In real life, Matthew Pierce is a normal adult. He has a wife, three daughters, and a boring job. He lives in Alabama, where he grew up, and he’s slowly becoming like his father.

Online, it’s different. Online, Matthew Pierce plays a character named Matthew Pierce, and that character is a youth group kid hanging out with his homeschool crew, stuck forever in the evangelical subculture of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Steven Curtis Chapman looms large in his imagination, as do Carman, Beth Moore, VeggieTales, LifeWay Christian bookstores, his youth pastor’s ubiquitous advice to “save it for the wedding night,” and the recurring thought that Adam in the Bible had humanity’s first penis.

If you meet him on Twitter, he will ask you one urgent question: “do u like switchfoot? y/n.”

If you don’t know who Switchfoot is or don’t understand what could be so urgent about an indie Christian band that crossed over to mainstream success in 2000, that’s okay. That’s part of the joke with “weird evangelical Twitter,” which embraces absurd earnestness and overcommitment. And Matthew Pierce—the real one and the character—is the undisputed king of weird evangelical Twitter.

“I find it kind of silly,” said Pierce, who has more than 10,000 followers on Twitter. “I’m just making jokes. I have an anonymous job, I come home and play with my kids and make dumb jokes on Twitter.”

The dumb jokes, however, have developed into a style and sensibility among some evangelicals online. Their humor has gone far past the satire and parody of earlier evangelical ...

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