December 22, 2011
Author’s Note: Journeys are strange. You hardly ever end up where you thought you would, and you definitely never get there in the manner that you conceived. That has been as true for me as it was for Jonah the morning he woke up to take a leisurely cruise to Tarshish. Over the next few weeks I will be writing a series of blog posts exploring how I came to and through seminary. It’s a strange tale with no straight lines. But it’s my story, and it is the path that the Lord has led our family down. It’s not idyllic. I hope that encourages you. Also, in case you just joined the conversation, Part 1 can be found here; Part 2 can be found here; Part 3 can be found here; Part 4 can be found here; Part 5 can be found here. Part 6 can be found here. Part 7 can be found here.
Recently, I wrote a post about why I am thankful for the time that I spent in Protestant fundamentalism. Too often, only the negatives about the time one spends in this movement are noted in face-to-face, online, and internal dialogues. I think that this is unhealthy for those of us who have traveled this path as it continues the fundamentalist thought pattern which tends to see everything as either altogether good or altogether bad. Rather, it is helpful for us to remember that “only God is good” (Mark 10:18). Everyone and everything else is something other than altogether good.
Yet, the reason for the preponderance of such negative dialogue about fundamentalism is the reality of the pains experienced by those who have walked through and emerged from it. Therefore, in light of my thankfulness for my time within the movement, I would also like to present why, at times, I wish that I did not spend those years in that “place.”
I wish that I could have avoided:
Before closing, I would like to stress two things. First, as mentioned in my previous post, there are many things for which I am thankful that came along during these years of my life. Second, I am directly responsible for many of the things that I wish I could have avoided. This is probably the most difficult part to face – my culpability in this pain. Although it is not my fault alone, I am as responsible as anyone else for these years.
In light of an appeal to keep things civil, since I know that this is such an emotionally charged topic, what are your thoughts?
[Disclaimer: This represents my personal experience with contemporary Protestant fundamentalism as defined by historian George M. Marsden and, as with my other list, is not intended as a comprehensive vision of the movement.]
Brian has an M.Div. (2010) from Gordon-Conwell’s Charlotte campus, a Th.M. (2011) in Historical Theology from the South Hamilton campus, and is currently strengthening his language skills while in the MACH program. He hopes to matriculate into a doctoral program in August 2012 that will allow him to continue in his study of the thought of Augustine of Hippo. He has a wonderful wife, three great children, and spent ten years in ministry to teenagers, primarily with Young Life International.