Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Happy, happy, happy

The Pew Research Center says that the typical evangelical Christian is happier than the average, "unsaved" Joe. In a study released earlier this year, 43 percent of evangelical Protestants said they were "very happy," about nine percentage points higher than the national average.

Still, some say these evangelicals are faking it. These folks are expected to be happy (goes the theory), so they are.

"There's very little room in megachurches for lament and grief and expressing one's deep sadness," said Ruth Tucker, a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary in the linked Christianity Today article. "If you feel deep depression or sadness and are going through a rough time, you are told to stay home from church."

I don't know how many Christians are actually told to keep away if they're feeling blue, but certainly the typical evangelical church atmosphere is pretty peppy. For instance, New Life Church attracts around 10,000 deliriously happy worshippers every weekend, who get caught up in the place's rock-concert-like vibe. They bounce. They dance. They wave their hands. And people do seem to smile an awful lot there.

Maybe it all goes back to what our mothers taught us: Smile, and eventually you'll feel like smiling.


Blogger my_take said...

In the mega-church world, keeping the flock happy is the goal. Here are some pointers to keep the customers 'happy'... Keep them occupied with great entertainment in the 'worship center'. Tickle their ears with sermons emphasizing human potential, while de-emphisizing the sin and pain of the world. Ignore large sections of the Bible, you don't want to offend the Laodicians. If you just keep them comfortable, they'll keep coming back to sow their 'seed' in the bucket. Splash in a few word-faith, name it and claim it philosophies so they'll forget their own pain and that we live in a fallen world. Slowly spoon feed dominion theology. After all the church is taking over all social and political institutions. What's there to be sad about? Emphasize untiy of all denominations, away with that pesky doctrine, we're building a tower of Bable.

7:23 PM  

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