Book Review (Kind Of): In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

So, a piece of info about your blogmistress that probably won’t surprise anyone: I don’t normally buy books without reading reviews of them first, because I don’t want to end up paying money for something that looked good but turned out to be deficient or substandard in some way. I made an exception for In the Heart of the Sea when I found it at the front of Books-a-Million last month, for a few reasons. One, it was a mass-market paperback so it didn’t cost too much; two, Nathaniel Philbrick is a well-known historian with a good reputation; and three, flipping through it, I realized it would give me an opportunity to expand upon a topic I’d already discussed here at Scarlet Letters. And on that note, if you’ve seen the In the Heart of the Sea movie that was recently made, you’re probably wondering what a book about whaling and survival at sea has to do with the usual fare here (Christian gender issues and patriocentricity). 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. 53-62 – Part 3: Winning Is Everything

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

If you’re familiar with debates surrounding headship and submission within marriage, you’ve almost certainly read 1 Peter 3:1-6:

Wives, likewise be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good are not afraid with any terror.

No matter what your views on headship and submission, one thing is plain: that this passage is about marriage and married couples. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 33-51 – Part 4: The Pleasantville Priesthood

“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 beginning of chapter 4, A&E write:

Before we get into submission, we should let the reader know that we are fully aware that “submission” is seen as a dirty word to our generation, especially when connected with pejoratives like “hyper-patriarchal tyranny.” The Church at large is made very uncomfortable by these passages, because they seem to violate our fallen sense of what’s “right” and “fair.” The few Christians who recognize that this command does actually appear in the Bible and therefore needs to be obeyed, tend to be ashamed and apologetic of the fact. Why is this? What is there in God’s pattern for authority and submission that is not wonderful, wise, loving, and perfect? We should rejoice in it and make the most of it!

After reading this, I thought to myself that A&E might as well wear a big neon sign on their heads, reading “I AM 100% CLUELESS ABOUT ABUSE IN THE CHURCH.” Continue reading

So Much More, p. 33-51 – Part 3: Father Knows Best

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

So I said last time that I was going to devote at least one post to the abusive relationship dynamics held up as positive in chapter 4. Well, as expected, there’s going to be more than one post. I’ll begin this first one by giving some necessary background information that’s related to something I explored in a previous post on stay-at-home daughterhood (SAHD) – an unhealthy breakdown of boundaries between fathers and daughters. This has been explored at length at the site Overcoming Botkin Syndrome (see here for their explanation of the term “Botkin Syndrome”). Continue reading

So Much More, p. 33-51 – Part 2: The Virgin Bureaucracy

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

As I suggested last time, chapter 4 of So Much More is a very important one. Not only do A&E lay out the precise rules of their gender bureaucracy for all to see, they also come out and say exactly what we’ve all known and/or suspected for years, in no uncertain terms: fathers stand in the place of, and are the nearest earthly equivalent to, God, in relation to their daughters. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 33-51 – Part 1: Asking the Right Questions

After receiving complaints from readers that they did not know who “A&E” was referring to, each So Much More post will now include a note at the top clarifying this information. “A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

A few weeks ago, I questioned whether Michael Farris had really, as claimed by others, “strawmanned” patriarchy in his white paper “A Line in the Sand.” At the end of that post, I stated that I was confused and that A&E seemed to be logically contradicting themselves. Then in a second post, I covered some more of A&E’s statements about gender relations, in which they seemed to be saying that all women should submit to all men.

Well, today I am pleased to announce that I don’t have to use the word “seem” anymore (at least not about this). That’s because, in chapter 4 of So Much More, A&E finally lay out all the details of their gender bureaucracy in a clear way. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 23-32 – Part 2: Women’s Work

If you’ve read even a tiny bit of evangelical literature on gender roles, you’ve probably encountered the idea that men are supposed to provide and lovingly self-sacrifice for their families. Not surprisingly, A&E agree with this idea – though as usual, they’ve put their own subtle, peculiar and damaging twist on it. It starts out looking relatively ordinary: Continue reading

So Much More, p. 23-32 – Part 1: A Tale of Two Snakes

IMPORTANT ADDENDUM (11/8/14): A&E fully explain their concept of submission and how it relates to gender in chapter 4. Please read this post for the entire picture.

“If red touches yellow, it can kill a fellow. If red touches black, it’s okay for Jack.”

This is the rhyme I learned as a child to tell the difference between the eastern coral snake and the scarlet kingsnake. It was never of much practical use to me, since the eastern coral snake lives in the South and I live in Connecticut, but it’s good to know anyway for one simple reason: the eastern coral snake has powerful neurotoxic venom, while the scarlet kingsnake is harmless. Thus, it’s important to be able to tell the two species apart quickly should you encounter one of them in the woods. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 15-22 – Part 4: One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

As anyone familiar with gender debates can tell you, a prominent theme in many of these discussions is whether or not there are inherent differences between men and women, what these differences are, and where they come from. How many of the perceived differences between the sexes are hardwired, as opposed to ones that arise from cultural norms? Which of the alleged differences replicate themselves cross-culturally? Do men and women learn differently, and if so, how? We can attempt to find scientific answers to these questions; we can draw from our personal experiences conforming (or not conforming) to the perceived differences; and we can explore what various religious texts may have to say on the matter and how we should interpret them.

So how do A&E treat this vastly complicated subject? Blow right past it in boldfaced type, of course (emphasis A&E’s)! Continue reading