Do Evangelical Celebrities Really Have Worse Kids?

You may have noticed this post is a couple days late. That’s because my original post was *gasp* shrouded in CONTROVERSY.

Sort of.

My original post’s argument went like this: (1) a declaration that the children of evangelical celebrities are, on average, worse people than children of normal evangelicals; (2) a personal anecdote about a jerk evangelical celebrity kid who I went to high school with; and (3) speculation on why evangelical celebrity kids are worse people.

Before I post anything, though, I ask my wife to review it to make edits and stop me from saying anything stupid. And this time, Danielle’s “anything stupid” detector was blaring.

First, she thought I was stereotyping, and painting evangelical celebrity kids with way too broad a brush (and very little grace). Second, she thought I was simply wrong. She knows lots of people with “normal” evangelical parents who are just as much of a jerk as the celebrity kid I described. Why was I just harping on the celebrity kids?

After my requisite self-righteous defense of my work, I realized she had a point. She may even be *looks over both shoulders* …right.

And that led me to staring wistfully out my bedroom window as I turned the issue around in my head and wished I knew how to whittle.

But then I thought I should throw it out to you all. Here are the questions I’ve been mulling:

—Have you ever met the kids of an evangelical celebrity? I may have a weird background, because I went to a Christian school in Colorado Springs—the place where evangelical celebrities all sent their kids. So I’ve met way more than my fair share….

—Is it fair of me to make declarations on the “average” evangelical celebrity kid, or is that inherently unfair to the many evangelical celebrity kids who are legitimately good people?

—Let’s assume I’m right about the “average” evangelical celebrity kid. What explanations are there for kids with famously righteous parents going off the rails?

—Now let’s assume I’m wrong about them. Is there a reason why people like me would assume evangelical celebrity kids are jerks, even if it’s not true?

There you have it. Now please mull with me…
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Photo by Dean Terry

Of Trojans and Turtles

I noticed something strange when I walked past Target’s toy aisle. It was dominated by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is not a criticism. As someone whose boyhood was in the 80’s and 90’s, I loved the Turtles. I watched every show, practiced every ninja move, and collected every action figure. A giant bin of them is still in a corner of my parents’ basement.

But that was nearly thirty years ago, and the Turtles are still popular. I would never have picked the Turtles as something that could endure to new generations. After all, they are a group of humanoid turtles who use karate to fight an army of robots in the sewers of Manhattan. They love pizza and skateboards and shell-based puns. How is this so lasting?

One possible reason for their staying power is their use of classical themes. Beneath the cartoon silliness is a story that has been repeated since Ancient Greece. This is especially evident in the most important relationship in the series: Leonardo and Raphael.

Continue reading “Of Trojans and Turtles”

Why I Don’t Think Much About Atheism Anymore

So I’ve been on this YA kick because I’m researching a writing project.1 As such, I started on Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.2 The prologue did a great job of setting up an enticing premise. Then in the first chapter, the protagonist–a teenager from a dystopian future trailer park–gives his personal philosophical manifesto. For some reason.3

The speil was predictable new atheist talking points: how evolution is true, and how that somehow disproves the supernatural. How humanity is on its own and we should just deal with it. How all religion is just fairytales used to manipulate the non-enlightened.

At age twenty, this sort of thing would have sent me into a cocoon. I would have journaled my inner thoughts and doubts, constructed arguments and counter-arguments examining the issue from all sides, and stared in horror at the unblinking stars as I contemplated being alone in the universe.

But that didn’t happen this time. I shrugged it off and continued on. My main emotion was irritation that such a silly argument could have such widespread acceptance.4

Is it bad that Matt of 305 doesn’t spend as much time with this stuff as Matt of 20? Have I become intellectually lazy or stubborn? At the risk of being self-serving, I don’t think so. Here’s why:

Continue reading “Why I Don’t Think Much About Atheism Anymore”

Stop Calling Yourself an “Exvangelical”

So the term “exvangelical” is a thing now. It’s an earnest hashtag on Twitter. It’s also the name of a podcast1 with over seventy episodes. The Guardian even used the term for evangelicals who dropped the label after the 2016 election.

You can guess who exvangelicals are: folks who were raised in conservative evangelical homes, have now become progressives, and who keep enumerating the ways their childhood injured them. You can also guess that I reeeeaaaaaally don’t like the term. And yes, I have bullet-pointed reasons for it.

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Repost: Why I’m Quitting Cynicism

Believe it or not, the blog is almost a year and a half old. At this point, I think a look back would help remind all of us–but me especially–what this project is about. So over the next several weeks, I’ll re-up some “classic” posts that get to the core message of the blog. Yes, I know it’s weird to call your own posts “classic.” But I couldn’t think of another word…

So without further ado, here’s my blog’s very first post:

I was That Guy at my parents’ church.

You know the type:

  • Slouching in the back pew with raised eyebrow.

  • Smirking every time the pastor made a point during the sermon.

  • Stewing in the corner after services, reading something intellectual and avoiding conversation with the dull-eyed parishioners.

I was a cynical jerk. I started this blog because I’m trying to change that. Continue reading “Repost: Why I’m Quitting Cynicism”

New Year’s Resolutions

Here are my New Year’s resolutions:

  • Spend more time reading and writing, and less time watching television
  • Get in better shape–work out a little less, and eat a little healthier
  • Be more proactive and efficient at work

These resolutions are as ordinary as they come. But they’re incredibly frustrating. Don’t worry–I’ll explain why. To do this, I’ll take you back in time. Starting when I was an oil-faced, frosted-tipped high schooler:

January 4, 2004

I’m in my school’s library for study hall. I was a junior, and eager to remake myself for my final year and a half of high school. Glancing at the cool kids at the other end of the table, I whip out my notepad, click my pen, and inscribe my resolutions for the New Matt.

Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions”