Discover more from Modern Relics
Accidentally erotic Christianity
Also, some Easter memes
This week the interview I did with Insights about this newsletter was printed in the physical version of the magazine — something I didn’t realise they were going to do! Everyone at church thought I was very cool.
Read the online version if you like. I do a bit of explaining about what I’m doing with this newsletter and say things like,
I’ve worked in church media and now I’m a religion specialist at the ABC, but it would be highly unusual for religion reporting in either of those places to actually reflect the language and themes you encounter when religion, pop culture, and the internet actually intersect.
Bear that in mind as I dive into this week’s topic: Accidentally sexual Christian media. Remember I’m actually doing something very serious here! It says so right there in that magazine!
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Christian stuff that’s (unintentionally?) erotic
I’ve run this newsletter for nearly a year, and one of the most common religion posts online is the strangely erotic church sign. I think a lot of these are hopefully made with a knowing wink (although apparently not the one above??), but there’s certainly other Christian media around that’s prone to genuinely unintentional innuendo.
People are too, and sometimes I’m like this myself. Christian environments like the one I grew up in, where talk of sex is rare (and sexual jokes are even rarer) don’t encourage screening for accidentally lewd double meanings. If an unintentional double entendre isn’t interpreted as a double entendre, was it ever one to begin with?
I am of course speaking anecdotally and very broadly — the various sex scandals and abuse crises across many Christian denominations prove that sex outside marriage (and outside consent!) was very much a part of that culture. Still, I think the taboo around discussing it is partly what enabled that behaviour. Less dangerously, it’s also the reason this video exists:
Besides being bad biology, the very fact evangelist Ray Comfort used such an obvious phallic allusion as his proof of God is funny enough. But then he talks about how “the contents don’t squirt in your face” and “it has a pointed top for ease of entry.” How many people were involved in this without raising any concerns?
Here’s a (NSFW?) icon that’s in the same ballpark, so to speak.
Queer Christian musician Semler once pointed out that “christian music is actually very gay”. It does raise eyebrows when a male worship leader sings love songs to a God for whom he insists on using male pronouns, (particularly in non-LGBT-friendly churches). Former Contemporary Christian Music star Derek Webb quote tweeted Semler’s comment, calling the last 25 years of Christian content and marketing “extremely unconsciously erotic.”
Hillsong and other contemporary worship music is called “Jesus is my boyfriend” music by its detractors, and it’s true that the genre borrows heavily from pop music that would normally be about romance and sex.
This isn’t a new phenomenon — the hymn writers/theologians John and Charles Wesley borrowed from contemporary music too, although neither of them wrote “sloppy wet kiss” in any of their songs. (To be clear, I like most of John Mark McMillan’s work, but that line is very funny to me.)
I’m not sure there’s a real point to any of this, except to say whenever you hear a cooked take about sex or gender from a Moral Majority-type culture warrior, remember this is also the subculture that produces great works such as this:
Imagen Kirby swallow a seraphim
Thanks to Tom who sent me this. Also here’s a skateboard.
It’s nearly Easter — time for Easter memes
This soft drink display in an American department store is really something, and inspired a lot of good soda puns. I also like how you can sit down at the foot of the cross on a sofa made of Sprite. Ten out of ten.
An incredible Easter drawing
Everything about this rules. Rabbit Jesus saying “Yahoo this what I came for”. The bunny onlooker’s astonished face saying “Whazza whazza wa?” The impenitent thief not getting a light from heaven. Also this horrific fan art someone drew of it.
There is so much going on here
RIP Gilbert Gottfried
Gilbert Gottfried, voice of Iago in Aladdin, has died. One of his last roles was to play God in the animated show Smiling Friends.
The longer article this week has pushed me over the Gmail limit, so I can’t fit in my usual links section. If you are feeling short on memes don’t worry — next week will be another post of posts.