Skip to comments.On any given Sunday morning, life in the Bay Area is ... spiritual
Posted on 12/02/2005 7:50:25 AM PST by SmithL
To our mild surprise our daughter has expressed an interest in attending church. Not, as Jerry Seinfeld would say, that there is anything wrong with that. We've just sort of fallen out of the habit and have been spending Sunday mornings sleeping in, going to the dog park and reading the newspaper.
But we certainly weren't busy, so we've set off on a small tour of local churches, picking them pretty much at random. We haven't gone to any synagogues or mosques, so we can't say that we are making a comprehensive survey, but the diversity among the Protestant choices has been pretty amazing.
In some ways, church hasn't changed. As near as we can tell, for example, every church really does have at least one lady who sings the hymns in a high, quavery voice that can be heard over everyone else. It must be an unwritten rule.
The most striking difference is the "new" service. You can tell you are attending one of the cool, modern churches when the bass player plugs in his guitar. Often there is someone sitting at a full drum set. The hymns, quite simply, rock.
I've now been to two of these churches in the past year, and the technical innovations are striking. The pastor/minister is likely to be wearing a wireless microphone and will often stroll through the congregation during his sermon. In one case, there was an elaborate sound and video board at the back where technicians put pictures on the video screens at the front of the church and adjusted the sound levels for the musical numbers.
Clearly, these places have gotten away from the "broccoli model" of religion, which says: of course church is a bit of a chore to swallow, but it is good for you....
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Not all of the modern trendy churches are liberal, some are pretty conservative. My in-laws attend North Point outside Atlanta and it's got the whole "modern" thing going--Powerpoint on big screens, rock praise bands, casual dress, you name it. But it's run by Charles Stanley's son Andy, and the teaching is pretty sound. (It's also huge...two auditoriums, 2000+ people in each, three services a Sunday.)
Of course, seeing as that was the San Cramcrisco area the author was writing about, they probably think the local Unitarians are a bunch of fascists...
That says it all right there. Churches that have embraced liberalism are dying out. Aging hippies might hang on but the younger generation will not. Why would a young person who has been taught all his or her life that church is nothing but a social club and that Jesus is no better or worse than any other path, make an effort to get up early each Sunday and go to church? One can be a leftist activist without attending church, one can find lots of other social outlets besides church, and one can practice "spirituality" outside of a church. What's the point any more?
You take the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus who knocked Paul down on the road to Damascus, the Jesus who is the Alpha and the Omega of the book of Revelations out of church and that becomes the real question:
What's the point any more?
Clearly, these places have gotten away from the "broccoli model" of religion, which says: of course church is a bit of a chore to swallow, but it is good for you. This is entertaining, with a surprisingly strong dose of old-time religion (even some hellfire and brimstone). No wonder this kind of service packs them in.
A 'surprisingly strong dose'. Hmmm. I guess if you leave out the 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' you don't get the whole gospel.
I went there a few times (I live about 10 miles from there). It was odd that as Andy was nearing the end of his sermon there was this mass exodus towards the door. I geuss the more important thing was to beat the traffic or be first in line at Picadilli's Cafeteria. I like Andy's sermons but it was never really clear how you really get to know anyone there.