Good Times

“Line up,” they yelled, “for mandatory fun!” Then marched we out to college field and there did sit with paper plates and plastic cups and wondered why we bothered.

No music sounded there, no dance was danced, no wine was drunk and chaperons marched to and fro to see that all was well in order. All hands and feet were spaced as chaste decreed.

And thus we sat and reveled in our khakis and collars for four and a half hours until at last the merciful end released us from the burden of such gaiety and each returned back to their homework, their labor, and the quiet of their solitary bunk.

And of the remainders of the feast they gathered up a single can of off-brand cola and half a Hawaiian roll.

Thank you, Fundy U. Good times. Good times.

182 thoughts on “Good Times”

      1. There’s a song with that? I’ve only known it in association with what you would say in New Orleans, but I don’t know of a song!

        1. As I was reading your comments earlier I was listening to a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter and behold! She was singing about letting good times roll.

  1. ROFL – Why even call it a luau? Not a belly button in sight (maybe some naval oranges)

      1. You may have heard this old, corny joke:
        Q. What do you call a hula hoop with a nail in it?
        A. A navel destroyer.

      1. That makes it a party then.

        Although I am sure some pastor somewhere has preached against leis for any number of reasons.

        1. Well, I don’t know how much of that sort of thing actually goes on. I know some of it does. I’d really like to see some stats on adultery in the ministry across all groups.

          I do know that divorce doesn’t disrail a man’s “ministry” like it used to. To me, the big issue in that area is how big an issue a person made it in their assessment of the ministry qualifications of others. If they demanded that others step down due to divorce, I’d sure want to see them have to step down.

          On the other hand, I still think adultery ought to get a person kicked out of the ministry. And from Congress, if the person in question had campaigned on “morality.”

        2. Stats? Based on what?
          Even if someone did a census of adulterous religious leaders, how many people do you think would self-report accurately about this?

        3. True. Self-reported data is not to be trusted any more than anecdotal reports. And when it comes down to it, “good” versus “bad” is often nothing more than an individual’s conclusion about a person or encounter. Different people come to different conclusions.

          I am not sorry I left fundamentalism. I do wish there were ways to get more reliable data, particularly on the hidden things. But that is the statistician in me.

        4. Besides I wonder how many fundiy preacher genuinely believe that a preacher committing adultery is as bad as using a bible per-version other than the KJV from the pulpit

    1. Belly buttons are if the devil! Adam and Eve didn’t have belly buttons because God created them but every other person has been “concieved in iniquity”. Their parents were LUSTING. Belly buttons are the sign and proof that every person has the devil ad their father.

      Yup. Really did hear a preacher say all that and more.

      1. I actually know a girl who doesn’t have a belly button. A birth defect resulted in surgery which took it away.

        1. There’s some famous fashion model who doesn’t have one. She’s Russian, I think. I’m sure you could find her if you Google it.

      2. The dad of one of my ultra fundy acquaintances believed that men have one less rib than women because God took the rib from Adam, etc. Guess he never took a human anatomy class. But, then that would be some kind of apostasy to do that I’m sure.

        1. I’ve heard that too. I’ve also heard come Christians say that scientists are lying when the say men have the same number of ribs as women

        2. Ack! Anatomy class aside, even a common encyclopedia has pictures of skeletons somewhere in its pages (I assume your friend’s father thinks Google and the internet are evil since the computer is the tool of the devil, so any learnin’ will be restricted to books)

        3. The mere fact that the sex of found skeletons is sometimes unidentifiable should make it obvious that male and female humans have all the same bones, in the same numbers and in the same positions.

        4. My Pentecostal Holiness grandmother firmly believed that, even when we offered to count ribs. Some beliefs are impervious to evidence.

      3. Dear HiddenExfundie:

        Or, threaten little kids with the story that PLAYING with their navels risks untying them so they fly through the air like a balloon and deflate…

        Christian Socialist

  2. Looks like it was inspired by a combination of “Field of Dreams” & a conversation pit. Also, there is a stage in the background, so maybe someone was playing the slide guitar.

  3. Often when observing that most un-fundy-like thing – fun- my father and his cronies would say sourly, “The thought of foolishness is sin.” I defy anyone to continue enjoying anything while that is being quoted at them.

    1. I wonder what kind image of Jesus did your father have, I did hear one Fundy preacher say “Jesus wept. There is no record in the bible that he ever laughed” As far as I know there is no record that Jesus ever sang hymns. Or had a bath or shower. Or went to the toilet.

      1. Paul:

        There is a record that Jesus sang a hymn with His disciples: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out unto the Mount of Olives” (this was after the institution of the Lord’s Supper; I think it is in Mark, but I’m not sure).

        1. I stand corrected. But I can’t find anywhere in the Gospels where He bathed (except at his baptism?) showered or used a toilet

        2. A song supposed to be joyous and uplifting made into a funeral dirge — which pretty much sums up their lives. Groan, moan, I’m so happy (sigh) in Jesus I just can’t stand it, more weary groaning. The World doesn’t know what real happiness is, moan, sob. Only in Jesus can one truly be happy, gasp, creak. Do we really have to stand up for this song? My legs are so tired? Have the pianist play it a little slower, please!

          It is typical church music of an aging and old congregation, crotchety and nearly lifeless, inspired by the thoughts that the young’uns who dare to experiment and have fun are going to burn eternally.

          And *they* think they sound pretty darn good!

          But then, there’s this:

        3. MiriamD, I’ve heard that song in Russian, sung with at least some energy. But then I’ve too often heard songs that should be upbeat and joyous sung with less energy than the peebs have there.

          Rtg, LOL. You’ve nailed the singing style and the philosophy that brings it about.

        4. To rtgmath,
          Your post made me think of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale:

          “Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
          What thou among the leaves hast never known,
          The weariness, the fever, and the fret
          Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
          Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
          Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies
          Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
          And leaden-eyed despairs;
          Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
          Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.”

          Perhaps that’s how these “revellers” feel.

  4. There was a reason I always tried to schedule myself out of mandatory fun times at HAC. No fun at all.

    1. Just the idea of “mandatory fun times” blows my mind. But that is fundamentalism–living by rules for everything–even fun has to be regulated.

      1. Anyone else recall the mandatory Greek Games? I believe spring semester of ’97 at BJU? That was my first thought looking at the picture. Although since physical exercise profits little, these little Chappellians are clearly more spiritual than we were.

      2. To tell the truth…”mandatory fun time” kinda reminds me of “team-building exercises” in a corporate context. My older son recently endured THREE days of that sort of thing at B-School. He said *everyone* in the program hated it.

      3. Dear Leanne:

        I’m prepared to believe that the ‘mandatory fun’ thing was a joke, although admittedly a poor one.

        I would have been tempted to refuse the march on the field in order to gather a few friends around me; and questioned why I didn’t join them, I’d say that I felt more spiritual standing off and watching the frivolities from a safe distance. Ideally, the irony would catch on and soon, you’d have a field of empty chairs … another roaring Phundy U success.

        Christian Socialist

      4. I cannot stand contrived hogwash like that. My (IFB) church has a ‘time of fellowship’ which always struck me as phony window dressing. If ‘friendliness’ isn’t genuine, then the motives are very questionable (i.e. – luring in new members, tithes, etc.).

  5. At my Fundy U they had mandatory fun days. Usually the day included being harangued by the head honcho regarding whatever he was angry at that day.
    I tried to be working those days as often as possible since that was the only acceptable excuse for not going.

    1. And you better believe there was some preaching/devotional at this mandatory fun event.

  6. The thing I never understood was the thinking behind these events. I lived in the dorms with these people, I saw them every day at class, we went to the same church and I worked with a bunch of them. Why in the world would sitting around in a field with the exact same people be fun?
    (At my Fundy U we sat on hay bales because country.)

    1. Aow – stop being so cynical. How could you pass up the chance to sit outside, eat a ham sandwich with a slice of pineapple and a lei around your neck? And probably hear a few words from a guest preacher. That is how I spell fun!


      1. In my experience there were 3 types of speakers at these events.

        1. A very, very old guy who they didn’t want taking up time in regular church or chapel who would ramble on for a long time.

        2. A Youth leader of some kind who thought that college kids and middle school kids are all the same age.

        3. A college-aged preacher boy who would use the time to try to impress all the ladies with his great big…vocabulary.

        1. #2… YES. This was also usually the guy who tried to relate by talking about MySpace or Brittany Spears or “rock music” (which IMO is just “music”; you need to define a sub-genre or you just sound old). Most people my age were over Brittany Spears in 2005 when I was at Fundy U. Long over.

  7. I remember just being annoyed because I had *homework* that I couldn’t be doing because *fun* had to be had.

    Of course, if homework could not be done because of mandatory fun time, that was because you were sinning in your management of time.

    To this day, I have enormous guilt over being too busy to participate in church activities. Even work causes guilt issues

    1. Guilt is a powerful ally and one of the major control mechanisms for fundy churches, the other being fear. I’ve seen new pastors that try to use grace but eventually they loose too many people and resort to guilt and fear to keep them.

    2. Of course, if homework could not be done because of mandatory fun time, that was because you were sinning in your management of time.

      Again, the corporate parallels strike me forcefully. Are corporations run by fundies, I wonder?

  8. Let’s not be so quick to judge. I’m sure all those seated, fully clothed, stone cold sober kids are having a blast.

  9. The point is not to let the students have fun. It’s to document them appearing to have fun.

    They’re promoting the school as a fun place to enroll. Fun, like hanging out playing board games at the local senior center.

    1. A propaganda opportunity, both for indoctrination and for taking pictures to be included in recruitment brochures meant to lure students to study there.

      Ironically (or not, depending on your point of view), these staged “fun” events for the purposes of taking propaganda pix is something the Soviet Union used to do (the practice itself goes back further, but the Soviets perfected it and North Korea currently carries this particular torch).

      1. This is both a non sequitur and probably an inappropriate comment as well, but many years ago, back in basic trainining, one of our fellow recruits was found to have crabs. One day, probably not long after this discovery, we were getting ready to do pull ups for physical testing maybe. Anyway, as we were standing there, I still remember the senior drill instructor commenting about the situation regarding, let’s call him “Johnson.” He said something pretty close to, “Johnson ought to do very well at this with all his [little] friends pulling for him.”

    1. I would have been convinced that the poison ivy was the judgement of God for my deception. πŸ™

  10. God, they just look so sad sitting there in their semicircles wearing plastic leis.

    (Side thought: Would the word “lei” be allowed at Fundy U? I’m thinking it might be too close to “lay,” which would imply all sorts of nastiness. It’s also an ethnic word, originally said by brown people, so that would probably disqualify it automatically.)

    1. Like others have said I’m sure in some circles the word lei has been replaced with something like “stringed neck flowers”. Most of fundy churches I’ve seen call deviled eggs “Angel eggs”.

  11. The “related post” titled “Finding a Reason to be Offended”…ha! The picture and hovertext from that post is hilariously applicable.

  12. I got invited to a pastors-and-wives Christmas party once in which the fun time was going to be Bible games. I thought, “Thanks but no thanks, l’ll stay home, watch the tube and sip a margarita.”

    1. Watching a paint-drying competition would be more exciting than some “Bible Games” I’ve experienced, and much more edifying.

  13. Fundy U has the greatest reasons to have a full time job while attending. Reasons like not being able to attend stuff. Or other reasons, like not being able to attend other kinds of stuff.

  14. Love the hovertext!

    I can spot the unpopular semi-circle and the “Does this count as a date?” one too.

  15. How many Valentines Banquets did I go to? Three or four? And while none of them were mandatory, we girls did have to try on our dresses for the principal (female) and get them approved. If they didn’t pass muster, a teacher would sew panels where they were needed, or add straps. On the night of, we went down to the cafeteria in the basement, ate, played a few (usually embarrassing) games, then listen to someone preach for a long while. Then we went home. No touching our dates – we couldn’t arrive or leave with our dates either. I pretended that that was normal – but come on. That’s a strange “Valentines” date.

    1. That was my closest experience to something like this. Those were miserable – I can’t imagine how this would be!

  16. Reminds me of BJU’s “Gold Rush Daze” thing. Endless “pep rallies,” dividing up the campus into two teams, and an all day “party.” It was absolute torture for a studiously-minded introvert like myself, but I managed to schedule myself to be at work during most of the pep rallies.

    Some of the guys in my “prayer group” pranked one of the adjacent dorms by replacing all of their shower curtains with shower curtains of our team’s color while they were at their rally; the dorm sup of that dorm completely lost his marbles and tried to get the guys involved expelled. IIRC, they ended up getting some non-minor number of demerits. So much for “friendly competition.”

    1. I’ve been at a court of Christian conferences where practical joke were played. Like smearing Vaseline on toilet seats. That’s pretty effective πŸ™‚

    2. I actually enjoyed Gold Rush Daze. My team was blue and a girl hung a de-applicatored tampon from the ceiling because it was blue. From one of the hall lights. In a BJU dorm. It actually stayed up. Gold Rush was fun to me because for three or four days the rules about practically everything went to hell.

  17. Yeah, I don’t get any of this…I just don’t. A bunch of people showed up to an event where they knew nothing exciting was going to happen?
    The event was mandatory but without actually reverallry or stimulus besides bad food and cheap/non-existent decoration.
    Nawww, this isn’t real. Not in our current day and age. Nobody would fall for that. It’s obviously some sort of cult.

  18. Sitting on plastic chairs, eating horrible food and being heavily monitored for any stray interactions between the sexes.

    That sounds more like prison than a boring school “social”

  19. Perhaps interestingly, the concept of “mandatory fun” is quite common to the American military as well. However, I will grant there is some variance in terms of “fun” involved – I’ve found that in active duty settings it is possible for it to be fun, but in Reserve and Guard settings its really just a horridly awkward cocktail party sans cocktails (as well as an excuse for the full-time members of the unit’s families to get together and have it count toward drill time). But, we also have the concept of “voluntelling” in the military, which would seem to go along with a notion like “mandatory fun”.

    Surely there’s something to hash in that these are ideas that themilitary and fundyland share, but I’ll admit to not being up to it.

  20. At Maranatha, in 1983 or before, the men would have required to wear ties to an event like this.

  21. Reminds me of those dreadful Thanksgivings at PCC where you were not allowed to leave, you were forced to eat at the cafeteria (where if you’re family came down, they had to buy a meal ticket), then forced to go to some gawdaweful soccer game. And don’t forget that during this time, the dress code was bumped up to extra spiritualness – men had to wear ties even off campus if I recall.

    1. Wow.

      At least at BJU, you could leave for four days. And they often (without saying it) loosened up on the rules a tad whenever we had special events. Not Bible Conference (because sacred) but “fun” things usually allowed Saturday dress, including pants for women. I think somewhere along the way thy at least realized that requiring people to be super buttoned-up all the time just spelled disaster. They weren’t necessarily good at relaxing (no fundie really is, because you’re always worried about taking it too far), but at least they made attempts.

      1. I actually get the impression that Bible Conference was all about convincing alumni and parents (read: donors) of how fabulous and upright and unchanged the school was. It wasn’t actually about discussing the Bible. It was showing off so that BC offering would be enough to pay for the new shiny thing the school was getting.

        1. At TTU, we had to attend Bible Conference, Missionary Conference, and Southwide Baptist Fellowship Convention. Each was a week long with mandatory morning and evening meetings. Rules were stricter during Southwide (we called it “Mouthwide” due to all of the yelling), because the school was trying to court the IFB pastors so they would send kids from their churches to TTU. We all hated it.

        2. And nothing, not even academics, attracts Fundy pastors more than strictly enforced college rules of all kinds.

      2. They must’ve loosened things up a bit at BJU. Women were Never Allowed to wear pants when I attended. During bible conference we were allowed to sit on the grass during certain times, even with a date. Because Recruiting.

        I never was able to do that since I worked at the Information Desk and we worked marathon hours during bible conference.

      3. You’re showing your age — or rather your youth — Caffeinated Squirrel. In my day, we had one day off for Thanksgiving, then back to regularly scheduled classes on Friday. We were going to be going home for Christmas in just a couple weeks anyway, was the reasoning I heard — and it did make sense to someone living as far away as I did. Visitors could attend classes on Friday and experience college BJU-style.

        A few years later, when I went back for a visit, they still had classes on Friday, but they weren’t regular classes but rather special lectures or programs that a visitor might be interested in attending in various fields like nursing, etc. I remembering going to a science class on the eye — fascinating.

        And pants? Typically they were only allowed for gym (which admittedly is a lot more than other fundy-Us) and one had to exit the BACK door of the dorms and go to the gym the back way so no one could see your shocking state of pants-fulness. Guys always had to wear a button-down shirt and a tie off campus too.

        1. Wasn’t there a story about a streaker at BJU? Some guy threw off his tie and ran wildly across the campus.

  22. I’ve always wondered why the only two perceived fun choices are either drunken orgy or the boring event depicted above, nothing in between. I’ve never been drawn to alcohol/drugs or risky behavior as a matter of personal taste rather then religion.

    Once I broke out of the desolate fundy wasteland I found so many enriching alternatives with great people and new friends involved in folk and jazz music, bodybuilding, numerous other creative arts, charity work, etc.

    What frustrated me with the fundies is that they considered so many really good things as evil. They are just deprived, desolate and twisted, nothing is safe from them.

    1. There’s the rub.
      When you do truly fun things, they don’t need chemical enhancement, but about the *only* way a person could enjoy something like the pictured “luau” would be with alcohol or other drugs.

      1. Right, because at IFB fundy venues they also don’t recognize the filling of the Holy Spirit because they believe Pentecostals are apostates. Dead, empty, “having a form of godliness but denying the power of it”.

    2. Well, after escaping fundamentalism I still can’t do alcohol. Being diabetic sucks. Still, I can have an okay time with others if I get in the right group.

      My problem is finding people interested in the same kinds of things I am. It isn’t easy.

    3. Same reason it’s the Rod or your children will be bisexual hippies who vote Democrat and dance. Insisting that your way is the only way to avoid total destruction is a quick, cheap way to pluck at people’s emotions. Do it right and they don’t stop to think–they just get in the boat and let you steer it.

  23. Am I the first to notice…. not one, but TWO Weird Al references in this post?

    I hope they are both intentional.

    Somebody help me out.

  24. So, after scrolling through these comments and having some good laughs, I was reminded of the many banquets at my Fundy church-graduation, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. They all seemed the same, but the food was usually good (good food is a big deal when you are a starving student).

    1. Well, they can cook when they want to. Events this big usually wind up cutting corners on quality.

      But the pot-luck dinners at church were not to be missed. Lots of food, and for students or people whose jobs didn’t pay well, it was needed nourishment.

      1. Ah, yes I remember those great “basket dinners” as they called them at my old church. It was entertaining to see the unrestrained gluttony, clearly not considered a sin by IFB’ers. Also the food was great, cooked by those of the Greatest Generation. Nowadays much of the food is catered or bought prepared at the local market. Not bad but not like it once was.

      2. Am I the only germaphobe here who doesn’t eat at potlucks?

        I haven’t seen inside their kitchens.

        1. Dr. Bob Jr used to advise going into the restroom of a restaurant before you eat there. If the restroom is dirty, the kitchen is too.

          After all these years, I compulsively do just that. It may or may not be valid, biput it calms my germaphobic OCD nature. Because Bob.

        2. I have CDO, which is the same as OCD except the letters are in the right alphabetical order, the way they should be

  25. Ugh! I was disappointed to find out how much college resembled high school with more sex and booze (whoop tee doo), but at least there was no mandatory fun.

    1. Hmmm.. Time to use that “avoid the appearance of evil” verse (they keep taking out of context) against them.

  26. I have to say that as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, where absolutely anything is allowed anymore…. I’d much rather sit at a church-type gathering like the one Daryl posted than put up with the crap going on in the SBC.

    I understand that the ex Fundamentalists tire of this type of activity, but there’s something peaceful about a gathering of Christians that are actually not involving themselves in controversial activities.

    I know it’s not the popular opinion, but I’m earnestly looking for some real Christians that have actually CHANGED since they’ve been saved.

    I’d love to befriend another Christian that doesn’t want me to go to a bar with them or fly out to vegas for the weekend with all the Church gals. It really would be nice!

    1. Every Sunday at my Episcopal church we get together after Eucharist for the 8th Sacrament: coffee and donuts. We talk and we have a good time. Many other activities are similarly devoid of alcohol and none have gone anywhere close to the line of debauchery.

      There are some occasions where alcohol is permitted. Even there the ECUSA tells us to be sensitive to those who have issues. We are urged not to throw temptation in the face of someone who would be hurt by it. Non-alcoholic options are to be offered as well and given equal or greater prominence.

      That said, I think “changed” as a Christian means a lot more than not drinking alcohol. Even at gatherings where alcohol has been served, I sensed a reverent spirit of those at the gathering. That isn’t necessarily the case at every teetotaling fundy gathering I have been in. I think it amounts to what is important – justice, mercy, and humility before God; loving your neighbor as you do yourself; willingness to accept others for who they are instead of judging them unnecessarily.

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