Monday, May 06, 2013
Is this why we go to church?
A University of Washington study posits that worship services at megachurches can trigger feelings of transcendence and changes in brain chemistry – a spiritual “high” that keeps congregants coming back for more.
“We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches. That’s why we say it’s like a drug,” said James Wellman, an associate professor of American religion who co-authored the study.Lovely. Church is a drug, a high. It is not worship, it is not submission, it is not sacramental - it's a buzz. WOW!
Of course, this is not universally true. There are exceptions to every generalization. But the essential problem is the same one I used to worry about with the camping program at Young Life. So, we produce a high that leads to some sort of acknowledgement of Christ. Does the acknowledgement of Christ last when the high is gone? Are we selling Jesus, or the high?
Is bait-and-switch a legitimate technique for the church. Such techniques are based on high turnover of leads. The bait produces a lot of traffic, but the percentage of that traffic that buys is pretty low. Nor is it likely to produce a non-sale that returns when in the buying mood becasue they feel like they were misled by the institution. It is a short term gain at the cost of a long term relationship kind of approach.
That's where I have a problem, it leaves a lot of disenfranchised and dissatisfied in its wake. That is not good for the long term prospects of the church.
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