Friday, April 10, 2009

A View of Some Holy Bad Ideas

I don't worship. I've written about that fact many times before. Still, that doesn't mean I don't shake my head and wonder what's wrong with people when I come across something that's disrespectful of religion.
For example, some people here in Detroit are upset because today is Opening Day for the Tigers. Some of the Motor City faithful had to choose between religious obligation or a Ball Park Frank. I didn't see this as particularly disrespectful. (Scroll down to #7 for the reference if you click on the preceeding link.) Opening Days come and go and a baseball season has, like, a gazilliondy games in a season. If you are truly faithful, then you go to church. If you aren't or are willing to ask for absolution, then you go to the game and attend an all night Easter Vigil or something. Pretty easy choice to me, right?
Some are still trying to find, shall I say, a blessed medium between the world ways and the Word. And it's not pretty. I mean, who thought turning the Passion of Christ into Twitter tweets was a good idea? Trinity Church, an Episcopal parish on Wall Street in lower Manhattan is offering this and a web version of the Stations of the Cross. Yet another reason to hate those folks on Wall Street, don't you think? This story outlines all sorts of ways churches are exploring creative Good Friday worship options. Not only are there Holy Twitterers out there, there's an interactive Stations of the Cross in downtown Santa Cruz, for those who may not be online.
If you are online, however, and too busy to go to church today, Easter Sunday, or any other Sunday, you can now rest easy. Discover Magazine's Discoblog (the name is kind of a sin in itself) discusses a monthly prayer subscription service available from Information Age Prayer. For a mere $4.95 a month, much less than your average collection plate donation or tithe, you can have your computer pray for you. The program offers four denominations - Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, or Muslim - and uses text-to-speech technology to say prayers in roughly the "same volume and speed as the average praying person." They also offer a variety of subscriptions covering the gamut from daily prayers to prayers for economic stability. No word on whether you have to make sure your Blackberry faces east or what happens to one's mortal soul if you lapse in subscription payments and get cut off from automated salvation.
Kind of makes a baseball game on Good Friday look harmless, doesn't it?
More later, after I quote what my Dad would've probably said about all of this: "Jesus wept."
UPDATE: One of my fondest memories as a child was going to see a musical called, "Your Arms Too Short To Box With God" with my family. The play, which came to town annually, was very entertaining. It told the story of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection based on the book of Matthew. This was back in the days when African-American musical theater meant shows like "Timbuktu!," "Purlie," or "For Colored Girls...," not "Beauty Shop," "Madea Goes to Jail." Anyway, the part of "Arms" that stood out the most for me was when Jesus rose from the dead, and the resurrection portrayed with a joyous song called "Didn't I Tell You?" One year, we went with a neighbor who - upon seeing Jesus (who was played by a very attractive and well built dancer) come out on stage dancing regally - she exclaimed, "Oh my goodness! Jesus got muscles everywhere!" "Arms" is sadly no longer being produced, but Greater Grace Temple, a local megachurch is trying to fill the void left behind with its own passion play. "The Whip, Hammer, and Cross" has music, elaborate costumes, live animals, and an unfortunate title. I wonder if its Jesus has muscles everywhere, too?



Anonymous BB said...

Religious leaders will never miss a chance to cash in. Nowonder Islam is the fastest growing religion, the way they conduct their religion appears more real and consistent with their teachings.

5:20 PM  
Blogger TEM said...

Any religion, when worshipped correctly and followed with an emphasis on personal enlightenment and not on control of others, can be a force of good and growth. I think too many of our religious "leaders" are more interested in the power of the pulpit and not the glory of spiritual fulfillment.

5:25 PM  

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