Worshipping Onscreen: A Megachurch Meditation.
It was all very amusing until I got to this part:
As for the preaching, it was motivating and highly inspirational: the sermon’s title (sorry, I’m not kidding) was “Ten Kinds of People That God Can’t Help.” The main idea was that you should “invest” your time in positive happy friends, instead of making bad investments in friendships with hopeless, unhappy people: “Why are you trying to help people like that when even God can’t help them?” The sermon’s best one-liner: “The Bible isn’t a book about God’s love for man; it’s a book about man’s love for God.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Oh wait, no, he said he was not kidding. And the good news for hopeless, unhappy people is...Sorry! No Good News for you!
I'm in a little town in Iowa. Our average worship attendance isn't even quite 90. We have gone technical in that we do tape our services and broadcast them Thursdays at noon and 7 pm on the local free cable station. And we give them away free to our shut-ins. I don't watch because I am so unprofessional and I notice every single "uh and um" and it drives me crazy. I mostly um and uh in the announcements because they are off the cuff. That's why I write out my sermons...
We have a lovely choir. They are not always on key but some of them are quite voluptuous and they sing with enthusiasm. The children crawl around during the children's sermon but the last time I told our rambunctious talkative 3 year old "Okay it's my turn to talk now" - he actually stayed quiet while I told the bible story. Sometimes the acolytes can't light all the candles. Sometimes there are mistakes in the bulletin which our secretary will obsesses over for a week.
Sometimes my mike doesn't work which really annoys the guy who does the taping and editing because no matter how well my voice carries in the church, if the mike doesn't pick it up, you won't hear me in the video tape.
And it's important that you hear me, because despite all my flaws and our flaws - you will hear good news! Because the Good News is that we are all a bunch of sad-sack, hopeless and helpless losers and God can and does more than "help" us - God has saved us!
And today I'm going to preach about a hopeless and no doubt unhappy leper who believed that Christ could help him "If you choose, you can make me clean" And Jesus said "I do choose!"
God does choose to save us. Even the most helpless and unhappy among us. That's good news for everyone.