All posts by Darrell

Urban Legends

Have you heard that there was a rare red heifer born in Israel; the kind needed to sacrifice for the rebuilt Temple? We must be nearing the end times!

Did you know that Proctor and Gamble support the church of Satan and put a Satanic symbol on their products? We must be in the end times!

Are you aware that for a gang initiation guys drive back roads with their headlights off and shoot the first person in an oncoming car to flash their lights? Things are waxing worse and worse. It must be the end times!

Urban legends are a staple of fundamentalist lore. This is especially true of those wild tales that end up being repeated as sermon illustrations. Quasi-scientific anecdotes have an especially long life in this genre. Have you ever heard any of these gems?

  • There was once a scientist who finds the “universe’s lost time” in the Bible’s accounts of Joshua and Hezekiah and becomes a Christian.
  • The position of the earth is so precise that a few miles closer to the sun and we would all burn, a few miles further away and we would all freeze.
  • Scientists dropped microphones into a deep hole and heard screams from the center of the earth.
  • The hottest kind of fire burns pitch black.

Who could resist such compelling tales when they come from the mouth of a respected pastor or evangelist? And how could he possibly resist using such stories when they so easily illustrate the point of his sermon? So the urban legend continues, passed down from generation to generation.

However, the claim that sugar is only one molecule away from cocaine is almost certainly the truth. Surely a pastor wouldn’t just make that up, would he? One would certainly hope not…

Short Haircuts


The topic of hair (referred to by the great Dr. George Irving Barber as “Hairology“) is of great importance to fundamentalists. On men, hair is to remain short at all times without exception. Even if that means cutting it off with a rusty kitchen knife, it is a well known fact that a few errant strands of hair lapping over the ear or the collar will ruin your testimony and convince everyone that you are a dirty hippie.

There are a few exceptions. For example, if a namby-pamby fundamentalist college student is involved in historical theater, he may be required to wear a button proclaiming “I am in a dramatic production. My hair is not this length normally. I have special hair dispensation” (this is a very large button).

It’s not only the length that is important but the placement of the part as well. Hair parted in the middle is a likely sign of latent homosexuality. Hair not parted at all is liberal and slovenly. Only a side part will do to show that the wearer is a serious-minded and trustworthy sort.

In the words of the grand old song:

If your hair is on your ears, there’s sin in your heart.
Get it cut today and make a new start.
There’s no need for living in sin and dread
with a tangled mop upon your head.
If your hair is on your ears, there’s sin in your heart.


flannel-graphBefore there were multi-media presentations, Veggie Tales DVDs and interactive flash-driven websites, there was…flannelgraph. Flannelgraph boards were simply scenes painted on a piece of flannel to which paper characters could be affixed. They were the height of visual aided storytelling.

These boards were very popular in fundy Sunday School classes because they were cheap and relatively low tech. As long as the children being told the story didn’t have much exposure to television, they worked like a charm.

Among the lessons learned from flannel were these

  • Everyone in the Bible was white.
  • Nobody in the Bible was overweight or ugly.
  • Adam and Eve lived behind big green bushes.
  • Jesus and the disciples never changed their clothes.
  • Jesus had long hair until someone pointed it out and then by the next week Jesus had evidently been to a Galilean barber shop and gotten a hair cut.

Odd Hymns

sankeyhymns1According to unnoficial fundamentalist dogma, the height of perfection in hymn writing was reached somewhere around 1947 and any music written after that point is automatically suspect. Fundies view CCM artists as tools of Satan to tempt young people to turn the fellowship hall into a dance hall. CCM artists view fundamentalists as the musical equivilant of Elmer Fudd.

As the official collection of approved hymns has been canonized, however, there have crept in some strange  selections that can only be described as “absolutely awful.” These would include songs about honey coming out of rocks, boys wandering around, little brown churches in the valley, and holding a fort.

It can only assumed that these hymns were included because they were written by the General Editor’s brother-in-law or perhaps someone to whom he owed great sums of money.


bible-and-gunJesus may have come to bring a sword but most fundamentalists prefer the cold steel of a Colt .45. Throw a rock into any crowd of fundamentalists (if you dare!) and you’ll hit a gun aficionado with surprising frequency.

It’s not quite clear why God and Guns go together in fundy circles. But with things waxing worse and worse and the great whore of Babylon, the beast, and the false prophet predicted to show up any time to do some creative redecorating, it makes good sense to hedge your bets in case things get really hairy before the rapture. Even if nothing happens, you still get to play with things that make loud noises and can wipe out your neighborhood if needed. It’s a win-win.

Blessed are the Peacemakers.