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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. 


Brandon D. said...

I'm too tired and zombie-like to make a better comment right now, but thanks for the post. It was a nice read.

The Cult Next Door said...

Hi, Bethany!
Great post! Good insight :)

Stacey calls Hillary her sister in her reply to my question of why a whole blog was needed to 'overturn' Hillary's book.

Thankfully I saved the remark as she has wiped all comments and replies off the blog. She said:
"Hi Toxic,

This blog, once it is truly up and running, will be dedicated to speaking the truth and dealing with the real issues. While Hillary makes a lot of false assumptions, we are NOT against Hillary. Yes, I believe Hillary needs to deal with her bitterness and discontent; but, I do not view her as an enemy…I view her as my sister.
Grace and Peace"

To which I replied:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I posted my comment over here as you closed the thread on which I first commented…and please don’t wish me grace and peace…you are speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

I consider Hillary a sister. When I interviewed her for my blog, The Cult Next Door, I experienced a God-ordained time of renewal and healing. The pain and bitterness I had been holding inside washed away with my weeping. Some life-changing events came out of the conversation. My dear sister helped me through my bitterness…and you have the gall to point the finger?!?!? You have seriously ticked me off, lady.

You would be very lucky to have Hillary consider you a sister.

Shed some legalism and get some Christ.

Oh and btw, I was abused for twenty-plus years by a so-called pastor to the point I almost ended my life.

As evil as she is I felt it an affornt to name her in my blog (that and she could sue the pants off me for slander).
Maybe you should re-think?

I wanted to make sure that you knew why I was so angry so I re-posted your reply.

This Stacy chick needs help...obviously she has a lot to lose if "quiverfull" goes down.

The Cult Next Door said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Cult Next Door said...

ooops! didn't mean for the comment to post twice...sorry about that!

Joanna Marie said...

I read that other blog post by that young girl... apparently, if the Pearls say it's true... it's true. :-P

Lewis said...

Very thought-provoking, Bethany. I appreciate what you're saying.

smoore2213 said...

Thank you.
It's hard to see so many homeschooling families delve so deeply into the patriarchal mindset. I've just started to explore this on my blog and talk about the dangers. The more we talk--the ones who grew up in it, the ones who have dipped their toe into it, the ones who have the ability still to see it for what it is--the better everyone will be.

Katie said...

Bethany, just a reminder on the winning and loosing the war:

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." -Phil 2:12-13

"And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." -Jn. 17:11

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." -Jude 1:24-25

All verses from the ESV, emphasis mine. We aren't alone in this war!