Dear Christian Radio,
I owe you an apology.
You too Carmen. You need to get in on this as well. I don’t really know where to start so I guess I’ll just come right out with it …
My name is Jon Acuff and I’m a recovering Christian culture snob.
What’s that you say? What’s a Christian culture snob? You were always so inquisitive Carmen, that’s one of the things I love about you.
A Christian culture snob is a Christian that makes fun of people and things that are deemed “Christian.” I believe am cooler than you and able to edit “Love your neighbors” to actually say, “Love your neighbors unless you deem them cheesy and then instead feel free to kick them like a hacky sack woven of burlap and sarcasm.” Basically, I am prone to turn my nose up at some of the things you do.
Although I’ve reduced my degree of Christian culture snobbery in the last few years, during high school it was at an all time high, which is when I ran into you Carmen. I think you were doing that Champion song with the devil cameo and maybe the whole God’s Army thing with the dog tags at the time. And Christian radio, you were just so bright and chipper all the time. I had a field day with both of you. But looking back on it, and fearing that I’ll fall prey to Christian culture snobs when my book comes out, I realize that I was wrong and really unloving. And even though I wish I could eradicate Christian culture snobbery, I am but a meager blogger, one man who wears a retainer at night, a unibrowed writer with only a small voice. But the least I can do is to help other people know if they’ve fallen into the same trap as me. The least I can do is create the …
Christian Culture Snob Scorecard
1. You’ll give incredibly cheesy, secular TV shows, like the Bachelorette, the free pass of being a “guilty pleasure,” but would crucify a Christian program that was equally cheesy. = +5 points
2. You’ve ever used the phrase “Jesus Junk” to describe the knick knackery that Christian bookstores often sell at the front. = +3 points
3. You’ve ever used Chris Tomlin’s music as a piñata when it comes to busting on Christian culture. = +1 point
4. You publicly make fun of the song “I can only imagine” but secretly love it and get goosebumps when it comes on in the car when you are alone. = +3 points
5. You’ve ever liked a song until someone told you it was Christian and then you immediately stopped liking it. = +5 points
6. You make fun of the typical fundamentalist Christian uniform, “Blue long sleeve shirt, pleated khaki’s, loafers, Republican haircut.” = +2 points
7. You did so while wearing a graphic tee. = +3 points
8. And oranately embellished jeans. = +4 points
9. And metrosexual worship leader hair. = +5 points
10. You convinced yourself that wasn’t every bit as much a uniform. = +6 points
11. You tell friends that the lyrics to Christian music are “too overt” or “not layered enough” and you like to hear faith expressed in a way that’s not so blunt. = +3 points
12. You’ve ever said that you found Man on Fire or any other non Jesus movie to be a better story about Christ than the Passion of the Christ. = +3 points
13. You would like Switchfoot 17% less if they said “Jesus” all the time in their songs. = +1 point
14. Ditto “The Fray.” = +1 point
15. You lie about the first concert you went to when people ask that question because you don’t want them to know it was that Amy Grant/Michael W. Smith tour. = +2 points
16. You have an abnormal amount of disdain for the movies “Facing the Giants” or “Fireproof.” = +2 points
17. You’ve never seen them, but still feel compelled to offer up a critique. = +8 points
18. Seven of your top 10 favorite Christian songs are actually by non-Christians. You just like the way they express the sense of longing we all feel without getting all Jesus in your face. = +2 points
19. You regularly criticize the cheesy nature of Christian culture but don’t do anything to change it. Like volunteering to rewrite a billboard for your church so they don’t have to run the same “Got Jesus?” billboard this year at Easter. = +2 points
20. You’ve ever used Stephen Baldwin’s name as an adjective to describe what you’re not like. E.G. “I’m a Christian but not a Stephen Baldwin kind of Christian.” = +3 points
21. You make broad blanket statements like, “I don’t like Christian music,” even though that should be impossible on some level because it’s not a type of music. There’s Christian jazz, techno, country and a million other genres underneath that umbrella phrase. Really? You hate all those types all at once? = +10 points
22. Kirk Cameron is your go to, “weird Christian guy” example when you want to make fun of weird Christian guys. = +2 points
23. You wrote a critique of Christian radio for being so shiny happy but completely missed the point that you might not be the intended target audience. Of course you don’t like it, it’s not designed for someone your age in your stage of life. = +3 points
24. You’re friend had to convince you to check out the Stuff Christians Like blog because your first thought was, “Oh jeez, another Christian rip off of a popular secular idea.” = +8 points
25. You were right to think that way, I ripped off the Stuff White People Like idea, but upon reading the site sent me an email I get often, “I wanted to hate this site for being a dumb Christian rip off, but …” = +16 points
26. If you see any of the Left Behind books on a friend’s bookshelf you admittedly discount that friend’s ability to make wise decisions about anything in life. = +4 points
27. You’ve abused the popular church mantra “doing things with excellence” to actually mean, “doing things according to my personal definition of excellence.” = +3 points
28. You have a go to joke in your back pocket at all times in case someone ever mentions the name “Thomas Kinkade.” = +3 points
29. You complain about the quality of Christian fiction books that feature women being rescued on the cover by a strong, Godly man with a mysterious past, but secretly wish you could be rescued by a strong, Godly man with a mysterious past. = + 4 points.
Let’s add it up
0-10 points = Look at you. You don’t get caught up in nonsense discussions about how cheesy Christian culture is? What are you spending your time on instead? Reading the Bible? Loving people? Focusing on stuff that matters? How weird.
11-25 points = You’re in the closet, the Christian culture closet. Come out, it’s OK to like music that other people might deem cheesy or think is silly. Who cares about what other people think?
26+ points = You are deep into snobland my friend. You spend more time critiquing than creating. The only kind of sweaters you should wear are mock. Upon reading that cheesy joke you immediately started making fun of it.
How did you score? To be honest, I fluctuate a little but on most days, I am on off the charts. But what this site is teaching me is that mocking doesn’t really do awesome things for Christianity. I’ve definitely blown that sometimes with what I write and am probably the guiltiest of all of us, but I realized something the other day. I’ve never once had a non-Christian say to me, “You know, this faith you’re making fun, this Christian culture you’re mocking sounds really intrig
uing. I think I do want to start an everlasting personal relationship with Jesus. Thank you for being so willing to make fun of Carmen for me.”
What did I miss on this list though?
Certainly there are other Christian culture snob items I forget?