For those interested, I'm giving the Presidential Plenary for PNWAAR this Friday, May 3rd, at 6:30 pm. at Seattle University. "Rob Bell, Economies of Desire, and a Megachurch as a Site of Resistance."
Here is the gyst:
The Megachurch for most of us is a logical extension of the marketization of religion in a culture suffused by an economy of consumer desire. As they say, “We are all capitalists now.” And so, Christianity must do its best to fit into that model and mode of desire, and it does–it gives us what we need: salvation; hope; heaven; ecstasy; peak performance; a marriage market; religious entertainment, and an outlet for charity. In the midst of our culture of consumption, we consume a religion that fills the needs of our desires. And megachurches are expert at that task. However, Bell’s megachurch, I will argue, reversed that trend; he built in his short tenure at Mars Hill Bible Church, an economy of desire oriented toward community, a way of descent, solidarity with the poor and independence from state loyalties. The question is how did he do it? I would argue this experiment was a kind of sociological miracle. Capitalism absorbs most critics, and in the end, it seems to have absorbed Bell as well. Or, at least, that is one of the questions for this talk. link