Friday, May 11, 2007

church as third place?

Len Sweet in The Gospel According to Starbucks - I have been reading it in Williams and Matter of Taste (my fovourite coffee spot in KW).

The book is basically a reflection on what he calls the EPIC spiritual experience.
  • Experiental
  • Participatory
  • Image-rich
  • Connecting
In one of the chapters on Connecting, Sweet writes (after introducing Ray Oldenburg's concept of "third place": The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community)
"Church used to be a third place of choice, a meeting house, a sacred space where the community gathered for governing, for mourning, for celebrating, for relationship building. But churches increasingly became not relational space but propositional space. Instead of going there to connect with God and with others in meaningful relationship, people stated going to church to be convinced of transcendent truth, or, if they already numbered among the convinced, to have their beliefs and religious convictions confirmed from the pulpit.

The church lost credibility as a place for sacred relationship when to chose to specialize in formulating and advancing a better spiritual argument."
[my emphasis] p.132.


michael lewis said...

I think I may have to read this book.

mike said...

It's an easy read... some good stuff in it... but I wouldn't call it Sweet's best book.