The All-you-can-eat buffet, megachurch, and contemporary politics

Ed Winstead makes the connection:

If the South, which is so central to modern Republicanism, can be defined in some sense by its food and its religion, then lines can be drawn between the buffet and the mega-church, the pig pickin’ and the tent revival, home cooking and the old-fashioned community congregation (though in the buffet it is the grease, and not the Holy Spirit, that sends you writhing to the floor). The mega-church, marketing as slick as the preacher’s hair, is a pale and commercialized approximation of a traditional church (which, whatever you think of Southern Protestantism theologically, draws a great deal from and contributes a great deal to its communities). In much the same way, a buffet fails, deliberately fails, necessarily fails, to recreate a home-cooked meal.

This is the new American Dream: the buffet, the mega-church. Both purport to embody how it should be, how it always was, that the deep-fried tomatoes and the arena-league sermonizers hearken back to better times. This is nonsense.

He argues that the buffet trivializes and commercializes Southern cuisine, that a cuisine founded on necessity and want has become the promise of never running out.

We talk in our churches about product, church-shopping, and marketing, responding to the needs of our congregations, and to that degree what he says about mega-churches may extend to most congregations. And for us Anglicans, there’s especially the appeal to nostalgia.

Worth thinking about

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