Dragged by my neck out of Sunday School! [Podcast]

Below is my latest podcast. Listen, share, subscribe, download, write nice things about me on iTunes, try not to stumble off the treadmill or turn the wrong way down a one-way street while listening to it.This “episode” (what else do you call an … installment of your podcast? a chapter? a scene? a show?) is about how, the first time I ever went to Sunday school, the teacher went berserk on me and actually physically abused me.

Man. Nothing’s changed! You ask the wrong questions in church, and you get kicked out of church! (See Listen to my second podcast extravaganza, Kicked out of church.) You ask the wrong questions in freakin’ Sunday school, and the next thing you know the Church Lady’s troglodyte of a daughter is dragging you out of the classroom by the neck of your shirt.

It’s just wrong.

 

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is co-founder of The NALT Christians Project and founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here). His blog is here. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

    Looking forward to it! I’ subscribed on iTunes. :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I’m glad to hear that. Thank you, Nicole.

  • mike moore

    At around 7 or 8yo, I remember my Dad saying how cartoons should be banned on Sunday mornings … should’ve been my first big clue that me and the church weren’t going to get along. Although I did enjoy making macaroni crosses.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      No cartoons??!! Oh, the horror. Without the WB cartoons, my life would have had about no meaning.

      • mike moore

        I know, I can’t even imagine life without Bugs, Foghorn Leghorn, Witch Hazel, Marvin the Martian … good times.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Hey, Mike, thanks so much for the kind words you left about my podcast on its iTunes page. I really appreciate that.

          • mike moore

            as Foghorn would say, “ya got a mouth like a cannon, always shootin’ it off.”

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

    Oh the visual imagery! You can tell a story John.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Well, thanks for that, SD. I really raced through this last one, so I’m doubly glad for your kind words.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        I could imagine the other kids….enjoying the unfolding debacle, what the teacher possibly looked like, including increasing levels of frustration and outrage, you the inquisitive one who doesn’t quite know “da rules”.

        Made for an enjoyable 30 minutes.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          The weird thing was the kids didn’t react the way they would have in normal school. They didn’t MOVE. There was none of the GENERAL sense of agitation that (alas) I knew was generated by such drama in a normal school room. None of the kids gave me any grief when I was asking my (doomed) questions–which I thought was great, and took as a general consensus of support–but they also just basically FROZE when I was being yanked out of my seat and dragged out of class. It was weird. It’s like they all went Steppford Zombie Kids on me. In a way, it was the weirdest thing about the whole affair. I was already kind of used to adults snapping out. But I’d never seen kids be so … CONFORMING about it, basically. If any of that made sense.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            Oh it makes perfect sense. I vividly remember being told “speak only when spoken to” in regards to adults” , “respect your elders” and “ALWAYS say Ma’am or Sir”. Then the prerequisite, “children are to be seen, not heard” in most settings involving adults.

            They knew all those rules and that you were trumping them, and probably rather gloriously. They could have though “Woah, He’s going for broke there…cool! Wish I could take that chance without the strapping that would be my certain future.” They may have been shocked into fascinated, and possibly envious silence.

            That, or they were thinking, “Whew. Thank goodness for the new kids. Takes the heat off of us for a change.”

            Yeah, I’ve been imagining your classmates possible inner reactions all afternoon.

  • Diana A.

    My DROID does not like your podcast. :-( Guess I’ll wait till I get home to listen to it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Oh, that’s weird, cuz I’m showing a pretty good number of people listening to it on their Droid. What happens when you try?

      • Diana A.

        It plays about to the point at which you’re about to ask your Sunday School Teacher questions, then abruptly shuts off. And when I start it again, it goes all the way back to the beginning.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Oh, wow! That sucks. Lemme see if I can do anything about that. (You know, lamely enough, I just noticed I had the “make this downloadable” button unclicked: for the last five hours or so, people haven’t been able to download the thing. :-( I wonder if that has anything to do with your problems playing it?

          • Diana A.

            Finally listened to it. (At home, not on my DROID.) It’s strange how things that are so obvious to kids are so hidden from most adults, isn’t it? I bet Jesus used to get in trouble in synogogue for asking the “wrong” questions.

  • m. t’s

    toomuch sexual innuendo. cannot picture disciples or Jesus saying this or including this kind of picture.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yes, it’s clear Jar Jar Binks is Satan. Good point.

  • Kerry

    Looking forward to it – I thoroughly enjoyed the last one. I’m smiling again right now thinking about you telling your friends you were really good at camping.

    As for your intro above, wow – you actually remember being born – that is amazing.

  • Allie

    My husband and I listened to your podcast together. It reminded him of the LAST time he attended Sunday School. His Sunday School was basically a daycare center where a bored teenager ignored the kids as much as possible and all the different-aged kids who weren’t able to sit through the church service were warehoused while their parents did other things. He says there wasn’t really any teaching of any kind, but he must not be remembering perfectly because he did learn several children’s songs, including this one:

    One door and only one,

    and yet its sides are two

    I’m on the inside

    which side are you?

    Yeah, great stuff, that is. Anyway, at age seven the older children were bullying him and he thought the whole process was stupid anyway, so one Sunday he told his parents he wasn’t going to Sunday school. And they went ballistic. You have to understand that my husband is kind of a lazy person who likes to sleep in even as an adult, and as a child he was worse, so without listening to him, they decided that their Heathen Son was Lazy and Going to Hell. And his dad beat the holy crap out of him with a belt. His parents were not that sort of people normally, although once in a while his dad did spank him with a bare hand, which was kind of par for the course during the 7o’s. But refusing to go to Sunday school, it was obvious to them extreme measures were called for if they wanted to save his soul.

    After the beating, he still refused to go to Sunday School. So somehow a compromise was reached and from then on he went to adult church.

    It just feels to me like this story and John’s story are all of a piece… that showing little children the love of God by physical abuse is not a good plan. Unlike John, my husband didn’t have a period of leaving Christianity, but as soon as he was physically able, he left the Baptist church and became an Episcopalian.

  • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

    Just a thought, but the way you acted as a kid might be hypervigilance due to never knowing what your crazy parents might do. I have this problem, and I also try to be “invisible”, because, growing up, staying under the radar kept me from being the focal point for my alcoholic BPD mother and the absent alcoholic father who could only tell me “don’t upset your mother”.

    I apologize, I don’t mean to turn this into “me me me”, it’s just that I recognized some of the behavior in your story as very similar to my own.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I think I must have misstated a few things in my podcast, or somehow given a mistaken impression. But, for the record (not that it matters in any real way, obviously), I did not, as a kid, as a rule of any sort, try to be invisible, or fly under the radar. I was always pretty … upfront about just … being present. I am familiar with the dynamic of which you speak, though: I do know that’s a common enough response for kids who come from certain kinds of homes. I’m sorry you had to come from a home which engendered that kind of trepidation in you. That’s awful. My thing, though, was … different. Like, I had no problem asking the questions I did. None. And you know me to this day: I don’t exactly shy away from … assertions that I see no reason to think aren’t at the very least rationally supportable. (Are you still making your beautiful rosaries, Gina?)

      • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

        No, the invisible part wasn’t what I was talking about — I know you’re the opposite! :D

        Hmm, listening again… ah, at about 2:47 you say that as a kid, all you basically do is try not to get thrown out of the house. Thinking about that a bit, well, yes, I was always terrified that I would be thrown out of the house because they literally threatened me with being kicked out on the street. But why would a kid raised in a loving, supportive atmosphere think about being thrown out at all?

        Then at about 5:28 you say you’re looking around for signals that there is no craziness happening and that that was your normal mindset. This is what I meant when I wondered about hypervigilance. Again, in my mind, a child who was brought up in a loving home wouldn’t be thinking that craziness could descend on them at any moment.

        Just my musings now that I’m not so hypervigilant these days — I switched from coffee to tea, and as crazy as that sounds, I realized that the fear of that floaty feeling when one doesn’t drink coffee for a day or two was just my fear of losing control. But all I’ve lost is the hypervigilance! Well, most of the time.

        And yes, I’m still making my rosaries, but I’m concentrating now on designing and making fine jewelry and finishing my Jewelers of America level one certification. Thank you for asking!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Oh, wow. How cool about your JoA thing. That’s awesome. One of the greatest heroes of my life was a jewelry designer/maker guy.

          I DID understand how/why you got the “invisible,” doom-oriented ideas about my childhood mentality that you did; I should have said that so you wouldn’t have to go back hunting for those moments to which I knew you were referring. But … yeah, right? When you grow up in crazy, the ONE thing you know you can always count on is that you have no idea whatsoever what to expect next. Kinda cool, in a way. Kind of really not.