Thursday, June 9, 2011

Imbibled Marriage

Right on the heels of the Religious Addiction article I posted last night which outlined some basic symptoms, there's THIS from the Botkin sisters.

Let me go on record as saying that I hope David and Nadia have a long and happy marriage (despite my immense fears for its functional and emotional health given the super-religious nature of it), and let me also go on the record as saying I in no way question the religious sincerity of the people involved (despite sincerely believing them to be sincerely religiously askew and addicted).

There are a couple of things I see right away in this account of their wedding ceremony. First, very little, if anything at all, about emotional love. Lots of things from rigid readings of the biblical mechanics of all of it, but no real passion expressed. Just in reading their vows (which was painful), I see two people who seem to me to be entering into a religious arrangement. I don't see two people emotionally, or spiritually (in an undiluted sense), prepared for marriage. 

In their vows, he says this...

I have received permission to marry you and on the 29th of March, 2011, you agreed to become my wife.

And she says this...

I have received permission to marry you and on the 29th of March, 2011, I promised to be your wife.

Permission? Really? From whom? That's a serious question. From whom? It's also a question which neither would be able to answer from any proper handling of the bible - only as an Imbibler could they begin to spin an answer. Had their fathers not granted them permission, would they have moved on with their lives and "stayed sweet"? I know what their answer to that question would be - that "God willed it". That's a nice thought, but my follow-up question would be, "Did God also 'will' all of the murders, rapes, and sexual molestations that took place today, even those that happened while your ceremony was going on?" It brings to mind the phenomenon of athletes on championship winning teams saying "I just want to thank my personal Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me this opportunity", but you never hear a guy on the losing team thanking his personal Savior, Jesus Christ, for helping him to strikeout in the bottom of the 9th inning, costing his team the World Series.

Both of them followed those statements with this identical statement...

I love you and desire to be your husband/wife and faithfully execute all my God-given duties.

That's as warm or emotional as any of it got.

Neither of these two truly understand emotional intimacy (or it would've been evident in their vows). Neither do they have a healthy, non-addictive view of marriage. The whole thing seems extremely "Old Testament" and law-driven. 

This paragraph is also pretty troubling...

From the beginning, David established that he wanted to set an example of a short engagement, an inexpensive wedding and reception, and a wedding-atmosphere that pointed to real life instead of fantasy-land pageantry. He also wanted to communicate the relative jurisdictions of family and church, and remind all of us what the proper role the church plays in the forming of the marriage covenant. Big churches are great for seating many people, but so was the riding ring at our local county fairgrounds. David’s main goal (aside from getting married) was to use the day as an opportunity to teach, encourage, and exhort the attendees. The day was not meant to point to the bride and groom, but to the marriage between the Eternal Bridegroom and His Church, and the message of the gospel.

What if a person went about, let's say, a colonoscopy with that same mentality? "Hey Doc, our primary goal today isn't to make sure I have no tumors in my colon or that I'm in good health, but instead, I want to use this as an opportunity to spread the gospel while you're spreading my butt-cheeks, pumping me full of air, and running that scope up into parts unknown. I want to focus on the symbolism of the need to run a scope up the bunghole of our spiritual lives from time to time, cutting out the cancers, so, do you think it's possible that we could overdub a narration on the video of this procedure? I have some great scriptures picked out. The parallels are astounding." 

I loathe over-spiritualization.

This line boggles my mind...and a wedding-atmosphere that pointed to real life instead of fantasy-land pageantry. Seriously? This wedding ceremony was modeled after real life? I now have even LESS doubt that patriarchals, particularly the royalty in the movement, live in a complete disconnect from the realities of the world around them, and I didn't think it was possible for me to doubt it less. They have no clue.

When we began to discuss our ceremony, my ex told me that she wanted "both of our fathers to proclaim a public blessing over us at our wedding", to which I responded "You want what? Why? What purpose does that serve?" At first, I conceded, but only IF my own father was willing (he actually thought it was strange, so he probably wouldn't have been comfortable with it). Once the fit hit the shan, I wouldn't have allowed MFFFIL to so much as belch at our ceremony in the spiritually and emotionally abusive, religiously drunken, emotionally disturbed state of mind he was in, so this idea was out of the question. We didn't need his blessing. At the same time, having been raised to be a religious addict, quite the junkie, actually, you can imagine the withdrawal symptoms my ex experienced in being separated from the idea that she absolutely had to have her earthly father's blessing to be "in God's will". Everything was spiritualized. Everything. I literally believe that they could find and meditate on religious parallels for just about every experience, from common colds to making a batch of Hamburger Helper to washing the car to bowel movements. It's a paralyzing way to go about life. Dealing with them certainly paralyzed mine.

A wedding ceremony should be an occasion to celebrate the intimate emotional love, and the commitment that stems from that love, between two people. Recognizing that God is love and Christ embodies love should be a given at all times to those who proclaim the Christian faith. Over-spiritualization and religious addiction are what turn a promise between two people and God into a patriarchal lecturing, legalistic masterclass as in the case of David and Nadia's ceremony, and into a patriarchal extinction-level event in the case of me and my ex. In our case, as far as the ceremony, I'd have wanted it to be about the two of us and our love for each other, with acknowledgement to God and His blessing upon us in Christ. As far as legalities, I'd have been fine with me, her, a judge, and a couple of chipmunks to serve as witnesses. The marriage itself should be founded in love (the passionate, emotional kind - not the "learn to love him/her because God loves me" kind). The promise stemming from that love is where the genuine substance is, not in the ceremony.

There's a photo in the article with the caption, "Elizabeth thanks David and Nadia for their passionate love of God’s law, word, and truth."

Note that they weren't thanked for their love for God, but rather for their love of His law, word, and truth. Brings to mind the Paschal Baute statement from my last article...

The particular Way to God becomes what is adored, not the ineffable and incomprehensible Mystery to which we give the name of God.

Bingo. It should also be noted that they weren't thanked for their genuine, emotional, passionate love for each other.

If I went by nothing more than their wedding vows, I might think they were marrying "biblical marriage", or even the bible itself, rather than each other - and that's very sad. What was with all the biblical references? Does "I promise" mean nothing to these people without attaching half the bible to it? If you're gonna base it on a scripture, what happened to being of such character that your "yes" means "yes"? Why not just "I promise"? Why go with "I promise because of Deuteronomy 71, Matthew 38, and 2nd Ralph 17"? I'll tell you alcoholic goes nowhere without his bottle. Rather than marriage vows, it seemed more like a couple of alcoholics exchanging brewmaster's tips.

It was their right (or at least his) to have the wedding ceremony they wanted, but I can't muster any happiness for them. I really feel sorry for them both.


  1. What made me gag is there was no kiss at the wedding! Only a brief hug, and that even was their first.

  2. I felt profoundly depressed reading the sisters' description of their brother's marriage. Love seemed not to feature at all.

    I hope that the happy couple discover that they like each other, love each other and are comfortable in each other's company. Things I doubt they would have been able to discover much about before hand.

  3. "It brings to mind the phenomenon of athletes on championship winning teams saying "I just want to thank my personal Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me this opportunity", but you never hear a guy on the losing team thanking his personal Savior, Jesus Christ, for helping him to strikeout in the bottom of the 9th inning, costing his team the World Series."
    Lewis, this is why I love reading you. Even if I was in no mood for marriage stories or anything from the Botkin's at the second, or when already agreeing about what should be important when getting married, you often still deliver an insightful comment like that to ponder, and to perhaps repeat elsewhere where/ when the time is right.

  4. Great post. You expressed much of what I thought of the Botkin wedding but couldn't put into words. It boggled my mind to the point of being wordless.

  5. What made me gag? The picture that shows the free intimacy (physically) between Bride and her brother, yet she was not allowed to breathe near her fiance. When Groom is "preaching," Bride is snuggled up to Brother, holding hands and leaning. Leaning. Protection. Safe male.


    I know their statement about real life vs. pagentry was a slam to the face of the recent Royal Wedding. Sorry, but there was more about love and Christ and family and joy at Will and Kate's wedding than there was at the Botkin one.

    As I scrolled down through the story and pictures, I anticipated the exchange of goats and camels. This was a transaction of property, pure and simple. I went to one of these last fall. The father of the groom had passed away, so the MOTHER of the 44 year old GROOM stood up and gave her verbal PERMISSION for her SON to marry this 39 year old GIRL.


    Good job exposing this foolishness, Lew. Great comments on your part as well. If only one person reads this stuff and flees this life, it'll all be worth it.

  6. GAH! Earthly lord and head??? My "WTF bubble" just popped up! Submitting to her husband as she submits to the Lord? If that isn't putting the husband in the place of Christ, I don't know what is.

    I don't think I could have sat through this as a guest. It seems that many of these P/QF weddings are just a manipulative way of getting people there for a church service and the wedding is tacked onto the end. It becomes all about reaching a quota of conversions and works-based. I don't go to weddings to be taught and exhorted. I go to celebrate the union of a husband and wife. And as the post clearly says, his main goal was to do just that.

    The bible reading about Rebekah is so eerily a connection to their doministic beliefs.

    1. "Submitting to her husband as she submits to the Lord? If that isn't putting the husband in the place of Christ, I don't know what is."

      Thank you for making this point. I hadn't even thought of it that way... Sickening.

  7. I'm still laughing about the colonoscopy analogy. Seriously, though- I attended one wedding in my past that was super "religious" but lacked any passion. The groom stood up when dinner was ready & proceeded to tell his life story. I guess he wanted us all to know how godly he was- over & over. Normally, the focus tends to be put on the bride- but she was given little consideration. The last I heard, she was in a psych ward for a breakdown.
    I do hope in the case of Nadia & David that passion is given room to blossom.

  8. I'm with Revenwyn, I saw the picture of the couple sharing their first.... embrace??? What??

    It's all a competition of who can be the "most pure."
    Soon we're gonna see a picture captioned:
    The bride and groom behold each other face to face for the first time, sharing their first look into one another's eyes. Until this point, anytime they spent anywhere near each other, they were separated by a sheet hung from the ceiling. Only upon the day of exchanging vows would the veil between them be lifted, a beautiful symbol of the picture we find in 2 Hezichia 3:6a.

    And the vows... so sad. It is just some sort of religious contract.

  9. What a load of cow dung! This crap makes me boil inside. I hate it when people act like they've got it all together and they really are just idiots.

  10. Erika Martin - Actually, that is EXACTLY how Christian Patriarchy puts it. A woman is to obey her husband, and her husband is to obey Christ. There is a hierarchy in place there. In fact, Christian Patriarchy holds that God speaks to women not directly to them but through their husbands/fathers.

    When I was in college, my father gave me a list of four criteria any prospective suitor must meet to receive his blessing:
    1. Believe the Nicene Creed.
    2. Have a believer's baptism.
    3. Be 100% pro-life.
    4. Have a bachelor's degree OR have held the same job for two years and have saved $20,000.

    I did not realize until someone pointed it out to me much later that there is NOTHING on this list about a prospective suitor loving me or caring about me or treating me well. The guy could be an abuser who treated me like shit, but if he met the qualifications in this list, he would receive my father's blessing to marry me. The list is about ideological purity, not love or emotional intimacy.

    In fact, from a patriarchal viewpoint "love" is seen as problematic, something to be avoided until you are sure ideological conformity and compatibility exists. Love can come later, what matters is ideological purity. When I did fall in love, and with a man who did not meet these criteria, I was told that I was "blinded by love" and that love led me astray. Love is dangerous - doctrine and dogma are safe.

  11. Rachel -that is tragic. List of requirements for marrying you, but they don't include "treats Rachel with love in his actions."

    And Jill, I agree that the royal wedding had way more soul in it.

    This is just a rambling thought, but I'll give it anyway: They mention "an inexpensive wedding and reception" for Nadia and David. Do you think Christ is sparing any expense or effort to prepare for the wedding with His bride? Should we, as bride, spare our efforts and expenses in preparing for the groom? If a wedding were actually to symbolize Christ coming for his bride, it would be an excuse to go all out! At least I think so.

  12. Rachel, that is what I was trying to point out with my comments on another post on this blog (joke on my 10). A man could meet all these rules and still be a jackass. That is the man that wanted to marry my daughter. And we finally saw he really was a jackass but my daughter (and us at first) were blinded by a list like this.

  13. That wedding was nothing but propaganda.

  14. Baha! Loved the colonoscopy analogy. I haven't laughed out loud like that in a while. :p

    Erika, my niece vowed to serve and obey her husband as if he were Christ. Blatant idolatry. And the poor kid, she thinks she is going the extra mile to OBEY God when she is choosing to rebel against Him by her religion.

    Very sad.

  15. Thank you for this. I had many of the same thoughts(minus the colonscopy analogy LOL) when I read the ceremony.

    Can you imagine being a guest at that wedding and having to sit through it?

  16. Wow. The cultic church I was in when we got married, did not allow the first kiss until after the ceremony-- but not even a hug???!!

    And having the families as witnesses instead of friends! Even in the Bible, when Christ spoke of weddings, he spoke of there being "friends." There was a reason for this. I believe the participation by one's peers was supposed to provide a check-and-balance on the parents' power, so the wedding wouldn't be coerced.

    All this stuff about "duty." Sermons about "what we can learn about Christ and the church through the picture of marriage." But Eph 5 actually puts it the other way around-- it's supposed to be about what we can learn about marriage through picturing Christ and the church. But the picture we are to look at is the picture of Christ emptying himself of his privilege, power and position into order to raise the church up to be glorious beside him. This was what husbands in Paul's day (who were in the position of power) were to do in their marriages.

    Instead, these people want to put the husband as a "picture" of Christ and the wife as a "picture" of the church, meaning the husband gets to be the wife's lord and master whom she obeys!

    Didn't Jesus say, "No one can have two masters?" Yet this is what these people are doing to women-- and if push comes to shove between what Christ might want and her husband might want, she's supposed to choose her husband (because she can't possibly know for herself what Christ's will for her really is!)

    I'm ashamed now that at our wedding, we had the preacher preach the gospel to our long-suffering families and friends, in addition to the celebration of our love. It was not the time or the place for that, and it was a bait-and-switch to our captive audience, who nonetheless stayed because they love us. But this wedding is far beyond anything we did. Wow.

    Thankfully, our love brought us through, and God brought us to sanity in the end. I hope the same for this couple.

  17. //A wedding ceremony should be an occasion to celebrate the intimate emotional love, and the commitment that stems from that love, between two people.//

    Yes. Yes. And, in case anyone needs to hear it again: yes.

    One of my dearest friends was married this past weekend in an intimate ceremony, no more than forty of us in the church, to include the priest. She and her intended were married in the way that best suited them: the priest they'd chosen, words that bound them of their own volition (no "obey", "til death", or "forsaking all others" here), guests who loved them and weren't just there for status. That wedding exemplified, for me, what a church wedding ought to be. I got the distinct sense that, though there were only a few actual bridesmaids and groomsmen, we were all standing up for them, affirming something beautiful and, unfortunately, pretty rare in my experience.

    I still don't think I'm going to get married, but I hope if I do, that's the kind of wedding I have. I think I'd faint dead away in front of enough people to fill, what was it? The riding ring at a local fairground. Ye gods.

    Also, good thing I wasn't drinking anything when I hit the part about the colonoscopy. Your sense of humor is a real gift!

  18. The freaky wedding I mentioned above? The "pastor" (also known as father of the bride, home-church cult leader) spend 20 minutes of his "exhortation" preaching against the evils of divorce and how the word will never be spoken in the home of his daughter and son in law, unless they are grieving over the breakup of someone else. So THERE!

    The anthem of the P/QF gang has to be included, of course. "Trust and Obey." Gothard's favorite. I giggled out loud, no joke.

    I don't know what's sadder in that bunch - their actions, or their absolute ignorance. I believe some of them to be conspiring, but many of them are blind, brainwashed sheep. Especially the young women and men. God help the Church!

  19. They would have been shocked at my wedding!

    Most notable was the dip and kiss.

    Then dancing down the aisle.

    I heard a remark from a P/QF family who was there that it wasn't "Godly enough" while all of our FRIENDS and my family LOVED it!

    I fear for them. Imagine when the woman, if she ever gets a chance, finds a man who appeals to her emotional side. I would hate to see that shunning.

    Oh wait, I have... *slaps forehead*

  20. So despite there being a shortage of godly women prepared for marriage, two Botkin brothers have found suitable wives. And despite there being an abundance of godly men prepared for marriage, the famous Botkin sisters have yet to find husbands. I feel sorry for them because I believe they really believe their dogma.

  21. I'm kinda bummed out over the colonoscopy analogy.. thought it was rather cheeky. The anal-retentive types are really going to dump a brick over that one. Nobody wants to be made the butt of someone's backward sense of humor. Don't mind me though.. just trying to wedge in a couple of bun-puns before I hit the hay. After a late night run to animal emergency with e sick pet, I'm kinda pooped. If I don't get some sleep, I'll be a little behind at work tomorrow. Anyway, march on. I'll bring up the rear.

    Jim K.

  22. you know what this reminded me of?

    my boyfriend's father's funeral.

    we sat in this church for TWO HOURS as the preacher/minister/whatever he was [it was a Southern Baptist sort of church, but i'm pretty sure i was the only non-black person there; i KNOW there were no white people there] preached DIRECTLY to my boyfriend [never moving his face away from our direction anyway] about how we're all sinners and only thru Jesus and Hell, Hell, Hell.

    couple days before, b/f's aunt [who was planning the funeral - b/f was in literal shock and *I* had no clue, and was not even in a city i knew] asked me what we should print as his Eulogy. i said "That he was a Good Father, a Good Man, a Good Cop, and has now gone to join his wife and daughter".
    and she replied "but we don't know if he was SAVED"
    and i said [bitchily, i admit] "according to the Bible, NO ONE knows who's saved. a funeral is for the comfort of those berieved"
    and she says "we absolutely cannot state that he is with his wife and daughter unless we have PROOF that he was SAVED" and my b/f's cousin came into the room and literally picked me up and carried me out because i damned near killed her for saying that RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY BOYFRIEND, who immediately started crying again.

    the ONLY difference between that funeral and this wedding is that the funeral was only for 1.

    changing topic. you said: "It was their right (or at least his) to have the wedding ceremony they wanted"

    what do you mean by this? that according to Patriarchy, it was his right? you don't think the wedding ceremony should only fit the groom's desires? it should be what they BOTH want, right? [i'm NOT trying to be bitchy on this. i'm not. but that sentence threw me. a lot.]

  23. Paul said its better to be single. So how come all these folks worship marriage to the point of idolatry?

    I've yet to see an emphasis-or even the tiniest sliver of teaching-- on celibate singlehood as the ideal for victorious Christian living... wonder why not?

  24. @Jim...I see what you did there ;)

    @denelian...According to patriachy - where she has no real choices.

    @Connie...All about procreation and taking over the world through it. 200 year plans, multi-generational faithfulness, and all that crap.

  25. *frustrated sigh* Yeah...just occurred to me that my parents never listed, in their requirements for my future husband, that he should love me and I should love was assumed that love would automatically spring up in me towards the man that my parents had decided was the "right one". Oh suuuurrrrre...

  26. Lewis, in regards to the 200 year plans...

    I remember a ICHE (Illinois Christian Home Educators) conference where 1 speaker promoted P/QF. He said how much better would America be if all the homeschool families (P/QFers) who followed strict Biblical teachings, populated the earth with our offspring, and gave a number out to something like this.

    Every homeschool family has an average of 7 kids. If all 7 married 7 other homeschoolers (P/QFers) and they had 7, within 3 generations more than 3/4 of America would be homeschooled and the public schools would darn near be on their knees wanting kids to join for the tax dollars.

    Readers Digest: If all the P/QFers had 7 kids, the evil America and its school systems as we know it would be decimated to the point where they could take over and make this a righteous country again!

  27. I knew I shouldn't have, but somehow, I was drawn to read the description of their wedding. My stomach was churning at the first paragraph, and by the time I reached that sickening "first embrace" photograph, my blood was boiled and I wanted to vomit.

    Where is the love in all of this? While I believe that, yes, God is the center of all marriages...the message that we as a bride and groom are portraying is not a message of law, strictness, and overbearing religion. Not at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a wedding ceremony is a reenactment of the most beautiful and glorious "fairy-tale" love of all time: the love between Jesus Christ and His bride, the church.

    Oh, His adoration for us is extreme. We are not bound by law or by permissions. Christ did not go to our parents and ask their permission to love us, to save us, and to make us His own. He chose us and took us as His beloved bride by His will and by our own freedom. I love my husband freely, and I love my Savior freely. Not under the fear of law or condemnation, but under the undying love that both my husband and my Savior have for me.

    And I will say this: and yes, this might be taken as scandalous. When the pastor said, "you may kiss the bride," my husband KISSED ME. Not a foolish, brief embrace. But a KISS. He dipped me down and kissed me for all the world to see. And I'll tell you another secret too...he had kissed me before our marriage, too! =)

    All I can do is pray for this couple. Pray that their marriage lasts, pray for the heart of this man and the freedom of this woman.

  28. Also, I should point out that, after our wedding, my husband (Jon) told me that our wedding had been portrayed as "not Godly enough" by a family that we now know to be P/QF.


  29. WOWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Just looking at their body language tells you there is serious trouble.

    Her downcast eyes and rigid body in the group picture? Red warning lights!

    These poor people have made a god out of marriage.

    How very, very, very sad.

  30. Mechanical. Cold. Emotionless. Staged. Stiff. Rigid. Lifeless. Somber . . .

    Somehow, the bride doesn't look very happy to me in these photographs. You can see the uncertainty in her eyes.

  31. I'm sorry to go against the flow of most of you, but this critical post is not fair! I totally honour and respect them for the decision to save all intimacy till after the wedding. That wouldn't have been easy and it would have made it all the more special.

    Some of you say 'her body language just shows she's not happy' - but hey, I don't see uncertainty or sadness in her expressions or posture, maybe she is just a quiet girl? Stop over analysing everything!!!!

    You also ridicule them for wanting their parent's blessings; we are to honour our parents, so wanting their blessing is GOOD thing. NOT A SIN.

    So stop criticizing!

  32. Anonymous...

    There's a big link to this at the top of the page.

    If you REALLY think that these two young people made a free "choice" to save all "intimacy" until after the marriage, that's pretty naive, and I just don't think you're gonna find much here to your liking.

    While anyone can decide to save emotional intimacy until after a marriage - I respect their right to do so - the same way I respect the right of a person to put their financial well-being in the hands of the craps tables in Vegas. Same difference. A wedding ceremony doesn't magically flip an emotional switch. It's a gamble that usually doesn't pay off. The idea that you "love the one you marry" is pretty naive. Downright ignorant, actually.

  33. You also ridicule them for wanting their parent's blessings; we are to honour our parents, so wanting their blessing is GOOD thing. NOT A SIN.

    Couldn't possibly disagree with you more. This wedding wasn't about wanting the blessing of the parents. It was founded on NEEDING the blessing of parents to be "of God". That's idolatry.

    I do hope you know the difference between "honor" and "obey". Your comment suggests you don't - and suggests that you see them as the same thing.

  34. Annonymous, the couple both specifically said they did more than "want their parents' blessing." They both said they sought and received their parents' "permission" to get married.

    Adults should not have to go to their parents for permission. And if they're young enough to need permission, they're too young to get married.

  35. Man this brings back memories. My wedding wasn't quite as bad, but I did feel like it was just something I had to get over with. It was all designed to by our parents to showcase how "they had done it right" (all to the glory of God of course) we had our almost first kiss during the ceromony (read more at my blog) and it had been so hyped up as our first kiss, that my husband was barely able to manage a 2 second peck. Alot of that day is a blur in my mind. When I went to a wedding recently and heard the parents at the reception share stories about their children and tearfully proclaim their love and support for them, it highlighted how business-like our marriage had been. The only thing I remember my Dad saying about me in his wedding speech, was "be sure to have lots of babies, soon. Because I want lots of grandchildren.

  36. Did any one notice this comment in the letter from their good friend Jasmine Baucham?

    " And I had to amend my lifelong position of “not being a wedding kind of girl” to being a girl who loved every frigid moment of praising the Lord with the bride and groom."

    I just couldn't believe she used the word "frigid"...I know she probably meant the weather...but what an appropriate Freudian slip...

    Secondly, how can you be a P/QF and not be a "wedding kind of girl?" Interesting.

  37. First, Lewis, I want to say that the Colonoscopy illustration was classic. I received that one in a very graphic, but artistic manner. It makes me want to say 'Honolulu! I want to go there.'

    It seems as if the type of people you described really think that if you study enough and can present your credo every chance you get, even in a wedding vow, then all one has to do to succeed in this life is form a really huge doctrinal statement that covers everything.

    I can not stand it when people try to talk about something as normal in life as Colonoscopy and they need a Bible verse to back up everything they say. At the end of the day, God is going to judge us by our words and what is in our hearts, and not how well we can quote what He says. Creeds can hide our personal need for humility. It is the same as living on a desert island with no one around. The pride we have would never be exposed because all one's creeds and prayers would be in agreement with that person. There would be no conflict if all I had was a creed to live by. If all I had was a creed on a deserted island, I would not have a wife who could expose my pride when I am wrong and will not admit it.

    My wife disuaded me from joining a local church that was family integrated, elder governed, and believed in the "sufficiency of scripture." These all appealed to me,but she saw a spirit there that I did not see. Thankfully, I saw that spirit later.

    It is the spirit of things that matters not the well polished creedal statement that matters. Thanks for the great post again.

    June 11, 2011 11:56 AM

  38. Time for me to play devil's advocate here. Regarding 'submitting to your husband in the same way as to Christ': how do you explain Ephesians 5:22, 'Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord'? If that question is answered somewhere else, sorry for bringing it up again. I really do want to know, because that verse has bothered me for a long time [or rather, the patriocentric interpretation of it does].
    Thank you for posting this Lewis.

  39. Bethany, the Lord is pictured there as He who loved us first, He who has only our good at heart and will sacrifice for it. And husbands are asked to do the same in the Eph 5 piece.

    We submit to God by responding to His love. "As to the Lord" means responding right to what we know is good. When your husband know better than you what is good, and want the good, going his way is responding as to the Lord.

    When a husband wants to do wrong, going his way is responding as the world (and often christians) does to satan.

    Perhaps this post on submission's meaning may also help:

  40. This wedding is strange even by quiverful/patriarchy standards. During my short time in the movement, I attended 2 weddings given by a family with very strong Vision Forum connections. The young couples had been introduced by their parents and they had gone through the entire courtship process. The ceremonies did have similar preaching about marriage being similar to Christ and the chuch, but their vows were traditional rather than the long-winded vows recited by David and Nadia.

    I was able to speak with the two couples before their weddings and it was obvious that these were love-matches. Both brides looked radiant on their wedding day, unlike poor Nadia.

  41. Great post, Lewis.

    It's all about "law" to P/QF followers. Look at the words they use. There is of course the obvious word, "law," but there is also "jurisdictions." Think of when they said "I have received permission" and "execute all my ... duties" -- sounds like some sort of legal document!

    Sigh. It seems for them there is little grace. And little regard for what law was really meant for, which is for relationships. The relationship with God and the relationships with our fellow man. Jesus summed them up with "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." True following of the law hangs on love! Love! Fulfilling the spirit of the law, not the letter! The Pharisees were famous for that. They strained out gnats (did every little thing exactly as the law commanded) and swallowed camels (and ignored the law's purpose: relationships and love).


  42. thank you for clarifying, Lewis :)

    also... i'm *very* glad i'm not the only one worried about how the bride appeared. maybe that was all theater... except she was so open and joyful with her brother, so apparantly terrified of her new husband...

  43. Bethany, you might find my essays over at Take Heart Project helpful, particularly the ones on "the Bible and Male Headship."

  44. Lew, you had me at "butt-cheeks." I laughed so hard I woke up the cats. More butt humor in the future, please!

    I just recently had a colonoscopy and it was indeed a religious experience for me, being forced to pass so much post-procedure gas in mixed company. Someone should have prepared me with Scripture on when it is appropriate for the polite couple to let it rip in front of each other.

    On a serious note, in reaction to some of the comments, I think all brides are beautiful and Nadia was no exception. Her body language is weird but every Botkin but Ben and Audri are stiff and weird. She just had to go off of what David gave her. I can't put my finger on it, but Nadia did not seem that miserable with the idea of marriage, just the horror of her actual wedding. Most of her smiles went to her eyes and she seemed happy but pre-engagement pictures always showed her looking sort of remote and stiff. She's married into a frightening family but I have a sense she will be okay.

    Anna Sofia, however, worries me to death. :(

  45. @Jim-- So many puns! Is there no end in view?

    @Bethany-- By looking at Ephesians 5:21, then at Ephesians 5:25. Put it in context, that is. Right before that verse, it says, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." And right after it, it says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

    In other words, the idea is mutual submission. Wives submit to husbands; husbands submit to wives. (I know, it says "serve." What do servants do? They submit.)

    If the P/QF reading of that verse was accurate, the following section about husbands would have to say, "Husbands, exercise authority over your wives as Christ has authority over the church." It doesn't.

    I wrote on this (tangentially) a bit more thoroughly here:

    @Lewis: My word verification was "ravers." Google wins for succinctness.

  46. Bethany...Eric is spot on regarding Ephesians 5. In more accurate translations, beginning at verse 21 a sub-chapter emerges concerning life within Christian marriage. Verse 21 gives the summation at the beginning...submitting to one another as unto Christ...before breaking down the individual mechanics in the verses that follow. It wasn't written, through my lens, to suggest a hierarchy, but rather to call for mutual submission. Many translations, like the KJV and its offspring, are extremely dependent on the culture at the time of the translation itself, and those translations have to be read and interpreted through that filter.

    Another thing to consider...

    In Galatians 3:28, Paul says to those of the faith...There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ, in Christ, in spirit, we're all equal. (Keep in mind, the Galatians were the most legalistic of the groups Paul wrote to, trying to "perfect" themselves through their flesh)

    To me, this would suggest that patriarchals and fundamentalists who take a rigid reading on passages about submission or headship are conveniently dwelling on that dreaded nemesis (to hear them describe it) "the flesh", building an entire system of belief on something of "the flesh". Personally, I see them as the Galatians on steroids.

  47. The whole ceremony read like a P/QF VF "politically correct" event. It was like a cult trying to put on a "clean" event. I gotta' say, fake flesh doesn't look good on dead men's bones.... Matt. 23:27

    By the way, if you want to make things REALLY interesting regarding Eph. 5, go check out 1 Peter 5, particularly verse 3 with close attention in nearby verses to the fact that none should lord ANYTHING over anybody. Any leader who lords power or tries to hold people underneath them will be opposed by God himself.

  48. I'm gonna have to agree with Anonymous on June 10th: the level of personal criticism I see here is not fair. While it's an understatement to say that there are serious problems with the patriarchy system that these people preach, I think you all are way out of line by reading so much into mere photographs. (I myself am a very un-photogenic person, and I always look awkward and stiff in photos, but my close friends know that I'm a warm, emotionally-connected person.) And in the photo where she's reading her vows, she looks positively radiant. Their vows give lipservice to patriarchy and love-as-duty, but their faces hint at outright giddiness.

    Please understand that I abhor the "Biblical patriarchy" movement. But I have many friends within this system, and I can point to a few young couples that, while they in theory describe their partnership in terms of headship/submission, in reality they are madly in love with each other, and husband and wife BOTH bend over backwards to make each other happy. Who's to say that won't be the case here? Let's send thoughts of hope through the internet to this young couple. But please stop being so _personally_ negative; it isn't good karma.


    P.S. It's nice that the families (apparently) didn't rush the couple into physical intimacy. It was the first time that Nadia and David hugged each other, but I didn't see any indication that they also kissed on that afternoon. Thank God they seem to be given time to get used to each other's body, instead of being rushed through from first kiss to first intercourse in a 6-hour period!

  49. Lucy--we don't know what happened later. No indication is given here as to whether they did or did not consummate the marriage on the wedding night. You are making a big assumption.

    And go peruse the albums on the website of any wedding photographer and it is highly unlikely that you are going to see very many brides looking quite as "deer in the headlights" near their groom as this one does in most photos.

  50. Incredible. And very ... revealing.
    Thanks for this post Lewis. Well Done.