follow A Selection of Varied Topics

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Steadfast response to charges of legalism

Stacy McDonald has responded to charges of legalism, both at Steadfast Daughters and her personal blog Your Sacred Calling. Classically, I felt the need to compose a lengthy [and probably inarticulate] reply, which I posted on YSC. 

I am very irked at the steadfast refusal to address specific concerns, and the equally steadfast assumption that 'quivering daughters' are by and large still the guilty parties. 

The Romans 14 quote is one which ought to be at the forefront of any movement which claims to combat legalism [all too often, it isn't]. 
However, I see a gap between what that verse prescribes and the application that I think you would extend it to. 
It is, I think, fair to assume that the person who 'eats everything' could be compared to 'Quivering Daughters' and their allies. 
Hence, we can also assume that the person who 'does not eat everything', because he feels it wrong, is represented by 'Steadfast Daughters'.
In my experience, those who hold to the Steadfast Daughters view are 1) 'not eating everything' which we are told we must NOT treat with contempt [Romans 14:3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.] but also, 2), they are judging those who do not believe as they do. 
This is the key point.  I hope that none of those who battle against legalism would object to an individual's opinions on whether it is right for them to do anything from only wear skirts, to decline to attend college. The line becomes blurred when one individual would seek to impose that idea on their entire family, and it is crossed entirely when an individual or an organization teaches an entire community that it is wrong for all of them to attend college or leave home. [Usual disclaimer applies: those are examples, I would prefer not to debate whether or not you or your followers have actually taught those exact things.] 
The examples you gave of the four people who might be called legalists, did not fit my definition of legalism.  However, had there been any suggestion that, for instance, Jennifer imposed her dietary restrictions on her sister-in-law, or indicated that following Mosaic dietary laws is the only 'correct' action, then I would have indeed cried 'Legalism!'. 

You talk about false accusations of legalism rather a lot in this post. Do you 1) believe that false accusations are being made about the actions of those in the patriarchy movement? or 2) the actions they have committed are not legalistic? or 3) a combination of the above? 
I agree with your view, that those of us who say we have left legalism are still prone to it. 
I also agree with your reader's comment: 'Calling others legalistic based on outward appearance is itself legalistic and hypocritical.' 
However, it is not legalistic to state that a person's beliefs as imposed upon or suggested to others are legalistic. One could not call the Pharisees legalists solely based on the fact that they tithed: one could, however, call them legalistic based upon what they taught to others as God-ordained fact. 

I think it is fair to state that your writings on Your Sacred Calling are mostly read by those who could find themselves being accused of legalism [whether true or false]. You rightly devote a lengthy section to how to respond to incorrect accusations of legalism, based on their appearances. You do not, however, speak much to how to avoid actual legalism. 
The readers of Steadfast Daughters, however, also include many who are leveling charges of legalism against others. You speak of the abuses of power that you have seen, but fail to mention the key points that these readers are likely to be objecting to. Throughout the history of Steadfast Daughters, and indeed everything I have seen written from a patriarchal perspective in recent months, there has been a distinct unwillingness to come to terms with the tangible protests of 'quivering daughters'. I think this is because you know that many WILL disagree with your presuppositional views, and you are trying to smooth things over. I can understand this, but it is doing a really bad job of 'reconciling' those who disagree with you. To be fair, most of those who disagree with Steadfast Daughters already know they disagree with your views, and many are familiar with years of 'reconciliation' as suggested by those in the patriocentric movement who [supposedly] were in fact their abusers. It is all too familiar for most 'quivering daughters' to buy into. Many have already received [they believe] healing and freedom, and NOT at your hands. They are not going to be happy when you produce 'a biblical response' to something [namely Hillary McFarland's work] that they already believe to be helpful, Christ-honoring and in fact BIBLICAL. 

My apologies if I have worded any of this confusingly. I am rather prone to do that. And yes, feel free to pick apart my arguments in any way, I have certainly done so to yours. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In which we receive a check in the mail, witness the effect of a snowstorm on our community, and discuss college

Yeah the title sums it up :P

Since I last posted, we have had no END of developments.

Our financially-struggling robotics team received a check in the mail last Tuesday: this allows our team to participate in FIRST this year. Team thrilled, Bethany awed and ecstatic. The donor, someone I have never met, who somehow got enough of an idea about robotics from my many and passionate posts about the joys of FIRST. Thank you.

And the weather.
Let me explain first that our corner of the PNW [Pacific North-west] gets snow on average twice a year.  The fall of more than an inch is a signal for 'MASSIVE PARTAAYY TIME!!!'
More than half an inch, and all the local school districts can be counted on to panic and cancel school. Last night there was a Facebook event started [by someone in the PNW, I think] and it now has over 3000 guests: titled 'No school Tuesday'.

A few years ago we actually had a snowfall around Thanksgiving [we still talk about that]. This is rare however, usually we only get a snow in December or sometimes as late as March.

Anyway, this summer the fearless weathermen forecasted that we would have a 'cold wet winter' [ie, snow]. The entire town has been talking about that since August, I think.

Starting early last week, the weathermen talked eagerly and portentously of snow coming [last] weekend. Despite the ongoing warm wet weather, our town was simply a-buzz. Remembering the big ice storm last year [roads were out for a whole 18 hours], the all-team bonfire organized by the local robotics teams was cancelled.  No snow materialized, and it was only chilly over the weekend. The weathermen, undaunted, commenced pushing back the snow forecast to Monday night.

Monday at school, amidst pouring cold rain, teachers and students alike gazed longingly out the window at non-snow. I was amused to see reports beginning to come in, of snow in the northern part of the state, Washington state, and the mountains to the east [which don't count, because you can snowboard year-round there].
Yesterday evening, in between preparing for a calculus test scheduled for today, I glanced out the door. It was dark by 5 PM, but no snow....the weathermen, now beside themselves, were detailing to-the-minute movements of 'this big Arctic air-mass' which was supposed to produce snow after 11 PM.

Right around 10:30 last night I was killin' time on Facebook, and noticed that every. single. person's. status for the last half hour was some variation on 'snow!', 'SNOW!' or 'SNOWWW!!!!!!!!!'  Mom looked out the door, and behold, it was in fact snowing. It was starting to pile up by the time I went to bed.
Was woken in the small hours of the morning by my mom, who had listened to the bus-route reports and announced that school was cancelled. I went back to sleep and slept until nearly noon :P

Okay, so the grand total of snow was less than an inch. But it is supposed to get well below freezing tonight, so the meltage will likely refreeze into really scary patches of black ice. We are counting on a delay, at the least, tomorrow.

And now for the witty and introspective detailed social analysis of snow upon our town. After a late and luxurious breakfast, dad and I headed into town to buy meal fixings for Thanksgiving, in case the roads should be bad and the crowds worse, tomorrow.
Brushed snow off the car with much jollity and wearing of gloves and knee-socks.

Quick digression here! We have been on a years-long search for Really Good Knee-socks. There are several criteria which must be met: mostly wool, soft, cannot fall down in a puddle around one's ankles. We made a foray to 'the Scottish store' in a city to the north of here, specially to buy socks. They were and I each got several pairs. Soft, woolly, don't fall down. SO WARM.

Town was BUSTLING. The stores probably did a FAR better business today because of the snow, hehehe. Got food at every fancy-food market in town....Co-op, Trader Joe's, Market of Choice. Oranges, potatoes, ginger ale, cranberries, milk, etc etc. It's kept snowing a bit all day too. Great fun. Got home and made hot chocolate, cranberry-orange sauce, sampled the ginger ale, and so on.
Oh yeah, social analysis! I don't know if this is true in other parts of the country, but it seems bad weather [or even the threat thereof] causes people here to be a little more chipper and so on. Also they are thrilled to have the excuse to wear their real cold-weather clothes: jackets, woolly hats, gloves, scarves. They would never admit that they are probably a little overheated in these clothes, because it never gets very cold here....

Our town simply shuts down, as previously stated, if there's even the hint of an ice-storm. The newspaper will be busily talking about the snowstorm for days. Kids can grow up, practically, between really good snowstorms. Bethany is quite inexperienced in brushing snow off the car satisfactorily, as we learned today when we started driving and were blinded by a little flurry of snow blowing up in front of the windshield. 

This weekend we also had a lot of college discussion, and the upshot is that I am seriously considering relocating to Texas for college at Le Tourneau U. It's a Christian college with a large engineering focus, something that is very hard to find. We've kinda gone back and forth [every day a different decision], because of some issues to do with vaccinations, the Gulf oil spill, vacation plans, and so on. 

I really do hope it works out. I've wanted to have 'the full college experience', cliché as that sounds, complete with dorms and roommates and so on and so forth. Apparently the food is pretty good too, which I hear is quite unusual, lol. So! Looking at Computer Sci.  and starting to make packing lists. I am like kinda REALLY excited at the thought of setting up camp on my own, I must say.  As I emoted the other day, 'one big long camping trip!'.  I'd plan to come home for Christmas and summers, I am NOT thrilled about summers in East Texas, hehe. 

Needless to say I have a few reservations. One, Oregon State [where I'd been planning to attend] has a reputation as a good computer school. On the other hand, I will probably wind up living at home if I stay here, and I have a feeling that will lead to having a very hard time finding 'my own little niche' so to speak. I hear it's hard enough the first year at college, without living four miles away from campus. 
Two, parents will miss me a lot. 
Three, I will miss parents and friends and Oregon.'s it actually. I am ready to go, should it work out. But I really really hate indecision, so let's hope we can make up our minds -.-

Should I go, look forward with glee to posts of all sorts from the college freshman living away from home for the first time. Wouldn't the patriocentrists have a conniption. 

And now, off to take a walk, then a shower, then prepare some form of dinner. I love snow. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dear, you just growled....

And now, for a swift change of subject. Yesterday I got swallowed whole by a morass of fundraising for my FIRST Robotics team. Things got fast and furious....our fundraising is not going well, let's just say that.

We have three weeks in which to raise the remaining $1600..otherwise our team won't be able to participate in FIRST. Any of you who've followed this blog for a while know what a heavy blow that would be to me.

Hence, mayhem.

Yesterday, with bad news on the fundraising front [as in, we majorly screwed up the NASA grant application....], Bethany's survival instincts kicked into overdrive. I spent much of the day brainstorming money-making schemes. Held a lengthy discussion over on Chief Delphi [the robotics forum where I spend most of my life] with a member of another FRC team that's in the same financial position as we are. Enthusiasm built until I went to bed at midnight: sleepless, I pondered fundraising ideas and jotted frantically on the bedside clipboard.

This morning, after my sole class of the day [went in to get some calculus help from last year's awesome teacher] I came home and tackled the fundraising again. Unfortunately, I have almost entirely lost my voice, because of the cold I caught over the weekend. It is MOST regrettable that 'the voice of the team' is thus incapacitated!

Erh and we're looking at marketing HexBugs [cool little toys that are perfect for a robotics team to market].
And a bake sale. And a team-members-do-odd-jobs-for-pay event. And a local restaurant fundraiser. And- I could go on, but I need to get back to organizing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

You could, in a way, say we've declared war.

*sigh* I was planning a really nice, inspiring, semi-chipper sort of blog post for this time. Then along came  the tragic teen suicide at one of the high schools where I take classes. I was going to do a sober reflection on that, a cautionary tale inspiring y'all to take the time to get to know people [because the single most common thing people have said on the Facebook page honoring this kid is, 'I wish I'd gotten to know you better.'] 

And then along came another blog post, and I'm too wrapped up in my own irritation to do anything except talk about that. 
[You'll notice I've started using sub-section headings..hehe....I figured it might make plowing through lengthy works like this a little easier. Plus chapter titles are fun.] 

Steadfast in the face of rebellion
This website right here, Steadfast Daughters, is 'a biblical response to “Quivering Daughters,” the book and blog written by Hillary McFarland.'   This is a new blog apparently intended to counter and explore the growing advances of Hillary's book. Steadfast Daughters is co-authored by Stacy McDonald, the author of various likewise-controversial books such as Raising Maidens of Virtue, and Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. 

There was quite a firestorm surrounding the opening of Steadfast Daughters. I understand that it may have accidently been opened before the authors were ready for it to go public. Most comments [all, so far, of an irate and exasperated character] have been removed. Mine was up for a time: I'm not going to publish it here right now, because it's mostly stuff you've already heard several times. 

My sister, channeling Satan
Stacy McDonald has stated [I regret I can't find the quote] that she does not view Hillary as an enemy, but as a sister. This nicely complements her assessment of part of Hillary's book. 'Here is another list of questions to daughters that Hillary posted on her blog. When reading this, for some reason, I get a mental picture of a grainy black-and-white movie featuring a scene where Satan is whispering into the ear of a struggling sinner.'  

Does that look to anyone else as though Stacy is equating Hillary's words with Satan's? Of course, Jesus said the famous 'Get behind me, Satan!' to none other than his disciple Peter. Maybe Stacy sees Satan working through Hillary. 

Stacy [and most other patriocentrist writers] seems to mostly be concerned that reading Quivering Daughters will incite young women to rebellion and discontent. 
Would young girls who are struggling with laziness or sin, or who have a difficult time submitting to godly authority, read Quivering Daughters or articles like Hillary’s “Letter to a Patriarchal Daughter” and be seduced into self-pity or rebellion?
While Hillary claims to write only to “adult daughters” from Christian patriarchal families, her writing seems to be especially attractive to any older teen struggling with sin. Notice the baiting nature of her address: '- It is not okay when your feelings and individuality are not respected.'
Who gets to define what this means? Anyone in a close relationship will at times feel the sting of disrespect or offense—real or imagined.
The final message, after Stacy says that certain church leaders or parents might benefit from reading Quivering Daughters, is this: 
 'Still, I cannot recommend Quivering Daughters to Hillary’s intended audience, even to the ones who have suffered from real abuse.'

A sinful desire for approval....but wait, this time it's approval from PARENTS
There are other authors on Steadfast Daughters. The most recent article [comments still aren't open, which I am irked by] is here. The only thing I take away from this article is, 'Rise above it. Others have had to suffer too. You only got what you deserved.' I was reading along, not getting terribly involved in anything the author was saying because I've heard it all before, and then this quote leapt out at me. There was a quote from Hillary, telling her pain at her parents' apparent rejection of her poetry. She obviously wanted their approval.  And now, the reply from  [this is 'a biblical response', remember] ~  'Perhaps the best parental treatment for a sinful, inordinate desire for approval is a loving hug together with a gentle, loving rebuke.'

It took my breath away, it really did. And that is hard to do, after lengthy trawling on patriocentric websites. 

This was clearly connected with the incident Hillary had related. The sin Hillary had committed was being upset that her parents discounted and didn't know what to make of her poetry. This sin, like all sin, calls for 'a gentle, loving rebuke'. [We also hear all SORTS of discipline described as loving. Anything which is good for someone is loving. There rarely seems to be any further advice on how to be gentle or loving: it's taken for granted that if something is good for someone, that automatically makes it the right thing to do, and who cares how you do it.]

Okay, well, at least they said a loving hug and gentle rebuke. We would hope that is how one would reply to sin in one's offspring. That is NOT how one should reply to something that is NOT sin. Let's say for a minute that this desire for approval is not actually sin. Now, the parent just replied in an inappropriate way and has just stepped over a serious line: calling something sin, which isn't. 

It is very, very easy to convince a child that something is wrong. If you convince them something is a sin, it darn well better be. 

Let's argue now that I have never been a parent and have never tried to raise a child. I'll admit myself that I have only rarely experienced children younger than myself [woeful inadequately prepared for marriage, according to patriocentrists]. However, only a few years ago I WAS a child, and I know that very often, the slightest rebuke was enough to send me into tears. That may only mean that I cried easily.

Back to desire for approval from parents. This viewing of this as a sin is a TOTAL departure from everything I have ever heard from patriocentrists. Supposedly, children are all to ready to look for approval from the world, their friends, whatever, when they really should be seeking to please their parents. God is in there too, but seek first your parents' will. 
Now, we find that trying to please parents may be THE WRONG THING TO DO. Let's take this to its logical conclusion, shall we? 

It is VERY likely that an adult or half-grown child may believe that they are actually called by God to do something of which their parents don't approve. This could be anything from foreign missions to a career [for women] to college [for women]. Or maybe they just believe they have some special calling from God to be a writer, or an artist, or a teacher [fill in job of your choice which doesn't pay well]. 
Now, if we are going along with the idea that approval from parents is less important than approval from God, wouldn't we say that these children should go ahead and DO whatever that is? 

Patriocentrists don't think so, as evidenced in nearly every patriocentric writing. 

This is a rather shocking example of....what? Double-speak? Double standard? Something rather dishonest and irksome, whatever it is. 

A shining example 
[against whom Bethany is bitterly sarcastic, against her principles]
I found another, little, not-much-known blog, this one from a 20-something woman who has been raised in the patriocentric paradigm. It would be all too easy for me to launch into a full-blown flame war on this girl. An old post touches on that same article from Michael Pearl which I referenced here.
Here is her view on the article, completely opposite to mine. [Note, even if you are upset by her blog, I wouldn't recommend commenting. The two comments I've written, all with my signature politeness :P have not been published. Whatever her moderator says about 'bitter comments' being the only ones censored, it is clear that no-one who holds any opposing view is allowed to comment. Leave the blog, back away from the flame war, control your inner troll.] 

She comes out with this little gem:  'So when have the Pearls bought into this thing that everyone is a seperate individual?' 

Yes, that is the quote, and no I didn't take it out of context.  

Now see if you can wade through the following quotes and counter-quotes.  [Michael Pearl compiled this testimony from a child of a patriocentric home.]
I am from a Patriarchal Dysfunctional Family, as you put it.  At 25 years of age, I left my father’s home along with two of my younger sisters. We praise the Lord for providing wise counselors and pastoral support as we made the decision to leave the home. My father was the head of his own church, so we had to find counsel and pastors to help us realize the error of these teachings. I know that without them, I would have probably turned my back on Christ.
[Here is the blog author's thoughts on this:] WOW. So when did it become an applauded thing to leave the home? Those children are in rebellion, if you ask me. The pastor who “counseled them” is going to have to answer to God for undermining their parent’s authority. Yet the article is filled almost two pages with similar examples, applauding the “wise” individuals who “were shown by the Lord” that they needed to “use their wings and fly away”. This grieves me deeply to see these misguided individuals.

[Now Bethany.] OH GOODNESS. This almost escaped me the first time I read it, but you will notice that the child left home at the age of TWENTY-FIVE. You see that? 
She uses the obligatory phrase 'in rebellion'. Let's summarize, shall we?  A twenty-five year old person [woman, I assume] leaves home with support of several apparently Christian mature adult counselors. In rebellion and misguided. 

Here's one last nice quote to make you grit your teeth at one of us, me or her. 'Let your child pursue its dreams? That sounds right out of the world.'
She isn't being sarcastic, folks! She really isn't! Nor does she go on to qualify or explain that statement.
 I'm not sure why I'm picking on this one girl, not much older than me. Except perhaps because she is a perfect example of what a patriocentrist young woman should be. The Botkins, Doug Phillips, Stacy McDonald, they're the ones to thank. They've succeeded. She's really happy and she really believes what she's saying. Now, they wouldn't agree with her on all points, most likely. Nor would the Botkins, masters of the written word themselves, much enjoy her writing style. [Ever notice how easy it is to pick on someone's misspellings and flabby prose when you disagree with them?] 

You'll meet her again
Nevertheless, girls like her are the face of the patriocentric movement of the future. They are the ones I will be confronting in ten years or twenty [assuming I don't go over to the patriocentrists: always a cheerful and engaging prospect]. If you are a homeschooler, get used to patriocentricity: it's not going away. If patriocentricity gains ground to the point where when people hear 'homeschooler' they really think 'patriocentrist', we're goin' down. You think liberals and moderates and free-thinkers and even libertarian Christians are going to allow homeschooling to be legal if they see what appears to be such shocking abuse going on in it?  
Many Christians are repelled by patriocentricity; can you imagine what a liberal must think when they see a patriocentric homeschooler? Good grief. They have, in their opinion, every right to be horrified and want to outlaw it. 

So, patriocentricity seems to me to be a threat to more than the children and parents involved. I think that it could significantly threaten the future of homeschooling. 
I'm told, by women who were around at the time ;) that homeschooling started out as a loose coalition of free-thinkers [such as we see in the unschooling movement today]. These free-thinkers ran the gamut from hippies to Old Testament literalists. 

Now, we have large homeschool summits led by 'leaders of the homeschooling community', and so on. Since when did the 'loose coalition' get leaders? Let me make this clear, these are leaders who want to define what homeschooling is. Homeschooling started out as the counter-counter-culture [I'm borrowing that phrase from someone..]. Now, it has settled into an INSTITUTION, as far as I can see. 

Something I have always heard is that rebellions inevitably submit to leaders. Then the leader becomes the institution which needs to be rebelled against, and away you go again. The pendulum-swing is another favorite point, and let me state that we probably are now seeing the pendulum-swing against the excesses of the 1900s. Ever notice how a pendulum goes really fast at the bottom of its swing, and spends the most time at either extreme? Likewise, cultures seem to be terribly fond of getting out of that comfy 'happy medium' zone as soon as they can. 

There's nothing like the old tradition of disclaimers, and here's mine. I'm only 18, I'm really not very experienced in stuff like this, I haven't seen the rise and fall of dictators and movements and ideologies. So take what I'm saying with a grain of salt [if you're an adult, you're probably already doing that]. 

The title of this post talks about war. Stacy McDonald 'does not view Hillary as an enemy'. Patriocentrists do talk about 'the culture war' as being one which will be won in part by sheer numbers [out-breeding the liberals]. China's always been pretty good at that too. 

Ephesians 6:12 says something that we hear quoted a lot, but that I think most people tend to forget. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

You see this? Anyone reading this who isn't a Christian, please take note. We aren't supposed to be fighting you. [In a bunch of other places, it's made clear that we're supposed to be LOVING you.] 

Patriocentrists are really really good about making war on the rulers of this world [or at least they think they are]. They are also really bad about remembering that our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood. And what do we encounter every day? It's flesh and blood. It's human beings. 

I'm also really bad at remembering this, only I tend to think it's all about making war on the oppressors and legalists [patriocentrists]. That's just as bad, though. 

So! Here's your inspiring phrase and/or choice quotable quote for the evening. STEP right UP, folks!

We are at war against what is commonly termed 'the world'. This does not mean that we are at war against the PEOPLE of the world. 
We are also at war against Pharasaical legalism and the harmful teachings of patriocentricity. 
Nor does this mean that we are at war against patriocentrists [hear that, Bethany? Hear that? Sit up and pay attention, young lady. You aren't fighting the Botkin sisters or Doug Phillips or that girl that you got so irritated with an hour ago.] 

But it's definitely a war, I think, if you prefer to think of it in those terms. And occasionally we have traitors within the ranks [like Bethany, when she totters on the knife edge of falling over the cliff into patriocentricity]. 
No matter the inspiring speeches given by leaders in the movement [oh gosh, didn't I just say leadership of movements was bad?] like Karen or Lewis, there will be a lot of dark moments for all of us. And the battle is lost, not just when we all become patriocentrists, but whenever one person succumbs to legalism and leaves Christ. Because it really is the same thing. 
Also despite my perhaps-inspiring speeches over here on A Selection of Varied Topics, I'm as close to losing the battle as any of us. And I have a feeling it may stay that way. 

Yeah, you know how last summer I posted about how I'd 'found peace"? I thought I had, but it didn't last. A truce, maybe. Then I found the opposing armies were still on the move. You can't stand by and let Germany overrun Poland [instead, you start a world-wide war that kills millions]. 
Oh and the fun part is, you really don't know who is going to win the war. Remember I'm not talking about patriocentrists. The war has to be won or lost for and by EACH PERSON, and you really can't tell how it'll turn out [there's a Lord of the Rings quote for that]. That means that I really don't know what's going to happen to ME. I could turn to legalism. I could lose the war. 
Not sure whether to be scared or not. 

Oh, and YOU can lose or win the war too.