The Sounds of Fundamentalism is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of Southern Baptist evangelist Bob Harrington preaching at the Sho-Bar Night Club in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Please see Evangelist Bob Harrington: It’s Fun Being Saved)
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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Those of us who have been wounded by religious fundamentalists have to spend some time “licking our wounds” as a part of our healing process, but it is not healthy to get stuck there.
To better understand the dynamics behind the psychological/cultural making of a religious fundamentalist I recommend reading Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War by Joe Bageant. Beneath all of the pathology is a very frightened inner child who is as wounded as their victims.
“Fundamentalism, I believe, appeals to people who need rigid structures and uncomplicated explanations of faith. … Essentially, then the attraction of fundamentalism is psychological, not theological.” –Fr. Joseph Breighner
“Spirituality and fundamentalism are at opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. Spirituality seeks a sensitive, contemplative relationship with the sacred and is able to sustain levels of uncertainty in its quest because respect for mystery is paramount. Fundamentalism seeks certainty, fixed answers and absolutism, as a fearful response to the complexity of the world and to our vulnerability as creatures in a mysterious universe.” David Tacey, Ris-ing Waters of the Spirit
Speaking as a former Fundamentalist, I can say that spiritually abounds within Fundamentalism. You speak as if Fundamentalism is a monoculture — it is not.
I listened to a part of the sermon. It sure brought back memories of the revival evangelists that came and preached at the the IFB church we went to. Mostly stories with a few Jesus quotes thrown in for good measure. If he were on the comedy circuit, he would be the equivalent of Mitch Hedberg- a continuous string of one liners thrown together so that you are led from joke to joke.
Anyone could go into a bar and get some “amens”, if they use their words correctly. If you area an invited guest, that already gives you some credibility, and people will be prone to pay attention to you. First, make sure that people have had time to let the alcohol loosen them up. Next, you set the stage that you are a fun loving guy by telling some funny stories. Then, you add in a few truths, telling them that life is hard and crawling into a bottle is only a temporary solution. everyone already knows that. Finally, you offer a solution that only requires saying a few words to an invisible genie. Then everyone can get back to drinking.
This is a guy who know how to manipulate a crowd, nothing more. He sounded like a slicker version of Jack Hyles.