Love Defined

Dear Lost Soul,

I love you. I love you so much that I’ll probably never…

…eat at your house or attend any social function where you will be present.

…watch your favorite movies, read your favorite books, or listen to your favorite music in an attempt to relate to you.

…let my children be friends with your kids or even let them be on the same sports teams

…dress like you do or make any concession to making you feel comfortable around me

…use your vocabulary instead of my own church words

…leave you a generous tip

…try to help you with your physical needs unless you start attending my church

…hug you, shake your hand, or really even touch you at all

…just be your friend regardless of how we differ on politics or religion

…give you a Bible you can easily understand

…appreciate you as God’s creation without conditions, presuppositions, or agendas

…let you know that I am human too

That’s how much I love you. That’s how much God loves you. Maybe someday you’ll deserve more.

Sincerely,

Your Local Independent Fundamental Baptist Representative Of Christ On Earth

109 thoughts on “Love Defined”

      1. Some achievements in life are gotten without trying to get them.

        …and that’s about as philosophical as I think I’ll ever get on “first” comments. πŸ˜‰

        1. True. And if I’m being honest the reason I’m replying now is that I like the cool diagonal pattern our Gravatar’s are making.

  1. The pseudo-science of psychology that your god-less world loves to promote says that love and hate are closely related. So my love for you, wicked sinner, is actually hate. Have a nice day.

      1. I have never been referred to as β€˜computer-generated garble.’ I would consider myself a real person, but Scorpio, with his limited brain capacity, might not consider me a real person … β€˜cause he’s like that.

        1. I always knew there was something that was “not quite right” with shoes. Now, thanks to jason we all know his secret. :mrgreen:

        2. If thinks this post is computer generated garbled words, wait till he sees the math equations in some old posts!

        3. it was the “have a nice day” that threw me off the trail. Smacks of Nigerian Prince-speak. Is there a reverse Turing test?

        4. @Jason. Haha! You’re just lucky you didn’t get directly linked to Justin Bieber or had your post dissected into a match equation that adds up to 666. πŸ™‚

  2. I’ll probably never…

    …Give you an opportunity to ask your hard questions or follow your own dreams and aspirations. I mean, after all, who do you think you are?

    I will, however, because of my love for you, gladly tell you in vivid detail God’s Perfect Plan For Your Life (which you’ve obviously squandered so far).

    1. I will say to you, “I love you,” over and over again, while support those people who hurt you the most, and then sadly consider you ungrateful if you ever say that you don’t want that kind of “love”.

  3. What’s really sad is that I went through all of that as a church member; as regular readers know, I have a problem with the used-car salesman way so-called “soul-winning” is done. As a consequence, church members pretty much treated me like the above said (but I did have the standards and lingo). But no one would fellowship with “contaminated” me. I didn’t like to ask for help with anything because I’d have to listen to them make up excuses (lies) about why they’d love to help, but couldn’t.

    Except for one man. I have to say, as relevant as this post is to some (much?) of fundamentalism, there are still people in there that DO NOT FIT this mold. I was so blessed to know him.

      1. Thank you for reminding me that there are some truly good and selfless people out there who give me hope for humanity. And some of them happen to be Baptists!

  4. The typical IFB teaching on the verse “Come out from among them and be ye separate” has had such a deadening effect on our ability to show God’s love to the world around us.

    1. It’s not “come out from among them and be separate.” It’s “come out from amount them, be separate, and do everything you possibly can to keep them from getting in.”

  5. If at any time you speak with someone who you suspect may be unsaved you MUST give them the gospel (the 5 minute plan of salvation) or a tract. If you fail to do this they may die in the next five minutes and go to hell and it will be all your fault for not making any attempt to “win” them to the Lord. These are the only conditions under which you may speak to someone who is not of your particular IFB church. πŸ™„

  6. Sometimes I come to SFL for a laugh and a sarcastic comment. Sometimes I come here and am crushed by a serious and seriously sad insight into the dystopian realities of fundamentalism. This is the latter.

    1. It’s sad, but it helps reassure some of us that the path we are on is right and godly (despite our IFB friends and family members thinking we’re reprobate because we’re no longer walking in lock-step with them).

      Love doesn’t distance itself; love comes near sometimes at great personal sacrifice to show genuine care for others. That’s the Jesus I want to follow, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

  7. I combined this with a reply in the previous posting, and concluded that the main problem is that the emphasis on the self. We say we love, but what we show love for is our broken, desperate, needy selves. If we could only show a fraction of that love to others, there would be hope.

  8. And if I am visiting you far away from my home, I will refuse to attend your church with you, preferring to attend any extreme IFB within a 60 mile radius instead. πŸ™

    1. “True Gospel” is that God is mortage banker??? (sorry but cliches and madeup pop doctrine like that are fundie triggers for me. Sat through too many fundie lectures filled with invented doctrines.)

      The True Gospel is that Christ satisified the Father’s requirement for the redemption of fallen man. This was the plan that God put in place prior to the creation. He loved us so much that he took our place, knowing we could not do what was required, and he willingly gave himself, and died for us. Then rose again in order to give us life everlasting… That is Love.

      Now, I am guilty of this and I know this is where I fail… but where, and in whom, are we investing our lives? Is there anyone we are investing ourselves in and showing them the Love of Christ through our giving of ourselves for their benefit? (That’s what James was talking about.) God have mercy on me.

      *dismounts soap box… sticks the landing

  9. This was an insightful post and great additions thus far in the comments. This has to be the fundy characteristic with which I still struggle most. I’ve never been “disgusted” with unbelievers (as some are), but it’s not natural yet to sacrifice myself for their well-being. It’s easier for me to ignore than to lovingly interact. God, help me to love.

  10. By and large, this is true, but there are some exceptions to the rule. I’m a liberal, pro-choice Deist, but I once had a close friend who was a conservative, pro-life Christian. I respected her, because she was compassionate, open-minded, and non-judgmental.

    1. This is my goal… I want people that disagree with me (and are thus WRONG :mrgreen: ) to be comfortable disagreeing — I don’t want them to fear that I will scream at them or bite their heads off.

  11. I love you so much that I will publicly belittle you for asking why we do certain things. All you need to know is I said so. It’s in the proof-text.

  12. Even the “lesser” members at my former IFB Church were treated this way.
    Only the super-awesome-friends-or-relatives of the elite were allowed to have an opinion, or break rules, or be kept on the prayer list for weeks. They had “real” reasons for slacking attendance or not volunteering. Commoners were just backsliding or lying or lazy, despite doing the dirty work for years. The rabble were just used and belittled and chided like children and punished for unproven misdeeds. The bus kids were used for numbers and free yard work, but weren’t wanted at picnics or other events.
    Sadly, THAT’S not even the worst of it.

    1. From your chosen screen name, I am going to assume you are “out of fundyville” for this I Rejoice with you!! What you posted rings true with my experience also. Lots and lots of respect of persons going on and special favor to some and definitely cliques galore. Some people’s noses were so up in the air they would have drowned in the rain as the saying goes. It’s good to be out. :mrgreen:

      1. Yes, we are technically out, and have paid a steep price for our *rebellion*.
        Ours is a complicated story, one I would LOVE to share in detail, someday.

        1. πŸ˜€
          It has crossed my mind. I just fear that it would fuel my bitterness, not relieve it. I want to let go of my disappointment and accept that only the Holy Spirit can help people see the truth. Some do not want truth, they want predictability. It’s easier.
          Nobody, especially the women, were supposed to ever question why Things Have Always Been This Way. Why new MALE converts were pushed into serving very quickly, even made trustees, while Founding FEMALE members can NEVER be more than secretary or teach kids. Why pants are 😯 on girls. Why *everybody* is Pro-Life, yet unwed mothers are marginalized, verbally abused, not supported. Why Bus Kids were just numbers. Why a “Pastor” would share private communications with not only his wife, but anyone. Why a Deacon was allowed to run around the church for weeks assassinating his estranged wife’s character, after he was charged with domestic violence. This is just the tip of the iceberg…
          Heck, my youngest could sense the absurdity of Fundy rules when she was 7-8 yrs old! I was so proud of her logical thinking and discernment. Then she became a teenager…

  13. Or you could befriend a sinner, win their trust, share experiences, have genuinely human interaction, and, having shared the gospel once and been rejected, utterly and completely cut them off.

    This never happens.

    1. Definitely guilty of this in my teens. Although, my parents would only ever let me hang out with my “lost” friends as long as I had this end goal in mind. I’m pretty sure I have blown off friends because they haven’t “seen the light” in the past. I’m also pretty sure that other friends were scared off by my brand of Jesus crazy.

  14. The worst part is the definition of who is “lost.”

    I’m reminded of the Greek Orthodox monks who guard the Holy Sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

    The number of tracts they collect from American IFB tourists who have no clue of the commitment these good Christians have made.

    On the other hand, the members of the “other” IFB chuch in town are also considered among the “lost.”

  15. Being cast out is relatively easy. All I have to do is to mention that I teach at a state university, and I get the treatment. Sometimes people will innocently ask me why I’m not teaching at a Christian college. They never like the answer, not for the obvious answers, but they don’t like criticism. They can’t distinguish between humans who do crappy things and THE “faith.” We’re supposed to turn a blind eye because they’re “God’s man for the job.”

    This is especially deadly when teenagers are present when this type of conversation is started. It becomes painfully obvious that the parents are suffocating their kids who would like to go to a state university, probably to get away from over-controlling parents. One even went so far to tell me that I was a bad influence. I don’t let stuff like that go unanswered, so I’ll let you guess what I said to said parent in front of “impressional” tennage son.

  16. So true. Sad that this was me for a while…
    Am SO THANKFUL I woke up. No longer do I deprive my kids friendships or myself friendships because people are not like us.

    We did this for a while. “Oh, we’re sorry, you can’t go to Joey’s party because we don’t know their family…”

    Real love says that we accept the other people that God has put in our life’s pathway and love them unconditionally… Unconditionally.

  17. OK, does ANYONE realize that MOST Fundies are not like this?!? Darrell, you get the ideas and opinions of a very select “brand” of Fundys which are getting fewer and fewer by the day, and then say, “this is what the Fundies are like.” Whaaa…? It’s true for some of them, but certainly not for most! I’ve been around to MANY such churches and this brand is far and few between—I know because I was raised in these circles. I mean, reality just isn’t what you’re painting on here. Sure this kinda thought process is wrong and unbiblical, but let’s set the facts straight…it’s NOT the majority of fundies (unless you have a mental group of starch conservatives who adhere to this kinda stuff)!

    Just a thought for you to chew on…It’s best to be known for what you believe, not for what you don’t believe…and this anti-Fundy community you’ve gathered seem to rally around what you don’t believe.

    I’ve been around here for a while, so, no, I’m not a troll.

    1. Our experiences certainly have some variation in them. But have you read the other comments on this post?

      I daresay that at least a good deal of what I wrote here resonates with many, many people even if every single point may not apply to every single fundamentalist everywhere.

      The isolationism, the judgmentalism, the legalism, and the general snobbery are hallmarks of fundamentalism. If you’ve happened to find a camp, a church, or a school that doesn’t share these attributes then I’m genuinely happy for you.

      1. I’m not sure what’s up with the rest of your commenters, but they just haven’t been around. I traveled all over, visited many churches in every region and they AREN’T all like this. My point is smiply that you’re misrepresenting the majority of fundamentalism.

        As for the above-mentioned “hallmarks of fundamentalism,” my well-traveled experience says very differently.

        1. I’m just too tired tonight to type out my entire fundamentalist pedigree but suffice it to say that I was a fundamentalist of the fundamentalists. I’ll match my own depth and breath experience against anybody.

          I’m perfectly willing to give you space to have had a different experience than the rest of us. It seems a bit unkind for you not to grant us that same courtesy.

        2. @Grace. Maybe, just maybe, you were/are perceived as acceptable due to what you look like on the outside, how much money you are perceived to give to the church, what pedegree you and your family have, etc. Maybe that is why you don’t see what we are talking about. When you are perceived as super-desireable by fundys, they kiss your ass and bend over backwards to be nice to you because you are the “right” kind of christian. That’s what we are talking about, respect of persons and if you are toeing the line and saying all the right things then of course you are not going to see what we are talking about, you will be preferred. You are “in”.

        3. Grace, let’s see if I get this straight. You insult us, belittle our stories with comments like “we just haven’t been around,” and then, when you get blowback, you think we ought to just “lighten up.”

          Mebbe you should think first, and then post.

          I am fully aware that there are many good and godly people in the IFB. I don’t discount that. I tend to differentiate between the unthinking, abusive Indy Fundy world and the truly fundamentalist people who simply try to follow the Bible, and who encouraged me to study and think and compare man’s teachings with what I find in the Bible. But the Indy Fundy SYSTEM is the same, everywhere I go, and I have lived on three continents.

          Many of us were marinated in the Indy Fundy sauce for multiple generations. Many of us have hosted the Grand Poobahs of the Indy Fundy movement in our homes. My family has long association or friendship with men like John R. Rice, Jack Hyles, Doc Cedarholm, RV Clearwater, Bob Jones Jr. and III. They have stayed in our home, eaten our food, and blacklisted us (not necessarily all at the same time). We know of what we speak. We have lived all around the country and halfway around the world. We are not limited in our worldview. We WERE limited in our worldview, though! We were insiders amongst the insiders, and so I could not see how limited we were until I moved out to California as an adult and was first confronted by the suspicious, fearful eye that is the normal Indy Fundy treatment given to any new person who doesn’t comb his hair “correctly,” wear the “correct” kind of clothes, go to the “correct” school, et cetera. Oh, I know, they usually hide their suspicion and fear behind a big, toothy grin as they charge forward to welcome a visitor, but I saw their REAL reaction before they hid it. Then, I could remember how we looked at the bus kids or any other visitor who showed up to church without his IFB Uniform on, and I was ashamed. I vowed never to let another visitor feel like that. But now, I am in a position where an Indy Fundy church is the only church available to me, and I am most certainly not welcome there. They give me the “Hi, how are you” in which they keep on walking and never wait for the answer…when they talk to me at all. They preach the same old garbage they always preached. On a good day, they will do a decent job explaining a biblical truth, but then they will butcher the application (“Grace” means “being willing to go to Sunday night and Wednesday night services, and to hand out tracts.” So does “Faith,” come to think of it. Yeah, that’s actually what he said!). And they are still preaching the same old Music sermon from 1975. You know the one.

          I can see that you are backpedaling as fast as you can. Cool. In future, it might be better not to ride your bike into terrain that you cannot handle. :mrgreen:

    2. Wait -so you are allowed to argue from your experience, but…no one else is? I’ve lived in eleven different states, graduated from a fundy college, went to seminary, and have attended several dozen different fundy churches. I would say this post characterizes the vast majority of my experiences.

      1. I am allowing you to speak from your own experience. Again, my point is simply that ALL Fundies are not like this, in fact, MOST aren’t. You’re just misrepresenting them, period. I’ve had almost the exact same above-mentioned life experiences, maybe you just gravitated toward these types! πŸ˜‰

        1. Ah! So the thinly-veiled implication here is that if he was around unkind and judgmental fundamentalists…it was his own fault!.

          I’ll give you this, Grace, you’ve got some serious chutzpah.

        2. Grace, why not name these good Fundy churches? It would be interesting to see if others are familiar with them.

        3. Grace said, “I am allowing you to speak from your own experience.”

          :eyeroll: … well thank you for the permission, most holy pooh bah!

    3. OK, does ANYONE realize that MOST Fundies are not like this?!?

      Yes we realize that there are all different flavors of Fundie-ism and not all fundies are created equally judgmental, legalistic, and cultish but the “System” or Practice of Independent, Fundamental, Baptist-ism lends itself to these tropes, and in fact promotes the atmosphere where these generalizations are carried out. It attracts men to its pulpits who, even if they start out with the best intentions, eventually become the proxy-god for the congregation.
      When the local “standards” become more important than Christ… there is Fundamentalism. When those standards are presented as a way to Christ… there is fundamentalism. When a Bible translation is more important than the one it is about… there is fundamentalism. We have been there, we have seen the man worship of the one in the pulpit. We have seen the hypocrisy. We have lived in the cult known as Independent Fundamental Baptist-ism.
      So how dare you come on here and tell us we don’t know what the HELL we’re talking about.

      1. I second that Don! πŸ˜‰

        I’ve heard this “you can’t label all of us like that!” crybaby whineing too many times from current Fundys to know what it sounds like.

        Ya know what I also DON’T usually see from those same fundys who whine about that? I don’t see them ever standing up and publicly condemning those versions of their own movement who DO the things we’re talking about here. I don’t usually see them stand up for the VICTIMS like many here who have been through some nasty mess at the hands of “godly christian” IFB membership. πŸ‘Ώ

        Grace, you remind me of the muslims in this country who will NEVER stand against the terrorist extremists because they aren’t willing to be labelled by their own religion as such. It’s THOSE kind of spineless people that don’t deserve my time to hear their arguments when I’m putting ALL I HAVE on the line to stand up for the truth that I’ve learned.

        You must have a damn select few IFB churches that you travel to, because I’ve done that MOST of my life and seemed to find IFB churches like this nearly every time. πŸ™„ Gee…imagine that.

        1. I didn’t use the best argument, grant it.

          But I don’t have the time or choice of words to clarify. Sorry I bothered.

          Iv’e been around enough to know that it’s a rarity for someone to budge on their position, no matter what it is…

      2. Some folks think my former fundy church in California is not like these abusive ones because the church appears to be so modern and leadership is really good with double-speak and propaganda.

        Different wrapping paper on the box, same abusive crap inside.

  18. There are many different brands of Fundy-ism. And when silly, self righteous rules are more important than true service, there is a problem.

    I do not know how many states and churches I have been in the last 5 1/2 years. I could figure it out, but I’m not going to. My wife and I just resigned from the mission board we were with because we could not raise enough support to go to the field we were headed for.

    Why? because too many pastors are stuck in the little box they built out of false beliefs. We planned to teach children, start children’s outreaches, and teach children’s ministry in the churches already planted. I am also an aircraft mechanic and have acquired some handyman skills. I had planned use those skills on the mission aircraft and help out wherever I could. I have been told children’s ministry is not real mission work. That only “church planters” are real missionaries. That our board is too Calvinistic. Not Calvinistic enough. Not KJVO. That because I would present my ministry in a Southern Baptist Church they [Independent Baptist]can’t have us in. That our board won’t take a stand against CCM. And on and on. Maybe not all are like this, but enough.

    @Grace–I would contend that Fundies, to varying degrees, are pretty much all that way. Please don’t confuse those who hold to the Fundamentals of Scripture with Fundies.

    1. Were you going with MAF? Cause we heard a lot of those same excuses when we were deputating. “We can’t support you cause we don’t know what that group believes, cause they are non-denominational.”

      1. No, ABWE. But I would have worked with MAF folks from time to time if it had all worked out. I really like the ones I have met.

        I guess we weren’t “Baptist” enough. Some of the churches that supported us were extremely fundy, but didn’t let it interfere. Maybe they hadn’t been educated about the liberal organization we were with.

  19. I’ve been to allot of fundy churches in Canada (BC to Quebec) and lots in the northern states (even went to BJU for a semester and PCC for a year) and Darrell’s “Love defined” is pretty darn accurate.

    Glad I’m not in those circles any more.

  20. ..I will encourage my children not to associate with yours, because they are OBVIOUSLY heathens and a bad influence.

    That gem came from the book my church uses for adult instruction classes. I raised some objections to that; if my mom had followed that bit of advice she never would’ve married my dad.

    Also: two girls I knew in high school. One was deeply religious; her faith was an obvious guide in her life. She was comfortable with it without foisting it off on other people. She was a Muslim. The other was raised in a Fundie household; she rebelled by telling her mom she was becoming a Wiccan and dating guys who were real jerks.

  21. I ‘will’ love you, if you ‘give me’ what I want: power, power, power, from my CONTROL FREAK TOWER! let me run your life and you’ll be free of strife! Let me ‘skin your fleece’ and you’ll be filled with peace. Let me feed on ‘you’, as I teach what’s true. I ‘will’ love you if you let me ‘shove my religion down your throat. I love you when I feel like being NICE to you. when I ‘don’t, you get the ICE from me. I love you, love you, without fights, as you give me ”Wheee I’m FREEE to stomp on theee!ALL the rights!’ Only problem honey,is ‘this aint funny’! ➑ “And we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” Lord teach us to love with your love.

Leave a Reply

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