Are you letting your expectations come from God, my fundamentalist friend? If you do then you will never be disappointed or sad!

Yes, I know that you have just been through a terrible tragedy and suffered a blow to your spirit. But if your expectations had come from God instead of yourself you wouldn’t be taking it so hard. Smile bravely, brother, and just let go of all the silly hopes and dreams for the future you used to have!

I mean, it’s rough to have a relationship end in a messy way and the fact that she burned your house down when she left certainly can’t help matters either. And it is a real shame about your dog (but it’s just as well since now you don’t have a truck for him to ride in anymore and he would have been sad without those truck rides). Just think, some good will surely come of all this. You probably narrowly dodged a bullet — and there I’m speaking of a metaphorical spiritual bullet of some greater evil and not the actual shots she fired at you.

You might see better days ahead as long as you don’t expect too much. Buck up! Turn that frown upside down! God’s expectations about simple decency in human conduct are evidently really low and yours should be too. Just learn to expect less. Once hope dies the rest is easy.

120 thoughts on “Expectations”

  1. And so it seems that fundamentalism encourages its adherents to expect little good from life. If you’re doing good, the devil will give you hell, and if you’re doing evil, God will. Ergo, you’ll always be miserable, so learn to live with it. (that’s probably one of the fundy rules, but I’m too lazy to check).

  2. “once hope dies the rest is easy” – Now that a fundy motto if ever I’ve heard one. It’s also the jumping off point for their brand of brain-washing. “Once they give up hope of a real relationship with the Living God the we’ve got them”.

  3. It is really true. “You should have expected this and since you didn’t you must not have been trusting fully in God…or your expectations/desires were on something else and not God.”

    This is what bugs me so about Fundamentalist theology. They really can say anything they want…and do…and you aren’t left with much to say in response.

  4. This talk of expectations brings back a memory from several year ago…

    I once dated a girl at Fundy U. During dinner one evening she informed me that it was God’s will that she would be taking the next semester off and we wouldn’t see each other for six months.

    When I expressed that I was sad and upset that we would be so far apart for so long her response was “If it’s God’s will then you shouldn’t be upset.”

    Who knew that feeling disappointment was so very wrong? I just needed to reset my expectations and all would be well.

    1. Not allowing us to feel disappointed makes for shallow people (or at least people who only share with others on a very shallow level, presenting a facade of perfection to others while inwardly dying).

      In addition to promoting superficiality, I think it also kills emotions. I’ve seen fundies who really seem emotion-less (unless they’re yelling at you for reading a perversion like the NIV). They do not seem to have natural affection toward others. They are more interested in reading a Bible commentary than in talking with a grandchild. They are more interested in lecturing than listening. It sounds like some kind of sci-fi movie where all emotions are sucked out of people and they become unfeeling drones.

      1. Absolutely, PW: emotions are not allowed. That has been one of the biggest things for me in my healing, that I can feel hurt or angry or disappointed and not immediately feel GUILTY for feeling a negative emotion. I can feel it, acknowledge it, deal with it, and move on. Not be miserable because I’m such a failure for not letting it roll off like “water off a duck’s back.”

        1. I’m with you Sarah! Just last week, after a particularly emotional and difficult day, I posted on FB that the day had been very fully emotionally. A friend commented that “at least some of the emotions were ‘good’ ones.” In the past, I would have agreed with her wholeheartedly. Now, I realize that I don’t need to categorize emotions as “good” or “bad.” They are what they are. I no longer ignore the “bad” while I pray for “good” ones to return. I entertain them all, as if they are unannounced guests. They all deserve my attention, regardless of whether I formally invited them into my life.

        2. I hate that “water off a duck’s back” phrase. It’s the one my dad and teachers used when I complained about being bullied in “Christian” school.

        3. or the phrase: “It’s just mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”
          “Don’t go complainin’ bout sufferin’ fer Jesus, that jus’ shows you ain’t right with god. He suffered fer you so you ain’t got no right to be moanin’ and groanin’ bout anythin’
          les’ the root of bitterness be growin up in ya!”

          When pain, disappointment and discouragement in this world is all you are ever taught, it’s all you ever expect.

      2. “They are more interested in lecturing than listening. It sounds like some kind of sci-fi movie where all emotions are sucked out of people and they become unfeeling drones.”

        @PW: They are so emotionally disconnected that life just passes them by…kids grow up cheated out of the vital emotional connection with their parents, so in effect, they raise themselves and search for what was missing…until the day they die. Pastors/Preachers/Evangelist use the family unit until they’ve sucked every ounce of energy and life out and toss them aside for the “newest and bestest family that joined”. Then, they only expect you to “pay-n-pray”.

      3. Fundyism = EQ10 in the movie Equilibrium? I never made the connection!

        This would explain why fundies hate things like puppies and fine art.

        1. great flick! It all goes back to Plato’s cave aka. the Fundie Bunker. A Cult by any other name would be no less repressed.

    2. My fundy father-on-law told me he knew for a fact that is was not God’s will that my wife and I purchase the new-er model car we got used. He said God wanted me to by the late-late model car from a preacher friend, instead (the one that had 90K + miles and was $1200 over blue book value b/c it had “nice paint”)

      “Gee, dad-in-law, why didn’t God tell me?”
      Unspoken answer= I’m backslid non-KJV guy – that’s why.

  5. Oh man! Can I EVER relate to this post!!! Have you been reading my mind when I wasn’t using it?

    1. Nope. I’ve been too busy jumping the shark to get clicks to do any mind reading. πŸ˜‰

      1. Wow, that must be tiring.

        No, I just remembered– If you trust God you’ll never be tired, right? 😐

      2. I thought that was absurd yesterday, but since I don’t fully connect w/ the post today, obviously you have totally jumped the shark now. How did I miss it? πŸ˜†

  6. How can people twist a Gospel that is supposed to set us FREE, and turn it into a religion in which everything is ALWAYS your fault? You’re not surrendered enough, you’re not trusting enough, you’re not humbled enough. It’s all about YOU and how YOU never measure up instead of being about Christ.

    1. Oh, yeah, I forgot this one: “You should have expected this” so you lack wisdom and discernment. Where’s the comfort? Where’s the love? Where’s the compassion? Where’s the burden-bearing?

      Can we all sing: “Lowered expectations”?

        1. I related to so much of what you wrote, especially this: “even when I did do the right thing, I was probably doing it with the wrong motives, which meant that in not sinning I was still … sinning.” Guilt and fear are a trap. Perfect love (Christ’s love for me) casts out fear!!! (I know this; now I’m just trying to live like I believe it!)

    2. @PW, I wasn’t really excited about the subject today, in fact I skipped over it and went to some other things, then came back and started to read the comments alittle later, then I got to your comment, Wow, I got up out of my comfy chair, put pen to paper and wrote down your beautiful quote! There is so much truth in these few lines. Man if we could get our eyes off of ourselves, just for alittle while, and direct our gaze on that precious one that died for the sins of the whole world, it would change us.

      Hey PW, keep it up you are letting your light shine, in an odd place, mind you, but I’m thankful for it. This has brightened my day!

    3. Exactly. If I lose my job it’s because I wasn’t faithful with my devotions. If my family member still hates God, it’s because I’ve been a bad testimony. If I get into a car accident, it’s because I didn’t answer a call to missions. It trains your brain to look for causes and effects where there are none.

      And then you have to worry whether your emotional reaction is the “right” one before letting yourself acknowledge it. It’s fear. It paralyzes people into suppressing normal human emotion. Christ loved, wept, overturned tables, experienced longing. And he was sinless.

      1. I’m still dealing with this type of thinking. When bad things happen I auto-check everything. Am I not being a light? Did I sin? Did this happen because I watched that Gossip Girl episode? It’s so hard to just be loved by God. It’s been so ingrained in me by the IFB to be looking for raining brimstone when I don’t meet the expectations that I don’t feel that I’ll ever be a “normal” believer. I’m so discouraged, and I feel like I’ll always be screwed up.

        I honestly don’t know what I believe about anything anymore. I don’t even know where to begin.

        1. I’m so sorry for your crushed spirit, Benediction. When feeling hopeless, I try to immerse myself in Christian music: “Loves Like a Hurricane” by Mark Thomas, “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns, “You Are for Me” by Kari Jobe, “You Will Be Safe in His Arms” by Phil Wickham, “Jesus Messiah” by Christ Tomlin, “When the Night is Falling”, and the Christian album “Streams” (OK, I’d better stop listing these!LOL) to feed my spirit with the sense that God DOES love me. Also I’ve heard many people are invigorated by reading “The Message” paraphrase of the Bible.

        2. Benediction, I was and in many ways still am there. I had to walk away and learn to breathe.

          I thought (back when I didn’t think) that The Message was just someone “trying” to make God’s word accessible . . . and then I read that the guy’s thought was that in the original languages, it was moving and exciting and the goal was to make it that way for us (correct me if I’m wrong, those who really know). When I first read a passage in it, my spirit sang. I thought it was beautiful and living and understandable (without someone yelling at me while my behind fell asleep on a narrow wooden pew). Kind of like how it was meant to be in the first place?

        3. Benediction, you are not alone. I’m (slowly) figuring out what it means to be unconditionally loved by the True God, too. That may be one of the distinctions between participating in the absurdities of a religion versus partaking in a truly spiritual relationship with Him… πŸ™‚

        4. Benediction (may I call you Ben? πŸ˜‰ ), it took a very good therapist to point out to me that I was, as he put it, catching every thought and examining it to see if it was ok to express, much less think about. That after the Myers/Briggs test showed me as highly subjective naturally and emotionally but that I had stringent, off the chart, self-control. It was killing me emotionally. So hang in there — you are not alone. I agree that reading The Message is a good place to start.

  7. Ooooohhhhhh man, this hit me between the eyes! You enter Fundamentalism with high expectations, a sort of “birthday” feeling…because you are transitioning into a new life where things are supposed to be better than the life you just left. That said, no one told me that once you got “saved” you’re life REALLY begins to suck.

    1. Smith: How do you have time to stalk everyone? πŸ˜‰

      Seriously, that hit home. So many hopes and dreams of a better life dashed within Fundamentalism.

  8. “GodÒ€ℒs expectations about simple decency in human conduct are evidently really low and yours should be too.”

    Totally. Wow. Darrell. You summed up a fundy frustration concisely and and accurately yet again. This site helps me put words to my shapeless aggravations (which I totally blame on fundyland not teaching me to think [thanks to controlled environments] and freakishly difficult reltionships [because it’s all my fault for not being right with God]).

    1. Sarah,
      It’s almost like the M-o-G is there to get you an audience with God and he says “OK Sarah, it’s ALL on YOU from here on out! Meanwhile, the Preacher/Pastor/Evangelist is just a low rent “middle man” who takes responsibility for nothing….sorta like a pimp.

  9. Lesson learned: Preface every selfish decision you make with the phrase “It is God’s will that…”.
    BTY: Are the “Shirtifyed ManOGawd” T-Shirts going to be available before Christmas?

  10. It was so cool to figure out that I was allowed to love God with my emotions as well as with my mind. I had basically heard that emotions were something that was bad, and to embrace them was tantamount to embracing sinful behavior.

    BTW, I think that this emphasis on emotions as a bad thing was used in combination with saying that women are more emotional in order to complete their logic train that women shouldn’t be leaders or making decisions.

    Its been nice to figure out that God is big enough to handle when I am angry or frustrated even with him.

    1. Ditto! I have spent much time meditating on the idea that God cannot be disappointed with me. I’m hoping that meditation will translate into belief someday.

    2. Well put, Jenni! I’m learning this too, and it’s wonderful to know other people are realizing the greatness of God’s love toward us. When you said this – “None of the good stuff I did mattered, because it was never good enough, and the bad stuff was really bad because as a Christian I should have known better.” – it describes my thinking exactly. That’s a defeated, miserable way to live. I’m so glad we’re starting to understand our true standing before God. I love how you explained how God never has unmet expectations of us because He already knows all about us.

    1. In most fundy churches the “main thing” isn’t Jesus, but “soulwinning” (read; door-knocking/bus ministry)

  11. Darrell, you don’t really know me, but I am Danny Sherrell’s sister. I just wanted to thank you for keeping up this blog. . .it has opened my eyes (along with my sibling’s) to the ridiculousness that was our life when we lived in fundamentalism. It is a little gut-wrenching when you realize that most of the things you thought were normal, in fact, are NOT, but it is liberating to feel free to be myself and ACTUALLY live in freedom in Christ instead of hear some baptist preacher drone on about it and not really mean it!! Again, thanks and keep up the blog…it rocks
    !!!!! πŸ™‚

  12. Only in Fundyland are emotions evil. They are what they are – sometimes they make me feel sad; other times, glad; other times, relieved; etc. I recently took a trip to NC and OH. In NC, I stayed with my aunt, who is a shorter, female version of my father (who died in 2008). In OH, I saw my godson and his family, whom I love dearly. Thursday night, as I was leaving, I felt intensely sad. So, I cried until I felt better. I’ve had a lot of changes. The trick to life isn’t “expectations” is the journey of life, with all it’s ups and downs, trusting that God will work out His purpose. The rest is garbage. Feel what you need to feel. Go through it.

        1. LOL love your word choice! That makes at least three of us here who “served our fundy time” in Ohio. (Technically, the last four years of my “time” were “served” in Fundy U outside Ohio, but the first 18 were in the Buckeye state).

      1. I moved to Toledo in 2003, worked at a church until June, 2009. Now I’m in Miami, FL where I work at a church doing music ministry.

        1. Wow! Dan, dare I ask what church in Toledo? On second thought, that might be unwise. Toledo is my hometown. I left there in 1980 to attend college in another state–long before your time there.

  13. They can’t seem to accept that sometimes life just happens and there is no agenda behind it. You have a flat tire because you ran over a nail. No great mystery or hidden purpose. You change the tire, you move on. Fundamentalists can’t accept that. The flat tire was because of your sin and you are not allowed to get mad or frustrated over it because YOU did it. πŸ™„

    They appear to be afraid of feelings and real emotions.

    And I like milking metaphors. πŸ˜†

    1. The flat tire was to keep you from having the accident you would have had if you hadn’t had the flat tire that killed the cat that ate the rat that lived in the house that Jack built…

  14. Here are some statements my (then) pastor and his wife used to “comfort” me:

    “Are you in the center of God’s Perfect Will for your life?”
    “Are you in rebellion to an authority?”(Read: pastor/husband/father)
    “Are you harboring a secret sin?”
    “Is your all on the altar?”
    “All-things-work-together-for-good…” (Yes, that is one word)

    I left that meeting hardened in spirit and emotionless. Is it any wonder that so many are walking away from compassion-less Christianity? πŸ™

    1. It’s ridiculous. I remember, while at HAC, after we failed to bring visitors for a couple weeks, my soul-winning partner looked at me and, almost in tears, said, “I’ve been fasting and praying and it’s not working. Is there something in your life you need to let go?” I felt ashamed because I knew that I was on my way out of IFBism and thought that must’ve been the reason. Guilt trips like this are so wrong.

    1. I agree that Mood Tides is an excellent book about the emotions. Wonderfully balanced argument (of course it is; it was written by Dr. Horton, a wonderfully balanced philosopher, writer, teacher, and lover of God.) It’s interesting to me that both books you mentioned were written by men who lost their wives. They both know real emotions and the God of all comfort during an emotionally traumatic time.

  15. How many of you have been beat over the head with the your “expectations are in him” verse? I wase emotionally beaten with that phrase as much as with “are you bitter or better”. It beat me down to the point I was an emotional cripple for many years. Here’s the real deal from Proverbs 13:12

    “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, a but a desire fulfilled is b a tree of life.”

  16. What would the Bible look like–especially the Old Testament–if we removed every description or expression of emotions?

        1. LcM, Ken and I are in showbiz together. He pretends to be the director. I pretend to be a stagehand.
          Thanks, Ken, for making it so easy!

        2. Oh well. Thanks to a fundy upbringing I didn’t have overly high expectations…about anything.

  17. See Job only needed to lower his expectations. And since it was God’s will, Why was Job so upset and dissapointed? Who needs Job’s three friends when Fundyland is filled with a multitude of Sanctimonious Prigs ready to point out your failures to “do right” and that “you are out of god’s will.”

    When I broke my ankle back in February we had just left Fundyland and the little IFB bunker we had attended for almost a decade. I knew better, and yet the programming kicked in and I did an inventory of my life to find the “sin in my camp,” as well as a complete review of my actions about leaving the fold. Was God punishing me, breaking my bones for being part of a church split? In my head I knew the argument was non sequitur but the lifetime of programming caused me to think in those terms as least temporarily. You don’t know the times the sermon illustration about how to cure the wandering sheep came to mind. The cure for a sheep who wanders is to intentionally break it’s leg. That way the shepherd has to carry the sheep on his back. All that ime of being carried causes the sheep to become so dependent on the shepherd that it will not stray once it is healed, and will in fact walk closer to the shepherd because of the experience. Talk about fundy flashbacks…. *shudder*

    I am glad God is not the mean, petty God of wrath the Fundies paint him to be. He is not mean, He is not petty, and His children need never fear His wrath because in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. The Son has made me free and I am free indeed.

    1. You caused me to have a flashback of my own, only I was the perp! I was a brand-new cult member in ’76. I told my story to a fellow musician, a kind-hearted, giving young guy. He was very interested. At one point I said, “God gave you the abilities you have. If you don’t use them for him, he could break your wrist so you couldn’t play.” He physically pulled back, the smile dropped, and he said, “Yeah, and he could also change my mind. Sorry, I’m not interested in your god.” And he turned away. I’ve hoped all these years that God showed him what He’s really like. πŸ™

      1. I wouldn’t believe in THAT God, either. Like you, I’m very sorry that that’s the only God many people ever hear about.

      2. Oh, Ken, how I still stifle my own passion which is painting because of the same kind of thinking that made you say that to your “former” FRIEND, Some of my actual paintings are a way to express my reactions to the world around me and to sort of heal, I guess my own sort of art therapy but I have withheld painting some of my ideas for fear- there are always the fundy sermons I have heard about only using your talents for the Lord and if you don’t you will lose them or cause shame to the Lord. I know the fundy U’s only teach that certain styles of art are God Honoring. I on the other hand love my art.

    2. Wow, I just had a flashback too! And itÒ€ℒs of the same god-punishing-you stile fearmongering. I can remember as a wide-eyed freshmen desperately praying not to get nuked by GodÒ€ℒs holy wrath every time we had the lordÒ€ℒs supper at the Campus Γ’β‚¬ΛœChurchÒ€ℒ.

      For not liking emotions, fundies sure know how to manipulate them.

      I also heard that sheep leg breaking story 127 times. πŸ™„

    3. “Breaking the lamb’s leg” is a modern piece of poisonous nonsense invented to serve the aims of people who like power. Ask any shepherd. In the days before veterinarians–that is, most of the history of the world, including Bible times–a lamb with a broken leg became stew. Modern sheepherders don’t do it either. In an informal survey (lost the link), responses from people who actually handle sheep for a living to the notion of deliberately breaking a lamb’s leg ranged from “economically stupid” to “what kind of asshole would do that?”

      Jesus is portrayed as the Good Shepherd with a lamb on His shoulders because the lamb is tired and needs to rest. This image appears in the oldest surviving Christian art we have. What an evil perversion to use this image to justify some IFB pastor’s schadenfreude.

    4. But they got it straight from the source, dontcha know. This came straight from a conversation with a shepherd they met while traveling in Israel on their Holy Land Tour. Oh how they wept at such a beautiful story! Oh, can you say “Trout on the line?” So we get the Amplified version from the pulpit and the point is not lost on the sheeple in the pews…

      Praise gid that’ll preach! πŸ™„

      1. I thought this was an original story. I heard it when I lived in Germany. The preacher just returned from the Holy Land.

        1. Cast, hook, set, let out the drag and reel them in. A good sermon illustration is worth it’s weight in manure to the Fundie MOg. Funny how they preach it as if it were their own direct revelation. Gives them Pulpit cred, and builds their rep amongst their peeps.

      2. So an arrant lie is perfectly OK if it brings the congregation into line? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

        Bassenco’s phrase is becoming more and more clear to me. Preying from the pulpit indeed.

  18. Don – I’ve never heard that illustration and it sounds completely unbelievable as a technique for controlling sheep. There is however an illustration based on a true account of Middle Eastern shepherding in that when flocks get mixed up at a well they respond to the voice of their own shepherd and not another.

    1. It is, however, a very efective technique for controlling the ‘sheep’ in the pews. πŸ˜›

  19. Wow, without displaying or acknowledging the inevitable of emotions, sorrow, frustration, passion, etc. Γ’β‚¬β€œ we would be being completely untruthful with everyone including ourselves and God. We would be very much living a lie, bottling ourselves up and putting on a fake smile; and our relationship with God would be accordingly shallow.

    The inferiority of emotions to intellect, which is almost universally taught and accepted as fact among fundamentalists is never taught in the Bible.

    This is, by the way, why most fundamentalists slaughter the Psalms along with several other books whenever they try to preach from them. They are beautiful, passionate, and sometimes tragic poetry intended to affect us emotionally Γ’β‚¬β€œ not intellectual treatises to be examined, diagramed and decoded.

    The poetry is killed and dissected to find out what it is made of.

  20. It’s a real shame about your dog…you should have never let that fundy “soulwinner” into your house. What did you expect?

  21. Then there’s this little gem of an email I got when we were in the midst of incredibly difficult times this past year. We lost our jobs, our home, both dogs, and all and any savings within just a few short months. My crime? Yup, them expectations. And daring to suggest that maybe possibly some changes to heath care in America needed to be discusses. I did that by *gasp* posting a WSJ article noting the Republican Party’s failure to address the issue. So here are a few excerpts from a fundy “love bomb” (and just so you’ll understand, I actually didn’t have a place to live, and spent at least 2 nights in my car, then from pillar to post until I finally got a tiny apt.)”

    “I just wish your grieving had not involved proposing ideas for our government that are so contrary to what made our country great…I see your bent toward socialistic reforms over the opportunity that capitalism has afforded us and has benefited, yes… benefited, even you…You say you are homeless. I don’t believe you fully understand the situation in this nation . I would have nothing but compassion for anyone in these difficult times, when both husband and wife are working hard to make ends meet… but I’m having a very difficult time with the solutions you seem happy to entertain. You say that you feel you’re being judged for your political beliefs. Well, on this end, it feels like it’s people like me… selfish, rich conservatives… who are being deemed unloving and uncaring.”

    Waaahhh….poor rich consesrvative! So sorry my trials and tribulations offended your political sensibilities! πŸ™„

    1. wow. i’ve met people like that before: glen beck’s sheep pretending to belong to jesus.

      1. I certainly feel for Jean and the problems she has experienced, and wish her all the best. I am presently having some problems myself. But I completely fail to see how Glenn Beck has anything to do with it. From where I sit, Beck has provided a voice for millions of us Americans who are sick and tired of the liberal agenda that has adversely affected our country. He has given conservatives a voice and has supported the tea-party movement which has just shaped a national election and perhaps turned us from national bankruptcy. He has helped to root out self professed “socialists” from Obama’s liberal, socialist regime, think Van Jones, so despite his shortcomings, don’t we all have them? I think the guy has done some absolutely wonderful things.

        By the way Beck’s a mormon.

        1. a great observation from chesterton “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected” (ILN 4-19-24).

        2. As far as Beck is concerned, it’s the people who follow him as though he is the only person in America with acceptable, “Christian”, conservative political solutions. Many of those same people, including my former fundy friend who sent that unsolicited email, would not be seen with someone like him on a church platform. Separation is an absolute theological necessity — except for when it’s not.

        3. Jean, this is the fruit of fundamentalism. Responses like that reveal the backward mind and miserable spirit of Fundyland. There is no love. Why? Because love is what characterizes the children of God. Many of these Fundies do not know God. Yes, they can point back to a time when they were “initiated” by saying a prayer, but they were never saved. They are, then, taught how to judge people by their appearances and keywords they might use (eg. “If they use ‘Christian liberty,’ they’re liberals;” “If they use ‘Healthcare reform,’ then they could be socialistic, one-world Democrats”). It is a sad picture, but they’re taught to stop thinking and go on Alarm mode whenever this happens.

  22. the point is that, some people who claim to belong to jesus bought into glenn beck’s idea that the “liberal agenda” is the problem with America. these people equate “christian” with “conservative-republican.” their gospel is self-government, deregulation and capitalism. their bible is the constitution, the naked communist and the 5,000 year leap. their enemy is social and/or economic justice (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/us/12justice.html?_r=2) and their whole duty is to rid the world of communism, socialism, progressivism, liberalism, etc.

    i believe that christians are followers of christ (as such they care for poor people more than political affiliations). i also believe that jesus is the gospel and his words are the Bible. i believe that satan, sin and death are the enemies. i believe that my whole duty is to fear god and keep his commandments (i.e. love him and my neighbor). my political and economic sensibilities pale in comparison to my love for jesus and needy people.

    beck seems to believe more in the conservative agenda than in the mormon gospel. some fundies that i’ve met preach the conservative agenda as though it were the gospel and expect others to conform to their preaching. as chesterton aptly wrote “These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own” (ILN 8-11-28).

  23. Closely related to “Expectations”: having to grow from a difficult experience. When I was in high school a close friend died unexpectedly and I went into depression. Part of the reason for the depression was because I expected to find the reason why it happened, or at least to find some good come out of the situation. You know, like maybe I would find out that if he had lived, he would have turned into an ax-murderer, or that because of his death, 15 people in his school were saved. I never found that reason or that good outcome or anything close to. It was hard to accept that sometimes, bad things just happen. They just do. And we may never find out a reason or a good result from it because there *isn’t* one. Fortunately, I also realized that I didn’t need those things–when I concentrated on the Lord, I realized that He was what I needed, and all that I needed. But I do wish that someone had told me that it was OK to believe that sometimes, things just happen for no particular reason.

  24. Darrell, this is one of your best and most important/meaningful posts. Its about heartache. The comments are just as great. I feel understood reading this. Thanks.

  25. Oh Chaos. Do I know this. The trailer next to ours burned down just Monday and ours was damaged, forcing us to find a temporary new home with my parents. The new non-IFB church we go to now is so loving and supportive, and it was a complete and total shock to feel the outpouring of Christian love toward us. What a contrast to the IFB church where we would have been told that it was a warning and next time ours would be the one burning down if we didn’t get back to the faith. But like a lot of you have said, I still find myself asking “Am I being punished?” when something happens. It is so hard to accept that sometimes crap just happens.

    1. Yes, sometimes things just happen. Sometimes the trailer next to yours catches fire. There’s not always a deeper meaning.

      Most likely, it happened because the people next door were careless– not because God wants to send you a message.

      1. It never ceases to amaze me how the most socially inept clueless clutzs feel like they can divine God’s intent from calamities. Enraging!

  26. I don’t know if this fits here or not, but I remember hearing a message that really bothered me. It was an evangelist speaking about childless couples being lazy, & how they ought to go adopt & raise children to be in God’s will, or something to that effect. I believe this was very hurtful & not even scriptural. I’m thankful for the grace of God in Christ.

    1. For all the preaching that fundies do against Pentecostals, against their continuing revelation from God and against them speaking a word of prophesy to each other, fundies seem awfully adept at getting extrabiblical insight that they feel led to tell everyone else. We err when we make assumptions about other believers (saying childless couples are lazy, for example). We err when we step beyond the bounds of what God has written in Scripture. We err when we start to proclaim our own opinions as if they are binding on all Christians. So thankful for grace too!

  27. a (mostly) respected counseling professor i had at fundy u once told us that for a woman to be upset more than, say, a week after a miscarriage was wrong because it meant that she was placing the baby above God. in his words, “no wonder some women get so upset – it’s tough when your god dies before the nine months are even up.”

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