By the time a young fundamentalist has reached high school the focus of their spiritual instruction has narrowed down to two basic points. 1) Not having sex with anybody and 2) Finding God’s perfect will for their life. The first one is accompanied by tales of terrible tragedy that will befall them if they DO the second is accompanied by tales of terrible tragedy if they DON’T.
It’s a little ironic that so much time is spent telling teens to find “God’s will” (as if it has somehow been accidentally dropped down the sink or hidden under a couch cushion) when the reality is that a fundy teen really has very few decisions that he or she can call their own. Their pastor will likely pick their Fundy U. Their parents will pick (if they do courtship) or strongly suggest (if they are allowed to “date”) their spouse. Their lack of any real world experience and limited higher education options will also in all likelihood help pick their vocation. Added to this is the fact that by the time a teen graduates high school they are expected to have already picked a vocation by walking an aisle and “surrendering” their life to some ministry function or other such as preaching, missionarying, or marrying said pastor or missionary and bearing seventeen children. The choices here are not exactly broad.
The truth is that the expectations for most fundy high-schoolers is set pretty low. For the most part they are not taught to shoot for greatness. The young fundamentalist will not become a world-class musician, a captain of industry, or a nationally known architect or scientist. For the most part they’ll simply return to work in the church that spawned them in hopes of nothing greater than making more mediocre copies of themselves. A select few may enter the ministry and start their own fundy schools and churches to produce even more fundy teens no real prospects. These will be considered the greatest successes of all.
There are notable exceptions to this scenario. I once even heard that a young fundy graduated from a state school and became a marine biologist. As far as I know, his family still mourns that he isn’t in “the ministry.”
Posted by Darrell