Went and saw the Suicide Squad this morning with my husband and some friends. The nearest theater to us also happens to host a church on Sunday mornings. I get some weird sense of pleasure to walk past the church greeters and up to the ticket counter to buy a ticket for an R rated movie that half of them would disapprove of. (although might still go see) Also, knowing that I was going to be going to this church movie theater I purposefully wore a shirt that was a bit more low-cut than would ever be appropriate in church. Don't want to be confused for a possible parishioner. My husband would probably role his eyes about this. I roll my eyes at myself. What silliness to even care what these random Christians think.
Let's not forget how weird it is that these people do church in a movie theater. Seriously. Nursery is in the various 'party' rooms. They put fancy hand soap and towels in the bathroom. There are computers and tents set up in the foyer to sign in kids for kids church and hand out information about the church. They have a popcorn deal for parishioners, which is just bizarre. I'm sure the acoustics are fine, but it just feels like a church trying way too hard to be relevant and cool. That's the thing now, having church in unconventional settings in order to draw in a crowd that wouldn't normally go to church. It used to be that you would start in a school as a church plant and as soon as they have grown large enough they move to or build an actual building. Now, they just stay in that movie theater, school, bar, etc. forever, making their strange meeting place part of their identity. My old church meets in a school and there is no push to move to their own building. This has some problems obviously because without a building, you can't do anything on a Wednesday night or a Saturday morning. Youth group has to be at someone's house. Church potlucks have to be at a park or directly after church because where/when else can you meet? Small groups are at people's homes. Children's church is in a locker room or a party room or the green room of a concert venue. This also means that your church has no place to do outreach out of. You can't have a coat closet, food pantry, or soup kitchen without a building. So instead these churches must partner with other churches, but cannot have ministries of their own. (this can be both good and bad depending on the situation). There is also not a safe place within your community. No place for community activities and meetings. You aren't going to host a concert, invite a guest community speaker on a Saturday night, or invite a choral group to sing for charity.
If you are going to insist on a church being about community then it needs to be a part of a community and based on my years of experience, I just don't see that happening with these specialty churches. Their idea of outreach is meeting somewhere where people might feel comfortable enough to visit. And if they aren't comfortable, there's always a showing of the newest movie across the hall.
Oh and in case you were wondering, Suicide Squad was like an action movie with ADD. The plot was all over the place as was the pacing. It's never a good sign when you are sitting in a movie and thinking things like, "I wonder who did the sound mixing for this, because it is off that the music isn't louder at this point?" OR "Who directed that girl to move around like that? Was she told to act like the Queen of the Damned because that movie really didn't do well and it was weird there too." AND "DC really has no idea how to replicate Marvel's success. You can see them trying so so hard, but in the end...meh."
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.