When I first took the Myers-Briggs personality test, still thoroughly embedded in the fundamentalist Christian tradition of my youth, I scored as an INTJ, rather than an INFJ. In retrospect, it’s no wonder I skewed more heavily to Thinking rather than Feeling, since I was taught to fear and distrust feelings. Feelings were often considered sinful, bringing guilt and shame, whereas Logic (According to the Word of God) was holy and true, bringing stability (supposedly). I didn’t understand that divorcing feelings from thinking the way I had been taught to do was utterly damaging both to myself and others, not to mention ripping conversational rhetoric out of its context and reality.
The thing is, I could never totally eradicate my Feelings.Read More
As I’ve stated before, Bob Jones University habitually created spiritual mountains out of circumstantial molehills. We were to strive for perfection in every aspect of life, and anything less than that was an offense to God and the administration.
There’s a saying from the founder of the school…well, I mean, there’s honestly a bajillion sayings from the founder of the school. They’re so revered that they are literally engraved in plaques in every classroom across campus, and you can even buy a book filled with his quips of wisdom. But one saying in particular was quoted quite a bit when I was there: “It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.” On the surface, and especially when I very first arrived on campus, I agreed with this 100%.
Again, I’m faced with the difficulty of explaining a subculture when some of my audience has never experienced it, and some of it may think there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s difficult to know where to begin or how to explain things that I intuitively learned through various circumstances, other than to talk about the various circumstances that taught me that sometimes, it’s good and right to do “wrong.”Read More
Part of me says, “You’re not a Christian anymore, so just ignore it. It’s not like it affects you anymore anyway.” But that’s not really true. There are lots of things about Christianity that deeply affected me for over 20 years, and when Christianity also tends to play a role in U.S. politics, it sure as hell affects me.
And the thing is, when I stopped believing in God, I didn’t stop caring about people.Read More
Examining and critiquing cultural narratives as they appear in “real life” and entertainment is important work. It’s life-changing and empowering work.
It’s important for women to know that they aren’t crazy when a man is stalking them and demanding attention and affection.
It’s important for women to know that if a man — even a man they love — attacks them, it’s not okay.
It’s important for black girls to know that they can grow up and go into space.
It’s important for trans people to see themselves accepted in society.
It’s important for people to know that they are more than a caricature, that the stories of their lives matter.Read More
The atmosphere and its complete permeation of BJU dorm student life is important because of the necessary isolation it engendered. There was simply no way of knowing who was following the rules because they believed them to be right, and who was just trying to keep their head down long enough to get out as unscathed as possible.
Not without opening yourself up in ways that could have pretty serious consequences.
That made it all the more precious when people would accidentally let slip that they were a normal person trying to get by, just like me. These moments were quite rare, but absolutely sacred — memorable if for nothing else than the brief solidarity they brought.Read More
What started as a survival tactic to escape the paranoia that Bob Jones University instilled in me turned into a confident determination to control as much of my life as possible. It revealed my independent spirit, and for that I am thankful.Read More
I thought that the hardest thing about being at BJU was going to be just learning how to follow an amazingly ridiculous set of rules — and frankly, I thought I had that covered. I grew up in a conservative Christian school where BJU groups visited for recruitment purposes. I was usually one of the good kids, so I thought BJU was going to be a college-version of my high school. No big deal.
Boy, was I wrong.Read More