Exhaustion

Whatever else they may be, fundamentalists on the whole are very, very tired people. They’re told that they must rise before the dawn to do lengthy devotions and commit themselves to prayer. The men must go to their jobs early and stay late in order to be pleasing to their masters while the women are busy cooking, cleaning, teaching, sewing, organizing, and serving.

Then there are church duties to be maintained; church work days to attend; church projects to complete. Soul-winning and bus ministry are hours out of each week even when there aren’t one countless special services, conferences, and revivals that go on through the year. Even brief vacations carry the requirement of finding a church to attend.

So when the weary fundamentalist finally reaches that day of rest and gladness on Sunday and drags himself into his pew he will find there no more rest for his soul than he has had rest for his body. For all his labor will not be enough to sate the son of a horseleach who stands in the pulpit and screams “Give! Give!” as if the people in the pew have are not already fully spent. And so those hapless souls repair once again to their grindstones to see if they can appease the angry god who’s yoke and burden are heavy indeed.

There may be no rest for the wicked but the ultra-righteous would seem also to find little respite for their bodies and souls.

155 thoughts on “Exhaustion”

  1. Even God took a day of rest, and Jesus encouraged rest on occasion. And, if Sunday is supposed to be strictly for worship, why all the pressure to work at the church on that day?

    I think people have a great talent to make more work and stress for themselves than necessary.

  2. I’d expect they justify this on the basis that Jesus was prepared to sacrifice his entire life for the cause…

    However, Jesus still took time alone. He ate. He slept. He even tried to excuse himself for extended periods to recuperate. I think fundiddlies can extend themselves the same graces ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Great post. So true and full of wisdom.

      And Jesus is God and he did all of those things.

      It’s amazing that since I was 10 years in the IFB and now almost ten years out, that Scriptures will pop into my mind and I’ll go..that’s how the Holy Spirit Works. While were on that subject, I’m still learning how that works too! And it’s an amazing too!

    2. I find that most fundamentalists don’t care for about Jesus very much. They do a lot of lip-service, and preach a lot of OT wrath and judgement, but they do their best to stay away from Jesus and His teachings. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

      In my old age, I have decided to spend my time trying to pattern my choices, words, and lifestyle in the way Jesus did when He was walking the earth in His human body. It’s all about focussing on the inside out instead of the outside in.

      1. I sooo love this! I’ve found the past few years that the book of Matthew speaks to me, more than it ever did when I was fundy/pente. Jesus had some very explicit things to say about how we should live our lives and how we should follow him. Why is it that this is so passed over in the fundy tradition?

  3. Dear SFL Reader:

    ‘For all his labor will not be enough to sate the son of a horseleach who stands in the pulpit and screams โ€œGive! Give!โ€ as if the people in the pew have are not already fully spent.’

    In other words …

    ‘They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” [2Pe 2:19]

    Christian Socialist

    PS: I confess that the phrase ‘son of a horseleash’ is new to me, although I do like it. That said, I have sometimes spoken of some preachers with reference to a certain portion of the horse’s anatomy.

  4. Darrell,

    In agony I read your post as all the memories rushed to the forefront of my mind; the urgency of every single minute having to be well-spent for the church under an angry God, who was never ever pleased!

    I remember fighting my fatigue in the college, in studies, in church and an over-all life that was pushed beyond healthy. It was a far cry from… “my yoke is easy and my burden is light…” (Matt.)

    And then, Darrell, from the agony of the memories I smiled and felt such a sense of exhilaration to know that I’ve been one of the fortunate ones who have escaped those burdens!

    I may not have all those treasures in heaven laid up as all those fundamentalists are striving to attain which in itself is self-serving, to be sure, but my efforts now are purely of my own will and given freely rather than subliminally demanded or outright dictated by a “man of A MAN” standing behind a pulpit!

    ~~~Heart ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    1. I could have so easily written this… What Darrell wrote here is one of the major issues that started to open my eyes.

      People who got only a few hours of sleep were lifted up; demands for more and more time… it was quite a wake-up call to read Jesus’ words “My yoke is easy and my burden is light

      I realized that my burden was very heavy and nothing was easy, and that it wasn’t coming from Jesus, but from the leadership at the church.

      Praise the Lord for His word!

  5. Ahhh memories.
    If you are not working yourself to the bone then God is ashamed of you. I remember my time at Fundy U as being especially bad. I worked full time, often until past midnight. I would have to be out of bed after only four or five hours of sleep to go to class. I would get up early to go out on soulwinning every Saturday. Sunday I would get up even earlier to go pick people up and bring them to church.
    The people at the factory I worked at thought I was strange. Every time there was a break, whether a fifteen minute break or for lunch I would climb up on my work bench and fall asleep immediately.

    1. Yeah, my wife who went to Bob Jones talks about getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night most of the time (she was an RA so she had duties after lights out). There were plenty of nights in college when I only got 3-4 hours of sleep but it wasn’t because I was passionately burning myself out doing ministry work ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. I remember those days as well. I worked two part time jobs, took 18 credit hours, and had bus ministry while I was at HAC. That schedule just about killed me, and I can honestly say I learned very little related to God there, just more about famous figures of the movement. It’s crazy to look back on it now and see just how much we did and how it was never, ever enough.

  6. For all his labor will not be enough to sate the son of a horseleach who stands in the pulpit and screams โ€œGive! Give!โ€ as if the people in the pew have are not already fully spent.

    Was that a thinly veiled reference to Proverbs 30:15 (“The leech has two daughters. โ€˜Give! Give!โ€™ they cry.”)? It’s rather appropriate, and very fitting! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  7. I think this post has resonated with me as no other post on SFL has before. The main reason I gave for quitting IFB and being generally fed up with organized religion was exhaustion. Not only from work but from mind games, unwritten rules, etc.

    Although I believe IFB is the worst it’s by no means the only. One of my coworkers goes to a non-denom and their days are so full of projects and ministry for the church that they hardly have time for their spouse. It’s just sad.

    1. You are certainly correct, IFB isn’t the only group out there! And I “get” your entire post.

      Many years ago, I remember a comment made about newly married couples in a certain well-known Christian college. All was lovely and romantic at first, and then suddenly the young wives just didn’t ‘understand’ why their husbands were gone all the time and so busy. No, they sure didn’t understand, and I was told some of the marriages didn’t make it. Very sad, but not surprising.

      1. No matter what the religious group, it is enslavement to a man-centered theology and grace is thrown aside in favor of it being all about us and what we can do. Unfortunately many families, especially children, suffer because of that mindset.

    1. I enjoyed learning Greek but was ultimately confused by the IFB’s tendency to belittle scholarship. Studying the original languages certainly opened my eyes to the narrow vision of fundamentalism.

      1. My wife, who sometimes posts here, was reading a Danish bible while she was at PCC. Someone asked her if it was translated from the KJV. She replied that, of course not, it was translated from the original texts. This outraged/shocked her fellow student. I’m trying to wrap my head around the kind of mentality that thinks you’d get a better version of the Bible by translating a translation. I suppose it goes to the idea that if you preach the KJV is the absolute word of God… and then learn enough Greek, Latin, Aramaic, etc, to read the originals… and enough linguistic knowledge to know hard it is to make exact, one-for-one translations of all but the simplest words, as most languages have things like “this word means a, b, or c in Language 1, but in Language 2, this word means something like b but we have a different word that means a and d, and another word that’s sort of like c but not quite”, that you are left with a “best possible approximation of the likely intended meaning, but, given that, it’s best not to obsess endlessly over single words or phrases, but instead to focus on the overall meaning and not be too literalistic”.. you’ll have trouble selling people on your nit-picking, hyper-focused, absolutely literal, spin on things.

        In other words, just as the Catholics didn’t want people reading the Bible in English, lest they discover that “undulgences” aren’t in there, Fundies don’t want people studying the Bible in the original language, or in multiple translations, lest they figure out the “absolute, unalterable, Word Of God” is, in fact, a best-guess approximation of what dozens of writers over thousands of years in multiple languages and with many different cultural backgrounds and no contact with each other put down, and it’s a lot better to focus on the big ideas (Love each other. Don’t be total fuckwad. Even if you are a fuckwad, God still loves you and wants you to try to be less of one, ‘kay?) than on small details.

        1. Your post brings back memories. A certain JKVO fundy MOG was preaching out of II Kings where the KJV says that the ax head swims. He was down in Mexico and had someone translating for him who kept saying “flotar”. Realizing that the Spanish Bible must have written it a different way, this mog goes on to make a big deal of the difference between swimming and floating, all the while knowing that the translator was completely stuck. The controversy the preacher was preaching about wasn’t a controversy in their language. I walked away from that conference shaking my head and that started me wondering about the Double Inspiration of the King James Bible – a doctrine I abandoned soon after. I don’t know how you can translate for any length of time and still believe in the double inspiration doctrines.

        2. This person your wife was talking to sounds like a “Ruckman-ite”. I had never heard of Peter Ruckman until I went to PCC. This guy claims that the KJ translation corrects the original languages using some made up story of double re-inspiration. Talk about backwards. The people from his cult could be found at a major intersection on mainland pensacola florida shouting at cars hell and doom and holding illegible signs while people sit at traffic lights. Now mind you – these are major intersections so they were huge – and you couldnt even make out what they were yelling. These people considered this part of their “ministry” to the community and “spreading the gospel”. I felt bad for the poor children trapped in this cult by their parents, but I wanted to shake some sense into the adults.

        3. @Teddy — I had to go to Wikipedia to look up Ruckman. Erm. He’s, uh, quite a character. There’s probably a specific term for this kind of mental illness — an obsessive focus on a single thing, with any disagreement being “fraud”, “filth”, “lies”, “perversion”, etc. That he chose the KJV for his focus is mostly irrelevant; it could be anything. Hell, there’s people who write similar screeds about a particular programming language or style of music, the same kind of extreme line-drawing and classification, the same declarations that anyone disagreeing is insane, moronic, or both. He just rolled “Bible” on the “What are you nuts over?” chart.

        4. Just a small note here- I’m a historian, medievalist to be exact. It wasn’t so much that the RCC didn’t want the Bible translated into the vernacular (mostly English) because of their doctrine of indulgences (the abuse of which comes somewhat after the translations), but because the increase in English literacy at the same time as the early English translations were appearing coincides with a sudden rash of heretical movements, such as the Lollards. People were reading the translations, such as Wyclife (who was later burned) and getting crazy ideas the conflicted with orthodox doctrine. Rather than address the people’s ignorance and hunger for real teaching, the church went after the translations and the heresies the sprung up because of them. This is not unlike people turning to the NIV because they can understand it and relate it to real life. We don’t live in a Jacobean world- why must we live with a Jacobean Bible?

    1. Yeah, the difference is that at least in Catholicism, your good works count for something. Fundies say, you and your good works are as filthy rags (and we are going to treat you like they are), but do them anyway!!!!

      1. I went to Catholic school, worked in a Catholic school and have been Catholic for three and half years now. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what these “works” I have to do are. Hint for all of you: the sacraments are not “works” that anyone does.

        1. If I understand correctly, there are to sets:

          The Corporal Works of Mercy
          1. To feed the hungry
          2. To give drink to the thirsty
          3. To clothe the naked
          4. To harbor the harborless
          5. To visit the sick
          6. To ransom the captive
          7. To bury the dead

          The Spiritual Works of Mercy
          1. To instruct the ignorant
          2. To counsel the doubtful
          3. To admonish sinners
          4. To bear wrongs patiently
          5. To forgive offenses willingly
          6. To comfort the afflicted
          7. To pray for the living and the dead

          So says the Catholic Encyclopedia online.

          In other words, help other people and don’t be obnoxious.

  8. We were recently on vacation at my parents’, and we decided to stay an extra day, which required us to make the 30-hour trip back home over a Saturday/Sunday, so my husband could be back to work on Monday. My parents’ pastor, on Wednesday evening service, asked us where we would be stopping for church on Sunday. I was SO taken aback–besides the fact that we would have to drive all day Saturday, all night, and all day Sunday to get home in time, I couldn’t believe that he thought we were going to stop for church while we were traveling. With three small children. In all fairness, he’s not a jerky fundy pastor like a lot of them are, but, honestly!

    1. I think a lot of pastors ask stuff like this as a way of trying to prove (to themselves and their congregations) how hyper-spiritual they are. I often wonder if they really mean it.

  9. Or, you can be like a lot of matriarchal fundie families, like the one I grew up in.

    A family where the dad wears himself out and develops a heart condition working 70+ hours a week as a physician so that (although he can’t afford to help his kids pay for college and tells them that they need to “earn it themselves”) he can afford to give 30% (yep, he was a triple tither) of his income to church in exchange for which he receives the “swing vote” spot on the 7-member deacon board and is literally the ONLY member of the church who is allowed to dissent against the pastor. The father misses the occasional Wednesday or other week-night service and rarely goes on visitation or participates in other ministry but that’s no biggie because his big beautiful check is in the offering plate faithfully every week.

    A family where the mother sings in the choir, but doesn’t participate in ANY other ministry because “her family is her ministry” (which is code for “I sit on my ass on the Facebook all day while my ‘homeschooled’ kids run the household instead of getting an education”). The mother doesn’t mind three or more church services a week and in fact states that she “wishes we had church every day” because for her, fundamentalism reinforces the complete mind control that she exerts her family at home, where she runs 2-3 hour family devotion marathons several times a week which she also loves because, again, having all the kids sitting under the sound of her voice for hours on end represents the complete and utter total control she craves.

    A family where the kids do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, lawn care, child care, most of the errands, etc., all while being denied adequate time to complete their education and being browbeaten by their parents for not “having a good attitude” and who, in addition to working all day at home, are expected to make mom and dad look good by singing in the choir, playing the piano/organ, going on visitation, deaf ministry, being active in the youth group, etc. Kids who are physically, verbally, and emotionally abused, but who are told that everything that is wrong with their home is their fault because they have “rebellion as the sin of witchcraft” and have “bad character” and “bad attitudes” and are “bitter.” Kids who are told that they will have to earn their own way in life and will receive no help from mom and dad, but who are prohibited from working in any job at which they might “be exposed to soft rock music” (which is code for “you aren’t allowed to have a paying job as long as you live in our house – you are completely dependent on us and we like it that way”).

    A family where no adult child is recognized for anything they have achieved with their life unless it involves pouring themselves, heart and soul, into building the IFB church and “laying heavy burdens” on countless innocent souls. A family where making an unsuspecting soul “twice the child of hell that you are” is valued more than education, marriage, careers, success, recognition, etc. A family where conflict is a sign of “persecution for righteousness sake.” A family where “gossip” is defined as “you telling the truth about us” and where bitterness is defined as “you daring to allege that we have any flaws.”

    Oh yes, I am exhausted. But not exactly in the way Darrell describes here! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    1. I am so sorry, Deacon’s Son. I am so sorry.

      I’m not sure where you stand on the whole God issue now so I don’t mean this as an attempt to lay another heavy yoke on you.

      But I pray that Father will continue to make known his incredible love and grace, that you will be aware of his arms wrapped around you in peace and compassion, that you find him ready to carry the burden of those years of abuse while finding that his yoke truly is easy, that life will be something to be enjoyed, and that Father truly becomes the Abba you always hoped for (even if you never dared to believe it to be true).

    2. Deacon’s Son,
      You can be proud for having the intelligence to see through the hypocrisy, and the strength of mind to think for yourself. Freedom is all the more beautiful for the memory of our chains.

    3. Deacon’s Son,

      The first thing that comes to mind is Aaron’s prayer for the people of Israel:

      The Lord lift up The LORD bless you, and keep you; the LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.

    4. Your third example is very like how I grew up- and I don’t know how many times I heard ‘rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft’. And we were reminded what happened to the Children of Israel when they grumbled.

  10. In the immortal words of DEVO, “Crack that Whip!”

    Christ took all our suffering all our pain and all our judgment yet the SOH’s will stand in the pulpit and continually lash, cut and wound while believing they are doing God’s work, in God’s name for the cause of Christ.

    Many churches today resemble a Roman Galley more than the meeting place of the redeemed. Many SOH’s resemble Quintus Arrius more than a loving shepherd. From the pulpit many times the message is closer to that of Quintus, “Now listen to me, all of you. You are all condemned men. We keep you alive to serve this ship. So row well, and live,” than of Christ,“Come to me all you who are weary and heavily burdened and I will give you rest.”

  11. I still have fundy friends, and when they describe a typical Sunday (“Day of Rest”) to me, it sounds exhausting. I love that my non-fundy church has a Saturday night service option. With that, I can take my Sundays and truly have a day of rest without missing the weekend worship service that I know I need.

  12. Great post today.

    It’s a sad fact that too many families are sacrificed on the altar of “serving God”. I count my family as one of those. My parents are no longer together, and one of the big reasons is that my mom realized my dad spent more time at church than he did with her. And of course, my dad believed that he was doing the right thing.

    “Only one life, โ€™twill soon be past,
    Only whatโ€™s done for Christ will last.โ€

    Has anyone ever heard this poem mis-used as a manipulative tool? I swear my Pastor quoted this a thousand times from the pulpit when I was growing up.

    1. I practically had that verse tattooed on my forehead growing up. I’m also a PK that got sacrificed in so many ways for the ministry. Every single time something would come up, we would either get “Only One Life” or “Others, Lord, Let this my motto be” quoted for us. Many times we would write these as punishment.
      Ok, I have to go stop twitching now! This one really gets me sometimes. I just got out of a fundy sermon about service and what can you do and that whole line of thought is enough to put me to twitching.

    2. I had to embroider that little poem, complete with a little picture of a cuckoo clock,and it was framed and on my wall from the time I was about 10 on. I don’t remember what happened to it, if I kept it after I was married.

  13. I remember being on vacation in London, England with my wife a few years ago. We attended the Metropolitan Tabernacle and were invited over to the home of one of the deacons for lunch after the morning service. We were told at the lunch table that they would like us to join them at a Sunday School programme that was conducted in the afternoon in a nearby neighbourhood before going to evening service.

    If we had been back home, this would have been normal for us, but being on vacation my wife urged me not to accept the invitation as there were many sights she had wanted to see. After much pressure I did end up rejecting the family’s invitation, but not without feeling much guilt and a spirited expression of displeasure with my wife afterward.

    Now that she’s gone I wish I’d spent more Sunday afternoons with her…

    1. Awwww…. My heart goes out to you and I feel the same way! My dad and brother passed at early ages and I’d give anything to take back that time immersed in the work of the church for more time spent with them, all my family and enjoying life, rather than slaving for the church!

      Enjoy and relish your memories!

      ~~~Heart ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Let me guess, the fact that the father is out busting his ass 70 hours a week gives the mother ammunition to claim he’s not there for her and is neglecting the family…

    This has been discussed before on the site. A lot of people claim that IFBx holds down and hates women. Some of us have a different experience, where women are able to adapt to the situation and use it to manipulate and control men. They trade tokens of submission, such as wearing dresses, in exchange for real power. They may not sit on any boards but they control the church through their husbands, who are pussy whipped or timid or have mommy issues or whatever.

    Both kinds of stories are true.

  15. One principal at the Christian school spoke of exhaustion as a sign of a true and committed teacher. If we weren’t exhausted we didn’t care about our jobs or love our students and were bad Christians. Another constantly talked about how “real Christian teachers” hate snow days and pray against them.

    The sad thing is that culture of exhaustion as a virtue is prevalent in all schools, public or private. It just isn’t so blatantly stated in all of them.

    1. Speaking as a Christian school teacher…I pray for snow days! ๐Ÿ˜€

      In the past, I lived exhausted – committing myself totally to my job, until I remembered I had a husband & three kids. So, I stopped bringing work home except when I absolutely had to. My work is at work – my home is “sacred.”

      The world didn’t stop spinning, my teaching hasn’t suffered. And – surprisingly – our administrator agrees with me.

  16. What part of “The Sabbath was made for man” did they miss?

    The whole thing! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    My hubby and I try to take off one day a week now to rest. For us, that’s on the weekends. It isn’t always like this for us, but I tell ya, on the days where I don’t do nuttin’ I feel so much better. Even a half day helps. I wonder how much of the IFB is sick b/c of this. It would be great to see some scientific data.

    Anywho, it’s Frankenstorm at my house here in VA, and I have one child who came down with a fever today and these have been knows to spread. And just Tropical Storms (Isobel and Gaston) have knocked out power for days, even weeks in the almost decade I’ve lived here and the Weather Channel is calling it a Superstorm! One of my elderly neighbors just came home to do hospice care, and I’m wonder how this will affect her. At any rate, we’ll all be there for each other like we were in the past. At this point, we have three days and I’m preparing for Katrina cause they called that right. All I have to do is pick up one prescription, and I’m done. I don’t want one of these right now! I had a bad week already LOL! And I’ve had four hours of sleep in the last two days. It’s been a helluva week, ya’ll! ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    I don’t know how many of the SFL Brethren here are on the East Coast, but stay safe, and God Bless.

    1. Well the Governor has declared a state of emergency.

      40- 60 MPH sustained winds and 4 to 8 inches in my area. Tornadoes and lots of power outages. Outer rain bands tomorrow.

      1. Yep. Sustained winds means it will be an Isobel and that *could* be two weeks just like Isobel. And that caught this state off guard even then.

        That’s the latest.

  17. Work for the night is coming,
    work for you M O G.
    Work for the preachers calling,
    the busses now to clean.
    Work, keep the doors a knockin,
    work, find twelve families.
    For if you meet your quota,
    a staff position you may receive.

  18. Before I was born, my parents taught at a fundy Christian school. There’s little talk about their experience there, but I do know they never had enough money.

    So, the year I was born, my dad took a public school job in which he was very successful. My dad is a workaholic, stretching himself very thin. He led music and the choir at church, was the “youth pastor” for the youth group, led the game time for Awanas (while handling the youth group), all the while working as a high school band director. I know for school, he worked 70+ hours during marching band season and he was still at church 100% of the time.

    Then my dad went back to grad school (already having a masters degree in music – from a secular college, no doubt) to become a principal. He was a fulltime graduate student, driving buses at the airport shuttle (which was an hour from home) *and* still keeping up with his church duties. He then became a principal and stopped leading youth group and Awanas.

    My parents moved from our hometown not long ago, and now my dad just goes to church, and not even a fundy church anymore. I’m so glad. My old fundy church ran him ragged. I believe the only reason my parents stuck around there was because they felt there was no other way to “properly” raise me. Now that I’m not a child, my mom talks to me about the experiences at my old fundy church and I just can’t believe they stuck around. I left when they moved and have never looked back.

  19. My mom recently left fundystan after 30 years of service. Now she attends Catholic masses with her father and brother and is starting to get involved in their church. She has said that when evaluating new churches, the first thing that goes through her mind is “What can I do/where can I serve” before she even thinks about if she likes the location, the priest, the homily, etc. She has said it is a very hard habit to break.

  20. I can relate. The problem I ran into was that I enjoyed the ministry. At my old church, during a time in which I was working 3 part-time secular jobs, I was very heavily involved in church. Bus route (visitation on Saturdays, early Sunday pick-ups, etc.) Choir (practice wed. nights and before services), special singing groups (practice on Sun. aft ๐Ÿ˜Ž ernoon, Kids club (Wed. From end of school to church time). I was emotionally and physically exhausted but whenever I thought about what to give up I couldn’t decide. I loved the people I worked with on my bus route; I loved the kids I worked with on wednesdays; and I really enjoyed singing.

    I know the yoke is easy and the burden is light but what’s wrong with compassion?

    I’m not trying to be rude but could someone attempt to reconcile this ?

    (I was a single parent as well at the time with 1/2 custody of my son with whom I spent as much time as I could.)

    1. No thoughts? No answers? Am I the only one here who cares about people?*

      *to be clear, I’m not saying you have to be as involved as I was to “care about people.” I’m just wondering where the balance is. Jesus never told someone he was too tired to help them. He even healed people on the Sabbath.

      1. Don’t try to guilt people into answering; that’s a fundy technique. You are not the only person to care about people.

        Live a balanced life. If you find that working three jobs, doing the bus route, singing in the choir AND special groups, teaching in a club and taking care of your child is too much, then you need to give something up. Your child is your first priority — being physically there for the little one and providing financially are the most important things you can do. Anything else is optional. If you are too exhausted after working three jobs, working a bus route, singing in the choir AND special groups and teaching a kids’ club to provide for the emotional needs of your child, then you need to re-evaluate. If you’re good with all that, then you’re fine.

      2. If you want to try some guilt tactics then how about this. How much more time would you have been able to spend with your own son had you not been so “busy” with churchianity?

        And that is not some hypothetical question from me. I know how much I neglected my own family from all my “Church” involvement. If one allows it then churchianity will rule you with an iron fist greater than any prison, and at the time you will “love” all the self imposed persecution and all the self initiated tribulation. The greater the storms in your life the more pious you become. Pretty soon one is walking around wearing their “Suffering for Jesus” badge with holy pride.

        Better to “Burn out for Jesus” than to be put on a shelf mentality… Martha, Martha, Martha.

    2. You guys are missing the point. I must not have been clear, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to guilt anyone or play the martyr card. And my relationship with my son is great! I’m just saying that my own experiences do not line up with (almost) every single comment so far. The majority consensus seems to be “I was so busy at my fundy church and it was exhausting. I’m glad I’m done with that.” I serve now in a small non-IFB country church with few outreach ministries and a part of me misses the opportunities I had to help people. Obviously if you are too involved in church to spend time with your family then that’s a problem; but so many commentators don’t sound sad at all to be no longer working with people that they previously must have poured their hearts into. These same commentators that expressed so much compassion for the people of Sri Lanka a few weeks ago seem to be happy sitting on their butt in their new non-IFB church and doing nothing to help people. Maybe that’s just my perception.

      1. … and you may be missing the point here. If you can do all you do, that’s great. The point of Darrell’s post was that many IFB churches (and, from the comments, other groups as well) push that what you do should be normal for everyone. They get people to volunteer for someone to be a fill-in bus driver and then have them drive more and more and then manipulate them into doing it full time and then pressure them via sermons to “not quit”.

        If God gives to you the energy to do all of that and not be exhausted, that is great for you.

        But trying to make people who get 3-5 hours of sleep out to be heroes that we should all emulate is wrong, and THAT is the thrust of Darrell’s post.

        Many posters here are just posting of their experiences of getting sucked into the system, not because it was of God, but because some leader pushed them into it.

        I remember being so busy on Sundays, and, to be honest, part of me was smug and arrogant to think how much better I was than people in the other churches because I “involved” in things at my church, and the others just attended services AM & PM (if they even went PM). It was pride and arrogance.

        Be careful of pride; it is, perhaps, the most insidious of sins. SFL posters can get pride that their eyes are open to errors that others don’t see, and are thus somehow “better” than those still caught up in abusive “churchianity”; you could become proud of your “compassion” and all that you do.

        1. Guilt Ridden,

          Extremely, respectfully, and truthfully well-said! My sentiments EXACTLY!

          Having lived through all that type of regiment, many of those workaholic ethics stay with you, so I would venture to be so presumptuous in stating that we continue to be good stewards of our time presently and ARE NOT SITTING ON OUR BUTTS DOING NOTHING NATHAN!

          No, our eagerness to serve God was thwarted and manipulated by the fundamental movement but as we elevated out of that, we have healthier ways to live and share the goodness of God.

          Please tell me this… Who wants to receive anything from a sorry soul who has depleted themselves of their resources, who has neglected their own health, who has self-sacrificed their own needs and very often lost connection with close loved-ones and who is fatigued to the point of despair? I honestly would never want some one, for example an employee in that state of mind and commitment! Do you think then that God does? But the fundamental church leadership does and that terribly wrong!

          So wrong!

          ~~~Heart ๐Ÿ™

        2. Thank you for saying what I wanted to say but didn’t know how. My ex-pastor used to say (from the pulpit, no less) that if he asked you to take a position or do some sort of job at the church, you didn’t need to pray about it. God had told him “you were the one,” and that was it.

          Talk about a guilt trip –

      2. Obviously, as an ethnic Jew and religious atheist, I am coming at this from an extreme outsider’s perspective, but it seems to me people aren’t discussing a lack of desire to help people. Rather, they’re discussing a lack of desire to perform lockstep chores intended to demonstrate devotion to the local Dear Leader, performed with no regard to if anyone was actually being helped or not. Helping someone because you want to — whether you credit that desire to divine inspiration, a moral obligation, or the remnants of ancient instincts — is a very different thing from being told to show up, spend thus-and-such many hours performing these ordered tasks, and never question the purpose or utility. From what I’m reading here, in many churches, these tasks have become ends in themselves, divorced from any evaluation of if the time expended is actually helping anyone, or if it is just a form of loyalty exercise.

        Putting it another way… when my company just gave me goals to accomplish and didn’t track my work hour by hour, I would work overtime without thinking about it. When my company started demanding every hour be accounted for, I stopped work after 8 hours, even if it meant deadlines slipped by. Focusing on “measurable performance metrics” (whether hours spent coding or soul-winning) and not trusting people to accomplish a goal without being micro-managed results in lower productivity (bugs fixed, souls won).

        ISTM that being part of the lives of your friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and demonstrating, in normal activities, from having to work late at the office to how you handle yourself in your bowling team or block party or whatever, compassion, grace, and forgiveness, is a much better “testimony” than knocking on someone’s door when they’re trying to relax, shoving a tract in their face, and telling them they’ll burn in hell. As a horribly cynical misanthrope, I am much more likely to notice someone NOT being as much of a jerk as I figure they might be entitled to be, and, if not fall to my knees and repent, at least have my respect for faith kicked up a tiny notch. The Christians who have impressed me the most are those who live their faith while living in the world — not those who stand on street corners screaming at sinners, or, even worse, are so enmeshed in the activities of their church that they never associate with us godless heathens as part of normal life. If all your free time is consumed by your church, when do you get a chance to simply let people see how your faith manifests in the course of just getting through the day? Jesus didn’t knock on the doors of the tax collectors and hand them a Jack Chick tract — he sat down and ate with them. (Possibly asking for help in filling out the forms to have his ministry declared a non-profit, but who knows?)

      3. Nathan, No, you’re not “the only one here who cares about people”. YOU got something out of your church busy-ness. There is a high that comes from wearing oneself out with other exhausted people. A sense of sharing the trenches; I’ve been there.

        Did you volunteer at homeless shelters? How did your choir practice help others? How did it help kids to deliver them on a bus to a class that drives into them a fear of hell? How did it help your child to have to share you with the church?

        I’m sure you’re a good person, but please take some time to rethink your latest posts.

      4. I’m not sad at all about not performing. I am too burned out and exhausted. I have very little to give, so that’s all I do — give little.

        I’m sure there are fundies from my old church condemning me and gossiping about me. How much they did for me, how I walked away from God, etc. If they were really doing it for me, they wouldn’t be bringing it up. And maybe if they weren’t so focused on appearances and achievements I wouldn’t have walked away. Of course, their god isn’t worth doing anything for but they haven’t figured that out yet.

  21. My former fundie pastor would use the story about how when we get to Heaven God is going to take us into a warehouse and show us all the blessings we could have received if we just worked harder.

    I’m so glad I’m out of that mess, and now in a church that displays the true love of God.

  22. Darrell,
    This post resonated with me more than almost any post. I remember disticntly being in fundamentalism and being so weary all the time, and never thinking I was doing enough. There was this one guy who woke at 5am every day, did all the house cleaning, cooking, worked a full time job, led music in church and was active in the community. I wondered how he did it, then found out he drank about 10 cups of coffee a day. He told me he drank a pot before breakfast. We talked about Bible reading one time. He said he couldn’t sit and read because he’d fall asleep. What a life.

    I think its the reason for so many divorces. We don’t really have time for our families, other than church activities, and you need to be performing during those. Here are some facts. I was in a fundy church from 1987 to 1992 and had quite a few young couuples as friends. We tried to have fellowship among ourselves. It worked for about a year then slowly every couple dropped out. However, we all stayed friends. Since then, 7 of the nine couples have divorced. And the stories wouuld make your blood curdle.

  23. this sounds familiar. We weren’t asked to go do visitations at the conservative evangelical church I attended..but lots to do and never a sunday that one could sleep in, eat a big breakfast, and lay around the house all day…had to be in church all morning.

    I couldn’t keep up with the weds night stuff either. I did for a few years but just couldn’t do it. Was exhausted! I’m tired just being a teacher!

  24. http://www.newswithviews.com/Daubenmire/dave161.htm

    Everyone please read this for great clarity and understanding about the so-called “men of God” in the pulpits. Wow. I finally get it ! Also, the “Pimps” article ~

    I’ve read through these postings and feel so sorry for my brothers and sisters who have been abused by these men in the pulpits. I’ve been there. too. I spent 8 abusive years at BJones trying to be what they considered spiritual, only to discover that I did not have to fit into their mold, but needed to rest in peace and wait for the Lord to conform me into the quiet and gentle mold of Jesus Christ.

  25. Our family has chosen to stay home from Sunday services a couple of
    times over the past year. It has been amazing to us how rested & how
    “Sunday night depression” doesn’t hit. I still don’t tell my parents & have to admit
    it felt weird to go shoe shopping for the kids one time. Breakfast @ Waffle House is pretty nice as well. I could prolly get into skipping all the time as I’ve been in church since I was 2 wks old but I do feel that our kids need a good foundation for life & the fellowship that church provides.

    1. Greg from Utopia,

      My dear… Please take time to think this through. Don’t feel the guilt that is being oppressed upon you by those leaders. You are not their employee and they have no right to enter into your personal zone via the guise of being righteous or earnest in serving God!

      Please think of yourself as God’s child and know that He has a love for you that is endearing and He wants the best for you in your every living moment!

      Remember that it’s up to you to manage your time and make good use of your talents and abilities. Do not allow yourself, to put it simply, to be used! Used of God is an honorable condition! Used by the church or “men of God” is completely insane!

      Treat yourself with a good clear insight on the matter! If it takes time to get to that point, well then, take time to gather your perspective, seek His guidance and then choose for yourself!

      I’m sending you good vibes because I want you happy and confident in Him!

      ~~~Heart ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. “I just want my conscience to give me a break.”

      Greg, my church (RCC) has a name for what you’re going through: Excessive Scrupulosity, a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. You are so hammered down with guilt over your sin of not “doing just a little bit more for the LORD” that it’s destroying you.

      I was a kid genius raised with the minimum expectation of Utter Perfection. No matter how much I did, it was NEVER enough. No matter how perfectly I did, it was NEVER good enough. Then when I got sucked into Fundystan through Jack Chick and Hal Lindsay, that perfectionism just got ramped up to (literally) Cosmic Importance as God’s Commands. It almost killed me.

      That sort of guilt is a form of OCD. It’s a common pattern in Fundystan, to obsess over your own Sinfulness(TM) and burn out trying to be The Perfect Christian. Except no matter how much you do, It Is NEVER Enough.

      1. “I was a kid genius raised with the minimum expectation of Utter Perfection. No matter how much I did, it was NEVER enough.”

        Sounds like my life. I still deal with this. I am NEVER satisfied with anything I do, at work, home, or even hobbies. I’m never good enough.

        I know God is a god of grace. I know it. But my mind — or maybe my heart — can’t grasp it. ๐Ÿ˜

      2. To Unicorn:”Excessive Scrupulosity”. Thank you! Thank you! I’ve been looking for YEARS for a good term to describe this pattern of behavior, which is by no means limited to fundies or the religious. (When I lived in the Bay Area, you’d see it manifest as “I get all my vegan food from locally sourced organic farms run by lesbian Buddhists who provide health care to their undocumented immigrant farmers who are paid triple minimum wage… but they still use diesel tractors. This indirectly increases my carbon footprint. Maybe I should only take the elevator to my tenth floor apartment on alternate days, to balance it out.”

    1. We sang “All your anxiety, all your care, bring to the mercy seat; leave it there!”, but so many times we were full of anxiety as we tried to please God, meet everyone’s expectations, save the world, and never, ever do anything that could look like sin to someone somewhere.

      1. Having left Catholicism (after being “Chick Tract Tricked”… Try saying THAT one time fast) for membership in an ifbc, I could never understand the logic (not to mention the logistics) of loading up my family (wife and 8 children…I TOLD you I Was Catholic) and driving to Sunday morning Church and SS, then driving back home for an hour or 2 of “teaser rest”, to be interrupted at 4pm, when we would have to load up the car AGAIN for another drive, choir practice, and evening service, followed by another roundup, load up, and commute home.
        This was Sabbath? The staff used passive-aggressive language in their “messages” to insinuate guilt into the consciences of the congregation if they weren’t in attendance “Every Time The Doors (Were) Open”. Meanwhile, while I worked the remaining 6 days at my “secular” job, the staff had a day “off” during the week which they considered sacrosanct, and were not to be bothered except in very urgent emergencies.
        Being Catholic (with our “apostate works-based religion”) has less bondage to works and the law than the ifbc “burn out for the local church” mentality. (IMO)

        1. I just attend Mass at St Boniface for just under two hours each Sunday, give according to my income, and daily Mass for half an hour each morning during Lent and (possibly) Advent. Whatever other “Work for the LORD” I do is on my own time and own dime.

  26. “And so those hapless souls repair once again to their grindstones to see if they can appease the angry god whoโ€™s yoke and burden are heavy indeed.”

    Grammar nitpicker time: it should be “whose”, not “who’s”.

  27. Oh dear, I looked at the picture and saw an uterus. That can’t be right. I am on medication for dental issues but really, why would I see that? Poor tired fundy women serving men?

    1. Now that you mention it, it does look kind of like a uterus. And, headless Unicorn, do you also believe that sonograms shouldn’t be shared like that one pastor whose rant about them we read a couple of weeks ago? :mrgreen:

  28. I just read this again and this is why I’ll never get involved in another church again. It killed me once but so help me I’ll never let it happen again.

    1. I completely understand. I feel the same way sometimes. I kind of feel a disgust with institutionalized religion in general. But on the other hand i try to consider what good things my be had and accomplished by organizing with others. I hope you find a place in your life that is happy and satisfying.

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