Fundy Christmas Day 4: Nitpicking Traditions

A staple in yearly fundamentalist Christmas service is the Reading of the Corrections wherein the pastor will list for the congregation everything that is wrong with the depictions of and traditions surrounding the Christmas story. Nothing says goodwill toward men like a good old-fashioned debunking.

It goes something like this…

For starters the Magi weren’t kings and they were not at the manger and neither were there necessarily three of them (although there must have been more than two because “men” is plural) and nothing except tradition says any of them were black so just to be safe we bought two whole nativity scenes so we could end up with a total of four white dudes but regardless of how many there were the point is that it was years later that they showed up so that’s why the wise men from our nativity scene are currently standing out in the east parking lot instead of in front of the church with the rest of the manger crowd.

Also Jesus was probably not born in December although we really don’t know what time of year it was and who knows exactly why we celebrate Christmas in December although I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with pagans or Catholics because we would never participate in anything that that crowd might be up to like all those celebrations of fertility with rabbits and eggs and whatnot.

And I don’t think that Mary rode on a donkey because if you have ever seen a woman who is nine months pregnant try to get up on a horse like my wife did when we were on a missions trip to that Colorado dude ranch (which I had planned for two years and wasn’t about to cancel just because she was about to pop) well you’d know that no woman would be able to ride a donkey for ninety miles without losing her sanctification which there’s no record of her doing in this story.

Well, I was going to share with you what Christmas is really about but it looks like we’re out of time. Please turn in your hymnbooks to number 689 “We’re Sure We Know What Christmas Wasn’t But Forget Quite What it Was”

254 thoughts on “Fundy Christmas Day 4: Nitpicking Traditions”

    1. Sarah – you pagan. Technically you are adding to scripture by doing that. And Revelation talks about the whole “jot and tittle” thing. So it’s dark days for you ahead, my friend. 😛

    2. a lot of the fundies who are so pernickety about the Incorrectness of the traditional nativity scene also believe that Jesus grew up to be a blue-eyed blond-hair White Anglo-saxon Protestant American who wore a suit, tie and white shirt to church on Sundays….

      1. Some also believe that Jesus spoke in 17th century English, and can only understand our prayers if we use “Thee” and “Thou”. He also ready the 1611 Authorised Version of the Bible (this last point is VERY important)

  1. and the fact that the magi didn’t even show up for 2 years after Christ was born so why are thy in the nativity scene?

    1. Technically those aren’t run-on sentences because all the clauses are connected and supported by conjunctions, etc. They’re just really, really long sentences, which for some reason makes it even more hilarious to me.

      1. ^ What Jordan said.

        Length of sentence does not a run-on make.

        This is short it is still a run-on.

    2. Also run-on sentences are totally permissible as a stylistic thing, which they seemed to be for me (it conveyed the idea that the speaker is rambling). That’s college creative writing 101–you can break all the little rules you were taught in high school English if you’re doing it for a reason.

  2. OK, I have to admit: When I set up our Nativity scene every year, I put the Wise Men on another shelf across the room. I mean, they should be there until at least Jan 6, right? (Oh wait, that’s Catholic. Can’t have that!)

  3. Laughed so hard at the wise men in the east parking lot!!!

    I imagine a woman nine-months pregnant would have trouble walking 90 miles too.

    Then there’s the whole discussion about whether the stable was a wooden building or a cave. Some people can get quite adamant about that.

    Your ending is the vital point, of course. All the nit-picking often keeps people from explaining the POINT of Christmas — the glorious good news! And what a shame for those people who have a few details supposedly correct but miss the entire picture.

    1. Then there’s the idea that Mary and Joseph were staying with relatives—since Bethlehem was their home turf—and there was no room for them in the “upper room” where the living space was, mostly, so they had to sleep down where the animals were kept. Although I can’t see letting a pregnant woman give birth down there with the cows and sheep, if there were any alternative at all. Not that there’s any extra-Biblical evidence for a census at the time of Jesus’s birth, much less one that would require anyone to go to the places they wre born; but that’s another can of worms altogether.

      1. Not that the details matter, except to Fundies (I clicked on “Submit” one sentence too early, there).

      2. I always thought that because there was no room for them in their home town where they surely had lots of relatives, pointed to the fact that they were perhaps shunned and no one really believed Mary’s story. Extra tough.

        1. That is a really good point. “No room” does not necessarily mean all the rooms are full, it could just mean “No room for YOU.”

  4. I do love that any ethnicity but white/caucasion is unacceptable to fundies. Black or Jewish are both off limits.

    1. You want to get a fundie foaming at the mouth? Point out that Jesus came from the middle east and therefore LOOKED middle eastern. He was neither white nor black.

  5. Love. This. Post. I got so sick of hearing people complain about nativity scenes with wise men in them. Nativity scenes are art, and art necessarily deals in some amount of imprecision.

    They do this to Christmas carols, too, and with even more ferocity. “But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes” has elicited more howls of indignation (“He was a baby! He cried too!”) than I can remember.

    1. I sing that song out of tradition, but I do like to point out the error in it: that Christ was some sort of super baby who didn’t cry (and to be Christlike, our babies shouldn’t cry either – check out Ezzo, etc.). There’s a possible denial of the humanity of Jesus if people REALLY think he didn’t cry.

      (Another song I love so I ignore the inaccuracies of is “In the Bleak Midwinter” which is so beautiful but unfortunately not reflective of the weather of Israel. I love the verse, “Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor the earth contain. Earth and heaven shall flee away when He comes to reign!”)

      1. Gotta love Christina Rossetti, and like I said, songs and especially ballads deal in emotions and images, not footnoted fact, so I’m generally willing to forgive a lot of stuff. Fundies would have a field day with the actual lyrics of “Silent Night;” among other things, the song describes baby Jesus with curly blond hair. Still love it, though.

        1. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
          Alles schläft; einsam wacht
          Nur das traute heilige Paar.
          Holder Knab im lockigen Haar,
          Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
          Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!

          Silent night! Holy night!
          All′s asleep, one sole light,
          Just the faithful and holy pair,
          Lovely boy-child with curly hair,
          Sleep in heavenly peace!
          Sleep in heavenly peace!

      2. I agree with everything in this comment.

        Yes, people really do think Jesus never cried as a baby, and that can lead to some pretty messed up ways of relating to and caring for your kids.

      3. Yep, so when baby Jesus was hungry, he just tapped Mary’s arm and said, “Excuse me, Mother, might I be fed?”

        1. Oooh, my apologies. My quote sounded to NIVish. I’m sure baby Jesus would have said it in 1769 KJV form.

        2. But of courseth! He wouldn’t want to lead anyone astrayeth from the trutheth of the only way to speaketh. Or thinketh.

        3. Doesn’t the “Message” (or maybe it is the “Surfer’s Bible”) say: “Ma, ya need to open da’ tap on one of da’ the blessed paps, oy… I’m starvin’.”

          Or does that cross the line?

      4. The original song contains a verse, now seldom reprinted, that would probably make a lot of good Godly choir leaders’ heads explode. Imagine singing this in front of the preacher:

        Enough for him, whom Cherubim
        Worship night and day,
        A breast full of milk
        And a manger full of hay.
        Enough for him, whom angels
        Fall down before,
        The ox and ass and camel
        Which adore.

        1. I love that verse! But yeah, our hymnal doesn’t have it (but my son is memorizing the poem, and I had him do ALL the verses, including this one).

    2. I’ve heard churches change it to ‘Hark The Herald Angels Said.’ Because nowhere in the Bible does it implicitly say they sing.

      I suspect it’s mostly because, somehow, it makes people feel more special when they can do something an angel can’t and they feel its taking away from the specialness of humans when angels can do everything people can, only assumedly better.

        1. I think he was referring to the Sons of God (angels) taking human wives. I happen to agree, but I don’t really care if people think the sons of God are from “seth”, but I don’t see how seth is any more godly than anyone else.. he was still “in Adam”.

        2. That’s the passage fundies love to claim was angels & humans marrying, having sex and producing giants. Presumably they also use it to say all angels are males (as it was the sons of God and the daughters of men).

        3. I guess my questions would be, where else in the Bible does it discuss angels procreating with humans, where else does it say that they are the sons of God, and what type of angel was chosen for this?

          The Bible usually cross-references itself.

        4. And, I ask about the types of angels, because angels had specific assignments and ranks. Some are messengers, some guardians, some stay in Heaven, etc. So, the question rises which type of angel would be selected to procreate, as I don’t recall any other reference of angels doing this anywhere else. But, I could be wrong.

        5. Natalie, these aren’t supposed to be good angels. They are a second group of fallen angels who are believed to be referenced in Jude (I don’t have my Bible handy to look up the exact verse). The theory is that a group of angels had sex with women, spawning the sons of Anak (giants) and were immediately condemned to hell. The original fallen angels (with Lucifer) are not yet in hell but they know what torment awaits because they know what happened to these “sons of God” who slept with the daughters of men.

        6. Then, why would they be called sons of God if they were fallen angels?

          I tend to believe the Seth theory.

        7. @Natalie – If you really look at the passage you see that that this coupling of the “Sons of God” and “daughters of men” produced “giants” – I submit that the “Sons of God” are fallen angels and the giants were the offspring of this odd coupling, another very interesting thing is that all of the offspring were male. So if you believe that “sons of God” are male offspring of Seth, why would that produce giant, male offspring if they had relations with human women? Also don’t you think some of the “daughters of Seth” would have hooked up with some of the “sons of Men?”

          There is about as much of a chance of Seth having a “godly” line as there is of Greg having a “godly” line.

        8. @Natalie – The designation “Ben-Ha-Elohim” (sons of God) is used only 5 times in the OT. Each time it is “sons of God” by creation (angels) – 3 of them are used in the book of Job. Job 38:7/Job 1:6/Job 2:1 – The context of these verses make it clear that it is speaking of angels. That leaves only 2 other verses in the OT where “Sons of God” (Ben-Ha-Elohim)are used, you guessed it, Genesis 6:2 and Genesis 6:4.

          This just blew me away many years ago when I first started looking into this.

        9. Oh, geez.

          The next time I decide to ask rhetorical questions about my beliefs, will someone step on my foot?

        10. I know, Rob. The next time, will you just kick me, cough heavily and shake your head, something?

        11. @exIFB – I do still believe in the “fundamentals” of the faith, but certainly not as presented in most fundy churches, I don’t and didn’t realize that this was a fundy belief, never, ever heard it taught in any fundy churches I was a part of. ❓

          @Natalie – You were expressing your opinion about the subject, and asked a couple of question, I was only trying to answer them. I had no idea they were rhetorical. ❓

          @RobM – I realize that I have become the red-haired, stepchild on this site (pls forgive me all red-haired stepchildren) but thank you for pointing out the obvious to Natalie. 😯

        12. Oh, Greg, that wasn’t a stab at you as more of me telling me to keep my trap shut about my beliefs.

          One of the reasons that I love this site is because it’s nothing like the Fighting Fundamental Forums which I H-A-T-E, because there’s just SO much ridiculous debate over there. I’ve debated here (at this site) before and didn’t like it, because I don’t like conflict with people. I’m a light-hearted person who has a dry sense of humor and loves to have fun with things. My statements above were just me doing that. Like when I joke about people opening a can of worms. I was saying to everyone (you included) to step on my foot if I start to dabble into too much discussion about my beliefs. That’s all.

          Sorry, if I came across as a biotch. 🙂

      1. That’s one of the most biblical songs out there… for any time of the year. Far out some people are nuts.

        I understand changing some lyrics that are unbiblical – for example in “Victory in Jesus”, I used to change the lyrics “then I repented of my sins and won the victory” to “then Jesus cleansed me of my sin and won the victory”. I didn’t win anything – He did. I didn’t clean myself up with my repentance, He did. I think there was an actual hymn book that changed it as well…

        but hark the herald angels sing? What is wrong with that!

  6. Although I’m pretty far from being an IFB (doth I protest too much?), I’m occasionally guilty of this sort of nitpicking. I just excuse it under the guise of interest in the historical context, which is far from IFB-like. 😆

    1. I do it as well… two reasons I guess

      i) I do a radio show. When it comes to Christmas, I have a choice to make. Either pretend I am completely ignorant of these facts, in which case I worry about the “intellectuals” having a go at me and dismissing a Christmas message for not being factual


      ii) Spend so much time fixing up the errors I have no time to talk about Jesus.

      I usually do #1 with a prefix – “Some listeners may be aware that Christmas has it’s origins in various traditions, not all of which are Christian. Having said that, let’s talk about Jesus, because regardless of it’s origins, Christmas is now known as a celebration of the birth of Christ.

  7. “We’re Sure We Know What Christmas Wasn’t But Forget Quite What it Was”
    So true! Also, I get disgusted every year with the whole “Keep Christ in Christmas” attitude being used as an excuse to berate sales clerks who say Happy Holidays.

    I think it is true that many have lost sight of the reason for the holiday.

    1. Apethetic, it is clear you have not answered the fundy call to arms to fight against The War on Christmasâ„¢. Every waitress, sales clerk and phone representative you encounter daily must bear the wrath of the fundy Merry CHRISTmas cry! Take up your sword (but only the authorized one) and rail against the onslaught of evil doers who are spreading the Happy Holidays plague! If you’re ashamed of him, he’ll be ashamed of you amen?

    2. I work for USPS…we were given a very strict notice prohibiting us from using the greeting
      “Merry Christmas” to our customers.
      Many of those “wicked” clerks are only doing what they were told to do. Its always fun to be berated at the post office… :mrgreen:

      1. Oh gosh, I remember fundie preachers going on and ON about how they’re saying Merry Christmas and not being ashamed of it and blah blah.

        I say, “Have a great holiday” to my hair clients. No real reason, outside of the fact that it just flows out of my mouth easier. 😉

        1. I guess you are more concerned about a returning client and their tip than giving a tip to a client to return to God. If you say “merry Christmas” people could instantaneously fall to the ground and recite the sinners prayer.

          “Holiday” Natalie, my soul is ashamed in thee.

        2. I know, I’m one of those ear-ticklin’-sugar-coatin’ people who call themself Christian, but really aren’t because I don’t actually use the word Christmas when wishing someone a great holiday.

          I think I’m going to start saying “Happy Solstice”. 😉

        3. My ex-mog used to preach about how the word “holiday” actually means “holy day” so by saying Happy Holiday the world is actually recognizing Christmas. Of course myself or no one in the church would have ever thought to research if what he was saying was true..but boy it made for good preachertainment!

        4. I don’t do it for any politically correctness, actually.

          My Hindu and Buddhist clients aren’t offended by the word Christmas. In fact, they celebrate Christmas, but in the secular sense (Santa and gifts and all). They’re immigrants who just love American traditions. They just don’t celebrate the Christian side of it.

        5. When I say “Happy Holidays” and some responds (with all the acid that Christian love can muster) “You mean Merry Christmas”, I ask “Oh, don’t you want a Happy New Year too?”

        6. I (if I’m feeling a bit silly, which is a lot of the time) just wish people a Happy Holiday du Jour. I figure that covers everything.

        1. It’s been obvious for many years that the USPS has an organizational death wish. That memo must be one more stage in its downward spiral.

          Who the … fruitcake … cares whether or not postal employees say “Merry Christmas”??
          I care whether or not they get the mail delivered promptly and to the correct address (and lately, my local P.O. hasn’t been scoring very high in either of those sweepstakes).

        2. I was going to say that only some postal employees are crazy, but then I remembered that my hubby (who is a city carrier) actually LIKES his walking route… no matter the weather! So, yeah. Crazy. 😈

      1. What’s the big deal with employers telling their employees to not say Merry Christmas? Don’t a vast majority of people believe in God and don’t just as many celebrate Christmas? Is it so that they don’t offend the minute percentage of people who don’t believe in God and don’t celebrate Christmas?

        1. Lets see with the founder of the United States Postal Service had to say about the matter:

          “How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few his precepts!
          O! ’tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.”

          Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1757

    1. A friend of mine once visited a shrine in Italy that displayed what were supposed to be diapers that had been worn by the baby Jesus (I couldn’t make this up if I tried).
      I imagine they have probably been laundered sometime during the last two millennia.

      1. Thanks Don! I always wondered about the origin of that phrase. Thanks for clearing that up. Err, you did clear that up, right? That little pile of messy poo over there…. 🙂

  8. My cat must be a fundy. She broke Mr. Donkey and Baby Jesus the first 2 days that I put it out. Of course Baby Jesus wasn’t in the manger yet, just behind it, but my kitten didn’t care! Swipe with her right paw to get rid of that heathen thing! lol :mrgreen:

    1. My 6 year old added a Mr. Fantastic to one of ours. He was lounging on some mossy grass in the back enjoying the show. I’m glad my husband thought fast enough to get a pic before my son removed it half an hour later.

    2. We also have the Little People nativity (Fisher Price) which leads to some interesting situations like Joseph water-skiing with the Hamburglar or the whole lot of ’em getting on the little people plane . . . my friend found Baby Jesus in the dishwasher.

      1. My parents have a nativity set that they always like to place out… and then my dad likes to take a kneeling Santa from a different display and place it in front of the baby Jesus, as though Santa is bowing down to him.

    3. Our Advent calendar is a nativity scene, with one piece for each of the 25 days leading up to Christmas. The funny ones are the gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh each have their own stuffed character, and are as large as the Magi themselves. It’s cute, but I think my kids are beginning to outgrow it.

  9. I’ve never heard of the wisemen not being there. I’m surprised.

    I have heard about Jesus not being born in December, and to that I say, “WHO CARES?”. The point is that we celebrate it. Shoot, no one knows when my dog Maggie was born, because she was a rescue, but we still give her extra goodies around the time of her adoption date every year.

    I’m not comparing, I’m just making a point. 😉

    1. My parents were never pleased with Christmas storybooks unless they showed wingless male angels and wisemen coming separately from the shepherds and going into a house with an obviously toddler-aged Jesus instead of a swaddled newborn.

      And, yes, I don’t mind that Jesus wasn’t born December 25. I’m just glad to celebrate it!

  10. I just agree with the fundies, Yeah, the wise men weren’t there, and they were probably Zoarastrian priests, and they traveled with an entourage, and they showed up later, not at the manger. Who cares?

    Yes, the stable was probably where the animals lived in a house. Who cares?

    Indeed, the early Church co-opted pagan holidays and created Christian fest days. Who cares?

    None of this takes away the Nativity. Plus, the fact that God would put a star in the sky that would prompt zoarastrian priests to find the Christ child is way cool.

    1. But, was it a 5-point star, 6-point star, or multi-point star? Did it appear as planets do, or was it like the north star or was it as bright as the moon?

      We could go on forever.

    2. This is the first time I hear that the Magi were Zoroastrian priests. Have you heard of extra-Biblical sources that may complement this?

      1. I think it’s pretty much conjecture.
        For all we know, the Wise men may have been 30 Mongolian yak herders, or 16 Dayak headhunters. But the Zoroastrians lived nearer to Galilee, and astrology was one of their specialties.

      2. Given the two key phrases “Magi” and “out of the East” in Matthew’s Gospel, it’s a pretty safe assumption that these were Parthian Zoroastrians, quite probably attached to the royal court. It is true that the word magoi has meanings that range from “wise man” to “Zoroastarian priest,” but evidence that the Magi were Medes or Persians that followed Zoroaster goes back to at least 400 BC. This would also explain the true nature of the worries of the Herodian court: when the nation was finally entering the peace of assured Roman succession, prominent Parthians show up announcing the new birth of a Jewish King – the very title which the Roman Senate hd granted to the Idumaeian Herod years before. Hance the confusion and deference given to what were essentially enemy officials.

  11. Actually, some say it was a comet. I find it equally neat that the Christmas song “Do you see what I see” refers to a star with a “tail as big as a kite”.

    1. It probably wasn’t a comet, simply because, throughout history, comets have almost always been seen as bad omens.
      The Wise Men apparently thought that whatever they saw was good news.

  12. In all seriousness, I think fundies strain at the gnats, because they cannot face the incredible reality of the Incarnation. God becoming man?! The implication of that is absolutely mind-blowing.

    In their books, it is more the mog being treated as God Himself.

    1. For the most part, you are correct. They can’t deal with the idea that God came down to be one of us. That suggests humility, and the m-o-g’s can’t handle being anywhere near that.

      There was one guy, however, who believed Christ was eternally human. Kind of blows the whole point of the Incarnation, don’t ya think?

  13. Now, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but have you ever noticed that it seems its only Baptists that argue the details about the nativity? I’ve never heard a Catholic do this.

    Maybe a special on the History Channel, but that’s it.

    1. Catholics are too busy covering up whatever the latest conspiracy they are doing to notice all the flaws of Christmas.

    2. I’ve heard people other than IFB-ers mention those points re: the nativity, but they always do so in a casual way. They make sure to mention that it’s not those points that matter so much as the fact that it happened.

    3. I am a Catholic (convert), but I’ve never heard it either from Catholic friends (my nearly-fundy father, however…. 🙄 ). We tend to be very comfortable saying “I don’t know.” There’s a reason Catholics call them “mysteries”, after all! 🙂

    4. I’m pretty definite about my personal preferences in re Nativity scenes, but they are my personal preferences. Except for cutesy-schmootsy Nativity scenes in which everyone is a chubby-cheeked little kid, which turn the story into something that gets outgrown, so I refuse to have art like that in Sunday school. Oh, and the ones in which everybody is fair-skinned and blonde, because NO.

  14. ***Calling out the A Team*** So tonight is my kid’s christmas program at the IFB church where they attend school.
    I have to go in and face all the triggers…
    …the people who come up to you and give you the…oh, I’ve been PRAYING for you. ( You know the inflection..what they really mean is, ” I know the devil has sifted you like wheat, you backslidden, decieved one…)
    I am not in a good frame of mind to deal with it all tonight..I am thinking I might go in with my “britches” and see if it might repel the “concerned” ones.

        1. If you’re taking an NIV, take a copy of Churched to, just to really drive them nuts (if they know who MPT is).

        2. Bring an NRSV Bible. That will make the King James idolators’ nerve endings explode. Especially if you have the one with the Apocrypha.

        3. And, of course, “Twilight” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” — so you can do some reading if the program gets slow.

    1. I say britches and what Gary said, but make it a temporary tramp stamp and be sure the shirt slightly reveals the tramp stamp in the back.

      1. Yes, some low-rise pants, with a tank top that doesn’t come all the way down to the top of the pants. You wouldn’t waste money on a “tramp stamp” if no one could see it, would you?

        1. And preferably, some thong underwear with the straps displayed above the tops of the pants.

          (I’m not even trying very hard; this is just what I see all over my town.)

    2. Go to your local Christian bookstore and get yourself a brand new NIV Bible.
      At some point during the service arrange to drop your Bible so that movie ticket stubs and receipts from restaurants that serve alcohol fly everywhere.

        1. Of course you should be aware that if you follow these suggestions you may be subjected to a Fundy Intervention. This consists of a group of your family and close friends cornering you and making passive aggressive remarks.

    3. If it wasn’t your kid, I’d say Flava flav clock necklas, the temp tatoo, and like temp dyed blue hair. 🙂

      1. necklace is obviously not spelled necklas. I’m gonna have to through George under the white piano on that one.

    4. All really good ideas . . . is there some kind of reverse-chick tract you could hand out . . . oh, or wait, reply with “I’ve been praying for YOU” . . . definitely the wear the britches.

        1. My first thought was something more like in their style but full of hope and grace, but I couldn’t think of another way to say it.

    5. Is nose jewlry too much? Probably. I love the movie stubbs comment.

      I for one hate the “i am praying for you phrase” My grandfather went to heaven several years ago. At the time I was still atending my Dad’s fundy church. People from our church who had known me for years were coming up to me giving me the “i am praying for you.” Which you would think would be awesome. But it was the “i am praying for you to be the fundy we want you to be but you are not being prayer”

      At my grandfather’s visitation and funeral of all places! Those looks of condecension are forever seared into my mind. Thanks for your loving thoughts at a time like this you jerks. GEEZS I wanted to cuss some of those people. I did not.

      Anyway good luck tonight.

      1. The best is the invitation..20 choruses of just as I am while the preacher is saying… “God is telling me that there is still someone out there who needs to make a trip to the altar. You’ve been away from God, you don’t attend church, your wearing a red sweater and black britches and your name starts with a J…”

        1. So true! One more verse for you to bend your will to the sovereign Pastor, I mean Savior. Those slips of the tongue…

          There would be stuff that would happen in our house and find its way to the pulpit a few days later. The Holy Spirit’s guiding/leading is quite amazing at times.

        2. You all think I joke…so I swear once the preacher was talking about some backslidden preacher that got into deep sin. He shared some pretty intimate details about the guy and he goes..” You wouldn’t know this preacher.” ..well half way through the sermon he talks about him again..I drove to Cedar Falls to meet him, His 4 kids and Cindy is wife were devasted..He’ll be here next week to counsel with me..” DOH. Nothing like “anonymous” sermon ilustrations…

        3. Just wanted to send a few hugs your way IAHB. I know how emotionally and mentally trying things like this are. Will be thinking of you this evening.

        4. @ Benediction..all kidding aside..your words and prayers mean a lot. It usually takes me upwards of a month sometimes to recover from all the triggers..having this site with all of you here makes the recovery and laughter much quicker

        5. I extend my hugs to you, too, IAHB. I’m not sure I could do what you’re doing. You’re braver than me. The moment I felt pressure, I’d want to leave. Ironically, I feel safer in the worst part of town at 2 am than in a church like that.

          You’re further along in the healing process.

        6. I’ve been sitting her wondering where in the world I’ve seen your avatar at and I just figured it out. You were the writer of the wonderful post on (in)courage a few days ago! Beautiful, healing words. Thank you for sharing that post over there. I’ve now found your blog and I’m hooked!

        7. Can you hide an Ipod in your pocket and an earbud in your ear and listen to Mercy Me’s “Beautiful” song or “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns instead of the preaching or invitation?

        8. Zen hugs going out and I’ll be thinking of you. Try to ignore all the BS and just concentrate on enjoying your kid’s performance.

        9. On the preacher who gave a sermon with every possible detail about his brother preacher who was in trouble: I figure your preacher got tired of the congregation confiding their problems to him, and wanted to make sure it would never happen again. … Whether or not that was his intention, there’s no doubt that that’s what he accomplished!

      2. “People from our church who had known me for years were coming up to me giving me the “i am praying for you.” Which you would think would be awesome. But it was the “i am praying for you to be the fundy we want you to be but you are not being prayer”
        At my grandfather’s visitation and funeral of all places!”

        {sigh} BTDT. The only reason there wasn’t an altar call at my dad’s funeral was the fact that my mom, my next younger sister, brother and myself all ganged up on my parent’s fundy baptist preacher and let him know in no uncertain terms that we wouldn’t stand for it. This was a time to remember our dad and we were sure the last thing he’d want was RRR preaching at his funeral.
        🙄 If there is anything fundies are known for it’s inappropriate behavior.

    6. This feels like the perfect opportunity for Darrell to sell book marks, earrings, bracelets, Bible covers, scarves, neck ties, cufflink, etc! 😉

      1. As eternal gratitude for Darrell hosting such an amazing place I say we all click on the advertisments on the sides so he gets a nice Christmas paycheck.
        It will be our Christmas present to him…
        ..ready..set..GO! ➡

        1. I appreciate the sentiment but clicking wars could potentially violate the terms-of-service and get my advertising account canceled.

          Weirdly enough they check for stuff like that. 🙂

        2. It may sound a little cliquish but you can join the “Click Clique.” I think you would really click with the quick clicking “Click Clique” clickers. 😯

    7. I don’t want to open a can of worms, but how does your husband treat you? You are in the same position my wife was about 2 years ago (she had left the IFB church in her heart and was only attending because of me). I know I thought my wife was backslidden and an ungodly mess (in reality, I was). She has forgiven me my mistreatment of her, but it still hurts me if I think about how terrible and condemning I was to her. I am lucky she never left me.

      1. exIFB…I am not sure I can answer this here. My husband has grace…he has come a long way. There is no easy way to work through this when 2 spouses go are on completely different paths…he is still a strong IFBer, I am not.It is painful.

        1. You have my sympathies. My husband and I are in the same type of battle, only he’s still at heart a conservative Southern Baptist while I’m done with both the IFBs and the SBC. You’re not alone. ((((IAHB))))

        2. I kind of thought that much. Being an EX-Fundie/IFB’er is kinda like one of the dialogs in ‘Tropic Thunder’ between Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Stiller about “going full retard”—being a Fundie is kind of like that…when you decide to leave, you just can’t leave “half-way”, you know, kinda like easing yourself out….YOU MUST GO FULL RETARD….you have to stop cold turkey or it will never work. That said, Fundamentalism is an addiction to self abuse (NOT the ‘self abuse’ your thinking of male reader…or rather, I suppose that could be a symptom of frustration…but I digress) It’s like perpetuating a cycle of self hate and the whole system is nothing but the drug and enabler all wrapped up in one. If you have a flair for the metophorical, the MoG is the “supplier” the Asst. MoG is the “dealer”, the deacon board are the “enforcers” and the congregation are the “crack heads” for the most part…Watch “New Jack City” to see it in action.

    8. Last time I was back at HAC, a classmate (now staff) said to me “Well, I don’t see any earrings on you.”
      I answered, “No, but would youlike to see my tatto” as I began to unbuckle my belt. 😈

      1. I don’t think I can describe how much respect I have for those who survived HAC and were able to walk away. Had no clue you were another one!

    9. I am surprised and disappointed at all of the nasty responses… Just be nice to them; considering them to be weaker brothers and sisters in Christ and don’t do things to deliberately cause them problems.

      Why don’t you try kindness? A great response to “I’ve been praying for you” is “Thank you; I’ve been praying for you, too”

      1. Guilt Ridden,
        I am sorry you see the responses as nasty. You have to understand that there is much truth in a lot of the parodys here…there are churches where there is great condemnation and cruelty that is spewed from “concerned” church members to those who don’t measure up to their extreme IFB ways.
        Of course they have much grace
        it is painful to experience. A lot of triggers to deal with. I don’t post my hurts anywhere else because many just don’t understand. The people here do and we support each other and laugh a lot. It is healing. You comment felt condemning and I know that no one here is mean spirited…we are just hurt and healing people trying to walk this journey together.
        Just as an FYI..because of everyone’s prayers last night went amazingly well. I spent time talking to some dear sweet friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was the first time I didn’t suffer major triggers..I think it was because there was no preaching, no invitation and just two of the most amazing boys singing their little hearts out on the stage who I adore..( my boys)
        You are loved guiltridden.

        1. I’m glad you had a good evening. I prayed for you all night as I attended my child’s performance.

        2. I think you found a secret to massive improvement within fundamentalism: don’t let the preacher be involved in any part of the service. 🙂

  15. Why are you reading something that’s not the Bible in Fundy church?

    The IFB Pastor down the street now won’t tip his hat to you when you walk past one another.

    1. Tip his hat? Do people still do that? Generally I don’t find that fudies are USING only the Bible so much as they are TWISTING only the Bible.

      Great point though. Tip his hat. Classic.

  16. If nothing says goodwill to men like a good old-fashioned debunking, then this site must be the merriest of all. 😀 This site (and some good books) has debunked so many of my needless beliefs that I felt the need to write out for myself everything that I now believe that is different from what I was taught.

    1. What I think this site does best is what the IFB movement has needed for a LONG time.

      A great big, “GET OVER YOURSELF!”

      They’ve got so much stuff up their posterior, that its a wonder they can walk. This site assists in the… passing of such things.

  17. The x over the Wisemen reminds me of writing merry x-mas. Not sure if you are going there in future post Darrell. But I love to see the fundies get up in arms about X-Mas instead of Christmas.

    I am wondering Which is worse Merry x-mas or happy holidays?

    1. X-mas of course! By not writing out the full word, you’re showing disrespect for the lord. 😎

  18. It’s been obvious for many years that the USPS has an organizational death wish. That memo must be one more stage in its downward spiral.

    Who the … fruitcake … cares whether or not postal employees say “Merry Christmas”??
    I care whether or not they get the mail delivered promptly and to the correct address (and lately, my local P.O. hasn’t been scoring very high in either of those sweepstakes).

    1. Uh-oh, that posted in the wrong place. I was trying to respond to IAH Beloved’s saying the USPS prohibited employees from saying “Merry Christmas” to customers.

  19. The annual Christmas celebration at our church always included a large woman with an admittedly beautiful low range voice singing “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.” The Pastor requested it every year. There wasn’t a single black person in our church, it was just weird to here this very proper English teacher hammer out the “dem’s” and “jes” in her best negro accent. Weird. I loved to hear Tennessee Ernie Ford sing it on the records, but maybe because I could see him. 😯

    1. I love it when white Baptists try to sing like they’re black.

      I just want to tell them to sit down.

      1. Yup, they be trying to clap in unison and rythm, they try to sway and end up going to far to the left thereby taking out the piano player while the second row falls across the White Piano, sliding headlong into the “amen row”, compromising the ‘preacher boys’…in my minds eye I see dresses flying immodestly over hips as the choir robes tie up the arms and faces…sheer confussion while the Pastor rebukes the ladies for the lack of holiness.

        1. Smith! You brought back a cherished memory. My white Dallas church choir sang at Tony Evans’ church (if you don’t know him, he’s black. He’s black if you do know him, too, but….) They were mixed together on the risers, and when the swaying started, one of our guys couldn’t get the rhythm right. Finally the black woman next to him took pity on him, thrust her arm through his, and yanked him back and forth to get him straightened out! 😆

        2. Should have said that they sang WITH Tony Evans’ choir, not just at his church. Makes more sense that way. 😳

  20. Just wondering … How do these manger scene doodads square with the prohibition on graven images?

  21. My daughter’s poor IFB friend can only receive three Christmas gifts because the wise men only brought Jesus three gifts.

    Can we say CUCKOO?????

    1. Okay, my wife and I do this for our children as well. And we are VERRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYY Reformed.

      And while we do say the “Baby Jesus got three gifts” deal, its really a way for us to keep the Christmas season about Christ and not about stuff. I grew up in a Fundy family (that admittedly gave into culture come Christmas time) and my wife grew up in a family where love equaled stuff.

      We give three main gifts, in addition to stocking stuffers and the occasional Advent surprise.

      For instance. Last year, the three main gifts for our daughter (that Santa brough) was a Wii, a Pottery Barn dollhouse and one of those zipping scooters that go through the neighborhood. Grandmas and Aunts and Cousins all got them things and they had a nice Christmas. Grandpa Fundy actually gives her a $100 bill and deposits $500 into a mutual fund for her every year.

      So far, during advent, there’s been candy and small toys during the week. On the eve of Advent I, the gift was a Wii game that she wanted (which most people would give as a gift). On Advent II it was a $50-ish toy that she wanted – as long as she donated something else. On Advent III it was a gift card to get some clothes at her little girl store, and Advent IV Saturday night will be another toy that she asked for.

      But Christmas morning, she will open three main gifts.

    2. Now, that’s really not a bad idea. I know quite a few families online who celebrate Christmas this way. It wasn’t so long ago that most kids from comfortably situated families got “only” three presents–read some of the back issues of Good Housekeeping et al. that are available at Google Books and so forth.

      It should go without saying, of course, that the three presents are three thoughtfully chosen presents that the child has been looking forward to receiving.

      1. Its definitely more rewarding than just buying a bunch of crap. You can typically hit a home run with three gifts. Once you get to 10 or 12, most of the time the stuff is never played with except for the 3 main gifts.

        A couple of other deals. We always have her an ornament for the night we put the Christmas tree up and Christmas pajamas for Christmas eve.

        It takes a lot of planning, and truth be told, we probably spend the same as we would if we threw a bunch of crap under the tree the night before.

  22. I remember a Christmas pageant where the little girls could not be angels because all the angels in the Bible looked like men.Only the boys could be angels. The girls got to be stars.

    1. But but, are these boys wearing dresses?? Doesn’t that pertain to a woman, or is it understood back then all men wore dresses, it’s only today that women wear dresses, never wear pants, guys wear pants, never dresses.

      Seems like they are teaching confusion of the genders to me. Is it ok for the boy to play dress up as an angel at home??

      Yea stars!

  23. If the wise men were from Babylon, would they not have read the works of other wise men? Maybe they read the writings of chief wiseman Daniel? If so, they had a fairly accurate timeline for the appearance of Christ. They might have been looking for a sign. Herod inquired when the star appeared and slaughtered the children based on that. Where does the Bible say that the star appeared at the moment of Christ’s birth? If they were following the star, why did they not go directly to Bethlehem?
    My trio of Elvis figurines are staying next to the manger –three kings. ( Or maybe kings of Jacks, Spades and Diamonds, because Jesus is the King of my Heart.

    1. King of Clubs, I meant. A magician, like me, should know better. I guess I had Jacks on the brain since I’m a HAC grad.

    2. They were astrologers, and the Bible said they followed the star, not the writings of other astrologers (after all, what did Daniel write, apart from the Book of Daniel?)

      Modern astrologers are aware of what the astrologers saw and their amazement at the sign in the heavens. As a matter of fact, the sign was seen around the world, and there are even Roman coins that commemorate it that have been recovered.

      The sign was a clear indication that a great king, son of God and son of man, doomed to an early death, had been born in Israel. Anybody who understood astrology knew that, and it’s likely that this is why Herod gave the wise men such credence. He already knew about the sign. He was worried about it.

      This is also the root of the demise of another Herod, the one who was struck with worms by God in Acts 12. Jospehus tells us that when this Herod made his oration to the people, he did so in a robe made of silver, from an extremely high platform, so that he was reflected by the sun. Herod had already taken the name “King of the Jews” for himself, and he was born at about the same time the star had appeared. When the Bible says God struck him because he gave not God the glory, this is a reference to a life of robbing God of His glory, for Herod appropriated the glory of the sign in the heavens to himself. And putting himself in the sky, all dressed in silver was a deliberate claim to his kinship with that sign.

      Fundamentalists don’t understand the sign of the birth of Christ because, for all their talk of Creationism, they believe in the universe of evolutionary theory: random and meaningless. But the stars did join to announce the birth of Christ. Christ even calls Himself the bright and morning star in Revelation, and we are urged to look for His sign again to herald His return.

      1. It says “wise men” from the east, not astrologers. Daniel 9:25-26 gives the timeline. By the way, it was writen in Chaldean. It may also enjoy checking out Daniel 12:3. I am not being dogmatic about any of this, it is just my opinion and it makes as much sense as what anyone else was saying.

        1. Chilean astrologers were magi. That’s what they were called. The bible does not say anywhere that they read Daniel. It says they followed the star. As magi, they understood a lot of its significance.

        2. It doesn’t say explictly anywhere in the Bible that Mary and Joseph stopped for a potty break on the way to Bethlehem either, but they probably did. It seems that Chaldean wise men would have read the writings of the highest ranking chief magi of their “golden age.” I’m not basing doctrine on it, but that is my opinion. I am saying the whole account is vague enough not to say anything with 100% certainty. Magi–same root as magician–WOW! I’M a WISE MAN. (or just a wise guy)

        3. We have Daniel’s writings: the book of Daniel. If he had written any other book, it would have been preserved by the Jews. But we don’t see the magi telling herod that one of his own prophets was their guide. When they speak to herod, they mention only the star. That’s the emphasis of the text: the star. And many astrologers of that day understood its portent. The later herod certainly did, and he was struck down byGod for appropriating its glory for himself.

        4. Look, the fact that you don’t know that “magi” is the word for astrologers is just a reflection of your Hyles-Anderson (lack of) education. I can’t help that.

    3. I see no need for any other book, the book of Daniel says enough. I did not deny the significance of the star. Yes, they saw a star, yes they knew it was important. There is no denying that, but what is your source of information that “Modern astrologers are aware of what the astrologers saw and their amazement at the sign in the heavens. As a matter of fact, the sign was seen around the world, and there are even Roman coins that commemorate it that have been recovered.
      The sign was a clear indication that a great king, son of God and son of man, doomed to an early death, had been born in Israel. Anybody who understood astrology knew that,”? It seems that you are adamant in promoting an occult science of astrology, rather than entertaining a possibility that these men knew the Scriptures that they had and followed a great sign that God gave them. I told you I could not and would not be dogmatic on this. I just think if you compare Scripture with Scripture, it makes sense.

      1. No, I’m adamant in asserting that the heavens did declare that Christ was born. He told us that when we saw His sign in the heavens that we would know the end times have come. So, what is His sign in the heavens?

        1. Nowhere did I say that the star was not the sign of Christ’s coming. It certainly was and the wise men followed it. No argument here. The only question I have, that you do not seem to want to answer is how the magi would know that the star meant a king was born, God incarnate, and sinless sacrifice? How do you get that much information from observing a heavenly body? Maybe they used a Ouija board too.

        2. Of course I know. Anybody with a working knowledge of the planetary rulerships, dignities, and debilities knows the meaning of the sign. You’re the one who doesn’t know. But you’ll find the answer in a lot of sources. Try Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos.

        3. OK at least I know where you are coming from now. I will consider the source and leave you alone. Would you happen to be claiming the title “wise woman?” I’m not as ingnorant concerning these things as you think.

        4. No, claiming titles is for fundies. I’m just a Creationist: a real one. I believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and that the heavens declare the glory of God, because the heavens do declare the glory of God. (And the Bible says that they do.) The fact that you cannot comprehend that declaration doesn’t make it any less real or valid.

          But you never answered my question: Christ said that the sign of the Son of Man would appear in the heavens. What is the sign of the Son of Man? How would you recognize it?

        5. And faron, the fact that you lumped in Johnny Todd (a man who fooled the fundies, but didn’t fool me), Alister Crowley, Jean Dixon, and a Ouija board with a centuries-old (actually a millennia-old) understanding of the rulerships of the planets and signs of the heavens shows me that you have no idea what you are talking about. My first clue was that you did not know what the magi were.

  24. Not only am I a HAC grad,I also have a Masters from there, was on staff of Mt. Salem Revival Grounds, was an IFB pastor. Now I am a Christian Illusionist (magician) and I attend an Evangelical Free Church where Dr. Evan’s son in law is the senior pastor.

  25. @exIFB – I do still very much believe in the “fundamentals” of the faith, but certainly not as presented in most fundy churches. I didn’t and don’t realize that this was a fundy belief, never, ever heard it taught in any fundy churches I was a part of. ❓

    @Natalie – You were expressing your opinion about the subject, and asked a couple of question, I was only trying to answer them. I had no idea they were rhetorical! ❓

    @RobM – I realize I have become the red-haired, stepchild on this site (pls forgive me all red-haired stepchildren) but thank you for pointing out the obvious to Natalie. 😯

  26. How do you figure I did’t know that astrology was PART of the work of the Magi? You still have not disclosed your sources of superior knowledge concerning how secular interpreters of omens would know that a king of Israel, God in the flesh had come to be a sacrifice. Maybe HAC was responsible for part of my education. Where did you get yours? Johnny Todd? Alister Crowley, Jean Dixon?

    1. Um, do you have any idea what the four creatures of Ezekiel are depicting? (They also appear in Revelation.) Or, in Revelation, where the the woman is found? (Hint: John sees her in the heavens. So do all of us.)

      There was a universal knowledge of these images to until the so-called Rational Enlightenment. It’s all still pretty obvious.

  27. So should i keep baby jesus out of the manger until christmas eve, to be correct?? or christmas morning? …christmas afternoon? 😉

  28. When I was an Anglican and a small boy, our church did some really fun stuff with the Nativity set that involved the chidren in the church getting to move Mary and Joseph towards Bethlehem (the pulpit) before Christmas, and then between Christmas and Epiphany we moved the Wise Men and their camels on their journey, following a large paper star that one of the Churchwardens would move from window to window in the Medieval parish Church. It was a great tradition, and we loved it! As for Baby Jesus, he was put in the manger before the Christmas Day service.

  29. I guess we will both end this discussion with unanswered questions. I still have not heard how the movement of Jupiter told secular astrologers that a King would be born in Israel, that He would be the Son of God (God– would that be YHWH or Ahura-Mazda?)That he would be a sacrifice? I certainly do know who the Magi were, but if it makes you feel smarter,keep on with the jabs. I agree with much of what you say concerning the star. I was merely suggesting a possible scenario where the Word of God played a part. I guess you don’t need the Bible if you check your horoscope.

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