Christian culture

More on “Christian” Gaming

Popular gaming blog Kotaku has an interesting article on a Christian Game Developers conference they tagged along to recently. Telling mostly for this para on what adding “Christian” in front of a media type does for a non-Christian audience. I’ve written a bit about Christian video game stuff before, this is basically an update on that front.

““Christian,” as an adjective, arrives with a lot of freight in the secular world, especially as branding within entertainment media and markets. For example: Christian TV programming, Christian radio, Christian rock, Christian books and bookstores. To the secular mainstream, it’s all assumed to mean insipid edutainment, ulterior-motive prosleytization or oogity-boogity intolerance. So Christian game developers, simply by identifying themselves as such, are up against that assumption of intent.”

The article is a worthwhile read if you’re interested in gaming specifically, or Christian isolationist approaches to the arts in general, because it shows a nice way to approach participation in a cultural/media industry.

Reflections on bad Christian music week

I think I’ve just realised, with profound clarity, why I find Christian cultural expression so horrid.

As Christians we’re called to be in the world, but not of it. Christian music, Christian television, and Christian fiction, indeed most Christian cultural expression tends to invert this notion – it ends up being of the world, but not in it.

Rockclimbing is for posers

I agree with Ben.

Rockclimbing is a stupid activity driven by some primal urge to reach high points and uncharted territory.

XKCD expresses the rockclimbing mentality best by lampooning wannabe rockclimbers. It’s all about being seen to be awesome.

I see through your ruse climbers.

And I loved Soph from the fountainside’s comment on Ben’s post.

I reckon Christians want activities that are ‘cool’ to do, but our obedience to Scripture stops us from doing things the world considers ‘cool’ – i.e. going to parties, raves, pubs and bars…pretty much anything to do with alcohol.
So we tend to flock towards activities that have some cool cred without the ‘worldly’ factor. This is why christian people like random things such as rock climbing, board games, bikes, coffee (the holy man’s drug), jazz (the holy man’s version of ‘cool’ music) and BBC dramas (the holy man’s movie choice).

Stuff “Christ Followers” like…

On the one hand these videos are really funny and poke legitimate fun at “bumper sticker” Christian sub-culture.

On the other hand, they’re pretty dumb and based on the pursuit of the Holy Grail of Christian authenticity. The “Christ Follower” totally listens to U2… he even says so… in the third video.

Both extremes are dumb… just as they are when it comes to the Mac v PC ads being spoofed – as this SMH article so humourously points out

I hope the video is actually mocking both ideas – but I get the impression it’s pushing people to define themselves as “Christ followers” rather than Christians, as though the label is so loaded with negative ideas that it needs replacing. I end up feeling just as frustrated by both of them.

When you boil it down, both Macs and PCs are computers, and both the characters in these videos are sinners forgiven through the work of Jesus.

Besides there’s nothing more fake than the relentless pursuit of authenticity.

Arking up

These made me laugh.

From here.

And this one from the Friendly Atheist.

Almost as much as the lecture I got from a couple of premillenial dispensationalists last night. Sometimes different elements of Christianity can be funny. And I’m all for self deprecation.

I’m fairly convinced by my take on both Genesis and Revelation – but I’m much more convinced that neither actually truly matters. I don’t get people who make these bits of the Bible the big deal. Or points of division and distinction. Though I do get how your eschatology shapes your actions here and now… so I can see how it is important (but not essential).

Pottering around


While I was thinking about the whole PK issue the other day I was struck by a comparison that I’ve thought of in the past but not, until now, documented.

Being a PK is just like being Harry Potter. Hogwarts is the broader church, the houses within Hogwarts are either the different types of people within a congregation or representative of multiple denominations. Atheists are muggles, and people who come to faith from outside of Christian homes are “mudbloods” according to some of the less tolerant members of the church – obviously only the nasties. (this actually closely reflects some comments I’ve heard from people who come into the church from other backgrounds).

So being a PK is like being a child of promise – and you rock up to Hogwarts and all the faculty know you by reputation and have expectations.

I promise this will be the last time (for a while) that I mention Harry Potter. But it seems a valid meta interpretation of the world in which the wizards operate.

What say you?

Also, the picture at the top comes from this great article about how Christendom has suddenly decided that Harry Potter is OK because they’ve figured he’s a messianic figure with plenty of plot allusions to Christ.

Chewing over the PK issue

I was having a conversation with someone last night who trotted out the oft used line that PKs get an easy ride when it comes to settling in to a new church because they have a reputation.

This is rubbish. Sorry person. You are wrong. It’s more often a case of notoriety than reputation. And it’s more a case of “expectation” than “free ride”.

PKs (who I prefer to call “Preachers Kids” because I think the word “Pastor” is overused) are a misunderstood breed. You’re occasionally the yardstick by whom all other children in the church are measured (or sometimes it feels that way). Especially when you’re used in sermon illustrations (which I wasn’t often – probably because I tried to get dad to pay me for use of my image rights when I learned that other people had that deal). Incidentally this is the thing that concerns me most about Mark Driscoll’s ministry. What happens if one of his children takes the archetypal black sheep path of PKness.

When you’re an adult PK and trying to build your own identity in church circles it can be equal parts blessing and curse. Depending on who your father is, and who the people making the assessment are.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade my father or my PK-ness for anything. But that was a low blow. And I didn’t like it. It made me angry.

For those who might have missed it first time around – settling into a new church is difficult – no matter who you are. Settling in to new social environments anywhere is difficult. I remember being on that side of the equation – I wrote about it here – I think this is a fault of the church, not the new person. But I don’t think we should be expecting a free ride. No matter who our parents are, or aren’t.

Morality play

If you haven’t been keeping up with the interesting and constantly evolving debate on morality occuring on this post… then perhaps you should be.

After our Westminster Confession session finished last night conversation turned to this same topic – a discussion of morality, with particular reference to gay marriage.

I suggested that, consistent with my stance in that other thread, Christians shouldn’t be imposing our moral standards on others – and that in fact this is a strategically bad idea because the greater the gap between Christian behaviour and social standards the more powerful the witness of our difference becomes – which I see as one of the essential roles the Old Testament Law played (it marked Israel as different).

One of the counterpoints to that argument was that God’s judgment against nations follows immorality (eg Sodom and Gomorrah). While this can, taken to extremes, lead to church groups picketing soldier’s funerals – there may be a point.

Though I wonder if the lack of general morality is in fact part of the judgment – rather than there being cataclysmic consequences there are societal consequences where we pay the price for our actions.

I also wonder why those Christians who believe that the “judgment against the nations” means hastening the rapture, tribulation and judgment day aren’t arguing for the sort of behaviour that would bring things to a hasty end. It seems inconsistent.

However, this is essentially an incredibly long preamble to today’s slightly crass XKCD comic – which perhaps makes the point… morality is a slippery slope.

I hate the bands that you like

Generally speaking I’m not a big fan of Christian music. Usually because it’s a cheap and nasty rip off of perfectly acceptable (if not sanctified) secular music tailored to a gullible Christian audience who will fork out money for poor quality material thus perpetuating the existence of bad Christian music by creating a market for it. Wake up people. Stop buying bad Christian music just because it’s Christian.

Here’s some of the baddest Christian music ever released (at least judged by the album art) – while these are all thankfully stuck in the past there are modern equivalents who were no doubt performing at Easter Fest over the weekend. And will be turning up at a Youth Alive event near you.

I wanted to follow up my post on humility with a reference to possibly the most arrogant Christian brochure I’ve ever read – where a guest speaker – a youth worker from Townsville – was hailed as a “voice of a generation” and a “once in a lifetime evangelist” – and I’d never heard of him. And I live in Townsville. But instead you get these.

And – if you like the heading of this post you can get it as a shirt from the Red Vs Blue store.