Idol Chatter

Who needs family and community on Christmas, when you can just stay home? It falls on a Sunday this year–and who wants to go to Church on Christmas morning anyway? Not the memvbers of some of the nation’s biggest megachurches apparently: They’re canceling worship services altogether on Christmas Day and encouraging members to stay home and be with family–and use technology to get their Christmas worshipping done at home.

And do what, you wonder? Well, other than unwrap presents and other consumer-culture fare, The New York Times reports that “Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., always a pacesetter among megachurches, is handing out a DVD it produced for the occasion that features a heartwarming contemporary Christmas tale.” That is, in lieu of making worshippers don their Sunday best, gather the kids, and get out of the house to be good neighbors on Christmas day, they can all just fire up the DVD player and share the church experience at home.

Other ideas if you are a megapastor and don’t feel getting out of those comfy flannels on Christmas? Well, you could pre-record your sermon and stream it online all day on Sunday the 25th, so worshippers can log on and double-click at their leisure, while gathering ’round the computer. That’s Bishop Eddie Long’s answer, senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Missionary Church in Georgia.

What about those lacking in family? The single elderly person? The lonely? Or worse, someone who might not, God forbid, own a TV or DVD player or have access to the internet? One hopes they’ve made other plans, since the big screens may be dark and microphones silent at the megachurch near them. Or, they will simply be out of luck.

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