Cheers! Left hits GetReligion tipping point

slambangoI don’t know about you, but after carrying a very heavy cyberload all weekend, I could use a bit of lightening up.

Thus, in that spirit, let me to take you over to the Religious Left Online blog, where the anonymous congregation recently had a bit of fun at our expense.

As a great entertainer liked to say, “And awaaaaaay we go“!

The GetReligion Drinking Game

I was cyberchatting with a friend and joking about starting a drinking game (sacremental wine, of course) one could play while reading GetReligion, the well-respected conservative website on religion and the media. The goal of a drinking game — as perfected by college students but now a pop culture metaphor — is taking a shot everytime something is mentioned that occurs so consistently and repetitively that it is guaranteed to get you drunk.

Despite the many strengths, there is a certain repetitiveness and predictability to the posts and conversation at GetReligion — just as there is on many websites. I laughed this morning when I saw a post that mentions both Katie Couric and Oprah since I would have been able to take two shots of sacremental wine when those perennial names surfaced. Other topics that win you a shot:

• Daniel Pulliam posting a topic on Mitt Romney

• Terry Mattingly mentioning his TMatt trio

• Someone taking a shot at contemporary Christian music, while also trying to defend it.

• Criticizing the evil, liberal agenda of the NYT and WP, while promoting the LAT.

• Criticizing Jon Meacham while taking a shot at Episcopalians.

And that was just this week. There’s also

• suggest that the Mainstream church is dying because they are too liberal

• a link to Terry’s column

• a mention of Rod — friend of the Blog — Dreher

• and a suggestion to a commenter that they need to read more since they haven’t arrived at the same perspective as the blogger.

Happy Drinking.

Well now. I tried to find a link for the Katie meets Oprah post, but could not find it in recent weeks. But I have no doubt at all that such a post exists. (Wait! He/she/it had the link on Religious Left Online.)

I could do an annoted version of the game and respond to these wonderful, witty observations on our blog and the blogosphere in general. It would be a blast to see the anonymous drinker and his crew do the same thing for, let’s say, Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish. In other words, take a shot every time Sullivan uses the term “Christianist.”

00000118But, as the Religious Leftinistas note, this is something that can be said of any blog that features the beliefs and interests of a specific writer or a small group of writers. Also, the GetReligion gang does not hide that we are both mainstream journalists and members of traditional Christian flocks.

Still, I will make a few comments.

Take a drink — this ex-Baptist says make it Dr Pepper, the Mogen David of Texas Baptist life — every time I defend The New York Times, praise its correction system or note the brave candor of its editor.

Take a drink whenever we praise individual writers within the very newspapers that we often criticize. The fabulous Laurie Goodstein leaps to mind.

Take a drink whenever we stress that doctrine matters more than political labels, something that many leaders on the right forget as often as people on the left. This is what that whole tmatt trio thing is about.

Take a drink whenever we plug, the Pew Forum and others who note that we need more diversity in American newsrooms, diversity in terms of life experiences and educational backgrounds included.

Anyone else want to nominate some, uh, tipping points in the GetReligion cyberpages? Does anyone dare head over to Religious Left Online and do a game for that blog? No, not me. And one of my co-workers has a great idea. He says that the Religious left folks — they could use special make up to remain anonymous — need to actually stage the drinking game and record it as a YouTube video. Just do it.

Still, thanks to the anonymous Religious Leftistas for their careful and faithful reading. I wish that more conservatives spent more time doing similar reading on the left side of the cyberchurch aisle.

P.S. What’s with the thing about me shooting at Contemporary Christian Music while also defending it? That did puzzle me. I mean, there are artists out there trapped in CCM who I think are quite good, and I hope they escape into the mainstream, unless their calling really is to sing to the church and the converted. That’s the one drinking-game item that puzzled me the most.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Huw Raphael

    tmatt, did you say “pretty good” artists “trapped in CCM” on purpose? Was that ironic humour? Or were you generously intending to give us cause to take a shot while reading that paragraph?

  • tmatt

    Naw… That’s just Texan for really good. You know, just under excellent and excellent is the likes of Dylan. You know?

  • Mollie

    The proprietor at Religious Left Online once called me the “Bad Girl” of GetReligion. I was hoping that would spread.

  • Deborah

    Apparently, the whole “drinking game” thing is catching on with the Religious Left. Anybody catch Jefferts-Schori’s invitation for the saints to “get lit” this past Sunday? ;-)

  • Jerry

    I must be slipping as a card carrying liberal. I’ve never thought your blog was particularly right wing. You seem pretty moderate to me; much more journalists than “true believers” in the Eric Hoffer sense. Does that reflect more about you or me?

  • Roots

    Yeah, I had no idea you guys were conservative. I mean I knew you weren’t liberal either, but still. I just like reading about religious issues, I don’t necessarily consider them to be a partisan thing.

  • Hans

    On the issue of religion-themed booze sessions, I have come to the conclusion that a teetotaler’s favorite drinking game is chugging every time that Joel Osteen makes a reference to Jesus in one of his ‘sermons’. They can rest assured that, during this event, not a single drop of alcohol will be consumed.

  • Mollie

    Roots and Jerry,

    We’re not partisan and I don’t think that’s what Religious Left Online was saying. What little I know about the political views of my cohorts here, I can assure you we are not partisan.

    However, we’re critics of mainstream media (which undoubtedly points left) and so some people think that means we’re wingers. It’s not true, but I think it’s hard sometimes for people to accept the nuance of our criticism.

    That and we’re all members of traditional (for lack of a better descriptor) Christian churches. So that affects both our perspective and how people view us.


    The Bad Girl of GetReligion

  • Will

    I would have expected them to come up with a Mark Shea Drinking Game. Chug every time he gives a reason to homeschool; every time he says that a culture which despises virginity hates children; every time he says libertarianism is for people with no children; every time he mentions homosexuality as the source of all truth and beauty; and, of course, every time one of his commenters demands that he define torture.

  • Larry Rasczak

    Personally I guess I am not drinking enough,

    I thought that “The Tmatt Trio” was a little known folk/rock group from the early 70s…

  • Larry Rasczak

    … and I don’t think Mollie can officially be “The Bad Girl of GetReligion” until a pic of her shows up in one of tmatt’s Halloween articles.

    (ducks, dodges, runs)

  • Tom Stanton

    I wonder if by “repetitiveness and predictability” they mean consistency and faithfulness.

    It’s easy to get those confused sometimes.

  • Dennis Colby

    Shouldn’t that be “tippling” point?

    (rim shot)

  • Darrell Grizzle

    Hmmm… As a card carrying liberal, I usually find GetReligion to be balanced, transcending labels of conservative or liberal. The only really “conservative” thing about GetReligion is its consistent bashing of the Episcopal Church, but I thought all evangelicals were required to do that.

  • Jerry

    >mainstream media (which undoubtedly points left)

    Ok, now I believe you’re on the right because
    those on the right believe the media
    is biased left and visa versa:-)

  • Tom Stanton

    The only really “conservative” thing about GetReligion is its consistent bashing of the Episcopal Church, but I thought all evangelicals were required to do that.

    No one bashes the Episcopal Church – just the Episcopal apostates.

  • cheryl

    Well, I guess over at Religious Left Online they’re, like, really serious about religion except for that whole sacremental [sic] wine thing (what with the drinking game suggestion and all).

    We Catholics have a funny habit of taking that practice rather seriously. But I guess I should just lighten up already, right?

    After all, they are known as RELIGIOUS Left Online so I’m sure they didn’t mean anything by it….