As I read and research, research into fellow fundamentalist leavers a few trends are appearing, and I really want to explore them. My perspectives may prove to be somewhat controversially put, but I am just saying it how I see it.
1. They either leave the faith completely, or return to a more mainstream standing.
Those that choose to continue on with some form of Christian belief system include Hillary from Quivering Daughters and Cindy from Under Much Grace.
And yet, on the other side of the fence as it were, are those of us that chose to leave it all behind and completely reject the Christian faith. Vyckie from No Longer Quivering, Laura from Redheaded Skeptic, and myself are part of this group.
With both Hillary and Cindy there is a subtle and ever-present predisposition to encourage the QF/Fundamentalist leavers to remain in the more liberal faith circle.
In Cindy's case, it can very blunt. In one of her recent posts, she wrote:
As a Christian, I hope that the person exiting the group would choose Christianity, but I must be careful to allow that choice to be their own, something that is between them and God . If I coerce a vulnerable person or use undue influence to achieve my own ends before they are ready to make their own choices, I am behaving no differently than their abuser, in some sense. So my desire to see people seek Christ and an Evangelical perspective that is similar to my own, I must consider that this is a secondary motive. I am not out to sell hell insurance, I want to see people healed and whole. I am responsible to provide reasons for why I believe what I believe with meekness and patience.It is the responsibility of the person to choose what to believe, and that choice rests between them and God.
I am the first to put my hand up and say I don't read those blogs (Cindy's in particular) as deeply and as often as I otherwise would because of lines like those; to me it is a slightly "righteous" perspective (i.e, the secondary motive stuff: I am still ultimately on the right path, you are not). And I would think they would have similar problems, reading my mostly anti-christian blog.
Ultimately, however, I still do check them out, and even communicate with the authors (in Hillary's case). I also rarely comment when I feel I have something to add to the conversation. And, I do consider (particularly in the case of Hillary's site) them a valuable resource, albeit one with a very opposing view to my own.
2. All believe that there needs to be a better support network for leavers.
Every single one of the blogs I have come across believe there is a need out there for bigger and better help for those leaving fundamentalism/quiverfull. All of them agree that something needs to be done.
But the question is what and how.
Some are writing books, some are doing media interviews, and yet another is starting the Take Heart Project (a charity). All write blogs.
Some want God to be at the centre of the healing process, others believe the God issue should wait for till after the dust settles and the person on his/her own decides what to do about it/him (or not do). Some believe God to still be the ultimate solution, but others do not.
Some think we are not doing enough, or that we are "doing it wrong". Some think we are doing too much, and will push away those we seek to help.
3. These differences are becoming more noticeable...
When I first joined the former fundamentalist/QF communities, and followed their blogs, I was struck by the unity, by the chorus of voices that cried out "this is wrong, abusive, and controlling. We need help!", regardless of belief system, or point of view.
I hate to say it, and be the first to point it out, but as each person sticks to their point of view and belief system etc, the us vs. them perspective which are so prevalent in their fundie/QF pasts, comes to the forefront.
Right now it isn't a big issue. Veiled, mild mannered, opposing comments on a blog, do not make for an uprising or a blogging war.
In the future however, it could be a different story. Small cracks can become huge canyons under the right circumstances.
I guess what I am trying to say is that perhaps everyone needs to refocus on the one thing they all agree on: these (mostly) women and children need help. That people if they disagree (and they will, it is inevitable), should speak up on the forums that they disagree with, not just mumble warnings under their breath on their own blog. We should be sharing and caring about the experiences that bind, not the belief systems that ultimately separate.
We left behind the petty judgements when we left fundamentalism/quiverfull. But yet we (and yes, I include myself) continue the old cycles, just in a slightly less offensive manner. We forget the old lessons, hard earned, and well won. Old habits are more entrenched than we are often willing to admit.
Consider this: do we want the women and children yet to come to find a society similar to what they left?
And at what cost are we willing to help? Are we willing to continue to look past religious (or lack of) prejudices?
Right now, we stand on a precipice, a choice. Let us not make the wrong one, for the sake of being right.