Have yourself a megachurch Christmas

During the last five days before Christmas, at least 55,000 people were planning to attend the eight multi-media worship services at Willow Creek Community Church.The leaders of this famous megachurch outside Chicago can be precise about this number because that is how many people had, at mid-week, visited WillowCreek.org and claimed seats in the 7,200-seat auditorium. A few solo seats remained."We don't sell the tickets, of course," said spokesperson Cally Parkinson. "Most people really like … [Read more...]

Merry tropical Christmas

At first light, the little ones would sneak out of bed to look for telltale signs of night visitors bearing gifts.Cookies and milk? Most children in these Hispanic homes gathered hay or fresh grass before sundown and left it with water in clear sight. Camels get hungry and thirsty, you know, especially when traveling long distances on tropical nights.Members of these families would have exchanged a few gifts on Dec. 25, at the Feast of the Nativity. As the decades passed in Florida, they may … [Read more...]

Worship for sale, worship for sale

In the beginning, there were the Jesus People.They had long hair and short memories and they emerged from the 1960s with a unique fusion of evangelical faith and pop culture. They loved fellowship, but didn't like frumpy churches. They trusted their feelings, not traditions. They loved the Bible, but not those old hymnals.So they started writing, performing, recording and selling songs. The Contemporary Christian Music industry was born.And, lo, the counterculture became a corporate culture, one … [Read more...]