Darrell (not Engineering Darrell, but rather Theology Darrell) brings us some spot-on commentary from Stuff Fundies Like:
Argue with a fundamentalist for long enough about the doctrinal and ethical problems in his favorite institution and he’ll inform you that he doesn’t want to hear anything you have to say until you’ve built your own ministry of equal size. Since most of us have never built a fundamentalist church or school (nor ever wanted to), this attempt to disqualify critics has the happy effect of leaving only about nine fundamentalists in the world qualified enough to actually point fingers at each other — which suits them just fine. It is a world where one assumes only a master chef is qualified to determine whether the meat being served in the cafeteria is rotten.
This claim that only those who have have ‘succeeded’ are allowed to speak out is a strange stance to take given that a fundamentalist preacher has no compunction about standing in front of his church of thirty-five members and blasting Rick Warren or Bill Hybels and their megachurch ministries. Surely they should wait until they’ve built their own congregation of thousands before daring to speak against them? Never mind the fact that if the role of critic can only be filled by those who have the greatest numbers, no Baptist should ever dare criticize the behemoth that is the Roman Church.
And, no: I’m not applying Darrell’s criticism to garden-variety Baptists, here, because I like normal Baptists, and I truly miss/dig real spirit-filled, noisy worship. (We don’t get at much of that in Roman circles, except when we go to the “youth masses” on Sunday nights, and these sometimes engender “spirited discusssions” afterward beween the spouse and me about whether the guitar music ended up watering down the message, or whether there was a slightly patronizing quality to the way the high-schoolers in the parish were being led. Since he and I draw the “patronizing line” in slightly different places, this issue is never settled quite to our satisfaction, but at least it’s a safe thing for us to squabble about, since neither of us takes it personally.)
I’m also not talking specifically about Hot Dog Hymers’ church-cult, since that was more of a twisted Evangelical enterprise when I was involved in it, and only drifted in a Fundamentalist direction later on, for reasons that had to do with the politics of Christianity, particularly in L.A.: the Fundies were more willing to wink at Hymers’ history of abusiveness than the Evangelicals were.