I was recently interviewed on the Drew Marshall Show—a program billed as “Canada’s Most Listened to Spiritual Talkback Program.”
On March 30, 2013, I was interviewed on the Drew Marshall show along with two other bloggers, Stephanie Drury of Stuff Christian Culture Likes and the anonymous mastermind behind Christian Nightmares. Here’s a recording of the show (36m:54s).
Drew brought the three of us together on the show because he was interested in why we had each started websites that shine a spotlight on some of the interesting and unusual things that people in the American church are doing. As a host, Drew was genuinely curious and generously respectful, and each of us got some air time to talk about what we’re doing—or at least what we’re trying to do.
You can listen to the recording at the link provided above, but since I know it will be more convenient for some people to just read my answers to Drew’s questions, I’ve transcribed the questions he asked me and my responses.
Drew: So why do you do the Dictionary of Christianese? Are you a bitter, abandoned pastor’s child?
Tim: I could only wish; I’d probably get a lot more followers! [laughter] Really I’m just a word nerd who finds this Christianese stuff fascinating. And as a silver lining, I realized that it will probably help a lot of people who are new to the church or who are curious about the church and want to know what some of these terms mean.
Drew: What are the top three posts on your blog that have received the most attention?
Tim: The audience of the website seems to be mostly evangelical Christians, and the post that got the most attention from that demographic recently is “Facebook fast,” which probably got a lot of attention because a lot of my readers were taking a Facebook fast. A Facebook fast is when you don’t go on Facebook during Lent, or when you only go on Facebook on Fridays during Lent. And there were a lot of people who liked that post on Facebook and were sharing it.
I have a smaller demographic of more progressive Christians and non-Christians, and the post that they reacted to the most was “red-letter Christian.” That makes sense because those folks are more out in the culture. Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis popularized that term.
The third biggest post is “covet prayers.” For example a Christian might say, “I really covet your prayers right now.” I think people reacted to that because the King James Bible says to not covet, and so the fact that this expression uses the word covet in a positive way catches people’s attention. Another big push for this blog post was that recently Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like blogged about “coveting prayers” and I saw the traffic for my site really spike on the day Jon talked about that.
Drew: So are you in the Jesus tribe? Outside the tribe? Former member of the tribe?
Tim: I’d say I am part of the Jesus tribe, though I know folks who identify as being on the outside of the tribe.
Drew: Is Christian culture going to change? Will it always be weird?
Tim: I think there will always be something new on the fringe. Looking at the early 1970s with the Jesus freaks, and then in the 1980s with the name it and claim it theology, it seems like every decade there is going to be a more extreme, fervent fringe of the church. There will always be something we need to turn our attention to and let the hot air out so we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Drew: Do you have one piece of advice or any warnings to people who are considering becoming Christians?
Tim: My biggest piece of advice would be to distinguish carefully between what is the gospel and what is just Christian culture and not to identify both of those as being the same thing. Because they are actually very different.