Growing up and moving on from fundamentalist roots #2

Continuation from: Growing up and moving on from fundamentalist roots #1

The writer of “Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical” confesses he is in the middle of a faith crisis, which has come to him at an age when more people have the same spiritual battle, wondering if they have good reason to have a certain faith, believing in certain things, and going to a certain church.

At a certain age, we seem to be overwhelmed with a whole host of questions, questioning ourselves and all that we have learned.
More than once we come at a crossroad in our lives. We also have to make so many important choices which are going to determine a lot for the rest of our life. When we are young many are not so much concerned with faith and just follow the faith of their parents, going to the same church as them. More important for them is the choice of study. With it also comes the moment to choose a college. When making friends, there also comes a moment one wants to make a friend for life. Having to decide to live with someone else, to marry or not. Often then comes the question to the foreground about beliefs and going to which church and/or marrying in what sort of church. Then comes the matter of making a family and having to decide in which way one wants to bring up children. Again, there is a circle of life that unfolds.

When the children are getting older, friends who come to visit or ones by accident ones encounter, dare to bring up certain questions.

Dan Foster is one of such persons who, like many, bumped into an old church friend, one that he hadn’t seen for several years. He writes

We made mindless small-talk for a few minutes about work, family, and the weather. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

In a certain way, one we encounter some old schoolfriends or friends from our teenage years, we try to find an interesting way to come to more closer questions, going into matters that bothered them when we were young. The first chit-chat is often then

just a prelude to the question they really wanted to ask. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

Foster also sees.

I saw it forming behind their eyes like a storm brewing on the horizon. Finally, it poured forth in a steady stream of glorious predictability. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

And then comes the moment of truth. The question that should clarify things that have been in the back of people’s minds for so many decades.

“So,”

They said,

“Where are you going to church these days?” {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

Foster sighed.

When I was a kid, I went to church morning and night, every Sunday, and several times throughout the week. I was the only son of an evangelical pastor. I’ve heard ten thousand sermons — maybe more — and read the Bible cover-to-cover several times. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

But then comes the big question, how did one evolve from that childhood and outgrow the parental home?
In many families, one can see that during those early adult years, there was a lot of questioning about whether or not to grow up together and in what faith. Finding a way together in this world of many churches and multiple faiths. Did certain questions one had already in childhood receive some answers as time passing? Quite often, children of pastors can be found in the spotlight, and friends wonder how their lives of faith have progressed. What is striking is that they also do not escape the many questions that bother others and the so-called “midlife crisis”, from which they too seem to be unable to escape.

Foster admits:

here I am in the middle of a faith crisis where many of the things that I once clung to, with the kind of righteous zeal that the Apostle Paul might be proud of, were all up in the air. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

Even though many things seemed so certain a few years earlier, more things have come up during that adult life from which those certainties have been taken away. In these times of economic gain and the urge to climb the corporate ladder, many have lost their faith in a side alley or even in the closet. Though for Dan

Sure, I still have my faith, but it’s changed. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

but he wondered how he was going to explain that to his friend.

“I don’t really go to church anymore,” {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

he replied and notes:.

The look on my friend’s face was one of pity mixed with concern and just a hint of indignation. There followed the equally predictable invitation to attend their church (because it would definitely be a much better fit for me).

“I might check it out sometime,”

I replied politely, with no intention whatsoever of actually following through. Then came the conversation’s benediction, delivered in fine liturgical style:

“Well, I’ll be praying for you.” {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

Often some religious people say they are going to pray for the other. But in which way does the other beliefs in prayer or in a god or God and the effect of that god or God bringing any change in life.

Dan Foster writes

I’ll level with you. Although I have no intention of ever being part of the big conservative evangelical church scene ever again, there are actually times when I miss it. Some of these feelings are purely nostalgic, and others a harkening back to when faith was simple, when everything made sense, and there was no question that I did not have a satisfactory answer to. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

Please come to read his article where he explains how once he became aware that much of his experience of religion was simply a quest for social order, group cohesion, and personal belonging,

I understood why I was not experiencing any of the transformative power that it purports to offer. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

It’s easier to view the world in black and white

Dan Foster believes

Life is really easier when you can neatly place everything into a two-columned table with one column labeled “good” and the other column labeled “bad.” You can bet your bottom dollar that I had my two lists sorted out in my mind. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

The problem came when I started meeting people that the church told me were wicked and sinful, and they actually seemed like decent people who were doing their very best. My black and white view of the world was eventually swallowed up in compassionate acceptance, as I heard the stories of individuals in their personal struggles, and I came to accept the personal struggles in myself. Still, labeling everything and everyone is easier, right? {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

The kind of thinking that reduces everything down to just two options, where one is the right way and one is the wrong way, is known as dualism. Dualism is essentially binary, either/or thinking. It knows by comparison, opposition, and differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, black/white, in/out, not realizing there may be a hundred degrees between the two ends of each spectrum. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

Dualistic thinking works well for the sake of simplification and conversation, but not for the sake of truth or the immense subtlety of actual personal experience. To put it simply, this kind of thinking takes no account of the individual person, which is exactly the opposite approach to that of Jesus Christ. {The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist}

Please continue reading: The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist and find out how Foster came to realize that true spirituality is actually the death of one’s ego, along with anything that one uses to prop it up — including spiritual action and activity.

*

Find further to read from the Backyard Church

  1. Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical
  2. The Seven Things I Miss About Being a Fundamentalist
  3. The Church Is Not Meant to Be an Institution
  4. The Lies They Told Me in Sunday School
  5. We are Like Family at this Church… A Family that We’re Booting You From
  6. 13 Reasons Why God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers

+

Preceding

  1. Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith
  2. Growing up and moving on from fundamentalist roots #1

++

Additional reading

  1. How do you define religion?
  2. Secularisation and Assignments given for all people
  3. Where people find meaning in life
  4. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  5. Making church
  6. Church sent into the world

+++

Related

  1. What Surprises Foreigners About the USA? Part 10
  2. Religion vs Spirituality, Part One
  3. Religion vs Spirituality, Part Two
  4. Look Beyond The Obvious
  5. Facing The Giant of Temptation
  6. Life’s Plan B’s
  7. crossroad…
  8. Jesus Engages in Spiritual Warfare
  9. 13 Ways to Shut the Door on the Enemy
  10. Preparing for Battle: Putting on the Armor of God
  11. Journeying through the land of Disappointment…
  12. Fighting Words
  13. When Two Hands Are Not Enough
  14. The Spiritual Battle is Real
  15. Is Demon Possession Real?
  16. 5 Bible Verses for Depression
  17. How to Win the Spiritual Wrestling Match
  18. The Best Armor
    Strengthen My Heart
  19. Socialism Attacks Religion, Family & Property
  20. Paul Washer -There are many deceiving church-goers
  21. 12 Ways to be sure youll go to hell an evangelical tract
  22. Healthy Confusion
  23. The Cost
  24. Weeding out the Root: Getting to the heart of why the “freedom” convoy is not Christian love in action
  25. Should You Go To Church? Do Christians have to go to church?
  26. On the Ignoring and Smothering of Church Visitors
  27. Biblical Ignorance
  28. How faith and community make us better humans- two book reviews
  29. My thoughts on Kristin Du Mez’ “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.”

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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