• At Killing the Buddha, Venkat Srinivasan writes about church services and moments at “the edges of worship.” At Mark Evanier’s blog, he writes about a taping of The Gong Show and the infectious joy of Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. These things may be related.
• Perfectnumber628 discusses “The only thing purity culture can say about Seinfeld.” This is a fun angle for discussing the limits and distortions of purity culture in lieu of sexual ethics.
It also works as further evidence in support of my favorite theory about the series finale of Seinfeld. The plane crashed. They’re all dead, and in the after life they are condemned for their many sins with the cruelest punishment imaginable.
• A pastor friend of mine jokes that every time people talk about returning to first-century Christianity they wind up with Corinth. (For those unfamiliar with the New Testament, that’s not good.) Darrell Dow shares “A Baptist Timeline” that offers a similar view of white evangelical primitivism. It may be slightly exaggerated, but this is pretty much how church history is imagined by evangelicals who don’t know church history.
• Speaking of the Corinthians, it was in his letter to that church that the Apostle Paul wrote: “I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.”
The Life Center, a Panama City, Florida, “church” founded by the former pastor of a “Faith Christian Family Church,” seems to be pushing Paul’s idea there into new territory:
A local church that has been hosting naked paint parties and slumber-party Sundays with the “sexiest ladies on the beach” will now have to pay taxes on the property as officers investigate the church’s practices, authorities said [March 10].
… Patrons are charged $20 at the door, which is called a donation. And T-shirts depicting stick figures performing oral sex on one another and the text “I hate being sober” adorn the walls.
• I’m old enough to remember when bottled water was a punchline. It’s still a punchline — as absurd and stupid and ridiculous and pretentious an idea as it ever was. But today it’s a $110 billion a year punchline.
• Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants the federal government to repeal the federal law imposing Common Core education standards. One problem with this is that the Common Core education standards are not a federal program and not a federal law. You’d think a U.S. senator would know that. It also means that what Cruz presents as condemnation of federal interference with state standards is actually a call for such federal interference.