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Oglebating: Are we cool with all these megachurches?

7:51 AM EDT on September 28, 2011

Welcome back to Oglebating, the most terrifyingly named of all TLO features! Last week, readers ruled that it's perfectly fine to dip your pizza in ranch dressing. So go ahead and keep on doing that, freaks.

What foods we eat and how we eat them is deeply personal to each individual, so this week we decided to tackle something a little less controversial: Religion! This should go well.

Megachurches are a ubiquitous part of living in OKC: Life Church, Victory Church, Henderson Hills, Crossings Community Church; you know all the names. Are we happy with having all these megachurches being such an ingrained part of the local culture? We'll argue the question after the flip.

Tony: Sure, why not?

Let me tell you what really sucks about megachurches: their parking lots. Specifically, their massive parking lots that are empty every day of the week except Wednesday nights and Sundays. They are tremendous eyesores that make me grit my teeth every time I drive past one.

That being said, if the first thing that I think about when I hear the word "megachurches" is "I'm not a fan of their parking lots," they can't be all that bad. I am not a religious person, but most of the megachurches around here seem to be harmless enough. Sure, there's a few people trying too hard to be like a protestant version of Ben Stiller or Edward Norton in "Keeping The Faith," but mostly they seem to be filled with earnest people looking for community, as opposed to the militant moralizers you see in places like Colorado Springs.

And even if they were militant moralizers, that'd be all the more reason to keep them around. Because, without a doubt, a gay sex scandal would be right around the corner. And short of Bob Stoops being stuck in a gay sex scandal, I can't think of anything that would drive traffic to this site more than a pious hypocrite stuck in a gay sex scandal.

Marisa:  Are you flipping kidding me?!  NO!

A little fun factoid about me is that I've never been to church. I think there were a couple times in high school when a friend started to fear for the safety of my soul and would drag me to some sort of youth group thing, where as far as I can tell, the purpose was to eat pizza and have an adult tell you that it was "a safe place" several times. I've never been baptized, and I'm not one to drink the proverbial Kool Aid, unless of course it's real Kool Aid.

So I imagine a typical Sunday at a megachurch includes some overly hip pastor in a shirt his trophy wife bought at Dillard's telling some story of how he experienced the Holy Spirit during the past week. Then everyone in the room waves their hands in the air while they sing "Our God is an Awesome God" before they hop in their minivans to go out to lunch at some restaurant where they tip the server roughly 7% (I know you churchgoing jag bags do it every Sunday and you should know that your food isn't clean). And if you're at Life Church, they're are some Chuck E. Cheese-style animatronics for the kids.

Overall, when a megachurch isn't setting out to kill you, they're selling you some notion of religion that is easy to swallow and entertaining. Look, it's not supposed to be fun, okay? You saw The Passion of the Christ. That movie had nothing to do with Jesus fish tattoos acquired on spring break. It had nothing to do with "edgy" looking bands that have tattoos, but still love Jesus because they're tough like that. It's not about marketing sweet t-shirts that riff on popular designs. It's not a matter of putting ".tv" at the end of your church's name to show you are in touch with the masses. Basically, it should be about the teachings of Christianity, not watering down popular culture to make it fit some marketing executive's idea of an inclusive Christianity.

Tell us what you think.

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