Dad talking with the little boys at our church. One of the defining verses of our father’s life: “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)
This Father’s Day, we would like to re-post a tribute we wrote to our father last year.
Our Father: Geoffrey Botkin
This Father’s Day, we would like to talk a bit about the man we are privileged to call our father.
All our lives people have asked us what it’s like to be the daughters of Geoffrey Botkin, a man who inspires people with both awe and curiosity. Today he is becoming known as a visionary with seven activist children, a background in nearly every area of study, and a plan for international reformation. However, his understated modesty and relatively low profile make him mysterious to some.
Our father has led a remarkable life – we continually find out history about accomplishments that he never publicized. He has never sought fame or spotlight, but he has been influential in everything he has ever done. It so happens that much of his past professional work as a political advisor, and a pastor, involves confidential information about a large variety of people, from heads of state to royalty to rock stars. As a man who protects people’s reputations, that part of his life will always remain confidential.
And that is only part of what makes our father’s history enigmatic to some. That he is not the product of any group, denomination, organization or institution makes him impossible to pigeon-hole. Geoff Botkin doesn’t fit in any biographical box known to modern media.
So who is Geoff Botkin? First and foremost he is a family man, with an intense interest in the church and the condition of the suffering. Whether serving as an author, filmmaker, entrepreneur, mentor, or pastor, he is ultimately a shepherd whose whole life is about the essentials of the Great Commission.
From the beginning of his Christian life, which began in 1975, he understood the stakes in the culture war and wanted to take his place on the front lines. His is the story of a man who would raise or lower himself to any position to do what his times required of him. In our lives, we’ve seen him rise to meet any challenge, learn any skill, wear any hat, and go any place.
Man of many talents: Geoffrey Botkin snow-sculpts one of the great Reformers
Some people find him intimidating — until they get to know him. Beneath his gravitas and self-command, he has a heart for people that is unusually tender and loving. As children accompanying him on various outings and business trips, we were often astonished by the kinds of people he would stop to talk to. He could connect with the bums on the street, hardened D.C. power-women, teenaged neighborhood hellions, high-school cheerleaders, Army generals, and little children on the playground.
Almost 30 years ago Dad married his boyhood sweetheart, Victoria, and began the best adventure of his life: his family. Geoffrey Botkin loves being a daddy. The days of drawing with us and telling us Cowboy Joe stories, though, have given way to new adventures — traveling the country speaking together, making films together, fighting the culture war together. Instead of helping us build tree forts and doll houses, now he’s helping us start our own businesses and write our own books. Dad has always been a strong and visionary governor of his household, but a servant-leader with the compassion and humility of a man who understands that he, too, is under authority. He taught us honor and obedience primarily by his own example of it.
His uncompromising devotion to God’s Word has always brought him a share of enemies, cynics, and persecutors, but no one who knew him personally could reproach him for his character. We heard even his political enemies describe him as “an honorable man.”
Our father and brother Benjamin give a presentation illustrating the Seven Attitudes of the Auteur
Dad always taught us not to fear having critics or sparking controversy — by his example he showed us that the only thing that mattered was saying and doing what was right, and the only one to fear was God. Mammon also has no power over him. Consistently indifferent to fame, money, and worldly “success,” he has always reminded us of the heroes of the Faith , “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:26)
His most striking characteristic is that he has no selfish personal agenda. He seeks to find and advance Christ’s agenda. More than any other man we have ever known, he has died to every part of himself. In Paul’s words, he has emptied himself out as a drink offering. From the day of his conversion he gave up all his own interests, ambitions, and desires, to be single-minded in the mission of making manifest the reign of Christ.
People who are products of post-modernism will have a hard time understanding this modest, self-effacing and understated man, sometimes interpreting him as mysterious and enigmatic, for he is of a character that was largely stamped out by modernism.
So who is Geoffrey Botkin? A devoted and gentle father, and a humble Christian gentleman. The kind of man our world has a hard time understanding, but future generations will remember with gratefulness.