Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Passion and... er... well...

Preface: No, I'm not dead and I'm not scared about posting either. I'm just really, really busy. I'm working on a novel so that's where most of my writing time goes. But I feel guilty that I haven't been posting so I'm going to try harder. :) Hopefully, I'll have more book reviews up soon.

As some of you know, I’ve discussed Elizabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity before in many posts, somewhat in depth in these: here and here I've been thinking about it again over the past few months and I realized that it’s honestly not a great example of purity. The story of Jim and Elizabeth’s romance is a decent love story (aside from Jim’s cold feet and stringing Elizabeth along for six years :-/) and I appreciate Elizabeth’s frank discussion of their temptations and her openness with the struggles of waiting. However, in Passion and Purity, Elizabeth and Jim are constantly focusing on the physical aspects of their relationship (or future relationship). Well, actually, it’s mostly Jim. One only has to turn a few pages to find excerpts from letters to where Jim declares that he has a “wetted appetite for her body.”1 Now I have mixed feelings here… on one hand, it is a love letter but on another, Jim just sounds like a perverted creep. And then again, this is hardly something I would include in a discussion of purity! If you’re trying to be pure, you don’t talk about such things! Why? Because focusing on it isn’t going to help at all. Jim and Elizabeth weren’t messing around but they were talking about physical stuff and discussing it and thinking about it so much that they ended up focusing more and more upon physical intimacy. For the reader, this is terribly awkward, not to mention confusing.

In a similar fashion, I Kissed Dating Goodbye and even worse, Boy Meets Girl contain rather detailed descriptions of intimate encounters. I don’t really feel like quoting them, because I don’t want to re-read them! Seriously Josh Harris, did you have to use such descriptive language? I remember trying to read And the Bride Wore White as a teenager and I couldn’t even finish it because the book was so graphic. Did I really need to know that Dannah Gresh? All of these authors included things that can only be labeled as “TMI” and now that I’m an adult, I’m confused as to why they thought this was a good idea. Just what purpose do these discussions serve? If you’re trying to preach purity, why do you need to be so graphic? Why focus so much on the one thing you’re trying to ignore? It’s like that scene in Inception where Arthur says to Saito: “Okay, this is me, planting an idea in your mind. I say: don't think about elephants. What are you thinking about?” And the response is, “Elephants.”2 In fact, none of these authors have a good grasp of psychology because Ironic Process Theory states that the more you try to suppress a thought, the more it will surface in your mind. The more these authors talk about “forbidden subjects” the more the reader will think about forbidden subjects. Oh, and let me get one thing straight here, I have no problem with healthy, helpful discussions or advice for intimate relationships. Some people need that and I don’t think we should avoid the subject. However, I do have a problem with books that are supposed to promote purity dropping graphic descriptions into your mind with no warning. And if you are 12-18, it is doubly jarring and opens up a whole new discussion. My mom let me read Passion and Purity when I was 14, and I don't fault her at all, because she trusted Elizabeth Elliot. I don't think Elliot was worthy of that trust. Many parents are encouraged to trust these authors but knowing the facts, what parent would want to give their 12-18 year old these books?     

In all honesty, I think all of these books fall into the trap of puritanism and a lot of Christians fall into it as well. “…Puritanism is the most leering and prurient of world views. Far from wanting to keep sex in the private sphere, the puritans can't wait to drag it out in public. Puritans are the least buttoned-up people in the world. They can't wait to pin a scarlet A for adultery on someone's clothing, or hold a public humiliation ritual.”3 Yes, exactly. I couldn’t have said it better myself.


1. Elizabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity, 1984.
2. Christopher Nolan, Inception, 2010.

3: BBC News Magazine. “A Point of View: Sex and the French.” 17 January 2014.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Doug Phillips = Pervert

I never really thought I'd title a blog post with that phrase... but this is a new era. Doug Phillips is going to court. But this time, he's the one on trial. See the news article here and the official legal complaint here. (Trigger warning: Both links contain graphic details about sexual and spiritual abuse.) I knew it already but this just cements the fact that Doug Phillips is a freaking pervert. Can I just say that again? Doug Phillips is a freaking slimy pervert!

Most of you know the story: On October 31, 2013, Doug Phillips confessed to a "lengthy, inappropriate relationship" with another. See my brief post here, with a link to his statement. Since then, there has been much speculation about the details. What did Phillips mean? Who is "the woman"? Was this all that happened or was there more? More than one person tried to unravel the details and one blog in particular, (*cough* Jen's Gems *cough*), was rather invasive and emotional about the whole thing. I stayed out of it... mostly because I knew a bit more than I was able to disclose.      

Lourdes Torres c.2007
Now that the details are public, I can state that I've known that the "mystery woman" was Lourdes Torres for several months. When Phillips' confession was posted, I immediately thought the woman was probably Torres. Soon after, I received the information confirming this from one of my sources who also told me that a lawsuit was in the works. However, I did not feel it was my place to disclose that information until Torres chose to release details. I just kept praying that she was recovering from her experience and receiving counseling. I encourage everyone to continue to pray for her and her family. I'm very glad she's taking Phillips to court. I praise her bravery in speaking out. Doug Phillips can be an intimidating man... but maybe not as much as we once thought. Phillips is far more of an idiot than even I imagined. I mean, knocking on Torres' window in the middle of the night? Going to talk to Torres' parents, with Beall? What a creepy idiot! And Beall's sending threatening e-mails to Torres was hilariously stupid of her. Very incriminating. It's such perfect evidence of the sickness that is Doug and Beall Phillips and Vision Forum. Though Beall meant to be intimidating, her efforts backfired beautifully and will now be extremely valuable in court.

The fact that the Vision Forum Board is implicated and that the likes of Scott Brown, Voddie Bauchum, and etc. are mentioned in the complaint, may turn out to be a good thing. Maybe all these so-called ministries can go down together.

On a side note, I am both amused and aghast at Michael Ferris' distancing himself from Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. Ferris is himself a fundamentalist, has espoused some parts of the patriarchy movement, and I recall reading about the courtship of one of his daughter's in Josh Harris' Boy Meets Girl. Ferris was freakishly controlling and separated his daughter from her future husband while they were in college. He made his daughter cut off contact with the young man and manipulated the couple's feelings and actions. The couple finally reunited when Ferris decided it was time. They could have had a happy, normal relationship all through college but oh no, Ferris had to be in control. It was totally ridiculous and a terrible waste of everyone's time and energy. In fact, it was emotionally abusive. And if Ferris didn't like Phillips' teachings, why didn't he tell the homeschool community sooner? That would have been helpful! In addition, Michael Farris has handled reports of rape on the Patrick Henry campus in a completely antiquated and dismissive manner. See this link. This is completely unacceptable and disgusting. Thus, I have a very difficult time respecting Ferris and believing anything that he states.

There's more to come I'm sure... this issue is far from over.


P.S. Does anyone else find it funny that the lawsuit was filed on April 15th? The 102nd Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Alone Yet Not Alone... Can Just Go Die Alone

Everyone look at the scary bad Indian trying to hurt the poor innocent white children *gag*

When I saw that Alone Yet Not Alone’s Oscar nomination had been revoked, I have to admit I cheered.

And I’m not sorry about it. 

A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in a waiting room, minding my own business, and I start looking up news on my phone because I’m bored. The Oscar nominations had just been announced and I read them like I always do because film interests me. I scrolled down the page, reading, and then I got to Best Original Song.

And then it got really weird.

Alone Yet Not Alone. Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, that’s the book that Vision Forum sells. I read it as a kid and liked it, but in hindsight, I realized that it’s racist, inaccurate, and full of dominionist propaganda. I vaguely remember that they were making the book into a movie and Vision Forum was involved in the production.

There’s no way. It can’t be the same film. There must be another Alone Yet Not Alone.

A quick Google search shattered that hope. 

So, let me get this straight. A song from a random film based on a book published by now-defunct Vision Forum is nominated for an Oscar?

What. The. Heck.

This was awful. In so many ways. Let me list them for you:
  1.   This film is racist and historically inaccurate and since it got an Oscar nod, more people will see it. Hopefully, they’ll get up and walk out of the theatre when they realize what it’s truly portraying.
  2.  The film was made by dominionists and some of the actors are include Doug, Joshua and Virginia Phillips, Lourdes Torres, and others related to Vision Forum. Not good.  
  3.  Because this is labeled as a “Christian film” it can make all Christians look like racist dominionists. Great. Just great.
  4. The production value of this film is terrible. Watching the trailer makes me want to hurl. Someone really messed up the costumes and make-up. And the actresses are completely overacting... We really don't need the crazy eyes. 
  5. The song itself is not that good. I like Joni Erickson Tada and she does a fine job but the song is not Oscar worthy. I’m listening to Coldplay’s “Atlas” and Lana Del Ray’s “Young and Beautiful” as I write and I cannot believe that “Alone Yet Not Alone” beat them out.
Behold the crazy eyes
If we'd really dressed like this in Pennsylvania we would have frozen to death

Now the nomination has been pulled and I believe the Academy did the right thing. Maybe the Academy members actually watched the trailer or even screened the film and realized that they could not condone the film’s overt racism. This is 2014. Let’s hope that this is what happened. Frankly, I don’t think the campaigning for the nomination was particularly wrong… I think that is just a red herring that provides an excuse for the film’s disqualification. The Academy probably doesn’t want to admit that they did not consider all points and notice the racism of the film. Hence, they had to come up with an excuse. You really can’t put this film up for honors alongside 12 Years a Slave. The idea is completely abhorrent.

For the record, American Indians did NOT and do NOT look like Orcs from Lord of the Rings. And maybe, just maybe the settlers did something to provoke attacks. If someone came, built a house in my backyard, and declared that they owned my land, I’d probably be pretty upset too. Also, many people captured by Indians chose to stay with them and actually, a lot of white settlers chose to live with Indians. You just don’t hear about them. (See the book: Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen and others similar to it.)

This image is purely a figment of the production's imagination
Let me make one thing clear: Alone Yet Not Alone is NOT a Christian film. Racism is not Christian. Maybe those who made it are Christians, I can’t see their hearts, but the result is not okay or right in any form.

For all of you fellow Christians out there… don’t jump on the bandwagon. See this film for what it is: racist, revisionist, dominionist propaganda. Don’t rally behind this film and its Oscar nomination and subsequent disqualification. Don’t wax poetic about how it’s an underdog. Be glad that Hollywood can see and reject racism. Don’t feel sad and claim it is an example of Hollywood’s discrimination or whatever. You’re better than that.  So just don’t do it. Go see 12 Years a Slave and learn to be more culturally sensitive.

Excuse me while I go rejoice and listen to Lana Del Ray's Young and Beautiful again.