Video Satire on Many Evangelical Church Worship Services

Any thoughts or responses?

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2 comments

  1. BothEyesShut · May 13, 2010

    Dear Mr. Hart,

    Having been raised in what I call Southern California Christianity, I find no inconsistencies whatever in this satire. In fact, were I as devout as I was in my youth, I would probably have exulted in this, rather than felt animosity, shame, disgrace, or indignation. I likely would have thought, “My God, someone’s finally noticed. Will things change now? God, how I hope they do!”

    When the Christian hardcore music movement happened, a schism happened among the Christian youth of that day. There were the kids who worshiped with powerful, passionate music, blatant, socially responsible lyrics, and slam dancing every bit as spirited as what generally goes on in Los Angeles punk rock shows; and then there were all the starry eyed girls and young men who just didn’t have it in them.

    We never took church seriously, because it was as transparent to us then as it is to the producers of this film, it seems. We took Jesus and the Bible seriously (too seriously, to be fair) but we scorned the popular culture of our religion, detested the constant patronizing of the adults and other kids, the attitude which seemed to say, “We know you’re all going through a phase, but this is the normal Christian music you should be listening to, the music you’ll grow into someday, when you find God again.”

    — But it wasn’t just about the music. It was crappy tee-shirts with insipid pastel slogans on them, like a parody of Gold’s Gym that showed Jesus doing a bloody push-up with the cross on his back which read, “GOD’S GYM” on it. It was sex-ed videos that seemed written by people who knew as little about sex as we did. Everyone was very supportive of anything mainstream, because if it were the number one seller at Crossroads Bookstore, then it simply had to be “of God,” another phrase we really didn’t care for.

    Anyhow, yeah. It’s been a long time, now, and I can’t help but feel that there’s a teenager inside me who sees a cultural tide turning — very, very slowly turning — and if I were in ministry, or even part of a congregation, I would take this video as seriously as global thermonuclear war, because mainstream fundamentalist culture has learned to turn blind eyes to secular criticism, and that’s fatal.

    It’s much more than merely fatal, however, when much of that criticism and scorn happens amongst the flock, though, yes? It’s more like civil war, or suicide, under those circumstances.

    Thanks for sharing, Sir.

    Yours Truly,

    -BothEyesShut

  2. Bobby Vizz · May 15, 2010

    I have been to this kind of service maybe a dozen times and I can’t imagine I’m the only one who feels constantly distracted by those moving lights. I always leave thinking I suffer from some sort of adult ADHD due to them. And I can never decide whether to watch the pastor or the video feed of the pastor 40 feet above his head.

    Anyway, the video is pretty much spot on when it comes to the mega church scene. It is the assembly line manufacturing that bothers me the most. In an attempt to become powerful and authentic it loses its power and authenticity due to its programmed nature. I don’t disagree necessarily with the messages presented or the songs played, and to their credit some mega churches have seemed to begin to grasp the call to pair social justice with biblical teaching. However, by conforming to the desires and comforts of people it loses its ability to be an effective conduit of either.

    This is just my opinion. I don’t wish to heap judgment upon these types of services – especially not the hearts of the individuals involved in the production or congregation.

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