Via CCblogger Scott Gunn, here's a fun new video from Lutheran Satire. I appreciate the main points here: that the faith formation of young people begins in the home (see this Century interview with another Lutheran) and that the main thing that draws anyone to the church is not pop-culture sensibilities but the proclamation of good news (an even Lutheraner notion). But I'm not sure what this has to do with the U2charist and the other single-secular-artist-themed worship services it's spawned.
It’s been a long time since Mr. Show with Bob and David has been on HBO, but there are a few sketches that come to mind even now. Especially when I read about the PC(USA) in the news. In particular, "The Fairsley Difference."
I try not to get too worked up about the commercialization of church holidays. It seems inevitable in our culture, in which most people are at least nominally Christian yet the real national faith is capitalism. The Christmas shopping season is annoying and the Easter candy aisles are dangerous, but it seems futile to rail against things that are more symptom than illness.
It is pretty perplexing, however, when marketers try to capitalize on Lent.
Yesterday I offered “ashes to go” at the White Plains train station. It’s apparentlycontroversial, but I’m letting others do the heavy theological lifting. I wanted to experience it before I reflected.
It was cold. Below freezing. We still haven’t gotten out of the polar vortex, which I think has decided that it’s very comfortable in its new digs and it will never leave. Besides, spring has gone fishing. Ice fishing.
With the imposition of ashes imminent—this stark ritual signalling the onset of a season starker still in its confrontations with mortality and its fleshly (and fleshy) deprivations—I am reading about food. Glorious food.
Son of God is a dud. Just don’t tell that to the film’s producers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. They found evidence of divine favor in the “truly miraculous” support they received from Catholic and evangelical leaders. It brought in $26.5 million its first weekend.
Burnett and Downey’s marketing approach makes good business sense and has plenty of precedent.
This is why we came—not to be reminded of our finitude. God knows we feel it in our bones, and some of us in our backs and legs and arthritic hands. We come kneeling and hoping that something or someone will whisper forgiveness so that we might start again. Believing or at least hoping that these 40 days that lead to the cross might just touch something deep in our hearts.
The priest comes and dabs his finger into the ashes.
I grew up in the midst of the Prosperity Gospel movement, and it’s left its mark, I’m afraid. I believed that God would bless (meaning financially bless) those who served the Almighty. It wasn’t only service, but God’s favor also came with financial reward.
I have lived in the U.S. for nearly three years now, and there is so much to love: the beauty and the grandeur of the landscape, the welcome and hospitality I’ve found in one city after another, and so many new friends.