Before really getting into this post, I’d like to thank all of you readers for bearing with me with respect to the paucity of new content delivered over the last month, much of which I spent traveling:

In Indiana (where I visited family); in the Pacific Northwest (where I stayed with Tori Glass’s family, hiked Multnomah Falls with an ex-Evangelical I had last seen in person when I was four years old but who found me through my ex-Evangelical work on Twitter, and finally made my pilgrimage to the original Starbucks store at Pike Place Market, where I paid homage to the angel Covfefe); and in Northern California (where I stayed with my friend Elspeth Olson’s family, did a little research into the history of Russian Christian influence on American anti-Communism at the Hoover Institute Archive back at Stanford, saw friends, participated in a panel discussion through DiveIn, and recorded a guest appearance on one of my favorite podcasts, Sunday School Dropouts).

I’m getting settled back in ahead of the upcoming academic year here in Tampa, FL now, although my home Wi-Fi connection deciding to break last Friday and only getting restored earlier today has complicated things a bit. Nevertheless, expect more content soon, as I will be back into a routine and have lots of ideas (please also feel free to let me know what you’d like to see covered, in comments, on Twitter, or through the contact form on this site).

I didn’t do a lot of Twitter threading over the past month either, but yesterday I took to Twitter to thread my take on the following question posed by @SighlenceDogood in a discussion of what we came to call #PulpitFacepalms (a new hashtag well worth checking out, in my view): “Why do evangelical pastors try so hard to make their sermons, prayers, etc. so pop-culturally relevant? So much that it hurts.”

From about age 12, I grew up with precisely that kind of Evangelicalism, which is in-your-face with its “coolness.” It is often associated with the word “relevant,” too. See, for example, the godawful (pun quasi-intended) Evangelical magazine of that name if you want to dive head first into contrived Christian hipsterism. Also highly recommended are Emily Joy’s fiery takedowns of Relevant Magazine articles on Twitter. Those threads are solid gold! A little teaser:

Anyway, my autobiography coincides with a lot of this “relevant” nonsense. And thereby hangs a tail, one that I contextualized yesterday on Twitter within the big picture of the historical and sociological development of American Evangelicalism over the last few decades. This ended up being a pretty large thread, which I recommend reading on Twitter if you can, as that will likely be a smoother reading experience than reading it here. Nevertheless, I’m also going to copy the entire thread below so that those who may not be on Twitter can read it, or those who find Twitter confusing can read it all in one separate place.

Somehow there are two tweets labeled “36.” I’m not quite sure how that happened; sorry. I also apologize for the awkwardness of so many embedded tweets, but I thought this would be worth sharing here even if I’m not able to take the time to retype the entire thing in paragraph form right now. If you are on Twitter, check out the responses to this thread too. Some of them are very insightful!

3 thoughts on “Of Megachurches and their Mini-Mes, or, What’s the Deal with “Relevant” Christianity?

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