When I was 10, helping my father—the pastor—to prepare for a baptism, I'd hop into the baptismal pool and give a dramatic, Unshackled-style before-and-after testimony, complete with tears, a Damascus road moment, and a changed life. At 15, I'd intone pious-sounding nonsense in what I called my "Christian talk-radio woman" voice. It was a revelation when I discovered the now-defunct Wittenburg Door, a religious satire magazine, and I watched Saturday Night Live—church lady and all—with guilty, absorbed pleasure, though, in fact, my rather conservative parents were not bothered by my love for satire. If anything, they encouraged it, enjoying the irony the first time I was interviewed on Christian talk-radio: now I really was a Christian woman voice on the radio.
The ways we humans speak and behave follow conventions. We perform expected roles and speak conventional lines, and there's nothing wrong with it. Liturgy is right and good and serves important purpose. I wouldn't ...1