Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Botkin by Any Other Name....?

After almost ten years of faithful service, my MacBook may be granted retirement.  I'm toughing things out with an iPad until a replacement arrives next week.  The Google Blogger platform and the iPad don't interface well, and I'm weary of hunt and peck single hand typing and the frustrations of autocorrect that doesn't!  They prove to be a great hindrance as I aspire to meet my objectives as stated here.

In the interim, No Longer Quivering (NLQ) and Patheos expressed interest in hosting blog posts discussing why I moved all of my dated blog content into draft.  It all started with a letter and the man at my door.  My postman, Joseph, has been really considerate to my husband and me.  This past year in particular involved crutches, walkers, and a whole new lock on our lesser used post box because we couldn’t get the thing open.

So Joseph shows up at the door this week, very upset because I apparently missed a previous delivery attempt.  He said that “the two girls” called the postal station, seemed surprised that I didn’t know who he was talking about, and to the best that I could discern, they talked to him or someone at the post office and suspected that he and I both were guilty of something suspicious.  A part of my brain was thinking, “Did he really just say that someone phoned the post office?”  My reading glasses were in the other room, and I juggled with the different things that he asked me to sign while I tried to also hide behind the door because my top half lacked the appropriately modest, supportive garments that I would otherwise wear if I were receiving male guests.  He also seemed way too stressed for me to ask him to wait for me to grab the windbreaker that I keep close at hand for just such occasions.  I honestly may have misunderstood him because of how very awkward it all was amidst many competing pragmatic factors.

Because of the barrage of weirdness of the delivery process, in light of the nature of my self-employment in forensic medical record review, I felt sure that it had to be something from a law office.  When I first started to digest it, as I glanced at and donned my granny readers at the opposite end of my apartment...  Well, for about the first ten minutes as I skimmed through the letter with my glasses on my face, half of my brain tried to recall whether I’d been communicating with a paralegal who’d written to me via the wrong address, if I could remember their name, all while wondering why they didn’t write on letterhead.  I kept rifling back and forth through the pages, scanning the first and last ones in particular to figure out what case file they could be concerned about.  

Bombarded with so many strange factors at once, I half wondered if I’d fallen in front of the TV while watching The Twilight Zone and was actually dreaming.  “How many hours had it been since my last Benadryl?”  Perhaps I’d accidentally taken two doses and fell asleep or was just still groggy from them?

“Wait.. Botkin?  Are these the names of Geoff Botkin’s girls?”

I think that I’d cycled through nearly every emotion known to humankind over and over again, and the cycle seemed to repeat about every five minutes for the next 36 hours.  My most significant and overarching concern that my efforts to help Second Generation Adults like/including the now grown Botkin children failed as they charged in many ways in their letter...  Uh... I also quickly realized that with only an iPad in hand and over a thousand blog posts to review, the various ways that I could respond were very limited.  I FaceTimed my husband, but he’s a toughie who is so offended by Botkin and Baucham in particular, he boldly said that “we should do nothing!”  I disagreed, and I pended the posts by moving them all into draft.  It struck me as the most kind and compassionate thing to do immediately which would allow me to process it all, pray, and examine my heart to decide if I’d somehow missed something that might be acceptable but not truly Christian in the broadest sense.  

NOTE:  I did not pend material because I thought that there was any merit in the claim that I  published lies on my blog.  When I did make errors, I have corrected them through addendum notes, leaving original errors online with a strikethrough.  If I did delete such elements, I did so after allowing those errors and the corrections to remain online for an extended period (circa > 6 mo.?) so that people could recognize that I aspired to honesty and humility to eat crow when called for.

Several days after Joseph knocked at my door, I still find myself moving through a diverse set of complicated emotions as I sort through my thoughts about what seems to present bullet point lists of objective facts, but they are parsed so subjectively and adversarially ‘that tries too hard’ to sound sweet.  As the reader has likely noted by now, I’m still struggling to qualify my thoughts rationally, but my emotions span so widely, and they’re sometimes paradoxical.  It’s pretty complicated!  People in the past have described the challenge of communicating with the role models of these young women as analogous to an attempt use nails to fix jello onto a wall.  I have new cause to appreciate it.

I still haven’t decided whether this letter from the Botkin daughters constitutes the first action in a process that veils a legal threat.  Considering that its arrival at so late a date (and two deadlines they set) may owe to the possibility that Geoff Botkin only recently permitted his daughters to view my writings.  I also wonder whether they’ve only written now because they were directed by their premiere male covering/household demigod intercessor to do so.  This is the first time that anyone in their immediate family has tried to contact me.  If they in fact read every post I’ve written that cites their family name as the letter claims (I think), what seemed like a disorganized cacophony letter from them may owe to their own cognitive dissonance as they try to process material that differs vastly from what they’ve always accepted as incorrigible truth.

Adventures in Addressing Ambiguity and Equivocation

My first attempt to write anything resulted called Closed for RECONSTRUCTION.  I considered that my postman had been harassed. but then principles about reconciliation with someone you love introduce a host of serious charges that allege that I am a malicious liar who has exploited at least 20 people for my own gain which prevented all of them from gaining lucrative employment and living happy, fulfilling lives.  Recounting that now, I’m quite connected with the anger that I felt when I first sat down to write.  By then, I’d moved away from the sorrowful compassion that moved me to pend all of my blog posts.  Where does one start?  I started with my perspective that the words of Jesus that meant to bring love and liberty (Matthew Chapter 18) had been wrapped like a cloak of maliciousness around whatever best descriptor applies to the whole of the Botkin letter.

After I wrote to declare that I’d pended material here, I then considered why I’d even started blogging.  I thought about how I might feel if I were to ‘walk in a mile in the moccasins’ of someone I’d written about who might not understand.  I thought about why I chose, as much as I could, to write only about the adults leaders in patriarchy, and why I didn’t use pictures of their children.  (I displayed one picture of their family only, if I recall correctly.) I used mostly free stock photos and pictures of books and videos, and the “Visionary Daughters” book and video..  Another leader with a daughter used her to promote his beliefs, but at the time that I active blogged regularly, she didn’t have a book.  I noted that he had a daughter, and I noted that both appeared together in the Botkin daughters’ video project.  She was not then a book author, and I don’t believe that her name appears on my blog, then or now.  Good scholarship demands that If citing a book, one notes the name of the author(s) of record.

This second set of thoughts and emotions culminated in this blog post at NLQ.  You will note that Suzanne chose to identify the Botkins.  I didn't at the time of the writing, partly because the content relates to all of the children of patriarchy in many different ways.  As a result of the discussion that follows that post, I wished to draw attention to this comment that I added there (copied below).  I hope that readers will not miss it.

These young women write with a failure to understand I never intended to examine them.  I critiqued their father.  They themselves were never my focus, so I only spoke about them in generalities.  I wrote about the claims of their father.  If daughters in right standing with God do so in the right manner that they qualify as the responsible way to live, they serve the vision/ kingdom mandate/vocational efforts/insert current vogue buzz word of their father, a daughter could only follow the plan that her father laid out for her.  Who then is the person who is responsible for the plan for the family?  For his daughters, that can only be Geoffrey Botkin.  If the vehicle he used to share his plan with others happened to be his teenage girls, their book, and a video that they wrote/produced, one can’t talk about the model without the daughters.  If I could have done so without their names, I certainly would have done so.

The following day, NLQ posted the letter that the Botkins wrote which I think appears there in its entirety.  I’m not really sure, but if it’s needful, I can produce it later.  I took much of the material to which the most vociferously objected offline, so the copious quotes from both Secular and Christian authors that I offered on a second blog will need a great deal of editing if I elect to reinstate it.  I am happy at this late date to change the blog name and remove   references to the Botkins there in light of the daughters’ protest in a spirit of kindness because of the pejorative nature of the term.  I did not remove it out of concerns or fears that I’d either used it improperly or because I thought that there was merit to their claims. 

They don’t state it as such in the letter, but in a Dunning Krueger style error of their own, I would describe their allegations as their claim that I practiced medicine without a medical license by diagnosing an illness.  What they seem to understand as a diagnosis actually qualifies as an assessment finding that a diagnostician might draw from a theoretical perspective to support a diagnosis.  Nursing practice delineates that a nurse may assess and teach information about health and wellness and while not necessary, I chose to submit those writings to oversight and peer review by mental health professionals who are licensed to diagnose.

Without evoking the Botkin name, the legitimate, faithfully cited  terminology therein which refers to the type of enmeshment between a parent and child stands firmly on its own merit.   The term overlaps with the colloquial use of the related term which describes a felony, and laypersons often fail to overcome its connotation, conflating the separate applications.  If well qualified, use of that term (covert incest) as an assessment finding which describes emotional, non-physical abuse exacted by adults upon children will remain in my writings.  Several well established, well credentialed, widely respected experts use the term in both professional works and self help writings for laypersons.  Especially because of the vast degree of chronic  emotional and spiritual damage as well as the physical disease that such Adverse Childhood Experiences create for children, I will not downplay or remove the term or references to common elements shared with the models for “epistemologically proper” Christian lifestyles promoted within the patriarch movement.

That said, NLQ may wish to continue to publish tributaries related to the letter.  If it is of interest, please follow the blog there at Patheos.

I wrote this comment (also in the screenshot below) in the discussion that follows the Botkin letter, and it is my heartfelt, fervent prayer for all.  

If the Botkins read here, I hope that they take note of my willingness to communicate with them publicly under related blog posts at NLQ because of the adversarial and demanding nature of their letter to me, I would rather address my thoughts in a public forum, and Patheos warmly welcomes such.  

When a person advances a thesis in the media, especially through a book for which the author should be accountable, I do not recognize any duty, Christian or otherwise, that requires me to limit me to private discussion only.  As ‘Mel’ who also writes for NLQ noted somewhere in one of the many blog comments related to this new emergence of the Botkin name this week, while their books may have been written at a formative age under autonomy-limiting circumstances, as adult women who are now in their thirties, they do bear at least some share of the responsibility for the writings and works that bear their own names.

And again, I ask that readers please take time to note this comment of my own.