In entirely unsurprising news to any of my readers, I’m taking a break from our local church. To be clear, I have no hard feelings against anyone specifically (and in fact I have a good deal of love and admiration for many), but I can only scream into the void for so long before it becomes a bit of a “shake the dust off” situation.

I’ve written incessantly about this stuff for many years now, but to put a TL;DR bow on it, the primary reason for my hiatus generally comes down to the fact that the church just isn’t willing to have a serious, top-down reckoning with misinformation, media bubbles and the decades-long fusion of Christianity with the Republican party.

I suspect this is due to concern that exploring these topics would cause many members to leave the fellowship. It’s true, this would absolutely happen. Continuing to avoid these hard truths, however, will cause marginalized and/or dissenting voices in the congregation to throw up their hands and walk away. 👋

We treat these concerned “whistleblowers” as the outliers, and paint us as having been individually choked out by the “weeds” of societal concerns and cultural forces (something to be remedied by just “getting back to basics” and focusing on Jesus), when in reality the church itself has become obscured by a thicket so dense that it’s now almost unrecognizable.

When the church trips over itself to address natural disasters and accidents, but avoids even a mention of Jacob Blake (having already “finished” our racism series), another weed grows.

When (mostly male) members continue to prioritize concerns about their own personal sexual temptations above active participation in online dialogue and the combatting of misinformation, another weed grows.

When the church doesn’t address the damaging effects of QAnon (sadly, not even joking) and related wild conspiracy theories, another weed grows.

When we fret more about worship-appropriate female outfits than revisiting and expanding the role of women in leadership, another weed grows.

Though the next several months will get increasingly terrifying on almost every front, I sincerely hope that the church emerges from the chaos with gardening tools in hand, ready with open eyes and soft hearts to start clearing the soil. I’ll gladly join in.

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Media Diary (August 2020)

Some things I’ve experienced lately, in no particular order, and not necessarily only recent stuff:

Bill & Ted Face the Music (Movie): You’ve been missed, Wyld Stallyns 🎸

The Vow (TV): I have an unquenchable appetite for NXIVM material

Kottke Ride Home (Podcast): A fantastic new show in partnership with an Internet legend

Mapleworth Murders (Quibi): So weird, so charming

Yes, God, Yes (Movie): An entertaining and cringeworthy look at evangelical purity culture

First Person (TV): Speaking of Kottke (his recommendation), this was riveting

Nice White Parents (Podcast): A fascinating (and depressing) look at the role of white parents in NYC schools

Don’t Look Deeper (Quibi): This was one of the better Quibi shows

Howard (Movie): A sad story, but those songs

High Score (TV): I mean, obviously 🎮

Strong Songs (Podcast): This guy really knows his stuff

Sex Next Door (Quibi): A peek into the lives of Seattle sex workers

The Seventh Seal (Movie): Had never seen (no Death playing Twister though, so obvious weak point)

Ted Lasso (TV): Kinda old-school, but enjoyable

Nice One! (Quibi): Fast and funny

Money Plane (Movie): See tweet, it was everything I needed it to be 💰✈️

Lovecraft Country (TV): Really interested to see where this goes

#FreeRayshawn (Quibi): Just started, but pretty solid

American Dharma (Movie): Just in time for his arrest!

(Un)Well (TV): I can’t turn away from this type of content

The Fugitive (Quibi): Fairly average, with some good Kiefer sassiness

The Swamp (Movie): Always interesting to see how the other half lives

Bad Ideas With Adam Devine (Quibi): Had its moments

Joker: Put on a Happy Face (Movie): A fun look through the characters’s history that reminded me just how dark The Killing Joke really is 😬

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A Larger ‘Junk Drawer’

Given the ever-increasing craziness of our current world, Kyle’s Junk Drawer (my email newsletter) will now be publishing twice every week!

Sundays will remain free, and a new subscription is available to get in on the hot new Wednesday action as well (with a big discount available through 8/31):