Jeremy’s Commentary –
5. Evangelical Lingo: I grew up in the IFB community, which is a subset of a subset of Evangelical cultural. I can attest to the fact they have their own language. Even more than that, they have their own way of talking about things. Growing up I don’t think we ever considered what we sounded like to outsiders, maybe because we considered outsiders to be sinners who needed to come into the fold. We expected them to listen to our warnings of eternal damnation without ever wondering if they understood us at all.
4. Puppet Ministry: Like so many of artifacts we are discussing, the problem is not with the thing itself, but with how said thing is used. Puppets are fine. Marionettes are cool¹. They can be used in profound and artistic ways. But some Evangelicals tend to think they speak for themselves. That is, it doesn’t matter to them what effort they put into puppet show; they’ve got puppets/marionettes so kids (or adults, in some cases) should be enthralled. Put some scripture verses in their mouth and you’re all set. I’m not sure that works. It tends to produce a shallow understanding. And it’s not good art. Putting effort into creating something artistic glorifies God, and teaches more about him than a piece of cloth spouting religious platitudes ever could.
3. CCM (Contemporary Christian Music): See above entry, but substitute “guitars and drums” for “puppets and marionettes”.
2. “Christian” Films: See above entry, but substitute “something, anything being projected onto a screen” for “guitars and drums”
1. Entrenchment with American Politics: Oy vey. I used to be that guy, the staunchly conservative (read: Republican) Christian guy. I couldn’t imagine how any true Christian could be otherwise. But when I became a man I put away all that. Now I’m otherwise, and I have yet to kill anyone, or build an altar to Dagon in my basement. Turns out Matt’s right regarding the mixed bag of politics. We actually have to connect our politics to our theology, rather than the other way around.
¹Muppets are the best, though.
Blake’s Commentary –
5. Evangelical Lingo: As if the Gospel isn’t enough of “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,” we gotta make it that much more incomprehensible by using uppity theological jargon or jargon that attempts to “civilize” the truth. That’s kind of the point of the truth to you hit you like a friggin’ freight train so you realize that you can’t do jack without Christ. I was looking at a church website just the other day and they used the term “life code” for the programmatic direction of their church and the whole time I was just like: “just freaking tape my eyelids back and brainwash me with your meaningless language like Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange.” I mean, seriously, I learned more about Christ from that film than I did that church’s “life code” after all.
4. Puppet Ministry: Puppets? Really? Is it not self-explanatory why this is on the list??? Am I missing something here??? *looks around and behind him for hands raised in agreement*
3. CCM (Contemporary Christian Music): Yeah, this one will probably show up in my list. I don’t want to spill all of my beans here, but I completely agree with the horrendous nature of this entity. American Capitalism + Evangelical Lingo = 95% of CCM output. It’s mathematics. Can’t be argued with.
2. “Christian” Films: When the name of your Christian film can double as a theological/slang/celebrity-pastor-baptized term for a real element of the real Christian faith…chances are your film is complete bollacks. By all standards. Just saying. #TRUTHinLOVE
1. Entrenchment with American Politics: This is one area that, apparently, all three of us can agree on and can speak to being delivered from. As Jeremy says, theology (or what we believe about God) should always guide our approach to political, social, economic and local policy or action. The Gospel subsumes all things. Politics does not. Don’t you have a hard enough time keeping your hard-ass heart from getting in the way of your interpretation of Scripture to really consider some other yuppie, tie-wearing dilettante’s version of the Gospel’s implications guide your thinking? That’s what I thought.