Reflections On The Pitfalls of Being Post-Fundamentalist

Tomorrow perhaps I’ll write some happy, silly thing — Lord knows there’s been a dearth of that kind of levity in my posts of late — but tonight as I sit staring at my computer screen I’m reminded of something that my father told his children repeatedly: “put your chair down on all four legs before you break it!” As I recall, we did go through an inordinate number of chairs.

There was, of course, another thing that he used to tell us which bears slightly more relevance to my thoughts tonight and that is this: “Sometimes your enemies will tell you the truth about yourself when nobody else will. It may be a distorted and exaggerated truth but it’s worth considering it nonetheless.” In light of that bit of fatherly wisdom, I sometimes stop and think about the things that fundamentalists say about me and about us. Are they even the tiniest bit true? Is there value and insight to be gained even from distorted and partial truths? Perhaps there is.

For if we have learned nothing else in fundamentalism this truth abides eternal: that we should always hate and fear the other with a deep and fervent passion. But what does it profit us if all we’ve learned to do by leaving the church of fundamentalism is to switch our name tags at the door and continue on as ever we were in that same path of despising the others who are not we? It was no simple command that Our Lord gave us when he told us to love our neighbor and He gave us no exclusion clause for people who will never love us back.

It falls then to us to make their words untrue. If they call us bitter let them find us always loving. If they call us liars let them find us honest to a fault. If they call us quick to wrath, may they be confused by our graciousness and perturbed by our serenity.

So let us each examine our own self. As it is written: “let the one who thinks that he is standing take heed lest he fall.” Perhaps we should put that chair down on all four legs after all.

137 thoughts on “Reflections On The Pitfalls of Being Post-Fundamentalist”

    1. In all seriousness though, this is the post that all of the “drive-by” haters should read. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to self-examine, Darrell. It would be awful hard for someone such as “Larry” of late to label you a Christ-hater and such after these words have been spoken.

  1. I think I’ve become more tolerant of those who exhibit behaviors etc, that I did not accept when I was a fundy. But I’ve become less tolerant of fundys. I haven’t been out very long so I’m still working on processing a lot of things in my own mind. πŸ˜•

    1. I have the same feelings. A few years ago My wife and I went to Kenya with a group to partner with a local church to help start a new church in an area there truly was no Bible believing church It was quite a stretch for two newly recovering Pharisees. It was the first time I recall working with people who were not IFB. God really opened our eyes that trip and taught us that there are a lot of true, God loving Believers who serve out of a sense of love, not duty.

      Anyway, to keep a long story from growing worse, since then I have preached and ministered in a variety of churches, from Uber-Fundy to anything goes. Toss out the extremes, and there is a whole world of Jesus-followers who have true Joy. And most of them aren’t exactly like me.(PTL!)

  2. I think it takes a lot of detoxing to come to the point where you are Darrell. When people have been so hurt and abused, they’re often going through the grieving step of anger. And Lord help an equally-abused yet fervently blind Fundy that happens across our path. They often become the punching bag for every evil thing that was done to us in the name of Christianity. (And some make it really, really hard to bite our tongues) But while it is certainly ok to be angry at the sin of abuse and leading people astray in the name of God, getting to the point where I dehumanize those who have wronged me is where I try to draw the line. I was there. We were all there at one time, and it’s good to remember that.

    1. “When people have been so hurt and abused, they’re often going through the grieving step of anger.”

      I absolutely agree and I’m not trying to denigrate the need for working through that process. But not all anger (or any other emotion) is of the healthy variety. The maturity comes when we can start to tell the difference.

    2. MxKxCommXDx said it best [hahaha]. Fresh, β€˜fundie inflicted’ wounds that are still healing, are painful. When those emotional wounds are rubbed full of salt by some β€˜fundie’ nonsense, it hurts like a mother. That fresh dose of pain often results in an outburst of anger or some other defense mechanism. As those wounds heal, the poking, prodding and irritation administered by the β€˜fundies’ is less and less painful, and the behavior is seen for what it truly is: annoying and immature. This annoying and immature behavior hurts and causes pain when the wound is raw, but as healing [maturation] occurs, it just becomes a minor annoyance that is easily ignored.

      1. I’ve been contemplating changing my name. My thought was that it’d come across as “Missionary’s Kid, Ex Communicated.” Maybe I’ll change to MX
        might be easier πŸ˜€

  3. “It was no simple command that Our Lord gave us when he told us to love our neighbor and He gave us no exclusion clause for people who will never love us back.”

    I’ve never heard it put quite that way before, but you are right, we must love those who treat us poorly (Romans 12).

    Thank you for your wise words.

  4. Thanks for the timely reminder. I’ve been out of fundamentalism for a long time and have been blessed to be able to share a pew with other former fundies who 25 years ago hated my guts. God works in amazing ways and can bring reconciliation where we think it impossible. My prayer for myself is that I speak the Truth (in love) without attacking people or burning bridges.

  5. The most neglected words in the Bible on both sides of the aisle are found in Romans 14:3

    “Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.” (New Living Translation)

    “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” (King James Bible)

    1. –Or as someone has once said, “God reserves the right to use people that I disagree with.”

      It would seem that God is far more tolerant of our inanities than we our of our own.

    2. If somehow I ever become a pastor, this is one of the first passages I plan to teach. That and the passage on offending a fellow Christian.

      If most people realized that the offense was actually causing a weaker believer to stumble, not the current meaning of “I don’t like that, it bothers me”, we would be better off. I think many preachers are guilty of biblical offense, while sitting on their thrones being “offended”.

  6. Wow. That was a great post. I have been thinking about posting on my blog how I am learning in my journey, how paradoxical this life really is.

    The great paradox is always true that the most dogmatic (biblically and theologically “separated”) people are usually the least gracious, unforgiving, unbending, unloving, and sooner or later their house that was built upon the sand comes tumbling down. Also, I am discovering how people who are considered to be the most liberal (biblically uncertain on a few things) are usually the most gracious, the most loving, the most kind people and their kids are often the fruit of a very satisfied and content life.

    I think many of us have to see that the
    fundamentalist trap was necessary to really teach us grace later in life. Then, again, I do not assume every reader here is on the same path and still needs light to find that grace is defined in knowing the person of Jesus and not spending life comparing oneself to the standards of counterfeit churches and counterfeit pastors..Thank you for these good words.

    1. Actually, I’ve found the reverse to be true; the strict standards churches are nice and kind, but they refuse to bend or compromise their standards.

      It is those who are more open that really spue vicious hate at the former.

      There are, of course, exceptions to this.

      1. I have found that the strict-standard churches are fake and or very superfically friendly and very full of themselves and the churches where the people don’t dwell on outward appearance but actually try to have the heart of Jesus are the ones that are humble and genuinely kind and compassionate and generous and forgiving, etc. Oh and the latter are actually way more happy. πŸ˜€

  7. It is humiliating to love those who hate us. It’s humiliating to respond graciously when treated unfairly. Yet Christ has called us to be humble and Himself forgave those who tortured and killed Him! May He give us His Spirit and His power to enable us to live as He did.

    (May He also give us the wisdom to know when to be conciliatory and when to use stronger words. Jesus, Who was Love incarnate, called Pharisees snakes and graves full of rotting bones.)

  8. The difference between many fundamentalists and many liberals is that while the fundies love building walls, thickly mortared with the most impenetrable theological plaster, many (not all) liberals seem to believe there should be no walls or any dividing lines at all. Anything goes; truth is simply your truth, my truth, anyone’s truth — “whatever floats your boat.” The fundies at least have a grasp of the lordship of Christ and of the existence of objective truth. I’m very grateful for having been taught that, despite all the crap that often was the context.

    1. But in the interest of truth, fundies toss out love. The Bible regularly tells us to go neither to the left nor to the right off the path. Those who forsake truth are off the path, but those who forsake love are also off the path, dangerously so.

      “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” Truth without love is not what God wants from us.

    2. As someone who has gone through stages similar to those that you talk about, I’d say it’s less that there’s no truth as there’s no way of knowing whether you discovered truth or if you’re fooling yourself about that. Either there are a lot of very intelligent people who are self deluding themselves, or there’s no such thing as objective truth, or there is such a thing as truth but it’s very hard to discover. I don’t like any of those options really.

    3. …and once you accept that Joe is a smart person who is honestly seeking to find what is true and right but you think they’ve come to some really wrong headed decisions, how can you be quite so sure that your own verities are all that?

      Yes, though that can be abused too. Once you go down that path though it’s easy (at least when you’re 16 or so) to start questioning things like if every time you go to sleep you’re really in massive pain that you just don’t remember… that led to a lot of sleepless nights. I don’t know if you ever envied me my doubt, but there were definitely days where I wished for your faith about anything.

    4. “anything goes,” “Whatever floats your boat.”

      RED FLAGS. These are labels used against any idea that does not fit with my interpretation.

      In my travels I have met atheists who are more ethical, more loving, more helpful than many in my church.

      Isn’t that what the parable of the Good Samaritan is all about? (Today it could be the Good Jehovah’s Witness,” or the “Good Mormon.”

      1. That’s the thing I like about the Good Samaritan; you can put people of any religious or non-religious strip and it can be sooo relevant no matter the time period. Nowadays, I can totally picture the passerby who ignored the injured man as being fundies or someone else super religious, and a wiccan in place of the Samaritan.

  9. There actually is a lot that’s said by Fundamentalists that is good. Many of them are truly Godly people. If they know Christ personally, they are my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. We can’t reject something simply because a “Fundy” puts a lot of emphasis on it. I agree with Eric “Timely and well written”

  10. You know, I woke up really early this morning with a lot on my mind that I wanted to share with Larry on the other thread. After reading this, I think I just want to move on from there and let Larry and God work things out in whatever way God has designed for it. Thank you Darrell. Now if only I could get back to sleep. Oh well. You East Coasters are already halfway done with your mornings. I guess I will stay up with you guys. πŸ˜€

    1. In my new, penitent, Lenten frame of mind, I will not even repeatedly text you, screaming in all caps, WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP!!! You may thank Dar-El.

  11. I never really had a problem getting out. I started to drink the cool aid my second and third year at Pillsbury, but toward the middle of my fourth year certain events woke me up. I spent one last year with the complete realization that I was in the wrong place. I moved over to Maranatha with my eyes wide open. Things seemed pretty good under Cedarholm, but when Weniger came, I saw Maranatha evolving into another Pillsbury. Fortunately, I made my plans early, and I was able to start back to graduate school my forth and fifth year. Physically getting out was the easy part. The paranoias and the feeling that the secret police were there reporting on everything I said lingered for over a year. In 1995, I published an article titled “The Religious Right: Who Are they and Why Are We the Enemy” in the September 1995 **English Journal** really helped me to get things out of my system.

    Two things that I discovered from that publication. One, the fundamentalists considered me THE enemy, and two, I got things out of my system. I presented on this article in the 1997 National Convention of the NCTE, and two people came up to me and asked me why I hate Christ. I couldn’t make them realize that there is a divide between loving Christ and being a Christian and the social and political platforms militant fundamentalists take. They tend to think in blacks and whites. Agree with us, and you’re saved; disagree with us, and you’re an apostate, a God-hater, you were never saved to begin with, and so on. It takes a while to truly believe that you are free.

    There’s a local 1611 KJV Baptist church in my neck of the woods to the south of Erie, PA. I listen to the sermons from their web page, and every time I hear one, I realize that there is very little content, and there is a lot of denunciation. I couldn’t attend a church where we are made to be afraid of other people and the mentality that they are out to get us.

    It’s not easy to work a lot of these things out of the system. The last time I was at Maranatha was to attend the funeral of Mrs. Cedarholm. I could tell that the auras were strong, and even though I know that I’m saved, I felt both some pangs of guilt, but things that completely turned me off were much stronger. The biggest turn-off was this division they promoted between those in fulltime Christian service (the good guys) and those of us who are in secular work (the less than good guys). I play organ in my church, am on the boards of Bethesda Lutheran Home and Thiel College and have worked on a number of committees. I have never seen anything other than love for the brethren, and I know that I am completely in God’s will, no matter what my fundamentalist ex-friends think.

    This may be stupid logic, and I am willing to be corrected on this, but it is Satan who tries to separate us from the love of Christ. He is our only mediator, and Satan wants to damage that connection. Do these fundamentalists realize that they are doing Satan’s work when they try to harm us and make us feel that we are second-rate to God or that God somehow doesn’t love us and rejects us? Again, I am willing to stand corrected on this.

    1. Bob – your last paragraph is not stupid logic. It is actually accurate. Many fundy pastors/sermons I heard spent soo much time telling us how wrong everyone else was. How that is supposed to edify or help, I do not know.

    2. The glorification of “full time Christian service” has done great harm in causing divisions and pride and also in making people who aren’t gifted for pastorship push for that role because they think anything else would mean they’re not really “sold out” for God. It’s so wrong to teach that the really spiritual people become pastors or missionaries and that everyone else just didn’t love God enough. That’s unBiblical!!! It’s also impractical. Who’s going to pay the salary of all those full-time ministers?

      The Bible clearly tells us that the church is a body AND WE ARE ALL NEEDED. None of us can say we’re more important or more holy than another part but together we serve – in unity.

      1. I met someone who lived in a convent for two years.

        “It must have been very peaceful” I commented.

        “Are you kidding?” he replied. “If you have Peace, you can be anywhere. Convents are full of really troubled people who do not have Peace.

        Same with Divinity Schools.

    3. And when separation become isloation you have the makings of a Cult.

      When separation is extened to brothers and sisters in Christ then you have gross sin.

      Christianity was not to be about some monastic elitism but inclusion of the lowest of the low, sinners of sinners, and chiefest among them so that they can see Christ in us. That they might see, and we must remember; that as they are now, we once were spiritually speaking. May God grant that I live that truth more fully.

  12. Just had a discussion with someone about fundies. I can appreciate all I learned there. I learned many facts from the Bible. It’s the application that misses the boat. I love the fundamentals of the faith. The are necessary to Christianity. We miss the point if we make facts and preferences more important than Jesus and His New Testament command. (Matt 22:36-40) Love God with all your heart & love your neighbor. Being a Christian is not complex. That is such a stumblingblock to some. They are compelled to ADD to the simplicity of Christ. Thats when we get a system built upon preferences turned into measuring devices used to declare spirituality.

    1. “it’s the application that misses the boat.”. There is much truth in that statement, Fred. In Fundyism I learned to put so much effort into refuting Salvation by Works that I couldn’t see that I had created my own brand of Daily Grace by Works. The liberation I feel as I look back on those years is hinged on my understanding that Gid’s free gifts of grace, love, and mercy extend eternally beyond the salvation experience into my daily walk. God didn’t only love me enough to save me, He continually loves me enough to pursue an ongoing relationship. It took more than 30 years for me to embrace that concept.

  13. When the post is this good, no one will notice the graphic design.

    I have really worked hard to leave behind the attitudes and tendencies that were really just me aiming the same weapons in a different direction. I still regularly struggle with differentiating between righteous indignation because much of the problems in fundyland are so ignored or papered over, and what becomes vicious and hateful against people who are sincerely wrong, and as much as certain groups and sites would want us to believe otherwise, there are a large percentage of fundies that are really just us a few years ago.

    I knew I had dealt with much of my personal issues when I realized that I was seeking to know God more, I wasn’t flinching at every cliche, and I had developed a much smaller but more certain body of truth I held to dogmatically and militantly than before. I found more issues when I began to realize that much of my anger and fierce opposition to certain fundy institutions or ideas was out of proportion and was not the real issue.

    Sure there are plenty of things within fundamentalism, and some people who have demonstrated complete intransigence that deserve some well placed sarcasm and perhaps even well aimed criticism, but make sure you use the narrow brush and paint accurately.

    1. …and then one day you find out that that your smaller body of truth is ALSO built on sand…

      That is when the rubber meets the road.

      When my (five) Fundamentals turn out to dissolve into man-made doctrines.

      What is God all about?
      What is my relationship with this Dude about?

      How do I share something that -by definition- surpasses all understanding?

      1. I’m not even talking about the fundamentals – but if you are characterizing your relationship with God as a wilderness of mirrors, then what’s the point. (rhetorical question)

        There has to be some reality, and if there’s not, then what are you worried about?

  14. well, one problem with the fundy world is that I lost almost all my “church family” now that I’ve left the church, and also none of them is open to anything different than what they believe is right. They are always right, period.
    Another major problem I do have is that certain people, i.e. the “MOG”, is even more right than the rest of them. He gets to go up to the platform 3 times a week for 45 minutes, undivided uninterrupted attention, and if you disagree with anything that’s being said and you voice it, you are being labeled “unspiritual”. The playing field isn’t level. The consequences of all this bullshit have affected us on a deep level, and the MOG has never even realized how deep it goes, or chooses not to face his abuse. I’m not out there slashing tires, but I’m also not going to hand out any flower bouquets. I’m not fighting the “bitter” label anymore, because that is between my and God. In AA we say, if someone calls me bitter, he is taking my inventory. Maybe someone else isn’t bitter, maybe they’re just good actors.
    There have been so many different interpretations of Scripture, I have a feeling God wrote the Bible in such a way, that it lends itself to various practices (is dancing bad? is it wine or grape juice? is it eternal salvation or can you lose it?), for the purpose that no one can be so darn sure of themselves and their interpretations as to be prideful – and that is where the fundies really lose touch with reality.

    1. “They’re always right, period.” — They’re proud through and through. If there were an ounce of humility, you could find some common ground. Pride leaves no room for grace or generosity or compassion or connection. There are people with whom I’d love to reconcile, but their pride keeps them stiff-arming me.

      1. Indeed. And it is about those proud and unrelenting folks that I write most of my material here.

        Being loving does not always mean being nice. Niceness is often kindness without truth. Hard truths spoken in a mocking tone of voice have their place. And sometimes this too is loving.

        1. I’m sometimes uncomfortable with mocking, but both Elijah and Paul used it, and Jesus used outright insults. Some people will hear the truth in no other way.

      2. I wonder if the arrogant “I’m-always-right” folks are perhaps the most insecure of all?

        I’ve been dealing with a control-freak boss for over 12 years, and, to keep my own sanity, I’ve done a lot of reading on control freaks and micromanagers. All the psychologists seem to agree that control freakery stems from radical insecurity — almost amounting to terror in many cases. It’s so deeply ingrained that the control freak simply CANNOT recognize it — his world would collapse if he faced the truth about himself. (One writer said, “Even seasoned therapists have a hard time convincing a control freak that he’s a control freak,” or words to that effect.) And if an amateur (non-therapist) tries to tell a control freak that he/she is controlling, watch out!! Control freaks are incredibly vindictive and petty, and, in retribution, they can make your life even more miserable than they have already made it.

        Anyway, sorry for rambling on about this. But I think it’s kind of relevant because the control freak, like the folks you describe, is always convinced that he/she is right. You cannot shake that belief; it is so intimately bound up with the control freak’s very being. And again, I think, it goes back to that radical insecurity. Once the control freak admits he/she could be wrong or even (gasp!) *is* wrong, then his/her world spins out of control — which is the control freak’s greatest fear.

        On the numerous occasions when my boss’s control freakery has driven me berserk, I have tried to tell myself, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s not doing it just to be mean or evil. She can’t help herself. It’s her insecurity.” Etc. etc. etc. I must confess this does not work. πŸ™‚ Sure, there are explanations for Why She Is This Way, but that does not make the *effects* of her behavior any less misery-inducing for her poor victims. Yeah, she’s radically insecure, and I should empathize and understand, but she’s still giving me a stress coronary, lol. And stress coronaries are unpleasant. (I’m using hyperbole, obviously. I have often felt sick from the stress induced by this woman, but I haven’t had a heart attack…yet.)

        Anyway, that’s what makes understanding and forgiveness so difficult. Siiiiiggggghhhhh.

        BTW, in recent weeks my boss has become a thousand gazillion times better. I think she is taking chill pills or something. None of my colleagues can get over the transformation. Praise God!!!

        1. LOL! So, do you think there are no genuine control freaks out there? Several people have quit the company expressly because of the boss I was describing. (And at least one of these folks let everyone know that this was his reason for leaving.) Another colleague lost her baby (at five months’ gestation) because of the stress of being subject to this person’s micromanagement. (Her doc said there was no physical explanation she could see except stress.) Control freakery is very real, and I think the MOGs y’all describe may be exhibiting it. Just my two cents’ worth…dime-store psychoanalysis, sure, but that’s the Internet for ya! πŸ˜€

  15. This is an EXCELLENT post, DD, and I am taking it to heart. I can be gracious enough until a troll is making unkind comments, etc., but as you so rightly point out, we are commanded to love without exclusion. Most days, the best I can do is just not reply! But surely that is not really the best I can do. I see others here responding with love and grace, and our Savior is faithful, and will help me to do the same.

    Very well-said. You rock, Dar-El. πŸ˜‰

  16. I was raised in a fundy home, attended a fundy school, was in a fundy church “Every time the doors were open”. I was in attendance at every missions conference, youth conference, camp meeting, chapel service, special assembly, watchnight service, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day service for the first 30 years of my life. I once figured it out that I had heard roughly 4000 sermons by the time I was 12. I looked the part, I dressed the part, I did my duties as a Christian, I went Soul-winning, I taught Sunday School classes and helped out in the nursery, I have set up chairs and cooked meals, I sang in the choir and sat in the pew. I have spent most of my life judging myself by my actions and how they compared to others’ and whether or not I was “good enough” by God’s standards or anyone else’s. Of course laying down all that takes a little more than just walking away from it all. It is a lifetime of re-education and looking at things in a whole new way. When I see myself behaving in the way I was trained to (by judging others for what they are doing, or judging myself by my works) it makes me wonder if I will EVER fully escape my past. I am not bitter about where I have been or what brought me where I am, however I do get angry when I think of the lives wasted by the false teaching and empire building. Thank God for His amazing grace that brought us out. If He could bring ME out of all of it, there is still hope for anyone in it. This site has been SUCH a blessing, and for the most part, I haven’t noticed anyone here being bitter or hateful at all. (Except the ones who come on here with the idea of teaching us all a thing or two) I have seen more kindness and love here than in the churches I grew up in, and also more than I have seen on many other websites that I have visited. I know that many of the people here genuinely care about the others here even though there is a very good chance they will never meet in person and there is nothing they can gain by caring. I know there are people here who have prayed for me and I have prayed for people here that I only know by their screen names. This site has been a major part of healing for me. I didn’t even realize I needed healing until I came here, and as I read others posting about feelings I had buried I had to take them out and re-examine them in the light of the new person that I am. I think I am now rambling… πŸ™„

        1. I agree! Great “ramble.” πŸ˜‰

          — Formerly known as No-Longer-Lurking Catholic (that was too cumbersome, lol)

    1. “When I see myself behaving in the way I was trained to (by judging others for what they are doing, or judging myself by my works) it makes me wonder if I will EVER fully escape my past.”

      Indeed, and then I thank God for the miracle of grace.

  17. Great article Dar-El. One of the things that has changed for me personally is coming face-to-face with who I am as a person (thanks in no small part to fundamentalism). Because of my past, there are certain things, books, conferences, conversations, and people – possibly even good ones – that I just can’t be a part of. They will bring out the bad in me. One thing Jesus proved in his earthly ministry – you can’t fake love.

  18. well put… I’ve had similar thoughts but haven’t been able to say is as well. I’ve been disappointed with a lot of former fundies… who still have a really black and white worldview.

    It seems to me that the opposite of law is grace…. not a different law.
    yeah, you said it better than i.

  19. Great C. S. Lewis quote:

    To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

    This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life – to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son – How can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night “Forgive our trespasses* as we forgive those that trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.

  20. Darrell,
    Pastor recently ordered nametags for the congregation. He had to get them with the magnetic backs because the ladies were having a fit with the pins poking holes in their jumpers. He said that it served two purposes. One was that we would know who the visitors were and the other was that it would help everyone greet each other by name. The church is getting larger each week because of the church a little ways away that recently began sending their youth to a more liberal, compromising youth camp in North Georgia. The people there are just horrified at the compromise they see. One day, the youth pastor said he wished he could just say “Hey, Dad” when he prayed to God!! Can you imagine!!!??

    We will also wear them when we go soul-winning or even when we have Sunday School outings. He said that people will know we are Christian by our modest and appropriate clothing. And now they will know which kind of Christian we are since the church name is on the nametag.

    I’ve ordered two because I know that I will leave it on a blazer or sweater at some point and will need the spare I will keep in my wallet. Titus said, “Now THAT’S stewardship!” Isn’t he funny!!

    1. WHOA!!! Why do YOU have a wallet? A woman has no business taking care of the money? That’s the MAN’S job. You better get in your place before Titus has to break out the rod of correction.

      I’ll pray for you and your rebellion, sister.

    2. Dear CMG,
      I am a little surprised that the women of your church would be wearing something like a name tag that is designed to draw the eye to that portion of her body like that. I mean, you might as well just wear nothing if you are going to put a big sign on your chests that people are naturally drawn to look at. The whole idea behind modesty is to make your feminine attributes invisible to anyone who isn’t your husband. You should know better. Perhaps you could all make for yourselves aprons with names embroidered on them somewhere besides the chest area or the hem. (Wouldn’t want to draw anyone’s eyes down there to look at your legs either) I hope you will take this advice in the spirit in which it is given. In my church we find if the women all stay busy enough with the work that is to be done, we don’t really need to know everyone’s name. It helps cut down on gossip and idle talk too. πŸ™„

      1. BRAINSTORM!!!! We make embroidered HEADBANDS! That way observers eyes are drawn to a woman’s FACE!

        Women can be employed at home doing the feminine art of sewing. The headbands can have the woman’s name, her church name, a Bible verse, whatever they want.

        This could be the next best selling fashion item in fundy circles if we sell it the right way. And of course the selling point is “name tags draw attention to your chest.” We could TOTALLY guilt people into buying name-headbands: we could call them NameBands! πŸ˜‰

        1. Or maybe we could make name arm bands. Would they look nice with a pretty star of David on them?

          Too much? Sorry.

        2. Mmmm, I dunno, Pastor’s Wife. Doesn’t the apostle Paul say something about not braiding (i.e. “prettying-up”) hair? I think head bands might be too fancy-schmancy…plus, if a woman covers her glory (the way she’s supposed to πŸ˜‰ ), a headband wouldn’t be seen.

          A personalized collar is really the best way to go. πŸ™„

        3. Or white ankle socks (to wear with the white Keds) with the name embroidered on the outer edge might work. That way when women have their eyes downcast they can see it.

  21. I understand your feelings Darrell. It is the way of the Christian to work to become more Christlike. I raised grapes for a while, and it made the grapevine analogy in John 15 real. Every year, I cut the vines back 75% or more. That is what God does to us, remove the old so we grow and stay fruitful. Sometimes, we need to look at ourselves. πŸ™‚

    1. No need to contact them. A whole bunch of them are already reading here and telling all the rest.

      I suppose they’ll comment if and when they are ready. I have never censored a fundamentalist here just for having a different point of view and they know that.

  22. Very insightful, Darrell. It does give me pause to think about the nature of my “judging”. Certainly God asks us to call out evil and injustice, but so much that we do (or that we experienced) was done in a punitive manner. All four legs down, please … I like that image.

  23. As fundies, we spent a great deal of time defining ourselves in terms of what we were NOT. Sometimes it got so we couldn’t explain what we believed without putting down a lot of other people. I remember numerous ideas and plans being rejected for no other reason than “The Catholics do that.”

    When Fundy becomes one of the things we are NOT, this is a hard habit to break.

  24. This is a good topic for a reminder. I was mulling over some of this while under the house repairing the furnace. This may be long, but I need the sermon.

    We are told to love our enemies. This is an interesting command in light of our culture. We look at love as an emotion, but it isn’t. Love is an action. The best definition of love I can ever remember hearing is that it is “giving to meet the needs of another”. The emotions of affection, lust, desire, longing, sentiment, etc. are not love. (Our culture has confused them with love.) We learn to love the people we have these emotions for, and learn to dislike those we have the emotions of annoyance, anger, disgust, resentment, etc.

    Loving an enemy doesn’t require we like them. But, as a side effect, when we decide to love someone, we don’t usually continue to see them an enemy. They don’t necessarily become friends, and they may still be hard to get along with, but you will see them differently. They may decide to continue enmity. That is their decision. I have been told to love them. To meet their needs. to give them water in His name, not mine.

    I had preached this in a sermon at two churches early last year. Mine, a sort of fundy-light, and my dad’s, a KJV, skirts on women, shouldn’t work on Sunday fundy church. Two of the rhetorical questions I asked got some interesting looks. One was “When was the last time you prayed for the salvation of Barack and Michelle Obama? Not their replacement, their salvation?” The other was more of a statement. “What if AIDS was put here, not as a punishment for a particular life-stlye, but as a way for the Church to reach out and minister to a group they have shunned. If so, we failed”

    Darrell made me remember this this morning. I have let my pride in “growing” cause me to fill the gaping holes in my spiritual life with a new holier than thou attitude. Pride in my humility.

    I guess I rambled and digressed a bit, and I’m not sure this all fits. It’s just the direction my thoughts have gone as I read the comments today. Thanks for letting me have a say. I’m going to putter in the garage. Back to work tomorrow…….

      1. “We look at love as an emotion, but it isn’t. Love is an action.”

        Isn’t it both? ❓

        I know I personally struggle so much with hypocrisy, with going through the motions of Christian service and “looking good” on the outside whilst having the wrong motivations on the inside. For me, it stems from my Fundy upbringing of “Love is an action” or “Love is sacrifice” and then equating action or sacrifice with love. πŸ™ Godly love motivates loving action, surely, but actions construed as loving may be rooted in selfishness.

        Getting to know God better, to see Him more clearly through the glass of Scripture and not the distorting lens of Fundamentalism has given me a love for God I’ve never had before. :mrgreen: Because of this love, I want to give Him the service (action) I’ve been giving all along. The difference is, I’m now giving of myself because I want to, not because I should. πŸ™‚

        1. Godly love motivates loving action, surely, but actions construed as loving may be rooted in selfishness.

          I agree. Only you and God know your heart. If the service to Him isn’t real, He knows it. No one else does, and He can help with that.

          As for the love is sacrifice, also preached as service is sacrifice, I have decided I do not like that phrase. When I do something I WANT to do, I never feel a sacrifice. If I do it because I believe god wants it, out of love, I don’t feel I lose or give up anything. When I used to do things because the moG or someone else convinced me of it, then I felt like I was losing or giving up something.

          I don’t want to detract from true sacrifice. I just don’t think it is properly taught in the IFB world.

      1. It is possibly presumptuous. But my point was to a group of people who are definitely not his supporters, and who have little nice or positive to say about him, at least publicly. And they are mostly non-white, which makes for some interesting discussions.

        They are big on the KJV and many other things we poke fun at on SFL, and yet have many mixed race couples and aren’t afraid to shout and sway when they sing. A lot of fun to worship with, in spite of a bit of legalism.

      2. I would say it’s rather uninformed to assume the Obamas aren’t believers, since they are active churchgoers.

        However Christians of the “we are the only saved ones” camp might not consider them “saved,” on various technicalities.

  25. When we consider that we who were once the enemies of God – we whose sins Jesus took upon himself – were made heirs of God, it kind of takes the wind out of our sails when it ocmes to our interaction with others.

  26. I am not required to tolerate those who wish to harm me. The entirety of Christian Brand Behavior and Politics is directly aimed at harming me and mine.

    My gods do not command me to love my enemies. They do not require forgiveness.

    However, in my efforts to be a better person, I am trying to let go of the anger and shame of my fundy days.

    1. this is the point were I can’t seem to really get back on board with the whole Christian living. My personal mess started when I couldn’t love those around me anymore, because they were all walking all over me. So now I feel defeated just thinking about getting back on board. I have no idea what grace means in the sense of it bridging the gap from “I can’t” to the “He can” everybody always talks about.

      1. templewoman, I’m still struggling with figuring out how to let the Spirit live in and through me.

        These books are some that have been helpful to me:

        “Tired of Trying to Measure Up: Getting Free from the Demands, Expectations, and Intimidation of Well-Meaning People” by Jeff VanVonderen (He also wrote “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.”)

        “Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life” by Emily P. Freeman

        “When I Don’t Desire God” by John Piper (as a follow-up to his well-known “Desiring God”; I like that it deals with the issue of when you just don’t have any desire anymore).

        “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend

        1. thanks, I will look for those. I read the spiritual abuse book by vanvonderen, I like John Piper, and my older son, back when all this crap was going on, had read the boundaries book, and told me “Mom, what’s going on with you and (my stepdaughter) – You need to set some boundaries.” that was too funny.
          Getting on Melcat right now (Michigan library system)

  27. This post was well-written, timely, and necessary. Thank you.

    On this topic, one characteristic God has been teaching me is patience. After having grown up in a fundy setting, I remained firmly fundy though voices of reason surrounded me for a very long time. Now that I am on the other side, I often want EVERYONE to see from my current perspective IMMEDIATELY. God has reminded me of the amount of time and the process surrounding my journey to where I am currently. It isn’t gracious of me to be impatient with others since I don’t know where God is in His process of leading them. It’s His timing anyway.

    As a footnote, I do not believe I have now “arrived” at the correct answers to every question. I think the characteristic of “having-arrivedness” is very prevalent among fundies.

  28. You guys are to be applauded.

    I have occasionally seen posts on other blogs where the author says about himself and the camp in which most of his readers reside, “maybe we need to look at this issue and be sure that we aren’t doing wrong”. Every other time that this has happened, you can’t go more than a few comments in, before the defensiveness and/or word-parsing starts.

    But none of that here — you folks took it to heart.

    Very refreshing and very different from the norm.

  29. Enjoyed the article, and I agree. As a matter of fact, I wrote something similar with regard to the way many non-denoms act legalistically towards those who are not as inclined to wear shorts and flip flops to church. Judgmentalism and legalism can go both ways.

    1. My new church doesn’t waste time criticizing other believers, they just go about loving people and each other. I am proud of what my new church family does and doesn’t do. It’s so refreshing. πŸ˜€ And, maybe I missed something, why are so many of you calling Darrell, Dar EL or whatever?

        1. HA! Me too! I used to LOVE that game. But I had cheat codes and just built houses… and furnished them lavisly.

  30. Excellent post. Reminds me again of this beautiful bit from St. Thomas Aquinas:

    We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject. For both have labored in the search for truth and both have helped us in the finding of it.

    And, in a nice coincidence, I had this little piece from the same in my Facebook newsfeed today:

    We owe our neighbor two things: (1) Love. We owe our neighbor love, because he is our brother, seeing that we are God’s children . . . (2) Reverence. We owe our neighbor reverence, because he is a child of God: β€˜Have we not all one Father?”

  31. Thank you for the reminder, Darrell. πŸ™‚ I’ve been struggling with my view of Fundies lately, vacillating from disgust to pity…and then I remember where I was and how God has never given up me, even when I completely missed the point

    I recently heard a former-Fundy pastor say in regards to Fundamentalists, “I believe the vast majority of Fundamentalists believe they are doing what God wants them to do. They are sincere, but they are, sadly, sincerely wrong in their approach.”

    The Fundy approach is often doubly painful to me, because I not only see the damage being done, but I am also reminded of the times I caused the same hurt to others. In my current efforts to be UN-Fundy by showing love to groups generally ostracized by the church, I too often forget that Fundies are hurting, broken people in need of God’s love, too.

    Lord, let me be an instrument of Thy peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
    Where there is injury, pardon.
    Where there is doubt, faith.
    Where there is despair, hope.
    Where there is darkness, light.
    Where there is sadness, joy.

    O Divine Master,
    Grant that I seek not so much to be consoled, as to console;
    To be understood, as to understand;
    To be loved, as to love.
    For it is in giving, that we receive.
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

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