Not Quoting Quiverfull: The Dones?

Not Quoting Quiverfull: The Dones? November 23, 2014

boxingglovesby Mark Sandlin from the Patheos blog The God Article – The Rise of ‘The Dones’ as the Church Kills Spiritual Community Mark is also the founder of The Christian Left

Excellent article and observations. Many of us from the former Quiverfull community are now part of ‘The Dones’, being told we were never ‘real’ Christians or we would have never walked away in the first place.  Predictably there are a few True Believers in the comments slinging Bible verses and hate. How about you, dear readers? Are you a SBNR, The Nones or part of The Dones?

The Dones are done – walking away from Church, never to come back. They were once considered essential, valuable members of the community right up until the moment they left. Now they are big dummies that just don’t get it.


I think we may have just found the problem. That’s not really community. That’s not the unconditional love I hear preached from pulpits and in the teachings of Jesus. That’s a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” kind of attitude that reeks of power structures, fitting in and meeting expectations. It’s basically what you would expect to find in institutions that are centuries old.

Interestingly enough, unlike the larger group of SBNR, some of whom are intentionally and unintentionally seeking out other forms of spiritual community, all of the Dones are done with spiritual community of any form.

The Church is killing spiritual community or at least killing it in an ever-growing portion of our population. The Dones’ experience with the Church killed their desire to ever go to that place of spiritual relationship in community again.

If the Church’s ears aren’t perking up at this point, we have a problem that can’t be fixed.

If you’re curious about whether the Church is now listening just come back in a day or so and read the comment section of this post. Denial will be firing on all cylinders, working desperately to poke holes in everything said here, pointing figures in every direction except at the Church – there may even be a little name calling going on.

I’d actually make the argument that the rise of the Dones doesn’t just point to the Church killing of the Dones’ desire for spiritual community, it points to the damage the Church has already done to spiritual community within itself.

Over the past few years, as the Church has come to grasp the reality that folks are leaving and the behavior of the body of Christ was one of their main contentions, we’ve seen public figures basically say, “get over it – community is hard.” Again, pointing fingers at those whom I’d argue are the victims.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

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  • My husband is a Done. I think I’m an Almost Done. I’m still active in the women’s group in our church but rarely go to worship services. I’m definitely not SBNR, because it’s the spiritual part of religion I don’t connect to. The practical part (feed the hungry, etc, etc) is what draws me in.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I am an Almost Done now due to some shitty behavior in the ladies group at the church I’m at now. I have no patience for politics.

  • MizzKittay

    What is SBNR?

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Spiritual But Not Religious

  • BlueVibe

    I hit this point a few years ago (in fairness, I was never seriously religious in the first place; I didn’t have as far to fall and probably had less inclination to persevere than many) although for slightly different reasons. I left a large congregation in the nearest big city for a much, much, smaller one in a distant, smaller city. When I say “much smaller”, I meant that if the entire congregation shows up and our frequent guest is in town, there will be seven people.

    I burned out. I was on one or two moderately-active committees and did childcare (which requires less time than most churches’ probably does but had a chronic volunteer shortage), which meant I usually missed out on workshops because I was with the kids. And then we tried to build a new kids’ building, which turned into and endless round of brainstorming and researching ideas–some good and some completely harebrained–and . . . I don’t even know how to describe it. It was a tornado.

    There weren’t any really vicious personalities involved. There were, though, a lot of strong personalities with widely different visions of what we needed to be, and there was no cohesion at all in general. I don’t even mean this as a criticism–I think that the congregation was simply in a phase where people were there because they needed support and needed a break from their workweek lives, and there just wasn’t enough feeding energy to go around. Nobody was fully committed because they were already exhausted from jobs, school, families, and because it’s an obscure-ish religion in a big city, there is only one house of worship, so people were coming from all over the [expansive] metropolitan area. Families with kids would come from other counties if their nearby congregations weren’t big enough to have kids’ programs. It was a lot of travel time, and people didn’t want to stay for other events because it took all day and their kids had schoolwork to do, adults had other things they had to get done, etc. Daily life. But it’s very hard to grow together when you see each other and work together so little.

    Again: I don’t even mean this as a criticism; I think people were simply overextended and confused. But I got burned out and transferred before I started actively hating it there. I still visit, but I don’t want to go back permanently.

  • BlueVibe

    Oh, wow–sorry. I didn’t realize that was so long.

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    Can you really blame people who poured themselves into a church, only to be used and then abandoned when the going got tough (they had difficult circumstances, doubts, or couldn’t give 100% 24/7 because of family or work, or were outright rejected after coming out, a divorce, voting against The Church, or any other grievous “sin”) for leaving entirely?

    I’ll occasionally go to a service from a mainline/liberal church/denomination, but yeah, I’m a Done. Not an SBNR, because the spiritual has only ever given me guilt and shame (very rarely any peace). Done.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    I’m not a None, a SBNR, or a Done. I’m a pastor. I’m listening.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    That practical part is where Jesus said we’d find him.