I Will Keep Singing.

It’s been a huge week. My dear Dad fell, and the women in his life — Mom, my sister-in-law, and me — were completely helpless. We had to rely on the kindness of two selfless and available men to help lift him back to the bed. I had PTA duties. The Christmas tree is only half-lit since my brilliant idea to create my own “pre-lit” tree has failed now for the third year. The advent calendar is still in the box. My mom needed me to drive her to the eye doctor for a routine procedure that’s only scheduled at 4pm on Thursdays. Due to this and that, the kids had to come with us. We did manage to entertain all those other grandparents in the lobby, I s’pose.

Normal stuff, you know, life! It’s busy and worrisome and frenetic, and I’ve probably forgotten half of what I was supposed to do anyway.

One nice advantage to Mom’s current (and temporary, we believe) undrive-ability is that we get to chat a lot. Like old times. Yesterday, as we were pulling away from the pharmacy at 6:10, Mom reminisced:

You know, honey, you are laid back. You are. I remember those ladies in the Presbyterian church nursery saying, ‘She is so placid! She is such a placid baby.’ I used to worry that you’d never stand up for yourself.

And then Mom giggles. Lovingly and knowingly giggles.

I have really, really good parents. I’m not just saying that in a “I-should-honor-my-parents” sort of way. It’s the truth. They are really wonderful. They love Jesus. And they love their family. Those two sentences describe everything you need to know about them. And I know they love me. I know that. I’ve always known that.

When Mom was chuckling at her placid baby, I remembered this week in the cyber-world. I thought about telling her, but it’s not worth the breath. The words have swirled. I got called a “hater”–complete with scare quotes. And the name stuck. Congrats to the so-called “rational” middle on the name. ::yawn::

I get that I’m a kind of ballast in the IFB world. The gutter on one side of the bowling alley that you don’t want to fall into. The Malcolm X to the “rational”-middle’s Martin Luther King. I’m actually okay with that. I’ll be the Ralph Sheepdog to their Wile E. Coyote. We walk in together, clock in together, and then we frustrate each other. Each needs the other.

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It’s checks and balances. The Sage needs the Prophet. I’ve studied it for decades now. I thought I was the Sage. I have a Ph.D. in Sagacity, remember. But I’m not the Sage.

But you dear, dear friends in the “middle,” you’re fooling yourselves. What exactly do you think I hate?

Let’s look at the words I’ve had flung at me. From this comment:

I’ve gone through your website and tried to find one time where you personally approached a person about something you disagreed with. Nil. Nada. Zilch. If you had such a problem with Berg’s teaching why did you not go to him and reason it out?
Here’s my simple — you won’t listen anyway because I’m not as smart as you — assessment:
– You are not saved. The reason why is you have never truly asked for forgiveness of your sins. Probably because you are better than God.
– You are a spoiled brat and you come from a family of them.
– You are looking for truth from, of all people, Janis Ian?!
– You are a schismatic.
– You are in love with the world.
– You only listen to people who tell you want you want to hear.
– You husband is too much of a pansy to tell you to your face you are a brat.
– You are smarter than everyone else. How did the world get along without you for so long?
– Did I mention you are a spoiled brat?
But, rather than consider that anything I have said is true, you will simply delete this comment and go crying to someone who will tell you what you want to hear.
Adding a “Dr.” prefix doesn’t make you more superior. You may have added more knowledge to your brain, but your character is in decline. At the very least, you are the same brat I knew about 20 years ago.
God is love. Jesus drove out the money changers. Those principles are not in conflict.

Or this one:

Oh, for God’s sake! Get over yourself. What a whiny, bitchy, attention-seeking-whore of a martyr you are.
You and I were at BJU as undergrads at the same time. I was gay then and am still gay. I got over my time there without looking for so much sympathy. Put it behind you and put your life to some good use. Good god.

Now, help me out here — who’s hating?

I’m not including the threats against my kids or my home. The private messages filled with passive-aggressive insults and mind games. The love bombs.

So what gets me threats? Let’s get an overview here. I have stated publicly that:

 

That’s not an exhaustive list. It’s just what I remembered this morning.

See the connections among all that? I get the same threat-filled reaction to saying I don’t hit my kids that I get for my complaints about Dining Common food! My asserting my personal autonomy gets me insults just like my making an academic argument. There’s no hate; there’s just autonomous expression. It’s that I’m talking! And I’m talking outside the so-called “authority’s” control!

But that “asserting” is called “hating.” It’s not. Those who conclude that are confused. If you identify you yourself as the same substance as the ideology of fundamentalism, only then can you conclude that I am hating you. When I critique IT, you hear that I’m insulting you. I’m not. I see the difference between you and It. I see you. Heck — I see the difference between Bob Jones University and Bob Jones III!

When you identify so intimately with an organization or a system or an ideology so that any critique of it — of even its food — is taken as a slap against you? My dear friends, that’s a cult. Right there. You. You are proving it. You’ve proven it this week!

I see us in the New Kingdom. All of you in the middle and otherwise. You. We used to talk for hours. We disagreed. We argued. We joked. We laughed. . . . We will do that again. In the New Kingdom. With a good glass of wine at the Supper of the Lamb.

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But that’s not for now in this broken world. Not right now anyway. Maybe tomorrow.

That’s what my mom sees too. In me. And in you, too. Your endless laments about my or my friends‘ “rhetoric” are really neither here nor there. Just the coyote scolding the moon for its bad form. While we sheep dogs guard the sheep . . . against you.

You don’t like it when I say things like “you’ll either be a reprobate or a thug for BJU?” because you want to be neither. You want to be middling which you perceive as “rational.” I understand. When you’re in the middling place, you really do think that you’re still in control. That your actions determine your consequences. That karma is true. That nothing bad will happen if you stand guard against what you wear or where you sign or “your tone.”

I know better. I’ve talked to the elderly (former) employees at BJU who are told they were fired because of their advancing age. I’ve talked to the burn victims and the incest survivors and the grieving parents. I know the coverups. You “middling” want to think deep down that you haven’t been pushed out of your job or your church because . . . you’re “middling.”

The myth of the middle only lasts so long. When it crumbles, you’re not going to be going to Chuck Phelps for support, and you won’t call on Bob Jones III either. I’ll have a cup of coffee and a plate of cookies for you while we talk over what happened. I’ll watch your kids while you go to therapy. I’ll do what I can. Which isn’t much really. Just being a friend.

But there’s no hate in it. Except for hate of injustice. And there’s no bitterness. Bitterness comes only in silence. And you know, deep down, that I’m still your friend.

God bless. I’ve got more singing to do.

Comments & Responses

23 Responses so far.

  1. You know, I’ve been reading your blog off and on ever since I left BJU. I never heard your name there, had no idea who you were, nothing. I would read post after post after post almost hungrily, though I couldn’t put my finger on why. Then I’d abandon it, only to rediscover it later.

    By the way, I promise I’m not a stalker. :)

    But what kept bringing me back was that…when I left, I felt loved. I felt understood. Even though we’d never spoken a word to each other, every post was full to overflowing with love for Christ and His Church, passion for those caught in snares that they may not even know were entangling them, grace after grace after grace.

    In short, I started finding the truth in your words. And, as truth always does, it helped set me free.

    So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Camille. Thank you for standing strong amid storms. Thank you for being such a wonderful example to me of a woman, a wife, a mother (which I hope one day to be), a Christian. Thank you.

    • Hey Stitching Seams, that word “stalker”, I never thought how such a word could be used in what ‘some’ people want to do on blogs to ‘get at’ people. It’s really a ‘hit it right on the center of the target’ saying about this. ( not people, but what goes on, the behavior that’s wrong and hurtful ). Like about what some people try to do and get away with, to Cammille on her blog. I so admire Cammille’s consistent christian behavior of restraining herself from ‘responding in kind’ to the awful things some people say to her on this blog. I’m going to add that’stalker’ to my limited blog vocabulary. Very interesting indeed. I know there is a ‘sniper’ kind of thing, what a person does with mean, hateful words, to sniper attack someone’s comments, taking them by surprise sort of like’ a verbal mugging’ using negative words with a real mean sting in them, completely twisting what someone has said that the sniper cant stand . Because snipers hate the truth they read, see and hear, that ‘might’ just be a little about their own problem. And there is this curious cyber language of ‘troll’ and ‘trolling’. I agree with you stitching seams 100 %. I believe when we agree with what is good true right and kind, we agree in that which helps us to make the right decisions regarding our behavior. There really is a drawing line between the meanies and the kindies on blogs. The meanies are looking for someone to argue with. And like Cammille explains so well, these people ‘cannot separate’ the ‘bad behavior ,bad practices’ from ‘the people’, or ‘the bad system’ from the people. Or ‘the bad place’ where a system and the bad behavior the system controls, causes people to hurt people. What people ‘believe’ that’s not right and what people ‘do’ that’s not right is one thing. But people, they are the ones who believe distortions that deceive them into doing things that hurt people. God hates evil. But He does not hate people. Exposing evil is not the same thing as attacking ‘people.’ But people trapped in bad systems think and believe that that system is actually a part of their true identity, and that they and the system are one and the same thing.So very dangerous for people who cannot live and walk in true freedom until they are set free from such bondage. In their minds, beliefs and thinking, everything that goes on in fundamentalism and at BJU, they are taught that that it is the will of God. There is a big, big difference between a mean / hateful place such as BJU along with the mean and hateful system that it controls the place BJU, … and PEOPLE. What the true Gospel is, what Jesus love is, what Real Christianity is, and what goes on in fundamentalism and places like BJU are like two different planets in a spiritual solar system. Thanks for sharing how Cammille’s blog has been bringing God’s truth, light and love into your life. I so rejoice when I read the freedom stories of the former prisoners of fundamentalism, who are now free to be fully loved and accepted by God and enjoy being who they really are. God Bless you Stitching Seams. Keep on sewing your beautiful Bridal gown for when the Bridegroom comes for the Wedding Banquet.

  2. d4v34x says:

    How does one tell a love bomb from an honest desire to help/intervene/etc?

    • cklewis says:

      The former’s manipulative. The latter respects you as a person.

      Your gut usually tells you.

      • d4v34x says:

        I can see that distinction. Thank you.

      • So true. You know how right you feel inside when someone really cares about you as a person. They’re ‘giving’, not ‘taking’. I started avoiding people who ‘demand’ a hug from me. I refuse to give them love and affection on demand. People who aren’t trying to take something from you, like your freedom there’s such a big, big difference between ‘that’ and that hidden selfish agenda. . You can almost feel the negative energy coming from people, when . it is of the kind that ‘they want’ something from you. So good to learn to better understand this.

  3. lorinda says:

    This may be your best one yet. I laughed and love the Wile E. and sheepdog clocking in illustration. Today my dad and I disagreed on the Phelpsgate situation, but he listened and conceded some of my points. And he ended by saying he loved me and was proud of me for thinking for myself. You are never too old to be loved or to need to be affirmed. Thank you for being a lot like me dad. And that’s quite a compliment. :)

  4. Paul says:

    I can validate this blog entry. If anything, when you are really starting to “get it”, when you really want to see beyond the veneer and curtains and catch a glimpse of a bigger world, a world of grace. I can vouch for the fact that Camille (and Grant) will be there.

    She will answer the insane questions that come from looking at life with a skewed perspective. She will be patient with your slowly developing understanding. She will tell you what you need to hear. As you dig and grow and learn, you will see that she is telling you what you’ve wanted to hear all along, you just didn’t know it.

    And everyone else, those “friends” from your old life who want you to believe everything is fine when, deep down, you know it isn’t. Those “friends” will continue to warn you and “advise” you to keep away from the “bitters”. Listen to your heart, your gut, your deep down self. The status quo isn’t comfortable to you for a reason. Keep seeking the answers.

    And don’t be surprised if Camille’s plate of cookies and cup of coffee turns out to be a family dinner at Fuddruckers. One day, you will see it too. No hate, no bitterness, just a passion for truth and sharing grace.

  5. Katisha says:

    Camille,

    I find it interesting people thought you a passive baby. In my experience, a passive baby & a secure baby look pretty much the same. :-)

    I don’t perceive you as either passive or as a pushy “hater.” I think you’re more like a boulder: when you’re pushed, you don’t push back…you just stand. And that’s a good thing.

    Keep standing for truth. There are so many more who need to see and hear it.

  6. Ken Smith says:

    I don’t know you personally, but you sort of strike me as an attention vampire.

    No offense intended of course.

    • Dan Keller says:

      Go and entertain yourself on hidalgo’s boring blog. You’re a viper from the pit of hell.

    • So if a 2 year old needs a mother’s attention to change a diaper and feed him, he’s an attention viper’? Getting attention makes someone a viper? Having a blog makes someone a viper? How about all the books that people write? Are all those authors of books attention vipers too? A viper sucks the life and energy out of a person. A viper is like a parasite that feeds on people. Camille ‘feeds the sheep’ with the christian kindness of love, compassion and a listening ear. She does not ‘take’ from people , she ‘gives’ to people. She provides a safe place for people to gain a listening ear in a sharing arena. Her blog islike a bright, clean, restful meadow, where a person can come to and run and jump and play and have fun talking about whatever they feel they want or need to. And where they can do that without fear of coming under attack. Falsely accusing someone of being the very opposite of what we know them to be, , is really telling on yourself that ‘you are’ exactly what you are accusing her of being. A viper looking for attention to stalk, troll and sniper attack, people you can’t stand, because they remind you of what you ‘are’ yourself. A warm ,loving trusting and kind person, such as Camille provides loving, respectful ‘attention’ to people who seek clarity in their thinking , believing and understanding of : where they’ve ‘come from’, where they ‘are right now’, and where ‘ they’re ‘going’. Having a blog is a constitutional freedom and right for Freedom of speech , expression and assembly. If you have a problem with other people’s freedom, then maybe you need to check this out with God and find out how to have this in your life as well! . Are constitutionally free people ‘attention vipers’ because they use a blog to dialogue and converse with other people, and exercise their constitutional right and freedom of free speech and assembly? You are a blog sniper Ken. Your right to say something mean and hateful is as much ‘your’ Constitutional freedom and right’, as it is for Cammille and the rest of us, to use her blog to say things which are kind and helpful.You even have a right to be a total jerk, but we don’t have to agree with you! Your peculiar unsound reasoning, Ken, is typical of men who invalidate, minimize, and ignore the true feelings and emotions of other people, ‘especially’ of others especially women. So your personal problem of mysogeny is rather obvious. Your contradictory statement of insulting Cammille , then completely denying in the same breath what you just did, is like passive aggressive. “A dog peeing on someone’s leg while licking their face at the same time.’ Or a person sticking their tongue out at someone at the same time saying that they’re not being disrespectful? Or a person tripping someone on their journey and saying I’m not hindering you in your journey. It’s the word spin of liars controlled by a lying spirit. And y, that is if you ever bother to read the Gospels!. You sound like a completely confused person whose brains and thinking are ‘scrambled’! You need to have your brains and mind be ‘DEscrambled.’And let God deflate that much expanded EGO of your’s as a good start. Have you ever considered ‘professional help?’ Get some real soon because you need it! If you really knew God you would love Him. If you really loved God you would Obey Him. if you really obeyed god you would show that by the way you treat people. your religious beliefs are ‘meaningless’ as long as you do not If you see and regard truth speaking as an attack on you and your life, then maybe there is something is something in your life that hates the truth! I wonder what ‘that’ could be???? Perhaps an inside VIPER controlling your behavior? Get hep soon. You need it. Signed, sane in the freedom land of real christianity.

  7. Thank you Camille for reminding us how you have always been accountable for whatever you post. You never hide behind hyperbole, spin, or mind confusing subterfuge. You speak honestly and with clarity. You even list the false sayings posted about you and speak truth to those ‘mean, critical’ sayings as well. And you do all that without attacking people. You never run away from a challenge. You don’t hide behind anything to try to evade the truth or the light about anything.You’re not afraid of the light. You’re not afraid of the truth . You’re ‘my kind of people.’ I used to be quiet too. Nobody who knew me as a child, would ever believe the way God has changed me to turn out to be the way I am now. “I’m no little ‘pussy cat.’ I’m a ‘mama bear’ who speaks up for ‘papa’s cubs’ who get bullied by the bossy boots Polly perfect goody goody two shoes big egos. I stand up for those no one else will stand up for. Just did it today. Dropped off one ‘very big letter’ to the head man in my parish. Now he knows ‘who’ he needs to ‘reign in’ and ‘why’. I may become ‘very’ unpopular among some of the herd. But then, I don’t follow the herd. I follow the Master. And you know, if somebody doesn’t like my going to the head man, about the ‘spiritual train wreck’ that their lay led community has been heading in? I really don’t care! I obeyed God. My job is done. YES! What a relief. Now I can really get on with my life, free of this burden, for the first time in about seven months! Camille I hope your dad is alright. Your parents must be wonderful people to turn out such a fine person such as yourself.

  8. SB says:

    Beautifully and truthfully written. I’m so, so sorry you’ve experienced all of these woundings. But I really can’t convey how thankful I am that you have loving, supportive, understanding parents. To have always known that your parents loved you and loved Jesus is quite a gift. Praying for continued strength for all of you during these times!

  9. Roanna says:

    C. (((((you)))))
    I am looking forward to that day at The Table with the wine, with the love. I am thankful for the glimpses of That Day that God graciously gives us in this life now. I am thankful for you.

    • And until that wonderful day, we can ‘rehearse’ by loving one another as He has loved us.” I love Paul’s beautiful words in Galatians: “For all the law and the prophets is fulfilled in this one thing, even in this. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Camille s sets a wonderful example of this to all of us. Thanks again, Camille.

  10. Jess says:

    Camille, I can only hope to be more like you some day. You are an inspiration. :)

  11. “I don’t hit my kids.”

    What right do the leaders and followers in the stranger than fiction / nightmare ‘sub-culture’ of ‘UN christian-NON christian -religion-inanity’ of fundamentalism…. have , to speak authoritatively… into other people’s private lives,about matters that ARE NONE OF BUSINESS????…. about how they should discipline their kids? How parents discipline their kids, is a private matter between parents and their God! I wonder why these ‘haters’ can’t see that? Is it perhaps because they love POWER ( the wrong kind ) more than PEOPLE?

    Hateful antagonism against two loving, committed to God parents’, who don’t spank their kids’!….two responsible adults ‘hated’? ….for choosing to ‘not spank’? As if it was ‘a sin’ for people to disagree with other men’s narrow thinking and private opinions , ‘the words of mere men?’ It’s a sin worthy of ‘hate’, for parents to exercise their God given free- -will?….as to how they freely choose to conduct their private lives within the spiritual boundaries created by God?….. to make up ‘their own minds’ …. to do ‘their own thinking’ FOR THEMSELVES?…..to make their own decisions?….. in complete freedom…. from ‘the fear of man?’…. as to how two loving parents freely choose to conduct themselves as good, kind, trustworthy, loving parents to their children?… in the privacy of their own private home life?…. hateful antagonism …. against the private lives of people…. who choose to ‘do things differently’…. from the religiously deluded power brokers, is plain, simple ugly IRRATIONAL emotions, and IRRATIONAL behavior. That’s why I have to add the word CRAZY to my description-language of the fringe religion of fundamentalism.

    These confused ‘haters’ think like this:”WE believe in corporal punishment. The ONLY RIGHT WAY to discipline children.We know WE’RE RIGHT! We know YOU’RE WRONG. And “we hate you.” Everyone we know who is wrong we have to hate! They deserve to be punished you with our HATE because they dare to disagree with us. WE HATE YOU!. We hate everybody that disagrees with us. ” WE don’t agree with you. WE ‘have to be’ RIGHT. So naturally YOU ‘have to be wrong.’ So ‘I’ have a right to HATE YOU.

    It isn’t enough that the good people like Grant and Camille and other wonderful people who have escaped this dreadful culture, who see the light , leave the sick subculture, live happier lives, free from that, and are for all intents and purposes, ‘outside’ of that culture. ‘Leaving’ seems to be one of the unforgiveable sins in fundamentalism.But if leaving isn’t bad enough to be loathed and despised for , now, talking about it, is the second worst sin?

    Not only are these good people called all kinds of mean spirited things for ‘daring to leave’ ( even though nobody in authority or the ‘blind who follow the blind’ wanted these people to remain anyway and it was the ‘hate’ in these awful places that ‘drove them away’! ) but these good people once they leave, are ‘loathed’ for the ‘nerve’ to even ‘talk about’ anything that hurt them? The religious prison wardens and remaining prisoners ‘hate’ people for leaving, and ‘hate’ people for ‘talking about why’! Talking about their unhappiness in the religious prison of fundamentalism, their awful religious prison experiences….?’ the power brokers try to intimidate people about it. Give me a break. That’s what the awful threats and comments are all about. Angry people trying to silence people they really don’t believe, have any right to talk about , or write about their experiences which is basically whatever these angry people do not approve of from their lofty towers of blindness and ignorance.

    So the sick sub-culture of cultic no talk rule, migrates outside the prison walls, to the captives who have been released, set free by God’s Grace. “We know where you are. We know where you live. We know what you are talking about. And we are telling you to stop!! The religious ‘no-talk rule’ , trying to sneak across the boundaries, and migrate into free people’s minds and thinking, as it enters Cyber-space with threats ,insults, verbal intimidation.

    Reminds me of the allegory “Gullivers Travels.” The stupid reason why a man’s father was ‘banished from the kingdom. “For cracking his egg at the wrong end!”Any religious culture that ‘majors on the minors’ and on things they interfere in, that they have no business getting into anyway…. such cultures “miss all the important things in life”. That people were created for love. That sunshine was created for light and warmth , for things to grow. That sun rises and sunsets were created to remind us of this wonderful God who created all things for us to enjoy and thank Him for. That people are too precious to ever be abused. “That God so loved the world.” Thanks for letting me say this, Camille. I hope some of my words might bring some help to those who might need them.

  12. Camille, thank for posting the hilarious cartoon. I so enjoyed it. And thanks also for posting the Peter, Paul and Mary” song. What a thoughtful song selection for this beautiful sweet spirit of freedom that you and your ‘real’ friends have experienced. I feel such a joy for you all. Jesus did not come to leave His lambs locked up like unhappy birds “in a gilded religious cage” with ‘clipped wings.’ HE created us to be free, and He came to set us free. And everybody says AMEN. Love you guys!

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