SFL Back To School Day 3: High School

By the time a young fundamentalist has reached high school the focus of their spiritual instruction has narrowed down to two basic points. 1) Not having sex with anybody and 2) Finding God’s perfect will for their life. The first one is accompanied by tales of terrible tragedy that will befall them if they DO the second is accompanied by tales of terrible tragedy if they DON’T.

It’s a little ironic that so much time is spent telling teens to find “God’s will” (as if it has somehow been accidentally dropped down the sink or hidden under a couch cushion) when the reality is that a fundy teen really has very few decisions that he or she can call their own. Their pastor will likely pick their Fundy U. Their parents will pick (if they do courtship) or strongly suggest (if they are allowed to “date”) their spouse. Their lack of any real world experience and limited higher education options will also in all likelihood help pick their vocation. Added to this is the fact that by the time a teen graduates high school they are expected to have already picked a vocation by walking an aisle and “surrendering” their life to some ministry function or other such as preaching, missionarying, or marrying said pastor or missionary and bearing seventeen children. The choices here are not exactly broad.

The truth is that the expectations for most fundy high-schoolers is set pretty low. For the most part they are not taught to shoot for greatness. The young fundamentalist will not become a world-class musician, a captain of industry, or a nationally known architect or scientist. For the most part they’ll simply return to work in the church that spawned them in hopes of nothing greater than making more mediocre copies of themselves. A select few may enter the ministry and start their own fundy schools and churches to produce even more fundy teens no real prospects. These will be considered the greatest successes of all.

There are notable exceptions to this scenario. I once even heard that a young fundy graduated from a state school and became a marine biologist. As far as I know, his family still mourns that he isn’t in “the ministry.”

138 thoughts on “SFL Back To School Day 3: High School”

    1. I did attend a fundy high school, but luckily my parents were pretty liberal comparatively and encouraged me to attend a public university, which I have been enjoying. Contrary to how I was taught in high school the university scene is very tolerant of my beliefs and there isn’t rampant sex and drug use in the hallways, go figure. I wake up everyday happy that I didn’t attend a fundy college and subject myself to more of the circus acts I experienced in high school.

      1. I attended both public and fundy high schools and Fundy U. After spending a number of years teaching at a fundy school, I did graduate work at a public university and found that my instructors and fellow students were much more tolerant than the fundies with whom I had associated for many years! Perhaps if some of our fundy “friends” would follow the example Jesus set and approach those around them with genuine love and compassion–plus a measure of tolerance, they would find people more accepting and not be so frightened of anyone who differs with them in the slightest degree on any subject!

    1. Me too, but this post still pretty much nailed my life, except that while I picked my Bible college and spouse, my parents still held (or thought they held) veto power.

  1. It always bothers me when parents are disappointed if their children aren’t in the “ministry.” The Bible clearly says we’re all of equal importance in the body and the head is Jesus so there ought to be no hierarchy or anyone lording it over anyone else. If Christians were focused on being part of our culture and helping people instead of being insular and focusing only on the church and its programs, we would realize that we are ALL ministers, that we ALL can be used of God in whatever career we choose.

    1. Exactly! It’s a shame they don’t see it. Since they just want people to continue in the ministry, it’s very insular. Why not have good Christians in secular jobs that could, you know, be a good example, and possibly just influence people by going out into the world. The current logic guarantees that the only way would be to either “stumble” on the church, or by soul-winning the “hard-sell” way…

      1. I have for a number of years had a very real problem with the term “ministry”–as though it were some ethereal thing which existed apart from reality. Most leaders of large “ministries” insist that those who work for them remember that they are part of a ministry and so must willingly sacrifice their finances, time, and even children for the good of the “ministry.” On the other hand, those same leaders forget that those workers need someone to truly minister to their needs!

    2. This is so true. Parents look at their kids as if they are failures if they don’t go into the ministry, even if they have a good secular job. I will never forget the Sunday they paraded all of the graduates of the school up on the platform and had each tell what year they graduated and what they were doing now. All of them were either in one of the Christian colleges (HAC, Crown, West Coast, etc) or in the ministry in some capacity, Christian school teacher, or fixing to become a youth pastor, pastor, missionary or the wife of one of these. One man had “failed” to go into the ministry. His brother was an evangelist and barely eking out a living for himself, his wife and 3 kids. They were always having to ask the parents for financial help. He had a pretty good secular job and had even helped his parents out financially when his dad was laid off, but his father considered him a failure while his brother the evangelist was “successful.” I felt sorry for him because his own father could not approve of him. ๐Ÿ˜•

  2. Post is totally true. My high school education at Fundy High was was the WORST (VERY minimal science or math instruction). HOWEVER, like any life circumstance, be encouraged in this–you can rise above it and do something great with your life. Really.

    1. Attest.

      Landed a job with (tech company, rhymes with Snapple ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) – corporate, not retail. They don’t care about my ACE High School diploma. They don’t care about my Fundy U degree.

      A lot of it depends on how you make of it. You’re not a failure just because of Fundy Ed. Heck, you can work at Burger Shack with an accredited degree if you end up doing it right.

      But yeah, no excuse for Fundy Ed. They should do a better job with (insert just about anything here) across the board. And depending on the field you desire to enter (i.e., teaching at a public school), some of the shortchanging they do is critical.

    2. I have a very good friend I went to fundy high school with. He went to secular college and is now working for a major technology corporation.

      He’s the only “successful” person I know from my fundy high school.

  3. – Having been one of those parents (I have begged forgiveness from my twins)
    – It was the grace of God that opened my eyes to the lack of education they were getting. (Woeful lack of education, that I had paid a butt load of money for over the years)
    – For years I had been KJVO, Christian Education only and an idiot of the first degree.
    – The best thing i did for my children was to get them all out of the IFB “Christian” indoctrination center and into public school.

    This week brings back memories for me as a parent that makes me cringe at my blind adherence to the IFB cult mentality regarding education and poor parenting. In the Fundie parents zeal to “protect” their children they end up doing just as much harm by creating the illusion of spiritual safety since their children are at Church each day where the world and the Devil can’t get to them.

    All that “Re-enforcement of what is taught at home” only makes for either an automatron like pseudo Christian that parrots all the right phrases at the right times… or produces a kid who keeps up appearances on the outside but is empty on the inside because they have been indoctrinated without ever knowing Christ and the Gospel… or a rebellion who sees the IFB emperor has no clothes.

    1. Like.Like.Like.Like.Like

      Well said! I fear many young people in fundamental churches know not Jesus Christ; they merely have learned to “act fundamental”.

    2. Don, your reference to the emperor reiminds me of the book, “The Naked Church”. Have you read it? The author uses that analogy.

      1. The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen is where the expression about an emporer having no clothes comes from. It was first published in 1837 and has nothing to do with the book you mention, nor fundies in particular for that matter.

      2. No, not that one. I have read “Church without Walls” and “Reimagining Church.” I like both of those better than Platt’s “Radical” but that’s a topic better suited for the Forum.

    3. It’s never too late to start doing right (i.e. taking your kids out of the the fundy cycle of death/despair)! I couldn’t be more thrilled you woke up & now delight us!

  4. I study Homiletics
    I love my classes
    I got a Fundy teacher, he hates wire rimmed glasses
    He spits when he hollers, and I’m only getting wetter
    I’m wearing a crew cut, getting good grades
    The future’s so bright, I gotta wear…night vision goggles?

  5. That’s right. Keep your kids away from the public education that will allow them to become financially stable. All the while you’ll decry the follies of the U.S. gov’t and complain of their ungodly policies. Yet your children will never be able to influence politics for the change you bitch about day in and day out because you’ll have set them up to be poor, uneducated, 1 step away from destitute, gov’t conspiracy-the-sky-is-falling, blame the democrats for er’thang professional Sunday School Teachers.

    1. Unfortunately entirely true in our case. My dh worked in non-profit orgs. most of his working life. We find ourselves at 59 years of age wondering what Dave Ramsay has to say that can help us at this point.

    2. Well I am the product of an ACE HS education and hold a degree from BOJO, and quite honestly I think I got a fair education. I had 4 job offers from the big 8 accounting firms when I graduated and I am a CPA.

      That being said, all 4 of my children go to public school. It’s taken me 20 years to deprogram all the other crap that came along with my fundy education. I don’t want my children to go through the same thing.

  6. This post is entirely spot on. It amazes me to see how many of the graduates from my alma mater have done nothing with their lives. It is not from a lack of intellect but from a lack of ambition. The mother church for the fundy school I attended had a “college student of the week” section in the church bulletin and more often than not, the weekly “student” was someone living at home while taking one or two classes at the local community college, or โ€“ preferably โ€“ the churchโ€™s seminary. When I would come back for a visit 4-6 years later, Iโ€™d see the same students plus their younger siblings, eking out a meager existence while “waiting for God to reveal his will for their life.” My parents may have sent me to the fundy school, but they compensated for it by teaching me the Protestant work ethic.

    1. I’m not sure it’s so much work ethic as it is learned helplessness. Fundamentalism punishes you for thinking for yourself and acting on your own. You are trained to just do what the most powerful person in the room expects. So if you don’t have a powerful person telling you to go get a real job, you don’t know how to make that decision for yourself because you’ve never made decisions for yourself.

  7. Ouch, Darrell ๐Ÿ˜ก This is so true, that it definitely hurts. I actually began to wonder why so few people from my high school ever went on to grad school after college. The teaching on all these things is very binding on a person. The end result is a person that is ill prepared for the real world. I think that as a parent, I have a responsibility to prepare my son for the world instead of simply insulating him from it.

    1. Kevin, that’s the reason my son is in public school. I don’t think isolating him or insulating him from the world is beneficial, to either him OR the world. There are other people out there, other thinking, other religions. He should understand this. If the church we go to and the Christianity that I expose him to can’t stand on its own for him, then he shouldn’t choose it. But that’s just me.

  8. I kinda think it depends on the enrollment policy at the HS. Christian high schools with a “closed” enrollment policy, where you can only attend the school if you go to the church that runs it, tend to fall into that “very limited options” category. Christian high schools with more open policies seem to be by nature a little more open-minded. The one I attended was probably 80% church families but there were a lot, especially in the younger grades, that were not. I wasn’t – our family lived too far away to attend on Sundays. In our graduation ceremony they would read off where each student was planning to attend college and most of my classmates (31 of us, IIRC) were staying local – Penn State satellite campuses, community college, etc. Most of them went on to local state schools to finish their degrees after community college. Three of us went to BJU, maybe four or five to Northland, and three to Cedarville. The other 20 went to state or public colleges.

    So yeah – my high school’s church? Major fundy. My high school? Not so much. And I really think it’s because they relaxed their enrollment policies.

    1. I see your point and my school wasn’t much different, though most who stayed local did not go on to state schools. But I think that is more a product of open enrollment as apposed to because it has open enrollment. IOW they have to be more open because they don’t control all of the parents not because they want to be more open. Perhaps they decided to do open enrollment for business needs, they need the bodies.

      At my school there were tons of students who were all Christians, but attended churches that my church, parent church to the school, would not approve of in a long shot. As a result any given graduation would include many non-fundy colleges the kids were enrolling in, and plenty of majors with high aspirations (dr., engineer, etc.). But if you looked at just the kids from the parent church it was abundantly clear that what Darrell describes was all true. 90% of the church kids ended up at Fundy universities (at least for part of their education) most majored in ministry related things, and many either returned home or are at another quite Fundy church/school.

      So personally I think schools with open enrollment have a broader representation by force not by choice. You need bodies in chairs and are willing to accept some things you wouldn’t otherwise to keep the doors open.

    2. I think the distinction to be made here is Christian High School vs. Fundy High School. I teach at a Christian K-8 school that isn’t remotely fundy. The teachers are all from very different church backgrounds (including Catholic), and most of the students end up going to public high schools when the graduate from here. No one is required to attend the adjacent, loosely-aligned church (the administrator is a lady and not remotely connected to the pastoral staff in any way. I think I’ve seen the church’s pastor three times in the several years I’ve taught here.) I think it’s the philosophical alignment that fuels the enrollment policy rather than the enrollment policy that influences the narrow/broad mindedness.

      1. Agree! My HS didn’t seem fundy although the church (was my church also) probably considered itself fundy. I’d say no more than maybe 40% of grads went on the a Christian college. Most went to the community college for a while. But I don’t remember anyone at the school making the students who chose a secular school feeling less of a Christian.

  9. My sister, during her senior year in a private non-denom Christian school (GASP) met with our fundy pastor for “wise council” on which Christian college to attend. She really loved a Christian school in NY and wanted to go for missions, however she was told that if she didn’t go to the Bible College affiliated with our church’s fellowship, then they would never support her as a missionary. She went to the college that she wanted to, and was very happy there, but was so upset that she had no support from her own pastor becuase she wasn’t going to the right Bible College. I was the evil child who went to a secular college so I never had that problem. :mrgreen:

    1. @Finally Ran Away

      I love the term *wise council*. I always fustrated me that my school never had a guidance councilor. We had one ten min session with our principal about what we were going to do after college. It blew me away that my principal who had lived in CT for at least 20+ years and received a master’s degree from one of the local colleges there, didn’t know about one of the schools I had wanted to go to. It was a small private liberal arts school with a great reputation. (I didn’t get in by the way)
      I was also fustrated by the fact that we never had any AP classes. Oddly enough that didn’t affect me until my junior year. I was taking a biochem class and some of the subject matter had already been taught to some of the students in their high shcool classes.

      1. It always frustrated you that your school didn’t have a guidance counselor. My public HS guidance counselor was arrested for giving drugs to students 2 years after I graduated. He was my mentor. I never saw him giving drugs to students, but I did see and hear things that makes me believe he was probably guilty.
        Also, my best friend baby-sat his kids. She said that he was so casual about clothing (or the lack of it) that he would walk around the house nude. My best friend decided to follow his example, and wondered why his mother (who lived with him) said it was inappropriate. You can have fun times with public school people, too. ๐Ÿ™„

  10. Some of the girls in the photo are wearing open-toed shoes. Who knows where or what those brazen hussies are doing with their lives now! ๐Ÿ™„

    1. I am sure they are living the sort of life that offers the IFB even more opportunities to judge them than ever —- and probably having the time of their lives. What would the fundies do without people like us to judge? ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  11. It truly pains me to think of my time spent at Fundy High. One of the teachers there (who I had for three different subjects– I doubt he was qualified to teach one course, let alone three entirely different subjects) would mock and berate students (myself included) based upon their most prominent physical flaw. There were the select few “untouchable” students that for whatever reason he had taken into his “inner sanctum” and they were in on all this clever little jokes, and were not mocked mercilessly as the rest of us. He would even go so far as to draw caricatures of students on the board highlighting these above said physical flaws. He would make inappropriate gay jokes and mock whomever or whatever he wanted to. He had time to do this because he was NOT teaching. If we showed up to class, and wrote words on a page we’d get a decent grade in his class. I had him for Spanish I, Algebra II, and some sort of business math class. I should have FAILED Algebra II because of my lack of comprehension of the material. But I got a B in a course that I had no mastery of whatsoever. I’m trying to continue my education now, and I am terrified to take my required math courses. Sorry for the rant, but thinking about high school does bring up some truly horrific memories for me.

    1. That was me for Chemistry class. Got a B in it, but know I would have gotten a much lower grade had I been at any other school. But then again, if I was at any other school, the teachers there would be qualified to teach me and help if I was having a hard time in a certain area.

      The flippant attitude on education got to me too. I had to take a History class over, not because I failed it but because it was easier for them not to have to teach me separately (I was the only one in my grade when I had to repeat it). The explanation for that one was something to the affect of “History repeats itself” or some lame excuse along those lines. Even then, being caught up in the IFB circles, I knew there was something completely off about that line of thinking.

      1. I took Chemistry twice in HS for that reason. Like you, Adam, I had teachers with multiple subjects. The first year I had Chemistry, the teacher was also the Phys Ed., Homeroom, Spanish, and History teacher. He didn’t know Spanish…AT ALL. His pronunciation was horrific. It got to the point where he just gave up and ordered the ABEKA video classes with an actual Spanish speaker. It’s funny, because despite his ineptitude, I actually taught myself from the books and the videos. To the point I was having dreams in Spanish.

        Now, his Chemistry class was equally awful. I can’t remember learning a single thing in there, and he refused to do the lab-work because he didn’t know how, and was afraid to use the chemicals.

        The following year, I was given a choice of electives, and since the only one that worked for me at the time was Chemistry, I took it. I only did that because we got a new husband and wife teaching team that was very good. She took over Chemistry and was amazing. Those two people were the best teachers I had. They were the only ones who bothered to tell the students that their lives might amount to something. They encouraged us to learn, to grow, and most of all, to try to make our way in the secular world.

        Unfortunately, they didn’t last long at the school for those reasons. They didn’t “tow the line” and eventually they both left. It was sad to see the school stifle any free-thought. Heaven forbid we make these kids feel like they might be worth something…

    2. While I was an undergrad and grad student I was a teaching assistant in introductory logic classes.

      The thing that I noticed is that some students are too young for the crazy levels of abstraction that are required of logic or math.

      Don’t be too scared. Get as much help as the course offers. Get a tutor if need be.

      And practice, practice, practice. Learning math has one thing in common with typing. You need to practice to get any speed at it, which you need for the exams.

  12. I usually get a good laugh out of and agree with your posts, Darrell, but you just sound mean-spirited and out of touch this week.

    I graduated from a fundy school and am now currently attending a state university, so I don’t understand your comment about having limited choices of higher education. I’m attending the school I’ve always wanted to attend. If someone can’t get into college (or at least a good one), it’s because of a lack of ambition on his part; it’s not the school’s problem.

    Also, it’s really tacky of you to demean those who’ve decided to persue ministry work. Am I going into “fulltime ministry”? No. But I’m also not going to look down on those in my graduating class who have decided to make that their life career. Or at least I hope I won’t; I need God’s help sometimes in dealing with my pride. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. He’s not looking down on those going into ministry. What he’s talking about is the school grooming all students to go into any kind of ministry. It’s not realistic to expect every single student to end up serving the church officially. Statistically it’s impossible. So, many of those students are ill-prepared to get jobs outside of the church.

      1. That’s another thing. They ought to give more respect to secular careers since they are what supports the church, the missionaries, the Christian school teachers etc. Those who go into full time Christian service have to be supported by those who work in the secular world through their tithes and tuition to the school. It has always burned my behind that they treat those who work in the outside world like a bunch of heathens and give such glory and honor to those who these people support with their money. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

      2. Then he should’ve said it that way. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Truthfully, there are problems with my high school; it especially needs to improve academically. But what’s been done is done. No amount of whining and moaning on some random blog is gonna change where I went to school. And I’m thankful my parents paid so I could go to a Christian school, and that the teachers sacrificed (and after seeing some of the paychecks, yes, it was a sacrifice!)to teach there.

        Most of the posters on here sound like the whiny junior highers at my school lol

        1. Andy, none of us apparently read it like you.. even those of us who went to fundy schools.

        2. “Whiny junior highers,” you say. “Oppressed individuals airing long-festering wounds,” I say. The process of healing from the deep wounds of legalism is not for the faint of heart, Andy. It’s many-faceted and often very complicated. This blog allows people to talk about their experiences and see the idiocy of Fundyland for what it is.

          When you write condescending, judgmental dismissals of people’s experiences, you present yourself as shallow, self-absorbed, and void of both understanding and compassion. I suspect that this assessment is not true of you, but you should know that’s how *you* have come across in your comments on this post.

      3. One of the phases I absolutely loathe is “full time Christian service”. Shouldn’t that be anything that a Christian does, as long as it’s not against Scripture? We’re supposed to be Christians full-time, not just on Sundays.

    2. Hmm, I did grades 1-10 in the public school system and grades 11-12 in ACE. I was a very good student in both systems. (BTW, ACE was ridiculously easy.)

      I attended a Canadian bible college that has proper accreditation and would be described as conservative evangelical and not fundamentalist.

      After I graduated i enrolled in university and was accepted as a mature student.

      Neither my ACE graduation nor my bible college degree were considered of equal value as a public high school graduation. (To be fair to the bible college, the quality of education was most certainly beyond that of high school.)

      Last year I applied to a second Canadian university (Few Canadian universities are private.) They eventually waived the high school transcript requirement because 1)the ACE school no longer existed and it had burned and all the records were lost. 2) I already had a recognized university degree.

      My fundy schooling still creates headaches.

      1. In a similar vein, I was homeschooled for all 12 grades and then attended a Fundy college. A few years later I decided that I wanted to get a secular degree and actually had to take a GED so I had an ‘official’ high school diploma. I did really well and graduated with an accredited Bachelor’s Degree and honors.

    3. Andy,
      If you, as an individual case have had a good experience then praise the Lord. Likewise Darrell is not talking individual cases but he is talking about the overarching problem found in the IFB movement regarding education and indoctrination. By far, while some fundie education experiences may be good or at least adequate they generally are woefully lacking. The main goal of IFB (and Fundie) education is to perpetuate another generation of good M-O-g fearing fundies who tow the line.
      So, if you have had a good experience then cherish it.
      But be aware that much of the overall purpose of IFB Christian education is indoctrination in order to assure another generation is programmed to carryout the Fundie Prime directive (Full Time Christian Service in a paid or at least recognized as Full Time position in a Fundie school, church, evangelistic, music or missionary capacity.)

      1. I’ve been to four different fundy schools as well as a public school. I think I can attest to what goes on in them, thank you very much. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. I will. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Sorry if I’m coming off as grumpy, I’m just sick of whining.

          I’ve heard kids from Xian schools complain about the quality of education in Xian schools. I’ve heard kids from public schools complain about the quality of education in public schools.

          I’ve learned that people just like to complain. ๐Ÿ™‚

          (I’d also like to add that I’m sure there are some cases where things really are bad and need to change. It’s just that most horror stories turn out to be comparable to the classic fishing tale lol)

        2. So…. Your own experience of 4 fundy schools + public school gets to define what other people take from their experiences? The world is bigger than you, pal.

          The attitude of “just shut up and deal with your past” is what got most people on this blog in the first place.

        3. That’s cool.

          I’m coming at this from the prospective of having been “One of those parents.” I can see that I should have taken my kids out of the indoctrination center much earlier than I did. It’s not that they had a bad experience. They have many good memories of their school but the education level was spotty at best. Yes, they had a few really good teachers, but the Math dept was pitiful (and that is the “best” thing I can say about it.)

          There was the whole “if you are really right with God then you will want to be in Full time service.” You know, “Many are Calledโ„ข but few are right enough with gid to answer like they should,” attitude. It was expected that graduates would attend one of the Fundie U’s the school approved of. (I remember over hearing a conversation about one girl who really disappointed the administration by attending the now Liberal… Liberty University.”)

          I also personally know of a case where an IFB high school grad was accepted to BoJo, then when she came to here senses and tried to apply to the NC University system none of her credits (zip, zero, nada) would transfer and she would not be allowed to apply until she had made up for her math and science deficiencies from high school.

          So looking at a side by side comparison between the Fundie school and public school (in my area and we have five major fundie schools in driving distance), knowing what I know now I would choose the public school hands down. In fact I have done so already with our youngest.

          But I know education is not perfect in any setting. We do the best we can based on what we know and have experienced. And my experience is that I am the parent to my children not the Church and not the school. I am now more engaged in my children’s education (the twins are in the NC college system now, and the youngest is in public school) and I am very happy with the education they are getting. I have engaged my children on many topics that come up in class and if there are any conflicts I can and do deal with them openly. (shame on me for being a lazy disengaged parent back in the day)

          **one of the things I see now that I didn’t see back then is that the IFB indoctrination center actually discouraged parents from being involved in what was going on in the classroom… compared to the public system we are in that encourages parental participation in every aspect of the school experience. The wife actually volunteers and helps the teachers each week.

          Ok I’ve hijacked this long enough. Back to our regular programming. ๐Ÿ˜€

      2. I wasn’t going to correct this but since you are the second person who typed it wrong, it is actually “toe the line”. Why do I know this because our x fundy pastor’s wife told me anyone who became a member of the church had to toe the line in regards to all the man-made rules. In short it means OBEDIENCE.

        1. I should know that… it’s short for “Toes to the line.” I can’t blame that one on george. ๐Ÿ™‚

    4. “If someone canโ€™t get into college (or at least a good one), itโ€™s because of a lack of ambition on his part; itโ€™s not the schoolโ€™s problem.”

      I appreciate your desire to balance this thread, but this is a factually inaccurate statement. This depends upon the laws of the state in which one is a student, as well as the admissions requirements of specific schools. For a fun homework assignment, compare and contrast the education laws in Georgia, Louisiana, and Colorado.

      1. Ahh, true. I was thinking more in terms of those with whom I’ve graduated. Sorry, I should’ve been more clear.

    5. You know, Andy, maybe instead of accusing people of whining and being tacky, you should take the time to get the facts. I think it’s really insensitive to dismiss people’s actual experiences just because you didn’t have them. That’s what fundies do, remember? I also think it’s pretty obvious that Darrell isn’t dissing the ministry. He’s simply saying that one doesn’t have to go into the ministry to please God or be fulfilled, and fundy schools put way too much emphasis on it. That should go without saying, IMO.

    6. Andy, It turns out that you just got really lucky. It turns out that low academics is endemic of all Christian schools IFB or not. Numbers are a funny thing. That means some people are completely unaware that there is a problem. Some people may have gone to good schools in spite of the odds and others are just lucky. But it would seem that the vast majority of Christian school grads are, again IFB or not, are undersold and underperform. Fortunately now we can talk past anecdotes and look at real hard numbers.

      1. Mark,

        Cool website and very informative. A good reason to think twice (maybe even 3 times) about sending your kids to BOJO.

    7. Andy, Doesn’t it strike you as odd that so many of us have had similar experiences whether as a student or parent. With a few minor changes I could have written Don’s or a number of other posts here today. Although my children’s education was generally good for the elementary years, it was a disgrace after 6th grade. (Not withstanding that we had to deal with “God’s will” and the push to attend bible college and serve full time.) We pulled them out none too soon. They have had to do catch up in the areas of math and science. We have hired tutors and just when I thought it was all behind us, we had another issue this school year where we had to fight to get one of our children in an advanced high school class. Not because he didn’t have the grades but because there was a concern about math requirements. All as a result of not prioritizing academics at the former fundy school. Yes, prioritizing academics…it is a school after all.

    8. Andy, I’m sorry you don’t agree with everything Darrell writes, but no one is going to. I don’t think his posts this week are any of the things you said, and based on the comments from other people, neither do they.

      Agree to disagree and move on.

    9. Andy wrote:
      “I graduated from a fundy school and am now currently attending a state university, so I donโ€™t understand your comment about having limited choices of higher education. Iโ€™m attending the school Iโ€™ve always wanted to attend. If someone canโ€™t get into college (or at least a good one), itโ€™s because of a lack of ambition on his part; itโ€™s not the schoolโ€™s problem.”

      The education taught at my former fundy church’s school does not meet the requirements for the University of California system. That means any fundy school grad will have to attend a junior college before applying to transfer into an University of CA school.

  13. Fundy high school was the worst! My classmates acted like elementary school students (most had been in fundy school since K). The lack of maturity was scary at times. Literally the teenagers would be running down the halls like little elementary school kids. Education in some areas was okay..but history was def. sketchy. They only taught what they wanted to teach and from their (IFB) perspective and when I questioned the teacher on other parts of history (my senior year) he said “we do not cover that this year”—we didn’t cover a lot of history any of the years!! Most of the teachers (who all graduated from fundy colleges–with the exception of one) did not seem qualified to teach. Sad state of affairs. So when it was time to graduate..it was no surprise that most of my classmates were woefully unequipped to deal with the outside world and that their parents had no choice but to make decisions for them! Of course that meant going to fundy colleges. Many of them now what nothing to do with faith..of any kind, but I really can’t blame them. ๐Ÿ˜•

  14. This picture makes me wonder something…

    Because graduation gowns are unisex, wouldn’t it be wrong for both genders to wear them? Why, look at that picture, you can barely tell the difference between the boys and the girls! Surely somebody declared that a sin somewhere. ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. *gasp* and look at all those open-toed shoes! Scandalous, I tell you absoutely Scandalous! Brazen hussies! I’m shocked! Why this could lead to rampant Fundie Foot Fetishes!
      Darrell, you need to black out all that tootsie porno right away!
      AAAKKKK!! and “Bobbed Hair” on the women!! Don’t look Angels lest ye be tempted! Shut it off! shut it off! I will put no wicked thing before mine eyes!
      “UNCLEAN!” ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

      1. “Tootsie porno!” The first time I saw that I laughed, and I’m still laughing! Good one, Don! ๐Ÿ˜†

  15. I went to a Christian high school that was strict but not fundie. The city we lived in used to have a very large leather goods wholesale warehouse. When I was in 10th grade, it went out of business and had a huge clearance sale-we’re talking leather jackets for $40. So naturally I shopped there with all my girlfriends from school and we all bought jackets. The school admin thought we were a gang even though our jackets were not all the same. They passed a new rule that the only outerwear that could be worn had to be in the school colors to “prevent gang-related offenses.”

    1. We were’nt allowed to wear outerwear jackets inside for the same reasons! They thought if we wore certain “colors”, or a certain jacket that we were secretly showing which GANG we were in ๐Ÿ™„ So we had to change into a sweater once we got to school if we were cold, which we ALWAYS were, because they didn’t have any money in which to heat the prison-esque place ๐Ÿ˜•

    2. So that’s what’s up with the whole no outerwear thing. At the school at my fundy church several moves ago they had a rule about only school color jackets. And here, too, so I get it now! No leather jackets because like, the world sees it as “evil.”

    3. I think one reason some schools prohibit outerwear is that students are generally not prepared to work if they’re cuddled up inside their down jackets. They slouch down inside their coats, hands shoved in the pockets, instead of sitting up properly at their desks. It looks sloppy and careless. Imagine going into a bank or an office where all the employees are still bundled in coats! As a teacher, I personally prefer my students to not be in coats.

  16. It never occurred to me till now that God’s Will at a basic level is yeah, exactly that. Getting in church and following all of the church’s rules.

    1. I agree. Finding “God’s will” is a manipulation tool. I saw it used often to corral the teens into my fundy church’s Bible college.

      One tactic they have developed is strongly suggesting each teen “Give the first year (of college) to God” by signing up for a one year certificate course. Once they are committed to the one year, they use that year to manipulate them into “staying the course” and going all four years. Cause Christians should not be quitters, ya know. ๐Ÿ™„

      1. That way they can beat them up with 1 John 2:19

        They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

        1. Ack! Don! Mega flashbacks! My mother used to quote this verse quite regularly. God doesn’t like quitters, amen?

  17. This series reminds me of a junior high classmate who wore long, unstyled hair and long skirts to school. (The “modest” shirts didn’t stand out much because we all wore round-necked sweaters anyway–but she never rolled up the sleeves.) She was put into the bright kids’ enrichment hour with me and about 8 other kids. We started talking ecology and she confidently announced that bag limits for deer were wrong because if hunters killed all the deer, God would just make more. The instant verbal dogpiling that ensued–remember, this was junior high, plus the teacher had no idea what he was getting into–made her cry. She was pulled out of school shortly thereafter and homeschooled all through high school, seldom leaving her house.

    She had a literally unique first name, made of two relatively uncommon first names smushed together, so when I Googled her in a fit of nostalgic curiosity I found her social media page immediately. Guess what kind of church she belongs to. Guess what her husband does. Gues what smirking radio “political entertainment” jackass is on her list of favorites. Guess what groups her kids are in. Guess what kind of school they attend.

    She was in the Extended Learning Program. What could she have done with that potential?

      1. The thing about the deer was doubly astounding to me because I had known for years that deer are not native to my island (long story short: for reasons that young-earth creationists refuse to believe). They were brought to this island in the early 20th century by hunters and the bag limits are set by people who shoot deer for the freezer. I think I said something like “So you can go stomp on all the potato plants in your garden because God will put some more there overnight?” But I was a bumptious late-preteen who had never taken debate so it was not nearly so clearly put.

        She is fully immersed in the subculture that dedicates itself to clinging to a narrow definition of People Who Are Okay and telling scary stories about the rest of us, the People Who Are Not Okay. She is raising a family in the subculture that insists on belief in disprovable counterfactual stories on pain of personal destruction (being shamed ‘n’ shunned, going to Hell, whatever). It’s such a waste.

        1. Potatoes are not native to that island, either. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plant some.

    1. Unitarian.
      Social worker to inner city kids.
      Dan Savage.
      Youth Free Thinkers.


  18. I think the real shame is that so many of the kids that are influenced this way go on to become preachers, teachers & youth leaders thinking that they were called of God when they were really just sticking with the program. It leads to ineffective leadership & thus ineffective churches that really accomplish very little & do more harm than good.

  19. When I was in high school there was a girl who started attending at the beginning of our sophomore year. She was a transfer student from the local Fundy school, that she had attended for several years. She told me she was wanting a change and to try public school since her school had so few kids going to it now. She was nice. I saw that she always wore dresses (and they were not out of style for early ’80’s dresses, but were on the conservative side of style) and I asked her if she ever wore pants. She said no, that it was against her religion. I was surprised, because I was nominally a Baptist and didn’t know that some Baptist groups said no pants on women. Anyway, she only lasted a few months. She told me she was going back because most the kids made fun of her, no one understood her, and I was really her only friend. I was sorry to see her go. I know now that it’s hard for kids raised like that to function in a public school environment, even if they want to. ๐Ÿ™

  20. Sadly, the same can be said for many Fundy-schooled kids entering public life. They come out of their cocoon unprepared to face “real” people in the “real” world. There are no fundylimits in that world and many of them don’t learn to function effectively there. It is easier to retreat into the looking glass world of Fundyism and stay there.

    1. Don’t get me started on how much BJU’s refusal of accreditation and lying about its necessity to its students for years has cost us opportunities and money. Since neither of my parents attended college, we didn’t know what questions to ask. And the BJA guidance counselors only serve as funnels to BJU,no one is going to tell you. It’s FU’s DADT!

  21. A man was talking with me several years ago at the church I was currently attending. In the course of the conversation he asked, “both of your sons graduated from Christian school and Christian college, and one of them is now an ordained preacher?” When I answered yes he said, “well, you must have done something right.” I asked him what he meant. He went on to say something to the effect that having a son in the ministry was a real accomplishment. I looked at the man and said, “both of my sons are honorable men, and it was not me or anyone but God that led one to be in his own business and the other to pastor a church. I never pressured them to decide for themselves.” Neither of them are strict Fundies.

    1. For the Christian, any kind of work is a ministry.

      That reminds me of a church sign I once saw. It said “Ministers: All the members of XYZ Church. Pastor: Hosea J. Hezikiah.”

  22. Darrell, I must admit that I read SFL in spurts, and I just read all 3 (so far) of the Back to School posts.

    I would like to request that you please get out of my head and return the videotapes of my entire childhood. :mrgreen:

  23. I went to a TINY Christian school, and the pastor was our main teacher. But he was very tough on us; I probably could have tested out of ALL my freshman core classes, and most of my sophomore core classes, too.

    That being said, the whole “ministry thing” makes me mad. I suffered through 4 years of teaching at a small Christian school where I made $11000 before taxes. And when I couldn’t take it any longer my mother gave me heck. And when my brother told her he would not become a foreign missionary, she cried in her room for hours b/c he was her last hope of having a child in FT Christian ministry. ๐Ÿ™„ It was all about her.

    1. I had a mom like that. It was always all about her. When my unmarried sister got pregnant back in the 70’s, her first and loudest lament was, “What will the neighbors think.”

  24. Ah, the “find God’s will for your life” phase, in which everyone ran around TERRIFIED that they’d made the worst mistake of their life by not figuring out this elusive and very specific “will,” and letting God and everyone else down. I was under soooooooo much pressure as a teen/young adult in college because of this mindset. I was terrified of marrying the wrong person, having the wrong major, going to the wrong college. The day I kicked that whole mindset to the curb was the day I started truly discovering freedom.

  25. My best friend in my fundy HS was headed for a job as a pastor — he even preached chapel a few times. We lost touch during college and then I caught up with him again about 10 years after we graduated. When I asked what he was doing, he hemmed and hawed for a bit, before “admitting” that he was a social worker for the county he lived in.

    I asked if he believed that he was doing what God wanted him to do and he said “yes”. I also noted that he was helping people in a similar way to that which he would be doing if he had become a pastor, and he sighed with relief and told me that I “get it”.

    How many kids from fundyland are living ineffectual lives because they think that “God’s will” and “The Ministry” are synonymous?

  26. I have to say, I had a really good experience at a fundy Christian school. I came from a tough home, and the people at school showed me nothing but love and support. I was a daily witness to exceptional teachers and administrators sacrificing their time for us. And of course they got paid squat. It was a small school in a fairly rural area, so maybe that made the difference. I don’t know. But even though we were small, we did super great in the regional music and academic competitions. Not so much in sports, lol.

  27. Ack- there is a lot of inbreeding in these schools. A week ago two of our more hard-core Fundy U grad parents announced the upcoming union of their son and daughter. They’re finishing up at BJU right now, and I’m willing to bet they’ll be working here once they’re done. Not healthy.

  28. I was homeschooled through elementary and high school, though my parents weren’t really fundies even though we attended an IFBx church. But 5 years of youth group teaching exactly like what’s described was enough to mess me up. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ Especially the negative view of sex–I have a year before I’m married, and I’ve only just started losing the anxieties about it in the past couple of months. I owe a lot of my healing to my very patient and understanding fiance.

  29. Well, my husband is living the nightmarish results of this very issue today, 25 years after he graduated from his Fundy High School. He is a great minister, but is seriously unhappy doing it and he feels guilty even thinking about doing anything else. He WANTS to be past the idea that “God’s will” = “Full time ministry”… but he can’t. The indoctrination is too deeply rooted. And he’s always searching for that sin in his life that is causing God to punish him with this unhappiness.

    We have learned it is much easier to get out of the IFB than it is to get it out of you. ๐Ÿ™

  30. My parents were burned badly by public school experiences, so they put me in private school K-12. It was fine and dandy until we moved when I was a teen. The high school I attended was atrocious. While they did verbally encourage me to check out many colleges, I was so entrenched in Fundy culture that I couldn’t even comprehend the thought of going to a secular college. Now, I so wish I had been more open minded. I just stuck with what I was familiar with. At least Fundy U was less psychotic that Fundy High School!! If I could re-do that part of my life knowing what I know today, I would research LOTS of career fields and colleges…and make sure I went to a better high school, even if it meant that I had to sneak my jeans in my backpack and change at school!

  31. I love when fundy parents mourn for their children who are in ministry with the BGC or the EFCA or the SBC. Here they have children who are following God’s call to ministry and are serving Christ, and yet, they mourn because this service is not in their fundy movement. They mourn because their children are now new evangelicals, never understanding that their definition is wrong and that their children are really serving in historic fundamentalist denominations (conservative evangelicals)!

    1. Both my parents and my husband’s parents have expressed their disappointment in us because we are no longer IFB. Both couples will never come to our church services either. I find this especially ironic because fundamentalists are supposed to major on the fundamentals of the faith – all of which we hold!!! It’s frustrating that I think they’re just as displeased with us as if we’d given up church altogether.

  32. When I was in high school, my pastor thought that PCC/BJU/MBBC were all too liberal and didn’t recommend that any of us attend those colleges. The only ones he approved of were Crown, West Coast, and Heartland – which presented a problem if you chose a vocation other than something in full-time ministry. I was one of the “less spiritual” one that went to PCC anyway along with five others of my senior class. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. It’s sad the never-ending ways fundies find to be divisive and to prove themselves more “spiritual” than someone else. Smacks of “I’m of Paul; I’m of Apollos” to me, and the Bible’s pretty clear how wrong that kind of attitude!

  33. I teach at a Christian university. My mom still asks me if I think I will ever be a pastor. She does it with a sad voice. You see, I must not be in God’s will because I am not a pastor.

    Isn’t that special?

  34. If you have to choose from a fundy u, please pick MBBC. At least they are regionally accredited. But try to go to Liberty instead!

    1. I can speak from experience that the Bible professors at MBBC will teach you to be living, functioning, Biblical Christians. It’s funny how a proper study of God’s Word can result in your being somewhat normal. javascript:grin(‘:grin:’) Not all members of the faculty, staff, or administration are of the same vein.

      As for regional accreditation…it’s nice to know that your business/nursing/education degree will actually help you get a job in the public sector. Not so good for those of us who majored in Biblical Studies…javascript:grin(‘:cry:’)

  35. ah, yes. I know several of my fellow fundie school mates who graduated, “rebelled” by going to evil state colleges instead of good ol’ BJU, and are living their dreams and doing great things. Yet their parents and church are always praying for them to “repent” and treating them like prodigals. It’s pretty crazy. Anyway, I hope that I can manage to be one of those rebellious prodigals someday! I’m already going to a state college so that’s a start ๐Ÿ˜›

  36. “Another Chick(tract)in the hall”

    We don’t need no education
    We just need Fun-die thought control
    No dark skinned kiddies in the classroom
    Teachers donโ€™t leave them kids โ€œaloneโ€
    Hey! Teachers! Donโ€™t Leave them kids alone!
    After all you donโ€™t want them alone there in the hall,
    Boys and Girls alone on there on the hall ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  37. I wish I would have found this site when I was a junior in fundy high school. Maybe I would have seen the follies of my church and family’s ways sooner, and could have made plans to attend a public university far away instead of being so indoctrinated by fundyland that I gave up all my dreams and am now stuck at home for two years in a community college, still trapped by my fundy church and having to worry about my crazy stepmother. I also wish I would have went to public school instead of the church school. I could have been a part of all the extracurricular Activities I enjoyed instead of holding scripture signs downtown while a fundy screamed at anyone who dared to walk by. They are some of my biggest regrets, but I’m thankful that I found this site when I did.

    1. Youโ€™re in the same position most of us were in, glad we found the sight! I recommend the sight to people I deal with that feel like theyโ€™re in a โ€˜cultโ€™. It is therapy.

  38. I remember going to a Fundy High school where another senior came to the school having only completed 8 credits toward graduation. Some how they were able to get him to complete all of the 22 required to graduate that same year. I don’t even know if it was legal what they did.
    Also I had to do my own transcript to get into college because they were upset that I was going to a state college. I thank God that Georgia Southern University accepted all of my credits because I would not be in the place that I am in today if they didn’t.

    1. I work at a state uni not too far from GSU and we’re pretty liberal about accepting credits, too. I think its because it’s the south and so many people are religious. If fundy high is accredited it’s no problem but most of the time they aren’t so we treat them like homeschoolers and take the credits that way. They still have to meet the credit requirements and you might be amazed how many haven’t taken enough classes. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are almost always lacking the foreign language requirements.

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