Your completely normal high school best friend’s online presence used to consist of photos of him kayaking or posing with members of Tapes n’ Tapes. But lately he’s “found God” and you worry that he’s holding up Sharpie marker prophecies on corners downtown. What are the signs?
1. His last “hello” email slips in a mention of World’s Last Days. His emails used to be about jobs, his wife’s new floor plan, and excuses why suburban Kansas City works for them. But, in a recent email greeting, he mentioned that “with a new leader in Washington and the one-world-currency on its way,” he and his wife were “getting their house in order.” To be fair, he may mean spring cleaning and not slaughtering some virgin ewe in the bathtub.
2. His Twitter only links to videos of his church’s worship band. Sufjan Stevens reviews and Onion articles are out. Now, he’s a one-man propaganda feed for his mega church’s post-Grunge worship band. You watched a YouTube video out of loyalty—some lukewarm, pre-alcoholic-rage-Scott Stapp stuff, and you texted him that the keyboardist had “good sensibilities.” But after the third posting, you decided bullshit diversions about aesthetics couldn’t mask the fact that they were singing about smothering themselves in the blood of their God.
3. He texted you when his team won his church’s basketball league. You suppose it’s better than hearing nothing at all and then seeing him brandishing a firearm atop some mega church holding an abortion doctor hostage. But, it’s disconcerting that he didn’t exercise leftover athletic inadequacies via college intramurals AND, more importantly, that his church has a fucking basketball league. How big is this place?! And by “basketball” does he actually mean “mock-suburban guerilla warfare?”
4. His Tumblr recently filled up with photos of his first-born boy, named Alexander Bethel. Naming your kid after the dude from the Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros song has forgivable aesthetic concerns. But tacking on some City of God as a middle name calls up a certain (high) level of fundamentalist fervor. That’s a hell of an expectation to put on a defenseless little kid. “Alexander Bethel, you’re supposed to build up a New Israel, not shit your pants in line at Kowalski’s.”
5. His last Facebook status complained about cops chasing him on Segways through downtown Kansas City. Everything so far means he just vibes out a lot at young adult 24-hour prayer groups. But, this last sign convinces you that your friend is now a local-honey-and-locust-eating, trendy North Face-wearing street preacher who spends his weekends foretelling massive doom/asking people where they’re going after they die.
This sucks because he used to be a normal, friend you could count on for a good drunk dial. And worse, you’re sure your name has probably passed the lips of a prayer group holed up next to a nail salon and H&R Block in some Missouri strip mall.