Friday Challenge: Sunday School Stories

Today’s challenge is to tell a story from Sunday School: whether it was a class you attended as a child, a class you taught, or a class your child attended. I could go on and on about the teacher who taught a room full of 11-year-old children about the lustful dangers of skirts with slits in them but I’d rather hear what you all experienced instead.

…but first lets sing an action song!

254 thoughts on “Friday Challenge: Sunday School Stories”

        1. LOL! What we call garters?

          I have to admit, when I read your initial post, I was looking for leg braces. 😳

        2. I studied theology in Manchester. A student from the States was talking with a Mancunian student, and mentioned she had forgot her suspenders at home. He turned very red, stuttered a bit, and nearly had a heart attack. A priceless cross-cultural moment.

        3. Thanks for the info! I was looking for what in the world he could’ve possibly meant by braces! πŸ™‚

    1. I have NEVER heard of suspenders being referred to as braces! In my neck of the woods (or city), braces are for teeth and suspenders are what elderly gentlemen use to hold up their pants.

  1. In Sunday School as a 5th grader, I learned all sorts of interesting scripture references. They came not from the lesson, but from the cantankerous boy who sat next to me. From him, I learned verses like 1 Kings 14:10, which you’ll need to read in the King James Version to understand why I used the descriptor “interesting.”

    1. Ah! I remember the class where we were taking turns reading through Proverbs 5 until a poor girl ended up with Proverbs 5:19…

      It got really awkward after that.

    2. For me it was Genesis 17:23 in the KJV, and I was the one reading it out loud, and of course I had to ask for a definition. My mother was teaching the class that day (kids between 8-12, IIRC) and she just gave me The Glare of Death.

      1. The first time I heard “circumcision” was in family devotions. I, too, had to ask what it was. My parents told me that it was a procedure that removed the foreskin of boys. For some reason, I associated “foreskin” with “forehead” and thought it was the most barbaric thing ever.

        1. It’s still plenty barbaric.

          The lady that was teaching my class when this came up was an RN. She explained (clinically) what it was & that it was still done to boys soon after birth. I remember being hit with the realization that the boys in my Sunday School class, and all the men in our church had been circumcised. 😯

          That’ll derail the point of the lesson!

        2. That’s…wow 😯 Check out the Spies and the Prostitute there. I never thought I would come across a Lego scene that’s possibly NSFW. Awesome!

        3. PP, since I got The Glare of Death instead of an explanation, I also assumed it had something to do with the forehead.

          I suspect my mother chose me for the scripture reading that morning because she knew I was so cowed by her that I would not push for an answer πŸ™

        4. @Kreine, I agree that it’s barbaric, but after having taken this topic round and round in the forums, I wasn’t about to open up that line of discussion.

      2. Left It Behind, it’s a major sore point with me when fundy parents/teachers make kids read the KJV, and then get mad at the kids who then ask what all those weird words like circumcision and foreskin mean. Forcing them to read Scripture and then shaming them for asking questions is truly unfair.

        (I was rebuked when I asked my mom what “pisseth against the wall” meant. I thought I knew what it meant, but I was confused that it was in the Bible. My mom got all flustered and told me it was naughty and I shouldn’t say those words which both embarrassed and angered me. I mean if they don’t WANT us to say “ass” or “piss”, then don’t use the KJV.)

        1. Getting in trouble for asking a question is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a kid. In my case, it was more that I got in trouble for merely possessing forbidden knowledge. A sharp “Where’d you learn that?!?” was all it took to instill fear in me.

          On a lighter note, my mom responded more with shock than anything else when she discovered, by my casually using it without understanding what it meant, that I had learned “the F word” (yes, that one) from another kid at VBS when I was five-ish. Fun times! πŸ˜†

        2. FWIW, ‘circumcision’ was a major sore point with me as well. Just sayin’…

        3. But seriously… My Freshman year in high school, (parochial Bishop Noll Institute… “The other” Hammond, IN “youth group”) my Religion teacher, Father Menszak, brought up the topic of circumcision in class. (It was co-Ed at that time, and the good Father loved to try shocking us all with his “hipness”… He also thought it was a hoot to refer to Ishmael as a “bastard” over and over in his lesson.)

          Any road, I, at the age of 13, circumcised the eighth day, of the tribe of 1st generation Americans, asked him what the word meant. I honestly had no idea. He told me to see him after class. (Don’t get ahead of me now)

          After class, I went to his desk and reminded him about my question. He told me to “go ask your father”. Thanks, Father.

    3. Teehee, I forgot about that verse. The ESV is much less… evocative. And much less hilarious to small children.

      Or older ones, evidently.

  2. I’m actually surprised I don’t have more Sunday School memories. The most vivid is from about 5th grade or so, when I got lectured by the teacher about how rude it was that I looked at my watch during class.

  3. We once derailed our class by questioning the teacher’s enunciation of “Worship.” He, like all good St. Louis area lifers, made it sound more like “War Ship” than “Were ship.”

    He quit shortly after.

    1. Yay, another St. Louisan!

      Now, did you ever get to hear any lessons on how Jesus warshed the feet of his disciples? Ooorrrrr read anything in the Farty-farth chapter of Psalms?

      1. And don’t forget:

        Are you warrrrrshed in the blood,
        In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
        Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow?
        Are you warshed in the blood of the Lamb?

        1. All together now:
          George Warshington Bridge, George is warshing the Warshington Bridge,
          George Warshington Bridge, George is warshing the Warshington Bridge,… πŸ˜†

    2. That’s a central Indiana regionalism too. Had a SS teacher from there who said a very clearly enunciated “weeshy-warshy” instead of wishy-washy, a favorite descriptor of non-fundies. I don’t remember anything else he taught.

  4. We used to have a children’s class during choir practice before evening service that was run by a former military man. He ran a VERY tight ship. His wife would sit next to a black board and give children “marks” who fidgeted, whispered to their neighbor, or (HORRORS) gave an answer without first raising their hands. If you got to three marks then you didn’t get candy at the end of class. I’m not sure what happened after 5 marks, but it wasn’t good. They were doled out more frequently than the candy it seemed…
    Anyway, one Sunday evening a missionary family came to present their field and they put their daughter in our class. When she was asked to introduce herself, she leaped out of her chair (strike one) walked over to the blackboard and proceeded to explain that her name was not spelled in the typical way. So she grabbed the chalk (strike two and three) and proceeded to write her name while continuing to explain the difference. The rest of us sat horrified because we knew the ramifications for such boisterous interruptions. After she finally sat down, the teacher’s wife proceeded to make sure the entire class and the offending MK understood that this behavior would not be tolerated. I can’t remember how many marks she received but she certainly didn’t say much else during that class.

    1. SFL – assuming that their standards of behavior were IN FACT brought down from Sinai by Moses, are perfectly logical and obvious, and therefore that any visitor, no matter how young or unlikely to be familiar, is automatically answerable for everything without warning.
      It’s bad enough that you regular children were treated this way, but it’s beyond ridiculous that a guest, an honored guest at that, would be oppressed in this way.

      1. Yes!! I think we had a post here on SFL awhile back about all the unwritten rules at churches that visitors were mysteriously supposed to just “know.”

    2. Tiny quibble: but what kind of candy did those blessed few get? Seriously doubt it was chocolate or anything worth following picky rules for. I’m willing to bet it’s some kind of cheap hard candy in a crinkly plastic wrapper that was hardly worth sitting still for. And if it was the infamous orange Circus Peanuts I would deliberately act up in order to NOT get any. πŸ˜›

        1. Ha! I mentioned associating circus peanuts with Sunday school. I guess it was pretty common.

  5. At one point while teaching my College and Career Sunday School class, I opened the week’s lesson to questions from the class. Nothing was off topic. I had questions relating to Inter-racial marriage and Birth Control.

    I answered them honestly and biblically to the best of my ability.

    I was called into the pastor’s office the next week and told to preach a “book of the Bible” and not open the class up to questions.

    1. Supposedly, our pastor claimed, there was some booklet that was circulated among all fundie churches of “like faith and order” that delineated a 5-year program of books of the Bible to cover in Sunday School. He said that way we would have fellowship with other believers by all studying the same texts at churches all across the country. (Even though we WERE NOT a denomination.) My parents were shown the list and became upset because not all the books were included (shocker).

      1. Wow, it takes skill to “have fellowship with other believers” while having no contact whatsoever with those believers. Truly spiritual giants πŸ˜†

  6. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and did not know Jesus Christ, and never went to Sunday School as a child. When by His grace He saved me and I later started attending Sunday School as a teen, everything was new and I learned a lot. I don’t have any bad memories of the teacher, nor do I remember any horrific rules.

    I do know, that, shortly after entering the workforce, the church I was at asked me to teach a Sunday School class, and I quit after the first week. I didn’t do well with a bunch of misbehaving brats… I could probably do better today, now that I have kids. But the trauma of that class has probably warped me a little, and I still don’t want to take a children’s class.

      1. Possibly; they were just being kids; talking and having a good time, and I had NO instruction or example or help in working with kids. It was probably just a class taught by some weirdo for them.

        1. Teaching kids is NOT easy! It’s too bad some people assume it is & set everyone up to fail (class leader & students alike).

        2. I couldn’t agree with you more; perhaps, I may have done better if I had “interned” with some experienced teacher… but they just threw a pretty “green” young fellow into a class of youngsters.

          I remember I went straight to the pastor’s office and told him “never again”; I want out NOW. I think he tried to talk me out of it, or to “give it another week”, but I wasn’t having any of it. I stank, was terrible, and had not desire to be a 30-40 minute volunteer baby-sitter at the church.

  7. At the tender age of 14 I was made “Sunday School Superintendent” for some reason. I think it was because I looked older at the time, and I was expected to be a preacher boy and follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, and all my uncles. I had to lead the opening of the service, picking and leading the one opening hymn, making announcements, then picking some appropriate older gentleman to lead in a prayer, then dismiss everyone to their classrooms. After that I didn’t have to go to a class myself, but I helped collect and count the Sunday School offering. The highlight, though was ringing the bell for classes to return to the sanctuary. Every now and then I’d have to substitute when a teacher was out, but only for the younger classes. It was weird.

    1. Ugh. I hate how fundies make the Sunday School “hour” a mini church service. Sunday School was originally just that: a school. As in, it was to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic (and the Bible too, I assume) to young people who worked from dawn till dusk the other six days of the week and could not attend school during those days. The idea of Sunday School as some high holy obligation only came in later.

      I have sat through “Sunday Schools” that were, in every respect nothing more than a church service wiht opening prayer, hymn(s), a special, an offering, a sermon, and even an invitation. I always kind of wondered why they set them up that way, but it makes sense that the goal is to ease promising candidates into the preacher-pipeline.

      1. Is that (the teaching of “academic” subjects) the genesis of the stand-alone Sunday School (those that are not affiliated with a church)? We have one or two of them here in Philadelphia area (and they date back a long way) and I always wondered why they did not have an associated “church”.

        1. The answer to your question is yes. The connection between the academic Sunday Schools and the pre-church Bible studies conducted today is somewhat obscure, but basically as public education became widely available there was a shift to more exclusively religious instruction on Sundays.

      2. Yes, Sunday School was begun by a guy name Robert Raikes the help sweat-shop kids have a chance to better themselves. He wasn’t Baptist, either. You are right, it was school on Sunday. Bible was used. but it was mostly “the three Rs”.

  8. Hmmm… well I was only in an IFB church as an adult and for only four years.

    The biggest issue I had was when a man who was bullying me quite badly was my son’s sunday school teacher. Nobody made him act appropriately or leave my son’s sunday school class. I felt as though I had to choose between being a bad mum and making my kids miss out on sunday school (which they loved) or standing up for myself.

    1. Of course, all the adults had sunday school at the same time. They broke up into different groups, and all pretty much did the same sunday school lesson, which was written by the pastor.

      Control freak much?

  9. Let’s see…Sunday school memories..

    Sword drills
    cookies and kool-aid for snack
    Father Abraham
    Stop and let me tell you
    Felt story boards
    Long bus rides because dad was the bus driver

    I’m sure there’s more…that’s all I have for now.

      1. I’m ashamed to confess, I rocked sword drills. Mostly because I had one of those bibles with the little tabs for each of the books. Find the right book and you’re halfway there (except for Psalms, which was just too big to do that with).

        1. Yep, tabs is totally cheating. Ha! Did you ever have the youth leader deliberately name a non-existent book (Hezekiah?) just to see everyone scramble for nothing?

  10. I honestly don’t remember a lot of negative experiences in Sunday school. I do remember one incident where my mother specifically told me I was not to go outside. I guess they’d take us out for playtime if the service ran long? Anyway, the teacher gathered everyone up, and I, dutiful daughter that I was, told her I wasn’t allowed outside. The teacher told me that there’d be no one inside to stay with me and that she couldn’t leave me unattended. So outside I went. I figured the teacher would explain it, and all would be well.

    Well, it didn’t end well. We were playing rambunctiously (I was nothing if not a straight-up tomboy), and I fell. I fell, and my front tooth was avulsed. There was blood *everywhere*, just pouring out. My parents were *furious* with me. Ranted and raved all the way to the er. I started throwing up (swallowing blood? Trauma? Scared? idk). Anyway, I ended up losing the tooth permanently and needing thousands of dollars’ worth of reconstruction work.

    My mom bitched at me about that accident until the day she died. God took my tooth to disfigure me as punishment for disobeying my parents, according to her. Her bitching was just a way to remind me what God does to people who disobey.

    Some god. 😯

    1. Wow. πŸ™ I’m so sorry you experienced that. I can’t imagine how hurt & scared you were, and then to have your parents be such jerks about it? πŸ˜₯ It breaks my heart.

      I’m so glad you’re in a better place now.

    2. Polecat – Where was your SS teacher (the one who told you to come outside) in all this? Did he/she even try to explain things to your parents or did he/she just let you take all the heat without a word?

      1. In her defense, I don’t think she had much of a chance to say anything. My parents took one look at me covered in blood and hustled me into the car to get me to the hospital. It was in the car on the way to the hospital, tooth wadded up in a damp paper towel, that it all started. Also? If your kid ever knocks out a tooth, put it in a glass of milk or in his/her cheek — NEVER in a damp paper towel.

        1. Now you tell me… About a year ago I was playing with my 5-year-old son and he head-butted me in the mouth and knocked out one of my teeth. By the time I got to the dentist, there wasn’t much they could do…and I later got to find out how much implants hurt.

    3. Still-IFB readers take note: This is why most people don’t teach their children to obey all adults at all times or expect adults to think that way either.

      Imagine the different outcomes if this poor kid had been allowed to ask, “Can’t I sit in the service with my mom?” (Or if she had simply been allowed to sit indoors with a book–what did they think was lurking in the Sunday school room anyway, lions?) Or what if her mother had not had the mindset that God blessed her cruelty? What if she had simply accepted that sometimes the world would veer off script, and not blamed anybody?

      It’s doubly pernicious when this kind of thing is proclaimed as God-breathed.

    4. That’s horrible, PP, and I’m sorry to hear it. In my case, my sister once kicked my tooth out because I told her that I didn’t want to “play witch” (whatever she meant by that, I never quite knew). I was told that I had suffered for righteousness sake.

    5. It’s a Catch 22, right? Either you question the instructions of the SS teacher or you disobey your parents. In either case you get punished. I can imagine if I were in that situation, PP, I would have been too terrified to ask the teacher for an alternate choice. And of course your injury was God’s judgement for disobeying your parents. In my church that was called stepping out from under your umbrella of authority πŸ™„

  11. My Sunday School memories are kind of a mixed bag…I was IFB by birth, so that’s a LOT of Sunday School!

    However, my memories of preschool age SS are very pleasant. My mom (Master’s in Education) & the Pastor’s wife team taught the 3 & 4 year olds. They were extremely progressive in their methodology in that they pretty much demanded the largest SS room for us, which they organized into “stations.”

    We had our welcome/activity song time in one area, then we placed our attendance sticker on a chart before moving to a large rug for the Bible lesson. After that, we did a related craft, and then we moved to the game area.

    Gid’s love for us was emphasized, and the darker aspects of the Bible were not really discussed. It was a wonderful experience!

  12. No really traumatizing memories. But even as a kid, I figured out that Jesus turned the water into wine, not
    grape juice. And I couldn’t figure out why the teacher just didn’t tell it like it is!

    1. Jesus didn’t turn water in alcoholic wine. The King James puts a difference between old and new wine, new wine being unfermented grape juice. Also look up the word “Must”- New wine; wine pressed from the grape but not fermented.

      1. I’m no expert, but I would think without refrigeration and/or preservatives, it wouldn’t take much more than a day or two for juice to start fermenting.

        Just speaking from experience as a mom who’s found her kid’s juice in a sippy cup turned after being left out a day in the summer.

        1. Do a little research on Welch’s grape juice. It was a big deal because Welch figured out a way to keep the grape juice from fermenting. Before then, the only non-fermented grape juice available was right at harvest time because it fermented so quickly.

          Also, look throughout the OT. There are several references to strong drink being approved by God. (Like when people were told to take the tithe money and use it to buy food and strong drink for a giant feast in Deuteronomy 14.) It is DRUNKENESS that is condemned, not moderate drinking. And the OT makes a distinction for times when it is NOT appropriate to drink alcohol, like when a Nazarite vow is taken, or when going into the tabernacle.

          There is a difference between drinking in moderation and getting drunk. Just like there is a difference between eating in moderation and gluttony. The temperance movement was largely an American institution.

        2. The Welches were Methodist. During the Torrance movement the Methodists wanted a non firmented wine to use for communion. They didn’t want the Sacrament to cause someone to fall off the wagon.

      2. Um, I hope you are not serious, but in case you are, there is only one Greek word for wine: oinos. The same word is used for Jesus turning the water into wine as is used in the passage “be not drunk with wine.” Not only does this make clear that Jesus turned the water into alcoholic wine, but also makes clear that one can consume a certain amount of said wine without being drunk, thereby debunking the fundy absurdity that “even one sip can make you drunk so it’s all a sin.”

        1. I am indeed being serious, would Jesus cause others to sin by getting them drunk? I’m no expert in greek, neither do I speak it but I do know english and I know that new wine refers to fresh grape juice.

        2. But the problem, Michael, is that John 2 (KJV) does not call it “new wine.” It calls it “good wine.” If you really are a KJV-only guy, then you don’t want to be twisting the words of your scriptures. You seem to be assuming it was not fermented wine because you appear to have a preconceived notion, not based on any Scripture, that it is a sin to consume fermented wine and that any consumption of fermented wine is tantamount to drunkenness. Neither the KJV, nor the Greek text, nor any other Bible translation that I am aware of teaches any of these things.

        3. That is true; it does not say new but neither does it say old so then the question becomes, would Jesus turn water into fermented wine?

          By the way, what is this “the greek text”?

        4. “…would Jesus cause others to sin by getting them drunk?”

          Who said he was getting them drunk? You seem to forget that it wasn’t just Jesus who showed up at that wedding…but he was realistically accompanied with up to 120 ADDITIONAL people. Showing up to an event like that, with that many people, after the wine is dwindling, puts the hosts in a bind.

          Jesus was being considerate of his hosts, not trying to get people drunk.

        5. I’m not sure it was true in lst-Century Palestine, but in most of the Roman world at the time, wine was generally drunk mixed with water. People who drank unmixed wine–like the Emperor Tiberius–were regarded (very quietly, in the case of the Emperor, until well after he was dead) as drunkards.

        6. Most fundies could not accept even watered-down wine. Wine is evil to them, thus Jesus could have had nothing to do with it because they’ve already decided it is evil.

      3. Poe! Do I get a butt-cushion for being the first to identify “Michael” as a Poe? (Check out his other posts if you have any doubt.) I may never be a true firstie, but this has got to be worth something.

        1. No, but in the spirit of things that sit out and spoil, I’ll bring you some Poe-tato salad to the next SFL dinner on the grounds / potluck.

        2. I’m no poe but it appears to me that if someone uses a King James Bible and or has a difference of opinion here, it is like garlic to a vampire; FYI, i’m not one of the people that did you wrong. I left the IFB but it seems people still take issue.

        3. “Michael” – I will answer you in the relatively kind tone that you wrote. If you have seen many of my previous posts, you would realize that I am a Strong-Preference KJV person (as opposed to KJVO). I have no problem with people using other versions, but I think the KJV is superior. I take major issue with KJVO people. I reject double-inspiration, advanced-revalation, and all that other related heresy. I do wish, however, that those who (rightly) attack the KJVO crowd would refrain from attacking the KJV. In reading what the translators thought of it once they finished, they themselves noted that it was just a translation.

          That being said, why do you feel the need to qualify what bible you were using? (BTW, Deacon’s Son is correct in his explanation.) The only reason you would add “KJV” to your post was to elicit a response, which is the main purpose of a Poe…so I’m not falling for it.

        4. I think you’re being a little hard on Michael; he seemed to ask a serious question. So a serious answer, Michael. Jesus did turn the water into alcoholic wine. Jewish culture at that time did have people drinking alcoholic wine at meals, festivities, etc. And although someone could sin by getting drunk on the wine, since people literally drank it all the time, it was not in itself an enticement. I mean, the people who Christ healed and raised from the dead could also sin by using their healed legs to run from someone they stole, etc. Turning the water into wine was not in itself leading someone to sin. If someone decided to sin with that wine, that sin was on their own head.

        5. Brother Bluto, the reason I said KJV was because I,like you, believe it to be superior and I felt the need to bring it up to let people know what I mean because someone peradventure would have asked, “which Bible?”

        6. For the record, I am doubling-down on my bet that our friend “Michael” is a Poe…and a pretty good one at that. If (as I seriously doubt) he is genuine, I will say he has much better manners than 99% of KJVO people, so I am pretty sure he is not Peter Ruckman.

        7. Thank you for your understanding Beth. For the record I have drank “Must”, which is new wine and I know that new wine is found in the cluster (Isaiah 65:8) but I have trouble believing Jesus turned water into alcoholic wine, especially in light of Habakkuk 2:15.

        8. If giving your neighbor wine is the same as getting him drunk, is giving them a sandwich the same as promoting gluttony? Both (drunkeness and gluttony) are condemned by Scripture.

          Also, why would I give grape juice to someone with a heavy heart (Proverbs 31:6)? Does Welch’s cure depression? So – if we were to follow Michael’s logic – you have two options:
          1. It is OK to give/drink “alcoholic wine” (but not get drunk), or
          2. Grape juice has heretofore unknown “cheering up” properties.

        9. Habakkuk 2:15, KJV:
          “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”
          The prophet was not expressly teaching against alcohol, but against getting people drunk in order to commit rape or at least to loosen them up for extramarital sex. Most who use this verse against alcohol use only the first eight words, which is not fair to the entire message of the prophet.

        10. I accidentally looked at the surrounding verses (is doing that OK with the KJVites?)

          That passage is not about about alcohol and sex at all. It’s talking to a nation, and those are things that nations don’t do.

          For example:
          “Woe to the German banks, who lend their neighbors money, that they may buy up national treasures on the cheap when they default.” (Hab 2:15 notKJV)

          That is the kind of thing nations do.

      4. You need to account for two details: first, the wedding guests had already “well drunk.” Second, the amount of wine Jesus made is equivalent to over 700 bottles. πŸ˜€ No way all of that would be consumed before it turned fermented if it wasn’t already. It was real wine … just like the glass of red I’m having right now. πŸ˜›

        1. Hi J heller, in the first place it says “have well drunk” — that does not mean they got drunk, the word “drunk” was used as the particible of drink; “drank” took it’s place later.

          Speaking of fermentation, does grape juice ferment naturally? I have read that it takes sugar and yeast, anyone care to elaborate?

          As for brother bluto providing proverbs 31:6
          I will ponder this.

        2. You don’t want to give an English professor a grammar lesson. The point actually is that the guests had thought they had drunk all of the good wine already. What? People are going to spend days drinking bad grape juice? Not any people I know. Nor Jesus.

        3. That reminds me, if any need any examples of “drunk”: 1 Kings 13:22, Judges 15:19, 2 Kings 19:24. For now I will ponder all these things.

        4. Michael, you’re correct; yeast and sugar are needed for the fermentation of grapes to occur. The really awesome thing is that God created grapes with both yeast and sugar naturally present. The higher the sugar content, the higher the potential abv. Something else that’s awesome – grapes from Israel are known for having an unusually high sugar content.
          Now for yeast – there are basically two types of yeast. I won’t bore you with the details, but one type dies off once the alcohol content reaches around 7% (higher than the average abv of today’s beer). The other type dies off once the alcohol content reaches about 17-18% (higher than the average, non-fortified wine of today). Both types are naturally present in grapes. As soon as the grape skin is crushed (which simply takes dropping them into a basket), the naturally present sugars begin interacting with the naturally present yeast, and in LESS than 24 hours grape juice has an abv of around 7%. It doesn’t take much longer for the abv to reach upwards of 14%. Today’s vintners use the advances in chemistry to slow down the fermentation process, and to halt the fermentation. Most of today’s table wine is between 12-14%. I prefer Cab. Sauv., which is closer to 15%. My wife prefers Riesling, and a good Reisling is going to be less than 10% (note that I said “good”). Our preferences are not based on the abv, but on the flavor profiles. Of course the abv is an indication of certain flavor profiles.
          So, in conclusion, the wine in the Bible, including the wine that Jesus created, was without doubt full of alcohol.
          Side note (or P.S.) – Jewish scholars and archaeologists state that the preferred wine/water ratio was 3 parts wine to 2 parts water. Keep in mind that back then, people usually drank some form of alcoholic beverage from the time they woke up in the morning until the time they went to bed at night. Considering the strictures in the Torah about gettin’ wasted, diluting the wine was the only option for a Jew concerned about “right living”, otherwise they would’ve been drunk about lunch time. For comparison, most modern day drinkers consume alcoholic beverages during a compressed period of time during the day instead of from breakfast until bedtime. Our modern overall intake of alcohol is probably lower than the ancients, even with their dilution methods. (technically, most of us dilute “hard” liquor – jack and COKE, vodka and OJ, Scotch and ICE ….) One of my favorite nuggets of information, many alcoholic beverages back then included ingredients that were hallucinogenic. Not only were many of the people groups back then perpetually drunk, they were also perpetually tripping.
          So, happy drinking!

      5. This keeps coming up, and no surprise, as modern Fundamentralism has deep ties to the post-Civil War anti-alcohol (misusing the word Temperance) movement. The KJV does use the phrase “New Wine” for the Hebrew Tirosh and the Koine Gleukos; the trouble is that these words are used in the Bible (let alone other contemporary sources) for intoxicating wine drinks. (e.g., Hosea 4:11) Note that the KJV team used New Wine in place of “must”; this indicates the uncertainty of the sort of grape juice involved. Whether or not “new wine” is alcoholic in direct context or not, historically grape juice was always at least slightly alcoholic within a short time of being pressed; the fruit’s endemic yeast infections and high sugar content guarantee this. The most telling argument for me is the reaction of the feast master to the wine Jesus created – he reproves the groom for holding the best stuff back until the guests can’t tell the difference. This is so clearly a reference to the effects of alcoholic wine at feasts that I’m baffled that anyone argues about it.

        1. The KJV translators were all Church of England (aka Anglican) clerics or theologians approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury Richard Bancroft. They were not teetotalers.

        2. When people bring out hebrew and greek words I do the same I used to do when the pastor used to do the same–I tune out. Most people I ran into cannot speak english much less hebrew or greek, what they did was they got a lexicon and read and took the author’s word for it…but what if the author was wrong? I wonder what your final authority is?

        3. Michael, as for the Greek word “oinos” meaning wine, there is nothing “right” or “wrong” about that. It’s just what the word meant. And then we know, from Ephesians, that we are not to be drunk with wine (oinos). Thus, the word obviously refers to something that can make you drunk. Take this on the authority of Scripture, even if you aren’t willing to accept the authority of Greek scholars.

          Your argument is no different than if I were to tell you that all the places in the KJV that use the word “conversation” are talking about speech and not about how we live our lives. The only way for you to prove me wrong would be to show me the dictionary definition of “conversation” from 1611. Or, if I were to say that “charity” means giving to the poor and to good causes instead of love. Again, you would have to direct me to a dictionary for the correct meaning. Citing the definition of an underlying Greek word is no different from citing the definition of the English word used to translate that Greek word.

        4. Michael – I am losing many billable hours reading and responding to your posts today, so this will be last retort. As you continue to ponder, consider these thoughts:
          1. Ephesians 5:18 clearly says “be not drunk with wine, WHEREIN IS EXCESS…” [emphasis mine]. If Paul wanted to tell the church not to drink, he would have said so. He clearly allows consumption of wine, but his admonition is to avoid drunkenness. Your logic falls apart here. If you say that wine is grape juice, how can get drunk on it? If wine is alcoholic, Paul clearly allows it. Ponder that.
          2. I Timothy 3:1-8 states that a bishop must be “sober” and “not be given to wine” (which could be intrepreted as avoiding too much or abstenance) while a deacon must not “be given to MUCH wine” [emphasis mine]. Play all the semantic games you want, but this is clearly not a prohibition on drinking in moderation (i.e. less than much)…unless grape juice is bad for you.

          In closing, why do you feel the need to take a position that is clearly not taught in Scripture? My money still says you are a Poe. If so, well played, sir.

        5. “When people bring out hebrew and greek words I do the same I used to do when the pastor used to do the same–I tune out.”

          Ok, now I’m convinced too – Poe. But this got a good laugh out of me, so thanks. :mrgreen:

        6. Those comments about tuning out when someone mentions Greek or Hebrew and questioning the authority.of the lexicons: You do realize, I hope, that the KJV is, in fact, a translation, done by people who had to study Greek and Hebrew using lexicons. And as I’ve said earlier, the translators were drinking buddies. Read Adam Nicolson’s God’s Secretaries.

        7. Forget all the arguing about the greek words and what they mean. Let’s just use a calendar.

          The wedding at Cana was just before Passover, which is around April-ish.

          The grape harvest is September-ish.

          No way can you get unfermented grape juice to keep for 6 months without pasteurization and refrigeration. Impossible. Nobody would have expected or wanted grape juice. The comment would have been “where on earth did you get fresh grape juice when there are no grapes right now”, not “this is the best wine ever”.

          Be that as it may, I agree. I smell a Poe.

      6. Not to mention the fact that the master of the feast says straight out that normally they’d bring out the good wine first and the cheaper wine later. Why did they do this?

        Because after somebody is already drunk, they don’t really care about the taste of what they’re drinking – as long as they have alcohol in it.

        There is no way on earth that someone who is expecting alcoholic wine would gush about how good nonalcoholic wine is.

        I mean, you only need basic reading comprehension skills to understand that they’re talking about alcoholic wine that Jesus made.

  13. As a little kid and through youth group, I don’t have any memories that stand out as awkward.

    However, attending my old IFB church post-college, I became disgruntled with my Sunday School class. As any good IFBer knows, you attend church every time the doors are open and you should NEVER miss Sunday School. My college/career teacher was AWFUL. For a one hour class: we started 20 minutes late, the dude lectured for 20 minutes, and we were released 20 minutes early. I stopped attending and got a call from our overbearing preacher asking me why I wasn’t attending. I was honest and told him why, all the while being gracious and nice. I was then instructed to start attending again, that I had an attitude problem. I was also told that the SS teacher prepared hours a week (being a high school math teacher, I laughed at this because WHAT A WASTE OF TIME to spend hours preparing for 20 minutes worth of lesson) and gave his all.

    I thought long and hard about this. I een felt a little guilty which I’m sure this was the point of his phonecall. I left the church not long after this.

    1. I understand a little bit about how that is. Sunday school was a little interesting but nothing stuck and in the end it was unecessary and was no substitute for alone time with God’s word and now I just listen to Alexander Scourby King James on dvd (even though he makes several booboos), use a Bible app or just read the KJV Bible all in the comfort of my own home without someone telling me I need to go to a bunch of extra classes (me being an off campus student made going to these extra classes worse).

  14. I have tried to purge it from my memory, but I remember one Sunday School teacher telling a story of a woman with a hat pin that told her child that she (the woman) would punish the child by pricking her with the pin if he/she (the child) did something (I forget what). Well, the child did this forbidden act but, instead of pricking the child, the women pricked herself in place of the child. This was used as an example of Christ taking our justly deserved punishments on Himself on the cross. All I could think about was “who in their right mind pricks a child with a hat pin?”. The memory of this still incites me to this day.

    Did anyone else ever have this story told to them?

    1. Lurker here, but I’ve seen an even worse version of this story. I think I was ten or so, and I can’t remember why, but I had to sit in a waiting room where the options for passing the time were rather slim. The reading choices were of a religious nature, and that’s where I read this story. Only instead of a hatpin the caretaker figure was going to burn the child’s hand with a hot poker–and instead did it to herself.

      Horrifying, frankly.

      1. Ash – you brought out more of this repressed memory. Now that you mention it, I think I remember something about the woman heating up the hatpin before sticking herself with it. “Horrifying” doesn’t even come close to describing it.

    2. By the time I heard the story in the late 1990s, it had been “toned down” to a father spanking himself with a belt instead of whipping his child.

      Item: There was a huge controversy in ATI one year because this guy that was one of Bill Gothard’s favorite conference speakers would frequently tell this story and say that it really happened to him until he stood up in conference one year and admitted that he made it all up.

      1. Oy! I had repressed that story, too, but now I remember hearing it from the pulpit. It has a vaguely creepy, masochistic feel to it.

      2. In “Little Men,” Louisa May Alcott’s follow-up to “Little Women”, Jo’s husband Professor Bhaer tells one of the students that he will be hit with a ruler if he persists in breaking the rule. When he eventually does so again, the Professor has the student strike HIM with the ruler which so breaks the student’s heart he collapses in tears and promises to never, ever disobey as much as was in his power.

    3. Uh-oh, is anyone else getting thoughts about any evil children, the kind who realize “Well, if Mom likes to keep jabbing herself instead of me…” 😈

    4. When I heard it, it was a father who cut his arm with razor blades. We were kind of pentecostal, so the child-threatening aspect was left out.

  15. As a child, I remember asking my Sunday School Teacher (around Christmas time) what a “Virgin Mary” was! I don’t remember the answer, just a lot of stammering. (Not that I would have understood the answer.)

    As a Sunday School Teacher, there was one time when there was a guest preacher who had been called in to generate support for the pastor’s building program. He went at least an hour long. As a teacher, you might have an extra 10 minutes that you can stretch out the lesson. An extra hour with 4th, 5th, and 6th graders turns into “cat herding!” It was brutal.

  16. I’ll never forget this as long as I live. I was probably between the ages of 7 and 9. Our family was visiting a Baptist church in Holt, Michigan. (My mother and her sisters sang in a trio and occasionally sang at other churches.) In Sunday school (or it may have been jr church), the teacher asked if anyone had a verse to recite from memory. A few kids stood up and recited their verses and then there was a lull. I decided to quote my verse….John 11:35…”Jesus wept”. I kinda giggled after I said it and sat down. The teacher stood over me and started yelling at me because I laughed that Jesus wept, when I was really laughing because it was a short verse. She yelled at me for what seemed like forever. I’m sure I cried and I was definitely traumatized.

    1. Similar experience, only at Friday chapel: our principal/minister was describing the Crucifixion in gruesome detail, but putting in so many sound effects it was impossible for me to keep a straight face. πŸ™„ When he described how the soldiers dropped the Cross into its hole — BOOOM!!! — someone dragged out into the hall and read me the riot act for smiling at Christ’s suffering. That was not fun. πŸ™

      1. I never liked the fundy need to make the crucifixion sound worse than it really was. It sounds quite bad enough as is without any need for embellishment.

        1. And Catholic. It’s why I’ve never watched that Mel Gibson movie. Gruesomeness is not the point of the crucifixion.

        2. J Heller, I’ve never seen the Mel Gibson movie, either, but your comment reminded me of something I haven’t thought of in years. One Easter season when I was maybe 11 or 12, our church showed a film re-enactment of the crucifixion, starting from Jesus’s arrest, IIRC. It was graphic. Showing the scourging and the crown of thorns complete with loads of blood. And then the nails, I believe. I kept watching, because I thought I *had* to. It was church after all, but I’ve never been big on blood and gore (can’t watch horror movies for that reason). And then I stole a glance to one side and saw the friends I was sitting with–two girls about my age, one of whom was the minister’s daughter–were hiding their faces. I felt better about doing the same once and stopped watching before it got any worse.

          I *think* there was some sort of apology afterwards for the graphic nature of the movie. No one had realized how bad it was going to get. But then we weren’t fundy. Just regular old United Methodists.

        3. Ash, sounds like an experience my own mother had when she was a girl, and that was in reaction to the silent film “King Of Kings”, which is rather creaky by modern standards. Why do we DO this to children? πŸ˜•

        4. I say Mel Gibson’s film. I must say that, since then, have never been able to read the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion in quite the same detached, clinical way that I used to regard them…

  17. The last time I received a spanking was due an incident with my 6th grade S.S. teacher. Our S.S. teacher had a speech impediment and couldn’t pronounce words with R’s (quite similar to Elmer Fudd). So all of the boys in our class began asking him questions which led him to use words with R’s in the them. For example one boy asked him, now what did Jesus do to save us from our sins? His answer: “Jesus died on the cwoss and wose again on the thiwd day.” We all broke out laughing. After about 10 minutes of questions like this, he finally figured out what we were doing. He then lectured and guilted us the rest of the hour for our making fun of him. Since I was the assistant pastor’s kid , he made an example of me and lied to my father, saying that I was the ringleader and the worst (all I did was laugh). As my punishment, I not only got spanked for it (my last time I received corporal punishment as a kid), but then my dad made me go soul-winning with him. Going door-to-door with him was much more painful than any spanking I ever received as a child.

  18. Don’t remember much from IFB little kid Sunday School….when I was older (ahem, like 10), I signed up for our church Bus Ministry just so I could skip Sunday School altogether and sit in the Bus Office and eat donuts till big Church. Worked like a charm! 😈

  19. I also skipped every single Sunday School class while attending FundyU. I worked in the kitchen and signed up for every Sunday morning to work. I went in early, but for some reason, they let us out about 10:30, so I went back to the dorms and slept until everyone else got back at 1….SCORE! Never got caught.

  20. As an occasional S.S. teacher, I liked to pull out all the craft supplies and paper and just let the kids go at it. So many just couldn’t do it.

    1. “So many just couldn’t do it.”

      The kids couldn’t do their art projects, you mean? Or the other teachers didn’t agree with you?

  21. Did anyone else have a box of carefully cut-out magazine pictures pasted onto construction paper? To illustrate things that weren’t in the flannalgraphs.

  22. I don’t remember much about my Sunday School days, but that’s due to senility. They were spent in a Methodist church, and I do remember drawing a picture of King Solomon, or his crown, or something. Overall, it was pretty boring.

    One of our sons was in a fundy Sunday school class when he was five, and had a huge room divider fall on him (β€˜cause the kids were fooling around with it). It required a trip to the emergency room, but he came out of it okay.

    And now, for the song of the day:

    #248 What a Blessing to be White Americans
    (Tune: β€œ[Standing on the] Promises”)

    1. What a blessing to be white Americans,
    We do not play music played like Africans,
    We do not sing music sung like Mexicans,
    Singing fundy music is so fun!

    Singing, singing,
    Singing fundy music is so fun-dy, fun-dy,
    Singing, singing,
    Singing fundy music is so fun!

    2. Listen to the rhythm, but don’t sway your hips,
    Keep the microphone ten inches from your lips,
    Do not quit your day job with its burger flips,
    Singing fundy music is so fun!


    3. Do not let me hear you play that bluesy scale,
    Never play a tempo faster than a snail,
    I will tell you more when I return from jail,
    Singing fundy music is so fun!


  23. I remember being bribed with candy a lot. It was fun as a little kid, and I will forever associate “circus peanuts” with Sunday school.

    As I got older, and the classes were divided. Then it got boring. It turned into chapel, and I was happy when I “graduated” to sitting in the adult service…but then that was boring too.

    I do remember visiting another church as my family was on vacation. It was another IFB church, as my parents always made sure to find one that fell in line with our home church. But…this Sunday school was very different, and I was excited. We got to watch a movie. I think it was called “Calliope” or something like that…it’s hard to recall. We also got prizes and candy, and this was for older kids. I remember it being much more fun than my home church’s version and wished I could have gone back.

    1. Penelope Calliope! I remember that….one of the few movies we were allowed to watch. If I remember the plot, a bunch of kids found a decrepit calliope somewhere, and restored it with the help of the wise old man.

  24. I’m not disputing anyone’s experience or interested in justifying it, but I’ve been in good independent fundamental baptist churches since I was 14 and although I knew of this stuff going on in other churches, it was never in mine. Granted, I was only an accounting student at BJU so I may not have seen what preacher boys saw, but much of what I read here seems very foreign to my experience.
    Be careful not to lump folks from the H-A ambit into the group of everyone that calls themself ifb. Even in narrow groups there is a spectrum.

    1. I don’t think these kinds of experiences are confined to the HA group (if that’s what you meant; if not, I apologize). My church was not affiliated with HA, BJU, or any of the “biggies” beyond using A Beka texts for homeschooling. We were strongly Gothard, then more SGM-ish, but my point is these things can happen in any IFB church. Or any cultish, secondarily-separated fringe fundamentalist environment, for that matter.

    2. I can’t stand when other fundy camps knock on Hyles Anderson to make themselves look better, as if BJU or Pensacola isn’t just as crazy.

      Not to mention all of the history of banning interracial dating and all of the very fine racist quotes that can be attributed to your name sake….

      As if BJU were above all crazies, and in the high end of the “spectrum.”

      Please get off the snobbish view of “our non regionally accredited bible cawledge is better than yours.”

      1. Hyles-Anderson is extra-special crazy compared even to Bob Jones or Pensacola. I mean seriously… take the craziest thing you’ve ever heard from one of the Robert Jones or Arlin Horton and put it beside that video the Schaft getting Jacked off.

      2. One of the things that shocked me beyond belief when I first saw some Hyles videos featured here on SFL was the cheering, hooting, and hollering when the preacher was introduced. We were very reserved and non-emotional in general, and applause was NOT for church. We would never applaud a pastor; it would seem too much like idolatry to us.

    3. And to be very specific to the topic at hand. I’ve had my share of bad “BJU grad” Sunday school teachers.

      Their brand of bad always was the “holier than thou,” “Christ honoring music”, “our homeschooled kids are better than yours” type. The stench of phariseeism was too much for “common folk” to take.

      1. Larry – the teller of my earlier “hatpin” story was a BoJo’er. As a matter of fact, almost all of my former fundy church heirarchy had BJU connections…and 90% were abusive, self-righteous a-holes. I could right a thesis on the crazy stuff that came from the mouths of BJU alums. But I still think that HAC is even crazier. Same street, just a little further down the block.

        1. I agree that Hyles Anderson was way cray way more than Robert Jones.

          That being said, Bob Jones and its clone schools win the award for most arrogant and unsufferable.

    4. BJU? What year? Because where do you think the founders of HAC and PCC and MBBC and Fairhaven tended to graduate from? Time to start your own fundy school to help atone for the compromises BJU made in the world.

  25. My favorite story comes from an adult Sunday School class and I’ve told it here before:

    I was back from college (I went to a “secular” a/k/a Catholic college) where I was minoring in classics. Our pastor was somewhat impressed and nonplussed by my knowledge of classical languages. (He had one partial semester of Baptist Bible College to his credit and NO knowledge of Biblical languages.)

    Anyway, it was around Christmas and he decided to go on this rant about how if you rearrange the letters in Santa, it spells Satan. He got all worked up and then turned to me and asked me to confirm that there was “something there.” I said, well, Santa is of Latin origin and Satan is of Greek/Hebrew origin, so I really don’t think there’s any connection there. He got really quiet for a minute and then said, “well, it’s something to think about anyway.”

  26. I have fond memories of one my classmates singing “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” which confused our ancient but well intentioned and hard of hearing teacher.

    1. We were extreme in our “separation” even for most fundies, but when my parents “cleansed our home” of worldly music (they actually threw about 100 records in the trash and then stood there and watched the trash truck crunch them up to make sure “no one else could ever listen to them”), my father secretly kept a cassette tape of his favorite songs and would let us listen to them in his car. The playlist included:

      Jeremiah was a Bullfrog;
      Jesus Gonna Make it Alright; aaaaand
      We are the World

  27. My sister once had a Sunday School teacher devote a lesson to “Why It’s Biblical to be a Beauty Queen” because this teacher believed that in Esther, when all the ladies go to spend a night with the King, it was really a sort of “beauty pageant” because she couldn’t stomach the thought that the Bible would construe a participant in ancient concubinage in anything approaching a positive light.

    1. I should add that this lady also believed that angels walk with us when we cross the street so that we won’t get hit by cars and she also believed in the healing powers of the Shroud of Turin. So, she wasn’t exactly standard-issue fundy.

      In fact, now that I think of it, she was really just a weirdo.

    2. As if concubines had any choice in the matter. They were essentially sex slaves. πŸ™

      As to the beauty pageant nonsense: gross.

    3. Walking, talking snake: literal. All the animals on a boat: literal. Live three days in a fish: literal.

      Water into wine: it was grape juice!
      The Song of Solomon: allegory!
      Esther as concubine: it was innocent! He was awed by her beauty and, one supposes, her mad conversational skills. But it wasn’t sexual!!


  28. I really can’t remember any bad stories from Sunday School. Although some of the teachers were boring, most were genuinely faithful people who wanted to do a good job, but just didn’t really know how to.

    I do have memories of around 5 years old hearing a teacher say that David probably didn’t sin after he was about 9. That caused me no end of stress because I couldn’t stop sinning no matter how hard I tried.

    That’s about it though. Guess I was blessed…

  29. I wasn’t raised in church, but went to Calvary Baptist in the San Diego area via their bus ministry when I was in Elementary school. First time in Sunday School, I was seven years old in the second grade. The teacher was talking about worship, but because of her accent, it sounded like war ship. Now, because I was a Navy kid and this was during the Vietnam war, I knew all about war ships. Also, I knew something about Jesus because this was also during the Jesus freak movement. What I couldn’t figure out is how the two were connected! :mrgreen:

  30. Sunday School at one fundy church was sitting in the sanctuary while the preacher “taught.” There was no give and take, we just had to sit and listen. Then the kids came in and church began.

    The other SS was a group of ladies taught by the Pastor’s Wife out of some mimeographed (in the mid 1990’s) Bible lesson. Ugh.

  31. I remember one day sitting in the front row of the third-grade Sunday school class, looking at the teacher’s feet. She was wearing open toed sandals, and panty hose, and had red toe nail polish. I was thinking “You can see Miss Barbar’s toes. Are you supposed to be able to see toes in church?”

    1. I think that (open-toed shoes) was what caused Jack Schaap to “stumble”. Either that, or he was just a heretical, power-hungry, Scripture-perverting, sheep-shearing, sub-christian pervert.

        1. Polecat – I think you are correct as usual. Who among us can resist the siren’s song of peep-toe stilettos? πŸ™„

  32. Okay, last one. Another Baptist church close by, First Baptist, also had a bus ministry. I remember sometimes before or after church one of their buses and ours would end up stopped next to ours at a stop light. Of course, kids being kids, we would open the windows and trade insults. The one I remember most vividly is our kids yelling “First is worst!” I remember one time at least thinking that we were superior because Christ died at Calvary, and John was a Baptist, therefore, BOTH our names were in the Bible. That was too long to yell out the window at a light though. And, of course, whenever we would yell at the other kids out the window the driver would tell us to knock it off. :mrgreen:

  33. Okay, last one. The children’s church leader’s last name was Scudder. He would tell us to call him Brother Scudder. Of course, he was known to all as “Butter Scudder.” Good thing he had a sense of humor!

  34. When I was seven, I remember our Texan Sunday school teacher always singing “Come Boldly.” It sounded like “Come Bow-lee” and I remember thinking he had a naughty dog named Bowlie.

  35. The hatpin story was a red-hot knitting needle story by the time I heard it. The father (?) heated it then ran it right through his left hand. …

    My most remarkable SS story was that in the 3rd grade class (over 50 years ago) Frank Chavez showed us all his Full Monty in the middle of class. (Frank was a “special needs” student, but who knew, back then?

    My vote for Action Song: Climb Climb up Sunshine Mountain.

    1. Ran a red-hot knitting needle right through his hand? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! 😯 What kind of person takes Teaching a Lesson so seriously that they’re quite happ–er, WILLING to mutilate themselves in front of their children. Now I’m getting perverted ideas of just how far a Fundy parent would go in order to traumatize their little ones for life. “Johnny, Susie, you either confess you stole those cookies or I’m going to cut off my OTHER leg with this chainsaw!” 😈

      1. Panda – Upon hearing this story, the normal person goes “Why would you ever threaten your child with a punishment of being impailed BY YOUR PARENT with a sharp, hot instrument?”…the fundy, however, thinks it demonstrates the love of Christ. Words fail me.

      2. It was a very dramatic re-enactment of a possibly factual event, performed more dramatically each time. Years later I asked him about the illustration and he said he got the story from (I forget the name ) at Moody B.I.

  36. By the time I hit high school, I’d managed to talk my parents into letting me sit in the adult SS class (skipping SS was only acceptable if you were and adult and a liberal, i.e. bad, christian) because I frankly wasn’t getting anything out of the high school class. I’d hope the adult class would shed a little light on some questionable aspects of baptist dogma but it was just more of the same as far as I was concerned. And it did not make me popular with the other kids (brains in a fundy female are NOT something you encourage). While it took another decade to leave fundydom for good, that was where the seeds were planted.

  37. I have another one….

    I was in late elementary school (maybe 5th grade) and we had just gotten back from camp where we learned some “camp songs” from our counselor who was a teenager from our church. My friend and I asked if we could share a song we learned at camp. The teacher said we could so we got up and proceeded to sing the song, “Pharaoh Pharaoh” which was in the tune of “Louie Louie”. Of course we had no idea that the tune was a rock and roll song. After the first line we were cut off and told to return to our seats with no explanation other than, you can’t sing that. I was confused and asked my father why that happened, and when I sang the song to him he almost fell out of his chair laughing! Here’s the lyrics in case people haven’t heard it:

    Pharaoh Pharaoh,
    Oh baby let my people go, HUH
    Yeah Yeah I said
    Pharoah Pharaoh,
    Oh baby let my people go HUH
    Yeah Yeah

    Well I’m on my way to the red sea
    And Pharaoh’s army’s comin after me
    So what do you think that I did do?
    Well I raised my rod and I cleared my throat
    And Pharaoh’s army did the dead man’s float.

    I said..
    Pharaoh Pharaoh,
    Oh baby let my people go, HUH
    Yeah Yeah I said
    Pharoah Pharaoh,
    Oh baby let my people go HUH
    Yeah Yeah Yeeeeaaahhhh

    There were a few more verses but I’ll spare you πŸ˜‰

    1. Oh my goodness, that song did actually exist! I always remember my friends (who went to another church) singing it one day in their kitchen. And for the past 15 years I’ve wondered if they made it up.

    2. OMG–I had forgotten about that song. This thread is bringing back so many wonderful childhood IFB memories :mrgreen:

      I remember feeling absolutely rebellious for singing a song set to such “worldly” music.

    3. That does bring back memories. We actually sang that at a summer youth camp my junior year of high school back in the early 90’s. This was at a mainline SBC church of all places. Looking back, that song would be more appropriate at an VBS camp, but we did mix in some Rich Mullins though.

  38. The classic “prophecy preacher” S.S. teacher who basically taught out of the newspaper every Sunday. Microchips! The G8 summit! Russia’s treaty with whoever blah blah… We found mystery Babylon in Dubai! Viva la Israel! Jack Van Impe had nothing on this guy.

    1. Reminds me of this crazy old guy we had that used to teach Sunday School when the pastor was out of town. One memorable lesson involved him skimming through the Old Testament looking for Bible names that sound like the names of modern-day countries and cities. He never exactly explained WHY the homophonic connection was significant.


      “So, Abraham’s brother was named Haran. Don’t you think that sounds like IRAN!?!? Think about that for a minute.”

      And so on.

      [Actually, as I got older, I slowly began to realize that most of the “old guard” at our church were radical white supremacists. Mr. Sunday School Substitute would probably have been shocked to find out that the actual etymological origin of “Iran” is thought to be the word “Aryan.”]

      1. I am from “the north” (sorta) and it’s a little different here. But I don’t think the tie between racism and Fundamentalism is understood or appreciated by many who come out of the movement.

        I don’t think Fundamentalism requires one to be racist. I think the kind of person who would cling to the Old South and its ideas of race would also find Fundamentalism attractive. Both racism and fundamentalism are holding onto the past.

        For that matter, the whole Religious Right is about clinging to an older way of life more than actually promoting Christian beliefs.

    2. A long, long time ago I was once a Bircher. At one of our events, much to my surprise, who was to show up to give the invocation? My fundy pastor! He saw me, I said hi, and his face turned white as a sheet. He never again appeared at any further events. I guess Mr. bold bravado preacher was too scared of what others might think?

    1. Flannel Graph was especially fun when it was super cheap and wouldn’t quite stay on the board, so the felt bible people would sag over each other in all manner of suggestive positions and poses.

  39. My earliest Sunday School memory is, I think, when I was about 4. I interrupted a telling of Noah’s Ark to ask about the logistics of it. The teacher told me now wasn’t the time. Huh. I didn’t realise I had started being an annoying answer-demander that young.
    Father Abraham, of course. Except for some reason my folk hated it (something about God being our Father, not Abraham), so I felt duty-bound to not participate in the actions.
    Later in life, when I got to be about 12, I was theoretically too old for Sunday School. But our pastor was SO BORING and would preach for like 2 and a half hours, so I was desperate to escape the service. I got to stay in Sunday School as a “helper”, which basically meant that I did the crafts and stuff just like the other kids.
    Once, we were all sat in a circle around a lady who was doing a sort of ‘guest’ talk. She was very well-meaning, but very boring. So we started to fidget a tad. Meanwhile, the Sunday School teacher who was a guy (they were a married couple) stalked around the outside of the circle. He suddenly threw a handful of coins into the centre. Of course, we all scrambled out of our seats and picked them up – I, being the sort who prided myself on being a good girl, picked up the coins and returned them to the man (as if he’d accidentally dropped them), and a friend beside me followed my example, while other kids pocketed the change. We tried to hand it back and he told us to keep it, that his point had been that we should have stayed in our seats and paid attention to the lady speaking.
    The inevitable salvation invitations. I recall answering one when I was about 7, just because I knew the Sunday School teacher would make a big deal of me, and I figured “eh, what the heck”. The Sunday School teacher was quite excited and told my folk and stuff, who talked to me and were like “You got saved [aka prayed the sinners’ prayer] when you were 3”. Which I knew, but, y’know, looking important in Sunday School.
    I remember a lot of ‘babysitting’ – that is, for some reason I tended to become friends with the kids who had behavioural problems, and would try to sort of keep them in line. There were ridiculous expectations – complete quietness, for one, as we didn’t even have a Sunday School room, just some dividers on the side of the sanctuary. My best friend was probably the Sunday School teachers’ son, who had what would now be immediately diagnosed as severe ADHD. They were really, really hard on him. They liked having me around, because I’d try to calm him down and keep him occupied and not let him do things that were too reckless.
    Now, at our wee tiny adorable Mennonite church, I sometimes go to adult Sunday School because I feel bad that the fellow who teaches it has such a small class, when he puts a lot of work into it. My first impression was that he was sanctimonious and stodgy and conservative. I came to realise that he was actually darn nice, definitely not as conservative as I’d expected, and put genuine research into the history and context of the passages he teaches on. He’s still quite boring, but he’s really good about asking us what we think, and then kind of discussing what he thinks. He and his wife are very fond of me, and I get accosted and hugged by her quite frequently.

  40. I went to a medium sized IFB church in the North GA mountains. I had a class clown in my Sunday School class and he made our teacher cry because of all the jokes he made during the story time. (This was an all boys Sunday school class, we were separated from the girls). They switched teachers to a strict older man to keep us straight!

  41. I don’t really have any bad memories of Sunday school nor any that stand out. In many parts of rural America, fundy churches fit in well with the surrounding culture. As a result, they don’t become magnets for crazy.

    I probably remember Sunday School in the country Methodist church more than I remember IFB Sunday School. Mainly we colored pictures about Jesus and sang songs like Jesus loves me.

  42. My small town, in the mid to late ’60s, had a service club that ran some bus routes, using public school busses, to take kids to Sunday school at whichever church they attended. All kinds of churches. I rode it once, just for fun. I don’t suppose they could get away with doing all that anymore.

    Oh, those innocent times!

  43. A few Sunday School memories:

    1. The cute little sticker scenes that came with the Regular Baptist Press curriculum. Every day that you attended in that semester, you would have a star to add to the sky or (on a different scene) another woodland creature to add to the forest.
    2. The Junior Girls’ teacher was an older single lady but very nice and very devoted to her students. I remember being in the Primary Class in third grade LONGING to graduate to the Junior class!
    3. Our very non-liturgical church did do one formal thing for Sunday School graduation: we had banners! On Promotion Sunday, each class would line up together at the back of the auditorium, then march in led by an older student holding a banner signifying what class we were. We’d sit together in a row. Any kids being promoted were called up on stage to get a certificate and sometimes a Bible, and then, when they came back down, they’d sit in the pew WITH THEIR NEW CLASS!!! πŸ™‚ It was VERY EXCITING for me, a tiny bit of pageantry!

    1. Wonder if the Throwing Noah’s Sons Overboard was concocted to explain why they kept falling off the flannelboard, which was no doubt bought on the cheap. πŸ˜€

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