The little bits and pieces of my internal life.

From the Mosaic
Friday, August 05, 2005
Barracks of Christ

As a former resident of both Colorado Springs and the Atlanta exurbs, I was interested to read this article in Harper's, Soldiers of Christ.

Some of this article is unfair. Any group of 12,000 that doesn't require an entrance test is going to have some whack jobs in it, and the fact that the author managed to find a guy who thought his pastor was Gandalf is probably not indicative of much. But other things I found shocking: the literal belief in demon contagion and, especially, the violent imagery of the teaching.

What interested me the most about the article was, well, two things really. One is the idea of spirituality as a commodity, as something that can benefit from free-market competition and innovation. The New Life Church has become successful in part because it offers choices, at least superficially. Could this method be used for more benevolent ideologies?

The other thing is the utter lack of humility. I'm not a Christian, but I'd been under the impression that the central teaching of Christianity was that humankind was fallen and sinful and could only redeemed by the forgiving power of Christ, not by showy demonstration of wealth and power. But New Life Church, it seems to me, has dispensed with all the tedious good news of the Gospel and has gone straight to the time of final judgment.
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