Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I've found lately that looking at fundamentalist Christian websites, books, videos, practices, etc, makes me feel dirty.

Buuuuuh, get it off me.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church, I did the purity pledge thing, I went on mission trips. I "witnessed" to my friends (for those not familiar with weird xian jargon, to witness to somebody is to tell them about Jesus in the hopes that they'll decide to convert. Not necessarily as creepy as it sounds). But it never made me feel skeeved out, unclean, or intellectually violated like looking at the Purity Ball or Quiverfull or Mars Hill or what have you stuff does now.

The key difference is probably that my five-point Calvinist and seven-day creationist, yet uber-beloved youth pastor really, truly wanted us to think. Bring your Bibles with you to church, he said. Pray and think about what I'm telling you and what the other preachers and Sunday school teachers are telling you. If you don't agree with us, that's okay.

And sometimes (maybe a lot of the time), I disagreed with him, and that was okay. And when he decided he was wrong about something he had taught us, he told us, and apologized, and told us what he'd learned.

Looking back now, I can say I swallowed a little too much of his more conservative doctrine, but I did so of my own free will (pretty funny for the student of a Calvinist, eh?). And being taught to think about my shit made it, if not easy, at least not near-impossible to change my mind and learn and grow. And not having it shoved down my throat made it possible for me to see the love of the god I believe in, and return that love in my human and imperfect way. I can pretty accurately say that he was probably the biggest influence on what I believe, even if I don't believe in a lot of things he believes in. Here's to you, Mr. Youth Guy.

So feeling like I'm having some nasty, hateful doctrine forced upon me is actually a fairly new sensation, and it's totally grossing me out. Ew ew ew.

1 comment:

WordK said...

There's a lot to be said for good youth ministers who want their charges to think. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Fundie websites are best read as dark humor, maybe while a little tipsy.