Tag Archives: Christianity

The Christian Decision to Rejoice or Weep Over the Past Weekend

The apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans of his day has been described as an “all-encompassing…[summary] of the Christian faith,” at least by the Devotional Study Bible I’ve held on to since I was a child. As a result it contains a number of passages that will be all too familiar to the present and former church-goers among you. Romans 10:9, for example, is a pithy primer on salvation for the would-be evangelist, whereas 8:28 is a verse that’s often brought to bear in tough or uncertain times. A particular section that’s been weighing on me is more broad in its usage: Romans 12:15.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Photograph kindly shared by Erin Latimer. Photo credit: Christopher Katsarovluna (@catsarov)

Photograph kindly shared by Erin Latimer. Photo credit: Christopher Katsarovluna (@catsarov)

It brought to mind an event from several years ago, in the hazy span of time between my tween years and my early twenties. My family was all together for a summer in Toronto, and it was the weekend of the city’s Pride Parade. I remember it raining that Sunday, and hearing my mother muse aloud that it was a good thing the weather had taken a turn for the worse as it would undoubtedly put a damper on the festivities. She intimated that for her this was a time of great sadness.

I couldn’t help wondering if she felt the same way at the beginning of this week.

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The Greatest Loss in Online Christendom: RIP, The Babylon Bee

I’ve never been ashamed to openly admit that I’m a Christian (or that I was a virgin, for that matter, way back in 2011 when I still updated this blog on the reg). That being said, the truth is that I spend precious little time in faith-related spaces on the internet. I might pause mid-scroll when I spot an interesting thread from /r/christianity, but the majority of my engagement with religious writing online comes from Facebook, where a friend will share a link to a Relevant article or a rebuttal from a Professor of Theology at Wheaton College to a write-up on how his school has become too “woke.” But that wasn’t always the case. There was a point in time, almost exactly six years ago, when the faith-related internet content I read and enjoyed was of a decidedly different bent.

The Babylon Bee, March 17, 2016

The Babylon Bee was launched on March 1st, 2016, and by all accounts was something believers never even knew we wanted: a Christian version of The Onion. In its early days we were treated, and I write this with complete seriousness, to such satiric bangers as “Worship Leader Caught In Infinite Loop Between Bridge And Chorus” and “Witty Church Sign Sparks Revival.” These were articles clearly written with the kind of inside baseball that is so integral to comedy, deftly lampooning the life experiences of countless Christians. And, just like The Onion, The Babylon Bee was an immediate hit on platforms like Facebook, where the headline alone is enough to sell the joke.

As the years went by, however, I noticed that not only were fewer members of my various circles linking to the site, but those that were yielded stories that were less and less focused on (sorry about the alliteration) critiquing contemporary Christian culture and more and more focused on…politics.

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Polygraphs and Monotheism: More Complex Than Expected

I am a Christian.

That’s more or less exactly how I began a blog post way back in 2013, when I attempted to combat a very prevalent and largely Christian argument against gay marriage. While it’s rarely ever stated as explicitly I also like to think that this fact isn’t something I’ve obscured or tried to keep secret.

On that note, the topic of Christianity also isn’t anything new here at Culture War Reporters. While the majority of these posts have focused on art that willingly bears that descriptor, my co-writers have also delved a little deeper into that belief system and morality. While the former may seem more at home given what we typically cover, a review of our About page readily sums up why the latter is just as appropriate as anything else.

In it we touch on culture wars as a “a conflict between societies with different ideas, philosophies, beliefs, and behaviours,” as well as how we are both individually and collectively wrestling with them. It’s the concept of two vastly differing perspectives that solidified whether or not I should do a brief write-up on my recent experience with a polygraph test. Continue reading

What Would Make For A Good Christian Movie?

It seems like a lifetime ago that this blog’s editor and yours truly discussed the question “Why is Christian media so bad?”

Because it is.

So bad.

Like there are dirty limericks carved into the side of gas station bathrooms with more artistic and spiritual merit, and for anyone who doubts me I’d challenge you to watch God’s Not Dead 2, which premiered on the first of this month.

As much as you might pray otherwise- no, this is not some elaborate April Fool’s trick. This wretched, pandering slog of garbage is absolutely real, the hellspawn of 2014’s disturbingly popular (and obliviously sacrilegious) God’s Not Dead.

Look, as much as I’d like to pour out seven bowls of wrath upon this nasty, ugly product of a nasty, ugly franchise, I’m not going to. There are people who’ve already done so with more eloquence than I could muster, and I legitimately think I’d have a stroke if I tried to convey my repulsive and rage to this unholy dreck. If you’ve got a shred of artistic judgment or basic morality, you can see what makes this movie bad.

So let me ask this instead:

What would a good Christian movie look like?

Here’re some of my ideas-

That Dark Battle

The God’s Not Dead franchise has a habit of using death and disease to hamfistedly make its points. Is the prideful atheist looking down her Ivy-League nose at these simple, humble Christians? Smite her with cancer! Haha! She’s not so high-and-mighty now that she’s facing a slow and painful death! Thanks, God!

Think that’s a bit cruel?

It’s OK! She converted and has been miraculously cured! Because no God-fearing person has ever died of cancer and no atheist has died of anything else!

I **** you not- that happens in the first God’s Not Dead.

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Mr. David A.R. White- On behalf of everyone who’s ever lost a loved one to cancer, allow me to say a heartfelt “****. You.”

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2015’s Cultural Battleground – Evan’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2014 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.

tumblrsjws

Given the vehicle through which you’re reading these words the relationship between the internet and communication is never very far from my mind. It should also go without saying for those who spend any amount of time online that Tumblr as a community has cultivated quite a reputation for itself over the past few years.

While the sentiments found within this post are certainly nothing new [the squeaky wheel gets the grease, the concept of the vocal minority, etc.] I do think that it establishes them while also backing them up with hard evidence. At the very, very least it also lays out, for those who never cared to look into it, what exactly an “SJW” is.

earlymarriage

Another deeply personal post makes it onto this list, just like last year’s. As if letting you all read my current writing didn’t make me vulnerable enough it also featured a full op-ed from my college days [some stylistic choices make me cringe even now].

“It is difficult to be alone,” reads a since discontinued t-shirt from an AWOL webcomic creator. Those words have felt more and less real as seven years of being single has passed by, and what energy they offered I poured into penning some thoughts on the idea of marriage. Admittedly tailored more to those of the young Christian demographic it’s my hope that it helps at all with fellow single men and women in this group, as well as acting as a bit of an eye-opener for those who aren’t. Continue reading

2015’s Cultural Battleground – Gordon’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2015 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.

unnamed4Somewhere in our collective history someone decided to depict God as a bearded, old human, dwelling in the clouds above. The trend caught on and has been going strong for the past couple millennia. As ubiquitous as this portrayal of the almighty has become, we argue that this imagery is the root of some of the worst theology (and art, music, and video) out there today, and how problematic it’s become for both the believer and non-believer alike.

unnamedFew images have so perfectly captured the abject and hellish misery of war than this year’s photograph of the body of Aylan Kurdi- only 3 years old. A would-be refugee from the ongoing conflict in Syria, Aylan and his brother drowned after an overcrowded boat capsized during a desperate attempt to reach Europe. The photograph evokes the deepest feelings of sadness for the dead and sympathy for the living- but crucially missing from the emotional equation is anger. Read on to discover why pity for refugees simply doesn’t cut it. Continue reading