Roman Catholic

The Promise 80% of Christians Miss Out On

The Promise 80% of Christians Miss Out On

600 years ago a church service looked far different than it does today.

The Medieval mass truly was a performance. The priest was turned away from the congregation for most of the congregation and spoke (by some reports mumbled is a more appropriate description) the service in Latin, a language the commoners didn’t speak and often the priests themselves didn’t speak.[i] The congregants observed the mass in silence. There was no participation.

600 years later much has changed. And yet much remains the same.

In the American evangelical church, our liturgy looks about as different from the liturgy of the church of the Middle Ages as you could imagine (and yes, while we don’t have a formalized liturgy, we share a collective informal liturgy – you can go to just about any evangelical church in America this weekend and expect a similar service). But church, as much as ever, is an experience those who attend come to watch. And like the church in the Middle Ages, we also are struggling with attendance, with a faithful church goer now coming to service a mere twice a month.[ii]

Consumers at Church, part I

Consumers at Church, part I

We have been exploring in this series the impact of how our identity has been shaped as consumers in 21st century America. Last week we reflected on Jamie Smith’s profound book, Desiring the Kingdom, and his insights into how consumerism shapes who we are. In the next two posts, I will apply those insights into how we engage the local church. In today’s post I want to consider just how strange our current posture of selecting a church is in an historic context. That statement might not naturally draw you in, but it’s only when we are able to see how alien and strange our current reality is that we can begin to consider how to diagnose our condition and, Lord willing, be cured.

The notion of “church shopping” first becomes a possibility in 20th century America.