I have had this on my mind for a couple of weeks. Some of you who read this blog have spoken to me and we have discussed some of this. I have come to the conclusion that no one can be fundamental enough. No matter how fundamental you think you are, someone out there thinks you are a liberal, and is telling other preachers you are not fundamental at all.
The other day I watched that great old movie from 1993 Swing Kids. While watching it I was struck with the thought that we are well represented in that movie. The movie is about the rebellion against the Nazi’s in 1939. It was not a rebellion which involved demonstrations or guns or fighting between two opposing forces, it was a quiet rebellion of the mind and thought. We, and by we I mean those of us who label ourselves Independent Fundamental Baptists, (that includes you iBFers too) are well represented in that movie.
The Suicide Swing Kid
In the movie the character Arvid was a swing music aficionado. He could play guitar and had an encyclopedic knowledge of swing music, but he was a cripple. For those of you who are overly sensitive I mean he was handicapped, handicapped…I mean he was walkic-ly challenged. He had a problem with is foot and it made walking difficult. Arvid was a staunch idealist who battled in his own way against the Nazi’s but he knew he had no chance of defeating their nefarious plans. Arvid saw the evil in what the Nazi’s preached, but he also saw the futility in stopping them from preaching it. He knew tough times were ahead and so he killed himself because he did not want to be a part of it in any way. Arvid felt that by living in Germany he was just as much guilty for the atrocities against the Jews et. al. as everyone else. His suicide was a protest. There are many fundamentalists like Arvid. They know there are many things wrong with fundamentalism but they feel crippled or powerless to do anything about it. Eventually in one form or another they give up and commit a protest suicide by leaving the fundamentalist movement.
The Unintentional Swing Kid
Then there is good old Thomas Berger. He is a Swing Kid who can dance and enjoys the music. He is not too much into the politics and he does not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the music he enjoys, he just enjoys it. He is just along for the ride. From a feeling of obligation and brotherly fealty to another Swing
Kid he joins the Hitler Youth. At first Thomas has a plan all worked out. Nazi Youth by day Swing Kid by night. He shows his loyalty to the Swing Kid movement in a very public display against the uber Hitler Youther by using the Swing Kid code “it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing doo waaa doo waaa.” Instead of painting a target on his back the uber Hitler Youther begins to find common ground with Thomas. As a result of this attention, Thomas begins to embrace the philosophy of the Nazi’s. Soon he is transformed from a Swing Kid to an uber Hitler Youther, and he turns on his friends. Many fundamentalists are just like Thomas. They are casually walking along in their faith, they know some stuff but do not have an encyclopedic knowledge. They are happy to go along with the crowd, not a leader, but a follower. Someone cozys up to them and begins to radicalize them and the next thing you know they are unfriending people on Facebook because they used a $#!% word and listen to classic rock music.
The Dedicated Swing Kid
Peter Muller was the dedicated Swing Kid who had a working knowledge of the music and was sold out to the ideas of the Swing Kids. He knew the jargon, he knew the dance steps, he knew the musicians and he loved all of it. He was following his philosophy to a fault. He got himself in trouble and wound up in the Hitler Youth. He held to his philosophy and it caused him trouble with the Hitler Youth. Keep in mind that Peter was a German, and all Germans have nationalistic pride. He believed in a strong and prosperous Germany, he even believed, and I a supposing, that Germans were superior. His beliefs about his country did not go far enough for some, so he found himself a bit out-of-place in the Hitler Youth. Peter did not believe in the anti-Jewish sentiment of the day, he did not agree with Germany becoming a conquering nation, and he was certainly not a Nazi, German, but not Nazi. Eventually Peter wound up on a truck bound for a work camp; Swing Heil. Peter is a type…ya like that a type now I am a preaching…of a fundamentalist who is serious but not radical. He knows his Bible, he knows what his beliefs are and he is not easily swayed. He is on a firm foundation. He is sought by the more radical elements because he is smart, he works, and he is dedicated. The radicals must turn him or drive him out. Peter will never turn, he may go along to get along, but he will never turn. I have someone specific in mind when I describe Peter. I know this man, and woman and I love them dearly. I also love the Thomas, and the Arvid but I must admit I love the Peter more. He is who I want to be, he is who we all should want to be.
Of course there are the Nazi’s in this movie as well. When you are watching it objectively you cannot find much fault in the Nazi’s at first. (Of course it is very difficult to be objective when you say NAZI!) Some former Swing Kids became Hitler Youth and were doing very well in the organization. They are kind, pliant, willing to please and obedient. Underneath the thin veil of magnanimity lies a dark and loathsome philosophy which drives their ill will and fuels their irrational hatred. As the movie progresses you find them turning in their friends and family for not being German enough, not being loyal to the Nazi cause. You realize that while the basis of their philosophy is innocuous enough, that is to say national pride, their execution of that philosophy is detrimental to body, mind and soul. Of course it is too easy to compare the Nazi’s to iBFers; the rigid obedience, the twisted logic, the double standards, the lies, the manipulation, the demands on those they rule, the gossip, the backstabbing, the radical politics, the shady deals, the bad behavior, and the penchant to believe oneself superior to the all other humans, but I will leave it to your imagination.