Church marketing and self-promotion

There’s a website I visit occasionally called It’s actually pretty insightful, if geared toward evangelicals and mega-church wannabes. But I wonder what their take is on the current controversies around the Ground Zero Church and the guy in Florida. It turns out the Ground Zero church had its first service this past Sunday. About fifty people were in attendance, at least half were members of the media. And the guy in Florida has about fifty in his congregation. But they’ve both gotten lots of attention. It may not result in “saved souls” but perhaps there are book deals in their future.

We live in a culture that prizes outrage–that’s what the political right has feasted on for years. We also live in a media culture and a twenty-four hour news cycle that requires product. Both of these pastors are appealing to that and both of them have gotten what they wanted. The question is not whether burning the Q’uran is wrong or inappropriate, or resorting to the tactics of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. He wanted to draw attention to himself and he got his wish. He’s also given progressive and moderate Christians something to be outraged about, and help them feel good about themselves by joining facebook pages that decry his actions.

The question for the rest of us is not how to protest the actions or beliefs of people like this. The question is how we can model a different kind of Christianity, that embraces diversity and expresses love to all.

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