Sunday, July 01, 2007

More Athiests at Church

Remember a few posts back when I reviewed the book "Jim and Casper Go To Church?" Well, a guy named Drew Marshall, who has a radio program on the Oakville based Christian radio station Joy 1250, has done something similar - but for Canada. He hired two non-Christians (not necessarily athiests) to attend five churches in the Greater Toronto Area (the GTA) - TACF, The Meeting House, Sanctuary, Orangeville Baptist (Drew's home church) and another church still to be determined. The set up a blog to share their impressions.

The two people they chose are young, intelligent and articulate and do a good job of reviewing the churches they visit. They don't always agree with each other (which is good) and they have some probing insights (which is also good). The blog has a place to comment (like most blogs) which allow people to ask some follow-up questions (which is very good). They ask some insightful questions and provide an intelligent critique of some of the "churchisms" that many Christians take for granted. It is always refreshing to get a different perspective - even if it is sometimes a critical one.

However, my criticism is similar to my review of Jim and Casper Go to Church - they don't really get the God or the faith piece. And for non-Christians they also have very many "Christian" stereotypes that they are working through which is understandable. People get most of their information about Christianity from TV and other second hand sources or rely on childhood memories about what they thought they learned or heard. Even though Christianity might be rejected it is still very hard for almost everyone in the West to have a non-biased view of the Church. My other criticism is that they are way too serious about all this. They don't understand the playfulness of God or the fact that nobody who does church or goes to church really gets everything right - not even some of the time.

It is some very interesting reading (but don't buy the book). I thought their love for the Sanctuary (my friend Greg Paul's Church/Ministry in downtown Toronto) was interesting given that it really is more like a "mission" (like Evergreen) that started a church and quite different than your typical suburban church. I like it better too! Their take on TACF was so very Western and Christendomish. I wonder how they would have responded to George Whitefield's preaching? I hope the fifth church is a West Indian or African Canadian church.

You can check out their blog and make comments or ask questions here. Please do.

1 comment:

hillschurch said...

Just a follow up comment. It would have been nice to have these people go somewhere "normal" (is there even such a thing?) or at least more typical of Sunday Morning GTA Christianity. The churches they chose to visit seem to be easy to criticize because they seem to be at the far ends of the spectrum. I would have liked them to visit a more mainline congregation (Anglican, Presbyterian, United?) and a Catholic service and a small (100 member) community church. Too bad.