s working-- we’re getting to be better friends, we’ve had a few good talks in the past few weeks, we text from time to time, and that’s okay for now….  My story isn’t over yet, it’s still in progress. :)

~Grace 


Saturday, July 7, 2012

To be a Princess



Disney Princesses have been taking a lot of flack lately. Between dialogues at Ladies Against Feminism and the Botkin girls often throwing out a random jab to my college professors declaring that Disney Princesses are anti-feminist and the cause of all female identity problems… they’re under a lot of heat. I’ll go out on a limb and admit that I like the princesses and Disney movies and I love going to Walt Disney World. So I’m biased. :-D However, each time I hear someone picking on the Disney princesses, I want to ask them, “Have you ever even seen the movies?” I’ll grant that there’s been a lot of marketing in the last ten years with more merchandise and special trippy sing-along dvd’s then I can count but that’s only a tiny part of the story. In the Botkin’s latest article they insist that their mother, “walked down the Walmart Pink Isle [sic], past all the Disney-heroine Barbies, Disney-movie-inspired vanity playsets, sequined polyester fish-tail skirts with seashells, and itchy yellow off-shoulder Belle dresses, and decided, ‘Not for my daughters.’” Actually, that’s an anachronism. In reality, Disney Princess merchandise was extremely hard to find in the late 1980’s through the mid-1990’s; even costumes were hard to find, expensive, and usually only available from Disney store. Even so, the Disney store was (and still is) only to be found in larger cities and the costumes were only available around Halloween. Plus, the “Disney Princess” franchise/brand really didn’t exist at the time—it was created in 1999. Take it from someone who loved Princess Aurora as little girl but couldn’t find any Sleeping Beauty stuff in the Disney store. Yes, it was that bad. So if Mrs. Botkin was in a pink aisle at Walmart, it probably was a Barbie aisle with no connection to Disney.

All of these discussions aside, who actually takes an animated character and thinks of them as a role model? Even though I loved Princess Aurora as a child, I never thought of her as a role model. When it came down to it, I wanted to be like my mom or another real-life figure when I grew up. Honestly, it’s just not very common to make a cartoon character into a role model. Usually, young people turn to real figures for inspiration―honestly, the Botkins should be arguing against Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place instead of the animated Disney princesses.

Still, if we do consider the Disney princesses worth as examples for young people, what qualities do they exemplify? In this, the real Disney films are what count and I often feel like no one is actually watching them. (By the way, "Brave" is a Pixar film and thus, Merida is not a Disney princess.) So, let’s take a look at each princess, in order of introduction:


Show White (1939): She ran away from a murderous stepmother and was given shelter for a time by a group of kind, older men. She became their housekeeper in return for food and shelter and worked really hard for them. It’s sad that LAF, a Christian group, has tried to make this seem perverted. True... Snow White does sing about her prince coming but hey, don’t most girls occasionally daydream about their future husband?

Cinderella (1950): She was left with her emotionally and physically abusive stepmother and stepsisters when her father died. Yet, Cinderella never let that get her down. She cooked and cleaned and worked and finally, she met someone and left. Yes, he happened to a prince but they married because they loved one another. You’ve got to be a pretty strong person to put up with all the things Cinderella endured.

Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) (1959): She was sent to live with three good fairies because of a death threat and met her prince in the woods. She and Phillip actually liked one another before they found out they were betrothed. In fact, Prince Phillip defied his father and set off to find her when he thought she was a “nobody.” Check out this conversation Phillip has with his father, King Hubert.

Prince Phillip: I said I met the girl I was going to marry. I don't know who she was, a peasant girl I suppose.

Hubert: A peasant g-g-girl? You're going to marry a ... Why Phillip, you're joking! You can't do this to me! Give up the throne, the kingdom, for some, some nobody?

Phillip nods.

Hubert: By Harry, I won't have it. You're a prince, and you're going to marry a princess!

Phillip: Now father, you're living in the past. This is the fourteenth century. Nowadays ...

Hubert: Nowadays I'm still the king, and I command you to come to your senses.

Phillip: ... and marry the girl I love. Goodbye father!

How can you pick on that? Unless you’re a stay at home daughter and then I suppose the “rebellion” would disturb you immensely. Plus, Aurora is obedient to her guardians and goes to the castle even though she wanted to stay and meet Philip. To make it even more painful, she thinks she is betrothed to someone else—and still she goes. That takes a lot of strength.

Ariel (1989): Is in fact the only princess I don’t like because she isn’t a good example at all. She disobeys her father and trades her voice for a guy who isn’t smart enough to recognize her. Plus, there’s that plot hole of why didn’t she just grab Prince Eric and kiss him? He would have kissed her back ;-) and then voila! She’s human! Still, by the end of the film, she does come to appreciate her father and Eric shows that he is worth something after all.


Belle (1991): Belle is wonderful…she has brains, spunk, books, and sacrificial love. The whole film is about sacrifice; I mean, Belle sacrifices herself for her sweet, ill father and then the Beast lets Belle go back to her father, thinking she’ll never return. And then, she comes back to the Beast because she’s his friend and has grown to love him in his ugliness. She ignores the (supposedly) handsome guy back home and sees underneath the Beast’s grotesque exterior.


Jasmine (1992): Another spunky heroine... she actually tries to run away from her privileged life and a future arranged marriage to a prince. Then she falls in love with a boy from the market and she doesn’t like him when he later tries to be something he’s not. Jasmine is strong, determined, and funny; she won’t settle for less than and waits until the right man comes into her life―even if he isn’t of royal blood.


Pocahontas (1995): I’m not a huge fan of the Disney version of Pocahontas because of it’s historical inaccuracies. Still, in the film, Pocahontas is a strong, capable young woman who stands up for her beliefs and saves the life of the man she loves. In the end, she lets go of her wishes and lets him go back to London for medical treatment.


Mulan (1998): Oh, Mulan. To quote the Emperor, “I've heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father's armor, ran away from home. Impersonated a soldier. Deceived your commanding officer! Dishonored the Chinese army! Destroyed my palace! And!... You have saved us all.” Mulan saves her father’s life, saves her country, and is brave and intelligent in doing so. She’s one of my favorite heroines.


Tiana (2009): Though times are tough, she’s smart and resourceful and even when she’s changed into a frog, Tiana works hard to reach her dream of opening a restaurant. She loves her family, stays devoted to her father’s memory, and never gives up. Yes, she gets married at the end but she didn’t need a guy to be happy.


Rapunzel (2010): The subject of much discussion in stay at home daughter circles. Rapunzel is talented, sweet, gentle, and tough. She saves Flynn Rider’s life after he rescues her (in effect, saving her life) from the evil witch holding her captive. She goes on to rule over her Kingdom with grace and wisdom.

As I go through this list and think about each princess, one key word comes to mind for all of them: strong. Even though I like some of the princesses better than others, I see that all of them are strong, capable young women.  They have dreams of marriage and family... but what girl doesn’t? Yet, none of them go out looking for their prince and continue making the best of their situations. What's more, they're all pretty spunky and I wouldn't classify them as damsels in distress--they're all capable of taking care of themselves. Yes, they’re all pretty and thin but some people are nice-looking and slender. None of the characters are look anorexic either, just healthy. What’s more, the princesses are beautiful on the inside and exemplify qualities worth emulating such as kindness, faithfulness, sacrifice, honor, hope, courage, and love. My friends and I grew up watching Disney movies and we never got the idea that we had to look just like them or sit around and wait for a prince to rescue us—we’re not damaged. Plus, we know that cartoon characters aren't role models―they just make life sweeter and brighter. So, I’m glad my mom wasn’t overly analytic and let me watch Disney films as a child. And I’m glad my parents took me to Walt Disney World and bought me a few special Sleeping Beauty items. Sure we could cut out all dreams, ideals, and romance from our lives and refuse to let our children experience these things... but to what end? Truthfully, I think many people, both liberals and fundamentalists alike, are over thinking the Disney Princess thing. Maybe the recent upsurges in marketing gets on their nerves but promotions don’t change the reality of the films or the characters. I honestly don’t know where people are coming from―I can only conclude that they’re not watching the films at all.

Ingrid

Friday, June 29, 2012

Return of the Zombies


Brother: "You might think the above is just a bad picture, no that's pretty much how they look through the whole thing."

I just watched Return of the Daughters… I’d seen it once but I wanted to see it again. So I borrowed a copy from a friend. Not just any copy… this one is autographed by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin themselves! They actually touched it!!!!

Now I’m watching it so you don’t have to and blogging as I watch. I got this idea from Sparknotes after someone blogged the Royal Wedding on the Sparklife blog. Should be interesting, yes? It brings out my sarcastic side. My siblings and Mom were in and out of the room as I watched and I warn you, we all think we’re rather witty.

Nice Menu.

Ah, nice logo.

First shot… Adam, Eve, and snake accompanied by a monotone voiceover. Only the first second and I’m already creeped out.

Okay, montage of women working in the home.

Cut to Botkin sisters… staring blankly at the camera. (Look Below). Yipes. Do they ever blink? Let’s rewind and see. Elizabeth: 4 blinks. Anna Sophia: 6 blinks. Nice hair, but please, quit posing.

Did these people in the city scene montage know they were being filmed? Why is the area under some of the women’s faces blurred?

Me to Mom: How could anybody take this seriously?

Model shown in store looks a lot like Anna Sophia.

“Today’s post-family society” Whhhhaaat? I had to listen to that several times because I kept thinking they left out the word “modern” which would have made more sense.

“Today’s girls tend to follow the demands of today’s culture to achieve its definition of popularity and success, measured by public acclaim, college, degrees and big paychecks.” Take away the college and degree and you have the Botkin sisters.

Brother: “This video is creeping me out.”

Brother: “What are these? The daughters of the dominion?” (See Road to Avonlea)

“That’s right! These girls have chosen to spend their single years with their families!” How is that any different from me choosing to live at home while going to school in order to be near my immediate and extended family?

And what happens if a daughter is called to go to college or into missions work? Will her family support her then?

“They are doing it for reasons of principle that they are discovering in the Bible.” Discovering? How did we manage to miss these “principles” for the last 2000 years? Bible verses anyone?

Quit with the fake drama already!

Introduction Bible Verse count: 0.

Now on to the Valenti family

Elizabeth Botkin is sooooo creepy looking!!!

Where is Mrs. Valenti?

Does Katie get paid?

It sounds like a nice job… I wish we all could work for our father’s businesses!

Katie: “My youth” ―she’s 23. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

“The Bible teaches that younger women and older women…their main sphere of influence is in the home.” Citation???

Mr. Valenti: “Their main focus is to try to be keepers at home … eventually they could be helpers to their husbands. And so that’s what I’m to teach my daughters and I think it’s based on the scriptures. Not think, I know.” Really? Since you know so much why don’t you tell us which scripture verse(s)?

Look how wealthy they are…

“She could be off having babies in another state..” ?? That’s kind of a weird way to put it!

Psalm 144:12. A scripture verse!!!

A corner pillar means to that daughters are “supposed to have a supporting and beautifying role in the home.” Interesting literal interpretation.

Brother: (to Anna Sophia) “You look like a robot.”

Malachi 4:6. ("He [Elijah/John the Baptist] will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”) Somewhat out of context here.

Why is Katie talking about submission? There’s nothing about being “submissive” (as you would be to a husband) to your father in the Bible.

“Seek to glorify my heavenly father first and please and honor my earthly father as well.” Really?

“Being away at school…” Did Katie go away to school for awhile?

Psalm 45:15 ("Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king.")

Why was Katie so mean and demeaning to others? Why was she feeling so guilty? Sounds like she was very unhappy…. I don’t really understand this part.

Why would they all have their own “selfish, individual lives”? That doesn’t make any sense. I love my family and I’m really close to them but I still have my own interests and no one thinks I have a selfish, individual life.

That home is so big I wouldn’t want to leave it either!

Elizabeth: “The Valenti home is no longer a lonely place of retreat and self-centered entertainment as so many American homes.” Now they’re just being mean. :-D

It is “commanded in the scriptures that Christians are supposed to be hospitable.” Command seems a strong word… hospitality is an overflowing of the love that we have for others. If we try to force it, it’s not hospitality.

“We had nine televisions going all at once…” Whhhaat? I don’t understand…. Was the whole family saved at one time?

Too much garlic!!! I hope they’re blanching it before using in one recipe. (See Julia Child)

Scripture count: 3.

Now on to the Bauchum family!

“I wanted to be a screenwriter. I wanted to go to New York University.” – Jasmine. Those are high and beautiful callings. I’m sorry that Jasmine wasn’t allowed to follow those dreams.

“Jasmine and her father have reevaluated…” Where is Mrs. Bauchum? Doesn’t she evaluate?

“In light of their scriptural discoveries” Explain! Inquiring minds want to know where this is in the Bible!

Why did Jasmine feel like she was going behind her father’s back to live out her dreams?

“One of America’s leading Bible scholars and teachers of apologetics.” I’d never heard of him but I have heard of James Montgomery Boyce, Warren Wiersbe, and other scholars.

Do they have to exaggerate everyone’s credentials? Can’t one of these people be ordinary?

Why would it feel weak or wrong for Jasmine to need her father? Why did she have to get past that? I need my father and don’t feel bad about it―it doesn’t make me feel weak.

Voddie: “Interestingly enough, the Bible doesn’t command women to be independent. It commands them to be submissive.” Scripture reference?? All women are commanded to be submissive? It doesn’t command men to be independent either! In fact, we’re all supposed to submit to God and each other!

Why is Voddie talking about the Fall? We’re not under the curse anymore! Believers are under grace! He doesn’t quote any scriptures and basically paints a very bleak picture of what life for women should look like…. What a terrible explanation of the Genesis story. Protecting her from wanting to take over the man’s role? That’s what you’re concerned about?

How does Jasmine know that staying home is more intellectually stimulating? She’d never tried college at this point.

In parts, Jasmine doesn’t seem happy. She looks like she’s about to cry.

And where is Mrs. Bauchum again??

Condoleezza Rice worked for the United States not for only George W. Bush. Does this man even understand politics?

And, uh, Voddie? Why are you using Condoleezza Rice to help support your view?

Anna Sophia: Referencing creation “woman was created for the man to be the perfect and complementary helper suitable to man for his vision.” Adam had no vision. God told him what to do and he did it. We’re a people of revelation, not a people of vision. Adam didn’t start digging things up going, “Hey God, here’s my vision of what I can do for you!” Adam WAITED on God and His leading.

Token showing of portrait of Mrs. Bauchum!!

What’s up with the chanting/vocalizing in the background?

My sister: (on Anna Sophia) “She looks scared,”

Voddie: “Helping is not a role woman only assume upon marriage…” Well, duh and yet, to what kind of helping are you referring?

Daddy?!!!? How old are you?????

Voddie can’t do his own research?? How did he manage to get his Ph. D?

Does Mrs. Bauchum do anything? Is Jasmine the surrogate wife? Why is Voddie doing everything with Jasmine?

“Am I willing to sacrifice my daughter on the altar of pleasing men?” Weird, weird wording!
She’s not your’s, she’s God’s!

Why is he acting like Jasmine is a piece of property? Why can’t he just give her over to God and trust God? Why does he feel like he has to micromanage every aspect of her life?

Brother: (during Voddie’s speech) Boy, you’re *very* humble.

It’s sad that Jasmine felt like a double minority in public. Doesn’t she have any friends?

Jasmine is pretty likeable actually...I wish she had a different Dad.

Bible Verse Count: 0 (Unless you consider a vague reference to Genesis 2 by Anna Sophia) This seems surprising considering Voddie is one of “America’s leading Bible scholars”. *rolls eyes*

Keen Family!!

Dedicated to promoting the message of father daughter unity???

Melissa is 25... Is she married now?

Aside―All of these girls in the documentary/propaganda film have super nice hair… seriously, it’s very nice. And they’re all really attractive. Hmmm… what happens to the other, less attractive girls?

So what does Melissa do if there isn’t a home business?

*And everyone in the room cringes as Elizabeth the zombie appears on the screen.*

How nice they organize conferences to restore the biblical family.

Nice hat.

Trust walks shown for the Father-Daughter retreat― aren’t they supposed to be unbiblical? (See Spiritual Junk Food)

Loving the flowery description of Melissa’s job…Really she books the event and arranges the high tea? Duh! That’s what a conference organizer does!

How inane.

Really short section!

Bible Verse count: 0.

Torres Family

At least the girls get to do target shooting….

Since when do people think that a lady is a china doll? None of my guy friends or relatives act like that around me!

Isn’t this the nanny for the Phillips family? How does she explain that she works?

Me: (yelling at the TV) WHAT? WHERE IS HER EYE PROTECTION? GLOVES!? You NEVER use power tools (ESPECIALLY TABLE SAWS!!!) without protection. AHHHHH!!

“My father’s vision for me….” And what about God’s vision?

“They help serve their community and other families…” By nannying, I suppose. Do the Phillips’ pay her for her work?

Brother: (seeing the blurred out immodesty) Ha. Hhe WHAT?? It’s not like they’re naked or something.

Oh, that’s very tolerant of them… blurring out a women’s entire midsection. Um, hello, Botkins, if this bugs you, don’t use the footage!

Elizabeth says that Lourdes and her family work “as invaluable assets to the community.” Yup. Nannying for the Phillips “community.”

Unmarried young women “are becoming known nationwide as the secret weapon of the church. What? I’ve never heard of them. Do you think we can possibly exaggerate any further?

“In the Spirit of Titus 2” Which doesn’t technically apply to unmarried women!

Still missing the protection with the powertools! Eek! Put some safety glasses on!

It’s really not that counter-cultural of a lifestyle. Why do they all have hero complexes?

Bible Verse Count: 0. (Titus 2 not actually given)

And now the one and only Bradrick family!

Anna Sophia: (on Peter and Kelly Bradrick) “Photos of their first kiss have been circulated worldwide” Yipes!

Kelly doesn’t look very healthy… she looks totally different from her wedding photos.

Is a husband really a sanctification tool? Oh… uh, maybe they should use a different word. *snicker* Naiveté is not always good. :-D

Peter Bradrick is so ugly. Those ears….

Brother: “He looks like an elf. A Keebler elf.”

Peter wrote “a series of theological papers” for Scott Brown? Weird.

Daddy? Kelly, you’re kinda old to be calling him that.

What’s up with all the posed, professional, sepia-toned pictures? Why do all of these people have horrible cases of narcissism?

So, the marriage wasn’t arranged by Mr. Brown but Kelly’s strongest indication of the Lord’s will was the approval of her parents. Isn’t that circular reasoning?

Kelly: “Peter was the fulfillment…” Was? Not is? You’re still married to him Kelly.

Deborah is actually interviewed!!!

A Bible verse! No citation but partly quoted. Proverbs 22:6. (Train up a child...)

Sister: “I find that highly offensive!” On Peter’s comment about getting a nursing degree, marrying and shelving it, and then having to learn homemaking skills. My sister is a nurse and knows how to cook, clean, and take care of a house. I don’t think Peter has the slightest idea what he’s talking about and ends up sounding very ignorant and foolish.

Scott couldn’t plan his own schedule? What did he do once she left? Are these jobs given to daughters really that important if the parents can take over once the daughter marries and leaves?

Amazing, she had access to her parent’s credit card and checkbook! No!! Say it isn’t so! Oh brother.
They make even paying bills sound like an epic journey. Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

Sister (to Peter): And you think you’re prince charming?

Again, where are all these posed photos coming from?

Kelly quotes 1 Corinthians 7!!! Says an unmarried woman has freedom from the responsibilities of a wife. Then, why do they insist that being a daughter is just like being a wife? Why would Paul write that knowing that a daughter would be doing the same things as a wife and then be distracted by serving her father? Contradiction! PLOT HOLE! Hooray for scripture that contradicts your entire theory!

Scott: “I wanted her to know that she was going to marry a male…a man…” Weird way of putting that comment….

Brother: Well, I sure hope she doesn’t think she’s marrying a woman!

Did these people even jot down ideas before they sat in front of the camera? They really need a good proofreader.

Brother (to Peter): Well, I don’t know who you’re hanging out with! (on Peter’s comment on what his friends are looking for in women).

Poor Kelly.

Cue the epic music!

Bible verse count: 2. (sort of)

And now back to the Botkin zombies!

*Everyone jumps a little as Anna Sophia eye-locks the camera with a dead, blank stare*

Zombie.

That’s right Elizabeth! Keep pouting!

Families don’t have to conform to “Narrow, ritualistic regulations”? Really? All the families seemed nearly the same to me!

“Biblical principles” and where are these principles found??

Scott Brown: A father needs a “big” “vision for what God wants him to do”… well, bless his heart!! I didn’t know that Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Joshua, Moses, Esther, Isaiah, etc., told God what they wanted to do for Him; I do believe it was the other way around!

Here, we drop in Jennie Chancy, with almost no explanation of who on earth she is! Who cares if she’s married to Matt―he’s never written any books or really done anything that anyone would know about outside of this insular little world.

Oh, now we explain who she is!

So, Voddie’s a Ph D. but Jasmine can’t go to college?

Why does he think that the culture believes you only get 17-18 years with your kids? Christian circles have always held to the idea of keeping your kids close. Why does it always have to be the other extreme?

Voddie: “There is an epidemic of unprotected women in our culture…” What does that mean?

That’s his explanation for promiscuity and abuse! When all else fails, blame the woman!

“HELPLESS CREATURES!!”

Me: He did NOT just say that!

Brother: Oy, I think he did.

Me: Miserable sod.

Cue more epic music.

Voddie: “We are stewards when it comes to her life…” Well, bless your heart!

Voddie says that he doesn’t like it when people get the wrong idea and think that his daughter won’t be educated. Well, she um, won’t. College at home, without different professors and classes, just isn’t the same.

Yes, Voddie, *sigh* “individualistically” is a word.

Does he really think he needs to tell homeschoolers to view themselves as a family unit?

Who are these women writing to Jennie Chancy? Can’t they find a cookbook that will tell them how to boil an egg? Do they have the ability to type anything into Google?

Voddie: “We are deceiving ourselves if we think that college is actually educating people.”

WHAT! You have a Ph.D!! You just insulted yourself, your professors, and all the people with whom you went to school!!! Jerk!

He thinks that his daughter at 16 is better educated than he was when he graduated college?















There are no words.

Voddie just needs to stop. Now.

Why wasn’t Jennie Chancy strong enough to stick with her dream of being a homemaker at college? I’ve stuck with mine!

Can’t Voddie quote some Bible verses? And he’s still treating Jasmine like a piece of property.

Anna Sophia: “They’re building on legitimate Christian tradition.” It’s still tradition, no matter how you swing it.

Me: “Isn’t this depressing?”

Sister: “I’m getting tired watching it.”

Brother: “It’s giving me mushy brain.” (Mushy brain is a term used in my family to describe that feeling you get when you’ve watched too much television.)

What reformation process? Aren’t you going to explain?

My goodness, Geoffrey Botkin is creepy! He makes me jump every time I see him.

The Doctrine of the Family? Where is this doctrine found other than the book of Botkin?

In submission of the law of God? The law? Seriously?

Overall message: Fathers if you fail in this, you have doubly failed. You are cowardly and emasculated. Ouch!

What country is he talking about? Soviet Russia?

A traditional Christian family is a foreign concept? Whooo… Brainwashing much?

Geoffrey: “Many viewers will not know what to think about this documentary…” Excuse me, one knows exactly what to think!

“And they may be offended by the functional biblical home.” No! Who could possibly be offended by bad theology, extremes, epic music, stereotyping, endless narcissism, brainwashing, propaganda, zombie girls, and cultish behaviour?

What’s up with the tiny child, working in the kitchen with oven mitts and no mother present?

As a matter of fact, where are all the mothers?

Daughters are instrumental “in building civilizations.” Does he think this is Ancient Greece? And of course, women are essential! We’ve all (hopefully) taken biology class.

Can someone give me a pair of boots so I can wade through this slop?

“The function of the family to make disciples of all nations” Actually, that command was given to everybody, singles and married alike, but if you want to stretch it that’s fine.

Geoffrey: (on daughters wanting to build up the faith) “How can I extend it to men of future generations once I’m married.” That’s so encouraging! I can only give the faith to my sons and not my daughters! And I have to be married in order to build up the faith! I think I’ll go tell that to the Apostle Paul.

You knew it was coming… Epic music!!!

“And patriarchally,” Did he really just use that word?

We live in a period of transition from a fiercely anti-biblical society to a biblical society. Really?

Oh, great, the zombie girls are back. Eeeps.

Not every girl will be able to enjoy this [lifestyle]? What does that mean? So some girls will fall through the cracks?

Wait. Why are you moving on without answering my question? Who’s going to fall through the cracks? Hello?

Anna Sophia: “Changing history for the better as they return to God’s law.” The law? I thought we were free from that? Which part of it? Are we going to make women impure during the wrong time of the month now too?

Really! A verse from Psalm 144!

What’s up with the epic music? How nice that Kelly did have her baby but who names their child Triumph? I guess it looked nice at the end of such an *epic* instrument of propaganda documentary.

They sure crammed a lot of heavy information into that ending… and a lot of it was total propaganda. I feel brainwashed even though I didn’t believe a bit of it.

Bible Verse Count: 1.

Total Bible Verse Count: 6.

Only six cited Bible verses in the whole earth-shattering, hour-long, documentary?

This whole thing truly illustrated the proverb (and I’m looking at you Voddie!) “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Miserable sods.

My head aches. I think I need some tea.

Signing off.

Jesus said: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. 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 10:34-39

Ingrid

Monday, June 25, 2012

Portrait of a Lady

Last night, for some reason, I was thinking about Kelly Bradrick. You may not have heard of her but she was a poster girl for Stay at Home Daughters and then for the large Vision Forum “conference wedding” with lengthy, manly monologues and a first kiss at the altar. Kelly is the daughter of Scott Brown, the founder of the NCFIC and she married Peter Bradrick in August of 2006. Who could forget? Doug Phillips featured the wedding in an e-mail newsletter and raved about getting a bird’s eye view of Peter and Kelly’s first kiss. He still talks about it to this day. I don’t really know who Kelly’s mom is… I think her name is Deborah and the only thing I remember about her is that she has a bad habit of wearing white to her children’s weddings. Oh and she looks really sad in videos… but I digress. As I was thinking about Kelly last night, I was also thinking about the inability of the men in her life to respect and protect her. I like her, I honestly do, but I hate the way her Dad and husband treat her.
First, we have her Dad: “In 2003, I took my daughter with me on a mission trip to Romania. On the plane, there was a drunken man flirting with her in a very aggressive way. Unfortunately for him, there were 535 pounds of manhood in our party ready to protect her. Believe me, we were exercising much Christian patience with this man who persisted throughout the entire flight. He did not realize that he was facing deadly force, if he persisted. He actually touched her once and was making bold advances. He even continued the pursuit after the plane landed. I am convinced that, if we had not been with her to protect her, she would have been in serious danger.”1 Sounds to me like she was already in serious danger! It also sounds like she didn’t receive ANY protection from her father or anyone else traveling with her. I mean come on, change seats or have her sit in a window seat and have your entire party surround her. If you must, enlist the flight attendants to help you! Better yet, get right in the guy’s face and tell him you’re going to kill him if he doesn’t leave her alone. That usually works. It honestly sound like all the guys just sat there and did absolutely nothing except mutter under their breaths about their “Christian patience.” Kelly might have been better off traveling by herself because she could have enlisted the flight attendants to help her as well as the passengers sitting around her. In any case, it was really stupid of Scott Brown to include that story in an article about protecting women when he did such a woeful job of protecting his own daughter.
Even during Kelly’s courtship with Peter Bradrick, both her father and Peter did not protect her very well or treat her with respect. According to Peter Bradrick in “Courtship and Marriage”2 Kelly did something that impressed him during their courtship. Then, Peter relates a story about an afternoon when he was at the Brown’s farm, walking with Kelly and Scott Brown. “Scott Brown’s giving me a tour of his farm yard and I see this girl that has always, in my experience, been dressed perfectly a model of feminine virtue and poise, drop down and roll underneath a hot wire fence while Scott Brown and I jumped over the fence, which we could do in our blue jeans, and get right back up and walk like a lady.” Then Peter goes on about noticing Kelly’s “very rare balance between beautiful femininity and sturdy womanhood” and how rare this combination is in his mind. (Actually, I know dozens of young women who can dress to the nines and still love going hiking and camping. Peter just wasn’t looking very hard.) Now, Peter’s comments are strange on a number of levels. For one, Kelly Bradrick was very slender and delicate looking before she was married (just look at the first picture I posted and her wedding photos) and I would never have classified her as “sturdy.” Plus, that’s a pretty strange choice of words for a future wife―it reeks of marrying only so you can have someone to clean your house and do your laundry for you. Further, why didn’t Peter or Scott help Kelly over the fence? It’s kind of strange and sad that she felt like she had to drop to the ground and roll under a fence rather than hike her skirts up or ask for help. It sounds to me like Kelly’s self-esteem/worth was so low that she didn’t even think of asking for help.

Moving forward, Kelly’s husband, Peter Bradrick hasn’t done a much better job of protecting her. Or as he promised in his marriage vows on August 26, 2006: “To lay down my life for you; to wash you with the water of the word; to love you as my own body and to nourish and cherish you even as the Lord the does the church….” You see, on May 15, 2011, Kelly had a baby girl, Geneva Constance; her fourth child in four and a half years. She already had an emergency c-section in January 2010 with her third baby so one would think that Peter would have been very protective and concerned about his wife. Even while Kelly was expecting this fourth child, Peter tromped off with Doug Phillips on an expedition “Into the Amazon” which isn’t exactly awful but isn’t very loving either. But then, it gets worse. On May 26, 2011, Scott and Deborah Brown left for a tour of Europe with Doug Phillips’ “A Final Farewell” event. According to pictures taken in Rome and Normandy, Peter and Kelly Bradrick went along as well. Only 11 days after Kelly gave birth. Now, most doctors will tell you to wait 2 weeks after giving birth normally and 4 weeks after a c-section to travel. Most women who have one c-section will continue to have them unless they specifically find a doctor who is willing to help with a VBAC or Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. (I know this because a friend had a terrible time finding a doctor willing to help her try a VBAC.) So it is highly possible that Kelly had a C-section and should have waited 4 weeks to travel, especially to Europe. As it was, she didn’t even wait two weeks and was highly at risk for hemorrhaging, infection, and thrombosis. It is also recommended to keep a newborn close to home for the first 6 weeks so that their immune system can develop. The Phillips’ posted a video of being delayed on the way to Europe and stuck in the airport sleeping in chairs and on floors. I certainly hope Kelly Bradrick didn’t have to sleep in an airport less than 2 weeks after giving birth! Phillips’ tour was first in Rome and then in Normandy, France from June 4-6, 2011. Here’s a picture of Peter and Kelly in Rome:
On June 11, 2011, Kelly Bradrick had to be life-flighted to a hospital and given a D&C. The doctors did not expect her to make it but thankfully, she did pull through and recover. It is not certain whether she was still in Europe at the time of her medical emergency. However, according to Joshua Phillip’s blog, the Phillips’ family did not return to the U.S. until around June 16, 2011 so it is highly probable that Kelly was in Europe at the time of her emergency. 3
What did Scott Brown, Doug Phillips, and all the other bloggers have to say about Kelly’s near death experience?
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Absolutely nothing. The blogs were silent. Not one request for prayer or praise for healing from the men. The only person to thank God for His protection was Kelly Bradrick herself, on Facebook. Screenshots here:




And what’s more, all the pictures proving that Kelly was along on the trip have been taken down.

Here’s a screenshot of Liberty Phillips’ Picasa album:
Notice the comments asking if the baby is Geneva. That’s right, there was a picture of Geneva Bradrick in Scotland but it was removed. Joshua Phillips had an entire album entitled “RomeAndPompeiiEurope2011” but it mysteriously vanished. The silence (of all the men especially) and then the cover-up really disturbs me. We, as Christians especially, should be transparent and no matter who we are, we should admit to our mistakes. This whole issue could even have been a teachable moment for why not to travel after you’ve given birth―or why you should truly love your wife as your own body. Asking your wife to accompany you on an overseas vacation soon after she’s given birth is not laying down your life for her or loving her as your own body. No matter how “sturdy” Peter believes his wife to be, he should have known better than to allow her to go to Europe. It’s not like Peter and Kelly had never been to Europe; they already went in 2008 and 2010, as shown by this photo of their 2010 trip to Scotland.

Just because the door is open doesn’t mean you have to, or even should, step through it. “But,” You say, “God protected her! God will provide!” Yes, God does provide and He did protect Kelly when no one else was doing so but He also provides us with minds and common sense. What the Bradrick’s did was like walking out into the middle of a busy highway without looking both ways or choosing to go without a seat belt and saying, “God will protect me!” That is a very arrogant and dangerous path. As it says in Deuteronomy 6:16, “"You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Jesus quotes this same verse when He is being tempted by the devil: “Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:5-7.
Now, Kelly Bradrick has given birth to her fifth child, Michael Courage Bradrick, less than a year after her last medical emergency. This time the baby was five weeks early and is currently in the NICU. Frankly, I’m horrified. If Michael was due in June, then that means there was only a four-month gap between Kelly’s pregnancies. I’ve never heard of such a thing…even among my mom’s friends who did not use birth control and had 5+ kids. What is the point of all of this? I know Scott Brown coined the term "Militant Fecundity" but this is ridiculous! Take a look at this video that Peter and Kelly made to wish Doug Phillips Happy Birthday from the NICU:
video
(Oh, the lengths people will go to impress that wretched man! There’s something completely wrong about making someone a happy birthday video from a place as serious and private as your baby’s hospital room.) Kelly looks emotionally and physically exhausted and her body must be absolutely depleted. I hope she is receiving a lot of help from family and friends because I don’t know how else she could manage difficult pregnancies and five children under the age of five. Just look at the difference in Kelly between her wedding in 2006, a photo taken in 2009, and a recent photo of the Brown family taken in late 2011.





I wish I could say I’m disappointed in Kelly for not standing up for herself and her children, but I don’t know how much of a voice she is allowed. I don’t know what her life is like with so many little children and if she has any strength of character after being raised by Scott Brown and then married to Peter Bradrick. Even before her marriage, it seems her self-esteem was very low. I’m really disappointed in the men in Kelly’s life, especially Peter Bradrick. I don’t expect Kelly to try to protect herself since she’s been taught to expect absolute care and protection from men but I do expect Peter Bradrick, Scott Brown, and even Doug Phillips to step up and put her above themselves and their desires and concerns. That is, of course hypothetical and unlikely to happen because their track records for truly valuing and respecting women are low. There’s a lot of talk going on but not very much action. When it comes down to it, these men don’t seem able to live up to their lofty goals. I hate to be negative but I don’t see a lot of sunshine in Kelly’s future. Something tells me that things will only get worse for Kelly before they get better… if they get better at all.

Ingrid

1.http://www.visionforumministriesDOTorg/issues/family/living_in_sodom_a_case_study_p_1.aspx

2. Return of the Daughters, DVD extra, "Courtship and Marriage."

3. “…flying directly to the Denver homeschool conference without even setting foot outside the airport in between jaunts.” http://www.ballantynethebraveDOTcom/blog/home/

Spring 2013 Addendum - There has been a little confusion about this article and I would like to explain a few things. First, I love large families, some of my closest friends come from families of six to ten children, and I think choosing to have many children is a wonderful thing. However, I believe that this is a decision made by both parents and should be driven by their love of children; NOT from a desire to follow any programs or legalistic rules about the family.Also, care should be taken to ensure the health and emotional well being of the mother.  See this post: A Desire to Control Second, I wrote about Kelly Bradrick because Peter Bradrick and Scott Brown not only act abusively toward her but also promoted the very ideas that nearly killed her. The men and women who teach and promote "militant fecundity" are to be held accountable for this unbiblical teaching. Moreover, if the dangers of this movement are "covered-up" and remain unknown to others, then other women could be injured or killed. That's why this article had to be written.