Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Confession

First order of business – an apology. The first step in recovery is to admit you have a problem, right?

Well, I have a problem. A big problem. And I’m so very sorry.

I’m sorry I was ever a Fundamentalist.

Now, my Fundamentalist friends who read this will recoil in horror when I say these things. I’ll probably be called bitter, misguided, divisive, etc. But really, this is my mea culpa. This is my owning of my sin. The sin of Fundamentalism, and my repentance from it.

So, what is Fundamentalism? At the risk of being a little disingenuous, I’m not going to spend too much time on the definition. It’s supposed to be a term that merely means you believe that what the Bible says is true, and usually fairly literally. However, there is a wide segment of mainstream Christianity that would qualify based on that definition but would be rejected by Fundamentalists. The short answer is that if you don’t know what a Fundamentalist is, then God in His great mercy has spared you. If you do, you need no definition, because you know exactly who I’m talking about. And boy, was I ever one.

So, in the great Fundamentalist tradition of being painfully specific about my sins so God can forgive them (because only when you have done that can you receive the full blessing of God and can stay in His will, but I digress...):

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

I’m sorry I traded moralism for Christ.

I’m sorry I sat under preaching that was largely devoid of Christ and the Gospel and didn’t find it heinous.

I’m sorry that I went along with blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator in ways both subtle and horrifically obvious.

I’m sorry I strained at the gnats of “standards” while swallowing the camel of failing to defend and care for the poor and vulnerable.

I’m sorry that I thought guilt was an appropriate motivator.

I’m sorry that I told people what was right for them to feel, rather than addressing their hurts.

I’m sorry that I thought homosexuality was always a choice.

I’m sorry that I ever thought it was ok in the United States of America for your employer to tell you where you can and cannot go to church.

I’m sorry that I thought it was acceptable to pay an unfair wage because a business is a “ministry”.

I’m sorry I worked at a camp that promoted severe emotional manipulation of young people, that failed victims of abuse miserably, and that consistently treated women as inferior in both word and deed.

I’m sorry I went to a college that maintained and defended racist policies, treats the disabled as second class citizens, holds double standards for the genders and leaders vs rank-and-file, is misleading about its accreditation, and takes advantage of the trust of good people.

This list is disjointed and incomplete, as I could list a thousand other things. But then, what would I blog about, eh?

So walk with me. The journey is painful, but God’s grace rains sweetly as you go, and He makes the desert bloom.


  1. Oh, Clara, me too. I've done everything you said you did. I'm sorry too. I'm looking forward to your posts as I am walking this way too! :) Thank you for this blog.

  2. Clara~Thank you for sharing this blog with me and for taking up this mission. May God use it to rescue many women and men who have been wounded, passed-by, and made to stumble in the name of "Fundamentalism."
    James 4 says "whoever restores a brother from wandering has saved his soul from death and covered a multitude of sins."
    I pray that the God who makes streams flow in the desert would use this blog to do just that. He's so very able!

  3. Leah, you are a kind soul. God bless you.

  4. Oh, bless you. I want to hug you, swap stories, laugh, cry, etc. with you. This post strongly reminds me of Derek Webb's song "I Repent." And that's a compliment, by the by.