Friday, April 20, 2007

"War-cheerleading, crypto-racist, judgemental, hateful Christians"

Mitch Benn, a superb satirist and musician who is one of the team on the BBC comedy The Now Show (listen to the latest one if you haven't heard of it) posted an excellent blog on his My Space site last year about Christians. It is so good I thought I ought to reproduce it in full. I hope he doesn't sue me!


CRC (Campaign For Real Christians)

One of the fun things about the internet is getting to "meet" - electronically anyway - people you would otherwise never encounter.In particular just recently I've had some humdingers of arguments with American Right-Wing "Christians". This is particularly fun because, living in Europe, the kind of Americans you actually meet face to face are almost always the OTHER kind of American. The kind with passports.

I've also met the other kind of Christian American. The kind who are as alarmed and appalled as I am by the particular brand of American "Christianity" which gets all the attention in the world media. The war-cheerleading, crypto-racist, judgemental, hateful kind. One in particular observed to me that he was sure that there were more American Christians who espoused HIS kind of Christianity - the tolerant, loving, inclusive kind - but that it was always the OTHER sort of Christian who got all the headlines.

What follows is my reply to him, and it goes out to all those who don't recognise the louder variety of "Christianity" as anything of the kind...

"So go GET some f**kin' headlines."

Seriously, dude... I'm no Christian myself but I was raised in what I guess you would call the Christian Tradition and you know, my RE teachers were nobody's idea of be-jumpered happy clappers (one of them in particular was a scary-eyed End-Timeser) but looking back, I seem to recall that the Jesus I read about WASN'T a hate-slinging gun-owning judgemental warmonger, but, well, frankly, a bit of a hippy. Maybe even a (whisper it) Liberal (gasps of horror, hands clapped over children's ears...). You know, preached tolerance, forbearance, love for one's fellow man, spoke out against violence and avarice, general tree-hugging sh1t like that.

Now if the Christian Right (who are neither) have managed to acquire a virtual monopoly over which voices of faith are heard in the media, it strikes me that this must be at least PARTIALLY due to Real Christians taking their collective eye off the ball with regards to getting their message heard.

Of course, it's always harder for moderates and reasonable people to grab headlines than it is for ranting nutters because moderates and reasonable people are so, well, moderate and reasonable. Nutters and hatemongers can get their voices heard because they ALWAYS have something to scream about.Well right now, you Real Christians REALLY have something to scream about, namely the hijacking of your faith and your spiritual identity! If you can't get indignant about the vile perversion of Jesus's teaching currently masquerading as "Christian values", what CAN you get indignant about?

The one time I seem to recall Jesus losing his rag was the casting out of the money-lenders from the Temple... Correct me if I'm wrong here but I remember the quotation as "My Father's house is a house of prayer, and you have turned it into a den of thieves!" Right now Christ's father's house - The Church - has been turned into a den of thieves, warmongers, bigots, liars, hypocrites and swindlers. So all you Real Christians out there - those of you who still recall all that hippy crap about peace and forgiveness - channel some of Jesus's righteous anger and cast those b@stards out. Heathens like me can't do it for ya."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Celebrity, real people and the whole tawdry business

So it has finally been announced that some guy with bad hair has been proven to be the father of a little girl whose mother died in really sad circumstances. This led to wall-to-wall coverage on Fox News, CNN, SKY News, BBC as well as on the network TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic.

Anna Nicole Smith is not the issue here - it is so sad that someone was so duped by a sick and seriously twisted culture that she came to believe that the only thing worth pursuing was fame even when she acknowledged that it wasn't even making her happy. The problem I have is that this is somehow considered of public consequence. Have we got to the point where it is not just celebrity gossip magazines and tabloids that run stories of human tragedy for the benefit of entertainment, but that you can have serious journalists such as Hannity and Colmes actually having a debate over the results of a paternity test for the daughter of a former Playboy model? Is this all that is left in the modern world? The fight has been given up, and appealing to the lowest common denominator in sex, multiple lovers, drugs and death is what all 'news' is now about?

Our culture is at war with itself. On the one hand we ring our hands over the sexualisation of children, celebrity culture, exploitation of women, low educational standards and increasing violence; but then we create and buy Bratz dolls in fishnet stockings, jeans for 9 year old girls with 'Sexy' across the backside, we all watch people destroy themselves on Celebrity Big Brother, create mind-numbing TV and are, in the word's on Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rob Bell tour

Cards on the table - I have been involved in organising this. However, I am really excited by the Rob Bell tour to the UK in June of this year. It is called Calling All Peacemakers and is visiting the following cities:

12th June Belfast – Spire Conference centre

14th June Dublin – Tripod

15th June Manchester – Tameside Hippodrome

22nd June London -

25th June Southampton – Nuffield Theatre

26th June Cardiff – Coal Exchange

28th June Wolverhampton – Wulfrun Hall

30th June Glasgow – Royal Concert Hall

1st July Cambridge- Westroad Concert Hall

£1 from every ticket plus all profits will be donated to the Turami microfinance project. The Turami project, operated by World Relief, extends business loans to 3,500 individuals in Gitega and Bujumbura provinces of Burundi. It was judged by the United Nations to be the best microfinance operation in the country – see

Tickets are available from

Monday, April 02, 2007

Is Consumerism an Empire

I suppose it is because of the industry (publishing) in which I work, but so often I just skim books and often don't allow the book to make any real impact. Then, every so often, a book comes along that you know is going to change your life. One such book for me is Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire by Brian J Walsh and Sylvia C Keersmaat. Their main thesis is that as the Roman domination was the empire at the time of Paul writing the book of Colossians (and which he subverted in the text), so Global Consumerism is the Empire of our postmodern time. Here is a quote:

Globalization isn't just an aggressive stage in the history of capitalism. It is a religious movement of previously unheard-of proportions. Progress is its underlying myth, unlimited economic growth its foundational faith, the shopping mall (physical or online) its place of worship, consumerism its overriding image, "I'll have a Big Mac and fries" its ritual of initiation, and global domination its ultimate goal.

What are we here for?