A Godless Fundamentalist: Introduction

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by John Ellis

In 1994, Douglas Coupland, the voice of Gen X, published Life after God. A collection of short stories, the book gave voice to the belief that my generation was “the first generation raised without God.”

Beyond just seeing the release of one of Gen X’s seminal works of art, 1994 was notable in my life for seeing me graduate from high school. And while it’s true that the world around me was busy erasing God, the aisle I marched down to receive my diploma led to a platform from which I had been force-fed God for years.

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6th Grade Terrorists (or, What Happens When Heathens Take Control at a Christian School)


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by John Ellis

Spelling is not a forte of mine. As a writer, red squiggly lines are my friend. Words like “Wednesday,” “indubitably,” and “cornucopia” are beyond my ability to remember how to spell correctly. One word I’ll never misspell, though, is obedience. The spelling of that word was drilled into me via multiple performances at church and school of the Patch the Pirate song titled “Obedience.”

The chorus includes a chant of the word’s spelling –  “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E” – followed by the lyrics, “obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.” Is the song wrong? No. Was it used as part of a larger program of a Christian version of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism? Sort of. Enough to be problematic, but not so much as to stray into heresy.

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Christians and Coming Out Redux


shunned

by John Ellis

When I wrote “Christians and Coming Out” a little over four years ago, I was writing for a music website and the main thrust of my writing was in a different direction than it is today. Writing and publishing it, though, had a greater impact on my writing (and life) than I realized it would at the time. It ended up being one of those things where I wrote words but without any real understanding of those words import until after the fact. That worked out in two main ways that ultimately converged.

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Make Finding a Church a Priority When Moving

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by John Ellis

Moving to a new city and/or state is often stressful, yet it also brings the excitement of newness and adventure. Whatever excitement exists, though, is quickly overshadowed by the mountain of stuff to get done. With all the whirling parts involved in changing residences, moving is basically a full-time job. While packing and planning for the move, checking off items on the to-do list frequently reveals that the to-do list is incomplete; the list seemingly never gets shorter, only longer. More boxes are needed, forgotten closets that are crammed full of stuff are discovered, yard sales and utilities and doctors and schools and the DMV and changing your address and on-and-on-and-on, and no matter how organized and prepared you are, it will inevitably be revealed that you forgot something.

Sadly, one thing that many Christians fail to account for when moving from one area to another is church. The thought process is frequently that a new church can be found upon arrival. That is a mistake – possibly a tragic mistake.

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White Privilege and the Gospel’s Response

white-privilege

by John Ellis

I don’t remember where Tan Man’s nickname originated. I may not have ever known, for that matter. I don’t even remember ever hearing his real name.

Tan Man and I weren’t really friends, simply acquaintances thrown together within the revolving door world that happened to be my life fifteen years ago. He was part of the retinue that came with the apartment in which I was a renting a room. An apartment filled with drugs, sex, and hurting, confused, sinful people.

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Husbands, Be a Man by Being a Servant

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by John Ellis

As I write this, my wife is out of town at our church’s women’s retreat. So, as I often do, I took the kids out to eat last night. And, like they often do, they left me with no one to talk to while there. My daughter was engrossed in a book; my son stared at the muted TV screen tuned to ESPN hanging just behind my head, showing little interest in the questions I directed his way. With nothing else to do, I people-watched as I ate.

One couple sitting at a high-top near us caught my attention. At first, I assumed they were on a date the way they were interacting. It didn’t take long, though, for me to notice that the man had a wedding ring and the woman did not.

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Read the Bible the Same Way You Read ‘The Lord of the Rings’

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by John Ellis

I’ve written in too many articles to remember that all stories either reflect God’s true Story or rebel against it. It’s also my belief that too many Christians are too unaware of the forest of God’s Story to be able to adequately interact with the trees much less the bark. By that, I mean that many Bible studies are filled with well-intended Believers drilling into the smaller parts before immersing themselves into the whole.

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