Stuff Christians Like... and Don't
Jonathan Acuff writes a blog that I read with semi-regularity called “Stuff Christians Like,” some of which has just been published in a book by Zondervan with the clever title “Stuff Christians Like.” He writes “Christian satire” using humor to expose some of the places where Christians tend to take themselves too seriously. Sometimes his “stuff” is mildly amusing; often it is hysterically funny. It usually points to some things that we need to think about.
Today, Jonathan was a guest blogger on the CNN webpage. As Jonathan would point out, I shouldn't be reading CNN’s webpage, but I do. Most evangelical Christians (at least most white evangelical Christians) tend to be Republican and tend to watch Fox. So Jonathan was asked by CNN why many evangelical Christians treat the secular media (and CNN in particular) as if it were “Satan’s newspaper.” Jonathan suggests three things:
- The loudest Christians get the most attention. [Anderson] Cooper did the disaster story, but often the Christians who make the news are the ones who are doing things like protesting military funerals with signs that scream hate. We understand that sensational Christians create sensational news, but it also makes us weary. You can only see so many reports on snake handlers before you start to feel a little trigger shy about the big news networks approach to Christians.
- We’re pretty sure Fox News is baptizing people in their lobby. I’ve never been to their station, but I have to believe that Fox News has a lobby fountain that they dunk people in. And Bill O’Reilly makes each guest take communion. And “Fox” is actually a Hebrew word that means, “Station that cares more about redemption than ratings.” Not really, but in Christian culture, it’s clear which side we tend to side with. And even though I’m a conservative guy who digs Fox, they’re a news station just like CNN. They’re not a ministry. Glenn Beck isn’t a priest and watching "Fox & Friends" isn’t like “tithing your time.”
- Being “in” the world, but not “of” the world is tough. I wish there was a verse in Proverbs that said, “It’s OK to watch the show, ‘Sex & the City,’ but only if it is the edited version on TBS.” Or maybe we could get an official ruling on R-rated movies. It appears that if the rating is due to violence, like "Braveheart" or "Gladiator," not only can we watch it, but we can do an entire sermon series on it. If a single nipple makes a cameo in the film however, you’re a sweaty heathen for watching it. Figuring out what it means for us Christians to be “in” the world, but not “of” the world, is quite the challenge.
The last point is the real point. It is tough being in the world and not of the world. We tend to pick out certain things to be holy about (like being for free trade and against gun control and other things stressed on Fox News). And we are shocked when someone suggests that often the things we insist are important aren’t even close to the things God sees as important-- like “justice love” or “social justice” (things that get more air on CNN). Jonathan is right—being in the world and not of the world is hard, and we don’t like to be faced with our inconsistencies. It is a lot easier being against homosexuality (with which most of us will never be tempted) and abortion (which half of us couldn’t do even if it was subsidized by the government). But then there is that materialism thing (“greed, which is as idolatry”) which goes largely unchallenged.
Oh, why do I read CNN rather than FoxNews? Simple. I can type it twice as fast! When you type as slowly as I do, every little bit helps!