172 thoughts on “Unwritten Rules Redux”

        1. Not really, “name it and claim it” (or “blab it and grab it”) is a slogan from the word-of-faith movement which is charismatic in origin and therefore straight from the pit of hell according to the average IFB church. Gotta keep those fundies categorized correctly! Aymen.

        1. Wasn’t intended that way, but I try to use vocabulary in a way to allow maximum amount of flex & interpretation, and that one certainly works for me! πŸ™‚

    1. Gimel, of course you are first.

      Don’t listen to Rob; he’s just bitter because he didn’t get to claim ‘first’ first.

      The real unwritten rule is if the first commenter doesn’t claim first, the first who wants it and claims it is really first.

      Rob, you need to repent of your bitterness and come to the old-fashioned altar now so we don’t all have to endure another 30 verses of “Have Thine Own Way”.

        1. I’m just trying to do things decently and in order around here, and have to deal with unwritten rules being applied in ways that do not conform with what Pastor’s son has previously revealed of the Pastor’s will….

        2. Nice back-pedaling, Rob. +1 for that, -1 for not knowing the appropriate unwritten rule, -100 for bitterness/strife/causing division.

  1. Fundy High introduced me to unwritten rules, so avoiding them at Fundy U wasn’t too much trouble.
    But then, I treated the rules as “more of a guide”.

      1. Seriously? That’s how that is spelled?! Forsooth, my education has grown today, verily.

        Learning that pretty much everything I grew up with is “more of a guideline” made following it easier, believe it or not. I don’t stress out over non-100%-compliance, and my life is much happier.

  2. One of the unwritten rules in my family as I was growing up, was no television on a Sunday. That would be breaking the sabbath,. It breaks His Law and makes him angryI was almost twenty before that was relaxed. Today that would be no use of computers. So we are all angering God.

    1. Ha, what a lax household you grew up in, Paul. Television was evil every day of the week in our house. Knitting was evil on Sundays, also reading books that, although innocent in themselves, were not recognized ”Lord’s Day” books. Those violated the holiness of the Lord’s Day. You could go for a slow walk but not a run. You could pick flowers but not dig vegetables. You could walk through the garden but not pull weeds. The list went on and on and you better know it.

      1. Miriam, that is whole other level of crazy right there. Wow!

        What happened if were walking through the garden and you tripped an accidently kicked a weed out?

        1. That is where this kind of stuff causes real sin. I know that was just a silly example, Scorpio but the truth is if you did accidentally do something you had to lie to cover it up. That kind of life leads to duplicity and subterfuge which eventually leads to two distinctly different lives. It is a sad and very common predicament when there is no lee way and very public disappointment when one “fails.”

        2. Yes Miriam, I can identify with that. An extreme example: There was a notorious case here in Northern Ireland , that came to trial about four or five years ago, when a man – who was considered to be an upstanding Chrisian and a deacon in his church – had, with the help of his secret lover, murdered his wife, about twenty five years ago. This same man had managed, shortly before all this exploded, to get someone expelled from his church for breaking one of the many “standards” they maintained at the time.

      2. My family didn’t really have a rule about television, other than as long as our schoolwork was done. I find that perfectly reasonable no matter what stripe of religiousity you are. I was always a duty-driven person, well, since about my teenage years.

        I would consider television relaxing and restful, so it would be perfectly appropriate for the Lord’s day, a day of rest.

        1. Television and indeed radio, brought the World into your home, according to many, many rants, er sermons, I pretended to be absorbed in growing up.

        2. Would you put a sewer pipe dumping garbage directly into your living room? No? Then why would you allow television to dump filth into your home?

        3. Not all television is sewage. And I can decide what I will watch or not, when I will watch it, and why I will or will not watch it.

          Fundies act as if having a television strips from you all semblance of free will or morality. Just like seeing a short skirt or pants on wimmin automatically turns men into rapists. Blame the victim. There is no morality unless there is complete, absolute, unquestioning relinquishing of control of your life to the MoG.

          Such a view of the behavior of man is completely unwarranted.

  3. “Well, no. That isn’t in the rulebook exactly. If you had let the Holy Spirit and, more importantly, the teachings of the mog/president/founder/administrator/chancellor lead you, you would have known that was wrong. Now, because of you, we’ll have to edit the handbook again. Oh, and your grounded campused.”

  4. When I was in fundy high new rules were made every year according to whatever was popular at the time. We had to wear khaki pants and shirts with collars as dress code. They came up with a rule about no cargo pants and no polo shirts with designs on them. Do you know how hard it was to find non-cargo khaki pants in the 90’s? And of course they didn’t tell you until you had already bought your new school clothes and showed up with them on.

    1. In the late ’70s we were not allowed to wear bluejeans, any “other type of denim pants”, or “pants with sewn on pockets”. Even these rules changed a bit year to year. Loyalty was taught as a godly virtue, consistency as a satanic ploy toward being too complacent.

    2. My husband broke an unwritten rule at Crown College by wearing a denim shirt to chapel (it was the 90’s; don’t judge!). Sexton took that opportunity to preach against denim shirts during the chapel service. Thereafter, the rule was a written one.
      I think there are more unwritten rules applying to dress than anything else.

      1. I’d have gotten a dress shirt and then have the phrase “Denim Shirt” embroidered on the cuffs, just to see if they’d outlaw THAT. Sometimes buttons just need to be pushed.

      2. Preach against denim shirts? I’m not too surprised given the context but am at a loss to think what the preacher would say. Or what text they’d base it on.

        1. Oh, don’t go bringing the idea of verses into this.

          Probably something along the lines of “come out from among them, and be ye separate”.

        2. I remember being at a service in the 1980’s where the evangelist was reminiscing about preaching against the miniskirt during the 1960’s and 1970’s. By the 1980’s the wimmin were wearing gunny sack long dresses, or giant sweaters over leggings. Imagine the dilemma there. Those long shapeless dresses and denim jumpers became a permanent fixture in fundyland. So, can they be considered 1980’s re-enactors?

      3. I have a denim shirt with the logo of a very Fundy ministry on it. I wonder if they know denim shirts are sin?

        It is a missions ministry in an uber-Fundy church, but in spite of some of their more “conservative” beliefs, I believe they really love the Lord and are serving Him. They do have too many rules, but they are my friends and I miss being in their part of the country and volunteering my talents to assist them. I also like my denim shirt.

        1. UW, If it’s certain mission with a Piper Navajo out of an Oshkosh church pastored by a King that holds a special missions conference every last week of July, I share the same sentiment.

          I’ve never seen you there though. Could there be more than one Über-Fundy ministry that notwithstanding is made up of maybe misguided but good folks reaching a niche I’d never connect with?

  5. I think the reason that unwritten rules are, well, unwritten is that it takes Fundies so much effort to deal with written rules. Like “Thou family shalt not sing in the choir or work in the nursery if thou allowest thine women family to wear pants.”

  6. They keep the rules unwritten because they just look so ridiculous when you write them out. Also, no one can contest them, my wife was taken off the solo schedule at our old church for some unspecified reason, all they would say is that “Someone expressed concern”. A friend told us that it probably had something to do with me because I accompanied her on guitar, which was allowed but made some people nervous. But the guitar had a black finish and a cutaway, and I had a beard. Of course they still “let” her play piano.

    1. Something I’ve learned from personal experience: If punitive measures are taken against an individual and the reasons given for doing so are vague and/or nonspecific, you. Are. In. A. Cult. Period. Run for your spiritual and mental life!

        1. Thank you for this. It actually made me a little teary. We were in cults, no matter what people say, we were brainwashed and controlled and in dangerous positions. I am honoured to be in the company of other escapees.

        2. That’s all well and good Miriam but someone “expressed concern” over your post. Therefore you will not be allowed to post without your pastor/husband/other male authority in your life first reviewing your comments for “suitability”.

        3. Ah those eagle eyed people whose self appointed duty it was to “express concern”……

  7. Unwritten rule #3562: Thou shalt stampeth those whose disagreements thou canst not gainsay and whose mouths thou canst not stop with the label of “not having the right spirit.”

  8. Thou shalt choose a ministry approved by the pastor and remain in that ministry until death. If you are female this means nursery plus another ministry.

    1. And no sick days allowed either. After all, the pastor preached that one time he had a sore throat. That 103 degree temperature is just Satan trying to keep you from the Lord’s work by giving you a preview of hell. Amen?

  9. Unwritten rule: single women should not aspire to long-term missionary service. All of my church’s approved boards would send single women to be a mother’s helper, but not to be involved on a church plant team. But, they still recruited singles as career missionaries! It’s one of the reasons I eventually left my church.

  10. Unwritten Rule: When thou hearest rumours of offences committed by the Man of God, his friends, or his near kin, Lo! believeth them not! Evil deeds done by the Man of God, his friends, or his near kin which thine own eyes have not beheld did not happpen. Even the evil thing which thine own eye hath seen and thine own ear hath heard, shall not be spoken of lest thou give the enemies of the Lord occasion to blaspheme.

        1. Lady Semp,
          Kine that are unfortunate enough to get near a Fundy preacher are liable to end up as sirloin steaks and footwear.

  11. 1. Thou shalt not slide down the banister, regardless of the fact thou art only a young teen with too much energy.
    2. Thou shalt not skip for this may cause thy brethren to lust (from afar, for thou art skipping on the pink sidewalk upon which no one which pisseth standing up may venture).
    3. Thou shalt not whistle for reasons unknown, but probably because it expresses unbridled joy of life. Women may not express joy of life in an outward manner for Scripture sayeth that a woman’s adornment should be a quiet and modest spirit.
    4. Thou shalt not correct the dean’s quoting of Scripture nor mention that the quoted passage implieth that we ought to do away with dress code.
    5. Thou shalt not climb trees, walk across the grass, pick up sticks or rocks, nor speak to birds. If the Creator had wanted us to communicate with nature, He would have placed us in a garden.
    6. Thou shalt not be depressed at the addition of many unwritten rules, for depression is a sin against God. Scripture sayeth to be joyful always.
    Please review rule #4. Rule #4 includes reminding the dean that many writers of Scripture appear to have suffered from depression. Depression was for the Old Testament time of law. We are now under grace and may not be depressed.

    Ahh, PCC, how I miss you!

    1. ” If the Creator had wanted us to communicate with nature, He would have placed us in a garden.”

      And so Yahweh didst place Adam and Eve in a garden, and then kicked them out.

        1. Woot woot, Grams!
          I was stunned at the whistling rule at PCC. In my fundy-lite family, whistling was encouraged. We competed to see who could whistle tunes the best. My dad whistles whenever he is happy, as do I. None of us sing well, but we can all whistle a tune in key.

    2. Re: #3
      I was just thinking about this lately. Not long ago i was back home for a family reunion, and i remember being mildly shamed (“oh, SOMEONE is happy”) for singing along to each verse of “Uptown Funk,” or just singing for the fun of it. And this coming from a family with a reputation for singing well, often doing specials at church. Singing hymns “spontaneously,” usually with musical accompaniment, was not remarked upon. But singing songs because i felt it was.

    3. Seriously? What, in the name of Gideon, is wrong with whistling? Not ladylike? Says who? Just when you think you’ve reached the bottom of fundie craziness, you discover an even crazier underground warehouse of craziness. Now I’m really curious which fundie church you went to, but maybe that’ll compromise your anonymity. If so, nevermind.

      Whistling. Something else to feel guilty about. Smh.

      1. I don’t think it is specific to a particular church. It is, I believe, just a VERY old cultural rule. You know how fundies like to live in (certain parts of) the past, especially as it pertains to the dress and behavior of women!

  12. I loved this. Fundamentalist Protestants claim that all you have to do is accept Jesus to be saved, but it’s disingenuous and they know it. They leave out the fine print about how believers must have the “right” appearance, language, political leanings, marital relationship, sexual orientation, etc., etc.

    1. This. The church I grew up in made me extremely uncomfortable with the idea of the love of God, because they viewed an overemphasis on God’s love as permissive. Which made Jesus an awkward subject. We talked a lot about how we relate to Jesus and God, but not much about how they relate to us (in love). I think they knew that if anybody got close to the love of God, the whole house of cards would come tumbling down.

  13. If thou art a man who is a descendant of Ham, thou shalt not become overly friendly with any of the daughters of Japheth. But, and if, thou doest this, emissaries from the pastor shall be sent unto thee to instruct thee of the error of thy ways.

    1. But and if it shall come to pass that thou art a daughter or son of Japeth, thou mayest more readily permit thy bowels to yearn upon one of Shem’s descendants rather than one upon whom the fictitious “Curse of Ham” still lingers in some God-knows-how way. Thou shalt not point out that the curse was directed towards Canaan, not his father Ham or Canaan’s other brothers who formed what became the modern day African people. Neither shalt thou wonder nor be amazed nor ask if it is a matter of skin color that is to be matched as close as possible. For then it shall be apparent to all whom I, the mog, deem Spiritual that thou art in the bond of iniquity and the gall of bitterness, blinded by pride and influenced by the Dark Forces and Spirits of the Age of End Times. If thou wast right with Me, I mean God, thou wouldst not need this instruction. He who bath ears to hear, let him hear… me.

    2. ….unless thy church is affiliated with a university, whose president appeared on a tv talk show, and threw out this rule from the book, but even then, thou shalt need thy parents permission and the permission of the parents of the object of thine affection, to be able to proceed with such a relationship.

  14. If thou art a creature of the female persuasion, verily thou must cover thine foot with either a sock or with hosiery. For verily if thine unclad foot appear in the presence of holy men of God, it shall surely unleash the fires of lust within them. For peradventure it be not possible for them to avoid casting their eyes over thine toe cleavage and becoming most horny, the fault shall be thine and thine alone, o female!

    1. Probably in my first week at HAC I wore knee-high nylons. A friend saw me in the snack bar (what was the name of it?) and told me I had to wear actual pantyhose. I really didn’t see the point to that rule.

      The last time I wore any kind of hosiery was for a party last year, and only because it was winter. Winter and mini-skirts don’t mix well. I was certainly not going to give up the skirt to put on a pair of britches.

        1. ^^THIS^^! And half slips that always managed to slide down and show below the hem of the skirt.

        2. Or full slips that somehow managed to twist their way up to your waist in an attractive little bulge. Oh and the extra nylon layer when it was hot. Ick. I never understood how some of those girls managed to look cool and put together. I always looked like a resentful mess. I know I did. Well, I was.

        3. Hmmmm. I can see making earrings in the shape of a garden hose so that the wearer can say she is wearing hosiery.

          Or a garden-hose belt.

        4. I hate those things too. I took a lot of heat for wearing those back in the 70’s, but made a lot of dough! πŸ™‚

          Joe

          PS. I’ve not given up the fur coats, however.

        5. If I had not buried mine, I would send them to you. Thinking about them gives me pains in places I will not mention.

      1. The Honorable, Illustrious and Inimitable Lady Semp,
        Did the name of that place end in “Square” or “Corner?” Thought that might jog your memory.

    2. Howbeit, thine toes shalt in all wise be cased in leather, unto thine thigh, and upon stiletto heals shalt thou walk. And thus shal be thy walking: thou shalt verily strut, and a riding crop thou shalt flourish, and in case the need arise thou shalt always carry a pair of hand cuffs, even unto the end of thy days. And chains, too, if you can pull it off.

        1. Those are okay, but they don’t go up far enough.

          Interesting article in your second link.

    3. Our manual had soooo many rules, it’s hard to think of the unwritten ones. But…unwritten rules from our time in fundyland:
      * Always turn on the light when entering a room, even if it’s just you. (men loved darkness rather than light for their deeds were evil)
      *All kids of staff members must be enrolled in the church school. Staff members must believe/state that the church school is the best education option for children.
      *No Bible cozies (what-are you ashamed of the Bible?)
      *No denim at church/church school. Don’t wear khaki fabric too much during the week and never on Sunday or Wednesday. (It’s too casual)
      *Dress up for Weeknight service, but not to the same extent that you dress up for Sunday.
      *When entering a building, always remove outdoor coat/jacket.
      *Always, always, always have soul-stirring, mind-numbing hymns playing at church, at school, in the office, in your home, e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, lest people actually hear God’s still small voice and flee fundyland. Something like the radios in 1984 that can be turned down but NEVER off.
      *NEVER fan yourself when it’s hot. DON’T rub your hands together or hold arms crossed if it’s cold. NEVER EVER complain if the AC/heater is not working.
      *Don’t be a bad news bear and fixate on the newspaper or news radio. Don’t watch TV. Don’t spend too much time on the net. But it’s a Christian’s duty to keep up on the news.

      1. * Always turn on the light when entering a room, even if it’s just you. (men loved darkness rather than light for their deeds were evil)

        My eye just twitched. And people at Internet Monk and elsewhere think I’m being crazy when I say things like that…no, no the crazy was the world I grew up in…

        1. Anyone else starting thinking about this stuff and just want to scream and rage and watch the world burn, anything, in order to stop the incessant circles your mind goes around and around and around in….????

  15. One of my most hated unwritten rule: Free pumpkins and hot dogs and kites and ice cream were ONLY for “bus kids” not for “church kids” who attended every single service during the week.

  16. I chuckled through many of these comments because behind the humor is the cold, hard reality that very few in the system will admit.

    My thoughts went back to Matthew 15 where Jesus was confronted by the religious leadership with the question, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? …”

    Jesus replied with the question, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”

    ouch.

    Jesus cites a tradition (in our context we could call it an unspoken rule) where the elders brought dishonor to their fathers and mothers, contrary to the commandment, and concludes by proclaiming, “And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”

    “You hypocrites!”

    “…in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.”

    Most of what we call “Christianity” today seems so foreign to the person of Jesus. The problem isn’t Jesus, in my opinion, but what we’ve made Him to be.

    B.R.1

  17. An unwritten rule is that as soon as you write down an unwritten rule it’s no longer unwritten. Therefore you have to make two unwritten rules to maintain your sense of holier than thou. So now, because you guys wrote down all these unwritten rules we will never be able to catch up and be holy.

    Wait….now I’ve done it…

  18. Unwritten rule: bring your unsaved family and friends to church, but make sure they come dressed like Fundies.

    I had a few very negative experiences with bringing family and friends to services including comments directed at them from the pulpit from the MOG.

    1. I have been there, Linn. There were a few really awful moments but one that made up for them all. Wed. night prayer meeting, in an obscure branch of the Peebs and a co worker decided she was going to come with me. She had been raised charismatic and the Peebs are very, very strict about women being kept in their, (silent), place. There were about 15 of us, sitting around someone’s living room. After the first prayer my friend shouts out AMEN. Heads snapped up, mouths dropped open, I am not sure but what some bowels evacuated. It was a lovely moment.

  19. Dear SFL Reader:

    Is there an unwritten rule that you can’t stand up in church, turn, drop your drawers and moon the good Reverend?

    If so, why isn’t there an unwritten rule stipulating that Reverend can’t act in such ways as deserve such behavior?

    Christian Socialist

  20. For those of you still playing Fundy Piano Music, Thou Shalt Not play any offertory which soundeth like something that proceedeth from Harlem. Yea, Thou Shalt play only that which soundeth, not as an uncertain sound, but as that which soundeth like the sounds which proceedeth from those who are skilful and who have fled the sinful land of the West Coast.

    1. Jack Hyles was an insufferable fake. Worse than that, he was endorsed by so many like minded MOG’s and blindly followed by great herds of sheeple. And they’re still there at FBCH worshipping his ghost. Sad and deeply disturbing.

    2. I have had the honour of playing for the “invitation” on a couple of occasions following a Jack Hyles (bless his holy name) “sermon”. The man was as fake as they come. It is wrong to place so much authority and power in the hands of any one person.

    3. “Male piano players are sissies”
      Is that in the KJV? what instruments can a non-sissy man play? Obviously none in church since only pianos are allowed there.

      1. Pianos aren’t mentioned in the KJV. Harps and cymbals and trumpets are, though. And psalteries, a zither- type of instrument.

        The Church of Christ won’t use pianos because they aren’t a Biblical instrument. Those Baptist apostates, them!

        1. No pianos or any instruments in the Exclusive TW Peebs ”meeting rooms.” Just the off tune droning that is apparently truly pleasing to the Almighty.

      2. But those instruments are only mentioned in the Old Testament. The are not mentioned in the New Testament, where a different set of Laws apply. (Church buildings aren’t mentioned either but that’s another issue…)

  21. Unwritten rule #7? I’m losing track.

    Thou shalt be enthusiastic at church, because if thou canst sit happily through a whole baseball game thou canst sit through church. However, thou shalt in no wise dress in too much denim; nay, not even on Wednesday or Sunday night, because this is not a ball game, haymen?

    1. …but not too enthusiastic, and in no wise shalt thine hand be raised during the singing, lest thou look like one of those apostate Charismatics over there. Because yea verily we know that the Bible talks of “lifting holy hands” but that really means “lifting your heart to God” and yea we knoweth that contradicts our insistence on a literal interpretation, but hand raising doth lead to other things that scare us like tongues and rolling in the aisles and barking like dogs. So keep thy hands on thine sanctified hymnal and let thine enthusiasm be displayed only on thine countenance. Which, if thou be a woman, should never make eye contact with others if thou art singing in the choir but should be directed somewhere in the vicinity of the ceiling fan to indicate that thou singest only to God.
      I am the MOG thy Pastor.

  22. I forgot:
    Thou shalt not create new lyrics to God’s Holy Hymns which are written in the Baptist Hymnbook (which is not to be held by two members of the opposite sex lest the Hymnbook become a source of hand sex during Chapel). Thou shalt not pervert the words of the Most Sacred Hymns, for this is an abomination.
    Thou shalt not rewrite “Count Your Blessings” as “Count Your Demerits” for both the Hymn and the Demerit System are Sacred and not to be mocked.

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