Saturday, January 31, 2009

20 Minutes of Church

Sitting in church one morning I became briefly obsessed with capturing the essence of the modern church service. So for the next 20 minutes I captured the following images on my cheap cell phone camera. Rather than seek out "interesting images" I limited myself to photos I could capture right from my seat. Below is the result of my photographic journey.

Ever since the days of the apostles, church has always been about people. "Let us not give up meeting together" the apostle Paul councils in Hebrews 10:25

Naturally, social engagement is a big part of the church experience. Physical presence is apparently optional.

Movement captures attention.

This image captures something increasingly rare in church--the joy of discovery.

The pause for the big decision--where to sit.

In spite of the emphasis on activity in the modern participatory worship style, there is still a significant passive element.

Juxtaposition of the old (stained glass) and the new (flood lighting)

Large events generate (and require) tangible mementos and documents. Church is no different.

Observing the service

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is Your Christian Institution Christian?

There is a lot of pressure on Christian institutions to be "successful" in a secular sense.

I recently drove by a large local church and school with a nearby playing field. A large sign (bigger than the church's sign) welcomed all to the "Home of the Seahawks". It made me wonder about the priorities of that school. Was this really a Christian school or a school that happened to be run by Christians?

A few minutes ago I randomly googled the word "adventist". (Short term for the "Seventh-Day Adventist" denomination to which I belong) High in the results list was the web site of the university I attended. This was no accident. For years the leadership of the school has successfully resisted sliding into a secular definition of success. The results for the University and the church have been markedly successful as the school has spawned large numbers of missionaries and church workers.

As Christians we must make certain to identify success by our religious mission and not be distracted by the identities of the world. Otherwise we risk becoming shabby clones of what the world already offers.