One of the best things out of the “Stuff Christians Like to Rip-off” box is the Babylon Bee, a satirical news site patterned after the ever-popular “Onion” but with a decidedly conservative-Christian bent.
Like many would-be (heh) contributors, I submitted a few articles to the Bee months ago, and never got any response. …I’m sure it was just lost in the mail. Or something.
So, I present for (hopefully) your entertainment and (more likely) my ego enhancement, my two submissions that were clearly not funny enough for the Babylon Bee:
Pastor Exasperated by Congregants’ Heretical Social Media Posts
Shawnee, OK — “Sometimes, it’s just a little hard to swallow,” sighs Shawn Allison, lead pastor of Copper Creek Baptist Church in central Oklahoma. “You labor week after week, preaching through Scripture exegetically, proclaiming the truths of the Gospel. When you talk to the folks in your church, you can tell they’re paying attention, engaging the text.
“Then, the next day, they’re sharing Benny Hinn videos on Facebook.”
Like many pastors, Allison tries to connect with his congregants on social media. While this has in some cases proven to be a useful ministry tool, Allison says, it can be a double-edged sword.
“I mean, this is from one of our deacons, for crying out loud. Why on earth would he post a video of that man knocking people out by waving his coat? And look at his comment: ‘Wow, imagine what the world would look like if the Spirit broke out like this everywhere.’ Are you kidding me?!?”
It’s not just sharing videos of faith-healers and other televangelists that has Pastor Allison upset. “The awful, out-of-context Bible verse memes really start to wear me down, too. If I had a dollar for every time one of my folks ‘claimed’ Philippians 4:13 out of context online, well, I’d be able to buy actual Folgers coffee for the church office, instead of that terrible generic stuff from Big Lots.”
Allison admits that he’s at a loss when it comes to his flock’s terrible online theology. “It’s not like I haven’t taught them better. It’s not like I haven’t stated in one form or another EVERY SINGLE WEEK that we read the Bible in context, and interpret Scripture with Scripture. But no matter how many head-nods and amen’s I get on Sunday, by Wednesday, someone has posted another ridiculous self-affirmation quote online.”
In recent weeks, Allison admits, he’s nearly reached his breaking point. “When you see one of your deacons sharing a “why-I-hate-the-Church” video–while you’re in the middle of teaching through the Pastoral Epistles–well, you start to second-guess your calling.”
At that point, Allison looked down at his buzzing phone. “Tagged in a picture? … Oh, COME ON, Mark! Rob Bell?!? …Know what? That’s it. I’m done. I’m just done.”
Online Satirist Publicly Rebuked for Not Reaching Out to Public Figures Privately
Anytown, OH — Online religious satirist Seth Dodge, and his blog, The Gomorrah Gazette, have gained a readership of thousands in recent months for his pointed critiques of bad theology and false teachers. However, recent allegations made on Facebook suggest that Dodge has not met individually with each of the individuals he has lampooned.
Last week, in a public comment on the Gazette’s Facebook page, reader Ann Flamm alleged that Dodge “shouldn’t call people out by name.”
“I just don’t think what Seth’s doing is right,” Flamm opined in a general reply sent to the main website. “Isn’t there a verse in Corinthians about not criticizing other believers over stuff that doesn’t matter? Because we’re family, you know!”
Flamm went on to suggest to her fellow commentators that, if Dodge and the other writers at the Gazette have not sought to meet with these public figures on a one-on-one basis (perhaps over coffee), in order to ask them clarifying questions about confusing or potentially heretical statements they’ve made in public gatherings, sermons, or published materials, “well–that just doesn’t seem very loving.”
Flamm reportedly repeated a shorter version of this concern on Twitter, retweeting the Gazette’s latest piece on Joel Osteen.
Reports indicate that Flamm’s comment struck at the heart of the Gazette’s senior writers. Two days later, Dodge issued a press release on the matter, which read as follows:
“In the last week, we at the Gomorrah Gazette have been called to account via social media and various blogs for not seeking to meet privately with certain religious celebrities we have critiqued and dialogue about our differences. This form of loving Christian rebuke online has been received in the spirit with which it was given, and the Gazette is now reconsidering its policy on how we address the public statements and published works of influential religious figures. We appreciate your prayers as we work through this process. We’re not perfect, just forgiven.”
The statement continued:
“Further, on behalf of the Apostles Paul and John, we would like to extend a public apology to the families of Demas, Hymenaus, Alexander, Phygelus, Hermogenes, Alexander the Coppersmith, the entire island of Crete, and Diotrephes, for any emotional harm the Apostles’ divinely-inspired comments have caused in the last two millenia.”
After issuing the statement, the Gomorrah Gazette website was immediately taken down for “maintenance.” When it went back online the next day, the only articles still available were the ones that gently mocked fundamentalism.