Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Christian Cruise

What should one make of the phenomenon of the Christian cruise?

By Christian cruise, I am referring to the "floating conference/vacations" which feature one or more prominent Bible teachers and sometimes a musician or group and which is promoted to Christians who have the money but may not be taking a trip to the Holy Land this year. (Okay, so I've already shown my hand a little there in my description.)

I received a new one in my inbox today from Ligonier Ministries featuring, of course, R. C. Sproul. The ones that I seem to receive news about weekly usually feature David Jeremiah, who must do all of his public speaking on boats, and many other extremely photographic people. The other most-recent one in my inbox features Jerry Vines, Johnny Hunt, and some other "celebrities." Everyone's invited and the package starts at $795.

[Excuse me...I'm feeling a little sick.]

[Okay, I'm back.]

Okay. I enjoy going to great conferences and know that they can be extremely helpful, challenging, and refreshing in one's Christian life. So, I'm asking myself if the Christian cruise is basically the same thing, just that you stay on a boat instead of in a hotel...and you visit tropical or Alaskan places in your free time instead of museums and coffee shops...and you live, eat, and sleep in your own little utopia for a week or so.

The whole idea seems so removed from the reality of both real life and the church. The notion looks so much like the world but with a Christian twist on it that I cannot help but think of other things like all those Christian t-shirts that look like other name brands but have some silly Christian lingo instead or of the attempts to create Christian theme parks and Christian communities and so on and so forth.

Maybe I'm way off base here. Maybe I'm just jealous or something. Maybe my views are just too narrow (yes, I'm against church league softball, too, but it's hardly worth arguing about.) Maybe if I were invited to be one of the featured speakers on one of these cruises I could enjoy being paid to hang out and preach my favorite sermons next to Johnny Hunt, James Merritt, and Bobby Welch (some prominent Southern Baptist guys with nice hair and nice suits, in case you don't recognize the names.) Don't hold your breath.

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