Friday, May 14, 2010

A Little More Church Satire

A friend of mine passed this hilarious and biting video around lately and it seemed a perfect follow up to a running theme on this blog. I know a lot of us don't need any help being cynical, in fact we probably need a little more help being less Pharisaical about how we push church off of our high horses. Having said that, check out this satire on church worship culture! It is devastating! Full disclosure: I've been the guys in this video before -- which makes me both cringe and thank God for his mercy.

Oh man: you gotta love the church. I hope we can laugh at ourselves, and also think seriously about the stuff this video exposes. I do want to make it clear that I don't doubt the sincerity of most of what church worship is doing, trying to do, or thinking it is accomplishing. And lots of that ends up being very good, by God's grace and the trajectory and power of the gospel hidden away inside of all the forms taken by our gospel presentations. This is not a critique of Christianity or Christians, per se. But I do like its creative and satirical way of exposing some stuff for reflection.

We need to reflect on what has become the new liturgy for so much of evangelicalism (which ironically is generally anti-liturgical). What is driving it? And for all the "success" it might have and the numbers it might bring in, we need to ask ourselves how many people it might actually be driving away, and whether, at the end of the day, what it is doing is really all that Christian. We don't need to have that discussion here, necessarily, but if discussions happen, here or elsewhere I think that's where they should go.

I suppose you could challenge the appropriateness of satire as a form of communication if you wanted, too. I tend to like it, when the heart behind it is interested in carrying through to a genuine and humble conversation rather than biting cynicism that enables distancing elitism. Basically, satire needs to be taken seriously and not seriously at the same time.


Jon Coutts said...

my friend says he thinks this is just a typical instance of the very thing being satirized: Christians ripping off things done better by others (anyone seen the movie mock up similar to this?). I think that's a fair comment my friend. Still, I don't know, it kind of had to be done.

jonkramer said...

The thing that doesn't sit well with me about this kind of satire is that I really question the motivation of it. I figure that their motivation for making the video isn't so much to expose the issues out there in church worship as it is an attempt to simply distance themselves from those kind of critiques. Saying, "We know churches are doing this stuff - and it's stupid - but that's not us."
I know that's pretty judgmental, but it seems like many churches aren't willing to pick apart their own liturgy and motivations - just those of others.
That said, I laughed at the announcement guy.

Jon Coutts said...

Yeah, I don't really know why it was made, but it does appear that it may be the case you are describing. I don't know, its not entirely stupid. These are people that like rock n roll, informality, putting people at ease, etc... and are enjoying that they can sing and speak in such ways. My problem is where that has taken us, the formulaic experience-manipulation and the consumerism it has created. If it helps them to be aware of these problems, good on them. If it helps them distance themselves from the problems, that's not so good. I just thought it was bang on, obviously.

joel said...

That's pretty funny Jon. I had forgotten it could be that good.

Geordie said...

as the guy who passed the video on to Jon, i'm pretty sure the video was put together for a pastor's conference or something like that. It was meant (I'm assuming) to expose our (as church leaders) subtle or not so subtle practices and open us up to taking a serious look at what worship leadership is really about. It comes from North Point church.