It would be fair to give some props to my past as I did learn valuable things there. I learned the bible and memorized enough to earn the Timothy award in Awana. This might be the only positive thing I learned as I look back. That is not totally true as I made friendships with pastors at my old church, since they were the most normal people there. I am speaking of a select few since a couple there that came through the door there were complete asshats. I have mentioned two of said asshats in my previous posts.
I learned to pretend I like people I can't stand. When you are constantly surrounded by people that you disagree with on almost all issues of the day, it allows you to look hard to find the good in others. Might I say, I cannot dig in 100% on any issue and really can look at both sides of any issue and see why people buy in. This constant cognitive dissonance has kept me from polarizing in my beliefs.
Whatever authors and theologians they condemned I was encouraged to read. Whatever had the number of my old churches belief system I devoured to find sanity in my thinking.
I learned what I didn't want in a new church and was surprised I could still be a Christian after subtracting all the stuff I couldn't agree with. Dropping ineranncy, premillinial dispensationalism, religous right politics and inane praise songs to name a few. I can't tell you how nice it was to be away from the culture wars during the last election.
I learned it was ok to walk away from a social group you have deep roots in. Sure it sucks but the world keeps turning and you make new friends. We met with a group of people from my new church at a bar and had a great time. Not even remotely possible outside of a one on one meeting at the old place.
I learned how to be invisible. I was able to blend in with the woodwork at the old place and most people thought I was a dumb gearhead. It also let me observe from a distance like a naturalist the petty country club atmosphere of most of the congrgegate there. I always wondered how they could hear the same message I did every week and let it roll off like it was no big deal.
I learned I had to unlearn what I learned there. This maybe is the most valuble thing I gained from my experience there. I was able to analyze how beliefs I held were narrow minded and fear based. The anger that motivated to I leave allowed me to let the bad stuff go.
I guess I wouldn't trade my experience in Fundamentalism as it has made me the person I am today. Just trying to make lemonade here....