Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Mom Was a Fundamentalist

Fundy-bashing is a popular sport among many ex-fundies. For the record, I’m not talking about calling out specific sin-issues[1]. Unfortunately, much of what I read and hear is simply mocking the foibles of fundamentalists. I’ve been guilty of this in the past. I say guilty, because King Jesus clearly states in John 13:35 that “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” The context of that verse is transparently obvious that the “another” is referring to disciples of Jesus. Not pagans, but other Believers. For the record, once again, there are other passages that clearly state that Believers are to love the world, but I have seen the John 13 passage often used to bludgeon other Christians for not loving members of PETA or Democrats[2]. So why did I confess and repent of my sin of not loving other disciples of Jesus by engaging in mocking and ridiculing them? Well, one reason is because my mom was a fundamentalist.

I never saw my mom wear pants. Granted, since “women wearing pants” didn’t directly concern me, I never asked my mom her reasons for not wearing pants. I do know that my sisters weren’t allowed to wear pants[3]. My mom was also a Christian school teacher. She was a big believer in the Christian school movement, to the exclusion of public schools[4]. She passed away before our daughter began attending public school, but I can see very clearly in my mind the expression on her face had she lived long enough. However, that expression would have let me know her love and care for me and my children. Don’t start whining about legalism[5]; she didn’t believe, and never said nor implied, that people who sent their kids to public schools were automatically disqualified from being Christians. She was simply living out her faith in ways that best reflected what she believed King Jesus wanted. (I was going to put these next few sentence in a footnote, but I believe it’s too important a point.) The previous statement has the potential to start up a chorus of disgust; which is unfortunate. If I had stated that my mom dug clean-water wells with her bare hands for underprivileged children in third-world countries because she was simply living out her faith in ways that best reflected what she believed King Jesus wanted; many of the same people who will gleefully chortle “legalist” at the original statement about Christian schools will amen the shit out of the well-digging statement[6].

My mom hated rock music. So much so, that she would ask restaurant servers to turn down the speakers, much to my humiliation. TV commercials were turned down so at to make sure that no rock music entered our home[7]. My fundamentalist preacher father had many of the famous fundamentalist preachers into our church to rail against rock music. I’ve heard as much, if not more, preaching and lectures about the evils of rock music as anyone else; and it’s with complete confidence that I state that not once did I ever hear it explicitly nor implicitly stated that listening to rock music meant that you couldn’t be a Christian. I know my mom didn’t believe that. She believed that rock music was dishonoring to her King; so she abstained, even if it meant times of embarrassment. She didn’t believe that made her a better Christian. She did it out of love. And I have the utmost respect for her level of commitment and love for King Jesus.

During her summer breaks, she would often conduct VBS in our neighborhoods[8]. She would mix kool-aid, bake cookies, and cut out flannel-graph stories. She would also make me go around and invite neighbor kids, an activity that I despised. She did all this because one of her biggest fears was that there were children that didn’t know that Jesus loved them.

My mom was a fundamentalist. Keep that in mind the next time that you make fun of fundies. I’m willing to bet that you wouldn’t dare make fun of my mom to my face.

[1] Kinda like what I’m doing now.
[2] That’s a joke people, calm down. …. The “members of PETA” is a joke, not the part about the “Democrats”, obviously. Everyone knows that Jesus was a member of the Tea Party.
[3] That didn’t stop them from wearing pants on the sly, though. Rotten little reprobates!
[4] And homeschools, too. I say “amen” to that.
[5] Or you may simply need to look up the definition of the word. It often has a very loose and wide-ranging application for some; to the point that the word ceases to mean anything.
[6] Not knowing what the word “legalist” means is one thing; not knowing what the word “hypocrite” means is another thing altogether.
[7] My sisters went behind her back on listening to rock music, too. It’s no wonder that I was the favorite.
[8] Along with the VBS that she would run at the church.


  1. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman! Thanks for honoring her memory in this way.

  2. Thank you. I don't recognize your "handle/name," so, out of curiousity - how did you find my blog?

  3. Thanks, Jeremy. Much appreciated.

  4. Your Mom loved Jesus and loved teaching. I had the joy of working with her and of having her teach my sons.