Shopping for God

When the Holy Spirit moves – amazing things happen.

And when He moves away…not so amazing things happen.

So this past Friday night I am sitting at my favorite Starbucks – my wife and her friend talking home school stuff, while me and the corresponding spouse reposition our chairs to talk guy stuff.

We push our way through sports and then politics, but the girls are just getting warmed up.  So I sense an opportunity to talk church with my friend.  To be certain, he is a rock – a mentor of faith to me.  His wisdom blesses me.

He seems to be a bit discouraged with his church – saying that most churches go through a 40 year cycle.  And at the end of that 40 years, either they begin a slow death or are revitalized through certain circumstances.  He is not sure what direction his church is headed at this critical crossroad.  Made me think of a recent read:

From the book by James B. Twitchell titled Shopping for God: How Christianity Went From In Your Heart To In Your Face. In his chapter titled “Holy Franchise: Marketing Religion in a Scramble Economy,” Twitchell reminds us that the mainstream denominations are in “deep trouble.” He says the “majors forgot how to sell.”

Just as we no longer keep the same job for a lifetime, or live in the same house as long as we used to, we also no longer are stuck in the same church we grew up in. Back in the day, “church denomination was a social marker.”

“In the first part of the twentieth century, you could often ‘buy’ a family pew. It was yours. Your name sometimes was engraved on a little plaque. Plus, the further up front your pew, the more prestigious your social status.”

In the end, says Twitchell, “consumers maintain the need for the product, but lose the bond to the brand.” And when that bond to the brand is lost, the product usually ends up in generic packaging. And it’s this “repackaging of spiritualism that is at the heart of many megachurches.” “The megas are the triumph of the generic.”

So what?  Yeah, I agree…I’m not so sure what to make of this either.

Holy Spirit – what are you up to?


One response to this post.

  1. I think what He is up to is to take the focus off of the building of the church and more on the body of Christ..and get down to the real business of church..not playing church..but taking it out into the community..and doing the work of the church and not just going to church…in other words..a lot less talk and a little more action, maybe..just a thought!

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