For all their posturing about being separated from all other Christian denominations, Independent Baptist Fundamentalists do a fair number of activities which are familiar to other Christians. They have sermons, they sing songs, they memorize Bible verses, and they evangelize in one form or another. But what marks the stark contrast between the fundamentalist and so many others is the internal logic that drives the choice to do these things or do them in a particular way. A thing is not worth doing until it’s worth doing scared.
Most Christians might memorize portions of God’s word so that it will be in their heart and mind for them to meditate upon in times of need or during personal worship. The hardcore fundamentalist, though, is just as likely to memorize God’s word so that when the Communists come to steal and burn his Bible (or possibly replace it with a Good News For Modern Man) he’ll still have a little of it left. It could happen any day now.
Many Christians enjoy playing an instrument or participating in music during worship for no other reason than that it is a pure expression of joy and worship. The fundamentalist, however, might be playing the piano because if she ever stops God will likely make her hands fall off to punish her. He does that kind of thing. I think it’s in Leviticus.
Still other Christians look forward to church services as a respite from the daily struggle, a place of refreshment and of touching a bit of heaven here on earth. The fundamentalist on the the other hand knows that skipping church increases their chances of being decapitated, hit by a car, or becoming a Peace Corps volunteer by about 18,000%. There’s a proof text for that in the Bible somewhere too — but I haven’t memorized it yet.
The call is clear: whether ye eat or drink or whatsoever you do, make sure you’re driven by the purest of motives. And the greatest of these is paranoia.
129 thoughts on “Motivations”
Reading down through all of this, there’s two Bible passages that stick out in my mind.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4 ESV)
This one was very true for me. The one or two times I was experiencing a spiritual revival, I actually did things at church because I really wanted to. All of the rest of the times were mostly because I HAD to and that God might send bad things my way if I didn’t.