Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Welcome to McChurch

Greg Boyd, in his excellent The Myth of a Christian Religion, has a section called "The Invention of McChurch." Here are some Boyd-points.

  • Once a week a lot of people "go to church" rather than viewing themselves as the church. Not good. Real Church is not something you "go to." 
  • "As good consumers we typically choose our church based on our own preferences, conveniences, and needs. Since we're conditioned to assume that "the customer is always right," we believe we have the right to have things our own way. If one church fails to please us we simply shop for another that will. Since there are only so many of us religious consumers to go around, churches have to compete with one another to acquire and keep as many consumers as possible." Is this not true? And sad?
  • So, what is a pastor to do? Typically, they feel pressure to please their parishioners so they "sweeten the religious product they're peddling by adding as many blessings as possible to their messages and by refraining from saying or doing anything that might drive consumers away." True? Of course it is. Is Greg judging others? Not at all. He's simply reporting the religious behaviors of many pressured pastors who feel the need to keep their people happy. Greg says...
  • "Welcome to McChurch, where you get served up a Gospel tailor-made to suit your personal tastes and needs and that never confronts you or causes you any discomfort." (See also Christian Smith's work on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.)
  • McChurch fails to confront the idols and pagan values of Western culture. Worse than that, "if often 'Christianizes' them. Not only do we not have to give up our possessions, as Jesus commands; we're told that following Jesus ensures that we'll get more of them! Not only do we not have to love and serve our enemies, as Jesus commands, we're told that God is on our side when we applaud our nation bombing them!" 
  • Studies show that "there's hardly any difference in Western countries between churchgoers and non-churchgoers in terms of the core values we embrace." Why? Well, "McChurch" reflects culture rather than the Kingdom of God. You can feel the cognitive thunderous dissonance shake your soul if you actually read the four Gospels and then turn on religious TV.