Bobby Chang, who's a contributing editor over at my main blog Our Word and Welcome to It, frequently comments on the evangelical side of the religion aisle. This morning he posted a very nice piece on the continuing tensions in the evangelical church regarding Warrenism, the philosophy of mega-evangelist Rick Warren, and how it is dividing congregations. Although this doesn't concern the Catholic Church, I thought this would be of interest to our readers here, not only as a glimpse into what's going on elsewhere, but as a reminder that it's not only Catholic and Episcopal churches struggling with ideological/theological issues. What does this mean for religion in general, and for our culture?
Ingrid Schleuter is a broadcaster for the "VCY America" radio network in Wisconsin, and I have been in touch with her by e-mail as she covers religion on the family-owned radio network started by her father, Vic Eliason. She runs the Slice of Laodicea Web site, and recently reports of churches ejecting members because they refused to comply with new standards imposed by Warrenism pastors (a tactic that has the writings of Saul Alinsky written across it).
In Michigan, an elderly member was arrested for attending a church because the pastor wanted her ejected since she did not subscribe to the Warrenism the young pastor subscribes. I read the response, and almost had to laugh. (Job #3 in this one was hilarious, but sad, because this is what has happened to many churches. What is the need of a Laura Kaiser when you have a karaoke machine ready to play in church?)
Mrs. Schleuter responded back:I can attest to the fact that this situation is being repeated all over the country. Wet behind the ears pastors, fresh from the latest whiz-bang church growth or leadership conference, head back to their churches with stars in their eyes, ready to build the next Saddleback (the church in Lake Forest, CA which is the head church of Warrenism).
Job 1: Get rid of old stiffs who don't like change.
Job 2: When you fire all the deacons on the board and all existing church officers, portray your opposition as evil and hand tools of the devil. That way you can do almost anything with a spiritual cloak for it.
Job 3: Haul out the organ, dump the hymnals and bring in the dancing girls. Who needs old hymns when we could have some killer karaoke in church? Better yet, find some nubile young high school girls and put them up in front of the alter to sway and twitch to "praise and worship" tunes for 45 minutes. That'll draw in some youth, males in particular, in a hurry.
Job 4: If the old stiffs have to stay, make them pay for your cable TV and Netflix subscription so you can prepare for your next Blockbuster Sermon Series. Only old school pastors actually open a Bible and get on their knees to get sermon material these days. Hip pastors use movie clips from wingclips.com or download Rick Warren sermons from pastors.com. That way they can hit the links on Saturday instead of studying the Word.
Yes, things are really this bad these days in the ever-expanding evangelical church freak show. I've been able to broadcast and blog for two and a half years on this stuff and I've never, ever been short of material.
Come, Lord Jesus. Soon. We've nowhere left to go to church.
Cross-posted to Our Word and Welcome to It