Remember Jesus Camp? The 2006 documentary film about how impressionable youngsters take upon themselves their parents’ fears?
It is that very distrust of God and each other that has tempted many adults way beyond measure to deny that they actually and literally distrust God. To this day many have chosen for themselves the God-like role of programming a limited human-spawned godliness into the lives of their own offspring.
Just as valid today as it’s ever been, one can see a disturbing look at a new generation of children being raised and enculturated into a fear and distrust of what their own parents fear and distrust. It also shows how their children live with an acute insecurity regarding their parent’s unconditional love.
My own perspective is that of someone who literally walked out of a fundamental religion in my early 40’s; an action commenced prior to my divorce and remarriage. It however proved not to be an activity easily brought to closure without the outside influence of my wife, Lietta, who – unlike me, – did not spend years and years inside a fake religious reality.
Even now after almost twenty years having left the church of my childhood, I found myself amazed at the occasional recognition of some internalized notion that I still retained – having been taught such by the religious instructors of my childhood.
Ponder letting yourself be stampeded by a fear of government and societal takeover down the road by mind-controlled guided-missile adults who were programmed that way as children in evangelical congregations around the country.
Those children were mouthing their own personalized versions of words, concepts and phrases given them by parents and other extremely shallow teachers. They were children desperate to earn approval in the only way they perceived their adult mentors will approve..
They were children whose motives anticipate an unsaid but highly implied ostracism should they fail to say and do what they are expected to say and do.
Literalist fundamentalist insistence on conformity is alive and well in this country.
I once sat in a meeting where an aggressive young church leader whose older children were 4-5 years younger than mine confidently declared that his children would not backslide nor yield to the temptations of the world. He had taught them quite well – he insisted – adding that if one of his teens challenged the God-given truths handed to believers by their prophetic elders, he would merely have to counsel that child until the right decision was reached.
I learned fatherhood influenced by such thinking. One running joke with my oldest daughter was an exchange years ago in which I asked, “Remember when you were two and thought I was God?”
She replied, “Dad, I remember when I was twelve and you still thought you were God!”
Many evangelical and Pentecostal adults are living lives not of quiet, but of shrill desperation and they infect their children with the same disease. They suffer seriously from a mostly unspoken fear that they are wrong
… wrong about God
… wrong about their theology
Their ultimate unspoken fear:
“Why isn’t God as worried as we are? And if He is worried, why doesn’t He make it more public and obvious? Why doesn’t God make the Earth shake and move so the unbelievers will hear and accept Jesus?”
Couple that with the unsuccessfully suppressed anger so loudly broadcast behind the smiles and smug phrases (“excuse me, but … uh … WE have the truth”) and you have adults setting up their children for failure, for huge collisions with reality, disappointment, disillusionment and heartbreak when they are older.
In addition, as the more recent elections have demonstrated, the rising to prominence and presumably ultimate political dominance by a self-righteous and judgmental evangelical Christian majority in this nation is now waning. The apex has more than likely already been reached.
This because there are now way too many more traditional and liberal Christians and awakened non-churched (the dreaded non-sectarians who would never tolerate imposed morality anyway) voters who are already making counter waves.
This because liberal political activist groups are springing up more and more with the express purpose of un-electing incumbent radical Christians as soon as possible. A good example of this is the national Progressive Majority activists who will go after these political extremists in the same city councils, school boards, state and national elections they themselves took over with political stealth. Liberal political entities may do as much if not more to remove the political clout of Evangelical fundamentalists than liberal religious advocates alone.
Failed parenting frequently uses the Bible to justify ultimate rejection or repudiation of their own children seen as having backslidden unto sin and evil. It is a projection brought on most powerfully by the judgmental preaching of their ministers.
I’ve seen that result first hand with more than a handful of adult children in my career as a Social Worker because they have no family support. They’ve been excommunicated from a family relationship by judgmental fundamentalist parents. … parents who are not trusting human development and growth from childhood to adulthood in the healthiest of psychological settings.
That’s why they home school.
Pay attention to all the teacher/mother has to say about why she home schools and what’s wrong with public education. She’s preaching someone else’s magic that – like her children have done with her in the role of teacher – she has bought into whole-heartedly and believes without question.
Ever wonder why there’s a dearth of exceptionally gifted writing, poetry, prose, painting and music from an Evangelical Christian source? It’s because any social group that emphasizes conformity at the expense of sanity will reject, deny and suppress the individual creative instinct and freedom in its own children.
This of course is an immature attempt to counter Islamic children who American evangelicals assume and insist will arrive at adulthood with an evil bent, an unreasonable hatred of Christian America and a mindlessness that corresponding Christian Fundamentalists believe they must – in self defense and preservation – program in their own children.
Such programming is not limited to Evangelical or Pentecostal children. What happens when a Mormon Bishop stands up in front of a group of children and scolds them -albeit gently and in a loving tone – saying that Jesus is sad or hurt because some children won’t stop talking during the Junior Sunday School service?
I heard such things as a child in children’s meetings. I sang hymns that included such lyrics as tattle-tale “angels their silent notes taking” in order to record for Jesus every member misstep.
And such is the never-ending dialogue between adults, children and other adults in any religious setting where conformity to a theological and doctrinal groupthink is the singular focus of leadership towards its congregations.
For example, there are numerous Facebook Mormon, Ex-Mormon and dissenting Mormon groups who come together seeking comfort or to vent against emotional indoctrination and manipulation by leaders who seek a performance-based conformity as a means of validating individual membership in the group.
Why do they do that?
Because like their Evangelical Christian cousins, Mormon leaders don’t have much other of substance to talk about. The children of Johnny One-Note Singers are victims who may very well continue the victimization of future generations.