SFL Back To School Day 2: Elementary, My Dear Fundy

By the time a fundamentalist child has spent any time in a fundamentalist school they have learned a fair amount of the three R’s (Reading, Writing, and Rhythmless Singing) but mostly they have learned an awful lot about what NOT to do.

They’ve learned not to question or express themselves. They’ve learned that it’s not what you do that counts but how people perceive what you are doing. And they’ve learned that perfection on the outside is actually better than perfection on the inside. In a thousand tiny unspoken ways they have begun to skip down the primrose path to fundydom.

By this point, they have also become well acquainted with the phenomenon of “chapel” which involves giving the men from the local Basement Bible College (and occasionally a visiting evangelist or pastor) a chance to bellow fantastic lies at a captive audience for forty minutes. What those children are subjected to in that time is the very worst of what fundyland preaching has to offer. For what is on display here is not the polished and practiced efforts of the veteran preacher, who has perfected his patter and picked his points. Nay, this is instead the sound and fury of those who are so unpolished they would not usually be allowed into a pulpit in front of an audience of adults so instead they are given young impressionable minds to practice on.

Middle school therefore becomes a time of terror for the student who is at all prone to believing what he hears as he is showered with tales of horrific deaths, terrible judgments, and new and novel sins that had been heretofore unknown. For not deterred by the fact that the children in the audience are all church-going kids from good fundy homes, the preacher inevitably assumes that the class of third graders in the front row are prone to the most heinous debaucheries he can imagine and delivers his rants accordingly.

If there were ever a case for homeschooling in fundyland the daily chapel service would be its strongest argument.

115 thoughts on “SFL Back To School Day 2: Elementary, My Dear Fundy”

  1. Good post and so true. Don’t forget about those fall retreats or whatever they call them. Our school had them before school started. They would go to a local fundy camp and everyone would come back re-saved or re-dedicated. I’m sure that was tough on the first visiting evangelist since it gave him nothing to work with.

    1. I actually have many fond memories of our HS’s retreat. It was senior high only, and there was I think only one sermon per day, and it was after dinner. I remember my junior year, the seniors wanted to get rid of the rest of the “concessions” (candy) so they didn’t have to bring any back. My friend bought the last whatever-it-was and was rewarded by the attending senior filling the whole plastic jar with assorted candy. Between that and the Mountain Dew I don’t think my cabin got to sleep until four or five in the morning. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Of course the next morning we felt sick and hated ourselves, but it was really worth it.

  2. “Theyโ€™ve learned that itโ€™s not what you do that counts but how people perceive what you are doing. And theyโ€™ve learned that perfection on the outside is actually better than perfection on the inside.”

    So true. And of course, so wrong. ๐Ÿ˜•

  3. Ugh, chapel…the school I spent most of my time at, decided, I guess, that we weren’t spiritual enough so we started having chapel 4 days a week and school revivals either once a semester or once a quarter…I can’t remember which. 1 was a prayer chapel that I’ve talked about before, and then the others were 35 minutes, and the big one 70 minutes…yep, 70 minutes, and we had the exact kind of speakers you mentioned.

  4. The Christian schools I’ve attended and taught in had once-a-week chapel. It got old.

    Gotta love homeschooling. I know it gets a bad rap here, but I am frequently saying out loud or in my head, “This is another reason I homeschool my kids.”

    We start next week. ๐Ÿ™‚ No chapel.

    1. Home skooling worked 4 me… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Let’s just say that I’ll be forever grateful to my parents for not sticking me in one of the numerous local fundy academies.

    2. I make plenty of jokes about it but the truth is I am glad that I was homeschooled. It took amazing dedication and sacrifice for my parents to do that. I thank them for doing it frequently.

  5. my fundy church used to have the lord’s supper every 3 months because they didn’t want it to become a “ritual” that got so familiar that it lost it’s meaning. strange that they didn’t apply that same logic to the act of lecturing/preaching, which was done about 9 times a week between the christian school, sunday school, and the regular sunday/wednesday services!

    i guess the assumption is that there’s something inherently beneficial about preaching that’s somehow not present in the lord’s supper?

  6. I find it hard to believe that it is as bad as described here.

    I know that many IFB churches incorrectly focus on the externals only (especially “soul-winning”; you can be rotten in many areas, but a good soul-winner will have these sins overlooked), and I guess that goes for their schools as well.

    I didn’t go to church as a young child, and so never went to a Christian school and never went through chapel services.

    1. Trust those who’ve been in them: IFB schools can be absolutely horrific.

      When my husband was a youth pastor in another state, an IFBX church in town had a small school where some of our members’ kids attended. They had people teaching who were not college grads, and the pastor during chapel would go on screaming fits (oops, I mean “hard preaching”) during which he freely used words like “faggots”, “whores”, etc. to describe sinners. I can’t imagine why parents who wanted to shelter their kids from the world would allow their children anywhere near this rude and nasty man. The hatred masquerading as holiness disgusts me.

      1. Hatred masquerading as holiness, great truth PW, very well stated.

      2. The Christian school I taught at let kids call each other “faggot” and “gay” because the principal thought it would “deter them from becoming homosexual”. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

        1. Holy crap. And if one of those kids who was being bullied (because that’s what it is) attempted, or even succeeded, in suicide, that probably wouldn’t be the school’s problem either. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

          I wonder how many of those bullied kids became discipline problems, or had issues like depression, and that was blamed on them not being “spiritual enough?” ๐Ÿ™

        2. @Beth D–I’m sure they would have taken responsibility for nothing. That was the last year I taught there and was certainly on the list of things that made me leave. Those words were not allowed in my classroom no matter what the policy was.

      3. Sadly, I’ve had adults who teach in these schools tell me that they don’t think they have heard a sermon unless they have been yelled at ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I guess they would not have appreciated Jesus Sermon on the Mount. Somehow I can’t picture our Savior yelling those wonderful words at the people gathered around Him hungry for the message He brought.

    2. Except for two and a half years of public school, I attended (fundy) Christian schools all my life. There were certainly times when I hated them and wanted to leave, and there are things that need to be changed at all of them. However, I don’t regret my parents sending me to them. Nor do I regret the public school either. No place is gonna be perfect; some people just complain to complain.

    3. I remember vividly the administrator of my fundy high school preaching against drawing on your skin with an ink pen – he equated it with self-mutilating acts such as cutting. His argument was that “ink destroys skin cells.”

      1. They preached against it at the school I taught at because it was imitating tatoos, therefore trying to be worldly and desecrating the temple of the body.

        1. Funny how conveniently they focus on tattoos and piercings but never call being a couple of hundred pounds overweight defiling the temple, geez “worldly” people are obese so aren’t they being worldly by being obese too? Nope, we won’t notice that, no one sees that comparison… ๐Ÿ™

  7. It is especially bad because the leaders go on a tear about one specific subject or another.

    It is especially bad when the subject was a misreading of something someone did at schoool, The administration THOUGHT there was a drug transaction going on when in fact it was nothing of the sort.

    So the whole school has to endure five or ten sermons all related to the same non-issue.

  8. On the flip side, my wife works at a decidedly non-Fundy Christian school. Chapel’s pretty much straight P&W. Her complaint:

    “I don’t like having to keep my hands raised the whole timeโ€”I’m not going to scratch the surface of Heaven if I keep doing it.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Well, back in my day, I got to sit for chapel and switch off my brain.

        1. +1 on “Pandemonium and Waywardness”

          To quote author Ron Cooper, “She was waving her hand as if trying to flag down the Holy Spirit.”

  9. The Christian school I taught at a couple years ago had chapel twice a week. The time allotted was one hour. They would sing one song (apathetially), give a couple announcements, and then launch into a 50 minute sermon, which while at least they weren’t usually screaming rants (we weren’t IFBX) were long, boring, rambling and poorly presented.

    I often wondered if they were on PURPOSE trying to make kids hate Christianity. If I were in charge, chapel would be a half hour – 15 minutes of upbeat singing of praise songs(which in itself would never happen in the IFB) followed by a 10-15 minute devotional. Or have break-out groups for interaction and discussion afterwards. I want students to learn to delight in the Lord, to long for Him not to dread preaching.

    1. That sounds like the chapel I had growing up. We had it Mondays and Fridays for an hour. It got to be so boring, I learned to just tune it out. The thing that happened most of the time was them “preaching” about things that didn’t really apply to us. Sure, we were sinners, but couldn’t they bother to tailor their messages to children…at all? They ranted like we were all Godless adults. In our small school, the chapel service had all students from first through twelfth grade all in the same room…

      So, there was church on Sunday, twice. Well, 3 times if you count Sunday School. Chapel on Mondays; Bible class Tuesday through Thursday; Wednesday evening church service; Chapel again on Friday. So, the only day we really had no preaching at all was Saturday. Oh, how I LOVED Saturdays!

      1. We had preachers who would try to come in and be trendy, but they missed the mark. My particular favorite was “Is your life going to be a Pearl Harbor?” which would have really hit home with kids in the 40s, maybe even the 50s, but to kids in the 90s? Not so much. Then we had to endure the “No Fear” sermons and the Princess Diana sermon, not to mention watching videos all about the evils of hairbands when we were all listening to grunge and alternative. ๐Ÿ™„ It was better if they just stayed away from the tailored sermons all together.

        1. Well, they did cover those topics during our Bible classes. I especially enjoyed the one on “back-masking”. Much like the “replacement words”, they were usually two to three decades behind what we were actually doing or listening to…

  10. My school, though run by a fundy church, usually wasn’t so bad (or I jusyt don’t remember elementary school chapel that well.)

    Anyway, I do remember there being a visiting evangelist at the church whose son in law preached at school for a week. He preached for the high school but for some reason the school decided that our 6th grade class needed to be there. I remember him talking a bit about the evils of sex outside of marriage. Just a little inappropriate, considering age.

    Makes me wonder if they were just practicing for rougher crowds later.

    1. I’m not sure talking about the evils of sex outside of marriage is inappropriate for 6th graders – but it does depend on how much you go into it. Just a little bit, about saying it’s wrong no matter how much pressure you feel, is good. Some kids do experiment young. Going into detail about sex at that age, or assuming the kids are “evil sinners” that are doing it already, that is inappropriate.

  11. I remember a chapel where the man was preaching against the evils of CCM (shocker, I know). One of his main points was the the band Stryper was a different way of spelling the word “stripper” and that they were wolves in sheep’s clothing who were trying to pervert our minds. Some of us starting talking about the incredible grammatical problems he must have been undergoing to come up with that. His other points just got worse from there.

    Oh well. At least the “chalk talk” guy the next week was really interesting!

    1. My adopted brother played a Stryper song on his accoustic guitar while the bridesmaids walked in at our wedding. It was beautiful! But there were many people there who would have dropped dead had they known! ๐Ÿ˜†

  12. I couldn’t believe no one posted. “B”, I count it an honor to be tied with you. We both posted at 6:50.

    I didn’t go to a IFB school, even though Lloyd Steator started one at his church when I was in grade school. Our public high school was LaSalle Peru Township High School. So they named their school LP Christian.

    My children attended a MO Synod Lutheran School. they didn’t have all those crazy rules , but they did have weekly chapel – but they didn’t mind going.

    I do remember having a “youth rally” before school started. The speaker was the field rep for the GARBC. The only thing I remember him talking about was purity. He talked about the horrors of staying at deacons homes and finding vile Rock and Roll albums in the rooms he was staying in. One time he was spending the night in the room of a pastors son. During the night the sheets came off the bed and when he lifted the mattress to fix it he found….pornography! Not Playboy – something much worse. I was a Jr in high schooll, and remember thinking 1) how does he know what’s in a Playboy 2) what a stupid place to stash your materials (under the desk drawer is better).

    When I was telling my parents about his talk (minus the where to hide stuff). My mom laughed and said “oh I’m sure enjoyed looking at it”.

    1. Does “under a desk drawer” mean the same thing as “at the bottom of a desk drawer”? (I do not see how a magazine could be hidden “under” a desk drawer).

      1. Yes, Guilt Ridden, it’s absolutely impossible to hide something under a desk drawer. Therefore there is nothing hidden in your kids desks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        These are not the droids you’re looking for. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      2. You remove the bottom desk drawer, insert item, and replace drawer. That’s how you hide something under a desk drawer…

        1. Ah – my desks just had open space under the drawer, so anything placed there would fall down to the drawer underneath if it….

  13. Yes, chapel….this is a very good reason not to send your junior high kid to the Bob Jones family of schools. My 12 yo got subjected to all kinds of adult themed sins including the 3 ways to do sex. :*( Their explanation was a non-explanation: basically, DBIII won’t budge. We’ve been begging him for years–YOU go try!!! Umm….right….

    But the “correct” solution would still have subjected my children to a spanking session thinly disguised as chapel.

    This is a good reason to send your children to public schools.

    1. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    2. Bill Schroeder (formerly of Oak Forest fame) was good for these types of chapels too. I really didn’t need his descriptions of different types of male on male action disguised as a sermon…but at least I was in college, the High School freshmen in the same chapel certainly didn’t need it.

      I always wondered what exact events in his BJU dorm experience made him think that whole discussion was necessary? ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

      1. It would be wrong to say he was giving a blow-by-blow account wouldn’t it… yeah, thought so… so I won’t say it. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜•

  14. My parents went to Catholic Schools as kids, and the horrors you all have described sound suspiciously like their experiences, except for screaming chapel.

  15. And lets not forget the student body chapels where the preacher boys delivered their versions of homiletics.

  16. Aside for being well needed break from my cubicle (ACE curriculum) chapels were pretty much a time for the principal to preach about whatever sins were commited by particular students that week. I even remember being singled out in one of those chapels on several occasions – once for supposedly being rude to the man’s wife, and another time for saying “I don’t know how it happened” when I was caught in the blatent sin of “mis-scoring” my work. Those 11 year olds must be trying to pull a fast one on the administration by purposely writing incorrect answers on their schoolwork!

    1. Ugh…ACE…little “veal fattening pens”. I went through that up until 4th grade when my parents finally realized it was a terrible learning experience for me. I flourished in a more “traditional” classroom, even if it was using ABEKA curriculum.

  17. “…who is at all prone to believing what he hears ash he is showered…”

    Laughing my ash off…

  18. Between the three church services on Sunday, the Wednesday night Bible study, Friday night fellowship, and Saturday youth group, Monday morning chapel at my fundy church/school was just too much for me.

    I remember one speaker who lit into us all for using “replacement words” like “gee-wiz”, “gosh”, or “golly”. Apparently, using those words will send you straight to hell. One rather brave kid raised his hand and asked about a local department store called “Gee Bee’s”. The preacher informed us that we shouldn’t shop there because it may risk our eternal soul.

    I’m fairly certain that I signed no less than 15 abstinence pledges during chapel services over the years. Fat lot of good those did…

    1. Wow, I remember chapel services about “replacement words” too! Of course whoever was speaking was woefully out of date with the latest slang. Most of the kids just snickered at the words, because they sounded so corny. The message they tried to convey was that no matter the word, the intent was the same. I get that, but I always heard adults using “replacement words”, even church and school staff. Obviously they hadn’t been in those chapel services!

      1. Watch for the tell-tale signs of corruption, using words like… “Swell” and “So’s your old man” and memorizing jokes from Capt’n Billy’s Whizbang

        Gotta find a way to keep the young ones moral after school… so we guilt them to death while they are in school.

      2. Haha, yes. When I was at BJU (mid 2000s) they had some announcement about words we weren’t allowed to use, and the list included “Tarnation.” My first thought was REALLY??? Who is saying that?

      1. ๐Ÿ˜† Although I remember when we were kids, any time somebody said that, it sounded like chickens “bok, bok!”

      2. I’ve always felt guilty just reading the label for those clothes. I really can’t help seeing the label, can I?

  19. I was blessed to attend good Catholic schools from the age of 5 to 17. We had wonderful teachers, including consecrated religious Sisters (Franciscans), and we attended Mass on Friday mornings. I loved all of it! I guess I’m lucky to not have experienced any of these horror stories! I wish my own children could attend Catholic schools, but there aren’t any near us; even if there were, tuitions have skyrocketed since I was a kid. My parents used to pay $4/month when I was in grade school. That’s right: four dollars. By the middle school years it had jumped up to $8, if I remember correctly! Nobody in our working class neighborhood had much of anything, but those dear Sisters worked tirelessly for us kids, wanting to give us a future; they really knew how to stretch a dollar, too!

    1. I attended amazing Catholic schools as well, from 7th-12th grade. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We had mass in religion class once a week and all school masses five times a year. No screaming at us. My parents paid $25 a month for 7th/8th grade and between $75 and 90 for high school (it increased by grade) and that was double tuition since we were not Catholic.

      I taught in a decent Catholic school as well, until a bad lay administrator commenced to destroying it. Tuition there still runs only around $2400 a year.

  20. One of the teeny little fundy-schools I had the extreme misfortune of attending had absolutely horriffic chapel services. This was a typical fundy style nightmare with teachers with no teaching certificates, an administrater with no qualifications, combined classes for most of the upper level grades due to lack of staff, and incessant fundy-style ranting- I mean, preaching. During one chapel service, the special speaker (some weird karate guy) went on for hours and hours. Literally. We had NO afternoon classes that day because they didn’t want to “hinder the spirit’s moving” or be “disrespectful” to the speaker by telling him to shut the eff up.

  21. The funny thing is that many of the so called fundamentalist schools have a certain number of kids who got into trouble in the public schools & their parents slipped them in. I went to such a school for a 1.5 years until the principal got the brilliant idea that he was going to paddle a 16 year old golden gloves boxer. Lets just say I left a lasting impression on him.

  22. My son is in 7th grade this year at what I call “the mother ship.” I anxiously await his chapel report. Fortunately he is fairly discerning for his age and can spot a line of bull a mile away. We have already had a couple discussions about what makes us believers – the indoctrination began last week when the kids were told “You have to dress like this so people know you are a Christian.” We reviewed what the Bible really says – we are known as followers of Christ by our LOVE.

      1. Oh, I’m glad…

        I just don’t want my kids to go through what I did…thinking that if I didn’t look, act or talk a certain way, that I should seriously consider whether or not I was truly a believer. The HEART is what matters. MAN looks on the outward appearance, but GOD looks on the heart. John the Baptist probably looked like a wild homeless panhandler! I’m pretty sure he wasn’t wearing belted khakis and a button-down oxford shirt. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    1. I LOVE that verse: it helps me when I feel guilty for not wearing a jean jumper or a long khaki skirt when grocery shopping!

      A danger in believing that people will know we are Christians by our CLOTHES is that many times such Christians STOP at the wardrobe. They then omit entirely acts of charity and compassion and become judgmental or self-righteous which is so ironic when we consider that God says anything we do is worthless without love.

    2. Yes, Jen, I need to really stay on top of this with my kids now that they are in 6th and 7th. I think mine have chapel EVERY day or at least the 7th grader does. I might pop in an check out these chapel messages myself to see what the tone of them is.

  23. I lucked out of fundy school (again being brought up only “fundy-adjacent” as I like to call it), but I’m not sure being at a Christian school where most of the kids don’t want to be there, but still manage to end up weeping at the altar during spiritual emphasis week, yet no change ever being seen in their lives is that much better…

    College chapel was better – but our chapel band was way too loud – they subscribed to the “make the music loud enough no one can hear themselves” method of getting people to sing… Which only runs off your voice majors and people who have the good sense to refuse to sing in any situation where one can’t hear oneself – given the very real possibilities for straining your voice before you know it…

    1. Ugh…the phrase “spiritual emphasis week” can still give me nightmares from my six years teaching in Christian school. ๐Ÿ™

  24. Then there was the forced labor. My first gym class of the year, the gym teacher had all of the non-jocks to pick up rocks, stones and large clumps of dirt off the soccer fields. The jocks were exempted because the gym teacher claimed he did not want the jocks risk getting injured.
    There were some teachers and administrators who viewed the students are a slave labor force. And if you said no to their demands, one could get a demerit or worst.

    1. I didn’t attend a Christian school in my youth, but this practice of “School today will be cleaning the pastor’s house and yard” bothered me on many levels. As a parent, my child is in your school to LEARN, not to be a free labor force. And why the pastor? Why not at least teach them about real service and do this kind of things for the shut-ins/elderly/disable of the church.

      1. Charles Dickens wrote about such a school in “Nicholas Nickelby.” So sad that something justly derided over a hundred years ago is still continuing in certain circles.

  25. Wow. I don’t remember a thing about chapel. Mostly because I was either falling asleep, daydreaming, or making silly doodles in my notebook.

    From what it sounds like, didn’t miss much.

  26. I don’t really remember any chapel messages from high school, but what I do remember was sending out my classmates for “homeroom devotionals” every week. (I was the class chaplain, so this was my responsibility.) This descended one level further than soon-to-be preacher boys; we pretty much took whoever volunteered and sent them out to the rest of the campus (7th-12th grades at that site; K-6th was a few miles away at a second site). Couldn’t really get many guys to volunteer, though, so we went the non-fundy route and let the girls try their hand at preaching. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nothing against that, BTW; they usually did a better job than the guys.

    Just thinking about some of those devotionals I gave…man, I was so messed up. Anyone here that might have been a student at UBCS during the 1999-2000 school year…mea culpa.

  27. The school I attended in high school had horrible chapels! I’m not sure which was worse…having to inhale a classmates suffocating perfume for 45 minutes or hearing the “Minister of Education” (principal) who called himself a pastor rant about how women shouldn’t wear pants because only men wore “breeches” in the Bible. ๐Ÿ™„

    That being said, the Christian school I attended in elementary was fantastic. They had great, professional teachers who taught me more than I ever learned at that joke of a high school. Even their chapels, which were few and far between, were fun and age-appropriate.

  28. “Reading, Writing, and Rhythmless Music” — haha!

    When I was going to put my kids in an evangelical Christian school, another IFB pastor’s wife warned me not too because of one thing only: the music they use in chapel. ๐Ÿ™„

    God forbid my children sing “Revelation Song”; the spiritual damage might be irreparable. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. Holy cow. Is that Lehigh Valley Baptist in the photo on this post??? Ive been there many times and I think thats the pastors son.

      1. Did you go to that church? I used to go there for “winter youth retreats”. We would drive up there in a caravan of mini vans all the way from Long Island.

        1. SO, this is definitely LVBC, and Definitely Pastor Roland (he’s the lead pastor now). And EBA is now that small.

  30. Yeah, I went to church there as well as the school. If you were coming from Long Island, did you attend Pastor Graf’s church?

    1. Yes I did. John L Grafs church in Sayville LI. He’s now running a super cult out in Holtsville Long Island. I had to get out and I finally am at peace. Sadly, my parents still go there.

  31. Ahh Fundy chapel…I remember many times walking out and thinking “Who was that about?” and then hearing a classmate’s name called on intercom to come to the office. Also, I remember a chapel message called “The Birds & the Bees – The Cars and the Keys” still to this day. How when you’re young starting a car will satisfy for awhile until you get the courage to shift gears and back up and then forward again and then that doesn’t satisfy so you do a little more, etc. That’s what happens with birds and bees I guess! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Also, we had 1 Pastorincipal who was stuck on Romans 1 for a looooong time. He eventually called the Sophomore guys out and said that their “horseplay” (sophomores being sophomoric) was bordering on homosexuality and could cause God to give them over… Wow! Still remember that chapel when I read Romans 1. He closed down the 10-12th grades the next year to clean out the “bad blood”. He left the next year. Thanks church for voting him in!

  32. I am sort of thankful for chapel and devotions. Here is why: my mother says that to be a good Christian you should go to church on average about once a week. I will be 68 before my lifetime average goes below once a week, so I am still a good Christian.

  33. “If there were ever a case for homeschooling in fundyland the daily chapel service would be its strongest argument.”

    Beautifully written line of prose. Carries home the point well.

  34. Five hours of “bible class” a week, one hour of chapel. What a waste of time! I could have been in one of the best public schools in the state, learning real science and history.

  35. No memories of chapel from my elementary years at an IFB school (1st-3rd grade); but I do remember the Thursday chapels from when I returned for my senior (in place of Bible class for that day).

    We would usually have the 5th-6th grade teacher then (who was my teacher the last year of my first run) leading in singing really inane songs (think “Father Abraham” or “Do Your Ears Hang Low”-type songs) due to having forgotten most of the people there for chapel were over the age of 7. Then we’d have a solo (a few of which were sung by a junior high student who was actually pretty good), followed by the principal/school and affiliated church founding pastor would go into a story (usually involving some kid in a jungle).

    Sad thing is that at NO point was Scripture used outside of “sword drills” that I recall.

  36. I remember our sixth grade class sitting in on the intermediate school’s chapel service, up in the balcony, around Veteran’s Day. This man in a uniform was the special guest speaker, and he expressed disappointment that some members of Congress believed in Evolution. He then made the claim that Evolution is “un-American”. I don’t remember the particular Scriptures he used, but I think he used that old Fundie trope of using America as a stand-in for Ancient Israel, and referencing those middle books of the Old Testament. I remember thinking this was quite a stretch.

    I remember in seventh grade, some man who was also a veteran (Korea, maybe?). Had an over-serious attitude and a crew cut. His schtick was something like authoritarian motivational speaker. He would say something in his message, that was supposedly life affirming in a you-better-straight-up-and-be of-strong-moral character- young man kind of way, and he somehow got the boys in the student body to respond with “Yes, sir!”. It seemed he did that about a dozen times, or so.

    What was memorable about his message is that he recalled the time when President Carter sent a rescue team for the hostages in Iran, their helicopters crashed, and the mission failed and the man’s father watched this on the evening news, said something about how God has forsaken America, then he died right there in front of the television. Heart attack, I think. Thus, the reason for the “motivational’ message.

  37. Ah, chapel. I heard all of the topics previously mentioned; however, I started mentally checking out after a message directed at the teen girls. During that time, the phrase “He’s so fine” entered the vernacular. Apparently, those in authority felt the girls were objectifying the boys, so the chapel preacher said that it was sinful to think a boy was fine.

    No word on whether it was okay if the boys thought the girls were “fine”….

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