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Interview w/ Darrell Dow of Stuff Fundies Like

Interview w/ Darrell Dow of Stuff Fundies Like

by Mike Duran · 143 comments

darrell-dowIn my post The Anti-Evangelical Hate Machine, I criticized what I consider a growing trend:  “…an entire movement bent on cataloging, ridiculing, scoffing at, lampooning, and mocking evangelical culture.” In that post, I referenced eight different individuals whom I believed fit into that category. By far, the most criticism I received on that post was from those supporting Darrell Dow. Darrell Dow is the creator of the website Stuff Fundies Like (SFL), one of the sites I linked to in that post, and author of the book Fundamental Flaws. Mind you, this was not support drummed up by Darrell himself, but a legit concern that I might be misrepresenting him and his work at SFL. So I approached Darrell about an interview — to clarify, voice concerns, dig deeper — which he graciously accepted. To be clear, my purpose in all this is to see Christ honored and His Body edified. I don’t seek to tear Christians down or defame the Church. This includes Darrell and the community at SFL. My hope is that our exchange helps that and furthers this cause.

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MIKE:  How would you describe the primary purpose of SFL? Is it mainly satire, expose, theological, therapeutic?

DARRELL: The primary purpose of SFL is to foster community and start conversations. Sometimes this happens through satire and humor. Sometimes it involves talking about scandals and current events. There is also a good bit of theology that gets injected as the conversations go along and to the degree that having other people who understand your background is encouraging and therapeutic it is also a form of therapy. In short the answer is “all of the above” if you understand that this blog isn’t just one person writing it’s dozens of people having a conversation.

MIKE: I’d consider myself an evangelical, with wiggle room. Ex-pastor, conservative, Charismatic, somewhat ecumenical. I’m not a Fundamentalist, believe Westboro Baptist is not representative of Christ’s heart, and don’t know much about the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement. So what would I need to know to “get” SFL?

DARRELL: I think you’ve answered your own question there. You’d have to learn at least a little about the form and function of how Independent Baptist Fundamentalism works. These are not evangelicals the way you probably perceive that term. For starters, anybody who identified as “charismatic” and “somewhat ecumenical” would be immediately removed from fellowship. IFB pastors happily verbally eviscerate people perceived as the least ecumenical from the pulpit as being “liberal” and the anti-Christ on a regular basis.

You also would have to understand the power structures and cults of personality that drive most fundamentalist organizations. If you’ve never belonged to a church or gone to a college where you were taught that disobeying the slightest rule of the leadership (sometimes up to and including how you make your bed) was a direct affront to God himself then it’s hard to explain. This shared experience of being in these low-trust and high-stress environments is one of the key factors that forms the basis for the community we have here.

On a side note, Westboro Baptist is not an IFB organization nor are they affiliated with any major Baptist movement, cooperative, or association. I don’t write about them at all because they are a completely unrelated faction — and you would know that if you had grown up IFB!

MIKE: My post, “The Anti-Evangelical Hate Machine” received a lot of traffic, as well as angry comments, from some SFL supporters. Where do you think I went wrong in that post?

DARRELL: As one who is often accused of painting with too broad a brush I’d like to suggest that your brush may have been a bit too wide. For example, I love Matthew Paul Turner. He’s a friend. We are not even close to being alike theologically or politically. Lumping the two of us together in the same list gives rise to the criticism that you posted your list without doing your due diligence in finding out exactly where the people in question stand.

I’m not generally antagonistic to evangelicals or evangelicalism. I am, however, opposed to people who are manipulative, cruel, petty, and unkind. If some of those folks happen to be evangelicals (or Reformed, or Episcopal, or Orthodox or Catholics…) then that label doesn’t justify bad behavior. Ultimately it’s not about hating evangelicals it’s about hating the things that people do to hurt other people. Neighbor-love is not optional in the Christian ethic.

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MIKE: I’ve come to believe there is a movement to discredit organized religion, debunk Christianity, and caricature ALL Christians as haters, controllers, anti-intellectual, narrow-minded bigots. I’ve called this the Bash the Church Bandwagon. Do you see such a trend in society? How are you NOT bashing the Church by making fun of Fundamentalists?

DARRELL: This question assumes that every sect of Christianity is exactly as valid as every other sect. The simple answer is that I do not “bash” (although I’d use other words) the Christianity of fundamentalists. In fact, I’d really like to see them converted to being a lot more like Christ! My goal in pointing out the flaws, the missteps, the error, the cruelty, the heresy, and the narrow-mindedness is not to drive people away from the church but to draw them back from their small, splintered sect and back into fellowship with the larger community. Again, I believe that there is a basic misunderstanding about where “fundamentalism” (and more specifically the IFB) fits in the taxonomy of Christianity.

MIKE: Do you believe that Fundamentalism as it’s constituted today is inherently flawed, even evil? From your perspective, can a person genuinely follow Christ and remain a Fundamentalist?

DARRELL: This is a difficult question because it deals with the definition of “fundamentalism.” I can’t speak to everybody who self-identifies as a fundamentalist. But if by “fundamentalism” you mean Independent Baptist Fundamentalism I can only say that in most IFB churches I have seen there is so little Christ found in the songs, the sermons, and the standards that I don’t know if you can stay in that environment and fully enjoy what it means to be a follower of Christ. So much time is spent following men and man-made rules and programs that there is often space for little else.

MIKE: Several commenters on that aforementioned post (Matthew Paul Turner, for one) suggested I “missed” the spirit of SFL by not understanding it was satire. Also, many commenters on the SFL message board emphasize how healing the community is there. The Church has plenty of things we can satirize. And being able to laugh at ourselves is a good thing. But at what point does satire become slander? I mean, isn’t there a point at which laughing at brothers and sisters in Christ — even mean, misguided ones — is wrong? And  how does lampooning Fundamentalists contribute to healing? Do you ever worry that satirizing religious extremism could drive people further away from Christ and misrepresent the Universal Church, rather than heal the breech?

DARRELL: Imagine for a moment that you’re a child who every night as he lies in bed is terrorized by a terrible monster. One day you grow up. You leave home. You don’t talk about the monster because nobody else believes that it is real. Surely you only imagined it. Then one day you find a website where someone has taken pictures of that monster you used to fear and posted them adorned by funny mustaches. The monster used to scare you but now you can laugh at it. The laughter is therapeutic. The laughter conquers your fear. And then you find that there are hundreds of other people in the world who also were terrorized for years by this monster and others like it. Now they laugh at it too and you know that finally you’re not alone.

That’s what we do here. We don’t laugh at Christ. We don’t hate the church. We just laugh at the monsters.

Of course, the analogy breaks down (as all analogies do) because not every fundamentalist is a monster or at least their monstrosity varies in degree and intensity. Nor is harboring monsters the sole preserve of fundamentalist churches, other organizations surely have their own tyrants and despots. Satire is a blunt instrument that does only one thing extraordinarily well: it uses absurdity to demonstrate wrong-headed thinking and by doing so gives us license to laugh at thing that would otherwise cause us severe distress. It’s not all laughter, however. Sometimes we pause for a serious thought. Sometimes we’re angry at the harm that has been done. Sometimes we’re nostalgic for bright spots in days gone by. People are complicated: fundamentalists and ex-fundamentalists are no exception.

As for the charge that poking fun and exposing the error of a strange and terrible sect of Christianity will drive people away from Christ himself, I have only this to say: Christ is bigger than SFL. He is bigger than fundamentalism. He is bigger than than all the gibes and jokes and memes the Internet can produce. People will always find what they are looking for in a body of work. You find hatred against the larger evangelical community where I have intended none. Others may find cause to despise all Christians for the harm that a handful of done. But if any seeking soul wants to see Christ they will find him right where he has always been: waiting for those who search for him with their whole heart.

Darrell, thanks so much for taking time to visit!

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{ 141 comments… read them below or add one }

Darrell January 9, 2013 at 5:12 AM

Thanks for giving me the chance to respond, Mike.

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Joy @ Joy in this Journey January 9, 2013 at 5:22 AM

Excellent interview. Thank you, Mike, for sharing it and for allowing Darrell to explain more of what SFL does, where it fits in Christianity, and the role of satire. It was very helpful.

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Patrick Todoroff January 9, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Excellent post. Thank you, Mike. My hat’s off to Darrell as well. Well done.

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D.G.Spillman January 9, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Nice!
I like this interview Mike, you may have start a Christian “60 Minutes.”

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Megan January 9, 2013 at 6:56 AM

Thanks for having Darrell respond to your questions, and thanks to Darrell for doing so.

I am a Southern Baptist, and hold strongly to that. I am also former-IFB. I can say from expereince that leaving IFB was met with resistance (I actually told “The Pastor” that I was leaving, and going to visit other churches in the area – mainly Southern Baptist churches) – I was told “they” do things “we” don’t believe in, and I’m assuming he meant feeding newborns and virgins to idols as given by the tone of his voice. I found SFL to be therapeutic because there are people there like me.

“That’s what we do here. We don’t laugh at Christ. We don’t hate the church. We just laugh at the monsters.”

So, so true. I mean, I’m sure you can dig and find comments where *someone*, at *some* point has laughed at Christ, who hates the church; that’s definitely not the overwhelming majority of SFL readers. I have to agree that at some times, comments have begun to offend me – but that’s my point of view. I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bath water.

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Mercy January 9, 2013 at 7:17 AM

Thanks for following up with Darrell. I feel that his replies reflect a lot of us who are there. The IFB (in which I was raised since infancy, including attending an IFB college and being pastor’s wife in an IFB church) holds itself aloof from the rest of Christianity; separation, specifically “secondary separation”, is one of their most highly valued doctrines. They do this so strongly that, when we left the IFB, it was a huge personal struggle for me to even self-identify as an evangelical because all my life evangelicals had been scorned as backslidden compromisers.

I do feel that there is an atmosphere in our country in which true Christianity is mocked and vilified, but I strongly refute the accusation that SFL is part of that.

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Katherine Coble January 9, 2013 at 7:18 AM

I appreciate the interview, the respectful tone and the expansion of information.

I know intimately several people who grew up in abusive religious environments. I understand the marks that leaves on people.

I suppose the best way to express my concern about SFL is that it IS very much an “inside baseball” thing. Even in this interview Darrell states several times the idea that one would better “get” the humour/satire of SFL if one comes from an IFB background. He then speaks of growing up with monsters.

The thing about the Internet is that everybody can read it. For every IFB Survivor who finds peace by seeing mustaches drawn on the monster there are several THOUSAND readers who not only don’t get the nuance but also don’t get Christianity in general. So while SFL claims to be aiming at a specific narrow target there ends up being a huge amount of collateral damage to the cause of Christ.

In Matthew Christ outlined how we are to deal with problems in the church. At no point did Christ advocate going into the public square to mock those we are in conflict with.

Darrell claims to want to pull IFB into greater fellowship with Christ and criticizes IFB for unchristlike behaviour. All the while his site is exemplary in demonstrating unChristlike behaviour.

Just because something is framed as “funny” or “therapeutic” doesn’t make it okay.

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mkxcomm January 9, 2013 at 7:29 AM

@Katherine, exposing the works of evil men has nothing to do with the “cause of Christ.” Christ is obviously not in the evil actions and abuses that we mention on SFL.

Since when is it Christlike to allow people to abuse, molest, rape, browbeat and manipulate people in Jesus’ name? It is not. And it certainly isn’t Christ’s agenda for men who claim him to do so.

Don’t put so much time into killing messenger. You might want to turn your sights on the people who are actually committing these grievous acts against the innocent in God’s name.

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Katherine Coble January 9, 2013 at 10:20 AM

It’s not Christlike to do those things. The Christlike response is to go directly to those people and confront them. Not post jokes about them on the internet.

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mkxcomm January 9, 2013 at 10:43 AM

If you think there is one person out there (who has left an IFB church) who hasn’t “gone directly to those people and confronted them” (and many of us, have tried for years) then you are mistaken.

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Melissa January 9, 2013 at 11:02 AM

So if you have confronted them, and they have not changed, what on earth makes anyone think they will change by reading jokes about themselves? Unless that is not the intent.

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Patrick Todoroff January 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM

C.S. Lewis noted that Hell has no sense of humor. It can’t laugh at itself because it hold Self in deadly earnest. And rejection of God castrates any/all sense of proportion.

Sarcasm is a divine attribute, and I think openly confronting wrong doing and wrong thinking – and broadcasting warnings – prayerfully, is not only acceptable but responsible. I say use any and every tool available, including satire. Laughter restores perspective.

Satire rarely causes perpetrators to repent. They’re too convinced of their own essential excellence to see themselves in any other light. It’s there for the exiles, the wounded, the survivors, and their friends.

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Lynn January 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Melissa,
I don’t think SFL is about changing IFB people. It’s about gathering those who’ve been harmed growing up that way and validating to them that, no, they are not crazy and no, they are not evil-they simply grew up in a harmful atmosphere. It’s for people like me who have been extremely influenced by IFB, have left it on their own and are helped by knowing they are not alone.

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Lynn January 9, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Go directly and confront them? Do people like Jack Schaap look like people who take kindly to confrontation? He’s just the modern example of many, many IFB pastors like him that so many of us grew up with. As was mentioned, overall it’s not very funny. Growing up in that warped world screws up a lot of people in their whole view of the world. Years later, it IS therapy to laugh at it along with others who also experienced it. And with people who assign you to hell or being on the devil’s side if you disagree with them-what’s left to do but laugh?

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Melissa January 9, 2013 at 11:53 AM

I guess the ultimate question is this (trite though it may sound): what would Jesus do under similar circumstances? I get that it’s a site for therapeutic reasons, but it sounds to me like a lot more than therapy is going on there. I’m not against laughter and good fun, but here’s something else to think about, and I’ll use a personal anecdote to explain why.

When I married my husband, I became stepmother to two very disturbed boys (4 and 5 years old) whose mother had abandoned them. I found refuge on a site for step-parents. The longer I was on the site, the more angry I became, not because I wasn’t finding like-minded spirits (I was) but because I was hanging out with other people who also found their situation intolerable and didn’t hesitate to say so. When you are surrounded by that kind of negative environment, you’re not healing. You’re perpetuating the negativity.

I finally realized that the step-parenting site wasn’t doing me any good – I had actually grown more cynical and more negative because my feelings were endorsed and even approved of by others on the site.

Bottom line? When I quit going to that site and finding company within far too much misery (and don’t get me wrong – there WERE good, helpful suggestions at the site), my attitude improved dramatically and I was able to move past the “I’m a step-parent and these are not my children” to “I am a parent and these are my boys.” In other words, I began to let go of those negative feelings and start making the transition in a far more healthy manner.

So all this is to say: when you are surrounded by people that constantly reinforce your views, how are you learning and growing? There is a time to vent your frustrations – but when it prevents you from HEALING (which is apparently what the IFB site is supposed to do), then it’s time to walk away.

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Not In The Clique January 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Melissa,

Excellent point. I am hoping a number of SFLers will read your comment and not cuss you out, but instead will agree with you and will change their therapy. Thank you!

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Melissa January 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Thanks. :)

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Cathy January 9, 2013 at 10:57 PM

Melissa,

IMO, you’re judging those of us who have exited from, some who have been victims of serious crimes.

I am very discouraged that you compared that to your experiences as a step-mother of children to going to a man like Jack Schaap . IMO, your comparison doesn’t even come close, and quite honestly is dismissive to those like myself who both are survivors and advocates to those who have survived these crimes.

My Bible doesn’t tell us to go to criminals and confront them. The Bible says to hand them over to civil authorities so that the foolish will learn.

Some of us have had serious crimes committed against us as children. Crimes ranging from Kidnapping, Child Molestation, rape and worse. Some of us have seen justice through the Criminal Justice system. Many of us will never see justice due to the fact our abusers are either dead or the Statute of Limitations have expired. The reason for the lack of reporting this crimes to Law Enforcement in a timely manner is because some pastor or someone decided it was better to confront the CRIMINAL (Matthew 18 is thrown in our faces) rather than report the crime to law enforcement.

Jack Schaap is a criminal. He’ll be sentenced soon for having sex with a 16 year-old girl he was charged with counseling. Jack Schaap (and his father-in-law before him) took the house of the Lord, and turned it into a den of iniquity where women and children were regularly beaten and preyed upon. My Jesus overthrew money-changers tables for stealing Alms from His people. My Jesus took a whip to the money-changers and chased them out of His house. Wasn’t very “loving” in His speech to the religious leaders of His time, either.

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Melissa January 10, 2013 at 7:42 AM

Oh my goodness. You read exactly the wrong thing into this. I was NOT comparing my experiences as a step-parent to your experiences. I was comparing how going to a site dedicated to step-parenting and trying to find comfort and therapy through it to the SFL site and how the negative perspective started to inundate my life. Please, please re-read my comment. I in no way, shape, or form compared me being a step-parent to what you went through in the Church. I am very sorry for what you went through and I have made that clear again and again in my messages. I am NOT defending those who hurt you. I am NOT saying you should not find comfort with others who have gone through the same. I was just questioning the METHOD of the healing process (i.e. satire, sarcasm, etc.) and stating that this type of site simply may lead to more negativity. That is ALL.

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Not In The Clique January 11, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Melissa,

Don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong. They will not read a comment completely if they see the beginning does not agree with them. Also, if you noticed, they like to twist peoples words, accusing anyone who disagrees with them as being supporters of the pedophiles in the church. I go through this every time I post the truth. As Matthew 15: 14 states:

“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

Also, Proverbs 14: 10 states: ” The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.”

Proverbs 14: 13 states: “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.”

Melissa, the best thing to do is pray for us all.

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Dr James Ach January 28, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Melissa, you have to understand the mentality of those like Cathy and others that make up the “Do Right” groups, anytime you disagree with them about ANYTHING, then you are viewed as supporting abuse. In their eyes, the only correct comment you can make is one that totally vilifies any form of fundamental Christianity.
They are quick to tell you what the contradictions between fundamentalist churches and the Bible, but slow on demonstrating that they actually know what the Bible is talking about.
I have had this experience with these groups over and over again, and they are illogical, Biblically unsound, and very agenda-driven. It would not matter how well you stated your opinion, how intelligent it was written, or how clear the context and message was, if it is not in agreement with their statement of wrath, it goes through an entirely different section of their brain that processes information in a completely different fashion than most logical thinkers.
I have a website that criticizes Stuffed Undies Like, the Do Right groups AND IFBers, but since it criticizes the fundy haters, they only see one message, and they will misquote you, and even add to your words and change your entire message into something that is completely different as if they have a template with boilerplate anti-fundy settings that creates responses pre-programmed to fit their accusations.
Those on the SFL forum and Do Right groups are the most intellectually dishonest people I have ever met. (Now I am going to predict that the next response to this comment from one of them will begin with “but what about the fundies” or something of that derivative. They all have earned doctorates in deflection.)

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Jonathan January 17, 2013 at 7:13 AM

Jack Schaap is a criminal and he will be punished. The issue here is that Darrell and the rest of the SFL crew have no dog in the fight. Darrell does not go to the church. He was not affected by what took place. He is simply trying to make a name (and money) for himself off of this. He is putting his nose into places it does not belong.

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Guilt Ridden January 10, 2013 at 6:05 AM

Melissa; this is an excellent point, and good advice… but it is for each individual to determine for himself. There certainly is a danger that SFL could be bad for a person. There is quite a range of posters on SFL. I found it comforting to know that I was not alone during my experiences.

I believe that there are thousands and thousands of good, decent (small) IFB churches led by humble men, determined to teach the Bible and glorify Jesus Christ. We just never hear about them — it is the infamous and relatively few that get all of the attention — and such abuse of power deserves to be mocked, and it is helpful to be warned of such men and to recognize them.

To use an analogy, it is my understanding that a significant portion of sexual abuse is committed by step-fathers — but it would be an error to assume that all step-fathers are abusive.

I’m all for SFL mocking and pointing out the un-Biblical antics of fundamental leaders; in my opinion, there are times when SFL “crosses the line” and starts to mock Bible standards

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Melissa January 10, 2013 at 7:52 AM

You’re right. It IS for each person to decide. :)

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Josh R January 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

mkxcomm is precisely right. There have been many such confrontations and many of them have been shared and recounted on SFL. But again, you must understand fundamentalism. The moment you question the “man of God” and bring to his attention something you find out of line, you are accused of questioning God himself by proxy because you have questioned the man God has placed over you. (It is always assumed that the pastor is the authority God has specifically placed in your life and that he is more important and prominent than you. If you don’t believe me, go read the material on Sam Gipp’s webpage.) Therefore, you should simply be faithful and submit. (I’ve even heard it said, when I was in a fundamentalist church, that God will reward you for obeying the man of God even if he is wrong. Your job is to submit to authority and let God deal with him if he is in error). Trust me, it’s not Darrel or the community over at SFL who are unwilling to follow the Matthew 16 principle you cite. It is most certainly the fundamentalist pastors who have set themselves above criticism who are.

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Melissa January 9, 2013 at 2:55 PM

I don’t know that anyone is arguing that these fundamentalist pastors who commit these errors are above criticism. I’m certainly not advocating that. What I’m struggling to understand is how healing can occur when you surround yourself with mockery and satire. There is a time and a place for venting your feelings and seeking a common bond with others. But when you find yourself getting sucked deeper and deeper into the negativity, please tell me HOW that helps ANYONE. At a certain point, don’t we all have to just “give it to God” and let Him deal with it?

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Melissa, therapeutic or not, some people just enjoy SFL and its snarky humor. Over time, relationships are developed on the blog and people look forward to exchanging thoughts with each other. A real community has developed. Not to mention that Darrell is an outstanding writer. Just because an online support group did not work for you does not mean it does not help others. For all you know, God may have sent some people to SFL! To each his own.

I think Evangelicals would better serve the cause of Christ by reserving their criticism for all the wolves in sheep’s clothing, and the culture of sexual abuse and cover ups that pervade the IFB and other fundamentalist organizations. Darrell reflects God’s love for PEOPLE and is to be commended.

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Dr James Ach January 28, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Darrell wouldn’t know what a Bible verse looked like if it cooked him dinner. He can not correctly identify what fundamentalists believe, and as one blogger wrote, he creates his own caricature of fundamentalism and then critiques his own caricature. That’s not good writing, that’s journalistic malpractice.

In Revelation chapters 2-3, Jesus commends the churches for many things, but on several occasions states “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee”. There is no excuse for claiming that you are helping people and justifying a lack of accountability as to the methods in which that love is communicated by consistently using the actions of sinful fundies as an excuse to behave like an idiot.

The Bible says that they that worship God must do so in TRUTH, and encouraging discourse that embraces and supports atheism, agnosticism, homosexuality, and other blatantly anti-Christian themes on his website is not showing “Godly love”. Uniting religions and varying anti-Christian world views for the sake of unity in a common cause is no better than uniting a group of radical muslims to partner with angry Americans about bad US policies. Ultimately even if the goal to change the policy is achieved, the American is likely to still get his head chopped off. Those who have any sense of Biblical Christianity left will end up with their spiritual heads chopped off the longer they surround themselves with the type of “love” espoused by the likes of Stuffed Undies sites

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Missionary Style January 10, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Melissa, SFL has never advertised itself as the place for ultimate healing. The draw of SFL for many is that they never even realized there were others just like them that escaped from an abusive movement. For them, SFL may be simply an introductory step to complete healing, a chance to know that they’re not alone; once that is realized, they can then simply appreciate the satire as they move forward in their own process of healing.

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Melissa January 10, 2013 at 10:01 AM

I understand that. Honestly, I do. Finding support is critical. I just know from my own experience that being surrounded by negativity (which, let’s face it – not everything you gain from a supportive bunch of people is positive) can turn into resentment. It did for me, and I had to step back. Others will not have the same problem. So that’s really all I was trying to say.

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Ginger January 14, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Melissa, maybe you’re not understanding the fact that some people there do not look at it as negative. It appeals to a snarky sense of humor for a lot of people. Maybe you’re not understanding it because you might not share that kind of humor?
If former fundies there are feeling resentment, it isn’t because of the site. It is because of their experience within that movement. Your implying that one is less spiritual (not letting God handle things and staying away from what you perceive is negative) because they find therapeutic qualities in finding fellowship on that site, is a very trigger for someone who is finding their way out of that movement.
They are sick and tired of having their spiritual lives judged based on what someone else in their own reasoning is or is not best. I believe the best thing you could do as someone looking in from the outside is realize that you don’t have all the answers, that God has a plan, and no website in the world can snuff out the Holy Spirit in a born again person, and anyone who is seeking to get to know Him. That includes any non believer that someone falls upon that website. God is bigger than that. The best thing you can do is stop questioning what is obviously helping a LOT of people become whole again, and trust God to work out the details.

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mkxcomm January 9, 2013 at 7:20 AM

The monster illustration was spot-on. Especially to those of us who were truly terrorized as children in the IFB. It made me want to cry. Thank you Darrell. And thank you Mike for having him.

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Meg Moseley January 9, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Good interview. I never heard of IFB churches until a few years ago, but I’ve been exposed to similar teachings in other denominations and movements so reading SFL on a regular basis is therapeutic. Mike, thanks for giving Darrell a chance to speak his piece. Darrell, keep up the good work.

Somewhat related: Elizabeth Esther just wrote a good post about helping victims of spiritual abuse – http://www.elizabethesther.com/2013/01/how-to-help-victims-of-spiritual-abuse.html – I hope it’s okay to include the link here.

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Melissa Ortega January 9, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I do have to say that while I do actually understand what this group is trying to accomplish, the specificity of their ministry coupled with their usage of the very broad-stroked term in their site’s name “fundies” does not really work. The term “fundamentalist” is not as specific as their ministry claims to be. It pulls in (whether intentional or not) a truckload of hazy, intolerant, bigoted, cultural context and slaps it over any purpose they have in reaching the group they claim to aim at. I don’t see the words Independent Fundamentalist Baptist any where on the front page. I also don’t see any disclaimers on the site that explain what they mean by “fundamentalist.” Since “fundamentalist” is a current hot word specifically used by our culture to insantly disarm anyone they slap it on, it that just seems odd to me not to define it if the site’s implications are as crucial Mr. Dow claims – unless they are just completely out of touch with current cultural shifts.

To quote Inigo Montoya, “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”

Also, forgive me, but I’ve seen the posts on “stuff fundies like” and some of them seem very, very keen on being offended by any and every thing. There is plenty being poked at there that cannot be categorized as meanspirited or cruel as Mr. Dow suggests, without a pre-existing, dogged determination to be offended.

No matter its intentions (and these are never an excuse imho for continuing to behave badly after you’ve been told you’re hurting someone) the mainpage for this website is just an echochamber for the generalized kind of scorn being vocalized against Christians (not just the Biblically fundamental) throughout the world today. Wouldn’t it be better to demonstrate Christ’s command to love our enemies? Jesus looked down from a place of pain beyond what any of us have ever experienced at the hands of our wayward Christian mentors to his own misguided family and said “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” Is that not our example?

After reading this interview, this is still my view of SFL. Probably very nice people who actually love Jesus – but they don’t know what they are doing. Thank God for Grace and Mercy that are bigger than we are.

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mkxcomm January 9, 2013 at 9:19 AM
Melissa Ortega January 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM

In the world of PR, this is called “buried” information. More than half of people visiting a website will only look at the front page.

Thanks for posting it. While the site specifies IFB (after one reads everything else), I also notice that it is inclusive of a much broader scope of fundamentalists. At least that is the way it seems to say: “fundamentalism is this” but we’re really focusing our attention “fundamentalism plus.”

In short, I now know that the site does actually intend to make fun of me, because I (mostly) believe all five of those fundamentals. The description of IFB is not too different than most fundamentalist churches I know minus extreme separatism. I actually attend a very fundamental church in spite of my not exactly fitting in – because they are SO different from me. They’re tendencies are to never change – my tendencies are to change all the time and only wanna be around people who think I’m awesome. These fundamentalists keep me balanced by bringing me back to things bigger than myself. That’s why I’m there – to submit to something bigger than myself. Not because they said I should but because I really felt this is what God wanted me to do. I needed balance – and the old tend to balance the young and vice versa.

While I’ve been hurt by these people (because they’re people more than because they are fundamentalists) I actually still love them and really don’t enjoy watching people make fun of them for trying really hard to be like Jesus and missing it. I have too many flaws to make a website dedicated to picking specks out of other eyes.

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Katherine Coble January 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

this.

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Melissa January 9, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Amen, Melissa. You nailed it perfectly.

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1 L Loyd January 9, 2013 at 11:36 AM

As a reader of SFL and a former IFB, I have found the site therapeutic. But I also realize that most people I have known who claim Fundamentalist as a title are not just referring to the five fundamentals. They claim many more stances on doctrinal matters. So you have to be careful in how you define your self to avoid misunderstanding.
Also, Darrell does not, as a general rule, stop people from posting. So you have believers of various stripes, ponderers, and unbelievers who comment. We even have those who occasionally punk us. :) That is one of the attractions for me.
I laugh with other survivors. I feel for those who went through worse, which is most of the regulars. And I enjoy myself.

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Josh R January 9, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Melissa,

I think you may be missing the point a bit if you think the fundamentalism that SFL criticizes simply means holding to certain dogmas (like the fundamentals of the faith). Actually, from what I gather about Darrell, he actually believes in the “fundamentals” when it comes to the virgin birth, the resurrection, the Bible as God’s Word, etc. But it is the mindset of abuse that pervades fundamentalism that he decries. From what you described, it doesn’t sound like you go to the type of fundamentalist church that SFL targets. Being a part of a larger group that keeps you grounded in truth is a good thing. Being connected to something bigger than yourself is also a good thing. These are both things that can be attained in a healthy spiritual environment. However, fundamentalism practices coercion, emotional manipulation, and spiritual abuse to bring these things about. I doubt you meant to say that you were in that type of church. God help you if you are and are willing to stay there. If not, SFL is not intended to criticize you or your church.

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Melissa Ortega January 9, 2013 at 2:53 PM

I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that SFL does not do a good job of distinguishing between their brand of fundamentalism and everybody else’s in a world where “fundamentalism” doesn’t mean the same thing even throughout the paragraph you just wrote. It altered its’ meaning at least three times for you before you finished what you were saying. Imagine what it does for someone completely unfamiliar with any fundamentalists at all when they casually visit the SFL site.

Even if it was clear, even if SFL is making fun of only one “type” of fundamentalist, I still don’t think mockery is a Christ-honoring avenue to freedom from pain. His tale of the unmerciful debtor suggests otherwise.

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Josh R January 9, 2013 at 10:48 PM

I understand that concern, Melissa, and I think it is a valid one. It is very difficult to determine the different ways the word fundamentalist is used. However, the reason I have enjoyed SFL and found it to be edifying is that it becomes clear, after just reading a couple of posts, that Darrell is touching on a type of fundamentalism that is indeed evil. Most people I know can recognize this nuance when they see it and understand that it is not a particular set of doctrines, per se, that SFL comes against. I’m not sure I agree with you that mockery and satire cannot be Christ-honoring, and I don’t see it in the parable of the debtor. Are you certain that this could not possibly honor Christ? On what grounds?

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Melissa Ortega January 10, 2013 at 9:43 AM

First let me say that, in retrospect, “I wasn’t saying that at all,” was not accurate of me.

I *was* saying that I thought the “about” page communicates to anyone not on the “inside” that fundamentalists in general are what is being referenced by the “fundies” in “stuff fundies like.” And I am a fundamentalist in general. Mr. Dow says he’s not aiming at me and I am willing to believe his intentions.

However, the *site* still communicates this. It acknowledges and defines a general fundamentalist at the most prominent part of its “about” page, then does not exclude these fundamentlists, but simply says:

“MORE specifically, for these posts, “fundamentalism” means “Independent Baptist Fundamentalism”, a movement that rejected not only liberal theology but also those parts of the culture that it considered to be “worldly” such as certain types of music, styles of dress, the theater, alcohol, and many others. These fundamentalist churches also separated themselves from association with any other movement they deemed too liberal or worldly; in fact, separating from things soon became their greatest distinctive — and a source of amusement to those of us who grew up in the movement.

These are their tales…”

To say “MORE” specifically is inclusive of the general definition, not exclusive. If one is going to use prolific slang in the very title of their organization and mean something different than the rest of the world, this must be more than casually communicated, it must be OVER-communicated. Immediately. Without people having to find the information some separate place from the main title, etc. Not because I am a, ahem, “queen,” but based on the presumption that this clarity is important to the media’s creators.

Language aside, the posts themselves don’t seem exclusive to the culture of IFB. These posts look familiar to almost anyone who grew up in an evangelical background. Hence, the line between “fundie” and “fundie” is blurred once again. It is not SIMPLE or EASY to see that this site is fighting a reign of a certain kind of abuse in one very specific organization.

As for satire being Christ-honoring, trust me, I’ve thought about it. I tend to laugh too much at the world when I should be weeping for it. That said, mockery and satire are different things, and I was speaking of mockery. Good satire isn’t obvious. Satire is, at its heart, is deceptive. It makes a person into a joke without their knowing it. While it could be possible to use this literary tool to open eyes, I think very few people have the talent it takes to pull it off while obeying the command to love their neighbor as themselves.

What I see on SFL doesn’t seem to qualify as satire. For example, today’s front page features a photo of a sign bearing the words of Jesus with a caption that suggests that the people who posted it must logically be evil, repugnant, Slitherins, determined to see all men but themselves as garbage. I have seen that sign a hundred times in a hundred places where the (“fundy”) people inside are no such thing. And I’m pretty sure the Man who said it wasn’t. How is the nature of this post satirical? How do His Words on that sign not also become a subject of ridicule? Is the assumption about the church’s intentions charitable or uncharitable? (the picture, the caption says, was posted by a visitor one can assume to only be casually familiar with the congregation) Isn’t assuming that this church means some terrible thing by posting this sign ironically the same sort of “judgemental travesty” we are discussing right now in regards to the sign posted over a website, reading “Stuff Fundies Like?” Except, unlike SFL, this sign is filled with the words of Jesus – and as far as I can see, nothing which could be readily labeled as “untrue.”

Again, I don’t know much about IFB at all, but I don’t see IFB in the caption, and neither would a casual visitor. They would just see “fundy” and then they would see this sign in a non-IFB church and draw their own conclusions. This sign is not “strictly IFB.”

The whole purpose of media is to communicate accurately. Christian media (or communication) is required to go a step further – it demands love – or else, it is a clanging cymbal (a.k.a. “just a bunch of meaningless noise”).

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Jerusha Wheeler April 28, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Well according to groups like PCC and HAC and Fairhaven Baptist Bible College and Maranatha Baptist Bible College (and other colleges started by BJU graduates), their type of fundamentalism is the “only” type there is. Perhaps you would care to clarify this with them? I mean convince them that you actually are a fundamentalist as you claim you are? If you are, will you forbid them from ever using the title (and making people like yourself look silly) ever again?
Granted, they will probably call you “rebellious” and remind you that “rebelliousness is as of the sin of divination” and then ask if you are really saved, then ask if your skirts are long enough, and how many people you have on you evangelism totem. If anyone at SFL learned how to be unmerciful…it’s because we learned from the champions.
You are welcome at SFL, but how welcome are you at PCC? Do you think they would love you if they shun the SFL people, who were raised in their own culture and attended their colleges? Basically, I think you are whipping the wrong horse.

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Not In The Clique April 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Actually Joshua,

I was not welcome at Stuff Fundies Like. Darrell, the woman claiming to be married to him (pastors wife), and you all did not appreciate me telling you the truth NOR did you all like Holy Bible verses posted on Stuff Fundies Like. I still received Darrells “stories” but I was blocked out from leaving any comments. Stuff Fundies Like are hipocrits because you all sit around in front of your computers doing the same things that you accuse the IFB churches of doing. I deleted my SFL account around a week and a half to two weeks ago because Darrells “stories” have become extremist hate filled and leave me wondering if SFL has become a terrorist site.

Joshua, I am not being ridiculous, nor am I stretching the truth. The last several months I have noticed a drastic change, and how Darrells postings have gotten darker and darker. It does not matter if Darrell, his woman (if she really is his woman), or any of you beg me to come back………..I WILL NOT. I will NOT be a part of a terrorist site that breeds hatred and stokes the fires of hatred in scattered and destroyed sheep. Darrell has the wonderful opportunity to get all these wounded sheep and lead them back to God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit for true healing, but he doesn’t. Instead he looks for scandals in the church to reinforce the sure destruction of those sheep.

Joshua, instead of being “stuck” on what the pastor/deacon/trustee/sunday school leader/usher/IFB school/etc. did to you, why don’t you block them out for five minutes and ask yourself: “What did God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit do to me?” When you separate God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit from all those that wronged you, you will begin to see that it was the “tares” that sinned against you and NOT God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit.

Joshua, one day God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit is going to come back and gather his “wheat” for His kingdom. After He does, He is going to have all the “tares” gathered together for destruction.

Which “gathering” will you be in?

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Annie Moose April 29, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Just want to clear up one thing: pastor’s wife is in no way whatsoever married to Darrell, who isn’t a pastor. Not sure where you got that idea from, but she has never claimed to be married to him, and she definitely is not.

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Not In The Clique April 30, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Well then someone may want to remind her that she is not Darrells help meet/ wife because I remember very clearly her gloating in some of her comments about being married to Darrell. Also, if I remember correctly, one of the very last “stories” posted before I deleted my account with SFL, the “story” was by “pastors wife” with Darrells name posted to it and she was complaining about going to church dressed in capri pants and the preacher gave a sermon about women who wear pants, and she was offended by this preacher. If “pastors wife” is not the “little missus”, she needs to get a grip on reality and put herself in her rightful place which is not in Darrells arms so she does not wreck Darrells marriage to the mother of his children.

P.S.: If you come back telling me Darrell is not married, I will remind you of him posting a secular subject with a picture of him, the “little missus”, and the kids at an amusement park; and then I will ask you how much he paid to “rent” a family.

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1 L Loyd May 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Darrell is married, but not to Pastor’s Wife. You have something mixed up or don’t remember right. Unless you have perfect memory, you could always go look at the blog. But it really worth that much work.

1 L Loyd May 1, 2013 at 11:57 AM

that last sentence should be: But it’s not really worth that much work.

Polecat June 21, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Pastor’s Wife, as you’ve already been told is not Darrell’s wife, is also not at all the way you’ve characterized her. She’s one of the kindest-hearted, grace-filled people I’ve come across. Slandering her casts a very dark shadow over you.

Posters here may believe you and assume that PW is some evil harpy, but posters at SFL know better. I’d love to see one post where she gloated over *anything. It hasn’t happened.

Not In The Clique January 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Josh R,

SFLers practices coercion, emotional manipulation, and spiritual abuse against anyone who does not share their beliefs. Furthermore, your assertion that SFL is not intended to criticize Melissa and the church she attends is a flat out lie. SFLers criticize me for not embracing the SFL false doctrines and SFLers criticize every single IFB church and IFB pastor Darrell can find on the internet. So, please be honest. That is the purpose of SFL is to tear down. There is nothing edifying about the site nor are the wounded sheep being helped. There is nothing glorifying to God Jesus Christ Holy Holy Spirit by SFL and it is truly tragic because many lost sheep could be saved like in the hymn about the ninety and nine sheep .

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Please stop with the “God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit” run on, we know what the Trinity is. Your characterization of SFL is off-base, maybe you should just stop going to the site if you feel you are being coerced, manipulated, or abused. SFL promotes no doctrine, it is anti-spiritual abuse.

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Not In The Clique January 10, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Not and Will Never Be a Fundy,

MY! MY! MY! You sure do have a double standard! You accuse people who do not agree with you as being “bullies”, “bashers”, and “controlling” while at the same time doing it yourself. Brother/Sister, you have a monstrous beam in your eye that is blinding you. A number of people on SFL also have a monstrous beam blinding them. I suggest you all take care of your beams, then you will be able to see if there are any “specs” around.

And NO! I will not stop with God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit just because you hate Him and cannot stand seeing and hearing His name! One day every knee shall bow to God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit INCLUDING YOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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spinetingler January 9, 2013 at 6:06 PM

“nor are the wounded sheep being helped”

Who are you to speak for the “wounded sheep”?

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Josh R January 9, 2013 at 10:42 PM

“SFLers”? Okay, I’m not sure you can simply lump everyone who reads and participates in the SFL blog as a single group. I have never personally witnessed any coercion, emotional manipulation, or spiritual abuse there, but if you can present some examples, I’d be happy to look over them and see if you are correct. With regard to calling me a liar, I’m not sure why you would do this. What I explained was that it was the five (or seven depending on who you’re talking to) doctrines that SFL is attacking. That was my point. Period. Can you produce an example where Darrell actually criticized fundamentalists simply for holding to one of these doctrines? If he did, I would have a problem with SFL because, as an evangelical, I agree with fundamentalists on the “fundamentals” of the faith. What I see Darrell criticizing is a subculture of abuse. So, yes, “tearing down” that evil is the goal, but it wasn’t clear to me that this accurately describes Melissa’s church.

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Josh R January 10, 2013 at 8:55 AM

meant to say “it was NOT the five…”

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 9, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Melissa, Melissa Melissa…who died and left you Queen? You are so condescending…you don’t understand what is going on at SFL because you have no sense of humor (I do not understand why Christians think one must be dour to be sincere). Yes, Grace and Mercy (and remember…God is Love) are things that I am grateful for, but probably for different reasons than you. SFL is so not generalized scorn against believers but is against the worst that Christendom has to offer. You don’t have to act as an apologist to Darrell, he is already a believer. Stop judging him and SFL, you are being so hypocritical. Satan loves this, instead of coming down on the real enemies of Christ you come down on a website by a believer who is helping victims of spiritual abuse and exposing “the unfruitful works of darkness” by so-called men of God. Shame on you.

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Bobby January 9, 2013 at 7:15 PM

“Melissa, Melissa, Melissa…”

Yes, Melissa’s the one being condescending.

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Melissa Marsh January 9, 2013 at 7:16 PM

How on earth does this help anyone? This was not said in love. Telling someone “shame on you” and saying “who died and left you Queen” and “you are so condescending” is NOT reflecting Christ.

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Melissa Ortega January 10, 2013 at 8:37 AM

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Missionary Style January 10, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Melissa, your comments are nit-picking to say the least. Much of your conversation is devoted to the tragedy that you are being forced to click on “About” to learn the purpose of the website.
If the fundy church you are a part of is non-abusive, great! Yet, if you truly read the posts of SFL, you would realize that Darrell is employing a myriad of different methods to relate to those who have been (or still are currently) a part of an abusive movement. In the interview, Darrell accurately says that humor, satire, current events, (exposure of) scandals, and even theology is inserted to tell the “tales” of “Fundies.”

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Melissa Ortega January 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM

#facepalm

Well, can’t kick a girl for tryin.’

Seeyas

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Rebecca LuElla Miller January 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Wish there was a thumbs up button. My thoughts echo yours.

Becky

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Cassandra January 9, 2013 at 8:58 AM

That was a great interview and I’m glad that Darrell was given the opportunity to do so. (Something which, by the way, he probably would NEVER have been able to do in some IFB groups). The point was excellent, if you have never been under the stress, spiritual abuse, pharisaical environment that some IFB groups thrive off of, you can never really understand the climate of relief that SFL offers. By pointing out the fallacy and danger of the man-made rules and traditions, SFL allows us to relate in a common place though we have been affected by the IFB philosophies that are not isolated to one small town, but it is a national epidemic. Thanks Darrell and Mike for giving him this opportunity.

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But Seriously... January 9, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Thanks for posting this interview. I visit SFL daily (and just subscribed to your blog). It is very therapeutic. Sometimes, I disagree with Darrell, and more often, some of the regular contributors to the comments. In these cases, I think lines are crossed, and I haven’t hesitated to state when I disagree. It’s an open forum, so that’s encouraged. People also have called me to task for some of my comments, and sometimes, they’ve been right.

Overall, SFL helps people because it provokes discussion about things that we (those in the IFB at some point) were all thinking, but were afraid to say out loud. The IFB culture, overall, greatly discourages discussion of ideas and the questioning of leadership. When you’ve bottled up your questions, comments, and complaints for most of your life, you can’t imagine the relief that comes when some one stands up and says, “The Emperor has no clothes!” Darrell also challenges us (me) to examine our (my) current approach to life, faith, and ministry, and to honestly evaluate it in light of Scripture and the grace offered freely through Jesus Christ. That can’t be a bad thing.

As a followup, you might consider having Darrell recommend an IFB church in your area to attend for a couple of Sundays and/or interview the pastor.

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Jerusha Wheeler January 9, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Shout out to SFL! And Mike, I don’t care what my local IFB pastor says about some people hurting the work of Christ, I forgive you and your charismatic pals for being a potentially-demonic babbler. Of course, if SFL is slander, and the IFB pastors are credible in any way shape or form, then you will only get into heaven if God makes a clerical error of some kind. (*see why I love SFL for teaching me to poke fun of the IFB-created caricatures of the evil Charismatic down the road? *)
PS. “Fundamentalists are evangelicals that are angry about something”. And passionately so. When’s the last time you saw a charismatic or an ecumenical or Billy Graham get Biblically mad?

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ericbrindamour January 9, 2013 at 11:14 AM

SFL rules. We’ve heard enough how we should shut up and let the sexual, physical and mental/spritual abuse continue because talking about the abuse could harm the cause of Christ! Mike Duran–bite my shiny exfundamentalist ass!!!

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Melissa Ortega January 9, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Wow. Did you actually just say “bite me” to a gracious host who just gave your honored friend a wide forum to share his ministerial views?

I thought it was “fundamentalists” who were supposed to be angry about something.

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ericbrindamour January 9, 2013 at 11:37 AM

He earned it with his poorly informed article. He would have done better to write an article about sexual predators in IFB circles (baptistpredators.com). Sexual abuse is doing more to destroy the cause of Christ (and thrives in IFB circles) than outside criticism but let’s not dwell on anything that we could do to help this, evangelicals/fundamentalists are apparently beyond accountability so no introspection is necessary.

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Not In The Clique January 9, 2013 at 1:04 PM

You want to take the beam out of your eye brother? Judge not lest ye be judged. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, He will repay. Bless those that curse you. Pray for those that despitefully use and mistreat you. For so doing, you will heap coals of fire upon their heads.

You got issues of accountability eventhough you do not count yourself a evangelical/fundamentalist.

Ericbrindamour,
Be nice to Mr. Duran and thank him for being willing to allow Darrell to try to convince everyone that SFL is not a harbor for hatemongers. You would be amazed how a grateful heart could do wonders for you.

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Melissa Ortega January 9, 2013 at 1:16 PM

The only thing is, I don’t see anything blazing on the front page of SFL or the “about” page that mentions any of these things, so if that’s what the site is about it’s not clear. Not even a little. Mike’s original post, if I remember correctly was a reaction to what he saw after a visit to SFL. Since he is outside IFB – and from what I can tell, a lot of us here commenting are – his view of the site was unbiased re: IFB. Heck, I had never heard of it til this discussion on his website.

As someone who is in charge of PR for an organization, that type of feedback would be gold. Our organization wants to know what impressions we give off to the majority (who are usually internet “drive-bys”). Instead of reacting this way, SFL’s response to an IFB outsider’s response seems hypersensitive and hypercritical. Pardon me, but isn’t that what an “insider” attitude looks like? How is that different than what SFL claims to despise about IFB?

In other words, how is it ecumenical in the slightest to slam/verbally abuse anyone not scarred by IFB on a site that purports to promote healing to those who are tired of IFB exclusivity/abusiveness? Disagreement is one thing, but heckling – really?

Everyone has a right to express pain. I get pain. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have some. It’s just not right to pass it on – and it isn’t a Christian practice to use pain as an excuse for unkindness, lack of self control, or unforgiveness towards our enemies/family.

The gospel is the message of forgiveness – of canceled debt. And we have no right, according to that crazy awesome Scripture I fundamentally believe in, to keep any record of wrongs.

Please (really), correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this what the main newsfeed of SFL is essentially doing? Isn’t it a running internet feed of IFB wrongs? If so, what makes God’s expectations for SFL distinct from all other Christians?

I’m just having a hard time reconciling what Jesus taught and what SFL is doing in His name. It’s the latter that’s the biggest issue for me because it just doesn’t hold water next to the Man Himself.

Perhaps, as you suggested for this site (?), SFL itself would do better to concentrate their media message on the things in IFB that are the most harmful rather than making its members into comical caricatures that can’t be distinguished from any body else’s goofy uncle.

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Not In The Clique January 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Melissa,

This rage is not even the tip of the iceberg. This is what goes on at SFL everyday, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. I am so sorry to you, Mike Duran, and everyone else. Please know that not all of us are supporters of this un-godly behaviour and speech.

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Not In The Clique January 9, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Mike,

Stuff Fundies Like is a site for sheep who have been scattered, trampled, and destroyed by Independent Fundamental Baptist leadership, whether the leadership is of a church or college. A certain number of people on the site are victims of the false prophets, hirelings, and wayward pastors that is spoken of in Jeremiah 23: 1: ” Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.” A few, have never been in an IFB environment according to them but they come on the site to fan the inferno. I do not know if they are atheists, satanists, or what. I can only go by their blasphemous and pornographic comments. Once in awhile someone who is not a victim will come onto the site and will make a comment that is straight from the Holy Bible that was not intended in any way to hurt nor malign anybody, but will literally cause the savage to come out of people. One thing I have noticed over and over and over again is that people on this site cannot seem to separate God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit from the false prophets, hirelings, and wayward pastors. It is almost all hate filled and blasphemous comments. Somebody quotes a Bible verse and people go into fits of rage. One commenter left a threatening comment that he/she did not like my comment and he/she could meet me and set me straight. Another time another commenter ended her/his angry comment with “why don’t you go jump out into traffic!” Another time, a commenter told me to go hang myself. Other times they use the most vile language that leaves me asking “how is this Christian?”

Mike, I can believe you got quite an angry mob because the people on this site are full of hate and rage. They believe that because of what the pastor, deacon, whatever did to them, they are exempt from loving their neighbour and are entitled to be judge, jury, and executioner of anybody who loves God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit and has the audacity to make any mention of Him on Stuff Fundies Like. To them they are Christians only in name, they want nothing to do with God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit, and the Christians who do love God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit they view them as evil, wicked, pedophiles, murderers, and everything else even if they did not do anything to deserve the title. SFLers do not like anybody disagreeing with them as you can see in the comments posted so far.

I was a victim too of IFB churches, and I refuse to become a slave to hate and revenge. What was done to me, I know God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit will do more to them than I and anybody else could think of. The Lord says vengeance belongs to Him and He will repay. The Lord also commands that we bless those that curse us. It is hard to bless unlovable people who claim they are Christian but live like the devil, but I love my God my Saviour my Friend who went through a lot more around 1,983 years ago give or take 4 years because of me. I love Him enough to trust Him and obey Him on this issue. No, I am not perfect. As Paul talked about what he wants to do, he doesn’t do and what he doesn’t want to do, he does do. Everyday, I struggle in the war between the flesh and the Spirit, but if I love God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit as I claim, then the flesh will lose because the flesh has to lose.

I am sorry that you received such messages. My mind is cringing at the thought that if it is the same language I get from some of them………………..I am sorry. Please, do not think that we are all alike. If you and your readers could pray for them, but also educate any Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches and Colleges that you come across of what happens when they do scatter, trample, and destroy the sheep by doing things that are……………………inhuman and inhumane. If awareness could be spread to educate people, then people will know what to look for when picking a new pastor, deacon, trustee, church worker, elder, church, school, etc.

I also am a strong believer that there should be mandatory criminal background checks (the most stringent check where interpol is contacted) on all church leaders, employees, and non-paid workers ages 12 years old and up. I also believe the criminal background check should be mandatorily redone every 12 months. Anyone with a dirty background check is by law barred from working with minors and in ministries with the vulnerable (like the elderly). This will take a major chunk out of predators. Now, I realize you probably noticed my 12 year and up comment. When children enter 7th grade, they are automatically assigned to various ministries. The girls in the nursery and the boys elsewhere. Sometimes there is adult supervision, and sometimes the kids are left to themselves. I do not know if you read the news about a month ago concerning the Senators aide who was being deported for being convicted as a pedophile at 16 years of age. Some children do commit heinous crimes. Now, I realize a number of you are wondering how churches will pay for all these checks. I cannot imagine going into any church to hear a pastor make a plea for a special love offering to help pay for criminal background checks to protect the children only to hear the parishioners say “no” and that they could careless if their kid gets molested. What I am getting at is that people will not say “no”. They will reach in their pockets and give what they can because this is too important. We are commanded to protect the children, if it takes paying to contact FBI, Interpol, Scotland Yard, and the whole 9 yards to protect the children, then so be it. DO IT!

I am sorry to leave you with a book…………….

Again, if you could pray for us. Thank you.

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1 L Loyd January 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

“God, I thank thee that, I am not as other men are…” Luke 18:11

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ericbrindamour January 9, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Dude, go and play in traffic!!!

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Lelia Rose Foreman (@LeliaForeman) January 9, 2013 at 11:34 AM

This is so interesting to me. I try to understand the hurt other people feel from church oppression. I don’t know if I have never suffered any or was oblivious. The one time I was denounced from the pulpit by a Texas preacher in our home mission church in the Pacific Northwest for mixed bathing (What’s that? I’ve never bathed with anybody but my sister. Oh, the swimming party another SB church invited us to, that I attended but didn’t even swim at?) I shrugged. Someone else after the sermon explained the problem to me, and since all my best friends had already left the church I left too. While the siblings went to our old church, I walked down the hill to another church. No big deal. Somehow that tiny church had managed to teach me that people aren’t Jesus. I will always be grateful for my early learning there.
There WAS a deep hurt when in another city a Sunday School teacher asked to not bring back my disruptive autistic daughter. I writhed in humiliation and anger for several hours before I could get past one person representing at that moment the entire thousand member church. We talked to the pastor and were able to start a respite class at our church where anybody could leave their child at our church and go to any church they desired. I wish we had been able to accomplish that in later churches. That doesn’t fall under the category of a spiritually-oppressive church either.
I don’t suppose that being in a church when its pastor fell into sexual sin counts either.
I’m thinking disciplines feel like jail if you don’t want to be there. But that’s not the point either.
I think it’s about being lied to and then bullied. (my everyday life as a kid) But when you become an adult, you don’t choose to put up with it anymore.
But is mocking the ones you leave behind the godly way to handle things?
This discussion has given me a lot to think about as I read about emotions I have never had.

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Jill January 9, 2013 at 11:36 AM

I’m going to try to put my finger on what bugs me about SFL, aside from the hijacking of the term fundamentalist, and then using it to discredit a lot of Christian people (my parents, for example, would most likely self-identify as fundamentalists, but they aren’t the nasty people you describe). Oh, I know you give a disclaimer like this: “But wait! We’re only talking about IBF churches, and you wouldn’t understand because you haven’t been in an IBF church!” Then again, it might be the martyrdom that bothers me–”We get to mock fundies if we want to because we were hurt, and it’s really healing to mock other people (said no psychologist ever).” Okay, I realize I have just fallen into mockery myself, so I will back off because hurt people aren’t what’s bothering me. Hurt people need to find comfort somewhere, even if only on an internet site.

I’ve experienced spiritual abuse. I’ve been in the type of church you mock, in which the youth were even separated from their parents, and the adults attempted to manipulate the youth into a particular belief structure that even their parents didn’t necessarily approve of or believe in. Thank God my parents thought this was crazy and left that church, but I still managed to grow up with a general hatred of being female that I have a difficult time letting go of. I don’t like the type of church you mock any more than you do. So at least we’re on the same page there.

While writing this comment, I think I have put my finger on what ultimately bugs me about SFL. It’s for cool Christians. I just don’t fit in with cool people, and, consequently, hipsterdom Christianity has left its own set of scars on my soul. Maybe somebody someday will come out with a site that mocks “Stuff Cool Christians Like” as a place of healing, but it’s not going to be me.

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mkxcomm January 9, 2013 at 11:51 AM

@Jill, and you are welcome to your opinion. But in the churches we were raised in, you were/are not. In fact, you would be gossiped about as a “rebel” your Christianity would be questioned and all by people who molest children, pilfer the offerings and bully the congregation into silence in fear of becoming a free-thinking person like yourself.

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Jill January 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM

I’m still trying to figure out how this any way responds to my comment. I’m scratching my head, in fact.

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Not In The Clique January 9, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Jill,

Do not take it personal. The majority of people on SFL are hostile and go into fits of rage if anyone posts a comment that they do not agree with. Pray for SFLers. If the comments on SFL were not so vulgar, obscene, and blasphemous at times, I am ashamed to recommend the site to anyone anymore because it is becoming more impossible to carry on an intelligent conversation with many of them. About a week or two ago, I was beginning to think some of them were actually teenagers instead of adults because of their childish comments. Now, I am just convinced that they are disturbed. I do not say this out of spite nor malice. I have been hurt too and stumbled upon the site hoping to be edified with like minded wounded Christians, but SFL is nothing close to edifying, nor glorifying to The KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS.

You are not going to get an intelligent meaningful response from many of them. They only see their “reality”, the reality of “pain” and their right to revenge. You can show them in the Holy Bible what the Lord says about vengeance, loving your neighbour, blessing those that despitefully use and mistreat you, and on, and on, and on and they will accuse you of lies eventhough the Word is in front of them. As Psalm 2: 1 states: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?”.

I am thankful that there is a barrier called the internet between their rage and I because the way a number of them lose total control, I doubt it is safe to be within their reach. Pray for their true healing, and pray for me that I can find likeminded wounded Christians on a site that truly edifies the wounded soul and glorifies God Jesus Christ Holy Spirit.

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Annie Moose January 9, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Yeah, I gotta agree with you on that one.

(On a side note, I see your point of view here, even though I’m an avid SFLer. Like any place on the internet, SFL has its own group of regulars and own “feel”, and if it’s not a fit for you, that’s perfectly understandable. And sometimes parts of SFL, especially the comments, can edge past poking fun into harsh mockery, it’s true. By and large I think Darrell keeps his posts centered on pointing out where the IFB goes against Biblical principles, though.)

OH WAIT! I think I get how the comment responds. I think s/he’s saying you’re welcome to your opinion here, but you wouldn’t be in an IFB church? And therefore by extension you’re not allowed to criticize SFL? I’m not totally sure how that follows, though.

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Myotch January 10, 2013 at 12:28 AM

Whether one finds the humor on SFL mocking or satire is in the eye of the beholder.

I’m former fundamentalist, even former fundy-lite. I was hurt by my experience in fundamentalism, and merely perplexed by my experience in fundy-lite.

And I still find goodness in the IFB. From afar, I have an appreciation for my mom’s IFB church, and I know her pastor because we attended the same IFB church. He’s highly respectful, and nice to my kid and family, and his church has an incredible ministry for the elderly and for substance abusers. And while I find a couple of funny things about her church, I do think they are mostly positive.

But that doesn’t negate the harm done to me and that I witnessed done to others in my experience with IFB churches, schools, and college. Instead of feeling both pregnant and unquenchable rage, at SFL I can find humor in it all, with some people who can actually understand because they have similar experiences and can understand a rather pervasive IFB fundamentalist mindset.

The only thing I would add is that the satire and common experience is not evidence of hatred towards Christianity. Many of us have found extremely positive expressions of the Christian faith, even if we are not evangelical of our renewed Christianity on the forum itself. It simply isn’t the forum – the season for that in the Ecclesiastes sense, the right time or place.

Jesus reserved some of His strongest language – sometimes even satirical/mocking language – for those of a certain fundamentalist Jewish sect. For those hurt by fundamentalism, it’s rather easy to see more than a little Pharisee in what passes for an independent baptist fundamentalism today – perhaps not in the rules or the core beliefs, but in it’s practice.

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D.M. Dutcher January 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM

I don’t know. While I get the intent of the satire is healing, I think you assume that everyone who interacts with the site seeks this. A lot of people might just be using it to confirm their prejudices about fundamentalist Christians in the same way people go see art movies for the sex scenes and not the message; they get what they want and skip the rest.

Yeah, they are misreading the message-but you also are really providing them what they want, too. They want the stupidity, and don’t really care about nuance or self-reflection. They want the image macro, the meme, or the brief clip of stupid fundies doing stupid things. You provide that, and you hope too that by doing so you can break the power of the monster over the ones who need it. But there are the ones that don’t, too, and especially on the web with its link culture, what you put can be taken out of context, and retransmitted by others with their own commentary and additions.

It’s a tough thing, and especially with fundamentalist as a perjorative label, it nails even normal Christians. Fundie is rapidly becoming a catchall for “Christian I don’t like,” and you can’t always control how others perceive it.

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JeseC January 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM

If you would permit a bit of personal testimony…

For as much as people say things like SFL drive people away from Christ – I’ve found there’s an equal opportunity for many of them to bring people to Christ. I left an IFB church under the shadow of abuse…abuse that had been justified as “Biblical” in the name of doctrines on modesty and submission. Abuse that left me with the clear impression that I would never be allowed to be a proper “godly” woman once tainted with sexual impurity based on my presumed “seduction” of an innocent man.

But what I found was that even the more moderate Christians around me had very little comfort to offer. Comments about what had happened were met with uncomfortable silence and disbelief that my experiences with that church had actually occurred. I received many lectures on forgiveness, and, how I shouldn’t throw out a perfectly good church because of one tiny problem. So I went outside the church for people to talk to – people who believed my stories of what had actually happened, and said that

Places like SFL are quite literally a Godsend for many of us. They’re the first place where someone has been able to say that how our old churches acted was wrong. For me it was the first place that Christians actually understood when I talked about the problems with the modesty doctrines, and didn’t immediately accuse me of being “brainwashed” or pull out straw men about thinking everyone should just go naked. Nor did they chalk everything up to Christianity itself being evil, like many of the secular sources that had educated me about abuse did (the education I was denied growing up because it might make people think about sex). Rather, I actually met people who critically looked at what had been done and compared it to Christ’s standards. It gave me a chance to see I could believe in Jesus and not subscribe to all the hatefulness and self-loathing I had learned.

Now tell me, who did more for the cause of Christ?

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Melissa January 9, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Here’s the thing. I don’t think ANYONE here is disputing that what you went through at an IBF church should not be criticized. It should. I’m sorry you had to go through something painful like that. I really am. And I do see value in finding solace with others of the same. That’s important.

But if the goal is to heal, does the site do that? If fundamentalists are constantly being mocked and ridiculed, is that the way to heal? I guess maybe it might be for some people, but in my own experience (see my comment above about the step-parenting board I was on), the negativity I encountered only made things worse. I felt justified for feeling righteous indignation. But it didn’t help me heal. It just made things worse.

So as to your question, “Who did more for the cause of Christ?” well, I wouldn’t say that those who wronged you were doing anything to further the cause of Christ, but I would also humbly submit that surrounding yourself with negativity also does not further Christ’s cause.

And let me clarify something: I am not saying that *all* posts on SFL are negative. I browsed through the site and looked, and I know they’re not. But when the foundation of the site appears to be satire…well, how is that *positive*?

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JeseC January 9, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Because quite often the satire is how people recognize and show their recognition that something is wrong. It gives us a chance to laugh when we want to cry. It gives us a chance to have our anger in a Christian world that very often tells us that all anger is bad, and that we should cover it up and put on a happy face lest we be accused of being unforgiving. It lets us identify many of the things we were taught as gospel truth that are not.

One big help for me from the site was seeing (yes, from the satire) how much of the perfectionistic mentality I’d picked up from that church. The idea that “giving all to God” meant forgoing any activity that did not immediately further the cause of Christ. Even if all that “furthering the cause of Christ” meant I was so tired and stressed out I could barely think straight – time off was time not spent serving Jesus! I believe this is one of the relevant posts: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2010/10/burning-out/

And sometimes satire like this shows us these flaws in a way that straight out telling us never did. For me, I had the problem that I’d always been taught modern psychology was opposed to faith. And indeed I’ve had some problems with the psychological system not understanding, though they are far less than I had been led to believe. But it was the satire that let me see that all the church-approved “breaks” were nothing of the sort, and that it was ok to just take time off.

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JeseC January 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

I’d also add – what exactly do you mean by “positive”? What happened in the IFB movement to many of us was not positive. It was difficult and hurtful, and that negativity needs to be exposed. But the people exposing it are not the ones doing the damage.

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mkxcomm January 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Exactly. Those who abuse in God’s name are the trouble, not their victims who have the guts to talk about it.

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Melissa Marsh January 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM

I want to know how satire and mocking is *positive* to your recovery and the healing process, and how it is *positive* to others who have been persecuted. You say those exposing the persecution are not the ones doing the damage, but I would argue that the *way* they are exposing the persecution can certainly be damaging if not handled properly.

I am in no way defending those who persecuted you. Yes, they should be brought to task and should be confronted *even if* they learn nothing from it. But is SFL the *best* way to do this? I guess that’s the ultimate question.

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 9, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Melissa, you don’t have to know how satire helps my or anybody else’s recovery. SFL’s brand of snarkiness is not for everybody, and if you don’t “GET” it, you should move on. To each his own. SFL is damaging no one. A community of like-minded people has formed at SFL, and for all you know God has directed people to this site to help with their recovery. I wish you and Not In The Clique would stop being so pompous, Darrell and his site have likely done more for fellow Christians, including making them laugh, than either one of you.

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Melissa Marsh January 9, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Again, I do not see how your comment is said in a spirit of love. And no, I don’t frequent the SFL site, and I don’t plan to. If it works for people, great. But telling us we can’t question it is ridiculous. Insulting me does not help, either. I’m sorry if you think I’m being pompous. I honestly don’t feel that way. I honestly am trying to understand it. But perhaps I cannot.

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 10, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Spirit of love-HA! I so hate it when people try to shut down vigorous discussion by accusing others of being unloving, that is a straw man. Where is your spirit of love as you judge fellow believers on SFL? You are correct, you CANNOT understand it and therefore maybe you should just consider leaving it alone. I do not understand the appeal of country music so I do not listen to it or try to understand why people do. To each his own. You are free to have your opinion, although you do not extend that same courtesy to those who like SFL. I will say it again…to each his own.

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Melissa January 10, 2013 at 9:05 AM

I’m not trying to shut down vigorous discussion. But your comments would suggest otherwise. And trying to understand people who have different opinions and views and tastes is not wrong.

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Myotch January 10, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Jesus calling the Pharisees and associated trappers a “pit of vipers” and suggesting they were quite constipated over scripture – particularly the Law of Moses – probably didn’t sound like a “spirit of love” to those who held the Pharisees in high esteem.

It is healing, though, in a way that a victim feels empowered, to speak some truth about spiritual abuse and manipulation.

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D.M. Dutcher January 9, 2013 at 9:33 PM

It depends whether or not SFL contributes to the whole “I haet teh fundies!” mindset that a large section of even Christians seem to have. There’s a difference from being against abuse, to tarring the entire set of fundamentalists with being abusive, etc. You guys are the best judge of that, but you got a wake-up call that not everyone sees your site through the lens of the community, as opposed to the actual content on the page.

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mkxcomm January 10, 2013 at 6:38 AM

So you actually think this is the first time someone has disagreed with the SFL site? Hardly a wake-up call.

Definitely not calling the push-back here “abuse.” But as is with most abusers, they love what they do to be kept secret. They bully those who dare speak about their actions and teach their followers to do so. People come on SFL in droves and shame us, wag their fingers, belittle and dismiss those of us who have been severely abused (please do some research on the terrors that go on in such girls homes as Hephzibah house ) being extremely dismissive with the horrors that we have been through calling us whiners and what-have-you.

I assure you, it’s nothing new. Even before any of us ever found the SFL website, we were used to being condemned for saying anything about what happened to us.

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D.M. Dutcher January 10, 2013 at 10:28 AM

But you’re internalizing every problem as a personal attack on the community or silencing. It’s more about how satire goes beyond the need for healing and can affect the wider culture. Sometimes satire is just not healthy; it can perpetuate negativity and feelings of superiority beyond what is needed for a person to gain self-confidence and heal. It can also shape negative attitudes beyond the scope of the abuse. It’s not about attacks on the community in order to silence it, but a possible dark side to empowering people to heal.

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Melissa January 10, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Agreed.

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Rebecca LuElla Miller January 11, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Also agree. Well said, DM.

Becky

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mkxcomm January 14, 2013 at 10:21 AM

So, what are you more concerned about? How abused people handle the fallout from their abuse, or those that abuse them?

JeseC January 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM

What good would confronting them do, except to allow them another opportunity to abuse their victims? I do not believe Jesus’s words about confronting your brother are meant as the literal plan for every conflict within the church. Sometimes the best action is allowing those who will not listen to go their own way.

So I’ll reiterate – what do you mean by positive? I gave you an example of how it was positive for me in the previous comment, along with several other bits in the original one. I ask because many of us have found that we’re accused of being too negative no matter how we say things.

That was who my original question of “who did more for the cause of Christ” was aimed at. Not the fundies themselves, but the other Christians who were after me to “forgive” and stay quiet. Not be so negative. Be nicer, politer, calmer in how I presented it – no matter what changes I made, it was never good enough. So you’ll excuse us if some of us are a little skeptical that there is a way to talk about abuse that doesn’t get us called negative.

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Melissa January 9, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Okay. You said that the satire on the site is positive for you in your recovery. I understand. It is for other people, too. That is fine. It would not be for me as I have been down that road and found that satire and mockery in my own situation (the step-parenting website I referenced above) made me feel worse after an initial positive reaction. I had to get away from it because I hated the way it made me feel: resentful. If it does not make you feel resentful, then good – it works for you.

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Polecat June 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM

“I want to know how satire and mocking is *positive* to your recovery and the healing process, and how it is *positive* to others who have been persecuted.”

I cannot answer for how SFL can be positive for others. I can say that meeting others who grew up the way I did, who had similar experiences, gave me a vast measure of support and furthered my healing process.

I was molested, beaten, emotionally abused and segregated (after all, I was defiled at the ripe old age of 5 and therefore could dirty other children if I were allowed to be near them). I have always felt dirty, broken, damaged.

Someone at SFL shared “Jesus Wants the Rose,” and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. I realized right then that even though the IFB saw me as dirty and used, Jesus didn’t.

Is SFL perfect? That’s laughable. Of course it isn’t. Just as anywhere else, SFL is full of fallen people. Many of us have been through the fire, scarred, burned, and then, we have been healed with the finest gold threads. SFL exposes the ugliness, absolutely, but it’s also given us ways to connect and smooth over those sore parts and destroy the infections beneath.

We’re indeed laughing at monsters.

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spinetingler January 9, 2013 at 6:14 PM

“But if the goal is to heal, does the site do that?”

Perhaps you should read all the comments from the actual people posting here/there who say that, yes, it actually does.

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Melissa Marsh January 9, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Yes, I have been reading the comments from those who say they have found healing, both here and on the site. I’m glad they did. And perhaps next time you will read my entire comment to fully understand what I’m saying. I said, “I guess maybe it might for some people” and then I went on to share my own experience.

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 9, 2013 at 6:35 PM

You don’t have to guess, it definitely is for some people. You sound so condescending. Lighten up.

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Melissa Marsh January 9, 2013 at 7:22 PM

I think your definition of ‘condescending’ and mine are radically different. I don’t know all the answers and I never will. Neither do you. If asking questions is condescending, then so be it.

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Annie Moose January 10, 2013 at 6:17 AM

Yes. I didn’t really know how to word it, but all these accusations of “condescension” are rather silly. I don’t think anyone is being particularly condescending here. Except possibly Not and Will Never Be a Fundy sometimes–Melissa is free to her opinion, you know!

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JeseC January 10, 2013 at 7:41 AM

Actually, what most of us find condescending is continuing to ask about “what good is it” after being given several answers, and not acknowledging any of then until directly asked why not. Despite the “I suppose it might be for some people”, throwing out “but still, why is it *positive*” is awfully condescending when someone has just finished explaining it to you repeatedly.

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 10, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Thanks JeseC..my point exactly. Melissa refuses to accept positive comments about SFL, except in coded language like “I suppose”, because she does not like SFL and therefore does not see, or accept, that it is OK for others to feel differently. It is NOT having an opinion that is condescending, it is thinking that that is the ONLY God-ordained opinion that is condescending.

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Melissa January 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Thank you for telling me how I think. Actually, I don’t know why I’m even responding to you. I admitted that it works for some people. Good. It wouldn’t work for me. The end.

Jessica Thomas January 9, 2013 at 6:01 PM

It seems safe to say that SFL is a step in healing for a lot of people. We have no evidence that people go there and then wallow in the satire. Maybe some do. Who knows.

It also seems safe to say the IFB church in Northern Indiana has been led by loons. Healthy Christians need to make it clear that we don’t endorse that kind of behavior.

Letting SFL exist peacefully on a free Internet is one way of indicating that we don’t hide our crazies under the rug. (Meaning the abusive pastors. Not the folks who visit SFL.) In this case I say to each his own.

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 9, 2013 at 6:29 PM

So what is it to you or anybody else if people do wallow in the satire? I heartily agree though, to each his own.

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Bobby January 9, 2013 at 6:03 PM

I’d suggest a lot of the differences here can be attributed to a common cause of disagreement in any church: methodology. Darrell has chosen a certain way to present his website, views, etc. Some agree, and others don’t…sometimes strongly.

If there’s healing or healthy camaraderie going on over at SFL, fine. I’m always wary of a group talking about an institution after the fact, so to speak, as it frequently veers negative. For instance, a Facebook page was created by alumnus of a Christian college I work at. The posts went from high-lighting goofy things about the college to bashing aspects of the college.

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 9, 2013 at 6:33 PM

“Bashing” is in the eye of the beholder. Why be leery of talking about an institution after the fact? That’s what high school and college reunions are about! I assure you that SFL is healthy because we laugh a lot and laughter is the best medicine. People who do not like SFL should just stay away.

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Bobby January 9, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Not to drag this out, but one could easily say “healthy laughter” and “healing” as its been described is in the eye of the beholder, too. That’s not to suggest you are wrong or I’m right, but one man’s innocent laugh is another man’s bullying (and no, I’m certainly not trying to link bullying to SFL, just an example).

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 10, 2013 at 8:24 AM

I know what bullying is, and SFL does no such thing…I will say it again, not everyone will “get” SFL, just like some don’t like country music or jazz or rock, that is OK. Just stay away and stop criticizing something you do not understand. God loves diversity, look at the world He created.

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Bobby January 9, 2013 at 7:38 PM

This discussion has quickly gone from gratitude that Mike and Darrell were able to share their views (Mike in his questions and Darrell in his responses) to people taking sides and becoming very defensive. I’ve even detected this in myself.

While I’m all for discussion and criticism that can even get heated, I feel all of this occurred with Mike’s first post, The Anti-Evangelical Hate Machine. What’s probably best for this post (and I include myself) is a simple thanks that Darrell and Mike came to the table to talk. We’ve established that some are in support of Darrell and others aren’t, and there’s nothing left from here save more arguing.

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Not and Will Never Be a Fundy January 10, 2013 at 8:12 AM

People should post whatever they want to say. Why must someone always want to put the kabosh on other people’s thoughts? Controlling.

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Rebecca LuElla Miller January 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

And it’s not equally controlling for you to “put the kabosh” on those who want to say SFL satire is wrong?

Becky

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Jessica Thomas January 9, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Mike, thanks for keeping it interesting while I’m down for the count with a fever. I’ve got at least two more days of misery so another controversial post tomorrow and I’ll be all set. ;|

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JB January 9, 2013 at 10:38 PM

MOST people who come and stay at SFL get the “inside baseball” or wouldn’t likely stick around….and anyone who comes to the site can see that. I am a conservative evangelical Christian who ardently believes in the FIVE historical fundamentals of the faith. I do not believe the site is to there to make fun of me or those like me. Rather it is there to take the mask off the face of of those who also claim to believe those fundamentals, and many more, while using them to beat people over the head and at the same time under their thumb….all in the name of God. That is why it is so toxic! It reminds me of father who only tells his child he loves him/her when he spanks them. It’s twisted.

Having been through the IFB-abuse in more ways than one, I readily relate but also do not believe that ALL IFB churches are the same and don’t believe everyone on SFL think that either…including Darrell. Part of the abuse is not having a voice…, especially if you grew up in it. You can’t speak-up to the pastor, the principal or the parent. You either shut up and endure the spiritual/emotional abuse or as in my case speak-up and face the physical abuse. Many kids were shipped off to “homes” (think Roloff, etc.) where abuse was institutionalized. Without a voice the abused typically internalize anger and crazy as it may be, wonder if what they went through was really abusive because it is all they ever really knew. What SFL offers is an opportunity for a voice to be heard and it’s not always pretty….but often healthy. I know some may think this a bit too psychological but I believe it’s true and have heard conservative Christian theologians agree, grieving a loss is necessary to heal and anger is a part of that process. Many adults realize growing up in a spiritually abusive system they lost a lot and are angry at times. When a community like SFL exists not everyone there is in the same stage of healing and emotions run the spectrum. Yes, there are some at one end of the spectrum who have become bitter and may want to stay that way but unlike the abusive system they were in they at least have a voice and other readers/posters have the opportunity to express the freedom to decide to stay or leave. For some that is a lot of new found freedom.

I don’t agree with everything on SFL. If I did it would be boring and I wouldn’t go there. I realize that a lot of people there (just as some of their abusers) are hurt. Some are helpers. Some are haters. Just like I won’t judge ALL IFB churches I won’t judge all SFL posters.

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