Thinking Out Loud

February 9, 2018

Growing Up in a Strict, Ultra-Conservative Christian Home

This is a review of a book. Its inclusion here does not imply endorsement.

On Wednesday, I read a 390 page book in a single day. That’s somewhat unusual for me, but the weather, some really great writing, and a fascination with the story combined to make this possible.

Rapture Practice: My One-Way Ticket To Salvation by Aaron Hartzler is his true story. It is published by Little, Brown & Co., not Hachette’s Evangelical imprint, FaithWords, though in my opinion it comes oh so close to fitting in there, especially the first two-thirds. That’s probably why it took me five years to be aware of this 2013 title; that and the fact it was marketed as a Young Adult memoir. I’ve missed being in the target audience by many decades.

We first meet Aaron as a four year old, being groomed for the role of church play actor; though as he grows up, it’s a different type of acting which captures his attention. There are are short scenes from his early school and summer camp experiences, with most of the book taking place in his high school years. It is in high school he really starts acting only the role he is playing daily is one of a church kid who is at odds with the ultra high standards and beliefs of his community and especially his parents.

He’s placed in a Christian school, but his interest in popular music proves too much for his ultra-straight parents and as punishment he is placed in an even more conservative Christian institution. But the punishment in many ways backfires, as these kids seem to have more after-school freedom than anything at his prior school, some of them without having to employ the cover-up tactics that Aaron finds necessary…

…The book is a wonderful time capsule of Christian culture in the 1980s including some things I had forgotten such as Sandi Patty’s divorce and Amy Grant’s admitting that she visited a topless beach. It’s also a reminder of backyard Bible clubs, dressing up for Sunday services, guest missionary slide shows, Pioneer Girls & Boys Brigade, purity rings, and denominational talent contests.

While Aaron is raised with corporal punishment, when he gets too old to spank, his parents disciplinary method of choice is basically shaming. Honestly, this is hard to read, and enduring this with him means I’m often rooting for Aaron instead of his parents. I keep feeling that any choices Aaron made in life — and the book stops many years shy of its own publication date, but I did some further research* — happened because his parents forced him there…

…More remarkable is that I got this book in a load of bargain titles from CBD. Yes, Christian Book Distributors. I can say with confidence that this item totally escaped their usual vetting process, and as it turns out is currently not listed at the site. Nonetheless, I’m glad I got to read it. It may be marketed as Young Adult non-fiction but I think parents should read it as a cautionary tale.

No kid should have had to grow up in that culture of shame.


*There are some reviews online for this book which contain what I consider a giant spoiler, including some editions of the book with a different subtitle also containing that spoiler. I think for me it was more important to let the book take me there rather than begin with some aspects of the story a foregone conclusion. If possible, look for the book with the cover above. The other subtitle was a publishing blunder.

 

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November 29, 2013

Test Your King James Vocabulary

This appeared two weeks ago at Stuff Fundies Like and seemed a perfect Thanksgiving holiday diversion. (And proof of why we need new translations.) Gather the family and see how you do.  Leave your score at SFL where this appeared under the title KJV Vocab Test. (Not sure why there’s 49 and not 50!)

Let’s do a vocabulary test! See how well you can do on your own without reading the verse and post your score in the comments. All references are taken from the King James Version.

1. wen (Lev 2:22)

2. victuals (Mat 14:15)

3. vestry (2 Kings 10:22)

4. upbraideth (James 1:5)

5. unction (1 John 2:20)

6. trow (Luke 17:9)

Bible 37. tow (Judges 16:9)

8. surfeiting (Luke 21:34)

9. sundry (Heb 1:1)

10. suborned (Acts 6:11)

11. stomacher (Isa 3:24)

12. sop (John 13:26)

13. sod (Gen 25:29)

14. slow bellies (Titus 1:12)

15. scrip (Luke 9:3)

16. provender (Gen 24:25)

17. privy (Acts 5:2)

18. pottage (Hag 2:12)

19. peradventure (2 Timothy 2:25)

20. penury (Luke 21:4)

21. paps (Luke 11:27)

22. Osee (Romans 9:25)

23. offscouring (1 Co 4:13)

24. nitre (Pro 25:20)

25. murrain (Exodus 9:3)

26. mess (Gen 43:34)

27. meet (Mark 7:27)

28. mazzaroth (Job 38:32)

29. marishes (Eze 47:11)

30. listeth (John 3:8)

31. let (Rom 1:13)

32. kine (Gen 41:2)

33. jangling (1 Timothy 1:6)

34. inditing (Psa 45:1)

35. husbandman (Joel 1:11)

Bible 536. holpen (Psa 86:17)

37. hoary (Job 38:29)

38. heady (2 Timothy 3:4)

39. hart (Psa 42:1)

40. haply (Mark 11:13)

41. habergeon (Exo 28:32)

42. gainsay (Luke 21:15)

43. gaddest (Jer 2:36)

44. fuller (Mark 9:3)

45. flux (Acts 28:8)

46. execration (Jer 42:18)

47. euroclydon (Acts 27:14)

48. earing (Gen 45:6)

49. crisping pins (Isa 3:22)

This list came from elsewhere on the Internet but I haven’t been able to find the original source. If it’s yours please let me know and I’ll be happy to give you credit.

 

How about the phrase “cleanness of teeth” from Amos 4:6 for # 50?

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