For Some, The Gospel Really is Hollow, Gram!

kinnon —  March 3, 2010 — 31 Comments

Out of Ur pointed to this from Tony Morgan. Forget videographic representations of the preacher. Morgan expects churches to be using this within 12 months. No doubt. Whether or not they are actually "churches" is open for debate I'm afraid.

Since so many of us in the west are convinced that entertaining pew fodder is critical to advancing "the gospel" and that only a very few have the necessary gifts to preachertain – this will become the "perfect" solution.

I was only partially joking when I created this graphic, from this post. Click on the graphic for a full version that's easier to read.

Animatronic Preacher Man



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

31 responses to For Some, The Gospel Really is Hollow, Gram!

  1. I think it’s interesting that in every comments section I’ve read dealing with this, the moment someone says this is over the top, the defenders instantly make comments like, “well should we stop using a printing press and our cell phones too? If you’re so anti-technology, where do we draw the line?!?!”

    Including TM himself.

  2. Love the graphic! Very creative. And *very* funny!

  3. Daniel,
    I agree with you. For 20+ years I made my living at the bleeding edge of technology, owning, along with my wife, a mid-sized post-production company in Toronto. Today, I still make my living in the production industry. In fact, this very day I'm working on a high-end Mac Pro, loaded with 10's of thousands of dollars of software, designing a 100ft x 100ft booth. I'm using a combination of Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects (for some 3D images) along with Omni-Graffle. The work is for one of the largest Broadcast Communications Companies in the world for whom I do TV production and Creative Direction (for this particular trade show). I love technology (except for my BlackBerry Bold that just died in under a year). And believe that there are all kinds of creative ways to use technology within the wider church. This ain't one of 'em, in my not humble opinion.

  4. Thanks, Sarah. Glad it made you smile. 🙂

  5. Well, if we’re moving from actors to “vactors” (=”virtual actors,” ala the movie *Simone* with Robert DeNiro), guess this means we can morph from preachers to “Holo-Preachers [TM],” and just hope their vactors are not vacuous, nor their preaching hollow!

    But OMG — just think of the possibilities for this new v-technology!

    But then, how fun would it be to have a “Joel VirtuOlsteen” visit on a Sunday morning “Ever-So-VirtuOso [TM]” virtual tour?

    And then, could we also invite apostles and prophets from the New Apostolic Reformation, to lead a post-revival “CongAlign [TM]” and snake dance around the sanctuary?

    And “V-Church Campustules [TM]” could break out all over the place? Certainly saves on spiritual gift training, mentoring, and site set-up … though I’m not so sure about issues of clean-up.

    And our virtual small groups could be called “Surrogatory Remarks[TM]”! Or, should that actually be the title for pastoral commentary on the Scriptures?

    Thanks, Brother Bill, you’ve tototototototally made my day!

    P.S. If I get more ideas for “Holo-Preachers[TM],” I’ll be sure to come back later and post them!

  6. P.P.S. Just one question … has anyone figured out “vaptism” yet, so any electric-related equipment doesn’t do a meltdown?

  7. P.P.P.S. OMG! OMG! OMG! I haven’t been this excited about new technologies for “V-Expanding The Kingdom [TM]” since I wrote a bout the end of the pre-post-pulp era about 10 years ago! … maybe I need to repost that on my futuristguy blog to show how right I was about the future directions of the church …

  8. P.P.P.P.S. Just checked, and actually, I posted “welcome to virt-y’all Church!” on my RADOXODAR blog already.

    link to

  9. Brad,
    You are hilarious. You actually made me laugh out loud! The CongAlign™ is simply hysterical!!!

    Brilliant, brother, simply brilliant.

  10. We always need to evaluate the implications (often unforeseen) of any technology. But, your question about whether this can be a “church” without a live pastor present is a pretty strange definition of “church” — and a strikingly over-inflated view of the importance of a pastor.

  11. Sorry Steve,
    I've not been clear in what I'm critiquing – which is an environment that moves from people staring forward at a video projected image to people staring forward at a hologram – with the sense from those into video venues, that this is an improvement. I'm not sure either is an accurate portrayal of what a church gathering should/could/might be.

    And, over the course of the 2000+ posts I've done here, I'm not sure anyone would be convinced of me holding an "over-inflated view of the importance of a pastor". 🙂

    But I was definitely unclear in my critique. Thanks for pointing this out.

  12. The threat of an army of holographic Joel Osteens should be enough for anyone to oppose such a technology.

  13. How about a holographic congregation?

    Recently I was trying to get a group to move from expensive entertainment to try out just living out our faith, on the basis that this may just be a more authentic picture of church, and someone told me
    “Community isn’t possible with young people, we need to have cool events to keep them coming”

    Maybe they’d be interested in this?

  14. Come on, Bill. What’s wrong with holographic pastors? I feel like you’re just projecting now. ZING!!!!

    Seriously though, I can’t help but getting images from Star Wars out of my head:

    “Help us, Joeli Wan Osteeny. You’re our only hope…”

    As I am sure you will acknowledge, this is not to say that this technology isn’t amazing and that it will even have redemptive value in a ministry context. However, your critique of this scenario is well made. Thanks bro.


  15. What makes that strange Steve? Can you really imagine a NT church without the presence of pastors? Or are you simply assuming that title refers to a professional?

  16. This week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us.

  17. If we can utilize hologram pastors and add hologram congregations we can have ever bigger churches with nobody there.

  18. if the preacher and congregants can be holograms then im assuming we can use the same technology in giving our tithe eh?

  19. Virtually so … but then, what would we need to spend it on? What would holographic missions look like? What models of ministry would we use for it?

    I guess we could use the “Social V-entSurprise [TM]” methodology in the community for outreach.

    And also start up the “Holo-Lujah Worship Music Publishers [TM]” (“Holo-WorMuP [TM]” for short) for inreach.

    And we could create the “Sneeker Sensitive Virt-V-angelism Subst-V-tute[TM]” for those who want to be in two places at once on a Sunday morning (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

    I do have a number of questions still that perhaps others could address, such as:

    How do we measure “success” in the holo-world?

    What constitute qualitative virtual virtues in this paradigm?

    How does one become an “Apost-olo [TM]”? And is there such a thing as “V-postacy [TM]”?

    And is church discipline conducted by a “Hologram-o-ban [TM]” of specified duration?

    These are the kinds of questions I’m willing to pursue for the sake of the furtherance of the “V-ingdom [TM]” …

  20. After all didn’t Jesus say, “Where two or three holograms gather in my name, there is my hologram in the midst of them.”

  21. It would be so much better than listening to an audio sermon at home. A little preacher, maybe about a foot tall, standing on my desk delivering a sermon.

    Or in my car. Now that we’ve mastered talking on the phone and texting while driving, it’s time to move on to walking, talking holograms on the dashboard.

  22. You all are having way too much fun with this!

    Roland, the one ft tall preacher on my desk cracked me up.

    Dave, trés heureux!

    Graceshaker, the holographic tithe. Amen! and Amen!

    And Brad, you are a constant source of levity.

    Jason, I’m pretty sure that’s what I tweeted when I first saw this. 🙂

    Jamie – ZING, indeed. And wouldn’t it be cool if you could use a light sabre on the holographic pastor when you disagreed with him. Like EVERY Sunday.

    Andy, cool events with Holograms and Light Sabres. Heck, even I’d go then.

  23. Holographic preachers and your former left bar (with the About stuff at the top) is now on the right… I think I’m getting dizzy. And is this a subtle way of saying you’re shifting to the right???

  24. Well certain folk would definitely like to portray me that way, Ed. I just liked the look and was tired of the posts being squished between two columns. Would that this were a WordPress platform rather than TypePad. It could look a lot better. But I ain't moving 2104 posts any time soon. Holographically or otherwise.

  25. Hologram guy looks like George Carlin. Now that could get a crowd on Sunday morning.

  26. Jeremiah Lawson March 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I don’t know why people are being so skeptical about a new a great way for incarnational contextualization of the Gospel. People need to stop having such a gnostic dualist way of imposing artifical distinctions on everything and admit that when Paul wrote epistles he was providing spiritual authority from afar. Same thing, right? 😉

  27. I assume that the basic definition of a church is “where two or more are gathered together in my Name”. I also assume that God gifts gifts to the church, which includes pastors. And furthermore, I don’t necessarily assume that the role of a pastor is always to preach. 🙂

  28. “Pastor, thou art loosed!” Love it.
    How about a holographic congregation? Sometimes I wonder how many people are actually “present”?

  29. As a lone pastor in a rurban (rural/urban) church I’m responsible for replacing myself when vacation or duty calls me elsewhere. When the Sony “Preacher Station 3” comes out I’d probably want one. As long as the user settings could ensure that I could set its “effectiveness level” and “appeal gain” to something lower than I can manage “in the flesh”. OK the irony’s getting a bit too thick here.

    I actually am with you on this one Bill. My conviction, after over 8 years, in the pulpit is that a sermon is an event in space and time, prepared for by all participants (hopefully), but ultimately is an experience superintended “live” by the Holy Spirit. Even watching recorded sermons is a bit odd for me. I always feel I’m missing something, like I “had to be there” to really get it.

    Love your perspective and sense of humour.


  30. Paul may have been providing spiritual authority from afar, as was his role as an apostle, but he made sure that there elders, pastors and teachers were planted in the local churches.

  31. I’m just wondering what will the pentecostals and charasmatics do when there is the need to stop the sermon for a “holy handclap” or when Aunt Mabel feels a “prophesy comin’ on”. Do you know if the Virtual Preacher can be put on pause? Who will be appointed remote control deacon? I can’t find the qualifications for that office in 1 Tim.


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