For some of us, small talk is a land mine. For those of us who are barren, the innocent inquiry, “Do you have children?” is far from small. I used to answer no, but the inevitable, miserable silence that followed led me to change my answer. Now I quickly say, “I have three daughters through God,” and enjoy feeling the broad smile that breaks across my face.
The ever-growing phenomenon of the megachurch continues to elicit study from researchers intrigued by how these huge congregational complexes—with more than 2,000 adults and children attending church on a weekend (using the usual definition)—market their religious product. These churches are typically evangelical in tone while being closely attuned to suburbanite expectations and consumer interests. Researchers also marvel at these churches’ professional use of media in music, worship and sermons.
They were visitors in our worship service and, like all visitors in a small church, they were not hard to spot. I could see from the looks on their faces that whatever they were looking for in a church, we didn’t have it. When we all stood to sing the hymns, they just looked straight ahead, never making an effort to sing and not even picking up a hymnbook.
I greeted them in the hallway after the service and said something like, “I couldn’t help noticing that you seemed uncomfortable in our service. Is there something I could help you with?”
After reading the research on booming Protestant megachurches and their senior pastors, I couldn’t help noting how my neighborhood megachurch and its lead pastor (an acquaintance for more than a dozen years) fit the trends.
Inauthenticity can come in a variety of forms. Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, which she and Anne Rosellini adapted from a Daniel Woodrell novel, bends over backward to convince us that its portrait of life in an Ozarks community blighted by poverty, drugs and brutality is the documentary truth. But the picture is as phony as a three-dollar bill.
Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935
Parenting myth: Studies show that parents today spend more time with their kids, yet kids don't seem happier, more independent or more successful. They seem more troubled and needy. To raise healthy kids, put your marriage first and your children second, argues David Code (To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First, Crossroad). Code says current priorities set a poor example of marriage for children and create anxious households—and kids soak up that anxiety.
Not reporting it is not an option