117 thoughts on “The Good Fight”

    1. First twice!

      With apologies to Garth Brooks…

      So bring me two butt cushions,
      Gotta have one for each cheek.

  1. I attended a church for about six months (thankfully only six) in the early 2000s. It was not labeled “Fundy”, but those were the attitudes. My niece spent the weekend with me, and she was eagerly devouring the most recent Potter book. I had to attend a meeting, so I parked her in the lobby with the book, and the stares and comments began. I did not have the courage to say that I had already read the published books in Spanish. Crazy thing-the church fell apart because they couldn’t keep leadership since no one could get along with anyone. I was on my way out about a month later.

      1. The language of Heaven is Finnish. Apparently even the Finns say it takes you all Eternity to learn it.

  2. Show me thy faith without thy works and I will show you my faith by my haircut and scripture yard sign.

    1. Are you sure? I have heard fundies that are against LOTR….but C.S.Lewis and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are ok…for some….

      1. All three of these fantasy series are by Christian authors: Tolkien (Catholic), Lewis (Anglican), and Rowling (Church of Scotland).
        But I suppose some Fundies would reject anything not written by a Fundy. Although that seems to apply to works from the last 100 years or so, not to earlier authors (e.g. Shakespeare).

        Of the three, C.S. Lewis has the most overtly “Christian” content in his stories, but readers who aren’t too obtuse will find plenty of spiritual themes being explored in the Rings and Potter books, too.

        1. I was a wide reader from my tween years. I was devastated when I realized that Fundydom did not look kindly on Chesterson, Dorothy L Sayers, Malcolm Muggeridge…some accepted George MacDonald (one of my childhood favorites), but not all. I couldn’t imagine (still can’t) life without O. Henry. Part of my journey to faith had involved authors like Lloyd C Douglas (“The Robe”) and AJ Cronin (“The Keys of the Kingdom”). Oh, and “The Small Woman” by Alec Guinness (the life of Gladys Aylward). I realized, that as I hid the books I took to read at camp and retreats, that my intellectual and cultural growth would be terribly stunted if I continued with their weird system of what was considered acceptable reading material.

        2. To the fundy:
          Catholic=Tolkien is part of the whore of babylon
          Anglican= They are simply catholics who failed their latin
          Church of Scotland= heretics, and men wearing skirts are sinful!!! Jesus didn’t wear a dress

        3. George MacDonald was a Universalist, as was Madeline L’Engle. I can’t imagine that sitting too well with Fundies.

      2. In my branch of fundyville thats how it worked. HP was practically satan incarnate but CS Lewis was encouraged and LOTR was tolerated.

        1. Dear Bilbo Skaggins:

          At the same establishment, I liked the ‘fat inn keeper who remembers his name only because people shout it at him all day’ remark. LOL!

          Christian Socialist

      1. Dear Bilbo Skaggins:

        You [of all people] would say that…
        Ditto for you, Dwelling in Imladris! LOL!

        Christian Socialist

        PS: Will meet you at the Prancing Pony anytime! My nickel…

        1. One of my favorite lines in the movie (I did read the book too) was at the Prancing Pony; “It comes in pints?!”

    1. Sticky and Twiggy need to put some pants on. How else will they have a Chick Tract at the ready if they’ve no back pockets to keep it in?

        1. Just can’t tell the sexes with that androgynous look. But yes, Dr F, I am one of the heathinz.

  3. One of the things that drove me out of the “fundy-lite” atmosphere I was in was the notion that there is no redeeming value to things outside of one’s own worldview. And yet, for the fundy-lite crowd–they sure did a lot of copying of what the world does with Christian rock and Christian festivals, etc. So what the world has is evil and poison, unless you slap Jesus on it and then it is all good.

        1. Greg X V for me. I was getting married about the time John showed up so I missed all of that. But my wife and I did see GXV in concert after he went solo. It was prerecord end music, no band. A bit of a let down. But he still had the voice.

  4. I read the HP books and watch the movies at least once a year. Same with LoTR. I don’t read Narnia all that much but I do watch the moves from time to time. I remember both my brothers making snide comments about HP but at that point I was past the point of caring.

    1. The HP books are not particularly sell-written, but more than make up for it by brimming with imagination, wit, humor, and solid, deep characters. I consider the series one of the greatest series of “children’s” books ever, and while I only read the books once, my wife and I watch all the movies about once a year.

  5. I still remember the first message my fundie pastor preached against Harry Potter. It was a basic 3 point message and went something like this:

    1. Harry Potter is bad because it is worldly. The bible tells us to avoid worldliness. This will cause our children to be worldly therefore Harry Potter is bad.

    2. Harry Potter is bad because it promotes witchcraft and sorcery. The bible tells us to avoid witchcraft and sorcery. This will cause our children to be attracted to witchcraft and sorcery therefore Harry Potter is bad.

    3. Harry Potter is bad because it depicts the drinking of unicorn blood. The bible tells us to avoid evil and the drinking of unicorn blood is evil. This will cause our children to be attracted to evil and therefore Harry Potter is bad.

    That was pretty much it in a nutshell. As I sat there and listened to it I couldn’t help wonder why a sermon about Harry Potter was necessary. But then again the church preached against the Wizard of Oz because it had magic and Pokémon because it promoted devil worship and demon possession.

    1. I hope that your pastor didn’t believe that unicorn blood was real? He doesn’t define why something imaginary is actually evil.

      1. One of the great things about being a fundamentalist is that they don’t let reality interfere with the message.

    2. Don’t the books portray drinking unicorn blood as bad?

      The weird thing I’ve noticed among fundies is that they manage to shoot themselves in the foot a lot by criticizing content without ever looking at how that content is actually portrayed. Often the content they’re screaming about is portrayed in the work as a Very Bad Thing. And so they give themselves away as having no idea what they’re actually talking about. It’s like all those diatribes against the Potter books prefaced with “I haven’t actually read the books, but…” Ok, fine, but then don’t waste all of our time by writing a 10-page exposé on why it’s bad. It’s like they’re afraid that they might “miss” the evil because it is “carefully hidden” and they therefore turn to books written by “former wiccans” and “ex-satanists” to explain why it’s bad. Because if the evil isn’t blatant but we think maybe it should be bad, we need to dredge something up.

      1. “By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye limp about with thy shoes full of bullet holes”

      2. If fundies didn’t have things like Harry Potter to yap about, would they actually have anything to say?

        1. Imagine that. For one Sunday, a world where all objects of legalistic Fundy rage are spontaneously “disappeared”. Can you hear it? “Not really sure WHAT to stump and growl about today, but I’m sure you folks on the back pew will come up with something evil soon!” Lol.

        2. Bald Jones grad, how many people could cope with the image of you in a miniskirt..?

      3. Exactly. I’ve seen a rant about one of the characters stating “there is no good or evil…only power” without revealing that it was the main bad-guy saying those words and he was obviously in the wrong.

      4. About 14 years ago, I was teaching in a Christian school. I had 18 students in my class. 12 were boys and 12 (not the same ones) were 12 turning 13 during the school year.
        One of the boys brought a Harry Potter book to school and was reading it during break. I has heard nothing but bad about them, so I told him it poetically wasn’t approved to bring to school. He asked me what was wrong with it, and i had no idea, so i asked him if i could take it home and read it. It only took me a couple of days to read, and I could not really say it was any worse than lotr or Narnia books (which I had read by the time I was 12), so I told him he could read it, but that he should keep a low profile, because the other teachers would probably not approve.
        He turned out okay, and we are friends to this day!

    3. I’m convinced! I will be purging all of my Harry Potter stuff as soon as I get home, and finish a nice cold glass of unicorn blood.

      1. With crab legs and melted butter. Out here, in the San Francisco Bay Area, we would also add sourdough French bread.

        Unfortunately, I am allergic to crab…but you enjoy!

      1. I have heard from the pulpit that Pokemon is evil because it promotes Eastern mysticism, not that he ever explained what that meant exactly. I know someone who swears that Pokemon stands for pocket demons. Even at my highest level of Kool aid drinking, that sounded nuts to me.

        1. According to ask.com, pokemon means “pocket monsters.”

          For what it’s worth…but I personally don’t think it has anything to do with demons. I personally think that Picachu is pretty cute!

  6. The two arguments I hear most often for why Christians cannot partake in various things are these:

    1. Satan often appears as an angel of light. It’s really hard to spot evil because evil always looks good. Therefore, this is bad because it looks good. Therefore, no.

    2. I really want to do this, and therefore it’s an idol, and therefore I shouldn’t do it. So if you really enjoy the Harry Potter books, you should stop reading them because they’ve become more important to you than God. If you really find the idea of giving up chocolate sad, you should give it up because you’re worshipping the god of chocolate. Following this logic, we should paint our houses colors we hate, wear clothing that is uncomfortable and ugly because comfy clothes are hard to give up, never use heat or air conditioning, and quit eating food that tastes good. It’s crazy, nonsensical logic. I have a friend that is always giving up *all music* because she loves music or *all coffee* because she loves coffee… It’s craziness.

    1. Ugh. She just posted a big apology on Facebook today about trampling God’s laws because she posted a picture of crab legs that she got at a restaurant two years ago. She’s very sweet but so guilt-ridden about everything.

      1. Crab legs. Oh lordy….many a time I sat under conviction from the manogawd preaching against crab legs. The seductive shells, the dripping, salty-sweet butter. Lord, we are in your sight when we clog our arteries with meat and potatoes, Lord, but we know we have invited SIN into our bodies with the temptation of crab legs.

        Seriously though, crab legs??

      2. What laws was she breaking? Dietary restrictions, or did she just enjoy them so much that it has to be a sin?

        1. Neither is bacon, sausages or pork chops. I like all of them. God must be very angry. Woe is me!

      3. Guilt-ridden about everything is a Fundy feature, not a bug. All that guilt makes it easier to keep the congregation where you want ’em.

    2. Sheesh, I can’t even give up chocolate for Lent. No matter, the fundie orb would condemn observing Lent as “legalism” and of course “Catholic”, like fundies aren’t legalistic.

    3. Dear CaffeinatedSquirrel:

      Satan often appears as an angel of light. IFB pastors are always angels of light. Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish them.

      Christian Socialist

      PS: Love your moniker, by the way…

      1. Hehe thanks.

        And yes, very true. I just think the fundies use that as an excuse to condemn anything they find sketchy. “Looks shiny and angelic? Must be bad!”

  7. What really irked me (growing up strict catholic and then in adulthood participating in fundyism) was how literature, play, games, and movies are seen only as social programming tools. Summon a Fire Elemental in D&D, and I’m training to become a real, honest to goodness warlock. A work of fiction, taking place in a fictional world, with fictional moral laws, is somehow a threat.

  8. If H. P. had been written in the 1950s, all would have been well. Silliness.
    One of my sisters used to give us gifts that she knew we disliked because she thought we shouldn’t enjoy worldly things. It made birthdays so much fun………. My daughters got really good at being enthusiastic over things like bath towels, at 8 or 9 years old that is exactly what you want, right? Seesh.

    1. Hi, yeah, this is, um, God. So, like, I know I invented…stuff. You know, like food and tastebuds. And soft, furry woodland creatures. And the smell of a charcoal fire. And I know I also, you know, created that whole…ah-herm… Ess Ee Ecks thing. But, well, what I really wanted to tell you was that I don’t actually want you to, you know, enjoy yourself. And I’m not talking about the sex thing any more. I mean, I don’t want you to enjoy worldly things. Because, you know, even though I made it it is all crap. And I only made it in the first place to tempt you. So stop idolizing fun stuff, and start, you know, like not enjoying yourself. So, yeah. That’s all.

  9. I must have been involved in a much more strict sect of fundamentalism than I realized. A very abbreviated list of things we weren’t supposed to do and why:
    1. LOTR – Magic
    2. Narnia – Magic
    3. Shakespeare – inappropriate relationships
    4. Veggie Tales – Rock Music
    5. School House Rock – Rock Music
    6. social media account – gossip

    the list could go on and on

    1. I guess that would mean you couldn’t ever leave the house, watch TV, or interact with anyone because music is everywhere and everyone gossips.

      1. Interesting snippet of useless information: Music was banned in Afghanistan when the Taliban controlled the country….

      2. That’s true, we weren’t supposed to have tv’s. Well tv’s were kind of ok but not cable or dish.

    2. When I was a kid it was any movie whatsoever and TV in general, that is until the godly men got hooked on football, then TV was OK for them.

    3. Dear Hiddenexfundie:

      You’ve misrepresented the case against Veggie Tales. Too many IBF Pastor identified with Archibald Asparagus. They took one look at Larry and immediately developed cucumber envy.

      Can’t have that!

      Christian Socialist

      1. And sometimes nothing on at all on top…to each his own, but I found the level of violence, sex, and nudity in GOT too much for me. I know that others like it a lot!

        1. I felt much the same way. I liked the story but there was way too much gore and nudity for me. I checked out when they beheaded a horse all over the dragon girl. Nopenopenope.

        2. I keep up with it on wikipedia. “Well he sure had that coming…. How is she still alive?? …. What on earth is THAT??” (Looking at you, Stoneheart O_o)

          It enjoys carnage for carnage’s sake, and I just can’t do that.

  10. I have heard this statement by Evangelicals and Southern Baptists:

    “I was a [relatively] new Christian back then, . . . .”, or
    “I was an immature Christian back then, . . .”

    The last time I heard this, some guy was referring to the fact that he just happened to believe that evolution was a fact, years ago, shortly after becoming a Born Again Christian, and then he eventually “found” the truth.

    I would hear this from Mom when half-way through my childhood, she found out why He-Man, The Smurfs and many other Saturday morning cartoons were laden with occult themes, and now suddenly off-limits. The Ghostbusters franchise was an absolute abomination. Halloween was suddenly verboten.

    In other words, something seemingly important was missing from my faith in Christ, and I found it when I got a taste of some snake oil from a certain cottage industry, that sells fear and ignorance.

    I remember having some “amused by-contempt for” type of feelings about Bob Larson’s radio show. When he was talking about Satanic Ritual Abuse or the Occult, he could be captivating in a sensationalistic way. When he tried to link such things to pop culture, my mother would treat such proclamations as edicts.

    I believe substituting Christian Rock for secular music could also apply. Especially for teenagers coming back from church camp.

  11. Sigh. Leave it to fundamentalism to turn “spiritual warfare” into picketing abortion clinics, signing petitions against gay marriage, and preaching against reading Harry Potter.

    The things that Jesus was concerned about don’t seem to matter a bit. Feeding the poor, taking care of the needy and the sick, visiting those in prison, working for justice and equity — no, those things don’t matter.

    Christians fight against giving the poor better wages! They actually act as if giving the poor more money will do them harm and not good. They parrot arguments from the right about it hurting the economy — something raises in the minimum wage have never done! — and try to argue macroeconomics. They argue against giving the poor health care. They argue against giving them food. They tell the poor to “get a job,” but the jobs are shipped overseas and there aren’t enough to be had. And they do their best to make education inaccessable.

    Christianity has become a fight for “middle-class” virtues, privilege of the rich, suppression of minorities, the poor, and women. Create fake issues and ignore practical solutions on the basis of “moral” outrage. And always advocate for the suppression of people’s rights and individual choices. They must be forced to “do righteousness” their way or suffer the consequences. There is no grace, no forgiveness for those not already in their political camp. But for those in their camp, there is no hypocrisy that is not justified, no sin that is not forgiven, loved, or excused.

    They constantly talk about “taking America back.” From whom? To where? Their language indicates they won’t share. They are the ultimate consumers, completely self-absorbed.

    Disgusting.

    1. I think that most of it boils down to three chronic American illnesses. The first is utopianism, which in its coarsest form is the conviction that the world would be perfect if only the right sort of people were allowed to live in it and the rest were … well … not around … somehow. The second is the belief that, as someone said, everybody in America is a temporarily distressed millionaire. Sometimes this leads to awesome feats of entrepreneurialism. Most of the time it leads to people squatting on their money like dragons, convinced that if they just sit on it long enough it will hatch into a million billion dollars, while telling everybody who doesn’t have a money pile that they’re just too stupid to go get one. The third is the myth of the independent individual. We’ve all met one: Born on parents’ company insurance, went to a public school on highways paid for by tax money, first car was Dad’s old one, first job was for Dad’s buddy, got government loans for college, and now proclaims that they did it all by their own lonesomes and giving a poor kid a free lunch incentivizes laziness. I also note that Horatio Alger’s (in)famous stories involved a rich patron more often than not.

      1. I came home for my first furlough from South American missionary work in ’88. I had friend who were purging their homes of troll dolls, Barbies, Smurfs, Star Wars stuff…I thought they had all lost it!

        1. You probably didn’t notice it in 1987, because you were in the mission field, but that was when the anti-New Age hysteria was being ratcheted up. The reason for this was because Hal Lindsey forecasted the Second Coming to be in 1988. The nebulous “New Age Movement” was given the designation of The Whore of Babylon. Various anti-Occult crusaders wrote books that proclaimed that the “New Age Movement” was the foundation of “The One-World Religion”.

          The authors of these books often included a caveat that if the Rapture, and proceeding events, didn’t happen by the end of the decade, then the New Age big wigs had ambitions for the establishment of the “One-World Religion” and “One-World Government” by the year 2000.

          The somewhat broad term “New Age”, became a convenient label to ban certain things in Evangelical and Fundamentalist households.

        2. I was aware of the changes in the culture, but just amazed that people who are considered thoughtful would succumb to such nonsense. It eventually leaked into my mission field as well, but since there were guerrilla groups, car bombings, and narco-traffickers to deal with, the impact wasn’t as great. No internet yet, either.

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