Friday, March 8, 2013

Library Shelf: Fleeing Fundamentalism

I usually enter the library on a mission, but occasionally I browse the shelves or the computer catalog. That's how I came across this woman's story.

"Then, like someone blithely boarding a bus without brakes, I raised my hand and said, 'It's beginning to strike me as strange that God would cast most of his children into eternal hellfire when, even as mere mortals, we would never throw our own kids into a burning pit for disobedience.' 
"David looked at me in disbelief. . . ."                  

Carlene was a teenage convert, attended Bible college, and found herself a minister's wife at a fundamentalist Baptist church near Seattle. And then it all rotted from the inside out. Her memoir is full of darkness, pain, and shame. And that's before it details the struggle of a single mom fighting for a new life. But the book ends on a hopeful note with a new start, gradual healing, forgiveness, and peace.

Honestly, I wondered at first if Carlene's story was exaggerated. This was no mild "but things weren't as good they seemed from the outside" story. The hypocrisy seemed "over the top" for a Baptist preacher's family. But then I thought of some other Baptist preachers... and Catholic priests... and my doubts evaporated. This isn't an easy read, but it's an honest one by a very strong woman.

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