Generation + : For the Contempary Christian Slacker

"Because even Jesus had a McJob until he was 27."

from Free Food in Church Productions

"Generation +" (actually, it's generation "x" with the x rotated to form a cross) is a 'zine dedicated to reconciling devout Christian spirituality with, I kid you not, honest to God no-job, hang-around-and-get-stoned slackerdom. Ah, the irony. Articles cover a wide variety of topics. The lead off is an editorial discussing Jesus as the first slacker. After all, the editors remind us, he didn't really figure out what he wanted to do until he was 27. They also cite multiple passages of the Bible to paint a picture of Jesus as an easy going guy, the kind of guy you could just hang around with, get stoned, and watch TV. They claim that "alternative" culture is waking up to the fact, a la King Missile's seminal "Jesus Was Way Cool". There is also an interesting discussion of modern music, ranging from criticism of Contemporary Christian fare ("lame, lame, lame. Why do they have to be so preachy? The best witnessing for the Lord is done quietly, by example. And the music sucks."), near idolotry of Amy Grant (who they refer to as "Quite boxy, but happily married"), to an evaluation of grunge (Pearl Jam is described as "very Christian at heart").

I thought that the most interesting piece was a discussion of Disney's "hidden agenda" in its recent animated films. They find it surprising that a company held up as such an example of all-American family values should have such an anti-Christian agenda. In both "The Lion King" and "Pocahontas", a vaguely animistic nature worship seems to be the dominant religious paradigm. "Is this the kind of movie we want our impressionable children to watch (when we have children, that is), especially considering Disney's skill at manipulating them?" the editors ask. Similarly, in "The Lion King", the hyenas are clearly morally inferior beings, and seem to be innately deserving of harsh treatment and exile. It's only when they get equal rights with the lions that things go to hell. "Is this the kind of movie believers in a religion that espouses the brotherhood of all mankind should endorse?" ask the editors.

There are also a couple of small bits, for example two top ten lists. One is of reasons why going Church is good (#1 reason: free food -- I wonder if they mean communion or church socials?), and the other one is top ten Christian reasons to be a slacker, (containing such gems as "Jesus doesn't care if you have a real job", "more time to pray", "nothing in the Bible says we can't get stoned", and my favorite bit from the whole issue, "None of this will matter after the second coming--so why bother?")

I found "Generation +" to be a welcome change of pace from the established orthodoxies of the extreme right and left that so often permeate 'zinedom. And, I found parts of it quite funny, although probably not in the way the writers intended.

--Kyle Thornton

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