70 thoughts on “The Apple Tree”

        1. Probably paper mache blossoms and wax apples stapled up by various and sundry MOGs who want the rest of us vermin to think, “My, oh, my what wonderful fruit! I shall now give of my tithes and his offerings to sustain this wonderful ediface!”

          Enter from stage left an unsuspecting and sincere person of faith who discerns the reality of the disingenuous substance of said faux fruit after indulging in a mouthful of wax:

          “This is fake!” says she.

          “You are a lost and vile sinner,” proclaims the MOG’s emaciated followers, “repent! And cease sowing discord among us brethren and touch not the lord’s annointed with your evil speech!”

          And so the MOG and his disciples continue as before, in the traditions of their fathers.


  1. Very descriptive of Dr. Phil. Don’t forget Writer’s Digest Competition Deadline 6/5/15

    1. Nope. The tree doesn’t have funky-assed hair, a Mont Blanc pen, a beat up Jag, or Louboutin shoes like Dr. Phil does.

      1. The real Dr Phil might not take kindly to the hair comment.

        It would be interesting to see the “doctor” Phil in a pair of Louboutins. Or not.

  2. A great little poem, Darrell — and while I know what you’re alluding to, I have to say that it applies to all of us in one way or another, at one time or another.

    1. so very true…..I want to say it was Thomas Merton who stated that we have a false self, a religious false self and a true self…..our false self deludes us into believing that we are ok as we are, the religious false self deceives us into believing a shallow faith–we have the appearance of holiness but lack the power….only when we go deep to the true self do we realize the power of God’s love and grace.

  3. This is probably descriptive of many of us, fundy or not. Particularly after a problem at home, I feel hollow. I meet the world with a smile if I can, but the loss of fellowship at home is an ever-present gnawing at my insides.

    Since finding out that fundamentalism is, if not hollow, at least rotten to the core, it also hurts I cannot get my family away from it.

    Thank you for the poem, Darrell. It is true too often. Sometimes you just have to operate with the life that you have, not the life that you wish you had.

    1. rtg, I am sorry to read comments like yours and wish I had some magical words to provide encouragement. Unfortunately this is all too common in the IFB, and really all of religion.

      I have lost relationships too because of the IFB, however, most of the loss is with the in-laws, and actually doesn’t bother me that much. It does bother my wife though, as it should. It must be difficult when it is your own flesh and blood.

      Your comments on here, though sometimes very long, are full of insight, logic (or should I say mathematical?), and sincerity. I appreciate you sharing on a deeper level and believe it will continue to help others as it has helped me.

  4. Thank you, Darrell, this is true but unlike the apple tree we can help each other grow again. Thank you for providing a place for that. We can create healthy new paths.

    1. Miriam, I am afraid that getting “healthy” would mean that I would have to leave those who are stuck in the rot and will not leave.

      I love my family, even though there is a lot of pain. I would like nothing better than to be able to be myself around them. Each step away from fundamentalism is met with fierce resistance.

      I may lose my family some day to this disease. I hope I can help them lose the disease first.

      1. I know you are in a very bad situation rtgmath and I am so sorry that you are there. Thinking about your wife and daughter, I remember the fear I felt when we talked about leaving the cult. It was gut-twisting terror. I am astonished at how real it was, now that it is behind me, but it makes me understand why someone would resist the very thought. I know that some cling to it out of real belief but I think there is fear, even in the belief. I so wish they could be free of the web of deceit and control.

        1. For some I know, that fear would indeed be gut-twisting, but there is hope for peace on the other side. For others, the fear of allowing that fear is too great, so they keep burying it.

      2. Honestly, it will probably take some hurt for them to open their eyes and walk away. It typically does. I know I’ve been hurt many times during my stay in fundamentalism. Some wounds are deeper than others. It isn’t an easy process, but it is definitely liberating.

        Don’t lose hope.

        1. Looking back on my life so far, it’s incredible how many times I waited until I was kicked out of bad situations, instead of leaving on my own. I’m a slow learner.

  5. I remember those days. It took me years to realize that my relationship wasn’t with the God of the Bible, but with the Church. I had to look good for them. I had to show them that this self-induced god-shaped hole in my heart that I always assumed everyone had was completely full. I can’t say that I’ve felt that same kind of emptiness since I left.

    1. A relationship with “the God of the Bible” (AKA, “ME”) is pretty tough. There are a few things you gotta know, kid.

      Yeah, I’m disappointed, so I’ll kill everyone and start over. Yeah, this son dishonored his father, so I’ll curse his grandkids into perpetual slavery and prejudice. Hmmm. This guy here made a mistake out of greed. Kill him and his family and his animals, too!

      Excessive? What? I keep my promises! There are two rules in this place, mister! Well, other than the ten, er 622. Plus a few more here and there. Ahem. Rule Number One, I am God and you’d better not forget it. Number Two is, if you have a problem with me for any reason at all, refer to Rule Number One.

      Let’s see. I can’t get this king out from his castle to go to battle so I can kill him with the opposing army. Who will lie for me to deceive him? What? You mean just kill him directly? I can’t do that. Innocent people have to die along with the target. There always has to be collateral damage. Look, I didn’t just make Pharoah decide to be reasonable, did I? No. In order to make myself look better, I made Pharoah to be more unreasonable than he otherwise would be, so I could judge him for it and make Israel think me to be more powerful. What? You think that is unfair, me making Pharoah do something then blaming him for it? What did I say Rule Number One is again? Huh?

      And you know, it got to be too tough to bless this person and curse that other person based on their individual deeds. So I lump em all into the same basket. That way I am good to everyone when I am good, and get the credit for it. When I blow up, it is because *some* people deserve my wrath! Of course, I have to emphasize that Everyone deserves my wrath just for existing. Dam*** sinners, they do what I made ’em to do. So everyone gets blasted, but everyone deserves it and I am still good to everyone at the same time! A win-win scenario! What? You think you have something to say? How many times do I have to remind you about Rule Number One?

      Okay, okay, let’s try something else. I will send my Son to live among you and show My Love, then I will make sure to Kill Him for your sake. All you have to do is Believe on Him in the Right Way in order to Get Saved! That way you can start a new religion and love and quarrel and kill each other for My Sake. I will be silent and won’t interfere any more, but I AM coming Again. I will be Large and In Charge. Someday. In the mean time I will let sin and death have sway so you can want Me to come back sooner. No, I am Still IN CONTROL of EVERYTHING. Of course I am! It just doesn’t look like it. There is reality. Then there is the reality contradicting the reality, and you’d better know which one to believe.

      Sure, it’s the same deal. I will have mercy on those I will have mercy, and whom I will I damn. But I am repackaging it and you’d better call it a New Deal. But again, I make the Rules, especially Rule Number One.

      Oh yeah, we need to talk about this Relationship thingey. Sure, you can call it that. After all, I AM your Father. I always give good gifts to you, even when you get in the way of … uhh, Would I lie to you? Like Ahab? or like those guys I am going to send strong delusions to? Are you trying to get on my Bad Side? Just remember that I Love You and you will be alright. Maybe. After you die, almost certainly. IF you believe the Right Way, remember!

      And never forget Rule Number One. Talk to you later!

      1. Dear rtgmath,
        It helped me to walk away from ‘God’ in 2007. Slowly I’m figuring out what I do believe about God. All I know is I try to treat my fellow man right.

        It’s a lot tougher for you because of your family situation, I know.

      2. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. It’s as if the whole Bible was written by people trying to do the same thing (a relationship with who they think God is). Well, in addition to traditional stories like Job being written down, then the embellishment of tribal history, and oracles using spiritual revelation and prophecy to threaten neighboring nations into doing what they wanted them to do. The usual. Nothing much has changed, except oracles are now pastors and politicians.

      3. I really like the thought process you give RTG. Your comments are always well written and logical. This is exactly how I feel about God right now. I want to believe but there are more questions than answers.

  6. Every time I read something you sign as “D. Dow” it hits home just a little bit more. *shivers*
    ~ D. Dow

      1. I’m sure we share a common ancestor if you go back far enough, I just don’t know who that person is.
        But you’re my brother as far as I’m concerned.

  7. I am that tree. I have been “leaving” for a while. Mentally. I’m gone. Physically, I’m not. Which means the cause is still there, no matter how I try to cover the effect. Two weeks ago, I told my wife that was our last service. I will show up for Sunday School, wrap up our discussion of grace vs. works, and then leave. I can’t handle any more of the USA in the Old Testament appearance is important. We haven’t been going back on Sunday nights, and that time spent together does more for our relationship than I ever thought it would. We won’t quit church. I will find a community that worships God and not a system, and one that understands meeting needs in the community is physical, not just tracts and platitudes.

    This goes with a story my wife told me about a customer who didn’t listen. She works for a plant store/nursery and sold some Yoshino Cherry trees to a guy back in February. He brought a branch in yesterday asking why it was burned up and dying. Turns out he dug a hole in our wonderful Georgia clay, stuck the tree in the hole and filled it in with fertilizer. The only way to save his trees is to strip the leaves, dig them up, remove the extra “nourishment”, and replant them with just dirt.

    Uprooting is hard. Especially with 20+ years of relationships, but maybe my example will help someone else. (It hasn’t always been quite this bad, but as I have grown one way, I realize the church has changed toward the other. It’s hard to see slow changes, but one day you realize, “Hey, this isn’t where we were, and it’s not where I want to be”.)

    Anyway, my confession and introspection are over. Thanks for the chance to put thoughts into words.

    1. Dear UncleWilver:

      Prayers for you, my friend …

      Christian Socialist

    2. It sounds as though your wife is with you in leaving – you two will have more time together and be more relaxed in a different church, so it seems to me based on what you’ve said – Good news! Fundamentalists say they are more pro-family than anyone, then confiscate crucial time from people. My former church had a MAJOR blow out from this fact (a staff member spending too little time with his wife). Unfortunately it’s not seen as the church’s fault, of course.

    3. IIRC, you are in Georgia. We belong to a wonderful liturgical church northeast of Atlanta. It has been the most healing thing for me since I left fundamentalism. If you like, and if you’re close enough, we’d love to have you. Our pastor has an actual doctorate, and his sermons are wrapped up in grace. I can PM you with details.

      1. Yes, I see you said you’re in GA. I just can’t read the first time, apparently. 😉

        1. 35 miles south of ATL.
          I would like to try a liturgical church. I’m not sure she’s ready yet. One step at a time.

        2. And the tortoise had it right. I’m 8 years out of fundamentalism this month and I still have hangups sometimes. My husband is a gem and patiently calms my anxieties over and over. It’s kind of like AA (and I mean absolutely no offense to those who are addicts) I’m still working on the problem of fundamentalism every day.

        3. The forum doesn’t like me, so it would be hard to pm me there. I used to log on and enjoy the conversations, but now it says I don’t exist and that the administrator doesn’t want me. (Okay, not an exact exegesis, just the way I proof-text the message)

        4. I’ve tried to register in the past with little success, and I tried to register just now, but I got a message saying that the administrator was not accepting new registrees. I’ll try again tomorrow.

        5. Our resident hero, Dar-El, has mediated the rift between the forum and me.

          A public thank you, sir.

      2. You can PM people on the SFL forum. Click the “forum” link. Not everyone who posts here is on the forum, unfortunately.

    4. Years ago we left a fundy church/Christian school where my wife was a teacher. We gained some lifelong friends as a result; in addition, others left behind us and the school was closed less than 2 years later.

      Leaving is hard, but it definitely does help others at times, besides obviously being good for yourself.

  8. This reminds me of the song from Casting Crowns – “happy plastic people in our shiny plastic steeples.”

    So glad I don’t need to be plastic anymore.

  9. I feel bad for that apple tree. Anybody have a hole-shaped god that will fit?

    1. My grandpa spent a couple decades filling a tree in his backyard with concrete mix until it finally got bad enough to cut down.

      1. Huh, Meg? Cutting down a concrete-filled tree is a lot harder than cutting down a hollow tree!

        1. You fill it with concrete to extend the life of the tree. My dad did that to a few trees, too.

        2. But that just furthers the example! They need to be filled with something so rough that it’s nigh on impossible to tear down.

      2. There’s quite a bit of controversy about whether or not filling in a tree-trunk hole really extends the life of the tree, or makes it any healthier. There are a lot of lengthy technical issues I won’t go into here.

        One thing I have learned since my wife and I started birding is that there are many bird species (and some other wildlife) that depend on hollow trees for nesting sites.

        1. That could be a great sermon illustration. If we don’t fill the void in our lives the devil will build a nest in us!

          You can take that as serious or satire. Which ever works best for you…. 🙂

        2. ”Dr.” Eric, that is pretty much what we were told whenever the subject of ”Eastern” meditation came up. Never empty your mind, the devil will fill it!

  10. I wasn’t as invested in Fundystan when I left, and it was easier since I was relocating to university (that also made it easier for some of the folks to “leave” me since I wasn’t following God’s will to Bible College). I grew so much more in my faith after I left, although I obviously missed some of my old friends. Over the years, especially since the advent of Facebook, some of my old fundy friends have found me, and they aren’t fundy anymore. Time away can sometimes be a good thing.

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