10th anniversary repost: from May 2003

I (Beth) have been catching up on some of the articles about The Matrix Reloaded, and doing so has made me think again about the way the press tends to cover any religious leader/organization working with any example of pop culture in worship or education: Minister uses 'Sopranos' to teach religion. Church uses 'Simpsons' to reach youth. So often there's this sort of quaint, human interest tone, following a script that I imagine has been similar since the 60s: Priest wears tie-dye vestments to attract the today generation.

To exaggerate for effect, the script pictures an unchanging thing called "The Church," populated by out-of-touch authority figures who occasionally, amusingly, come across some reference to something the kids out in the real world like. So they trot it out as a recruitment tool, and this fact itself is what is newsworthy. Church tries to seem hip, hee hee.

Well, it hit me with something like horror this morning that -- assuming articles are written in the secular press about Get Up Off Your Knees, or about the concept of U2 sermons -- that script is likely to be layered over some of them. As hard as any of us say "No, this is no gimmick, this is who I am, this is my band, they've been part of my faith life for years," some of the articles will probably boil down to: Church tries to seem hip, hee hee. Oh, God.

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