overcoming my inner fundamentalist, or, how i made peace with the beatles, pt.2

I've previously shared a glimpse into my experience growing up in a conservative Christian family fully steeped in a fundamentalist church. The thing is, my family, while conservative, probably did not take our mutual faith to the extremes I tended toward. I didn't realize this at the time, though.

I set up for myself a rigidly imposed fundamentalist mindset. I thrived in it. Rules? I am so into rules. Gimme guidelines and I'm happy. The more instruction I can find on something, the better I feel, especially when it came to 'my daily walk' and the guidelines of good and right Christian living. If Pensacola College ever invented a 'right and wrong' game show, I would have been the champion.

It's important to note here that while I was taught that the earth is young, that creation happened in 6 24-hour days, and that acid rain is a myth and science is out to 'get the Christians,' I was NOT taught to judge and condemn the world around me. "In but not of" was big in my home church/school, but so was grace, love for the lost and needing, and a genuine desire to see souls redeemed. Today I look back and am frustrated with the deliberate ignorance of some aspects of my upbringing, but I am so grateful for the many other, typical, things my fundamentalist church didn't teach me.

However. My inability not to assign 'good' or 'evil' labels to everything really screwed me up as I got older. First, it was the Back Street Boys - listening to their music on the way home from school did not, in fact, cause me to go and have sex with my high school boyfriend (much to his dismay). Wearing tops with spaghetti straps did not, in fact, send me on a downward spiral to prostitution. And the Beatles, as it turns out, are kinda weird sometimes, but generally not very evil. At least not the stuff that gets played on KBCO.

But more significantly, the older I got, the more I watched loved ones and trusted advisors make 'bad' choices while calling them 'good.' People I thought were 'good Christians' were living with consumer debt. Women whose faith I'd appreciated were in church leadership. (I was actually kind of afraid, the first time I received communion from a female, a church elder. I was 23 at the time.) Friends of mine, otherwise good Christian friends, had tattoos and said 'damn.' My own family made decisions that seemed contrary to everything I'd been taught, not to mention a Levitical law or two. (Yes. That means I read Leviticus. On my own, for my own edification.)

The resulting quagmire of confusion and conflict grew to the point that I could hardly see beyond my faith questions. It led to my undoing - physically first, and later, spiritually. 

I'm still recovering. 

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