Means To An End

It is an underlying theme in fundamentalism that very little in this present world can be enjoyed for its own sake unless an explicit attempt is made to connect it up to some higher spiritual purpose. Whether you eat or drink or whatsoever you do…make sure everyone knows that you’re only using it as a means to some righteous end. We wouldn’t want people to think that we engage in idle frivolity.

See that brilliant sunset with its colors and hues? Don’t just be still and meditate on its beauty, immediately distract everyone by sermonizing endlessly about how such splendor could not be the result of a cosmic Big Bang. Be proclaiming.

Taking a vacation to the mountains or the shore? Not only should you be sure to take gospel tracts you must also be careful to bring back photo documentation of you passing them to other beleaguered vacationers lest someone accuse you of not redeeming the time. Be working.

Enjoying a Bach sonata or a Monet landscape? It’s the perfect opportunity to hold a lecture on the decline of art in society as a sign of the end times. Be lecturing.

Nothing can merely be enjoyed as God’s good gift without explicit goals of evangelization, indoctrination, procreation, or separation being constantly brought to bear. It is all but impossible for a fundamentalist to merely be.

246 thoughts on “Means To An End”

      1. It was really just a coincidence… I’m “Guilt Ridden” for the years of being in a church that no matter what I did, wasn’t good enough to be accepted.

        If you aren’t giving, you should be.. if you give, you should be tithing; if you’re tithing, you should be giving offerings in addition; if you’re giving additional offerings, you should give more.

        Or, soul-winning… if you’re not going, you cannot use your organist or accounting talents. If you are going, you should go more. If you aren’t seeing people saved, you should. If you are seeing people saved, they are not coming to church and getting baptized… (and so on).

        I’m “Guilt Ridden” for being under that logic for years and thinking that God was about to smite me because I failed to live up to one of the hundreds of rules… Other members were so terrified of being contaminated by me that I had no friends. Now I am in a place that shows love to members, and it is quit refreshing!

        1. Jesus is the answer to all the legalistic crap.

          Cling to him and run like hell from those Pharisee’s.

    1. You be me and I be you!

      Look, I’ve had to work mornings for the last few days so I slept in today, so I DON’T EVEN CARE that I wasn’t first… *sniffs* πŸ˜₯

        1. I have been first. See the post on Blaming Technology. And I managed to be first without a witty comment or gloating. I also felt no special joy or excitement over it. I guess I’m dead in spirit, then.

  1. I think I read somewhere in John Piper’s writings the analogy of the child who gets a gift. We would find it very strange for the child to set the gift aside and do nothing but endlessly thank his or her parents. The parents did not expect this behavior, and would tire of it quickly. Instead, they intended for their child to enjoy the gift, and they gain enjoyment from watching their child enjoy it.

    Some will beat themselves up for enjoying any pleasure, even if they do take time to thank God for it and/or do something “for the kingdom,” because they think that God’s perfect will is for them to not “feed the flesh” at all, to spend all of their time thanking God for the pleasures that they never enjoy.

    1. Reminds me of a quote from Charles Swindoll about how people “typically” pray, with all the flowery words and stuff. “Can you imagine what you would do if one of YOUR children came up to you like that? I tell you, if one of mine did, I would stare directly at him and wonder “What in the world is wrong?” “

        1. Yes, I know a few who pray like that.(I presume they want to make sure God understands them) Some of them are a lot younger than me

    2. Possible motivation for this behavior:

      1. Guilt
      2. Asceticism: all pleasure is wrong
      3. Insecurity: not resting in who they are in Christ — accepted and beloved
      4. Misinterpreting Bible verses about being sober as meaning “have no fun at all”
      5. Pride: “Look how holy I am. I don’t go on vacation to relax like all of you. Instead, I’m working for God!”
      6. Single-minded focus: Some folks I know like this are truly dedicated to God, but they tend to focus so much on “serving” that they forget to enjoy life, their family, their friends, and just keep working!!

  2. I have seen this so many times. My youth group was particularly bad at this. We couldn’t go to a mall or a theme park without being shamed, badgered or manipulated in some other way to pass out tracts or in some other way annoy people. Not that there would be anything wrong with taking advantage of an opportunity if one arose, but I think it is a matter of guilt. Too many fundys feel guilty when they have a good time and they want to find a way to “redeem” that experience.

    1. Glad to see you support the Biblical explanation about what happens with the Sun. Couldn’t have any scientific description of the fact that its actually the earth turning. The Bible is very clear that the sun rises and sets, so who would we be to not interpret that literally.

    2. I’ll try to explain……

      The sun goes up and down because Apollo is pulling the sun across the sky with his chariot and 4 horses.
      The tide comes in and out because of Neptune blowing the seas to and fro.
      πŸ˜†

    3. I would say it has something to do with the earth orbiting the sun and the moon orbiting the earth, except that a site SFL showed us recently has convinced me that that can’t possibly be true.

      One of my favorite comments here, around Christmas time, was “Axial tilt is the reason for the season.” I don’t remember who said it, or I would give credit.

        1. I found one without the commentary (which, I agree, adds nothing to the exchange):
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BCipg71LbI&feature=related
          Bill O’Reilly’s tide-based argument starts at about 1:50 in this clip.
          I must say, David Silverman (the American Atheists spokesperson on the show) doesn’t do much for the cause of atheism here, but that nothing compared to O’Reilly’s statement that tides are impossible to explain, and therefore Jesus is the Son of God.

          I could make a long list of what I consider to be profound mysteries (the existence of the universe and of life being chief among them), but the fact that the tides go in and out would not be on my list. That has been explained (at least to my satisfaction) for centuries, if not millennia.

  3. What is just as sad is the millions of people that go through their day and don’t take the time to simply even SEE what’s around them, let alone enjoy it. Not enough people, for example, enjoy sunsets. Or the singing of birds. Or a good Scotch.

    Ya know? Sad, really.

    1. Thank you.

      I’m going on a cruise in a few weeks (EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!!!!!… and I’m a little excited), and one thing I’m looking forward to is sitting on the deck and watch the sunset over the ocean. It’s spectacular!

        1. Honey, if you were freaked out by what you saw that time I took you home with HF and me, you’re REALLY going to get freaked out on the cruise.

          If the ships-a-rockin’…

        2. If the ships-a-rockinÒ€ℒÒ€¦

          Kind of like motion in the ocean :mrgreen:

          BTW, I wonder who is your butt cushion?

        3. If HF hadn’t been asleep when my butt cushion posted the first comment, I would have thought it was him… or he… (I never can remember when to use what).

          My second thought IMMEDIATELY went to you, Scorpio. I have NO idea why. πŸ˜‰

        1. Um, no.

          I can’t imagine going on an IFB cruise. Talk about a waste of money. Can you imagine sitting and listening to sermons in main stage theatre? Bleh.

        2. My favorite part is the photo of all of the empty deck chairs. Because, you know the cruise lines don’t have a lot of pics with sunbathing coulotte-wearing ladies. πŸ˜†

        3. Yama hama. Looks like you found a great idea for an SFL post: CRUISES! Who knew? I first thought I would love to see the dress code for this monstrosity, and then realized, no I really don’t want to, fortunately before I started clicking around and looking for it.

      1. Natalie, my love: My dear wife (32+ years and still like newlyweds!!! Woot! Told you we were all horny in Pennsylvania Amish country!) took a cruise in early January to the Caribbean. Enjoy yourself. The BLUE ocean is gorgeous. The sunrises and sunsets are amazing. Truly, the Heavens showeth forth His handiwork.

        1. That’s where I’m going and I keep checking the cruise website to watch the countdown.

          I can’t wait!!!

        2. Enjoy the cruise! It’s a wonderful way to get to meet people from all over the world, from many cultures … something Fundies DEFINITELY don’t like.

      2. Just got back from my very first cruise. Eye pooper of a sunset over the Mediterranean!! Nary a word entered my mind, just delight in the Lord’s handiwork. Though there were others on deck watching and they were probably unsaved heathens and I missed an opportunity and now they are condemned to hell without another chance because I messed up. Nah. You go enjoy!! It will be awesome.

        1. GEORGE!!! That’s got to be the worst, I mean worst, keyboard hijack yet! Eye popper, not eye pooper. Arrgh!! Must have been one of those circling seagulls. Bombs away! Incoming!

      1. As Ben Franklin said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

        Of course, he did indulge in some other pastimes that were, ahem, questionable… πŸ™‚

        1. But Ben Franklin was a Founding Father. That means he was a good old-fashioned sin hatin’, short hair wearin’, in church everytime the doors were open, tithin’, KJV carryin’ IFB. :mrgreen:

        2. As Homer Simpson said, “Here’s to alcohol : The cause of … and answer to all of life’s problems.” :mrgreen:

        3. Funny thing: I live in York, PA … the “First Capital of the United States”. There’s a small building downtown where Jefferson, Adams, et al would meet. Oh … it’s the Plough TAVERN! Yeah … pretty cool that our “Good, Godly” Founding Fathers formed this country over pints of Pilsener.

  4. There have been times I’ve gone on vacation, and people have asked me if I plan on going to whatever church is undergoing a revival that is within five hours of my destination.

    This question was especially common when I went on vacation to Florida. “Are you going to go to Pensacola? Why not? You’ll be in Florida! You should go to the church in Brownsville for their revival!”

    Uh… no. I don’t think so. πŸ™„

    1. I can echo those sentiments, but worse: my parents planned our holidays around such things. Oh, we’re going to Canada? Great! We get to see the Niagara Falls, and the CN Tower and hopefully it’ll be pretty because of the time of ye… wait, you mean we’re going because people are falling over and laughing in a church?

      Oh.

      1. I was fortunate enough to not have fundy (or even religious) parents. I’m also fortunate that my wife doesn’t seek out places for us to go on vacation based upon the proximity of some kind of religious attraction.

    2. Years ago, my future husband was on vacation with family in PA when his mom dragged them all to a Messianic Jewish conference center. Unfortunately, they were actually having some kind of service/seminar there at the time, and there was my boyfriend in muscle shirt and jams while other guys he knew from BJU were in suits and ties. 😳 It was sort of like a nightmare coming to life!

  5. I remember our church youth group couldn’t go roller skating without some elder stopping the fun and making us sit down and listen to a ‘challenge’. We couldn’t just show the unsaved kids that Christians could have fun…no… we had to preach to them!

    “The gifts of God are there to be enjoyed. To fall short of joy would be a sin”-Brother Cadfael. πŸ˜€

    1. The same thing happens at every “fellowship” dinner that gets held at church. Heaven forbid we all just sit and talk and enjoy good food and each other’s company. No, the pastor has to interrupt the meal and blather on for 20 minutes about how the end times are here.

        1. Related to the Christian Fiction thread: anyone who wants Christian Romance, read those. There’s always a boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, Brother-Cadfael-makes sure-it-all-works-out-in-the-end subplot. You’ll get a pretty decent mystery tossed in, too.

  6. I think this is honestly one of the things that drives me furthest away fastest from IFB-lifestyles. I just can’t keep up. I literally cannot do what they say. And hey, maybe I don’t want to sermonize every five seconds. Maybe I just want to live my life showing love to others, and let THAT be my testimony.

    I am not ashamed of Jesus Christ. I am also not ashamed to remember that sometimes people just need you to ask them how they are doing, and then listen for the answer.

    You know the people I have the best God-related memories of from my childhood/teen years? The people that talked to me about normal, everyday stuff. The people that discussed with me how to deal with issues in my spiritual life as we were doing dishes at church or watching babies in the nursery or driving to an event or just meeting in the store. They didn’t make a big deal out of it, just asked me what was going on, and took it from there. To them, living for Jesus was such an integral part of who they were that talking about him in relation to practical everyday life was seamless.

    Sorry for rambling, but all this is coming to mind as I read. I’m really thankful to God for showing me that I don’t have to engage in “works” constantly in order to show his love.

    1. @Beckyboo, well said!! I like how Darrell wrote “Be proclaiming… Be lecturing” in the original post, because that’s the problem: the lecturing instead of listening, the attitude that says, “I am the wise one; shut your mouth and listen to me,” instead of listening to other’s needs.

    2. “To them, living for Jesus was such an integral part of who they were that talking about him in relation to practical everyday life was seamless.”
      Thumbs up, girl, this is great.

  7. I think there was this underlying thought in the camp I grew up in that vacations shouldn’t be relaxing. Leaving the country? Well you should go visit a missionary and help him build a mud hut. Going to the beach? Make sure you pass out gospel tracts and don’t look at women in bikinis. Flying? Come back with at least one story of a person you witnessed to, two if you had a layover.

    No vacation is complete unless you work this much.

      1. I’d never heard that until my first year teaching at an IFB school and a fellow teacher jokingly corrected me when I said I liked going to the beach. My parents were skirts-on-women, no makeup, KJV-only IFBers, but that one I’d never heard!

    1. It was mostly frowned on to take vacations which extended into the Lord’s day, in my old fundy church, but if it did, you had better find another fundy church to be in on that Sunday.

      1. Lol!! I forgot about that! The peacher would tip off the preacher at the IFB church in the place you were going for to be on the lookout for you. Even on our honeymoon we were “encouraged” to be in the Lord’s house. Confession: We “slept in” the Sunday after our wedding Sat night with only minimal guilt. Sneaky monkeys.

        1. I count at least fifty churches, most of them Reina Valera churches.

          http://iglesiasencancun.com/

          (The Reina Valera IS God’s own version, at least a hundred years older than the KJV. And the services are in Spanish, a plus since that is the language that we we will speak in Heaven. (Hablaremos en el Cielo!)

      2. Ooooh gosh. My old fundy church was like that. Well, my family couldnÒ€ℒt and wouldnÒ€ℒt miss Sunday for vacation at ALL, though his daughter and grandkids could πŸ™„ My brother and I cut our NYC trip short because of it: ironically that was the weekend after we had left so it wouldnÒ€ℒt have mattered πŸ˜›

  8. True Story – Last time we were in an airport waiting for a flight. Man carrying suit and tie on a hanger comes to our gate area and begins handing out Chick tracts like a man on a mission. My husband declines and makes some comment that leads the man to ask,”are you a believer” Yup we are, and off he goes to the next guy.

    1. Just because I love to be difficult, I would have said, “No”. Made him put all his stuff down, dig out his Bible or whatever, go through the whole Romans Road and then go, “Oh, I’ve done that before. We just call it a different thing where I’m from.” JUST so I can get that “you’ve just wasted my time” look.

      1. You and I must be cut from the same cloth. I’ve had Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my place 3 times in 8 months. “Yes, I’ll take your brochure.” “Yes, I’ll listen to you.” “Oh, did I forget to mention I’m a musician at a mainline denomination church? Silly me.”

        1. hahaha! They caught me outside grilling ribs two summers ago, we had a tremendous time discussing how scary the world is right now, and they got all excited when I talked about King Jesus puttin’ it all right. Then told them the world would be envangelized by the witnesses! They were nearly in shock! Until I indicated that I couldn’t wait to see Israel be the force that evangelizes the world for their king, and got the question. “So you think they will actually be JEWISH witnesses?” I believe the end of our conversation came when I replied “well, it seems like theres not a better explanation for Revelation 7 where it says, 12000 from the tribe of Judah, 12000 from the tribe of Benjamin…” This past year I watched them avoid my address for some reason. Apparently those who actually study the Bible are not their target audience.

    2. I would have had to have burped on him and shlured my speach and shaid, “lisssin buschter, me and gid are jus like dis! I’mmm a baptisht pree-chur! Wanna make sumptin of it?”
      Let him start ranting, and going on about me “getting right” or getting left, then at the apex of his sermon, breakdown and start crying and beggin for mercy, let him lead me in the sinner’s prayer and be instantly sober thereby declaring a miracle and thanking him for my salvation.
      Can you imagine the success story he would have for the next Sunday?! They’d shout down the house given a story like that! Revival would break out and the 3rd great awakening would be upon us!
      Just want to do my part….

  9. My mom did this one Thanksgiving. We were walking on the beach, and she was passing out tracts to anyone she saw. Part of me felt guilty that I wasn’t as dedicated a Christian as she.

  10. Yeah, been there, done that. The Fundy U version is that you could pretty much get permission to go anywhere as long as you called it “extension.” And good catch to Elfdream on the “challenges.” No Sunday School picnic was complete without one! I finally called my dad on it one time, asked him why we couldn’t just have lunch and fellowship, why we had to have a mini-sermon anytime two or three were gathered. He had no answer, and the next picnic he organized did not feature a challenge. πŸ˜€

    Also, the grammar nazi in me wishes to point out that “to merely be” is a split infinitive and should read “merely to be.” Ladies and gents, may I introduce George’s uptight cousin Larry. πŸ˜‰

    1. Our church held a picnic in the park for the community with no messages and no handing out literature. We had a sign letting them know who we were, but that was it. Our purpose was to show people we cared and just talk and get to know people. That was really hard for some of our folks to get, especially since we did it on Wednesday night. They thought there had to be preaching. (My husband still didn’t.)

    2. Mounty, thank you for pointing out the horrible evil of the split infinitive. I already have been trying to cure my own habit of this. (notice I did not say, “have already been”)

      1. I worked HARD to be 73rd, waited till there were 72 posts, and the 72nd & 73rd came withing split seconds and Jessica got the 73rd, and I was 74th. It was soul crushing.

  11. First, schmirst. Some of us have to work for a living. :mrgreen:

    So according to that way of thinking, the next time I’m in a pub having a pint, I need to tell everyone that alcohol really doesn’t satisfy like Jesus and hand out a few tracts?

    1. “A” pint? What’s wwrong with you, can’t hold down more than one? πŸ˜›

      In Confirmation class the other day, the pastor was talking about Israel as the land of Milk and Honey, He then said – in modern terms, you could rephrase that as the Land of Beer & Chocolate…

      Good to be Lutheran! πŸ˜€

  12. Just wanted to mention what a gorgeous picture that is. Made me wish I were there to see it in person.

    The alt comment was, by comparison, just as funny as the picture was beautiful. πŸ˜€

        1. No it’s not that old! Its only 4,000 years old, don’t you know it was created during Noah’s flood.
          πŸ™„

  13. To the idiots who say “first” all the time–you’re ruining my enjoyment of the comments. And I’m likely not the only one.

    Also: your idea of what’s funny is as simplistic as the fundamentalism this site mocks.

        1. I more idot then yo. Tiping slowly. F o r s o m e r e a s o n I a m g e t t i n g a n u r g e t o r e p l y w i t h Ò€œ l a s t Ò€ o n a l l o f D a r r e l l Ò€ℒ s o l d p o s t s . T h a t w a y m y h u m o r w i l l b e c o m p l e x .

          How about backwards so my message can only be read if you know the sacred decoding technique.

          .xelpmoc eb lliw romuh ym yaw tahT .stsop dlo s’llerraD fo lla no “tsal” htiw ylper ot egru na gnitteg ma I nosaer emos roF

          What was the question?

          S**t. My midi-clorian count must be low today.

    1. Brade, your fundy jedi mind tricks will not work on me. You’re using the fundy logic of IF/THEN. <b.IF you make the first post and don’t say anything witty THEN you’re an idiot. Hey, we can’t all draw stick figure cartoons with clever bubble speech!! Go easy on us!

    2. Just humor us then… I think most of the rest of us think its pretty funny. πŸ˜€

      Seriously, maybe Darrell could get a lottery going so that no-one can comment until that day’s lottery winner comments first to commence the firvolity.
      That would take away from the competition to be numero uno and make life more fair for everyone. πŸ˜‰

    3. Brade – I wouldn’t call my fellow SFLers idiots. Some of them have been posting comments with me since day one (or two). But I would agree with you that the “first” thing is getting a little old. But I know one thing for sure (and it’s documented): I was the first to see the white piano. πŸ˜€

        1. I am seriously praying for you both. I might need to start soul-winning at your houses at 8 am Saturday morning with pictures of the white piano.

          Yep, I think that is needed.

    4. Alas, it needed to be said, so thanks for the varying levels of understanding. The site owner seems fed up with it too, but he’s more polite than I am. And I’ve seen complaints about it on other venues (e.g. facebook).

      Believe me, it’s definitely gotten stale. So now’s as good a time as any to move on. (See 1 Cor 13:11 for more info.)

    5. Ya’ll, seriously?!? You SERIOUSLY have a problem with the “I’m first” thing? And, now there’s talk of a friggin campaign to get rid of them?

      This blog is for EVERYONE, regardless of how much you think the comments are stupid.

      If you don’t like a comment, scroll the f*** on!!!

      1. Thank you for such pleasant and timely advice. I will most certainly scroll the f*** on anytime I see either your name or your butt cushion’s name from now on. I will take great pleasure in scrolling the f*** on because it means that much less juvenile behavior I have to put up with. Thank you so much. *shakes hand*

        1. I think it’s frickin’ hilarious how 3 people are all saying “First!” and finding out they’re not. I smile every time I see it.

        1. Ha ha… That’s going to become my official phrase, isn’t it? I’ll never hear the end of this, will I?

          😎 πŸ˜‰ :mrgreen:

        2. I really wasnÒ€ℒt mad when I posted itÒ€¦ it was just my sarcasm leaking too much.

          So, scroll the f*** on. (love it)

        3. Wow… who really gives a flying **** if someone wants to say “”first” or “eight-hundred, thirty-seventh?” Seriously…

          And this makes #193!

    6. Likewise Brade, when I click to view comments (I read this through an RSS reader), I do so because I want to see people’s comments about the actual post, not because I want to see people belly-laughing and rofling about who gets the first post. I mean come on, this isn’t a school playground fight to get to number 1 in the dinner queue.

  14. I have a semi-family member who is “That guy.” You can never go anywhere with him without getting several discourses on how he perceives life in general. Going to a restaurant with him is horrible. He’s high maintenance, condescending to the server, and then leaves the Chick tract with a dollar. Needless to say, we don’t go out with him any more.

    1. One of my uncles thinks it’s great fun to heckle the waiters. He isn’t trying to evangelize them (that would be even more annoying, I guess), he just likes to make fun of them, the menu, the restaurant decor, and so on. I’ve tried to hint to him that it’s not prudent to antagonize people who will be handling your food where you can’t see it, but to no avail. He’s a great guy when he isn’t eating out, though.

  15. When I ran for student council vice president at my fundie high school I was lectured by a classmate that I was too immature in my walk with the lord for the job and I should drop out of the race.
    A few months later I was talking with some friends about my desire to visit Australia. The same busybody student interrupted me and said that the rapture of the church was going to occur soon (this was the 1980Ò€ℒs and most fundies agreed with Hal Lindsay) and I should only go to Australia as a missionary and save as many souls as possible before the return of Jesus. There would be plenty of time to tour the world during the millennial reign of Christ. Also, Jesus might put me in charge of running Australia! A few months ago I was too immature to be student council vice president but someday I might be able to rule a whole continent. I told this student I did not ask for her option and she could mind her own business. But it was her ambition to be a preacherÒ€ℒs wife, so I guess she was practicing.
    I believe there are only three reasons a fundie is allowed to travel outside godÒ€ℒs second favorite country, America (Israel is #1)
    1. Missionary
    2. Military.
    3. To visit the Holy Land and get in touch with Jesus.

  16. I stopped all contact with my fundy parent years ago because of this. They are so far gone, the brainwashing is so deep that they are like androids, programmed to speak the cults language. Every verbal exchange segues effortlessly into a fundy end times/hell in hand basket/”HEY, would you like to visit our church for a family game night *wink, wink*” diatribe. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Its frightening to witness, its like you aren’t seen or heard or even loved, you are just a vertical object to bounce sound off of.

    1. “Its like you arenÒ€ℒt seen or heard or even loved, you are just a vertical object to bounce sound off of.” — frustrating, scary, and sad. I’ve seen that sort of thing and it seems almost impossible to have a normal conversation or connect with them in a normal way.

    2. I know for certain that Henry Kissinger is the Anti-Christ. I heard it told in 1977. Revelations is not the Fox ticker tape running across the bottom of your tv.

  17. Darrell, just when I think you couldn’t possibly find any more nails to hit squarely on the head, you go and do it again.

    I’ve had many conversations with my fundy family members about being able to enjoy things simply for the sake of enjoying them, without the need to spiritualize why I enjoy them. They often seem dumbfounded that I would dare enjoy art, music(yes, even *gasp* WORLDLY music), sports, EVERYTHING without finding some reason as to how it enhances my “spiritual walk.” I simply tell them that I am enjoying what God has created and enjoying the fact that I can enjoy it.

  18. Sorry to comment twice in a row, but I just thought of a great example on the flip side of this. On my wife’s side of the family (NON-fundy), my mother-in-law has recently started a small group in their home. At first, they had invited some neighbors to come for a Bible study after dinner was served. Knowing that several people had said they would only stay for dinner, they “snuck in” Bible conversations while serving dinner. Afterward, the hosts (several of my in-laws) were convicted that instead of having ulterior motives for serving their neighbors dinner, they should simply get to know them – without sermonizing over dinner. They have since then been able to meet and get to know more neighbors and are ministering to them by simply building relationships.

    1. That’s awesome!

      A few moms and I gather weekly to let our kids play while we chat and pray. My mom asked, “What are you studying?” as if just gathering for fellowship was not legitimate unless we were doing a Bible study.

  19. Rose,
    Some left over fundy in me thinks that you may not be truly saved if being first does not bring you unspeakable joy…
    …did you go to Bible college and run to the buses after church and try to be the first one on the first bus and almost get run over by all the other running women?
    I did.
    I was the first on the first bus…uh huh..oh yeah..wooot wooot!

    1. I had the misfortune to go to secular schools and I stopped riding the bus in middle school, except for band trips, when no one wanted to be first on the bus anyway except for the director’s love interest.

      But that might have been TMI.

        1. I figured when I was posting that that someone else had done that joke, but I missed it, and was late enough to not really care.

  20. Amy Frykhom, who did a great ethnography of the Left Behind culture, said something about witnessing, passing out tracts etc, that I have never forgotten. She said that witnessing is objectification. When a person witnesses to another person, they are objectifying them.

    I think about that when I am on my secular campus and I get approached by someone who wants to win me to Jesus. I realize that they don’t know me or even care one bit about me, about who I am beyond a soul. It is sort of like a model in Playboy; the guys looking at her don’t care who she is as a person. In fact, she isn’t even a person anymore; she is a body without a spirit, personality, intellect, history or even a life filled with troubles or triumphs.

    In the same way, when I am being witnessed to, I am not a person. I am a soul without a history or a personality or a life which might be happy and fulfilling or terribly desperate. I am just a soul, an object to be put through the factory of conversion and then tallied at the end.

    And so it isn’t just the vacation or the sunset that are a means to an end, but also the person who is the object of the witness.

  21. “To them, living for Jesus was such an integral part of who they were that talking about him in relation to practical everyday life was seamless. ”
    Thumbs up, girl, this is great.

  22. Ooooh gosh. My old fundy church was like that. Well, my family couldn’t and wouldn’t miss Sunday for vacation at ALL, though his daughter and grandkids could πŸ™„ My brother and I cut our NYC trip short because of it: ironically that was the weekend after we had left so it wouldn’t have mattered πŸ˜›

  23. Great posting. It is so true. The reason for this is… a person that is trapped up in fundamentalism has to have some sort of ‘Godly works’ attached to everything they do so that they can have peace or ‘justify’ what they are doing. They are trapped in complete bondage to the Law and Works-righteousness. They are completely missing the cross of Jesus; that everything is already completed in Christ.

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