March 17th, 2013
Courtesy of Hugh Muir's diary column in last Thursday's Guardian, a delightful anecdote about an encounter with a certain recently retired religious leader:
Finally, at the end of a tumultuous week for the new archbishop of Canterbury, signs that his predecessor is settling in nicely as master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. This from students' union welfare officer Chris Page, on the Overheard at Cambridge Facebook group:
"In Sainsbury's, I ended up in the queue for the self-checkouts behind the former archbishop of Canterbury. Rowan Williams (pointing to my neck): 'Is that a Lord of the Rings pendant?' Me: 'Yes, it's a replica of the One Ring.' Williams: 'Ah, I thought so. More of a Game of Thrones man, myself.' Mind. Blown."
New job; street cred. Perfect.
August 21st, 2011
Those of you with no experience of Australian Protestant culture might assume that we'd be okay with tv shows. Those with a little more experience might assume that we'd run away from all slightly dubious tv shows, proclaim them satanic, and start boycotting everyone in sight.
You wouldn't be far off – but my church wasn't quite that bad. We were avid Friends fans, happily read the Harry Potter books, and used clips from The Matrix in sermons. The only pop culture we really stayed away from was the worst of the worst: shows which had demons, or witches, or pagan gods.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer had all of those, and more. There were lesbians, resurrection spells, sex, demon possession, and explosions. It was not something that any good Christian girl should be watching.
I… was rather sick of being a good Christian girl. So, with a few doubts and hesitations, and the firm conviction that I was not going to let my parents find out, I started watching. Anything to get another fun and distracting form of entertainment.
(Then it went and changed my life. That was unexpected.)
June 11th, 2009
Surely this is just a publicity stunt:
KINGSVILLE, Texas (AP) — In this friendly little ranching town, "hello" is wearing out its welcome. And Leonso Canales Jr. is happy as heck.
At his urging, the Kleberg County commissioners on Monday unanimously designated "heaven-o" as the county's official greeting. The reason: "hello" contains the word "hell."
"When you go to school and church, they tell you 'hell' is negative and 'heaven' is positive,'" said the 56-year-old Canales, who owns the Kingsville Flea Market. "I think it's time that we set a new precedent, to tell our kids that we are positive adults."
On Thursday, courthouse employees were answering the phones, "heaven-o." And the chamber of commerce was working on a campaign promoting Kingsville, a Rio Grande Valley town of 25,000, as a "heavenly" place to visit.
"People seem to think that it might catch on," said county Judge Pete De La Garza. […]
[Via The Null Device]
November 4th, 2008
You know, I was flipping around my various news and social bookmarks this morning, and I saw this image linked somewhere, and I assumed, just knew, that it was someone humorously referencing an Onion article. Yeah, funny, but I had a busy morning, so I didn't bother to read about it. I mean, I saw the story, but it didn't register anywhere in even the deep recesses of my brain that it was anything but satire. When I saw it linked here, again, I knew it was going to link to the Onion.
You're telling me this is real?
I mean, damn.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:14 PM on October 31
August 30th, 2008
"Why should the devil have all the good entertainment?" asks Kerry Kistler, a chalk artist known for speed drawing canvases that reveal the face of Christ when exposed to black light.
July 3rd, 2008
A parodeity is a secular piece of music retrofitted with Christian lyrics:
A perfect example of rock parody-as-study guide is "Learn Some Deuteronomy," perhaps my favorite ApologetiX song. The tune is Def Leppard's 1987 hit "Pour Some Sugar On Me," said to be the greatest strip club song of all time. Hereâ€™s ApologetiXâ€™s chorus:
Take your Bible – Shake it off
Everybody – breaks the law
Learn some Deuteronomy – can you name those laws
Learn from Deuteronomy – c'mon try because
Learn your Deuteronomy – you ain't good enough
Godâ€™s Law – is tricky to keep – born again you must be, yeah
When ApologetiX plays this live, it rocks out with its cock out. The original Mutt Lange production drips with processed guitars and drums through Leppard-y echo. The ApologetiX version swings, with a raw distorted Gibson and power-pocket drums, and J. Jackson roughs up Joe Elliottâ€™s vocal with a Jim Morrison-Glenn Danzig baritone. Singing it live, he leads the crowd and the lasers follow his arms up to the church's steeple.
And on top of all that, Jackson manages to rhyme "read a little more" with "Habakkuk 2:4."
[Via Blog of a Bookslut]
May 16th, 2008
Matt Taibbi gives three solid days of sleep-away Christian fellowship a try:
Morgan turned, glanced again at my name tag and sighed.
"Well, uh, OK, then," he said. "Matthew, do you want to tell your story?"
My heart was pounding. I obviously couldn't use my real past â€” not only would it threaten my cover, but I was somewhat reluctant to expose anything like my real inner self to this ideologically unsettling process â€” but neither did I want to be trapped in a story too far from my own experience. What I settled on eventually was something that I thought was metaphorically similar to the truth about myself.
"Hello," I said, taking a deep breath. "My name is Matt. My father was an alcoholic circus clown who used to beat me with his oversize shoes."
The group twittered noticeably. Morgan's eyes opened to tea-saucer size.
I closed my own eyes and kept going, immediately realizing what a mistake I'd made. There was no way this story was going to fly. But there was no turning back.
"He'd be sitting there in his costume, sucking down a beer and watching television," I heard myself saying. "And then sometimes, even if I just walked in front of the TV, he'd pull off one of those big shoes and just, you know â€” whap!"
I looked around the table and saw three flatlined, plainly indifferent psyches plus one mildly unnerved Morgan staring back at me. I could tell that my coach and former soldier had been briefly possessed by the fear that a terrible joke was being played on his group. But then I actually saw him dismissing the thought â€” after all, who would do such a thing? I managed to tie up my confession with a tale about turning into a drug addict in my midtwenties â€” at least that much was true â€” and being startled into sobriety and religion after learning of my estranged clown father's passing from cirrhosis.
It was a testament to how dysfunctional the group was that my story flew more or less without comment.
It seems to me that the group's members may simply have been unwilling to push Taibbi away by openly ridiculing his plainly ludicrous story. However wacky some of the practices of the megachurch in question are, isn't it also plausible that some of the believers present sincerely wanted to help someone who, as far as they knew, had come in search of whatever it is they thought was missing from their lives? Maybe he did present a ridiculous life story, but he was there, and there was always a chance that they could "get alongside" him later in the weekend, or even back at the church after the weekend.1 Whatever you may think of the leaders of a church, or of the political causes it espouses, you shouldn't discount the possibility that the individual members of that church may be kind-hearted and willing to provide help and fellowship to those who have the courage to ask for it.2
That caveat aside, Taibbi's piece is worth reading: it's a picture of a small, very noisy and somewhat scary part of the Christian coalition in the United States.
[Via The Sideshow]
- Or, more simply, was it just that as a bunch of comparative strangers thrown together in a group discussion of rather personal matters at the start of a weekend together, they were simply reluctant to say too much? ↩
- I note that Taibbi's piece dwells on the whole-group activities that weekend; there's very little talk of one-on-one interactions outside of the formal programme, which seems strange. Did attendees really not engage in any quiet, private conversations outside the formal programme? ↩