Sunday, March 27, 2005

Ship of Fools

The Ship of Fools website performs a valuable service in lots of ways - deflating pomposity, pointing out some of the more absurd directions in which "Christianity" is moving, and so on.

However, I would like to quibble about the "mystery worshipper" concept - as it was also found in the Ruth Gledhill column in the Times for a good few years (don't know if it still is). Churches certainly ought to be doing what they can to make visitors welcome. Their meetings ought to be accessible and clear. The teaching should be relevant. It's not the pursuit of these aims that I would take issue with. What I don't like is the thought that, rather than going into a church expecting God to speak to me, the mystery worshipper is going into a church expecting to judge it - and that many of the people reading the reviews are also effectively sitting in judgement over the churches. It rather misses the point that we become part of a church community so that God can speak to us through his Word, and so that we can build one another up and encourage one another. It's all good fun and all that, but the whole idea that church can sit so lightly on me that I can go in, watch what's happening, come out, and jot down a few humourous comments before going to another church next week is a rather damning indictment of the post-modern Christian concept of a church.


Liz said...

I went to that website and it made me want to puke. A bobble head Jesus? It seems like its making light of the truth of salvation. If Jesus was just a religious leader, it would be different. But He is God. He died for undeserving people like me and was the the sacrifice for our sin.

Maybe I'm missing the point or the irony, but what I assume was supposed to be funny was only sickening.

Paul (probably - maybe Liz) said...

Yeah, it is irony. And I agree with you, it is sickening - not that they are drawing attention to it, but that somebody is actually expecting to make a buck by selling such trash. What they are trying to do in this case isn't to market the "Bobble-head Jesus" but to show that it is being marketed. There are an awful lot of Ephesian silversmiths in the world today.

Liz said...

That's so sad that people market that stuff (even worse that other people buy it!) During Easter there was a big stink because Russell Stover began making chocolate crosses along with chocolate easter bunnies. If anyone truly understood the cross, they would not buy chocolate crosses. It is a method of torture and death. Do we sell chocolate electric chairs or chocolate nooses? Its taking the truth of the actual pain of the cross and making it a happy symbol, not a symbol of sacrifice.