Big week here at The Amish Jihadist. We have with us one very special lady. It’s none other than children’s minister extraordinaire (though yet to make the cover of Rolling Stone), Becky Fischer!
I thought about opening with the whole introduction thing, but then I was like, ‘Eh, that’s seems silly. They know who she is.’ (If not, follow this link to her website.)
As you’re well aware, I do not respond to my interviewee’s comments. They stand as is and I leave all responses to you. I hope you know how difficult that is for me. I have a hard enough time trying not to address my imaginary interlocutors, and then I get this interview?! Life’s hard.
Many thanks to Ms Becky for responding to my questions, which is far more than I can say for other people who agree to do my version of Five (or more) Questions and then decide they don’t like the questions. I’m thinking about including a segment called “Unanswered Five Questions” that addresses this very situation. I’ll just post the questions I asked and let you see what certain writers refused to answer. Now that will be fun.
And now . . . Onward Christian soldiers!
Five Questions with Becky Fischer
1) Why is your focus on children? Personally, I find them to be smelly and far too squirelly. They’re just all over the place. How and why do you do it?
LOL! I tell people my “gift” with kids lasts till after church on a Sunday morning. But when I’m “off duty” I get just as annoyed with crying children in stores and restaurants as everyone else. But truly children fascinate me. They are delightful short people with the purest hearts and greatest insights into the soul, and amazing intelligence. I see such hope and potential in them and clearly Jesus loves the little children, so how can I not? I do believe it’s a “calling” but one I take very seriously. But, having said that, I could not spend my entire day with them.
2) If you had to choose between Obama, Palin and Pope Francis to offer opening prayers at one of your most important summer camp services, who would it be and why?
Obama—President Obama would be committing political suicide to do anything for or appear to be supporting Becky Fischer of Jesus Camp in any way, shape or form. Democrats would call for his resignation, and liberals would demand an apology for his lapse in judgment.
The Pope—a wonderful role model for children but my concern is more focus would be put on the man because of his popularity and stature than on the purpose of the prayer.
Sarah Palin—I have a great deal in common with Sarah as the liberal media and many left-leaning people despise us equally. Nothing has been said about or to Sarah Palin that hasn’t been said to me (other than I don’t think anyone has ever hung me in effigy on Halloween). Because she has survived the unreasonable, and in some ways, unprecedented attacks, has risen above the fray, and goes on to influence Americans, she is a bit of a hero to me. Praying over one of our camps would do her neither harm nor good. But I would not hesitate to have her speak to or pray over my children.
But having said all that I think I am just better off doing the praying at my own camps.
3) Why do you think some Christians get hung up on telling other people what to do (for instance, by passing laws on, say, homosexuality and abortion), while they themselves do everything they can to avoid actually embodying the teachings of Jesus? I keep thinking that this same old same old stuff on, say, homosexuality is just a mask for Christians (on both sides of the debate, mind you) that keeps them from actually having to practice the Sermon on the Mount. I mean, why aren’t we talking about turning the other cheek, loving our enemies, or sharing our goods/giving it all away to the poor and needy? There are hundreds of references in the Bible that deal with how we use our resources to care for the poor, yet Christians in America seem to be hung up on just making sure gay people are not afforded the same rights as heterosexuals. Why is that the case?
As for the first part of the question, I could actually throw that back at you—why are homosexuals and abortionists so hung up on telling other people what to do?
Why is our culture so hung up on passing laws to protect homosexuality and abortion? These are things that destroy families, people, and lives. They are possessed with an agenda of self-destruction, self-gratification, and defiance. It is they, not Christians, who are trying to tell everybody else what to think and what to do, but nobody seems to notice that.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20)
Second, we could have a very long discussion on your opinion of Christians as per your statements above. Much of the perspective you just shared also shows a real lack of knowledge of Jesus and the scriptures and Christian behavior and doctrine regardless of whether or not you are familiar with the hundreds of references in the Bible you mentioned. How about spending equal time looking up to see how many scriptures ALSO talk about holiness, righteousness, purity, wholesome conversation, pure sexual conduct, the value of human life, and so on.
But as long as you bring it up, take a look around the world. Go with me to Africa and India and the Philippines to the places where I go and take a tour… You will quickly see it is overwhelmingly the Christians who are actively feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, building schools and educating children in nations where they otherwise could never get a decent education, housing the orphans and street children, sending children Christmas shoe boxes full of gifts, are first on the scenes where natural disasters take place, campaigning endlessly to end sex trafficking, digging wells so villages can have clean water, and the list goes on and on. And that includes doing these things in countries where their “enemies” live, which is a form of turning the other cheek. You are simply out of touch with reality or in denial if you are not aware of this. True, devoted followers of Christ give a minimum of 10% of their incomes to the needs of issues like this around the world. I’ll let you see my check book and what I give in charitable giving every year if you let me look at yours……
Why homosexuality and why abortion? Because it is upon these two issues the survival of all healthy societies everywhere rests.
With abortion, it’s about the sanctity of human life, one of the core premises that makes civilized societies so markedly different than the others. When the value of human life is diminished on one end of the spectrum (in the womb), it is simply a matter of time till human life in general has no value regardless of age and societal status. When we can kill any kind of innocent life without conscience, we are nothing more than barbarians and animals. The Bible teaches us to value every human. Judaism and Christianity was the first to dignify children and women and the elderly, all of which had little value in the cultures of the day.
Homosexuality is similar in that it is the antithesis of what holds a healthy society together—parents and family and procreation and healthy relationships. It can be argued all day about what a family is, and the pros and cons based on anecdotal information. But history is on the side of the family being the stable foundation of society.
Opening the door of eliminating traditional sexuality in the legal arena opens a Pandora’s box of other “alternative” sexual acceptance such as pedophilia that affects our entire societies—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, medically and more. What will be the next “alternative life-style” to beat on the doors of our courtrooms? Check out:
Normalizing Student-teacher sex http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/357304/normalizing-student-teacher-sex-wesley-j-smithSenate Approves Bill that Legalizes Sodomy and Bestiality in U.S. Military http://cnsnews.com/news/article/senate-approves-bill-legalizes-sodomy-and-bestiality-us-military
Where does it stop? At what point does the individual lose their dignity, protection and value? In a free society it won’t stop. As I said in the movie, “Democracy is designed to destroy itself.” In spite of our efforts, eventually, now that gay marriage has been legalized we as a society will continue to legalize all forms of perversion and call it “good.”
It’s the age-old question: Can you legislate morality? The simple answer is no. If a person is not “legislated” from within, no law will change the heart of man. But, those who oppose homosexuality are not trying to oppose individual people, but have their eye on the bigger picture of the world we live in.
But for Christians the Bible can speak for itself:
Romans 1: 20-32
20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,
30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;
31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
4) Harry Potter or Prince Caspian?
You already know what I think about Harry. But I found Prince Caspian boring for some reason. But I LOVE Aslan!
5) On the documentary, Jesus Camp, you tell the radio host, “No child comes to anything by choice.” I absolutely agree. I don’t even think adults come by anything via choice. So, yeah, right on. Therefore, the question is not whether or not our kids are going to be indoctrinated, it’s just a matter of by whom and by what. It’s not as if atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are ‘allowing’ their kids to grow up to be religious, therefore why would Christians (or Muslims, Jews or Hindus) act otherwise?
Indeed, the very notion that a person doesn’t want to indoctrinate their kids tells me that they don’t think they have a life worth passing on. That may indeed be the case. And, if so, by all means, that person shouldn’t pass on their life. I’m sure shopping trips and nation-state politics will be all the indoctrination that child will need in order to be just another consumer peg in the wall.
This, however, puts me in a precarious situation because, like you, I’m a teacher. To be specific, I am a professor and I think professors should profess (which is not what universities tend to think). However, this puts me in a bind. You see, despite the professing part, I do like to offer my students as many voices as possible in order for them to adjudicate and make sense of competing claims. Yet, if I agree with you on professing and indoctrination, then it means that, at some point, I need to tell them exactly why it is that I think (hypothetically-speaking, of course) about why I think your style of indoctrination is problematic.
So, my question to you is, Do you think I should stick to my convictions and teach my very impressionable undergraduates that your manner of teaching is troubling or should I take the approach of allowing them to ‘choose’ and ‘think’ for themselves about what you’re doing?
You see how tricky this is, right?
This amuses me when you say, “Your style of indoctrination is problematic.” Tripp, in all due respects, you have no clue what my “style” of anything is. All you know is what you saw in a well-edited 84 minute movie drawn from over 300 hours of footage over which I had no control.
I’ve received hundreds upon hundreds of email, read the opinions, and all their issues with me. I have found that if I take them all and throw them into one paper bag, shake them up, and pour them out, with a few exceptions it all basically comes down to one thing. My detractors hate me because I teach impressionable children about the Christian God. That’s it!
If I were teaching the kids about green energy, homosexuality, socialism, evolution, Islam, or similar topics, they would say I was brilliant, creative, innovative, powerful, and masterful and so forth. But their hatred of me is purely because I teach children about God. They said, “Just leave them alone, and let them grow up to make up their own minds what they want to believe!”
You asked: Do you think I [Tripp] should stick to my convictions and teach my very impressionable undergraduates that your manner of teaching is troubling or should I take the approach of allowing them to ‘choose’ and ‘think’ for themselves about what you’re doing?
It would be interesting to see how you “allow them to ‘choose’ and ‘think’ for themselves” about what I am doing. Where would you send them, Tripp? What information would you give them? Read this. Watch that. Search on Google and read the comments of thousands of people who have never met her, but hate her anyway. Now, there’s some unbiased sources for you….
Should they simply watch the movie and that supposedly will give them enough information to come to their own conclusion –the well-edited 84 minute movie drawn from over 300 hours of footage? How is that thinking for themselves when the filmmakers and marketers have already done the thinking for them? Documentarians themselves will tell you it’s impossible to be unbiased in making an unbiased documentary.
How will you teach them to think for themselves about Becky Fischer? Read all of the media reviews about me and movie? That is a real level playing field, isn’t it?
How will you do it, Tripp? How will you teach them to research? What sources can they go to finding both the pros and the cons of Becky Fischer—the good and the bad—the positives and the negatives?
Even if you gave no overt verbal cues or opinions in the classroom when presenting them with the subject, what will the look on your face give-away, the tone of your voice, your body language? Can you honestly present the topic completely free of attitude of any kind?
May I suggest, even if you had the best intentions, it would be nearly impossible to do.
And on that point, we definitely agree. Comment away, she’s anxious (as am I) to hear your responses.
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.