When I was a kid, I needed hell to exist. I didn't understand that at the time, but I needed it. Being fundamentalist was pointless without hell. With no hot and fiery pit existing somewhere below the soil, our views and beliefs lost a good deal of meaning. It was our fear of hell that fueled our motivation for living the way we did. Perfect. Separated. MedievalWhat's strange is that how we lived didn't save us from eternal destruction. The only happened by being born again in the blood of Jesus. But being perfect, separated, and content with living in the Dark Ages helped us feel born again.That just makes sense in my head. I remember that we got saved, but there were lots of things we were supposed to do and not do. It's the spirit behind Derek Webb's "New Law." And like Turner says, those things didn't save us, Jesus did...but we were supposed to do them to show Jesus that we loved him? Not make him mad? Feel separated and born again? I thought of Derek Webb again, at another part in the book that I felt was my experience but not just with Fundamentalism, but through at least a year or two of college and is still my experience somewhat with my family but that's just because changing it is easier over time: life being about perception more than reality. Turner says
How people viewed you was much more important than how you actually were. The truth didn't matter. What people believed to be the truth mattered. I learned early on that if everybody believed I was the well-behaved, good-natured boy without a sin in the world, it didn't matter what the truth was. The truth was secondary to a person's opinion or perception of truthWebb talks about that in his intro to "I Repent" on The House Show. I think it's "I Repent." Anyway, he talks about repentance and walking in the light. My family thinking that I'm the conservative Republican that I was in ninth grade has persisted until recently, or scales fall away more every day. For parts of college I wasn't honest with people about my general life because I was more concerned with what people thought of me. I preached on this last year at St. Mark's.I think that quotation from Turner needs to be fully evaluated and thought out not just from a fundamentalist perspective. There's a lot in life in general that isn't based on truth but is based in perception about a whole host of issues, political, theological, whatever. And being truthful requires correcting people's assumptions about you when they're wrong and calling attention to yourself to someone when you've fallen into sin that you may repent - turn around - and return to the Lord. Not misleading others by your silence about yourself and speaking the truth about your silence is repentance.Those are two things that I identified with from my experience or that made me think or give me something to offer here. Part two is just two quotations that I think are good to reflect on. Read the book. It's a good read, but it didn't change my life or make me say "Yes, yes, yes!" at any point. If you're on the Close and don't mind my marginalia, you're welcome to borrow it.