Friday, July 22, 2011

Life Outside the Bubble

In my daily Bible reading I participate in with two friends from church, we're just now getting into some really good stuff.

Specifically, Song of Solomon.

Song of Solomon holds the distinction of being the only book of the Bible you can feel a little guilty about reading.  It's a love story, and it does not hold back on the torrid romance.

We were talking about what verses stuck out to us, what deeper meanings they might possess when I recounted a funny story from my fundamentalist high school.

For our senior year, we got to choose a Bible verse to go in the yearbook next to our senior portrait.  Since, even then, I really enjoyed messing with fundies, I picked a verse from Song of Solomon.  (Honestly, it was one of the tamer verses from Song of Solomon.)  I chose Solomon 1:2, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for thy love is sweeter than honeywine."

Pretty, right?  Eh, my school didn't think so.  Whereas every other senior had a Bible verse printed next to their name, I did not.  They just printed a small reference, "Sol. 1:2".

I was recounting this to my friend and, instead of laughing, she looked incredulous.  "Your Christian high school censored the Bible?"

Well, yeah.  They were hard-core Southern Baptist.  They couldn't have people thinking they endorsed things like kissing, or wine, or love.

I suppose it's not weird to me because I grew up with it.  A lot of my current friends, God bless them, were raised as Mary-worshipping papists, with their king with his pointy hat what sits in Rome.  (Sorry.  My "sarcastic voice" and my "Daniel Day-Lewis voice" are often one in the same, and my husband quotes "Gangs of New York" endlessly.)

So, sometimes I'll be telling a story and I'll be interrupted with questions like, "What's a coffin service?"  And I have to explain that it's when you take a bunch of bad stuff, like secular cds or R-rated movies and you break them and bury them in a coffin.  It's like a book-burning, but for stuff that would put off hazardous fumes if you burnt it.

If I'm talking to someone who knows me well, like my husband, he'll normally say something like, "And you understand now that that's crazy, right?"

Like, well yeah, I know now.  But at the time, it seemed normal because that's what all my friends were doing.  It's what everyone I knew was doing.  On the church bulletin, "coffin service" was nestled right in next to "pancake breakfast", and no one thought that was weird.

In fact, during my many years on the church drama team (so nerdy, don't even ask), we would often pull a coffin on a trailer behind our van to hold coffin services at other churches, for other youth groups.  I can't imagine why other teenagers thought we were weird.

Looking back on it now, I can understand why my family was worried I'd gone a little nuts.  The fundamentalist atmosphere was very cult-like in its mentalities and behaviors, and it saddens me to see how many people I knew who, even now as adults, are still swallowed whole by it.

Especially when I think about the things I'd be missing out on if I was still submerged in that legalistic culture.  I would never get to let my son stay up late on Tuesday nights to dance around to "Glee" with me, because it's an immoral show that has homosexual characters who are real people, instead of just child molesters or confused former victims of child molestation.  (Seriously.  That's where a lot of them think gay people come from.)

I wouldn't have gotten to see my husband cry at the last Harry Potter movie, because Harry Potter is a wicked endorsement of sorcery and witchcraft, and definitely not an allegorical saga exploring such Christian themes as self-sacrifice and learning to not fear mortal death.

I probably couldn't have even watched "The Hurt Locker", a.k.a. "greatest war movie I've ever seen" because it has an R-rating and potty language.  Also, the only permissible war movies are the cheesy, John Wayne-types that only show America as invincible and righteous.  Nothing that can make you uncomfortable like "Platoon" or "Apocalypse Now".

There's no way I'd have been allowed to bond with my sister and stepmom over the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  The only connection fundies would have with those books would be if Steve Newlan and the Fellowship of the Sun started recruiting in real-life.  (+10 nerd points if you know what I'm talking about.)

So...no, I don't miss life in the bubble.  The world outside of it might be huge and scary, but there's so much more room out here to run and explore and grow and just breathe.

And no one out here censors my Bible or asks me to bury my David Bowie cds.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I love every time you refer to our christian high school. It makes my day.

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