Monday, December 29, 2008

Daddy’s girl

I was raised to be independent and career oriented. My schooling included a strong academic program, which left no time for learning domestic skills. You wouldn’t think it now to look at me. I’m 24 and am living at home. I help my father in his ministry and assist my mother at home. But it was not so long ago that my ambition was to be the first woman prime minister of New Zealand. And it was even less time ago that I was working a highly paid legal executive job for a prominent solicitor. The Lord has done quite a work in my life since this time. He has turned my heart to my father, my family and my home.
Genevieve Smith describes her reasons for bringing it all back home. Since writing this testimony, she found reason to leave home: her husband.
My loyalties had to undergo a change. I was used to thinking that Dad knew best. Now I needed to learn to think that Pete knows best. I used to do things and invest my time in projects according to what I knew Dad would want me to do. Now I needed to be guided by what Pete wanted me to do. When faced with a problem or an option I couldn’t think, “What would Dad have done in this situation?” Now I had to think, “What would Pete do in this situation?” These were exciting times and difficult as during this state of flux—learning to replace one man’s vision with another—the devil would come around and say, “But what about what you want? What about what you think?”
Daddy, by the way, is Craig Smith, the man behind Family Integrity.

Hat raised courteously to Feministing.


Anonymous said...

genevieve, i think you need to consider, "what would jesus do?"

jesus would probably say, "get a fcking grip and think for yourself..."

Peter in Dundee said...

i agree objectdart. We have raised two daughters to be confident and self reliant. This attitude I find repulsive.

Samuel said...

Creepy, yet fascinating.

I think what wigged me out most was that I'd misread the initial post, and had thought Genevieve might have escaped her father's orbit entirely - rather than just gravitating towards an analogue of him (and who knows whether in Pete's heart that is what he wants to be).

To recap, creepy and fascinating, but in the final analysis mostly creepy.

Anonymous said...


Okay, this is creeping me out. It's worse than the Christian domestic discipline subculture.

I always wondered about hardcore (...) sado-maso-Christians...


Anonymous said...

indeed. time and time again we hear tales of this submission turning from "daddy knows best" to "daddy is the only one who can 'love' me."

these fkcers are only a degree or two different from that mad austrian.

Anonymous said...

What draws my attention in all of this is the way in which supporting a stay-at-home-daughter in this manner practically requires the parents to be engaged in multiple New Media entrepreneurial enterprises, or other kinds of businesses in which there is a high amount of income relative to time/physical labour. (I consider a few months of motivational speaking per year or an online ministry to be an example of this.) For other kinds of lower-middle class or working class families, how could the family support an income-less member in this manner? All the unpaid domestic labour in the world won't cover the income gap.

Both my grandmothers were pious Christian women in a manner not dissimilar to liberal evangelicals today, and both worked in the years between the completion of their education and their marriages, ages 14-19 and 16-24 respectively. My maternal grandmother would have been the main wage earner in her home at this time.

However, even if they had wanted to live in the manner described by Smith/de Deugd, it would have been impossible. There was no way their household economies of the 1930s would have supported this and I suspect this would be also true of many poor evangelicals now.

This is the nub of why I think such "family"-oriented projects are political at heart. Their success depends not only on a certain kind of faithful orientation but on a certain type of community, a certain type of consumer, a certain type of capitalism. They work through faithful advocates to demand a more chthonic sort of social transformation, whose language is visionary but whose details are pragmatic, expedient and paleo-conservative.

I realise I'm preaching to the choir here. (Hello, choir!) But I think it's important that we keep coming back to these points even as we regard with wonder the contexts in which they can arise, in all its sideshow-like allure.

Paul said...

Coda: I met the Smith family once. The occasion was a Rationalists meeting, in which Pastor Smith was debating against the repeal of Section 59. I am not sure if Genevieve was among them, but all the women wore ankle-length skirts and long hair. They had very clear skin - I suppose their diet was very sensible. They were also very polite, to the point of subservience.

Pastor Smith was very much the patriarch. I spoke with him at length, while the other Rationalists tried to convince his womenfolk of the folly of Creationism (they can never resist the opportunity to debate Darwin with believers). Pastor Smith held a capitalist vision of Christianity: he believed that New Zealand was severely underpopulated and that all our green stuff should be developed, just as his son-in-law believes that God is calling him to be a successful small businessmen.

As H-Bird says, his was a pragmatic theology.

Anonymous said...

ahhhh... paul's comment explains something about h/b's comment.

you know that terrible song? these girls aren't allowed to like boys, cars, or money.

this means you can easily live on one income.

makes me wonder whether his indulgences are met? or whether there is yet another double standard.