Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Monsters are Coming - The Offer of the Vampire (appendix)

This is a short excursis (which is a discussion of a particular point in a book, usually in an appendix - or can sometimes be defined as a digression) in which I wish to offer further thoughts on one or more of the ideas I offered on Sunday.

I briefly mentioned in the sermon just how much depictions of vampires have changed over the years - in particular on film.  Dracula (made most popular by Bella Lugosi) used to have to wear a cape and formal wear.  Before that, though, in the 1922 movie Nosferatu, the vampire was a very scary, shadow dwelling creature (that movie, by the way, was an adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, but the names had to be changed due to copyright issues).  Even the far from scary Count from Sesame Street dressed like the stereotypical vampire - and so does Count Chocula (remember that cereal?).  Now, though, vampires dress very much like teens of today, because many vampires are presented as late teens, early twenties.  That says something.

There is an effort to 'modernize' characters (look at Batman, for example) to make them have some kind of relevance to the intended audience.

Hmmm.  That sounds very much like something the church struggles with on a regular basis - how do we maintain our relevance.  If vampires get a makeover and, in the process, gain soaring popularity, what is it that the church needs to consider to bring our witness into the hearts and minds of the current generation?

This is an issue that we are going to be dealing with here at Harrison in early 2015.  Until then, I would draw your attention to the following titles:
You Lost Me by David Kinnaman
The Answer to Bad Religion is not No Religion by Martin Thielen
Adventures in Missing the Point by Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren

The deal with the issues facing mainline churches today.  What do we need to do to not be seen as a caricature of ourselves, but as a vital and engaging congregation?

It is a difficult question, and one that is easily ignored and overlooked because the church is notorious for fighting and fending off the idea of change.  And we may continue to fight and fend, but we might fight and fend off change and push ourselves right out of the minds of the next generation of people who won't hear the good news because the see the church as an irrelevant building that has no bearing on the lives of the people on its outside.

So, the changing vampire might be an interesting study to point out that what was old can still be relevant.  Give it some thought.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Charles

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