American Jesus Madness

Hello! I’m glad both of you are reading this! (I know; I may be exaggerating my readership…sorry.)

Regardless, I’m going to jump right into my purpose for today. As you may have heard, there’s this thing called March Madness going on. Apparently it involves sports fanaticism, statistical knowledge of college athletics, and gambling. I only know anything about one of those. You can guess which.

It is my belief that this entire cultural event was nothing more than an elaborate set up to prepare us for the real glory of bracket competition: American Jesus Madness!

For those woefully ignorant, here’s a link:

Now that we have that out of the way, on to the fun! Here’s my first round breakdown.

(Note: Like in sporting events, defeat does not mean a ceasing to exist. This isn’t the coliseum. Rather, I’m judging these match ups based on who will look bloodier after a confrontation/argument/throw-down between the two – I’m not saying who will eventually hold predominance in culture or even which ones will become mainstream orthodoxy. Clear as mud? Good.)

(Further Note: While the views expressed below vaguely resemble mine, they are intentionally exaggerated and made amusing for the sake of this type of competition. Don’t get too bent out of shape because I lampoon a favorite of yours.)

 Diogo Mordalo (Son of God) vs. Jeffrey Hunter (King of Kings):

–          Admittedly, my growing up under the extreme conservative rock makes it so my knowledge of all the movie depictions of Jesus is pretty limited. That being said, I think Diogo has a huge deficit to overcome in Christian culture due to the bad press his movie has been getting recently. I don’t recall any such vehemence against King of Kings, so if we’re judging on how Christian Culture will react, Jeffrey has the upper hand. My Pick: Jeffrey Hunter (King of Kings)

Robert Powell (Jesus of Nazareth) vs. Willem Defoe (The Last Temptation of Christ)

–          I actually saw part of the Willem Defoe depiction once. Of course, it was while I was still “sensitive” to inaccurate depictions of biblical truth, especially regarding Christ, and I turned it off part way through because it was so “bad”. (Of course, I didn’t turn it off until AFTER the scene with the prostitute…’cause…you know…) While the Willem Defoe representation makes for great conversation starters, he comes up short in making Jesus look good. Robert Powell will win the day even with a good fight from the artistically gifted Defoe. My Pick: Robert Powell (Jesus of Nazareth)

Brian Deacon (Jesus, 1979) vs. Ted Neely (Jesus Christ Superstar)

–          Again, I saw part of the “liberal” one of these two once. Again, I turned it off. This time it was because I was bored. So these are the options: Hate it because it’s liberal (and, bonus, full of “rock music”) or hate it because it’s pretty boring. Admittedly, I have yet to see a movie about Jesus that isn’t boring, so….yeah. Either way, advantage Brian. My Pick: Brian Deacon (Jesus, 1979)

Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) vs. Jeremy Sisto (Jesus, 1999)

–          Is this for real? That’s like the Sooner’s taking on a high school team that wasn’t even in the playoffs. (See? I can be sportsy…kinda…) The only people who didn’t love The Passion of the Christ were those of us who at the time believed seeing R rated movies and going to theaters were sins. Yep…I was both at the time… My Pick: Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ)

Christians’ Old Love for Duck Dynasty vs. Christians’ New Love for Matthew McConaughey

–          This one is easy. Matt’s charm is disarming, but he will eventually be called on the carpet for lip service without virtue to back it up. I mean, have you ever seen him pray on TV? Or defend traditional power systems? Or make pandering quotes about God, the Bible, and the American Flag? Come on…the duck guys look way more Christian. They even have beards and wear red white and blue. Just like Moses and Jesus. My Pick: Christians’ Old Love for Duck Dynasty

Mark Driscoll vs. Integrity

–          While it will only be a minor setback for the Mars Hill team, Mark has already lost this round. He even apologized for some of the offenses the other day. Integrity wins (doesn’t that count as a win for all of us?) and Mark gets to re-try his domineering patriarchy. This time with a little less “angry young prophet”. Sounds like a mid-life crisis to me, but that’s not the Christian way to say it I guess. My Pick: Integrity

Rachel Held Evans vs. Every Calvinist Dude On The Internet

–          This one is tougher than it should be. While her calm, calculated, and witty way of making her point and making dudes who disagree with her look barbaric is fantastic, poor Rachel is way outnumbered here. Calvinism has been drawing intelligent people who long to be a little less intellectually honest for a long time and has a lot of followers. That being said, I think Rachel makes them look bad enough she has a fighting chance. Maybe I just like rooting for the underdog. My Pick: Rachel Held Evans (Bonus: I actually hope she loses ‘cause I want to see Greg take on the Calvinists.)

Greg Boyd vs. Assault Rifle Jesus

–          Ok, I’ll fess up. I’m a huge Greg Boyd fan-boy. Have been since ’04 (If you don’t know why, you obviously don’t know enough about Greg Boyd.) While he is eccentric and radical, he’s as intellectual as they come. People can love their guns all they want (and they do, I live in Oklahoma) but Greg makes Peace-Nick Jesus look good. Hard to argue with and easy to love. My Pick: Greg Boyd

Mark Sandlin vs. Third Eagle of The Apocalypse

–          I’m sorry, unless we’re talking about sensationalism and bad acid trips, Third Eagle just loses. Period. Nobody thinks he looks good. I’m pretty sure the only people who think he makes anything look good voted for Fred Phelps when he ran for office. This dude can even make me dislike the 80’s beard he tries to rock. My Pick: Mark Sandlin

Nicolas Cage’s Left Behind vs. Kirk Cameron’s Left Behind

–          This is a tough one only because we haven’t yet seen the terrible theological errors in Nic Cage’s version. (Waits for the groan to die down…) Christian Culture loves how traditionally “accurate” Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort (of all people) made the Left Behind movies. Sadly, artistic value just doesn’t register on this Richter scale. Oh well. At the end of the day, we’ll always judge Hollywood harshly, so Nic loses. My Pick: Kirk Cameron’s Left Behind

Gay Wedding Cake vs. Christian “Persecution”

–          This one is going to be the upset I think. Gay Wedding Cake just doesn’t look evil. Despite Faux News trying to make middle/upper class white Christians look and feel like victims, I don’t think anybody’s really buying it. Even if a lot of Christians feel harped on, they come out of every one of these fights with egg (and frosting) on their face. It may be close, but reality shows us that even a ton of the “victims” are tired of this fight and are figuring out they’re not winning. My Pick: Gay Wedding Cake

Pope Francis vs. Every Pope Ever

–          Catholics love him. Radicals love him. The only people who don’t love him are um…capitalists and traditionalist…so…American Christian Culture. Yeah, they hate him. But since we’re talking about how good the two parties look after a confrontation, Pope Frank takes it hands down. Even outnumbered he steps away clean from this one. Unless you take off points for him slipping the equivalent of the “F” word during a speech once….but I sure don’t. My Pick: Pope Francis

Stephanie Drury and Matthew Paul Turner vs. Christian Culture

–          I feel like since this whole thing is based on Christian Culture the party in this match up that isn’t Christian Culture has a serious disadvantage. Of course, the rabble rousing aspect of mocking the establishment doesn’t endear them either. That said, I love ‘em and think they make Christian Culture look ridiculous. This one could go either way, but enough people who aren’t entrenched in Christian Culture are involved in these discussions anymore that I think Stephanie and Matthew might have a slight edge. My Pick: Stephanie Drury and Matthew Paul Turner

Real Life Steven Furtick vs. Coloring Book Steven Furtick

–          When you in real life get to create and commission a coloring book version of yourself how can it not be better than you? Oh, that’s right, when you live in a mansion and make millions being a Christian celebrity that gets to commission a coloring book version of yourself. Still, coloring books hit ALL demographics. Sermons bore a couple demographics. Most of them, actually. My Pick: Coloring Book Steven Furtick

Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Tattoos vs. Albert Mohler’s Suits

–          Suits have been dominant for so long, but I just don’t think they have another win in them. They’ve been running out of steam since the late 80’s and now they just look like they’re trying too hard to be taken seriously. Yes, even over designer jeans. Sorry guys. Tattoos may not be the new reigning champ, but they beat the suits this time. My Pick: Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Tattoos

Ken Ham vs. Reality

–          Ever tried to tell one of those lies that conflicts so badly with reality that it hurts to tell it? Welcome to Ken Ham’s life. It is possible to be a creationist with an intellectually fair position.  Maybe nobody ever told poor Ken that. He should try that next time he takes on somebody like Bill Nye. My Pick: Reality

 And there you have it. I think I just decreased my readership even more….but it was fun.

 Enjoy playing and voting!


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