I know you didn’t really think I was done with this thread…did ya?
ChaliceChick wrote something in the comments on my last post in this thread that makes me want to take this conversation in a slightly new direction. The comment was:
This post makes me wonder if we should be preaching to the congregation we have or the congregation we want.
I don’t know if I see this in such polar opposite ways (and I bet ChaliceChick isn’t expecting me to see it so starkly either). I’m thinking more of a yin-yang model…or really more of a mega-church model.
I know I just exasperated a whole bunch of you by complimenting the mega-churches…but you can take the girl out of evangelical fundamentalism but not take the evangelical fundamentalism out of the girl. The mega-churches have figured this out and it’s something we need to learn.
I can guarantee you that this Sunday some mega-church ministers are going to use Lady Gaga and the phenomena that she represents as the focus of their sermon. Some of them will be praising her (at least backhandedly) and some will be criticizing the culture that in which she is a part. But they will be talking about her.
The same with LeBron James. The same with reality tv. The same with the Twilight series (the books, not the movies, although that too). The same with Salt or Inception or Dinner for Schmucks.
My point is…the mega-churches ENGAGE popular culture in a way that draws people in. And that’s something we don’t do(at least not well).
Do you watch ‘Rizzoli and Isles’ on TNT? If you haven’t watched it before, take a look at it (it’s a really good show IMO). But the reason I bring up ‘Rizzoli and Isles’ is to ask this question…which of the two main characters would feel most welcomed in the TYPICAL UU church in Boston (where the show is set)? Don’t tell me how you wish it would be…don’t tell me how you hope it would be…let’s be real with ourselves friends and tell it like it is.
Back to ChaliceChick’s comment and the mega-churches for a second though. Mega-churches do both…they preach to the congregation that they have AND the congregation that they want. Whatever you think of their theology (or think you know about their theology)…they really do understand how to use the worship service as a welcoming and hospitable place for people who have never been in that building before. It’s something we could take a lesson from them on.
Your comments have really helped me clarify a few things for myself. For that, I am truly grateful. More later…maybe.