Coming Out

The long and the short of it is that I sold a bill of false goods.
As a young man I used the right Bible, shunned the right people, wore the right clothes, used the right vocabulary, and had the right standards.  In fact, my standards were so intense that I didn’t really have many friends. And I was proud of that.  To those in the IFB I looked like a good investment.  And so they invested.  And then I changed.  But only on the inside.  I was careful to preserve my charade so that nobody would think less of me.  I was also extremely aware of the ‘don’t let us down‘ and ‘don’t forget what we did for you‘ reminders delivered in subtle and covert ways.
I don’t want anybody to feel ripped off.  But the truth is, I was a bad investment.  At least in that regard.  And now everybody will know it.
What I have decided to do in this post, is ‘come out’ to the world.  No more charades and games.  In a way, its a big relief.  Living a false public life to preserve my old IFB image has been exhausting and I am more than ready to move on.  So, {deep breath} here it goes.  And bear in mind, that if  you have never been part of an IFB church, the following list will probably not make any sense to you at all.  That is a good thing.
  • I no longer consider it a sin for women to wear pants.  In fact, I encourage it.  They are much warmer in the winter, far more practical for everyday tasks and much less likely to expose ‘the goods’ when the wind blows in the wrong direction.  And for good measure, this also applies to shorts.
  • I no longer have a dress standard for going to church.  The pastor of the church I go to now, has worn jeans every week.  Oh yeah, I have too.
  • I no longer feel that church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night is the Biblical formula for services.  I go to church on Saturday nights.  Once a week.
  • I no longer hold the position that the King James Version of the Bible is the only REAL Bible and that all other versions are ‘perversions’.  In fact, I rarely ever use the King James Bible.  I am a big fan of the ESV, but have been known to dabble in the NASB as well as about 12 or 13 other versions from time to time.
  • I no longer denounce contemporary christian music and praise and worship music.  To the contrary, this music has allowed me to experience God in a way that I didn’t know was possible.  Drums are not evil.  Electric guitars and amplifiers are not evil.  Worship bands are not evil.  Emotional worship is not evil.
  • I no longer avoid secular music.  As with all art forms, there is much beauty and depth to be discovered here and I am doing my best to catch up.
  • I am no longer of the opinion that the IFB is the last bastion of truth and light in the world.  I embrace and love my Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Catholic brothers and sisters (as well as all of the denominations that I didn’t mention).
  • I no longer hold the belief that consumption of alcohol is sinful.  In fact, it is quite wonderful.  I believe that, as stated in the Bible, drunkenness is a sin and should be avoided.  Alcohol itself is not evil.  Craft beer is a hobby of mine and I would love to share my tasting notes with you if we get the chance.
I love Christ.  My life has changed.  The two are not mutually exclusive.
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About Techrolle

Former Fundamentalist. Current member of the human population. Future cranky black man. View all posts by Techrolle

8 responses to “Coming Out

  • Krista

    Thank you for sharing this! Even though we do not share the same list, in my family church there were lists like this as well. I believe that it is often too easy for religious groups to fall into the entrapment of making personal convictions, which may be appropriate for the individual, truths for everyone. I have found that since I have let go of all my legalistic tendencies I have been more clear headed and free to understand the most important aspects of my faith.

    • Dan

      Very true. Glad you liked the post. I hope that in a small way it makes up for some of the trauma that I put you through in the old neighborhood. 🙂

  • Krista

    No trauma here. I understand where you are coming from. Although, I do have a very pronounced distaste for debating politics/religion…;)

  • Damien T Garofalo

    Hey Dan. May God bless you on your journey outside the box (or bubble, as you call it – very clever!).

    The issues you bring up are among the very ones I and many others in our generation have had to grapple with as we left the IFB.

    One thing I would add. We’re the same age and I don’t want you to think I’m preaching at you. But I started this process a few years ago, and cycles I went through seem to have been so similar to so many of my other friends who have done the same. That being said, real patterns exist, and it’s helpful to evaluate where you’re at. For example, many of us start realizing the problems inherit in fundamentalist but we want to help fix them. Then we want to build bridges between the IFB and evangelicals we deem harmless. Then we realize we’re different. Then we finally leave, and in doing so, there can be some real bitterness, resentment, even apostasy toward the Christian faith in general. I’m glad you and I haven’t gone that route. But certainly extremes exist, as I’m sure you’re well aware.

    One is extreme is doing the opposite of everything you’ve been taught. I had a friend who became so belligerent against fundy dress standards that he actually became legalistic about casual dress! It’s possible! He has since repented, but he told me that, as a pastor, he would chide those who dared to come in his church with ties! Anyway, be careful of a reactionary approach.

    One example of reactionary theology you may be on the verge of is the Sunday/Saturday thing. I agree with you that the “takes three to thrive” thing is unnecessary. The IFB mentality of “we have to” meet at these times is legalism, hands down. I really don’t care what your church does during the week and you shouldn’t care about mine. However, I would encourage you to think strongly about the Sunday morning thing. I think it’s fine a church provides a Saturday evening time of worship, and considers those who are unable to attend Sunday morning. But Sunday morning worship precedes the IFB by a couple thousand years.

    My journey has brought me closer to the body of Christ at large (as it seems to have taken you as well). Consequently, church history matters to me. I see myself as part of a much broader, richer heritage than ever before. And while the Bible doesn’t command, “you shall meet on Sundays,” the pattern is certainly in the New Testament and of course carried out by the church through the ages. Traditions are not a bad thing, and personally I think this one’s worth keeping.

    Anyway, bro, I’ll be around – I’m excited about reading your thoughts. I’m sure we’ll be interacting. God bless!

    • Dan

      Thanks Damien. I smell a guest post brewing…..lol.

      I appreciate your comments, and I plan to explore the ‘three to thrive’ concept, as you so succinctly put it, in a later post. I will say this much now: the Saturday evening service is not a reactionary move or an intentional slight against the IFB. It is purely a matter of fact that this is the service I happen to attend. My wife and I get very little time together during the week and it has been very beneficial to our marriage to have all day on Sunday to spend with each other.

  • capitalggeek

    Dan,

    Glad to hear that you are becoming your own genuine person. No more facade to maintain, no ‘public persona’ to put on.

    It appears that you were never given reasons or explanations for your beliefs, and you are now having to work out the WHY of faith instead of just the mechanics. That responsibility belongs to you, and I congratulate you on beginning the journey of discovery.

    Most Churches (and it is not an IFB exclusive) are good at teaching mechanics, and relatively poor at true discipleship. Carefully considered and scripturally sound beliefs easily become pharisaical standards.

    One of the true joys of true Christianity is that ‘All things are lawful’ (1 Cor. 6:12, 10:23). We are free from the minutia of the law, but we have a higher obligation of obedience. Our job is to obey and glorify God in all things

    One of the things that you will discover is that not everyone faces the same temptations. God knows this, and His indwelling Spirit guides us each individually. What might be acceptable for you would be sin for someone else. It is appropriate for you to avoid engaging in behavior that will cause a brother to stumble, recognizing that his weakness is not yours (Rom. 14:21). A serious problem occurs when an individual, who is susceptible to a particular sin, decides to impose their individual restriction on others.

    Another thing to consider is that not everyone belongs in every Church. While we may be all ‘one body’ in Christ, our personalities and progress in life make one type of Church more appealing than another. I have been to a few spirit-filled churches where I wasn’t comfortable, and they would not have been comfortable with me as a member. Some people require regimentation that stifles others. As long as the Word is being preached, it’s a ‘good’ church, just not for me.

    As you continue on your journey, be careful. The temptation is to discard everything you were taught by someone later found to be less than reliable. Don’t. Carefully examine each RULE to find out where it came from. Most probably originate with a sound belief or doctrine, but were filtered, concentrated, and dumbed-down before becoming the RULE. Keep the doctrine, discard the rule. Test everything, and let the Spirit guide you.

    • Dan

      Thanks for the kind words!

      In regards to your remarks about mechanics versus true discipleship, I would agree that most churches are susceptible to the mechanics only approach. However, in the IFB I have found that the issue extends far beyond that into the realm of guilt and manipulation.

      Of course, bear in mind that I do not even try to pretend that I am aware of the teaching in every IFB church and I am sure that there are some out there that seek Christ above all things. In my experience, I have not found one.

  • Michelle

    Great post! Thank you. Keep sharing!

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