Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 7 - Part Three

Chapter seven ends with a short list of tips to keep in mind to prevent....falling in love?....having romantic relationships?

Think in terms of the big pictures, not temporary romantic thrill rides.

When the focus of our life is the real adventure of the Great Commission, then boys will fall back into a much healthier and more biblical place.  But if we and our relationships are our biggest adventure, our biggest drama, then, well, it's going to be an all-consuming drama.

And if our hearts are firmly fixed on the "marriage" setting - a life of submission, commitment, and self-sacrifice - the next potential flash-in-the-pan romantic thrill ride just won't pique our interest.  And neither will the kinds of young men who are clearly in it for the ride, but not for life.  Of all the girls we've known over the years, the ones who were the most focused and productive, and who had the least emotional angst and boy trouble, were the ones who were thinking in terms of marriage.  They had the mindset that if God had ordained a husband for them, they should be busily working on doing that husband good.  They didn't have time to be boy-crazy. (pg. 125-126)

Friday, March 18, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 7 - Part Two

In the first post from this chapter, we discussed the theological problems with Emotional Purity (now known as Emo-Pur).  This post wades through the Botkin's practical ideas for dealing with guy-girl relationships.

The first list that the Botkin Sisters gives in the chapter is a list of signs that your heart is getting ahead of where you should be in a relationship.

"1.  Seeking our will above God's
God already has a plan for what must happen with you and every young man you know.  In His grand design, He knows who should be married to whom in order for His will to be accomplished, and your duty is to embrace that design as surely as you embrace God Himself. (...)Whenever we feel that we would not be happy with God's will being done on earth as it is done in heaven, if that will is different from ours, we're out of place.  If a young man becomes more important to us that God's will and preferences, he has officially become an idol." (pg. 120)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 7- Part One

Chapter 7 is titled "The Heart: Victim or Perpetrator - Getting Your Heart to Follow You".

This chapter crystallizes a market-share problem that the Botkin Family hasn't quite solved yet.  The number of people who are willing and able to buy a Christian Patriarchy book is a set, limited market. To get the best returns on the investment in the book, the Botkins need to attract as many sub-divisions of the Christian Patriarchy, Quiverfull and Christian Homeschooling groups as possible.  The Botkin Sisters' first book "So Much More" was published in 2005 through Vision Forum Ministries. That was a great marketing choice since the Botkin Sisters book would not have gotten much traction without sponsorship of a major industry player in CP/QF/HS.  At some point after 2005, the Botkins Family spun off from Vision Forum Ministries and started their own site at Western Conservatory which published "It's Not That Complicated" in 2011.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter Six - Part 4

Last section in Chapter Six!  Yay!

Overarching Themes:

You've probably become afraid of dressing attractively since you read the section on modesty.
"Some believe that attractiveness itself is a stumbling block - that beauty and femininity are somehow fleshly and worldly, even sinful.  Some of us wondered if we should conceal ourselves in drab, shapeless, asexual burqas and communicate our holiness through our plainness.  But did God command us to dress modestly because He wants us to look ugly?" (pg. 106)
  • Well, yes, after reading the book up to this chapter, I had decided that being attractive to men was a major issue that should be avoided in the Botkin worldview.    
  • The problem, as I see it, is that CP life is uncomfortable with both sexual attractiveness AND sexual unattractiveness in women. If women are sexually attractive, they are drawing men into evil.  If women are not sexually attractive, they are derided as being masculine.  Somehow, women are supposed to be attractive, feminine, pretty, but not visibly sexual.  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 6 - Part Three

Chapter 5 went really fast.  Chapter Six feels like it will never end.

Overarching Themes:

Modesty in women starts with denying your own skills....

"The subject of modesty has already been covered from head to toe by other, much wiser authors, so we'll keep this short." (pg. 102)

  • Time out.  Let's be honest here: This is Anna Sophia and Elizabeth's strongest subject.  In so far as I can tell, they've managed to figure out how to look stylish, modern and classy without catching flack for being immodest.  I wish they had spilled everything they knew about dressing in this chapter!  If they sold a book on how to dress snazzily on a tiny income, I would buy it at full price.

Friday, March 11, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter Six - Part Two

Well, we have about 2.5 pages of reflection left on the Proverbs 7 woman - also known as the "Forbidden Woman".

To get it out of my system now, let me start by pointing out that the Proverbs 7 woman is an adulteress which means she's a married woman who is having sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband.  The Botkin Sisters application of this Bible section to causal relationships between unmarried men and women is at best overwrought and at worst a knowing misapplication of basic Biblical study.   As before, since most of the reflection is quotes from other portions of Proverbs on wayward women, I'm going to note those sections with [Bible quotes] to save time and space.

"She is loud and wayward;
The Hebrew word translated here is "loud" has a meaning something like boisterous, defiant, clamorous, tumultuous. [Bible quotes]. "Wayward" is often translated as rebellious, stubborn, backsliding.  We get the impression of a woman who moves like a force of nature; a creature who will not be controlled, by herself or by anybody else. [Bible quotes.]" (pg. 96.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 6 - Part One

Chapter Six means we are halfway through this book!

The chapter title is "Slaying the Inner Vamp: When the Female of the Species is More Deadly Than the Male."

Really, the title is emblematic of the problem with this entire chapter: Words have meaning.  Assuming for a minute that women have an "inner vamp",  women are far less deadly than men in every category involving human deaths.  Women commit fewer murders, commit suicide less frequently and are involved at much lower levels in military operations.

That leads smoothly into the first theme:

Bible interpretation is NOT our strong point.

The Botkin Sisters start the chapter with an overview of Proverbs 7.  I've never actually read Proverbs 7, but after skimming it, the message of the chapter is very clear: Don't commit adultery.   The Botkin Sisters, on the other hand, spin out 3 pages of reflection on this topic - although the reflection condenses quite a bit if you remove quotes from other sections of the Book of Proverbs about adulterous women.  I'm not including the quotations and will mark the sections by [quote].  As always, the italics and bolding in the quotes is from the original.

" Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.
When we think of the attributes of a bad woman, we usually think of immodest clothing or fluttering eyelashes or suggestive body language.  Proverbs mentions all of these, but the weapon it warns against the most - by far - is none other than her tongue.  [paragraph of quotes]

Monday, March 7, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: The Boys - Part Two

Quick refresher before we hit the boys.  According to the Botkin Sisters, girls should:

  • Treat all young guys as they would treat their brother...kind of. 
  • Don't flirt, joke, tease, or have deeply personal conversations with boys.
  • Be more reserved around guys than girls.
  • Realize guys are imperfect and treat them with understanding and charity.
  • Have "family friends" rather than individual guy friends.
Here are the guys:

From James, producer:
 “I have a number of close friendships with sisters in Christ, and each of them is unique.  Two things are consistent, though: First, my relationship with them is in the context of my relationship with their family, or their relationship with my family, and second, our relationships are based on a shared labor for the kingdom of Christ.  While we certainly enjoy time together with each other’s families, our relationships are not simply based on having fun together.   We talk, we laugh, we play games – but we also discuss theology, work on large projects together, serve others in our communities and develop businesses.” (pg. 81)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter Five - Part 2

This chapter is going to be nice and short.  The actual chapter in the book drags on and on, but....well, you'll see.

Overarching Themes:

Actual lists about how to treat guys like your brother (i.e., what good girls do) and how to encourage guys to pursue a romantic relationship with you (i.e., what bad girls do)

There are two lists that I consider "good girl" lists.

"Observe a difference between your male friends and your brothers.
Of course, there is a difference between how affectionately we can treat our biological brothers and the other guys.  This is because, unlike a brother-sister relationship, which is permanently defined, non-brother relationships do have the potential to turn into something else.  However platonic they might seem, the possibility is there for them to become sticky.  According to our father and brothers, physical affection, deeply personal conversations, etc., can be stimulants for other-than brotherly emotions." (pg. 77)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 5 - Part One

New chapter: Wounding Friends or Kissing Enemy? Reforming our Philosophy of Relationships

Are "wounding friends" and "kissing enemies" two existing categories?  Are they mutually exclusive?  This doesn't bode well....

Overarching Theme:

The Botkin Sisters think the worst of everyone else possibly due to lack of socialization.
"We've all seen it (and maybe been in on it).  The circle of young people at church, standing a little too close to each other; the characteristic exaggerated movements of the guys and girls who are way too self-conscious around each other - flouncing, strutting, bobbing, hair-tossing, posing.  We get in a little closer, and hear a giggling "Brett, your hair is getting too long," while the girl reaches up to play with the same.  Some of them are sending each other giddy text messages from across the group, rather than verbalizing the nothing that they had to say.  "What would you know, Josh?" teases another girl, affectionately shoving him.  It's the usual melee of giggling and teasing that you see everywhere from school hallways to church foyers." (pg. 71)