There’s no question that evangelical Christians, across both denominational and non-denominational, have a “culture.” But you don’t consider how that culture can manifest itself until you read something like Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff.
Based on the posts on his blog of the same name, Stuff Christians Like examines through the lens of the humor microscope how Christians pray, worship, witness, read their Bibles, go on missions trips, think about God, think about each other, think about non-believers, learn if other believers drink alcohol (or not), dance appropriately, do baptisms and a host of other “cultural” practices.
Acuff does not skewer or lacerate his subjects (after all, he’s one of them himself). But he does point out the things that Christians do that stereotype themselves, like using the word “just” in every prayer, as in, “Lord, we just ask you for…” or look for typos in the worship songs on the jumbo-trons (for those of us who don’t use hymnals and have churches big enough to use jumbo-trons to display worship songs) or the seven types of people you meet in a prayer circle.
His purpose isn’t to ridicule. Without his underlying fondness, sympathy and love for the people he’s talking about, in all the crazy ways they practice their faith, this would have been an “edgier” and more biting collection, of short articles, long articles, and cartoons. Instead, the humor leads you into more serious thought about how much of this could be about yourself. Acuff’s final section, with the title of “Saturday Night Cryfest,” particularly does that.
I smiled. I laughed. I cringed. I got embarrassed. Because what he writes is true.
I may never be the same again. I’m certainly going to be aware of my tendency to use the word “just” in a prayer.