Joe carter asks:

Many of us enjoy celebrity-based internet memes like Chuck Norris Facts (Sample: “There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.”) or the Fred Thompson Facts (Sample: “Not only does Fred Thompson cut taxes, he cuts tax collectors.”). Such public figures expect this sort of notoriety and tend to take in good humor. But are “celebrities of the Church”, particularly respected leaders, off-limits? Should we refrain from making them the targets for such frivolity? Does it diminish their role or offend their reputation?

The question was sparked by Fake Carson> The Secret Diary of D. A. Carson wherein a team of four highly trained satirists pose as DA Carson and riff on Carson, other evangelical leaders, students and the state of Christendom in general.

I’ve only come up with a few very general guidelines.
1. It should be fairly obvious that it is satire, or at least that it is imitating an individual and not the actual individual.
2. If the only point of a satirical point is biting ridicule of a person, then that’s a problem.

Like I said, very general. So how about it crew? Where is the line?

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39 Comments(+Add)

1   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
September 15th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

I think seminary students need to get better hobbies. It may not be meant to be mean-spirited, but I could it quickly becoming so. Seeing things like that are another reason I’m glad I’ve not been to seminary. It seems like it becomes it’s own little world with inside jokes and such.

2   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
September 15th, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Phil,
I think that’s an unfair generalization of Seminary. I know guys who’ve never stepped foot in a classroom and they have some “issues” of their own along these lines.

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2007 at 7:57 pm

If you feel they are brothers in Christ then it is fair to present some good natured satire. We do it all the time (Like me to you and the reverse, Tim). But if I have serious issues, and I think they are genuinely deceived, and I really desire to confront them on a basis of respect, then I have a problem with satire that is meant to demean.

Good satire: So a Calvinist and an Arminian walked into a MacDonalds. The Calvnist says to the cashier “You make the choice for me”. The Arminian gazes at the menu and says “So much to choose from!”

Bad satire: The speaker at the emergent pastor’s conference opened by asking everyone to open their Bibles. He suddenly realized no one had one.

There is a difference. One pokes fun, the other is meant to demean.

4   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
September 15th, 2007 at 8:05 pm

Good Satire: So Charlie Weiss went recruiting….oh never mind.

5   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 15th, 2007 at 8:06 pm

Rick:
I understand your point, but the “bad satire” actually happened to me (sorta). Our family was visiting a church that advertised themselves as traditional and reformed. They were not. When people asked us if we were visiting, on a couple of occasions, I asked “why they asked?” Their response: “You’re carrying a Bible.” Incidently, the preacher at that church didn’t even carry a Bible to the pulpit.

On a different note: I am usually (and providentially) prompted to order the Filet-O-Fish meal.

6   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2007 at 8:16 pm

That’s a good point, Keith. I guess my point is that the atmosphere has become so toxic concerning the emergent movement that some of the satire is not good natured, it is scorn which is meant to entertain the other side at the expense of the whole movement.

It is somewhat subjective, but I still contend that some of the recent posters crossed the line. BTW – I love the Fish-O-Filet, I am IRRESISTABLY drawn to it!

See, good natured satire about someone I consider a commited brother in Christ!

7   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 15th, 2007 at 8:32 pm

Rick you make a good point about from where satire comes from. Earlier you wrote in another thread:

I was going to become a Baptist pastor until I kissed my roomate Bill and I went emergent. (or Episcapol, etc.)

I chuckled a bit when I read that, mostly because I know that Rick generally has a charitable attitude towards emergents. Had that come from, say, Team Pyro I doubt I’d have taken quite as generous a view of it.

8   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2007 at 8:37 pm

A very prescient point, Tim, I never thought of that. It goes back to my original comment, it is all in how you feel about the person.

9   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 15th, 2007 at 8:41 pm

BTW, I just started this post to see who is a big enough loser to be home on a Saturday night with nothing better to do than post on CRN.info.

You’re all busted.

10   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2007 at 8:43 pm

I’m post op so you’re busted!

11   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 15th, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Ah! The one flaw in my otherwise perfect plan!

12   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Rick,

Bad satire: The speaker at the emergent pastor’s conference opened by asking everyone to open their Bibles. He suddenly realized no one had one.

The only thing that is wrong with this is that it should be.

Bad satire: The speaker at the emergent pastor’s conference opened by asking everyone to open their Bibles. So everyone except a few conservatives, powered up their Macs and pulled up netbible.com .

Wait that might be good satire… oh I am so confused!

Be Blessed,
iggy

13   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
September 15th, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Tim,
I know I pick on seminary students too much – they’re easy targets. I’m sure the affinity for niche humor crosses all demographic lines.

Personally, I will admit that I found the bit about John Piper pretty funny, so I shouldn’t throw stones.

14   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
September 15th, 2007 at 9:39 pm

I was out. But I’ve got football on, a glass of nice red wine and I’m doing Homework. So, I’m busted but I’m ok with that.

15   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Tim,

BTW, I just started this post to see who is a big enough loser to be home on a Saturday night with nothing better to do than post on CRN.info.

Man if you ever checked my time signatures of when I post they are all over the board… I am on call 24/7 for work and though I mostly work day hours… I also may work night and weekends… so when I sleep I do not post and since I have no life… I post between my job, time with my kids, in the middle of the night, early morning, during the day (at work while I am working on other things or taking a break)…

So I want the title of the “biggest loser” as I post when all have given up.

Be Blessed,
iggy

16   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Oh btw I am getting ready to go to work right now…

LOL!

iggy

17   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 7:45 am

I’m not even sure that point #1 totally works when you make it obvious. Last year, Ingrid wrote a short piece castigating a group of Christians hosting a dance festival, with her commentary being, basically, “why are they dancing when abortion is still legal in America?”

So I took her piece, word for word, changed the names and places, along with changing the activity from ‘dancing’ to ‘blogging’, labeled it clearly as satire, and a number of Slice folks came over and commented, completely missing the point…

18   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 7:48 am

Well Chril L., they didn’t miss the point, you did. Are you a Calvinist? There, the missing link.

19   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 8:03 am

Chris L,

Ken’s comment is so precious!

“Pardon me Chris, but aren’t you blogging to tell us you’re not interested in blogging?”

Satire, making fun of absurdity being attack by more absurdity… I had to stop reading the post as I am at work… I did not want ot give away I was reading it by laughing out loud!

Blessings.
iggy

20   JohnD    
September 16th, 2007 at 9:52 am

So Calvin has a flower, right? It’s called TULIP and we all know what that stands for.

Did you know Wesley had a flower as well? It’s called DAISY.

Know what it stands for?

He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me . . .

21   JohnD    
September 16th, 2007 at 9:54 am

Good satire: if you’re making fun of somebody that I don’t like.

Bad satire: if you’re making fun of somebody I do like.

Unredeemed satire: It’s just downright funny no matter who the target is.

22   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 10:04 am

Daisy, I love it.

Wesley’s montra – There’s a method to my madness.

I love satire for all of us. Its difficult to fully define what is mean and caustic satire. It like describing what is obscene, you know when you see it.

23   Tim Wirth    http://simplyagape.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 11:15 am

Just my funny view of satire.

Why did the praise and worship leader fire the drummer and replace him with a drum machine?

Answer-You only have to punch a drum machine once to get it to play a steady beat.

Just my two cents from my little world.
Peace
Tim Wirth
Dont let those worship leaders lay hands on you.

24   Changed Life    http://www.saddleback.com
September 16th, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Hey. I don’t know if you guys know this but the website called Old Truth is totally dissing you!

I was reading your post called Ten Ways to Stand for Truth and when I clicked on a link to a post about Rick Frueh that was supposed at the Old Truth website it took me to a page that looks like your site but it is nothing but mean spirited mockery.

http://www.oldtruth.com/blog.cfm/id.2.pid.697

25   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Changed Life – Yea, I saw it thanks. I hope no one is offended, but I thought overall it was pretty funny.

The Wizard of Oz theme was very creative. Inwardly Lion, Tin Man, and all. I know, but I’ve seen worse. I wonder if it was Jim. It was pretty funny!

26   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 5:24 pm

It really is hilarious, I am not offended at all. Read the comments and the left side headings, someone spent some quality time on this. We should have included it on humor day but I did not know it was up until Changed Life tipped us off.

Ten ways to mock Reformers.

And the hippie playing guitar. I love it, it made me laugh becuase at least it was creative and supposed to be funny. It was.

27   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
September 16th, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Changed Life,
The funniest part on that site was at the bottom where it says, “No Duplication permitted without permission by owner”. I don’t know if that was intentionally ironic or not, but either way it’s funny.

28   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 7:46 pm

Actually, I should probably send them a cease and desist letter, as the photo at the top of the blog is copyrighted by me, taken last spring on the Sea of Galilee…

29   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

OK, Mayor, but first call the Coroner!

30   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
September 16th, 2007 at 8:10 pm

LOL, that was funny. Poor Jim from Old Truth.

31   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
September 16th, 2007 at 8:12 pm

BTW, Rick Freuh, you’re probably around my mom’s age so according to that BLOG you’re out Buddy.

32   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 8:19 pm

I used ta have an Aunt Em myself! I’ll get ya in to see the wizard!

And Ingrid says, “Bring me that Frueh and the blog, do what you want with the rest but I want that Frueh alive!”

33   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 16th, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Jim gets more pathetic with every passing day.

I wonder if there’s an RCC apologist out there somewhere with a site called “Older Truth” that riffs on Jim every day.

34   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
September 16th, 2007 at 8:37 pm

Ah Tin Man, let the poor guy have his fun.

35   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 16th, 2007 at 8:41 pm

And possibly an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi with a site called “Oldest Truth”…

36   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 16th, 2007 at 8:54 pm

I gotta admit, that I want to see the articles listed under “Shocking Ways to’Almost Swear’Around Fundies”.

37   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 16th, 2007 at 9:00 pm

BTW, Jimmy must read reaaal closely since he changed the picture as soon as Chris L mentioned the C&D letter.

How ya doin’ Jimmy? I was just wondering why your critera of “Old Truth” doesn’t force you to become Roman Catholic, as they’ve got an older claim than you do.

38   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 17th, 2007 at 12:01 am

I have to tell you one result of Jim’s redirects… I was banned and redirected for a time… with mini sermons on “synergism is not biblical” and such… I noticed also a counter…

In that I went there maybe about 9 to 10 times… maybe 11 but after I saw the counter made a note I would not go there for a week… I then went back and saw the counter over 200… and a note stating “for someone who said he does not come here much.. blah blah blah”… I had to laugh as I wondered at all the traffic he blocked and that the best I could guess was that he blocked the largest ISP in Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska… and all because he was blocking me!

I find that quite an honor that he saw me so important that he had to hide his light under a bushel…

Blessings,
iggy

39   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 17th, 2007 at 8:41 am

What we should have is “Satrire Day” where everyone gets to satirize each other. Some might be mean spirited but some would be funny and maybe it would smooth the rough edges of how seriously we take ourselves. I have some problem with some satire but if we declare it legal for a day maybe we could have some fun.

I would nominate the Oz site for some creativity, right? I’ll speak with the Mayor, in the county of the Land of Oz.