Scarlet Letters Christmas “Concert” 2015

Hello again readers. In case you were wondering, no, Scarlet Letters is not dead or closed! Though, for various reasons, I have not had much time or energy for posting and research these past few months. Rest assured, my Botkin series is still important to me (and, I think, important for current and potential readers) and I will continue it as I am able. But in the mean time, I wouldn’t want to skip wishing my readers a merry Christmas with the annual “concert” I’ve posted every year since this blog began, so let’s get started.

First is In the Bleak Midwinter…though not the familiar setting by Gustav Holst that you may know. (If you don’t, you can hear it here.) For full disclosure, I suppose I ought to admit that I am a big Holst partisan, and have been since I was about 5 years old (thank you, squeaky old cassette of The Planets!) I was, however, introduced to this other setting by Harold Darke this year, and it has grown on me a bit the more I’ve listened to it. So in the end, I suppose I enjoy both versions for different reasons. And yes, I know the weather in this particular carol may ring a bit hollow for any readers who may be listening in from Australia. :-)

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

Our God, heav’n cannot hold Him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heav’n and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part;
But what can I give Him –
Give my heart.

Next up is a little setting of In dulci jubilo (or Good Christian Men, Rejoice) by renowned French organist Marcel Dupre. I’ve often used this piece for service music around Christmastime. It’s an especially nice example of the voix celeste, a deliberately (slightly) out-of-tune stop meant to simulate the sound of strings.

On a darker note, here is a performance of Coventry Carol by the Raleigh Ringers (arrangement by Sandra Eithun). Coventry Carol, originally from a medieval English mystery play, is a lullaby for the children slaughtered by Herod, from their mothers’ perspective. Technically this is a bit early, as Holy Innocents’ Day isn’t until the 28th, but I like this arrangement (and Raleigh Ringers) so much that I simply had to include it.

Finally, I know I included The Holly and the Ivy last year, but 1) holly and ivy symbolism is one of my favorite Christmas carol themes, and 2) this recording by the 1970s British folk rock band Steeleye Span came to my attention this past year and I love it. It’s also a tune I’d never heard before; I still don’t know if it was composed by the band, or if it’s a traditional tune that I missed.

Enjoy, and merry Christmas all! :-)

So Much More, p. 107-131 – Part 2: Weeds and Widows

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

After the last post about how women shouldn’t have careers outside the home, it makes sense to examine exactly how A&E envision women obtaining daily necessities – by always being attached to a man and allowing him to provide for her:

Biblically, the duty to provide is given to the man. As we read in Genesis 3, because of Adam’s sin, God cursed the ground so that it would be hard for Adam to provide for his family. … Nowhere in Scripture does it even hint that a woman has a duty to provide for herself. Even in a worst-case scenario, our Heavenly Father has arranged for masculine protection for needy women.

I’ve covered before how A&E’s definition of “provision” is broad enough to include many activites regularly done by women, but is still somehow restricted to men only. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 107-131 – Part 1: Stay in Your Homes!

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

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Pictured above are the beautiful badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora, ND. (Photo taken by your adventurous blogmistress this past summer.) Hey, if Doug Phillips and A&E can quote him – and A&E did, briefly, in this chapter as part of their defense of mandatory homemaking – I can post pictures of the park named after him and call it relevant to my post.

And speaking of mandatory homemaking, I will say one thing for Chapter 9. For once, A&E were direct and said exactly what they were thinking. They believe homemaking is God’s will for women, and that careers outside the home are sinful. In fact, they believe that when a woman pursues a career outside the home, she is “pretending to be a man” and harming civilization. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 95-105 – Part 4: American Girls

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

At the end of chapter 8, A&E have a go at history:

When the first brave wives came with their husbands to the shores of Plymouth in 1620, they brought character and the customs of Christendom with them. Unfortunately, most modern history books give inaccurate depictions of women from this time, and often focus entirely on the “feminists before their time” who did little or nothing to build up their society, and often had little cultural significance.

I can’t help but nitpick here and point out that the Pilgrim wives on board the Mayflower were not the first married English women to reach North America. They were preceded (by nearly 40 years) by Eleanor White Dare, mother of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America and a member of the famous “Lost Colony” of Roanoke. This doesn’t affect any arguments about Christendom, of course, since we’re still talking about English women from the same general time period; but I still find it annoying, even though it’s only obliquely relevant to the actual issue here: A&E glossing over things about history and portraying early American women as pretty darn close to perfect and/or superhuman: Continue reading

The Creepiest Christian Sex Metaphor Ever?

Due to growing up homeschooled, I am still friends with many Christian homeschoolers on Facebook. Some of them are…well, let’s just say, goldmines of bloggable material (well-intentioned though they may be). Except, since I usually have enough to do critiquing patriocentric material, I don’t actually blog about most of the stuff they post.

Until today, when something especially…interesting…showed up on my timeline.

Let’s just start at the beginning of the item in question. I think the problems will become clear enough on their own. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 95-105 – Part 3: Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

For this post, I will take as my starting point a passing remark by Rebekah (and thus by extension, A&E since they endorsed it by printing it in their book):

My quest to become “one of the guys” led me to yield to my sinful nature and develop a competitive and independent spirit, causing me to lose one of the sweetest traits of girlhood – that of gentle trustfulness.

Rebekah doesn’t elaborate here on what she means by a “competitive spirit.” She seems to contrast it with “gentle trustfulness,” but gives little detail other than that. Had nothing more been said on the subject, my discussion of competitiveness would have ended at that. However, as I kept reading I realized that competition was a bit of a minor (though subtle) theme in chapter 8. Continue reading