Posts tagged "religion"

This is the church up the street from me. Don’tgetit. I mean, shouldn’t they be pleased someone wants a bible bad enough to steal one?
And who steals a bible anyway? They give those things away.

This is the church up the street from me. Don’tgetit. I mean, shouldn’t they be pleased someone wants a bible bad enough to steal one?

And who steals a bible anyway? They give those things away.


Dahl was not religious by temperament or philosophy, and this seems important. Compare his bristling, stinking, unmetaphorical characters with the watery allegories of the Harry Potter cycle—and his prose with J.K. Rowling’s—and you begin to see that a supernatural frame of reference might not always be such a wonderful thing.

James Parker, “Outfoxed: How Roald Dahl’s stories for children eclipsed his fiction for adults”, Slate

Interesting, but I rather like Rowling’s “watery allegories.”


so, the question remains: if god’s not there, but his name’s on the dollar bill that became fare for the cab who took you home, does that mean he exists?
Douglas Martin, in his Decade in Winning. Which you should read.

So who’s buying this crap? It’s impossible to know exactly, but if my recollections from Christian summer camp are any indication, kids in cloistered religious communities are desperately eager for anything that looks and sounds like “cool” secular youth culture yet still makes it through parental approval.

Eric Grandy, “Give Up: God Hates You and Owl City is Proof,” The Stranger, March 30, 2010

Yes, OK, I like this and want to believe it, but I feel like I need to be a bit credulous toward such a suspiciously satisfying explanation.


Christian youth, secular music, etc.

aceterrier:

It’s been a long time since I was immersed in Christian teen culture, but my memory is that parental approval isn’t nearly as big a deal as peer approval and self approval. Christian teens don’t need their parents to scare/bully/guilt/persuade them into buying/liking crap that sounds vaguely like slightly scarier crap — they can do it all on their own. My friends and I fell in love with Creed* because we genuinely felt the angst of “My Own Prison” and the longing of “Higher,” not because Mom and Dad read the lyric sheet and okayed it.

The last time I checked in with Christian contemporary crossover, it was all post-grunge soaring choruses and angsty vocals (Lifehouse, Switchfoot, Evanescence); Owl City at least brings the references up to the twenty-first century.

There’s something more to say about the role that “indie quirk” has traditionally played in Christian pop, but it’ll have to wait until I can marshal my resources and really dig into Daniel Amos and Steve Taylor and Mike Knott and a whole vanished sub-subculture to which Owl City isn’t so much heir as faded echo.

*That’s an exaggeration; we pretty much liked them until they were everywhere, just like any scene hipsters.

Yes, that’s exactly the complexity I was looking for. Thanks!


aceterrier:

Rich Mullins, “First Family”

This begins a series of music posts in which I post a song a day that I talked about in a long-winded autobiographical post which you can read here. I’ll quote what I said about it, then ask you what you think of it. Here’s the thing, though: for this to work, you need to tell me what you think!

Honestly, you can’t hurt my feelings. I couldn’t possibly hear this stuff with fresh ears, it’s so familiar to me; but I’m genuinely curious what the bunch of smart, well-informed, and open-minded people who follow me might think of it. If it’s shit, say so; if you have a more nuanced take than will fit in an answer box, reblog and post that. (Or reply, if you don’t want everyone else to read it.) For the first time in my internet life, I’m attempting interactivity: don’t let it go to waste!

I said:

Rich Mullins’ “First Family” was a lodestone to my imagination. He too had a happily Christian childhood, one that resonated more with my mother’s stories of her childhood than with my own experience (they were both rural Midwesterners, we were urban Westerners), but a line like “one bathroom to bathe and shave, and six of us stood in line” couldn’t help but strike a chord with a boy who’d lived all his life in tiny townhouses that were far too cramped for a family of six, and beginning to note the difference between his family’s lifestyle and that of everyone else he knew.

But what do YOU think?

On first listen, it seems to sit comfortably into that Mark Cohn sort of soft-AOR, both in its sound and its faint whiff of slimy disingenuousness. But I’m sure he’s actually being sincere, probably because I can’t imagine Christian pop doing irony. Which might just be evidence of a limit to my own imagination, I know. 

The thing is, I like plenty of country songs that talk about this kind of thing — including the religious stuff, which is relatively minimal — and even though those can walk the line of being overly-sentimental (as this is), they usually just do a straight-up good job of handling sentimentality so it reminds you about the good side of sentiment. I suppose country artists might be able to get away with it because they use their ordinariness as a kind of identity politics*, but then again, I suppose they also get away with it by simply doing it better.

*I’m talking almost entirely out of my ass, but Christian music gets better when it does identity politics as well. Unfortunately, Christian pop thinks that talking about Jesus is the same as talking about what American Christian culture is like.

31 plays

I think the key to understanding America is VeggieTales.

One second, the place seems entirely normal.

The next?

VEGGIE TALES.


Guys. Guys. I have really important news.
There is a Christian comic book parodying Harry Potter. Look at it!
And it’s way meta. See, it’s about Ari and Minnie, who sort of look like Harry and Hermione, but mostly do not, who enjoy a series of books about the witchcraft called Hairy Polarity. Which if you’re American probably doesn’t sound quite so lame because “Hairy” and “Harry” aren’t homonyms for me. In my head it’s about as clever “lamestream media,” while in yours it’s probably about as clever as “Dumbocrats.” (Question: Was “Dumbocrats” coined by Rush Limbaugh or Birch Barlow? I know Barlow came up with “Smellfare,” which is like, hey why haven’t you stolen that GOP?)
Anyway, Ari and Minnie get trapped into liking sorcery by the evil Dr. Verbosi who is I suppose a Rowling parody except she’s not a Doctor or a man like Verbosi is. 
Now, let’s all be silently appreciative of Ari’s vivid teen angst in the last panel: “I’m just reading a silly book — I’m not a wizard wannabe! And I love Minnie! You’re being ridiculous — and cruel!!”

Guys. Guys. I have really important news.

There is a Christian comic book parodying Harry Potter. Look at it!

And it’s way meta. See, it’s about Ari and Minnie, who sort of look like Harry and Hermione, but mostly do not, who enjoy a series of books about the witchcraft called Hairy Polarity. Which if you’re American probably doesn’t sound quite so lame because “Hairy” and “Harry” aren’t homonyms for me. In my head it’s about as clever “lamestream media,” while in yours it’s probably about as clever as “Dumbocrats.” (Question: Was “Dumbocrats” coined by Rush Limbaugh or Birch Barlow? I know Barlow came up with “Smellfare,” which is like, hey why haven’t you stolen that GOP?)

Anyway, Ari and Minnie get trapped into liking sorcery by the evil Dr. Verbosi who is I suppose a Rowling parody except she’s not a Doctor or a man like Verbosi is. 

Now, let’s all be silently appreciative of Ari’s vivid teen angst in the last panel: “I’m just reading a silly book — I’m not a wizard wannabe! And I love Minnie! You’re being ridiculous — and cruel!!


The thing that makes this comic some next level shit — that makes it surely worthy of inclusion among Jonathan Bogart's Comics Everyone Should Know and Love series — is the Hermione character’s sassiness and hip lingo. This page demonstrates it most densely: “No diggity! It’s some kind of a library about magic!” she enthuses. “Ari! Quit buggin’!” she scolds later. And on other pages she spouts “Freaky!,” “Don’t get all ‘weenie’ on me,” “Wicked cool!,” and “That is off the chain!”
What’s not off the chain, however, is that to read the whole thing you have to send TheTruthforYouth.com $2.50. Clearly, my soul cannot be saved by mere jpegs. According to Wikipedia (SPOILER), Ari ends up being saved by prayer. Well that’s all very good for people being attacked by evil wizard authors, but what can Jesus do for me?

The thing that makes this comic some next level shit — that makes it surely worthy of inclusion among Jonathan Bogart's Comics Everyone Should Know and Love series — is the Hermione character’s sassiness and hip lingo. This page demonstrates it most densely: “No diggity! It’s some kind of a library about magic!” she enthuses. “Ari! Quit buggin’!” she scolds later. And on other pages she spouts “Freaky!,” “Don’t get all ‘weenie’ on me,” “Wicked cool!,” and “That is off the chain!”

What’s not off the chain, however, is that to read the whole thing you have to send TheTruthforYouth.com $2.50. Clearly, my soul cannot be saved by mere jpegs. According to Wikipedia (SPOILER), Ari ends up being saved by prayer. Well that’s all very good for people being attacked by evil wizard authors, but what can Jesus do for me?


So remember when I found that Christian parody of Harry Potter? Great news. I found the rest of the story!
Uhhh, it’s kinda lame. Here, if you want to read it in full. 
Anyways, I post this mostly as an FYI, but also because, according to the parody, the J.K. Rowling character was sick of Harry Potter and actually wanted to move on to writing more awesome stuff like “pornography, slasher films and reality TV series.” 
OMG. Does social satire get any more cutting?

So remember when I found that Christian parody of Harry Potter? Great news. I found the rest of the story!

Uhhh, it’s kinda lame. Here, if you want to read it in full

Anyways, I post this mostly as an FYI, but also because, according to the parody, the J.K. Rowling character was sick of Harry Potter and actually wanted to move on to writing more awesome stuff like “pornography, slasher films and reality TV series.” 

OMG. Does social satire get any more cutting?



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