David Hayward of Saint John, New Brunswick gets Stuff Fundies Like. That, or we get him.
For years, David Hayward has maintained the ‘Naked Pastor‘ website. With 30+ years pastoral experience, there is little anyone can tell him about church culture. David plies his wit with artistry. The Naked Pastor website displays countless cartoons, essentially doing what we do here at SFL. But David does so primarily with his masterful cartoons.
Regarding this cartoon, David understands that questions can be dangerous things.
More years ago than I’m going to admit, I had a conversation with a Hall Monitor. The Hall Monitor was the person to whom BJU room spies [APCs (Assistant Prayer Captain) and PCs (prayer captains)] were to tattle illicit activities. I don’t even recall what the issue was, but the monitor decided that my comment required redress. I was advised to be careful with my words. It seems that some such talk about certain matters lands one ‘in trouble.’
My sense was that the Monitor’s censure was supposed to instill in the erring the fear of the Yom Yahweh. I was supposed to back down, become all submissive and compliant like. If so, this strategy was a resounding failure.
I asked whether we were at a university. It seemed that we were.
I pointed out that universities had always been communities of discussion, that education was impossible without it, that only those without answers fear questions. And I pointed out that the postulation of questions was integral to university life. To put this off limits belied the prior claim that this was a genuine university.
It was amusing to see the reaction. It wasn’t clear what shocked this monitor most: that any action taken would surely result in my expulsion and therefore [unquestioningly] my eternal damnation. Or was it that this poor fellow feared that lightening would strike for hearing such things? Then again, this might have made more sense than he expected.
We are not all blessed/cursed with drive to stand up to and call out heavy-handed louts in the service of injustice. Less belligerent souls are too often cowed into slavish submission, living in silent isolation among throngs of plastic happy-happy people. It’s all quite destructive to life and faith.
Especially young women have borne atrocious burdens in the ‘Name of the Lord.’ Home-schooled in IFB culture, some face unimaginable dilemmas. Lacking non-IFB contacts or life skills, and with no home to go if they are expelled/censured/shunned/shamed, they experience a power imbalance that is at once shocking, unjust, dehumanizing and dangerous.
Some localities really are not ‘question-friendly’ places. David Hayward found it liberating to leave such places to find freedom to question and explore and discover. He offers this simple word:
I encourage you to get to a place where you can do one simple thing: question.
With as much or as little detail as you like, today’s Friday Challenge is to name a question, injustice, fear, practice, situation or other issue that arose in your life, or that you witnessed in others because IFB culture does not support question-safe places.