Friday Challenge: Unfinished Business

Zhongxian Changjiang Bridge building

Today’s Friday challenge is think back to something that was left undone in fundamentalism. That thing you always wanted to do and somehow never did. That thing you wanted to say and never found the right time. The dream that never quite came to pass.

What’s your unfinished business?

178 thoughts on “Friday Challenge: Unfinished Business”

  1. Holy moly!
    Now I have to go to work and don’t have time to post a real comment. But oooh, believe you me, I’ve got a doozy of a list for this one. I shall return.

      1. Criminy! 😳 Yep, it’s sort of a theme for me.

        After thinking about this today, I’ve realized that the things I wish I could have done differently, I really *couldn’t* have. Because I was a child, and worse, a girl–pretty much at the bottom of the food chain in fundyland. This is actually a very freeing realization.

        So now I’m not really sure I have any regrets, because I did what I had to do in order to survive until I could escape (played along, kept my rebellion as low key as possible). But I do have fantasies about what it would be like to go back and stand up to them now, as an adult. Call them out on their bullying, misogyny, legalism, secondary separation, dominionism, and fear-mongering. Report them to the authorities for the physical and sexual abuse. And dammit, get some real wine for communion. I think that would improve things immensely.

      1. Wrong usage in what way? I think the original distinction was between biology and anatomy (sex) and the social construct of masculine and feminine that establishes social norms and stereotypes. Couldn’t both be considered proper usage in this case? In their minds she may have been the wrong sex, but that determination was based primarily on their opinion of gender roles.

        1. “Male” and “female” are the sexes that God has created. I understood the OP to mean that she couldn’t lead singing because she was not a man. This is the wrong sex, in strict usage, not wrong gender.

          It is very common today to replace “sex” with “gender” just to avoid any naughty connotations with “sex”, I suppose. “Gender roles” is widely used, but makes me cringe; it should be “sex roles” — “gender” describes words in grammar.

        2. Wow, I go do fun stuff for a few days and miss a whole kerfluffle. I’m so disappointed. 😉

          Lead singing? I think there’s some confusion with a subsequent conversation. A wrangler works with horses. I’m trying to imagine getting horses to sing, and it’s quite funny, however.

          I had no idea there were such strong feelings on the usage of sex vs. gender, and on looking it up it appears that usage has evolved. And it is moderately consistent with the stricter senses as well. /shrug

        3. Also, as someone in the medical field, I’m giggling like a schoolgirl at the notion that I’m too embarrassed to use naughty words in public.


        4. I’m fortunate enough to have one, so I can be used by God. I’m sorry for your lot in life. 🙂

        5. I’d probably use the word “gender” just because I try to avoid saying “sex”.

  2. When we were in Full-Time Christian Ministry ™, I wanted to lead singing & my husband wanted to play piano. However, our gender roles demanded we serve in our areas of weakness rather than our strengths.

    1. Posted too soon! I wish I could go back & tell the church that it was stupid for us to stress over & dread the song services because it was taboo for a woman to lead singing. If God gifted my husband with impeccable accompanying & improvisation ability on the piano & He gifted me with a good singing voice and a complete lack of fear of public speaking and singing, shouldn’t we be able to use our gifts?

      1. Pffft. Dontcha know how this works? Peter approaches the throne and says, “There’s this person down there who wants to sing your praises and help others do so – and boy do they need help!” And God responds, “Does it have a vagina?”

        At least, that’s how I always picture it in my mind…

        1. You know, Dr. F, that’s kind of how I imagine it going down with women called to preach, too!

          St. Peter: Hey, Lord? There’s a person down there who wants nothing more than to share your Good News with everyone.
          God: That’s great. I will bless his endeavors.
          St. Peter: …it’s a her.
          God: Oh. Well, in that case, tell her to sit down & shut up.


  3. Even though there was much to dislike about the church, I did meet some amazing people, and God used the time in there to teach me many things.

    Having said that, I wish I had been brave enough to have stood up to the wrongs things that I knew about: the financial irregularities, the exaltation of the pastor, and the character assassination of people who left. (I later learned that the ones attacked the most were those who knew that the pastor was helping himself to church funds).

    Instead, we left quietly when we moved, but I’ve always wondered if God would have had us create a fuss.

        1. We are on a plane? Is that why people keep throwing peanuts at me? I thought I must be at the zoo.

        2. Well, we were originally a boat, complete with oars for the galley slaves, but Scorpio insisted on flying a plane!

        3. Wait…when did we board a plane? 😯

          And more importantly, does it have beverage service?

        4. Of course, Yes, we have beverage service. Adult beverage service.

          Buckle up, the captain sips while flying! 😯

          12 hrs bottle to throttle doesn’t apply here.

        5. I use the motto “12 bottles before throttle”.

          You really have nothing to worry about until you hear me say “watch this”.

        6. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, First Officer Mandy here. Just to let you know, we’re making our final approach now into what I am fairly sure is SFL airfield…unless it’s a farm…or just possibly the A45. It’s not the sea, because that’s blue. I should perhaps explain that Captain Scorpio and I have a sportsman-like little bet on today about who can fly the best after drinking a litre of Vodka through a straw. The Captain went first. You may have noticed the takeoff run was a little bumpy, particularly over the golf course. Now it’s me to land, just as soon as I decide, which of these two runaways to aim for. And I’m happy to tell you that I feel lucky. So on behalf of all your crew today, may I just say, geronimo!” 😆 (don’t mind me)

  4. In our area many of the public schools are dropping their music programs, and the fundie academies and home schools in fundieland have absolutely zero music programs.

    I wanted to start a music academy where we could have various music teachers (voice, piano, brass, woodwind, strings, no drums though) use the church facilities to be able to teach not only their students but to give the availability for people in the church to have access to this resource (for a fee of course).

    The idea was quickly shot down and never given another glance by the mog. I had a church member yell at me in the parking lot telling me how I was trying to turn the church into a “den of thieves”. According to him, it is un-biblical for someone to charge for music lessons if it was going to be used in church.

    Shortly thereafter we left and the new church we have joined has just started this very same concept (except they have classes for drums and other forms of worship as well) and it is getting ready to launch later in August.

    Looking back, I’m glad this plan didn’t succeed under the the fundies as it would have 1) been a flop after people who came found out what the IFB was about (skirts, tithing, and bus routes — oh my!), and 2) it would have forced so many unsuspecting people to adhere to the fundie ways, limiting their growth.

    1. Music Academies are great ideas. We used this concept for fund for a full time music director. We really didn’t have the church funds to pay for a full time music director and we didn’t want the quality that a part time position would attract. So we found some good talent and said the church could fund part of your salary and we will help you to operate a music academy. This would allow you to impact the community, have a fairly nice salary, and provide enough fulfillment of leading an organization than just teaching lessons in your home. It has really flourished and has added drama and other activities.

  5. This is a tough one.

    Perhaps my unfinished business is the desire for unqualified acceptance. I found that when I needed understanding the most, when I needed help the most, what met me was disapproval and pain instead of love and help.

    I am naturally an introvert anyway, and this pretty much put a halt to any real friendships, other than one or two.

    Of course, realizing the lack of spiritual and moral power in fundamentalism helped me get free of it.

  6. Probably my biggest regret is the friendships I left unfinished rather than facing the confrontation I knew would come. I just kind of ran away from it all, and I wish I had at least given some of my closer friends a chance.

  7. my unfinished business involves an adult I trusted and was very close to throughout my life in fundamentalism. This person held prominent roles in my church and was like a parental figure to me. He had long ago left the clutches of Hyles Anderson college and First Baptist of Hammond and found another church in the area, the one I attended growing up.
    About five years later, after I moved away from the area and moved on with my life, I heard that he had been ostracized from the church because of some vaguely specified “sin” in his past (roughly 30 years ago). He is in his late 60’s now, single, and is having to find a new church home and new friends. Oh, and his dad died the month this all happened.
    I am disgusted and mortified by the sin he appears to have committed (I only have vague piece of information to go by, but it seems to involve inappropriate conduct with high school students). On the other hand, I can only imagine what secret evil I myself might have participated in if I, like he, had grown up under the oppression of the Hyles regime. Such an environment breeds inner tension and beats down upon one’s soul.
    My unfinished business is to go to his house when I go back to the area to visit and give him a hug. The only thing keeping me from doing it is the fact that I don’t want to see him broken and alone.

      1. I went to DBC. I think we’re talking about the same person.
        If you have any more information, please let me know. I have experienced confusion, hurt, and conflicting facts over this. My gut tells me that sins from the distant past should be left in the past. But of course, I don’t know that the sins are past. I only know the person I thought I knew for a long, long time.

  8. 1. Streak on the campus of BJU.

    2. Pee on the statue of Jack Hyles.

    3. Drive through the PCC campus with my windows open blasting some “unapproved” music.

    4. Punch Ray Young in the mouth.

    5. Kick Dave Hyles in the jewels.

    6. Go back and tell a bunch of little bus kids that “prayed the prayer” that they really aren’t Christ followers and introduce them to Jesus for real this time.

    7. Apologize to a bunch of good folks I haven’t been able to track down yet for my self-righteous obnoxious attitude.

    8. Write a book on what I really know about the “inside” of fundamentalism.

    9. Personal shoot a Wurlitzer organ just to hear it die.

    10. Locate one of those cool pens that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones had in MIB and look directly at it while setting it off so that I can erase all my memories of those years.

    Bonus Item: Find out if Bob Jones, Jr. was really gay as I suspected and many rumored him to be.

    1. I know a guy who worked janitorial in the administration building at BJU. He told a story about pissing on Senior’s grave in the Bridge of Nations Fountain.

  9. Scorp is a scamp! Some things never change. He would find a way to make culottes “fun.”

    Flight attendants should still be called stewardesses and should still wear skirts, haymen? :mrgreen:

    **My unfinished business: Asking for uniforms for our Christian school and being denied. Why? Not sure, I couldn’t ever get a straight answer. My suspicion, too catholic!!** But, I never even mentioned plaid ❗

        1. It was from this post:

          Unfortunately the video is no longer on youtube apparently due to copyright infringement. It’s from what turned out to be a Branson, Missouri comedian that has a routine about church where instead of saying “Hallelujah” he yelled “honolulu” and then followed it up with “I wanna go there”. From the post I think the comedians stage name is “Bro Cecil” or something along those lines and you may be able to find a performance of that act still on youtube.

        2. Scary thing is, I know a guy who used to be an evangelist who preached exactly like this, right down to the hanky. (Can I say ‘hanky’? Or do I need to separate from that word?) He never looked quite like a used-car salesman the way this guy does but the mannerisms are eerily alike.

  10. ok, you inspired me to think big 😀

    If we’re talking mere wish-fulfillment, my short list would include:
    1. Crashing my own graduation ceremony at BJU. The one they wouldn’t allow me to attend (but instead mailed me a DVD of the ceremony). Going on stage wearing pants. Commandeering the microphone where graduates give their testimonies. Giving a “testimony” of my own of what I endured there.

    2. Marching into a Mission Prayer Band meeting at BJU. Wearing pants. Loudly praying for the self-righteous, hypocritical, judgmental souls in attendance. The group who attended Mission Prayer Band when I was at BJU did nothing but loudly pray that other BJU students would cease their wickedness and seek revival.

    3. March into the offices of those who “counseled” me at BJU. Give them the gospel like they’ve never heard it before. Inform them in a condescending way (the tone they always used on me) that a works-based gospel–the one they preached to me–is utterly false and cannot save.

      1. Same here.
        And this is no hatred toward real missionaries, but I grew to hate the mission’s emphasis at BJU while they completely ignored the problems right under their noses. I also did not like the attitudes of many of the people I met the one time I went to Mission Prayer Band.

        1. I had a beloved teacher at BJU pull me aside and ask me candidly what I thought of the Mission Prayer Band crowd. At that time it was populated by the holier-than-thou group from Mount Calvary, including the Minnick boys and their sattelites. At that point I was also attending Mount Calvary, as was she.
          I told her candidly what I thought of them: rude, cliquish, self-righteous. I told how I went faithfully to Mission Prayer Band for a long time until I realized that everyone was treating me like I was invisible. I told how I went on door-to-door visitation with the Minnicks and their crowd (Mauer, Jeffcott, etc) and was not included in conversation or allowed to speak to any of the poor people whose doors we knocked on.
          She told me she had noticed the problem herself; she was offended because that crowd treated her, a respected and accomplished adult, like she wasn’t there; they refused to make eye contact with her or accept her attempts to make conversation with her. She told me she was planning to go Pastor Minnick and complain about the issue, and she would like to be able to say she wasn’t the only one who’d noticed it.
          Small victories, folks. That was one of the most validating moments I’ve ever experienced.

        2. Perhaps, but not that I know of. Not that I expected it. After all, some of the offending young preacher boys were Pastor Minnick’s relatives.
          It was validating to have a person in a prominent position voluntarily come to me and ask my opinion, though. Not something that ever happened to me in fundyland before or since.

  11. I would like to go find an old friend of mine and give her a hug. Tell her that she is loved and worthy. Then I would go to the church, find her lousy self-righteous ex-husband and all the folks that sided with him, and kick him straight in the jimmies. And his “founding family” parents, too. Then I would find the good pastor that these jerks ran off over this whole thing and shake his hand.

    Oh, and I’d tell them that the carpet color is atrocious.

  12. I would like to stop being so judgmental of others, even those in Fundystan. I’d like to be able to show them the grace that I have discovered. I’d like to have a conversation about theology without it always turning into debate (even though I like debate). I’d like to be able to give Fundies the same consideration (i.e. fair hearing) that I have learned to give to other faith traditions instead of always seeing them from my skewed perspective.

    …oh, and I had always wanted to wear coulettes. 😉

  13. I wish I wouldn’t have let my bible college’s rules dictate how I interacted with my friends back home. I would have taken people up on their offers to grab drinks and not been such a stick in the mud.

  14. I was in a church with a dictator/pastor who claimed that God spoke to him and therefore he should be obeyed and that loyalty to him was the same as loyalty to God. I heard him state from the pulpit that it was sometimes permissible for husbands to spank their wives (for discipline….get your mind out of the gutter) and that everyone’s will needed to be broken (except his). I suffered this in silence until the Lord finally delivered us from “The Village” and I “wish” that I had had stood up to this bully. Well, he’s gone to his reward but a few years ago I had a dream in which he was in his bully pulpit and I stood up and told him that he was wrong and to shut up. I woke up laughing and things have been fine. I am resolved to NEVER let anyone bully me again.

    1. I hear you… because the mog had most people under his thumb, speaking out would have only brought instant wrath upon us, which is why we just quietly went away.

    2. Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! I wish I had stood up to the bullying. Thank you for saying it.

      The problem was I didn’t know how not to.

      And our preacher, too, had talked about how essential it was that the will be broken — which in an incident brought Social Services into my home! Going to the Church for help had me put up front, resigning as a deacon, while everyone came up and hugged me. It is one of my worst memories. Bullying pretending to be love.

      I should have walked out of the church, never to return. And I am determined not to be bullied again.

  15. I would have calmly asked pastors to use the scriptures defend their doctrinal positions on the KJV, contemporary Christian music, interracial marriage, pastoral authority, etc. etc. etc.

    I always knew what they said didn’t pass the biblical test, but I just ignored the rant and never challenged the positions.

    In retrospect, I think I did a disservice to them, because at one point, I was just as rabid as they were, but some good people challenged me to think about what I believe and why.

    Who knows how many of these people would change their ways, if I loved them enough to call them on the carpet for their garbage.

  16. It’s been almost 2 years since we left the former church and I’ve had dreams in which we were back or that I met up with the former pastor. My mother even appeared in one of them. We were sitting there in that church listening to him bloviate (which is what he did best, for over an hour most of the time) and my mother was sitting on the front pew on the opposite side. I stood up and told the former pastor just what I thought of him. I was so sure my mother would be upset with me but after we walked out she said, “I guess you had to do that.” Yeah I did and it felt so good!

    My unfinished business would be to do that, to get in his face and tell him exactly what I think of him and his hour + long sermons while my bladder was bursting, and his worship of Hyles and all the other doctrines he was wrong about, especially the easy prayerism.

    The only thing I miss there is the people, and I hear several others have left since us. Others I guess will just continue drinking that fundy kool-aid til they die. 👿

  17. So many regrets.

    I never should have agreed to follow the pastor’s precious workers’ standards. Doing so negatively impacted my relationship with my extended family and trained me to be a man-pleaser.

    When I heard an asst pastor lament to a group of us that the sole black teenager would not be able to date anyone, I should have called him out on his racism.

    I should have continued pestering them with my Bible questions and not just accept the really lame answers they were giving me. I knew they were lame, but chose to stop asking questions instead.

    I should have taken the jobs I had rejected (because they would have been considered questionable in Fundystan). I allowed that part of my life to die instead.

  18. I never did any “heavy petting” on a hay ride.

    I never made out with a girl between the book racks in the library at Fundy U.

    I never sneaked out of the youth group and got my freak on under the stairs in the back stairwell.

    Were were supposed to talk about things we actually regret not doing? Or just things that we never did but apparently needed to do to complete the Fundy experience.

  19. I wish I could reverse the Summer of 2006 in which I discipled two younger guys to be as judgmental and self-righteous as me. The same two that displayed a judgmental attitude toward me when I left.

  20. My unfinished business is to bring a milk cow to PCC to sell the milk to pay for my tuition like Lester Roloff did for his seminary education.

  21. I’d like to go back and to have taken the Lord’s Supper more than about 20 times in over 30 years. 🙁 It was criminal how infrequently it was taken.

    1. I’m pretty sure it was a full year or more between my baptism and the first Lord’s Supper opportunity I had after that, just because no one in the church seemed to ‘get’ that the over half the high school department who only went to Sunday School – which included a small worship service at the time! – could possibly want to partake. So they didn’t even make sure we knew what the schedule was.

      And now I’m attending a church where they use The Real Stuff – and my resulting lack of an alcohol tolerance from growing up oh so very SBC means I won’t be safe getting home if I partake. And I’ve attended a church that did it weekly with Welsch’s in-between, so I know exactly what spiritual connection with the rest of the congregation I’m missing out on now.

      Wish I’d known I’d want to tell them off for ignoring the younger believers on Communion Sundays back then when I had access to do that.

        1. I don’t drive. I walk. And the drivers here are NUTS even on Sunday mornings. I won’t get drunk, I’ll just be buzzed enough to take really stupid risks. And I’m judging based on previous communion experience, when I didn’t know a congregation was using real wine, so it’s a valid comparison of alcohol intake,

          I’m just going to have to find a time where church activities will be keeping me off the sidewalks for a few hours afterwards.

  22. Converting Anton LaVey and maybe Metallica. As a kid I imagined it would be kind of like Saul on his road to Damascus, except I would be in the place of Christ. Also, graduating from some wierd place like the Institute for Creation Science and being the national hero that once and for all debunked the lies of evolution, and left all those demonic scientists confounded and silent. (I was a kid when in fundamentalism). :mrgreen:

  23. I was raised a conservative Catholic, so does that count as fundamentalist? My unfinished business lies in the fact that I never confronted all of my old Catholic priests and teachers about the poor job they did. I wish I’d asked them, “Why didn’t you mentor me? Why didn’t you help me explore my spirituality when I was questioning? Why didn’t you help me and my family when we were suffering? Why was I just a number to you?”

    1. Ahab, the answer is “yes”, you were raised fundamentalist. You were expected to do what you were told without questioning. You had your “place,” and they expected you to stay there and not cause any trouble, much less have needs.

      Questioning in fundamentalism is seen as rebellion against faith, as rebellion against their authority to tell you what you must believe.

      I know that is how it was for me, all the way from a child to a middle-aged adult.

  24. During Wednesday night prayer meetings or Sunday evening “testimony time,” I used to sit in my back pew and fantasize about standing up and just letting go of all the secrets and anger and hurt and spewing it all over the auditorium.

    I’ve earned my Bitter Badge. 😳

    But honestly? The only regret I have is not shaking their filthy dust off my feet the second I was able to. I stayed in too long …

  25. Thinking of this gives me a headache. I should have paid attention to my wife and children… Should have listened to them. If I would have, we would never have even graced the doors of that horrible place.

  26. I wish I had put my foot down and started refusing to participate in round-robin prayer request time in Sunday School back in elementary school when it started being expected of us.

    After so many years of being judged for an incapacity to pray the way everyone expected me to without telling me the rules of how or letting me take notes so I could get that one request right, I just can’t pray out loud now. Not unless there’s a set wording, like the Lord’s Prayer.

    If I’d refused back then, when I started understanding I just wasn’t going to be able to meet expectations, I’d still be able to say Grace at a family dinner. And I can’t now, and it was Sunday School teachers and other well-meaning adults that did that to me, that made it so I can’t pray out loud without breaking Jesus’ command to not pray for the ears of men and made it so following that command makes me look like an immature believer instead of a spiritually self-aware one.

    1. Well, that’s why Jesus said to pray in secret!! Nothing wrong with that. We are commanded to pray in that manner, after all. Nowhere that I can think of are we commanded to pray in public.

    2. I can’t stand the taking turns praying thing. I get self-conscious of people listening and my words don’t come out flowing and flowery like other people’s prayers and so I feel I’m being judged because of that. And if I don’t pray out loud, I get judged for not praying. For me, prayer is between me and God.

      1. We took requests first, and were then told who to pray for (later, we were permitted to volunteer) without being reminded who had what request or being allowed to write anything down even though the teacher did.

        Basically, remember 15 individual prayer requests including what the names and relationships are or be told you must not really care… while in middle school.

        And if you volunteered for the unspokens later on when you could volunteer, chances were you’d find someone else given them and you stuck with a prayer request for someone you’d never heard of before with a condition you couldn’t pronounce.

        So I got judged for not volunteering for years at a time.

  27. I probably would’ve been more outgoing – I was a complete introvert at HAC (well being a GAY guy in a college that would probably skin you alive if they found out played a MAJOR role).

    The only thing I remember vividly in my years at HAC is ANXIETY …..

    Now I am a happy, healthy gay male who revels in passing the ol’ church downtown while I’m driving to Boystown in Chicago to hang with people who accept me no matter what. :mrgreen:

    1. Your comment made me thoughtful; there really should be homosexual fundy churches. 😯 😀 Oh, the men therein should still marry mere wimmenfolk, in order to dominat–i mean have sole custod–i mean be recognizated as GAWD-fearin’ FAWthers for their preacher-blessed brat-CHILLdruns. 🙄 And make sure their motherfolks raise said CHILLdruns homeschooled right, while the blessed menfolk engage in a clusterfu–get to know each other in the Eyes of the ManOGi–the LAWD right, at least three times a week. 😈

    2. Lev. 18:22: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

      Lev. 20:13: Lev_20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination…

      Romans 1:25-27: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

      No hatred here, just the truth of God’s Word. It cannot be any clearer that sodomy is a sin against God that needs to be repented of. No, it should not be acceptable in churches either, because it is a sin.

      1. If I remember right Leviticus has a lot more to say about adultery than about homosexuality, and that the punsihments are the same…. Homosexuals need Jesus just as much as anyone else. The Church has failed them.

      2. One of the things I regret is not standing up to preachers who use the Truth in the Word of God as a hammer to attack certain groups. It’s not just preachers that do it….. 🙁

      3. Other sins in the same part of Leviticus:

        Paying employees weekly, biweekly, or monthly (Lev. 19:13)instead of the same day they did the work.
        Breeding mules. (Lev. 19:19)
        Planting two kinds of seed in a field. (ditto)
        Wearing a garment with blended fibers, e.g. cotton/polyester. (ditto)
        Eating fruit from a tree less than five years old. (Lev. 19:23-25)
        Cutting hair on the side of the head or trimming a beard. (Lev. 19:27)
        You may not prostitute your daughter (Lev. 19:29), but it’s OK to sell her into slavery (Ex. 21:7).

      4. The Leviticus 20 passage was in conjunction with pagan Temple Prostitution. If you were to read the entire chapter, that would become apparent immediately.

        On the other passage in Leviticus, there are lots of things listed as abominations in Scripture, including the eating of shellfish and pork products. I would venture to guess that were the entire list of abominations to God presented, you would run afoul of some of them.

        You may indeed decide that being gay is wrong. I don’t think it is necessary to tell someone that you think they ought to be put to death for it. At least at this time here in the US, we do not operate according to religious, sharia-type “Judeo-Christian” type law.

        I, for one, want to live in a nation where people can be free in such matters. I don’t get drunk, but I don’t support prohibition against alcohol as a law. I don’t smoke pot, but I think it should be legalized. And I am not gay, but I don’t think it merits the death penalty. Neither should eating shrimp.

        And according to the Law, if a woman is raped in the city and isn’t heard screaming for help (maybe there is a knife?) she is to be stoned to death.

        Do you really want to judge things according to the Law? That is a treacherous, nasty religious road that will in time snare you in its grip.

        And if I may offer another word from the Apostle Paul? Romans 14:4 “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

      5. II Timothy 3:1-5: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

        1. You easily just described yourself with at least 3 of those in that list. Congrats.

        2. I’d argue you fit all of these: lovers of their own selves, boasters, proud, false accusers, fierce, despisers of those that are good, & having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.

        3. I’d also say it is next to impossible for a person looking to use these verses as a weapon to realize how very much those verses describe them.

          Our prejudices do stay with us a long time. It took me a long time as I was coming out of fundamentalism to realize how very fundamentalist I still was in so many areas.

          I am probably still very fundamentalist in ways I don’t realize. I know I would be shocked by it.

          It would be wonderful if those who think they had received the Grace of God would realize that they are every bit as full of sin as the people they revile. The only remedy is to give grace to others as freely as it was given to us. And that grace cuts through every sin — or everything someone thinks is a sin.

        4. I notice how easily fundamentalists ignore Scripture which is inconvenient to them, and only focus on the bits that they like.

          Don’t you think that is interesting? While they focus on the sin of homosexuality, they don’t focus on the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” While they trot out the list of the sins of others, they almost never acknowledge their own sins.

          Romans 2 says it quite well, “Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thous judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thous that judgest doest the same things.” (v. 1).

          The Scriptures also tell us that whosoever shall keep the whole law, yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

          “Looking to Jesus,” I think you need to be looking to Jesus. When Jesus met the woman taken in adultery, He did not condemn her. He condemned her accusers, though.

          If you read Jesus’ words and stop emulating the fundie pastors, you would be a much kinder person. Somehow I don’t think you are the kind of person the “publicans and sinners” would like to eat and drink with, or a person whom former prostitutes would cry in thankfulness for. You do sound like you would fit into the Pharisees’ dinner parties quite easily.

          The fact is, “Looking to Jesus,” you are a Law-breaker yourself. As am I. “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13).

        5. Grace for me and judgment for everyone else is an unspoken mantra of fundamentantalism, and it sure seems to be laced into the comments by “LTJ”.

      6. The Christian Sub-Culture is a funny thing (as is funny peculiar). Mention social evils like greed, racism, sectarianism, corruption, even violence, and you get the Big Ho-Hum. Mention homosexuality and every Christian sits up and takes notice. many go into paroxysm of foaming-mouthed rage. It seems that Homosexuality is the only sin that really gets God p****d off.(execpt for infractions of any fundy rules) Personally I don’t think homosexuality is right, but Jesus died for the gay man or Gaty woman, just the same as the tie-wearing church-goer. FormerHACer, I hope you get to meet the REAL Jesus, not the twisted caricature that has been created my the fundamentalism you had to suffer under..

    3. I’m glad you found a group of people who care more about who you are as a person than about who you’re attracted to in your private life. Getting through HAC as a gay person sounds like a stint in hell.

    4. Having not achieved sinless perfection yet, I’ll just condemn everyone involved in this comment thread into everlasting redemption. Upon another time I will bestow all my tediousness upon you. But masters, remember that I am an ass: though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an asa.

        1. ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance, essentially it was evolved out of the Cisco PIX firewall product line.

          Sorry, the geek inside me could not resist.

          I didn’t know there were other fundies out there that new Cisco existed. Surely you never worked in an IT networking department as your networks would have touched porn therefore the blood of every person who received porn through your network would be on your hands upon your judgement day.

          At least that’s how it was explained to me. I remained in the closet as an IT person while I was in fundieland. I didn’t want my Mog to find out I had porn blood on my hands.

        2. “What the hell is an asa?” Dude, it’s a surname. And some people even use it as a first name.

  28. What I wish I did was get up and walk out . . .

    (1) When the preacher made statements in support of child abuse from the pulpit.

    (2) When the preacher preached a series on why the KJV is the best version and every example he gave of other translations doing evil things like removing “the blood” turned out to be a lie. (My parents still had other versions in the house from their days in Bible and Southern Baptist churches so I fact-checked every reference he gave us.)

    (3) When the preacher would conflate American patriotism in general and Republican politics in particular with Christianity. (We were told the only organization that was acceptable for a Christian to join other than our church was the NRA.)

    (4) When the preacher would tell stories about “snot-nosed booger-slinging bus-riding negro kids.”

    (5) When the preacher called a man out from the pulpit and demanded that he apologize to the preacher’s wife for complaining to the preacher that the preacher’s wife’s gift of lingerie to the man’s wife was inappropriate, as was her comment, “I hope this gets your motor running.”

    (6) When the preacher dedicated a sermon to explaining to us that Obama was a Muslim.

    Etc. etc. etc. That’s all I can think of for now. So many, many times I really wanted to get up and walk out but didn’t because I was too worried about what my family would think.

    1. Hey, African-Americans do not have a monopoly on snot-nosed booger-flinging kids!
      I should know, I was one such exception, and for a time, so were my own progeny. Thank the good Lord they did outgrow it. 😎 I can’t say the same for myself.

        1. Just saying that rotten kids are equally distributed across race, class, country, gender, etc. And don’t worry, I don’t do it anymore. 🙄

  29. I wish I’d gotten involved with my neighborhood and my family more instead of filling my life with church, church, church. Almost all my networks and connections and friendships were in my church which left me rather rudderless when I lost them.

  30. I wish I could go back and apologize to the catholic students we tried to “evangelize.” I wish I had been willing to learn from them instead of treating my brothers and sisters in Christ as though they had never heard! I wish I could take back the ham-fisted evangelism I did to my non-Christian friends, too, evangelism I now realize had nothing to do with Christ and everything to do with getting people to say a prayer.

    1. Thanks JeseC! I know where you are coming from. I was raised Fundi Anti-Catholic and said some horrible things. 😳 And guess what? Now I am a Catholic! God has a good sense of humor. I appreciate your apology.

  31. My daughter got the chance to say what I always wanted to say. Not to the people I wanted to say it to but a 2009 copy of the 80 version I delt with. She looked at a very mean missions major at BJU and said ” I am going to pray for you. I’m in fear for your very soul. You display non of the fruits of the spirits. You my dear room leader are by far the meanest Christian I have ever met.” When the girl protested she sweetly said “by their fruits ye shall know them” after a trip to the DOW office my daughter made a calendar “days left at Bob Jones.”

    1. That was very brave of her to speak up.

      And kudos to her for focusing on the fruit of the Spirit. It took me way too long to realize that I’d been focusing on a bunch of man-made rules instead of on what the Bible actually said should mark my life.

      1. I had the same problem. I could not see the truly important things through the smoke screen of the correct clothing and correct mans hair cut. I feel like so many unsaved people do when they finally see the light. “I wasted so much time when I could have been serving Christ.”
        This daughter, that I referred to saw us change and reject that way of life. She fortuately, knew how to spot the real deal.

  32. I think I’ve reached the point where I no longer think about such things. I’m not bitter or angry toward anyone anymore. I don’t care. I don’t think that if I had stood up to anyone or said the unsaid that it would have made that much of a difference.

    I do wish I had become Catholic about ten years before I did but the Spirit leads as He will and in His time.

  33. Until I was in third grade, my dad sailed as a civilian employee of the US Navy. Consequently, he was gone for long periods of time. My mother made sure our behinds were in SS and church, my dad came to church when he was home and he would often seek out ANY kind of Protestant church in port and encourage others to come. I assumed everyone knew why my dad was gone so much. Years later I heard the pastor’s parents commenting on “how far (my dad) had come, he used to hardly ever come to church”. I should have explained and demanded an apology.

      1. Yeah – now DH has an evening shift job and I am so glad that we aren’t compelled to sacrifice our already limited family time by 4+ hrs on Sundays. Oh – the pastor’s sainted mother was gone by the time this happened, but one of the men in our former church followed my dad’s footsteps (Dad went back to sea during Gulf War I) due to being out of work and could get on with Military Sealift Command. One deacon’s wife had the gall to berate that man for “abandoning his family” and hinting he fell in the category of infidel. I lost all respect for that woman and who she stood by and with after that. My husband had his paperwork in for the same job and I was ready to just go to church elsewhere or not at all if he went to sea. I was not going to hear my husband berated for doing what he needed to support the family. Turned out he got his old job back but STILL. I shoulda packed up the kids and found a different church then anyway. Took another four years to drag ourselves out.

        1. 😥 Your husband was giving his all for his family and country and in the name of his faith, and it still wasn’t good enough… 😥

  34. I want to hold my poor brother, the one who insists that “God is in control” to the point where He decrees everything that happens every second of every day, no matter how vile it is–I want to hold him and reassure him that the fundies he runs with are full of crap, now that his wife has developed cancer. I want to reassure him that if God is not inflicting every second of your life upon you, He’s still God. I want to invite him back to the mainline church of his youth and reassure him that he won’t catch The Gay from the nice couple in the next pew.

    But I’m just his little sister, so I could never say this in a way he would be willing to hear.

    1. That’s sad. It sounds like your brother has painted himself into a corner with his belief in a God who micromanages everything, doling out rewards and punishments like an omnipotent B.F. Skinner.

    2. I feel your distress. Fundamentalism has been the cause of the split between me and my family, too.

      I, too, was taught that God had mapped out every moment. Eventually that confused me. Did God plan this tragedy, or this sin? Did he cause the truck driver to fall asleep and kill the parents of three lovely girls? To say that “God is in control” is to make God the instigator and director of sin just as much as anything else.

      Oh, to be sure, those who say this try to talk about “God’s Providence” and parse things so that God is still in Control and His Will always occurs, but somehow He is not responsible for sin or tragedy (except when He is inflicting judgment).

      It still doesn’t work.

      The problem is that this view of God, along with others, was so stressed that even today I have trouble not thinking this way.

      But I am making progress. My youngest son was recently diagnosed with a tumor. It will require surgery, and we have yet to hear whether it is cancerous or not. But for the first time, when hearing this, I did not get the feeling that God was judging me for something, testing me, or that God somehow had ordained this to happen.

      But I hope your brother will find his way out of the darkness of a fearsome and spiteful god.

        1. As soon as I know, I will post it. The doctor said it was a small chance, but in the different visits, the possibility of it being cancerous was always mentioned, and no probabilities were ever mentioned.

          I had the feeling that they were trying to prepare us for the worst. Maybe they were. I guess that is part of their job.

          Still, I will hope for the best. And even if it is bad, I will fight for my son. I am grateful I don’t feel that God is punishing me for anything.

  35. Well, let’s see. I wish I’d had the courage to vocalize my questions and doubts rather than hold them all in for fear of getting in trouble. So many things didn’t make sense but I went along with them rather than rock the boat. I wish I’d had the courage to stand up to my dad and his bullying. Instead I followed every rule, every ministry requirement, every command from the pulpit, all without question. (Except for the nagging doubts in my head.) I was born and raised in Fundamentalism; I didn’t know anything different. I wish when I finally did leave Fundentalism that I had left it in a better way. It took getting to a really angry and bitter point to leave. I burned a lot of bridges; some of them have been repaired, and some of them have not. So I would have liked to leave on better terms.

  36. I’ve been perusing these comments and they bring a flood of bad memories. I’m usually not one to regret and look back, but this topic brings me pretty close.

    Most of what I wish was different was out of my control. My biggest regret is that the relationship with my cousins ended when church took over our lives. We have gotten back together, but sadly it was funerals that were a big part of that process. We had to separate from so many people, family included. The funny part is that many of my cousins have come to be Believers in churches I would have condemned outright when I was in Fundystan.

    I regret the attitude that if you are not exactly like us, you are deceiving yourself. I wish I could shake that now. I still often view the world around me through my “Fundy Goggles”. I know that’s not right,but the indoctrination of so many years is hard to completely shake. I spent too many years of Fundy High in a Hyles worshiping school, then later at the sponsoring church. Even though for years now I have been a former Fundamentalist, or as a friend once called me, a recovering Legalist, I still catch myself comparing my life to a list of man made rules instead of a true spirit of Godly worship. I catch myself doing things to the glory how I look, not to the Glory of God.

    One regret that I don’t have is that my children were not saddled with a load of foolish guilt. They were not reared to believe that “rules equal godliness”, as I was. That was not expressly stated, but in our school we were told we were the holiest group in the association, because we had the most rules. I think I have taught them that God does not want their worship of the process, but their worship of Him. (Micah 6:6-8)

  37. There’s a mixture of the fun and the serious in this thread. It is very interesting and very satisfying.

    Fundamentalism has left a lot of us with regrets, many of them.

    Ultimately, I was able to leave when I was ready to leave, and I think that is where it is with most of us. We might not have been able to leave earlier.

    As for feelings, Fundamentalism has left a very bitter taste in many of our mouths. But that takes time to fade. I have to confess that I *am* bitter. But honestly, when I consider the destruction of my family, the destruction of others, and the blatant sin parading as righteousness in it, should I be joyful for my time in Fundystan?

    I don’t think so. Again, it took a long time to get out because I was deep into it. And the muck still hangs around.

    On the other hand, I *can* rejoice for being delivered OUT of it! And I can look back and see how things progressed to help me get out. And yes, I give the Lord credit for helping me out.

    Some of the experiences in Fundystan were actually good for me. I might could have had similar ones outside of the swamp pit, but I really can’t tell about the might-have-beens. I do know that little by little, bit by bit, I was headed out.

    In the end, I really don’t regret anything overmuch. Each experience has made me what I am, and while there is a huge lot I need to improve on (trust me in this!), if I hadn’t had the bitter experiences, I would probably still be in the swamp pit.

    So, here we are. We know the destructive power of the gas-bags that call themselves MOGs, and we know how hard it can be to change. So now we can encourage each other and look to help those who are still in bondage.

    I appreciate this forum. It is therapeutic. Thank you all.

  38. It just occurred to me that something I did recently WAS attending to unfinished business. 

    I reported the two men, one a self-proclaimed preacher (NOT the pastor) and the other a deacon in the IFB church I attended growing up, for sexually abusing myself and 2 other girls at a church youth group outing. This happened in 1979. 

    The reasons I didn’t do it sooner are probably the same reasons others don’t report at all. 

    I didn’t do it to get justice for myself. I didn’t do it because I wanted to be believed. 

    I did it because I surrendered to the truth…..that reporting was the right thing to do. I did it before I could come up with enough reasons not to and talk myself out of it. I did it despite feeling I was on the verge of throwing up in my own lap.

    I did it because I know that men who do such things to little girls don’t just do it once and then never touch anyone else again. I did it because I know that if anyone else had ever reported these two men before I did, or even of they would be reported after I did, that a record of the pattern, the MO of these two slime balls could be documented….so neither of them could call any other little girl a liar without having to call ME one as well.  (I may be a lot of things, but a liar isn’t one of them.)

    I did it because I understand the shame, the self-blame, the doubting of you own sanity. I did it in hopes that anyone else who might have been, or may be harmed by these two men might feel those things LESS because I said something. 

    I attended to my unfinished IFB business. 

      1. “Such people need to remember that their sins might be hidden for a time, but the truth will out.”

        ….this is more inclined to be true only if the victim reports…..instead of waiting around for some OTHER victim to report. I had to finally see the truth of this. And it was hard. After reporting, now I don’t feel like the only recourse I have is speaking out, whether anonymously or not, about how wrong it all is and how SOMEONE needs to do something about it. *I* DID something. I REALLY did something. And I don’t feel helpless like I did before. I’ve read over and over about other people’s “reporting”. And I’ve also read about other people who are too afraid to do it, and can only post about how terrible they feel about what happened to them. For myself, I had to move from one category to the other. I was absolutely sick of feeling the way I did keeping this secret. And I needed to know if the alternative was better. And it is, once it’s said and done. For anyone else who may have been harmed by these two horrible men, I did it so THEY would have a foundation to build on so THEY would be believed.

        So, to me, the benefits of sucking up the fear and shame of it all by just telling the authorities far outweighs the alternative. I hope my letting others know I did this will encourage them to do the same, and also let everyone know that encouraging others to report, even if what happened to them isn’t immediately proveable or outside the statute of limitations, that it frees them from keeping this secret, and just very well may insure that an abuser’s sins WILL find them out, instead of living their lives out hoping that someone else will do it for them.

  39. Dear SFL Reader:

    I found myself replying to direct violations of the ninth commandment alleged against me before the Snob Clones Perversity Dean of Men [he was all Dean].

    I easily exposed the lies for what they were.

    I regret not asking the ‘Dean’ what policy guidelines he followed when he received hearsay as evidence, censored me for what I showed I HADN’T done, and let my accusers walk free.

    I regret not asking the Dean for a written apology for these crimes, since I was summonsed to appear before him in writing.

    I regret not asking the Dean why I should not raise these matters with his reichadistration superiors.

    I regret not asking the Dean why I found myself in the position of demanding sound procedure, whereas he invented policy as he went along, and then absolved himself of wrongdoing when his whole case exploded in his face.

    I regret not asking the Dean how he justified censoring me for good theology, when he ‘preached’ a ‘sermon’ contrary to the Snob Clones Perversity ‘creed’ espousing the moral influence theory of atonement.

    Christian Socialist

    PS: What the Snob Clones Perversity ‘creed’ lacks in confessional stature, it compensates in stupidity.

    PPS: Someone created a Snob Clones counter-‘creed.’

    ‘I believe in the inspiration of the Syllabus …
    both the First and the Second Semesters …’

    1. any chance you remember the rest of that “creed”? I’d be curious to hear it; I’m a collector of BJU parodies. I think they’ll be interesting to share with future generations.

  40. about a year ago, i was back on campus with a good friend. he and i had both come out of the closet recently, and we had some fun going down memory lane. we had worked together in the library, so we had a little fun there: we took selfies of us kissing in the stacks, in the Jerusalem Chamber, and in front of Junior’s picture in the Archives. 😈

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