Friday, June 5, 2015

Thoughts On What Lies Beneath the Duggar Story

She knows me as “Jules” which speaks volumes to the depth of our friendship. As such, I took strong note when reading her private message at 11:34 pm last night:
“Hey, Jules! I saw your FB post on your reservations about the whole Duggar scandal and possible interview. I am right there with you on it. I was really reticent to watch. And there was a part of me that was like ‘enough already!’ However, I am a processor and you are one of the few people I know who will debate hard topics reasonably, so I really encourage you to watch the interview. (You don't have to tell anyone that you did.) smile emoticon Think about it and then tell me what you think.”

Here’s my response; edited a bit to remove late night grammatical/spelling errors and add source sites and links in reference to specific observations and comments. Also, further thoughts post clicking and hitting ‘Send’ are noted in [ ]’s.
Hey, Sweet Friend! Just so you know, you're the first I've had any lengthy and measured conversation with regarding this matter. So here it is. Translation: I got's some things to say. I see multiple facets regarding all this:

1. The entire Quiverful/Bill Gothard/Patriarchal system [with its underlying methodology adhered to; practiced; and disseminated by family’s such as the Duggar’s] which the Duggar ascribes is rife with flat out skewed practices, lack of sound theology, as well as [its] extra-biblical precepts and [skewed] take on sexuality sets the stage for disaster.

2. The Duggar's decision to be on television—to remain on television year after year as their notoriety grew. You can't disdain the attention which you have courted. You just can't. If you have "this" (platform to propagate your worldview, faith, convictions), you're going to have "that" (intense scrutiny). We had [more than one thing] happen with more than one of our children and had we been approached within a year of [any one] of those events to be on the world stage of cable television, you'd better bet we'd said no in a heartbeat. In fact, we did just that as I was approached to do WifeSwap when my oldest (now 26) was 15-years or so.

Yes, to each their own but, I do not and will never understand their decision to subject their son given the details they knew at the time to the possibility of exposure. [I’m not trying to kick them while they’re down, mind you, but truly, I can’t wrap my brain around that.] Are they really that naive? I don't think so.

3. Doug Phillips & Bill Gothard. [Leaders/Overlords of Point 1’s methodology mess.] Creeps beyond compare, my friend. Kkkkkkkkreeeeeeeepy. Philips leading the Patriarch Brigade whilst ejaculating on the nanny (see, also—unfortunately,…/pastor-accused-of-using-nanny-as-sex-…/); Bill Gothard feeding a foot fetish and abusing girl after girl after girl under his "covering of authority" and being removed [finally] from [appearance at least] leadership (see, also, unfortunately again,…/0381aa94-a624-11e3-b865-38b. It makes me want to puke.

To me, this is the story beneath the story beneath the story which this particular subset of Christian culture doesn’t want to address: to whit, the entire structure which undergirds the flight [from worldly culture] philosophy of Quiverful and such is a sham. Faulty. Unscriptural in enumerable ways. But too often, the immediate response is to cry, “We’re being persecuted!” or something akin rather than address the stinkin’ faulty theology of it all.

4. I listened to the first 15-minutes as my youngest wanted to view it [and have since listened to audio content of interview]. In those fifteen minutes, I heard both parents minimize/diminish what happened. "They weren’t even aware…" “ …to them they didn't probably even understand that it was an improper touch." Color me me profoundly doubtful. And angry as a woman and mother at the deflection of what happened to their daughters. [Transcripts can be found here:…/the-kelly-file/transcripts.html…].

I had no idea listening to these portions of interview and reading impossible-to-ignore New Feed Posts on Facebook would trigger a memory:

When I was six-years old I had to sit across from a fellow first-grade student at the bus rider table. Every day he would push his foot between my legs. I was six-years old, yet, I felt dirty. I knew what he was doing was wrong and it made me feel bad. He wasn't my brother. I wasn't sleeping. I was in a room full of students and teachers and yet it happened again and again and I felt utterly helpless. I never told anyone—then or now, save my husband and children when I felt it was appropriate regarding their own safety and need for awareness. I was six years old and knew deeply within my conscious that what they little boy was forcing upon me was wrong and I did my best to avoid him on the playground and sundry classroom and lines to and from the restroom, lunch, and recess.

I thought of all that as I listened to them speak those few minutes. [Mr. Duggar said, “It wasn’t like rape or anything…”] They are either insanely clueless or, well, I don't even know what else. I don’t even know where to put those words or perspectives.

5. As I said previously, I do not want to hear cries of "We're being persecuted" in the middle of this--in the middle of their choosing to speak of the sexual molestation reveal. Yes, the world is becoming increasing aggressive toward Christ, the Cross, and Christians, but, for the love! What happened and the reason for their bowing [my assumption] to seeming pressure to speak was to address what happened in 2001 (both their son’s actions/inaction and repeat offenses in 2002, as well as their decisions as his parents). What has happened has had NOTHING to do with persecution.

• It had to do with the decision to diminish Josh's conscious actions against siblings and a babysitter.

• It had to do with the Duggar's family theology which considered sending him to a Bill Gothard-approved "work camp" to be appropriate counseling for the (lawful) crime against the girls involved as well as dealing with the (spiritual) sin. (As it turns out, he did neither—which claiming to have done so was disingenuous).

• It had to do with a methodology/theology structure of sexuality not so many degrees off of the horrific ideology of polygamist Latter Day Saints (Warren Jeffs ‘stay sweet’) or extreme Muslim—i.e. Gothard & Phillips. Bill Gothard who is neither married (never has been) nor a parent. I’ll never understand people adhering to his schtick. Never. The female form covered, always, always covered, from earliest age. Modesty = biblical doctrine. Warnings to drop ones eyes when a worldly woman is spotted. (Does the same go for well-built man?) No touching, hand holding, kissing, before marriage?

Honestly, my friend, it's insanity to me. In.SANE. How do you NOT get messed up messages and unclarified arousal and attractions with the extreme nature of all that? Oh for healthy sexual balance in all such things.

And as far as your thoughts and concerns regarding Mrs. Duggar’s social/political comments regarding transgender restrooms and the vitriolic response this stirred within the LGTBQ community: to be frank, the LGTBQ matter doesn't even appear as a blip on my radar screen regarding all this. However, the Cult of Family, which I've seen mushroom within Quiverful methodology (and varying subsets) and those who follow it lock-step, does.

I too appreciate our ability to maintain a thoughtful discourse on weighty matters and always strive to be reasonable with great measures of intellectual consideration and common sense. Something oft found wanting unfortunately.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

'Solace' Captiva, FL - October 12th-17th, 2014


'Solace' Captiva Island guests will gather in this delightful rainbow respite of bright colors. Tropical flowers, ferns, palms, figs and fruit trees adorn the grounds, thriving in Captiva's fantastic weather. The front garden has pathways leading to a small patio and seating area - enjoy company, read a book, or simply contemplate everything or nothing-at-all in the lovely garden.

This four bedroom house (Julie & Assistant room not shown) enjoys its own private heated pool (water temperature fixed at 85 degrees F). The large, screened pool patio is furnished with lounge chairs, an outdoor dining table, and a gas grill. A Guest Bath with double-size shower (serving Guest Room Twin) is accessible to Pool Patio as well.

A recent remodel provides luxurious amenities in the ultra-modern kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The house gives a sense of spaciousness inside and out, with the dense landscape plantings affording maximum privacy. The open kitchen has plenty of cabinets and work surface space, and room for congregating. We do love our congregating at Solace!

The wide, white beach of the Gulf of Mexico is just steps down the private, sandy, lane. Yet from this quiet location you have convenient proximity to the Captiva Village Center with outstanding restaurants (Mucky Duck anyone?!), unique shops, and fun activities.

Golf carts for island use are available for rent and allow guests to seek shopping or puttering Solace as they desire. Multiple boating excursions on the Island provide Guests opportunities for dolphin cruises; a trip to the island which is said to have inspired "Margaritaville"; Gulf water fishing; sunset sail boating, and more!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Has The Cheese Fallen Off Your Cracker?

Are you looking for Solace? If so, be encouraged as I'm pulling together a late-Summer, early-Fall getaway which is looking more and more likely to happen. Varying locale options: gorgeous non-Gulf front home only short drive to beaches--enclosed pool and hot tub; townhouse only steps from Sanibel shore; and possible spot along the AL Gulf Shore should we choose to spread our shells and try.
Solace, A Respite for Women Whose Cheese Has Fallen Off Their Cracker 

Okay, you just have to know this is my Sweet Spot and the prospect of meeting those of you who are desperate for Solace, well, I'm sitting here in my still-cold-at-the-end-of-March living room writing and alternately smiling like a goofball; having heart palpitations; and getting a bit weepy. 

Initial Details (in progress):

  • 4, to (no more than) 8 women; possibly 3-days, most likely 5-days.
  •  Low-key "Stay and Savor" ambiance which allow you to exhale--perhaps for the first time in months, if not years.
  • Giving yourself over to the unforced rhythm of Restorative Respite via shelling, spiritual direction, laughter, good food, more laughter, more shelling and telling your story. 

  •  Solace pricing will include lodging; meals; one breakfast at 'The Heavenly Biscuit'; and ticket for Captiva Cruise shelling trip to Cayo Costa State Park
  • Solace pricing will NOT include airfare or rental car expense. (It's possible, given the intimate number of women attending that airport pick-ups may be a possibility. It'll depend on airport location and having a body other than my own [Julie] available to drive.) Depending on accommodation and parking availability there could be an add'l parking charge for said rental cars. All such details will be nailed down prior to event date. Airports include: Punta Gorda, FL; Tampa, FL; and Fort Meyers, FL.
  • Bike rentals as well as scooters and Segways are available for individual use on the Island.
  • Plenty of free time for you to discover the Island--again, "unforced"

Embrace the Unforced Rhythm of Restoration 
is the key word so understand I [Julie] will not have a day-to-day calender loaded with must-do's. (Other than the Captiva Cruise which is optional--but cost covered if one decides to explore this uninhabited shelling bonanza.)

  • Some meals and a run to Pinnocchio's ice cream may be eaten out and those will be the responsibility of each individual.


God the Father, God the Son, & God the Holy Spirit is at work in, with, and for, you. Always. 

Some sites to whet your appetite: (LOVE Associate Pastor Barb Nave!) (who doesn't want to see dolphins jumping alongside a fast moving vessel?!)
— feeling Like This Is What I'm Made To Do.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370: A Prayer

 "God, despite our greatest efforts, as finite humans, only You are able to bring to light the truth and discovery of Flight #370. I ask that You would allow just that to come to pass quickly--the why's and how's are nothing compared to the agonizing grief of unknowing and loss (without *proof* of loss) of the families. And, given the possibility of continued life of each of those passengers and until it is proven otherwise, I continue to pray for life and rescue. Show mercy, oh, God, to all those involved...we confess we are helpless."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Sexy Jesus" Makes Me Cringe: Thoughts on Familiarity & Contempt

The familiarity by which our culture & at times, Church universal (all those who identify themselves as a follower of Jesus Christ), speaks of, regards, and portrays the Son of God leaves me at turns nauseous, profoundly sad, and more than a bit apprehensive. Why my apprehension? I can't shake the insightful observation of the Apostle Mark (Mark 6:1-6) who noted the contemptuous familiarity by which the citizens of Nazareth regarded their hometown son, Jesus. 

At first, they were impressed by His teaching. Perhaps they discussed his initial notoriety and felt a measured sense of community pride. It was all well and fine until He spoke with authority. Until He stepped out of His "place." Until He started teaching "teaching" with an authority that belied his station in life. After all, who did this upstart think he was? everyone knew he was just the son of a carpenter. And it went downhill from there; more accurately, it went to the edge of the cliff from there. (Luke 4:29-30)

Because of their disregard, disdain, and scorn/scoffing, Jesus limited His teaching with them. Because of their lack of belief ("The Son of God?! Phfft!"),  and anger and offense taken by His words, He was unable to do any miracles among them. They didn't take too kindly to any of this and when all was said and done attempted to throw him off that aforementioned cliff.

Now, that's some serious contempt.

I read this 2,000+ year historical eyewitness account and then turn my eyes and ears to the culture which surrounds me; the culture in which I am engaged; the culture which is, byte by byte, image by image, defining Jesus and I honestly quake within my spirit. It's a fear thing. A holy fear thing as I see our "here and now" version of contemptuous familiarity.

Look what we've done to Jesus.
Look what we've done with Jesus.

We've GQ'd him.
We text, tweet, and post casual--Lord, forgive us (me)--quips referencing Jesus the BFF; Jesus the Homeboy; Jesus the hottie. (Okay, I cringed just writing that.)
We banter about and invoke the name of the only Son of God with a casualness more befit a tweet regarding Pharrel's hat.

God forgive us. God forgive me.

(Please note: this is not a screed calling for the demise of Jesus films or the denigration of those who write/produce such genre of communication. 
This latest go-around of cultural news discussions regarding the casting type of such simply stirred within me once again a familiar conviction regarding the deeper and more troubling aspect of how I, and the culture around me, chooses to esteem the person of Jesus Christ.) 

(Note a note: I'm working out multiple ponderings via writing during this hiatus and will continue to post portions as they come. We can ponder together!) 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Julie's Advice for "I Booked My First Gig!!" Speakers

1. The audience is for you. Unless it's a crowd of 7th graders, then? well, it can get kinda ugly.

2. Only YOU know what you did or did not say, did or did not prepare. This is no time for confession. Leave that to your Priest or time with a girlfriend afterwards.

3. It's 45-60 minutes, not 72 hours. You don't have to say everything, even if everything is stupendous.

4. Do what you need to do to prepare. Me? I have to be alone prior to speaking; I can sit at a meal or table but much prefer not doing such when at all possible. I'm an extrovert par excellence but to nail it speaking wise I have to quiet my thoughts. I don't even like The Husband or my kids (good lord, NOT the kids) being around me. No talking is my preference and then.....*BOOM* I unleash it on the audience. 

5. Wear NORMAL clothes. Don't go get all JLo, or Sister Mary Katherine, or The Woman Who Knocked Off CATO. Unless you're normally JLo, Sister Mary Katherine, or a CATO knock-off.

6. Wear comfortable shoes. If they're not, take them off prior to speaking. Or during, as has been the case a time or two in my life. If your feet hurt, well, your face is probably going to show it.

7. DO NOT use vocabulary words with which you're unfamiliar. Stick to your usual street talk.

8. DO NOT listen to recordings of "The Speaker Who Most Intimidates Me In The Entire Freakin' World!!!!!!!" It's hard to be authentically you when you're mentally judging yourself mid-point, "Geesh! Ann Voskamp would have NEVER settled for a 2 syllable word there!"

9. Don't do Power Point unless you're really, really, good with PP.

10. On second thought: don't do PP.

10. Just say, "Thank you," when a woman approaches you and say, "I enjoyed what you had to so much." Don't apologize for not being "The Speaker Who Most Intimidates Me In The Entire Freakin' World!" Don't feel like you have to say, "To God be the Glory." I mean you can, because it's true but sometimes it's just a passive-aggressive Bible-ly way to say the aforementioned apology.

11. DO NOT listen to a recording of yourself. Other speakers will disagree but seriously, it's your first gig. I say presume you did well unless the entire audience gets up and walks out. And even then, well, it could be "The Speaker Who Most Intimidates Me In The Entire Freakin' World" has set up a table selling his/her books across the street and just sent a tweet inviting everyone over for a signed *FREE* copy. 

* If the final tip doesn't make sense private msg and I'll help you out.
#Advice4Speakers #AnnVoskamp #MarkDriscoll #TriedAndTrueWisdom