Writing Memoirs After Leaving Fundamentalism

February 11, 2009

large_bookIf you have never had the pleasure of reading The Texas Baptist Crucible: Tales from the Temple
by James T. Spurgeon, you must immediately quit your job, ignore your children, and sell your livestock to spend every waking moment reading it until you are done.

There simply aren’t words to describe these stories, so it’s best if you read them for yourself.


Leather Cover Wide-Margin King James Version Bibles

January 19, 2009

bibleA solider doesn’t just pick up any old weapon when going to war, neither does a fundamentalist pick up just any old Bible to fight the good fight. Some important considerations are required.

First of all the Bible must be large. It must be big enough to show that the bearer takes the Scripture seriously enough to risk a hernia when he totes it around. The Bible must be big enough so then when held aloft with one hand, the pages drape over to give thatt classic “This is My King James Bible” look.

The cover must also be leather to allow the holder to get that wonderful “THWACK” sound when he slaps his hand against the cover. This is especially important if preaching. “That’s not what this Bible right here says!!! THWACK! It says that women ought to be silent in the churches, amen? THWACK!”

Lastly, wide margins are a must. This is no sissy Bible. It must have space for notes, outlines, and autographs.

Let lesser Christians come to the battlefield with their pocket sized Bibles with cheap covers and tiny margins. The fundamentalist’s Bible will never be hidden away from view — nor carried without effort.


Sugar Creek Gang Books

December 25, 2008

sugarcreekIf a boy has grown up in a fundamentalist family he’s almost certain to know the names Bill Collins, Poetry, Circus, Dragonfly, Big Jim, Little Jim, and Old Man Paddler. In fact, those characters are probably just as real to him as people he’s known in in real life.

The Sugar Creek Gang books written by Paul Hutchens involve a gang (the good, wholesome kind, not the kind with guns) of boys who encounter swamp robbers, killer bears, kidnappers, and a host of other adventures. And they do it in the most squeaky-clean way possible. If  you can imagine Tom Sawyer having a Baptist deacon for a dad, you might be close to the right idea.

Living out these adventures is not a bad way to spend your hours as a kid.  Spend enough time reading them and you can close your eyes and almost taste Old Man Paddler’s sassafras tea…


McGuffey Readers

November 29, 2008

mcguffeyFundamentalists may not care for Calvinists but they do tend to turn to them a lot for source material. One great example of a Presbyterian work that fundies adore is the McGuffey readers, published in the 1800’s by William Holmes McGuffey a “roving” teacher and Presbyterian Calvinist.

Look on fundamentalists’ bookshelves and more often than not there will appear the distinctive boxed set of the 1836 edition. It’s important to note the edition because the revised 1879 edition is a decidedly liberal revision of the text and considered to be an unclean thing. If the 1836 edition was good enough for Henry Ford, it’s good enough for every child!

Within these brown-backed tomes lie nuggets of truth in stories such as “The Greedy Girl”; “The Effects of Rashness”; and “Consequences of Bad Spelling.”

Considering the state of public education, maybe fundamentalists have something here. A lesson or two on spelling for modern children would certainly not come amiss.


Grace Livingston Hill

November 25, 2008

glhGrace Livingston Hill lived from 1865-1947 and in that time she managed to write hundreds of “Christian Romance” novels which continue to grace the shelves of fundamentalists households everywhere.

The writing in these books is squeaky clean. The heroines never say a bad word, have a bad thought, or really do anything at all except be perfect nice and suffer indignities at the hands of unkind people. The heroine then inevitably apologizes for making the cruel person go to all the trouble of being unkind.

Also included in the stories is some sort of romance of this variety:

At last he spoke, interrupting her brooding over his roses.

“You are running away from me!” he charged.

“Well, and what if I am?” She looked at him with a loving defiance in her eyes.

“Don’t you know I love you?” he asked, sitting down beside her and talking low and almost fiercely. “Don’t you know I’ve been torn away from you, or you from me, twice before now, and that I cannot stand it any more? Say, don’t you know it? Answer, please,” The demand was kind, but peremptory.

“I was afraid so,” she murmured with drooping eyes, and cheeks from which all color had fled.

“Well, why do you do it? Why did you run away? Don’t you care for me? Tell me that. If you can’t ever love me, you are excusable; but I must know it all now.”

“Yes, I care as much as you,” she faltered, “but——”

“But what?” sharply.

“But you are going to be married this week,” she said in desperation, raising her miserable eyes to his.

He looked at her in astonishment.

“Am I?” said he. “Well, that’s news to me; but it’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time. When does the ceremony come off? I wish it was this morning. Make it this morning, will you? Let’s stop this blessed old train and go back to the Doctor. He’ll fix it so we can’t ever run away from each other again. Elizabeth, look at me!”

But Elizabeth hid her eyes now. They were full of tears.

Countless hearts of fundamentalist girls (and more than a few boys) thrill to lines such as these as they dream of someday meeting their own Prince Charming who they will mistakenly think is marrying someone else until the last ten pages of the story.

Chaste and awkward love makes the fundy world go ’round.