Sunday, July 24, 2005

Starbucks, motorcycles, Jesus and a Rabbi

I started to read the New York Times article because I was interested in how a Rabbi came to be involved with Evangelical Christians, that's not a usual working relationship.

Then I started reading some of the descriptions of the Family Christian Center in Munster, now I see why so many of you are being evangelicals, those who want entertainment rather than religion especially. For me I can't imagine sitting there listening to Father Mike sipping on a latte from Starbucks in the pews. The rest of the article linked above goes into more details about Rabbi Eckstein if you are interested.

Some quotes from the article that struck me when it came to this Church compared to mine:

Outside the huge Family Christian Center stands a life-size model of the Last Supper. Inside, members can partake of coffee and dessert near a modern-day icon: the round, green-and-white logo of Starbucks.

At the Family Christian Center, more than 6,000 people attend two services each Sunday. Hundreds of drinks are sold, and it's common to see members sipping lattes and mochas during service. Even Pastor Steve Munsey sometimes holds a cup while preaching.

.....and a pulpit that boasts a theatrical replica of biblical Jerusalem complete with Golgotha's hill and, in the words of Pastor Munsey, ''a very lifelike cave depicting the tomb where Jesus was lain.''

''I support Israel in every way possible,'' Munsey said. ''For example, I make it a point to buy my clothes from Jews.'' Since he was wearing jeans and a battered sports jacket, it was hard to assess the monetary value of this contribution. Munsey was dressed informally because he planned to ride his customized Harley motorcycle onto the pulpit. The bike is named the Passion, and it has a crown of thorns painted across it.

The auditorium of the Family Christian Center was packed for the second service. Munster is largely white, but the church markets itself aggressively in nearby Gary, which is predominantly black. Like Pastor Munsey, the minister of music is white, but the choir is mostly black, and it started things off with a rousing rendition of ''God Bless America,'' while giant screens projected scenes of American troops in Iraq. Allen, the associate pastor, estimates that roughly 60 percent of the members of the Family Christian Center are Republicans. ''A lot of the African-Americans came as Democrats, but some of them are turning Republican, too,'' he told me.

As he passed me, he leaned down and whispered: ''I have a passion for healing. We have one of the highest rates of cancer healings in the nation in this church.''

Munsey is a shaggy-haired man of 50, and he is a showman. This morning, along with his Harley ride, he offered a warranty on tithing. ''If God doesn't pay you back, with increase, in 90 days, then I'll refund the money myself,'' he promised.

Gee starbucks and a money back guarantee? Think someone should tell the Pope we need to get McDonalds?



historymike said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
historymike said...

I think you are right, Lisa - it's more about entertainment than spiritual growth.

I am pretty ani-corporatist, so take this next statement with that qualifier.

Somehow the concept of Starbucks® infecting a church sickens me. What next? Communion wafers with Nabisco® stamped on the back? TVs on the wall to carry the 1:00 NFL games, in case Pastor Happy runs over? Bibles with display ads on the bottom of every page?

Brian, the dog from Family Guy, said it best:

Brian .wav

Lisa Renee said...

lol - good statement there from Brian the dog, thanks mike...

I was surprised at this especially the motor cycle riding up the pulpit, guess I have led a more sheltered life than I thought when it came to other religions.


Hooda Thunkit said...

Congratulations on your successful return from The Twilight Zone;-)

Whether you returned unscathed or not will depend on how well you can sleep after such an experience.

The recurring nightmares can be quite disturbing.

(Brian has got it right!)


Anonymous said...

Where did this quote come from? I can not find it anywhere in the article.

"At the Family Christian Center, more than 6,000 people attend two services each Sunday. Hundreds of drinks are sold, and it's common to see members sipping lattes and mochas during service. Even Pastor Steve Munsey sometimes holds a cup while preaching."

Lisa Renee said...

sorry anon, that came from a second article I used to confirm that the New York Times article was correct on the whole Starbucks thing, at first I thought the writer was joking.


I should have linked that as well, thanks for catching it.

Cyberseaer said...

I don't drink coffee. Shit, i must be going to Hell now. Well, if I am going to Hell, it better be for something more fun than not drinking coffee. Like commiting adultery 947 times.

Some people want to see there pastor riding a copper to the altar, some people go to Star Trek Cons. Who's to say who's right. I wouldn't go to Starbucks to find God. Denny's maybe, but not Starbucks.

Lisa Renee said...

c, Denny's? I would have thought IHOP maybe, because they are the House of fluffies...


Anonymous said...

Is this "faith based coffee?"

Jonathan said...

"Starbucks, motorcycles, Jesus and a Rabbi"

You disappointed me, Lisa...I thought I was about to hear a good joke! :-)

ShadowMayhem said...

Thats ok... I work at starbucks and don't drink coffee... I guess I am destened for that 9th level of hell... of course at the rate I am going I may have a "special" place all for me...