Top Ten Reasons Your Friend Hasn’t Yet Ditched Legacy Social Media For Mastodon

10. It’d be a devastating blow to their essential oils “business”

9. They’re deep into a 4-week LinkedIn course on finding the perfect number of humblebrags to add per post, while ensuring that all federal and state douchebaggery requirements are still met

8. Afraid of being shunned by their peers for not posting ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ on each and every “it’s so hot!” or “it’s so cold!” daily thermometer pic

7. Just two more gender reveal videos until their stamp card is full

6. Gun to their head, they can’t name anything funnier than those Minion memes!

5. God will insta-smite them for missing even one daily “coffee and bible!” pic

4. Every Peloton dashboard screenshot is a unique and delightful snowflake, gotta catch ’em all

3. They’re standing by with ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก as soon as the next person kneels during the national anthem

2. The steal’s not gonna stop itself

1. Paying for account verification is the only way they can reach orgasm

For real though, stop hitting yourself.

Media Diary (January 2023)

Hereโ€™s some stuff Iโ€™ve experienced lately (and not necessarily only new releases):

Poker Face (TV): Love her, love the style, love the format

The Whale (Movie): I thought it was fantastic, and his performance was truly remarkable

Feral Ministries (Podcast): Love her TikToks, love this podcast even more

The Last of Us (TV): Super gripping right out of the gate

Armageddon Time (Movie): A powerful and truly heartbreaking look at (in)justice in America

Slate Academy: Fascism (Podcast): Loved learning (and shuddering) about fascism’s roots and modern parallels

Tรกr (Movie): Loved being dropped into this world, and thought the ending was painfully real

Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches (TV): We’ll see where it heads, but as an Anne Rice fanboy in my youth, I’m in

The Fabelmans (Movie): The cameo at the end is worth the entire price of admission

Paul T. Goldman (TV): Truly a journey

The Menu (Movie): A delight, and I’d honestly join a Hong Chau fan club

Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street (TV): Fascinating to hear all the crazy details

White Noise (Movie): Still not sure what I thought about it, but I’ll watch anything Noah Baumbach makes

Secrets of the Chippendales Murders (TV): Great companion to the recent series

Fire of Love (Movie): If you’re gonna go out together, I guess go hard

Don’t Pick Up The Phone (TV): I’d heard about one of these cases before, but didn’t know how widespread it was

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical (Movie): Super fun, and Emma Thompson absolutely crushed it as Trunchbull

The Pale Blue Eye (Movie): Not life-changing, but was into the vibe and performances

Pumping Iron (Movie): Hadn’t seen this in forever, and had to tap back in now that I’m a total jock that’s been going to the gym for three weeks

Call Me Miss Cleo (Movie): OK, now I’m up to speed on all things Cleo

Perhaps most importantly, my wife, her cousins and I continued our momentum from last month and spent some serious time in the DJP extended universe (there may or may not also be a secret DJP review podcast now in existence, let me know if you want access).

These movies are all of course terrible and highly-problematic in their own special ways, but I’ll add my thoughts on each in emoji form:

Best Friends Genetically Modified (Movie): ๐Ÿฉบ๐Ÿ™ƒ

Love Waits (Movie): ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ†

Mission Improbable (Movie): ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ”ซ

The Unexpected Bar Mitzvah (Movie): ๐Ÿ•Ž๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Old Rugged Cross (Movie): ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ”ซ

Right To Believe (Movie): ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Gramps Goes To College (Movie): ๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ

In Gramps’ Shoes (Movie): ๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿ‘Ÿ๐Ÿ”ซ

Hearts Are Trump (Movie): ๐Ÿคฎ

My Christian Reboot

Aside from holiday visits to my grandmother’s church as a kid, I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but my wife did, and after getting married we did some dabbling here and there before eventually going pretty all-in during the late ’00s with a local branch in the ICOC movement.

Despite my ongoing scrupulosity issues and some eyebrow-raising moments here and there (which I now deeply regret staying silent about), things were generally fine, and we built up a number of great relationships and legitimately good memories.

Then came Trump and all that Trumpism exposed and encouraged.

I’ve written extensively about how the events of 2015-today fully shattered my previous relationship with the church, so I won’t rehash everything here, but someone I really respect recently asked me what it is I do believe these days, so I thought I’d outline where I stand as of January 2023.

First things first, I can’t say that I’m an “exvangelical” (in the sense of having walked away entirely from organized religion). This isn’t the case, and in fact my wife and I are still attending a different ICOC-affiliated church, albeit a bit more of a “misfit toys” branch. That being said, I find myself infinitely more sympathetic to exvangelicals and those undertaking the painful process of deconstruction than those that remain terminally incurious and dangerously legalistic.

Here’s where I’ve landed:

  • Social justice conversations are essential and should be ongoing and prominent, not “toe in the water” topics revisited every few years just to appease the more progressive members of your congregation. Continually avoiding discomfort simply means that you either a) don’t care enough about those affected to prioritize ongoing action or b) are afraid to lose tithes from bigots.

  • Purity culture has been an absolute disaster on all fronts (in terms of sexism, mental health and more). Burn it to the ground. Perhaps doing this might transform small group discussions from endless “oops, I masturbated!” sessions to difficult “hmm, maybe this toxic nonsense is causing desperately horny young people to rush into marriage far too soon” conversations.

  • The fact that Complementarianism vs. Egalitarianism discussions are still happening (or in some cases not even happening, having landed on the former) in 2023 is flat-out insane. There should be absolutely no role restrictions for women in the church or in life. Those saying otherwise are simply doing so to preserve their power, or are afraid (probably for good reason) that their mediocrity will be exposed.

  • Ditto for LGBTQ+ membership, personal relationships and leadership roles. Not only are Bible verses that set restrictive policies around these poor people cherry-picked and interpreted out of context by those that feel threatened, they also err on the side of closing the tent vs. opening our arms, which leads me to perhaps my most controversial stanceโ€ฆ

  • Love and radical inclusion (the examples set by Jesus himself) are infinitely more important than legalistically citing and interpreting verses of the Bible, and when confronted with a murky topic (or one that now exists in a context unimaginable at the time), policies of love and radical inclusion should prevail over snippets of text.

Jesus was a wrecking ball when it came to a lot of church doctrine and hesitance from religious leaders of the time, and yet here many of us are 2,000 years later, slaves to written accounts of his exploits bundled together with followups and interpretations from others.

Do I think that if Jesus came back right now that he’d want to break up a loving gay family since some claim that the Bible says it’s sinful? I do not, and in fact I think he’d be exasperated by many of the hateful rules we’ve built up after his last appearance.

Many modern churches will publicly crow about their amazing diversity and acts of service around the world, then quickly clam up or opt to chat “just among members” when asked about these types of topics.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and public Sunday services are the time to put your cards on the table. Would doing that make you feel uncomfortable? Maybe ask yourself why that might be.

When I look to open-hearted exvangelicals and so many marginalized voices sharing their struggles loudly and publicly, I see honesty, open hearts and often very sincere despair over how they were treated and/or excluded.

When I look at a lot of “disciples” I shared services with over many years, I see smiling faces concealing bigotry, stubbornness, complacency, a healthy dose of Christian Nationalism and a focus on using the Internet as a glorified “reach out to hear from our sales reps!” billboard rather than a legitimate place to have hard, ongoing conversations right out in the open.

I’ve spent a long time regaining my spiritual footing in recent years, but having looked at the fruit produced by many different parties, it’s pretty clear to me where the spirit of Christ lies.

As the great David Lynch said:

Fix away.