In praise of The Babylon Bee

May 22nd, 2019

I recently, through no fault of my own, realized that I've been making a stunning personal omission of late, which could be negatively impacting not only my overall spiritual demeanor and the spirit in which I parent, but also my attitude towards current events in the United Methodist Church. You see, recently I've not been checking Facebook, have long since removed it from my phone, and I'm even considering erasing my account. Of course, this is not the grave personal omission of which I'm speaking. Paying less attention to Facebook is about as close to an unmitigated good and morally pure act as one can imagine. Were I a Kierkegaard-like author who employed pseudonyms, I'd require all my pseudonyms to abstain from Facebook too. If there were purity rings for people who abstain from Facebook, I'd be converted instantly. No, the omission of which I speak is something else entirely — even if not entirely unrelated.

The sole negative consequence — so far as I can tell and as I've only lately noticed — is that due to my withdrawing my worship from the Algorithm of the Great Blue F, a dearth of Babylon Bee stories have graced my eyes and my mind. I noticed this problem inconspicuously enough, when at Bible study someone mentioned that rightly venerated online Christian humor publication, and that she usually reads Babylon Bee stories as they appear in her Facebook feed. I was convicted. For so was I, once. And today I'm making my privation public.

Who would not sing for The Babylon Bee?

Verily, is there a day in one's life that may not be improved by knowing the things said by that oracle of slanted truth and full-bellied bellowing bliss?

For instance, take even just the site's description as it appears in the upper right of one's screen after a Bing search for The Babylon Bee. "Satirical Evangelical Christian Website." There, friends, are four words which deserve to go together. As Chesterton would say, the evangelicals reveal their depth in their capacity for humor at their own expense. It's not just those great past philosophical luminaries of the evangelical tradition, Kirekegaard and Johann Georg Hamann, who were capable of brilliant humor and satire. The oracle of the Wisdom of God appearing in rags and stripes of foolishness sings today in The Babylon Bee. I feel I hear, somewhere in the distance, a nondenominational pastor giving a smarmy sermon which emphasizes and explicates each of those terms in order: Satirical. Evangelical. Christian. Website. If "Satirical" goes well, "Evangelical", "Christian", and "Website" will have to wait for subsequent Sundays.

But it's not just the being or essence or definition of The Babylon Bee that so resplendently justifies its divine ways among men. It's the actual things it publishes. The headlines. This is the actual real fake news. For example, if you think you don't need to know that "Jesus' Leftist Tears Tumbler" has been unearthed near Nazareth in an archaeological expedition, I can't help you. (It was found not far from his Republican Party membership card.) Or if you aren't convinced of the penetrating relevance of the news that "Star Wars Fans Implement Sex Strike Until Disney Disavows 'The Last Jedi'", then you're just not attuned to how offensive Disney's feminist messaging in film can be. And if it doesn't seem both obvious and fitting to you that "Trump Awards Medal of Freedom to Legendary Golfer Happy Gilmore," then you and I differ on more than which 90s films we've watched. Actually, there's nothing about this particular story that clearly signals that it's fake. Actually, the more times I read this story the less likely it seems to me to be fake... wait a minute....

And The Babylon Bee's brilliance isn't restricted to matters of national and family planning importance, like the Star Wars story above. The Bee is nimble and brilliant with getting to the truth beneath the truth in church news too. "Fender Introduces New Two-String, Five-Fret Design for Church Bassists." I've played bass in a worship band before; that story's probably real. "Church Installs Transporter to Teleport Worship Band Onto Stage During Closing Prayer." Likewise, I've watched Star Trek TNG and I've heard The Mark Swayze Band play at The Woodlands UMC; I think this story is probably true. "Worship Leader Rushed to Hospital After Face Gets Stuck in Passionate Expression." Who among us hasn't seen this happen?

When you're ready for the real stuff, though, click on the "Celebs" tab at the top.

In the meantime, content yourself knowing that, "Jamba Juice Now Offering Dirt Shots."

Having said all of the above, I'll proceed to my final substantive claim. There is no way forward into a brighter future for the UMC that does not involve incorporating the spiritual discipline of reading The Babylon Bee among our basic means of grace. There's no sequence of Sting songs that could even possibly be a spiritual substitute for listening to The Bee.

Problem solved — at any rate, as far as I'm concerned. I've opened The Babylon Bee in its own dedicated tab on the Firefox browser in my phone. I suggest you do the same.

"Local Man Declares Self Tax-Exempt as Temple of the Holy Spirit" — you're welcome.

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