It was bound to happen

downloadJust about every time I go out and talk, I invite people to come heckle. I’m mostly joking, but yesterday, someone took me up on it.

Well, he didn’t precisely heckle. He waited until after I’d spoken, and then he called me jaded — three times — and said that he was a fundamentalist and his church isn’t like my old church. He wasn’t from my particular branch of fundamentalism, and he’d felt I’d been too hard on the group as a whole.

It was a fair critique. I am hard on fundamentalism and I reiterated that my exposure to fundamentalism comes through one very peculiar portal, but then he wouldn’t quit talking and I could feel my hackles go up, and when he fake-quoted a scripture to prove a point, I asked him for book, chapter, and verse, which he did not provide. That, as a champeen fundamentalist debater, means you’re making shit up. (I believe he was trying to prove that Jesus was anti-homosexuality, but that’s not possible because Jesus didn’t say one single word about homosexuality; instead, my sparring partner misquoted Paul). He interjected a couple more times, and at one point said that women in his church (he said the name of it, but I forgot) can be anything they want, everything but a senior pastor, at which point I asked if any one else had something to say, because if he couldn’t see the issue with “everything but a senior pastor,” I couldn’t help him.

I did tell him I thought he was proselytizing, and that no one had come for that, but that I very much wanted to talk to him and that we should talk after.

Sadly, when I was finished, I looked around and he was gone.

Brother? I am sorry. I’m sorry you didn’t feel welcome to talk face-to-face, and if there was something in my tone or my language that sent you out the door, I wish I’d been a better person and answered you with at least a little love. I believe, in reviewing the tape, I mostly just waited for you to stop talking so that I could start. Mostly, I wanted you to stay behind so we could argue. I love to argue. But in the end, we accomplished precisely nothing, you and I. You can go back to your corner secure in the notion that I’m a jaded non-Christian, and I can tuck myself in at night having had you reaffirm for me the stiff-necked nature of my people.

I am not happy with that. Are you? I’d still really like to talk and I’ll make you this promise: I will try like anything to listen.

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8 responses to “It was bound to happen

  1. I think he should look up jaded as well. “Tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something” is kind of off the mark for someone anchoring a public forum on fundamentalism.

    And really…if you’re going to cherry-pick…..with someone with Hartford Seminary bonafides…you got to have chapter and verse in your bucket.

    • That was precisely my point. It’s somewhere in the first chapter of James doesn’t cut it, though I do admit to getting that nasty gleam in my eye while I bored in. Oh well. God isn’t finished with me yet.

      • Doesn’t sound like a serious fundie. Probably more concerned with all that godless liberal feminist commie pinko hippy stuff than anything else.

        The serious fundies that show up at my door are always well armed. They got the Scripture right there to check just in case there’s any question. And none of that New Age translation stuff either. If it ain’t The KJV, it’s the Devil.

  2. (I saw this first hand.)

    I know of no one who has examined her past church, the scripture, and her faith in as much depth as you. “Jaded”? Not even close. And he apparently wasn’t paying attention what you described as the female experience growing up in a patriarchal church.

    I have to admit, I really wanted to listen to the follow-up conversation and was sorry to see him scoot out the door. However, I think he was more interested in grandstanding than talking with you. You knew your stuff and he was unable to fool you, or anyone else in the room, into thinking he had scripture to back up his claims. He wasn’t up to the challenge. He will probably try to go proselytize people who don’t have a Bible Bowl champ in the room!

    • You’re kind. I felt a little transported back in time, though at my age, I fully understand this guy doesn’t get a vote on my salvation. Or my jaded-ness.

  3. Now I wish I’d attended instead of having lunch with my daughter (having each come from singing in choirs at our churches). We might have blocked the door so he couldn’t leave. Or, being from the area, we might have known who he was and tracked him down!

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