The Circle of Strife

All of your criticism about my organization is invalid because…

You’re not part of my organization and therefore…

You’re not biblical because…

Only my organization (and others just like it) are biblical and so…

Only people inside my organization are qualified to judge problems in my organization and…

We all think it’s just fine.

Or to quote a young man from my Fundy U with whom I had a conversation earlier this week:

I shouldn’t be having this conversation with you. But not because of what other may think or because of my standing but because this whole thing…is unprofitable and unedifying. I honestly believe that Christ is not being honored through this. How you and the other authors are going about sending your message is through bitterness, spite, and down right unbiblical. When it comes down to it, its really a issue of the heart. So I sorry you feel this way, but again I believe your going about it the wrong way. I’ll be praying for you.

If you can’t find a way to attack the message, attack the messenger’s tone. But whatever you do, don’t actually listen.

185 thoughts on “The Circle of Strife”

  1. If you were IN the organization, you wouldn’t criticize it.

    If you aren’t in the organization, your criticism doesn’t count.

    Nice way to avoid any accountability at all.

    1. Accountability, accountab…
      Now-now, we all know that Independent autonomous groups like this are only accountable to god and the M-O-g in their pulpit. (And it is so convenient that they are one in the same.) πŸ™„

    2. Unaccountable is a Baptist distinctive…ok they use the word “autonomy” which means self-rule, free from outside influence, but it means unaccountable…unless of course someone else is asking for the benefit of the doubt, then of course you are accountable to them for your departure from “the faith” by your embracing of neo-evangelicalism for speaking to someone outside the wire. The Baptist version of being autonomous or unaccountable is a one way street.

      Ignore the man behind the curtain and bow at the feet of Oz the great and terrible.

  2. Calling out people on their hypocrisy and on how they’ve strayed from what they claim to believe is unbiblical? Does Jesus know this? I mean, he didn’t exactly take the Pharisees into some private back room and have an off-the-record talk with them — he publicly mocked and humiliated them.

    The powerful can deal with being hated, but they cannot deal with being mocked.

    1. Macchiaveli said it is better (for power-building purposes) to be feared than loved.

      If people feel free to mock you, it’s a sign they don’t fear you sufficiently.

  3. “Heart issue”
    “Biblical fool”

    These people need to meet drug addicts, thieves, users and abusers, and charlatans to rightfully use these terms.

    O wait. Those would be issues within the organization.

    I do not think these people who use bitterness understand what the author of Hebrews meant.

    1. What do you mean “author of Hebrews”? Everybody knows the author of the letter is Paul. In my King James Bible it says at the top of the page “The Letter of Paul to the Hebrews.” That settles it!!

      1. My husband always reads me the Bible and explains it to me, so I’ve never seen that part. I better go ask him if that’s what it really says and what it really means. .. 😈

  4. A sixth of a butt cushion for me!

    Americans have this deeply-held belief that being “nice” and “positive” is more important than being honest.

    I’m really seeing this in action this week with all the dishonest eulogies for Margaret Thatcher, who spend her life doing Satan’s work until dementia overtook her.

    As some people have pointed out, the British news media, partisan as they usually are, are on the whole giving Thatcher’s legacy a more balanced appraisal than the U.S. media does. Here, Thatcher seems to be the beneficiary of her association with Ronald Reagan, whom our news outlets have never ceased to idolize. It was Reagan, more than anyone, who taught us that how you say something matter, not the truth or falsehood of what you say.

  5. ….and the famous “I’ll pray for you”…. Yeah, I bet you will. You will run me in the ground as soon as you can find some of the other Kool aide drinkers….and then you will all sit around and take things out of context and at the end my salvation will come I to question….

    Yeah, sadly, I was a Kool aide drinker at one time.

    1. The prayer will probably go something like, “Lord, don’t forget to smite this heathen properly.”

      But sure, if you want to pray for me, go ahead. Maybe it will do some good.

        1. From Family Guy, where the Pope confronts Stewie and Brian: “SMITE THEM!” (long pause) “He’sa cooking something up!” πŸ˜€

  6. These people all share the same brain.

    Unfortunately, that brain is (and always has been) powered by a low-watt bulb.

    Some people mangle the Bible for fun and personal profit. Some people physically and emotionally rape the young who have been entrusted to their care. These things are only wrong if they are done by Other People.

    But calling out those who do such things?

    Well, that’s not edifying. It is bitter, spiteful, and downright unbiblical.

    Sigh.

  7. You should feel honored Darrell. You’ve be brow beat with a classic: “You’re bitter, I’ll pray for you.”
    Classics don’t go out of style…right? πŸ™„

  8. The *ONLY* reason someone would write an e-mail or chat message like that is because what you’ve written makes them feel threatened in some way. The chain of standard responses, such as “you’re bitter” and “unbiblical” is about them and how they feel– not about you. If they were seriously wanting to change your mind or influence you they’d start by meeting you at least halfway, on neutral terms, instead of using loaded language.

    1. Yes, but be careful with that one. After all, most atheists I’ve come across claim to be so because of “reason.” God does call us to live by faith, not reason.

    1. It’s very hard to find anything that isn’t approved of somewhere in the Bible and disapproved of somewhere else in the Bible (especially if you ignore context), so it’s easy to say that almost anything is “Biblical.”

    2. Somewhere on the “Baptist Friends” website Darrell linked to on the SFL FB page yesterday, there was the claim, “If it’s Baptist, it’s Bible. If it’s Bible, it’s Baptist.” The arrogance is astounding.

  9. Let me read between the lines:

    I shouldn’t be having this conversation with you. But not because of what other may think — well, yes, it is because any whisper of association with an outsider like you could damage my reputation — or because of my standing (a reminder of who I am which you should respect) but because this whole thing makes me doubt and question what I’ve heard all my life. That makes it unedifying.

    I honestly believe that Christ is not being honored through this. Of course, I mean the Christ of my church not the Christ of the Bible, who called out Pharisees and whipped moneychangers out of the temple.

    How you and the other authors are going about sending your message is through bitterness, spite, and down right unbiblical, although I’m not going to actually prove anything from either your own words or the Bible. I’ll just make accusations.

    When it comes down to it, it’s really a issue of the heart, my own heart which secretly is afraid of your accusations. You CAN’T be right because that would undercut the entire basis of my life.

    So I’m sorry you feel this way (I won’t give you the benefit of acknowledging that you actually have facts or logic on your side, only those undependably vague “feelings”), but again — I say “again” because one can’t reprove a reprobate too many times — I believe you’re going about it the wrong way. In other words, even if your points are valid, I don’t like how you’re saying it, so I’ll utterly discount it.

    I’ll be praying for you. It’ll probably go something like this: “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this bitter ex-fundy.”

    1. Dear Pastor’s Wife:

      You wrote:

      ‘I shouldn’t be having this conversation with you. But not because of what other may think β€” well, yes, it is because any whisper of association with an outsider like you could damage my reputation β€” or because of my standing (a reminder of who I am which you should respect) but because this whole thing makes me doubt and question what I’ve heard all my life. That makes it unedifying.’

      I reply:

      From your opening words [I shouldn’t be having this conversation with you], I howled. That sounds EXACTLY like Peter on the doorstep of Cornelius’ household!

      I suspect that Peter checked over his shoulder several times to see who might be watching. And so it is today — for such reasons you name.

      BRAVO!

      Christian Socialist

  10. All I know is that if you throw a rock into a pack of dogs the one that yelps is the one that got it. Sounds to me that this comment hit a little too close to home!

  11. What torks me off the most about sanctimonious prattle like that is how condensending it is. If they are soooo, spiritual then why even engage in defending their pastor/position/organization? I mean shouldn’t they be more like Jesus before Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate?

    Phrases like: this whole thing…is unprofitable and unedifying, just ooze sanctimony and false piety. Then there’s: I honestly believe that Christ is not being honored through this. Because everything they do is otherwise Christ honoring to the extreme. πŸ™„

    And finally the smug, self-righteous piΓ¨ce de rΓ©sistance: I’ll be praying for you. Crushing, absolutely crushing to their heathen opponent. The use of the “I’ll be praying for you” is the coup de grace of all fundie arguments, and once played gives the user the spiritual high ground.

    Well, played Pharisee, well played.

    1. “I ‘honestly believe'”…that pegged my BS meter as well. It is a typically fundy euphemism that really translates to “I don’t believe”. Seriously, is there a way to “dishonestly believe”? One day Darrell should publish a fundy dictionary/list of euphemisms.

      1. It’s always a red flag when somebody has to tell you how honest they are.
        They might be telling the truth, but the probability of that drops precipitously with such disclaimers.

    2. Re “sanctimonious prattle”: Whenever I encounter this sort of stuff (and believe me, it’s notlimited to the IFB), I can’t help thinking of The Dog Bartholomew.

      The Dog Bartholomew is a Scottie who figures in several of P.G. Wodehouse’s classic, funny Bertie-and-Jeeves novels. Wodehouse gets great comic mileage out of Bartholomew’s bushy eyebrows, which apparently give the obnoxious pooch the appearance of “a Scots elder rebuking the sins of the people.” Bertie Wooster is always commenting on how Bartholomew keeps shooting him an offensively sanctimonious look, as if about to ask him whether he is saved.

      It’s a riot.

      And now, when someone slings pious-schmious sanctimony at me, I just picture him/her as The Dog Bartholomew. Good times. Woof! :mrgreen:

        1. It may be off-topic, but it’s one heck of a great story. Thanks, big Gary.

          Yep, dogs rule. Even Scotties. πŸ˜†

      1. It has been my distinct joy and honor to introduce many to the delights of P.G. Wodehouse. The books are fantastic, and so is the A&E series starring Hugh Laurie and Steven Frye.

        Back when A&E still produced quality programming.

        1. Just this past week I recommended both the books and series. It may be time to watch them again
          myself.

        2. I always feel honored and privileged to encounter fellow Wodehouse fanatics. Wodehouse, like Jeeves, stands alone. :mrgreen:

        3. Some years ago, my sister came to visit us in Germany. We drove to Salzburg, and I handed her “Weekend Wodehouse.” She laughed the entire five-hour drive to Salzburg, and back again.

          Upon her return to the States, she checked the A&E series out from the library to watch with her husband, who has a hard time sitting still for five minutes. He finally, begrudgingly, agreed to watch one episode with her.

          “Just one. No more!”

          At the end of the first episode, he refused to look at her.

          “Wellllll…maybe one more.”

          Three hours later, she finally shut it off so they could go to bed.

          Wonderful stuff.

        4. Random synchronicity – my wife and I are watching that series (again). The books are some of my all-time favorite. Wodehouse had such a way with words (“She had a laugh like a cavalry brigade clattering over a tin bridge.”)

        5. She laughed the entire five-hour drive to Salzburg, and back again.

          Yes!!! Wodehouse Forever! πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚ πŸ˜†

    3. I say; Call his bluff. When he gives you the “I’ll be praying for you” line, say; “Great, please do so right now, while I’m listening.”

      The next words that you hear (or don’t hear) should be quite revealing. (Think about it… he’s instantly confronted with his own attitude.)

  12. It’s always irked me that the word “edifying” has come to support the implication (in many Christian circles, not just fundy ones) that self-reflection, criticism, and even “judgment” are ALWAYS bad.

    I live in Norman, Oklahoma, and for the past four years, Barry Switzer’s daughter has been building a house that has become something of a local legend. While the house is palatial, it’s not something that should have taken that many years to build. But those of us who live close by have observed that what is taking so long is that they are being beyond picky about the quality of every last detail. Several times we have driven by to see previously-installed stonework or woodwork or other construction removed and the builders replacing it with something new and improved.

    Now, setting aside the ridiculousness and hyper-materialism represented by Mr. Switzer’s daughter’s house, I think that house represents in an odd way what “edification” means in the Biblical sense: we don’t stop working on something until it is “perfect.” We aren’t content with how things are and we don’t accept that shoddy construction or a poorly-erected facade is good enough. Saying that there is room for improvement is not “unedifying.”

    (Of course, there is also the hypocrisy of fundies saying that criticism is “unedifying” when they are the masters of criticism and judgment. But that just fits into the “it’s a sin when YOU do it, not when WE do it” mantra that undergirds most of fundamentalism. Because, as we all know, a bedrock tenet of fundamentalism is that believing that something is wrong and condemning it in others means that I don’t have to worry about my own shortcomings in that area.)

  13. Darrell, at least you can be happy that this young man is receiving a top-notch, “world class” education at his Fundy U. I mean, if I could write like that, I just don’t know what I would even do with myself. Probably be a best-selling author with a National Book Award. The avant-garde grammar and spelling alone was breathtaking.

    See . . . it’s so easy to be edifying if you just try. πŸ˜‰

    1. I had thoughts along those same lines. This is a college student? Maybe English is his/her second language? I tutor a lot of first year writers, but this had even me shaking my head.

  14. I think we are looking at the dark underbelly of glurge, of “How DARE you not feel uplifted and/or shamed at all the nice words I’m saying. How DARE you not be moved by my platitudes and polemics.” 😑
    Certainly all the misspellings and poor grammar put it right in the same orchard as glurge.

  15. The tone argument is an automatic loss when used by the people in power or their followers. I also read at a board where people who have been harmed by the current culture surrounding pregnancy and birth in the US tell their stories. An OB posted in response. After people told story after story of being bullied, physically injured, and sometimes literally almost killed by care providers (seriously–‘damn your allergies, this is the standard medication’ has been posted more than once), he responded plaintively that we weren’t being nice. I do believe the word “bitter” was in there too.

    Same result: automatic loss.

      1. MSK, if you are reporting that something is wrong, you don’t have to be nice. If you are protecting yourself, you don’t have to be nice. If you are protesting abuse of power, you don’t have to be nice. Ever!

        1. Shame, shame, you have violated maybe the BIGGEST rule for Fundy wimmenfolk, that is, “Thou shalt ALWAYS be Nice, at all times, without exception, no matter the circumstances.” This ranks right up there with “Submit!” as one of the ironclad rules for any woman of Fundistan. πŸ‘Ώ

        2. Wellllll…

          I wouldn’t go that far. I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. I will work extra hard to be gracious to the graceless. But when they push too far, when they prove themselves to be fools who will not listen to counsel or to the Bible…

          I still try answer softly. But sometimes, I just gotta blast ’em. There are some magic words that set my blood to boiling. The “bitter” card is right up at the top of the list.

    1. No, I was wrong: he didn’t use the word “bitter.” However, he did flounce, while actually using the phrase “take my ball and go home.”

      Stuff Fundies Like: The same tactics as any other emperor who feels a draft around his hinder.

      1. I must ask where you picked up the term “flounce” from… I’m curious as to whether it’s the same place I got it from! (Regretsy? Perhaps we should adopt a policy of Fundy Flounce Cats here as well…)

      2. It’s widespread internet slang AFAICT. For those who haven’t seen it before, it’s a common technique of the loser in an online debate: announcing that everybody else is mean/stupid/deluded/damned/whatever and so the poster is leaving RIGHT NOW. The poster may still hang around and argue, however.

        The non-flouncy response is just to quit posting, or say, “I can’t continue this” without any implication of “You all suck” and then quit posting.

        1. On another site we call them Hotel California posters. They are always checking out but they never leave.

        2. Hotel California … That’s good!

          We’ve seen that phenomenon on SFL, too.

          Not naming names … not naming names … I’m not naming names …

      1. Tone is nigh impossible to know in most Internet dialog. The very idea of “tone” is tightly linked to sound, which makes its application to literature very speculative. Add to that the fact most Internet comments are very, very short. And add to that the common practice of educated persons of consciously trying to write in a neutral tone.

        But if you can’t argue with what a person actually says in plain English then you can always pretend to know their emotional state, intentions, subtle implications, etc., in hopes of derailing the conversation.

    1. Take any number of groups of people who are “convicted” that they and only they have The Truth, remove all checks and balances on the power of the leaders, teach the followers that logic and reasoned inquiry are sinful, order them to believe assorted counterfactual things on pain of destruction, and stir in a heaping helping of paranoia, and they will all come out about the same–even if each group is also “convicted” that all of the other groups are Hellbound.

      1. I remember growing up and wondering, at the end, how God is going to handle and separate and distinguish “us” from everyone else.,.,cause there was no doubt in my mind, from what I was being told, that “we” were right and eeeeveryone else was wrong….

        1. Try this thought experiment:

          Suppose God loves everybody, with no exceptions, and intends good for everyone?

          What then?

        2. One of the many verses I never heard in Fundyland was Jeremiah 29:11:

          ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity; to give you a future and a hope.’

  16. Going back to the topic here, well growing up in an Independent, fundamental, KJV only, blah blah blah environment, I cannot help but sincerely feel bad for this person and their outlook on “church” and their lack of biblical guidance….

  17. So if a church or organization puts limits on how or if they receive rebuke, I am wondering if they are even open to biblical rebuke, or rebuke from God Himself. Jesus rebuke several of the churches of Asia, and Paul outlined in I Tim. 5:19-21 the process for rebuking elders. And Jesus ripped his apostles frequently while He was on earth. What makes modern pulpitcrats think they’re beyond rebuke? Inquiring minds want to know!

  18. This is one of the reasons I’ve completely avoided discussing my reasons for leaving fundyism with my parents. There’s no reason to – it’s impossible for them to even consider what I have to say.

    1. That’s probably wise of you.

      I’m willing to talk about such things with people who want to actually listen to me and discuss the issues, but if all they want to do is condemn me, there’s not much point.

    2. Hey Mag,
      Since I’ve left that way of life not too long ago, I have had two or three messages from old friends (and I do love and miss them) just to “talk.”
      I am hesitant now to entertain such a thing, only because of what you point out clearly. I know their games… It’s – what – they – do…
      Why escape such wickedness just to go back and entertain it again? … no thanks

      1. Yeah, thankfully we moved out of fundystan in steps so we still have our friends from our last [non-fundy] Baptist church we attended. To family though, we’re pretty much irrevecably backsliden. 😈

  19. I’m kind of torn about this post.

    On one hand, Jesus told us to judge righteous judgement; this involves testing things by the Bible and being critical where they are not following the Bible. People who claim that this is “not edifying” are themselves not following the Bible to seek the truth. We see this all the time in the people who have good memories of Hyles-Anderson college and Jack Hyles, and refuse to examine honestly the harm he did to Christianity.

    At the same time, many people have a distaste for those that ONLY sit back and find fault and criticize. The perception may be that people posting on here are not doing anything positive to glorify Jesus Christ and are merely finding fault. (I am NOT saying that such a charge is true, but I have seen such charges levied against people who point out problems). Let’s just make sure that we don’t degenerate into people who do nothing in life but complain and find fault.

    1. – you can’t fix the problems with any organisation (let alone the IFB) without pointing them out

      – I was going to say that it is impossible to fix the problems within the IFB because of the insulation that the IFB employs, which is categorised by the above post. However, we have seen a little change. BJU inviting GRACE to investigate their past allegations of abuse is one example of how mostly online activism has lead to a change for the better.

      – The problems within fundyville can be very serious. Even just the spiritual and emotional abuse, the endless rules, etc. can lead to people leaving the christianity altogether. But the serious criminal sexual and physical abuses that seem to be epidemic within the movement CANNOT continue to be kept quiet. To stay quiet about such things is evil.

      – We may not be able to make much difference within fundyville, but we can promote positive change without its walls. I was devastated by some of the more serious abuses within fundyville; SFL gave me support and caring when I was down to where I was able to start to heal. SFL serves to warn those who could be caught within the trap of fundamentalism, as well as to help pick up the pieces for those who have been harmed. This is positive.

      1. Also, off the top of my head, I recall one time Darrell made a post about a hymn he enjoyed. Another time, he featured a youtube video that highlighted a fundy mom playing a video game with her kids, and as far as I recall it got nothing but positive comments. He did a big special on the work that World Vision is doing in the world. All positive stuff.

        The focus of this blog, however, is fundamentalism, and there just isn’t a whole lot of positive to share about that.

    2. I’m all for pointing out the flaws; it is necessary, it should be done; especially for the egregious violation like Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap.

      I was just saying that I need to make sure that my life is not consumed in criticism and fault-finding; I need to be doing something to help advance God’s kingdom.

      1. I agree Guilt, but to be fair, when I was fundy, I was programmed to be negative, judgmental, and condemnatory. It has taken me years to get to a place where I can have balance. But, SFL usually sees the critical part of the balance due to the subject matter πŸ˜‰

        1. Again, I agree… it’s just easy (at least for me) to do nothing but sit back and criticize another person’s efforts, and find fault with everything (and there are certainly some people like this). It’s not enough to know the sins and failings of every IFB pastor in the nation; at some point, I should put forth some effort for good.

          Criticism is far more effective when it is backed up with good works (but even if it not, it is still true).

          One of the things that I despised about a former church was that if you tried to criticize, the leadership had a plan to shut you up – they would claim:
          1-You’re not going soul-winning (but if you were)
          2-You’re not tithing (but if you were-BIFW)
          3-You’re not giving offerings about the tithe (BIFW)
          4-You’re not going soul-winning as much as the people you are criticizing (BIYW)
          5-You’re not seeing anyone saved

          It quite effectively ignored the truth of the criticism and turned it into an attack on the criticizer.

        2. Yes. The “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” School of Christian Leadership.

          I would LOVE to leave Indy-Fundyville behind and get involved in good Christian ministry again. In my town, there is no other church to attend. My parents are stuck in Fundyville because my dad is too old to find a job elsewhere. My in-laws won’t ever leave Fundyville. So, Fundyville has a huge impact on my life, even though I abandoned its teachings in favor of what the Bible actually says, lo these twenty years ago.

          I have no ministry in a church anymore, because the Indy Fundies are scared to death of me. All we can do is invite people to the house and have a Music Evening, if anyone is willing to come over without getting the MOG’s approval first. We hope that things will improve soon, as soon as I lose my job and we move to a new town.

      2. Agreed.

        Pointing out the institutional failings of the “church” is a VITAL part of “advancing the kingdom.” Jesus did quite a lot of it himself. What better example to follow?

        I suspect that SFL is not the main point of effort in anyone’s life, unless someone of us is a VERY slow typist.

        1. I agree, I think – I don’t have anyone in mind, but I know in my own heart it is very easy to just fault-find.

          A simple case: we know that God has commanded us not to forsake assembling together – I don’t think that means “don’t miss any service”, as many pastors are fond of saying. “Forsake” means to renounce or to give up. Some people, as a result of the spiritual/emotional/physical trauma they’ve suffered have forsaken assembling together, and just criticize churches. This is just simple, but my post was a reminder (more to myself, perhaps, than to anyone here) that I need to do what God wants me to do, regardless of the faults in others.

          SFL has been a good family to me, and the emotional support I’ve received has been very helpful.

        2. Cool!

          Some of us have little to no Christian fellowship outside of websites like this one. So, in the Electronic Age, those of us who have been cast aside by the “church” can fellowship with other believers (and other questioners) and build each other up even if we never meet face-to-face. I have http://www.biblegateway.org open in another window, and I can pull up all sorts of great Christian music on Youtube.

          Virtual church.

          And I don’t have some MOG trying to require me to wear a suit and tie in order to enter into full fellowship.

  20. Since we know the English corrects the ancient Biblical languages, I ran his screed through Google translate from English to Hebrew to Greek to Latin and back to English. Here’s what I got (with a few minor edits for translational clarity, kind of like the post-1611 updates to the King James which are okay because they totally didn’t happen . . . and, yes, Google translate came up with the word “thinketh” all by itself):

    There is therefore no need that this thing is come upon you. But, not as any other man thinketh, perhaps, for the sake of a person, but for the sake of this … it is useful but not constructive. I believe that Christ is truly observed. How do you go round about the writers and the rest of your message, however, by the drool and the right bible. When the time is come, it really is of the heart. For me, then, you feel miserable, but because they want it badly do you think she had it often. I will pray for you.

  21. Let’s all get into debates with fundies and making a drinking game out of it. The shot glass trigger words are “edifying” and “bitter”. Last man/woman standing gets to preach the next sermon.

  22. He spews venom out of his mouth when he says “I will pray for you” … obviously motivated by how highly he thinks of himself.

    Reminds me of Luke 18

    9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 β€œTwo men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: β€˜God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, β€˜God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  23. The irony is that they refuse to acknowledge your fundy creds. You may have been raised by missionaries, gone to Christian school or fundy U, been an IFB deacon or pastor, been a fundy camp counselor or bus captain — none of it matters. They dismiss it all.

    Perhaps they’re afraid that you DO have a point which is why they dismiss you for tone instead of interacting with your actual statements.

    1. Yes, that is the maddening thing. Too often I’ve heard “Oh, you don’t go to a fundamentalist church now? Then you have no business talking about us.”

      As if somehow the things learned in the first 25 years of my life were completely inconsequential.

        1. If I had a dollar for every time I heard/read a Fundy say “But my (totally Fundy) church is not like that!”

        2. If your church is not like that, and you’re glad it isn’t, then why defend the churches that are like that?

    2. I had this text pulled on me recently…

      1John2
      18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

      Of course, it was king james English.

      1. Oh yeah, the Infamous Code 1John2:19. Whenever anyone leaves the fold for whatever reason they are coded as 1John2:19. I can remember sever very vivid conversation where this text was used to codify families who had left the congregation. (and yes, to my shame, I have participated in too many of those backstabbing, black-balling, reputation rending gab fests) πŸ™

      2. My response to that is a hearty HEY-men! I did go out from among you because I was not like you, and I can’t think of a compliment that would warm my heart more.

    3. The reason for the attacks is that they can’t use the standard boilerplate fundy answers about the world not understanding, blah, blah.

      Many of us here know whereof we speak…its damning and they know it at least subconsciously.

      Fundamentalism is full of warped frustrated young men (who are imitating the older ones)like this who are so wrapped up in maintaining a feeling of certainty that they must be right that they don’t care how much cognitive dissonance they have to embrace in order to fend off any self-doubt.

      1. Discomfort with uncertainty is a key feature of fundamentalism of whatever creed.

        My father used to say that Fundamentalists are people who want “easy answers to hard questions.”

  24. Slightly off topic, but the phrase “I’m sorry you feel this way” is the most condescending, uncaring bit of psychobabble ever inflicted on humankind. No one who says that is ever sorry or has ever attempted to understand whatever it is that they are quickly dismissing. That phrase is nothing more than a “polite” sounding means to dismiss someone’s pain, concerns, or opinions.

    1. I agree. It kind of sounds like an apology even though it isn’t. It is right up there with “I’m sorry you got your feelings hurt” on my list of non-apologies.

  25. I guess I don’t understand how anyone can say anything is biblical or unbiblical. It’s like people think the Bible is some sort of technical manual or maybe like the teacher’s edition of an algebra book that has all the answers in it.

    Calling something unbiblical sounds like another way to say “I don’t like that” to me at times.

    1. This reminds me of when I taught in Christian school and the algebra teacher had made all of her classroom rules “biblical”. She had attached verses (aka proof texts) to each one. Including one for why you must use a pencil to do algebra. I so wish I could remember what random out of context Bible verse she claimed proved that.

      1. The pencil thing makes a loopy kind of sense, esp if most students keep messing up the figures. πŸ™‚
        Ecclesiates 12:12 “… and much study is a weariness of the flesh,” has got to be one most students know very very well. :mrgreen:

        1. Ecclesiates 12:12 β€œβ€¦ and much study is a weariness of the flesh,” has got to be one most students know very very well.

          Bwahahahaha.

          I think that’s my older son’s motto.

  26. What if you agree with the message? Can you attack the tone then?

    I was having this exact conversation today, talking to someone about how many Christians don’t get their message across because it’s MEAN.

    You agree, because you’ve posted such posts here.

    Can’t the same apply here? Can’t someone take you to task for your tone without you calling them out on your blog? Whatever their words, they were apparently trying to point something out to you.

    Instead, you mock their wording.

    I agree with many things at this blog, but the tone is often horrendous, especially in the comments. To deny this is just as bad as the denying that happens in the IFB movement.

    1. I think it’s mainly the comments. Darrel does a good job of presenting things with a good tone. But God forbid you try to say something good about an IFB church/movement/pastor in the comments. The reactions range from mockery to ridicule to outright verbal abuse most of the time. (I’m not talking about responding to obvious Poe’s).

      It is sad that so many commenters fail to realize they are guilty of so many of the very things they accuse fundies of – hypocrisy, arrogance, self-righteousness, etc.

      1. There will never, ever be ONE tone from the commenters here. Our beliefs are all over the board from literal Bible-believer to atheist. We also have had different experiences: some of us have fond memories and relatively positive experiences in the IFB while others were abused and then ostracized by their churches. Another factor is how long people have been out. Sometimes people who have never been able to protest the injustice they’ve seen are so eager to speak out that they do so intensely. Other people have been out for a while and they have mellowed more.

        Because of all this, you cannot expect one consistent type of tone from SFL, at least from the comments.

        1. Precisely.

          I find it absurd to lament the “tone” with which someone criticizes rape, molestation, fraud, and spiritual abuse. These things should be condemned in the harshest possible “tone.”

          If there were any indication of repentance for these horrific behaviors by these miscreants and their deluded followers, I could see a point in entending grace. But the grace has been extended repeatedly, to no effect, and now it is time to make ourselves a bullwhip and go flip some tables.

      2. In 15+ years of being around the ex-fundy Interwebs I can say that blogs or forums that treat dissenters or critics politely are the exception to the rule. You can get mad, you can accept it for what it is, or you can decide to go somewhere else. But you cannot change it. Kind of like being an independent Baptist: your choices are to deal with it or leave.

        I’ve never seen a group of ex-Fundamentalists moderate their “tone” because someone called them out, regardless of how polite or how sanctimonious they were in doing so.

        1. 15+ YEARS?!

          Wow, are you a veteran. I was one of the “Stewing Silenced” from roughly 1992 until maybe 2009. I never knew the Interwebs had such sites. When I found them, my explosion was volcanic. I have mellowed already, to some people’s surprise who didn’t hear me at the beginning and cannot make the comparison.

          PW is right, as she so often is. We do mellow. But the memories haven’t had time to fade, and the continued misbehavior of the Indy Fundies is so outrageous, that explosions still occur even after a period of relative calm…though with decreasing frequency for most.

          You cannot rush someone through the Cycle of Grief. It is extremely arrogant (or ignorant, at the very least) to think you have the right to try. The best thing to do is to walk with the person as they work their way through it. It’s messy, and it’s painful, and it’s not attractive, but it’s necessary. And they will love you for it in the end.

        2. Most people do mellow over time, if only because being angry is so exhausting. But primarily, I think, because we move on and have a harder time caring about things, places, and people we’ve left in the past. However, most still lurk around because there’s nowhere else we can find people who actually understood what we went through.

        3. About “cycles of grief.” I think many refugees from Fundamentalism do need to go through such a cycle. But an equally large number really don’t have much to grieve. The angry behavior was ingrained in them while the were Fundamentalist. Beliefs are more easily shed than patterns of behavior. It usually takes an intentional effort to stop behaving like a verbally abusive, manipulative, angry Fundamentalist.

    2. Dice, so you’re saying you agree with the message but not the tone of fundamentalists? Or perhaps you think the critics here agree with the message but not the tone?

      Then my dear Dice, I suggest you look a little more closely at what exactly the fundamentalist message is.

      It isn’t just the “tone”. It’s the message too. It’s the terrible hamartiology, the arrogance, the misogyny, and the abusiveness. The “tone” may be the first thing that is off-putting, but keep digging. It’s only the beginning.

        1. That’s the same field that george is in.
          He specializes in pastoral extractions where either the pastor’s own head has become vapor locked in place or some deacon, staff member or ass. pastor is in deeper than is recommended in the Sycophant Manual and Insertion Guide.

    1. I hadn’t thought about it being a paraphrase.

      It sounds so arrogant – “I can’t be seen (or heard) talking to you because of ‘my standing.'” In what? My fundy community? Important people will look down on me? These important people will think I’m like you? Oh, no!

      It sound so much like the people criticizing Jesus for eating with the tax-collectors and sinners. Oh, wait – wasn’t it the tax-collector who actually got saved in the story captain_solo alluded to?

    1. @ Paul Best: Well said! (Never argue with an idiot… He will drag you down to his own level, and win with experience)

      This is the point I was trying to make in an earlier post – If you “call their bluff” when they say “I’ll pray for you” by responding, “thanks, pray for me now”, the prayer itself will reveal what kind of fool you’re dealing with.

      For example, if he prays that God would open your eyes to show you how wrong you are, this is the fool who doesn’t benefit from further discussion; “answer not a fool according to his own folly, lest you become like him”. If he prays that God would work in his own heart as well as yours so that truth and grace and mercy would prevail, then further discussion/ debate may be worthwhile; “Answer a fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own eyes”.

      At least, that’s the way I see it…

  27. False equivalency alert!

    Some of the previous posters are saying that what happens on SFL is just as bad as what goes on in fundy churches. I just could not let that false equivalency slide by unchallenged.
    SFL is not the same as a fundy church. If you quit posting on SFL you will not be condemned to hell, there is no “prayer list” to gossip about you and you are generally welcome back.
    This site basically shines a light on fundy foibles using humor. It has been a great help to me. Sometimes the comments go over the line and are mean. I have been guilty of posting a few of those myself, especially when I was fresh out of the compound a few years ago. This is a place to heal and vent.
    To compare this site to fundy churches is just ridiculous. No one on SFL has raped any children, stolen money, awarded phony degrees or abused anyone spiritually. Instead, we point that out and condemn it in the way that makes the bullies most angry: through mockery. We point out that they fail to live up to their own exacting standards.
    In other words:
    “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
    But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,”

    I don’t think anyone here at SFL thinks they are God’s only hope for humanity. I have yet to meet a fundy who didn’t think that of himself.

      1. Honestly, and from the heart, I feel sorry for this Fundy U student. To be so psychologically convinced that you are spiritually better than someone that you condescend to them and try to come off as “spiritual” by saying “I’ll pray for you,” makes me think that there may not be any hope for this kid.

        1. You’d be surprised who there is hope for. No legalist is too big for the grace of God. Trust me on that one. πŸ˜‰

  28. I would have been that student at one time. I truly was a pharisee among the pharisees. Only later, did I realize that while I was keeping all the commandments of fundamentalism, my leaders were using their speaking engagement money to hire prostitutes and explore every sexual vice.

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