Some Saturday Stuff- May 11th.



Do you like the i-doodle of me above? That paicture was done by my lovely sis-in-law Jenny and my nephew Nate a few days ago on an iPad. I love it.


So after my earlier cry fest post, I think you’ve read anought about me for today. So let’s just get right to the links, shall we?


First up, news of a Kickstarter project to fund a feature length film… of a Jack Chick tract. From Stuff Fundies Like:


This guy is raising money to make Dark Dungeons, a movie based on the Chick tract of the same name. This thrilling tale demonstrates among other things that:


*Playing RPGs can make you gain real life magic abilities


*If you gain a high enough level you will be invited to join a secret cult


*Gamers whose characters die are in danger of committing suicide.


*That DM’s are vile temptresses that are out to corrupt their players to the forces of evil.


You must donate to this project immediately. Sell your futon! Pawn your balalaika! Rent out your basement to a traveling troupe of ululaters! Do whatever it takes to make sure this movie gets made. Donate today and you can even get your name in the credits!


Note: The guy making this movie is doing so to ultimately poke fun at the tract so please refrain from sending him hate mail or chinchillas. I really dig the sense of humor that is motivating this project.


I do love that other people find this stuff as ridiculous and ridicule-worthy as me. On the subject of ridicule, yesterday, Stuff Christian Culture Likes shared a link to Set Apart Girl Magazine’s archive page. I had never heard of this Christian women’s mag, so I thought it might be worth a look, despite the commenters trashing it for seemingly only using thin, beautiful white girls on their covers… or just white girl’s hands. I read through a story from the May/June 2013 issue called “UnNatural Affections: Guarding against girl friendships that go too far”. I then posted a link to the story on Facebook and tagged some of my Christian girlfriends to get their opinions. Um, er… I kind of get why the commenters at SCCL slammed the piece. I really, really don’t fit the good-Evangelical-Christian-wifey mold. While I saw some of the writers points, I found myself pulling out the old Liz Lemon eyeroll a number of times. But, it might float your boat, so go check it out. It’s free, after all.


Now on to a subject I’m a bit more comfortable with. Wine. Or rather, how winetasting might just be a bunch of B.S. From I09:


Exhibit A: Wine experts contradict themselves. Constantly.


Statistician and wine-lover Robert Hodgson recently analyzed a series of wine competitions in California, after “wondering how wines, such as his own, [could] win a gold medal at one competition, and ‘end up in the pooper’ at others.” In one study, Hodgson presented blindfolded wine experts with the same wine three times in succession. Incredibly, the judges’ ratings typically varied by ±4 points on a standard ratings scale running from 80 to 100. Via the Wall Street Journal:


A wine rated 91 on one tasting would often be rated an 87 or 95 on the next. Some of the judges did much worse, and only about one in 10 regularly rated the same wine within a range of ±2 points.

Mr. Hodgson also found that the judges whose ratings were most consistent in any given year landed in the middle of the pack in other years, suggesting that their consistent performance that year had simply been due to chance.


It bears repeating that the judges Hodgson surveyed were no ordinary taste-testers. These were judges at California State Fair wine competition – the oldest and most prestigious in North America. If you think you can consistently rate the “quality” of wine, it means two things:


1: No. You can’t.

2. Wine-tasting is [B.S.].


Exhibit B: Expert wine critics can’t distinguish between red and white wines


This one’s one of my favorites. In 2001, researcher Frédéric Brochet invited 54 wine experts to give their opinions on what were ostensibly two glasses of different wine: one red, and one white. In actuality, the two wines were identical, with one exception: the “red” wine had been dyed with food coloring.


The experts described the “red” wine in language typically reserved for characterizing reds. They called it “jammy,” for example, and noted the flavors imparted by its “crushed red fruit.” Not one of the 54 experts surveyed noticed that it was, in fact a white wine.


Exhibit C: We taste with our eyes, not our mouths


Actually, scratch that. We taste with our eyes, ears, noses, and even our sense of touch. We taste with our emotions, and our state of mind. This has been demonstrated time after time after time.


Research out of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab has shown that people will rate food as more enjoyable if it’s consumed in the relaxed atmosphere of a fine dining environment, as opposed to a noisy fast food restaurant.


A 2006 study, published by the American Association of Wine Economists, found that most people can’t distinguish between paté and dog food.


And last, but certainly not least, this thought provoking essay by Anthony Bradley on we Millenials desire and stiving towards missional Christian excellence. And why it’s driving us bonkers. From Action Institute Power Blog, via Rod Dreher:


I continue to be amazed by the number of youth and young adults who are stressed and burnt out from the regular shaming and feelings of inadequacy if they happen to not be doing something unique and special. Today’s Millennial generation is being fed the message that if they don’t do something extraordinary in this life they are wasting their gifts and potential. The sad result is that many young adults feel ashamed if they “settle” into ordinary jobs, get married early and start families, live in small towns, or as 1 Thess 4:11 says, “aspire to live quietly, and to mind [their] affairs, and to work with [their] hands.” For too many Millennials their greatest fear in this life is being an ordinary person with a non-glamorous job, living in the suburbs, and having nothing spectacular to boast about.

Here are a few thoughts on how we got here:

(1) Anti-Suburban Christianity. In the 1970s and 1980s the children and older grandchildren of the Builder generation (born between 1901 and 1920) sorted themselves and headed to the suburbs to raise their children in safety, comfort, and material ease. And, taking a cue from the Baby Boomer parents (born between 1946 and 1964) to despise the contexts that provided them advantages, Millennials (born between 1977 and 1995) now have a disdain for America’s suburbs. This despising of suburban life has been inadvertently encouraged by well-intentioned religious leaders inviting people to move to neglected cities to make a difference, because, after all, the Apostle Paul did his work primarily in cities, cities are important, and cities are the final destination of the Kingdom of God. They were told that God loves cities and they should too. The unfortunate message became that you cannot live a meaningful Christian life in the suburbs.


(2) Missional Narcissism. There are many churches that are committed to being what is called missional. This term is used to describe a church community where people see themselves as missionaries in local communities. A missional church has been defined, as “a theologically-formed, Gospel-centered, Spirit-empowered, united community of believers who seek to faithfully incarnate the purposes of Christ for the glory of God,” says Scott Thomas on the Acts 29 Network. The problem is that this push for local missionaries coincided with the narcissism epidemic we are facing in America, especially with the Millennial generation. As a result, living out one’s faith became narrowly celebratory only when done in a unique and special way, a “missional” way. Getting married and having children early, getting a job, saving and investing, being a good citizen, loving one’s neighbor, and the like, no longer qualify as virtuous. One has to be involved in arts and social justice activities—even if justice is pursued without sound economics or social teaching. I actually know of a couple who were being so “missional” that they decided to not procreate for the sake of taking care of orphans.


To make matters worse, some religious leaders have added a new category to Christianity called “radical Christianity” in an effort to trade-off suburban Christianity for mission. This movement is based on a book by David Platt and is fashioned around “an idea that we were created for far more than a nice, comfortable Christian spin on the American dream. An idea that we were created to follow One who demands radical risk and promises radical reward.” Again, this was a well-intentioned attempt to address lukewarm Christians in the suburbs but because it is primarily reactionary, and does not provide a positive construction for the good life from God’s perspective, it misses “radical” ideas in Jesus’ own teachings like “love.”


The combination of anti-suburbanism with new categories like “missional” and “radical” has positioned a generation of youth and young adults to experience an intense amount of shame for simply being ordinary Christians who desire to love God and love their neighbors (Matt 22:36-40). In fact, missional, radical Christianity could easily be called “the new legalism.” A few decades ago, an entire generation of Baby Boomers walked away from traditional churches to escape the legalistic moralism of “being good” but what their Millennial children received in exchange, in an individualistic American Christian culture, was shame-driven pressure to be awesome and extraordinary young adults expected to tangibly make a difference in the world immediately. But this cycle of reaction and counter-reaction, inaugurated by the Baby Boomers, does not seem to be producing faithful young adults. Instead, many are simply burning out.


And because I’ll always love Lauryn Hill, tax evading jailbird and all, this is my song for the day. Happy Saturday!

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