Two Rulebooks

I was reading along in The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap when the following passage by Matt Taibbi smote me in the eye:

As a very young man, I studied the Russian language in Leningrad, in the waning days of the Soviet empire. One of the first things I noticed about that dysfunctional wreck of a lunatic country was that it had two sets of laws, one written and one unwritten. The written laws were meaningless, unless you violated one of the unwritten laws, at which point they became all-important.

So, for instance, possessing dollars or any kind of hard currency was technically forbidden, yet I never met a Soviet citizen who didn’t have them. The state just happened to be very selective about enforcing its anticommerce laws. So the teenage farsovshik (black market trader) who sold rabbit hats in exchange for blue jeans outside my dorm could be arrested for having three dollars in his pocket, but a city official could openly walk down Nevsky Avenue with a brand-new Savile Row suit on his back, and nothing would happen.

Everyone understood this hypocrisy implicitly, almost at a cellular level, far beneath thought. For a Russian in Soviet times, navigating every moment of citizenship involved countless silent calculations of this type. But the instant people were permitted to think about all this and question the unwritten rules out loud, it was like the whole country woke up from a dream, and the system fell apart in a matter of months. That happened before my eyes in 1990 and 1991, and I never forgot it.

This sounds so familiar to me. In the dorm rooms, classrooms, church auditoriums, and camp cabins of fundamentalism there are also two rule books. Don’t listen to music with a beat, unless you’re the son of a favored deacon. Don’t go to the beach, unless you’re a big tither. Don’t wear the wrong clothes, unless you’re the pastor’s granddaughter.

And above all, don’t fall from grace or else the indulgences granted to you by the local Baptist pope will be rescinded and you’ll find that the same rules that apply to the unwashed masses are suddenly laid on you as well.

117 thoughts on “Two Rulebooks”

    1. This is actually a very common control mechanism utilized by both cults and psychopaths (I don’t have time to post links to the psych journals, but if you have time, it is a good study). The deal with “two sets of rules” is not so much that there is a double standard. Rather, there is a set of written rules so stringent that it is almost unlivable. The set of unwritten rules is set up so that if you get nailed (i.e., get on the wrong person’s bad side) they can then indict you for a host of other infractions that are unrelated, essentially turning any petty offense into a capital crime.

      1. Oooh, I want the linkees.

        Have been dealing with this at work. The double standard is unreal. And it’s always the most conscientious, hardest working people who get the most grief. The slackers get away with bloody murder, while the conscientious (but easily bully-able) employees get reamed if they stick their toes even a nanometer over the line.

        1. 🙁 Sorry about that. I lost my job a few months ago, but the environment was so toxic and unprofessional that I had already started looking for new employment before getting downsized (I was also the highest paid person in the building, so as soon as we got bad financial numbers, I knew I would be the first one out the door).

        2. “Toxic” is a word I use often to describe corporate culture these days!!

          Have you found a better job? I will keep you very much in my prayers. Re layoffs: Been there! (Haven’t we all nowadays?)

  1. I always said that Bob Jones was excellent preparation for living in Communist China, and this is exactly one of the big reasons why. Over here, we refer to it as the gotcha laws. The laws are deliberately made contradictory and obtuse so that everyone will always be guilty of something, and no one will actually know all of them (including every police officer I’ve ever talked to.) Therefore they can always round you up for breaking an unwritten rule of some kind and prosecute you for your violation of a real one. It’s very convenient.

    1. You are able to find the positive attributes of having attended BJU. I graduated 34 years ago and haven’t found one positive thing yet about having attended BJU:(

      1. “And above all, don’t fall from grace or else the indulgences granted to you by the local Baptist pope will be rescinded and you’ll find that the same rules that apply to the unwashed masses are suddenly laid on you as well.”

        This was my experience within my former-fundy “church” under the dictatorial eye of my former-fundy CEO, with whom we, BJg, are both well-acquainted.

        This was my wakeup call after so many years in this system. The “double standard” became evident during my years under this tyrant.

        As far as “positive attributes” are concerned, I’m not of the same opinion, BJg. I have many positive experiences there at BJU. Most of those experiences have to do with the local church I was a part of. Though BoJo in many ways, the leadership demonstrated a humility and graciousness that I now recognize as unusual in fundamental circles. That church is probably what kept me in the IFB as long as I was.

        1. Yep, we remember your CEO. Interesting man, he was. On further reflection, I did take away a love for the opera and classical music. On the other hand, BJU was little help launching my career. I still have a few fond memories and three good friends from BJU.

      2. My undergrad work at BJU was from 1981 to ’87 (with a year off in ’83). I did two more years to get a Master of Education in Teaching Mathematics in ’89.

        Then off to Clemson for 3 years!

        Considering how very fundamentalist was the situation I came from at home, BJU was actually a liberalizing influence. Not to mention the fact that I met my wife there! BJU set me on the path to becoming a liberal, first by teaching me that there was more to know than what I had imagined, then by providing me with evidences of its own fallibility and double standards.

        Not that I recognized what was happening at the time. I just didn’t spend much time chafing against the rules. I didn’t have the time to do so. I was at BJU for an education. I was an older student, at first living off campus, and only in the dorms for a year and a half. I was not as attractive as the younger ones to the girls on campus. I literally didn’t have the chance to run too afoul of some of the rules, though the ones I did run up against made for some interesting possibilities, I admit!

        Not getting caught has some advantages. Being older conferred some other advantages I was unaware of at the time.

        I managed to get some outstanding teachers, too. Dr. Guthrie was by and far my favorite. He would ask provocative questions from time to time which he would not answer, but left his students to think about.

        So I have to say that BJU gave me a great deal. I was able to become a liberal without actually losing faith (though I have come close at times). The University and I do not see things the same way, and I know I would not be welcome back there. But they were not all bad. I managed somehow to avoid a lot of the bad and get more of the good.

      3. If I had stayed, I would have graduated in 1977. My mom made me go but I left on my own after 1 year & moved back to our hometown in the lowcountry of SC but I lived with friends. My brother graduated in 1980, though. So, it seems you were in the same graduating class as he was. He was a Bible & History major…….one of the “preacher boys.” I can’t find anything positive about my experience there either. I couldn’t stand being there.

        1. Yep. Your brother and I graduated together. I was also in the school of religion & may have known him.

        2. Also, I think the low country of SC is one of the more beautiful places I’ve been. Huge Pat Conroy fan.

        3. The lowcountry is beautiful!! I have lived here my entire life except for that brief stay at BoJo. 🙂 Pat Conroy is a great author.

          Btw……my brother’s initials are T.W.P., Jr. He was in Zeta Chi.

        4. I’ll look in a yearbook for him. My last name starts with “O” so chances are good I knew your brother. The Low Country has delicious cuisine & its own wonderful sea and marsh smells. I’d have thought about retiring there, except for the occasional hurricane.

        5. @Patti: Found your brother in 1979 yearbook. I was acquainted with him. I’m 2 rows above him on that YB page, initials JCO. Tell him hi for me.

  2. “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” – Princess Leia

    Totalitarian regimes all basically operate the same.

  3. This culture = PCC. I never had any real problems because I knew this system and dealt with it. But I absolutely saw it, and saw others get clobbered by it.

  4. Not to be contrarian, but I believe that this dual justice system is common in most evangelical/charismatic churches as well. It’s just more obvious in fundyland.

    1. I absolutely agree. I grew up in the “Evangelical Protestant” Sub-Culture of Northern Ireland, which , in that era at least, was almost like a huge long -established form of IBFism, maybe less overtly brutal but every bit as controlling. Growing up in the 1960’s through to the ’80’s I discovered that it is the subtle forms of tyranny that are the most affective. I do think though in many ways the culture has changed a *little* but I am getting tired of hearing people complaining of “loss of standards” within the Church.
      (steps off soapbox)

      1. Mr. Best, your example does not count. People from Northern Ireland are drunken brawlers who will pipe bomb their neighbor for being a Catholic, or a Protestant. You should try live in the civilized world and I think you’ll enjoy a refreshing change. In the civilized world we can actually drive by a Protestant and a Catholic church without getting out of the car to throw a bomb through the window.

        1. I am now convinced that stacymcanderson is a poe! And a darn good one. This rant is classic. Now I understand the infrequent but ridiculous comments.

          *stands and appaulds*

        2. HAHAHAHA. That would be Ireland, not Northern Ireland. I have to say, that was a pretty funny poe. Careful though, I think Scorpio has a thing for you. Wait…unless you are Scorp’s alter ego??? Mind blown…

        3. Dr. – I have been a poe before and will admit to it. I cannot take credit for this as much as I would like to.

        4. By the way, no offense intended to my Irish friends! I’ve only been to Ireland once, briefly, many years ago. It’s a beautiful country! Violence and corruption knows no boundaries and doesn’t stop at any people groups, so please don’t think I was picking on the Irish too much or trying to be mean. We ALL have our problems, no matter who we are or where we come from. No unkindness intended in my remarks!

    2. I agree. It’s the norm everywhere to one degree or another, except for fleeting moments when the rule of clear, simple laws is actually enforced.

      1. Let’s not go overboard. The degree to which I experienced this in Fundystan is orders of magnitude greater than anything I’ve experienced outside, including some pretty nasty companies I’ve worked for.

        1. Does anyone remember a story about BJ4 getting into trouble and perhaps being expelled for a rule violation?

        2. Yep, BJg, I remember the story, though my facts may not be altogether accurate. As a matter of fact, I know they wouldn’t be.

          BJ3 and his family had to move off campus for the one year. That seemed to be the truth of the matter as far as the penalty was concerned. I remember respecting the Joneses for it. There wasn’t the hero worship I’ve seen with, say, the Hyles camp.

          I believe the trouble had to do with alcohol consumption. Or at least that what I remember hearing.

  5. This was all over my fundy college as well. There was a clear caste system – staff members’ daughters could buck Sunday dress code without anyone batting an eye, the Dean of Women’s son didn’t have to submit his music to be checked, etc.

    The go-to gotcha law at my school was the ever-available and always applicable “spirit” judgement. If you followed every written rule to a T, but the powers-that-be didn’t like you, you would get called in to talk about your “heart problem.” (“Spirit of rebellion” was a term that was also used.)

  6. I find it interesting that the local government I currently work with is less hypocritical in the enforcing of local ordinances and general orders than the so-called toxic church I recently pulled my family out of.

    I will expound more on this when I conclude that experience on the forum.


  7. This is not the first time I have thought that “Conservative” Fundamentalism actually has a lot in common with “Liberal” Socialism. They speak one way politically, but do the opposite.

    For example, Fundamentalists preach “limited government” but practice totalitarianism. They preach “Low Taxes” and in the same sermon preach “you should be giving more than 10%.” Or my favorite, when they rant about how politicians should obey the Constitution, and then can’t follow the Bible.

    Yes, I was shocked to discover that Bible College was actually more liberal than those they preached against. At least public universities actually have a spot designated “free speech zones.” For all they claimed to be Conservative, there was no first Amendment at Bible College in any zone.

    In short I have no problem comparing Fundamentalists with Communists. There is a lot more there if you think about it.

    1. Totalitarian Communism is very different from Liberal Socialism.
      Please don’t confuse the two.

      1. Of course, as different as caterpillars and butterflies, but that wasn’t my main point. Fundamentalism, claims to be politically on the right of the political spectrum. My experience has been that Fundamentalism is actually far to the left. I was speaking in general “Left vs Right” categories. Sorry for any confusion.

        If it makes a difference, I am Libertarian.

        1. I have noticed it too. The Fundies I associated with were always “The ought to be a law…” – unless it was something they favored then they wanted absolute freedom.

          So basically they are Big Gov’t too. They just want to be in control of the Big Gov’t.

        2. “Left” v “Right” (or “Liberal” v. “Conservative”) is not defined by whether or not you want a law to fix a problem. The difference is in how you view the rights of the individual to make their own choices in light of current or historical culture.

          So a person who views individual choice as important enough to protect by a law is taking a liberal stance. The person who views individual choice as needing to be restricted is taking a conservative stance.

          We know that Fundamentalists are all about the Rules. They want to make the rules and force everyone else to abide by them. That is conservatism, the right-wing.

          I am beginning to view political ideology on a 2-dimensional spectrum, with personal liberty/liability on one axis and corporate liberty/liability on another one. But I haven’t yet firmed up the idea.

    2. I remember distinctly situations coming up that contradicted PCC’s vision for government. I recall history and poly sci faculty expounding on limited government, but seemed to have no problem inviting the government into their bedrooms, or insisting the government control what happens in the bedrooms of others. That aside, I saw things on a smaller scale, too. While they supported freedoms found in the Bill of Rights, they openly admitted that didn’t apply on campus because they are a private entity and the BoR enjoined only congress from acting in the covered situations. Now, I happen to see their point on that. But I also see that they had no problem completely ignoring the spirit of the matter. They didn’t trust 22 year old adults to be adults. They were treated like children, thus, they could not have locks on their dorm room doors. Even staff members were subject to having their homes inspected. Yeah, you could say no. But you then had 48 hours to move your wife, kids, and entire life out of that home. Again, is it illegal? No. And I get the whole “their ball, their rules,” philosophy. But it really seems to fly in the face of what we built a nation on. So, I guess that begs the question, if it’s their ball, and those are their rules, why would you play the game?

      1. Sometimes it seems that many people who cry “freedom” the loudest can be some of the most authoritarian people around. What they mean by freedom is a very limited vision of freedom – freedom from government interference only. There’s this mindset that only the government can restrict freedom, ignoring other authoritarian structures, such as employers (which are harder to leave than many realize, sometimes with no better options) or abusive family situations.

      2. As with abusive families or employers, it is sometimes very hard to leave a religious community when people feel that they have no other options, or only very harsh other options.
        To make the point with an extreme case, suppose you are a Saudi citizen living in Saudi Arabia, and you become disillusioned with Wahhabi Islam. Your theocratic government has a death penalty for apostasy. You don’t know anyone who doesn’t belong to the Wahhabi community. Your dialect of Arabic is not spoken in other countries. All your property, and your family’s is tied up in the theocratic state.

        You could leave, but it would be very difficult, right?

        1. Yes, BG, very difficult…or impossible for some!

          I suppose you could liken it to abusive domestic relationships. People impatiently exclaim, “why don’t you just leave!”

          It’s not that simple.

    3. The philosopher Slavoj Zizek gives a famous example from Soviet Russia:

      Stalin gives a speech about rising productivity, and after the mandatory standing ovation a party member stands up and gently points out that productivity is actually falling.

      Another member turns to him and says “We all know that’s true, but don’t you realise we must never question Comrade Stalin? It’s an unwritten rule.”

      So, both members are quietly disappeared the next day. But which one faces the firing squad first? Which one committed the greater sin? It’s the second member – for committing the greatest possible crime: openly saying what everyone knows.

  8. Nepotism makes any work environment suck.

    Doesn’t matter how well you do your job or how hard you work, junior will always get the promotion and raise.

    1. Why would you stay? Honest question. You’re an adult. You can go wherever and do whatever you like. Why stay in a place that makes you so miserable?

    2. Well, if you really want to get out, come on over and you can sleep on the couch. I can find you a job in our city that makes more, and since we have a low cost of living, you’ll get to keep more.

    3. And when membership continues to plummet who will be the very last employee standing after several rounds of lay offs?

      Of course, the mannogid’s useless progeny.

      They will just start passing the actual work off to volunteers and their indentured servants, I mean college students.

      I recommend you start polishing off your resume. Just start sending it out…you might just get an opportunity you can’t say no to.

    4. “the sermons are nothing more than endless propping up of the “royal family” and how perfect each member is. It’s disgusting.”

      Correct. I’ve listened to a number of JT’s ‘speeches’ and he rarely uses the name of Jesus, and frequently reminds the sheeple that he’s been the pastor of NCBC 38+ years.

      Copied from a FF post in 4/13: Ever watch his (JT’s) messages? A never ending mention of his wife, kids, grand kids, parents or some other story from the past, with the occasional peppering of the Bible to keep it “biblical”. He also goes off on irrelevant tangents and rabbit holes. The time actually spent in the Bible is very little, really. For the most part it is opinion and 1950’s based living (dad goes to work, mom stays at home in a dress and neckless). What happened to Bible centered preaching?

  9. It all started when young Cox set up his kingdom in the sound booth…

  10. Many corporate cultures operate this way, as well. Take a look through an employee handbook, which nobody has actually had time to read, much less memorize, and nearly minor offense carries a penalty “up to and including termination.” Even small rules that are commonly unenforced.

    Ask someone from HR, and they’ll be likely to tell you “oh, don’t worry – we’re not about to go around firing everyone!” But of course, if the company decides they don’t like someone, for any reason, they always have the tools they need to get rid of them at a moment’s notice.

    1. In my experience, most corporate rules are NEVER enforced until the management wants to make life hard for someone or get rid of them.

      1. OR when the control freaks want to bully someone — usually when they’re feeling frustrated or stressed or overwhelmed themselves. They take it out on the easiest target: the sincere, eager-to-please, conscientious employee; the one who routinely goes the extra mile yet NEVER gets rewarded for it.

        Then there are those who bully for no special reason except…well, Just Because. (When they’re textbook-case micromanaging control freaks, they don’t need any other reason.)

      2. Yes, we have “goals” each year that are mandatory that no one can do (extra to the actual work). I’m convinced that these are there just to justify “you didn’t make goal 27 on your list, so no raise for you!”.

        1. In one experience that I had, employees did not receive raises that were supposed to be automatic. But when we complained about this, we were denied the raises because company policy stated that one grounds for denying the automatic raises was something to do with complaining about our pay or discussing it amongst ourselves or something like that.

          Don’t worry – that was many years ago. My current job is night and day from that job.

  11. Fundies lower the standard of the law to make it obtainable (hard yes, but still obtainable) and then build their righteousness on that. It is so freeing to realize that you can’t do it and you put on the righteousness of another.

  12. In my family we couldn’t go to the theatre but it was ok to rent the video

    1. My wife and I just had this discussion yesterday. Her Aunt is uber fundy and is against anything of the world. She hates any music with a beat too. But let her watch a rated R movie at home…apparently there’s no issue with that. She even likes the movie sound tracks too…

    2. Oh it was different at my house. We could not go to the movie theater or rent videos. However, we could borrow them from the library. I guess the sin was once you actually paid money to Hollywood. Wait, we occasionally bought movies. Hmmmm.
      Funny story: we were allowed to watch “That Thing You Do” (still one of my favorites!) as long as we turned down the volume when the rock song (that is the whole point of the movie) when it came on.

  13. I am embarrassed to admit it, but if there was not a second set of rules, I would have been expelled from every Christian (only one of which was fundy) school/college I attended.

  14. Dual Justice is becoming more of a reality in our country. Recently a judge sentenced the son of a hugely wealthy man to probation in the drunken driving deaths of 4 people. The defense counsel claimed the young man had “affluenza,” and couldn’t tell the difference between right and wrong and so did not deserve to go to prison.

    The judge bought it. My suspicion is under the table as well.

    In another case, a judge sentenced a person who had defrauded millions in his work in finance to probation because “he would not do well in prison.” Mind you, the same judge had no trouble sending people who stole much smaller amounts of money to prison.

    We are a nation of double standards. Fundamentalism provides the archetype. Fundamentalism provides much of the justification. But double-standards are epidemic. If you are conservative, a politician, evangelical, fundamentalist, married or human.

    That about covers it, I think.

    Double standards are always in favor of the powerful and always used against the weak. Double standards are always used by the less honest against the more honest. Pointing the finger backward with a “well what about you?” accusation allows the guilty to evade their predicament while imbuing their accusers with a load of guilt — and often successfully changing the subject as a bonus.

    I remember George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” All animals are created equal — but some animals are more equal than others.

    1. I remember the story a few years back about the pro football player who hit and killed a man while drunk. He got a fine and probation. If I had done that, I would be behind bars. Very sad how money and power can poison our justice system. That being said, i think we are actually improving. Thinking about how we lied to and murdered the Native Americans, Jim Crow, etc., I actually think equality and equal justice are improving.

      1. This reminds me of the Michael Vick situation – he ended up getting 18 months in prison for DOG FIGHTING (!) while another NFL player got 30 days house arrest for killing someone while driving drunk. I’m not saying dog fighting is a good thing but there is something wrong seriously wrong with this scenario!

        1. Maybe the NFL player who killed a person used the Rob Ford defense: “I may have done it, but I was in a drunken stupor at the time, so it doesn’t count.”

        2. Oh my gosh, one of my FB friends REAMED me for stating that I thought Michael Vick had been punished enough. She breeds mini Aussies and loves dogs, but good grief, I love dogs, too, especially my rescued stray muttski whose little head I wish I could kiss right now! (I’m at work so I can’t.)

          This woman’s a fellow Catholic and a pretty good church friend, but, even though we agreed to disagree, she could NOT let it go. I guess she feels strongly about cruelty to animals. (Well, again, so do I, but for goodness sakes, the guy paid his debt to society. What more do we demand? A pound of flesh?)

    2. “I remember George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” All animals are created equal — but some animals are more equal than others.”

      This should be the real slogan of every Fundy college and church out there.

  15. Wow.

    I was there on a Wed night a few months ago and the message wasn’t propping up the sons-in-law at that time.

  16. This reminds me of the Christopher Peterson/BJU deal. The insignificant rules didn’t matter that much, until they wanted to get rid of him.

  17. Oh boy does THIS hit home!!! Also: Don’t be a bully unless your father is the school administrator/assistant pastor, or your mother is the church financial secretary or your parents are jammed up the backsides of all of those in leadership ( including but not limited to, pastoral staff, school staff and deacons). Then you’re allowed to be the biggest bully in town and not only will you not be punished , but you will get placed on a pedestal and praised every time you blink or even fart.

      1. I need to know if you are worthy of praise for that display of flatulence! Are you one of the Golden Boys, on eof the elite?

    1. This describes my sister to a T. My dad is the biggest tither in the church and he and my mother are waaaay up the butts of the pastor and other staff. So, my sister gets to go around and treat everyone like shit and everyone is expected to praise her (to the point that my mother will go around church and actually ask people to post nice things on her Facebook, etc.) for her every move.

    2. Those who are up people’s backsides eventually get pushed out and flushed down the sewer like everyone else.

  18. My family had the two sets of rules issue in soooo many different ways.

    There were the rules for how we wanted everyone else to think we acted versus how we actually acted at home. (E.g., we were never allowed to talk about problems at home to anyone.) Since I left home, this has morphed into my family adhering to all the fundy rules and regulations in theory and holding everyone else to them in fact but believing that this somehow justifies them breaking all of the same rules and regulations when they want to. So, if my sisters want to wear pants at home, it’s okay now, as long as everyone acknowledges that they are wearing crotched abominations to the Lord and as long as they don’t wear them in public. If they want to watch an R-rated movie, it’s okay now, as long as they talk afterwards about how bad the movie was and as long as they don’t tell anyone they watched it.

    There were the rules for members of the family with “tender hearts” versus the rules for members of the family who “probably weren’t even saved.” Since my mother and sister would cry when they got caught doing something wrong, they were exempt from being held accountable for their actions in any other way. My mother actually told me once that any time my sister showed “tears of repentance” that she would not be punished for what she had done. I, on the other hand, had “tears of rebellion” so I always got punished for everything.

    (This rule went hand-in-hand with the rule that talking bad about my sister and mother was defined as “gossip” but them talking bad about me was defined as “love and prayer.” When Sister 1 told Sister 2 to steal a book from the WCBC bookstore because she didn’t have enough money to buy it, Sister 2 called and told me. I went ahead and told my parents, primarily because I thought they would want to send Sister 2 the money. Instead, I got a lecture for “gossiping” about Sister 1!!!)

    The double standard also got interesting when some of us moved on to work for ATI or go to Bible College. My parents were very fond of trying to get us to do things at home that they knew would get us in trouble back at the concentration camp. That way, they had something to hold over our heads and manipulate us. This escalated major for my second sister when she was a student at WCBC and my first sister was on staff there. Sister 1 would quite deliberately take Sister 2 off campus to her apartment or to town to try to get her to do things that Sister 1 could then report her for.

    1. It takes a very discerning mind to tell Tears of Repentance from Tears of Rebellion. 😥

    2. That is pure crazy-making!

      Sister #1 setting WCBC traps for sister #2

      Discerning types of tears

      Rationalizing book thievery

      Feeling the love!!!!


    3. DS – Tears of Rebellion would make an excellent title for your upcoming autobiography.

    4. I’m pretty sure that 50% of my reason for reading the comments is to see if Deacon’s Son has a story! I was raised ultra, super conservative IFB, and I can relate on soooo many levels. Let us all know when you write the book or start the blog! Or a screenplay…

  19. All animals are created equal but some animals are more equal than others. George Orwell

  20. Interesting claim. I had to LOL when you mentioned the high salary. Last I checked Fanara was still working several odds and end jobs (on top of teaching) just to pay his bills. I also know that Fanara quit church staff, after being forced to join pastoral staff, after his marriage to Triebers daughter. He went to school to teach and that was his passion. He said he quit because he felt guilty getting paid to just work a few hours a day. So, he left to go teach at the school. I know he turned down being a full-time real estate agent to continue teaching at the school. Obviously he’s not chasing the money or getting paid to “visit” members and hangout at Peete’s coffee. I can’t speak about the others, but Fanara’s always seemed like a standup guy. Doesn’t quite fit the NVBS church staff mold

  21. Not a fan of everything that happens there, but my sources are legit. I sleep fine at night without any of this, but if you’re going to single out people and name names you might at well get your facts straight first

    1. I am very confused…why do you keep responding with “Whatever makes you feel better”? Do you have a better source? I don’t believe so, but I’m sure anything is possible. Again…none of this “makes me feel better”. All I did was state a fact that was contrary to your theory. You should give your responses more thought. My only complaint about the thread was that you should do a little more research before calling out specific people. Get your facts straight, and then by all means…post away

  22. I do think this website occasionally makes a valid satirical point but I don’t know what to say on this one. I got saved when I was 21 years old and for the last 19 years have been part of IFB churches on both coasts (including churches mocked on this site), and I haven’t seen these huge mountains of hypocrisy and double standards. The people I have ministered with (some of whom are slandered fairly regularly here), and tried to minister to have been, by and large, humble people who understand that we are all a wreck because of sin and that we should all be forbearing one another in love and allowing God to work in each other’s lives. I’m sorry so many people that frequent this site have had such horrible experiences. I’m sorry there is so much bitterness and hurt, but for me, it’s been a life more abundant. I have no IFB horror stories to tell, and no bitterness to regurgitate.
    To compare ‘us’ to Communists dictators and historical monsters, especially from behind the anonymity of the internet, is neither particularly brave nor fair, in my opinion.

    1. You are certainly entitled to have your own experiences and form your own opinions.

      The preponderance of the testimony here seems to indicate that my point is a valid one.

      1. Not personally, no, but we know some of the same people. SInce you mentioned Schaap, I noticed a disturbing trend here at SFL during the media frenzy following the exposure of his crimes; I saw glee and delight in the comments section. Apparently commenters forgot that these are real people reaping from the consequences of their sin, and the disintegration of their families. It made the comment section read like a ‘how-to- manual of bitterness and pettiness.

        1. “I saw glee and delight in the comments section”

          Yep. You sure did. But I think you misunderstand.

          These people have been up to the same sins for years and years, with victims innumerable, and it takes a lot of time to bring them to account. They have done untold damage to the cause of Christ, to faith, and even in their exposure the IFB zombies rally around them.

          Only with exposure to the light will such things be accounted for.

          This isn’t just a falling into sin. It is a wallowing in it. It is the sort of thing that destroys faith. Yet people come back and accuse *us* if our faith is damaged by such folk — as if we should separate their message from their deeds.

          Frankly, I see it very much like the gloating done by James. The book of James openly gloats over the destruction of the rich. Frankly, I see nothing wrong with gloating over another hypocrite getting what they deserve. I *do* feel for the families of those they have hurt. I have less sympathy for the families of these MOGs because I have a sneaking suspicion that they were “in” on a lot of what happened. Not all the time, I grant. But if a man is cheating, his wife usually knows. And if the wife of the MOG does not turn him in, she is culpable as well.

          And yes, we are human. We have been hurt, lied to, taken advantage of, shamed, humiliated, and all sorts of other damages inflicted on us. Those who do such things should have their exposure and their ridicule.

    2. I know this is a very late comment to an old post but people like Michael Alford remind me of the old Chinese Proverb “If you want to find out what water is, don’t ask the fish”

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