The Front Pew Experience

Welcome to Cedar Bluff Baptist Church,
Knoxville, TN!

'Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel' [Isa 8:18].
[Click to visit the website].
Meet the ‘the Front Pew.’ This group is not to be missed!

Although Cedar Bluff Baptist is considered a fundamentalist church, the webpage states that it has some ‘contemporary’ elements. What those are I can’t be sure. But listening to this video, I do realize that there truly is no accounting for the worship of God’s people.

I freely admit that am a music snob. And I have never understood the symbiotic relationship between ‘Country’ and Fundamentalism. But apparently, that mix works at Cedar Bluff Baptist Church.

Perhaps you’ve had some ‘Front Pew’ experiences of your own. Like the time that truly tone-deaf kid landed smack in front of the microphone.

Lent and Other Papist Heresies:

Just Say ‘NO’ to Lent!

Did you know that Lent is a slippery slope toward sacramentalism?

Or that practicing Lent means walking by sight rather than by faith?

You can’t help but be impressed by some ‘YouTube’ channels and videos. Consider this video in which we surely find …

  • The right, Biblical grounds!
  • Air-tight argumentation!

Until watching that video, I thought that I actually believed those verses! Or is this another ‘any text can be a pretext for anything’ campaign?

For many, lent involves a variety of spiritual practices. These may include ‘giving up’ something for that season. Some may say that lent is no reason for suddenly living right. Perhaps, but neither is lent a reason for not living right. Oh, and don’t IFB pastors do ‘New Year Resolution’ sermons?

Speaking of giving up stuff, this from John Fugesang’s Twitter Account:

For Lent I gave up fundamentalist Christians who talk all about Jesus while ignoring all Jesus talked about.

That might be classified under ‘things that make you go hmmmm.’

Moreover, the Church Year is tied to Scripture, and lent is no different. Where this system is practiced, people know that. Do detractors?

Generally, Baptists don’t observe lent. Ditto for Advent and Epiphany. Generally, Christmas and Easter are observed, although the Sundays after them [Christmastide and Eastertide] most likely are not observed.

Do the stated rationales apply in to each, or must other grounds be found to show that not only lent, but that advent and epiphany are bad ideas? Maybe lent is the lone, ugly duckling of the church year? Who knows?

Might resistance to Lenten observance and the Church Year as a whole answer to another causes? Suppose that a church followed the church year as outlined in the Revised Common Lectionary. What then becomes of the pastor’s ability to flog his hobby horse?

Where the selection of the text is concerned, some churches might rejoice to be delivered from the tyranny of the pastor’s choice. Of course this fails because whoever said a sermon must follow or be based on the passage!

Unless, of course, you use the lectionary.

And follow the Church Year.

Political Piety

Different, Yet Strangely Alike

Idolatry for Our Time:

Religion and politics create some ‘odd’ alliances. Chances are you’ve seen it. Yahweh forbade his separated people from making foreign alliances. We know how that went. Isn’t it presumptuous for us to attempt to do better?

Banking on Frustration:

Millions live in anger and frustration. Donald Trump makes his pitch. ‘High unemployment’ and ‘low wages’ and ‘disastrous health care!’

Then people flock to Trump. Others wonder ‘why.’ How is it that Christians line up behind the prosperity prophet? It certainly isn’t because the casino/real estate mogul’s lifestyle is anything like their own.

Poking the Question:

The other day, GEaston’s blog suggested an interesting line of inquiry. While not addressing our area of interest directly, the inktrekker did find some ‘odd’ similarities between Donald Trump and Bob Jones Senior.

According to GEaston, Bob Jones Senior and Donald Trump:

  • Use[d] position to influence politicians.
  • Held similar views on immigration.
  • Talked reviving or making America great.

Visit the inktrekker and you may find more similarities between them.

Separated from What?

It seems to me that the agreement of any two persons on this or that issue matters less than the shared vision which supports them on those things.

Supposedly, God’s kingdom defines the contours of the Christian mind.

Could it be that Mr. Trump is not so far from the kingdom after all? I suppose that might help Fundie Baptists bring themselves to support him.

Separated Conformity:

But then, don’t fundamentalist Christians define their very group identity in terms of separation from any hint of worldliness? Yet good, Bible-believing Baptists come to Trump’s side, even if they themselves don’t always know what to make of him. Isn’t it just a wee bit odd?

How do God’s separated Baptists end up there, and what does that mean?

Oh, and another thing. GEaston notes that both Bob Jones Senior and Donald Trump abstain[ed] from alcohol.

Perhaps that’s it.

A Past with a Future

In the beginning was Darrell.
And Darrell peered at the void.
And Darrell saw that the void was dark and formless,
And that it insufficiently separated darkness from light.

And Darrell was with the idea.
Then Darrell said:

‘Let there be Stuff Fundies Like!’

And it was so.

And Darrell saw that Stuff Fundies Like was all very good.
And so by the way did many others …

Some texted posts to SFL from their cars.
Some posted from work and some from home.
Some posted from their IFB gatherings during service.

Some were from great cities and some from tiny hamlets.
Some were from parts near and some from far off lands.

Some came from within fundystan,
Some came while considering fundystan,
And some came after fundystan.

Some came to lurk, reading for years,
Learning, assessing and considering long
Before making their presence known.

Some were born into the IFB movement.
Some were converted by the IFB movement.
And some, IFB sects seduced from churches.

Some attended Pensacola or Hyles-Anderson.
Some attended Bob Jones Snob Clones.
Some attended unheard of trailer-colleges.
Some attended no IFB schools at all.

Some were laborers and some were professionals.
Some were IFB staffers and some were missionaries.
Some were stay-at-home moms/dads, some had careers.
Some needed work and came to forget life’s woes…

Some came because their IFB preacher was a lout.
Some came because the IFB ‘preaching’ was ghastly!
Some came because IFB culture was criminally corrupt.
Some were driven to SFL by insane, IFB right-wing fanaticism.
Some came to escape death by poisonous ‘spirituality.’
Some came fleeing the blatant, pharisaic hypocrisy.
And some came because they outgrew Fundystan.

[Remember the blazer-swinging gorillas at youth conference]?

Some came who lost dear friends, family, or a job.
Some came heart-broken, disillusioned and betrayed.
Some came after experiencing horrific abuse and injustice.
Some came deeply wounded in heart, mind and soul.
Some came timidly, yet drawn “irresistibly” by the light
As if destined to do so by some obscure, Provident decree…

Some came angry at God.
Some came trying to believe.
Some came after all faith had left.
Some came trying to re-conceive faith.

Some came seeking hope.
Some came seeking healing.
Some came seeking perspective.
Some came seeking general abusement.

Some were moved to tears.
Some were moved to anger.
Some were moved to derision.
Some were moved to laughter.

Some found encouragement.
Some found wise and godly council.
Some found true freedom in Christ.
Some found themselves blessed
Simply to consider the lives
Of God’s dear children in Sri Lanka…

Some came as Christians.
Some came as believers of other faiths.
Some came who never had faith at all.
All were accepted and respected.

But there were also trolls in that land.
Hideous, Horrible, Heinous trolls!

Some trolls were obvious trolls.
But other trolls crept in unawares.

And trolls came secretly to spy out Stuff Fundies Like liberty.
Then those trolls started feeling all self-righteously indignant.
And they were roaring and belching blood, guts and thunder.
And they began to curse and to flail those just fleeing the void.

But those who escaped that dark vomit would not abide those trolls.
They ceded to those trolls not for one hour so that SFL might remain!

Instead, they grew up everywhere like thorns all around those trolls.
And with one accord, they began to choke those trolls and throttle them.

They said, ‘throw them down!’
So they cast down those trolls.

And they said, ‘throw them down some more!’
So they cast down those trolls some more.

Seventy times seven they cast down those trolls!
But if any dogs came, none would lick their sores.

Then some trolls became sore afraid and left squealing.
And the rest of those evil trolls, Darrell in time banished.
He cast them into the darkness that awaits their master.
He cast them to that dark void they both loath and love.
So balance was restored and SFL had rest from war.

And still, from the four corners of the earth, they came!
From the East and the West, they came.
From the North and the South they came.
Thanks to IFBs, SFL continued to increase almost daily.

For seven years, Darrell did the SFL work.
Then after the eighth year, Darrell rested.

Many at Stuff Fundies Like, grieved.
For although they loved Darrell deeply,
And were grateful for his years of labor,
By now, SFL was more than Darrell.

And still, more discovered SFL and came!
They sought the same hope and healing
That we ourselves so often received at SFL!
Others needed the SFL community still!

Because as long as there are Fundies,
There must still be Stuff Fundies Like.

We await the Acts 3:21 restoration of all things.
Can we also believe Stuff Fundies Like Reborn?