There’s something that ought to be said about just how weird the world is getting. Between celebrity political candidates, bifurcating political partisanship, and vast bodies of literature dedicated to nitpicking the minor errors of Star Wars sequels and whatever Ugandan Knuckles is supposed to be — it’s fair to say that the modern world is strange. What’s less talked about is just how wonderful it is. For all of the strangeness, horror, exhaustion, and frustration there is to be had, we truly are living in a rare moment of human prosperity and comfort. Poverty is shrinking every year, technology and medicine radically improve by the day, and kind everyday people give millions of dollars of their hard earned dollars to charities the world over. That being said, it is very difficult to see our blessings through the smoke screen of daily life. When bills are due, work is hard, and the news is a non-stop barrage of horror and evil, it’s hard not to look out upon the world and loose hope some days.
Thankfully, we aren’t alone in this long path towards home. One of life’s grandest pleasures is laughter. For the past two years, the kind fellas over at The Babylon Bee have been working tirelessly to pump out some of the best religious satire on the internet. Their work reflects tons of relevant themes covering everything from politics to entertainment and christian living. They’re work is always bitingly funny, eye catching, and relevant. Most recently they wrote the comedic satire book How to Be a Perfect Christian which pokes fun at the recent slew of Christian self-help novels that have flooded the market. I was able to correspond with the site’s editor and co-author of the book, Kyle Mann, who was kind enough to give us some insights into the behind the scenes of the Babylon Bee website and the book!
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a native Southern Californian who grew up in the church, worked in the construction industry for 11 years, and am now the Editor of the Babylon Bee. I write for the site while raising my three boys, and just have a lot of fun using the gifts God has given me to make people laugh and hopefully help people to think about important faith issues at the same time.
How did you get involved with Babylon Bee?
Adam Ford founded the site over two years ago and I started submitting article ideas for fun. I was sending in enough that I started working part-time as the site’s Head Writer and just recently went full-time as Editor-in-Chief.
What’s the creative process working at the site? Do you guys have a team or is this a few people working together?
Adam and I pumped out the majority of the content for the first couple years of the site’s existence, me penning articles in my spare time and him writing as well as photoshopping, editing, sorting through submissions, and managing everything. It has been such a fun and crazy time for us. We do have a small team of creatives who suggest ideas or flesh out articles for us.
Do you have a favorite article from the site?
It’s always in flux, but (John) MacArthur To Build Wall To Keep Charismatics Outis one of my favorites from the early days of the site. It can be enjoyed by either side of the whole continuationist vs. cessationist debate, and I think that’s always a good sign of quality satire.
What brought about your book, How to Be a Perfect Christian?
Adam and I met to figure out what the Bee’s next project was going to be, and a book was the obvious answer for us. We put together a proposal and a rough outline over lots of laughs and it was just a very natural thing for us to work on together. We started with this idea of having a guide that a church shopper could use to locate the “perfect” megachurch, complete with water slides and roller coasters and everything, and the idea for a guide to being a perfect Christian evolved out of that concept.
Obviously the book is tied in with the website. What are you hoping to accomplish with it? Is it mostly comedic or does it lean more into Christian living/theology territory?
Our goal when writing the book, from a comedic perspective, was to make sure people were chuckling at every line. From a broader perspective, we wanted our readers to maybe take a step back and examine some of the assumptions we’ve all adopted when it comes to how we practice our faith in 21st century America. We want people to see that a true Christian faith is founded on Christ’s finished work and the Word of God, and not how your particular church tradition practices Christianity. You can’t really be the “perfect Christian,” and are simply made perfect by Christ’s work and sacrifice, so we hope when people finish the last page that’s what they’re thinking about.
Since we’re a Christian/Nerd Culture site, the obligatory question I’d like to finish with is: What kinds of media (books/movies/tv/etc.) are you enjoying so far this year? What are you most looking forward to?
I am smack in the middle of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, about to finish tome number 5, so that’s been a fun ride. My favorite genres tend to be fantasy and science fiction in the classic vein—so I’m always partway through a Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, or Edgar Rice Burroughs story as well. Recent movies I’ve enjoyed include The Last Jedi (sue me), Blade Runner 2049, Wonder Woman, and Justice League (sue me again). As for games, I’m trying to 100% Super Mario Odyssey and beat Breath of the Wild on Master Mode, plus my boys and I have a perpetual Street Fighter II rivalry going on in my house on our SNES Classic. We play a ton of board games in my house, so we’ve been loving the Mansions of Madnessadventures, DungeonQuest, and Galaxy Trucker.
I’m looking forward to the new Smash Bros. game, Metroid Prime 4, Fallout 76, and Half-Life 3 (ha). I hear there’s a Dark Tower TV show in production so with some luck that’ll be interesting. And in the board game realm I have the Fireball Island remake on the way from Kickstarter, so hopefully that’ll show up sometime in the next couple of years.
Born into the unexplored residential backwater of Chicago, Tyler Hummel is a graduate of Tribeca Flashpoint College where he studied Sound Design for Film and Interactive Media. When he isn't hosting his public access talk show The Fox Valley Film Critics or collecting DragonBall Z figurines, he enjoys writing and directing short films. As with Rick from Casablanca, "he's a man like any other man, just more so!"
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