Feb 2, 2010

spreading the good word

I don't frequently read "Canvas", the glossy insert in the Weekend Herald, but I couldn't resist the glowing cross on the front cover of last week's edition. The research for the article thusly advertised (on contemporary Christianity) was bad. In the sense of not-good. So, not because there wasn't enough of it - a few people were talked to, in an attempt to show division within the Church, including Asher Bastion and Nathan King, who are both worth the time of day. But what about NZ's expert on this kind of thing, Peter Lineham; or the quite-young incoming bishop of Auckland, Ross Bay, or someone like psychologist John McClure (Victoria) or academics from Laidlaw? Oh, right - Christianity isn't allowed to be shown as particularly intelligent, lest it appear true.

Instead we hear it implied that newer expressions of Christianity are all hype and there's nothing behind the fa├žade. Of course, if you want to say that, you can; and I am no big fan of emotionalism and motivational speakers taking over the pulpit; but the article just wasn't good quality. One presumably-secular marketing person was quoted about "selling Jesus" and this was applied as if it had come of the mouth of a representative of Christianity. Figures given for Parachute were false - unfortunately way too large. The tag line suggested that a new brand of Christianity wants to present itself as more liberal and exciting. There is some truth to both claims, but the pentecostal/charismatic churches to which most of the article refers are only "liberal" in a social sense e.g. rock music, smoke machines and jeans are fine (though alcohol generally not.) Theologically they are generally (tho I am no fan of what the more extreme prosperity wing a la Joel Osteen), in fact very conservative. To support the "liberal" claim of course St Matthews, that embarassment to mainstream Anglicanism, is referred to (in response to their new billboard, I ask "why stop at two?" - but I guess they're not into polygamy at St Matts, for it reeks of conservatism. Interestingly, the small 'community church' advertised by that billboard, that uses their building has some parishioners too conservative for the current waffly crew at the main service anyway.) The St Matts reference doesn't fit the article, but people are so ignorant about religious matters that few will care. Finally, twas also claimed (something like) "one day Jesus will have his own facebook page." ROFL-confusedly. He's had one for a while so far as I can tell, Canvas dude. Behind the times? Well I guess you'd know.

The Church is a multi-faceted creature, it is interesting indeed and in New Zealand it is not dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment