Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Website Reviews: Stuff Christian Culture Likes vs. Stuff Christians Like

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on May 22, 2010

Ever since I discovered the website Stuff Christian Culture Likes I have been a huge fan. Stephanie Drury, the creator and writer of the site, clearly has the insider scoop of someone who grew up in (and is currently immersed in) American, Evangelical Christianity. Many times, I find myself laughing at the posts, like this one, not necessarily because they are so hilarious (which they are), but because they are so spot on. Reading the site is like encountering things you knew but never bothered to stop and think about. I should know; I swam in the same inane, cliched and platitude-filled Christian culture as well.

I was initially quite shocked to discover that Drury is a Christian. She’s not your run-of-the-mill, President-Bush-was-anointed-by-God type of a Christian, but that discovery still threw me for a loop. Posts like this one, are so good at pointing out Christian hypocrisy, they seem more geared towards pointing out the ridiculousness of the Christian faith than anything else. But, as Drury says on her Beliefnet bio page, “Christian culture is funny because it doesn’t have much (if anything) to do with Christ himself.” I hate to admit it, but it is possible to argue that most of the cultural tidbits she puts online are specifically a part of American Evangelicalism and American culture (its consumerism and materialism especially). Still, I think some of the posts are much more subversive than that, since they are directly tied to the contradicting messages found in the Bible. For instance, in a post titled “Having Only Christian Friends”, Drury points to the habit of many Evangelicals who choose not to hang out with sinners. From her perspective, this contradicts Jesus’ own behavior. She makes a good point, and the discussion could end there. However, the Bible is not so cut and dry. The fact is that Christians are told to separate themselves from the world as well. This, and countless other contradictions in the Bible, make any discussion about who is acting the way God wants a moot point. The truth is, you can be a baby-dashing bastard, a murderous crusader, or a loving, selfless saint, and it can ALL find its justification in the Bible. The Prosperity Gospel is the perfect example of this, since what could be clearer than this quote attributed to Jesus, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”? Somehow, Christians are always able to find another Biblical passage that contradicts the one that doesn’t mesh with the way they choose to live their lives.

Still, Drury is doing a service for the rest of us by taking on a form of Christianity mired in consumerism, authoritarianism, hatred for the Other, jingoism and a superiority complex that stinks more of the Republican party than anything else. Her posts are dangerously subversive for these anti-gay, pro-Republican types of Evangelicals, and they know this: they voice their displeasure on Drury’s site with accusations that she is insulting Christianity. If I were still a Christian, this is the type of website I would have gotten behind. I don’t know if this was her intention, but I would have seen it as an effort to take Christianity back from folks who could use a little humility when it comes to interpreting scripture.

I had been under the impression that Drury’s site was one of a kind, until two days ago when I discovered Stuff Christians Like. Jonathan Acuff is the creator of this site which he started a few months prior to Drury’s in 2008. Instead of observant and insightful analysis of Christian culture, we are given posts like “Avoiding door to door witnessing as if it were the plague.” This post, typical of most found on the site (this is a guest writer’s post, but it is typical of Acuff’s own writing–plus, guest writers make up a fair number of the posts), uses tame, sanitary humor as an instructive tool to gently remind Christian readers that God wants them to do some things they’ve been neglecting. This is sort of like the flipside of fire-and-brimstone preaching. The toothlessness of the “analysis” of Christians on this website is further evidenced by the fact that the Christian publishing house Zondervan released his site in book form. Acuff sounds like he would benefit from questioning the true connections between the message of the NT and right-wing social Conservatism, as his article on CNN reveals, “I’m a conservative guy who digs Fox.” If he is blind to all the racism, hatred, character assassination and intentional misinformation and propaganda he sees on FoxNews, it sounds like Drury’s method of divorcing conservative, Evangelical Christian culture from Christianity is something he should pay attention to.

Update: I just discovered that Drury has addressed the existence of the two Stuff-Christian sites in one of her posts.

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2 Responses to “Website Reviews: Stuff Christian Culture Likes vs. Stuff Christians Like

  1. Ann said

    “…and countless other contradictions in the Bible, make any discussion about who is acting the way God wants a moot point. The truth is, you can be a baby-dashing bastard, a murderous crusader, or a loving, selfless saint, and it can ALL find it’s justification in the Bible. The Prosperity Gospel is the perfect example of this, since what could be clearer than this quote attributed to Jesus, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God? Somehow, Christians are always able to find another Biblical passage that contradicts the one that doesn’t mesh with the way they choose to live their lives.”

    Hello! The Bible was written by people. People like to have their perspective of the world validated, and ideas about other humans validated. Recognize people in general have selective hearing, so to speak. Lots of research has been done that supports the fact humans have this common ability to selectively hear or read stuff fitting with their already established beliefs about things, and ignore or refute all that contradicts them. It’s hard to question yourself, easy to question the ideas of others. Most people, even atheists like me (and the other atheists I know) jump to conclusions at times or think their ideas are deep insights, when in reality, many of those deep insights are puddles. You have to learn to laugh at yourself. What I like about Stephanie is she recognizes this and is able to find the humor in her own culture. Simultaneously, she seems to convey some disappointment in many of the people that surround her and don’t see what she sees. She’s sort of a lone wolf, outside the pack (“I may go to church with you guys, but frankly, we are ridiculous.”). Jonathan Acuff, on the other hand, comes off as absurd since he doesn’t see the absurdity of what he’s writing (sorry to diss you Jon, but your site comes off to me as one big Christian ass kissing).

  2. Really well written review. I wish I could pulling information together like that.

    I read Acuff’s site when I was leaving the faith and for a while after. I liked that it is willing to shake things up a bit, but felt the same way you do, and suppose it just doesn’t line up with where I’m coming from so I don’t enjoy it. It seems more like a change for young evangelicals to hear from someone they can relate to who makes fun of some evangelical stuff from an older generation.

    Stuff Christian Culture likes is a blast. I think it is amazing that so much of what evangelicalism thinks is historic orthodoxy is so influence by american culture.

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