The Vision Forum: Patriarchy Weirdness Exposed

If you haven’t been following Jen’s Gems, and the ongoing exposés of Doug Phillips there, you’re missing out on some fascinating discussion. One of the subjects that I’ve personally been following with great interest is “Patriarchy.” Prior to reading about Doug Phillips’ ecclesiastical tyrannies I’ve never really given much thought to the Patriarchy movement. However, in following this story it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that the Patriarchy movement leadership has got some serious problems when it comes to the proper and biblical exercise of authority.

There also seems to be a certain “weirdness” factor about Patriarchy, at least with the leadership of the movement. For example, one of the commenters on Jen’s Gems made mention of some weird goings on at The Vision Forum’s annual Father and Daughter Discipleship Retreats, including “unity” events such as “daughters shaving their daddies” and “daughters dressing their daddies.”

When I first read that comment I thought, “Surely you jest! That’s just too weird!” Unfortunately, the commenter really was telling the truth. It didn’t take me long to find specific references on Vision Forum’s web site to these weird goings on. I’m sure that there are a lot of nice and proper things that happen at these Vision Forum events, and no doubt I’ll get some commenters now telling me how wonderful these events are. But regardless of all the nice and proper things that may happen there, the daddy-shaving and daddy-dressing isn’t proper, at least in my book. It’s creepy.

Some photographs from the Vision Forum daddy-shaving sessions are provided below, and below them are the photo captions from the Vision Forum web site:

The Father and Daughter Retreat was not only a time to serve (and shave) Daddy, but to dress up pretty as a picture.
Our girls competed to see who could do the best job at grooming, shaving, and tying a tie on their father.

And of course after shaving daddy we must also dress daddy:

This young lady made her first attempt at helping Daddy get ready in the morning.

In a video from Vision Forum’s web site highlighting their Father-Daughter Discipleship Retreat, with commentary from Doug Phillips’ daughters, they say, “Our weekend began with Father-Daughter unity games. Each of the games was designed to teach us a principle about our relationship with our fathers.”

What, pray tell, does shaving daddy have to do with teaching principles about a daughter’s relationship with her father? What has this got to do with “discipleship”? I guess I must not be a “Patriarch” so I’m having a hard time with grasping all this. In fact the whole thing just seems creepy. But it doesn’t end with just daddy-shaving. It also includes daddy-dressing, and that seems even more creepy.

I’ve got daughters and I’ve never, ever, had the notion that they should “serve” me by daddy-shaving or daddy-dressing. I wouldn’t even ask my wife to do that! Apparently all this shaving and dressing stuff is supposed to prepare a daughter for marriage:

“Hearing and seeing the example again this weekend confirmed in their hearts that this is the direction they want for their lives. They have both given their hearts to me and I intend with all my (and the Lord’s) strength to guard them and nurture them until such a time as I give them to a godly man in marriage.

“My older daughter is already taking the initiative to learn more on the domestic front and her spirit is noticeably softer now that she has a direction in life that coincides with the way God naturally wired her as a woman. My younger daughter is watching intently the example of her older sister. And both have turned to me as their Dad and their head. It is a beautiful and lovely thing to be a father of daughters when we do things according to Scripture.”

I’m having a hard time seeing how daddy-shaving and daddy-dressing prepares a young lady for marriage. Apparently this is all part of Vision Forum’s Patriarchy package. To me all this appears to do is to prepare a young lady for a life of obsequious bondage to a master, not marriage to a husband.

Apparently, this is supposed to create some sort of a “bonding” experience between daddies and daughters. Why not then have a Vision Forum Mother and Son Discipleship Retreat? And what sort of “unity games” might it include? What about moms shaving their sons? What about moms dressing their sons? Weird? Yes, that would be weird. But to be logically consistent about it we’d need to have sons shaving their moms, wouldn’t we? Daughters shave daddies, so sons shave mommies? So would sons shave mom’s legs? Creepy, right? Of course it’s creepy! And what about sons dressing their moms? So what makes it acceptable for daughters to be shaving and dressing daddies? The only answer is Patriarchy. Only in Doug Phillips’ Land of Patriarchy could such weird things be going on, year after year.

When men want to be shaved they go to a barber. When women want the hair removed from their legs they go get a “wax job.” Fathers don’t solicit their daughters (or even their wives) to shave their faces anymore than do mothers solicit their sons (or even their husbands) to shave their legs.

Fathers should not be soliciting their daughters to dress them, anymore than should mothers be soliciting their sons to dress them. It’s weird and creepy, and it says something about Doug Phillips’ notions of “unity” and “discipleship.”

To me this is just more evidence with what’s wrong with the Patriarchy movement, or at least the direction that Doug Phillips and Vision Forum are taking the Patriarchy movement.