May 30, 2006

This isn't your father's church

My Yoga friend sent me this story about a mega church from hell. Locals refer to it as "Six Flags over Jesus" and as one commenter remarked, the building resembles a Fortune 500 company. Religion is big business. I am also reminded of the King of the Hill Episode where the Hill family attends their local mega. In the episode, the pastor is actually a pretty nice guy who wants to help people, but the church is scary big. With a tram.

This Kos story is about some people who visit this particular mega.
"Watching all of this was rather depressing. The church is so organized, proficient, and well funded that it seems hopeless for the rest of us to even try to resist them. They're kind of like The Borg from the Star Trek stories (You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile!). I don't mind that they think and act differently than me but I am extremely bothered by their repeated attempts to legislate their brand of morality in my community. As we left the sanctuary my partner intoned 'Our country is doomed'."

I agree. I think our country is doomed when church has become Six Flags. I think we are doomed especially when churches like this have become agents for the GOP. As one of the commentators notes, everyone should check out religious tv only to find out who the American fascists are--people like Rod Parsley, who is an open Christian Dominionist and major league asshole (hah, tribute to our President, eh?).

The description of this church makes me a little ill. It isn't church. It isn't good. I attended a wedding at a similar church and felt a little sick when I saw the money put into this complex. Anyway, in the bookstore, they see a
framed picture.

Not sure how anyone can look at that and tell me with a straight face that American Christians have fused their worship of God into some horrible worship of country. And that is one of the elements of fascism.


educat said...

Holy mother of crap, that very picture used to be on display in the office AT MY SCHOOL. My former principal swore it was only there because a patron donated it. Several of us grilled her often about it.

Somehow (thankfully) the frightening piece of faux art left with her.

mary said...

I can see a lot of the mega-church model in my own mainline Methodist church. Several years ago, the church hired a consultant from Louisiana who reported back that the only way to remain viable was to 1) increase parking, and 2) incorporate a contemporary service. So now we have Park n' Ride shuttle busses, and a multi-media rock and roll service that takes place at the very same time as the traditional service on the other side of the "complex."

Although the theology and social engagement are different than the church in the story, I still see the same desacralization of worship into an entertainment, and unwillingness to challenge people on a thinking level. Even the music echoes this, at least to me -- the lyrics up on the big screen are hypnotically vapid: "praise Jesus, praise His name, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, (repeat)." Maybe I'm just too cranky and old-school, but I don't think those words would bring me much strength in an hour of despair, whereas some of the 18th c. hymns actually have.

On my more suspicious days, I also wonder if it's part of a bid to smother the critical thinking part of the church....