A Godless Fundamentalist: Introduction

abandonded church

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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An Update on the Book Deal for ‘A Godless Fundamentalist’

type setting

by John Ellis

Most actors hate auditions. All actors hate the interim time period between the audition and finding out the result of the audition. I was no different.

During the days after an audition, working as an actor before the prevalence of emails, I was always worried that I wouldn’t hear the phone ring and, so, I would compulsively make sure that nothing was too loud in my apartment. Never mind that nothing in my history with phones presented any evidence that there was even the slightest danger that I wouldn’t hear the phone ring.

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Conservative Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Should Embrace Our Unity in Christ

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by John Ellis

The senior pastor at the church I serve at likes to good-naturedly tease me that I’m the resident fundamentalist at our conservative evangelical church. While joking, he is not incorrect. However, I would add that he, too, is a fundamentalist. In fact, I would count the majority of my brothers and sisters in Christ at our church as fundamentalists. Many of them may not like the term, but it’s true nonetheless[1]. Our reformed, Southern Baptist, IX Marks affiliated, conservative evangelical church is filled with fundamentalists for the glory of God. We may not believe that going to the movie theatre is sinful, nor do we believe that rock music is necessarily out of bounds for Christians, but that doesn’t make the label of fundamentalists less valid for us. And our church may have a pastor with long hair (me, if that’s not clear), but, make no mistake, we are fundamentalists.

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Tonio K: Not Your Daddy’s CCM

Tonio-K-Romeo-Unchainedby John Ellis

In 1986, as an eleven year old boy reading the books describing the evils of rock and roll that lined my fundamentalist preacher father’s bookshelf[1], I was also, and secretly, listening to Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love,” among other mid-80’s “soft-rock” staples. Those books served as my pre-internet Google – introducing me to contraband music that I may not have heard about otherwise; that’s how I discovered Black Sabbath, the band with the frontman that best exemplified, according to my dad’s books, the evils of rock and roll.

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