Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cowboy Churches

Where prayers come with a twang

Hilarious article. Apparently, there are cowboy-themed churches in the US. Sounds gimmicky, but that's how religion stays alive in the US - many megachurches try to attract young people with modern music.

"Some evangelical Christians have questioned whether the churches only offer gimmicks and fail to provide a meaningful spiritual experience."

I'm no fan of gimmicky churches, but this is like the pot calling the kettle black. Evangelical Christianity doesn't have much out on offer besides right-wing politics, disliking gays, and an eager anticipation of the end of the world.

"Another movement, though, grew out of a Baptist outreach to ranchers in Texas that spread like a wildfire, spawned megachurches and now even sends cowboy missionaries to Africa."

Cowboy missionaries. Hilarious.

"And the sermons usually last just a few minutes so as not to make the audience restless."

Good plan. The ones I'm used to took almost two hours (subjectively several years), and I doubt that very many enjoyed the experience.

"The evangelical magazine Christianity Today asked in a blog in May: 'Clearly something is going on here, but what?' Blog moderator Derek Keefe questioned whether the movement expanded or collapsed the Christian gospel message."

In other words, the concern is whether this sort of marketing helps or hinders the survival of the meme. In the short term, it probably does, by attracting people who ordinarily wouldn't go to church. In the long run, I doubt it though. Fusing popular culture and religion - the Mc Religion approach - is thoroughly self-embarrassing and fails to counter historical trends eating away at traditional religions, like secularism and modernism. You simply can't get people to buy a product they no longer want or need, no matter how well you market it.

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