Monday, April 23, 2007

"Karaoke for the Lord"

Der Spiegel educates Germans about the mega-church phenomenon here. One of the active members of Rick Warren's Saddleback Church explains its attraction:
.... "I love Saddleback because it's not so religious," says Lisa Volder, a member for three years. At first, she said it reminded her too much of Hollywood. Now she is so taken with Saddleback that she works at an information stand outside for people who want to learn more. She wears a name tag that says, "A fresh start with God." A well-dressed woman in her mid-40s, Lisa joined the church after she moved to the area, and claims that the move was a sign from Heaven: "God knew that I needed to be here."

When Lisa waxes lyrical about Saddleback's understated approach to religion, she most likely means its lack of time-honored rituals: Saddleback has no liturgy, no prayer books, no sonorous minister fiddling around at the altar. Saddleback doesn't have an altar, or a pulpit; just Rick Warren's sermon, interspersed with high-decibel (set at 98-108dbs) blasts of schmaltzy Christian rock. The songs' lyrics are shown on a ticker along the base of the video screens; sentiments like "I can't get enough of your love pouring down my soul." Karaoke for the Lord.

Megachurches sell the Christian faith as the (only) path to a better, happier life. And American suburbia is lapping up this new brand of spiritual comfort food. .... [more]
Source: Karaoke for the Lord: The Recipe for Success at American Megachurches - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

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