The Banished Amazon Review of
Passionate Housewives Desperate for God
(Cynthia Kunsman's original online review)
In early November, after reading this newly released book, I offered this interview online at Amazon.com. It was reported as abusive and deleted, so I offer it here. It is, per my unavoidably academic style, a bit bookish and the one that is now displayed online that I offerd in its place is much more helpful to those
who would be interested in the book.
I regret that I did not copy the unpleasant response posted by Carmon Friedrich or my response to her. It criticized my language, stating that it was used to confuse the reader. It attacked Brother Lawrence's book, stating that it was essentially a work of New Age Mysticism. I don't think that Mrs. Friedrich liked my response. I first discovered "The Practice of the Presence of God" through Coral Ridge Ministries in the early eighties and was mailed to me from this ministry, accompanied by a letter from the late D. James Kennedy encouraging every Christian to read the book. Mrs. Friedrich also said that Brother Lawrence advocated meditation that lead to "secret conversations with God." Oddly, I would think that one could describe much of the believer's prayer life in such a way!
Link to the second "replacement review" HERE.
A Passionate Review of
"Passionate Housewives Desperate for God"
a publication of Vision Forum
by authors Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald
November 15, 2007
I just finished reading "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God." As all these issues are with things related to "patriarchy" and the Family Integrated Church, there are some good aspects, but not enough to make this book good reading.
In general, it is an interesting commentary on what it is like inside many of the FICs. Comparison flows through the book as a strong undercurrent, as so much of the FIC operates on image consciousness and the outward show of meeting performance standards. The authors provide example after example of how they were once caught in the bondage of comparison, and on it's own as an argument against comparison, the information presented is Biblical and encouraging.
However, although the authors tone down the hard lines of the direct teachings of patriarchy, they cannot escape their "black and white" perceptions of that which does not fit the patriarchal standard. In that sense, if read on a superficial level, their charges to live by the Biblical model as a cure for both secular and "Christian feminism" make sense. This work does not define what those in patriarchy define as the only acceptable Biblical model, so for the unsuspecting reader, they would never dream that the biblical standard that they advocate amounts to no women working outside the home, no voting and some of their more extreme views (argued in their literature not presented in the book). The informed reader who is familiar with the views of the authors and their otherwise stated ideology knows exactly what the book intends, however, this might be a "gateway" publication for someone unaware of the definitive definitions of their vaguely defined terminology in the book. There is a clarion call for a return to the "Biblical womanhood and motherhood" as a cure for many social ills, such as secular feminism which in and of itself is a generally fair and true statement. It's problematic however as the informed reader understands that the authors strongly advocate that only the patriarchy model and the FIC standard represent the answer to our societal problems related to family. The book also encourages women to resist society's standards of perfection of beauty and materialism, but the authors fail to recognize that they essentially argue for patriarchy which quickly becomes earned perfectionism through attaining their standard (although those fine points remain vague in the book itself).
For example, all self-care (such as an annual day retreat for homeschooling mothers) is deemed self-pity and self-indulgence, defined in terms of "me-ology." Because such an event separates a mother from her children, this is deemed in the absolute black and white terms of that which avoids a mother's responsibilities to her children. One author presents her struggles of worldview while in college as evidence that all college experience causes compromise in one's core belief system, quoting Brian Abshire's similar observations to validate her own. (Like many leaders in patriarchy, Abshire is an epistemic foundationalist -- and the patriarchal foundationalists seem to deem coherentists or foundcoherentists as liberal "Christians" who do not recognize sola scriptura.) The book also presents good encouragement from Scripture for those mothers who lack sufficient resources (such as the benefit of adequate sleep), but it seems to have a magical quality about it. One would glean much more benefit from "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence, as he worked as a cook for most of his career while very clumsy in the kitchen and not well suited for the job by nature.
Perhaps the most troubling distinction that the book hints at but does not clarify definitively regards the subject of "white washed feminism." They draw black and white distinctions between their view of the Biblical standard for the God ordained role for women, contrasting this against any and all that they deem feminism. Rather than an intramural debate, the book surreptitiously hints at the patriarchal position that a woman's only sphere is in the home as a matter of Biblical Authority by extension. There is, of course, little to no mention of how one who rejects patriarchy and FIC standards is esteemed if their standards are not accepted without doubt or question. One chapter in the book presents some of Wayne Grudem's arguments for his views of complementarianism, lighting on the subject from a tiny bit of distance like a reluctant butterfly over a blossom. The book deems all other interpretations regarding to be a direct rejection of Biblical Authority as opposed to a long-debated, intramural issue within Christianity. To their credit, the authors do not argue the subordinationism among the Persons of the Godhead as a support to the permanent and ontological subordination of women, but they do introduce the ontological gender issue argued by others within the patriarchy movement.
Overall, the book presents a lighthearted look at motherhood and the keeping of home as an act of service to God. Many passages in the book offer genuine and heartfelt encouragement to mothers and wives, but the writings will be especially beneficial to those already in the patriarchy movement. The theme of comparison plays a major role, but comparison presents a major problem in FICs because of the moral imperatives concerning family governance and behavior. One author clearly argues from a shame-based orientation, offering encouragement for women during the unavoidable struggles of life by focusing back on the source of all struggle as a basic failure to accept the servant role or failure to trust God's providence. The model of homemaking is offered then as THE panacea for all social ills in society and church.
It is true that many Christian women today lack skill in many areas of keeping home and raising families, however lack of skill is not tantamount to lack of desire as the book suggests. The book repeatedly presents a distorted view of all of Christendom as largely "feminist," creating an inescapable dichotomy between their higher view of Christian living and Christians who have capitulated to Socialism, Communism and Marxism. They charge that mothering and homemaking has fallen from favor within all Christian communities but their own (more than many would agree this to be unjustifiable), claiming that all women today essentially seek to be men and seek a man's rightful position through some lust or will to power. They contend that homemaking is an act of accepting God's Word (their standards which are described only vaguely in this book) and by laying down one's life in service to their brethren. Sadly, they fail to represent the clear teachings of the patriarchy movement, contending that homemaking is the only means of appropriately fulfilling God's Word for all women, and that homemaking is the only acceptable means of a woman's acceptable service unto God in all seasons of life.
Thanks to Richard at "By His Grace, For His Glory" for these graphics!
Amazon RESTORES Three Negative Reviews of Passionate Housewives
WELL, on New Years Eve 2007, AMAZON restored all negative reviews to the Vision Forum Book entitled "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God"
Read all reviews HERE!
To the best of my ability to tell, Amazon.com removed all of the negative book reviews of Passionate Housewives Desperate For God from their website on December 24, 2007. They were intact on December 22nd.
My original review was deleted after about two weeks. I posted another which lasted about six weeks. Karen Campbell's review had 8 pages of comments following it. My own (second review) had 5 or so pages of comments.
I would have copied the details of Cally Tyrol's Two Star Amazon online review of Passionate Housewives Desperate For God, but I didn't think that they would have any cause to complain about that one.
It complained about the price, and it said nothing scathing. I suppose the authors contacted Amazon to complain that all the reviews were abusive.
Many have complained that the deletion of those reviews should be protested. I don't believe that anyone has much recourse.
Amazon reserves the right (and rightly so) to remove any content that they believe is defaming or abusive. I was told that generally, if there is a complaint about an item, then they usually just drop the item. They are there to sell books, not moderate book reviews and related commentary.