Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue - I Love Jesus More than You!

Wonderful input from an Andrew Sullivan reader:

I am really drawn in to your discussions of fundamentalism. It is an issue that my husband and I, as well as many colleagues, often find ourselves discussing. Why? We teach next door to a mega church and many of our families attend the church. We have seen numerous times where these children have upbraided their peers for not being "Christian enough", for not going to church where "they" do, and for not claiming Jesus as their personal savior. To say that this behavior disturbs us, is to put it mildly. The other day, another teacher found herself surrounded by a group of her 8 year olds calling her out on where she attends church, and what she believes. This event came after a year of one of her students frequently throwing out scripture verses aloud during class. This is not limited to students; many of our colleagues attend services there as well. Therefore, you will see a myriad of stickers affixed to the cars in our parking lot: "God is In Control" (guess that wraps up that Free Will debate) and "Not of this World" (funny, I thought God created this world for us) are the current favorites.

What I see are families who want certainty; to be told what to do and how to parent their children.

They don't seem capable of parenting on their own two feet, so they turn their families over to a finger wagging mega-church that tells their kids to go out and bear witness, to wear chastity rings, and to quote scripture without ever really looking at the development of the soul. Also, there is an air of exclusivity among the children. If you are not seen there during the weekend, or if you go trick or treating instead of going to the church carnival, or you don't attend the "Christian Club" meetings during lunch at the public school, then you are on the outs with the crowd, because you just don't love Jesus the right way. Further, the insistence on literal level thinking in regards to accepting the Bible as God's literal word, has bled into classroom practices. Many of our children see no need to think about the author's message of a text or to infer why someone might be feeling something in a given text, because if the author wanted you to think that about that, he/she would tell you directly, right?

I am looking forward for this trend to abate, and in the meantime, my family will be in the fourth pew from the back at our Catholic Church, living life in an uncertain world, comfortable with ambiguity and learning that the world is not black and white, and God probably doesn't want it that way!


I have witnessed something like this myself. Several of my jobs have taken me to the more rural parts of the south to work with teenagers and young people. Many of these teens, both boys and girls, had no problem disclosing aspects of their sex lives to me and the amount to which they drink and drug yet every time they feel as though they've said to much, they encapsulate their statements by saying, "oh but we're church going folk." Or, "Yeah, but we go to church so it's all good." As if their mere attending Sunday Mass is their get out of jail free card. They really feel this way, make no mistake about it. Since they attend church or simply say they believe in Jesus they carry an entitlement of being right or saved and do whatever they please. It's all pretty sick, ignorant and blatantly backwards yet they just don't/won't see it that way.

5 comments:

bstewart23 said...

Stories like this are massively disturbing, Eric, as they point to an inevitable schism between a rational, reason-based population and a very strident, politically-powerful, faith-based population whose hatred of rationalism is matched only by their fear of it.

There's no living harmoniously beside folks whose every thought is shaped by a book of desert-peoples' myths and who honestly feel, in their hearts, that unbelievers are expendable at best.

Ryan Charisma said...

After all that, I have one question:

Why are you reading Andrew Sullivan?

Honestly, I can't think of one good reason to read his anything.

He's a bad gay.

UrBear said...

The ability to willfully deny hard, cold reality as a side effect of Christian faith never ceases to amaze me.

Take, for example, this story, in which LaVern Jordan, the founder of a Christian school is caught on tape propositioning a parent in the crudest manner conceivable in return for granting her daughter a diploma. There's no possible way that this can be construed as anything but what it appears to be. The most impressive aspect of the story is one of the last comments on the page, which I'll reproduce here, in part, in case it disappears:

"...I have known the Jordan's for a long time, and they were a Godsend for me when I needed them. They are loving and caring people, no telling what would have happened to my son if I had not found them. I wonder what transpired prior to the secret taping I can't help but wonder what this woman's ulterior motive is...."

Lady, it doesn't matter what the woman's motive might be. The jerk did what he did, and nothing that might precede the conversation could possibly excuse it.

Greg said...

"Yeah, but we go to church so it's all good." As if their mere attending Sunday Mass is their get out of jail free card. They really feel this way, make no mistake about it. Since they attend church or simply say they believe in Jesus they carry an entitlement of being right or saved and do whatever they please.

That is so true. Very hypocritical.

oldest ex-go go boy said...

It's the whole "Holier than Thou" B.S. the Nazis thought they were better than everyone too.