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The BarlowGirl interview continues. The gals who spend more time pursuing God and not other people and are waiting for Him to show them the person they are to marry explain the thinking behind their no-dating lifestyle.

Barlow Girl Interview Part 2

As promised in the first part of this two part series concerning the chaste rockers BarlowGirl, we spoke to them about their views concerning sexual purity and the challenges presented by being in a touring band.  Sisters Lauren, Becca and Alyssa Barlow share their insights with Phantom Tollbooth. 
Becca, if you want to whisper your answer to this question I will understand but the three of you spend a lot of time together in the studio and on the road, how do you make that work? Still recovering from giggling and telling me she was scared as I was posing this question Becca replied, "We learned to make it work years ago when we were all going different ways and in school. We just didn't get along, hardly at all, Lauren and I fought a lot and Alyssa and my brother fought a lot. Mom brought us home and started home schooling us. She began teaching us that if we can learn to love each other then we can love anyone else in the world. It took us a couple of years to learn we need to be each other's best friends because we are going to be there for each other the rest of our lives. We are the only people who are going to stay in each other's lives. We just began to enjoy each other. We are now each other's best friends. I couldn't picture traveling around with anybody else. I think anybody else would get on my nerves. There is just such grace there. They know every part of me. They know when I need to be left alone and when I need to be cheered up, when I need a hug. I don't think I would be on the road without my family." 
Well, life can't always be a bowl of cherries on the road. Are you going to 'fess up or do I have to talk to your sisters to get the dirt? She confessed, "On the road it gets crazy and we have at least two fights a day. There is always that stress of traveling and doing different things, signing your contract, getting to the venue, doing your show, getting to the next airport."  
Ah, the sisters Barlow are human after all. So how do you cope?  Becca says her strength lies in finding time to be alone with God but on the road, there has been an entirely new challenge she wasn't expecting. "One of the biggest things has been asking 'when is my quiet time?' When can I get away? When can I find that secret place?' With travel, it pulls a lot out of you. Before we got signed and started traveling, I was filling up just for me but now that we are traveling so much I find I need to fill myself up more because it is so draining. What God has been saying to me is, 'You need to take the time even more than before,'" she said and then added, "It has been a hard lesson and I hope I have learned it. I think it is a lifelong growing process."
As I turn to Alyssa the bassist for the group, I ask her what helps to keep the pressures of touring from getting to her. "One thing that is very important to us girls is family. We have a big brother who lives about three and one half minutes from our house (in Elgin, Illinois). He and his wife have two children. Josh (brother) and Sabrina (sister-in-law) are two of our closest friends. Being aunts is something that seems to relax us, to take the kids out shopping or to the library, which is what we did yesterday, it just seems to make all the stress melt for us girls," said Alyssa.
Lauren, the youngest sister at age twenty and the band's drummer, piped up that she finds, "The hardest thing is definitely being away from my brother, his wife and their kids. If we weren't best friends with my brother and his wife I wouldn't care I would love to be on the road all the time. Our brother is totally our best friend and so is his wife. My niece and nephew are just unbelievable so it has just been very hard to leave them and we always shed our tears whenever we leave home. That is definitely the hardest thing."
Alyssa also credited her parents with alleviating some of the stress, "Mom and Dad have really done a great job with our schedule of giving us a couple of times per month to be home, adjust and to be with family. That is the way we really stay balanced."
I don't know if you want to make this next statement, Alyssa, you are going to have mothers all over the country lining up at your doorstep­too late, "It's funny that changing a couple of dirty diapers can relax you. Feeling the love from my niece and nephew, there is nothing greater." 
Lauren said that although they have enjoyed their tours in Europe this past year, Florida remains her favorite place as it brings back good memories. "Our concerts there are unbelievable. The kids are just great. Florida is definitely in the top five of our favorite places to go. Also, it is our favorite place to go because when we were kids, we would vacation there every single year in the winter. We don't get to vacation as much anymore so whenever we go to Florida, we always take a couple of days off. It just brings back memories of when we would do it as kids. It is very cool. We love going to Florida."
Lauren loves the traveling despite the rigorous schedule, "The best thing is we get to see the world and I think it is an opportunity that we wouldn't have had if we weren't in a band. The fact that we get to do it as a family is unbelievable and we get to experience all of this together. We get to live life together and I love that more than anything. We have been to all fifty states and we have been out of the country. It is such a blessing that we get to see the world. We love to travel so it is just a dream come true."
BarlowGirl's stance on sexual purity, dating and relationships will appear controversial to some and encouraging to others. Nevertheless, their views sparked pop rockers Superchic[k] to write a song about them and include it on their 2001 CD Karaoke Superstar simply titled, "Barlow Girls."  

We met these sisters Barlow's their last name,
Ordinary girls they don't live in the fast lane,
They don't rate with the guys that score,
'Cause they don't flaunt what the boys want more.
They don't date, they won't date they wanna see,
How they're gonna' grow up-who they're gonna' be,
But in the meantime they might feel unloved,
When all the girls around them are hooking up,
But I know for sure it's never popular to be pure,
And while some guys might be passing them by,
I think they've caught someone's eye. 
All the boys in the band want a valentine from a Barlow girl,
Boys think they're the bomb 'cause they remind them of their mom."
Lauren said of the song that was penned about the time BarlowGirl was starting to emerge as artists, "It was a huge honor when they (Superchic[k] wrote it (the song) because we took a stand that isn't always going to be accepted by the world. Some of our friends distanced themselves because they asked us, 'does that mean that we are wrong for what we are doing?'  We never condemned anyone for what they did, we were just living out our lifestyle." Twenty-year-old Lauren told me that a lot of their friends drifted out of their lives because of their views. 
Lauren said that Superchic[k] writing the song represented affirmation for BarlowGirl's views concerning relationships. "It is not a bad thing, it is just something that God has called us to do. We said here is a group of people that respect us for that. It was an honor to have them write that for us. I think they (the friends who backed away) asked whether they were wrong because they were dating. They asked whether or not we would not accept them for what they were doing (dating). We would never ever not accept them because of their lifestyle. You have to love the person. There were other people who said, 'That is good for you girls but I am going to keep living the way that I want to live.' Yes, we did lose friends because of it."
I asked Becca to explain the significance of the purity rings that each of the ladies wear. "We each received our purity rings when we were sixteen years old. The coolest part was mom and dad picked out the rings themselves. They each have a diamond on them. One of the reasons why they thought it was important for us to have a diamond is because the most beautiful diamonds are formed under the most extreme pressure. They told us this life of purity is going to be a challenge but it is what God has for us. If we stick to it and go through it we will be beautiful diamonds on the other end. The day we turned sixteen mom and dad took us out to eat and shared with us their story and how they grew up in their high school years and their college years and how they dated. They were both good kids and didn't mess up or whatever but there was still a lot of brokenness that came into their marriage because of their dating relationships. They shared that with us how their brokenness damaged their marriage and how they could have saved so much heartache if they had waited." She said her parents also taught each of them that they could spend more time pursuing God and not other people and wait for Him to show them the person they were to marry. 
Becca continued, "Once they shared their story, each of us cried and realized this is the life God has for us. We studied it together; we read books, sought out what God had for us. God brought along a lot of teaching tapes and books to teach us that He desires that we have a pure heart and to remain pure before Him. One of the ways we can remain pure is by not dating and remaining just friends with guys until we are ready for marriage. He will bring along our spouse for us."
I raised the point to the group that most Christians will understand and endorse their stance concerning sexual purity but may be troubled by their views on dating. Lauren responded, "We don't realize that dating was only invented a couple of hundred years ago. It has just slowly crept into our culture and now it is a normal thing to do. God showed us (we do not have) to do everything the world tells us to. He gave us Romans 12:2, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is."
"He said to us I don't want you to do everything the world wants you to do because I have a different calling upon your lives. He has a different calling upon every single Christian's life but sometimes they are too scared to find out what it is because it might be different from how the world is telling us to live. It's time that we start thinking for ourselves as Christians. It is time that we start asking God how He wants us to live our life. We shouldn't just date because the world tells us to date and we shouldn't dress immodestly and raunchy because the world wants us to. We take everything the world does and we run with it. We do it because we are too scared to question it for ourselves. It involves living a different way and we might not be accepted when we live this way. It is time that we stop trying to please everybody in this world. It's time that we stop looking just like everybody else. If that means we aren't going to date then we are not going to do it."
Lauren made the point, "It's not just for the sake of not conforming to the world. It's not just for the sake of being rebellious, it is because God showed us He never intended for our hearts to be broken by another human being. God created our hearts to be whole and pure until it is time to get married and not to give it (hearts) up to a bunch of different people. These people that we are dating are somebody else's spouse. If I was dating I would be dating other girls' husbands and I do not want to think right now that my husband is dating somebody else's wife. I don't want to think that so God asked us if we were willing to keep our hearts pure and whole the way He created it and not to break it over and over again. We believe that God has a plan for our lives including marriage and we don't have to be afraid to trust God for that. I believe God is going to bring our future spouse to us when it is time, we don't have to look for him." 
Lauren told me her brother didn't date and his wife didn't date and they use that as a role model. "God showed them when it was time that they were supposed to be together. They didn't have the kind of baggage that they would have had if they had dated other people. They could say, I saved my heart for you. It might have been hard but it was worth it. You prove to that person that they were worth it (waiting for). That is what I would say to the Christian and the non Christian."

 By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague. 


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