From North Point Media, here's this morning's rundown for your local Starbucks - er, we mean the order of service at your nearest megachurch. Stay for the credits.
"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.
Well, this is clever, and it's fine to take potshots from the sidelines. But we offer no active resistance to media/consumer culture whatsoever. We couldn't even show this video to the youth group; we have no screen.
TEC is a great untold story; we don't tell it and keep hoping people will guess.
Josh Thomas |
May 9, 2010 10:57 AM
Agreed, Josh. I find the video's critique fairly compelling, and I think our tradition offers an attractive alternative. But we do need to figure out how to produce the more constructive video that takes the risk of saying, "Here's what we have to offer; here's our vision for what it means to be the church."
Not for nothing, I think that that video would ideally be funny as well, at least some of the time. Yes, we should stress our very different idea of corporate worship; yes, we should highlight our diverse congregations that include the tattooed guy with the cool glasses and the immigrant family and the stately retired couple; yes, we should share our idea of faith in action wherein a group heads off after worship to staff the food pantry or participate in the AIDS walk. But we ought to be willing to poke a little fun at ourselves too. I'd want to include the shot of the toddler who takes off after the crucifer or the priest who repeatedly trips over a line in the sermon.
Much of our criticism of the megachurch model rests on the implication that it's all style and no substance. I can picture a video similar to the one above that would parody our Sunday mornings with that same thesis. Thus, as I reflected on your challenge to think about how we should be telling our story, the one conclusion I reached is that it has to be real. Yes, being real might mean that our churches don't look like stadiums. But it's got to mean more than that (which is why this parody video is smugly fun but doesn't do much to build up the kingdom).
For my part, the message that I would want to send would be (to paraphrase Aaron Sorkin), "We take our worship and discipleship seriously, but we don't take ourselves seriously." It's a liberating attitude if we're not afraid to go there. It's a hell of a lot more real, and it might just help save us from ourselves.
Kyle Matthew Oliver |
May 9, 2010 12:08 PM
A couple of parody videos here and here
Ann Fontaine |
May 9, 2010 3:42 PM
Does it matter which medium teaches us to feed the poor, care for the sick, and preserve the earth? Which matters more, where we go on Sunday morning, or what we do Monday through Friday?
C. Robin Janning |
May 9, 2010 4:28 PM
"Does it matter which medium teaches us to feed the poor, care for the sick, and preserve the earth?"
Absolutely, it does. Marshall McLuhan writes extensively about how media are not value-neutral modes of transmission, but carry ideological baggage and underlying assumptions.
Does the medium we use to worship reinforce the American social disease that is wasteful consumerism, or does it undermine it?
Does the medium encourage us to charity, or to justice?
I agree that what we do during the week matters a great deal more than the way we worship on Sunday morning (or, for that matter, Saturday or Sunday night, as so many Contemporvant services are), but I think it's too tempting to draw a clear dividing line between those two, as if one doesn't have any impact on the other. The way we worship - what practices are promoted by our worship, what participation levels are promoted by our worship, what points of view on social justice are promoted by our worship - profoundly impacts, or *should* profoundly impact, the way we live our lives Monday through Friday. If our worship isn't challenging us to forgo consumerism, to forgo selfishness, to forgo the world's values of conspicuous consumption, constant sensory stimulation, and self-gratification - or, worse yet, if our worship is *encouraging* those things, as I'd argue megachurch worship does *regardless of its overt content* due to the ideological underpinnings of the media of megachurch worship - then it needs to change.
James Gilmore |
May 15, 2010 4:33 PM
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