Monday, February 07, 2005

Evangelical Capitalism (part 3): Butter or no butter?...

This morning, as I prepared breakfast and got ready for work, I had the local news on. I'll leave it on mainly to get the latest weather forecast and traffic reports. The "regular" reporting was interrupted this morning, though, as some breaking news came in. The screen switched from a view of the news studio to an aerial shot of a car being pursued by local law enforcement on a freeway in the desert east of Los Angeles. After a brief description of what was going on we were then informed that the person in the car was wanted for... expired plates and not wearing a seat belt. Mighty Stupid Media at it again. But, you've got to wonder, if it didn't sell, then it wouldn't survive - would it? Cut to a post by Hugh Hewitt in which he tells us of a church he visited in D.C. that, apparently, has a sister church that meets in a movie theater. Hugh says,
As with every other institution out there, Christian churches have to adapt quickly to a new culture or decline just as quickly as audience share has for old newspapers and the big networks.
The church's website says,
We serve refreshments before each of our services. We have the typical continental fare--bagels, donuts, muffins, juice, and coffee. Feel free to bring food and drinks into the auditorium.
At an adult Sunday School class, a few weeks ago, we were discussing how a lack of respect for the call to worship seems to pervade our society. One lady commented that the atmosphere prior to worship evoked that of anticipating a movie rather than entering into God's house. She sarcastically asked, "What's next? Popcorn before the show?" I guess it is. At what point do we consider catering to society's wants tantamount to acquiesing to their demands? Are we really interested in cultural relevance? Or are we more concerned with being hip? I believe a society which over-emphasizes comfort is a society which is decadently self-indulgent. It used to be we spoke the Truth in love... now, however, it's couched in an easy chair.


Phil Steiger said...

I was at a church planting seminar where the pastor of this church was flown in to talk about his philosophy of ministry and planting. He was a good enough and well meaning guy, but I worried that there was little to no critical engagement over the issue of the fine line between becoming the culture, and being relevant to the culture. Trying to figure out exactly what it looks like to reach a culture while pulling people out of its more dangerous bits is hard work, and I don't know that we discuss it enough.

Rusty said...

Great comment Phil! You've succinctly highlighted what I've been trying to say for a while now. I think we've misunderstoond the "all things to all people" idea to a "let's be like them" philosophy. Did Paul cater to the non-Christians or did he simply understand their viewpoint so as to better explain the stumbling block of Christianity?