File under "why churches are losing their grip"

One of the reasons I’m not falling into despair after the passing of California Prop 8 is that I know the culture is changing very fast, and that in time it will fall. Religious, and particularly Christian, appeals to anti-gay hate and fear will appeal to fewer and fewer people. Two problems there:

  1. We will end up with two Americas: one somewhat backwards and religious; the other, somewhat progressive and secular.
  2. This is bad news for anyone progressive and religious.

Part of the problem is that religious institutions — whatever their operating theology — are conservative in practice. Take some hypothetical New England Unitarians who have a colonial building, a mid-20th-century working theology and a 1980s corporate-influenced governance structure. But “big box” Evangelicals can be just as stodgy, with cultural notes that remind me more of a Jimmy Buffett concert, an Amway pitch or a lost episode of Dynasty than “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”. (That’s once reason I’m loathe to imitate them. A native cultural anachronism traded for an imported, ill-fiiting anachronism? Feh.)

Before I get into what those losing ways are, let me confess that I used to believe and defend them warmly. It’s time for the church to anticipate the needs of society and stop apeing them badly.

So for your enjoyment, please watch “What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church? A Parable” by Beyond Relevance, which I shall start exploring shortly. (Hattip: Church Marketing Sucks) [Later. Ugh, perhaps not. But the video is still good.]

2 Replies to “File under "why churches are losing their grip"”

  1. There are so many layers to this very creative criticism. Where should we begin?

    Buying a friend a scone with a hidden, alterior motive to make them a coffee drinker? Those within the church see this as reaching out. Many people outside the church will experience this as manipulative.

    Who wants to peel off another layer?

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