Chapter Four starts off in the same limited and limiting space the other three chapters happen, in the park. Specifically at that Picnic Table of Confession where a very nerve wracking cha-cha is being danced around anything to do with ‘sex’. Vaughn, in his fundacalifragilistic way, cannot say sex, SEX, S-E-X. He can only resort to bland euphemisms like ‘sleep with’ or ‘doing it’ All this tiptoeing around the subject of sex makes him and his poorly written characters sound like they are stuck in middle school.
Whenever I read this book and see his pearl-clutching delicacy I am seized with the desire to act like Samantha in the old sook during the second ‘Sex and the City’ movie. Von has a lot in common with the guys in the market, much more than he realizes as they freak out over a woman possessing condoms while being scantily dressed.
Back to the book. Mr. Buttinski Sakal Davidson finds foolish young man Andrew Adamson having a rousing argument with a young lady. Her name is… wait for it… Maydyn Terrefille – a name that translates to ‘Maiden Earth Girl’ The author uses some ham-fisted almost comical symbolism in the names he has chosen for the characters. Andrew Adamson – Manly or brave son of Adam, Sakal Davidson – To be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand or prosper son of David (possibly the Christ figure in this gawd-awful farce). Jesse Dumonde – God’s gift and Dumonde means ‘The World. See where he’s going with these names? I cannot figure out if Jesse’s name is supposed to mean ‘God’s Gift to the world’ or ‘Gift given over to the wicked ways of the world.’
In chapter four the overarching theme is that courtship is no different than dating, and it’s a long chapter by Vaughn Ohlman standards, it runs an almost full six pages! Gasp! Bear with me. This is all so awful that I almost wish I still drank or did drugs. It would help. Cocoa bean nibs and diet coke are a poor substitute.
What it is really about is that it’s fun to argue over the Bible. This chapter is all senseless back and forth arguing, making about as much logical wisdom as a Yahoo chatroom filled with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters yammering on endlessly.
Andrew and Maydyn (gag, that awful name!) stop fighting long enough for Andrew to make the formal introductions between Maydyn and Sakal before immediately blurting out why they were fighting. I’m starting to think that Andrew’s brain to mouth filter needs changing or is perhaps completely absent in the first place. Is he a brain injury survivor?
AA: You remember how we agreed that I should only go on a date with someone I might want to marry? Well, I called Maydyn and told her all about it. She thought it was a good idea, and said I was a nice boy and all, but that she couldn’t date me because she won’t date at all!
MT: I didn’t say that, or not like that, you know I didn’t. I said that in my family we don’t date, we court.
Andrew carries on awhile about how he just doesn’t ‘get’ courtship at all. He asked Sakal to show him where courtship is mentioned in the Bible. But Mr. Buttinski Inappropriate isn’t much help.
SD: Well, I can’t really say. The word ‘courtship’ isn’t in the Bible.
There’s some questioning by Sakal of Maydyn (shudder) about what the meaning of courtship really is. Hold onto your wig, someone is about to invoke the evil name of Bill ‘Grabby Hands’ Gothard.
MT: Well, you can find one definition on Bill Gothard’s website. Have you heard of Bill Gothard?
SD: Oh, yes. Even where I come from we have heard of Bill Gothard.
Maydyn goes on to piously spout Bill’s views on courtship:
“Courtship is experiencing the blessing of God by loving the Lord Jesus Christ and honoring both sets of parents. The purpose of courtship is to determine a couple’s readiness for marriage and to disern the will of God for a covenant marriage that will benefit the world.”
Hmm, sounds like something people more mature than anyone so far in this book would be better suited for. Sakal has to play the devil’s advocate after hearing what Brother Billy Boy had to say.
SD: But nothing in your definition spoke to that; to the difference between dating and courting.
MT: Well, first of all, dating is just for fun, and courting is more serious.
AA But I told you I didn’t want to date you ‘just for fun’! I told you I was serious! I told her all this, Mr. Davidson!
I’m not sure what exactly poor Andy is expecting Sakal to do here, perhaps force Maydyn (ughh) to go out with him on a ‘Godly’ courting date?
Skipping over a lot of dialogue that is basically a whole lot of back and forth about if dating and courtship are the same thing. Lots of ‘Is not’ answered by ‘Is too’ This is followed by Maydyn telling Andrew she’s upset he didn’t go to her father and ask for permission to court her, followed by Andrew saying he asked her to date because she’s the only girl he could see himself actually marrying from the vast babe fleet of girls he knows.
None of this interests Sakal. As usual he’s fishing for details. He starts questioning Maydyn about her parents, did they date, do they have a regular state marriage or a covenant marriage.
MT: Of course not! They are Christians! They were married in the church and everything.
SD: And a covenant marriage is one that happens in a church?
MT: It can’t happen anywhere else. Surely you know that!
SD: I don’t seem to know that. As Andrew was telling you, I tend to know things that are in God’s Word, and none of the marriages in Scripture were held in a church building.
This is all followed by more bickering about what is a date and what is courtship. No explanations of what covenant marriage is and how it does not involve churches or state issued licenses, just two people vowing that they are married as of that moment, a common law situation.Maydyn makes the claim that because the parents are involved with the process that it’s not dating.
MT: Well, first of all, they are involve at the beginning. The young man has to go to the girl’s father.
SD: And ask if he can date his daughter?
MT: It’s not dating! He asks or permission to court her.
SD: Is that what makes it courting? That he asks the father?
More bickering over the definitions of courting and dating. Le yawn. No word on what Andrew is doing. Guess he’s sitting at the picnic table playing with his cell phone.
SD: Not at all. I know the Scriptures rather well and, except for glorifying God and covenant marriage, nothing you have said is in the Scripture I have seen…….. As for glorifying God, you haven’t shown how courtship does that and dating doesn’t.
More arguing over word definitions. Really, this would be much more interesting if Vaughn had them mudwrestle or square off with swords while having one of the world’s most circular and dumb arguments over paths to marriage.
Finally Andrew puts down his phone and jumps in.
AA: So, Mr. Davidson, you are saying that dating is better? More Biblical?
SD: No, so far I haven’t seen any evidence that either one is Biblical.
This causes Maydyn (upchucking here) to completely lose it.
MT: What?! I don’t know where you found this guy, Andrew, but he is CRAZY!
I love how Ohlman describes her stomping away ‘Maydyn storms off in a swirl of skirts’
And mercifully we’ve finished the chapter. What did we learn here?
That it’s pointless to fight with random strangers asking personal questions.
That Mr. Buttinski is pretty prideful over his knowledge of the Bible.
That Andrew is too immature and foolish to be considering marriage.
That Vaughn Ohlman has the subtlety of a chain saw.
That I now need a stiff drink which I cannot have due to asthma meds. I’m just grateful there was no icky uncomfortable talk of sex couched in middle school euphemisms.
Next chapter stars the same three characters and is back in the park. Yes, there is more beating around the bush about sex in adolescent terms so I’m going to have to make sure I have some dramamine handy.
Everything about this book reminds me of the movie ‘Showgirls’ in that every single artistic or practical choice in the book that was made was the wrong one. Plus, you know, the emphasis on sex.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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