Wednesday, February 17, 2010

kingdom building

Check out these two photo series by Travis Schaeffer. I don't know what he is trying to accomplish. The first link is a series of 11 Mega Churches and the second is 41 Wal-Marts. I love the quote he has on the first one: "
The result is a wash: rather than making America more Christian, the mega churches have simply succeeded in making Christianity more American"

When you look at the photos from the air there are many similarities. The differences, so far as I can tell, are as follows:

1. Wal-Mart is a business.

2. The churches appear to try to do something with symmetry and shape. Wal-Marts are square and the churches deviated more.

3. Churches also have larger parking lots.
4. Then again, the churches have to put all their "customers" in there on one day in a few hours. Wal-Mart has people there every day of the week.

From the pictures it appears that church facilities are a lot of wasted space in the city in that they cover huge tracts of land and are only used a few times a week by a special set of people. Why do we always build our own things and start our own programs? We would be better served--not to mention that we would better serve the community--if we simply used what space was available and used existing programs. Imagine the impact that thousands of dedicated Christians could make if they started invading YMCAs, inner city community centers, and soup kitchens rather than expecting people to come to a facility out in the suburbs one or two days a week to have their needs met. How many of the parents who actually need a parenting class come to the church for it? We would reach more by infiltrating existing structures which are neutral in their orientation.

Our gross appropriation of land use is necessitated by our addiction to cars. My town would be well served to have a metro. We spend gazillions a year trying to build roads fast enough (and they don't build roads fast enough!) and expanding the footprint of the city, thus making driving more and more a necessity, and it seems that the job is never finished. My town typically makes it to the top few spots every year on being the most expensive town in which to operate a vehicle. The problem is that we have a massive, predominately poor, immigrant community which cannot afford vehicle ownership. This means that they all settle in the densely packed low rent district. This has a domino effect on schools, crime, and other public services. There are over 300 languages spoken in my town. When all of those people clump up together they no longer try to integrate and adopt the host language and culture. This is a problem which will soon spin out of control and have far reaching, devastating, effects. One answer is better transportation infrastructure. But that is just crazy talk....

While we are on the topic of mega churches, here are a couple of videos about some stuff going on in the DFW metroplex. This is a news story about Ed Young Jr. They are going after him hard.

Here is his response. IMO, his response is worse than the allegations.... He says he didn’t see the news piece, but he is commenting on everything in it. Does he have political advisors?

-they don’t own a plane, they lease it [@5:00 min]

-And his house isn’t 10,000 sqft it is only 7820sqft [@7:00 min]
That is so much better than before…

What Dallas needs is more mega churches..... (/sarcasm). The money that falls through the cracks at his church and FBC Dallas would be enough to support a small country.

And I am gonna quit before I get nasty.

Here are some posts on similar topics:

eccleastical greed: a lack of ethos in urban space


Athens, Jerusalem, Wall Street and the Church

1 comment:

Grady Bauer said...

I just watched Ed's response as well. I always love when pastors get accused of stuff and then say "This means God is working and Satan is after us". Maybe the truth is you're doing something wrong and God is bringing it to light.

I think churches like this are what is wrong with the US church....we've lost our Kingdom mentality and it's all about us. The brand of Christianity they promote only works in affluent cultures...with no way of being translated into most of the world.