September 21, 2003

I realized last night, after I'd gotten the computer pulled together again, that I never got around to blogging about the Methodist church last weekend. I wasn't real enthusiastic about the idea of doing so, either. I've been thinking, actually, that blogging every church I visit so comprehensively may damage the enterprise. If I know I'm going to blog it it's too easy for me to go into reporter mode while I'm there -- making mental notes to myself, thinking how I'm going to describe something, estimating the size of the crowd, and generally doing things I wouldn't be doing if I weren't going to write it up. In some ways that makes me pay more attention, but I think overall it keeps me in that reporter's role: on the edge watching, not actually participating.

I'm not going to stop blogging about church shopping, but I'm not going to promise to do it every week so thoroughly, because I think it's the sense of obligation that keeps me from going with the church experience. So expect reports to be shorter and less detailed.

Today I went to the Venice Baptist Church, an independent (meaning it's not connected to the Southern Baptist Convention or anything). The service was actually almost identical to a Christian Assembly service -- we even sang a song I learned at CA, which is the first time that's happened. The crowd was a lot smaller, the church older and prettier, and a lot closer (this was another one I walked to). The pastor was younger and less folksy than CA's, and I rather liked listening to him; which was good, because the sermon was of evangelical length!

On the downside, they did something that also irritated me at the Methodist church. There was an overhead screen where they projected song lyrics during the singing part, which was fine, but then they used it to illustrate the sermon, projecting Bible quotes, numbered points, etc. At the Methodist church they also projected pictures to go along with the preacher's words. I don't like this -- it feels so PowerPoint. Like you're getting a sales pitch or a planning meeting instead of the Good News. I guess visuals were always part of religious instruction, especially back when most people couldn't read, but it feels ... cheesy.

Another odd thing happened as I was leaving. There was no formal after-church meetup -- another way it resembles CA -- but one man shook my hand and asked, "Have you gotten a water bottle yet?"

"Uh ... water bottle?"

He showed me to a table that had a pile of plastic sports-type bottles printed with the logo on the front page of the Web site. It feels very odd to me for a church to have a logo -- I noticed it was on the drum kit too, and who knows what else. It is a nice bottle though, and it was good to have it on the walk back. I wonder why, of all objects, they chose a water bottle as a promo. Maybe it goes with being Baptists...

Posted by Camassia at September 21, 2003 04:25 PM | TrackBack

Power Point is my life at the office. If I had to be subjected to it at mass I'd go mad....

Posted by: Peter Nixon on September 23, 2003 01:00 PM

Regarding the water bottle, a friend of mine recently stated "God, GOT marketing, he invented it!"

I quess it just takes a different form in the tech age.

But hey - free water, cool!

Posted by: David on September 23, 2003 03:07 PM
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