Ahhh...SociologyJonny and Jake great posts...First, in defense of my NBA logic, Jake, go back read my pre-apology paragraph again. I agree Shaq is a force that is unquestioned...Of course when Kobe thinks that he runs the team, they do struggle. When Shaq has fewer shot attempts the Lakers lose, bottom line. I don't think it will happen, or really should, but I hate them, so I had to write something. NO ONE else was going to attempt to defend them...
As for the Really important stuff...Jonny, you seem to be hitting on some of the concepts of Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic. Which became a brutal unbiblical marriage of Church structure and Economic system. The whole concept that material wealth was the best indicator of "God's Favor". In word, I think churches would not admit to still having this view of the world, but I think it is largely a value that seems to be expressed non-verbally in the American church. Numbers and status matters to the church. Attendence and church building size matters.
I think I have said it on here before, but the main reason I have not gotten involved in church is because I sense no real community in situations where I don't live with people. In a very real way Church is the college and community I share with the people that share their lives with me in a real way. This obviously leaves weak the area of corporate worship, but frankly churches have proven to be just as weak in this area as our own Chapel services.
In Boston this week, I went to a multicultural church and I was struck again at how the message of the Worship was not self-focus, as much contemporary suburban churches tend to be. The choruses seemed Worshipful of or to God.
What would a church be if it did absolutely no marketing? What if a handful of us got together and just created a weekly worship experience that made sense to us? What if it we went so far to be totally exclusive for as long as a year, to really establish what we believe to be the most important values of our church, and then only let people know about it through personal relationships/ direct word of mouth invitations. Probably a lot more like the church described in Acts 2 was...Just some thoughts...Jake your vision makes me excited that there is potential to change, even if it won't be easy.