Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Pearls Respond to Blog Reviews

Kind of.

I just saw at Spunky's blog that Michael and Debi Pearl recently responded to bloggers' criticism of their ministry--particularly Debi's newest book, Created to Be His Help Meet.

For those who may not know, I participated in a series of mini-reviews of the book that you can find on my sidebar. I was not, however, the woman who wrote this letter to Debi:

My friends and I been reading "Created To [sic] Be His Help Meet." We have been greatly blessed by this book. In response to our "mini-reviews" of the book, there has been a rash of ladies who have quite vehemently suggested that it promotes a husband's abusing of his wife, even suggesting that Mr. Pearl has been abusing you, Mrs. Pearl. We are outraged.

My question to you, Mr. and Mrs. Pearl, is this: What would be the best manner of handling the misinformation being spread about "Created To Be His Help Meet" and the mischaracterization of your personal lives? It is difficult to sit back and watch hundreds of malicious messages.

A friend

Debi responds,

Dear Friends,
Please be advised: I am not abused or mistreated, nor do I advocate that any woman should be abused or mistreated. I am treated like a queen, and my book is a study on how to cause your husband to want to treat you like a queen. Judging from the thousands of letters we have received, the book has been VERY successful in causing women everywhere to be revered by their husbands. But since we have heard from several people who are truly concerned about the nonsense being spread in “blogville”, we have asked, Kathy Slayman, (her call name on blogsville is NGJorderslady) a long-time friend (she watched our children grow up and also sees Mike and me on a daily basis) to blog for us each day. So, if you want to know any piece of personal stuff about the lady who wrote Created to be His Help Meet or the man who inspired the book, go to: www.homeschoolblogger.com. Then blog back to the bloggers in blogsville, and prayerfully explain to them that what they say is NONSENSE and that you know because you have the scoop from someone in the know.

I hadn't seen the allegations that some bloggers must have made. Honestly, I stepped back a little from the conversation. I read some of the negative reviews and agreed with some of their points; I never mind an opposing but rational opinion (the majority of dissenting bloggers fell into that category). Some commenters and reviewers, however, seemed so vituperative and dramatic, and quite honestly I was left speechless. Did we read the same book?

I do think the letter to Mrs. Pearl was a little dramatic, but then again, I haven't seen the comments the sister was writing about. It is certainly ridiculously uncalled-for to suggest that Debi is abused! Who here has been a fly on her wall? Pray tell!

I know my reviews were glowing. I can accept that they may have glossed over some difficulties in the text. Some reviewers were really concerned about the advice Debi gives, and while I can understand where some of them are coming from, the book as a whole is hardly a danger to women. I understand that there are situations where a woman should leave...I understand more than any of you may know. But that doesn't render her book less valuable to me. There are also situations where a woman should stay. Would I have advised Sunny to stay with Ahmed? Er, no. But it is POSSIBLE that God would have asked HER to stay and made her aware of His will. As blasphemous as that seems to our culture, I can't rule it out. I just know He didn't ask me to stay when I was Sunny.

I still look at the Big Divide here as somewhat of a misunderstanding between author and audience. Debi is, in my mind, one of those big-hearted, wise, loving women who present everything they say as 'this is the truth' or 'this is what you should do, sweetie.' I still contend that although we should think for ourselves and weigh everything by God's Word, we would be missing out if we chunked baby and bathwater. There are so many good things she has to say in that book--and I love her 'tough love' tone. She's a little sassy, very opinionated...but very experienced and very sincere.

What book would I not change something in? Should everyone shut up and stop writing because I may not agree with them? Why are the Pearls so demonized by some in Christendom?

I wish it hadn't polarized Christian women so much. I hate that. I hope we can understand where the other is coming from...I've tried. I know we won't agree.