Resurrection: The Rock Video

Robert Holmes “Rob” Bell Jr. is an American “megachurch” pastor and author of such trendy books as Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, and Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality. His latest book, Love Wins, which from what I can tell is an exploration of Christian universalism, has caused quite a stir of late.

I don’t know a great deal about Rob Bell, save for my stumbling on this video this morning of Rob Bell preaching on the Resurrection.

Now — ordinarily, you might think the the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead would be sufficient enough to provoke some stirring of human wonder in the listener.

Not so.

Rather, the resurrection (or Rob Bell’s speculations on the meaning of such) has to be accompanied by a hip modern rock soundtrack and a streaming psychedelic light show such as I might have enjoyed — oh, perhaps two decades ago, at a Grateful Dead concert, “under the influence.” To such an extent that, at least from my perspective, the content of his message is repressed, obscured by the barrage of the senses.

What is it with these modern, megachurch televangelists?

What does this say about the attention span of the intended audience?

Has the gospel become so boring that we really have to be entertained by it?

9 Responses to Resurrection: The Rock Video

  • LarryD says:

    I kept waiting for him to break into a U2 song. He looks like Bono with those glasses.

    As for the message content? Pretty fluffy, IMHO. Lots of buzz words and catchy phrases (“Embraced, graced and saved by God”). But not much meat on those bones.

  • Mandy P. says:

    Yet another reason I’m a convert. Every Protestant church I’ve attended since the 90′s has ended up going the flashy, concert-style route with their “worship” services. There’s just no reverence or sacredness to it. The seriousness with which the Catholic church takes in regards to worship was one of the very first things that attracted my attention.

  • Christine says:

    I couldn’t watch the whole thing because I, as well, kept losing his words in the music and lights.

    It also feels like he is speaking to children; people who know nothing about the resurrection. I have always felt that Megachurches talk to their congregants as if they were children and they could possibly not understand anything more than just the basics of faith.

  • I agree with Chris and all of the comments. But…

    While this sort of approach lacks in *nourishing*, it obviously succeeds in *attracting*. So is there anything in this kind of approach which we can somehow emulate — with a thoroughly Catholic foundation — to reach the kinds of people who *are* attracted by it?

  • Steve says:

    There’s more of these ‘rock band’ churches all over the place & now ‘worship on the internet’ haha how is worship in the comfort of your couch with a beverage listening to ac/dc or 30 seconds to mars or pick a band?! Go into these places & its grab a coffee, & enjoy the show. Oh & please we have 100s of workers in our groups so donate as much as possible there’s really a cover charge for the band today. This is today’s worst heresy. Do it your way they way that will entertain you. You don’t need those fuddy duddy sacraments or reverance or worship you just need a nice speech & great tunes. Oh & if you are just too lazy to come then turn on your computer we stream it live so you don’t have to make the sacrifice of showing up.

  • Kevin in Texas says:

    @Chris Burgwald,

    Chris, I wonder really if the attraction you mention is of the “a mile wide and an inch deep” variety? In other words, do people watch it on YouTube once because it’s “edgy”, but then not respond to it in a meaningful way because it fails to challenge them?

    I’ve often thought that what is lacking in so many Catholic parishes nowadays, especially for men (who seem to be abandoning the active practice of the Faith more readily than women), is the challenge to DO something actively to engage one’s Faith and what it means to have it and live it, as Christ calls us to do in Scripture. Off the top of my head, the return of traditional devotions like perpetual adoration of the Eucharist, the Stations of the Cross on Lenten Fridays, and even the public recital of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet testify to young peoples’ desire to get actively engaged and not simply sit passively in Mass and receive the Eucharist passively. Other things that are popular at the Catholic college where I currently teach include alternative spring break missions to Latin America, volunteering at Catholic soup kitchens, tutoring underprivileged children with homework and catechesis at our local Catholic schools, and even the 40 Days for Life and the Life marches in Washington each winter.

    Our young people hunger for the Truth of Christ and for the challenge to live their faith more fully. I think this is a major key to attracting more fallen-away Catholics as well as converting secular atheists and agnostics.

    None of the above is meant to “pooh-pooh” the idea of using social media in Catholic outreach, but merely to suggest that such media are only the very beginning of a more in-depth apostolate we need to be developing in the Church in the US and across the post-Christian West.

  • Kevin, I agree with virtually everything you said, including your opening “mile wide & inch deep” comment.

    To clarify one point… I wasn’t thinking so much of how people like Bell use social media, but more about the apparent popularity of evangelical megachurches with *very* informal services (it’d be a stretch to call some of them worship services); there’s a (relatively) large church of that type a half-mile from my parish, and it’s definitely getting inactives (Catholics and others) to darken the door.

    Hence my question: is there something in what they do that we can emulate in a Catholic context, one with — as you note — great substance in formation and apostolate.

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