Last Saturday evening I caught a small showing of short films by college students. One of the more entertaining shorts was titled “Elevator Down” and its story revolved around the demolition of old grain elevators on the prairies. It was depressing commentary on this change interspersed with out-of-nowhere comic gems. The systematic replacement of the elevators caused particular grief for one elevator manager. He found the job uncertainty quite stressful and became a miserable curmudgeon because of it. Well, at one point in the film his wife’s patience ran out and she demanded that he visit the town’s priest. He reluctantly goes, and there is a great scene showing him trudging up a long hill to the steeple in the distance muttering to himself about how even this church will soon be torn down to make way for a new “super church”. A funny moment. Afterall, that would never happen. Churches operate differently.
Maybe not, according to a blurb, I came across today: “MEGACHURCHES. They operate 24/7 and often resemble shopping malls — with a sanctuary as the anchor tenant, reports Patricia Leigh Brown in The New York Times. “No longer simply places to worship” megachurches are becoming “destination centers” where congregants can eat, shop, bank, study and play, offering “many of the conveniences and trappings of secular life wrapped around a spiritual core.” These emerging centers of worship are showing up primarily in America’s South and Midwest, and are said to “reflect a broad cultural desire for rootedness and convenience for overextended families.””