We Suffer

Suffering greatly here below
We will make it quite a show
To make sure the world will know
We suffer.

Loudly pray before we eat;
Suits and ties in summer heat;
They’ll be impressed at Judgment Seat
How we suffered.

Give ourselves back ten percent
Claim that’s what God really meant
So what if you can’t pay the rent?
You can suffer.

We deny all carnal joys
Plant a church in Illinois!
Our missions are the real McCoys.
Taught to suffer.

We’ve no need for earthly loot
The world exists to persecute
Would you come be our recruit?
Join and suffer.

191 thoughts on “We Suffer”

  1. I feel that some use suffering as a way to control God. They feel that God owes them now, because they have suffered so much and deny themselves a life full of joy. And when called out on it, they’ll quote the party line “I’m happy in the Lord.”

    1. Good point. It’s almost as if they’re thinking, “God, I’ve already given up so much for you. You really couldn’t then add to my suffering by allowing tragedies like cancer, car accidents, job loss, etc.” as if they can ward of disaster or pain by following rigid rules.

      1. I think this line of thinking goes hand-in-hand with fundamentalists’ tendency to engage in victim blaming. They’re so terrified that bad things could happen to undeserving people (like them) that they have to justify it to themselves.

      2. And on the flip side, when something bad does happen, they’ll wonder what sin you have in your life that caused the tragedy. If you had only been following the rules correctly…

    2. Some think that they must say they are happy or else they are sinning, especially when they believe they heard a mystical “call” to give everything up for ministry.

    3. There was an episode of Kino’s Journey that made me really think about this. Everyone was trying to out-miserable everyone else as a way of increasing social standing, but all the misery was completely unnecessary and created for the sole purpose of competing socially.

    4. interesting point.

      If, on the other hand you subscroibe to the theology that God sufffers with those who suffer, then doing anything to increase suffering in the world is painful both to the self AND to god.

  2. Jesus definitely promised that His followers would suffer, but one of the things we’re supposed to do is ENCOURAGE people who are suffering or help alleviate that suffering.

    1. But think its important to understand the eschatological context and sitz im leben behind Jesus’ teaching on suffering. The Jews were expecting a Messiah triumphant who would defeat Rome and usher in a world of prosperity. Jesus wasn’t so much saying that his people would suffer while others don’t, so much as teaching that all people suffer and joining him would not result in being saved from that in this world. There is much more that could be said on the topic (and has been, in countless books and dissertations), but the idea that we wouldn’t have to suffer if we didn’t follow Jesus isn’t really the gist. Just ask billions of pagans who live in Asia.

      1. It’s also true that the followers of Jesus DID suffer for their faith, because they were acting contrary to the perceived interests of the Roman Empire by refusing to acknowledge and worship the Roman gods. The Powers That Be in the Empire were worried that if these heretics didn’t do what the gods wanted, the gods would take it out on the Empire; so they tried to enforce worship, and came down pretty hard on the Jesus people for a century or three. All that changed after Constantine, so there’s really no excuse for Christians in the US to still be glorying in “suffering for the Lord.”

        1. I think it’s still a very relevant issue today whether Christ is Lord or Caesar is.
          The Gospels, and Acts, are full of this debate.
          Even the term “good news” (εὐαγγέλιον, “gospel”) came from Roman propaganda about the “Pax Romana. So the appropriation by Christians of the concept of εὐαγγέλιον was (among other things) a direct challenge to Caesar’s claim to absolute authority.

        2. Dear That Other Jean, Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist and Big Gary:

          Perhaps I’m very wrong but as I see it, the continuing mission of the church awaits our acceptance of the fact that the gospel IS counter-imperial theology.

          When this is understood, the church will repent and be the church again. At that point — well, all bets are off. Except that we already know the end of the story [Re 21-22].

          Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

        3. But Paul in Romans 13 commanded obedience to governmental authority — and that included Rome. Some things, like worshiping Caesar, were not possible. But otherwise, paying taxes, following the laws, in all ways Christians were to be model citizens.

          Paul did not tell Christians to make the government Christian or to enact Christian laws. Jesus said that His Kingdom was not of this world.

          The fact is that Christianity, properly practiced, is not anti-government at all. There is no threat to society. Nor does it trample on the rights of anyone, even the ungodly. Christ did not command that we forbid unbelievers from worshiping their idols. We are not told to tell everybody that what they are doing is sending them to hell.

          Hmmph. Jesus even ate with Tax Collectors and Prostitutes — and they loved to have him around. If He had been busy busting their chops over their sins, they would have kicked him out.

          It isn’t politics and it isn’t laws or legalism that makes people right or righteous. You accept people as they are, show them the love of Christ, then let Him change them.

          I have never met a Christian who has been freed from all their sins. Perhaps a gay couple that gets saved will never stop being gay or loving each other. But Christ can change them in other ways. How He does it is not my right to choose.

        4. Almost, but not quite. The Romans didn’t really have a genuine fear that the gods would take it out on them if they allowed the Christians to disrupt worship. The problem was that they were disrupting societal constructs. The Roman religious system was just as much secular and civic as it was religious. You had gods in your house- worship of them was an act of family piety and unity. In public, worship and ritual observances were part of the community- they were civic acts, not unlike singing the Star Spangled Banner or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. These were things that brought the community together. To not do them, as the Christians did, was unpatriotic, uncivil. It disrupted this system of community, from the family altar to the public square, and threatened the culture of the Empire. I can well understand why the Romans were twitchy about it.

        5. Good point, Luitgard.

          Think how upset some Americans get when someone (such as a Jehovah’s Witness) won’t salute the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, or sing the national anthem.

      2. Dear Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

        But wait! Didn’t we trust Jesus to be saved from all that at the rapture?

        As I see it, Revelation was written [in part] to provide perspective to persecuted Christians.

        I am also convinced that deep in their heart of hearts, Christians know that IF they lived the theology of Revelation, the persecutions described therein would be visited upon them — which is WHY [let the chorus of denial begin] so many push that theology into the eschaton.

        Christian Socialist

        PS: sitz im leben You didn’t learn THAT at proctology school …

    1. But, just as they don’t understand the true meaning of “suffering,” they also don’t understand the true meaning of “joy.”

      Joy is not the smug satisfaction that comes from following arbitrary rules that others reject as irrelevant. That is pride.

      Joy is not the rush of excitement when a “sinner” repeats “the prayer” and one then gets to add another hatch mark to the inside cover of one’s Bible. That is folly.

      Joy is not the thrill one experiences when one is called out by the MOG for special praise during a sermon. That is idolatry.

  3. It is true that christians (and anybody) can and will suffer in this world. That’s what life is about, sometimes it seems. But fundamentalists seem to suffer for their own poor choices and nastiness to the world in general, and then feel pride that they’re somehow earning loot for heaven.

    Or they turn it into some sort of super spiritual martydom story to show just how much God is working through their lives. Bizarre.

    1. Coming back from aggressive door to door sole winning it would almost be a contest to see who suffered the most. If you got the police called on you you earn the right to touch the hem of the pastor’s pants. If you get arrested you may sit on the right hand of the pastor at the next fellowship.

        1. I( like it the first way! If you’re sitting on the pastor’s hand, that means he gets to suffer even more! 😛

      1. Oh the M-O-g that I had was a master at manufacturing “suffering.”
        One of the lesser events was the time we were handing out tracts at the local Mission where the homeless were fed and given a bed to sleep in.

        He suggested I go along the line around the building one way and he would go the other and talk to a guy he had seen down there before. I thought nothing of it. after they had let everyone in that could get in he can back to my side of the building. Moments later the cops arrived and detained us, patted us down and asked us what we were doing down there. We told them we were witnessing and handing out Gospel (read Chick) tracts. They told us that they we dispatched on an annomyous tip that a couple of guys were walking around selling drugs at the Mission.

        What a sermon illustration that made!

        But looking back none of the street folks had a cell phone… and we know the Mission security didn’t call the police. Given what I know now about what that guy was capable of doing in order to make himself look like a victim of persecution (he shot himself on two different occasions and blamed it on a secret cabal of homosexuals in the local police force who were out to get him because of his hard preaching against the homosexuals). He committed at least two acts of arson and probably a third but it was never proven.

        God forgive me, at the time I was actually excited that we as a church were counted worthy to suffer with our pastor like that.

        I am Don, and I am a cult survivor.

        1. I apologize, proofreading is not my strong suit…

          I wanted to say that given what I know the guy was capable of I look back and wonder how much danger I may have put myself in by worshiping this pozer. Luckily, he obsessed with being the object of the “persecution” in order to get all the glory for himself. Even when it caused his wife to have a breakdown he used her breakdown for his benefit in order to build his legend of suffering.
          *sigh*

        2. @Don,

          I define myself as normal, even though I am the only one who does. In my book, you are normal! :mrgreen:

        3. Dear Don:

          Thanks for the ‘real-time’ context. Makes you a big man in my eyes.

          ‘…they do all their works to be seen by men …’

          His life’s verse, perhaps?

          Christian Socialist

      1. But as we saw from Jack Schaap’s sentencing memorandum, they very rarely think the things they do are “truly evil.” After all, he wasn’t raping a teenage girl, he was just trying to “counsel” her and “save” her. The US Attorney who got to write the memorandum in response had a field day with that!

        1. It’s maddening when they consider your wife’s wearing pants as a sure sign of perdition but a mega-church pastor raping a teenage parishioner as something to excuse.

        2. If there was any doubt FBCH/HAC was a cult, those letters of support for Schaap totally eliminated it.

  4. Much of the suffering that fundies experience that is caused by “the world” is “persecution” that they bring upon themselves. I’ve stopped feeling the slightest bit sorry for them when they claim that the United States has become a nation hostile to Christianity.

    1. We have this persecution complex here in the UK too. I think it derives from a guilt that we don’t actually live in a society that persecutes Christianity, as some of our fellow Christians do. Instead we live in a society that is markedly indifferent to Christianity. This is made worse by the fact that many of the laws and customs of our society are built on centuries of Christian values permeating into the culture. In other words, there’s loads of people out there doing the kinds of things Jesus would have folk do,… and they’re not Christians. Shocking! That’s why some need to separate and create difference, finding faults that Jesus never spoke about. And all because they can’t face up to the fact that out there, where the fields are ripe for harvest, God got there before them.

      1. Read a great quote in a book recently, in the context of Christians standing up for Jesus being the ONLY Way Truth, Life

        “Christians have endured Maryrdom, but can they endure unpopularity?- Gene Edward Veith

  5. Some also use suffering as a way to get away with being lazy. It’s a lot easier to cry “woe is me, but golly I’m happy in the Lord,” than it is for one to work oneself out of a bad situation.

    As a teenager raised in an IFB home, earning a degree from a unaccredited Bible college takes a heck of a lot less effort than earning a degree from most secular schools. But….”Look at me, I’ve dedicated my life to full time Christian service.”

    It is also much easier to stay inside the bubble, to never have your beliefs challenged, and to limit temptations than it is to be a light in the real world.

    Suffering….I think not. More like fearful, lazy and self indulgent.

    1. Yes!!! My sister’s fiancée (both of them are WCBC alums) recently quit his job and moved from Lancaster to live with my parents in Texas. Then, they all lied and said he was working at the local grocery store warehouse (for the princely sum of $11/hour, something they were exceedingly proud of), when in fact he is simply bumming off my parents. Pictures on Facebook don’t lie: him swimming in my parents’ pool, him helping my brother paint the bedroom they are remodeling for him, him eating a cake baked for him by one of my sisters (not the one that’s engaged to him), him playing Legos with the younger kids, etc. Then I heard from a reliable source (a/k/a my mother-in-law) that they stood up in church this last Sunday and asked for everyone to help him find a job.

      Yet, at the same time, my mother & co. are bending over backwards to praise this guy to the skies. All we hear is what a strong leader he is and what a hard worker he is and what amazing character he has and what a great husband and provider he will be. (Item: my parents have always told me that I am not a provider, even though I am a lawyer, because my wife worked as a teacher while I was in law school.)

      I guarantee you when he and my sister are facing financial troubles a year from now (oh, did I mention that she is not going to work when they get married because (1) she is going to be a keeper at home and (2) we all know she is going to have a baby nine months after her wedding day yay!!!:roll:) we will all be subjected to lots of “look at them suffering for God” nonsense.

      Also, I should mention that the big charade is that they are just living with my parents for the time being. They are “called to ministry” but they are using the good old “we don’t know where God wants us to go” cop out as a proxy for actually getting off their fat asses and becoming gainfully employed good citizens.

      1. DS, do you think that perhaps they’re fawning all over this young man to make a point to you? Namely, that if you hadn’t left the fold, you’d be accepted in the beloved and be an object of praise, as well?

        As for this young man, your future bro in law, I applaud his ingenuity. He’s living a nice life, well fed, clothed, and housed, with minimal effort. And he will, at some point either in the present or future, receive conjugal benefits.

        Please don’t think he’s a Douchebag. He’s just waiting on the Lord. Amen?

      2. Did they give him your old room too?

        *sigh*

        I wonder if he will find it difficult to even find a job with that essentially worthless WCBC “diploma”…assuming he will even bother to look for a secular job.

        1. Welcome to ***-Mart. Would you care for a shopping cart?
          Returns to the left, Ma’am.

          Would you like a hot apple pie to go with your super-size fries?

          “Yes, sir. I’m filling the paper towel dispenser next.”

          Who says Fundy-U diplomas are worthless? There are plenty of jobs they qualify you for.

    1. Yes, yes we do. And I’m tired of people from Keith Gomez’s church knocking on our door multiple times every summer when that church is over 12 miles from my house and we have dozens of options closer. Two or three of those options are even IFB.

      1. We actually had our door knocked by an IFB church the other day. First time that had ever happened to me (as in, first time I was the recipient of door-knocking). They decided we weren’t saved because my wife was wearing pants and went sadly on their way knocking the dust of their feet.

        1. When they come to my door and they don’t shake the dust off their feet when they leave I didn’t do my job.

        2. That reminds me of Robin Williams talking about coming to the door nude and saying something like “No, I haven’t found Jesus, want to come in and help me look for him?” 😆

      2. Over the past three months, I’ve found two tracts in my door from unsuccessful door knocking attempts.

        This conversation has prompted me to think about good fundie repellents. A COEXIST bumper sticker on the door? On second thought, probably not; it would make them even more persistent. A rainbow flag? Hey, now we’re talking! 😈

        1. When they quote one verse that is supposed to make me follow their script, then look at me expectantly, I invite them in, take down my stack of Bible translations, thank them for coming by to dig into the Word with me, and offer them tea.

          They leave within a minute!

  6. Since it is a badge of honor in fundy circles to “suffer”, they have re-defined the concept so that even the most innocuous happenings are categorized as such.

    You cannot lose weight. You are suffering physical ailments like the Apostle Paul. (Of course this has NOTHING to do with the fact that you eat a sheet cake for breakfast every morning.)

    The cashier in the 10 items-or-less aisle at the supermarket won’t let you come through with two full carts and your 8 kids? Must be because he/she can tell you’re a Christian…therefore you are suffering for Christ.

    You car engine blew up? You are suffering for Christ (of course this had NOTHING to do with the fact that you didn’t change the oil for 25,000+ miles).

    If fundies ever encountered real suffering/persecution, bet the farm they would run the other way as fast as their 1978 Corollas would carry them.

      1. 1. A guilty pleasure of mine as well
        2. True confession: In 1996 I blew up my Jaguar’s engine by NEVER changing the oil (it lasted about 45,000 miles…not bad)
        Answer: Only if you count these as suffering :mrgreen:

        1. Wow! 45,000 miles! And what was that quote I saw the other day? “Sometimes I eat cake and drink beer for breakfast just to remind myself that I’m an adult.”

        1. My brother is the opposite of me, he struggles with excess weight. He often diets, butonly between meals.

  7. Along the lines of MKXcomm’s reply above, there is the unspoken mindset that if we manufacture enough suffering of our own making then God will not put us through any actual suffering which is out of our control.
    The only term I can think of for this type thinking is Baptist Penance achieved in the IFB by pseudo-spiritual flagellation.

  8. “Why do we fast, but you do not see?
    Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
    Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
    and oppress all your workers.
    Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to strike with a wicked fist.
    Such fasting as you do today
    will not make your voice heard on high.
    Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day to humble oneself?
    Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
    and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
    Will you call this a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

    Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of injustice,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
    to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
    Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
    when you see the naked, to cover them,
    and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

    Isaiah 58: 3-7 (NRSV)

    1. Dear Big Gary:

      And this is the prophet’s exposition of the meaning of the Sabbath. Isn’t it odd how so much of what is said about the Sabbath has nothing to do with the Biblical function of the Sabbath!

      Something is fundamentally wrong here!

      Thanks … and blessings!

      Christian Socialist

      1. Rather early in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus quotes this section of Isaiah to announce that the Lord’s day has arrived:

        (Luke 4:)
        16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

        18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
        because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
        He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
        and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to let the oppressed go free,
        19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

        20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

        Note that here Jesus selects the verses about release for captives and freedom for the oppressed. He does not read Isaiah’s predictions about defeating enemies and restoring the kingdom of Judah.
        He makes it clear what kind of message he is bringing.

  9. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,”

    Just sayin’

    Peace,

    1. When IFBelivers are getting stoned and left for dead, being placed on death row, nearly drowning in shipwrecks, etc., then perhaps they might reasonably compare their sufferings to those of the Apostle Paul.

        1. Yeah. There’s a world of difference between “getting stoned” and “being stoned.” 😮

      1. @Dr. Fundystan:

        Not at all. I’m saying that St. Paul taught us that there is redemptive value in suffering. The comments were–it seemed to me–suggesting that Fundamentalists are wrong for stressing, or even discussing, the value of suffering. St. Paul seems to see great value in suffering. I don’t think that one should dismiss a theological point simply because Fundamentalists stress it.

        Peace,

        1. It’s not so much that fundies talk about suffering, it’s that they make a big deal out of it and change it into a point of pride. Having people tell you they aren’t interested in your church and no, they don’t want your Chick tract is not “suffering for Jesus”. It’s because you were an insufferable jerk.

        2. Ah, but we weren’t minimizing the concept of suffering. It is the Indy Fundies who do that, but claiming to be “suffering for Jesus” over every little thing. They cheapen the whole concept with their behavior. That’s the point of this post.

      2. @drfundystan:

        Congratulations. You’ve just asked the world’s worst theologian the world’s most difficult theological question. I will be happy to tell you what I understand about it. But be prepared for armature hour.

        Colossians 13-14 says:

        “13 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking 14 in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,”

        If we agree that no Biblical passage means nothing, then this passage has to mean something. Here St Paul clearly says that his sufferings benefit the Church, and relates his sufferings to those of Christ. We know that Christ’s suffering was for the redemption of the world. Thus, St. Paul’s sufferung, and our suffering by extension has redemptive value.

        Now, enough from the theological hacks. Here’s what the pros say:

        http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_11021984_salvifici-doloris_en.html

        Peace,

        1. I see. I found your comment interesting because it sounded Catholic – Rome has always taught that people can exercise spirituality in the place of others. In the case of Paul or the desert fathers or even modern mendicants it is believed that they suffer for the rest of the church. I don’t have a beef with that teaching – in fact, I don’t know enough to have an opinion – but in this passage I don’t take Paul as saying that the thing lacking that he was filling up was suffering, but rather his mission of evangelism. He was willing to suffer for that mission. I think this becomes clear when one looks at the verse in the context of the entire pericope which at least includes 1:24-29. “For this I toil (that we might present everyone mature in Christ)”. That is my understanding of the passage, fwiw.

        2. “Rome has always taught that people can exercise spirituality in the place of others.”

          Well, sort of. I’ve never heard it put like that. But, kind of sort of yes. It flows from our understanding of the communion of Saints. Read the rest of Colossians 1. See how St. Paul describes all things on heaven and earth being united in and through Christ? See how the Church is described as Christ’s body? Through Christ, we believe that our spiritual goods (mabe better understood as Grace) can be shared amongst the Body. I can pray to ask God to bless you. I think we would agree that you would receive spiritual benefit from my prayer. Well, I can pray to ask God to receive my sacrifice, for example fasting, on your behalf. Most Catholics would say that, God willing, you would receive the spiritual benefits of that.

          Of course–the catch is that you would have to be open to receiving that grace. God won’t force his grace on you if you don’t want it.

          “but in this passage I don’t take Paul as saying that the thing lacking that he was filling up was suffering, but rather his mission of evangelism. He was willing to suffer for that mission.”

          Well, to me the plain language is pretty clear. However, as I said, please take whatever I say with a grain of salt. Redemptive suffering is something I struggle to grasp, and I’m sure that any halfway decent theologian could explain it much better.

          Peace,

  10. “The good news is that Christ frees us from the need to obnoxiously focus on our goodness, our commitment, and our correctness. Religious has made us obsessive almost beyond endurance. Jesus invited us to a dance…and we’ve turned it into a march of soldiers, always checking to see if we’re doing it right and are in step and in line with the other soldiers. We know a dance would be more fun, but we believe we must go through hell to get to heaven, so we keep marching.”
    ― Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom

    1. Related to that – how about joy in our time on earth? God created this beautiful earth for us to enjoy. God lets good things happen to us – not just bad. I’ve always felt guilty for having a good time, because this world is not our home. I wasn’t supposed to focus on shallow things such as that. But inside, I always wanted to enjoy it unconditionally.

      1. Psalm 118:24

        “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

        It’s too bad that fundies don’t take this Bible verse to heart; they’d be a lot less miserable.

        1. And if they are saved by Christ’s crucifixion, as they believe, why are they such sticklers for every man-made rule they can think up to make themselves unhappy and uncertain of salvation? Why are so many convinced that God is out to get them?

        2. Often, when I observe Indy Fundy (mis)behavior, I think of an old song with the lyrics,

          “Do you know my Jesus?
          Do you know my friend?
          Have you heard He loves you,
          And that He will abide to the end?”

  11. The last stanza – “We’ve no need for earthly loot” only applies to the plebes. The MOG should be honored with new cars and big homes. So keep suffering, little people. 🙄

    1. Yes!! And too many people in “full-time ministry” are doing it for no other reason than that they are hoping to get on the fast track to MOG-dom, with all the rewards you mention and much more. I think that is why Bible Colleges always congeal around one of the IFB celebs. Because it’s so important to bring all these young people in and say: look, you could live like Clarence Sexton, Arlin Horton, Paul Chappell, etc., someday if you just have their “call” and their “vision” &c.

  12. ‘By the gods — this is a strange thing to have before one’s eyes!’ — Homer —

    Dear Darrell:

    Thank you for this extraordinary post.

    What yesterday’s Beaumont/Hambin/Malone post says of Fundy preachers, this post says of Fundy laity.

    Blessings!

    Christian Socialist

  13. There’s definitely an element of this in Catholicism, where suffering is correlated with piety and martyrs who suffered agonizing fates are revered. The problem is, meaningless suffering doesn’t necessarily help people grow spiritually. All too often, suffering causes trauma, unhappiness and stagnation, but no growth.

    1. Hi Ahab,
      Colosians 1:24 “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”

      As a Catholic convert I can say that to us suffering is viewed very differently and we don’t believe it is meaningless or try and make ourselves martyrs. We very much take the above scripture to heart. Hope that clears our view on suffering up a bit.

  14. Maybe it’s like a controlled burn in the woods that reduces the possibility of an uncontrollable wildfire. Maybe by manufacturing sacrifice, the Fundy can avoid thinking about real suffering. Real suffering might kindle compassion for others. “Sinners reaping what they sow” might start looking like folks the Fundy can relate to and can no longer hold at arms length in judgement. That kind of love could ruin a good Fundy.

    1. well, there is certainly a consistency about this idea that makes it compelling. For example, many fundy children are actually inoculated against the gospel because they have been taught explicitly and/or implicitly that their spirituality is defined by what they do. They have no comprehension of the depravity of their hearts because they have learned so well how to seek and destroy depravity in the facade they have been taught it is critical to display to others.

    1. Yes, we were once treated to an agonizingly long and disgustingly detailed sermon by a 300-lb (or so) “helps missionary” who took us literally valve by valve through his heart scope and subsequent bypass surgery. His surgeon told him he was lucky not to be dead, which the “missionary” interpreted as God having miraculously saved his life. Then, after surgery, the surgeon asked him if he smoked and the “missionary” said that he didn’t. Further proof that he didn’t have heart disease as a punishment for sin like everyone else!!!

      1. I can’t even tell you how many sermons I sat through with a gluttonous speaker ranting away, working up the only sweat he probably ever had, against the sins of ______. Bonus points if it was a sermon about marriage and he railed on women taking care of themselves and keeping their men interested.

        1. I once had to endure a rant about my tattoos from a Christian guy who would have been taller lying down than standing up. It is difficult to take seriously a sermon about the body being a temple from someone is is the Colosseum

  15. This quote I read today ties in:

    “I wish I would have known that prayer is about intimacy, not about impressing God.

    “I remember asking a new believer years ago how much he prayed every day. He looked at me blankly. ‘I don’t know—I’ve never timed it. Do you time your prayers?’ It was an honest question, and I was embarrassed to realize I did time my prayers, and that that number was actually pretty important to me. For me, my prayer time represented my spirituality and therefore my right to expect good things from God.

    “But I was wrong. We don’t expect good things because we are good. What a depressing, dead-end way to live! We expect good things from God because Jesus is good, and he is our righteousness.”

    Here’s the whole article:
    http://theresurgence.com/2013/09/26/what-i-wish-i-d-known-about-jesus-prayer-mission-and-loving-people

    1. Bill Gothard had this exercise called the “sweet hour of prayer” which was an hour, divided up into twelve five-minute segments. Each was to be devoted to a certain kind of prayer: e.g., praise, thanksgiving, requests, etc. You had a print-out of a clock to check off each segment as you completed it.

      1. This reminds me of a “tithe your time in prayer” message that I heard at a decidedly un-fundy Christian group at college. After arduously working his way through the message about “giving a tithe of your time” (which, as I recall, came from a book), the speaker tacked on an addendum that just maybe, the content shouldn’t be taken completely literally.

        Ya think?!?

        1. That strikes me as a way to rob the Lord’s Prayer of its main virtues– its brevity and its directness.

          When you turn it into something long, convoluted, and complicated, it is no longer the Lord’s Prayer.

    2. The part that really resonated was this: “My prayer time represented my spirituality and therefore my RIGHT TO EXPECT GOOD THINGS FROM GOD.” Replace “prayer time” with “proper dress code”, “attending church every time the doors are open,” “avoiding CCM,” or any other of the common fundy traditions and you’ll get the attitude that underlies a lot of it, an almost superstitious way to manipulate God into doing good things for them because of all the good things they do for Him.

        1. My moscato wine that I’m drinking right now is sweet and fruity, just the way I like it. No bitter fundies anywhere.

  16. Matthew 10:16-40: Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

    But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

    The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

    What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

    Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

    1. While the following verse does not speak directly to the poem above, it does speak to the point of this thread: If we are to suffer for our faith’s sake, lets don’t make a show of righteousness out of ourselves for posterity on earth.

      “Mat 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen of men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward.
      Mat 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;
      Mat 6:18 that thou be not seen of men to fast, but of thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall recompense thee.”

  17. One of the earliest books of our NT talks about suffering. How to suffer as a Christian is a major Biblical theme. This week my 2 year old grandson was diagnosed with epilepsy. Each of us have had family members or friends die. Good people suffer. How do we respond in suffering.
    Suffering is too real to make light of even here.

    1. Exactly.

      Which is why it is so insufferable (snrk) when these so-called MOGs act as they do.

      I wish your grandson (and your family) well. I pray for God’s strength and grace on you.

    2. This is the point of the poem.

      Real suffering is diminished by those who claim it when they have either a ridiculous threshold for what suffering is, or who bring it upon themselves for the purpose of promoting themselves.

    3. I am very sorry for your grandson.

      I truly suffered while in an IFB church. I was further hurt there because they are surrounded by imaginary suffering (eg – we’ll face persecution and not be able to preach homosexuality is evil!) yet I was told to ‘get over it’ when it came to my pain. We will all face genuine hardship in our lives, and it is good to be with people who are just there for us in that time, instead of just seeing us as a problem to be fixed. I am very thankful to some of the people from SFL for being there for me.

    4. Dear SFBAWUHBT:

      May our Savior who also suffered for us be close to your family — and especially your grandson — at this time. May God’s people be the Presence of Christ to you.

      Christian Socialist

  18. Fundies have protested against any law that would prohibit bullying. After all, they want their freedom of screech! What is more satisfying than telling some confused teenager that he or she is going to hell because she is gay? Or hounding the gay teen into committing suicide?

    You have to know that many of them love it.

    But these laws to protect others from their bullying are seen as persecution!

    Hey! They are persecuting us back!

  19. Big Gary, Deacon’s Son… Many of you…. So bitter. So you were hurt by some folk in the IFB movement? Move on. Find something more productive to do than mock and tear down others. There is little admonishing and a lot of agonizing…

    I would be willing to bet many of you consider ourselves compassionate, full of Grace and non-judgmental. You and the IFBers are wrong.

    That’s why I left it all. No IFB or any church… My life is short, so I’ll enjoy it, FORGIVING those in the IFB movement and the evangelicals. Don’t spend life focused on those you despise but rather spend it making good.

    Your Jesus would not waste his time bashing others all the time… Learn a lesson from a great man.

      1. Darrell, you seem to think that’s ALL Jesus did… Bash people he didn’t like… Didn’t Jesus tell his disciples to “Leave them alone.” when they came whining about HOW others were preaching/teaching?

        You run a cess pool of bitterness… IFBers AND people like YOU are why I left it all behind…

        Good teachings from Jesus, Buddha and others that we could all learn… Love and peace.

        Let’s try being more loving, even towards those we deem “hard”.

        1. You sound exactly like my recently-former CEO. Do you happen to “pastor” an IFB church in one of yonder western states?

          Probably not. There are literally thousands of your type in pulpits across America, yea, the world.

          B.R.O.

        2. I think you have the spirit of this blog all wrong. It is not a “cesspool of bitterness.” It is an online community of folks who have been hurt by the extremes of the IFB movement coming together to offer comfort and succor vis-à-vis an honest appraisal of the limits of fundamentalism. That, Charlie Brown, is what this blog is all about.

        3. Wow, Darrell, I take that as a compliment! I’ve been reading this blog for a couple of months now and decided to weigh in. I mean my remarks sincerely and I appreciate the candor, wit, intelligence, and kindness that emanate from these pages. Carry on!

    1. Honestly now, “just move on”?

      You have got to be kidding. Poof, no psychological trauma. Poof, no tearing apart of families. Poof, you are in fellowship with the abusers once again because you have “forgiven” them.

      I have “forgiven” them for what I can, and as I receive more grace to do so, I will forgive them for more. But the abuse was real. The pain, the lies, and the damage done to my family is real. The false doctrine is real.

      If you are so easy with everything, you may not have been a “true believer” to begin with. This forum helps me by allowing me to view these common hypocrisies in a more realistic light.

      And no, I cannot forgive fundamentalism for tearing my family apart. I might can forgive them for the humiliation they put me through, but I cannot forgive them for the humiliation they will put others through.

      One does not make peace with the devil. One does not play nice in a cesspool. You have to recognize the filth. You have to know your enemy. And the devil does appear as an angel of light. His ministers do appear as ministers of righteousness.

      So no. I am not going to stop hating fundamentalism. It is a destructive, evil force.

      And if I am bitter, it is for the years wasted, the opportunities lost to them, the service I gave them thinking I was serving God. It is motivation to do better.

      1. “you don’t make peace with the Devil.” Wow, right on! Those who condemn us often require us to overlook the hellish, evil acts of unrepentant predators who would do the same to anyone given half the chance. I’m never going to “get over” the pastors who use their pulpits to incite child abuse. I’m never going to be anything but angry when I hear about a preacher molesting a child. I’m never going to be ok, with abuse.

      2. I am sorry for all the pain embroidered into your remarks. I do hope the God whose character it is to have mercy will shine love upon you and bring healing and light to the dark places.

        1. Healing, maybe. Then again, like Paul, it may just be a thorn in the flesh I have to deal with so that I never make peace with such things again.

          Fundamentalism is addictive, like a drug. It does tremendous damage, but some people just cannot live without it. They would take it over their loved ones. They would kill others to keep it.

          It ripped my parents from me, and even as I tried to reconcile with them they disowned me. Their fundy faith was so strong that my willingness to use a Bible version other than the KJV was grounds to put me out of their lives.

          Yet I stayed in fundystan for years more, being lied to by the preachers, humiliated when I needed help, and looked down upon because my work meant I couldn’t attend every service of the church.

          And I still stayed. I stayed because my wife insisted it was not good to uproot the children from their friends. After my two oldest had left home, I left, but my daughter refuses to leave. Her mother supports her. Any word against the church puts me in the doghouse. My daughter spouts creationist nonsense they teach her, and my wife wants me to go easy and not counter it directly. If I do say something against creationism, my daughter rails against me for trying to tell her her beliefs are wrong.

          Oh, fundamentalism is destructive in the extreme, and I am still stuck. Am I bitter for what it is doing? Absolutely. Can I stop it from hurting my family? No.

          Maybe God’s character is to have mercy. And I may be seeing mercy in some things, but I am perceiving no mercy in others. Still a lot of continuing pain.

          But I thank you for your blessing and prayer.

    2. Bahahaha “I thank you God that I am not like these others…”

      Look up the term ‘secondary abuse’. People like you are the reason why some of us are having such a hard time healing.

        1. I sometimes wonder if people like this have actually repressed rather than moving on. Which is why they need to lash out at people who are actually going through the difficult process of processing their hurts so that they can genuinely heal.

    3. Rev 6, excerpted and updated to reflect the god of nasty people like The Show, who only THINKS he has left the IFB behind:

      When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And the Lord replied unto them, saying, “Ahhh… My daily dose of whiney ex-Fundies…. Y’all have to be he most bitter people on the planet. Shut up and move on with life.”

    4. You know what would be really useful? Mocking and tearing down people to show how ridiculous they are before they hurt someone else.

      “I would be willing to bet many of you consider ourselves compassionate, full of Grace and non-judgmental. You and the IFBers are wrong.”

      Wow. You consider yourselves non-judgmental. I JUDGE YOU AS WRONG!

      I think there’s a flaw in there somewhere.

      “My life is short, so I’ll enjoy it, FORGIVING those in the IFB movement and the evangelicals. Don’t spend life focused on those you despise but rather spend it making good.”

      And yet you come here for your daily dose of bitter ex-fundies.

      “Your Jesus would not waste his time bashing others all the time… Learn a lesson from a great man.”

      According to the bible, Jesus was more of an animal and plant basher anyway. He hated him some pigs and figs. Drowned the pigs, cursed the fig trees, then had his disciples steal him a donkey so he could take it off a ramp while whistling “Dixie” and maybe giving a Yeehaw!

      That’s the hazard you fall into when you try to live up to the “Lord of Hazzard”.

  20. Seems like there’s different meanings for each section. The first, I get the sense of both the persecution complex and the showy, megachurch, televangelist kind of way of doing things. Reminds me somewhat of the verse saying that you shouldn’t be like the hypocrites, who wish to be seen in public praying, but instead go and pray in a room in your house.

    The second section just makes me think of privilege. Sitting down to eat in suits and thinking they’re suffering because it’s a little hot. At the same time, there are people who can’t sit to dinner, either because they have no food or because a dictator ordered every firstborn son’s butt to be forcibly removed by surgery. Plus, you know, the idea of the martyrs thinking they suffered because of a little heat.

    Then we get where the church seems to be causing some suffering too on a financial level. Reminds me of too many stories of wealthy pastors with their hands out and the faithful thinking they’ll be cared for because of their belief.

    Then the next part seems more about indoctrination. Bringing kids up to have a warped view of sexuality and their own bodies so that, instead of embracing and controlling their desires, they feel guilt over them and wind up with a severe lack of satisfaction as a result. Also, the idea of a mission in Illinois. As I yelled out at a street preacher one day, “Most of them are already Christian!”

    And then we’re back to the persecution complex and how it conflicts with the idea of having others join up. To be fair, though, people would rather feel like the Rebel Alliance than the Galactic Empire.

    Odd when others are being snarky and I’m the guy doing an analysis. But as an 😈 atheist 😈 visiting here because y’all were mentioned on a blog I read, this is how I must suffer. 😎

    1. The second section is a bit about privilege, but it is also about cause and effect. They wear hot suits and ties and then think they are suffering – and more spiritual – because they are hot.

      It’s not odd at all that you are analysing while others are being snarky. We lived it. Some of us were raised in it, and had to go through some effort to see life outside the bubble. Some of us still have family who are like that. So, there are hurts.

      While this looks a lot like snark – and it is. It is also us laughing. Laughing at our own past selves and what we used to believe and put ourselves through. Knowing that there are others who ‘get’ this stuff (and there are many out there who don’t) is really helpful.

      1. It does make me realize some that I missed quite a bit as someone who was never a Christian while an adult. That’s a useful lesson. It means my regrets are more about being a mean little kid that was going fundamentalist just before I de-converted. Hope the humor helps y’all. Certainly a lot to laugh at if you can see the joke (and maybe have a few calluses on your sense of humor). Maybe I’ll stick around and be funnier when we’re closer to my element.

        1. I would be interested in knowing, Psycho Gecko, whether you attribute Fundamentalist leanings to your meanness as a kid. I know many kids at my “Christian” school could practically eviscerate someone verbally & not care in the least.

        2. No, the fundamentalism wasn’t the cause of the meanness, though it didn’t do anything to curb it. I think being bullied had more to do with why I was mean. In my case, I think I lashed out some when I got opportunities by doing some bullying myself. Some of the meanness had more to do with jokes that hit below the belt, though, and I’m not sure if that was due to a lack of proper socialization or what. Then again, I still enjoy Black Humor, so maybe that part didn’t entirely go away. Still not a good idea to constantly keep joking, to the youth pastor, about how he’s going bald.

          The fundamentalism itself was caused by people insisting that a kid without a lot of friends should go join a church youth group. Then I figured that if you’re going to claim that the Bible is the word of god, then you have to take the whole thing as true and serious. So that’s how I moved out of general folk Christianity and into a more fundamentalist mindset. You know it sucks as a kid to think you’re actually supposed to believe a Chick Tract. And then there were the times praying every time I thought the word “devil”.

          Really glad I’m not an adult still thinking that way.

        3. I used to read the Chick tracts. They always bothered me, though. I think I recognized the hatefulness in them, and once I discovered the outright lies and falsehoods they promulgated, they sickened me.

          My thought was that Christians should not use hate to preach Christ’s love, and they should not use lies to turn people to the truth.

          I can see now that at that point, my fundy days were going to be limited, even if it did take me a long number of years to eventually leave.

        4. Fundamentalism does have a way of finding your weaknesses and using them against you & others.

          I love black humor, too (I have as long as I can remember), but I can’t say Fundamentalism played a role in that.

          It did play a role in introducing me to Chick tracts (which I believed with as much fervor as I did everything else Fundy related). I knew I was finally out of Fundystan when I ripped up & threw out 2 Chick tracts someone has left for the front end worker at McDonald’s. :mrgreen:

      1. The Show has to be the weirdest troll yet. Dude, it takes a lot for me to say that, but you did it! It’s one thing for current Fundies to come on here and use all the stupid lines (and we all know what they are, including TS). But for someone to claim to be an ex-Fundy yet still use the same lines? That’s a special level of weird. There’s a Poe in there, but it’s a Poe riding a Moebius strip and drinking something potent from a Klein bottle.

        P.S. Please change your name. I don’t want people to think you are with the people who really are doing “The Show” in a few months. They’re much nicer folks who don’t deserve a black eye from a Fundy pretending to be an ex-Fundy. 🙄

    1. What ignorance, coupled with arrogance, to ask such a question!

      The Fundy is strong with this one.

      Doesn’t matter if he is atheist, pantheist, whatever. He’s still an obnoxious Fundy.

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