Cultural Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a competition. To win, you must be holier than everyone else at all times. If that sounds daunting, don’t be afraid, because The Babylon Bee’s book includes its patented “Proprietary Holiness Tracker 5000” to track your progress as you read along.
Each chapter encompasses an aspect of Christianity, from finding the right church to looking really spiritual online, a topic that’s especially important if you want others to know how holy you are. It is 2018, after all. Your Instagram has got to be top-notch.
“And this should go without saying,” the guide reads, “but for the love of all that is holy, don’t forget to ‘check in’ at church every time you attend.”
The right church should offer vague statements of faith and is led by a pastor who knows how to weave really clever acronyms into his sermon. As The Bee explains, a good pastor can pull more spiritual truth from TV shows or action films than from the Bible. If he has to resort to scripture to find truth, then he isn’t any good at his job. The worship leader should also project a certain image, as should the ambiance of the sanctuary.
“You see, the underlying mission in your interactions with others online, whether Christians or heathens, is to project an image of perfection,” The Bee writes. “Every post, every photo, every video, every status update should be done with this ultimate purpose in mind: to glorify yourself by conforming to cultural Christian standards in all things.”
This attitude should extend to other aspects of a person’s life, including the way one votes and one’s lifestyle. These choices will really impress God, “unless of course you have the slightest sin in your life,” The Bee writes. “Then He’s probably holding you over the pit like a spider because He loathes you so much.”
Serving others? Forget it. Being humble? Hahahahaha! Being a “perfect Christian” is about conforming to the standards set by others seeking recognition for their outward holiness. And one’s “flawless spirituality” should be signaled to others very loudly, or else it doesn’t count.
Throughout the hilarity on the pages of The Bee’s book are sharp criticisms of pop American spirituality. Cultural Christianity does not offer a message of grace or redemption. It demands perfect spiritual living at all times, and this means making sure that every action (or inaction) makes it clear to others that you really are doing it perfectly.
This book serves as a reminder that conforming to cultural Christianity and spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit are not always the same thing. Sanctification — or becoming more like Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit and elevating the needs and wants of others before your own — probably won’t get you more Instagram followers, and that’s okay! “How To Be A Perfect Christian” also makes a great coffee table book or a gift for fans of The Bee.