Religion & Politics: USF Fall 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Keep Shopping, Just don’t bring the products to church!

Keep Shopping, Just don’t bring the products to church!

A recent survey entitled "Clergy know more about Bush than Brangelina," commissioned by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention found that amongst 2,000 protestants (ministers and churchgoers) that a cultural gap was present between the two groups. In the Article entitled “Pastors no masters of cultural coolness” written by Anita Wadhwani for Tennessean.com (see full article here:
http://www.dicksonherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061203/NEWS06/612030371/1297/MTCN02 ) Wadhwani writes that this gap is mostly a “pop culture gap” and “the gap is widest on celebrity news, fashion, and video or computer games.”

This gap is more on the religious than political landscape in the church (when in direct relation to the churchgoers) and instead of falling on the political spectrum in this case, trying to fill the pop culture gap tends to fill the role of politics. When pastors such as take fall on the political spectrum when pastors such as Rob Morgan say that "I do think pop culture raises interesting questions and it could be that it's equally important as politics in where my limited time should be invested.”

The above quote was in relation to the limited amount of time that the pastor had. He affirms that looking into pop culture at events such as the Tom Cruise/ Scientology relationship and extracting information to project to a congregation would bridge this gap and make the audience more in tune with what the message was. This is a scary thought.

The replacement of politics in this religious context is somewhat of a dangerous idea. By going with what the masses want, in other words sermons with an “X box theme or about movies” is detrimental to the human religious experience. Not to say that some peoples National Enquirer is not their bible, it is just that this bible should stay at home and not cross from the consumerist to religious context.

This is where Reverend Billy Comes in. As written about by our professor Lee Gilmore in the chapter entitled “Public Ceremonies: Ritualizing Civic, Median, and Social Life” Reverend Billy is examining this cross of the “corporate, co modified culture” that has “seeped in and colonized spaces within individual souls” (14). Reverend Billy, a novelty Reverend constantly prays for “the demons of blind consumerism” to be driven out (13).

It is only when the religious realm is completely religious that we can experience what religion is all about. With this, I say keep shopping, just don’t bring the products to church!

1 Comments:

  • While I agree with you that it is harmfull to encourage consumerism within the realm of religion, I don't think that trying to bridge cultural gaps in order to get a message out is necessarily a bad thing. I do, however, think that it is absolutely ridiculous to deviate from religious tradition, or even a more political religious tradition, in order to relate to a congregation through pop-culture references. It seems like our religious leaders should be encouraging more useful passtimes than keeping up with superficial celebrity gossip.

    By Blogger jessica, at 10:34 AM  

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