108 thoughts on “Hymn Book Holding”

    1. Also quite disturbing, and completely missing the point of whatever scripture they should’ve been learning from.

      1. I’m wearing pants right now. It’s entirely attributed to the fact that I’ve held my own hymnal for years. (And no, that’s not a euphemism, but it totally could be!)

      2. Being a man, it was my responsibility to be first, and allow you to fill your God designed role of following me! 🙂

    1. And when you are married, don’t ever let your wife initiate sex. ‘cuz that’s bad. . .or something.

        1. Honestly, I think the whole “gender roles” thing has been very damaging to relationships. You need to feel wanted because you’re HUMAN, and we ALL need to feel wanted occasionally.

          Not to mention, for people like my spouse and myself (where I am naturally a “let’s do this!” individual and he is of the “let’s wait and see if we should act” type), following the oft-preached gender roles means both of us are uncomfortable and resentful. However, if we just live according to our God-given personalities and respectfully consult and include the other, our relationship works just fine. :mrgreen:

  1. This sort of bovine excrement was why, back when my parents and I still attended a fundamentalist church, I swore off Christian colleges and chose to go to a secular college with an accredited engineering school instead. Thankfully, my parents saw the value in accreditation, and didn’t give me grief about my choice.

    I now realize that there are Christian colleges that wouldn’t do this kind of thing, but they tend not to be “evangelical,” and they tend to make “real Christians” steam about them being “Christian in name only” or some such nonsense. No, I’m not bitter. I’m just angry for all people who feel trapped in this kind of environment due to parental pressure or other factors.

  2. “It will enhance your Christian testimony in public…”

    Yes, because men who hold the hymnal are BETTER CHRISTIANS than those who don’t. 🙄 What a bizarre view on life.

    1. In public? According the note, this was happening in CHAPEL (where only BJU students/staff would be in attendance). They really missed the boat on this one…IFB 101 says that they should have invoked the “weaker brother” staw man argument here. BJU must be getting soft.

    1. Oh, they can have my pants – I just keep the kilts for myself!
      What do IFB churches have to say about kilts I wonder!


  3. Oh, no. At mass, I usually hold the hymnbook for both of us. I also hold the missalette. I didn’t know I was ruining my husband’s faith, testimony, and manhood. Of course, we’re Catholic, so he probably had none of that in the first place, right?

  4. For perspective on this, pay attention to Darrell’s comment at the end. This is the same school that was very cozy with the Ku Klux Klan until shockingly recently, and banned interracial dating until even more recently, and has no problem with looking the other way when rape and sexual abuse surface. But a girl holding a hymnal instead of leaving it to the boys gives them fits and warrants a letter of reprimand from the Dean of Students.

    1. Holding hymnbooks happens in public. Rape and sexual abuse only happens in private. Only things that happen in public are important in Fundystan – unless you get caught.

  5. My first week at Jonestown I got a private meeting with this man (had to have my hair cut twice to meet his approval). We had several meetings over my next 4 years and it was my goal to prove him wrong by graduating from that God forsaken graceless institution. I can still hear his whinny little man voice lecturing me on sin, doing right, and the dangers of my “reprobate” friends.

    Listen to him for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goZK38DZXGI

  6. They were probably afraid to take the book because their hands might touch and cause Mr. Berg and his gestapo to give them demerits.

  7. Isn’t the “song service” a time for worship? So, Berg is up there – on the “alter” – looking out into the masses of students nitpicking their behavior. I could *maybe* understand this being a a personal conviction, something you felt reflected a caring attitude toward someone you found attractive (blah blah blah).

    Like someone else said, it’s all about the public testimony.

    ::SIGH:: “Occasionally recently”

  8. Maybe the girl is a bit shorter than you and would rather not have to stand on her tiptoes to sing in services.
    The stoopud, it burns!

    1. Or in my case the girl is taller and doesn’t like the short person shoving the hymnal up her nose trying to make it “tall enough.” Heheheh that one stiil makes me laugh. I can’t read when its half an inch from my face…:)

    You can’t make stuff like this up. What I love is how fundies in power have that complex where they want everyone to do things their way. Then they have the audacity to pretend that there is some ethical or theological reason for their legalism. I would respect them more if they just said, “do it this way because that’s how I like it.”

    1. It’s control freakery, pure and simple. One finds it in the business world, too — big-time.

      1. This is true. But in the business world, they don’t try to tell you that disobedience of their every whim is outright rebellion against God Almighty.

        1. Hah!! That’s true. But (speaking from personal experience), it can still be incredibly manipulative, destructive, and soul-crushing.

          Control freaks — one of my major pet peeves.

        2. Thanks for making that point for me. All human groups follow similar patterns of behavior, and you see the same themes repeated in politics, business, religion, hobbies, everything. It’s wrong to blame religion, or a specific religion, for the fact that human beings who follow it act the way human beings always have always will act. HOWEVER, there is a valid difference between, “Just follow the rules, or you’re fired!” and “Just follow the rules, or you’re not only damning your own soul to eternal damnation, you’re risking the souls of those who might see you letting a woman hold a hymnal and think that God is OK with that sort of thing!”

        3. Lizard, you make a good point. I’ve never been made to feel that I might go to Hell for holding a hymnbook, so it’s hard for me to relate to that. But I certainly can relate to the spirit-crushing effect of workplace control freakery.

          MSK — oh my gosh! Dilbert is so REAL. I can recall so many real-life workplace incidents that mirrored Dilbert strips down to the last detail. 😡

        4. Oops—my Dilbert comment was in response to Michael Kreger. These threads can get so confusing.

        5. MSK and Michael Kreger are the same person. It just depends on which computer I am using.

          One of these days, I gotta fix that.

          Anyhoo, you must know that you are exactly right when you say that Dilbert is real. Scott Adams writes the strip based on feedback he gets from his readers. I know for a fact that three story lines were based on events in my office.

    1. Some things you have to go to a “godly” college to get properly educated on. Women’s lack of ability to think or function on their own is one of those things you can learn other places, but it’s far to rare, and usually doesn’t go far enough unless you are an obedient fundy u student! 🙂

    2. You had better look in the mirror and get rid of that rebellion in your heart 😉 Now you have to excuse me so I can get off of this computer before my wife sees me.

  10. This letter is the sort of thing that made being a student at BJU a growing experience in fear, guilt, and paranoia. Even if you kept all the written rules, you never knew when you’d be called out for somehow violating an unwritten expectation.

    No matter where you were on campus or in the greater Greenville area, you felt constantly spied on. It was claustrophobic and stifling!

    1. The Bible says women shall submit. That is what it says. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with the Bible. Holding the hymnal book is a way to show dominance, like you are guiding the male in his reading and singing. There are many subtle ways to show dominance in human behavior. God instructs you not to do this, but you choose to do it anyway. So the consequences fall on you.

      1. She’s to submit to any random guy she happens to be sitting by in chapel? I wish I had known.

        (yeah, i don’t believe you’re on the level for a second but it still bore saying)

      2. Submit to just any guy (as Darrell notes)? Submit to a rapist? Submit to an adulterer? Submit to men, period, on general principles?

        Where does the Bible say this?

      3. This is a beautiful example of Indy Fundy cultist abuse of Scripture.

        The Bible doesn’t say that WOMEN shall submit; it says that WIVES shall submit. And there is a little prepositional phrase on the end of that clause, telling to WHOM they shall submit. And the verse is part of a larger passage which begins with the instruction for all of us to submit to each other. But we wouldn’t want to let biblical context get in the way of a good fundy rant, would we?

        Like Darrell, I think you are a Poe. Of course, what makes a Poe effective is the fact that there are Fundies out there who teach exactly what you said here. I have heard them.

  11. Amazing. Let us count the fundy:
    – Rebuking people for violating a rule they were probably unaware of and which was most likely made up by the writer.
    – Implied slight to people’s manhood for violating the imaginary rule.
    – Knowing what the wimmerns want without asking them. No need to ask them, they all think the same and want the same things.
    – Guilt about one’s “testimony”.

    What a bunch of malarkey.

  12. I went there 1 spring semester and could not handle it. The sexual tension there was unbelievable. The constant notes in mail boxes, getting demerits for unwritten rules, walking on the grass was a big no no, yet the big problems they just let pass. The best memory I have of that place was seeing the front gates get smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror, never to be seen again…

    1. This is exactly true. By making EVERYTHING into a sexual sin, they created unnatural tension, resulting in explosions that destroy lives and relationships.

      Same thing with alcohol. “If it is sin to drink a beer, and I’m going to drink one anyway, I might as well drink the entire twelve-pack!”

      “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath…”

      1. That’s why we brought up our teenage sons on nightly “beer time.” First they were allowed half a glass each; then, in their later teens, they got a whole glass. Only one son is still at home, and he looks forward to his nightly Guinness or whatever it may happen to be, Result: Neither kid is obsessed with alcohol.

        I’m half-Italian, so bringing kids up on wine and beer (in moderation) is just in my blood, or something.

  13. You let her hold the hymnbook now, and someday, she might think she’s allowed to hold the remote, and if that happens, well, it’s right on to plaid flannel shirts, power tools, and comfortable shoes.

  14. I’m not a fan of the N word, but I can absolutely seen any of the Bobs & quite a few of the students saying exactly that.

  15. Since they sang the same twenty songs over and over I don’t know why anyone felt the need to even open a hymnbook. They should have had them memorized.

    1. I would, for one. I can’t memorize written notes easily at all. Even after years of working with it, I only have fragments of K.447 memorized. Dang it.

  16. In a **normal** worship service, who would notice which person was holding the hymnal, and why would anyone care??

    In 1976 I was accepted at BJU but I changed my mind and attended Baptist Bible College of PA.

  17. Frankly, wimin don’t even need no higher eddycation. If they can cook, clean, and bear chilren, that’s all God requires. What the heck are they doin’ in collige anyway? They just gettin all uppity.

  18. “This bolt (women’s suffrage) is the most shocking and unnatural incident ever recorded in the history of womanity.If our ladies will insist on voting and legislating, where, gentleman, will be our dinners and our elbows? Where our domestic firesides and the holes in our stockings?”

    From the Oneida Whig, August 1, 1848

    1. I don’t know what George will do but this is in reply to Big Gary.

      From a Confederate sympathizer’s Civil War diary.
      ‘If all the darkies follow the Yankees who will chop our wood and carry our water?”

  19. Dear JAB:

    Thank you for your April 20, 1999 communique.

    I want you to know that your words are genuinely appreciated. I also want to thank you for this reminder that in the spirit of Mt 23:5, we are to do all our works to be noticed by others in order that we may have our reward in full [Mt 6:2,5].

    Please be aware that in addition honoring the spirit of Lu 18:12 by fasting twice a week and by paying tithes on all I get, I am now holding the hymnal for the girl beside me. But in all honesty, JABber, I must confess that I still feel that in obedience to Lu 18:13, she should stand some distance away from me. She is, after all, a woman. For all I know, she may be experiencing her monthly uncleanness. I’m sure neither of us would want to share a hymnbook with her on THOSE days!

    Perhaps you could help me with another matter. I know that while we’re singing, we’re supposed to be following the song leader and following the hymnal. But I also know that someone needs to keep an eye on other people at the same time. But I don’t WANT to be SEEN as looking at other people [and certainly not … well … a girl]. I find it difficult to do all these things well while appearing to be lost in the love of God before whom we sing. Any suggestions you would have would likewise be most appreciated.

    Pharisaically yours,


    1. Clap Clap Clap… Well done! It’s like reading a letter from Wormwood back to Screwtape… and it reminds me that; “The devil, that proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked” (Thomas Moore)

      1. Dear Troublewit:

        ‘The devil, that proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked …’

        So THAT’S why I could never get the hand of things at Snob-Clones Perversity!

        Christian Socialist

        PS: I’m filing this one under ‘things that make you go ‘Hmmmmmm.’

  20. I blame the girls for handling the hymnbook in the first place. THEY should’ve known better. I bet they’re the same girls who wore white stockings before Easter.

  21. It will enhance your testimony in public? Do we all walk around Wal-Mart guy/girl holding hymnals? Or do they mean that two college guys in Panera will be talking about that other guy’s bad testimony because he didn’t hold the hymnal for his female chapel buddy?

  22. I had to wrestle a girl for the hymnal one time. Figured it was better than allowing her to emasculate me in front of 5,000 people.

  23. The whole hymnal-holding thing was awkward enough (holding it together is too “intimate” but how to decide which person holds it for both parties? And if there’s a height difference…oy), but to have to sit next to some jerk who had to “be the man” and hold the book every time was both annoying and demeaning.

    AfterGlow…were YOU my “chapel buddy?!” 😯 😆

  24. That’s why they’re called hymnals, not hermnals. HAYMEN? (Not Haywomen.)

    Thank you. May God bless you.

    1. Along with independent thought processes & quite a few other things. What’s not too heavy for you: dishes, laundry, mop, etc! 🙂

  25. It’s okay for a man to rape a woman so long as:
    * He doesn’t enjoy it.
    * He does it for procreation.
    * He doesn’t use a condom.
    * He isn’t married.
    * He doesn’t let he hold his hymnal.

  26. That this letter was even written is disturbing. It explains so much to me about people I know and why they can’t function normally but have to be stilted and second guessing their every moment.

  27. Note that while these individuals involved are most likely the same age, the female is referred to as a ‘girl’ and the males are referred to as ‘men.’

    1. Oooooh, I’d like to know that.
      If any of the ladies involved happen to read this, please tell us what was said or written to you about holding your own book.

  28. Why not just have enough hymnals for everyone? Or — gasp — use a projector and put the words up on the wall for ALL to see? Yeah, I know. My salvation is doubtful; truly saved and godly people wouldn’t say such a thing. 😯

  29. I know Dr. Berg personally, from 4 years at BJU and 2 years in his Sunday school class at church. I think he is a well-intentioned man who became seriously misguided due to the Gothard-esque counseling movement in the 70s and 80s. Now he’s written tons of books and become fundy-famous because people have responded positively to this workbook, questionaire, formula approach to Christianity. In fact the student life program at Bob Jones is heavily influenced by this approach. I understand the appeal of trying to quantify the Christian life using questionaire scores, graphs, workbook performance, etc. Unfortunately, it’s caught on in the BJU circles.
    He is not so much condescending towards girls as he is fond of micromanaging young men (he used to be dean of students so he got a lot of practice doing this).
    Dr. Berg’s approach to everything is very formulaic. He tells the same stories over and over; he runs a Friday night bible study at his church where the same 30 messages are preached over and over again on rotation. His books and sermons are full of charts and graphs telling you how to live the Christian life.
    I feel sorry for this man as I can sense a well-meaning heart under all this bluster. He needs to learn that Christianity cannot be reduced to formulas. But it does not surprise me that he wrote this email because this is exactly the sort of thing I’ve known him to do.

    1. Dear excommunicated from fundyland:

      ‘… workbook, questionaire, formula approach to Christianity. In fact the student life program at Bob Jones is heavily influenced by this approach. I understand the appeal of trying to quantify the Christian life using questionaire scores, graphs, workbook performance, etc.’

      Ah yes. The gospel according to William James, patron saint of pragmatists everywhere.

      What burned me about Snob-Clones Perversity was the perpetual insistence that flaming, humanistic secularity was enthroned by the infallible, inerrant King James Bible.

      Christian Socialist

    2. I think the phrase “…well-intentioned [person] who became seriously misguided…” is a great description of many people in fundyland, especially those not in positions of supreme power. That’s one of the reasons they (read: I used to) recoil in horror at the type of satire and criticism that is so deftly wielded on this site. They mean well. Of course they’re doing everything right, they’re meaning to do so very very well! But they are so very very misguided.

      1. I think you could possibly say this about any person who is religious, couldnt you? My problem is this fool is a snake oil sales man indoctrinating and prescribing his made up religion. There are many young people out there being taught as I was taught to respect men like him in such esteemed positions; he knows so much about the bible after all. Now its clear he is just a religious propagandists peddling his puritain cultural moralism and cultish quirks. 😥

        1. Most of these characters don’t even know a lot about about the Bible. Having some verses memorized and yelling your own misunderstangs of them to everyone is not the same thing as being a Bible scholar.

  30. I went to BJU, got expelled from BJU, went back to “clear my name” and had a horrible truly un-christain, un-professional, hurtful counseling session with Dr.Berg myself. I’m not a BJU fan at all. However I look at this email and I also see the date, April 20, 1999. I would hate to think an email I sent 14 years ago was being used as a basis for my current charector. It makes me cringe just thinking about it! Because I too was one of those people. I was a Fundamentalist justified not by faith but by my skirt length, my virgin card, and my self-will. But praise God He has redeemed me out of that! And I have to believe that He can do that for Dr.Berg and everyone else at BJU.

    1. There is no indication at all from either Dr. Berg or BJU as an institution that they have moved beyond 1999 or, for that matter, 1959 or 1849.

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