Friday Fuel: Cults Turn Comedy and Cashing in On Your Visit to Heaven

March 27, 2015

It’s been a good week over here. I hope you can say the same.

This weekend, Cheri and I will be visited by a photographer for a local “lifestyle” magazine as they do a story on us and the book. I’m pretty nervous because up to this moment, I did not think we had a “lifestyle,” and if we did, I would not assume it’s very photogenic. But we are still excited. We’ll dress the little man up and pretend he always looks that formal!

This week, there were plenty of things that challenged, enriched and grabbed my attention. Here are the highlights.

In My Netflix Queue

Cheri and I have been watching House of Cards, and loving it. But you know that television has gotten pretty…well, serious. Everything seems to heavy now. So sometimes, I need to take a break and watch something like popcorn fare, and I finally tried watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I gotta say, it’s pretty entertaining, and the opening theme song (the first I’ve heard in years that features actual lyrics) is pretty darn catchy.

In My Blog Reader

Just as interesting as Kimmy Schmidt is the first thing that I noticed this week, written by a former cult member, I’m Kimmy Schmidt, Minus the Unbreakable. Elizabeth Esther, who I’ve read for a long time, breaks down what the show gets right in its brief depictions of cults, and where it differs from reality.

Erin Lane just launched her book, Confessions of Belonging From a Church-Going Committment-Phobe and now she is launching a blog series called #OneGoodChurch. While seven million people each year become religiously unaffiliated, it should be an interesting series over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Lisa-Jo Baker talks about the art of being a good neighbor, and how to, well, uncomplicate it. Sometimes we just overthink things.

In more newsy stories, I personally raised my fist in victory at the news that LifeWay stores will stop selling all books in the dubious “heaven visitation” genre. I don’t always agree with what the company does, but I think the dead-person-coming-back-from-heaven genre is a plague and a lie, so I’m glad to see it become a little bit more difficult for the people peddling that tripe.

Marshall Segal, a writer’s name I didn’t recognize, writes about the idolatry of theology, and gives ten questions that we can ask ourselves about our own. And finally, Bonnie Gray finishes the week by discussing why we need quiet time, and really delving into the discipline of quiet, in our quiet-starved world.

That’s it from me. See you next week!