Fun is Not in the Bible, You Say?

by Cindy Foster cross posted from her blog Baptist Taliban and Beyond

I borrowed this from a facebook status today.

It reminded me of a particular notion The Preacher was ‘inspired’ with and later emphasized in a sermon.  He was determined to dissuade the teens from being  seduced away by this youthful desire to have fun, from their devotion to God and the church.

“Fun is not in the Bible” became his new fundamental.

At least, not the kind of activities they considered fun at the time.  Such worldly things as: off-roading in their jeeps and four-wheel drive trucks; hanging out with friends without an adult, married chaperone; going to the Mall; watching rented videos or anything that does not have a spiritual purpose would likely lead to superfluous naughtiness.
Now, not wanting to seem a complete ogre, The Preacher did sanction some kinds of fun…the things he considered fun: fishing, hunting, camping and playing a little pick-up basketball, football, baseball, volleyball….as long as it didn’t  involve teams from ‘unscriptural’ churches or secular organizations.  But not much more than that.

Shortly thereafter, I heard it taught by the Jr. High teacher who later became Youth Director upon our leaving.  He too feared the kids were living for ‘fun’, and “Fun is not in the Bible”.

It was taught again by another church leader when Paul invited him to speak to the teens as a guest.  As I recall, he said something in reference to the Christian life not being like a smorgasbord where we can choose from so many options as our appetites dictate.  We don’t have the right to expect to have fun, because “Fun is not in the Bible”. 

But there are at least two verses that immediately came to my mind upon hearing this, that directly contradicted this new fundamental.

The first one:

I Timothy 6:17 
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy,

The second one:

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 

But that’s not all:
  
Ecclesiastes 3:13
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 5:18
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
It’s perfectly normal and healthy and even needful for young people to want to have fun.  It’s normal and healthy for adults too.  
What possibly could be wrong with wanting to have as much fun as opportunity permits when it is celebrated as another of the innumerable gifts from God?
Yeah, Dr. Suess had it right.

[Editorial Note: This article is intended for those readers who have chosen to accept the Bible as authoritative for faith and practice. If you are not one of those readers, please be understanding of the intended audience and refrain from commenting on the assumptions on which it is based. Please refrain from this pertains to all Christians everywhere and show some respect for the writer please. For more info on the site please visit - Is NLQ an Atheist Website?]

Comments open below

Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Cindy Foster blogs at Baptist Taliban and Beyond.

Cindy Foster is “Mom” to eight gorgeous, talented, temperamental, noisy, opinionated, alike-but very different kids. She has been married to their daddy, Paul, for 34 years.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

About Suzanne Calulu
  • persephone

    If you get a chance, watch “Babette’s Feast.” It’s about a French woman who escapes the wars in France and is taken in as a refugee by strict Lutherans in Sweden. It’s a very sweet film, and subtly contrasts the attitudes of the nominally Catholic Babette and her sponsors who believe that fun is not in the bible.

  • veiledlady

    Deuteronomy 14:23-26 sounds a lot like the whole community is supposed to get nice food and alcohol, gather together, and throw a fun party.

  • Nightshade

    Right, because good Christians everywhere are supposed to believe that Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding feast was for…what? Couldn’t possibly be to add to anyone’s enjoyment, could it?

  • Independent Thinker

    I am pretty sure Warren Jeffs has taken a similar stance on fun. Can we say red flag?

  • Baby_Raptor

    The last church my grandparents dragged me to before I stopped going honestly taught that Jesus didn’t turn water into wine as we know it today; he turned it into grapejuice.

    Because alcohol is bad, in any amount, no matter what. Even if the bible says Jesus made it himself.

    Made for great times a couple years later when I was pregnant and my doctor wanted an amnio done because he considered me “high risk” due to my age. (I was 19. No idea why that made me a risk.) He suggested a small glass of wine after dinner for a couple days after the test. This caused a huge conundrum for my grandparents.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Fun is Satan’s trap, guys! Avoid it or LOSE YOUR SOUL!

    (Snark, nobody throw tomatoes at me.)

  • Theo Darling

    Ugh.

    Semi-related, did anyone else see that Mark Driscoll video series (years ago) on Ruth, where he made some bro jokes about Ruth making sexual advances to Boaz, and when he got his laugh, said he was just putting “the fun back in fundamentalism.”

    So I’ve seen this “fun” thing argued two very different ways. FUN IS BAD, but also ONLY WE KNOW HOW TO HAVE /REAL/ FUN AND THAT FUN COMES FROM BEING PRICKS.

  • Cindy Foster

    Yep. That’s exactly what they believe. It was grape juice, not wine. Got many sermons to ‘clarify’ that one. Yet, they are emphatic that the Bible is to interpreted literally?

  • Cindy Foster

    In fact, they did a lot of partying in the OT days! How about those wedding celebrations?

  • Cindy Foster

    I am still wondering how they came up with the idea in the first place (since there clearly are many references to the contrary, and why no one challenged it, again, since there is clearly so many references to the contrary….

  • Cindy Foster

    I have read it and, yes, the story is so fitting…

  • Cindy Foster

    Can’t stomach the guy, at all. But yeah, you are right in that they think they are the only ones who can authoritatively define what ‘real’ fun is. Ignorance is always bliss…. which is, incidentally, on their ‘approved fun’ list.

  • Cindy Foster

    They share a lot of similarities with Warren Jeffs. It baffles me that they can’t see it…

  • Leah

    I suspect it’s that they haven’t bothered to look in the bible. I’m regularly astonished at how many “bible-believing” fundamentalists seem to have missed/had severe reading-comprehension problems with vast swaths of the bible. I imagine it’s a combination of biblical ignorance, an inability/unwillingness to read the bible for comprehension instead of for proof texts, and a not-entirely-conscious attitude of ‘screw it, we can’t let the word of God interfere with a good slogan.’ That last one seems shocking, since it’s so against their stated beliefs, but it’s ridiculously common. (Water into grape juice, anybody?)


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