50 thoughts on “Another Visit To a Fundamentalist Church”

  1. Is the “Book Blood Blessed Hope” thing a big theme in Fundy Baptist churches? Did the flag come from the song, the song come from the flag, or did they both come from something else altogether?

  2. Regarding the lighthouse decor, I don’t know why, but fundies love LOVE LUUURVE lighthouses. It’s easily the most common fundy home decorative theme I’ve seen.

    Love these “visits.” Keep up the good work. It’s like therapeutic Mystery Science Theater for ex-fundamentalists.

  3. Ya’ think they had enough microphones? At least we know where the past several years budget for the Music Ministry went to… cause it sure wasn’t music lessons….

  4. “Bi***” also starts with B. On an unrelated note, of the (at least) five fundie churches in my sparsely populated rural Midwestern area, one is named “Blessed Hope Baptist Church.”

  5. Darrell, that was awesome. You have got to do more of these. Next time, if you could pick a song I wasn’t trying to blot from my memory, that would be better. Now it’s back and it’s stuck in my head. Ugh.

    I second what Jordan said; lighthouses are VERY common in fundy decor (and music!).

    @Mme Reyer: because they’re serving God, amen!

  6. @Andrew: “Pita, you have NOOO idea…”
    Wow, I feel like I missed out on something!

    I knew about the lighthouses, though. The best ones were like three degrees removed from real art, since they were pretending to be Kincaid and he pretends to be an artist. It’s like buying the store brand version of Velveeta.

  7. oh how I remember the screeching during “special music’ time.

    Seriously, people, not all of us are gifted with a good singing voice. Just know who you are and stay away from the mic. kthxbai

  8. I third the lighthouse. My last IFB church had a HUGE thing with em come missions conference time. Or building campaign…Not sure. But they had a lot with it. Miniature lighthouse for your commitment cards. Special pens with lighthouses. Yeah. They liked sending the light… (now where’s that eye roll emoticon!)
    But great video!

    WHY THE HECK are they using LARGE condenser mics for a choir!?!?!? (Sorry. The audio techy in me just kinda exploded there…)

    I literally cringed at 2:35 also.

  9. It’s like therapeutic Mystery Science Theater for ex-fundamentalists.

    Bingo!! Yes!!!

    Seriously, I’m crying over here. This was magnificent. If everyone weren’t asleep, I’d gather the fam around. That was great.

    Encore! Encore!!

  10. I think there is a political motif behind this “Baptist” flag. They dislike the fact that most Christian churches use the white Christian flag that resembles the North’s union emblem… do you notice the X reminiscent of the ol’ confederate?

  11. WHY THE HECK are they using LARGE condenser mics for a choir!?!?!? (Sorry. The audio techy in me just kinda exploded there…)

    [audio geek warning]
    That’s actually not without precedent. Some churches that actually know what they’re doing use large diaphragm condenser mics on their choirs. Not that I suppose that this church knew what they were doing when they selected their mics… In fact, a problem with using such sensitive mics is that they pick up all of the flaws of the vocalists, of which there are many (flaws, not vocalists, that is). Anyway, I’d probably go for small diaphragm condenser mics, like Schoeps, if I were picking mics for a better choir, but for this one, the good old Shure SM58s – or the “equivalent” Bear-ringer knock offs – would do. : )
    [/audio geek warning]

  12. I’d like to say as bad as that choir is (and it’s genuinely impossible to believe they practiced together ever to come up w/ performance like that), that it seems like it would fun to just sing it out for us tone-deaf, off key, bad timing music lovers that just can’t sing ourselves. One of our guitarist came w/ me to the homeless night a year ago or so, and said he started off in key, and I was 3 keys off, so he adjusted, and I went another 3 keys off that when he just gave up, and let me destroy the melody (or whatever it’s called). Nice to see people that want to & enjoy singing doing so w/o any noticeable talent.

    Lighthouse note, I’ve found the lighthouse to be an very popular analogy for Jesus is many fundy circles. It’s deeply flawed as far as I’m concerned. Christ (and for that matter Christians) is/are the light of the world bring truth, love, & hope TO the entire world (or should be). Not fundy style “lighthouse” where the world has to spot the light, and successfully follow it to the shore (presumably a strong statement that you have to come to our fundy church to be saved). Anyone else find the lighthouse illustrations disturbing?

  13. Oh, and I LIKE the idea behind the song, that they believe in the real miracles, the real virgin birth, the inspiration of scriptures, and real atoning death (strange that they seem to miss out on the ressurection — or marginalize it). I suppose the author would say “blessed hope” is a reference to the ressurection, I’m not convinced that’s what these guys think. Also LOVE the use of Jonah who’s story is such a wonderful story of Christ it’s unbearable. Like dude was as good as dead in the belly of whale for 3 days, and came back to bring hope to the hopeless Nineveh, Amen? 🙂 And including Moses & the story of Exile & Return that’s common throughout scripture is a nice touch. Would be nice to see a version of this song done well, I think.

    @Darrell is doing some serious making up for some lost time on vacation.

  14. @Lou, I think the resemblances between the flags are purely coincidental. If they’re trying to make the Baptist flag look like the Confederate battle flag, they’re doing an incredibly crappy job, and the Christian flag actually looks a lot like the second Confederate National Flag. http://tiny.cc/kmop1

    @Rob, I don’t find lighthouse metaphors disturbing so much as kitschy. About the lousiest fundy decor I’ve ever seen was a lighthouse painting by Thomas Kinkade. As with most metaphors, it works on one level but breaks down under scrutiny.

  15. @Jordan

    As with most metaphors, it works on one level but breaks down under scrutiny.

    That’s the whole problem with the fundy movement; there is no real scrutiny, or critical thinking. It is all just surface level thinking and acceptance of the flimsiest of explanations. Of course that also accounts for most, if not all fundy preaching.

  16. there is no real scrutiny, or critical thinking. It is all just surface level thinking and acceptance of the flimsiest of explanations.

    Ditto. I’m just saying that the lighthouse metaphor has some utility but shouldn’t be pushed too far, much less become a home decor cash cow. In an example of the reverse (that is, of fundies thinking too hard), fundies sometimes push Christ’s parables way too far or into unrelated issues and reach weird conclusions.

  17. Sadly, our non-fundy church choir is not much better than this one. It is almost painful when they sing. To top it off they have the mics placed in such a way that it only picks up a few voices. We really need someone who knows something about picking out music and how to set up a sound system half way decently at church.
    The preaching is sound, the fellowship is marvelous, but the music needs some help in our little church. I always tease my husband and tell him we should go to the mega church down the street for the music, then zip over to our church for the preaching. This mega church has a 100 + choir with a full orchestra. They sing hymns and praise and worship. Unfortunately, besides the music, it is fundy as fundy gets. Who knew that a fundy church could be a mega church? Only in the Bible belt I guess!

  18. I wanted more OT stories. Certainly there are more stanzas, Amen? I mean, they went from the wandering on the hot sand to the BVM. What’s up with that? They skipped the law and the prophets. What gives. I could make that song last 20 minutes.

  19. @Sandra: I grew up in a very fundy megachurch (2,000+ in attendance on an average Sunday) in an area that’s generally considered to be outside the Bible Belt. Sadly it’s possible.

  20. @Amanda and Sandra
    Here in the south, that rusted buckle of the Bible Belt… there are IFB Mega Churches… and where there are IFB mega churches there will be and are, thousands of splinter IFB churches. When you can toss a rock in any direction and hit an IFB church and then toss that same rock from church to church and never hit anything but some flavor of IFB… you know that something is terribly wrong with the way church is being done.

  21. I don’t think that’s a waterfall in the background, it looks more like the live feed of the oil well in the gulf spewing judgment on this once great nation.

  22. @Don: having spent the past decade in the Bible Belt, I have seen and attended more than my share of IFB megas. In the fairly small city where I attended college (well within the Bible Belt) there were at least several IFB megas, and that’s not counting the 30 or more other smaller “approved” IFB churches that we were allowed to attend (can’t risk having students going to the “wrong kind” of IFB church!). I was merely pointing out that it’s possible to have a fundy mega even *outside* the Bible Belt. Heck, it’s even possible to go to a fundy church (KJVO, teetotaling, dispy, the whole schtick) with a praise band and women in pants.

  23. I wa s just wondering what was up with all the colored thought bubbles. is there some sort of color codification for them? Are there any comment on the John R. Rice sermon you got there?

  24. No, for bubbles, you just have to cross BJU Vespers with Lawrence Welk – the only real difference is dancing, drums, accordians and bubbles.

  25. No, for bubbles, you just have to cross BJU Vespers with Lawrence Welk – the only real difference is dancing, drums, accordians and bubbles.

    And Mormons. Don’t forget the Mormons.

  26. @Josh. Haha! You gave me a good hearty laugh just now when you said that you’d use a SM58 or Behringer for them. Which in honesty, would be much more legitimate than running a couple of small diaphragm condensers. And I also doubt that they had any iota of a clue about running large diaphragm condensers. Fun stuff for sure.

  27. I would also like to hear at least some head voice, these “singers” will ruin their voice if they keep singing that way. And, Camille, a cult by any other name… .

  28. Re-listened to this, I somehow blocked out the reference to literal burning hell. -50 points, although I guess it’s probably several thousand positive points in the fundy scale. Putting literal burning hell on par w/ the story of Moses & the Israelites wandering in the wilderness & the fundamentals of the faith… Very fundy.

  29. @Rob. I believe in a literal hell as a place of eternal punishment and separation from God. (Literal fire may or may not be there just as a literal street of gold may or may not be in heaven, but I think that’s superfluous to the main point either way)

    That is to say, it’s not really a ‘fundy’ thing and is embraced by much of orthodox Christianity.

    And that’s all I care to say about it.

  30. Gotcha. I was trying more mock like the idea of the paintings of a lake of fire. Whatever hell is, I don’t think it looks like lake Michigan but w/ flames instead of water. And the elevate it to a core doctrine (if I listened right this time, it was the only non-core doctrine in the song).

  31. Ahhhhhh.

    Man, even though my church is very traditional fundy (no modern songs for congregational singing sadly, though I’ve seen a few in specials) our music is top-notch. I mean, there a few cringe-worthy moments, but it’s definitely not the norm.

    I love the choir specials, the (budding) orchestra, special music. Can’t complain about that.

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