Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Secret Churchgoers

Earlier this year I read the book, I Sold My Soul on eBay by Hemant Mehta.   It's an interesting insight into how an atheist (a 'friendly' one) viewed Christian church services and what suggestions he had to make about them as far as making them inviting to outsiders, strangers, visitors.

The person who 'bought' Mehta is Jim Henderson, a pastor who'd long since felt that the way most Christians are taught to evangelise is more off-putting than encouraging.  There a recent article on USA Today about Henderson, who has continued to explore news ways of being Jesus-friendly to those who aren't Christians.   Some of his approaches are mentioned in the article but one that I want to mention in particular is his Church Rater website.

On the home page of the site at the moment is a video conversation between Henderson and Matt Caspar which briefly discusses the issues Henderson is concerned with.   Caspar is not a Christian, but he and Henderson did a road trip some time back, producing the book Jim and Casper Go to Church.  Caspar is also Henderson's partner in the venture, and says his engaging with Christians is motivated by his desire to get them to question their certitude, and to see that atheists don't have tails and horns.

The Church Rater site does exactly what it says: allows people to anonymously assess a particular church's service.   These reviews are then put up on the site.  At present there are almost a thousand of them.    The site also has an 'endorsements' section where there are links to various comments about the site's modus operandi.   Some are not complimentary, as you'd expect. 

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