564 Comments

The Church of the Self-centered. Nice.

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I think this story is consistent with the mission of The Free Press, and the criticisms are rather missing the point. Religion/spirituality in American life has been a recurring theme. This particular story challenged my personal goal of keeping an open mind when I read this sort of stuff, because my knee-jerk reaction would normally be to dismiss it as privileged narcissism. So, I kept an open mind while reading it...and still concluded it was privileged narcissism. And, no, Jesus was not a self-help guru--He didn't say "love yourself."

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I always appreciate Olivia’s writing because she does a beautiful job of describing what she sees without letting bias seep in. It was an interesting piece. That being said, I’ve been accused of being in a cult more than once because I’m Catholic...by people who would probably love this place. I’m happy for anyone who finds God, wherever that may be, but if anything has cult potential it’s a place like this. It seems to appeal to people because they get spiritual encouragement without any commitment, work, or sacrifice. I’m definitely biased here, I know, but I can’t imagine a church service where I don’t feel equal parts comforted and convicted. Personally, I feel better in an environment where I’m encouraged to do better rather than this “you do you” attitude.

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So this is just an orgy without the sex. Or just sex after the “service.”

By the way, Jesus didn’t “try to be the best person possible.” He is the Son of God.

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“... people will come to church, if it’s a place to be seen. “

This is all you need to know about these “churches”.

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I don’t understand the hate for this article, TFP has been exploring the phenomenon of people searching for a higher power since the beginning. This is just another article showing a different side of that theory. One option is to simply not read it. The other option is to consider what they are getting at. TFP was created because they wanted people to consider more points of view. If that is beyond your abilities, then maybe this isn’t a place for you.

I find it interesting but also very sad. We are not called to be the best version of humans, we’re called to be like Christ. I pray for anyone on a spiritual journey, that they finally find the Way, the Truth, and the Light. No one can come to the Father except through the Son.

Be blessed everyone ✌🏼

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I am so grateful to live in Alabama. I eat barbecue, watch college football, watch the Atlanta Braves, drink beer, go to church, go the the lake, hang out with wife and kids at the pool, go to a concert every now and then. I will take the bumpkin life any day of the week.

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I hardly made it through the first two paragraphs. What a bunch of self-absorbed spoiled brats.

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I have worked with churches over the past year that are slowly dying. The people who attend do so more out of a force of habit than out of any conviction. The only new people attending are people leaving other places, but no one is being brought to any "conversion." This article was fascinating as it shows the primary drivers:

People are very self-absorbed in their pursuit of meaning. I can be a good person where I want, doing what I wish while setting the parameters for me.

Most are single with little responsibilities to others.

They have money and can take care of themselves. Who needs anyone or, god forbid, responsible for anyone?

There are no intellectual materials that read, inspire, or change behaviors.

We live in a world where it's my religion, and as more people under 40 only love and care about me, the churches I work with will slowly die, and belief as we know it will be a minority passion. Thanks for having an article that shows the evolution or devolution of our culture.

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I wonder how many times I just rolled my eyes...

Of course it "borrows from Eastern traditions" (ask anyone there to give one concrete example of a tradition and its influence).

Of course they call Western religion dogma (tell anyone there you disagree that transgender women are real women).

Of course the whole thing is about "celebrating life" (only each their own).

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What's the odds on some sort of Bohemian Grove crazed sex scandal breaking out at these places? I’ll give it about 25/1.

Oh, and can someone point out the secret room where the Harvey Weinstein statue is? I wanna get a selfie.

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“What people don't realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.” -Flannery O’Connor

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The very traditional Catholic Church I attend is packed for five Masses each Sunday. It’s filled with young single people, young families, and an ever-expanding crop of children. God is right there, on the altar, in the tabernacle, in the hearts of parishioners. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

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Bit of a silly subject for the Free Press.

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I thought I hated Communists…I may hate these people even more.

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An infinitesimal sample of the top 1% does not "the young" make.

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