October 19, 2017

Theology In Fazoli’s

Theology In Fazoli’s: Second Rate Italian Food With Pictures of American Christianity

7:22 p.m. Wednesday, December 28. Quite possibly the longest day of my life.

I am sitting in Fazoli’s (Italian Food…Fast) in Lexington, Kentucky. I’ve just delivered a U-Haul full of furniture to my daughter’s storage facility, and now my wife, my mom, myself and a car full of what’s left of my mom’s possessions are on their way to my home, two hours away in eastern Kentucky. We’ve been in mom’s apartment for two days, cleaning out, throwing away, giving away my mother’s earthly possessions. One of the inevitable tasks of the middle-aged, only child. I’ve done the best I can, and the job is near completion.

Now we are two hours from home. It’s dark, rainy and cold, but the worst of the ordeal is behind us. My daughter is driving my son to a friend’s house in northern Kentucky and then on to central Ohio for New Year’s with her fiance and his family. A few more hours of driving myself, and we will all be home in our own beds for the first time in three days. (Note to big people like myself: Never attempt to sleep on a coach that is less in width than you are. It simply doesn’t work.)

We’re eating our food, which tastes good mostly because we are so hungry. Our last meal was a biscuit and sausage sandwich in McDonald’s early this morning. Almost twelve hours for me. The fast-food Italian we’re eating on plastic plates with plastic forks is a long way from the Italian we like eat at Romano’s or Johnny Carino’s.

While I’m eating, I’m noticing the pictures in Fazoli’s. I’m interested in pictures and graphics these days, because I realize this a very visual culture. I’ve started considering what visuals are saying when a business uses them. I know a lot of churches are using visuals for many of the same reasons.

The visuals on church web sites and television spots got my attention a while back. I’m pretty convinced that many churches aren’t using their own pictures for their web sites, but are using pictures that create an image of happy marriages, beautiful families, healthy “youngish” senior adults, happy children. No one is fat, or ugly or on oxygen. The teenagers aren’t Gothic or covered in acne. There are no scary-looking people, like those who are in most churches.

The pictures on church web sites look like an American dream. There are people in L.L. Bean clothes, driving SUVs, having a great time at a church picnic (on a sunny day) or clapping for the new song by the praise band. No one looks like they have any problems. They always look like happy customers, for whom the church being advertised is to receive mucho credit.

And that’s very much on purpose, because the churches that use these kinds of graphics are taking their cues from businesses who work really hard at creating feelings through the images they use. They want to associate a church “brand” with a kind of experience, and the feelings that come along with that experience. If the church used an outside consultant to design the “brand,” the promises are pretty explicit: the image will create an association, and the results will be “happy customers.”

These days, it’s entirely possible to start a church from scratch and actually have no real congregation, yet have a web site or TV spot showing happy people at worship or on a picnic, then say “come be with loving and accepting people just like you,” but not consider yourself a liar if such people don’t actually exist. It’s just another way of doing ministry. I find that rather disturbing, but it is quite common.

The pictures in Fazoli’s are like this. They are Fazoli’s attempt to make me identify with their restaurant, and to feel good about their “real Italian” food. This will be an uphill battle, I can assure you.

For example, around the room are large, poster-sized color pictures of children. Right over my head there is a large graphic of a grade school boy being hugged by his slightly older sister. (Sort of like this, only the kids were older and had perfect teeth.) Both are white, and upper upper middle class, with very clean clothes and nicely combed hair. They are models, and very attractive.

The picture is meant, I believe, to make me feel good about bringing my kids to Fazoli’s, because it is a place that has pictures of children hanging over my table. Children are welcome and happy here, apparently.

The giant smiling children are not alone. There are posters of college student types, looking like they are ideal young adults; clean-cut kids stopping in for food after studying or on a date. They look properly neat, but trendy. There is a happy married couple, looking at one another with eyes of love, feeling good about the food and the prices at Fazoli’s. All of these pictures are hanging over the tables, and are attempting to persuade me and other customers to have a Fazoli’s experience. I am not cooperating.

The pictures don’t look like me, or my wife, or my kids. We’re not that neat, and we each dress differently. Our clothes, teeth, hair and appearance do not resemble models. We also aren’t quite so mindlessly occupied with being pleasant and being pleased. We might be having a fight or we could be unhappy with our food when we are in Fazoli’s, so the pictures are annoying several different ways. People like these models always make me uneasy. If the restaurant were actually full of them, I probably would not return.

Are there people actually coming into Fazoli’s because of these pictures? Are there people who are drawn into the Fazoli’s experience, on some level, by the money spent to put this kind of imagery over tables of mediocre food? Are we that “sheepish?”

A few years ago, someone sent me a “cool” Shakespeare poster to put up in my classroom when we were studying The Bard. It is an ingenious poster, with WS looking rather buff, in a t-shirt and shades. I’m glad to have it around for a laugh, but when I think about the idea of luring students into Shakespeare with a cool brand logo, I’m a little embarrassed. It’s my job to make Shakespeare interesting, or actually, to let Shakespeare be Shakespeare, because when left alone, he’s the greatest writer in English.

I have little doubt that my best students are not waiting for this level of motivation, but are waiting for something authentic. They already live in a world of artificiality, and as their teacher, I am attempting to persuade them to step out of those illusions into the reality of great literature, and even their own writing. I know that such visuals get praise from some educators, but I guess I prefer a plain room, a primary text and an old codger professor who takes me into the presence of the author and starts the fire of curiousity in my mind.

How much more is this true of the church and our appeal to those around us. Yes, we live in a world of logos and brands, images and identification with products and promised experiences. We can enter that world–and perhaps we must, if we are to communicate with our fellow human beings–but do we enter it under the same terms? Do we make the same bargains (i.e. agree to tell the same lies?) Do we try for the same results? Do we use imagery in a way that truthfully tells the Gospel, or do we use it in a way that distorts the Gospel? Are we insulting authentic intelligent people? Are we truly making disciples, or are we settling for customers?

Years ago, I had a friend who was a youth minister, and he had a lot of trouble with his pastor. He would come by and talk to me, and he would say that when things got stressful, he would work on his youth group newsletter. He always said he knew something was wrong when he was spending too much time trying to straighten the borders of that newsletter. (Pre-computer era problem.)

Is the response of the church to its irrelevance in the culture to embrace a large scale version of working on the newsletter? Rather than simply do ministry, teach, evangelize and create, are we busy creating images of what we think people like and want to identify with? Have we become fascinated by the power of advertising in a time when even evangelical Bible believers have become skeptical of the power of the Holy Spirit? Does it seem that we know young people and baby boomers will respond to what looks, sounds and feels good, so we are going that route and calling it “God?”

There are another group of pictures at Fazoli’s that have caught my attention. These are black and white pictures, in groups along the walls. The pictures are larger and smaller, mixed together, and are of two distinct types.

The first type are more contemporary pictures. A young adult couple’s wedding. A family eating together. Young professionals. Typical Americans as presented in advertisements. Models showing us doing the things we like to do: eat, work, socialize and celebrate.

The second group of pictures are of old Italy (I presume.) The pictures appeared to be taken in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The people are typical, rural people. The women are fat, dressed plainly and working hard. The men are older, and have the character of country men. They are people farming, but they are also cooking Italian food, serving it to their families and eating it. There are old pictures of families taking their meals together. These pictures evoke a mood of the old world and the food/family experience of that world.

What are these pictures doing? I believe they are an attempt to connect the “Fazoli’s Experience” with the real world of authentic Italian food in the old country. Those modern folks are enjoying, through Fazoli’s, the same food that those authentic Italians were preparing years ago in Sicily and the Italian countryside. You, too, can enjoy authentic, old-fashioned, Italian food at Fazoli’s. You can smile and be happy, knowing you are part of the tradition of Italian cooking that goes on at Fazoli’s.

This may help you forget your suspicions that your meal was frozen, microwaved and served to you by people who know just about nothing about Italian cuisine.

Let me tell you what comes to my mind as I think of these pictures.

The Christian faith that a contemporary believer embraces is an ancient view of reality. It has deep roots in the lives of the church of Jesus Christ. It is not a church of the shallow, but a church of those who have placed their faith for life in this world, and beyond, in the hands of Jesus Christ himself. They have lived the life of Christ in every culture and circumstance. They have written theology, died as martyrs, lived as missionaries, been the salt of the earth, built cathedrals, cared for the poor, faithfully passed on the message of Jesus and looked for a city whose builder was God himself.

This ancient faith is a vast and intricate family, rich in history and story. God is glorified in his church in the world as Christ has gone to thousands of cultures and languages in the lives and gifts of people who followed Jesus.

There is depth to the Christian life and to the Christian message. This is not to say that Christianity is gnostic or a religion for elitists (though recent experiences have made me wonder if some Christians realize this). It is a call to follow Jesus, to live in Jesus, to grow in him, and to trust him throughout life’s journey. God, as C.S. Lewis said, will not leave us alone when we follow Christ, but will renovate the entire house, room by room.

What Christianity is not is a logo, a brand, a consumer experience. We cannot put up our pictures and images of the saints, the ancient church’s heroes and the stories in scripture, then place our own typical American pursuits in the midst, calling the mix “the church just they way you want it today!” The contemporary church, which often knows as much about the Jesus of the New Testament as the cooks at Fazoli’s know about Italian food, cannot create authentic Christianity by hanging a cross in the middle of its advertisements of better marriages, kids, jobs and health, and pretending that this is the faith once-delivered to all the saints.

The shallowness of contemporary Christianity can’t be dressed up in the advertising images of the megachurch consultants or the artistry of the emerging generation and somehow make us into those who are deeply connected with Jesus. We are connected to Jesus Christ by means of a living faith on our part, and a holy, irresistible love on his part. This is a life-giving and life-changing relationship. It goes deep. It challenges everything. It will not be consumerized.

What do we really know about this faith we embrace? When we make web sites and TV spots or ads, what are we saying about the faith Jesus entrusted to us? Are we advertising for effect? Are we hanging up pictures of an ancient faith that grew from the blood of the martyrs next to pictures of the American delusion/dream, and then telling the world that you can have both? How can we do that?

You cannot have both. To take up the “dream” of Jesus, we lay down the “dream” of success in this American culture. When we take up Jesus’ kingdom, we must come to “interim” terms with this culture. We may live in it, look like it and contribute to it, but those who belong to the God and Father of Jesus Christ will frequently, clearly and uncompromisingly take a different path than those around them. Our lives will be centered on Christ as the great end of all things, and not as a means to an end that will make us comfortable in this culture.

The contemporary church is producing thousands of people who are drawn in by Jesus Christ, but are confused by how Christ affects the culture in which they live. They identify with Christianity as it is represented by the culturally compromised church of our day, but their identification with the great Church militant and triumphant is less clear. Their allegiance to Jesus and their American values and lifestyles have been put in a comfortable arrangement in the teaching of the contemporary church, but the longer they are around Jesus, the more they sense that something is wrong. And it is.

Giving our kids everything, telling them to be normal American teenagers and then having a youth pastor convince them to follow Jesus are not compatible goals. Something must give way, and it cannot be the Gospel. Having it all and following Jesus are not the same thing. “Success in Life” and Your Best Life Now are not the same as the life Jesus calls you to live for him, now and from now on. The biggest house, the second home, the brand name everything, the Abercrombie-life (and look), the worship of celebrities, the pursuit of leisure–none of these things stand unaffected by Jesus.

We can put up the pictures, but the dissonance is deeply present, and it rings in the hearts and minds of every true American Christian, IF we allow the Gospel to be heard for what it really is and says, and do not attempt to make it into something else entirely.

Our meal ends and we bundle ourselves against the cold rain and leave Fazoli’s behind. I drive home while the family sleeps, and I think of how many times I have felt alone, out of place and a failure in my 49 years in this world. Some of this was my fault. Some of it, however, is Jesus’ fault, and I am coming to the place that I can thank him for that. I am coming to the point that I am glad the story of my life will not just be the story of every other suburban, white, American male. Some of my story will be the story of Jesus, lived out imperfectly among his people and those I love and serve for Jesus’ sake.

As the road opens before me, even in the cold rain, I thank and praise God for his graciousness and guiding hand upon my life; for letting me know Jesus the Messiah of all people and of great sinners like me. I am not a pretty picture. I will not be in anyone’s advertisement for their church. But I am part of Jesus’ people, and I am part of the legacy that Jesus died to purchase. As I drive home, I realize that all of God’s people are going home, and we should rejoice along the way that is, as the wise men travelled, a different way home.

Comments

  1. Excellent article. I have been increasingly disturbed by megachurch websites and their images of shiny, happy people with (seemingly) no problems. Everything is just wonderful all the time, apparently, in those churches.

  2. Michael,
    You do write well. You made your tale alive, and I was right there with you in Fazoli’s. I could even smell the Italian food, and I don’t like the stuff.

    There is no missing your frustration with much of the modern, American, Christian church. I suppose that if we were to sit down and talk about those frustrations, I would be in agreement with most of your discouragements.

    Let me ask you this. Do you see any hope of a turn-about, a renewal, revival, if you will, for authentic, Biblical Christianity to be saved in the good old USA? Or might we go the way of Europian Christianity in the future?

    Oh the misery of it all! But what else can we do, but try and be faithful in our little corners of the world. I am just a lonely preacher out in the wheat fields of central Oregon. I live in a town of 350 and have to compete with young Joel, and slick Benny. The Crystal Cathedral, WOW! We still have paint from 50 years ago peeling off. At least none of my ladies wants to look like Jan.

    Try as I may, I still don’t get through to the majority of the flock. Their picture of Jesus is one of bountiful tolerance and total acceptance of whatever they decide him to be. Sadly, many in my [God’s] congregation that I shepherd have built their own Jesus, and he does in no way resemble the Jesus of the Bible. Oh enough of this, or I will become mad. Sometimes I could just slap-um.

    You and I can not fight the moderism that permeates many churches today, and hope to make a big differenc. However, we must have the attitude of that little boy walking along the sea shore amongst thousands of stranded starfish. He can not throw them all back in the ocean, but the ones he does manage to rescue, well, that makes the struggle worthwhile.

    I am not going to be able to make a difference in Joel or Benny’s world, but I can make a difference to a few people in my part of this rock we live on.

    John MacArthur tells the story about the time he was running in a relay race for his college. He past the baton to the 3rd man, and then watched him run. After a few seconds the runner stopped and sat down. MacArthur thought he was hurt, so he hurried over to his friend and asked him what was wrong? To MacArthur’s astonishment, the man said, “I don’t feel like running anymore.” We Christians don’t have that option. Jesus didn’t give us a way out when the going gets tough. We may stop in the middle of the race, but it should be only if we are knocked down, and then we are to get back up and run somemore. And ohhhh the joy of getting that second wind [provided by the Holy Spirit].

    I probably shouldn’t sent this run-on, but I will because there are not many comments so far.

    MAKE IT a great day.

    fish on
    jerry

  3. Church advertising seems to be the latest manifestation of many church’s willful assimilation into culture. It’s been frustrating me at my own church for a while.

    My church built a new building on our complex, which we moved worship into last year. To kick off worship in the new building, they started up an advertising campaign with the slogan “Just For You” (i.e., the building is here “just for you”, we are here “just for you”). They made up nice-looking postcard advertisements and sent them out to pretty much every home they could send them to in the area to invite “unchurched” people to come worship in our new building, because it was built just for them. They even gave tours of the new building for the month before it opened to anyone in the community who wanted to take a look. The first day of worship in the new building, all of the lampposts along the drive into the parking lot were adorned with red “Just for You” banners. The slogan appeared on the front page of the website, as well.

    Over a year later, some of the banners are still up, and, while the website has mostly moved on to other advertisments, the banner at the top still reads “a shelter of hope just for you.” And of course, the photos are generally beautiful white people.

    And here I was, thinking that church buildings were usually dedicated to Christ. Sigh…

    I can say, though, that the people in the photos are not models; I’ve actually known a number of them.

  4. Michael:

    Happy ‘almost’ New Year!

    This was a great essay!

    How is it that you manage to read what’s
    been going through my mind and articulate
    it better than I ever could?!? (Must
    be the Holy Spirit.)

    I’ve been increasingly unplugging from
    our culture ( or the illusion that passes
    for our culture ) for several months.
    You wrote ‘…we must come to “interim”
    terms with this culture…’, and this
    describes pretty accurately what happened
    with me this very week. It’s funny how
    a week off work tends to make one introspective.

    I’ve had a chance to inventory what’s been
    real. Anything that has been real has flowed
    out of my walk with Christ. (Besides my wife and
    kids, there are too many other blessings to list
    here. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of them,
    and that most are not of the material type.)

    I’d like to second the question that “Fish On”
    posted.

    “Do you see any hope of a turn-about, a renewal,
    revival, if you will, for authentic, Biblical
    Christianity to be saved in the good old USA?
    Or might we go the way of Europian Christianity
    in the future?”

    I’ve wondered about this myself.

    What do you think Michael?

  5. Predictions. Complicated.

    Evangelicals? Stick a fork in ’em. They’re done.
    Mainlines: I see a swing back to the center and some regrouping within conservative remainders in the mainlines.
    RCC: I think the RCC is going to have a good next 30-490 years. Very good.

    back to evangelicals: Look to the house church movement.

    Parachurches: Not good. Not good.

    Publishing: Sold out.

    CCM: Gone.

    Independent artists: Hopeful.

    Emergents: Overall….I’m hopeful, but it depends on leadership.

    Pentecostals: The jury is out, but it ain’t lookin’ good.

    Calvinists: After a bump, decline, division and furious fighting on the way out.

    Looking for real Christianity? Go to Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe.

  6. “Revival” like the fundamentalist revivalists talk about? Not gonna happen. See Europe for details.

  7. stkatheryne says:

    My girlfriend has bought into the health/wealth gospel mixed with a twist of effeminacy. The hardest part of being with her is seeing all the blessings that really do come her way. It causes my heart to wonder and my mind to wander. Am I the one who’s wrong?

    Still, I just can’t buy into it for most of the reasons you have stated. Being around her makes me feel inadequate at the very least. The fruit in my life isn’t glamorous like hers. My life doesn’t make people desire to become a believer. They tend to shun me more than anything. The profound changes the Holy Spirit has brought into my life don’t seem to have made it to the surface (yet). Either there’s just way too much left in me to change, or people’s view of what the fruit of the Spirit really looks like is skewed…or perhaps a little of both.

    And, yes, I do tend to spend way too much time straightening the borders of the “newsletters” in my life.

    “It is a call to follow Jesus, to live in Jesus, to grow in him, and to trust him throughout life’s journey.” I don’t want Jesus to leave me alone…I just think that sometimes he does. It’s cold, always standing outside, looking through the window at the party that’s going on. Rejecting today’s contemporary movement didn’t automatically bring about “authentic Christianity” in me, but I’m not going to give up.

    I appreciate your comment, “We are connected to Jesus Christ by means of a living faith on our part, and a holy, irresistible love on his part. This is a life-giving and life-changing relationship. It goes deep. It challenges everything. It will not be consumerized.” Thanks for your insights, for your admonishment toward holiness, for your good heart, and your encouragement. (Your mom is one lucky gal.)

  8. Thanks for your two-cents worth in the
    prediction department.

    (No, we won’t hold you liable if they
    don’t come true exactly as you predicted! )

    I’m with you on publishing and CCM.

    Is RCC the Roman Catholic Church?
    Sorry if I’m showing off my ignorance.

  9. I am slightly puzzled by the references to Europe.

    Living in Europe, this is what it looks like to me:

    The mainline churches (which tend to dominate over here but are being
    increasingly disregarded by society at large) are pretty much like the
    mainline churches in the US — although none of them have yet elevated
    a divorced, active homosexual to a bishopric.

    The evangelical (including pentecostal and charismatic) churches are
    also pretty similar here to their North American counterparts, except
    that their members are less politically active. Of course they make up
    a much smaller percentage than in the U.S. And we don’t have all
    that marketing associated with the Church which Michael writes
    about — that is the one aspect of the megachurch which really does
    not appeal to anyone here, even among the set who are trying to emulate
    Willow Creek and Saddleback.

    The influence of the RCC varies from country to country, but its
    influence on public life is waning all across Europe.

    Looking at public morality and ethics I do not see the larger percentage
    of professing Christians in North America making a whole lot of difference
    in society.

    So what do you all mean when you talk about Christianity in the US
    “going the way of European Christianity”?

    Regards from Europe,

    Wolf

  10. The first thing would be attendance.
    The next would be number of younger people identifying with the church.
    Great Britain is more my thought, and maybe France. Just general Protestant decline.

    Good point on the practicing Homosexual bishop.

  11. Angus McWasp says:

    “They identify with Christianity as it is represented by the culturally compromised church of our day, but their identification with the great Church militant and triumphant is less clear.” So true. And their identification with the Church suffering is nowhere. The “Church suffering” is most often identifed with the souls in Purgatory, but Purgatory is nothing but God’s last ditch grace for His straying sheep. Many, many more of the Church suffering are the deeply wounded, tortured and afflicted members of the Church militant. The disciple will be like the Teacher, after all, so it is no surprise Paul preaches Christ “and him crucified” or that crucifix (with battered body) is held up, like the bronze serpent in the desert, in today’s RCC. If Michael is right that it will have some good years, that is one reason. Obedience, and the suffering it brings, is constituent of the imitation of Christ. “Imitate me, as I imitate…” says Paul, and in his suffering he became obedient, and great, and like his Lord. There is no other way.

  12. wnpaul,
    You kind of answered your question about what I meant about the Europian church. You mentioned that Europian society has increasing disregard for the mainline churches. That is what is happening here.

    However, it is not just the mainlines that are becoming increasingly NON-influential in our society, but the Evangelical and fundamentalist [I am a fundy].

    Some would take issue with that statement, because it was the Evangelical and fundamentalist that played a big part in President Bush being elected. And it was those two same groups that led the fight to keep homosexual marriage and partnerships from becoming law in the eleven States where those issues were on the ballot.

    However, I believe that there has been a huge erosion within the last six years that will become apparent in the next election. I believe it will come because some of the newly formed, or should I say now hugely popular mega-churches that have a lot of TV time, and are supposedly Evangelicals or Fundies do not stand up for moral and ethical truths of the Bible.

    They are staying away from the sin issues and placing their power into the social issues. Don’t hear me to say social issues are not important, but if the morals and ethics of a Nation are in decline, then the social issues will be following in decline in short order.

    A good example of how we are in a rapid decline is found in a judge’s order that impacted the State house of Indiana this past week. The Judge ordered that it was now against the law for anyone to pray in Jesus name or make reference to him while leading prayers in the Indiana Senate and Congress. Where are the big guns of Evangelicalism? Where is the combined voices of my Fundamental brothers? Oh, by the way, the first act of the first Continental Congress on Sept. 6, 1774 was to offically call for prayer. On Tuesday, Sept. 6th, 1774, Rev. Mr. Duche’ opened congress with prayer, and I will be darned, here is what he said for his last line: “All this we ask in the name and through themerits of Jesus Christ, thy Son and our Saviour, Amen.

    Rest assured, I do not believe that because a judge says we can’t pray in Jesus’ name makes Christianity weak; what makes us weak in, a free country, is that when we can legally hav e a voice we don’t use it any more. I am a little fish, my influence is very limited; where are the Paul’s, and Peter’s, the Spurgeon’s, and Bohnhoffer’s?

    Heaven forbid a Moses were to rise up. Most of the TV preachers would knock him down so fast, he would be missed by the rest of us. Ratings and power, power and ratings — opps, don’t forget the money.

    Enough ranting.
    MAKE IT a great New Year.
    I am an optimistic pessimist.
    fish on
    jerry

  13. iMonk,

    Good article, but you could have saved about 2,800 words by simply posting the following:

    “Today, some larger Christian churches have figured out how to use modern superficial marketing techniques, kind of like Fazoli’s does, in order to draw in people who might not have otherwise given them a second look. And sometimes the doctrine of these churches is watered down as well.”

  14. Now that I think about it, I could actually reduce the whole site to about 6 paragraphs.

    Thanks! 🙂

  15. Michael, you wrote: “back to evangelicals: Look to the house church movement.”

    Sorry for getting to the conversation late — I took my family out of town, and was “unplugged” the whole time!

    I’m very curious what you meant with that statement, and was very surprised to see it in your predictions there. Are you stating this as a neutral statement of “that’s where evangelicalism is headed”, or do you mean it either positively or negatively?

    Very curious to get your thoughts on that. Not for debate at all. I was just very intrigued by your mention of the house church movement.

    Happy New Year, by the way!

    steve 🙂

  16. Let me say very clearly that I have no predictive powers.

    But I think the megachurch domination of CHristianity, and its reenforcement by denominations and publishing interests is going to feed the fires of various kinds of house church/home church/cell church/network church versions of evangelicalism. I think the “church” with its programs and paid staff is in real trouble, and deservedly say. The megachurch, with its use of technology and showbiz presentations, will cause many young people to move as far away from it as possible. I mean, the typical evangelical megachurch production and cafeteria of programs is not “church” to millions of younger believers, and there aren’t that many Mars Hills to pick them up. I think house churches and other similar “anti-mega” options are going to have a good run in the near future.

  17. Ahhhh, great explanation, and I agree with you about 110%! (I hope that isn’t as universe-wrecking as you agreeing with Frank Turk!! hehe)

    steve 🙂

  18. Your postings are quite profound, similar to my experiences, and after reading them at length I sometimes feel like shooting myself.Would a psotive posting turn readers off.Has Christ abandoned us that we’re so disillusioned that we can’t move beyond being burned by bad churches and bad church philosophies?

    Wish I could disagree with what you say but I don’t.Is it possible that God set up these weenie churches because that is what His people want, even though He clearly wants better?

    Chuck Colson spoke for many of us when he said modern protestantism left him ill prepared for suffering.

  19. Bob,

    Let me introduce you to the good news of Rev 2-3.

    The church is screwed up, and Jesus wins anyway.

    If you are looking for a church to convince you to not injure yourself, keep us apprised.

    I’m joking. Except about the church and the Jesus bit.

    🙂