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Shaking the Dust.


When I first posted this song on October 31 last year, it was my private adieu to fundamentalism. I couldn’t say that overtly at the time. Circumstances were too recent. The pain was too sharp. The wounds were too fresh and confusing.

Grant had found this Janis Ian song in our collection during a Fall Saturday chore of indexing our mp3 files, and it was too spot-on to avoid. We sat listening to it over and over, stunned at how accurately it expressed our deep feelings of sadness and disappointment.

We were being summarily and completely pushed out of our faith community. I personally had left alone, packing up my office by myself in the middle of the night when the kids were asleep and when the shunning eyes were absent. They literally tried to stop my husband’s singing in the middle of his song–just as he and I were learning how free and full-of-grace that song was. They said our study was foolish and selfish and that the darkness of ignorance was best–a blessing in disguise.

So on this on our own Reformation Day, once again but this time openly, adieu. I hate to see a friend go down in flames without a song, so I leave you with this.

Adieu. God help us all.


I’m leaving by night.
I’m leaving alone.
I’m leaving it lie
When you waken I’ll be gone.
I would not beg for me
As I would not beg for you
Though I’d like to be
The one to see you through.

Every step you have taken
Disappears with the tide.
You’re torn up and shaken
With changing your mind.
You haven’t got the grace
To say you’ll finally decide.
And you haven’t got
The strength to stay to fight.

Those people who surround you
Only want to see you weak enough to crawl.
They’ll lie for you, decide for you
And buy up all your rights
And all your wrongs.
And they’ll try to stop your singing
In the middle of your song;
For they do not want you free
And they will not make you strong,
But only drag you down
In the hole they’re coming from.

They say you are foolish
In wanting the sun.
Say you are selfish
In learning to run.
Tell you that the darkness
Is a blessing in disguise;
For you never have to notice
If you’re sighted or you’re blind.
And they’ll do their best
To keep you from the light.

You’re more than beginning;
You’re learning to fly.
You feel like you’re falling.
But it passes in time.
I hate to see a friend go down
In flames without a song.
So I’m waiting by the doorway
But I will not linger long.

And I’m leaving by night.
I’m leaving alone.
I’m leaving it lie.
When you waken I’ll be gone.
I would not beg for me
As I could not beg for you.
But I’d like to be
The one to see you through.

18 thoughts on “Shaking the Dust.

  1. This is so beautiful. And from my favorite decade! Why have I not heard of Janis Ian? Must go find more…

    Thanks for posting it (again). Don’t know why I didn’t catch it the last time.

  2. I understand…though I can imagine the intensity of your experience would be more intense than my own. I was thinking about how I’m a Lutheran leaving a “synod” for another “synod”–I am not completely changing my entire theological pov.

    Also, I never really felt a “part” of the WELS. I tried very hard–I truly did….but it’s weird at how on the outside I don’t miss much. My relationships with other WELS members pretty shallow I guess (generally speaking–I still have friends in the WELS & my parents/sisters are WELS too).

    I’m walking away–but I’m still on solid ground–I’m hurting, but the floor wasn’t ripped out so completely as it was for you. In this, I realize how intense everything must have been for you & Grant. My experience alone was painful enough–but to completely have to sort out everything they way you guys had to…well….that is pretty daunting.

    I want to say that I’m very proud of you. We go back a bit and I kept up on everything…with the bit of a gap during the “schism” (for lack of a better term)…but still…I see the picture I think and I respect you for the ability to allow Grace to lead you to the place you are standing in now.

    Thanks for writing this all out….for being real and honest. Know that I am praying for you all still and am happy to count you as a sister in Christ.

  3. 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.

  4. Oh, my dear “Person.” I’m going to publish your anonymous comment because it’s too revealing and ironic not to. That you feel safe enough to damn me to hell *anonymously* for not seeing any proof in your perusal of my blog that I went to Jim Berg personally is the very definition of irony.

    Just for the record, I personally went to Jim Berg at least twice — both were extended conversations, but the second in November, 2006 was quite lengthy and face-to-face and private.

    In fact, there were so many meetings and documents and discussions. Perhaps you missed all that too:


    God bless you. I hope you have a restful weekend and a wonderful Lord’s Day.

  5. Ha — s/he cravenly posts an anonymous comment, avoids this supposedly cherished face-to-face confrontation, and then says that *I’m* too much of a pansy to tell you something directly. Laughable!

  6. Wow, as if I needed more validation that leaving Fundamentalism was the right thing to do. Lowly Person… let’s just call that post “low”! Your comment is pure hate.

    Grant and Camille: Sorry you’re having to put up with this. I also got this kind of junk when I left Fundamentalism. Just remember, these people who are saying you’re not saved and all that are going to be so disappointed in eternity when you show up right next to them at the Throne. (Hey, at least I have enough sense not to judge someone else’s salvation.)

  7. Ok, that post brought back memories. It’s nice to be in the part of the body that doesn’t call you a “brat” anymore. I believe I was called “an ungrateful snot-nosed brat”. But I’m just quoting 2nd hand information so it could have come across much better (((eyeroll)).

  8. By the way, That was a beautiful original post. I couldn’t hear the song here but that’s why God invented Itunes.

  9. Dear Lord. Lowly Person is on dangerous ground and doesn’t even know it. Being judged by how you judge others… What food for thought.

  10. I think it’s a good sign that I was able to read that comment … and laugh. How ridiculous. I think the fact that you could leave it up is a good sign, too.

    2 other songs that remind me of leaving Fundamentalism:

    No Surprise by Daughtry

    It’s Not Me, It’s You by Skillet

  11. First time I ever saw this post. The song’s words and music so appropriate for what you and Grant had to leave to protect your own integrity, and your beautiful loving hearts.Birds of a feather flock together. You both left that flock because you realized your God given ‘spiritual wings’ didn’t ‘have to’ have those religously imposed and shackled ‘lead weights’ holding them down any longer. Oh the pain of having to leave. Oh the joy of being able to fly freely. Hard to believe how mean a person can be like was anonymous. A ‘real man’ would honor you and respect you. It is a cowardly man who would anonymously insult your beautiful virutous character, and invalidate your wonderful husband. Believe me a ‘real man’ would never do that. It takes a ‘real man’ to stand up for the truth, for righteousness, and for fairness, and to protect a good woman and his family as Grant has done for you and your boys. The deep anger, pain, bitterness and resentment, that comes from anonymous’s life, reminds me of the dreadful effects, that corrosive fundamentalism can have on the mind , spirit , heart and emotions of a believer. If anonymous is the tragic human evidence of what the worst kind of fruit is, that fundamentalism can produce from its sinful and ungodly brainwashing of the people of God, then, this example makes me want to pray the Heavens down, for more people to leave this’ awful abberation of christianity. Your suffering in leaving was a lot worse than mine. But I can relate to the relief of being removed from’shunning eyes.’ Oh how painful a look of contempt and loathing can be! Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus left us with such a wonderful example of how He and the father, have such respect for women!

  12. Hosea says”My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” In the Hebrew language, in the old Testament scriptures, “knowledge” means YADA, not modern day ‘head knowledge’ ie minds puffed up, arrogant mental asent., but YADA. Intimacy with the Person of God, loving, intimate knowledge of HIM. Their statement,’darkness of ignorance- a blessing in disguise’ is so UN biblical, that it’s self-contradictory, for people who ‘call themselves’ Bible christians! But then, who ever said they were even biblically Illiterate? when they don’t even ‘read’ what’s in the Bible, that contradicts them at every ‘know it all’ turn they take with their ‘know it all noses’ in the clouds? Paul said “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” Maybe IFB fundamentalism a la BJU is a modern form of ‘gnosticism!’

  13. From one “brat” to another, let me just say that I rejoice that we are on the other side of all of this…we have grown and changed in exponential ways….Love you dear friend…sorry you were so attacked. I never saw this post until now!!

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