Turning Victims into “Victims”

This video from Mike Ames, former BMOC at PCC, highlights one of the hallmarks of conservatism in general and fundamentalism in specific: the word “victim” is most frequently used as a slur. Mike has a hard time using the word “victim” when talking about being used, abused, and ultimately ostracized. I think he dislikes the term because we were taught that victims are just whiners. They are weak. They have an agenda that involves trying to profit from lies.

The fundamentalist stance towards victims is often thus: if they hurt you it’s because you let them. If you suffered it’s your fault. If you admit that you were emotionally and spiritually bludgeoned then you’re most likely just bitter.

Because nothing helps a person who has been hurt like victimizing them all over again with shame and guilt.

For more videos and discussion check out soulation.org

167 thoughts on “Turning Victims into “Victims””

  1. Sure, the real victims are to blame. But let a Man o’ Gawd get (rightly) accused of something and watch him pull out the “I’m a victim! I’m being persecuted!” card.

    oh, and second!

    1. Good point. The Religious Right plays the victim card at every opportunity, but shows little empathy for REAL victims of abuse and oppression.

  2. Just noticing body language/facial expression the first time he says the word “victim” … man, that alone said so much about what he’d been taught about that word.

        1. BG, you are my hero. I corresponded with Charles Schultz as a ‘fanboy’, and his perception of the human condition is the golden thread woven throughout his Peanuts strip. Snoopy evolved from BMOC to “Joe Cool, back in school, hanging around the water fountain…” Turning on the water for the cute coeds …

  3. The MOG isn’t a victim, he is being persecuted.

    Third – to go with 3rd time on a jury.

  4. I fear this attitude is more prevalent than we’d like; look at the success of books like “The Secret”. All you have to do is envision achieving your dream, getting a job, recovering from illness, finding true love, getting gobs of money. If it doesn’t happen, then you’re not trying! 😡
    Sorry, Oprah, that dog won’t always hunt.

  5. I know like only very few people can, exactly the turmoil he’s dealing with and my heart goes out to him and his wife. I’ve been out of Fundamentalism for about five years (eight out of the church that I suffered true abuse at) and I have those same anxiety dreams a least twice a week. You don’t really realize the damage that’s been done until you come to terms with the fact that your subconscious, the very deepest part of you, is still traumatized by the abuse it was subjected to. Friend, you are a victim. I am a victim, but I don’t let it define me. It’s a big part of what’s shaped me into the person I am today, and while I don’t wish this on anyone, I’ve used it to help others in similar situations because nothing makes being a victim worse than feeling like you’re alone. Let them call me weak and bitter. I’m human. I’m weak very often and I most definitely have bad days where the bitterness wins, but you know what? I have a relationship with God that they can never have as long as they’re perpetuating Fundamentalism. I know that I don’t have to dress a certain way or listen to certain music for our Sovereign God to comfort and love me every minute of everyday. So, yes. I’m a victim. I’m a victim loved wholly and unconditionally by God and I’m thankful for the circumstances that brought me to this place.

    1. I think you make a good point, Amanda. It’s been around 10 years for me since I left BJU and fundamentalism behind, and while I often regret some of the teachings that I embraced back then, I realize that it was those experiences that make me who I am today, and I don’t know if I would want to do it over if I somehow had the opportunity.

    2. Realize this post is old… But can’t help agree with yo, Amanda!

      Do all former IFB’s have as much mental trauma to recover from as we do?

      I think it’s a shame that the IFB leaders have so much emotional control over their “followers”…

      What’s ironic is…if they really cared for us, then why aren’t they here for us now? What was the deal with all the “loving” criticism during those years? They (he, in my family’s case) was trying to control us…

      It’s good to know I’m not alone!

      It’s good to know that there’s a real, loving, caring God that is there for us.

  6. Haven’t watched the video yet. BUT I do want to give props for the Brady Bunch reference. If you have to ask what the reference is, your too young to get it.

    Children of the 70’s unite!!!


    1. Or you were a child in the 70s but your parents thought TV was a sinful waste of time and didn’t own one!

        1. Ahhh, memories. We had TV, but weren’t allowed to watch much that was good on it, at least when my Dad was home. But I always had to go to my friends’ houses to watch all the good stuff on the evil CABLE tv. 😀

        2. Oh, yes. I had to sneak episodes of Masters of the Universe at my friend’s house because it was so satanic that my parents wouldn’t let me watch it. Just like Care Bears, which shows the level of sophistication in my parents’ ability to distinguish the influence of cartoon fantasy.

      1. then there were all the revelations about the Brady Bunch.
        -Greg Dated Mom
        -Dad was Gay
        -Alice was Gay
        -and Marsha and Jan got busy with each other

        Don’t know how Bobby, Peter and Cindy escaped all the sexcapades on that “Family” show. 😯

    2. I’m a few years too young, but also miss TV references from my generation. Still haven’t seen, “The Lion King,” and I was well into my teens when that came out. We didn’t watch it because of its New Agey themes. 😛

  7. I have more anger than anxiety. My dreams are less about breaking the rules and more about possessing superior martial arts skills and using them. I’m not sure if this is good or bad.

        1. He burned down his own home (along with all the Church financial records… how convenient), there was a fire at the church that they did not pin on him, and he set fire to his estranged wife’s house after breaking in and threatening to murder her. (he get’s out…next year I believe) So yeah, Arson is not something in my joke book any longer.

  8. 34 years in growing up in various churches in fundyland, PCC, and 8+ years in a FBC wanna-be fundy church…only 3 years out of the madness. I have dreams all the time. I completely relate to what he’s talking about. It’s terrifying to dream about trying to not get “caught” or “kicked out” by the invisible bad guy in your dream for having kids on campus, or being married and having had sex. How do we turn off those demons in our heads? You know the ones…they make you feel guilty for everyday normal things, even by fundy standards. Things like driving to the store by yourself, or kissing your husband, or watching Star Wars. It’s when you mix up those normal things with the classic and expected fundy timeline of life events that things begin to unravel. Sometimes, I’m not sure I’ll ever get over it.

    1. I haven’t gone through it myself, but reading what you said, it’s like being ruled and caught by the enemy guard in a prison camp, isn’t it? The actions, the reactions, they’re the same.

      My heart goes out to people exposed to this evil behaviour.

    2. It does get better over time. It took me 5 years to deprogram myself. Just push yourself each day do to something fundies would consider sinful.
      Blasphemy has been helpful in my healing process.

      1. I’d say “amen” to that but that’s a triggering word.

        I wear clothes that wouldn’t pass dress check, have even worn pants to church, drink alcohol on a regular basis, and watch/read/listen to things that fundies would heartily disapprove of unless they were doing as a research project on the “world”. It does reduce the pain. Is it a rebound thing? I dunno. It took a while to start that after I quit attending the fundy religious social club.

        Other issues have dissipated by degrees, but none entirely. Time, distance, and philosophical changes all help.

  9. There are people who have been victimized and then there are people who hide behind the label “victim.” When someone exaggerates their experiences and refuses to accept personal responsibility for their past and present situations they fall into the latter category. After watching several Soulation videos about PCC Dale I’m convinced Dale is promoting the latter as well.

    1. I’m not surprised you would think that, Bob. A little surprised to see you hanging out with we bitter folks, though. How’s that productive life working out?

    2. Sure, Bob, we all should take responsibility for our own actions. Maybe the self-absorbed pharisees of places like PCC and BJU should start a support group of former and current abusers who, deep in their hearts, wish they could demonstrate the grace of Jesus Chirst in their dealing with other not-so-gifted believes (unlike themselves).

      I’ve yet to see anyone on sites like this confess to wronging others in the name of promoting their self-righteous standards. NEVER! It seems to be everyone’s fault but their own. This is truly maddening

      1. Dear Alexander,

        In 1978, as a prayer captain in the Bibb Graves dormitory, I had a young man in my prayer group seek counsel from me. He was having homosexual thoughts and urges. I didn’t know what to do. I knew that BJU (god?) hated homosexuality. So I went to the hall monitor, who is now a highly placed administrator at BJU. I turned this young man in… for confessing to having homosexual urges. The next day he was gone. Shipped. I had self-righteous religious standards. And I hurt this young man. If I could remember his name, I would try to find him to seek forgiveness. There would be no adequate words for the way I participated in this religious abuse.

        As I’ve aged, this experience has helped to make me value human rights. I’ve worked hard in my community, and have made progress, in achieving same-sex domestic partner rights and benefits. I’m a middle aged heterosexual who is trying to make things right.

        Alexander, I’m writing this because you’re right. We don’t usually confess our sins of self righteousness.

        Blessings to you for calling us out.

      2. When I think of myself more as a victim than as a disciple of Christ, I’ve lost my way.

        When I hide behind the victim label, no one can question my experience. If they do, I then pull out my “bully” trump card to silence them. I am accountable to no one. I can embellish my experiences. I can justify my present behavior, actions, and attitudes. And, I am justified to do so based on my past experiences or on what someone else did to me.

        When I hide behind the victim label, I redirect any criticism I receive to someone else. Surely someone else is more at fault than I am for my behavior. What about them?

        When I hide behind the victim label, I become empowered by being a victim, and I seek out others who will allow / encourage me to remain a victim.

        Now, that being said, the context we’re discussing here is being a student at PCC or BJU. We’re not talking about people who have been physically and/or sexually abused. We’re talking about people who feel they have experienced “spiritual abuse.” In Dale’s case, he experienced “spiritual abuse” because PCC wouldn’t allow him to practice or promote his charismatic beliefs while being a GA.

        1. Bob,

          Apparently I’ve missed the narrower context here regarding Dale’s experience.

          The thread of comments seemed to be more general and not limited to “spiritual” abuse, as Bald Jones grad so eloquently shared regarding his own experience (BJgrad, I very much appreciate your honest reflection. That was an admonition to me personally).

          Bob, you wrote several times, “When I hide behind the victim label.” At what point do YOU decide who is hiding behind a victim label? Further, at what point do YOU admit that perhaps someone was in fact abused, whether spiritually, sexually, or in any other way? When do WE admit that we have demonstrated a spirit unlike Christ in our dealings with our brethren, or even those “outside the household of faith?”

    3. You know, I’ve never had an outright negative experience within fundamentalism, and I’m very thankful. No one physically abused me, no one tormented me with the fear that I might lose the support of my family and friends if I left fundamentalism. My parents were pretty fundy-lite, and I was never forced to attend a Fundy U.

      However, a lot of people that visit this blog aren’t so lucky. They were abused. They had ultra-fundy parents that were scary and crazy, that bought into it all and honestly believed they were correctly raising their children … when in reality they were harming them in the name of God.

      Bob, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Like, at all.

      1. Actually, I have had MANY negative experiences with fundamentalism. What I mean to say was I’ve never had an outright horrific experience with fundamentalism.

      2. Alexander,

        When someone claims they’ve been victimized, EVERYONE has to decide whether HE/SHE will believe the individual’s accusation. There is nothing wrong with wanting to substantiate truth claims; in fact, we are morally obligated to establish the truth claims in cases where abuse is alleged.

        That being said, in this context, I’ve watched several of Dale’s videos and interacted with him on his website. Dale is clearly hiding behind the victim label. Why do I say that?

        First, his claims are exaggerated for emotional effect. When someone tells me they are a victim of spiritual abuse at PCC and the first example they come up with to substantiate their claim is having to endure the “humiliation” of hair check, a big red flag goes up. In one video, Dale even agrees with his interviewer when she suggests that hair check is equivalent to the humiliation of a strip search. Please. The claims in the other videos I watched were just as exaggerated and full of emotional appeals.

        Second, when I challenged Dale’s hyperbole, his response was to suggest I was an abuser myself and a bully for calling him out. He even threatened to moderate / remove my posts. As I said before, when someone pulls the “bully” trump card out when people start legitimately questioning the details of their experiences, that’s another red flag.

        Third, in one of Dale’s videos he presents himself during his time at PCC to be a Christ-figure, directly commissioned by God to rescue the spiritually helpless and captive souls at PCC. He received his enlightenment about the spiritual tyranny at PCC directly from God and was sent to set the captives free. Another reg flag.

        Don’t get me wrong. I believe PCC has legitimately wronged people and treated many harshly. But, you will not convince me that you were spiritually abused by appealing to hair check, music standards, demerits for room jobs, or being sent to DC. Nor will you convince me that your claims of abuse are true when you consistently exaggerate the facts that are easily verifiable.

        I applaud Dale for wanting to help people work through spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is real. However, in this case, the short and sweet truth about Dale’s “spiritual abuse” at PCC is that he was kicked out of PCC for wanting to practice and promote charismatic doctrine. Did Dale get his feelings hurt during the process? Yes. Was he “spiritually abuse”? Probably not.

        1. According to Dale, he was kicked out for “leading young men into Neo Evangelicalism.” Specifically, he was recommending books for people to read. A few others were caught up in it also and I believe all or nearly all were speech majors.

          I had heard the charismatic rumor but I don’t know where it comes from. Perhaps some of the authors he suggested were non-cessationists. Or perhaps the person who reported him or the administration just didn’t really know what charismatic beliefs really were. To my knowledge, Dale does not now and has never had any charismatic Christian tendencies.

          I also heard rumors he was going to the Brownsville Revival. According to Dale that is a completely false rumor.

          Also the person who reported him to the administration has since apologized to him.

        2. Elijah, thank you for the correction. I knew his dismissal was for doctrinal / theological differences he had and promoted on campus. I was told those differences had to do with charismatic theology. But, if that isn’t the case, I stand corrected.

        3. Bob,

          Thank you for you indebth response. Like I said in another response, I was responding to the broader context. I have no knowledge of the specifics of Dale’s circumstance. This is why I cannot speak regarding his “victim” label.

          I agree with you that “there is nothing wrong with wanting to substantiate truth claims; in fact, we are morally obligated to establish the truth claims in cases where abuse is alleged.” This would certainly apply to Dale, though I can’t say he has or hasn’t already done this.

          In the broader context, I very rarely see those in leadership who are responsible for causing the abuse come forward with a contrite heart and repent.

        4. “Also the person who reported him to the administration has since apologized to him.”

          Elijah Craig, did this administrator make this apology public?

        5. Bob, you’re defining the word “victim” as someone who is perceived as a victim by others. Someone isn’t a victim because *you* decide they are. You would probably say Mike is a victim of abuse if he was physically abused and had bruises on his body. You’re denying Mike is a victim because *you* don’t believe he is. You say someone can claim they are a victim, but it’s up to them to substantiate this to others … no, it’s not.

          There’s real humiliation to be had by hair check. Just because someone followed the rules of hair length and never was punished by demerits doesn’t mean they weren’t subjected to anxiety about hair check. Bob, just because you didn’t have anxiety about hair check doesn’t mean Dale or Mike didn’t (I’m not saying they indeed had anxiety over it). Why does someone *have* to prove their anxiety over hair check? Is it not enough to look at the arbitrary rule, the drawn-line, and know that BJU or PCC or whatever Fundy U used it to assess someone’s spirituality?

          Bob, I think I was where you are at, but the more I read about these places, and the people that come out of them, the more I understand that trying to control people is abuse – and using that control to falsely assess someone’s eternal security *is* abuse.

        6. “I also heard rumors he was going to the Brownsville Revival.”

          I chuckled a little when I read this because the idea that someone could get kicked out of college for going to “the Brownsville Revival” is so foreign to me. I went to a state university.

        7. “You say someone can claim they are a victim, but it’s up to them to substantiate this to others … no, it’s not.”

          Actually, Megan, yes it is. If you are going to accuse someone of abuse, you need to be able to substantiate your claims or else you’re guilty of malicious libel / slander.

          “There’s real humiliation to be had by hair check.”

          No, not really. It’s as harmless as tie check, music check, or dress check. The fact that someone feels anxiety about any of these is not an indication that they are being spiritually abused. I felt anxiety about many of the tests I took while a student at PCC. I felt anxiety about white glove. Are you claiming that making students take tests is somehow spiritually abusive? Are you suggesting making students clean their rooms is spiritually abusive?

          And passing / failing hair check was NEVER equated to one’s salvation. That is another exaggeration.

        8. I think the reason he brought up the whole Hair Check thing was to highlight the fact that Fundamentalism controls a persons behavior by inculcating them with a belief that to break even the most petty rules puts you very salvation at risk. To them the The Christian Life is a Tightrope Walk and even something as trivial (in the World’s eyes) as long hair is enough to knock you off the rope into the fires of Hell

        9. Yes. Hair check was a way of testing your spirituality, and they were not shy to say so. It was also a way of getting your jollies on a personal vendetta, as happened at BJU. And if you resented the fact that a campus sports rival could bust you anytime he wanted at hair check, well, that was simply evidence of your bitter, rebellious heart!

          It happened to me. And so I had to go face the Dean of Men. Now, I had just gotten my hair cut the week before. When I stood before the King of Weasels, Tony Miller, he frowned in puzzlement and had me turn around twice while he tried to figure out why I had been referred to him by the Hair Nazis. I knew that it was a vendetta. After the second rotation, he said that the problem was that my hair was too thick on top (I have always had thin hair). At that point, I laughed, told him that the Hair Nazi had said it was too long in the back, and that I knew I was going to get ten demerits even though I had just cut it seven days earlier. I then pointed out that Tony’s hair was slightly longer than mine was (a point he could not deny), and asked if he was going to pay a $10 fine to match my ten demerits. He was flustered, and all he could think to say was “Young man, you better watch your attitude, or you’ll find yourself in my office.”

          I then was directed to get a haircut and report to the Dean of Men’s office for inspection. I waited two days, went to the Dean’s office without getting a haircut, and was passed without comment.

          The whole affair took my mind off of whatever drivel they were spewing in chapel that day, wasted an hour of my life as I stood in line to face the Dean of Men, and wasted another hour of my life as I went over to the Dean of Men’s office to be inspected by his drones.

          All this because my campus society beat the pants off the Bible Major society for the BJU basketball championship, though we were favored to lose by 20. Yes, those Preacher Boys were the Hair Nazis, and they were looking for us for WEEKS afterward.

          Was this abuse? I dunno. It sure was an attack on a psychological and spiritual level. I already had the appropriate level of respect for the BJU Administration (translated: NONE! :mrgreen: ), but this took my disgust to new levels. And now, years later, having learned more stuff that I never knew about the place, I don’t know if it is possible for my disgust to become any more intense. They are bullies, and, therefore, cowards, who prey on anyone if they think they CAN.

        10. Bob, maybe having long hair might not send you to the pit of Hell, (depending on which IFB church you went to, opinions vary) but that person would be made to feel that they are not measuring up to God’s Standards. I grew up in Northern Ireland in the 1960′s and ’70′s. My church was not “Fundamentalist”, but like all other “Evangelical” Churches of that era, it did have certain “Standards” which I never could find in the Bible. If you went to church without a tie…. well, you just didn’t do such a thing if you wanted to be part of the Club. I am NOT exaggerating.

        11. MSK wrote: “Was this abuse? I dunno. It sure was an attack on a psychological and spiritual level…”

          What you describe is certainly an abuse of authority. It’s also pointless and counterproductive. It’s the kind of thing that undermines the very respect for authority that Christian institutions like BJU and PCC claim they’re trying to uphold. Abuse of authority is one of those things that makes my blood boil. The problem isn’t so much the rules (although they seem to be ridiculous in many cases), but the fact that they’re enforced inconsistently, and can be used to target people or groups who aren’t in favor. And that the punishments, in some cases, are far out of proportion to the “crimes.”

          What you describe is also such a lost opportunity to use something silly like a hair check to teach the RIGHT lesson. If I were that dean (and I don’t know how on earth that would be possible, seeing as I’ve always stayed as far as possible from those types of institutions, but bear with me…) and you came to me after being reported for long hair, I’d have sent you on your way. Then I’d have called in the young man who reported you, and asked him exactly what the problem was with your hair. And if he didn’t have a very good explanation, I’d have given him a lecture on authority, and how those who have been entrusted with it have greater responsibility to act in fairness, and never to abuse it, or take it for granted. And a warning about how it might be taken away if anything like that ever happens again.

          Of course, then, I guess it wouldn’t really be a Fundy U.

          The only way I can make sense of colleges like that is to think of them as a sort of combination Bible college – slash – military academy. I’m not sure why someone would want to attend a place like that, but that’s how I have to view it to make sense of it. But the only way such a place could in any way be valuable is if the strict, military values are enforced fairly and consistently, and with a sense of proportion. With a sense of “we’re all equal under the law.” From all the descriptions I’ve heard, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

          Ultimately, I guess my point is that these colleges elevate certain students to a position of great authority over other students – they can literally determine whether a student is able to graduate or not, based on interpretations of some very strict rules. And with that authority, at least, should come some training in how not to abuse that authority. How to be fair. And some accountability. And some understanding that when the rules aren’t applied fairly, people will complain about the injustice of it. That’s not a rebellious spirit – that’s just common sense.

        12. @Bob Keeshan; in one of your responses above, you equate humiliation with anxiety over taking a test. The two terms are not synonymous. A lot of research has gone into the backgrounds of serial killers. The debate continues between ‘nature and nurture’ with respect to root influences in their damaged psyches.
          Only one common element seems to have remained consistent. They have all recalled an episode of humiliation. When it comes to traumatic, id-shaping moments in a person’s life, anxiety pales in comparison to humiliation. Anxiety is worry over what may happen to me. Humiliation goes to the core of my self-worth.
          When you couple humiliation with a spiritual subtext, how can that be anything less than abuse?

        13. Bob K said, “Second, when I challenged Dale’s hyperbole, his response was to suggest I was an abuser myself and a bully for calling him out”

          Are you in fact a bully or an abuser?

        14. No. You don’t have to be able to prove instances of abuse or be liable for slander.

          You have to be able to prove cases of abuse beyond reasonable doubt in order to have the abuser charged.

          If YOU have been charged with slander, the person who is charging you has to be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your claims are wrong.

          There are many cases where abuse happened yet cannot be proven, especially if the abuse happened while the victim was a child and they did not speak about it until later. It still happened. If it was taken to court, the perpetrator may well be found not guilty. However, if the perpetrator tried to have the victim charged with slander, they would be unsuccessful. They can’t prove that the abuse didn’t happen because it did.

        15. I would just like to point out that dress check is and was humiliating. It’s humiliating to have to get approval for what dress you wear from your peers, peers who just happen to have been deemed appropriate moral authority by the administration. It’s humiliating to have that check be nearly arbitrary in a lot of ways–you could completely pass dress check and then on the night of Fine Arts still have your dress questioned by a different power-happy peer. And then, I wore a dress as a grad student that would never have passed a student dress check, and was told, “That’s a beautiful dress!” by the strictest floor leader in the building when she saw me. Why? Because I was a grad student/faculty. Arbitrary. It’s humiliating to have your choice of clothing measured on a moral scale and know that your spirituality is being questioned based entirely on whether or not the dress you are wearing adheres to a set of vague and arbitrarily enforced guidelines. That’s why it is spiritual abuse.

          Hair check isn’t abusive or humiliating because you have to adhere to some hair length guidelines. Hair check is abusive and humiliating because it is used to evaluate a person’s relationship with God and perceived “rebellion” levels. Hair check is abusive and humiliating because it is used by students to wield power and control over other students. When power and control are exercised through creating spiritual fear, that is spiritual abuse–no quotations marks involved.

    4. Dale was in my prayer group my junior year first semester (last yr. I attended PCC). He is not promoting the latter! He was one of the few “real” Christians who wasn’t just putting on a show for the admin. Like so many did. I wish I would have gotten to know him better while I was there. He had a heart then that was seeking after God as he does now! I thank God he is doing these videos! The truth about PCC needs to be told!

  10. third POV – He had some bad stuff happen to him, purposefully done to him to subjugate him. He got through it. He got over it. He learned from it and moved on. He doesn’t want to think of himself as a victim, and doesn’t want people to think of him as a victim.

    Is he to be pitied? If so, why? Because he won’t join the fraternity of victims?

    1. I kind of see it the same way. He doesn’t want to wear the victim label, and yet what other word fits?

      1. The problem I have with the word itself is that everybody is a victim of something in one way or another. But if I were to go around painting myself with that term because 1) I am socially awkward and teens were sociopathically cruel, 2)for some reason or another, other people tried to subjugate me in various ways, sometimes abusive ways, for various reasons, then I haven’t gained wisdom from either 1 or 2, and how to deal with those situations as they continue to arise through life (because even adult peers can be sociopathic-ally cruel, and because there is always someone else who will want to subjugate you). I’m not a victim – I’m a learner and a self-protector. Here’s to “never again!”

        1. Yes–however, there are some personality types that have a more difficult time with this, and do not deserve to be shamed for being (supposedly) unable to cope or whatever one wants to term it. See Bald Jones grad’s comment at 1:36 pm.

        2. I agree. I accept that some people have a harder time dealing with problems then others, but also dislike victim status being used as a shield to deflect criticism or justify misbehavior.

          At the same time, it is common for people to deny the severity of abuse or mistreatment because they want to avoid the taint that comes with being viewed as a victim– this is particularly strong in men as society doesn’t allow us to be victims.

  11. Just watched the video.

    That. Poor. Guy.

    That’s all I can say. Bless his heart. 17 years after his experience, he is still analyzing and agonizing and debating his own feelings with himself. Still unsure whether he is “right” to feel what he is feeling. Still ashamed of himself and his emotions. Good heavens.

    Well, Mike, I certainly haven’t been through what you’ve been thorough. So I can’t say that I know how you feel, because I don’t.


    Please know that you’ve struck a chord with me. You and your wife will be in my thoughts and prayers.


  12. Maybe he should label himself a survivor not a victim. Like many of us he is in recovery from the fundy nonsense we endured for so many years. He’s trying to sort out what’s true from what isn’t. I know what it’s like to have dreams where you’re “back there” and in some way not obeying some stupid rule and the fear of displeasing them. It will always affect our lives, but the good thing is we left and we’re free from what we used to endure. 🙂

  13. Wow!! This is sad. I can’t relate to this at all and I was an ifb kid. Of course, I was also a “preacher boy” at bju who never climbed the spiritual ladder. I think I was an “assistant prayer captain” for one semester. I think I irritated them since I refused to play the game, received a lot of demerits for little things that were probably right to do (like staying up late to talk through an issue with a roommate), but also did well academically (of course the theological training at bju wasn’t all that challenging at the undergrad or grad level.)

  14. Who is Dale?

    BMOC was often used when I was at BJU. Those who attended when I did whould know them well.

    As far as dreams are concerned, I had a big one. I dreamt that I was walking around on campus in my underwear. Talk about anxiety. When woke up I felt so guilty I thought I should go to the deam of men and confess. This was years after leaving the school. (my blood pressure is going up as I write 🙁 )

    I know this man’s feeling about not wanting to be referred to as a “victim.” With our rugged American individualism this in and of itself is taboo.

      1. Thanks, Darrell. I went to the web page and have found it to be a bit difficult to navigate. I’m searching to see what Ames is referring to.

  15. It’s horrible the stigma attached to the word. Although “survivor” is good, and a positive word, from a legal standpoint, if you report being abused, you cannot be legally recognized as a “survivor”.

  16. The point to the video was that he needed to express that the experience at PCC had negatively impacted his life, and that these impacts have proceeded through time.

    Some people are sensitive, introspective, and often artistic. These gentler souls are usually easily damaged by experiences that might be shrugged off by more dominant or controlling personalities. These controlling personalities usually have the positions of power in these Cxn institutions. It’s very easy for them to ride rough-shod over these more sensitive, introspective types.

    The controllers often use God and the faith (cynically) as tools for controlling others. They couch their control in accusations of bitterness or moral weakness. Like Bob Keeshan’s comment above, these cynics accuse them of refusing “to accept responsibility for their past and present situations” and who “hide behind the label ‘victim’”. These controllers morph into spiritual bullies who wound people, grievously, in the name of our Lord.

    1. Wow, BJgrad! Another facet is never admitting any wrongdoing or ill-motives. When they appear to admit error in word or deed it is usually couched in self-serving verbage. I can think of many examples (some of which I’d have to admit guilt), after all, I’m am he who causes much harm to the Man-o-God.

    2. Bald Jones grad said: “Some people are sensitive, introspective, and often artistic. These gentler souls are usually easily damaged by experiences that might be shrugged off by more dominant or controlling personalities. These controlling personalities usually have the positions of power in these Cxn institutions. It’s very easy for them to ride rough-shod over these more sensitive, introspective types.”

      A little off topic, but this is an attitude that often bothers me. And it shows up, though maybe more subtly, even in more mainstream churches and Christian institutions. It’s not limited to fundy-dom. And it’s often gendered – couched in the rambling “Christian men should be bold, not timid” type sermons, which often boil down to a defense of traditional gender roles more than anything.

      -sensitive, introspective Christian man

      1. The bully in the pulpit is especially apt to over generalize those whom BJg calls “gentler souls.” I’ve been under two of these bullies and have heard the rants repeated over and again. Why two? I suppose I thought there could only be the one. Again, I’m ashamed to have placed myself and my family under such self-absorbed “leadership.”

        Even though some of the comments have been a bit off topic, I’ve found so many of the thoughts here to be encouraging and thought provoking.

    3. This is a great comment, and – I think – helps explain why I emerged from fundystan with very few scars. I am naturally kind of a type-A, with a very pronounced internal-locus-of-control perspective (oldest of seven brothers, so…) I never considered myself abused, and never felt trapped or coerced. I always felt that I was in complete control of my situation, a tremendous fallacy which I have not yet been fully disabused of. Nevertheless, the worst hurt I experienced was actually from those I hung out with after fundystan, who pretended to be not-fundamentalist, but behind their cool and semi-emergent reformed baptist veneer were just as legalistic, as I found out as soon enough. I guess it hurt more because I trusted them and expected more.

      1. I wouldn’t consider myself a Type A personality (I think that sort of typing is as bogus as the “alpha male” stereotype) but I also didn’t feel trapped at PCC. I went a little later than most students and knew that I could leave at any time. I had a car; I could simply pack it up and drive away.

        Part of what makes childhood abuse so damaging is that children can’t just leave. Their life depends on the very people who are abusing them. And those people may be several times their size.

  17. After more than 30 years in the ministry I am still am haunted by haunted by my time in Bible College. I never lied to anyone there but was called one by some leaders. Have been in the ministry all these years and still when I say something they will still look to my wife to verify that its true. I wasnt the perfect student but did the best I could. Having served in every ministry possible it still wasn’t enough for them (even though I wasn’t doing it for them. When I return to visit, very rarely, there are still many of the same people who pretend not to know me.

    When my children ask me about where to go to college I tell them anywhere but an ifb “church” and I forbid them to except their lying representations.

  18. I’m completely new to this conversation, but I want you to know that in my struggle to deal with a rape, I had the exact same reaction: I didn’t want to call myself a victim.
    Somehow, becoming a victim meant that I couldn’t be me anymore, and I had to re-examine everything about myself that I believed to be true.

    I guess I’m sending you hugs. And I hope that we can all work together so that no one ever has their voice taken from them ever again.

    1. Jessi wrote elsewhere:

      “I guess someday I’ll be a survivor, and that will be a huge stroke of victory. Until then, I will keep fighting my way out of this dark corner, wounded, victimized, but not silenced and not marginalized.”

      Jessi, thanks for your input here and your thoughts elsewhere!

      Alexander the Coppersmith

      PS Marginalization is the key tactic of the bully.

  19. If you’re reading, Mike, I wish you good luck on your continued recovery.

    In my experience, the most painful and debilitating inheritance from fundymindset is the idea–from which all fundy ideas flow and to which they seem to return–that God is eager to punish us; that he’d like nothing better than to catch us in some small infraction that would result in our eternal destruction. This belief is the foundation for the entire fundy edifice. The incessant rule-making; the way a “pastor” or church body shames people into conformity; the way fundy schools set up surveillance to monitor behavior. I call this belief for what it is: BULL-SHIT (or for the KJV inclined, KINE-DUNG).

    Now, if y’all don’t mind, I’m going to go have a beer, godammit all to hell and back.

  20. I’ve had “anxiety dreams” about PCC over the years since I graduated in ’96. In fact, I had a “moving into the dorms” dream just last night; the dorm room was really cool, but I felt (in the dream) that something was wrong or amiss.

    I view those dreams as…just dreams. Should I be viewing them as something more since I went to a fundamentalist college, or are such dreams common amongst those who went to a non-fundy college?

    1. Not being flippant or dismissive in the above post; I’m curious as to whether those who attended non-fundamentalist colleges/universities have similar sorts of dreams filled with some anxiety or other. I would not be surprised to read that it’s a common thing across the spectrum of college experiences.

      1. Sort of doubt it.

        I went to a standard large State University in the early ’90’s. I don’t think I’ve had a dream about my college experiences that I can remember, since leaving college. Like most people, I suspect, I have an anxious dream now and then, but it typically has something to do with whatever’s going on in my life currently, or just doesn’t make sense to me. My college life is a distant, mostly pleasant memory.

      2. I have a couple friends who went to state university and still, decades later, have that dream where they show up for class and completely forgot their term paper was do, and also the dream where the dean calls them back and says there’s a problem on the transcript and they have to retake one class.

        1. It’s totally understandable that a person might dream about forgetting a class or a term paper.

          How many state college grads dream about getting expelled for stupid reasons? I’d imagine the number is fairly low.

        2. I recently had a dream where I was told I had to repeat Basic Combat Training because my records stated I never completed it. It was horrible.

        3. Actually I do have a couple of dreams that keep recurring. One is that I am sitting an exam on a subject that I know nothing about. The blank page in front of me reflects the condition of my mind. I am terrified because if I fail this exam my life will be ruined. The other is that I am walking around town naked. Nobody seems to care except for me – I am acutely embarressed. I wonder if these dreams have anything to do with my Spritual State. Naaah, probably not, maybe I shouldn’t eat pizza before bedtime.

      3. My only anxiety dreams regarding college were about the massive hassle of trying to get home across four time zones.

      4. I went to a state college, but sometimes I still wake up believing I have an exam that day. An exam I do not study for.

  21. I’m going to come at this from a bit of a different point of view and you can go to the last paragraph to possibly skip the TMI. I was married for awhile to a very abusive man. He was emotionally, sexually, spiritually and financially abusive. He put me and our child in very dangerous situations for his own gain. The end came when he became increasingly physically abusive to our toddler.

    For a very long time I didn’t consider myself to have been physically abused. I mean he never actually hit me. It took a few years of healing and processing to really understand the depth of the abuse. To realize the full extent of his abuse and the damage that was done.

    I feel like Mike is stuck there in trying to define his abuse without fully examining it. He understands that certain things weren’t right, but he isn’t ready to face the full extent of his and his wife’s abuse. She’s still having nightmares and he seems to be still stuck in some of the thought processes. Part of getting better and healing is owning the abuse and the damage it caused. It really hurts my heart to see him try to talk about and define what has happened to him.

    1. All of us have to work through and try to “put our finger” on some things we can’t seem to figure out. It took me several years to put my finger on what was wrong with fundamentalism as a movement, and the leadership style of my local “church” in particular. YEARS!

      I think it’s therapeutic to talk it out and keep trying to more accurately put it into words.

      It sounds like that is exactly what Mike is trying to do. I found myself almost hanging on his words waiting for him to strike gold and define his thoughts, feelings, and experiences into one concise statement!

      1. Yes you’re just waiting. Reading his comments on the discussion page on their site was interesting as well. He was raised in the fundy system so going to a fundy college wasn’t as difficult for him. He says he was prepared already. I’d say it’s a bit more Stockholm.

        1. Something else I hadn’t thought of! Fundystan is an organized hostage-taking institution where the hostages are convinced they’ve been…uh…hostaged for their own good!

          Fundyholm Syndrome!

    2. My first husband never hit me, never drank, didn’t run around….it took me years to realize that the constant shaming, criticizing, and isolating was also a form of abuse. I”ve been angry about him for years, but the funny thing is that as I read blogs like this and Libby Anne’s, I’ve come to better terms with my past with him. Being steeped in the Baptist life and general patriarchy, I think he may have been solidly confused when I did not conform, or rather transform, into the perfect fundy wife. He married a hard-headed career girl, and I stayed a hard-headed career girl. In his mind, that wasn’t supposed to happen. I still have serious guilt issues about him in one respect– he will never be a church leader, wherever he is now, because I divorced him. I know that galls his parents no end. I have learned to live with it.

      1. Sounds like my first marriage. I was just like that guy. (We were in Dallas.) My ex was a physician who moved back east. Our divorce kept me out of ministry. I have wanted to thank her for years now, but we’re not in contact (we had no children). I entered a career that I was much more suited for than ministry, and found it wonderful. Blessings to you–never feel guilty.

        1. Hey, BJg, could it be that Stony is in fact your first wife? What a pleasant reunion!

          (hehe, 😉 )

  22. Darrel….you are misunderstanding the point of this video. I know Mike personally and I know him to be one of the most well adjusted and most wise post-fundies out there. He would probably agree with 95% of your posts on this site…minus the vitriol and hate speech.

    1. I think it’s you who is misunderstanding me. I’m not claiming that Mike has this attitude towards victims at all. I also believe, however, that people with those attitudes have contributed to his aversion to the term.

  23. As with most things in our current society, the pendulum tends to swing too far in each direction. I believe that there are many true victims of fundamentalism (among other things). The problem is those that unwarrantedly claim themselves as “victims” to merely garner sympathy, attention, etc. This taints the claims of the true victims and unfairly lumps them in with exaggerators, whiners, and outright liars.

    1. In furtherance to my previous post, look at how many people – when caught in some misdeed – immediately try to present themselves as a victim of something (i.e. childhood upbringing, racism, sexism, misquoting, vast right-wing conspiracy, media bias, etc.). This is (at least partially) what creates a backlash against the notion of being a victim. I understand this and this is very different from those people (fundies) who try to demonize true victims because they (fundies) are the ones inflicting harm (i.e. “there’s nothing to see here, John/Jane Doe just have a victim complex…as shown by the fact they are used as negative sermon illustrations.”).

  24. Dear SFL Reader:

    Is it just me, or are are our self-righteous fundamentalists usually the first person to cry ‘foul’ when someone stands up to their bluster and delivers a well-aimed kick to their slats?

    Christian Socialist

  25. I grew up in a church that was an Independent Fundamental Baptist church but our Pastor was not part of any “camp”. We never had any of those guys in to preach. We didn’t go to camp or retreats or conferences. We didn’t get the Sword of the Lord. So when I went to Bible college (BBC in Springfield, MO) I was completely unaware of this whole other world out there. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t know it was out there, and glad my pastor was truly independent. I can’t say anything negative about PCC because I honestly know nothing about them. But I can’t imagine anyone that’s ever been a part of our church (I now pastor the church I grew up in) making these remarks about our church. My hope is that when I retire, that will still be our testimony. I will be praying for you, Mr. Ames.

    1. Sir, if you have been here any length of time you have certainly encountered lots of first-hand PCC experiences. The information is not hard to come by if you really want to know. How can you not have read some of these stories if you’ve been here for more than a day?

      Do you really think it’s okay for an educational institution to tell its staff members how their children should dress? What they can and can’t do on Sundays? Is it really a matter of godliness vs. godlessness if a woman doesn’t wear pantyhose in high heat and humidity? Is drinking IBC root beer really sinful?

      Work your fingers on your favorite search engine and open your eyes. Open your mind, too.

      1. Sorry, I haven’t been on here long. I do not care about any of those issues that you referred. (pantyhose, root beer, pants, etc.)

        I pastor a church and haven’t had time to read down through the list of things on this site as of yet. Sorry that disturbs you so much.

        1. Sir, you have come to a blog that talks about life in Fundystan. Some of that life is PCC, some HAC, some BJU, some Northland, some Fairhaven, etc. The list is almost endless. Of course, the blog isn’t limited to bible “kawlijiz” but they do occupy a fair amount of space. If you choose not to research some of issues discussed here we are not going to take you seriously. You will piss off some of us, actually.

          BLUF: Learn what the conversation is about before you offer your opinion. Frankly, if I lived closer to your religious organization I would make an underground visit to see if your bunch is really as innocent and unfundy as you say.

        2. Pastor Mike, here is a basic rule of Internet etiquette that goes back to the days when Usenet was the hip and happenin’ new thing:

          If you wish to add substantively to the conversation, lurk before speaking.

        1. Pastor Kleitz, you sound like a kind pastor. You sound like a fair pastor. You sound like you really desire to listen to people and care for their needs. That is to say, you sound, to many of us who have suffered at the hands of pastors, too good to be true. Forgive us if we seem skeptical. It’s not personal, necessarily. Many of us have suffered a lot of heartache and even permanent damage at the hands of Men of God. We are working through bitterness. We are protective of our own. We are just a tad bit wary of preachers who want to show us The Old-time Way. We’ve been that way, many of us, and we didn’t like it.

          Assuming what you say here is true may your tribe increase, because if there were more of you, there’d be less of us.

  26. Apologies in advance for what is probably going to be a lengthy post filled with a lot of whining.

    Maybe I’m an oddball here, but I grew up Catholic and when I trusted Christ in a prayer meeting overseas in the home of a senior enlisted man, I didn’t have a clue as to what a fundamentalist was.

    After coming back to the states, I ended up in fundy church on steroids. Just like the first good, Bible believing church I attended after getting saved, that church was Baptist. Hey,they were both “Baptist,” they had to be the same, right?

    Anyway, because of that church, I discontinued my studies (in a field that would have been an excellent job fit)at a community college. When I later had personal problems and asked the pastor about professional counseling, he re-directed me to Roloff Enterprises.

    At Roloff Enterprises, I was tricked out of some travelers checks by the man who was in charge of the particular home I went to. A little later, after becoming fed up and starting to walk off, off, I realized I was being followed. I started to run, and being in top shape back then, would have gotten away too– if only it hadn’t been for the invention of motor vehicles. After running at one guy and giving him a solid punch to the head, I got swarmed. Amazingly, One guy actually tried to administer the Vulcan [Mr. Spock’s] nerve pinch. Once I was safely handcuffed and in leg shackels, the guy I had hit clasped his hands together and brought them down hard on my stomach in a chopping motion– saw that coming fortunately. This was follwed by my being deposited in a dark room.

    While still at Roloff’s, a businessman needed cheap muscle for his roofing company and approached the organization’s leadership. I volunteered to do some work for the guy just to get off the farm. Since I wasn’t paid for this, it can only be assumed that the gentlemen paid the church for the volunteer labor.

    Still I ended up going to and graduating from Hyles-Anderson. At one point during that time I wanted to try to get into medical school. Ultimately, I was afraid that by leaving, I might indirectly be responsible for someone going to Hell. After a short, but horrendous time working at a fundy Christian school, I ended up becoming involved, to one degree or another, with the vastly milder Bob Jones wing of fundamentalism for 20+ years.

    I had one dream of that time at R.E. over 25 years ago. For sake of time, that dream involved my killing two people in order to escape (and avoid execution) and spending the rest of the dream running.

    I don’t know about being a victim, but I really feel like a fool.

  27. I can relate to what the guy says about feeling out of place in a group with people who’ve gone through truly awful experiences. But I think the fact that I can in many ways relate to most of those people is indicative of my own breakage. I get that a lot of the damage has been self-inflicted, but it seems to me that even seemingly benign forms of religious abuse can seriously impede personal growth.

  28. Re: dreams. I never got suckered into Bible “college” so I don’t have any dreams to report there. And going to work for two years in ATI (Bill Gothard) training centers felt like utter freedom to me, which should tell you how bad my home life was, so I don’t have many bad memories from there either.

    However, I have constant and increasing nightmares about my abusive parents. In particular, I have this recurring dream of encountering my mother in a public place and having her launch into one of her screaming tirades in front of a bunch of other people. This was a constant fear of mine growing up – the risk of being humiliated by her in public when something would trigger her volatile temper. For example, my wife and I recently got back from a trip to Disney World and I had a nightmare that we went back there with my fundy family and my mother stood in the middle of Epcot and screamed her head off at me about something or other.

    I think the constant fear of being humiliated and shamed and embarrassed and “ruined” goes to the heart of the religious abuse perpetrated by fundies. I don’t think that is something that one’s psyche ever fully recovers from.

  29. We are all, to an extent, both victims and victimizers.

    My parents were fond of “spanking,” although it often took much harsher forms. That was direct abuse. I still have nightmares about some of it.

    But at BJU and at the various fundamentalist churches I have attended over the years, parental discipline was emphasized. It was stressed that harsh discipline was necessary, that the child’s will had to be broken. Of course, it was to be done in love so as to not break the child’s spirit, but several preachers would say that spanking should start at the first sign of “rebellion” (even an infant crying at being put to bed was considered rebellion by some, an indication of our sinful human nature).

    The parent *had* to prevail in a discipline situation, we were taught, no matter what.

    And so we were taught to be abusive ourselves, if the situation warranted it. We never would admit we were being abusive. And frankly, by what they taught about the subject, we were abused by the preachers and teachers. It helped to warp our behavior.

    Eventually with one child, Social Services was called in and we had to give an account. There was some mandatory education, the social worker would check up on us, and finally we were told our case was closed.

    When I went to my IFB pastor for help with the situation, the very first thing he did was to arrange for church discipline. I was removed as a deacon, put in front of the church for church discipline without naming the exact issue, and “loved on” by the people while I cried in shame. No help came at all.

    I consider that abuse. I consider that victimization. I didn’t call it that at the time, but I realize now what happened. That trauma hurt a lot worse than dealing with DSS.

  30. Nico,

    Thanks for your kind words. To be certain, I am old fashioned, I’m just not mad about it, nor do I expect everyone else (even many of my own church) to stand where I stand on every issue.

    I truly am sorry for what many of you on this site have had to endure. I hope that in time, many of you will see that not all of us are like that.

  31. I’d love for you to come visit sometime. Again, I’m sure we wouldn’t agree on everything but that’s quite alright.

    So, for the record, I am saying that I can’t speak about PCC,personally, (meaning first hand) because I’ve never been there myself. I don’t doubt at all that there are truthful stories on this site about abuse in fundamental circles.

    1. See, that line “I don’t doubt at all that there are truthful stories on this site about abuse in fundamental circles” comes off as passive-aggressive, condescending garbage.

      Are you really that obtuse? I hope you come to see in time that there really are fundies who distort their religion and make power grabs to control and abuse others. That’s what makes them fundies.

  32. Wow, I’m sorry you’re taking my comments this way. I’m just going to assume that nothing I could ever say will be good enough to convince that I’m not here for an argument. If I wanted to be the way you are assuming I am, I’d use an alias name. I really don’t mean to be obtuse, or passive aggressive.

    I really wasn’t trying to cause a stir, just trying to say I’m thankful that my Pastor was never like that.

    1. Like I said earlier, you need to do research. You came here without knowing much about us and then started saying things about how you don’t know about PCC and that golly gee, maybe there really are people who have been abused in fundamentalism. Read, research, think about it and then come back with understanding.

      I didn’t realize how weird PCC was until I came here. I knew HAC was crazy, and I’d heard about BJU. I’ve learned a lot.

      Yes, people have been abused by fundamentalism. Either it has been by people who are deliberately power hungry creeps hell-bent on controlling people or people who are just creeps who enjoy being right.

      Just because your pastor wasn’t like that doesn’t mean that everyone else’s pastor was identical to him. Fundystan is real, Mr Kleitz. That’s why we are here. We’ve been wounded by those arrogant, proud control freaks in Fundystan and we’ve come here to grieve, to vent, to learn, to find support.

      I was not implying that you were here for argument, BTW. I was telling you that you don’t know enough about us and about Fundystan. If all you wanted to say was your pastor wasn’t like the rest of them, then you should have stuck to that instead of stating your certitude that some people here are telling the truth.

        1. Hang in there with us Mike, we may grow on you… like a fungus… but we’ll grow on you. 😆

          We all bring a unique perspective to the IFB/Fundie discussion. We are all over the place doctrinally, personally, spiritually, and in my case, keyboardally, but I have seldom been among a better group of folks. I would rather hang out here on SFL than attend what passes for church these days. the whole lecture series, single man ruler template, professional full-time M-O-g system has left me nauseous and cynical. But that’s me and you’re not me…at least I hope not…that would be weird.

          So hang in there and get to know us, you may even learn to like us… I learned to eat peas. Nobody likes lima beans, shudder ick. We’re not lima beans. 😉

        2. Lord Don,

          My mom used to sing a little ditty:

          “I eat my peas with honey
          I’ve done it all my life.
          It makes the peas taste funny but
          It keeps them on the knife.”

          I’m glad to see that this conversation is working its way toward a more charitable tone. Pastor Mike, you unwittingly used some trigger terms that are very hard to accept for those of us who grew up in the bizarro world of Indy Fundy-ism…terms that are perfectly acceptable in the Normal world. I don’t think you had any ill intent at all. I’m glad you have stuck around this long, and I hope that the things you learn on this site will be helpful to you and to your congregation. It’s a jungle out there, and nowhere moreso than in the Independent Fundamental Baptist churches and their mother ships, the colleges such as Hyles, BJU, PCC, North Valley, and West Coast Baptist…along with hundreds of others who are too holy to associate with the ones mentioned here.

          I hope that you will challenge your people how to study the Bible FOR THEMSELVES rather than looking to you or any other man for verification of “whether these things are so.” If you teach them how to stand on their own two feet, they will be less likely to be sucked into the vortex of these nasty other places if and when they ever move away.

          I hope you stick around!

          Yet another Mike

      1. Semp,

        You’re being a bit harsh, in my opinion. Give the guy a chance without breaking out the “jump to conclusions” mat. Ease up on them there hammers.

        Just a thought.

        1. I am sure you are right, but we all get hit in a sore spot now and again. And sometimes we yell when it happens.

    2. My old pastor was a ‘nice guy’ too. That church wasn’t like ‘some of those’ churches. The lovely public perception hid what was going on behind the scenes, which would never be questioned by the majority of the congregation because they’d bought the facade hook, line and sinker.

      Are you a good guy? Maybe. But all the bad guys say that too. Maybe it’s what you honestly believe. But is it true?

      There are many, many cases of abuse in fundamentalism, often covered up because a) patriarchy, b) submission, c) touch not the Lord’s anointed, d) the church’s precious testimony etc. What can you do to protect your congregation from being harmed similarly? What can you as a church do to help the many who have been harmed by the IFB in the name of Christ?

      1. I completely understand that you (and everyone else) would be leery of me. I know you all have been burned in the past.

        I have several members of our church who moved here after being in some horrible churches under some horrible and abusive pastors. I hate that I have to try and undo what those guys did, but I’m glad that God has given us a ministry of hope and help for them.

        I believe strongly, and preach often about the accountability of the Pastor to the people. My people know they have the right AND OBLIGATION to question everything I do. The ‘man of God’ is untouchable thing drives me crazy. We’re Baptist, we’re supposed to believe in the priesthood of the believer, therefore, all those saved are the men and women of God.

        If any of you are ever in the area of New Albany, Indiana, we’d love to have you come by. I believe you’d find that we are certainly not a church of IFB clones, and that there is great grace and liberty in our church.

    3. “…I’m thankful that my Pastor was never like that.”

      Bro. Kleitz, were you a pastor’s pet (like teacher’s pet)? I don’t mean that negatively towards you, but I wonder because you’re obviously a pastor now in what sounds to be a fundy church.

      I’m asking because, like so many others here have experienced, if you’re “in the club” – as in: follow all the rules, never descent, etc. – then you really may not be aware of a lot of things that happen behind closed doors at a fundy church.

      What’s funny is a lot of people, and fundies in particular, come here and proclaim that even though there are issues in what semp calls “Fundystan”, that doesn’t mean every fundy church is like that. Sure, I’m sure there are churches out there that are independent and may not embody everything fundy, but do you condemn your teenagers from listening to CCM? Why would that be wrong, if you did condemn them? Seems like a trivial thing … kinda like Bob was making hair check trivial above in the comments … but it never stops at, “Oh, I’m just checking the length of your hair.” It then turns into a sin-problem, and you’re being rebellious. That then turns into judgement and punishment via different avenues. That then turns into expulsion … all over the length of your hair.

  33. Bob, maybe having long hair might not send you to the pit of Hell, (depending on which IFB church you went to, opinions vary) but that person would be made to feel that they are not measuring up to God’s Standards. I grew up in Northern Ireland in the 1960’s and ’70’s. My church was not “Fundamentalist”, but like all other “Evangelical” Churches of that era, it did have certain “Standards” which I never could find in the Bible. If you went to church without a tie…. well, you just didn’t do such a thing if you wanted to be part of the Club. I am NOT exagerating.

  34. No I wouldn’t say I was his pet. I was sorta a bus kid (we were small and didn’t have a bus, but an old couple in the church picked me up). We got really close after Bible college, but my main time of spiritual growth came when I moved away for a few years when my grandpa died.

    As far as the rules on our kids (CCM, etc), I don’t dictate anything to our kids. Our church knows that I’m not a fan of it, and we don’t use it during our service. I have many members who listen to it, and that’s not at all a prerequisite for me loving them and serving them. My members do not answer to me for their music style, clothing preferences, movie choices, etc. that’s between them and The Lord.

  35. Darryl, I have had a lot of encounters with manipulators who play the “I’m a Victim!” card to get their own way. After a few of those, you start distrusting any claim of victimhood.

    I think he dislikes the term because we were taught that victims are just whiners. They are weak. They have an agenda that involves trying to profit from lies.

    And there are those out there who ARE like that. I grew up with one. How can you tell a victim from someone who’s just playing the victim card on you?

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