Stretched Tie-ins to Pop Culture: Church Peeves Part 5
Church Peeves: Part 5
This is the fifth in a 5-part series of things about church/churchgoers that piss me right the hell off that are of little or no consequence whatsoever:
5) Extremely stretched tie-ins to popular culture
Is it reasonable to talk about the gross stuff you saw last night on Fear Factor as a prelude to a sermon about Acts of the Apostles?
How about spending five minutes talking about watching Canadian Idol with your wife just to introduce the topic of idolatry? Yes, it has “idol” in the title, but it’s just a freakin’ talent show.
Here’s a hint for all the preachers out there: admiration for Sam Roberts as a musician does not equal idolatry either. We know that you’re just attempting to ride the coattails of a successful popular culture figure in order to hook the audience into listening to you.
And you know what? It’s lame and ineffective. Please cut it out. You’re only embarrassing yourself.
One time, we had a pastor who was a huge hockey fan. He introduced his sermon with a few slides discussing the rather silly Vote for Rory* campaign, where NHL fans tried to elect the unworthy defenseman to the NHL All-Star Game. I have no idea how the Vote for Rory campaign even tied into anything the pastor was saying. I would like to say it was something like “Jesus is voting for you even though you don’t deserve it,” but that wasn’t it. I can’t even remember what the sermon was about anymore since the tie-in was so loose. It hurt my brain, not only as a church-goer but as a hockey fan.
Few things are more mentally painful that an awkward, desperate tie-in. Yet time and time again preachers try and stretch to connect the fad of the day to whatever Jesus topic they were planning on speaking about.
I don’t think they can be that clueless as to how bad their connections are. My guess is that it’s one of two things, possibly both, depending on the person:
1) preachers have no shame and are willing to tie anything to anything else to try to sell their product
2) newbie preachers/speakers have been told that pop culture tie-ins are a great way to engage audiences, so they use them, despite knowing that they are clueless about doing it properly
* FYI: In the NHL, the starting lineups for the all-star game are decided by online fan voting. The ballot has options for voting for the most likely star players at each position, but write-in votes are allowed. Back in 2006-2007, fans started a movement to try to elect Rory Fitzpatrick, a journeyman defenseman with no standout qualities, to the starting defense. The movement took on a life of its own and Rory just missed out on the all-star selection.
Ps. Yes, I voted for Rory a bunch of times.