Category: humor

2016 Rewind: How to be a Saint

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A snarky take on sainthood

Snarky Faith 11/29/16

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As 2016 moves towards it’s end, we’re giving you the best of Snarky Faith this past year in a rewind episode…

A rundown of the process of sainthood. With Mother Teresa set to be canonized, we talk through the steps of how to become a saint. Also, for kicks we lay out our own snarky path for a particular version sainthood. Are we right on or simply heretics? Tune in to find out.

Your Ultimate Thanksgiving Survival Guide

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How to survive thanksgiving
How to survive Thanksgiving and live to tell the tale

 

Thanksgiving happens tomorrow! If you think you can just saunter into the holiday feast without preparation, you, my friend, are sorely mistaken. I’m not talking about food prep. I’m not talking about getting your house clean. I’m talking about preparing for dinner conversations. If you go in unarmed, it could lead to a social and emotional massacre. So here is your ultimate Thanksgiving Survival Guide. 

Think about the volatility that has fractured this country post-election. The protests and the civil unrest doesn’t take time out for turkey and stuffing. No, it will merely hide under the surface during conversational pleasantries. These pleasantries, like the hors d’oeuvres, will soon evaporate leading you right into the main course. My goal here is to bridge that gap between small talk and your tryptophan-induced, post-meal coma. The objective is to steer clear of political talk… at all costs! 

So take it from your snarky friend and follow these steps.

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Survival Guide 

First, have some Thanksgiving themed trivia to keep the conversation going so your racist Aunt Helen doesn’t go full Sieg Heil while passing the gravy. I’ve listed ten useful bits of trivia below. Use at your own discretion.

Secondly, have some facilitation questions to keep everything light-hearted and chatty while avoiding the Nuremberg Rally-esque diatribes of some of your guests. Remember, people love talking about themselves. So keep ’em chatty and there should be little room to talk about politics.

Finally, if all else fails, have a few emergency recipes as a ripcord you can pull to release your inebriated parachute. This is a failsafe, last-ditch effort, but memory loss and blacking out can be your friend. You just need to secure a designated driver early in the day or there’s always Uber. Included below are some recipes that will do the trick.

So remember to follow these tips and put them into action immediately when you hear the first mention of “Making American Great Again” or “Crooked Hillary.”

It is my prayer that you survive this volatile holiday with family and friends. May the only insanity you experience be the mobs of Black Friday because, at least, Black Friday is something in which you choose to participate and not one that you married into. Enter into this gluttonesque holiday with confidence knowing that the biggest dilemma you should face is which belt to wear because you need one that can expand adequately to meet your turkey and stuffing consumption needs. It may be tempting but elastic waistbands are never an option. They’re only the sign of a deeper problem.

Thanksgiving Trivia to dazzle and distract your guests 
  1. Turducken, which is a turkey stuffed with duck with a chicken inside (yes, you read that correctly), has become so popular that stores in Louisiana ship more than 5,000 a week before the holidays.
  2. Back in 1953, Swanson overestimated the number of turkeys it was going to sell for the holiday by 26 TONS. So, it took the leftover meat plus some trimmings and packaged it all up. Voila! The first TV dinner.
  3. There are actually four places in the United States called Turkey. Louisiana’s Turkey Creek is the most populous with an impressive 440 residents. Then, there’s Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Turkey Creek, Arizona. And last but definitely not least, there are two townships in Pennsylvania named Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot!
  4. Forget Black Friday, according to Roto-Rooter, the nation’s largest plumbing service, Thanksgiving is the busiest day for plumbers. So eat up folks… the plumbers need your help.
  5. No more ‘gobble gobble.‘ Only the male turkeys, called Toms, make the gobble sound. The females, called Hens, cackle.
  6. Uncle Frank isn’t the only one at the table prone to heart attacks. Turkeys have them too. When the Air Force conducted test runs for breaking the sound barrier, fields of nearby turkeys would drop dead.
  7. More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.
  8. Twenty percent of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving.
  9. The Guinness Book of Records states that the greatest dressed turkey weight recorded for a turkey is 86 lbs, at the annual “heaviest turkey” competition held in London, England on December 12, 1989.
  10. Columbus thought that the land he discovered was connected to India, where peacocks are found in considerable number. He believed turkeys were a type of peacock (they’re actually a type of pheasant). So he named them “tuka”, which is “peacock” in the Tamil language of India.
Thanksgiving Conversation Starters
  1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving Tradition?
  2. Who is someone you need to show more gratitude for and why?
  3. What was your most memorable meal of the year?
  4. Black Friday: thumbs up or thumbs down?
  5. What are your favorite stories to tell?
  6. What pop-culture family reminds you most of your own?
  7. What movie should definitely be nominated for an Oscar this year?
  8. What is your favorite part of winter?
  9. Discuss how a cup of coffee, or a good song, or a painting can have a deep impact on you?
  10. What have you been obsessed with the most in 2016?
Emergency Inebriation Options For Survival
  1. The “Healthy” Option – Mix Vodka (you choose the amount) in a glass with ice and add 1 packet of orange-flavored Emergen-C. Boost that immune system while you kill your liver. Two steps forward with two steps back? Perhaps, but keep these things coming and you’ll soon be able to tune out those racist relatives. Just keep telling yourself, “This is healthy…”
  2. The “Sneaky” Option – Open up a beer (any kind will do), take a deep swig then fill that space in your bottle with whiskey. You can keep refilling and nursing that one beer all day. If anyone asks, reply, “This is my first beer…” You’re not technically lying.
  3. The “College Flashback’ Option – Remember your old friend, Jägermeister? Yeah, it was nasty but did the trick. One way to cut the taste and make it a bit more palatable is to add root beer. Finding the right mixer is always key.

Bonus: Always remember to bring a full flask to events like these, you never know when you need an emergency ration. If all else fails, just excuse yourself from the table for a moment, drain the flask and then enjoy the rest of your day. 

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Don’t be a turkey! take this ultimate thanksgiving survival guide, own the day and make it yours.

Get Out and Vote!

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On the eve of Super Tuesday, I have only one message for you… get off your butt and vote! Sure, there’s plenty of reasons as to why not vote, but I’ll give you three compelling reasons to go out and vote.

I know. I know that you’re feeling disenfranchised about the whole electoral process and I’m with you on that. It’s a broken system run by broken people… but the same could be said for the institutionalized church. A handful of you show up a few Sundays a month to waste an hour of your time, so I digress. Here are my 3 main reasons to get out and vote.

Here are my 3 main reasons to get out and vote:
  1. It’s your minimum, basic, civic duty as a citizen of this country. Voting is like paying for parking tickets, watering your lawn or being picked for jury duty. No one enjoys it, but it’s kind of like the kale…  we know in the long run that it’s part of the greater good. So hold your nose and enter the voting booth.
  2. There are other issues and candidates at stake. I hear your pain, no one wants to go on a double date with the Orange Don or Crooked Hillary. I completely understand. They’re like that couple that keeps texting you to hang out. When it comes to voting, there are more pressing issues on the ballot than those dysfunctional two with power issues. I voted early and there were 26 other issues on the ballot. If you can’t stomach the options for commander and chief, just remember that there are other things going on in the country and your local community. Let your voice be heard.
  3. If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain for the next four years. Yes, I know that harping and complaining about politics is an American pastime, but if you don’t go and vote I’m not going to let you have that right. You’ve been revoked. If you can’t bother to get up off your butt and vote… you just need to remain silent for the next four years in regards to politics. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Shush.

Needless to say, voting often doesn’t make a huge difference in the big races, but in the smaller local races, it can be a big deal. Complain all you want about so many things… but just complain to yourself as you wait in line on Super Tuesday to vote.

 

Jesus Politics

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A snarky take on religion in politics

Snarky Faith 8/30/16

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A rundown of the nonsensical ways that Jesus is so often inserted into politics. His ways and teachings don’t line up with quests for political power and personal gain. But what if the ideology of Jesus was infused into the political spectrum? What would the politics of Jesus look like?  Join us to hear what that would look like as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality.

Tune in to find out more…

A Rapture of Fun

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A snarky take on the Left Behind legacy

Snarky Faith 8/9/16

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A rundown of the legacy of Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind rapture porn books and movie series. Stoking the fire of fundamentalist Christians obsession with the end times, LaHaye’s books, for better or worse, greatly influenced American Christianity. We take the snarky stance that the latter was true. Let’s delve into the craziness of his legacy and influence.

Join us as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality. Don’t be left behind… tune in for all the snarky fun.

Franklin Graham’s Rage

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A snarky take on Franklin Graham and Christian rage.

Snarky Faith 6/7/16

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A rundown of the Franklin Graham and the Christian tradition of throwing temper tantrums. When rage is misdirected, it quickly becomes something that’s far from righteousness. Call it what you want, but some Christian leaders are in need of anger management and a hefty dose of humility.

Join us as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality. Tune in to find out more.

The Orange Messiah

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A snarky take on Trump: the Orange Messiah

Snarky Faith 6/14/16

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A rundown of the Trump: the Orange Messiah and his courtship with the religious right. The new messiah looks little like Jesus and yet we see Christians flocking to him for all the wrong reasons. Call it what you want, but some Christians are in need of a bit of a wakeup call (and maybe some therapy).

Join us as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality. Tune in to find out more.

The Church and Kevin Roberts

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When any of us look at the American church, it’s so easy to see a myriad of problems. It’s similar to a kid’s birthday party with a piñata where everyone knows it’s there, and the entire purpose of a piñata is to smash it to bits.

When looking at the problems of the church, some of the big ones would be lack of diversity, fear-mongering and a political erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction and the church… what? Well, it’s like a dose of Viagra and always pops up in the wrong situations. Think of all of the Christian boners: Franklin Graham, Ted Cruz and basically anyone who visits the creation museum. Those are easy targets because they stick out and are akin to punching a kitten.

That’s not what I want to talk about. I actually want to dialogue about something more sinister; something that lies below the surface. Something evil that happens every Sunday in pulpits and in fellowship halls. I’m talking about how Christians like to classify people.

We assume there are the good ones and the bad ones, right?  There are either the just plain evil ones or backsliding ones (hello people who happen drink or watch Deadpool). It’s judgy and an aphrodisiac of most conservatives. It excites them in a dirty, dirty way. Even the term backsliders sounds like something you find streaked in the rear of your tighty whiteys. No one wants that. Essentially it harkens us back to those old, silent, keystone cop films. There are the good guys and the bad guys. Everyone knows which is which. It’s just that simple, right?

But faith, lived out well, is never that easy.

So that brings me to Saturday Night Live. Take for instance the recent SNLs sketch called FBI Simulation, and it features the elusive Kevin Roberts. Who is Kevin Roberts? That’s a fair question. And the answer is: He’s the coolest bitch in town. 

Take a moment to watch it here:

Viewing this sketch, reminds me of one of the central problems of Western American Christianity… our sin of judging others. We take a cursory view of people, and then presume to know their stories, ambitions and motivations.

The sketch surrounds FBI recruits at a simulated gun range where they have to make spit-second decisions on who’s the good guy and who’s a threat. That’s where Kevin Roberts enters. He’s an animatronic enigma that doesn’t seem to fit into reality. Is he good? Is he bad? Why does he want a donut? No one may ever know.

In the church, we tend to respond to the Kevin Roberts of the world like the cadet in the sketch does… he shoots the guy that doesn’t fit the predisposed mold of good guy or bad guy. Roberts doesn’t make sense in our paradigm, and in return must be taken out like he’s bad.

We all do this in life. We judge others, fitting people into our preconceived notions and killing off anyone that doesn’t fit into our assumptions. It’s black vs. white. It’s good vs. bad. It’s boiling down the world into a simplistic way that makes us feel comfortable. If we know who is outside the tribe, then we know who is the “other” or bad guy.

But Kevin Roberts breaks the convention. The mould doesn’t fit. It presses us to think beyond our simple categories and classifications. He doesn’t fit into an easy type. So what do we do? We kill off the outliers. If they don’t fit, they must be bad.

The problem isn’t with the categories… it’s with us… the Christians. When we look at Jesus, he defied classifications, and always moved to the marginalized in society. He gravitated away from the one percenters and the religiously pious because they assumed that they had already figured out life. Their belief system was already stagnant and set in stone. There was nothing he could do with people that have already assumed that they have figured “it” out.

But the Christian faith isn’t about those people… even though they populate our American churches and sing our hymns. They’re pious posers… like Kylie Jenner on Instagram posting to women the picture of beauty while actually being the epitome of plastic surgery and fallacy. We worship the thing we hate most. But I digress in the snarky jabs of pop culture that verge on becoming the very situation that I’m raging against. My apologies.

Back to SNL. In the sketch, the FBI trainee stuck in the simulation decries, “If being a field agent means dealing with human puzzles like Kevin Roberts, maybe I belong behind a desk.”

If we as Christians assume that our role in God’s Kingdom is to be the guy behind the desk, or the bouncer or door keeper of who says who doesn’t get in… then we’ve missed the entirety of Scripture. Our call as the faithful is be loving, caring and welcoming of those who don’t fit into society’s assumptions and categories. Simply put, we are called to love those that others don’t love. We are called to love everyone who exists outside of our man made boundaries and classifications.

Basically put by Jesus and the Jewish tradition that came before him, we are called to love our neighbors. In the scriptural context, our neighbor is anyone outside of ourselves. With this, there is no room to judge others.

Colbert and the Problem with Nostalgia

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By: Mark Rain

Stephen Colbert premiered as the new host of the Late Show last night to good reviews. The show was fun, a bit overlong, but as anything with Colbert, filled with great promise for years to come. It’s been funny to watch the reactions on Twitter and the comment sections of web reviews. The one comment (or iteration of the same comment) I kept seeing was something along the lines of “I miss Dave [Letterman].”

This struck me as funny because most people haven’t even been watching Letterman on a regular basis since the 90’s. This isn’t a knock against Dave, but one about how we choose to see the past. That’s the problem with nostalgia. The good old days get frozen in time and begin to ferment with age. Some memories get better in our minds, while others sour. The past is either idolized or demonized.

Back in high school, I saw Cabin Boy (a Letterman produced movie where he also makes a cameo) twice on the opening day (don’t judge). I thought it was awesome and hilarious. I couldn’t get enough. I probably alone accounted for half of the weekend’s opening box office sales. Returning to the film years later, I have no idea what I was thinking. It was more about the moment in time and the friends I was with. It was less about the actual cinematic quality of the film. In memory, the moment trumps the reality.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this until we begin to assume absolute truth to the history of our memories. With the instance of Colbert, we have folks comparing one show to decades of Letterman’s best on TV. Dave had his moments, but with most of comedy, for every laugh, there are also three times as many jokes that went flat. Unless the joke went epically wrong (Uma-Oprah), we tend to only remember the high times.

Outside of entertainment, I’ve seen this happen in two prominent areas: politics and religion. I know these aren’t the only places we see nostalgia run amok, but they seem to be the places that scream (or preach) at us the loudest.

If you made a drinking game out of every time a Republican made a reference to Reagan during presidential campaigns, you’d die from alcohol poisoning. Politicians love to prey on the nostalgia factor because you can make promises out of memories, and they don’t ever have to be real. Hearken to the past you want to remember, and declare that you can take the present back there again. It’s a thing of fairy tales. The last thing we need right now is fairy tales.

In our churches, we play the similar game. Yesterday is framed as a more innocent time with less evil, less sin, and better morality. The message again is that we need to get back there. The funny thing about this is that we were never there. There has always been sin, evil, and corruption since the world began. The idea that there’s more of it today than yesterday is simply a farce, and it plays at our longing for nostalgia. Like politics, our faith can and should have a voice in our lives that drive us to engage deeply in the problems of the world. It’s not an excuse to run to the nostalgia of the past.

We can’t move backward. Moving backward means living in a world where smallpox is still a present issue or women and African American’s can’t vote. You can’t go back to the glory days and not get the mess that was present then. Hen picking memories can never be a reality. It’s counter productive and not healthy. When we live in the past, it clouds our vision for the present.

We can certainly learn lessons from history and recognize that we stand on the shoulders of those that have come before us. We just can’t go back. For the world to be a better place we need to be fully engaged in the present. Should we celebrate the past? Absolutely. We’re just not meant to live there.

Letterman had his day in the sun, and it was great. Today is not his day anymore. Hopefully, Colbert will move forward into years of late night greatness. With us, there are so many present issues pressing on life today: immigration, climate change, inequality and poverty (to mention a few). These problems won’t go away and require us to step into them with sober eyes fully focused on the present. You can’t solve a problem by wishing it wasn’t there. Nostalgia has its place, it just doesn’t move us forward.