Friday, March 1, 2019

Honest Questions for the Botkins

I still find myself shaking my head when I look at this letter that I received from the Botkins.

It elucidated several facts for me: people still remain ignorant of the manner in which spiritual abusers today manipulate Matthew 18, people still refer to this blog for all kinds of information, and if the daughters of Geoffrey Botkin actually wrote to me without prompting or coaching, I affirmed for myself that I didn't target them. I called out their father on his fringe behavior, his spin doctor habits, and 'new' aberrant teachings that he pieced together from things that he cherry picked from very old news.

Once I was able to weed through all of the letter's propaganda and novel causalities attributed to my writing, one tributary of questions remain that I cannot dismiss. I'd like to redirect it back to the Botkins by posing it openly here.

The letter appeals to the belief that if those involved profess Christianity, before public criticism can be offered about a book or a public statement, the critic must first approach the author privately. All public matters become private, spiritual matters. Using Matthew Chapter 18 out of context, offering a public opinion about a book written by a public figure becomes a deviation from the moral guidelines for confronting someone about sin within this subculture. (Read more here.)

I can understand that cognitive bias and cognitive dissonance could well interfere with someones ability to comprehend what I've written. While it's frustrating that my meaning becomes lost in translation, it makes sense to me. This is how cognitive bias works. I don't understand their bold charges against me while failing to live up to their own standard.

If the Botkin Family believed that to follow proper Christian mores, I needed to address my concerns with them privately, 
[W]hy did the same rule fail to apply to Hillary McFarland when the Botkins recorded a podcast with the Chalcedon Foundation that focused on her book, Quivering Daughters

At least that came within weeks after publication and not as long as twelve years after it became a discussion topic on this blog. Was it because of this history with other critics?

Other Standards for 'Antinomians'?

The community that the Botkin Family embraced at the time also launched their own (now defunct) damage control website to counter Hillary's book. Were the mothers and daughters who criticized Hillary's thesis not likewise obligated to contact Hillary privately to discuss their concerns about her material? 
If it was expected of me, why was the Quiverfull Patriarchy community exempt from following their own standards and expectations?

I have not heard the Botkin podcast, nor have I ever read the damage control website. I believed that Hillary's book was its own best defense and could stand on its own, so I chose not to read them. (My relationship with Hillary never recovered from that, and I found that part of my own history beyond painful.) NLQ wrote about the damage control attempts launched by the Botkins' homeschooling and lifestyle-oriented community. Christianity Today also wrote about that matter, too – which I did read.
Note:The old links to the Chacedon/Botkin podcast(s) with Andrea Schwartz are now broken. To access more resources, one would have to contact the Chalcedon Foundation for retrieval. 

The Apostates and Dropouts

Quivering Daughterstold the saga of many young women who suffered within the community of people to whom the Botkin Family sought to minister and encourage. Those young women were not appropriate poster children, and most Christians who I approached to solicit help for them denied that they even existed. No one in public ministry would address their problems or would acknowledge the bad outcomes that resulted from the lifestyle which is exactly why stepped forward to write about them. If the Botkins believe that I failed in my duty to them, what of their duty to those who suffered great harm and loss from among their own sisterhood of Stay-At-Home-Daughters?
What of their duty to them, their families, and the aftermath that resulted from the decisions that many families made because the Botkin Family model promised them success?

I am left with only the evidence of how the dwindling community of homeschooilng lifestyle experts engage the “homeschool apostates” – who are deemed as just that. (One of the Second Generation Adults interviewed in the so-named article grew up in my denomination in Maryland, in a sister church just a few miles away, and I am well-acquainted with the challenges they face.) Homeschool Apostates are shunned because they don't adhere to the higher and better religious and lifestyle ideals that would otherwise give them value in the Botkin universe. 

The apostates are the “dropouts,” and I am anathema along with them, encouraging their alleged sinfulness. We are generations of 'antinomians' and anarchists who lack the special understanding of Theonomy and proper reverence for the laws of the Old Covenant that are believed to still apply to the life of a Christian. Julie Anne Smith wrote a review of the Botkin Family's position on these allegedly fickle, feckless, “homeschool dropouts.” (She's also a “homeschool apostate,” too!)

I'm very tempted to post the meme that Suzanne at No Longer Quivering created to point out the irony that the Botkins wish to be able to enjoy the advantages of communicating via the internet but somehow, they believe that the rest of us who disagree with them should not be able to say anything about them. I decided against it. I want to continue to be able to say with confidence that in twelve years of writing, contrary to their assertion that I used their faces for my own (non-fiduciary) gain, I only found two low-resolution photos of their faces from among more than 1500 blog posts. While I referred to the Botkin Family Model (to which they are inextricably bound) and their father, I only cited the daughters' first names in a small handful of blog posts that mentioned their 'visionary' books and videos.

My writing has never been about the Botkin children or any of the now-adult children of those who spiritually and emotionally blackmailed Christians into following patriarchy. For me, my objections have always been about the leaders who made a living by peddling their own lifestyle preferences that had little to nothing to do with Christianity.

It is my highest hope that all of the Daughters of Patriarchy will one day escape it and ford new lives in freedom, and they will find a whole community to support them.