I am the daughter of an IFB missionary/evangelist, sister of an IFB pastor, and granddaughter of an IFB pastor. (also have an uncle who is a pastor, and an aunt who married a pastor!) I have absolutely loved listening to your podcast. I’ve spent the past year or so “deconstructing” some of my upbringing and experiences. For the most part, other podcasts or programming has been negative and destructive without grace or hope. They are filled with anger and vitriol towards the IFB sect, and most of the people involved. But not ya’ll. I hear you struggle sometimes when you come across some really bad preachers, but I also hear your discipline as you turn from that impulse.
A little about me:
I was born in Indiana, and 8 days later I was taken to the annual week-long Baptist family camp that we attended every year until I was about 15.
I would consider my family IFB “adjacent”. In many ways, we observed a lot of the IFB “standards”. The clothing restrictions, the interactions with people of the opposite gender, all the good stuff. The way I heard it we were “independent, fundamental, pre-millennial, KJV 1611 only, nary-a-drop-of-literature (is this a dig at the SBC?), BAPTIST believer. But, we also sang our quartet songs with soundtracks (because we personally knew every musician and could vouch for their testimony). We listened to country music like Ricky Skaggs, the Judds, or Randy Travis. We rented movies but adhered closely to those PG-13 ratings. I didn’t watch the Simpsons because Bart was a Brat and Lisa was a feminist and I might get the wrong ideas. What I learned from all of this was to be a chameleon, ostensibly becoming “all things to all men”. Our mantra before leaving the house (bus) on any church-sanctioned outing was, “remember who you are, remember who you represent.” There was no margin for error, being a kid, or stumbling of any kind. In the sum of things, I didn’t learn who I was as a person, or as a believer.
I would say I always internally questioned the teaching of things that were “the gospel truth”. Did heels make a whore? Were slits for sluts? Was that in the KJV bible? Were those who didn’t practice exactly as we practiced truly condemned to a sinner’s hell? I praise and thank a discerning mom and dad who would pull us aside and correct things we heard in the more outrageous sermons. But, that kind of stuff still does damage.
I graduated from homeschool and went straight off to college…Liberty University as a matter of fact. Something my mom recently told me she regrets. My youth pastor called it “liberal” university. I was warned to stand guard as the KJV was not held as the one and only true word of God. I was exposed to things like apologetics, philosophy, and contemporary Christian music. I was allowed to wear pants outside of class (gasp). It was 1996-2000 so it was much different then. It was my small rebellion. Instead of TTU, BJU, PCC or Crown, I chose the one Christian school that was just not Christian enough. From there, my world blew open.
Now, I am a once divorced, remarried, childless career woman who wears pants and sleeveless tops, prefers organizational development to potty-training discussions and has read/watched the entire Harry Potter series. And, I am also learning that all of this does not make me any less of a child of God. It is showing me that my hurt can and has been useful in God’s ministry to other hurt women. I am an active and participating part of an evangelical presbyterian church where my pastor wears jeans and a sissy-mic.
I don’t know if this is your traditional story submission. I guess I mostly wanted to say thank you. Your podcast is a ministry to those broken and burned by the church. It has helped me fill some of the cracks in my own heart and I will continue to listen, learn, and love those who hate me.