We’ve been looking at it’s videos lately, but URCall – the ICR’s latest attempt to be hip with the youth – has other provinces in its media empire. They have a blog, for example, in which a faint and whispery voice cries out for comments: “what do you think?” it asks. Let’s take a look at what they’ve got.
Content warning: some of these links contain videos, and some satanic influence has caused all those on URCall.org to autoplay upon loading. It’s kind of annoying.
- Are Tattoos Un-Christian?
Tattoos! That’s what the youth are talking about these days, right? In this most recent post at time of writing they point out the obligatory Leviticus quote, which is pretty explicit, but also say:
Several passages from Scripture indicate that God is more concerned about our heart than our outward appearance and that He is more interested in our motives than just the appearance of doing good (1 Samuel 16:7; Matthew 23: 25-27; 1 Cor. 6:20; 10:31).
It would be nice if more people applied the same logic to other verses, but what can you do? This post also shows the kind of ways that the ICR solicits comments:
What are your thoughts about tattoos? Should Christians “get inked” or have piercings? How should we interpret Leviticus 19:28 within today’s culture? Is this a cultural rather than a moral issue? Should someone’s outward appearance bring glory to God? Share your views with us below or by using #URcall on social media!
I’ve learned from experience that, however tempting it may be, ending posts with a question is a great way to not get any answers at all. People take comment boxes as an implied request, and further explicit requests appear to have a negative effect. Leading questions may be the worst, though I need data to be sure about this. I’m not checking the ‘social media’ – on twitter at least it appears to be a wasteland – but the post got one comment from a person called Jesse:
Dear brethren, Tatoos are very briefly mentioned in the Bible as bad things against the will of God. There is however another implication: any fad on having marks on your body will make people get used to such things, in preparation for the mark of the beast. Barcodes are not mentioned directly in the Bible either, however, they are making people get used to the “separators” three thin closely spaced bars, which can easily be traced to the number “6″ in the barcode (just get a barcode including a “6″ in the digits underneath). When the 666 mark comes along, everybody will say “oh, no problem, it’s just another barcode.”
To this URCall replied “Jesse, thank you for your comment!”, which cracks me up.
- Is It Okay for Christians to Listen to Secular Music?
In a post the previous week we got more of the same, but with more comments. Dan wrote “No more ok than watching television and the answer is no.” to which URCall replied “Dan, thank you for sharing your thoughts. How do you decide what kind of music to listen to?” This kind of response seems to be pretty terrible at engendering further conversation – he did not reply.
The other two commentors seemed to be of the mind that classical, instrumental and pre-Bach music was best. I may be off here, but I don’t think the ICR is attracting the audience they intended.
This attempt by the ICR to create a hashtag that would take the world by storm failed. Completely. I don’t pay very much attention to trends myself, but I’m pretty sure they missed the boat on this one by a while, which probably contributed to the problem. The other issue is that it’s just dumb – and the deathly silence in the comments appears to agree.
- Left Behind Returns to Theaters This Fall (autoplaying video)
For a while there they were talking about movies, and this post does get some response. They ask:
What are your thoughts about the relaunching of Left Behind? Should Hollywood personalities be cast in a Christian film? Will this film encourage more people to follow Christ?
The two commentors are fairly anti – one speculates that this new version will be “even less Christian than the earlier films” and that this is probably why Kirk Cameron isn’t in it again, while another attacks “dispensational end-times theology” and also says:
On a side not, I think Kirk has changed his views on the doctrine so that could explain why he’s not a part of the project.
URCall didn’t actually ask what Kirk Cameron was doing, and this lends credence to my idea that people on the internet will answer the question they want to, and the one you actually asked serves only as an impediment to this process.
URCall also missed out on this hashtag, which had already been somewhat overcome by cynicism when they decided to explain “the story behind the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.” No comments.
- Why is Jesus #Trending?
I’m no Guru, but I would say the hash sign belongs next to ‘Jesus’ – unless they’re trying to be satirical, which I doubt. They mention a number of TV shows about Jesus’ life, and asked “why do you think Jesus is #trending in our culture?” to which nobody replied. By the way, if you’re interested about that sort of thing, you should be reading John Troutman’s Gospel of Carol. Who needs TV?
- From “Royals” to “Loyal” (autoplaying video)
Ella Yelich-O’Connor (“Lorde”) seems nice and all, but I have actually managed to avoid listening to her so-far most well known hit and am not about to stop now. Even if – nay, especially if – it’s a remix version that “encourages Christians to stay “loyal” to Jesus.” I’ll add though that “Loyal” is already a New Zealand song, and one that features annoyingly often in hold music in these parts.
No comments, obviously.
That will do for the roundup. I’ve definitely missed a few posts with comments, but if that’s because of a selection bias on my part it’s because they had less cringeworthy subjects, which is my point really. The kind of techniques used by the ICR to encourage conversation here and elsewhere do not work.
I follow the comment RSS feed for URCall, and lately they’ve been getting fewer than I have – which is quite the achievement, but not the one they want. They are explicitly looking for conversation, and by this metric they have failed. Which is kind of a shame, really, because it doesn’t have to be like that: I have only a few percent of the ICR’s total readership, and on occasions when – by accident or design – they have taken a different tack things have been very busy. If they really want to attract response here’s some unsolicited advice from an actual millennial:
First, ditch the existing URCall blog – it’s going nowhere, see above. Replace its contents with the articles you already write and publish on icr.org but don’t modify them in any way beyond basic formatting. No questions, no (extra) praise Jesuses, no overt requests for comment. Post a fresh article a day, every day – the most recent Creation Science Updates, Acts & Facts, Days of Praise on the weekends if you can’t fill space with other stuff. Advertise: your social meadia links should be to the blog, while links in the blog to previous articles should go to the ICR website proper. Be light on the moderation lever, let in at least some opposition voices to the thread, learn to take the good with the bad. Don’t obsessively reply to every comment. Just sit back and watch the community develop around you, just like you always wanted.
I can’t guarantee that this will be a wild success. I can, on the other hand, be fairly certain that it would be better than the current approach, because that is not in the least bit difficult. And think, none of the other top-three creationist groups allow the same: it could be great for you.
I’m obviously an opposition voice – I think it’s great if the ICR flounders forever, though it would also be no fun. But if anybody at the Institute is wondering what went wrong, don’t say nobody told you.