Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962



Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors


I am a Blue Star Mother




Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks



 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


Keep To The Code








You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts




Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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The vice of victimhood

Wrong has been done to me in my lifetime.

And wrong has been done to you in yours.

I have done wrong to others in my lifetime.

And so have you.

Everyone living -- except those who have not yet lived long enough for this to apply -- has both done wrong and had wrong done to them.

The same could be said for all those who once lived but are no longer living, with the exception of tiny babies who left this earth before they had a chance to wrong anyone.

Many of those had grievous wrong done to them, up to and including their murder.

But while everyone in the world has -- to some degree or another -- had wrong done to them, not everyone identifies as an eternal victim.

That's because existing in a state of perpetual victimhood is a choice. We have the ability to forgive and forget: also a conscious choice. 

I know from personal experience that spiritual, emotional, and physical abuse leaves scars. I also know that you don't have to live each day staring at them. In fact to the extent that we do, we render our lives all but irrelevant.

That's because self-imposed victimhood is a lie. And you're more likely to get frostbite in Fort Lauderdale than you are to make anything useful out of a life built on lies.

During my nine years as a court reporter doing almost exclusively deposition work, I was continually amazed at how quick people are to play the victim. For most, the victim reaction is instinctive. It's a knee-jerk response.

But I was equally amazed by this: The more an individual had been victimized -- and I base that not on my interpretation, but on particulars of their case presented to the court as fact -- the less likely they were to characterize themselves as a victim.

And vice versa.

It was like some kind of phenomenon. 

I once sat for an entire day in a crowded conference room listening to multi-millionaires whine because their seven-thousand-square-foot luxury residence had been built eight feet closer to the road than they wanted, and rotated fifteen degrees in the wrong direction.

Also the hardwood floors didn't turn out to look as "cool" as they had envisioned.

In the same case, a retaining wall built four inches too high elicited an hour of aggrieved testimony from the put-upon parties victimized by a diabolical hardscape designer and his cunning coterie of evil stonemasons.

Anyone who had ever walked their dog past that manse while it was under construction, and everyone from the guy who drove the dump truck full of fill dirt on ground-breaking day to the last undocumented worker who polished those uncool floors, got sued. The case caption was two pages in length.

Everybody and their brother, and their brother's pet parakeet -- except the homeowners who commissioned the ill-fated Xanadu -- was to blame.

And yet in a case where the wronged party was a woman whose leg had been grotesquely mangled in a catastrophic collision with a semi-tractor-trailer -- which accident she barely survived -- there was not a whiff of victimhood.

When the lawyer asked the maimed deponent to testify as to her belief regarding the guilt of the truck driver -- who escaped injury -- she answered simply: "I can't say who was at fault because I don't remember."

Girl, I thought. There was your chance to cry victim and you missed it. Instead, you left room to implicate yourself. Now you may have to take whatever part of the blame might be yours.

(Oh and if you do not believe people lie under oath, I suggest it's time to have your rose-colored glasses prescription adjusted.)

And when they do lie, it is almost always to make themselves out as more of a victim than they actually are. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, the end game is to line their pockets with cash.

Maybe you know one. Maybe you are one.

Perhaps you are acquainted with a pseudo-victim. Here are a few traits common to the breed:

Although they are as likely to admit it as they are to turn purple, sprout wings, and fly to Mars, pseudo-victims see themselves as near-perfect. According to them, they are innocent and misunderstood, beleaguered and persecuted, under-appreciated and much-maligned. They grant themselves every benefit of the doubt while affording that same courtesy only to those who agree with every syllable of every tenet of their self-indulgent victim agenda.

The pseudo-victim automatically and habitually heaps scorn on those who have had the audacity to make good solid choices in life. The amount of contempt leveled at the one who took a higher road in any particular -- i.e., morally, ethically, or spiritually -- is in direct proportion to the degree to which that person has reaped the benefits of having made decisions based on Biblical truth.

Once a victim, always a victim, and someone else is always one-hundred-percent to blame. After satisfying themselves that they are indeed victims, pseudo-victims accept zero responsibility for anything that has ever happened to them or will ever happen to them in the future, that they perceive as "bad." Their victimhood spills over into virtually every aspect of their lives.

Oddly enough, pseudo-victims claim to have simply everything figured out. They've memorized the manual. No; they wrote the manual. They know all of the solutions to every problem. They are privy to the thoughts, intents, motives, and deeds of others whom they accuse of having wronged them, even when they were not necessarily a witness to those individuals' actions and cannot divine others' thoughts. The pseudo-victims are oracles; they are all-seeing eyes. They are the love children of Ouija Boards and Magic-8 Balls.

Whether directly or indirectly, the pseudo-victim blames God for every disappointment they have ever experienced, reserving special loathing for anything "done to" them in a Bible-believing church. They ooze derision for God's people and hold them accountable for every misfortune, large and small, that has ever befallen them. If only the Christians had left them alone, their life would have been flawless, stunning, sparkling, sublime.

Pseudo-victims are unable to stay on topic -- even their own most cherished subject, which is themselves. What starts with tales of perpetual victimhood soon and often devolves into malice-drenched, slanderous -- and usually baseless -- gossip sessions with others like them. The pseudo-victims in their clubhouse adore slinging unfounded accusations at anyone who ever failed to fully validate them, or who had the effrontery to challenge them, thwart them, or even disagree with them on any minor point.

While anything but shining examples of righteousness themselves, professional pseudo-victims demand adherence to the highest of standards by everyone else -- especially anyone claiming to be a fundamentalist Christian. If a fundamentalist Christian commits a sin, they are immediately disqualified from all credibility and any hope of redemption. They may as well go down into the dirt and give up for good because they are not worthy to be looked upon, much less acknowledged as having a valid viewpoint.

The life of the pseudo-victim has been marked since childhood with contempt for authority. The pseudo-victim is an ingrate, full of rebellion. Nothing done for them was ever enough to make them happy even for a moment, but even one thing done to them was more than enough to make them mad forever.

It is not likely there will be a miraculous recovery as long as they cling to their malignant victimhood. They will leave this earth still embittered victims, still as miserable as they are misinformed, still blaming others for their own failures.

Pseudo-victims have an astonishingly thoroughgoing sense of entitlement. They are "owed" something at every turn: reverence, respect, pity, vindication, attention, unquestioning belief in the veracity of their every emotion and every utterance. And no matter how much they get from any quarter of any or all of the above, again: It is never enough.

Like the faithful on a pilgrimage to locate the holy grail, they always come back for more. They crave and demand the blind sycophantic loyalty and approbation of all those they encounter.

While pseudo-victims snivel and sob and brandish their tiny one-note violins, authentic victims go all but unnoticed and almost always remain unhelped. In fact, a pseudo-victim wouldn't know a true victim if the identity of that person were revealed to them by God Himself. With their selfish sense of entitlement and their preoccupation with misdirected antagonisms, fake victims further victimize actual victims.

If another "victim" does not agree with them on all points -- for example, if a victim chooses to forgive those who ill-used him and move on with his life -- the pseudo-victim deems that person's victimhood invalid. Only those willing to rubber-stamp the eternal victim's narrative and be eternal victims in their own right, are invited to the party.

If one whom the pseudo-victims have championed as a fellow victim strays from the reservation so much as a lamb's length, and balks on any of the main talking points, the phony victims turn on that person and rip them to shreds. That's because pseudo-victims aggressively lord it over others while vocally despising and taking to task anyone who ever presumed to have any say over the behavior of the pseudo-victims. In other words, they love to dish out orders but refuse to take them from anyone else.

Pseudo-victims tend to be short-sighted, immature, and selfish. They desperately seek personal relevance while leading lives defined by petty jealousy. They are stubbornly blind to the big picture. They are rarely part of the solution but are perennially part of the problem. They repeat what they've heard, deeming themselves much smarter than they actually are. They are shockingly ineffectual but like most such people, they are blissfully -- for them at least -- unaware of that fact. A ninetieth-percentile parrot demonstrates more insight and intelligence.

The pseudo-victim is likely to be politically liberal, personally licentious, purposefully libelous, and -- all too often, in fact almost always -- only partially literate. They're inordinately proud of the first three, the godlessness of those traits being so supremely satisfying. But if you call them on that last part, they'll blame their parents, their teachers, the school they attended -- as long as it was a Christian school -- and/or, lacking a better scapegoat, their smart phone.

And I repeat: That is because nothing -- ever -- is their fault.

If I Could Teach The World To Think

You have probably concluded that I'm the meanest person alive if, by writing that, I claim to know people who exhibit all of the unsavory qualities I just described.

But I'm not saying that, so settle down. I may be given to flights of hyperbole but I'd be surprised if anyone living in the world today could fit the above description in every particular, all of the time.

The truth is, I recognized some of those characteristics as being applicable to myself, at one time or another. I hope to avoid being so foolish again, but you never know.

If you're being honest, you saw yourself in some of them too.

That's because we are all guilty of stubborn pride, of selfishness, of self-pity, and of blaming others for what we do not wish to face and own up to as being our fault. If we think we are not, we deceive ourselves.

However, some people live in that place of dedicated pseudo-victimhood too much, too often, for too long, and much too comfortably. And it is those who have the most difficulty recognizing their own predilection for victimhood.

Others have learned that to be human is to give and take offense. It cannot be helped. More or less constant forgiveness is required every single day, of anyone who wishes to be successful in relationships and to find any measure of personal peace and joy.

The hue and cry over the past nine months -- since Jack Schaap's disgrace -- has issued, flame-thrower style, from many who consider themselves to be extreme victims of the late Jack Hyles, of Jack Schaap, of First Baptist Church of Hammond, and of the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement in general.

The events as they have unfolded have generated a great deal of discussion and with it, a fair amount of heat.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like IFB?

Among IFB-haters the decision seems to be unanimous. If only they could padlock every door of every IFB church in America and across the globe -- with all the fundamentalists inside -- and burn them to the ground, the universe would instantly be a better, happier, more fair, and less menacing place.

Only, it wouldn't. Have they convinced themselves that megalomaniacal religious leaders and child abusers and sexual predators -- even hypocrites -- exist only in IFB churches? Or, for that matter, only in churches, period? Surely nobody is that -- ahem -- ignorant.

No; they're aware that burning the IFB churches and all the fundies to cinders, while very exciting, wouldn't put an end to that kind of malignant evil. It wouldn't even put a dent in lessening human tragedy.

But they do think it would solve the problem of upstart hypocritical legalistic fundamentalists coming at them ever again proffering that offensive idea of eternal absolute truth, and the responsibility of every human being to live in light of the same.

Of course, they're wrong about that too. Truth will never be curtailed or derailed, no matter who wishes it and no matter how many find it inconvenient.

According to the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 people per year die of preventable medical errors. At least that was the 2003 estimate; some believe the number now is closer to 110,000 deaths per year.

If the Centers for Disease Control recognized preventable medical errors as a category, preventable medical errors would be the sixth leading cause of death in America. Such negligence costs Americans more than their lives; the annual price tag is over $30 billion. 

So, the next time a perpetual victim finds himself in need of medical care, will he remember those staggering statistics? Will he rant and rave against the medical establishment and refuse to set foot in a hospital, clinic, or other health care facility, based on documentation of their dismal failure rate?

Will he cite the negligence, the laziness, the arrogance, the ignorance, the sloppiness, the unreliability, the untrustworthiness of healthcare professionals in general, and determine to stay home and heal himself?

No. The pseudo-victim will run to the hospital or clinic and seek immediate treatment from those who make grievous life-and-death errors on an unforgivably vast scale and in incredibly huge numbers, because those places -- and those people -- represent his best chance for survival.

But we know that very nearly every fundamentalist, and almost every IFB church, must be pilloried, disgraced, ridiculed, criticized, and drummed out of existence because some within its ranks are arrogant, prurient, negligent, lax, insincere, irresponsible, underqualified, untrustworthy, lazy, sloppy, or careless.

Naturally. Makes perfect sense. That is, if you're a perpetual pseudo-victim and it's God you're really mad at.

Nobody Throws God Around, Around Here

Much has been said in recent days about healing. Healing from the abuse of fundamentalism. Linda Hyles, on her website, promises she won't quote Bible verses to you, "impose" God upon you, or throw Him in your face.

She says she has been there, done that, suffered from it, and it makes her nauseous. She seems fairly certain it will cause the same reaction in her readers.

With all due respect to Linda, I submit to you that someone supposing they even have the ability to impose God on people, knows God very little and knows people not at all.

God our Creator made us with a free will. He wants us to worship Him of our own volition and obey Him because we love Him. No other person can force God upon us; we alone have the power to acknowledge, accept, deny, or reject Him. Certainly no one can "do with" Him what He Himself will not do.

Likewise nobody possesses the power to "throw" God anywhere -- in the face of another person, or anyplace else. God is not controlled by us. The very idea is ludicrous, misleading, and dangerous.

The fact that Linda's promises appeal so strongly to IFB-haters is much more revealing of what is amiss with them, than of what may be amiss with Independent Fundamental Baptist churches.

If talk of God makes you sick, and if Bible verses cause you to hyperventilate or foam at the mouth, you have deeper problems than anything that was "done to" you in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, or anywhere else.

That's because there is no truth -- and therefore no healing whatsoever, of any kind, to be had -- outside of God and the Bible.

To assure people otherwise is to egregiously and heartlessly victimize them.

I state that with the utmost respect, compassion, and concern for true victims of spiritual, emotional, and sexual abuse.

Yes; I know there has been abuse in IFB churches. I know it continues today. It grieves my heart and it makes me angry. But the answer is not to shun and avoid churches where the Bible is preached as the final authority for faith and practice, turning instead to man's humanistic philosophies.

No extrabiblical philosophy devised by man will ever serve as anyone's deathbed solace. Nothing man comes up with as a substitute for God will be of any real help to the hurting in life, either.

I grew up with an alcoholic stepfather. He finally quit but toward the end, when his addiction had him most firmly in its grip, he drank more or less around the clock to avoid suffering debilitating hangovers.

But since people must sleep sometime, he would pass out at night, be unconscious for several hours, then wake up and immediately call for me to mix him a vodka and orange juice. Hair of the dog, drunks call it. You need some hair of the dog that bit you, in order to feel better.

Apologies for the crude example and I hate to be the one to deliver this awful news, but the very thing needed most by those who have experienced abuse in a negligent church or at the hands of carnal, selfish, manipulative Christians -- and yes, I have experienced that too -- is the sort of thing one finds in a good church.

They need the Lord. They need Him now. They need to hear the Word of God. There is not a moment to waste. The abused do not deserve the false hope of those who would offer them even the best that man can do. They need help and guidance in experiencing God's love and His mercy and His grace again, or for the first time.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I leave you with a quote which blessed my heart this week.


I now know, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?

C.S. Lewis



I surrender all

Several people have emailed me, alarmed that I disabled comments on the previous post. Ergo I have reconsidered and, to quote the cute pirate:

I've changed me mind.

No; I have not changed my mind about Linda Hyles. 

If anything I now realize I was remiss in handling Her Nibs -- and her ever-present entourage of tools court jesters -- with kid gloves. 

Here's another pirate quote -- different pirate but same basic principle:

I won't be making that mistake again.

So here's the deal. Comments are re-enabled on my open letter to Linda Hyles Murphrey.

And now for a commenter refresher course.

In addition to the old ground rules, which are ...

One: Stay on topic. 

Two: Do not cuss.

Three: Post no links.

... there are two new ones:

Four: Do not attack my family. Any of my family. Ever.

If you have something nice to say about my family, fire away. But do not insult my family on this website. Most of them are on Facebook and, after all, that's where the majority of the FBCH/HBHS/HAC ingrates/malcontents like to hang out all day anyway.

So if you have the courage, "friend" any one of my family members and direct your comments to them through that medium. They are all decent, Christ-honoring people who will likely answer you with nothing but grace, kindness, and aplomb.

In any event, leave me out of it because I do not fight my family members' battles any more than they fight mine.

News flash: My husband and I do not have Facebook accounts. We have never had Facebook accounts.

If you look up into the sky someday and see airborne swine dressed in Grecian togas, flitting from cloud to cloud, singing Daddy Let Your Hair Hang Down in eight-part harmony, you may have lived to see the day Greg and I have Facebook accounts. 

However, I doubt it.

But we do have email accounts. I can be reached through the link provided in the sidebar of this page. If you want Greg's email address, let me know and I'll provide that too.

This is my reasoning: If you are trashing and insulting me over here, at least for the time it takes you to do that, you are not trashing and insulting others elsewhere on the Internet.

So do your worst. Call me everything but a human being; I can take it.

But remember: In every accusation there is a confession. You reveal a lot about yourself by what you accuse others of having done.

That goes for me too; I know it too well.

This warning is for your benefit: Think before you post.

Five: Any anonymous or semi-anonymous comments -- even the complimentary ones -- will be deleted. If you won't own your words with your identity, skulk around the Web and drop them somewhere else.

You can always email me. I will answer; I promise. You may not like what I answer, but I will answer.

But again: If you fail to divulge your full identity, you will not hear from me even if you write to say you've bequeathed a million dollars to me in your will, and you're in ill health.

Also you must include a valid email address so that I may contact you privately if I wish. If you don't, even if you identify yourself, I will delete and ignore your comment.

And this should satisfy the hundreds of people who have swarmed this website for the past week: There will be a new post in a day or two.

The title is The Vice of Victimhood.

I hope you'll read, enjoy, comment, and learn.

To all those who have egged me on encouraged me via your kind and thoughtful emails, thank you.

Love, Jenny


And now for a wee bit of pushback

Riverside Cemetery ~ Asheville, North CarolinaIn my years of blogging I have never written about First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.

That's because although I was a member of that congregation from 1974 until 1991, and that's where I met my beloved TG, and our four children were born during those years, it is not a subject I thought my readers would find interesting.

And more than likely they still won't, but I need to write about it now, and I want this post to remain static.

Therefore it has its own blog page. How's that for dedication. My regular readers may ignore it altogether if they so choose.

Because what's on this page is not remotely germane to the random -- and rambling -- convo we're having on the main blog.

A few weeks ago Linda Murphrey, a California life coach, started a new website and posted an open letter to past and present members of First Baptist Church of Hammond.

If you want some context -- although if you don't know the players it won't mean much to you -- you may read that letter here.

For additional context, if you're interested you should read this. It's the latest installment in the sordid story of Linda Murphrey's brother-in-law, Jack Schaap, the husband of her younger sister Cindy, and the scandal he brought down on their church and his family last summer.

If you want to know even more and you've got some time to kill, just Google the name Jack Schaap.

(By the way: It is pronounced "SKOP" -- rhymes with STOP -- not "SHAP" like Jay Leno said.)

I warn you though, you may need to take a shower after reading some of this stuff. It's that disgusting.

Since the only daughter of Jack and Cindy Schaap is a Weber -- she's married to our nephew -- TG and I have a continuing vested interest in this quasi-epic saga.

And to be clear, allow me to point out that when I wrote my letter to Linda Murphrey, I had no intention of posting it here.

She had a guest book on her website and over one hundred comments -- 99.999999 percent of them favorable to her -- had already been posted.

Then a few nights ago, TG posted a comment that, while nowhere near as lengthy as mine, also qualified as pushback. He was gentler than me but still, it was a dissenting opinion.

Last night I posted my comment -- so long that I had to post it in several installments, and I will thank you not to snicker -- but at the end I hit a snag. As in, the website would not allow me to post the last section.

So I tried again this morning and found that the entire guest book had been surgically removed from Linda's site.

Now, if this is due to a glitch and the guest book is reinstated and my comment becomes visible, I will apologize and I will correct my error.

But I don't think that's what happened. In fact I am 99.999999 percent sure that's not what happened.

What happened was, Linda read my dissenting opinion and she didn't like it, and she's not about to let anyone else read it. Not on her website, anyway.

She was expecting only smarmy, fawning, oh-dear-you-poor-poor-thing type comments, and certainly she got a lot of those, and those were the only ones she was interested in making public.

And she's completely within her rights to allow whatever she pleases to stand on her website, and to delete whatever she pleases. I don't let people publish stuff of which I don't approve, on my website.

However, there is precedent on my website of my receiving quite a bit of pushback. In fact, I secretly crave pushback. That's because I enjoy arguing. We enjoy doing what we're good at.

If I am going to take my time to write it and put it out there, you can be dead sure I'll stand behind it. And I'm not known for backing down.

I get cowardly anonymous hate mail too, when I post about conservative politics. Sometimes I even share it with my readers.

The only thing I ask of commenters is that they do two things: stay on topic and do not use profanity.

As long as folks do that, I'll let them post whatever they like -- oh, except links. I do not allow people to post links on my website and I will summarily delete them.

But whatever contributors want to say, they can say, as long as they obey my two rules.

Not so the Linda Murphreys of this world. Although she and many others like her can dish on fundamental Christianity ad nauseam, ad infinitum, they will brook no objections.

Read: They are not interested in the truth. Even though they use that word constantly  -- "truth" and "victim" and "trigger" being their absolute favorite words of all time -- when it comes right down to it, they cannot handle the truth.

Funny that, because it's the identical accusation they consistently level upon fundamental Baptist churches. They will cry and rant all day long about how in such organizations, there is one authority -- the pastor -- and nobody else's viewpoint is asked for, needed, or allowed.

Just sit down, shut up, and open your wallet. If we want your opinion, we'll ask for it. But we won't because we don't.

And it IS that way in lots of independent fundamental Baptist churches. Just ask TG or my kids: many is the time I have fussed about that very thing.

I imagine it's that way in other denominations as well, and also in secular organizations.

But if you cannot bear to hear the other guy's side, it means you are afraid of picking up what he's about to put down.

And you know what they say: paranoia will destroy ya.

It's exactly like liberals. Exactly. And that's because that's exactly what Linda and her ilk are: liberals.

And bless your heart, you know how the Pirate feels about liberals.

So here you go: A salvo to the self-involved, as it were.


Open Letter to Linda Hyles Murphrey


Dear Linda:

You open your open letter to the dear past and present members of First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana, by stating simply: “You were my father’s first love.”

In the next sentence you equivocate: “I was never really sure if it was you that he loved, or merely the adoration and prestige he received from you.” 

Then you decide it was “definitely (emphasis mine) the latter, perhaps both.”

Finally you revert to being certain that the church members were indeed the primary object of your father's affection. No question about it: “I always knew that you, his ministry, mattered more than I did.”

So first it’s one way, then it’s another way, then it’s back to the first way. Which version do you truly believe, Linda? I don’t think you know.

If you do know, it’s not convenient at this juncture to say because, after thirty years off the radar -- basking in anonymity which you’re now only too happy to relinquish -- and not having personally advanced the ball of what is honest and true and right about fundamentalism so much as a centimeter, you pop up to cash in on this latest, most cataclysmic of scandals in your family. 

I refer to the Jack Schaap scandal, the one nobody can deny because for once, the perpetrator was cornered like a wild animal and had no choice but to cry mea culpa.

To be brutally honest, these days the mention of the name “Hyles” makes my eyes glaze over and induces a yawning spell. I don’t mean to be rude but I am that bored by all of your family’s many dramas and escapades.

Having spent seventeen years under the sound of your father’s voice and very much under his influence, I am here to state unequivocally that your father did love you. And no; he did not love the members of First Baptist Church of Hammond more. They -- we -- did not mean more to him than you or your siblings. You’re wrong about that.

From our perspective, if one could presume to be inside your dad’s head and heart although he is now twelve-plus years in his grave, I would venture to say that the order in which he set his devotion on those who were important to him was more like this:

1. His family.

2. His ministry.

Within the ministry, those “fifty-niners” who “stuck by the stuff” were definitely topmost in his heart. Nobody could supplant them; they were extra-special. Or at least that’s what he said, approximately six hundred times that I know of.

Bringing up the rear on the ministry front would be those of us who came in droves to Northwest Indiana to attend Hyles-Anderson College or to become members of First Baptist Church. Although your dad and your brother criss-crossed the country begging us to come, when we showed up, we were made to feel as though the “real” members of FBC hated us for “taking Brother Hyles away” from them. Which is total nonsense.

We had no such power. He did as he pleased.

Third came the fundamental pastors across America who, whether intentionally or not, dubbed your father the “pastors’ pastor” and gave him a wide berth when it came to what he did, what he said, what he preached -- as long as he preached for them, and conducted Pastors’ School every March, and granted them an audience with himself on much-coveted occasion.

But back to your letter. I would like to point out that your father did not “create worship” of himself, within me. I never for one split second worshiped your father. Nor was I mesmerized by him. I thought he was a special person and like many thousands of other sane, rational people, I loved and respected him. He did a number of nice things for our family. He was funny and smart, and he could be very kind.

But it was God who saved me at Camp Stallion in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, on a June night in 1971, and it is God who keeps me to this day, and it is God I worship. I was fourteen years old and from a broken home. My salvation experience was simple: Brother Miller, the youth director of Weller Avenue (Southern) Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, gave a clear presentation of the gospel while we campers sat around a nighttime bonfire swatting mosquitoes. 

I had been wondering for at least two years what I needed to do to be saved. I wanted to know but nobody had come forth with the information. Unlike you I did not have the privilege of being taken to Sunday School and church as a child, and being told what to do to ensure the salvation of my never-dying soul.

When a classmate at Prescott Middle School invited me to church, and then to the camp, and Brother Miller said all I needed to do was trust the Lord, I knew I was ready to do that and I wanted to do that. 

I don’t remember if there was an invitation. I only know that after we’d been dismissed back to our cabins, I sat on my bunk -- upper -- and asked the Lord to save me. I told Him I knew I was a sinner and needed to be saved. I know He saved me that night and I have never had doubts except once about three years later, and when I doubted I went to my Bible and read what I already knew, and I prayed and received assurance. 

For the last forty-two years I have clumsily but sincerely embraced the fundamentals of the faith as revealed in the King James Bible, and the day will not come that I regret having made the decision as a fourteen-year-old girl, to do that.

Being a fundamentalist -- one who adheres to the fundamentals of the faith -- has brought me many blessings and joys. For example there is my precious husband, Greg, who is the best Christian I have ever known or ever will know; our four children; our son-in-law the independent fundamental Baptist preacher, an upright man; and our three grandchildren -- all fundamentalists, right down to the baby.

We are woefully far from being model Christians, any of us. Please don’t think I am asserting that we are better than anyone else because we refuse to forsake fundamentalism. But even the novice or faltering Christian reaps so many benefits from clinging, however weakly, to the simple fundamentals of our faith. It is the truth that makes us free and there is strength in freedom. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Of course there is a stigma attached, and that is where most people lose their nerve and with it, the ability to go all the way leaning hard-right with the unpopular -- but no less true -- fundamental truths. Biblical separation is where the rubber meets the road, every time.

In fact, it’s not fundamentalism everyone is really railing against; that’s just a code word for the fact that they’re unwilling -- no; they refuse -- to come out from among the worldlings, and be separate, and to touch not the unclean thing.

They’d rather use the sinful world’s crude language, and tipple socially, and take up for the poor misunderstood homosexuals, and dress revealingly, and indulge in immorality, and just in general be cool, than identify with Christ and His sufferings -- not to mention His holiness. They do not hear the call to righteousness issued to every Christian because they’re not about to tune in to that station. 

And when challenged, the answer is always the same: “God looks on the heart.” Yes He does. And what we say, and what we wear, and what we do is a direct result of what’s in that heart God is looking on.

People who go on and on about having found the courage to locate their truth and thereby get on the path to real freedom -- they’re just saying that they’ve given themselves permission to do exactly as they see fit, at all times. To be the only one who gets to decide what belief system, what code of ethics, is appropriate for them. To do what is right in their own eyes, while acknowledging and accepting no pushback from anyone, least of all a preacher. 

What disappointment that has come my way due to certain aspects of man’s skewing of fundamentalism -- and what disillusionment, and what angst, and what discontent, and what discouragement, and what confusion, and what righteous indignation -- and there has been all of the above, in abundance -- has not always been solely because of the sheer wickedness of some who make their living off of fundamentalism.

A great deal of it has been the result of my own shortcomings, my own lack of understanding, my own selfishness, my own stubborn pride.

Sure, fundy nightmare churches exist. One might even say they abound. They’re a large part of your dad’s legacy. For example, in my opinion any church that identifies as or calls itself a “Hyles” church is a fundy nightmare. The thought of them makes my skin crawl. I’ll never again set foot in one. There’d be a reaction.

We attend an independent, fundamental, Baptist church. We sing actual hymns, while holding actual hymnals. The men dress and conduct themselves like gentlemen and the ladies dress and conduct themselves modestly. We don’t have a contemporary service. In fact there is nothing contemporary about our church except that we have a beautiful new building. 

Our pastor preaches from the King James Bible. But nobody in our congregation worships him and he would be grieved -- more like appalled -- if he thought someone did. It is rare for him to talk about himself. His children and their families are a valuable part of our church but they do not exhibit an entitlement mentality. No one treats them like Baptist royalty. It’s not their kingdom; it’s their beloved place of worship just as much as it is ours.

But whatever sort of church you do -- or don’t -- attend, no one will escape the fundamentals. You can run but you cannot hide. In the end it doesn’t matter if you believe the eternal truths or not; those truths will determine your outcome, and mine, and everyone else’s.

You, Linda, talk a lot about finding “your” truth. But see, we do not get to decide for ourselves what truth is. Not by a long shot. Oh, maybe while life lasts. But not in the end. Not for all eternity. Secular humanism sounds nifty and it certainly is palatable to the masses, but it condemns people to hell.

Fundamentalism is neither defined nor bounded by the circus your father often made of it, and which others -- aping him -- made it, and many still make it. That was and is an illusion but the truth has always been there to see if you wanted to see it. 

Harry S. Truman, thirty-third President of the United States, was known as “Give ‘em Hell Harry.” His answer to the nickname was: “I don’t give people hell. I give them the truth and they think it’s hell.”

It may not have been easy but certainly it was possible to see and know the truth even at First Baptist Church of Hammond because there, just like everywhere else, if you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within. He keeps you on the right path if you listen to Him more than to all the earthly voices. 

I think in his heart of hearts, at least early on, your dad wanted his people to do that. More’s the pity that as the spirit of idolatry set in and took root, you had to sometimes shut your ears to your pastor in order to hear the Holy Spirit.

But make no mistake: Nobody who took part in the “ministry” of Jack Schaap for eleven-plus years -- and, by default, aided and abetted him in his outrageous behaviors and vile hypocrisies -- was listening to the still, small voice. Like the lost world, they were tuned in to the carnal, lustful, indecent, rapacious voice. There are many culpable people at First Baptist. Way up at the top and way back in the back. Jack Schaap took the fall for them all.

Your father’s preaching may have been grandiose and egotistical, narcissistic and self-indulgent, and he may have imparted far more practical than spiritual wisdom, but only eternity will tell what fruit remains. My guess is that it was probably different for each listener.

Just like when people sat through your TEDxOjaiChange talk, some heard one thing, some heard another. The speaker can only speak; the listener filters what is said through a lot of baggage, a lot of preconceived notions, the sum total of their life experiences. Oh -- and their own truth.

Although I do not defend him anymore -- like I did for years -- I will always be grateful for your father’s ministry. I do not agree with his preferred methods and I think he forfeited his last shred of credibility at the end. It was a crushing blow to learn that he had been saying one thing, living another. There is no shortage of tragedy in his story. But speaking only for me and my life, I am so glad for his preaching and teaching on many topics, which molded me and had a great impact on the way we reared our children.

One that comes to mind is what your dad taught us about not questioning and criticizing authority within earshot of our kids. Greg and I had many disagreements with many people -- your father included -- about many things during our seventeen years in the First Baptist system. But as a rule -- I’m sure we slipped up a time or two -- we didn’t let our children know when we suspected leadership of actions or beliefs inconsistent with what our crowd was supposed to do and believe.

When that happened, we reinforced the truth in our kids with all the more zeal, and watched even more carefully, and monitored the influences we allowed to get through to and mold our children. We weren’t zombies, Linda. Like thousands of other church members without the prestige and the privilege you enjoyed, we were just ordinary people who wanted to do right for the sake of future generations. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.

After all, that is what we were being asked to do and being told we should do. That is what we believed was expected of us, both as church members and as a staff family.

Your father did not use you to benefit the members of First Baptist Church. He used the members of First Baptist Church to benefit himself and you. And the reason he did that? He loved you. You’re attempting now to trade on his name, profiting from it even as you pseudo-trash him.

Know how I know that? Because if your name were not Linda Hyles Murphrey, nobody would care two flips what you had to say on this overworked subject.

But because you’re the boss’s daughter, the Baptist princess of yore whom I remember distinctly as one who appeared to be very comfortable in the role of belle of the ball, your spanking-new website is tricked out with little clickable cupped palms -- complete with dollar designations -- to make it easier than falling off a log for folks still enamored of the Hyles name and legacy to donate to your future “projects.”

This isn’t about helping people. It’s about money. And it’s gruesome. 

Speaking of pelf, those you accuse of being zombies did a heap of funding of your dad’s endeavors back in the day. Just for starters, they bought a New York City landfill’s worth of books and sermon tapes. Zombies at home, zombies far afield, going to work every day, living frugally, opening their threadbare zombie wallets, dropping hard-earned zombie folding money into the plate and onto the book tables, snatching up Jack Hyles ecclesiastical ephemera like there was no tomorrow. You benefited materially and tangibly from that, Linda. Your whole family did. You still do.

You may not have been able to shop at a 7-11 store in the Calumet area without being asked for your autograph -- quite horrible; who should be forced to endure such a thing -- but I’m pretty sure you didn’t have to put your dresses on layaway at Zayre. 

That’s because Daddy stocked your and your sister’s and mother’s purses with shiny credit cards from places like Rosalee and Evans, and had the bill sent to him. Thanks to the zombie book-and-tape collectors, there was more than enough mazuma to pay the freight.

Many women at First Baptist clothed themselves simply and economically while you and Cindy wore the bright feathers. I once heard that you girls and your mother dressed to the nines and went to Chicago for a fancy lunch at the Ritz Carlton, where at least a few of you ordered virgin daiquiris. Good times.

Was that the same mother you thought was crazy, whom you claim now to have hated, and to have abused at home when you were growing up? And it’s us you label zombies? 

In my opinion it was your family who were the zombies. If what you are saying is true, you lied every day of your lives, with no conscience, at the expense of thousands of sincere Christians. I saw you, Linda. Between 1974 and 1983 I saw you lots of times and in various situations, and you didn’t look scared or sad or lost or horrified to me. Not even a little bit. 

Back to the subject of clothes. I am grateful for the standards your dad promoted too. I know it isn’t fashionable and a girl can get called all sorts of names, the kindest of which would be “legalist,” by all sorts of people so much further along in their Christian life, if she dares to suggest that Christian women ought to dress more modestly than their secular counterparts.

But I not only suggest it; I insist that your father was right in that respect. Whatever his motives -- and nobody can know them; we can only speculate -- on that subject he was absolutely right. 

The stand your dad took did not hurt you, Linda. It helped you in ways you may not even recognize. You’ve acknowledged that a lot of who you are today is because of him, and that you learned many positive things from him. But don’t forget that in addition to all of that, his courage and his convictions gave you a life many girls could only dream of. He was imperfect at best, misguided at worst, but he had the courage of his convictions. He was fearless and part of me will always admire him for that.

One day in late 1982 or early 1983 -- not long before you left Indiana for Texas and blessed anonymity -- I was at Cindy’s house and you were there too. I think y’all had asked me to come over and show you some Mary Kay products, which I sold for a few years. We were talking about my job as a beauty consultant and I must have asked if either of you girls had ever considered selling cosmetics to augment your income. We were supposed to ask everyone.

Both you and Cindy demurred as though the idea were unthinkable, and it was an uncomfortable moment. I realized I’d blundered and I felt embarrassed. As usual I tried to fight my way out of it. I recall that I said something like, well, why not? You lot are no different than me. And I can still see your face as you corrected me, Linda, talking slowly like I was four and only marginally intelligent. You said, and I quote: “Yes, but our position is different.”

Oh. How could I have forgotten.

I repeat: Your dad adored you. He provided that position. How I would have enjoyed the luxury of a father who thought enough of me to simply stay, much less provide for me spiritually, emotionally, and materially the way your father did for you. Each time Brother Hyles mentioned the names Becky, David, Linda, and Cindy, everyone listening knew he doted on all four of you. 

Like most neurotic people blessed with longevity who are determined to leave their mark on the world, to build an empire as it were, your father made his share of mistakes, both private and public, both large and small. No one is denying that. 

Clarence Darrow once said: “Our parents ruin the first half of our lives and our children ruin the second half.” He must’ve known some Hyleses. You seem keen to impress upon everyone that your dad ruined the first half of your life, and certainly you were intent on bringing at least a measure of ruin to the second half of his. 

Does it help you that you succeeded, even a little bit? Was there no common ground on which the two of you could meet and work out your problems as father and daughter? Are you saying he was a monster? 

Because I am sorry if this trips your triggers, but fundamentalism is not those people who inhabit or claim it who would by their actions corrupt, demean, and debase it. They are just that: sinful people. They are not fundamentalism itself. Fundamentalism is merely the truth of God’s Word.

I cannot imagine why someone with your background would say: “May you abandon man-worship and forsake the venomous spirit of fundamentalism.” 

There is no such thing as a “venomous spirit of fundamentalism.” I don’t mean to just mouth off for the sake of it, but maybe instead of a Bible, what a lot of you highly-evolved disgruntleds need is a dictionary. And better powers of discernment.

But there is a great deal of man-worship in all religions, just as man-worship is rife in the world system. Nobody ever seems to have a problem with people worshiping Barack Obama. On the contrary; it’s encouraged.

You and all those like you are attempting to make the splenetic argument that, because fundamentalism is populated by -- gasp -- sinners, clearly it is fundamentalism that must be abolished. 

And yet you don’t seem to mind that secular organizations are jam-packed with unrepentant sinners, with child-molesters, with fornicators, with adulterers, with liars, with shysters, with players, with manipulators, with all manner of heathen who have gone disastrously astray and who prey relentlessly on the vulnerable. Find me one that isn’t and I’ll retract that but I think you should know I won’t be holding my breath.

Linda, I read not long ago that, like it or not, we are in bondage to whatever we believe. I don’t know about you but I would much rather be in bondage to the truth than to a lie. In fact one of my favorite sayings is “I would rather be confronted with the truth than comforted with a lie.” Because being in bondage to the truth is the only way to experience meaningful freedom. 

Want to know the label your dad attached to me? Several times he told me I was a “second-line girl.” Which meant -- I guess -- that I was from a “broken home.” That because my parents got a divorce when I was two years old, and because I wasn’t raised going to church, I wasn’t as good as girls like you and Cindy and Connie and Bonnie and Loretta, et al.

(More unabridged rubbish. More emotional skulduggery. More of what comes of clergy using the power and prestige of their office to manipulate and control people. While reprehensible, it is not exclusive either to your father or to fundamentalism. It’s boilerplate exploitation of the weak and unsophisticated and it is taking place this very moment at a location near you.)

During the worst days in my home, when things were darkest and blessings most meager, even as lost people we exhibited nothing of the cold heartlessness of your family. I have not always been overly close to my sister Kay, but I love her dearly and if I were asked point-blank to do something within my power to help her, I would run, not walk, to her side. Even if in order to help her, I was required to “put a toe into” a situation that made me uncomfortable.

I was intimidated by the First Baptist first-line girls once upon a time, but such upright, stellar, well-born, model females don’t intimidate me anymore. What a welcome relief.

In conclusion I wish to point out that in your letter you state: “Other girlfriends also allowed me to confide in them about the situation in our home and listened to me for endless hours as I occasionally unloaded on them some of the Hyles house horrors.”

You’re kidding. Teenaged girls listened to juicy salacious gossip? Teenaged girls dished on their parents? Teenaged girls were fascinated by a display of their pastor’s dirty laundry? That is all but unheard of. Just think what you could’ve accomplished if there’d been Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. 

In the next paragraph you gently upbraid those same girls by asking: “How could you stay when you knew all that I told you?” Linda, is it possible they didn’t really, truly believe you? I mean, come on. You could unload for endless hours on only some of the Hyles house horrors? Was there a dungeon? Were you denied food and water?

How is it we never saw a mark on you, and that everyone was always healthy and smiling? Did your mother dispense happy pills with the orange juice every morning?

I grew up under the iron hand of an abusive alcoholic who was also a criminal. Strictly second-line girl stuff -- or is it? Would you like to compare notes? You bring the blanket and flashlight; I’ll bring snacks.

Five paragraphs later you state: “No one ever knew what went on inside the walls at 8232 Greenwood Avenue, Munster, Indiana.”

[AUTHOR'S NOTE ADDED 4/8/13: Since the publishing of this letter, Linda has amended the letter on her site so that it now reads: "Few people knew what went on inside the walls at 8232 Greenwood Avenue, Munster, Indiana." But I printed a copy of Linda's letter as she posted it on March 18, 2013, and as it remained until a few days ago when I pointed out the discrepancy. I have that copy still. It originally read, as I stated above, that no one ever knew.]

[Too bad I didn't think to take a screenshot. It never occurred to me that I'd need it. Guess I underestimated the depth of Linda's paranoia and deception.]

So which is it? Did you unload for endless hours to various girlfriends on only some of the Hyles house horrors, or did no one ever know what went on inside the walls of the Hyles house? It cannot be both. 

If you think the girls in whom you confided your horror stories never breathed a word to anyone, I’m sorry but you need a wake-up call. They shared. The sordid details hung over Hammond like a noxious cloud.

I don’t care how you spin it, Linda. No matter what took place at 8232 Greenwood, you Hyles kids weren’t victims. You were not a victim. Your brother was not a victim. Your brother-in-law, Jack lite, was most certainly not a victim.

There were -- are -- plenty of victims but you’re not among their number. In fact I think that by your actions now, you are contributing to further victimization of those who have been permanently derailed by your family’s antics.

Because their only hope is in the truth of God’s Word. The fundamentals, as it were.

And believe it or not, I wish you the best. The best of everything available to those children of God who let Him be the sovereign authority throughout their lives that He’s going to be anyway, in the end.