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all the way out in ‘impius’ magazine

August 22, 2011

Although I explained I am in no hurry to take on a new label of any sort and don’t think of myself as an Atheist at all, the editor of Impius, the new magazine of Sydney Atheists, kindly asked me to contribute an article for the inaugural edition. He wanted to include it in a section entitled Lifting the Veil which he plans will feature reader’s exit stories in future. I can’t paste the whole article here for copyright reasons but here’s a smidge. You can find the rest here. (It’s on page 28 of the August – October, 2011 edition.)

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The way out

Although not so long ago it pained me greatly to own it, I can now admit without too much blushing that I am a Recovering Fundamentalist. As unlikely as it seems to me now, I spent 20 years inside patriarchal Fundamentalist Christianity. I was converted as a very mixed up 19-year-old in a leapy, clappy megachurch, spent several years as a Pentecostal minister’s wife, and gradually transformed into a modest-dressing, homeschooling mother of a large tribe of children. We were ostensibly a happy, functional Christian family, indeed my friends tell me I was something of a hero in the circles in which we moved. People admired me and wanted what I had – a seemingly happy marriage, a beautiful bunch of smart, happy, respectful children and a lovely, organised home. It was invisible to me at the time, but there was all manner of misery lurking just beneath the surface. Eventually our family imploded and I staggered out of ruins, bringing my children with me.

A quiver full of sorrow

My Christianity evolved over the years I was a believer, but one characteristic which began to develop quite early was sympathy toward a set of ideas now referred to as ‘Quiverfull’ Christianity. The name comes from a bible verse from Psalm 127 which states:

Children are an inheritance from the Lord,

Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them…

There is no one Quiverfull denomination and no one guru, although its beginnings can be traced to a handful of influential American Fundamentalist authors of the 80s and 90s. It is best understood as a particularly powerful sort of cult-like thinking that pervades the mind of many believing couples and makes, as my friend, well-known Quiverfull walkaway Vyckie Garrison has said, ‘every family their own little cult’, striving to please God by emulating a prescribed ideal: the ‘biblical Christian family’…. continued here

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