When Church Gets Weird

May 10, 2010 by

A few weeks ago, we ran across a couple stories that could only be described as disturbing. One was The Big Picture’s photographic look at Holy Week. The second was the story of Australian police having to pull the plug on a passion play for getting too violent:

But resident Louise Bridges, from nearby Hamlyn Heights, said the re-enactment, staged at an intersection at the Market Square Shopping Centre, was an “absolutely disgusting stunt” that would “scare children away from religion”.

Let’s just go ahead and get this out there: Christianity can be weird.

The things you do at your church don’t feel weird because you’re used to them. But singing praises to someone who is not visibly in your presence, miraculous healings and the worship of someone who lived 2,000 ago and thousands of miles away are all strange. Just like to you, some things churches do from other cultures are strange. But most of these things can be explained fairly simply, weird though they might be.

That said, there is a fine line between weird and shockingly offensive.

Let’s keep breaking that down. Sure, the gospel is foolishness to some. And it’s sure to offend some. In plenty of cases, offense or weirdness are justified. But your church should know well enough not to try and shock and offend those you’re trying to reach.

A gruesome passion display in an area full of children or a sexual billboard for all to see are displays of poor taste more than anything. So remember when you’re dreaming up that new campaign or worship display–just because it’s not strange to you doesn’t mean it won’t shock someone else.

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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One Response to “When Church Gets Weird”

  • Sheila
    May 28, 2010

    I agree with Joshua about the weirdness of what the church does at times. And sure enough there will be debate about what is in bad taste or what isn’t. But I think the issue is more related to what the church thinks it is going to achieve with certain types of displays. There will always be people who are offended and that is something the church cannot control entirely. However, I do think that we need to more carefully consider what strategies we use to direct people to Christ. Myself, I think the billboard is acceptable though not perhaps what some folks might connect with church and God. The re-enactment of the crucifixion however, seems to be less well thought through. Poor choice of location, wrong strategy for population etc. The 39 photos of Holy Week seems really to be a look at only orthodoxy and a mix of Catholicism and spiritualism outside of North America (largely) with no other perspective offered. Not much can be done about this since this is the choice of the photographer and the media. Ultimately people like to look at the bizarre and participants have often missed the point of Jesus’ message but also sadly these actions do little to promote the gospel.

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