Living History

This footage of an IFB church from 1955 fascinates me. You could take almost any single person out of a frame, put them in an IFB church today and only have to change a few minor details to have them fit right in.

We’ve talked before about the glorification of the 50’s culture in fundamentalist circles but seeing it visually illustrated is pretty wild.

198 thoughts on “Living History”

    1. May I present to you a First Comment Butt Cushion complete with First Comment Pin and First Comment Blazer.

      Those who have them know they exist.

  1. Ok, I wasn’t born until 1978, so I don’t know how certain rules came about in the conservative holiness church, but at 2:28 there was a woman smoking. If this was truly a church function and an IFB church function at that, was smoking not frowned on by the church in the ’50’s?

    1. Not in the rusted Buckle of the southern Bible Belt.
      Especially in the rural areas. Tobacco was the cash crop that paid the tithes and kept those love offerings pouring in.

    2. Yes, you would see people smoking in the parking lots of Southern IFB churches even into the 80’s.

      1. I’ve seen it in the last year. I remember the pastor of an IFB church smoking with my dad in the church parking lot probably ten years ago. It’s more frowned upon now, but the church where I grew up never took a strong stand against cigarettes, except maybe in the youth group. Any time it was mentioned in church it was in a joking way.

      2. Isn’t it funny how MONEY plays such a big part in people’s convictions? Up north, smoking was seen to be sinful. In the south, where tobacco was a big part of the economy, smoking wasn’t a sin!

        (I heard someone say at BJU that northern Christians thought the southerners were worldly because they smoked and the southerners thought the northerners were worldly because the women wore makeup.)

        1. …which is rather amusing when I consider that when I went South for college, the womenfolk applied their makeup with a trowel, to the point where a guy had to choose a girlfriend carefully, so as to avoid getting that makeup on his shirt collars!

        2. West Coasters side step the whole thing: Instead of makeup; cosmetic surgery. Instead of smoking; vaping.

        3. Whoa! Don’t lump all of the West Coast in with California! We try to keep all those folks south of our borders!

      3. I remember seeing it in the 60s. There was no stigma then as the health impacts were not widely known at that time.

        1. I can’t stand by and watch this revision of history. Smoking has been known for ages to be harmful. In fact, Hitler in the 1930’s was an anti-smoking tyrant! Just like America today.

        2. Yeah, it was well known and easily discoverable, but like polluters, fast food, etc, they had enough wealth & political acumen to stave off regulation for 50+ years. Much like leaded gas, CO2 now, etc, etc.

    3. Ok, ok, ok, hold on, this is blowing me away. So they smoked in front of the pastor, deacons, other church members, etc. and they weren’t viewed as a “false convert” or anything?

      1. My old primary school teacher said that when he was young, a doctor recommended smoking for his health. It’s probably only relatively recently that smoking was seen as a vice.

        1. Yeah. Back in the 30s and 40s cigarettes were advertised as an energy product, and even into the late 60s the tobacco companies were advertising cigarettes with doctors’ endorsements and as health products.

        2. It comes and goes as a vice.

          Right now, smokers are pretty persecuted for people doing a legal activity.

          More and more towns are banning all smoking in restaurants; instead of allowing the restaurants to determine it for themselves.

          (I am strongly anti-smoking, but I’m amazed at how people in power are going after smokers).

        3. I don’t smoke, but I used to. I believe if a business owner wants to allow smoking inside his business, he absolutely has that right. Then, the patrons of his business have the right to continue patronizing his business or not. If there are enough people in the community who don’t want to be around smoking, his business will lag and he will change his policy. No need for the local government to get involved at all.

        4. A couple of years ago my town banned smoking in restaurants, etc. It’s also banned within 20 feet of the entrance to a building. Many restaurant and bar owners thought that it would kill their business. In fact, it has increased business.

          Wait staff and other restaurant/bar workers were being exposed to second-hand smoke. Many of them couldn’t easily find another job, so they were forcibly exposed to smoke and its detrimental health impacts.

          Having said that, I enjoy 1 Macanudo each Friday afternoon, and it’s Friday.

        5. I too agree with the thought that smokers are persecuted. I smoked for awhile in late high school and college, and I still chew. I have seen it go from smoke wherever you want to now living in a “no smoking indoors anywhere” state. Private homes it still goes on, but still. And now the crazy continues with wanting to ban ALL tobacco in ALL public spaces outdoors here. It is a concerted effort where the health people come and convince local governments to ban it on golf courses and in parks. Seriously? How is that bothering ANYONE? They are trying to make it so miserable for anyone who uses tobacco that they will want to quit. And I probably should. I just resent being bullied into it.

        6. Next you’ll see people arguing that restaurants have every right to serve hemlock in their food, and those who don’t like it don’t have to eat there.

          Smoking poisons the people around the smoker, not just the person who chooses to partake of the activity. It is NOT persecution to require them to limit the damage to their own self.

          As others have mentioned, those who are harmed include those who have no way to protect themselves, including workers who have no way to get employment elsewhere.

        7. Yes! I grew up in a house with two chain smokers and all 3 of us kids now in our 50’s have health problems. Non smokers have every right to not be harmed by someone else habit!

        8. I have to agree with HRHT. Second hand tobacco poisons everyone around the smoker. Even if it weren’t poison…it’s a nuisance that forces everyone else to accept some level of discomfort to accommodate the smoker.

          The old adage “Your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins” applies. Yes, you have a right to smoke, as long as you can do it without forcing me to take in the fumes that you’re putting out.

      2. Oh, honey, in NC, smoking and dipping are the only pardonable sins. NC is a huge tobacco state, and a lot of the old boys grew up on tobacco farms. They don’t dare preach against it.

        1. This anti-smoking crusade of this blog is to typical of liberals. Homosexuality, which is very unhealthy and decreases your lifespan by years, is not only tolerated here and by liberals, it’s celebrated. We all know that it’s only uneducated white trash who smokes, but they still should have that right. This fascist campaign against anything the left deems it doesn’t like is scary.

        2. “This anti-smoking crusade of this blog is to typical of liberals.”

          ‘Typical of liberals’? What tosh! The crusade against tobacco use is not political- it spans all sorts of people. All you really need is a desire to protect the bodies God gave us from a KNOWN risk.

          “Homosexuality, which is very unhealthy and decreases your lifespan by years”

          That lovely canard has been repeatedly de-bunked.

          “is not only tolerated here and by liberals, it’s celebrated.”

          All of humanity is celebrated. We are equals before God. This is not an expression of liberal political ideals, but of expression of our love for others, as God loves us, and as we are explicitly commanded.

          ” We all know that it’s only uneducated white trash who smokes, but they still should have that right. This fascist campaign against anything the left deems it doesn’t like is scary.”

          ‘Fascist’? Really.

          I’m invoking Godwin’s Law. You lose.

        3. Kollo is hereby conferred with an honorary doctorate from SFL university in claptrap & hogwash. Congrats.

        4. In many locales, restaurant choices are very limited. It’s not a matter of not patronizing a certain restaurant; it may be the only decent restaurant for miles around.

          I appreciate smoke-free restaurants, offices and other places where I can breathe.

          It’s important to breathe. You live longer that way.

        5. Wow, you’re gone a few days and the board gets busy. This would have been an interesting conversation to participate in. Unfortunately, being a few days old, this blog post is now ancient history and no one cares anymore. It has been put into the dustbin of ancient history that no one cares about anymore.

  2. Also, am I the only one who was getting thoroughly dizzy around the 0:55 mark?

  3. Look at the cars!

    I remember attending events similar to this when I was a child. We were attending a GARB Church…this was in the early 60s.

    I note that hardly anyone is overweight…but then again all that smoking might have kept their appetite down.

    My father was from North Carolina and tobacco farming was a respected occupation where he was from. Smoking wasn’t frowned upon in that area.

    1. People were just thinner in the 50s. It wasn’t just smokers. I don’t know why the current generation is so fat (although I have some ideas about it).

      And yes, those are nice cars.

      1. People weren’t as fat in the 50s because you had to walk across the room to change the TV channel. HA HA HA!!!

        1. Very, very true. On modern TV sets the controls are either well-hidden or nonexistent.

          A related issue is closed captioning. Many motels use LG sets, and trying to enable closed captioning will drive anyone, even the most ardent KJV IFBer, to drink.

        1. We are a fatter generation because of how we eat and how we little we move. “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, will blow you away. I am not a fan of reading statistics but the difference in how Americans eat now compared to even the 60’s is just unbeleivable. We are a Fast Food, junk food society and that explains not only most Americans being overweight but the explosion of diet related dieseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease etc. And we are happily spreading our crazy eating to all our neighbors as far as Asia. Their heart disease and diabetes rates are now soaring too. I am no one to talk, I know the facts but don’t always take action. (I say as I finish my two morning donuts).

        2. Going to stay away from anyone criticizing low carb diets. I’ve been doing paleo off and on for the last two years, and it’s the only way I’ve lost weight and actually feel great day to day. So, pass on The China Study. Eat 75% of your body weight in protein a day, eat lots of fats, eat lots of veggies, avoid fruits and especially any white carbs.

        3. I’ve lost 10 pounds this year by trying to eat better foods.
          Not much compared to 35 pounds, but still good for me.

        4. Stuart, I think there must be a typo in your dietary advice (unless you’re on a VERY extreme diet).

          “Eat 75% of your body weight in protein a day …” ???
          That would have me eating about 180 pounds of protein every day.

        5. lol, not a typo, i forgot the measurement! Grams. 75% of your body weight in grams of protein (up to 200g, I’m told). My bad!

        6. No flippin’ way is 200 grams (about 7 ounces) 75% of my body weight. I kind of flattered that you think so, though.

        7. Stuart, paleo may work for some but I don’t live very cave man is, I’m pretty sedentary. Animal protein is harmful to my kidneys and my bad blood tests vastly improve when I eat about 80-10 plant based. My Dr was amazed at my blood sugar, cholesterol and Creatinine levels last time he checked. My hub is more paleo so I guess to each their own. I just wanted to mention a book that was helpful to my health.

        8. Take your body weight in pounds, take 75% of that, and just change “pounds” to “grams”, with a maximum of 200 grams.

          If you weigh 240 pounds, 75% of 240 is 180, so you should eat 180 grams of protein.

      2. Mostly, I think it was because people rarely ate out. They cooked most of their meals at home, and soda was a treat.

        But, get a calorie counter app, and track calories from eating out vs. a meal made at home (not pre-packaged but actually cooked). You’d be amazed at the calorie difference.

  4. Those old cars are gorgeous! I also didn’t realize how much the 50’s style has come back – thank you, hipsters. It is kind of freaky how much they look like current fundies though, aside from the smoking.

    Really “groovy” find, Darrell! πŸ˜‰

  5. I discovered this link to contemporary culture by accident a few years ago. My wife is from a Pilgrim Holiness background. Hair piled in big buns wrapped around the head…

    Dresses below the knee, and usually past the elbow…

    All that stuff.

    Then, one day, I was looking through a book about the Andrews Sisters. When I got to the section with all the pictures, I was startled at how much they looked like Pilgrim Holiness. And guess when the patriarchs and matriarchs of Pilgrim Holiness were young adults? In the early 1940s.

    The REALLY old Pilgrim Holiness relatives were in their late teens during the Flapper era. And for the rest of their lives, those women still wore their hair in the style of their youth, and declared that it was God’s One True Way, just the way the next generation did with the contemporary culture of THEIR youth.

    I don’t mind the clothing of the 1950s. And I most certainly would LOVE to have two or three car models from that era!

    It is God’s Will For My Life (TM) that I have a 1957 Corvette.

    1. Maybe that’s why I think the “hippie” styles of the early 70s are the way God wants everybody to dress …

      1. Hah! Me too Big G! My surfer clothes and denim overalls for women should co.e back! Love me the 70’s

    2. “Trying to please God” by all the rules and do this and don’t do that regulations they impose on others?

      A. James, we are not saying “anything goes” here. Nor are we mocking the idea of pleasing God. But our experience is that “reasonable” IFBers are few and far between, and what fundamentalists demand of themselves as individuals in their quest to please God they invariably demand of others.

      Yes, much of it is a cultural thing. It certainly isn’t a spiritual thing! And there are far, far more churches out there that are basic imitations of the past than are concerned with living in the present day. Far too many fundamentalists reject things that are new out of hand, condemning them as tools of the devil.

      It isn’t ARROGANCE to point that out.

      I should remind you that I am old enough to remember the prophetic hype that spread far beyond IFBers to nearly every part of fundystan condemning advancements in computers as getting ready to impose the Mark of the Beast. Barcode scanners in grocery stores were similarly universally feared and decried. Those who didn’t get caught up in the hysteria weren’t right with God.

    3. When you say it’s God’s will for you to have something, you have to follow the declaration with a “praise God” for it to work.

  6. I don’t think anyone here needs this comment and it’s a pretty obvious one. I mean, I feel as though everyone here has moved past the Phariseeical strictness (some maybe have even kept moving and gone to a different extreme).

    Anyhow, these people are dressed the same as the culture and society of their time. These people could have just as easily been going to watch a football game, to the bowling alley, to a concert, etc. The “conservative church” of today, in thinking they are holding on to “old time religion” are just holding on to “old time culture”. Wearing the same suit you wore in 1960 doesn’t make you a Christian.

    I wonder if this is one of the reasons why Jesus said in Luke 18:8, “… when the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on the earth who have faith?” How many today are relying on “what daddy had” to get them to heaven? And they even preach AGAINST relying on what daddy had, but do they realize that’s what they are doing? And in saying do THEY realize they’re doing it, I had better look in the mirror and say, “Am I relying on what daddy had, or is my OWN relationship with Christ fresh and new today?” So easy to just look down the sides of that beam to flick the sawdust out of someone else’s eye.

      1. As the 20th century drew to a close, the IFB became more and more extreme in separating from the culture because they kept clinging to the social norms of a previous time period. For example, my parents always wanted their daughters to wear skirts or dresses yet in the 70s and 80s, that was NOT normative for young girls whereas it was much more common to see women wearing skirts in general in the 50s and 60s.

        1. Right. The standard IFB argument was that skirts/dresses were inherently more modest. That’s debatable (especially here), but tight jeans are far more immodest than tight skirts. I remember comments in the 70s/80s about a young lady who appeared to be “poured into her jeans” – and that was in society, not a church meeting.

          A terrible error is to think one is Godly merely by being X years behind whatever the world does… if the world uses computers, preach “agin” them until they move on to PDAs (like Palm Pilots, etc), and then preach against PDAs until “smart” cell phones take over, then preach against smart cell phones, etc. (Some churches do this with technology).

          Some do it with fashion, just staying 5-10 years behind whatever is current.

          Music is another example; “rock music” was preached against everywhere in the 60s, but then the teenagers grew up and became church leaders — they listened to the “soft rock” of the 60s/70s, but preached against the acid rock and hard rock of the 80s, and so on. IFB churches have long been a holdout in this area, but many of them are beginning to use rock ballad styles now.

          What is right is to discover what pleases God, and then stop caring how near or far one is behind the world.

          When you keep the world at an arm’s length, you are still following the world (at a distance), but not Jesus Christ.

          **SOAPBOX MODE OFF**

        2. Guilt Ridden wrote: “What is right is to discover what pleases God,”

          The only thing that pleases God is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Period. Christ alone appeased the wrath of God, and that appeasement has never been rescinded. It isn’t rescinded in the lives of believers.

          Christians live out the righteousness of Christ by faith. But our own merit forever fails to please God in this life. Is God up in heaven checking our music? No. The Bible does not address the tempo and instruments used to play music as either good or bad.

    1. My thoughts exactly. They were dressed as everyone did at that time. They looked no different from anyone else. They were, gasp!, part of the world!

  7. I’m surprised to see what looks like cans of drinks at one of their picnics. I don’t remember canned soft drinks before the late 60s. Soda pop came in 10-oz. bottles before then.
    There was canned beer in the 50s, but I don’t expect people at an IFB church supper to be drinking beer.

    1. They were JUST coming on the market in the mid-1950’s. In fact, when you go to the grocery store now and see those small, odd cans that have recently come out, that’s a throwback.

      1. I LOVE those throw-back sizes! Now I can drink a whole Pepsi without completely destroying my bones, teeth, and waistline. Caffeine is my one addiction.

        1. Man I wish a tiny can did it for me. Love my diet Pepsi Big Gulp size. Ouch, so bad II know.

  8. My former pastor used to say that if he gets to heaven and finds out that God doesn’t care about smoking cigars, he will be mad that he gave them up because he always enjoyed them. Somehow, I don’t think God does care about him smoking a cigar, but I’m not going to tell him.

    1. It seems like the desire not to poison himself would play a part, too, but then, I don’t know the guy.

  9. OK, so the first 3:30 were picnic pictures in light, then the next 3:30 were picnic pictures in the dark, then it looks like Sunday morning.

    At the time this was taken, I don’t know how many IFB churches there were; many in the South were still Southern Baptist (and I would think that anyone would be hard-pressed to spot any difference between this church and a Southern Baptist Church, or possibly any Protestant church.

    I don’t see quite so many hats at church these days…

    I don’t know what was going on in the 3rd part, where the young lady was talking…

    I’d have to agree that, for the most part, people in IFB today still dress up for church (those terrible people!), and dress nicely for pot-luck dinners / picnics with one another (shame!).

  10. Look at all the white people.

    Outside of the dresses, this is pretty typical of 1950’s picnics both church and secular. Secular picnics would have more smoking and women in pants.

    If you know me, you know I’m a retro junkie. I love the looks of the late 1940’s and 1950’s and I love the music, but the oppression of people back then was something that HAD to be fixed. Old school fundies wouldn’t agree.

    With that said, I’ll take that black and white tailfin in the video. Yep.

    1. Okay Retro Junkie, I like to buy my clothes from, and my shoes from Stacy Adams Classic collection. And I’m sure gonna buy that ’57 Corvette one day, if I don’t buy a 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster instead.

      Classic stuff! I’ve always loved the styles of the 1920s and 1940s, but I need to buy an overcoat from the 1890s (the one with a cape) to handle those rainy winter days in Germany.

        1. A college friend of mine had one of those Auburns. Alas, it was totalled in an accident shortly after graduation.

        1. Just a little south of Heidelberg. Village of Dielheim-Horrenberg. Beautiful place. The Army left (due to an idiotic decision by an idiotic four-star general who should be prosecuted for fraud, waste, and abuse), but we still live here. I commute to the Kaiserslautern area now.

        2. That’s a beautiful area. The army was still at Heidelberg when I visited (as a civilian). I wish I could go back there.

        3. I visited Heidelberg this past January. The town itself is a little too touristy for me, but the area is beautiful. It reminds me of my native West Virginia, except with older buildings. And it’s much more affluent.

      1. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.”
        That’s still true today, although not *quite* as much so as when Dr. King said it.

        1. It’s not true of Fundy churches overseas, either, because the population is more transient here. And Germans aren’t as likely to be willing to “submit to authori-tay” on stupid stuff as Americans are, seeing how Germans got their collective butt in a sling in the past by following blindly.

      2. Some Fundy churches but not all. The ones I have been to, except in South Carolina where they are of the BJU persuasion, have had a diverse culture. SC none, CA all kinds of great people, WA a few, AR, well….the IFB church here has several, but the thing about this area is that people simply just go to their “own” churches. The colored folk are a lively bunch and wouldn’t want to be there anyhow. I should go there. πŸ™‚ I’d like it. The MANY Missionary Baptist churches in this state are just dead set against them. I am not certain they’d even let a black family join even if they had a lot of money. That is a VERY sad thing to me!

        1. You would want to say “the African-American community,” not “colored folk.”

      3. The African-American population of Palmer, TX is 1.8% today. I doubt it was higher in the 50s.

        1. It may have been zero in the 50s, in light of how that part of Texas was much more segregated then than now.

    2. “The oppression of people?” What in tarnation is that supposed to mean? The 60’s came along and destroyed cultural and societal norms that society held to before, be they Christian or secular. Even secular society knew that living a basically good and traditionally moral lifestyle was healthy.

      1. ‘Oppression of people’? Ooh, how about sewgregation and Jim Crow laws? How about sexism? A complete disregard for anyone who was not a male White Anglo-Saxon Protestant? We are all equal before Go- black, white, male, female. Yes, social structures in the 50s needed to change. Just because something was ‘Culturally Christian’ didn’t make it right.

      2. Koolio, please say you’re joking.

        If not, please Google personal accounts of minorities in the Deep South in the 1950’s.

      3. The oppression of people refers to the blatant racism, segregation, and misogyny of that era. Consider segregation, the fact that people had to die in the deep south to get voting rights for blacks, and the fact that women could be paid far less than a man and be fired for being pregnant. How’s that.
        The oppression of people means that you are clearly reading a history written by some rich white dude and they are all sad that stuff ain’t like that no more.

  11. Okay, I just watched the rest of it. I was fine with just the picnic. Now, I need an anti-depressant. All my old childhood fundy memories all came flooding back. The pine knot panelling, the wooden scoresheet on the wall, the flapping songleader, and the children’s reenactment of the crucifixion complete with Jesus in 3-piece suit.

    (The only cure for this would be that black and white tailfin…. Just sayin)

  12. I admit to liking the way the women and girls dressed then better than I like the way they dress now. Not that it makes much difference during church.

    That is only my preferences, though. I have no problems with women wearing pants and such. I just enjoy seeing the feminine side.

    But it is absolutely astounding how nothing has changed in 60 years. Nothing. Behaviorally, it is all the same! And still, for the most part, all white.

    1. I do think pretty dresses are nice – especially in warm weather.

      I like how men used to dress back then too – the suits, ties, dress shirts, serious shoes (instead of sneakers), and even fedoras made them look sharp.

      1. I don’t mind pretty dresses, skirts etc as long as they are COMFORTABLE. I refuse to sit around in discomfort for anything anymore. I don’t care how ‘holy’ it makes me look.

    2. I love how the girls dressed in the 1950’s . I graduated from High School in 1951. All the girls I fell in love with!!! My special love always wore dresses!! Howevefr I messed up and never married her. My fault!!

  13. The most disturbing thing to me is that there are those (and having heard this with my own ears while setting in church I can testify that this is so) …there are those who will look at that clip and say, “See, that’s the way a Christian oughta look.”

    Appearance is everything in the IFB. As long as you look the part you are accepted in the fold.

    1. Ahh Don!!!! This is so true, so true. And I think of Jesus’ words in John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”.

      Jesus said that!!!! But how do we Christians want to be known? I’m just gonna say we Christians because I’m tired of blaming “them” and “they” and “that crowd” so I’m just gonna put myself in with them, because I’m guilty of much.

      But we Christians want to be known by our dress, by our language (no dirty words here!), by our separation… these COULD be good things (I say could, because used incorrectly they can also be very bad things), but JESUS said the world would know us by how we love each other!!!

      I have said something is broken in Christianity in America. Maybe lots of things are broken, but maybe the root of it all is that we don’t love each other. We can’t truly love each other on our own. We can lust after each other on our own. We can covet each other on our own. We can be nice to each other on our own. But we can’t LOVE each other without Christ IN us.

        1. He may be real. I’ve been a lurker for a couple of years, but only spoke up today because I was disheartened at the revisionist history going on. In essence, anyone at this blog who even hints at holding beliefs that are traditional (man married – to a woman, etc.) will invariably be considered a “poe.”

        2. I think you misunderstand. Most people here hold to traditional values. Me? I am a man married to a woman, and have been for 31 years. No divorces. No cheating.

          So my support for LGBT marriage has nothing to do with thinking it is a moral choice. It has everything to do with allowing individuals to make their own moral decisions. It has everything to do with recognizing that I can’t, and shouldn’t, think that my moral code is what everyone has to accept and live by.

          Nobody has made me God. I do not speak ex cathedra. And the Scripures do not tell us that God loves us in our adherence to the rules. Jesus Christ came to save sinners, lawbreakers, the immoral, the lost, people going their own way. We are not told to enforce our vision of morality by taking away other peoples’ rights or by passing laws or by viewing our standards as better than everyone else’s.

          So if my cousin, who is gay, wants to marry a guy, why should I tell him it is more wrong than any other sin he commits? Or that I commit, for that matter? It isn’t gay marriage that will separate him from God or send him to hell.

          And maybe, just maybe, seeing that a Christian isn’t trying to deny him the right to marry who he loves will make h more receptive to the gospel of a God who loves us, even as we are, even though we are sinful, and wants to save us. I will let God deal with the gayness in His own time, if He wants to.

      1. Norm, I think it’s possible for the great unwashed-in-the-blood to love. No one loves perfectly, of course, but I think everyone loves regardless of religious belief/affiliation.

        1. I agree. One thing that bothered me about the “gospel message” was the assertion that you could not love if you were “unsaved.” And while I believed it to a point, I kept seeing happy, loving unsaved families! I was told that joy was impossible without Jesus. But I kept seeing people with joy who did not believe as I did.

          The explanation was that their love and joy didn’t last. Then again, those who were saved frequently lost love and joy, too. I finally decided the claims of difference were simply hubris.

      2. Norm, this was something very sobering for me to realize: that so much of my life had been focused on standards and separation and so little spent on loving others in practical ways (not just in a vague “God bless you” way).

        1. ^^^This. So sad. Feel like I’m starting over when I should have been growing all this time…most of my life . And to see that our idyllic (i.e. same high standards) extended family is actually guilty of a gross lack of love and the worst immodesty (pride in their “bestness”) and isolationism. BUT if there is hope for me, there is hope for anyone. However, it’s lonely ’round here ’bout now.

      3. In some of my former churches, that verse should read “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have very high standards”

        Not much love one for another, but a lot of “I’m not sinning like THAT person is sinning.”

        “He doesn’t tithe; I don’t want to associate with him in case in rubs off.”
        “He doesn’t go soul-winning; keep our kids away from them.”
        “He doesn’t come to Wed night meetings; his family must be untrustworthy as well.”

        Yet these people would be nasty and unkind to each other and/or commit adultery. But, hey, they were tithing and soul-winning, so they were protected.

        1. Yep that nailed it. The doctrine of Sin Contagion. If you are around sinners their win will contaminate you so therefore you must separate from them.

        2. or even… their sin will contaminate you

          …either way it is a left over from the Billy Sunday approach to sin being and “External” issue that must be fought against rather than a heart issue that only Christ can cure.

      4. Romans 2:14-15 (NIV)

        >>Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.<<

        The idea that unbelievers cannot ever do anything right is not directly contrary to the Bible. The Bible does teach that the Holy Spirit enables believers to do things they could not normally do. However, it does not teach than people are incapable of doing good on their own.

        And personally, perhaps the single biggest reason I became agnostic is that I saw little objective evidence that the Holy Spirit ever actually changed anyone. That's not to say that I don't believe Christianity is a positive force or that religion isn't a necessary part of life. But the claims made by Christians don't match the reality of their lives.

        1. Fantastic comment, Elijah.

          That is the crux of the matter. The reality does not live up to the promise and the hype. “True Believers” (trademarked, patent pending and all that rot) claim to be godly. Their lives and attitudes are often anything but. Then they excuse their sinfulness by claiming God’s grace and forgiveness and act as if the promise of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is just fiction.

          IF the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, that believer ought to be functionally incapable of massive wickedness. Temporary stuff, maybe. But prolonged? No. If the Spirit of God cannot lead a person to repentance, that person cannot be saved or have a “new nature.”

          And time and time again, we see the True Believers as vile and defiled. I have not been able to unbelieve, but I am at times very close to being agnostic or atheist simply because one cannot separate the messenger from the message.

          Because Paul says of the believers that “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

          Separate the messenger from the message? Hardly. The messenger IS the message. And the message of American Fundamentalism isn’t pretty. Its gospel is definitely not one of grace.

    1. I heartily agree with that. Socialism is an anti-American philosophy that has nothing to do with the founding of the country or the constitution and only degrades and destroys societies. But the ideological and cultural war is over. The new generations are so brainwashed and ignorant that Socialism is viewed not only as tolerable, but preferable. America as a great nation is done, we are history, it’s over. What was bizarre a few generations ago is now just considered normal. This will only continue. I’m a conservative, but I think America is so far gone that there is essentially zero hope for this nation. The economy is held together by a shoestring, and the whole house of cards is bound for destruction sooner or later.

      1. Koolio – I love your unbound optimism. That same attitude is what founded this country.

        1. It went from Morning in America to Mourning for America awfully fast. Strangely enough we seemed to be fine before a black guy got elected. I’m sure it’s unrelated.

      2. If you feel there’s zero hope for the nation you live in, then why stay?

        Read about the life of people in North Korea and then tell me being American is such a bad thing.

        But, I still call Poe on Koolio. Oooh, see what I did there?

    2. Yes, fundamentalism’s love affair with the 1950’s is making them irrelevant and out of step with reality. But what I want to know–when they become so outdated–those throwbacks to a bygone era–will they be able to do what the Amish have done? Will we take trips to Fundy land like we take trips to the Amish areas? Will we be able to get that high quality fundy workmanship in rocking chairs, dining room tables, quilts and building structures like the Amish give us? Or will a trip to Fundy land simply bring condemnation and accusation?

  14. I think a fundy church picnic today would have more women in denim skirts and jumpers. These ladies looked like they were dressed for church in general, not for a picnic. Other than that, for the church service some of them wore hats which were very popular in the 50’s and 60’s, the women all wore hats when I went to church as a child in the 60’s. The cars were cool, but I’m sure they were gas guzzlers.

  15. And Jack Hyles said the Beatles ruined America, ruined “our hairstyles” and “our dress”. I bet John Wilkerson believes that too.

      1. You know. The Beatles. That group that Ron Hanilton ripped off for a couple of his songs. πŸ˜‰

        Source: Listen to Rejoice In The Lord. Then listen to Yesterday.

    1. The Beatles were one of the most influential cultural changers of modern history. There is no denying the enormous power and influence they wielded.

  16. I was born in ’57, and the clothing styles were quite familiar (’til 66 when mini-skirts/jeans became more popular). I have many friends born in the 40s/50s who long to go back to that era that was so carefree and fun. Then, I think about segregation, H-bomb drills at school, the Cold War/Cuba Missile Crisis, Korea and I see a decade that had the same kinds of problems as every other decade. I don’t want to go back, but I do want to know how to do God’s will in the present generation to which I have been called. I don’t think that means “playing” church from the 50s, as is so common in many Fundy congregations.

    1. More children were born during 1957 than any other year in world history. My birth year too. As a fundy kid, I thought mini skirts were a great invention. Still do.

    2. The company of Paul Best was established in 1963, so that was a great year, or a disastrous one, depending in your point of view. But growing up in Northern Ireland in the ’60’s and ’70’s was like the America of the ’40’s and ’50’s

  17. I couldn’t identify that uncomfortable feeling at first but then I spotted it. A black piano.

  18. All things aside (and I grew up in the 70s and 80s btw)..the dress looks very common to what I have seen from pics from the 50s. People in general dressed nicely. The ladies dresses looked really nice..not the right to the ankles versions we see some in today in fundy circles, they just looked spiffy. I actually agree it would have been cool to live back then in some ways. But then I think back to the “good old days” and realize in many ways (segregation and misogyny) that they weren’t perfect after all. The youtube video says it was a family picnic after church in the outside scene.
    The cars were the best. Back then they didn’t really care about gas because it was 23 cents a gallon, the equivalent of about 2 bucks a gallon today.

    1. This video is of a ghost. It’s a country that no longer exists. Granted, nothing was perfect (after the fall of mankind, for those few of you who may ascribe to traditional Biblical accounts of history), but this whole vituperation of all things traditional and conservative is patently false. It was LBJ, liberal, who destroyed black or “African-American” culture more than about anyone.

      1. Koolo,
        Ah, the good old days. When women knew their place, and so did all the minorities. I would say it started with that darn Eisenhower, who sent the federal troops in to make sure that librull supreme court had their way. Ruined the schools forever. (/sarcasm)

        There were many things about the 50s that WERE good indeed. But much about them that few people ever want to return to.

        BTW if you go to some parts of rural America today, you can have the best of both worlds. You still see scenes like this (albeit the people are dressed differently, they still are dressed nicely). A lot of the racist and anti-woman baggage has been dropped, but society is still about neighbors and small town life. It’s rare but it is around. So no, America is not dead.

        Do you think that the people who grew up in the late 1800s lamented the fact the world looked different when they were adults in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s?

        Every generation has it’s group fixated on how their time was the real America. And every young generation points at the graduation photos from 30 years ago and giggles at the clothing and hairstyles.

        1. They’ve been complaining about how rotten it is today, and how good the good old days were, since…Cicero…hahaha love it!

      2. I think, Koolio, that you are actually “Stacy” in disguise. Same thought patterns, same writing mistakes.

        1. the “lib-rulls” and ” socialists” are ruining our great nation, apparently.

        2. Nope. I haven’t taken a disguise yet. Probably too hard to do. I have too distinctive a writing style.

          I might try, some time. Watch for it. Or maybe not. But you can watch for it anyway. You need something to keep you busy.

  19. I have a lot of old home movies from the 60’s. My parents were great about filming us as kids, and most definitely you notice the HUGE difference in the appearance of the populace. Religion has nothing to do with it. Americans as a whole were slimmer and more smartly dressed back then. They’re disgusting fat slobs now. Everywhere you go. In the IFB church, the only difference is the hair length on the men, and the women wear denim skirts instead of jeans. It’s an American thing. Even in Satan’s Republic of Europe, people know how to dress in public.

    1. That’s one of the few good points in this whole revisionist history blog. The constant castigation of this scene of “typical fundyism” and how awful times were is a lie. Even apart from IFBism, America as a society and a culture held to traditional, normal, moral values. This scene could have been related to anything and did not have to have anything at all related to a church setting because America as a nation held to more traditional beliefs, not just “fundies.” Yes, Americans today are fat slobs and dress like slobs, and are proud to be so. It’s an “in your face” attitude. It’s just another indicator of the fall of the country. The IFB fault is to think that forcing people to put on external display is all that matters instead of actually changing the heart.

      1. Like I said, “Godless” Europeans dress more “morally correct” than we do. Like Bean said, it’s kind of an “in your face” attitude a lot of Americans have. I like to look at old home movies but I would definitely not want to go back to those times. I’m excited about our changing times and do not live in fear of them.

    2. I personally feel that this issue is, more than anything else, a symptom of the skyrocketing wealth inequality in America and the vanishing middle class. Nicer dress costs money, and as the average American gets poorer, they less often have the money to dress properly. Cultural norms begin to change to adjust for the economic reality in people’s everyday lives.

      1. Josh, I agree totally. There has been a fair amount of discussion about overweight Americans. This is in part due also to economic factors. Carb loaded Ramin noodles are cheap and filling. Healthy fresh vegetables, meats etc are much more expensive. I am cautious about lambasting overweight people. Many of them are too poor to afford healthy foods.

      2. I think it goes further than being able to afford nicert things. I think the shrinking middle class and the sinking underclass puts more people into a cultural sort of depression. Why bother to dress nice when your life is crap? You can’t afford to go out anywhere nicer than McDonald’s, Walmart certainly doesn’t check for a jacket and tie at the door, and if your life consists of a lousy job, crap food, and sitting around playing video games or watching porn, why bother wearing anything better than torn jeans and a wife-beater, or stained sweats?

        It’s not really self-esteem, per se, but a sense of self worth. I don’t see a lot of people having much anymore. It’s like they figure it’s not worth dressing nice. Who cares? Add a few extra pounds and it only gets worse. So you buy cheap Chinese crap at Walmart because it covers enough of your body so you don’t get arrested. Why bother with more?

        **For the record, I ‘dress’ for church. Dress, hose, hat, makeup. It is respect for myself as well as respect for God and for the other parishoners. And I dress for funerals and weddings, for meetings, and other occasions. On a daily basis I wear jeans and a nice top. But then, I think I’m worth something. God loved me enough to make a sacrifice for me.

        1. I agree. I’m in jeans and decent top most days–kids, garden, remodeling, life in general. I do dress up some for church…nothing like the old IFB days. My kids are free to choose comfy clothes.
          I especially think the older generation can feel disrespectful about not dressing up because it was the culture they were raised in. As we “demand” respect for current culture, it’s important not to make the older generation feel like foreigners for still dressing like they were raised. I’m picturing my Grandma in her polyester coordinated jacket and skirt. :^)
          Our church mixes old hymns (good, substantive ones) with the new songs and in between. I feel it brings us together across cultures to worship together and gives nod of honor to our older Christians who would otherwise feel like they were sitting through lots of unfamiliarity. Yes, some of the elderly learn all the new stuff but many of them are toward the end of their lives and take great comfort in these things. “Cultural sensitivity” where it appropriate so our older saints don’t feel pushed away.

        2. Luitgaurd,

          You mentioned “Chinese crap.” Are you racist? Also, have you turned into a rabid conservative now who regrets NAFTA and China being given MFN status?

        3. Stacy, No. Has nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with the cheap, low-quality goods with which the Chinese are flooding our markets, with the collusion of American corporations who love having goods made there by underpaid (and often underage) workers. Walmart is the worst and most visible offender- undercutting American businesses, and balancing profits on the back of the taxpayers by paying employees so badly that they are on public assistance programs. All while selling poorly-made, shoddy goods.

          Nope, NAFTA didn’t turn out as intended. But the blame for that rests on the American companies who move production and jobs overseas, and the American people who let them.

      3. I think also Josh the issue is people like Koolio who have been fooled by the elites into believing the big fibs about the economy. We are becoming a plutocracy, with much of the economy catering to the elite .5-1%. The rest of us are supposed to support right to work (for less), the erosion of our insurance and health care benefits, and just sit here and take it. But we keep voting for these people because it’s all about “faith and family.” If it were really about faith and family, these people would be advocating policies that would allow young families to make a decent middle class living instead of needing to work three jobs.

        1. Mr. Bean,

          Both liberals and conservatives have destroyed the economy by voting in NAFTA and being in favor of giving Communist China MFN status.

        2. Overall, it’s the liberals who have most destroyed and are destroying our way of life by voting in things like the Affordable Care Act and other wasteful, useless programs.

  20. Those people in the video don’t look any different from the mainstream culture of the time. If anything, I see IFB folks dressed even more conservatively today. The women in the video are dressed rather stylishly, not dowdy and frumpy like the denim skirted IFB gals today.

  21. It has been said that BJU is toward the liberal side of the Fundy camp, and I think that is a fair assessment of the situation.

    There’s a whole lot of crazy out there.

  22. The Last 5 seconds of the film, the elderly couple made me laugh out loud. He puts his hand on her arm, and she shrugs him off with determination!

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