In this lovingly told tale, Susan Campbell takes us into the world of Christian fundamentalism a world where details really, really matter. This is troublesome, because I am trying to do the right thing--and, incidentally, avoid hellfire. I know that in order to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus, I must be immersed completely in the water, be it in a baptismal font, like this overly large bathtub-type model at the front of my church, or in the swimming pool at Green Valley Bible Camp, where I go every summer, or in a river, or anywhere where the water will cover me completely.
But I did not die, and the time I’ve been on earth since my birth I’ve spent accumulating black blots on my soul, like cigarette burns in a gauze curtain. I’d been flirting with Jesus since age eight or so, the way a little girl will stand innocently next to her cutest uncle, will preen and dance for attention with only a dim idea of the greater weight of her actions. And so on this bright and terrible Sunday morning I nervously slide out of my pew to walk up the aisle during the invitation song, the tune we sing after the preacher gives his sermon.Like mine, her church had “no central hierarchy, opting instead for home rule by a group of older men, the elders.” Her Bible was the King James Version, and later the New International Version; and like my own KJV, it was “scored with pen and pencil underlines.” Both of us were “in church every time the doors were open.” Women could not speak in church services or teach boys, past the age of twelve; but we memorized “great swatches of the Bible” anyway.Although our preachers paid no attention to the Bible’s literary or historical context, we were assured that ours was the only true New Testament church.The men under whose influence he has grown seem to be theologically-sound, showing that he has a true committment to biblical doctrine.There is not much in this book that has not been said elsewhere more thoroughly and perhaps even more convincingly.