Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Inculation, Inoculation, and Insulation

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Inculation – Part 1

in·cul·cate (ĭn-kŭl′kāt′, ĭn′kŭl-)
tr.v. in·cul·cat·ed, in·cul·cat·ing, in·cul·cates
1. To impress (something) upon the mind of another by frequent instruction or repetition; instill: inculcating sound principles.
2. To teach (others) by frequent instruction or repetition; indoctrinate: inculcate the young with a sense of duty.

From a very young age I learned about heaven and hell, good and evil, and God, Jesus and Satan.  No, my parents didn’t go to church every Sunday.  In fact up until my dad died when I was twelve my family didn’t go with any frequency at all.  This sweet little couple with two kids of their own operated a bus ministry.  They ran a route on Sunday that came by my house and one day they stopped and asked my parents if it’d be alright if they picked me and my sister up for church on Sunday mornings.  So they came around in their re-purposed school bus painted green and white with Northside Baptist Church scrawled in cursive down either side every Sunday thereafter.  Sometimes I got on the bus and sometimes I didn’t, but they always came around.

While my parents slept in on Sundays, frequently, I’d tool down the road to church.  Seemed harmless enough at the time.  They took all us kids into “children’s church” where we learned about Adam and Eve and creation, Noah and the ark, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Moses, the Isrealites and all their obstinance, David and Goliath, and all the stories of old.  They taught us all about sin and where it came from, about the wages thereof, and about God and Jesus, and mercy and redemption.

They impressed on our young minds the truthfulness and reliability of all of the Bible.  We sang songs about all these things:

‘The B-i-b-l-e, that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, the B-i-b-l-e’,

‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the children of the world’,

‘God told Noah there’s going to be a floodie, floodie, Get those animals out of the muddie, muddie, Children of the Lord. God told Noah to build him an arky, arky, children of the Lord’,

‘I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the Calvary,
Shoot the Artillery,
I may never fly over land and sea,
But I’m in the lord’s Army.’

‘Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear,                                             Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear,
For the Father Up above,
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little ears
what you hear.’

‘Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho,
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came tumbling down!’

We played games and listened to stories as the leaders ‘acted’ them out with the characters on the flannel board.  Learning about all of this was so much fun.  Sunday after Sunday the greatness of God and his virtues were extolled to us.

Children’s church is where I first learned some really big words.  They seemed big to an eight-year-old anyway; words like omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.  We learned that there was only one God, he was the Christian God, and he was all powerful, all knowing, and all present.  God was everywhere all the time, he could see and hear everything and even knew my thoughts, and he could do anything.

We learned that Eve ate the apple, gave some to Adam, and ruined the perfect garden.  We learned that, just like that, sin entered the world and tainted every person ever since.  We learned that God sent Jesus to fix it all and all we had to do was trust in Jesus and everything would be okay.

Child-like faith was all we needed.

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47 thoughts on “Inculation, Inoculation, and Insulation

  1. I sang all of those same songs, Ruth. My you brought me back many years with this post. Even today though I am a non-believer , I still love Gospel music. I was very active in it and had a lot of fun with it. I keep in touch with some of my Gospel friends , some who are nationally known. Now that they know I have “changed” , we just don’t discuss religion, but we still have fun talking music. 🙂

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    • I love music and sang in a six-person group for a while. And, yes, I loved Gospel music and most of the contemporary stuff, too.

      I still love music, but it’s difficult for me not to hear the words – really listen to the message – of most of the music and truly enjoy it now.

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  2. I remember a lot of those songs, but thankfully that sinister one about little ears was never on the the menu! Do you think good music is benefit to religion? 🙂

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    • Yikes! Good music? lol

      None of that is good music. Did I enjoy the music? Yes. Do I have things I remember about my time in Christianity that I look back on with fondness? Definitely. But all of the music I listened to as a Christian had to do with theology, repentance, Christ’s death on the cross, my worthlessness compared to God’s worth. Despite all that I did enjoy the music. Is it good? Is it a benefit? I don’t know about that.

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      • Yeah, I know, I’m trying too hard to make a point now. There’s not much Christian music I like. I must say I love the Muslim call to prayer though.

        I like John’s comment about ‘floodie’. I wonder how many other Christian kids songs try to get away with disguising atrocities as fun.

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        • I wonder how many other Christian kids songs try to get away with disguising atrocities as fun.

          Many of them. That one about the walls of Jericho: it doesn’t go into all the death and destruction the preceded and followed it. It makes it sound so cool that Joshua marched around those walls and sounded the horns and the walls came tumbling down. Makes no mention of the war and plunder.

          There’s a song about Adam and Eve and how they ruined the garden. Makes it sound so innocuous, yet instills a doctrine at the same time.

          There are many just like them:

          http://www.dltk-bible.com/poems.htm

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          • Great link! If you’re not planning a post, I might try and throw one together, with due credit to you and John for the inspiration. But it certainly merits further mockery! 🙂

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          • LOL! I think you might do it a lot more justice than I ever could. I wasn’t planning a post on specifically that, so knock yourself out! 😀

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        • About your point. I think that most of us former believers could come up with quite a few things we saw as benefits. But are they benefits of belief? Or benefits of being part of the community as a whole? And anything we could possibly come up with that we remember fondly would seem trivial and inconsequential to someone who has never been a believer.

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          • I see what you’re saying. But the benefits I mention mean nothing to me personally. They are benefits to other people I know who are still involved in religion – people who are old, lonely, scared of death, or scared of life beyond their bubble. I think religion brings them comfort that secular life could never deliver. Or at least not for many generations to come.

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          • I agree with you. The benefits of belief are really only evident to someone who believes and/or has believed. That’s not to say there aren’t any.

            There are a lot of people who are knocking on death’s door who simply don’t want to be alone. Religious organizations provide relief to them.

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  3. “Floodie”… for an act of global genocide? Woo!

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  4. The Lord’s Army song always bothered me when the kids would sing it.

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    • Funny, that was one of my favorites because it had all these hand motions that went with it.

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    • Funny, just last week, my two little ones were listening to their new cd; and one of the songs was the Lord’s Army song. I bought the cd, thinking it was filled with non-religious kids’ songs. So, I was surprised when this song started playing, followed by “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho” and a couple more. Bummer. They’re really creepy – creepy with catchy music. I’ve been thinking I’ll just throw away the cd. I don’t want my kids singing along with the songs I sang along to when I was a kid. Have you steered clear of these songs with your kids?

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      • I’d throw it away at the earliest opportunity:)

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        • It’s going into the wastebasket now. 🙂

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          • I’m honestly glad to hear that. We don’t even realize how much religion pervades even what we believe to be secular society.

            In answer to your question, though, I wouldn’t intentionally expose my children to these songs, but if they heard them I’d probably use that as an opportunity to teach them about myths. There is no way to keep them from hearing about religion because of it’s pervasiveness. But you can keep them from being traumatized/dogmatized by it.

            I don’t have children but I can only imagine, knowing where I live and what I see every day, what they might be exposed to.

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          • Good advice. Thank you.

            It’s funny how differently I see it now. As a Christian, I thought I was “in the minority”. Always saddened by the secularization of society and how “the way of the world” seemed so pervasive. Now, I see just how integrated Christianity is in my culture. It’s everywhere! And in everything! Hard to get away from it actually. That’s okay, though. As you say, take the opportunities. 🙂

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          • I think we couldn’t see it when we were Christians because of the loud and obnoxious wolf-criers about a fictitious “War on Christianity”. On the inside everything “secular” looked like persecution. Now it’s easy to see all the Christian privilege. It really is everywhere!

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          • So true.

            “Christian privilege”…exactly.

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  5. Hey Ruth,

    Do you know this one?

    “He’s still working on me
    to make me what I ought to be
    it took him just a week to make the moon and stars,
    the son and the earth,and Jupiter and Mars.
    How loving and patient he must be
    He’s still working on me!”

    Sorry, don’t remember the verse/s, just the chorus. That was a throw back for me in Children’s Church in the early 80s.

    One that I sung in choir in my late twenties, creeped me out even back then.

    “He’s all over me and he’s keeping me alive!
    He’s all over me and he’s keeping me alive!
    I know he is keeping me, he’s keeping me alive!”

    I don’t remember the verse, but the next part’s even better. Picture it with a few dozen people singing the song using hand gestures…..

    “He’s to my left, to my right, to my front and back!
    Underneath, over me and he’s keeping me alive!” (Repeat over and over and over again.)

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  6. My favorite memories of being involved with Christianity was going to church camp as a teenager and chasing the girls. Those were the days ! 🙂

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  7. I was never involved with church at this level. The nearest I got to involvement was Sunday School for a short while. I still have the KJV bible from a ‘test’ all the kids sat while a warden walked among us handing out sweets.

    But the antics you describe, though they must have seemed like lots of fun ( as was Sunday School ) it is what I object to and why my blood boils when people still try to insist there are so many wonderful benefits to religion.

    I gained more or less the same benefits from Boy Scouts without the drivel of god belief.

    And of course what you were involved in was far more “out there” than a smattering of bible stories in the adjacent hall of an ancient,and quite beautiful, St Mary’s Church of England.

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    • The “fun” is part of the indoctrination, which is something very objectionable. It seems benign which is what makes it so insidious.

      What you are referring to as “out there” isn’t “out there” at all here in this region of the U.S. It is completely normal, expected really. Nobody thinks it strange, not even non-church-goers. Another insidiousness. Here’s a post I did about the small town I moved from two years ago: Smokeing or Non-Smokeing

      And by George, Ark, I think you might have just come up with a benefit of religion! The architecture of those English churches(I’m sure in other places, too) is absolutely beautiful. And you don’t have to drink the koolaid to appreciate it. 😉

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      • One does not have these types of building in South Africa. Sad to say.
        I used to love to wander about Chester Cathedral as a teen. What a magnificent building.
        I got chucked out by a vicar once for eating an ice lolly!

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        • For shame, Ark!

          I visited a few Cathedrals (Bath Abbey, Wells Cathedral, and some roadside churches) while I was in England and plan to go back. I was glad to pay the extra pounds to take photographs of the interior of Wells Cathedral.

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      • My oldest brother and I visited a Cathedral in Salisbury , England on our way back from Stonehenge a few years ago. The Church had a sandwich shop inside to which my brother commented, “wouldn’t it be nice if they served beer here too? ” and by George they did ! 🙂

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        • Oh, absolutely! Americans, I’m learning from my British husband, view alcohol and it’s consumption completely differently than those from other countries.

          We were watching a program called Legit yesterday morning. The lead actor is Australian and he was at a baseball game where he ordered two beers at once. The beer vendor said he could only serve him one at a time. His response, the same as my husband’s, “Bloody Americans!” Hubby says, “Amen to that.” He watches the news over here and shakes his head, “Crazy Americans,” he says.

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    • I’m not sure why WordPress stripped my link to my own post. Weird.

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  8. WordPress is probably controlled by Fundamentalists . 🙂

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