Car Codes of Conduct

Since its inception, the primary purpose of the automobile has always been to provide venue for pastors to lose their testimonies. It may also (as a strictly secondary function) provide some modicum of useful transportation.

It is a well known fact in fundamentalism that even the most restrained and moderate of people lose all self-control once they set foot in a motor vehicle. Unless carefully monitored, riding in a car with a member of the opposite sex can lead to fornication, drunkenness, and head-on collisions with trains — possibly all three at the same time.

In the interest of preventing these unfortunate occurrences, the following rules should be observed by any fundamentalists who intends to travel by automobile.

– Pastors should never enter a car with a woman. Ever. If that means leaving her to be eaten by wolves then so be it. Your ministry is too important to risk.

– If two people who are dating should happen to need to travel together for sanctioned ministry purposes such as traveling too and from Bible college, they must travel in no smaller vehicle than a 15 passenger van and be seated for maximum separation distance between them. Please consult the following chart:

– If two people are currently pretending not to be dating so they can sit together on the long, long missions trip to Mexico they must be separated at all times by the width of a King James Bible (Wide Margin, Oxford Press, 1769 edition, 3rd printing).

– Chaperons shall be strategically placed in the vehicle in such a manner that all hands, feet, elbows, and knees are in plain view at all times. If a chaperon is unavailable this task may be relegated to a child who has demonstrated great alacrity in the tattling department.

– Every trip shall begin with a prayer in which the driver shall make it clear to all within earshot that the continued safety of all passengers from accident or freak avalanche depends on the above rules being kept with utmost vigor.

Observe these rules well and it may be possible to keep the inevitable vehicular orgies to a bare minimum. And keep an eye out for those oncoming trains.

63 thoughts on “Car Codes of Conduct”

  1. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the testimony-killing radio presets that at least one deacon in every church falls prey to, thereby offering himself a living sacrifice to the next available sermon illustration.

  2. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the testimony-killing radio presets

    I hit that in the post about Testimony. I wouldn’t be surprised if we visit it again some day, though.

  3. You forgot the rule that there will be no pillows or blankets allowed, since holding hands under a blanket will cause pregnancy…which will then be the girl’s fault for seducing the guy across the aisle…

  4. And don’t forget the sporadically random announcement of a “hand check” in vehicles larger than a minivan, whereby all passengers must immediately and without delay show their hands above their hands.

  5. Small catch 22 for the girls here:
    Chaperons shall be strategically placed in the vehicle in such a manner that all hands, feet, elbows, and knees are in plain view at all times.

    Isn’t the skirt/dress/coullottes supposed to cover the knee? Is there a rules hierarchy or approved exception to resolve this dilemma? What’s a girl to do?

  6. @beth: That’s the first thing I thought, too!

    This post is great. I don’t know how much van politicking I had to negotiate growing up. Fortunately, it was never too weird. But then again, not too weird in Fundyland is stark, raving insane everywhere else.

    Ah, memories. 😀

  7. I got called into the DoW’s office at BJU after riding to a local public school for my required observation for my major in a car with two other girls and one guy because we weren’t being legally chaperoned. The problem was our car pool had been assigned by a faculty member!!!! I was embarrassed and upset for getting in trouble when all I was doing was following rules, but I was also offended because this rule implied that we couldn’t be trusted to behave like godly young people. Alack-a-day! A motor vehicle! Sin will ensue if we don’t immediately separate all members of the opposite sex!

  8. Also, anyone else remember that thrill of fear and happiness that came when a girl you liked fell asleep on a long bus trip and her head came to rest on your shoulder? I’m sure that happens outside fundamentalist childhoods, but the circumstances within made it that much more poignant.

  9. At one church I attended, if it were at all possible, the guys and girls rode in separate vans…even if there was room for all of us in one vehicle. If only one vehicle could be used, the guys had to ride in the back of the van (“so that the girls wouldn’t get carsick”). We were then told we had to close our eyes while the girls got in the van (in case we saw a knee or “something worse”). Anyone caught “peeking” was reported to the pastor/administrator or both -depending on the event- for “inappropriate sexual behavior”.

  10. So what are you supposed to do in a van if the person seated next to you is not only a member of the opposite sex, but is also, due to difference in size, taking up any spare ounce of space between you so that you’re more or less wedged up against them? Do the rules still apply?

  11. Excellent diagram! I would say in my fundy land, the lower one would be INEVITABLE hanky panky, not just likely. They’re clearly “playing with a fire that they can’t control and will get burned by it” as they used to tell us! Those 2 don’t look like they have enough room to jam a Gideon’s pocket new testament between them! I’m surprised she’s not pregnant already! 🙂 SFL: treating teenage pregnancy like a communicable despicable disease to ostracize anyone that “catches it”. We definitely had the seperating line in the middle of the bus girls in the front/boys in the back on all bus trips, that was guarded & monitored like the DMZ zone between North & South Korea. 🙂

    Great Q by Lou! HAHAHAHA!

  12. Speaking of knees. . . . who remembers Beneth Jones’ demonstration in Orientation about how to seat your skirt-wearing self on a picnic bench modestly? I was so confused by what she did that I honestly have been stymied ever since, so I just sit on the end. Thanks, Benny!

    My hubby (pre-marriage but post-engagement) and I traveled on a Greyhound bus with Craig Olson and John Luck for Missouri days. We got free transportation for our wedding shower, and they took back a busload of high schoolers to “get acquainted.” So picture it — It’s Olson, Luck, Grant, and me only on a 12-hour trip. In a bus that could hold 75 people. . . . And Grant and I had to sit across the aisle because Olson, the self-appointed Dean of Fun Arts, insisted. Stark, raving insane is about right.

    The car mystique was so strong through my junior high years that it took several Encyclopedia Britannica articles (both macro and micro) on human reproduction before I realized I was *not* going to get pregnant seating three abreast in the back seat of the car pool. Now that’s crazy. . . .

  13. Man, this one is deeply ingrained in those reared in Fundyland. To this day I still hesitate when getting into a mixed car. I’m working on it, though. Great diagram!

  14. I honestly don’t remember any real bus rules like that in my youth group, although there must’ve been. Maybe that memory is so far down in my memory bank, I just can’t remember. I do think it’s silly. If you have enough adult chaperons, this shouldn’t be an issue AT ALL. And, I’ve done youth work.

  15. @ Camille – you said “The car mystique was so strong through my junior high years that it took several Encyclopedia Britannica articles (both macro and micro) on human reproduction before I realized I was *not* going to get pregnant seating three abreast in the back seat of the car pool”

    I guess I’m not the only one who got educated from an Encyclopedia.

  16. Honestly, if a guy and gal are seated on the back bench of a 15-passenger van like in the diagram, and they’re the only passengers, there’s some hanky-panky going on! :p

  17. @Mark I’m 35 when I get on a van I head for as far back as is open. I have more problems w/ our youth group trying to open the back door than w/hanky panky.

  18. @Jordan – I remember pretending to fall asleep, which gave me an excuse to slowly drop my head on the girl’s shoulder or lap. I believe that this was some of my first training for my profession as an actor.

  19. Rule # 6: A few hours prior to departure in a mixed-gender van, occupants of said vehicle shall partake of a meal of bean burritos and/or chili. No windows shall be lowered during the trip, thus ensuring an environment ill-conducive to worldly romantic pursuits.

  20. Vehicles vibrate. It causes the brain to malfunction. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge. Motorcycles are worse.
    Don’t forget the rule: No sharing seatbelts.

  21. the youth group rules make me laugh.

    the way the pastors defend leaving women on the side of the road when they need help because “his ministry is at stake” makes me sick. See the article in a not-too-old issue of_Today’s Christian Preacher_ by Mark Minnick explaining THOSE rules. :/

  22. well, I guess my fundy chaps weren’t that diligent. There was a lot of hanky panky on our long van rides!
    Also, there is nothing that makes a woman feel dirtier than being told by a man in ministry he can’t ride with her to a restaurant, and makes her drives there by herself. Icky, hate that feeling!!

  23. Wow. That totally explains why, when my husband and I were newly wed and on the mission field, that the visiting missionary relegated me to the back seat of the car with the wife of another missionary. Holy cow. The light just dawned. I’ve been pissed about that for 31 years. I knew about the rule of two people of the opposite sex not being allowed to travel alone together in a car, but no one told me about the hanky panky that two married people (not married to each other) could get involved in. Wow. Just wow.

  24. Again, let me say that Mark Minnick says to give the lady your car, and you stand in the rain. He does say some goofy stuff, but he never advocates leaving a lady stranded by the side of the road.

  25. Again, let me say that Mark Minnick says to give the lady your car, and you stand in the rain. He does say some goofy stuff, but he never advocates leaving a lady stranded by the side of the road.

    To be fair, he buries that solution after a section break and in one small sentence. It’s really, really easy to miss. After going on and on and on about testimony, you have to really search for that glimpse of humanity and charity.

    I missed it on the first reading. Lori missed it. It’s easy to miss. And that it’s so small is what we all agree on.

  26. For a healthy (as opposed to paranoid) discussion of how men & women can partner in ministry, I recommend Mixed Ministry: Working Together as Brothers and Sisters in an Oversexed Society by Sue Edwards, Kelley Mathews, and Henry J. Rogers. Tells how to treat each other with respect rather than suspicion. Yes, it is possible!

  27. Actually, these days, most churches either have small buses or 12-passenger vans, because insurance companies won’t insure 15-passenger vans anymore. What a lot of churches have done is take out the back seat. This, of course, has to filled up with lots of luggage, so the kids won’t have floor space to ::gasp:: do something unseemly!

  28. Oh the things me and my now-husband did on buses and in the backseats of cars on breaks from PCC around his fundy family HAHAHA! You can hide a lot with a big enough skirt lol. Those are some beautiful memories.
    Also, my PCC skirts did more to turn him on than me in pants. Something about that “easy access” 😉 Sometimes even now he asks me to wear a PCC skirt just for fun.

  29. @Camille–Mrs. Olson once accused me and my then boyfriend, now husband of 14 years, of attempting to “pair off” on an Academy trip because I stopped walking when he stopped to tie his shoe…never mind we were in the middle of a pack of other students and teachers in a well-lit public area. But, then again, we were all being punished for what one other student supposedly did. So from that I learned that it’s not just the appearance of evil, it’s also the accusation by a “superior” that counts. And it always helps when you’re accusing, to make sure this is a student who’s never had a disciplinary problem. Gotta keep ’em emotionally beat down.

  30. Not exactly on topic, but as far as PCC chaperone rules. I once had a friend that wanted to see what would happen if we staged a wrestling match by the campenile (gaudy clock tower middle of campus, based on some of the womens’ dress rules it’s easy to make fruedian associations to it, but anyway). So Sunday night after church one week, we started wrestling in Sunday dress, and had a chap run up to us and tell us we had to stop immediately, Brad asked what rule we were breaking, and was told it’s un unchaperoned area. I don’t recall if he asked (but we both thought), so se can go do this in the dating parlor? Wish we’d tried it more than once just to see what happened. As far as I know there’s no rule that same gender wrestling at PCC requires a chap, but it might. 🙂

  31. @Lori and Camille

    Is there a link to this article? I sat through enough Minnick sermons to know he says some goofy stuff, but after the circulating rumors in the dorms, I want to see whatever’s he’s “said” in writing.

  32. @RobM

    We got caught once holding hands in the Sports Center haha. It was at the end of the summer and Ms. Covey socialed us for 4 weeks. But the best part was that during my interrogation Ms. Covey asked me if he ever touched my “private parts.” No joke. Like I was a molested 3 yr old.

    Oh and right after Hurricane Ivan the Swim Center was partly destroyed and I knew a girl who snuck in there at night with her boyfriend. She lost her virginity in there. Bleh. No losing it on the romantic wedding nite for her. Oh the PCC stories I have lol.

    And the wrestling would be covered by the “no horseplay” rule lol.

  33. @Jonsgrl We thought for sure we’d get horseplay or some other generic demerits, but got threatened w/ the unchaperoned area one. I still wish I had explained that one in DC that we in an all male scrum and getting written up for unchaperoned area! Oh how I loved the toying w/ the Deans in the meetings they always wanted to have with me. I wish there was some where to share various ways poeple skirted rules @ pcc. I made fast friends w/ the people who could take your sticker off & place it back on. 🙂 You sound like you might’ve been more “trouble” than I was! 🙂

  34. @Ken
    you hit it right on the head. We have given into the world, because they view sex and any mixed interaction as dirty, fundamentalism has as well. So they make up all these crazy rules because of how “terrible” sexuality is. And then all of sudden when you get married they expect you to flip the switch. So glad I got out of this movement. Still trying to understand that sexuality is not bad!

  35. “I missed it on the first reading. Lori missed it. It’s easy to miss. And that it’s so small is what we all agree on.”

    I think the key idea then, is to UNBURY it.

    Minnick never says to leave the stranded woman and drive on.
    Minnick says the pastor should have her get into his car, and he should stand in the rain.

  36. Scripture tells us not to fornicate and mess around with sexual sin.

    The fundy draws lines around anything and everthing that looks like or could be considered to be something that might be associated with anything that might be taken for something that might resemble or have some questionable likeness to a distant relative of anything that might even remotely come close to having the appearance of putting a thought about anything feminine in a guy’s head… for once the thought is put there he will be obliged to act on it and some churches just can’t afford to send their unwed hussies off to some out of state family so as to keep their ministry unspotted from this wicked sin.

    So the sin is here -> Climax(a town in North Carolina) The fundy line to keep folks away from this sin “here” is written in yellow snow on the west face of Mt Fuji, Japan…. relatively speaking.

    Now that I think about it, more often than not the fundy line is often drawn on the dark side of the moon, or some other outer space reference….

  37. From the article

    On a hot day I was driving across town
    when my attention was drawn to a figure
    ahead on the sidewalk. It was one of the
    teenage girls from the church. “Should
    I stop to pick her up?” I wondered. At
    the same time I noticed that she was not
    dressed very modestly. “It’s not going to
    look good to have her in the car, especially
    dressed like that,” I thought. “But if she
    sees me drive by without offering a ride,
    what kind of testimony will that be? And
    what will her parents think of their pastor’s
    apparent lack of common courtesy?”

    It wasn’t raining, it was a hot day and this girl wasn’t wearing her ski jacket, denim skirt and white hitops.

  38. Yes, it’s hard to imagine what a young girl from Minnick’s church would be wearing that normal people would consider immodest.

    But the same love that should compel a person to help a fellow church member also compels us not to spread an untruth: Minnick never says to leave a stranded woman by the side of the road. He says, in fact, to let her wait in the car while the pastor stays outside the car.

  39. There’s also an Intercourse, NC, which is even better in Fundyland. Intercourse can lead to children and, who cares about a woman’s climax, as long as the man has. (If you need to delete, this, I’ll understand. I couldn’t resist.)

  40. @RobM

    Actually I was a pretty good kid. All we did was hold hands lol. And I watched a few downloaded movies on my laptop, listened to pop music stations, and wore pants in my dorm room. I didn’t even hang out with anybody deemed “bad”. But yeah, me and deans… once they decide they don’t like you, that’s it for you, buddy lol. I also wish there was a place to swap stories, there are sooo many! There is PCC’s dirty little secrets page on Facebook. The funniest thing about it though is that most of us didn’t even do anything the real world would consider “bad.” No drinking, no orgies, just sneaking a kiss behind a building or listening to “rock music” lol. 🙂

  41. I gave a hearty chuckle when I first saw the “HANKY PANKY” on this. Brings back memories of my algebra 2 class in high school when my math teacher (younger lady), used that terminology for a math analogy reference. Shall forever live in my mind.

    I must admit however, that the sporadic hand check was quite entertaining. (Note: We were the more “fundy-lite” church) If we knew there were couples somewhere on the bus (which was often very few), all of the teenagers would watch them with scrutiny. And if they did something that really wasn’t bad, we’d yell hand check (or for us, PURPLE). Fun times indeed.

    “I have more problems w/ our youth group trying to open the back door than w/hanky panky.”
    That’s so great you have no idea.

    @Dan (first comment, not second gross one. lol).
    Except that when take out that back-most seat of a 15-passenger van, it would be quite uncomfy to do…anything…back there. (Taking a nap of course!) Those seat rails are a pain in the hiney, quite literally. Try sitting back there.

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