While driving home tonight, I saw a church sign that read something to the effects of “Free trip to heaven, just come inside.’ and I realized while I cynically rolled my eyes that someone picked that because they though it was clever and catchy. The thing is, it works. Very likely the people that already attend that church are happily amused at the sayings each week and glad to discuss them once inside.
Like most mid to late twenty-somethings, I’m trying to foster some personal growth and not be so cynical about things so automatically. Things like this, though, are tough. It’s hard not to be cynical when encountering a faith that is so over simplistic as to claim the path to heaven is in their church building.
This attempt at being clever isn’t limited to this one country church I pass everyday, it’s rampant in Christianity these days. Is it a generational thing? (Or socioeconomic, or rural/urban?) Why does this rub me the wrong way and make my usually arbitrary cynicism valid?
There’s a church here in Nashville (well, several) that tries to approach Christianity in a new way…and it usually involves a young minister with his eyes closed and hands raised to the heavens. There’s a certain smoke and mirror aspect to this approach to worship that bothers me. The thing is, though, this also works. There are many people who are touched by this type of worship….it feels real, if if only for a while because they are so starved for a connection with the divine.
I think the two are related. One is trying to use (bad) marketing to get me into the building, the other is using trendy locations and music.
I don’t need to be sold on Christianity, and the fact that many in the Christian faith think that there needs to be a marketing plan for saving their religion is insulting, to those in and out of it. Perhaps one of the major reasons people are falling away from the church is because it lacks authenticity, which perhaps can only take place when sitting down to a conversation over a meal and not in pews.