88 thoughts on “The Outward Appearance”

  1. -What is this a rant on Uni-sex facilities?

    -A fundy expose’ of Ally McBeal?
    (that would be about right for fundy pop-culture reference timing)

    -Or is this the cover art for Jack Hyles’ Favorite Soul Winning Experiences highlighting the “She was a He,” tale?

        1. Barfing here… I heard so many, over the years, and thankfully, have forgotten most. What. A. Liar. 👿

  2. I read their summary of the book “Legally Stupid: Why Johnny Doesn’t Have to Read” and came across this: “Gnosticism lives on in Humanism today, which is supported by the courts and an entire line of modern bibles, all based on New Testament manuscripts from fourth-century Alexandria, the “Mecca of Gnosticism.” Murray shows how these supposedly older texts reflect the handiwork of a Gnostic’s penknife as they delete or obscure thousands of words and verses that support the deity of Jesus and absolute moral standards, both of which Gnostics deny. The fact that religious leaders promote these doctrinally dumbed-down bibles that inflate self-esteem but do little to teach the Will of God is evidence that Big Brother isn’t content controlling your mind. He wants your entire soul.”

    So in the middle of a discussion of the problems with the public schools, the author has to include a rant on how the KJV is the only real Bible I guess.

  3. I read the summary for “Self-Esteem: Satan’s Most Harmful Tool”. Sounds like a neat step-by=step guide to producing another fundy drone. Reminds me of too many sermons I’ve heard too. “You are NOTHING without Jesus! NOTHINGGGGGG!” (in Sgt. Schultz from “Hogan’s Heroes” accent, for those of you who have seen it.)

    Of course, self-esteem is fine for pastors, deacons, and their associated minions. But don’t let your children have any!

  4. Speaking of the outward appearance…. my kids work at a Christian camping facility. Different groups, both Christian and not use the camp year round. They said that the worst of the groups was the Bible Baptist Church group. The BBC’s imposed their standards of dress on the counselors (no tank tops, no shorts, button-upped polo shirts) – then they showed up with short-shorts, tank tops, and an arrogant attitude. The BBC’ers insisted on separate swim times for the kids, and only female lifeguards could work when the girls were swimming, and male lifeguards when the boys were swimming. They literally put up black plastic sheeting around the pool so that they couldn’t been seen swimming. And then there was the climbing wall. Girls and boys separate. Mustn’t have the boys peering up the coulottes of the girls, eh? It went on and on like this. The BBC’ers made the camp workers go way out of their way to accomodate their “standards”, while in many cases not living up to those standards themselves.

    All this “godliness” for what reason? To show how holy and separate they were? It sure had the opposite effect. My kids despised them.

    Just another example of being persecuted for Jesus’ sake, amen?

  5. Hilarious. The Life Changing Pamphlets series from Sword of the Lord is a lot like this. I actually bought a couple as conversation pieces for my coffee table. A few titles:

    Adultery and Sex Perversion: Bible Facts, by John R. Rice. It’s the subtitle on this one that kills me.

    Hell is for Real!, by Shelton L. Smith, which one imagines must have been a hit when “for real” was current idiom.

    Touch Not the Unclean Thing: The Text Issue and Separation, by David Sorenson

    How a Modernist Preacher was SAVED, which I suppose is a rejection of dada and cubism.

    Beware of Herpes: The New Scarlet Monster!!!, by Hugh Pyle

    And Pyle’s follow-up, Pestilence of AIDS

    Which might make a nice boxed-set with his diplomatically-titled The Truth About the Homosexuals: 21st-Century Sodomites

    Deciding Questionable Things, which could be the vaguest title I’ve ever seen.

    And my personal favorite for a quiet evening’s reading:

    Courtship and the Dangers of Petting, by John R. Rice.

    1. Courtship and the Dangers of Petting, by John R. Rice– I remember reading that when I was a sophomore in high school, just for fun. My friends and I laughed sooo much. The book was written in the late 40s, if I’m remembering correctly, and the language used was funny. Haha! Good memories.

  6. We spent two months on Bibliology (a.k.a. Why the King James Version is the Only True Bible) and 20 minutes on the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Who needs Him? We’ve got pastors for that sort of things after all.

    I really wish I could get my money back.

  7. “The Importance of Outward Appearance”–because the Bible spends SO much more time on that than it does on what you should be like inside and the attitudes that will stem from it. /sarcasm

  8. When I was at HAC I would often get criticized because my shoes or boots weren’t ‘feminine’ enough. Even when modestly clothed, I somehow was ungodly because I didn’t wear girly enough shoes. Because, of course, high heels are just awesome for foot and back heath.

    1. The Christian school where I taught had a dress code, of course, and most of the time I had no problem obeying it. But then I got pregnant. My feet started swelling, and I needed to wear shoes with real support–i.e., sneakers. No problem, right? I mean, I was six months pregnant by this point, so it should have been obvious that wearing dress shoes wasn’t going to work. But no, I had to go get a doctor’s note for this!!!

  9. Funny story about plainpathpublishers.com. I tried to follow the link but my work’s filtering software blocked it saying it wasn’t compatible with work purposes.

    The reason? They classified it as cult and occult!

  10. When I was in my IFB days, I was also tutored on KJVism as well, though it wasn’t as extreme as Hyles/Ruckman etc. Ours was more Textus Receptus-only than KJVO, but there still ain’t much difference between the two.

  11. @Darrell That Bibliology sounds exactly like my school. Down to the textbooks and everything! They tend to focus the lions share of the class on that, because the KJV is more important than any part of the Godhead…

  12. @Emily,
    loved that combo of the frumpy to the ankles denim jumper with some twee lady heels. Every woman looked like a cow walking in a whore’s slippers. So Vogue….or Botero.

  13. The Importance of the Outward Appearance:
    Because pure religion and undefiled is this: to dress exactly like your IFB pastor tells you to. Anything less is heresy and disobedience, which will then cause us to question your salvation.

  14. @Markus
    Too true, and it goes beyond dress. Hair length, and facial hair is another picky area. If you’re a man and your hair is touching your ears then you have a heart problem, and fundies don’t have facial hair because that would be “conforming to the world.”

  15. @ SarahK–but what on Earth is she doing outside the kitchen?!?
    Also, why show such an effeminate man on the cover? He’s scarcely taller than she is, and won’t be once she dons proper heels.

  16. Its sad that the very cerse fundys use to talk about the “outward appearance” is when Samuel is told by God that this what men do. Of course, God was telling him this was BAD. God look on the heart. I guess fundys want to be more like men then like God?

  17. @Markus: Facial hair denotes conforming to the world? I never knew that was the reason for objecting to it; never made any sense to me. I always thought men had facial hair because God put it there.

    1. I just say that Jesus had a beard, and if it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for my husband. (The last time he had his ID picture taken, the photographer said he looked like a prophet… time for a trim!) :mrgreen:

  18. Regarding the facial hair, I think it was a fifties-clean-cute image the churches were perpetuating and a stand against hippies. Spurgeon and others of a hundred years ago would never have passed hair check!

  19. @Ken
    I never mentioned facial hair…but the reasons I’ve been given as to why my beard is a sign I am not right with God:

    1. It’s a sign of rebellion (a la the Hippie Movement)

    2. It’s not “professional” (I have actually heard this; I guess most fundies don’t meet professionals that aren’t like-minded fundies)

    3. Long hair of any kind is a sin. To which I asked, “So, should I shave my head?” The reply? “Are you being sarcastic? I’ll pray for you… ”

    4.”No other man in this church has facial hair, so why should you?”

  20. @Markus–sorry, I meant Micah.

    This all helps explain the asterisk by the yearbook picture of the only student with a beard at my alma mater: “Beard permitted for medical reasons.” (And my school wasn’t really that fundy…)

    But Markus, it’s amazing that you have heard all those things!

  21. I am a believer and in ministry (for 30 years now) because a conservative church DIDN’T judge by appearances. In 1976 my friend Mike strolled into the conservative Baptist church with long hair, short cut-offs, sandals, a dashiki, and a huge chip on his shoulder. He was greeted so warmly and lovingly by the ancient ushers and the blue-haired old ladies that I went back with him. They took us just as we were, never saying a word about what we looked like. They just loved us and modeled Biblical faith.

  22. Does anyone know what all those letters are supposed to mean on the blackboard on the cover of “Humanistic Education in the Homeschool”?
    And what on earth is going on on the cover of “The Development of Sexual Identity in Boys”?!

  23. Back in my IFB days I was actually told off on the spot when one of my phones had a disco-like ring tone.

    IFB #1: “Why is that rock music on your phone?”
    Me: “I didn’t ask for it, the subscriber gave me the tone!”
    IFB #2: “Go and call him and ask the subscriber to cancel that tone!”

    Did you face these sort of stuff before?

    1. Rock/”worldly” ringtones are written into the fundy school rulebook as not allowed and yet I about die trying to not crack up when I am around those fundys and their own phone goes off with some dorky disco-like ringtone! Hippocrite much??? 🙄

  24. I had to sing at a wedding held at HAC about 20 years ago. Yowza, what an ordeal! Anyhow, when that was over, my husband wanted to go to First Baptist so he could hear Jack Hyles since he’d never heard him before (he didn’t realize how lucky he’d been!) My husband has a beard that is very short and extremely clean cut. We sat a few rows back from the pulit, and even though Jack Hyles knew nothing about us or our background, began to preach AT my husband about what a girly and sissy man he was if he thought it took a beard to make him a man. We both wanted to hide under the pew and die. The sad part is, what if me and future hubby weren’t saved and that was our first experience in that church? 🙁

  25. I remember all the conversations that used to happen around me about how Missus so-and-so decided to wear dresses every day because otherwise she was ruining her testimony. And there I was, standing around in my jeans. I’m so bad at picking up hints! 😆

  26. @IFB no more

    You don’t even know. At HAC they went as far as trying to make people who couldn’t delete preset ringtones switch services or mail their phones home. It was ridiculous.

    1. I just can’t fathom what it’s like to have lived through HAC. When I start feeling absolute rage at some of the antics of HAC & their drones, I tend to temper that by thinking about how angry I’d be if I’d been raised like that and believed God to treating me & everyone I knew like HAC & drones thinks God treats people. And I just wish they’d all close down and people had to find actual churches that actually love people.

        1. I know! At some point they need to grow up, deal w/ the trauma they’ve been through and stop repeating it, but it’s still gives me some sympathy for them knowing they behave that way cause they were traumatized the say way in their youth.

  27. Plainpathpublishers forgot to include a bunch of manuals: “Hating People for Christ”, “Abusing Children for Christ”, “Spreading Useless Propaganda for Christ”…..etc.

  28. Ha! I just found the link to the Steve Taylor song “I Want to Be a Clone” under SFL Tweets. Haven’t heard that in years!! And now it makes even more sense to me than it did over 20 years ago. Thanks for the memories!

  29. Let me throw in a REAL bomb – TATTOOS (gasp! Satan-worshiper!) I am a Christian and I have tattoos, which reflect all the things that are important to me, including my Christian faith. I know that there is a passage in Leviticus about not making “marks” or “cuts on the flesh”, but it also says thinks about not disfigering the beard, trimming hair, wearing clothes of more than one fabric etc. Is that not part of a package of pagan practices that some believed brought good luck, or is it just tattos that are evil. I am not simply being sarcastic here (only slightly, but I would genuinly like to know what is relevent and what isn’t.

    1. I’d always heard Lev. quoted against tattoos, but your point is valid: why do we then allow mixed clothing fabric or trimming beards? I’ve also heard the argument used about associations: tattoos are associated with lawless biker gangs or . . . sailors and servicemen? I think the point was “avoid all appearance of evil” (which I now know means something different than how it sounds in the KJV). But culture does change. What a tattoo represented in the 1950s or even the 1980s is not the same today. So, to sum it up, I’d prefer my kids not get one when they’re old enough, but I believe it falls under the area of Christian liberty.

      1. Two things I have observed about the Christian sub-culture’s issue with appearance:-
        1. It is easier to act like a christian if you look the part.
        2. Although having the RIGHT appearance may not PROVE you are a Christian, having the wrong appearance certainly proves that you are NOT.

        1. I’ve also noticed a tendency to reduce one’s spirituality simply to clothes though. For example, a guy has a short haircut and a dress shirt and tie, but he is rude, critical, harsh, and impatient. They will know we are Christians by our LOVE, not by the fact that I’m wearing an ankle length skirt and no makeup.

          A guy played guitar for church this past Sunday wearing a t-shirt and cargo shorts. In the past, I would have been horrified and considered him rebellious and worldly. Now I’m learning to look at someone’s heart; he’s humble and truly loves Jesus. I’ll never get past my personal preferences of liking guys (and girls) to dress up for church, but I know that it IS just a preference.

          How easy the Christian life would be if all it consisted of was wearing conservative clothing and hair and not getting tattoos or piercings. I can do that in my own strength. But God desires my heart: He wants me to love and forgive, to be joyful and self-controlled, to be humble and gentle. This takes the power of the Spirit!!

        2. Before I left the IFB we ran a Summer Day Camp. I was missing one of my regulars that year and when I got the chance I asked his mom what was up. Come to find out several had been taunting him because his hair was over his ears and touched his collar. Several of our IFB boys had been calling him a girl and (in 2009 no less) a hippie, asking when he was going to get his hair cut. It also came out that the momma of a couple of these boys was in on it. Asking him in a very condesending way, when he was going to get his hair cut. I was the teen boy counselor and when I got them together that evening I went off. I slammed their judgmentalism and their reliance on appearance as the “soul” indicator.

          I said all that to say this. Listen to this young man’s heart.
          He told his momma. “I don’t want to go where I am going to be judged on how I look. So if I was to dress in a suit and look nice they would accept me? I can dress in a suit and sell drugs and do drugs, but since I have long hair they judge me?” Quite an insight from one who was being driven “out of the camp” I’d say.

          I will recommend two books. 1)UNCHRISTIAN http://www.unchristian.com/authors.asp
          2) Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

          These books helped pry the IFB lid off of my worldview.

    2. I’d ignore the inane drivel from those who like to pick and choose from esoteric passages in Leviticus that which condemns their favorite cultural practice of the week. 1 Corinthians 6:19 was a verse that I formerly would have used to say that Christians shouldn’t get tattoos. However, the context is all about sexual immorality, and thus it means nothing with respect to decorating one’s body. I’m unaware of anything else in Scripture that would apply to this, though I bet a certain fundie who claims he’s not a fundie will be by to “help” us out…

    3. Hi, Paul, and welcome! 🙂

      I always understood the verse against tattoos (Lev 19:28) to be about making marks in a ritual concerning the dead. Some translations separate the tattooing from the marks for the dead and some do not, so there’s room for differences of interpretation.

      In any event, whatever one’s personal beliefs about tattoos may be, what’s done is done. The time to talk someone out of a tat (if their convictions so require, and mine don’t) is before the needles, not after.

      My father-in-law is a retired Marine, and he has the tats to go with it. He got asked to leave a church once because his tattoos were visible. Good thing he was already a believer, otherwise that church would have been one lousy testimony and might have cost him the chance to know the Lord (according to IFB doctrine and practice).

  30. Personally I think it is often our Christian sub-culture that dicates what we do or don’t do more often that the Scripture or Holy Spirit- if it’s not part of our tradition then it is wrong and sinful. I’m also familiar with the passage about the Temple of the Holy Spirit. I’ve had the surreal esperience of having that preached to me by someone who was about 80 pounds overweight, ate to much, didn’t excercise, was under contant stress, and about 5 yrs overdue for a heart-attack. Aren’t you supposed to look after the temple…??.. anyway I found it difficult to swallow a sermon about my body as a temple when delivered by somone whose body is an amphithater.

    1. You’ll get no arguments from me on that point. Also, refer to Fundy Rule #60: “Gluttony is barely a sin and only worth mentioning from the pulpit in the context of a joke.”

    2. But, Paul, don’t you want to be your “best” for God? Is marking up your body really the best you can do? God will not be satisfied with less than your best. Do you really want to appear before the judgment seat of Christ with the names of your children tattooed on your bicep? I mean, really.

      (I hope you can discern my facetious tone! I know I’m taking a risk here trying to be sarcastic! Someone might think I was being serious.)

      1. Ah, PW, the pro-tattoo crowd has a response to that. They see tattooing as merely more decoration for their temples, not a desecration at all.

        Good “devil’s advocate” there 🙂

        BTW, I have to say “they” because I have no tats myself. Thought about it, but I had an ear piercing heal improperly so no more body mods of any kind. Five earrings and done.

      2. I do have a scroll on the small of my back with “Mum and Dad” and the names of my sister and three brothers on it. I got it there because my family has been behind me and very supportive of me and I’m proud of them. I’m thinking of adding to it, maybe getting it framed by grapevines (john 15, 1-8)…

        1. Hi, I got the grapevine tattoo work around the scroll on my back a couple of weeks ago, and it’s healed well. It looks really good but getting the thing done was not a whole heap of fun – in fact it hurt like (insert appropriate phrase). I also go an addition to a tattoo which is a tribute to my father who died in 2005. All my tattoos have meaning for me but those two are particularly important to me, and I do not regret getting them.

    3. @Paul: Are you referring to the same man who railed on me for practicing yoga in my exercise regimen? “What kind of Christian are you? Yoga is of the devil, and not acceptable for any Christian. You’re obviously a deceived woman and must not even be saved!” Unfortunately, this is NOT an exaggeration! He looked like he could use some yoga to relieve the stress of living in fundy-land! Maybe I’ll put in a yoga DVD right now and send some positive thoughts his way…. 😈

      1. I regard myself as a Recovering Fundamentalist. I wouldn’t have stuck the label of “fundamentalist” on myself but I that’s what I was – I certainly had all the negative attitutes without even having any of the positive ones.I grew up in Protestant Northern Ireland and still live there, need I say any more? It took a major work of God’s Holy Spirit to see beyond my own narrow Christian way of doing things, and the work is not finished. I would rather have tattoos than the Fundamentalist mind-set, at least tattoos can be removed, and the process is less painful.

        1. I learned a while back that the word “fundamentalist” is an anagram of “snail-fed mutant” that explains a lot…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.