Monday, August 14, 2006

368 The first shall be last?

I'm still hoping this article about First Class Kids at Abilene Baptist is a joke, because it sounds really awful. For a $15 fee, you can drop your little one off in first class where she'll get special treats and treatment while you attend church.

"Some families complain that separate nurseries create a two-tier church. But many like splurging once or twice a month on the first class service. Others even buy the First Class Kids annual pass.

"Once my grandkids experienced first class, they cried when their mother tried to put them into economy," says a grandmother who bought annual passes for her four grandchildren.

[Pastor Ron] Jacobs says offerings are up considerably since families have gotten hooked on concierge-style Sunday school. The premium service fee counts as offering and is tax deductible."

Story at Lark News.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

367 Ka Boom, Bang Thud Crash

When I stepped outside the coffee shop this morning at Lakeside, I heard a very loud "worship" band practicing at the Pavilion. Inwardly I groaned for the folks trying to sleep-in at the hotel, and for those of us planning to attend a peaceful morning worship service with communion at 8:30 by the lake. I walked back to the cottage and told my husband I just refused to go and have my ears assaulted and my heart rate changed by the thud-thud-crash of a loud contemporary worship band. It is always a contemporary service, but usually just with happy Gwen playing simple little songs at the electric synthesizer. No drums. No electric guitars or ampilification.

Part of my distaste was recovering from last night's concert by CeCe Winans. She is a fabulous singer, a terrific preacher, and a great performer, but the lights were blinding and the amplification painful. Just as distracting were her backup singers, all overweight and looking like they were dressed to chop cotton on a cool day--faded boot cut jeans two sizes too small and black jeans jackets over t-shirts. What ever happened to glamor--usually African American women can sweep us out the door with their fashion flare! This is a summer vacation spot and the audience in capri pants and shorts was dressed better than the performers!

When she performed for the President it was much quieter and more glamorous.

Cross posted at Collecting my thoughts.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

362 First Christian Church, Columbus, Indiana

Columbus, IN is the fifth most important site in the United States for architecture, and it all started with this congregation hiring Eliel Saarinen to design the first truly modern church building in the U.S.

Those of us on an architectural tour were very disappointed to see banners hanging in the sanctuary, and the altar removed to make room for a drum set and speakers. Stickers were on the windows. Why do worship committees and musicians think interior visual spaces don't matter?