Stuff Christian Culture Likes

duggar2.jpgChristian culture gets married young. The reason isn’t entirely clear, but the general consensus is that it drastically lowers the risk of fornication. You just can’t fornicate if you’re married, and that takes care of that.

Fornication is Christian culture’s natural enemy. Bible colleges (aka “bridal colleges” – what did I tell you?) require students to sign a convenant stating they won’t drink, swear, be gay or have premarital sex. But even Christian students at secular universities roil under biblical sex mandates. When you combine guilt with evangelical horndogs you get a lot of marriage proposals and short engagements.

duggar1.jpgEven apart from the sex issue, Christian culture highly recommends getting married. The overarching message is “once you find the person God has chosen for you then everything will fall together, your life will finally start, your ministry will really get off the ground, and your problems will be solved.” The notion that your problems could really just be getting started isn’t even in their frame of concept.

When your earnest Christian ass graduates college without a boyfriend or girlfriend, you are peppered with questions by family members and people at church about when exactly you will get yourself an eligible Christian companion. Then once you have a boyfriend or girlfriend you are peppered about getting married already. The peppering is combined with concern that you are not “living right” and possibly Doing It outside the confines of marriage. The unspoken message is deafening.

The ideal marrying age in Christian culture is 22, when you’re fresh out of college and haven’t even been to Europe, lived away from home apart from a dorm, or paid one installment on your student loan. To people outside of Christian culture this is sheer madness. But the people in Christian culture are relieved that the fornication window is finally closed and they can now set busily about writing Facebook statuses that they’re married to their best friend.

josh-anna-2-100709.jpgSoon after the guileless, low-budget Christian culture wedding you can expect them to start popping out babies. If they’re not trying to get pregnant by their second anniversary, they may not be full-fledged evangelicals.

missionfield3.jpg89% of evangelical church parking lots contain one of these signs. The signs are never positioned so that you see them while you’re driving into the lot. They’re placed so you can only see them as you’re driving away.

missionfield5.JPGThe implication is that you were not in the mission field while you were on church grounds, but in a cozy bubble away from pesky non-believers and moral miscreants.

missionfield1.jpgSome churches post the sign above the church exit. Maybe they’re reminding you that even the parking lot is a battlefield.

missionfield2.jpgOther churches post the sign on your way out of the sanctuary, maybe as a heads-up that there could be some spiritual warfare in the narthex.

missionfield7.jpgTo my knowledge no one has ever posted one of these signs on the way into a church building, even though a lot of the time you are safer away from a church than inside of it.

xmas1a.jpgThe campaign to override Xmas with Christmas is brought to you by the aforementioned Keeping Christ in Christmas movement. It’s never more frenetic than at this time of year.

Pro-Christmas campaigners very much dislike Xmas. They will call you out if you use it and they are sure to write CHRISTmas on their Ugly Christmas Sweater Party invite (often in papyrus font, as above). Although X has been used for centuries as a sanctioned abbreviation for ??????? (Greek for Christ), Christian culture has a sneaking suspicion this is really a calculated method to nudge Christ out of his own holiday.

Even their beloved C. S. Lewis endorsed the use of Xmas over Christmas for brevity’s sake, but Christian culture insists that you should write the word in its entirety. The reasoning they commonly cite is that “Christ made room for you, so you should make room for him.”

Their logic follows that writing five extra letters is the least you can do in exchange for his grisly crucifixion. And so once again, in a pitfall of Christian culture, a superficial patch job is substituted for inventory of the heart.

capitalismmagnet.jpgIf you have spent time within American Christian culture, you have probably inferred that free-market capitalism is God’s chosen economic system. American evangelicals are some of capitalism’s biggest fans. Christians in many other parts of the world cannot believe this. They have no idea how someone could reconcile capitalism with the teachings of Christ. But in true American spirit, they seem to be reconciled by sheer force of will.

capitalismposter1911.jpgFor every ounce that American Christian culture loves capitalism, they detest socialism with equal passion. The reasons for this are murky. If you decide to ask an evangelical how it is that they can subscribe to both capitalism and Jesus’ teachings, you should be aware of a few things.

mrburns2.jpgFirst of all, evangelicals tend to become defensive when asked how capitalism is embraced by people who say they follow Jesus. I mean, in my experience, they will really get their dander up. If you want to have a peaceable, copacetic exchange then you probably shouldn’t broach this subject in the first place. But if the Christian you are dealing with doesn’t seem to derive their identity from their politics, you might have a reasonable shot at a productive conversation. (A word of warning: even though a conversation is peaceable it is still possible for them to dismiss you. Dismissal is a handy tactic that allows one to remain outside of relationship while superficially appearing to engage you and is Christian culture’s modus operandi. Just a heads up.)