Saddleback offers a generic “Celebrate Recovery” programme and
customised support groups for “ADD Adults,” “Diabetics in God”,
“Families with Incarcerated Loved Ones” and victims of other ills.
entered the Worship Centre, an immense auditorium shell, where Warren
was preaching from a stage at the front, where an altar might have
been. Saddleback assiduously avoided traditionally churchy
architecture, costume and decor. Its campus was relentlessly quotidian,
designed to suggest the shopping malls and office parks where members
spent their time during the week.
I have to say, the place looks terrifying to me — stripped of intimacy, and stripped of anything resembling spirituality. I’m not a Christian, but I’ve visited some lovely churches in my time with some very close knit communities. The defining theme amongst them was a sense of tradition, and an intimacy between the pastor and the church members. They were all fairly small, and everyone seemed to know each other.
Walmart style churches seem to be money making enterprises rather than places of worship, and although people clearly seem to be attracted to them, I wonder if they would have a better experience in a smaller, more community oriented place. This isn’t to knock pastor Rick Warren, who I think is probably a good guy (although I vehemently disagree with him on a number of issues). But his model of Christianity probably isn’t what Jesus had in mind.
photo from rezlab
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.