Thursday, May 7, 2009

#80 Leaving perturbed comments and signing them 'anonymous'

Most of the blog comments left here that defend Christian culture are signed anonymous. It's a fact.


jeremy said...

but modern christian culture is wacky to begin with.

and i say this as an ex-church goer and ex-worship team musician.

LKT said...

It's because you're so mean and scary. Also well-armed.

stephy said...

It's just interesting. I'm signing my name. Hi, I'm Stephy.

stephy said...

Ahh! Mean and scary! No! Please no.

Anonymous said...

That is because I can't figure out how to log in.

Brian Vinson said...

Probably because deep down we're embarrassed to see our Christian culture portrayed in a realistic light...

...oh, and I sign everything "The Thief" so I'm not really anonymous, am I?

m-schneider said...

its scary how accurate this blog is.

Georgius said...

Hahahahaha XD

Anyone who is offended by any of the content of this blog ought to report that HERE

Truth and Grace said...

Hi Stephy,

There is safety in anonymity. I respect those who can and do use their real names... A LOT. I have some internet things I'm involved in wherein I DO use my real name because it's important for me to fight back with my real voice... to overcome the bullies that would silence me, etc... but at the same time, I have to be careful when I'm speaking out on certain issues for very important personal reasons... which some day I may be able to share... and then I'll go "public," although I am quite fond of my aliases. ;)

So I was thinking of this anonymity issue... Hmmm... For some people who have been abused they might be in civil or criminal legal cases which would demand some anonymity regarding certain sites, blogs and things they may wish to post... Some are probably afraid of getting verbally attacked for having their opinions... Perhaps some people just want to be "mean and scary" (not you Steph!) and do the ol' drive by, then roll the dark windows up and zoom away into the wild blue...

Freedom4Captives (aka: Truth & Grace)

lukeisham said...

Hi Stephy,

As a theologically-conservative, Australian Christian, (what a moniker!) I feel the need to comment. Of all the things you've blogged on so far the following are found among Australian Christians as well and I'd defend them as good things.
-Date Night
-Women's Ministries
-John Calvin
-Having lots of kids
-The Matrix
-Saying "Let's close in prayer"

These ones are also found among Australian Christians, I don't think they're bad but I wouldn't rush to their defence:
-Ichthus Tattoo aka The Jesus Fish
-Day Timer
-The Youth Group Leader/Youth Pastor

These unfortunately appear sometimes in Australian Christianity and I'm glad you've critiqued them.
-Worship Teams
-The Shack
-Prayer of Jabez
-'The Passion of the Christ'

Most of the others, seem to be very American. What is interesting in your blog posts is seeing which things all of Christian culture seems to have adopted and which things are very particular to certain church groups or countries.

Mark (under construction) said...

I defend my right to remain Anon!!!!
Mark (Randall)

and, you can tell I am not two faced - because why would I then be wearing the one I got now? ...

Anyway Stephy, what say I was Christened Anon? huh. Could I be then anonymous Anon?

David Rudel said...

Hey Stephy,
I thought of something you could add to your list of things Christian culture likes:

"Finding 'the gospel' everywhere except in the Gospels."

It's true, other than John 3:16 [which I recently wrote a big blog entry about, showing that the gospel of John 3:16 is hardly what people probably think when they quote it.] when most Christians talk about the gospel or quote Scripture to support their versions of the gospel, they don't discuss the places you'd expect to find the gospel [Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts, the latter being the biggest repository of post-resurrection evangelism in the entire Bible].

Instead, they quote letters written to specific churches to those who already believed. That is to say, they pick the least evangelistic books in the NT written with the most un-stated context to describe the good news rather than looking at documents actually designed to evangelize.

Aussie said...

Maybe the reason Christians are offended by this stuff is that it's more offensive than you realise...have you thought about this?

Stuff people who leave churches like

# 1 Self-pity: the youth group was awful to you. Of course that means you can say whatever you like about Christians for the rest of your life.

# 2 Stereotypes: when you've got a chip on your shoulder big enough to see from space you can also paint with a pretty big brush.

# 3 Hearing what you want to hear: don't bother thinking about what the pastor actually meant when he/she spoke about a controversial or difficult topic. Just pick the viewpoint that most offends you and convince yourself that's what they really said. And of course they spoke for all Christians when they said it - there couldn't be more than one opinion in the same religion, could there?

# 4 Critiquing only the least mature elements: good on you for taking apart the theology of what a 14 year old might wear as a t shirt. Don't worry about what the more mature grown ups believe - that'll just hurt your head.

# 5 Assuming the worst: This is very important. Everything a church does must be for pure selfish and shallow reasons only. Do not give the benefit of the doubt - if you see something, think about what the worst reason behind it might be. That must be it.

Normally I wouldn't write like this but sometimes you have to respond in kind. Can you think of anything positive to say about church culture? Or are we just that evil?

stephy said...

You may notice that I don't say if Christian culture is good or bad. I just make some objective observations. :)
The only think I'm convinced of is that Christian culture is NOT in line with what Jesus wants his church to look like.

stephy said...

(Aussie managed to remain anonymous there, btw. :)

Aussie said...

Yeah, but that's tantamount isn't it? It's a bit like saying someone's not a good or a bad singer, just that they have no rhythm and can't hit the right notes. It's pretty clear which side of the fence all these 'observations' fall on. I just think the fact that ALL of them present christians as shallow, selfish or stupid means you're not being as objective as you think.

And like most of the Internet (is that just a Christian thing? I didn't realize) I'll stick to a nickname when I'm on a new blog. If that's not what Jesus wanted then I hope He'll forgive me - He was a bit vague on the whole area.

stephy said...

You're right, I am definitely trying to make the point that Christian culture doesn't have the right rhythm and it doesn't hit the right notes. I want to make people think about why they hold Christian culture in such esteem.

I say in my little disclaimer up there on the side that I've at one time been a part of all the things I talk about on this blog and I don't think I'm more evolved than anyone else. You can take that for whatever it's worth.

I think God wants us to separate Christ from Christian culture. The vigorously perturbed reactions to my posing questions and making statements on how the culture operates makes me wonder why people feel so defensive of it. To react this way someone has to have a lot of emotional energy and/or identity invested in Christian culture. And if this is true, then the culture is an idol to you.

Bebe said...


I take it you didn't grow up in a mainstream Christian tradition? Or perhaps you found another group more to your liking? I ask because I've often wondered if Christian Culture is a way to formalize the individualistic and evangelical tone of modern American Christianity. The importance placed on a return to the early Church (where 2 or 2,000 are gathered) and the emphasis on personal revelation (rather than tradition or reason) seem to trend towards a sort of anti-structure (they call it antinomian nowadays). Ultimately we do need a structure. I suspect all the areas you are critquing are just part of that structure which has formed of late.

stephy said...

My dad is a baptist pastor and we went to a large baptist church in the south for a long time, and after that we went to a warehouse non-denominational church. Now I go to a Presbyterian (PCA) church.

Cynthia said...

I think a lot of the trouble some people have with your blog is that they assume that you are an atheist criticizing Christianity when, in fact, you are a "Christ-follower" criticizing "Christianity". And really, you are simply asking that Christians take a closer look at what Christianity has become and if it accurately reflects the teachings of Christ with the appropriate degree of least that's my take on your blog. I think Christian Culture has "cheesified" God/Jesus/the Scriptures...etc...and tied everything up in a sometimes saccharine sweet, sometimes noxious poisin bow...The battle of Christianity vs Christian Culture has been raging since the 1st Century. This is why it is important that people come along from time to time who are willing to look at their own religion with a critcial eye.

Cynthia said...

I should have used spellcheck!

Wilson Rodriguez said...

Hey I'm not ashamed!! My name is Wilson Rodriguez and I'm a BAAAAAAD Christian!! This Shit is making me LMAO!! How about a new one about "Worshiping the Apostle Paul". Tell any Christian out there that he was just a man writing letters and all you hear is...NOOOOO he was an A--POS--TLE!! This blog puts it like it is. Good work.

lukeisham said...

Ahh, the old "Jesus vs Paul" chesnut.

Wilson A. Rodriguez said...

Explain Chestnut.

lukeisham said...

"That's 'an old chestnut' means, usually, that a joke is old and well known..."

faithlessinfatima said...

That 'old chestnut' is still worth the look...if we dare.

lukeisham said...

Would anyone dare to say that Paul and Jesus were actually talking about the some things?

rich said...

Well...originally (like, early church "originally") apostles were considered those who had been personally witness to the resurrected Christ. Paul, although not a witness prior to his ascension, was a witness on the road to Damascus. Huge (theologically speaking) is that this was NOT a vision, not a dream, but a bodily appearance of Christ (one of the biggest "missing pieces" in popular Christian theology is, what happened to Christ's body after ascension? The common thought is, well, he ditched it. Having been incarnated and "getting the job done" he now no longer needed his body or humanity. This totally misses the point that "the job" includes Christ being divine AND human forever so we can partake and enjoy both sides of his nature).

Okay, so because of this experience - and because it was not "normal" - Paul referred to himself as an apostle "abnormally born" appointed by God to preach the gospel to the Gentiles in particular.

Other early church controversy involving Paul involved his insistence on grace as constituting our relationship with God ENTIRELY to the point of having some people - like even the writer of James - to misunderstand him and think that he preached that behavior was totally irrelevant. "What then shall we say, as we have been reportedly accused of saying, 'Go on sinning that grace shall abound?' May it never be!"

Then, a zillion years later, in modern scholarship, one of the biggest issues about Paul has been the accusation that "Jesus was a messianic prophet, Paul was the inventor of the religion known as Christianity." This, I think, is not so at all... I had a prof in University of Calgary (a secular guy) who said, "I used to think Paul and Jesus were worlds apart, the more I study, though, I think they were on about the same thing."

Then, you have Christians who like to say things like, Paul was an arrogant sumbitch. And I don't know, maybe he was.

I think the hard thing for us when we read him is that over 2000 years we have translated all this language that is alive in relational realities into transactional understandings. So we hear things like "live a life worthy of the calling you have received" to be saying something like, "behave good" when it is saying something more like, "you are children of God and free, quit living live you're shackled in gawddam chains! Yay and wahoo!"

How is that for a sideways response?

stephy said...

Rich, I love ya.

Eva said...

Hi Stephy,
I love your blog and look forward to your posts. I am Wiccan, my best friend is Born Again and my parents are Southern Baptist - and they talk about this stuff, which I had no understanding of before reading your blog. So thank you, because I do not get Christianity and this helps strengthen my relationships.
I also thank you for putting up with all the comments you seem to get - you have the patience of a saint! I think people are proving your point with every defensive comment they post.

Keep up the good work! :)

lukeisham said...

Rich: "I used to think Paul and Jesus were worlds apart, the more I study, though, I think they were on about the same thing." I agree.

Blue Collar Todd said...

Comments by "Anonymous" on my blog are usually from people that are Liberal and disagree with me.

Hobbe said...

I'm impressed by this blog (and thus by the blogger). It provides a wonderful sounding board for people of all faiths with something (dare I say) all of us posting here have in common: a hate of hypocrisy.

I am a Christian and not afraid to leave my name here. I agree with the criticism of Christian culture - we are imperfect humans, hence why we actually need Jesus! (And, yes, we need this kind of self-reflection to try to fix our mistakes.)

Ben Ning said...

There is nothing to defend. There should never have been a 'Christian culture'. And the earlier that culture dissolves the better. It disgusts me, though I am a church goer and a believer of all Christ taught.

Janelle said...

I just ran across your blog and this is hilarious! As a reformed fundamentalist (read agnostic) I've done and heard about at least half if not more than half. And I would put down more identifiers if I had them. Bad tech non-junkie.

Craig said...

As a former technical director for a very large McChurch, I would get comment cards in my mailbox in the office occasionally, telling me the the lights were too bright or too flashy, or the music was too loud.

They were never signed.

Anonymous said...

What, you mean like this?

stephy said...

Yes, like that! But angrier.

Valerie said...

Stephy, I was interested to see that you now go to a PCA Church. I grew up in the PCA (went to Covenant College even) and left because of many of the elements of Christian culture that you mention in your blog (which I've been reading for hours now). I now belong to an ELCA church and, though my church has its drawbacks, it's like a breath of fresh air after having spent so many years in the PCA. Maybe your church is different than the one that I grew up in, but I just can't stomach it anymore.

Carl and Susan Chase said...

I cant stop reading your blog i love it :) and I found your blog through grapes of rad :) ur pretty much awesome :)

Chrissy said...

I love reading comments and getting to the end and being like, "Wait. What was this post about? Oh yeah: leaving anonymous comments." So many comments having nothing to do with the original post, and somehow, a handful of people still become disgruntled by the overall blog content. Very interesting...
So glad your life has led you to tackle the Goliath that IS Christian Culture. You've got the balls, skills, story, and incentive, that make you the perfect woman for the job!
The positive comments are always great to read. Love knowing that kindred sprits are all around :)
Keep it up, Stephy! You're my favorite! I'd leave this anonymous, for original theme's sake, but anonymity is more suited to 12 step meetings. I ain't afraid a no blog!

Anonymous said...


I wouldn't leave my actual name online, because it is legal and likely to be fired for my views in this part of the US.

As for Anonymous, I can't be bothered to sign up for a site unless I spend at least a week commenting. If I only say one or two things, what does it matter what name is on it? It stands alone.

Patrickl said...

That is a Kids In the Hall Reference (who, interestingly, did a Dr. Suess style Jesus crucifixion sketch that was edited out for U.S/HBO broadcast), right? - Satan

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