Sunday, February 01, 2009

Recovering Fundamentalists

So, I have to confess that I've not had much experience with fundamentalist churches as a parishioner.  I grew up in the UCC, with a significant detour into Lutheranism.  Now, to be honest, those Lutherans were Missouri Synod, which here in the Midwest pretty much counts as fundamentalist to many.  But this was in California, and the minister was really progressive, so if you'd asked me which branch of Lutheranism our church was, I would have said ELCA for sure.  But even at Faith Lutheran, I strongly identified as UCC, primarily because of my participation at Camp Caz, a UCC camp in Northern California.

So I've never gotten the whole struggle with the Bible and homosexuality, or the Bible and earth stewardship, or the whole thing about the world coming to an end in our lifetimes.  I'm trying not to judge folk who believe that homosexuality is a sin, or that we shouldn't care about loving the earth because Jesus is coming soon to destroy it, or I'll be carried away in the Rapture, but this stuff is just

Maybe it's because I've never had to reject the theologies of fundamentalism, never had to recover from the spiritual abuse that so many experienced in these traditions, that I'm less defensive or afraid of engaging it, or of being in relationship with people who share these theologies. Even though I totally disagree with what so many of them believe.

In fact, I have a strange love for these folk.  And especially (though unsurprisingly) for those who leave such traditions in favor of a more inclusive Christian gospel of unconditional love.  In that vein, I encourage you to go read this blog.  It's written by the ex-wife of a Christian singer Ray Boltz, who came out a while ago, and it is just sweet and wonderful and I'm learning a lot about straight spouses in what is known as a "mixed-orientation" marriage.  And, how we can minister to such people.

By the way, my seminary president Bill "Shut up!" McKinney pointed out a while ago that I always had an openness to more conservative/traditional/fundamentalist theologies, even though I often think I'm about as liberal as they come, and that maybe that's why I'm more open to this kind of stuff now in my ministry.  It seems as if people have a hard time putting me in a theological box, what with believing in the bodily resurrection of Jesus AND in marriage equality for gays and lesbians and all.


Carol said...

Hi - our daughter is currently in a graduate program, and last week her writing sample was about what you do when you leave fundamentalism. It's been hard for our kids, and some have adjusted more than others. "You raised us this way, Mom," they tell me. :) Yup, we did. But they are coming along quite nicely! Thanks for the link and nice comments. Carol

LiturgyGeek said...

Carol, you are awesome! Thanks for all you do; I think I'll probably post something about "recovering fundamentalism" in a later post. We have a few church members who identify that way.