188 thoughts on “Parade of Horribles”

      1. Still waiting and still needing.

        Our hardwood pews were installed before the word ‘lumbar’ was invented.

        1. They heard the word, but they thought the people were saying they wanted lumber support.

        2. Big Gary –

          The ‘funny’ thing is that the kneelers have padding. However the Episcopal church makes no such allowances for those of us Mother Nature has deemed unable to participate in pew aerobics.

        3. Hey, pews in most Episcopal churches do have padding on the kneelers. Some, like those in the Washington National Cathedral, are quite elaborate.

        4. We have padded kneelers, but I’m pretty sure our pews were designed to keep us awake during the longer Psalms.

  1. Because a parade distracts from things like adultery, child abuse, and sick, twisted kids like Hyles’ son and son-in-law!

  2. I see the women are dressed EXACTLY the same as today. Don’t look to fundies as a source material for trends in the history of fashion.

  3. I understand bus ministry when you have a church way out in the country and people scattered in the general area with no access to transportation. I do not understand bus ministry when you are taking people out of their urban communities. Why not start a church in the community, or support the churches that are already there? But, of course that would mean moving into the community and really becoming their neighbors (not a bystander…I’m a former missionary who has lived in all of the areas where I have served, and currently live just down the street from my local church so that I am in the community).

  4. Just a P.S.-I finally especially ironic when kids are being bussed from the inner-city out to the suburbs, where they might be stopped as “suspicious” people (unless they were on the bus).

    I live in the area of North Valley Baptist out in Santa Clara. My understanding is that they have separate classes for the bus kids (if I am wrong, I welcome correction) that are different from the classes for the “regular” church kids.

        1. Okay, I apologize. Maybe the comment is out of line or at least overly harsh. I saw some genuine racism at HA”C,” but maybe this was not a good example of that. At any rate, working on a Chicago bus route is one of the few things about HA”C” I don’t really regret. The bus route was the reason I started to try to learn Spanish, and it’s also the reason I started to learn to drive large buses. Considering the “value” of a HA”C,” “degree,” those things can’t be discounted. More importantly, I believe I at least tried to give a fair presentation of the gospel and at least personally tried not to give people false assurances of forgiveness of sins based on praying a magic prayer.

          Darrell’s comment about this being a sad parade seems spot on– the generally embarrassingly low quality, the lack of onlookers. Although those who participated may not appreciate this, I feel sympathy for them.

        2. Maybe it’s a sad commentary when someone regards some of the most valuable time spent during their years at “college” as being the time spent practicing Spanish on a church bus route and the time spent learning to drive buses. Of course there’s also the character building hard, unpleasant, uncomfortable off campus work that students can find. Then again, considering the training some of these Bible “colleges” provide their non-Mog students, maybe the Spanish practice, bus driving, and acclimation to bad, low-paying jobs is really their way of preparing those students for their futures.

        3. A girl I know who attends Heartland BBC recently told me “everyone should work a bus ministry. It’s a good way to meet The Blacks & The Mexicans…”

        4. But what if I don’t want to meet The Blacks and The Mexicans?

          On a different node, one statement by a Heartland student doesn’t mean that this is what Heartland is teaching or that they are racist.

          Yet another thought: When a church becomes focused on the numbers, they lose the drive to tell the gospel to everyone, and begin to concentrate on areas that will bring good numbers. A previous HAC church told me that they don’t go to well-to-do neighborhoods, since “they didn’t get good results from there”.

          It’s also been my experience that well-to-do households (regardless of race) are less likely to allow their children to go off riding with strangers than more impoverished households, so bus ministries that want “good results” tend to gravitate to the more impoverished places.

        5. I will say my best time at Heartland BBC was working the bus route (15B represent y’all!) we had the crappiest bus, the lowest attendance (often, not always) but we had fun and were mostly within a normal distance from the church. As far as I remember the bus kids were in the same classes as the Church kids at Southwest Baptist – but then when I was there I would call it fundy-medium rare. Not quite Fundy-lite, but not really Hard-core either. (Also my first post here!)

    1. Most fundy churches have “A” church for drive in kids and “B” church for bus kids.

      Never understood bussing so far. At Bob Gray’s church in Longview TX they even have routes going 60 miles away, into Louisiana!

      1. Why would anyone risk that?

        Even if you do background checks, there’s always the risk of Transporting Over State Lines charges for the church leadership and the drivers if a never-caught-until-now pedophile talks his way into the bus ministry.

        1. Nah, the illustrious CLA will get ’em off. (As in, get ’em off legally, not sexually, that is.)

        2. If CLA is trying to get us off sexually, the CLA folks definitely need to up their game.

      2. They bus that far so that these supposed MoG’s can get together and compare church sizes. It’s a point of pride to see who has the biggest bus ministry.

      3. Most fundy churches have “A” church for drive in kids and “B” church for bus kids.

        Separate but Equal, a la Apartheid & Jim Crow?

    2. Same set up back when I attended the mega Fundy church down south of you. Bus kids had a separate class.

    3. Yes, the last IFB church we left segregated like that. The church I grew up in did as well. The thing is, 99 percent of the bus kids in the church I grew up on are no where to be found today. They come and play games, accept Christ ten times, then they disappear. It’s quite sad.

      1. What’s even worse is that most of these churches try to get the kids to give money in offering contests and such. I think the Bible says church money is supposed to flow to the poor, not away from them.

        1. Because the sooner you can indoctrinate them into the idea of giving their money the more likely they will when they are adults.

  5. Seeing the women’s hairstyles makes me want to try to spot Warren Jeffs and the rest of the Southern Utah FLDS’ers.

  6. I didn’t watch the whole hour and a half, but what I saw made me wonder if Jacko was a little unclear on the concept of a “parade.”
    You’re supposed to have spectators.

  7. 3:26-3:41 on the clock: You know what your pastor thinks of you when you get assigned to be the shovel brigade behind the horses.

  8. My wife and I HATED bus kids. They were given all sorts of cool prizes and ice cream and pizza just for coming. We, and our friends, got nothing, even tho we were there every week.
    These men would go into people’s houses, get their kids up, dress them and bring them to church. That wasn’t creepy at all.
    I STILL hate bus kids.

    This parade is just like when PCC and Blow Job University swept reported rapes under the rug.

    1. Yes, many bus ministry workers became waaaaay inappropriately involved in the private/personal lives of the kids. I know many of them meant well (although some did not) but there are boundary lines for a reason.

        1. “Touch not God’s anointed” is the only boundary I heard in Fundystan. One might say another was, “do not sin.” But that isn’t quite accurate. Sin was something that sinners do, but Fundies pretend they don’t. Well, maybe admit an occasional issue with anger or laziness (I was too lazy to get up at 5:30 do do my devotions). But never outright sin. Then again, to the man in the pulpit (pool pit, as Triplestyx says) we were ALL a bunch of filthy reprobates (one such message was called “Disgusting Depravity”– it was so poorly exegeted that I bought the sermon tape), so we hadn’t yet crossed over the boundary line of depravity into the light, I guess.
          So yes, the only boundary is “touch not God’s anointed.”

  9. I think all the people who live in Chicago were like “wtf is this?” This is yet another example of how hyles and other pastors try to pass off crap as gold. I think the phrase is something like-trying to polish a turd. We heard about how spectacular and awesome this parade was for the next few years.

    1. This is also what happens when a man with a gigantic ego is surrounded by subordinates who tell him that every idea he comes up with is brilliant.

        1. I’ve seen that picture before but I never knew it was taken in the United States Senate! I don’t often feel sorry for congresspersons but even they didn’t deserve a visit from Lord Moon.

        2. I believe that is technically the nearby Senate Office Building, and not part of the physical Capital building.

        3. They were there as the guests of some Republican Senators. I don’t remember which ones at the moment, so I won’t name them.
          I could criticize Moon and his wife all day and night, but one thing I’ll say for him is that he truly lived out the principle of “Dress for the job you want.”

  10. My favorite sentence from the newspaper:

    “Church officials estimated that about 10,000 participated in the parade, far more than the several hundred that stopped on city sidewalks to watch.”

    1. So the paper refused to bow to Jack and use his wildly inflated numbers, LOL! I bet his supporters just thought the paper was purposefully underestimating the crowd to stop people from getting saved..blah, blah, blah

  11. It’s like a freak show. My goodness.

    At the 45:30 mark the group was signing something to the tune of the Notre Dame fight song. Oh the irony.

    1. A few people at my former fundy church root for Notre Dame in basketball, football. Never understood that

    2. How does one sign to a tune? Wouldn’t that involve coordinated movement to a beat?

      Also, from the two or so minutes I watched I’d say that IS a freak show. Any parade that has a Chrysler minivan pulling a float is freaky.

  12. I’m embarrassed for any and all of the people who got manipulated into doing this. I have things I have done in church that I deeply regret. Things that I did out of guilt. Things that the leadership said I really have no choice but to do if I am really a part of the church. Things that may even be on YouTube. The only hope I have is that nobody out there really cares enough to watch. Triggers galore.

    Due to the ease with which I was manipulated, this is the most depressing post, IMHO.

  13. Top Five things about this video:
    1. The crappy cars and crappy buses.
    2. Jack Hyles getting hit with candy.
    3. The empty streets.
    4. The sycophant who keeps saying “Guards on both sides of preacher”…the guys sounds drunk with a man crush on old Jack.
    5. Fat guy in white fedora.
    Honorable mention” Blue Denim and Lace Club”

    1. “Guards on both side of preacher”

      Oh bother.
      These guys think they are just so special. After all, they have brown-nosing guards willing to take a bullet for their mannogawd. My former Fundy pastor liked to surround himself with security people too.

      1. The guy was probably in a lot more danger from his own congregants whom he abused then from a bunch of confused people in Chicago. Guards on both sides of the preacher, good grief.

        1. BG, thanks for the laugh; I needed that.

          Personally, I think JH had “bodyguards” to feed his ego – it is common that CEOs of large companies have bodyguards, and he wanted to be an important person, so he had bodyguards and spread rumors of death threats to make himself look important.

  14. Bring the poor little unfortunate bus kids to church, who by sheer coincidence happen to be black most of the time, get your soul winning numbers up, and you’re good to go. Never mind that most of these kids don’t bother coming near the church when they are old enough not to be brainwashed anymore. Sick people!

  15. The saddest part of all, from the article.

    Robby Smith, 16, also of Elgin, agreed.

    “I like the way they come pick us up for church,” he said. “They saved me and I got to go into the church and get baptized. It made me feel good. If they didn’t come and get me on Sundays, I’d probably be hanging out with gangs and stuff.”

    THEY saved him?? I realize this is probably what someone told him, but that’s super twisted.

    “I got to go into the church and get baptized,” he says, like it’s some super special honor, like Mormon temple privileges or something.

    “Gangs” etc.: sounds like a very brainwashed young man. It is amazing the mileage that various fundamentalist leaders got out of those dreadful phantom Chicago “gangs.” Bill Gothard was another one who used this to his advantage all the time.

    1. Bad theology aside, being in church instead of having free time Saturday morning to hang out with disreputable friends IS a good thing.

      1. Oh I don’t know about that, Easterlily. The ”friends” that did me the most harm were not the ones the church called disreputable.

  16. “California cares about bus kids”
    What does that mean?
    Bus kids are their own demographic?
    Saying California cares about them seems to imply they are less than fortunate….which is probably how most IFB’s see those they bus in for the service….those kids are going to hell if it was not for this ministry…

  17. Look out! Look out!
    Jack Hyles on parade
    Here he comes!
    Hippety hoppety
    He’s here and there
    Jack Hyles ev’rywhere
    Look out! Look out!
    He’s walking around the bed
    On his head
    Clippety cloppety
    Arrayed in braid
    Jack Hyles on parade
    What’ll I do? What’ll I do?
    What an unusual view!
    I could stand the sight of worms
    And look at microscopic germs
    But child sex abuser coverers
    Is really much for me
    I am not the type to faint
    When things are odd or things
    are quaint
    But seeing things you know that ain’t
    Can certainly give you an awful fright!
    What a sight!
    Chase ’em away!
    Chase ’em away!
    I’m afraid need your aid
    Jack Hyles on parade!
    Jack Hyles!
    Jack Hyles!

    1. “Arrayed in braid” — like Elron Hubbard and David Miscavige in their Sea Org Commodore dress uniforms?

  18. I never attended a big, bus-crazed IFB “church.” Our church was of the “small country church” persuasion and the pastor did not care for “snot-nosed black kids.”

    So, I am genuinely curious when I ask – how is the “aging out” of the bus system handled at these places? I assume other than the tiny handful who enroll in the local bible college and perform menial labor to “earn their way while learning character” most of them are simply dropped after a time. Is it when there is the first unwed pregnancy or minor brush with the law that they are quietly dismissed? Or do the kids simply stop showing up on their own?

    1. None of the various church bus routes I was involved with seemed to have a problem with picking up adults. Of course if we had adult riders, they were always part of a small minority. In general, the long term hope seemed to be that ideally these kids would grow up, join the church, attend the local Bible “College” or at least a “Christian” college or university, and then (either at that church or elsewhere) maybe become involved (along with their families perhaps) in either the bus ministry or some other ministry. I think a “bus kid” who became a preacher would have really been something for any of those churches to brag about. There were kids who were discipline problems who, at least temporarilly, were not allowed to ride the buses and naturally there were families who moved. Mainly though, it would either be the parent or parents or else the kids themselves who eventually decided they were not going to come any more.

      On one occasion while at FBCH, the bus captain was ordered not to pick up children for no discernible reason other than that our route was getting a little too dark. We also had a young man (one of the young people we shamefully left standing on the curb, if I remember right) who expressed an interest in attending Hammond City Baptist [school]. He came from a poor family, however; and when I checked into the possibility of him getting a “scholarship,” I found that while assistance was potentially available for Hispanic or White kids, none was available for Black kids. Still, those are issues separate from “ageing out.” On a completely different issue, I wonder how many of our country’s racial problems have been caused by, exacerbated by, or at least not mitigated by White churches and White church members who twisted Scripture to justify mistreatment and bigotry.

    2. I often felt that the bus kids’s parents were sending them as a way to get free babysitting. Naturally, when they were to old to need that and to old to think church was fun, they stopped coming.

      1. As someone who worked a bus route in a church for 3 yrs – we had a ton of parents like this. Honestly we had kids stop coming mostly because our route picked up inner city kids (lets face it 90% of OKC is inner city) and people on the lower end of the economic scale tend to be very transient (been there done that as a kid) so often we would have kids move from apartment complex “A” to Apartment complex “C” and then to another area that belonged to a different route. (I will say we had a good mix of ethnicities on our route, but we also weren’t concerned with numbers on our route. I think we topped out at like 18 faithful riders, ha. But we loved those kids and I even have a few as facebook friends now – because at least on our bus they weren’t just numbers or “conversions” they were people. )

        1. Welcome, PIERCED AND TATTOOED MOMMA. You warm my heart. Having a soft spot for the under dog and an ability to see the humanity not the despair is a quality I love to find in people and often do not.

        2. Thank you for the welcome. I haven’t always been that way, but I want to be, perhaps why I love a good superhero story. You reply made me smile so thank you for that.

  19. I suddenly find myself reflecting on the fact that New Guinea now has Internet access, so even now some son of headhunters may be watching this parade video and wondering what sort of primitive tribe practices this kind of ritual, and for what purpose?

  20. Bus Kids is to Ministry as Cheap Grace is to Gospel.

    Busing the kids to church makes a show as if you care. You pitch the Wednesday night and/or Sunday morning ministry to your folk, get them to expend enormous amounts of time and energy — on the children.

    Not on the families. Not on the Communities.

    The Church gets a bus or howevermany with its name on it, and often the Pastor’s name, too. But nothing lasting is done.

    What if that energy — even once a week — went into working with communities to help clean up the trash? Planting community gardens? Assisting the elderly with home repairs? Or bringing groceries to struggling families? That would show the love of God in a tangible way to the whole community.

    As it is, “bus kids” are held up as a visible token of the “love” of the church, but are often secretly scorned, mocked or laughed at by the workers who profess they love them. Just listen when the buses are gone! The complaints against the children usually amount to them not knowing “how to behave in church,” since they don’t have parents who go to the IFB church!

    Glorified baby-sitting is not what I would consider to be the work of the Lord. It seems to me that better could be done with the time, money, and energy invested instead of fiefdom-building.

    1. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
      The groceries and physical care are temporal but those kids souls are eternal, dontcha know. Every time I ever suggested doing something practical, this verse was quoted to me. Often along with something to this effect, “They wouldn’t know what to do with all that anyway”, or, “They would just waste the money.” Condescending and oh so holier than thou seemed to be the accepted attitude to the great unwashed masses.

        1. Absolutely! That was the real reason behind the mumbo jumbo. Also you get to keep the extra stuff and not feel guilty about having more than those poor people.

      1. There aren’t many homeless in the area of my former fundy church, but I am ashamed to admit that I once deliberately didn’t give cash to a homeless person because I didn’t have a gospel tract with me. I really thought it would be a sin to give him money and not a tract. May he and the Lord forgive me.

        1. Since you brought it up, I have something to confess, as well.
          After being raised in a fundy church and graduating from their high school, I taught Algebra in that same school for a year. One day I saw a drawing that a student did on his text book cover. He was one of the more difficult kids, but I never had problems with him. His drawing was awesome. I don’t think I’d seen something that well done before. He had recreated a Metallica album cover, who we all know were basically Satan and his angels shoving crack up our noses. Being the Judgemental fundy that I was, I said, “that’s nice. To bad you can’t something good. ”
          I realized years later how awful of a thing that was to say. I wish I would run into that boy one day so I could apologize.
          The kicker was that all I’d ever listened to was rock music. I was a perfect fundy: judgemental and hypocritical.
          As you said, May he and God forgive me.

        2. In Compline, after confessing our sins, the officiant says, “May the Almighty God grant us forgiveness of all our sins, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.”

          After which we affirm it, saying, “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.”

          I look with horror at the abuse I heaped on my children, my wife, and others in smug self-righteousness of fundamentalism. I thought I was right with God and couldn’t encourage anything short of being perfectly Right.

          But I can’t undo that. I can try to do better now. I can express regret for the errors. And I can accept forgiveness. I am not looking for cheap grace, but for amendment of life, to be able to give grace in the here and now.

          Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourself.

          Remember, God forgives you. The hard thing is to forgive yourself. But we need to forgive ourselves so we can love ourselves as we ought — and love others as well!

        3. Thank you for those kind words, rtgmath . I’ve heard them before and I was very happy when I truly understood what they mean. I heard a pastor say, “When God died on the cross, He forgave all of our sins. ALL of them. The ones we’ve committed already and the ones we haven’t yet committed.”
          That was the most freeing statement I’ve ever heard.

          I don’t beat myself up about the things I did back then, but I won’t forget them.

        4. Bert: It’s painful. I also feel pain about depriving my kids of Harry Potter – they were just the right ages to go to all the midnight releases of books and premiers of movies- missed it all

        5. I feel that pain. Nothing hurts worse than the feeling that you’ve done your kids wrong, however unintentionally .

        6. To all who are sharing regrets: I Have many regrets and they are similar. Remember that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. That is my hope. And I wonder what I am doing today that I may regret in the future. I rest knowing that He will be there to forgive me then, as well.

          It is also strangely encouraging to know that many us us here were once raging Fundies (to various degrees) but have since repented.

        7. rtg- “But we need to forgive ourselves so we can love ourselves as we ought” Wonderful!

        8. Dr. E- it is very encouraging because it seems impossible to leave when you’re in it – even to quit one ministry is a torment

        9. Dwelling in Imladris, those are the things that I find the hardest to deal with, not the things that were done to me but the things I did in the name of Fundamentalism. Something that comforted me when I first came out was a saying of Julian of Norwich. ”All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.” If there is a God, a loving God, he has forgiven us, the homeless man has forgotten, but we need to forgive ourselves.

      2. I got married and had my babies while I worked the bus route. So many times on saturday morning visitation i would be warned by other well -meaning people not to give diapers to the moms whose kid was still in his diaper with the name on the front from the previous days daycare because they would expect it. I gave them clean diapers from my diaper bag every Saturday anyways. Left pkgs i bought on sale on thier stoop when they weren’t home. Why? Because a momma feels taken care of and loved when her babies are. I could have cared less if she began to expect it.

    2. Not to mention the cost of the buses, the insurance, the fuel and repairs, etc.

      It’s one rather expensive “ministry!”

      1. I’d say so. But the church has its Serpent on a Pole to worship instead of putting the money into actual lives. Call it equity. And if you have this added to the physical plant, you can insist on more offerings.

        Of course, everything is measured in numbers. Number in attendance, number of kids, number of decisions, number of workers, number of dollars.

        And no lives are changed for the better. No one sees ‘bus kids’ as playmates for their children, people with real souls, needs or sorrows.

        1. “And no lives are changed for the better. No one sees ‘bus kids’ as playmates for their children, people with real souls, needs or sorrows.”
          That is the crux of the matter, the reason it is not truly a ministry at all. Well put, Rtgmath

        2. And no lives are changed for the better. No one sees ‘bus kids’ as playmates for their children, people with real souls, needs or sorrows.

          This is not true everywhere. Our church runs buses, but the riders are not put into separate classes, and there is legitimate caring. They are NOT used as mere fodder to pump up the numbers.

          We do have some who have continued; now in their 20s who have their own vehicles and are coming to church.

          I, too, when I first started going to church, was given a ride by some kind members. Until I could drive, it was the only way to get to church.

        3. I’m glad to hear it. Generalizations are just that. Your case may be different. Your experience will be different.

          But it isn’t about different classes at church. How about during the week? How often do the children of regular attenders socialize with the church bus kids?

          Some pastors aren’t empire builders. Many are or want to be. Some workers genuinely care for the children. Others don’t. Sometimes good is done despite overwhelming bad. Sometimes bad is done despite overwhelming good.

          But in general, I am not convinced of the overarching good of these “ministries.” I wish I was.

    3. Spot.On.

      I’ll say it again….99% of bus kids just disappear – they don’t become changed, they are not discipled, their families are not reached, etc. The churches get all “excited” and hold them up as props, but at the end of the day, the communities, families, and the kids are never impacted.

      The church I grew up in boasted about their 12 buses….but today, where are ANY of those kids? We left a Fundy church not long ago, one reason of many was because they drained the church dry by buying more and more buses.

      The model doesn’t work. I’m thankful now that I am in a good church that has a real model for reaching inner city, and its making an impact.

      1. My church has a “ministry apartment” in some low income housing just down the road from the church. We have fulltime staff who live there, a ton of volunteers (many seniors) and offer food distribution, preschool play group, ESL classes, Bible club for elementary, after school tutoring for K-12, street hockey, and a college prep program. We have a number of families and kids from the neighborhood attending our church, including junior and senior high kids who think that church is “cool.”

        Staff and volunteers provide rides to church, but there is no bus. When some of the older ones can’t find a ride, they walk the half mile down to the church.

  21. I would guess that this would not go over well in today’s world. A church with child abuse accusations against it shutting down a street in downtown Chicago and getting a police escort for a nearly hour and a half long parade. It would never happen or if it did the internet would eat it alive.

  22. Rtgmath hit the nail squarely on the head. I was about to head to Gray’s in Texas during this time & I’m here to tell you all, it was the same exact thing there, except it was run by a narcissistic psychopath.

    Great to know that these “ministries” are under much more scrutiny today than they were back then.

    (And yes, LBT has routes in Lousyana; this was just starting when I was there. I assume they still have them.)

    James Spurgeon’s book shines the light on the bus “ministry” in his book about LBT; great reading & it’s all 100% accurate.

    1. I did a double take – I thought you said that the LGBT has a bus route. Not that there’s anything wrong with that

    2. Yes, I remember James Spurgeon’s stories of badly maintained buses – rolling safety hazards. LBT was not alone in this. Seemed like many buses were being held together by nothing but bondo and prayer. I know of incidences of brake failure and break-downs in the sweltering heat. Larger Fundy churches will pump millions of dollars into their cherished buildings, while looking out-of-state for dirt cheap dilapidated buses to “fix up” and carry children around in. Last I heard a known perv was driving a church bus for Santa Clara’s youth, so why would I expect them to consider what is best for the kids anyway?

  23. I grew up in an IFB church and while we had a bus ministry looking back I don’t believe our Pastor’s heart was truly in it. I think he bowed to pressure because ‘all the other IFB churches in the area were doing it’. We went on bus visitation and I admit I probably did so so I could give myself a pass when we got preached at for not doing ‘enough’. It was something I could point to that I was doing even if my heart wasn’t really in it either. Our ‘visitation’s consisted of little more than knocking on the door and asking if they wanted to go to church Sunday Morning. Never really got to know those people.

    There were three churches in the area and there was always an ongoing competition for bus kids. Some would offer candy and whatever to get the kids to come and there were accusations of ‘sheep stealing’ and ‘gimmicks’ thrown around. Real Christian behavior. I know we ‘lost’ kids to the other churches because kids will go toward the ‘fun’. You would think we would be happy that they were going to churches that preached the same things as we did but no….that one was of Jerry Fallwell and that one over there was of John R. Rice and we were of Bob Jones. Eventually there were not enough kids to justify having a bus ministry and I believe it eventually shut down after we left. They have a new Pastor and while my brother attends Sunday Mornings he is not otherwise involved in the church so I don’t know what they are doing there now.

    Those kids would probably be called by some ‘poor white trash’. We lived in a rural environment. I have also thought about those those kids and wondered if they stayed in church. Black kids in church? No one said it of course but ‘they had their own churches’. The only black child I saw in church was a foster kid someone was talking care of it and he was a baby.

    1. We once had a little white boy who came to church on the bus. He would sit up in the front row and fidget and kick and lay down and stick his legs up in the air. It was quite entertaining. The pastor was a kind man, but easily distracted so he would call Johnny down from the pulpit. Then Johnny stopped riding the bus. We found out later that he had set his apartment on fire. When he was asked why he did it, he said that the pastor had told us all to “set our homes on fire for God.” Our bus ministry didn’t last much longer. The whole story is sad.

      1. That’s horrible. And shows another problem with bussing kids- many of them go home and can’t speak to their parents about what they heard at church – parents don’t want to hear it. So then there is all kinds of guilt about sin and misinterpretation of sermons on the part of the poor kiddo

  24. I meant ‘taking’ care of him of course. Not ‘it’. That was early morning brain fog and now that I think of it I believe there were some who were a bit upset over the presence of a not yet year old African American male in the church…

  25. I was a bus kid for a year, along with my friends. We all dropped out of church for awhile in our late childhood / teens, but three out of the five of us are Christians now. I do credit part of that to a good childhood ministry we were bused to. That’s the ticket; not bus routes or no bus routes, but how good is the ministry? If all you care about is getting kids “saved” but don’t care about the kid, it’s no good. But if you care about the kid, they might stick around, or they might come back to church. BTW, my church was a Baptist church, but I have no idea what flavor.

  26. It will never stop amazing me the way these people can divert the unwanted attention about child abuse into a “look at how wonderful we are” campaign. Even if the parade wasn’t as successful as jack claimed it redirected the child abuse allegations. That’s a win for the fundies. Sadly it’s a loss for women, children, families, and the world as a whole.

    Eventually responsible adults will have enough of this crap and do something about it. The fundies will, of course, cry about how the devil and the world is attacking them but that will be sweet music to the ears of the multitudes that have been scarred.

  27. It would be interesting to know how many of these churches are still in business today and how many had to shut their doors due to lawsuits and scandals.

  28. Wow – I could only take three minutes’ worth… scary – clothing, songs, actions…. it’s the same as I’ve seen of late!!!

  29. Under the “We’ve talked about it before, but here is another blog possibility” category:

    Jack Hyles went all out to distract people from the allegations of child abuse in his ministry and the reality of molestation he foisted on innocent children.

    Here is another response to child abuse. Write an article defending spanking! It is current (only a couple of months old!) and relevant.

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/not.spanking.your.children.is.a.failure.of.fatherhood/47915.htm

    Gavin Peacock, pastor of Calvary Grace Church, Calgary, Canada wrote this lovely article, posted 11 February 2015. Please note the italics. Child abuse? No problem! The real problem is in NOT abusing your child. “Abuse gets the headlines but passivity is the silent killer of fatherhood.”

    The church’s web site is here: http://www.calvarygrace.ca/

    The website is impressive. This is the face of the new fundamentalism. The insides are liberally coated with softer-sounding rhetoric, making you want to think of them as kinder and gentler. But like “Compassionate Conservatism,” once you decode the buzz-words you realize this is just the old fundamentalism trying to wear new clothes.

    We just talked about “Male Leadership.” No, no! They believe in Complementarianism. That is, “men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.” Same beliefs, same garbage, secret sauce to make it more tasty.

    Reading the article is an eye-opener. Or an eye-closer, depending on what end of the fist you wind up on. “The Bible, not personal experience is our guide to the validity of spanking.” “There has always and will always be misuse of authority, but biblical authority is a good thing created and designed by God for the flourishing of his creation.”

    Really now. I’ve heard this crap before. “If your experience contradicts the Bible, throw out your lying experience and put your trust back in the unchanging word of God.” (not from the article, but from a sermon by a pompous windbag. I think he was railing against evolution.)

    From the article, “The writer of Hebrews gives us a picture of God as a father who brings suffering into the lives of his children, as an act of loving discipline.” Yes. God loves you, so *suffer*, little children! If you are suffering, God is disciplining you to make things better.

    Of course, I’ve spend long, long years wondering how much “discipline” I was going to get before He would bless me like He has some other people who haven’t nearly been so concerned to do His Will.

    The article turned my stomach. Honestly, it aptly demonstrates the reason why I cannot think of God as my Father without wondering when the “rod,” the “hammer” or the other “shoe” is going to fall. I have tried to repent, to obey, to walk right, and “discipline.” When, I wonder, can I finally see the loving and giving face of God instead of dangling promises jerked away “for my own good.”

    Well, the last couple of days have been a mix of good and bad. Yesterday I was asked in for a job interview. I was also served a summons to small claims court for a debt I am unable to pay because of the loss of my job. I was denied help to avoid foreclosure this week because of a technicality, and no one is answering my questions. I hope I can get the job.

    I am glad I stopped spanking my children. I have apologized to them for bringing suffering into their lives when I ought to have been showing them how to alleviate it. I showed anger instead of love. And this Pastor, hoping to show God’s love as He Causes Suffering, fails miserably. I have had enough.

    “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

    I’d ask for prayers, but I am almost afraid to. So many times I have asked for prayer, only to have the hurt come even more. God really needs to get His Priorities straight.

    1. This is another example of the ever-present temptation to call whatever appeals to me “God’s will.”

      Doesn’t it ever occur to people that a God who wants them to hit little children is probably not the God they should be following?

      1. No. No it doesn’t.

        It also doesn’t occur to them that a God Who condones and commits injustice on the earth is not going to be Just in Heaven. Calling Him “Just” doesn’t make it so. Calling suffering “discipline” and “just” implies the victims deserve the injustice heaped on them.

        This theology of suffering only supports the scoundrels of society, arbitrary punishment, punitive standards.

    2. Rtgmath,

      Sorry to hear things are so tough for you now. Don’t know that my prayers are worth a lot, but sincere wishes for peace and for success in finding a new job. For what it’s worth, if you feel like it, you can contact me on the forum.

      Blessings,
      BP

      1. It’s nobody else’s business of course, but is this job you’re trying to get the equal of your previous?

        1. The salary is lower, pretty significantly. It is better than most jobs in the area, though. I have been trying to find higher-paying jobs, but I am nearing 60. The jobs that are available all seem to pay very low wages.

      2. Thanks Ben. And everyone who has wished me well despite my rambling.

        We will see how things work out.

        I still pray. I can’t say I have much confidence. I still worship, but it would help if God actually made Himself known, helped in a definite and not wishywashy fashion. It is hard to see God helping when He gives pocket change to meet the challenges of crushing debt. I hope I can come out of the whole mess with faith intact. But I don’t know. That scares me.

        What scares me more is that ultimately my wife and daughter still hold to Fundy ideals. That affects how they see me, how they interact with me, and makes the future even less steady.

        But I will not stand again under a sense of Judgement by fundamentalist principles ever again. Not for anyone or anything. It is hard to stop being a slave, but it is high time I started allowing me to value myself.

        1. You are in my thoughts and prayers, rtgmath. Feel free to contact me on the forum and I’ll give you my phone number if you want to talk. There just aren’t any words sometimes.
          Your friend,
          BJg

        2. rtgmath, I don’t have any answers but I do have empathy and I care. People who you can unload to, who will give you back kind words are worth their weight in gold. Life is hard without the fundy crap we all dealt with. Dealing with the consequences of our past is almost impossibly hard. Having come through it, out of it, means you are extremely strong. It might not feel like it but you are a survivor. ”Persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.” The wounds are those received in the homes of supposed friends and they hurt.

    3. Rtg,

      I’m assuming you have a math degree. If so and your interested in living in near Seattle I could point you to a job. It pays ok, decent benefits.

    4. Oh my god, rtgmath ! My wife and I have had that exact conversation many many times. When are we going to get the bread instead of the stone?
      “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”
      We are both 49. We’ve been in church since birth. We’ve tithed ‘until it hurt’, we’ve gone without due to that. All while having that conversation. When are we going to get some bread? We watched all of our friends have more comfortable lives than we had and it hurt. We kept waiting for the bread. It didn’t come, so, we decided that we need some of that tithe money more than our fairly rich church did and we stopped tithing and began giving what we could afford.

      We raised our sweet boy in church and made sure he was there for every kid/youth event possible….even when we couldn’t afford it. He was very active in two youth groups by the age of 18. He was a better Christian than we were. Then, one day, he got a thought in his head that he would try to steal something from a store. He got caught. I yelled at him for a while but I stopped because I couldn’t talk without yelling and it was serving no purpose anymore. I sent him outdoors to do some yard work while we calmed down. I went for a run on my treadmill to burn off my anger and my wife went outside to talk to her mother. Philip had taken a shower and was in the house. While I was exercising and my wife was outside, he went to my bedroom, got my gun and killed himself. Three lives ended that day. We were destroyed. I won’t go into the rest.
      WHY THE HELL DID GOD NOT DO SOMETHING TO HELP MY BOY?
      The only thing I’d ever wanted out of life was my own child and I had an awesome one. He was the center of my life. I have a co-worker whose son did the same thing…except the gun misfired and he’s still alive. WHY COULDN’T GOD LET THAT HAPPEN TO MY SON? WHY?
      My wife has stopped going to church because the God we believed in was not the God we thought he was. I was angry with Him for a long time …this happened 5 years ago. Now, I’m indifferent and still a little angry. We just want God to leave us alone now. We have enough stones. I can build a mansion with my stones. We see people every single day that do not care about their children and do not treat them well. They get to keep their children and we did not. THAT describes the God I know now.
      I know without a shadow of a doubt that Philip is in heaven, and I can not wait to see him again. I’ve contemplated joining him on multiple occasions.
      I’ve been told my multiple Christians that ‘all you need is God’. My answer is, NO it’s not. I’ve been told that ‘God has a plan for everything’ or ‘everything happens for a reason’. My answer is a profane version of ‘God’s plan sucks’.
      Why would I seek God/Jesus’s solace out when they allowed my son to die? I’m angry with them. I’ll get my solace from anti-depressants and happy pills.
      I had planned to never share this here, because it’s a serious bomb to drop, but your comments hit my nail squarely on the head. When are going to quit getting stones?
      When?

      1. Bert. To say this is heartbreaking falls so far short. I am so terribly sorry for the loss of your precious son. No parent should ever have to suffer that. My heart aches for you and your wife.
        I did not lose my child but both my daughters were sexually abused by the leading ”brother” in our PB assembly, he is also my BIL. My youngest has a bad neurological disease that has almost taken her from us many times and I live in fear of the episode that will take her. Being told, God gives and God takes away, is not exactly comforting but that is what I was told when I broke down and ”confessed” my fears of losing her. We were also told that God never gives us more than we can handle. Wow, really? Stones for bread has been my theme as well.

        1. MiriamD, thank you for your kind words. I knew it would bring it, but I didn’t share that for sympathy, I do appreciate it, though.
          I heard so many of those ‘saying’, I can’t even count. My mom, who is and always will be a fundy, even told me, in an airy voice, ‘everything happens for a reason’. My reply was a not nice, “No it doesn’t! what possible reason would God have had to take my son?” she didn’t have an answer. this was not the time for ‘godly’ platitudes, spoken in a dreamy “I’m floating gracefully in God’s spirit” voice. I needed something REAL and it wasn’t coming from her.There is a whole horror story that’s behind that, but suffice it to say, she and my fundy sister, were NOT helpful. My other sister was awesome. and still is.

      2. Thank you, Bert.

        Believing in God is tough when the God you are told to believe in is little more than a fairy tale and when promises of blessing for obedience don’t come, and when God or Life hurts you so needlessly.

        The God the fundamentalists describe doesn’t seem to exist. I’m having a hard time figuring out the character of the God who does exist. I keep meeting desperation.

        We need to be treated like children from time to time. We need the Good to outweigh the Bad. We need Hope.

        Nothing will bring back your son. Nothing can make up for some of the crap we have been given in life. But if I read Abraham, Moses and Jeremiah right, God is big enough to yell at and take it. He needs to be reminded of our limitations. He needs to be reminded of His promises, His responsibilities.

        Abraham was the friend of God, and he had to keep pushing until the promise came. Moses had to tell God to come off his hissy-fit, that if He broke His promises nobody would believe in Him.

        Evidently it is Scriptural to talk to God this way. We need to remind Him that people believe what they see, understand how they are being treated, and He Needs To Fix Things. If He can heal, He should heal.

        I will pray for you bread and no more stones. We need Good Things on the Menu.

        1. rtgmath, that’s exactly what my Methodist pastor said. “Hate Him. He’s a big God. He can take it.” thank you for reminding me of that. I think I will start telling Him things. Call Him out. I don’t pray anymore because I’ve prayed my whole life and here I am. I’ll pray for other people, but never for me.
          I was always taught that Doubting Thomas was basically stupid. He wasn’t. Sometimes you need to SEE God help you. To have Him prove Himself.
          Thank you for reminding me of that. A sheep’s skin isn’t a bad thing.

      3. Bert, This is going to be a completely inadequate response, but please accept my condolences for the loss of your dear son along with wishes of peace and grace for you and your wife. Sometimes maybe it helps to be able to talk in the presence of those who will listen and who can understand at least a little of what you’re saying.

        In 1997 my dad was retired and living in Oregon. One night he put a .32 caliber pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger. We had spoken by telephone the previous night and at the end of our conversation he told me that I had saved his life. The night he killed himself he tried to call, but I wasn’t around so he left a message on the answering machine.

        Although it was not related to my dad’s suicide, I have in the past experienced what I will only describe as a misplaced rage against God. Like you I have also been prescribed anti-depressants in the past. At the time they helped, and to anyone who would have advised us to trust God instead, I would offer them that same advice the next time they were prescribed pain killers or antibiotics.

        We’re told we can pour our hearts out to God. With as much evil as we see, there is still good in this world. I have to believe that there is a God, that He is good and the creator of that which is good, and that we can trust Him.

        1. Thank you, Ben Padraic.  I appreciate your thoughts. I’ve been on both sides of this awfulness and I KNOW there are nothing but inadequate responses, and I’ve heard a million and one of them. But, it  is still nice to hear that people care.  The best responses are hugs, at least for me.  I never missed a chance to hug Philip and tell him that I loved him….until that last day.  I walked right past him, as he weakly smiled, and didn’t even look at him.  I needed to blow off steam on my treadmill before I could talk to him without yelling.  I never got that chance.  That is something I haven’t been able to forgive myself for and I doubt I ever will.  And, I’ve heard from multiple counselors and shrinks and pastors and friends who all  tell me that I need to.

          I also firmly believe there is God.  I have to.  It’s the only way I’ll ever see Philip again.  I have poured my heart out to Him.  There is nothing He doesn’t know, anyway, so I might as well acknowledge it.  I have seriously told Him off and ask Him to leave me alone.  There was always only one thing I wanted in my life and Philip was it. Why couldn’t have that one thing?  Why did Philip get cheated out of the life he was promised? 

          I believe that God is good; just not to me.  90% of our prayers are either ignored or, for the most part, we get the exact opposite.  Neither of us pray for financial help anymore; the typical response to that prayer was to get a bill from someone.  Not that money is everthing, but I’d always been taught in church that God will take care of his people.  I have not experienced that.

          I say all of that to say that there is more than one reason for my negative feelings for God.  I do not feel that I can trust Him.

          As I said, I do appreciate your thoughts and comments, and I promise I will take them to heart and do my best to live them out.  It’s just going to take a lot of time.

    5. I’m sorry for the difficulties you’re facing; financial pressure is incredibly crushing. Hoping you get a job soon and that things look up for you.

  30. It would be interesting to see if there was a difference when a church spends time and effort going out into the community and actually trying to make a difference in the lives of people – without specifically inviting them to church. I suspect that if real love were shared, then people would be more interested in giving a church a chance than all the empty words and gimmicks that a church can throw.

    Of course, that would involve actually getting your hands dirty.

    1. Here’s the thing.
      Jesus didn’t say to help people so you can get them into church.
      Jesus said to help people because they need help.

        1. It’s an act of faith: we obey God and leave the results to Him. He can draw people to Himself.

          But instead of doing that, we were taught that WE were responsible for bringing people to salvation so we had a tremendous burden of having to MAKE people do something that really was up to their free will and the Holy Spirit, not in our hands at all.

          So we ended up becoming manipulative and fake instead of showing true love and concern, using people as a means to an end, all with the best of intentions but sadly twisted from what I believe was the true intent of Christ’s words.

    2. When I was at PCC doing Bible Clubs, I often dreamed of someday moving into the neighborhoods where we “ministered”, making friends with the moms, living in a run-down home, working to make ends meet, having my kids play with their kids, and generally becoming one of them.

      Fast forward 20 years. I’m living in a poor neighborhood, in a house that needs a lot of work. My kids run the streets with the children of atheists, druggies, Mexicans, and single moms who work so many hours to feed their kids that they don’t get to see them much. I depend on my neighbors; they depend on me. And their kids come to church with mine because they are all friends. (And because the church loves them, lice and all.)

      It’s nice to know I’m living my dream. 🙂 What would happen if these churches and colleges encouraged their people to move into the neighborhood?

      1. Powerful words.

        You know, I think sometimes Christians get fed so many lines about “changing the world” and “doing great things for God” that we lose track of the simple deeds of goodness (a cup of cold water) in favor of things like huge bus ministries. Simply living in a community, becoming part of the neighborhood and loving them, is so anti-climactic, so “mundane” and yet it is what Christ did. He didn’t go to Rome; He didn’t even go to Jerusalem. He was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, a conquered nation scorned by the Empire that had swallowed them. He spent His life primarily involved with 12 disciples – not grand at all. So why are so many Christian ministries so focused on making obvious and extravagant outward shows of piety instead of loving our neighbor, the person in front of us who needs us (or whom we might need ourselves someday)?

    1. I am a mathematics teacher, two master’s degrees, and have been teaching in the community colleges for 22 years. I could teach high school if the district was willing to work with me on lateral entry toward a teaching certificate.

      As for where in the country? I’m pretty open to that as long as I could support my family.

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