Twelve years ago, Richard Beck blogged about the McDonaldification of spiritual formation. There has been a lot about that in the years since then (sometimes labeled McDonaldization instead), drawing attention to the problems when the church resembles a one-size fits all corporatization, a franchise whose local form is predictably cloned across national and cultural divides, imperialistically spreading uniformity around the globe.
More recently, however, a blog post drew my attention to the fact that there are things that are far worse than McDonaldization/McDonaldification (HT Michael Roberts). And sometimes churches are guilty of them. The obvious place to start is that this fast food chain, whatever you may think of the wages it pays its employees, has rules in place to protect them from harassment and abuse, and also seeks to create a welcoming environment for customers and a safe and fun place for children. Clearly churches have not done that consistently or effectively. As a result, some people would feel safer in a McDonald’s than in a church. And if you are a churchgoer who is not disturbed by that, then something is very wrong…Take a look at the post “Lessons from McDonald’s” for more things that McDonald’s does well that churches might be able to learn from. And see too the quote from St. Basil that Mike Bird shared, indicating that the ancient church was aware of the potential for clergy to abuse young people, and took it more seriously and dealt with it more directly than has been the case in many instances in recent years.