Friday, August 01, 2008

Live the Dream wordle


I got a very slick mailing from HealingPlaceChurch (all the hippest swinging happening megachurches eliminate space between their words), a non-denominational millennialist, charismatic megachurch from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Anyway, the mailing was huge, the paper stock was thick enough to double as door panels for my Toyota. It was elegant to the point of opulent, and came with a DVD (which I have yet to watch).

It was an invitation to their annual women's conference called Live the Dream. The cover letter was from a lady named De Lynn Rizzo, the "women's pastor" of the congregation. It was signed "love ya" - and all that was missing was the cloying scent of perfume and lipstick on the envelope.

I looked over the materials, and there are some quotes from Scripture - all carefully cherrypicked to support their theology of glory and "name it and claim it" positive-thinking religion. Surprisingly, "Jesus" was mentioned, I think twice (which is sometimes more than He is in letters I get from various LCMS bureaucratic entities) - but there is no mention whatsoever about sin, atonement, redemption, the cross - i.e. the Gospel. The entire mailing is a tribute to living large and painting on a happy face (perhaps with botox, if not Prozac) - complete with perfectly coiffed tresses, beaming perfectly straight white teeth, and perfect beauty-queen features. Goodness, women must spend hours upon hours getting ready to attend their services!

Very slick, and overwhelming in presentation. It had the glittery feel of a Super Bowl halftime show.

Anyway, I chunked their website (for the Live the Dream conference) through Wordle, and above is a diagram of the most commonly used words in their presentation - the larger words being more common. You'll note that our Lord Jesus didn't make the cut. You can click on the Wordle to make it bigger.

This is utterly typical of the plastic and shallow megachurch movement that unfortunately has become synonymous with Christianity in the minds of many cynical non-believers. It is also a seductive siren song calling people away from historic and traditional communions into an optimistic religion with only a coincidental and occasional overlap with Christianity.

1 comment:

Heather said...

This post confirms a lot of what I have seen in the choices made by family and friends in where they go to church. It also made me want to try a wordle of my own. So, hopefully you can see this wordle of St. Paul's letter to the Romans:

http://wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/102320/Romans

There's quite a difference between the two in the choice of message.

Thanks, Fr. Hollywood for your posts!