Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Joke

So, the question is, "How do I relate to my faith?" Or maybe, "How do I want to relate to my faith?"

The right (read: Christian) answer is, "You don't." Your faith, ideally, is not something you relate to. It's just something you are. You don't relate to your height, or the color of your eyes, or the myriad other factual observances that fall under the heading Me.

Then again, people write books about their faith. They sing about their faith. They write blogs about it. You don't blog about having big hands, or being a white person. Unless you're clever enough to be really, really ironic and turn it into a book deal.

So I do relate to it.

I used to relate to it by saying statements that equated to, "I am this type of Christian, and not that type of Christian." But in doing so, I was essentially dividing Christians into the good kinds, and the not as good kinds. I was being a hipster with my Christianity.

Really, I am them, and they are me. In Christianity, when push comes to shove, the only difference between me and the guy sitting next to me is whether he believes, or doesn't believe. Everything after that is semantics and preference.

I used to relate to my faith with humor, and still do to a lesser extent. I really still want to write about that. But I'm not sure I know how, anymore.

Not because that other type of Christian doesn't deserve it. They do. We all do. But they're not in on the joke. And something about that bothers me.

Also...being here, in the place I occupy in this life at this moment, I don't feel the urgency of the slacks-wearing Sunday crowd in the way I once did. Being in this young church with these creative people, I feel like maybe the Christianity of Billy Graham is getting ready to pass the torch, though probably muttering, "Back in my day..." while it does so.

The preponderance of a young, savvy, over-educated youth in the places of worship and halls of Christian learning has started to take its toll. The church is changing. And doing what I did, it feels like soon, maybe nobody will get the joke. There won't be a frame of reference.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

To Save An Acting Career (Don't Be In Christian Movies)

At an online forum I hang out at there was a discussion recently about a "Christian" movie called To Save a Life.

I gave them my usual rhetoric about why Christian movies always turn out to be crap, but they insisted that this one broke the mold. Of course, I knew that if it was actually good, it couldn't really be all that Christian. Then again, if it was really Christian, it couldn't be all that good. Well, either way, I'm not taking my chances.

But it did get me thinking about what makes a Christian movie actually Christian. I've decided that we need some sort of standard, a set of criteria to which all Christian movies are held.

We need a checklist.

The Christian Movie Checklist (or How Movies Get to Heaven)

For a movie to be considered saved, it must meet at least 75% of the following criteria:

-No moral ambiguity. Christian morality is black or white. So are our characters. Not literally...I mean, like morally. You know, metaphorically.

-A character must say "damn" at least twice, for believability. Extreme swearing like the s-word or the f-word are prohibited.

-Sex can be alluded to, but the word sex is prohibited. Portraying it is right out. We haven't yet convinced the world that we reproduce via mitosis.

-Kirk Cameron

-75% of the movie's soundtrack must be from approved Christian musicians. Remember, Amy Grant and Jennifer Knapp are verboten now, so watch your step.

-The other 25% of the soundtrack can be secular, but must be composed of songs from 1970 or earlier.

-Youth leaders should still be signified by having frosted tips. This is pretty much ingrained by now.

-Characters should be about a cycle behind on current trends. Everyone in the film should still be on MySpace.

-Teenage characters should be angsty. Painfully so. If they're not angsty, they're the Christian teen.

-Kirk Cameron

Actually, by this measurement, I'm not sure we can call To Save A Life a Christian movie. But there's one thing we can be sure of: Kirk Cameron's not in it. And I think that's something we can all be thankful for.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Move Over Windows

Digital Accountability began as a division of Christuff Industries devoted to producing nothing but wholesome, family-oriented, restrictively Christian computer software. For a long time, we only managed to come up with various flavors of computerized Bibles.

Finally, a few years ago, we realized this whole internet thing wasn't the fad we'd thought it was going to be. It would fall to us to combat the virtual hordes of smut waiting out there to corrupt the minds of obedient Christians. We set out to create a dynamic web filtering software, dynamic meaning that it would evolve, perpetually become more prohibitive. After years of hard programming we released the most comprehensive digital filter software the world had ever seen. The Crusader web filtering software blocked content related to several thousand keywords, a few of which are:

Video Games

We were touted as the heroes of Christianity's digital future and our software was bought by the hundreds by churches and schools. We saw the void there was for truly Christian software, so we thought, "Why should we stop there?" We continually built around the Crusader software and now, we are proud to introduce to you the world's first Christian OS!

Doors is a fully outfitted home computing experience. It contains all of the features you would expect from a more popular operating system, but with added features and security to protect the mind and purity of the Christian user. The software is currently still in beta, and is due to be released in late 2010. However, we can tell you about some of the more popular features. Doors is:

-A randomly generated Bible trivia question will be required at every login!
-All downloads are prohibited without a randomly generated alpha-numeric password which is e-mailed to the administrator once a month!
-Proprietary "Firepillar" software permanently closes all ports!

Family Friendly!
-Automatically loaded with with an un-removable and un-customizable version of the Crusader web filtering software!
-Blocks any attempt to install video games (except Digital Accountability Bible games)!
-Will not play DVD's with ratings above PG!

-Includes 10gb keylogging cache that can only be cleared once per year!
-Automatically e-mails copies of browsing history to administrator, employers, and church elders!

-Automatically sets desktop to Thomas Kinkade wallpapers, complete with inspirational sayings and Bible verses!
-GodTunes software lets you fill your hard-drive with inspirational Gospel and Christian country music, and nothing but!

These are just a fraction of the God-honoring features that will ship when Doors is released commercially later this year for the low price of $675! Digital Accountability has become the leading name in morally restrictive Christian software, and with Doors you won't have to worry about your free will getting in the way of your holiness!

Monday, February 01, 2010

And the Winner Is...Nobody

How do you get Lady GaGa's attention?

You p-p-poke her face. ROFL.

The Grammy's (Grammies? The apostrophe bothers me, the other looks like a nickname for grandmothers) aired last night. Like everyone, I've been having to bear the onslaught of uninhibited opinion that inevitably follows any large-scale declaration of worth.

I've always been a fan of music. Er...I might need to refine that. Saying that is akin to saying, "I like food." It's information about oneself, per se, but it doesn't exactly serve to define you separate from the human race. Suffice it to say, I listen to music while doing anything and everything: walking, cleaning, playing video games, eating, writing, driving, showering.

Okay, maybe not showering.

When I get in a car, I don't listen to what the radio tells me to listen to. I am militant about what I play in the car. When you unwittingly climb into my car, I will forcibly subject you to what I think you should be listening to. For a (greatly abridged) list of bands I like, see my profile.

Egotism aside, I've never been a fan of the Grammy's, rarely a fan of mainstream music, and a fan of Christian music more rarely still. As a Christian, I'm disturbed by our condemnation of popular media while we scramble so hard to imitate it.

The Dove awards, the Grammy Awards better behaved younger brother, awards so-called Christian musical "artists" in many of the same categories as the Grammy's: Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Gospel Bluegrass-Country-Twang-Hybrid Album of the Year.

Had I my way, I'd eradicate all awards shows. That not being the case, I'll give you some of my ideas for award categories for the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. Since I'm about as familiar with Christian music as I am with mainstream secular music, I can't assign winners to most of these. But I can tell you that in Christian music, each category has a very clear winner.

Best Band Who Signed to a Secular Label to "Attract Unbeliever$"

Best Band Trying to Sound like Popular Secular Rock Band

Best White Christian Rapper (TobyMac wins this automatically, though best is
debatable. I think he's won a Grammy, too. Go figure.)

Best Singing Group Pretending Gospel is Still Relevant

Best Band with Lyrics Ambiguous Enough to Sound Vaguely Christian

Best Aging Pop Star Turning to Gospel to Find New Audience

Anyway, that's just a few. Maybe leave some in the comments and we can get our own awards show going.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Like A Bad Penny

I just keep turning up. I'm like that guy in that one movie, and this blog is like my love interest that hated me at the beginning but slowly found out I was much more sensitive than my rough demeanor let on.

I won't give up on us! How's that? No?

"You had me at hello?" I must be getting desperate.

Anyway, I wanted to pop by to let each of the two people that still check my blog know that some friends from my church, The Great Adventure, and I have started a new blog. It's just some discussions about our faith and various thoughts on different subjects, positive and negative. It's called Maniacal Faith and I'd love for you to come and check it out.

As for Kinda Kitschy, I'm still planning on updating regularly. It was easier back when I had a lot of readers, but maybe we'll get there again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

To My Reprobate Friends

Look, I thought we had an agreement. I've kept up my end of the bargain, but you've been shirking. I've been working really hard at this whole "friendship evangelism" thing. Don't worry, I get it! You hated the whole "shotgun-you-in-the-face-with-the-Gospel-and-call-you-a-sinner" approach. Believe me, it was labor-intensive and not very fun. We didn't have much in common then.

So, I took up drinking. Before I can invite you to church, you invite me out for drinks. Okay. You're not quite ready for Sunday morning. That's fine. I start smoking occasionally, and you bum cigarettes off of me. That's what friends are for, right? I invite you to my church on Friday to play Halo instead of on Sunday to hear preaching. At least that gets you in the door. But do you show up on Sunday? No. You've got a hangover.

Now I feel obligated to buy every new Halo game that comes out, I'm up to a pack a day, and I can't go to sleep at night without two fingers of Jack. Does that make you happy? Look, I'm just looking for a little effort on your part. A question about the Bible, or some challenge on a controversial issue. Just show a little interest. Or fake it; it's the least you can do.

We both know I'm a bigoted, right-wing holy roller but I work really hard at maintaining this psuedo-intellectual, openly spiritual, left-of-center facade. You think I do it for my health? You think I like saying I support universal healthcare? I voted for Bush twice, and I couldn't vote in 2000.

All I'm asking for is some sign that I'm not alone in this. This is a two-way street, remember? I just need something to show the Boss to prove I'm not slacking off down here. Otherwise, we might have to go back to the old way, and then who will loan you smokes?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So Jesus Walks Into A Bar

And the bartender says, "Shut the door! What, were you born in a barn?"

Yes, "Thou Shalt Laugh 4" is just that funny! Really! It doesn't get any funnier than that. I'm serious.

Exodus 20:17 - Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. But thou shalt laugh until thy sides split with fear and trembling. Or I shall smite thee. (New Fabricated Version)

Okay, so maybe I LOL'd a couple times. Actually chuckled under my breath is more accurate. I kind of feel the same way about Christian comedy as I do about Christian films though. I have yet to see a Christian comedian who can make me laugh as much as, say, Jim Gaffigan. Or Maria Bamford. I guess that means I'm a dirty sinner.

The most disturbing thing about that whole video might be John Tesh's haircut. Hairpiece?