I 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.
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.
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."
But, 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 Poynter.org, 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.