Rape Culture, Fundamentalism, and the New Atheism

A Google image search for "Christian patriarchy" brought this up. You can...draw your own conclusion.

A Google image search for “Christian patriarchy” brought this up. You can, uh, draw your own conclusion.

There’s been no shortage of sex abuse scandals in the Christian Church in recent years. By now the Catholic Church scandals are old news, but Protestants have rushed to get in on the action in the last year or three as well, with allegations against dozens of institutions coming to light. Bill Gothard of the respected (by some) Institute for Biblical Life Principles recently resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment, and numerous damning exposés have been written on the entrenched rape culture — where victims are blamed and perpetrators walk free — at universities like Bob Jones and Patrick Henry.

Continue reading

Thoughts on Hobby Lobby: “Rights” Don’t Really Exist, So Let’s Stop Pretending They Do

Artist's representation of everyone on the Internet following the Hobby Lobby ruling

Artist’s representation of everyone on the Internet following the Hobby Lobby ruling

Hey, remember when everyone’s head exploded on the Internet over the Hobby Lobby ruling? That was fun, right?

I’m not here to take sides in the debate, but I will go ahead and say that every argument I’ve seen and heard about it has been really, really stupid. I don’t feel like I have much to add to the debate, so I’m not going to harp on it any more. (My original thoughts can be found here; the TLDR version is that I think the debate is a terrible question that gives birth to many terrible answers, but if I had to pick a side in the idiocy, I’d probably agree with the Court, since I don’t think the mandate clearly satisfies the standard set by the RFRA.)

O RLY?

O RLY?

What I do want to talk about is this concept of “rights” we’re all throwing around. It occurs to me that when America’s “conservatives” (who are actually not conservatives at all, but in fact classical liberals, but whatever, fine, words mean nothing, call yourselves conservatives if you want) talk about “rights,” they mean something very different than “liberals” (who are actually…y’know, I’m not really sure, but “progressives” is probably a better word) do. This may not be news to anyone, necessarily, but it certainly explains the head-slapping stupidity that results from arguments over whether corporations have the “right” to freedom of religion and whether women have the “right” to free birth control [of any sort]. Continue reading

Prebylutheranism 2nd Anniversary Spectacular! (My Top 10 Posts Ever)

Just because.

Just because.

The other day was the second anniversary of my foray into blogging, and what a long, strange trip it’s been. I haven’t proven to be the most consistent blogger on the Web, or the one with the biggest following, or the smartest, or the funniest, or the most talented, or the best-loved, but I’m certainly…one of them?

I guess?

But one thing I am sure of is that starting this blog was a good call. Some of the things that have happened since I began it:

  • I’ve been published by Cracked a couple of times;
  • My work has appeared in Reader’s Digest;
  • I’ve scored a book deal;
  • I’ve been made a weekly columnist at Christ and Pop Culture;
  • I’ve almost finished a novel (which is more of a distraction from blogging than anything, but whatever).

I thought that for this august occasion (which, ironically, is a June occasion), it might be fun to run down my blog’s top 10 posts, along with some of my commentary on them. Unless it’s not fun, in which case, I’m sorry. Continue reading

Buttcracks and Legos: An Internet Full of Me

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Hey guys,

Just thought I’d let you know that I have a couple new pieces going up around the web today.

There’s this, my latest ‘LOL Interwebz’ column for Christ and Pop Culture. It’s about buttcracks and Magic: The Gathering.

Then there’s this, a contrarian piece I wrote for The Erstwhile Philistine. It’s about The Lego Movie and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and why EVERY CHILDREN’S MOVIE YOU LOVE IS A LIE.

By the way, since I have your attention: Christ and Pop Culture has a podcast, and it’s phenomenal. I’m not shilling; it’s seriously my absolute favorite podcast and I listen to it all the time. And incidentally, I’ve had the pleasure of starring in three of its episodes:

It’s been a blast. But every single episode is great, and you should listen to them all.

Till next time!

In the Spirit of Aronofsky’s ‘Pi,’ Here’s a Mathematical Proof that ‘Noah’ Would Have Pissed Everyone Off, No Matter What

I haven’t seen Darren Aronofsky’s Noah yet (gave up movies for Lent, grr), but here’s what I’ve learned about it from the blogosphere:

If you read that, you now know everything there is to know about Noah. Congratulations! Continue reading

A Brief and Somewhat Unfocused Rant About the Hobby Lobby Case

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Reportedly, Hobby Lobby CEO Dave Green saw this sign outside the courthouse and said, “Oh wait, Hobby Lobby ISN’T a church? My mistake.” Then he retracted his lawsuit and went home.

Okay, so.

Several people have asked me to blog my thoughts about the high-profile case that’s before the Supreme Court right now. I’m honestly not sure why, since my political views tend to be pretty bland and wishy-washy, but maybe that’s what the blogosphere needs. Maybe I can be the anti-Matt Walsh: angry with no one, and reasonable towards everyone.

I can at least give it my best shot.

So, here are my primary thoughts. Continue reading

Flesh Like Grass: Flappy Bird, Fame, and the Fall From Grace

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Illustration by Seth T. Hahne

Just a quick PSA that my long-form essay Flappy Bird, Fame, and the Fall From Grace is available for your reading pleasure in the latest issue of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine, which you can buy from the iOS newsstand here. It’s a reflective piece on what fame means, why so many yearn for it, and why so many, having experienced it, run from it. The issue has a lot of other good stuff (okay, I admit: better stuff), too, like D.L. Mayfield’s experiences with some of the Somalis who starred in Captain Phillips, and her thoughts on the Twitter flamewar between noted comedian/talking rat Patton Oswalt and RUF campus minister Sammy Rhodes. It’s three bucks, and it’s more than worth it. I promise.

Also, that three bucks goes to pay the writers. Like me. So there’s that.

Cults of Personality: I Promise I Only Talk About Steven Furtick a Little Bit in This

I was sitting in one of those ugly, overly lit conference rooms that literally every hotel on the planet has. The ones that are huge but feel cramped because of their low drop ceilings, where the carpet is always a hideous, mass-produced Victorian-esque pattern, and the walls are pockmarked with pee-colored folding dividers and the ceilings are cheap, foamy tile studded with fluorescent lights.

I was at intern and staff training for Reformed University Fellowship, the Presbyterian Church in America’s campus ministry program. Continue reading

I’d Like to Say a Few Words About the Oscars.

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Hey all,

Quick confession, and then an announcement.

Look at that stupid face. Who wants a punch in his face? YOU wants a punch in you face!

Who’s a smug boy? YOU’S a smug boy! Who wants a punch in him’s face? YOU wants a punch in you’s face! Yes you do!

Confession:

I hate the Oscars. Loathe them with every fiber of my being. Want to punch that Oscar guy in his stupid, golden face.

All the Oscars do is reward movies for being stoic, boring, inoffensive, and released-in-December. What’s the point?

Actually, I hate all awards shows, but I pay more attention to movies than to music, TV, Broadway, or peace, so I hate the Oscars more actively than I do the Grammys, the Emmys, the Tonys, or the Nobels.

(Pulitzer, you can stay. We cool.)

The upshot is that I not only ignore the Oscars, but I try to avoid any Oscar-nominated film. They’re all just boring rehashes of previous years’ winners, so why waste my time?

Oh, sweet Pulitzer. If my daring exposé on how the Oscars are terrible doesn't win your heart, what will?

Oh, sweet Pulitzer. If my daring exposé on how the Oscars are terrible doesn’t win your heart, what will?

Announcement:

Instead of avoiding them this year, I’m going to AMC’s annual Oscar nominee marathon, which is happening tomorrow (2/22) and next Saturday (3/1). I’ll eventually write up the experience for Christ and Pop Culture, but I’ll also be live-tweeting it under the hashtag #OscNomHateWatch.

So, y’know. Follow along on the Twittersphere. Or join in. Or whatever it is you kids do.

Side note:

Because I know someone’s going to ask, it’s not really a hate-watch. I almost never watch something hoping to hate it. I actually hope I like all nine of the nominees. I really do.

But, y’know, if I do hate them, you’ll be the first to find out. Because, what could be more important than what some guy on the Internet thinks of a bunch of movies?

Luke is out.

Peace.