Sorry for the social stereotypes, but the video -- or the comedy riff at the heart of it -- was the first thing that I thought of several weeks ago when I saw a tweet from Sarah Pulliam Bailey of The Washington Post that proclaimed:
Obviously, that link went into my "GetReligion Guilt" file.
Of course, "Are you an evangelical?" isn't that far from, "You might be an evangelical if ..." You can understand how I guy (that would be me) who grew up in a Southern Baptist pastor's home in Texas would make the leap to a Jeff Foxworthy video.
Now, I realize that there already are lots of websites with one-liners built on this concept. For example, at the "Progressive Christian" site at Patheos you'll find examples such as these:
If you have strong opinions about when, precisely, Amy Grant “sold out,” then you might be an evangelical.
If the first time you saw your uncle’s shot-glass collection, you wondered where he got all those fancy communion cups, then …
If you’ve ever forgotten to set your clock back at the end of Daylight Savings Time and your first thought at seeing the empty church parking lot was, “Oh no, I’ve missed the Rapture,” then …
If you never watched “Highway to Heaven,” not because it was too preachy, but because it aired on Wednesday nights, then …
If you knew that “Wednesday nights” in the previous joke was a reference to prayer meeting, then …
But, semi-seriously, there is a reason that your GetReligionistas have dedicated so much digital ink over the years to discussions of what the word "evangelical" does or does not mean. For examples, click here. For my own "On Religion" columns on that topic, click here.
All of this confusion started long before Donald Trump was a gleam in the eye of Jerry Falwell, Jr., and people began hitting the exit doors on the left side of the evangelical industrial complex.
While there have been serious attempts to create a doctrinal, global or historical frame for the term "evangelical," it's still hard to know what this word means when it gets shouted on Fox, MSNBC, Comedy Central or CNN. This affects lots of news stories.
But let's have fun with it anyway.
So let's consider the 31-question "Mere Orthodoxy" quiz to which Bailey pointed this weekend's "think piece" for religion-beat pros and those interested in religion news and trends. As the piece states:
In the Trump era there is no lack of uncertainty about the true definition of an evangelical Christian. 81% of evangelical Christians supported Trump last fall and ... one of Trump's most prominent conservative critics is evangelical leader Russell Moore. It's no surprise that a) no one knows what an evangelical is, and b) everyone wants to define it.
Question No. 1:
How many times have you started and failed to finish "My Utmost for His Highest"?
Now, the second question is a bit too modern-era specific for my tastes:
Did you kiss dating goodbye in high school?
Yes, even you Catholics. After all, everyone knows that lots of reporters, at Time magazine and elsewhere, believe that Catholic evangelicals are quite common.
If enough people leave scores in the comments pages, I might even share my own.