It’s Not That Complicated: Part 1 Chapter 4

It’s Not That Complicated: Part 1 Chapter 4 March 4, 2016

itsnotthatcomplicatedby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

Quotes from the book are in blue.

Onwards to Chapter Four!  The title of this delightful chapter is “Relationship Boot Camp- Back to Square One: How to Be a Sister to Your Real Brothers.”

Overarching Themes:

Do NOT question us, lowly peons!

There are a few chapter openings in this book that simply must be read.  This chapter open with this plum selection:

” ‘Why should I have to read a chapter about my brothers in a book about guys?’ some of you might be wondering at this point.  ‘ I didn’t pay $14.95 to learn about people I’ve known my whole life.  I want to know about actual guys.  Maybe I can just skip over this chapter.”

Please don’t do that.  Because if any of us have this attitude, it probably infects more than our taste in reading material.  It’s the attitude that has led most of us to skip over the relationships with our own family members, because we don’t think they’re as important as the relationships outside our family.” (pg. 51)

  • First, if I was not blogging about this book, I would have skipped out after the first sentence of the introduction.  By chapter 4, most readers are in for the long haul.
  • Second, I’m certain I won’t learn anything about my relationship with my brother from this book.
  • Third, I did not spend $15.00 on this book – more like $4.00 on the secondary market.  Either way, don’t write how much you plan on selling the book for.  It’s crass.
  • Fourth,  I thought that home-schooling guaranteed glowing sibling relationships that public/private schooler losers like my family could never achieve.
The BIBLE says you should love your siblings perfectly or ELSE!
This theme flashes through the chapter like a red sock in a load of whites.  Rather than drag in all of the hand-wringing and exhorting, I’m gonna pull the two passages that introduce the Botkin theme of “Family First!”
“Most of us have heard that we’re supposed to treat the young men we know as brothers.  This is based on Paul’s instruction to Timothy to treat “younger women as sisters, in all purity.” (1 Tim. 5:2)” (pg. 52)
  • The Botkin Sisters drag this verse through the rest of the book as the verse tries to break free screaming “That’s not what I mean!  Take me in context!”
    • The full section is 1 Timothy 5:1-2.  “Do not speak harshly to an older man, but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers, to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters—with absolute purity.”  Based on the fact that the initial clause of the first verse is talking about being harsh, I think a conservative interpretation of verse 2 is that men are not supposed to be jerks to other men or women.
    • The Botkin Brood, however, uses the clause “in all purity” to independently create the “no pre-martial romantic/emotional attachments” advanced and partially renounced  later by Josh Harris in “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”.
    • The rest of 1 Timothy 5 talks about the fact that young widows will want to remarry and should be encouraged to do so.  From that, I’m guessing that Paul (or whoever wrote this letter) realized that people often want to have emotional and sexual relationships.
“‘If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar,” warns 1 John 4:20-21, “for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Over and over, 1 John establishes this as the litmus test of whether we’re really the children of God.  This is how we show that we love God – not just by studying theology for Him, but by loving your brothers.” (pg. 53)
  • The Botkins have decided to be extreme literalists on this verse; God means your nuclear family brother and no others.  All Christian denominations I know of view this verse in the broader context of brother == other human beings (or at least fellow believers).  Not the Botkin Family.
  • I don’t think God set that up as the litmus test.  If God did, Jesus failed it big time according to Matthew 12:46-50.
Nuance?  What nuance?  All situations involving males are exactly the same.
Ask yourself a question: If you really treated the young men you know exactly the way you treat your biological brothers (minus, for example, physical affection)….what would that look like?  This is the time to be brutally honest with yourself.  Visualize it in full Technicolor and surround sound, down to the way you respond to your little brother when he barges into your room for the hundredth time while you are in a crabby mood.  Then project that image onto how you might respond to Brandon when he accidently spills Cherry Coke on your new sweater.
What would it do to your social life?  The respect and appreciation you value so much from your guy friends now…would it still be there?  What would your reputation become?” (pg. 52)
  • Let’s be honest; those are not the same situations.  Allow me to equalize them.
    • Situation Set A:
      • Your 5 year-old brother knocks at your bedroom door.  When you open it, he asks you if you would get him a glass of water because he can’t reach the sink.  You get it for him.  He says “Thank you!” and accidentally spills some on your new suede shoes.  The little guy bursts into tears.
      • You go out on a date with Brandon wearing your new sweater.  He’s visibly nervous and accidentally spills some Cherry Coke on the sleeve while handing you dinner from the food court.
    • Situation Set B:
      • Your 5-year-old brother is a whirlwind on wheels who only stops yelling about superheros when he’s asleep.  You’ve explained to him that when your bedroom door is closed he needs to knock three billion times, acted it out and practiced a million times.  The first time he crashes into your room without knocking, you escort him out and shut the door.  Now, you are on the 18th time today and you have a freaking headache.
      • You know a guy at your church group named Brandon.  Brandon is a jackass and more than a bit of a bully.  He takes pleasure in dumping drinks on people’s clothing.  Brandon is approaching you with a glass of pop and you are wearing a new sweater…..
  • When you equalize the situations, the “ideal” solutions are damn near identical.  In situation A, accidents happen and most women would be reasonably calm about taking care of the problem.  In situation B, anger and self-protection methods are prudent and allowed.
Next Post: Insights into Anna Sophia and Elizabeth as teenagers and Botkin Family Drama!
Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide She is also an very valuable source of scientific information for us here at NLQ. Mel is also blessed with the ability to look at the issues of Quiverfull with a rational mind and break them down to their most basic of elements.

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