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Fleeing Fundamentalism: A Minister's Wife Examines Faith

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  141 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
At a time when the distance between church and state is narrowing and the teaching of intelligent design is being proposed for our classrooms, it is startling and provocative to hear the reasoned voice of a dissident from inside the church. For Carlene Cross, arriving at this shift in belief was a long and torturous journey.

In Fleeing Fundamentalism, Cross looks back at t
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 6th 2006 by Algonquin Books (first published September 20th 2006)
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Jan 06, 2015 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Five stars for the importance of this story in our current time of tea-partyers and mega-churches. This is a story about a brave, highly intelligent woman who didn't buy into the hypocrisy of fundamental Christians. It may be hard for you to read the truths she reveals when studying the facts uncovered by unbiased scientists and academics, but what is clear is how the subservient attitude placed on women in this religion gives male followers the "right" to psychologically abuse their wives (beca ...more
Dec 06, 2012 Connie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Former Baptist Fundamentalists
This book blew my mind. Heard things about Christianity (especially its history) I'd never heard before, though I too grew up in it. I grew up in Fundamentalism in fact, so I can relate to the environment she portrays.

I was originally going to give the book 4 stars because there were a couple of things about Cross's writing that I didn't like: One, in the preface she begins abruptly, I felt, and also darkly--relating a "vision" she had as a girl of some of the events portrayed in the Biblical bo
Oct 07, 2015 Jengordon rated it liked it
Carlene Cross discovers that --whoa!-- fundamentalist interpretations of religion favor men. She and her female cronies put up with all sorts of sh*t in the name of their Christian faith, until finally Cross gets sick of her alcoholic minister husband's adultery and leaves fundamentalism behind. She watches sadly from the sidelines as her friends --also ministers' wives-- get STDs from their faithless husbands, and are otherwise downtrodden. Finally she gets a college education and discovers tha ...more
Laura Gabbard
Dec 07, 2014 Laura Gabbard rated it it was amazing
Wow. The first part of this book was very difficult to get through because the lifestyle (conservative Christian-Religious Right) is just so foreign to me. I have a really hard time watching people being so manipulated in such humanity-destroying ways and I have trouble understanding why people continue to put up with this nonsense. But this book actually helped me to understand that when you isolate people and continually feed them stories that bind them in fear, they never really consider anyt ...more
Catherine From
Jul 03, 2009 Catherine From rated it really liked it
As a Bible College graduate myself, I felt Cross's Bible College experience was extreme. She was taught what to think and not necessarily how to think. It's an unfortunate tragedy among the fundamentalist.

As I read this book, it melted my preconceived ideas. Months later, I can't get some of the arguments out of my head. It's a riveting and disturbing story. I felt at the end as if I was only half way through.

I think the sad element of a story like this is that it defines God by the experience
Mar 17, 2010 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, religion
This memoir served to remind me of the scripture in 1 Timothy where Paul criticizes religious leaders stating that they pay lip service to God but disown him by their works. Raised a fundamentalist, Carlene goes to Bible college and meets her dream man, an up-and-coming preacher named David. They marry and have children and, over the course of their marriage, discover that they don't really believe the teachings of their church. David is also a sex addict and an alcoholic; Carlene's descent into ...more
Craig Hart
Sep 20, 2011 Craig Hart rated it it was amazing
Having been raised fundamentalist, Ms. Cross's book, "Fleeing Fundamentalism" rang true with me. I could identify with so much of the book that it was a little scary. Beyond that, however, the book was well-written and captivating. It could certainly be enjoyed by those not as familiar with the lifestyle.

I also admire the author's courage in writing the book. I know it is sometimes dangerous, from a societal standpoint, to make negative feelings toward the fundamentalist Church known. I respect
Jul 07, 2015 Featherbooks rated it really liked it
Fleeing Fundamentalism: A Minister's Wife Examines Faith was a class assignment which I resisted, it not being a topic of much interest but within thirty pages or so, I found the book to be a page-turner. The author is a good and descriptive writer with a sense of humor. I appreciated her thorough nature as she enhanced her biblical study with historical research. Her missionary junket behind the Iron Curtain was tense and suspenseful and the ways in which her marriage to a Northwest Baptist pre ...more
Camille Sheppard
Jan 07, 2015 Camille Sheppard rated it really liked it
This is a powerful story... Its a true page-turner. I thought I knew a fair amount about Fundamentalism but I had never read anything or heard it told from a personal perspective before. What Carlene shares in her story is more than brave, I believe its actually important. With the power of the religious right in America today, we all need to know the backstory. Thanks for sharing your experience Carlene!
Mar 01, 2013 Angelik rated it really liked it
wow, I really liked this book. It is really sad the way fundamentalism damages our lifes. It is even worse to realize that all the things you were so convinced of and you were eager to defend were just not worth it. I am happy and really amazed at the way she did not give up when raising her children while trying to put her life together again, after such a slap in the face. It also comes to my mind the same stories of single mothers trying to progress in third world countries, since now that I' ...more
Mar 01, 2009 Emma rated it really liked it
The back of this book says it's written "without invective or blame". I don't think that's entirely true, but it's certainly written with a LOT less invective and blame than I would have written with if I'd been through what the author had been through.
The title is fairly self-explanatory, but what struck me was how many of her close friends in the fundamentalist movement had husbands with sexual addictions. I don't know if that was just a bad bunch or if it's widespread in the fundamentalist ar
Marilyn Warren
Aug 29, 2007 Marilyn Warren rated it it was amazing
This book illuminates beautifully the insidiousness of fundamentalism. I related to this author because her thoughts during high school were exactly the same thoughts as mine. Although her life was much more extremely involved in fundamentalism, our lives were parallel in our earlier beliefs and later growth experiences. If you've never been involved in a fundamentalist church or embraced that belief system, it is hard to understand how being a part of that kind of group can slowly take over you ...more
James Corrigan
Dec 04, 2015 James Corrigan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best I've read on religious issues.

I am moved and inspired by Ms Cross and her adventure of self-descovery. This in itself is a GREAT self-help book. Rev. J. Corrigan

Aug 10, 2009 Candice rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book and recommend it as an eyeopener for the ways of Christian fundamentalists circa 1980. The first part of this book is an autobiographical journey of the author's young womanhood, which includes her attendance of a fundamentalist Christian bible college and marriage to a pastor. The second half of the book, unfortunately, turned into a bit of a soap opera, and in parts was quite vulgar. Reading the entire journey though, gets you through, even though I wouldn't call the ...more
Nov 28, 2015 Danita rated it liked it
This book was just "okay". I guess I spent the entire book waiting to find out if she ever finds the answer to her questions about God and reconcile them with her faith and I dont think that ever it was just meh!
Michelle Robinson
Jul 26, 2014 Michelle Robinson rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I could not finish this book. She is such a snob. She has absolutely nothing positive to say about her father or how she was raised. It made me sad for him and for her. I found myself thinking, if she can be so harsh just because he happened to be a farmer and she felt that was so far beneath her, how could I find her perspective on fundamentalists to be less biased? Would her critique be from a place of such snobbery and bias as well? I did not like her enough to continue reading to find out.
Courtney Willis
Feb 01, 2014 Courtney Willis rated it really liked it
Fascinating, shocking, heart-breaking. Makes you wonder how many folks entrenched in fundamentalism are subjected to similar marriages/lifestyles
Apr 19, 2007 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: If you have an interest in Christian Fundamentalism or maybe on a spiritual journey yourself.
Carlene Cross's memoir focuses on her spiritual exploration from the absoluteness of her Christianity (leading to Fundamentalism when she attends a Christian college) and through her extensive religious education. She meets and marries a man in college, who becomes a minister. What begins as a storybook romance becomes a total nightmare. Her story is filled with courage. She doesn't fall into self-pity while telling her story. And although a lot of her story is about Christianity, she doesn't pr ...more
Mar 11, 2009 Alece rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is not the type of book I would normally read, but I happen to know the author. The story is engaging and interesting, and I learned a lot about Fundamentalism that I didn't know. The author uses a lot of metaphors and similes, some of which I enjoyed and responded to, and others which seemed a bit too elaborate (but maybe that's really the way Carlene thinks, who knows). Overall, a very thought-provoking and riveting read!
Jan 31, 2009 A rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in comparative religion
Part of the reason I am a (very happy) former fundamentalist (of the IFB strain, God help us all), was because of this book. Not only does Carlene Cross give her personal story, but shares research that many in the church don't want people to know.

Regardless of your religious persuasion, this is a very compelling read.
Jul 11, 2014 Abigail rated it liked it
This book is both god and bad, It's sad because it's basically the story of how this woman loses her faith but it's empowering because it's also about how she gets out of an abusive relationship. Her mission work in the Hutterite community and her smuggling of biblical materials into Poland was interesting as well.
Jan 04, 2008 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I haven't quite finished but all I have to say is HOLY CRAP! I feel that this is a must read. I think that every Christian should read it, especially Christian women. It makes you think. So if you shy away from thinking, then you for real must read it. Carlene Cross is an amazing woman.
Aug 21, 2007 Jim rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in Fundamentalism and how people transition out of it
This is a compelling story although it suffers at points from the author's transition from a faithful Fundamentalist to a skeptic. It seems there should be some more middle ground covered here. Overall it is recommended.
Apr 03, 2007 TJ rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Compelling book. Would like to hear more of her reclaiming of religion and christianity. Pretty damning indictment of fundamentalism though.
Jul 20, 2011 Leanne rated it really liked it
Very interesting true story of an evangelical pastor's wife.
May 22, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it
Very interesting! Writing not top notch, but amazing story!
Jan 10, 2012 Margie rated it really liked it
enjoyed a look inside the way people cope and the choices they make
Nov 19, 2007 reed rated it it was ok
very flowery, but boring. didn't finish.
May 25, 2007 Heidi rated it it was amazing
An amazing book by a courageous woman.
Richard rated it really liked it
Aug 21, 2016
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