Tag Archives: Fundy Love

Fundy Love Day 5: God’s Sovereignty (Whether They Like It Or Not)

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

It’s perhaps the bitterest pill for former fundamentalists to swallow to learn to acknowledge that sometimes God sovereignly uses fundies in spite of themselves to accomplish His will in the spreading of some small glimmers truth and the saving of lost souls. Hey, if He can use Balaam’s ass…

Nobody can deny that the abuses in fundamentalism are legion and they are in no way justified even when they come from allegedly good intentions. There can be no excuse given for the battered and broken bodies and spirits of those who have run afoul of the worst that fundamentalism represents. But not all fundamentalists are of such and I’ve also received blessings given by God but passed on through scarred and stained fundamentalist hands; and so have many others.

I like to think that I’ll be with many of my fundamentalist friends and family members again someday in a place where all the errors of fundamentalist theology (and every other ism, schism, sect, and camp) will be behind us. For God is in control of each person’s destiny in, through, and out of fundamentalism. Even as my heart breaks for those who have suffered so much more than I, fundamentalism is part of the path I’ve walked and I’ve gained wisdom from my scars. That being said, the experiences of others are no less legitimate if they are different than mine and some wounds run very deep.

And so I’ll continue on laughing about the silliness, marveling at the craziness, and raising my voice like a trumpet against the harm and injustice found in fundamentalism. And I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice that whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached.

This post concludes the week of fundy love. We will now return to our regularly scheduled inanity, satire, craziness, and all around good times.

Fundy Love Day 4: Scripture Memory

This week is turning into a much tougher slog than I had imagined. But onward we go…

Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee…and as a bonus I also got this cool frisbee from the AWANA store!

Scripture memorization is a key part of a young fundamentalist’s education. Whether it’s in a formal classroom setting, as part of a Sunday School program, or at the dinner table, young fundamentalists are trained to regurgitate everything from short Proverbs to entire passages. That’s good.

Even as a child grows up and leaves fundamentalism he still carries with him this treasure of knowledge. The ability to turn ones thoughts to a particular verse or passage and have it instantly within reach with all its wisdom and 1611 thunder is a grand thing to be sure. Certainly, the explanation of the passages may not always have been quite right and some great passages (predestination, anyone?) never made it into a memory verse list. Nonetheless, the emphasis on having the Scriptures as a constant companion in your heart and mind is an aid and a comfort even while the former fundy learns to appreciate them with a newly opened and enlightened understanding.

Fundamentalists do take knowing the Scriptures seriously even if genuinely interpreting them and applying them don’t always exactly follow. I can only hope that the Spirit illumines more and more of them to a truer understanding of the words they already hold in their minds.

Fundy Love Day 3: Literacy

There is a tendency to view fundamentalists as anti-intellectuals and it’s true to a point that they do tend to like their facts and figures hand-picked and of a certain slant (then again have you seen what they’re teaching in public schools these days?). However, I’ve yet to meet a fundamentalist who’s children were illiterate when it comes to reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic.

In fact, fundamentalists put a great deal of stock in school. Most fundy churches over a few hundred members have at least an elementary school, with some going so far as to have a high school, college, seminary, and school of home economics all housed withing their walls. Fundamentalists publishers such as A Beka Book and BJU Press make millions of dollars each year selling to both church schools and more home schools than you can shake a McGuffey Reader at.

Fundamentalist kids may not be able to tell you who Immanuel Kant was or why the Beatles were important to musical history when they graduate but most can diagram the living daylights out of a compound-complex sentence and calculate a tithe plus three percent offering on their gross income without picking up a calculator. If they’re like I was they’re also likely to have read more books in the last month than the average kid will have done in the last year.

Anti-intellectual? Perhaps “selectively-intellectual” would be a better term. My mom and dad who sacrificed so much to give their seven children the best fundamentalist education they could afford have my heartfelt thanks.

Fundy Love Day 2: Hymnody

Enter any fundamentalist church on a given Sunday and more likely than not you’ll find people using old-fashioned paper books full of lyrics enclosed in curious notations that tell people how to sing and play them. Hard to believe in this age of the slide show lyric. There’s no doubt that hymns are an inseparable part of fundamentalist worship, and I say “God bless them.”

Long after the greater part of today’s contemporary Christian music has lost the battle of relevance to a fickle and flighty culture, these hymns will still be used in churches. Luther. Wesley. Watts. I hope that when my children’s children come to worship that these grand old words will still feed the spirit and their familiar tunes comfort the soul. And if they do, it will be thanks in no small part to traditionalists like our fundy brothers who think that good music is worth cherishing and protecting.

Yes, fundamentalists often go too far and wrongly turn their admiration into a doctrine. Yes, they make the mistake of judging other styles of music out of ignorance and fear. And it’s true that they often embrace less than the cream of the hymnbook crop and engage in all manner of musical silliness. But out of all that, it remains that of the gifts that fundamentalism has given me, the ability to sing every verse of dozens of hymns from memory is among my most treasured.

I rest my case.

Fundy Love Day 1: Community

In an age where people are likely to have more friends online than they do in their own neighborhoods and tweet more than they converse face-to-face, fundamentalism still provides a genuine sense of old-fashioned community with people you can actually see. And in a fundamentalist community you’ll see an awful lot of them since your church, your school, your work, and your social circle will likely involve the same exact same people.

Yes, the rules of the group may be strict and arbitrary. The leadership may flawed and autocratic. Nevertheless, fundies are some of the most fiercely loyal people to their bretheren and sisteren that you’ll ever meet. It is loyalty that extends no further than the border of separation that holds back the evils of the outside world but it is unswerving to those inside.

If you’re a fundamentalist brother who’s hungry, they’ll feed you. If you’re a sister who is in need they’ll give you a place to stay. If you’re a fundamentalist in the company of those of like mind you’ll never be left alone (no matter how much you may sometimes wish you were).

When I was a fundamentalist I was the recipient of fundy friendship and generosity on too many occasions to count. For that I’m truly thankful.