Tag Archives: grief

5 Stages

1. Denial.

Nothing is wrong with fundamentalism. The crazy is out there somewhere, not in my church or my school. Sure we have a few problems but doesn’t everybody? We’re still seeing SOULS SAVED and that’s all that matters, amen? Besides, who else out there is right on all the doctrine that matters?

2. Anger

How dare they hurt ME and MINE? I always thought the people who left were complainers and backsliders but now they’ve hurt my kid. They’ve taken my livelihood. They’ve ruined my career goals. I have rage. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

3. Bargaining

Ok, so I have a lot tied up in this whole fundamentalism thing. Maybe it can be saved. Maybe I can be the voice in the wilderness that calls it to change. I’m going to talk to some people. I’m going to write some things. I’m going to see if we can make this church straighten up and fly right. These are good people, surely they’ll listen to reason if I approach them with kindness and logic right?

4. Depression


4b. A Whole Lot More Anger

(It’s right about here that a lot of people start blogs.)

5. Acceptance.

Well, that whole fundamentalism thing was a really weird trip. Hard to believe that was part of my life for so longer. I’m just going to sip this beer and shake my head about it for a while and then I’m going to get up and go live the rest of my life. I’ve got a lot going on these days and some of it is pretty cool. But man, those were some crazy days.

Which stage are you in as of today? I’m somewhere at the end of 4b. and drifting straight into 5.


For the fundamentalist the Christian life is not a process but rather a series of specific moments of decision. This view of the spiritual as a constant stream of “right now” decisions creates a strange state where every emotion, trauma, or tragedy must be dealt with immediately rather than given time and space to work itself out.

If someone has burned down your house, shot your dog, and stolen your best camel you must immediately forgive, forget, and put it behind you. Stick a smile on your face, claim you’re letting go and letting God and move on with your life. Stages of grief are just a myth concocted by atheist psychologists who want your money.

After all it’s biblical! Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Cast your burden on the Lord. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks. There’s no Scripture that says anything about “working through stuff,” right? To delay is to disobey.

Well, except for that pesky Job fellow who even though he was a righteous man still sat for a straight week without talking just to try to process the loss of his children. And David who spent a whole lot of time writing dark poetry and fiddling with his harp while running for his life. Not to mention Elijah who got so depressed he went out and lived in a cave for a while and asked God to just kill him and get it over with. For some strange reason none of them thought to just decide to smile and keep on keeping on.

The only possible answer is that those guys were just not as spiritual as the average fundamentalist. Divorce, Rape, Unjust Accusations, Death, Dismemberment, Financial Problems, Illness, Depression, Dysfunction…just make the decision to not let them matter. Move on. Just “give it to God,” “Lean on the everlasting arms,” “Smile a while and give your face a rest.” Do it right here in this instant and then you can quit bugging me about it.

Action is the key, do it immediately.