YET LATER...... This just in from the JYT about the very "church" that's in the lead among that movement (Thanx, K!).
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/09/na...hurch.html?th= &oref=login&emc=th&pagewanted=print [img]file:///C:/inet32/Embedded/logoprinter46.gif[/img] <BR clear=all>
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<DIV ="timestamp">December 9, 2005</DIV>
<H1><NYT_LINE =" " version="1.0">When Christmas Falls on Sunday, Megachurches Take the Day Off </NYT_LINE></H1><NYT_BYLINE =" " version="1.0">
<DIV ="byline">By LAURIE GOODSTEIN</DIV></NYT_BYLINE><NYT_TEXT>
Some of the nation's most prominent megachurches have decided not to hold worship services on the Sunday that coincides with Christmas Day, a move that is generating controversy among evangelical Christians at a time when many conservative groups are battling to "put the Christ back in Christmas."
Megachurch leaders say that the decision is in keeping with their innovative and "family friendly" approach and that they are compensating in other ways. 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.
"What we're encouraging people to do is take that DVD and in the comfort of their living room, with friends and family, pop it into the player and hopefully hear a different and more personal and maybe more intimate Christmas message, that God is with us wherever we are," said Cally Parkinson, communications director at Willow Creek, which draws 20,000 people on a typical Sunday.
Megachurches have long been criticized for offering "theology lite," but some critics say that this time the churches have gone too far in the quest to make Christianity accessible to spiritual seekers.
"I see this in many ways as a capitulation to narcissism, the self-centered, me-first, I'm going to put me and my immediate family first agenda of the larger culture," said Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. "If Christianity is an evangelistic religion, then what kind of message is this sending to the larger culture - that worship is an optional extra?"
John D. Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship at Calvin College, asked: "What about the people in society without strong family connections? The elderly, single people a long distance from family, or people who are simply lonely and for whom church and prayers would be a significant part of their day?"........................</DIV>Edited by: nelson