Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Church of Consume

Posted by Teresa at 4:08 PM

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We live in a society where everything is sold to us. Businesses
do extensive market research and develop highly detailed marketing
plans to sell us their products. Over the pass years there has been
much talk about how consumerism has seeped into American
churches. Some of the religious leaders have taken a business approach
to church by selling Jesus like you would a new car is the way to bring
people into doors.

There is now a term being thrown around called "megachurches."
Sounds monstrous, doesn't it? When you step into the enormous building
of a "megachurch" don't be surprised if see in the church lobby if you see
books, DVD's of sermon messages, t-shirts, etc. being sold.

I have mixed feelings about this trend. I do feel that this consumerism
encourages people 'buy' into Christianity instead of an authentic belief in
Jesus Christ and being a Christ follower. Also, church is suppose to be sacred
place. We are constantly being sold something in this country and I don't
want church to be just another place to consume but actually give back.
Another negative is that these churches have thousands of people attending
their services so they feel they need to entertain the crowd. That's why you'll
see a full fledged production while the worship band performs and that includes
a smog machine, dramatic lightening, and perhaps even a video accompanying
the music on the projection screen .

However, I do believe this contemporary movement towards consumerism
in the Church does have some positive effects. First, the megachurches are
very good at packaging things in a way that is inviting for everyone not just
Mr. or Mrs. Jesus-freak. Really I don't know anyone who finds Pastor Joel
Osteen offensive? We are so bombarded by commercialism it is simply
part of our society. Therefore, some would argue that is just modern day
Church trying to adjusting their message to fit today's culture. If they didn't
they will appear antiquated and irrelevant.

There are really never any answers when dealing with these issues. I don't
like church being another place to consume. Being a Christian is more than
just displaying a bumper sticker on your car or buying the latest popular
book written by a megachurch pastor. Oftentimes being a Christian is being
disciplined and not indulging in material things even when the whole world
is telling you to.

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