Fundies, the Salt of the Earth

Once upon a time, the Assistant Lighthouse Keeper at Port Boliver, Texas and his wife stood on the street corner handing out Jehovah’s Witness “Awake!” tracts brandishing “The End is Near” signs to the embarrassment of their 12-year-old son, who was meanwhile toting kerosene up and down the lighthouse. Up the road a bit, two members of the League City Assembly of God Church sang “I’ll Fly Away” expecting Jesus at any moment and telling their daughters that they would go to a literal Hell if they did not receive the Holy Spirit as proven by speaking in tongues.

Children of the above families grew up and married and did not worship or attend church. They metaphorically “threw out the baby with the bathwater.” However, to placate their fundamentalist parents, they insisted that their younger daughter attend an interdenominational church, which, fortunately was with rich open-minded spiritual mentors.

Alas, the girl married a Southern Baptist and attended church “every time the doors opened” for 13 years. A decade after her divorce, she attended a lecture by a man named Dr. Niels Nielsen, Jr., who addressed the group about fundamentalism as tackled in his latest book at the time, Fundamentalism, Mythos and World Religions. The young woman realized that she had not only divorced a man but also a spiritual way that did not fit her beliefs. Her spiritual shoes had become too tight and pinched. She went up to the speaker after the lecture and said innocently, “So, fundamentalists are frightened?” He replied, “It’s a bit more complicated than that.” A couple of decades and thousands of books (on religion, mythology and psychology) later, the beached and confused but naturally spiritual woman was gifted by Dr. Nielsen with the book that matched his lecture. After reading it, she understood how she could employ the salty heritage of her grandparents and former time wrapped in cotton wool at the Southern Baptist Church (a cocoon of sorts) to open up new sacred possibilities for re-mythologizing psychology and religion.