“Maturity”

If all else fails in the fundy plight to socialize people into mimicking the acceptable “standards” of behavior, playing the maturity card is the last resort.

“Oh, you just don’t understand how important this is because you’re only a baby Christian. I know you’re 53 and have children older than I am (after all I’m only 26 and just got my Bible degree) but if you’ll just do what I tell you then soon you’ll be a grown-up Christian like I am…”

156 thoughts on ““Maturity””

      1. Sorry about that – I went acronym-happy. It’s “I am nor a real Fundy,” which is a reference to the commonly-used IANAL flung about in discussions about legal matters.

  1. So many fundies I knew pronounced the word MA-tewer.

    I southern hack at the word and say MAchure.

    Anyway, today’s lesson is brought to you by the LETTER M. M is fundy for MEAN!

        1. George Costanza blew a budding romance while discussing the lovely sound of the word “manure”. He really stepped in it…

    1. I don’t know if it’s just a Southern thing or not, but at my former IFB church it was pronounced muh-turr. Used to make me insane. That, and the word push became puhsh (the soft ‘u’ sound rather than the ‘oo’ sound).

  2. The funny thing is, in Scripture it is the WEAKER Christian, not the strong (mature) one, who is unable to do certain things because he thinks they are wrong (I’m talking about issues that aren’t specifically prohibited in the Bible, of course.)

    1. Good point. Even my own craaaaaazy fundy mother figured this one out finally. One day she looked at me and said, “you know, I can’t claim to be a mature Christian if I keep using the weaker brother argument to justify expecting everyone else to conform to my standards.” I was like 😯 πŸ˜• πŸ˜› (Don’t worry, the light bulb flickered out shortly thereafter.)

    2. Spot on, PW!
      I think it’s “young Christians” (people, regardless of age, who are fairly new to Christianity) who tend to be obsessed with rules. People I’ve known who were truly mature in their spiritual lives were sort of past worrying about rules and regulations.

      1. PW, Would you believe that the first time I understood the point you were making was at the Wilds? It was through the teaching of Les Ollila. I think he was talking about women wearing pants, which off of the BJU/Northland campuses, was an ok thing to do. So, they teach that biblical truth whenever it’s something that they will permit, but revert to the standard fundy way of thinking when it’s something they will not permit.

        Maturity is a tricky and confusing thing in fundy circles.

        1. Dear Big Gary,
          I just drove 2 1/2 hours on icy roads so it was with great pleasure that I got to hear the Byrds sing when I got home and checked SFL. Thanks-seriously. BJg

      1. Thank you, Mr. Best. that just got saved to my picture folder.

        One of the few things I miss about the drives we used to have to make to Northern Wisconsin is Kugel’s Cheese Mart in Lena. EXCELLENT 5 year old extra sharp cheddar. It goes well with fruit or his locally made Braunschweiger.

        1. Try the extra sharp cheddar from Westby Cooperative Creamery. So pungently dry and tangy…
          That’s mature!

  3. Great post! This is not only true of fundies, but many older “christians” in general. I’m so tired of people equating age with knowledge/wisdom.

    For example, my wife and I just had our first child (a beautiful little girl!) We are constantly being fed little golden nuggets of wisdom that sound like this..

    “you think it’s tough now, just wait until….”

    “Oh, he has no idea. You just wait…”

    “Have you tried this? This worked with all my children…”(points out the most obvious solution to the problem that my wife and I in our limited intelligence surely have never tried.)

    1. Welcome to the awesome world of parenting. There is a joke in the dog world that the only thing two dog trainers can agree on is that the third trainer is Doing It Wrong. I applied that maxim to my parenting life and so far, my kid has survived pretty decently. The appropriate response to most unsolicited advice, even mine, is: I’m glad that worked for you!

      1. “I’m glad that worked for you.”
        Perfect! How could someone take umbrage at you being happy for them?
        Yet at the same time, you’re not promising to follow the advice, nor encouraging them to give more advice. πŸ˜€

    2. Oh yes. And then there are strangers who come up and give unsolicited advice that is sometimes offensive in itself. I remember someone came up and told me that my daughter would never learn to talk if I didn’t take out the dummy. Someone else walked up and gushed over how adorable she was, and then said, “I’m so glad you’ve given her that dummy, I can’t stand it when they make noise.” and walked off.

      A new parent can’t win.

      1. My main take-away from the classes I took on language acquisition is that there is almost nothing you can do to prevent children learning to talk (unless you never let them hear any words). It’s hard-wired into our systems.

        That sort of takes some of the pressure off for at least that one thing.

        1. Steve Martin, in one of his early stand-up routines, said that if you want to play a practical joke on your baby, whenever you are around them- speak *wrong*.

          Then, on their first day at school, they might say, “May I mumble de dogface to the banana patch, please?”

      2. Yes, as an American, ‘take out the dummy’ would be a pretty insulting thing to say. I had to read what you said twice to realize you were referring to what we would call a pacifier, or paci. Even so, new parents cannot win. Parents of any age cannot win. Everyone knows you’re doing it wrong, whether you have a toddler or a teenager. Se la vie!

        1. Around here, most people refer to it by the brand name, Nook. It took me a while to figure out what they were talking about when we moved here. I call it a paci.

        2. You’re wrong and I have to separate from you. Everyone knows the proper term is “binky”. Don’t ask me why, it just is.

    3. Then there are those who think that being married without children, like me and my wife, is the EPITOME of immaturity. My own mother begged us on the night before our wedding not to get married if we weren’t planning to have children right away because that meant that we were not mature enough for marriage. (Item: we were both 24 years old.)

      1. Oh. my.

        So, she means, “please have a baby asap so you can prove you are mature?”

        IS this a good time to point out by her logic how VERY mature you COULD have been if you had conceived BEFORE your wedding night.

        You seem open to a good laugh. How funny would that have been if you could have answered her by saying “that’s good to know, because we are already expecting!” Aren’t we so mature!!! :mrgreen:

        1. Haha!!

          No, the reason why we got the “have kids or don’t bother getting married” lecture is because we were (falsely) accused of sexual misbehavior before our marriage but, much to their disappointment, my wife-to-be had not conceived so they could not shame us like they all wanted so desperately to do. So, instead, my mother spun it as “you must have been having sex but you are obviously doing something to prevent pregnancy, so that makes you too immature to get married.”

        2. @DS. I. don’t. know. what. to. say. Her comments sounds so assenine that however you answer the question you are trapped. Fundy mind-jedi tricks.

      2. Oh, and then there are these comments:

        “Is your wife going to continue to work?” Yes.

        “Well, I just hate that for you. I mean, I understand, but I really just hate that for you all.”

        And then there are those who are more blunt.

        “You don’t want other people raising your children. Trust me. Making my wife stay home with the children was one of the best decisions we ever made.”

        What’s worse is these people know exactly how little I make. They see my yearly income every church business meeting!

        1. It always amazes me how people who claim to be “pro-family” are so hesitant to let actual families make decisions for themselves.

        2. That’s because you’re making the “wrong” decisions.

          SFL: Freedom in Christ, as long as you stay in lock-step with everyone else.

        3. “Making my wife stay home with the children was one of the best decisions we ever made.”

          “Making” does not equal “decision *we* made.”

          Holy crap I love my husband…
          And my Dad for teaching me to be a person first and a girl second.

    4. My first daughter was born almost 25 years ago when I was in college. She had a foot that bent in an odd manner because it had been jammed against my wife’s ribs. We had to buy a special shoe to straighten it. It was a large, stiff leather shoe that looked like it was on the wrong foot. To us it looked obviously orthopedic. Often “helpful” people would stop to tell us she only had on one shoe. I would then point out it was on the wrong foot, but that since I was a poor college student we could only afford one shoe and alternated feet each day so so she would get used to shoes.
      It was sad that most people seemed to buy the story.

      I don’t think I was always unkind toward unasked for advice, but after a while you want to say things like, “I have the same manual that came with your kids. I’ll be okay too.”

      1. Old (old, old, old) sermon illustration:

        I was walking along and I met a boy wearing just one shoe. “How did you lose your other shoe?” I asked.
        He replied, “I didn’t. I found this one.”

        Even older:

        I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.

        1. Sorry, but I prefer this version:
          I used to weep because I had no eyes, until I say a man that had no head. πŸ™„

        2. Then there’s George Carlin’s take on this old piece of advice: “Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Because then you’ll be a mile away…and you’ll have his shoes.”

    5. Well there, young fella, let me give you a piece of advise that a sage IFB CEO recently provided to ig’nant youngsters such as yourself.

      Spank ’em bare bottom to insure they feel the pain (clothing can serve as a padding which will absorb the blow from the rod).

      He began with his sons at nine months old since they displayed the knowledge that what they were doing was WRONG! That’s what you call the appropriate, fearful consequence. Be consistent and do it every single time so that they know who’s the boss!

      Where’s the mercy and grace you ask? We don’t need no stinkin’ mercy and grace…compliance and order are the rule of the day.

      (Note: the previous advise, though truly given, is satirical in nature in the SFL world and not to be applied literally.)

      B.R.O.

    6. Yep, everyone gives parenting advice. Everyone. Especially non-parents. After a while, we learned to shrug it all off, even the ones who were implying that we didn’t understand how the babies kept showing up. (I never used the obvious retort: “What, you need assistance?”) The only ones I still have a problem forgiving are the ones who called the cops, after offering to assist a stressed-out mom and her completely out of control five year old.

  4. Yeah, I went through a streak like that; it makes me wince when I think about it. I try to let my thoughts percolate a bit before I pass them off as “wisdom”. I am not always successful. 😳

  5. This is one of my fundy sister’s FAVORITE words. She is closest to me in age, so I had to hear her complain all the time when we were teenagers about how this or that kid in the church youth group was not mature enough.

    Of course, my sister was the definition of maturity in her eyes and those of my parents! And, yes, they define maturity just like the excerpt from Webster’s dictionary πŸ™„ that Darrell has posted here.

  6. “Mature” – very close to another Fundy code term: “Wanting God’s best for your life.”

    Example: I do not listen to rock music because I want God’s best for my life in my music choices.

    Used in circumstances when the person the Fundy is talking to can cut the “rock music is a sin” argument to ribbons from Scripture, but the Fundy is still determined to uphold fundy “standards” as some sort of benchmark of holiness.

    “Wanting God’s best” is used in all sorts of situations” boasting of not wearing britches, boasting of not holding hands or kissing before marriage, etc.

        1. That phrase is used all the time in my old fundy church to justify extra rules. It’s twisted to me – they freely admit that there’s *nothing* wrong with x, but they make a rule about it anyway because they are taking the “higher standard”. Sigh.

      1. We were always told: “God has called us to a higher standard.” So, we didn’t just obey the Bible. We did obedience-plus!! It was never really explained to me why God had called US to a higher standard, but not others. I think the reasoning went something like this:

        The Bible’s basic rules and laws apply to EVERYONE. That’s how God gets to send EVERYONE to hell, except for true Christians, of course. Since the Bible’s basic rules and laws apply to people who are GOING TO HELL, then shouldn’t people who are GOING TO HEAVEN adhere to an even higher standard than just keeping the law?? (Never mind that the NT actually has it the other way around: Christians are ABSOLVED from an obligation to keep the law!!)

        1. The only righteousness that impresses God is the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ, which is given to us by grace, through faith, and which blossoms through us as we grow in Him.

          But when these yahoos starting touting their standards, the failure of Fundamentalism to comprehend the sufficiency of Christ becomes clear. Sinners simply cannot impress God with their righteousness. Only Jesus Christ impresses God. And He consorted with sinners! (yay for us!)

    1. The scary thing is you may not know just how right you are. Having grown up IFB, Oh the stories I could tell. I was around a lot of people. Some things I cant prove but I still think it was going. too many odd happenings.

  7. Mature: An adolescent fundy youth who obeys their parents in all things because they know that they could be sent away until legal adulthood to a fundy re-education camp at any moment for the smallest infraction that embarrasses their parents.

      1. And, frustratingly, what many of them find embarrassing is anything that’s not a total, 100% acquiescence to the parents’ own preferences, beliefs, standards, and convictions.

  8. Maturity is overrated. Lighten up. Un-wad your panties. Laugh at stupid stuff. Laugh at funny stuff. Laugh at serious stuff. Laugh at fundy stuff.

    My childhood was stolen by fundamentalism. I went right from puberty to Preacher Boy, with all of the expectations and demands that entails. I was a Good Boy. Took everything WAY too seriously. I married at 19. Kids at 20. I work all the time. Soooooooo

    Yes, I will be immature, and y’all can kiss my round brownie right where it stinks! πŸ˜†

    1. Yup. A very serious childhood with a throbbing awareness of all that was wrong with all of the other families and all of the other churches.
      No wonder I want to dress like an elf or Mrs. Claus or something crazy and dance around all day! It’s restoring some of my lost sanity, despite it appearing to be the opposite. πŸ˜›

      1. “A very serious childhood with a throbbing awareness of all that was wrong with all of the other families and all of the other churches.”

        Wow. You summed up my youth in one sentence.

        1. If you are a man it is best not to dance naked.
          “The problem with nude dancing is that not everything stops when the music does” – Robert Helpmann
          😯 😳 πŸ˜€

    2. Nico- Yep. You described my childhood/early adult years, except for the preacher boy part, since I’m a girl lol. It feels so good to let go and LIVE a little!

      1. Were they that different from any other group of young teens similarly obsessed? Specifically group of teen girls, the cruelest judges known to mankind? I weep for my sex. πŸ™„ πŸ™ πŸ˜›

  9. Is a mature Christian the same as being a full Christian? I heard people say,”well they are a full Christian”. Didn’t know you be half a Christian!

  10. Yup, that is how they portray it. And they always see themselves as the mature one.

    It is like the weaker brother v stronger brother distinction. One would think of the weaker brother as less mature.

    But in Romans 15 (iirc. I don’t have my Bible handy) the point is really that we all see ourselves as the stronger brother and others as weaker brothers. Or sisters.

    What we see ourselves as may not be the case at all.

  11. I’ve heard this from my actual parents.

    Her favorite phrase is always “Act like a child and you’ll be treated like one.” Which in and of itself isn’t a bad approach. The trouble comes when it gets mixed with fundy standards of maturity.

    I, the non-fundy daughter, am “acting like a child.” Anything I do that isn’t approved is immaturity, from my gothic-tinged wardrobe (which is quite liked at work) to my failure to go to an approved church to my failure to completely hide mental illness symptoms. This means she doesn’t have to respect me as an adult.

    The fact that she has a 20-something daughter who is (1) in a highly competitive grad program, (2) Working multiple jobs to support herself fully while doing so, (3) spending free time helping out at church, and (4) doing all this despite serious health challenges. But by the fundy lights, those don’t count.

    1. You’re a howling success despite health challenges and haven’t run away from religion, and it still doesn’t count? My God, what do they want from you?

      1. Well, the health problems don’t count, because the right faith would fix my ptsd symptoms. And my Catholic parish is just devil worship. Also I’m incredibly disrespectful to my mother by disagreeing with her on occasion.

        1. I’m reminded of a bit in Lewis about the nature of evil at its most basic: the desire to consume someone, to direct all of their actions and even their thoughts while blotting them out entirely, turning them into meat-puppets. Slavery, totalitarianism, and the slow torment of life under a domineering parent or spouse all spring from this impulse. From the evildoer’s point of view, any resistance to this takeover is very selfish.

        2. Jenny, can you point me to the source of that quote or thought? I feel the Spirit leading me to repost it. πŸ˜‰

        3. JeseC, your mother should meet my mother. (Or maybe not . . .)

          My mother uses the “disrespectful” line too when someone tells her something she doesn’t want to hear.

        4. @JI et al., this is from Lewis’s The Great Divorce. I don’t have any exact quotes to hand, but it’s a short (and great) book. There’s possibly searchable text online, but I commend this book for every believer. It should challenge how we think about our relationships and what the consequences of habits, etc, really are.

        5. “The Great Divorce” has been turned into a stage play. It debuts this month.

          I got to see “The Screwtape Letters” and it was great so I’m looking forward to this one, since the book was so awesome too.

        6. β€œOf all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

          – C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

        7. @ Der_Berater: Actually it’s my paraphrase of a passage in Lewis’s preface to The Screwtape Letters. Lewis refers especially to the aspect of evil that masquerades as love, but by expanding on this desire to consume or blot out another person while making use of the bits the evildoer wants to keep, we arrive at slavery, totalitarianism, etc.

          The Great Divorce is very good, but readers should be warned that Lewis was an ill-informed pooh-pooher of non-straight relationships if not an outright homophobe, so a non-straight couple who briefly appear in an early chapter are a couple of vicious caricatures. It is possible to read their damnation not as a refusal to perform gender norms, but as being more into how they look to “the straights” than they ever were into each other.

    2. Actually, I grew to hate that comment, “If you act like a child then you will be treated like one.”

      Children are supposed to act like children. Acting like a child is not a bad thing. A baby cries because it is hungry or needs attention, not because it is being bad. What we often call misbehavior is the child’s attempt to get the parents’ love and attention, knowing that if they “act good” they will simply be ignored.

      I subscribed to the “baby’s crying is evidence of a sin nature” nonsense for far too long.

      Even my adult children still act like children, even while they act like adults. They like to have fun, they tease, they ask for help (and sometimes money). They continue to learn and develop. Acting like an “adult” does not mean self-sufficiency or stern sobriety.

      If you are a child, you are a child of someone, and you should have a relationship.

      Me? I’m proud of my children. My big hope is that they will be better people than their dad.

  12. Along the same lines, the expression, “Taking the high road,” drives me up a wall. Any time someone else’s understanding of the proper application of scripture is less restrictive than the preacher’s, he is “taking the high road” by playing it safe.

    No one should violate their own consience or tempt another to do so, but the person who feels greater soul liberty in a particular matter is not necessarily, by default, “taking the low road.” When will church folks recognize this saying as the judgemental, self-righteous nonsense that it is?

    1. Well said! I have the same issue with that phrase. Makes me twitch now. Somewhere on this site Pastors Wife said she thinks of it as a stricter standard, and I like that better. Gets the idea across without the positive spin.

        1. Dear CS & PR,

          Celtic music is great, but in that song didn’t the “high road” refer to the gallows and the “low road” refer to the dungeon?

          Still,if Heaven bears a great deal of resemblance to Scotland, maybe the song contains some truth.

        2. Per Wikipedia:
          “There are many theories about the meaning of the song, most of which are connected to the Jacobite Uprising of 1745. One interpretation based on the lyrics is that the song is sung by the lover of a captured Jacobite rebel set to be executed in London following a show trial. The heads of the executed rebels were then set upon pikes and exhibited in all of the towns between London and Edinburgh in a procession along the “high road” (the most important road), while the relatives of the rebels walked back along the “low road” (the ordinary road travelled by peasants and commoners).[7]”

    2. Dear Ben Padraic:

      LOL! Don’t you just love Paul’s question, ‘why is MY freedom judged by ANOTHER man’s conscience??????’ 1Co 10:29

      Christian Socialist

      1. Dear Christian Socialist,

        It’s a, well, inspired question. For some reason though, the point seems lost on a lot of Fundamentalists.

        This is a bit of a tangent, but as you know the “preacher” in Ecclesiastes tells us that there is “no new thing under the sun.” I’m starting to suspect that the main difference between the Pharisees and many modern Fundamentalists is their respective levels of education.

        Best Regards,

    3. I’ve heard “higher standard” and it doesn’t make sense. Who’s to say not listening to ccm IS the higher standard?
      Wearing a skirt instead of jeans
      Not drinking alcohol
      Not Watching movies
      The “higher standard” usually seems to be what that individual is most comfortable with.
      The higher standard is arbitrary and I can’t find it in the Bible.

  13. Example: Because he was a mature Christian, he help cover up his pastor’s affair.

    Example: Because he was a mature Christian, he took credit when things went well, and assigned blame when things went wrong.

    Example: Because he was a mature Christian, he could comment on topics he had never studied.

    Example: Because he was a mature Christian, he could easily discern who might be gay.

    Example: Because he was a mature Christian, he could easily discern who might be abusing drugs.

    Example: Because he was a mature Christian, he β€œdidn’t need no book learnin’”, after all he acquired wisdom when he said the sinner’s prayer when he was three years old.

    Example: Because he was a mature Christian, he could handle the family finances better than his accountant wife.

    Example: Because he was a mature Christian, everyone secretly thinks he an a-hole and no one wants to be around him.

  14. Why are fundies so darn quick to offer unsolicited advice?

    My late uncle used to say, “I got lead in my pencil but no place to write. Besides, no one would want to get a letter from me anyhow.”

  15. A mature person is happy for another’s good fortune, and comforts the one who is troubled. A mature person will dance at your wedding and just “be there” in your grieving. A mature person is magnanimous (big-souled), so he or she has enough grace to accept another person’s idiosyncrasies without making them feel small.

    An immature person is happy to condemn and accuse, because that satisfies their lack of soul. (For the moment). And those who rail against other people’s sins are the smallest, and least helpful of all.

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