article

My Christian Brother is Struggling With Serious Sin – Should I Say Something?

Here is some of the new material from the second edition of  It’s (Not That) Complicated, Chapter Four: Relationship Bootcamp: How to Be a Sister to Your Real Brothers. Though these thoughts on how and when to give a biblical rebuke are obviously written with the biological brother-sister relationship in mind, they would apply to relationships in general.

In this book, we talk a lot about how women can build up, support, encourage, and affirm their men, but is there ever a time for correcting or rebuking them? Let’s be very clear on this: Loving our brothers means loving them enough to hate the sin that threatens to destroy them. It requires loving them enough to help hold them to the standard God does, not standing by as effectual accomplices when they depart from it. “Building up” doesn’t just mean making people feel better about who and where they are. It means building up the spiritual man, sometimes even by rebuking the “old” man of the flesh. And for that reason, we’re not being supportive sisters if we’re supporting the vanity, worldliness, foolishness, or laziness of our brothers – much less if we’re “covering” more dangerous sins, like pornography, drunkenness, or abuse. Even girls in conservative Christian families can have brothers given to these sins, and choosing to “overlook” them is not love, or biblical womanhood. … Read more →

Family RelationshipsGirl-Guy Relationships
article

Should I Keep Preparing For Marriage, or is it Time to Start Preparing For a Single Life?

“I thought marriage was coming, and soon. I thought I gave up the worldly approach to womanhood in exchange for a beautiful biblical picture that included husband, children, a home to be a homemaker in. And something went wrong. I gave up the world’s picture in exchange for nothing. I have nothing to show for it. I’ve spent 8 years in a holding pattern. I pushed off education, training, work, so nothing would be in the way of my getting married. Now I’m wondering if marriage is ever coming at all. Should I keep waiting and preparing, or should I go back to my previous plan?”

This is not only one girl’s question – this is the heart-cry of many young women today. Whether we swore off higher learning and work to engage in full-time waiting for Prince Charming; chose a college based on which one was most likely to provide an MRS degree; were so distracted by boys that we couldn’t focus on a single productive thing through our whole teens and twenties; or simply let the possibility of marriage coming any day now eat up our mental CPU and distract us from moving full-speed-ahead into anything else, most of us eventually realize this is not jibing with a productive, practical Christian life, and that it’s time to choose between our current track and a different one.

If this is the way we’ve been approaching the single season, yes, something does need to change – but it may not involve either of the options “keep waiting and preparing, or … go back to my previous [‘worldly’] plan.” The reason both of these options may feel wrong is because they are – they’re both missing critical elements of God’s plan for women. And no, the critical element is not marriage. … Read more →

EducationMarriage and SinglenessWomanhoodWork
article

The History of Womanhood That Feminists Don’t Want You to Know

The recent naming of Nancy Pelosi as the “most powerful woman in American history” has sparked national discussion on both the history of women in America and the nature of woman’s power. As Speaker of the House, Mrs. Pelosi holds the highest civic position any American woman has held to date, and her hand in putting through the recent Health Care Bill will have huge historic implications. Though we don’t see it as a great advance for women to finally be oppressed by one of our own, this is undeniably a kind of power.

But behind this recent tribute to Mrs. Pelosi is this presupposition: “Women find their power in holding the positions of men – the traditional women’s role has no power. The power traditional women exercised in the past doesn’t count.”

Americans are ready to believe this because they long ago adopted a feminist view of history. … Read more →

Womanhood
article

The Top 10 Things Girls Should Study (But Rarely Do)

We all want to equip ourselves to be godly women, but do we really know what that equipping should look like? A diet of books on modesty, courtship, and cake decorating will definitely fill the bill if the role we aspire to is simply one of wearing modest clothes, going through a courtship, and decorating cakes. But if we truly believe the biblical role of women is bigger and more significant than this, we need put our money where our mouths are and pursue education and training to match. … Read more →

Education
article

All I Want for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day may be a happy time for couples, but it’s often a painful reminder for single Christian women of what they’re still praying for, hoping for, and – sigh – waiting for. Many of us don’t have a valentine this year because we’ve been holding out for someone special. We have high standards, and we’ve stuck to them, and now we’re having to eat the fruits of this resolve (instead of Godiva chocolates).

High standards and faithful perseverance are noble things. But sometimes we need to re-examine the honesty of our standards, and the whole spirit in which we devise them. Some of us, whether we know it or not, have made lists of suitor-requirements that look like this: … Read more →

Girl-Guy RelationshipsMarriage and Singleness
article

When Fairness is Unfair

Earlier this year, 18-year-old Florence Colgate was dubbed “Britain’s Most Beautiful Face,” not by the authority of beauty pageant judges, but by the authority of science and math. Miss Colgate’s face won out over 8,000 others on the basis of best match-up with a mathematically devised blueprint for perfect facial proportions based on the Golden Ratio.

Her “scientifically proven” prettiness sparked a huge debate that still rages all over the internet. Hundreds protested (for good reason) that the mystery of what makes one face more attractive than another can’t be solved with a formula. A much bigger concern, however, was over what that formula would do to the self-image of millions who can’t measure up to it: Women would feel like they were doomed to ugliness because their faces didn’t match the grid. … Read more →

Beauty and Fashion
article

A Princess without a Prince

As we pointed out in our last post, Princess Merida is a pretty conventional tomboy. However, “Brave” does not present a conventional happily-ever-after: its Disney princess is the first ever to not get a prince. From the beginning to the end, she is all the man she needs. …Which is handy, because in her world, there aren’t any others she can turn to.

Merida may not have been a particularly brave new kind of princess, but we believe that “Brave” presented the newest and bravest fairytale world in Disney princess history. Castles and tiaras notwithstanding, this brave new world is actually a lot more like ours, for two reasons. … Read more →

Marriage and SinglenessWomanhoodWomanhood in Pop Culture
article

Can We Have a Braver Princess, Please?

Twenty years ago, our mother walked down the Walmart Pink Aisle, past all the Disney-heroine Barbies, Disney-movie-inspired vanity playsets, sequined polyester fish-tail skirts with seashells, and itchy yellow off-shoulder Belle dresses, and decided, “Not for my daughters.”

We were 4 and 6, and like most little girls, were each on our quest for the holy grail of femininity, the all-inspiring vision of who to be when we grew up.  Like many mothers, Mom realized that the entire panoply of Disney “woman” options, from Snow White to Ariel and Belle, were not it.   … Read more →

WomanhoodWomanhood in Pop Culture
article

Our Response to Rapunzel

Dear Rapunzel,

Thank you for your email. We happen to already be familiar with your story as presented in “Tangled,” and even know a little more about your backstory than you do, and so we do have some thoughts for you.

We will be unusually blunt, because we know you are not a real person with feelings; you are the carefully written, cast, voiced, sketched, sculpted, scanned, painted, rigged, animated, rendered, and composited brainchild of John Lasseter, Glen Keane, and the Disney scriptwriting committee. We’re talking to you, polygons. … Read more →

Ask A&EFamily RelationshipsWomanhood in Pop Culture
article

“Trapped in a Tower” Asks for Advice

Dear Botkin sisters,

I just turned 18 years old and I have a question for you. My name is Rapunzel and I’m in the middle of a very challenging situation. I’ll give you some backstory.

I’ve spent my whole life living at home in a tower with my mother, who told me that the tower is the only place that I could be safe from people who want to steal my hair. I’d always been happy at home, and felt like my mother and I had a fairly good relationship, until recently. A few days ago, I mentioned that I wanted to leave the tower for my birthday. You see, I really wanted to go see some mysterious lights that always appear in the sky on my birthday – ON MY BIRTHDAY – which of course has always made me think that they were somehow for me! Mother said it was a bad idea, that there were ruffians and thugs out there, that I couldn’t handle myself, etc. I tried to convince her otherwise, but then she exploded and said that I could never leave the tower. … Read more →

Ask A&EFamily Relationships