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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
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“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 →

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A Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing?

Dear Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin,

I’m 16 years old, I’m home schooled and (surprise) I love to read . I’ve always read ANYTHING I can my hands on from Jane Austen to Stephen King to John Steinbeck to Anthony Burgess and back again. My Mom and Dad, never prohibited me from reading anything, from the time I was about 11 years old, I pretty much took control of my reading censorship, and I’m not afraid to say I’ve had a awesome time with it.

My Mom and Dad are good God fear people who put a great love of Jesus in me, and I don’t want you to think they haven’t given me guidance, because truly they have. In fact, I think by giving me that intellectual freedom, they gave me “so much more” than if they had only allowed me the “proper” or “age appropriate” literature.

Read more →
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Have You Ever Wondered…

INTCbotkinsistersbanner

“My biggest concerns are how should I even treat boys period? I have
no idea how to act around them…I know I should be myself but, besides
that…”

“I’m not around a lot of young men, so when I am in a group with one,
it gives me the jitters. How do I act natural?”

“Is it a good idea to be good or close friends with a guy? And if you
do sense yourself beginning to be interested in someone, is it an
option to try to get to know them better, or should you keep things
the same and wait for the guy to make the first move?”

“If I say ‘hi’ and strike up a conversation is he going to think that I
am too forward, shouldn’t my kind of man be the first to speak, and
what will others think of what I do?”

“Where do you draw the line between being friendly, which is okay, and
being flirty, which is (presumably) not okay?”

“…can you encourage a potential suitor to pursue you without being
flirty, forward, or inappropriate? …can you let them know you are
available in a God-honoring way without becoming the initiator?”

“What takes a girl from someone a man likes to be around, to someone
he wants to spend his life with? I see a lot of lists by girls about
‘my husband must be such and such.’ But it seems all I ever hear from
guys is ‘a godly lady.’ What does that mean to them?”

“If there is a particular guy that I have noticed, what is the best
way to deal with these feelings? And what should I watch out for when
I am around him/do to guard my heart?”



It’s (Not That) Complicated will explore all of these questions sent
in by our readers and many, many more. (And will, hopefully, make them
all seem a lot less complicated.)

For more information and to order a copy, visit NotComplicatedBook.com.

Ask A&EGirl-Guy Relationships
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Is It My Fault That I’m Not Married?

Our last article, “Why Am I Not Married?!?” has brought in our most diverse range of feedback yet. We’ve received some of the most grateful, convicted, excited letters ever (with the strongest support and thanks coming from young men, interestingly, though we didn’t write it for them). We’ve also had a couple of angry or tearful reactions. Mostly, though, we’ve been sent a wide range of questions, from how to become more eligible, practically, to how to deal with unrequited love, to how to react, emotionally, to the engagements and marriages of friends, while we remain unmarried. We hope to address each of these on Visionary Daughters soon. Today, however, we would like to answer this one.

Are you saying that if I’m not married yet, it’s my fault?Read more →

Ask A&EMarriage and Singleness
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Why Am I Not Married?!?

Responding to “The Marriage Crisis”

We were recently sent the link to a very humorous satirical website: No Girl Left Behind (The Solution to the Marriage Crisis). Though the website is a farce, it plays on a very real panic we have encountered: an anxiety that not enough homeschooled young people are getting married these days.

The panic is summed up in the words of the site, “There are young people of both genders who wish to be married and are not.” … Read more →

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Visionary Daughters Interviewed – Final Installment

Here is part three of a recent interview a journalist conducted with us.

Interviewer: Tell me about your book: whose idea was it? What are you hoping to accomplish with it? How has it been received?

A&E: We got the idea for writing our book when we were aged 15 and 17. We were nearing adulthood, and faced with the question of “What next?” Who did we want to become? What did we want to live and die for? Our friends seemed to be living on auto-pilot, defaulting to the same decisions all the other girls were making about college, career, relationships and the rest. Our father had always taught us not to passively follow the crowd, but to carefully and deliberately think through every decision, using Scripture as our guide. So we began a rigorous study of the biblical role of women (daughters in particular), and made discoveries so fascinating, counter-cultural and life-transforming that we wanted to share them with every other girl.

We knew there was a need for this book. The young women of our generation have so many questions, and often feel so lost and conflicted. They struggle to understand who they are as women, while surrounded by destructive and confusing stereotypes of women from past and present. They suffer from bad relationships with their family members, and the consequences of that. They don’t understand how they as women should relate to men. They fear they will never marry; they feel guilty about wanting to marry; they’re confused about what to do in the meantime; they’re realizing too late that they may have driven away their chances of marriage by pursuing feminist dreams of their own; and if they eventually marry, they agonize over how to balance their families with their careers and feel guilty about whichever one ends up short-changed. What we found is that the Bible does give the answers to each of these problems. God is not silent on the issues that face young women — He has a place and a purpose for us, if we will only study to find it.

Interviewer: Have you heard of the “modesty movement”? Are you connected to that? What does that entail for you, personally?

A&E: The Bible specifically commands women to dress modestly (1 Tim. 2:9), and we do try to model that. It’s interesting to us that, as a reaction against the damaging effects of the sexual revolution, even many “non-religious” women are returning to modesty and abstinence, and discovering the many benefits that accompany them (a reminder of the wisdom of God’s commands to us). However, we see modesty as a defining characteristic of Christian behavior, not simply as a solution to a cultural problem.

We are not advocates of frumpy flour-sack “modesty” — modesty is only one aspect of what Christian women need to communicate in their dress, radiant femininity being another. Our goal in dress is to communicate that we rejoice in being women, and to encourage the men around us to respect women rather than objectify them.

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Visionary Daughters Interviewed: 2nd Installment

Interviewer: In your opinion and through your study and experience, what is a woman’s role in life?

A&E: A woman’s role is to honor and serve God, in the sphere He created her for. The Bible tells us that woman was created from the man and for the man (1 Cor. 11:9) to be a helper to him in his mission (Gen. 2:18). (Note: not to be his slave or property.) This is what God created woman for, and is the true essence of femininity: to complement and complete man, to be at his side in taking dominion of the earth. Men and women were created to be different — and those undeniable differences are glorious — but their distinct, complementary roles should work together to achieve one common goal. We believe a woman’s value and importance is in every way equal to a man’s, though her role is different.

Through the whole panorama of Scripture (and through most of history), we see the home and family as woman’s context. Home was not woman’s prison — it was her base of operations, from which she engaged in commerce, ministry, charity, medicine, the arts, and more. The family, though, was always her priority.

Interviewer: What are your views on women and education? Why?

A&E: We believe women should be highly, highly educated, in the right ways and for the right reasons. We encourage girls to strive for a broader, higher and more intellectually honest education than is available at most colleges today. When researching the higher-education options before us a few years ago, Anna Sofia and I studied college syllabi, interviewed students and teachers alike, spent time on several campuses, and then studied the way the best-educated men and women in history have become so. We concluded that colleges do not have the monopoly on higher learning, higher qualifications, and proper training. The historic fact is that the best-educated men and women of history have always been autodidacts: people who took responsibility for their own educations and were self-motivated. Brick-and-mortar institutions and pedagogues have never cornered the market on education, and we would love to see more young women think outside that box, taking the initiative to pursue real education rather than “schooling.”

Interviewer: Do you feel your lifestyle is supported by other Christians, Evangelical Christians, people in general?

A&E: Response to our lifestyle is very mixed, as we would expect. There are those who embrace it wholeheartedly, those who look at it wistfully, those who feel “judged” by it, those who try to misunderstand and misinterpret us, and the few who send hate-mail. However, we’ve never needed the affirmation of others in how we live — the affirmation of God is what we seek.

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Visionary Daughters Interviewed — 1st Installment

Here are a few questions a journalist recently posed to us, with our answers.

Interviewer: When and how did you start your blog? What role did you think you needed to fill with it, what purpose does it serve?

A&E: We began “Visionary Daughters” three years ago, upon finishing our book So Much More, as a way to inspire and encourage other young women to think and live biblically. We want to see young women break free from the smothering expectations of society, to be visionary, to think outside the box, to educate themselves more widely, and to focus on constructive family relationships. We want girls to have an attitude of victory, rather than survival, and to understand the glory and vastness of the role God created for unmarried women.

We see a particular need for girls to build better relationships with their fathers, as the effects of this relationship spill over into so many other areas of their lives — they way they view God, the way they relate to men, the way they view themselves, the decisions they make regarding family, and more. In our generation, we are seeing a fundamental disconnect between fathers and children, and daughters are suffering from this lack of fatherly guidance, involvement, affection, affirmation, and protection. We’ve also seen committed daughters win the hearts of their indifferent fathers and build a wonderful relationship that transformed the entire family. In Malachi 4:6, the Bible instructs us in the importance of “turn[ing] the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers,” and that is one of the greatest goals of our ministry.

Interviewer: Who exactly are you trying to reach?

A&E: Although we’ve received overwhelming feedback from almost every demographic — young and elderly, men and women alike — our audience has always been other young women in the same stage of life as we (single). These women come from all different backgrounds, financial situations, and nationalities, but we are united in our commitment to being biblically faithful, intellectually honest, and consistent.

For those who have heard about “stay-at-home” daughterhood and are curious, we want to give an open, honest picture of how we believe and live.

Interviewer: Do you agree with other Christians who say devout, Christian womanhood and feminism are not mutually exclusive? Do you consider yourselves feminists?

A&E: Some define feminism as the belief that women have rights. We absolutely agree that women have rights — we also recognize that all rights must be bestowed by some Higher Source. Feminism is not the source of our rights — God is the author of our rights, as our founders recognized, and it was He who gave women property rights, marital rights, and divorce rights (for example), as well as laws that protect women from abuse and neglect. The feminist movement declared woman able to author her own, new rights — to be like God, determining right and wrong for herself. We stand for men’s and women’s original, biblical rights — we stand against the selfish autonomy of either.

Some define feminism as the belief that women and men are of equal value. We believe they are also. The Bible declares men’s and women’s equal standing and value before God, and teaches this more consistently than any other religious or secular doctrine. In Scripture, man’s work and woman’s work are equally valid — wifehood, motherhood, homemaking and femininity are not belittled, and women are not guilt-manipulated to live and act like men. On the contrary; woman’s distinctiveness from man is praised and honored, and her unique role is held vital.

Speaking historically as well as theologically, Christianity is the only social, spiritual and political force that gives women true freedom and power. It is the anti-Christian religions (including Marxism, Islam, and feminism) that demean, undervalue, and exploit women; throughout history, it was the Christian societies that truly valued women, protected women and honored women (insofar as those societies were faithful to the Bible’s actual teachings).

One major antithesis between us and the feminists is their insistence on egalitarianism. God is a God of order, not of anarchy, and He created spheres of sovereignty and hierarchies of authority. Thus we would define feminism as rebellion against God and His created order; a pursuit of autonomy; a fight for the right to get our own way. This is why we see feminism and Christian womanhood as mutually exclusive, and “Christian” feminism as an oxymoron.

More questions and answers coming up soon…

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Q&A Regarding our Position on Sarah Palin

Q: Isn’t it a good thing that feminism is becoming more conservative?

A: We actually see this new “conservative” face of feminism as a very dangerous development. We cannot redeem a movement that was conceived in rebellion against God and His design. Feminism certainly comes in several different flavors, but at its core, its message is this: Women have the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong for them. Since the Garden of Eden, feministic women have valiantly fought for the right to get their own way, and each woman’s only standard is What She Wants –- what is “right in [her] own eyes” (Judges 21:25). This is why the feminist movement is so splintered, schizophrenic and inconsistent, even on the candidacy of Sarah Palin. This is also why “Christian” feminism is an oxymoron.

When feminism becomes more “conservative,” it becomes more insidious. Modern feminism at its roots is socialist and anti-family, and that can’t be changed by painting conservative values on top. We believe “conservative” feminism will seduce and destroy more women (and their families) than radical feminism. What we’re seeing is not feminism becoming more conservative — it’s conservatism becoming more feminist.

We should be warning girls away from feminism before it devastates their lives, rather than “baptizing” it to make it look family-friendly and righteous.

Q: Why do you target Sarah Palin, when there are other much more liberal woman leaders in the world, such as Hillary Clinton?

A: We believe Sarah Palin’s example poses a more serious threat to Christian womanhood than more liberal feminist icons such as Hillary Clinton. These are strong words, but hear us out. We can expect the enemies of God to act in flagrant opposition to Him, and we don’t see many conservative Christian girls seduced by their example. But when we see professing Christians act in flagrant opposition to Him (or His created order), and fellow Christians cheer them on and call them role models, we are more compelled to hold the line. We believe Sarah Palin’s feminism is more insidious, because it is so attractive to conservative Christians. Unlike the angry, man-hating, radical feminist vanguard of yesteryear, the new feminist Face is beautiful, feminine, and maternal – but it is also statist and egalitarian. Many Christians are too star-struck to notice Mrs. Palin’s record of feminist, socialist policies and compromises, or the fact that she is biblically unqualified to hold this office.

Sarah Palin’s “conservative” brand of feminism could do far more for the radical-left feminist cause than their own camp. The Left tells young women that it is acceptable to neglect children and family. Palin’s example tells young women that it can be conservative and “Christian” to neglect children and family. Her example also subverts gender roles. Despite Todd Palin’s traditional, manly-man image and Sarah’s traditional, womanly one, we believe they are undermining biblical marriage relationships and gender roles with their spotlight examples as Mrs. Civil Leader and Mr. Mom. The message of this possible First Family: men and women are interchangeable. And as Christ’s Bride, under His headship, this is something the Church must stand against.

Q: Do you believe God can never work through a woman civil leader?

A: God can “work through” any vessel he appoints for any specific purpose. He has used a variety of women rulers, from Jezebel to Margaret Thatcher, for His unique and different purposes.

We know God “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11) — He raises up (Daniel 4:17) and puts down (Daniel 4:25-33) civil rulers of all kinds to accomplish His purpose for His people (Romans 8:28). God worked through Pharaoh. God worked through Nebuchadnezzar. Voting, however, for Pharaoh or Nebuchadnezzar for president would clearly violate the standards God gave us for choosing civil magistrates — which we believe is also the case for voting the McCain/Palin ticket. The question we should ask is not “What could God do?” but “What has God commanded us to do?” Deuteronomy 29:29 declares: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

We do not need to be afraid of the consequences of our obedience. We should be afraid, rather, of disobedience, especially the kind of disobedience that justifies pragmatism over principle. God does not need our votes to micro-manage the situation in our nation. He expects and deserves our obedience to principle in every area of life, through which He then manages our national affairs with peace and blessing.

Q: Isn’t a vote for anyone other than McCain/Palin a wasted vote?

A: No. We waste our vote when we vote in panic, in fear of something other than God. When we vote with the expectation that God sees the obedience in our decision, our vote is never wasted.

We must answer to God for every vote we cast. Our vote is not an idle pronouncement. It may be private, but God knows precisely what we have done and why we have done it. Our vote reveals the essence of our faith or our unbelief, and we will be held accountable for our vote. If we vote for McCain/Palin, we clearly violate biblical standards, endorse a clearly unqualified administration, and invite clearly-written Biblical sanctions on ourselves and on our country. Disobeying Scripture is never the way to attempt to fix our imperiled nation, even if it seems like a responsible emergency solution. Our chief concern should be Who is on the Throne, rather than who is in the White House. Our modus operandi should start with sincere and more consistent, biblical obedience in our own lives, homes, and churches. Our strategy for national reformation needs to begin with the understanding that America’s problems cannot be fixed in one election or one presidential term – we need to look at the present crisis in the context of the past and the future. It was the compromises of Christians decades ago that brought us where we are today; we must consider the consequences our voting compromises today may have long after this election is over, when our children will have to reap what we have sown.

God is stronger than the evils that can be caused by the unprincipled conduct of Obama or McCain. If we remember this, we won’t be afraid of voting on principle — we will be afraid of voting any other way.

In the spirit of the Deuteronomy verse we quoted before, we need not worry about the “secret things” which belong to the Lord, but instead the “things which are revealed.” The marvelous works which God has ordained in the future are hidden in His inscrutable counsel, but He has given to us and our children a sure Word which we are called to obey. We are to “do all the words of this law” — this same law which commands us to choose only qualified men to hold civil office.

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