A Godless Fundamentalist: Chapter Four – For the Love of Grunge

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Bert Perry's picture

....about the description of life at the Bill Rice ranch and such.   "A new girlfriend every week" sounds like something that should send shivers down the spine of anyone trying to avoid problems with sexual assault and the like.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John E.'s picture

Not the message I was intending to convey, Bert. We were just hormonally charged teenagers. And as sinful and lustful as we were, considering the setting, clandestinely holding hands was really all we hoped for.

For the record, during my time working at the Ranch, three incidents that I know of regarding sexual abuse/assault came to light. From what I could see, the Ranch's handling of all three of those situations were exemplary - swift and involved the secular authorities.

P.S. Considering the nature of some of the content, I tried to be discrete. I had my wife read over it before I published it to get her take. Even after publishing it, I went back and made some substantial edits because I was afraid that in my attempt to be discrete, I ended up accomplishing the exact opposite. 

Bert Perry's picture

Understood, and I'm glad they handled the aftermath well.  That noted, three incidents in a couple of years for a modest sized camp could be a warning sign that something wasn't working in the prevention department.  Hopefully they've improved a lot in the past quarter century, and it's commendable that they did the right thing even back then.

Back closer to the topics you hoped to discuss (sorry!), it strikes me that what went on at your school and at the camp was almost tailor made to foster rebellion.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John E.'s picture

I worked there two summers in college, too. The three events that I was aware of were spread out over four summers (five if you count the summer my senior year of high school when I didn't work there). 

Topic at hand:

I'm not sure that I would categorize it as "tailor made to foster rebellion." I guess that depends on how you're using "foster." I mean, our rebellion didn't need to be fostered, as in "encouraged," I don't think. It was already in full-flame within us. What we "needed" (wanted) were adults who naively assumed that we weren't rebels and that their rules could actually prevent us from "becoming" rebels. I would say that the system was tailor made to foster the outworking of our rebellion.

Ron Bean's picture

You’ve hit some home runs here John! “……..confidence minus any obnoxious and overt flaunting of glee while breaking the rules equaled a level of power over the rules that enabled me to do what I wanted without having to cower in fear.” Sometimes teachers/administrators inadvertently “broke rules” and didn’t realize what they were doing at the time. Looking back I realize that that was partly because “the leader” didn’t know how to deal a confident, though ignorant that it was confidence, breaking of rules.

Likewise on the relationship of leaders with supporters who had money and/or influence.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

John E.'s picture

Jim, the irony of that hasn't escaped me.

Seriously, though, it would be dishonest for me to deny that pop culture, specifically rock music, had a large and negative effect on my worldview. However, I still enjoy listening to rock music. People can make of that apparent contradiction what they will. I have zero desire to write an apologetic for Christians listening to rock music. For me, one of the main takeaways from my story should be, are *we* willing to be honest about the ways in which pop culture has effected us?  

G. N. Barkman's picture


I really appreciate your transparency in this series.  It's a real eye opener.  My background is similar to yours in many ways, but I was saved early in life, and that made all the difference.  

G. N. Barkman

John E.'s picture

Thank you. 

What a difference it is having a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone, right?