Megachurches Make You High

According to a new study, attending worship at a megachurch is similar to getting high:

By: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

Published on LiveScience

DENVER — More and more Americans are spending their Sundays at megachurches, enormous churches with congregations numbering in the thousands. Despite the size of these churches, members don’t get lost in the crowd, new research finds.

In fact, a new study of 12 representative megachurches spread across the country finds that the size of these churches is a major part of their appeal. Members report that the experience of worshiping with thousands is intoxicating, the researchers find.

“It’s an addicting experience, it’s so large, it’s so huge,” said study researcher Katie Corcoran, a graduate student in sociology at the University of Washington. “One respondent said you can look up to the balcony and see the Holy Spirit go over the crowd like a wave in a football game.”

Read the rest: Megachurch Study Suggests Big Congregations Make Worship ‘Intoxicating’ Experience.

I have been to megachurches, of course, and they always make me cynical. But I’m sure that some readers happily attend them, so tell us what you like about your megachurch.

I’m More Evangelical than You

Jon Fitzgerald, who no longer uses the term “evangelical” to describe himself, weighs in on a topic that I’ve often pondered on this blog: What, Exactly, Is an Evangelical? He notes, among other things, how ham-fisted the mainstream media is with the term:

When it became clear that in the popular mind the word evangelical was more a social and political construct than a theological one, it set off a scramble to accurately self-identify in books, articles, and blog posts among evangelicals of all stripes. There are those who defend the theological roots of the term and wish to reclaim it from social rebranding, and others who recognize their own views in the social and political categorization and thus accept the term as is. Still others reject the label outright, ceasing to identify as evangelical altogether.

The result of all this hand wringing and word wrangling is that, in 2012, it is more difficult than ever to know what one means by the term. Today, we have what I call shades of evangelicalism. The term is not going away, but the people it is meant to describe are becoming more and more diverse—politically, theologically, and socially. At the same time, the media is using the term with far greater frequency.

Read the rest of Jon’s column: The 50 Shades of Evangelicalism | Politics | Religion Dispatches.

Why Liberal Christianity (Too Often) Sucks

Photo by Courtney Perry (All rights reserved)

Among the most interesting memes floating around the blogosphere this summer is the will-liberal-christianity-survive-or-will-it-die-or-is-there-a-great-liberal-awakening-happening? meme. For those keeping score at home, Ross Douthat published a book and then wrote a much ballyhooed column for the NYTimes.

Then Diana Butler Bass, who also has a new book out, pushed back at HuffPo.

Then Douthat responded.

Now Scot McKnight has weighed in.

For those keeping score at home, Douthat is an avowed conservative and religious (Catholic) traditionalist. Butler Bass is a liberal Anglican who has, until her latest book, been a cheerleader for the sustainability of mainline denominations. McKnight is a left-leaning evangelical who has no truck with nor commitment to any denomination.

Here’s where I think they each score points:

[Read more...]

An Evangelical Interpretation of “Call Me Maybe”

Jonathan Harrison of the blog, On Pop Theology, has a clever post about the song that my daughter can’t stop singing:

On November 21, 1985, in the quiet town of Mission, the Norse demi-goddess known only to humanity as Carley Rae Jepson manifested herself on the bucolic plains of British Columbia.  Raised by a pack of she-wolves, and rumored to have emanated from the forehead of her sire Billy Rae (sic) Cyrus (Norse God of the Mullet), Jepson soon set out to diligently study the art of music, so that one day when humanity needed her the most, she would unleash upon the world her epic creation.

Summers came and went. Jepson was not sure if humanity would ever need her, and if she had not wasted her time learning the sacred art of putting the beat on 1 and 3 and how to rhyme words such as “maybe” and “crazy”. She became despondent, downtrodden, and, dare we say, disconsolate. Would it happen? Would humanity ever cry out for her aid?

Then came the summer of Gotye. And she knew, it was time.

[Read more...]


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